We finished out the second game we had started and I won by fifty points or so. Part of me wanted to gloat. Instead, I pulled out my phone, put on some music, pulled Eli to me, and began to slowly revolve.
“What are we doing?” he asked, seeming pleased by it, nonetheless; he was goin’ with it.
“We are doing a thing called ‘slow dancing’, Elijah. You may not be familiar with this tradition, but humans that like each other sometime—”
He kissed me for a second. My heart soared.
“Shut up smartass,” he muttered with amusement.
I grinned, and fished for another kiss. When the song ended the kiss still had not and I wasn’t about to stop it.
When the kiss did end, I turned the music off on my phone, and was led to behind the food counter for lunch. Don’t take it like that. Jeez. We only just started dating. For lunch we had nachos; we both knew how to cook, we just didn’t feel like it at the moment. We washed the nachos down with some sodas, and then decided to leave the place. I cleaned the shoes and put them back in their proper places, cleaned the bowling balls and put those back in their proper places, all the while he shut down the lane we had used. Once outside, he locked the building, pocketed the keys, got out his car keys, and then asked where to.
That was the question. My mind was reeling from everything that had changed in the past, oh wow, two hours. It was now nearing three in the afternoon. It was a beautiful sunny day, and I thought a stroll through the park would be nice.
“Just so happens there’s a nature trail right behind this place,” Eli stated, “goes for at least four miles.”
“Oh wow.” I looked at him, barely containing a grin. “You aren’t going to drag me into the middle of the woods and kill me, are you?”
He stared at me for a long minute. Then:
“That’s it! Date over! I’m taking you home!” He stalked off towards the car. I knew he was just kidding and chased after him, laughing. I managed to catch my arms around his waist and in his ear, I murmured:
“Okay, I’m sorry.”
“Mm, are you really?” he asked.
“Really, really,” and then I kissed his head above his ear. He melted against me.
“Oh lord, you are a romantic.”
“Is that bad?”
He turned in my arms, wrapped his arms around my neck, and said:
“No. It’s a very, very good thing.” The kiss that followed made my heart swell.
We began towards the trail after that. On the way there, I felt his hand take mine, our fingers automatically intertwining. My stomach clenched as the flutters worsened and it took everything I had not to start squeeing like an idiot. I so badly wanted to jump up and down going:
But, alas, I kept my cool.
“You’re beaming from ear to ear,” Eli noted, also beaming from ear to ear.
“Oh,” I tried to stop and couldn’t quite manage so I looked down at the ground, “Sorry,” I said.
He sighed with a roll of his eyes. “Luke, you gotta stop apologizing for being happy.”
“It’s only okay if you’re happy, too.”
He stopped abruptly and stared right at me, looking floored. For a long moment, I was convinced I’d said something terribly wrong, but then he was in my arms, fervently kissing me; seconds after that, he was hugging me. I held him close, loving every frickin’ second of this.
Still, I had to wonder:
“What was all that for?”
“Nobody I’ve been with has ever said anything about my happiness.”
I pulled back to see if he was serious. He really was.
“You’re fucking kidding me. Nobody?!”
He shrugged, looking at something over my shoulder.
I calmed down.
He slowly met my gaze. Firmly, I said:
“You deserve to be happy.”
Tears welled in his eyes; when he blinked one ran down his cheek just before his lips met mine.
“First day in, you’re already the best boyfriend I’ve ever had,” he murmured afterwards.
I smiled self-consciously, not quite able to meet his gaze.
He pressed a kiss to my jaw, sniffled, and then buried his face against my neck.
“I’m sorry I made you cry,” I added.
He laughed at that and held me tighter. I rested my head against his, wondering how the boys he’d dated had been so stupid. I stroked his hair which must’ve been something he hadn’t been used to because simultaneously he let out a moan and relaxed against me. So I did it again, and this time he let out a happy sigh.
If this is all it took to make him happy, I could do this, easily. I say that because, see, I worried endlessly I’d fail him as a boyfriend and that I’d make him miserable.
Here’s to hoping that didn’t happen.
That evening, around eight or so, he dropped me off at my house, walking up to the front door with me and kissing me goodnight on the porch. Nobody flashed a light telling us to hurry up, so the kiss went on for a while before he pried himself away and told me he’d text me when he got home. I watched in silence as he drove off, and then walked, in a daze, into the house.
Autumn was right there, and she’d seen everything.
“What was that?!” she shrieked excitedly.
“I was kissing my boyfriend,” I replied simply.
She hit my arm.
“No shit, Sherlock! How’d that happen?! What’s going on?!”
Realizing this was a moment I could use to try to make up with Dave, I asked her where he was.
“In your room, why?”
I grabbed her hand and headed there. Dave looked up as we walked in, and frowned at me before looking back at his book.
“I’d tell you to get out,” he muttered, “but this is your room, too, so.”
“I have news, and I want you both to find out at the same time. So.” I gently pushed Autumn towards Dave’s bed. He made space for her, begrudgingly going along with this. He refused to look at me though, so I focused mainly on Autumn who was so excited she could barely sit still. My own brain couldn’t believe I was about to say the following words and needed a breath before I could get them out.
“I’m dating Elijah Rhodes.”
Dave’s head snapped up, a look of utter shock on his face.
“WHAT?!” he and Autumn exclaimed. Both even jumped up at the same time. Then the questions began.
“When did this happen?”
“How did this happen?”
“The guy you’ve been crushing on?”
“You had a crush?!” Dave looked peeved at that one. Okay, that was fair. They continued, however.
“Are you guys going to prom together?”
“How long do you think you’ll last?”
“Are you going to have sex with him?”
“Are you coming out at school tomorrow?”
“Yeah, what’s gonna happen at school tomorrow?”
“Are you happy?”
“Are you happy?”
And then they were hugging me. When they pulled away, I told them everything that had happened. Well, you know…a condensed version of it. At the end, Dave re-asked the question I’d been avoiding all day:
“What are you going to do at school tomorrow?”
I sat on the bed, ending up between them when they joined me.
“I have no idea,” I answered him, “I’m not really ready to come out but I don’t want to be that boyfriend that makes him hide, you know?”
Dave placed a hand on my shoulder.
“I’m sure he’ll understand that you want to remain hidden for the time being. Assure him it’s not going to be forever. It isn’t, is it?”
“No, of course not.”
“Communication, bro; learn from your mistakes and this relationship will thrive.”
Sensing a make-up moment between us, Autumn bid us goodnight and left the room. I began, turning towards my twin.
“I’m so sorry I hid my secret from you.”
He sighed. “No, I’ve had time to think, and I guess I get it. You never really know how your loved ones are going to react.”
“And I’m sorry I got you beat up. I really didn’t intend for that to happen.”
I smiled a little. “Yeah, I realized that, too. Brothers again?”
Dave smiled and opened his arms. “Dude, always.”
I hugged him, a smile on my face.
“By the way, you and Elijah are so cute together.”
“Tha—” Wait, what? I looked at him with surprise. “You knew!”
“Well, I saw the make out session. I was in the kitchen.”
My eyes widened.
“I forgave you the minute you walked into my bedroom, Autumn in tow, and told me you had news to share with both of us.”
I sighed. “Of course you both saw.”
He grinned and nudged me with his shoulder. “You look happy, though.”
I nodded. I was very happy.
It still felt like a dream. Part of me was just waiting for the other shoe to drop.