Picture Me And You

Chapter 10

You know what's funny?

As I spent more time at Kyle's house, he seemed to really loosen his tongue about this new 'Gabe' boy that he's been talking to, and I think I really began to notice a whole other side of him that I had never been aware of before. To be honest, I don't think he was aware of it either. Maybe it was a certain tilt to his usual grin, or the way his eyes would sort of stare off into space as he filled me in on more of the details of this new 'boyf' if his...but there was definitely different about his experience this time around. Hehehe, it was kind of fun to watch. I think he was actually falling for this boy. I never would have expected this in a million years.

I wonder if that's how I look and act when I talk about Rory. Am I that bad? Hehehe, do I mention his name every fifteen seconds? Do I talk about all of the cute things that he does, and all of the minor habits that I think make him so adorable? I probably do. Let's be honest. There were a few times when I could have sworn that I actually saw Kyle squirming with delight while he was telling me about him. I can't say that I've ever seen him like this. It was....WEIRD! Hehehe!

We spent a decent amount of time comparing notes. 'Rory sometimes does this...' or 'Gabe will sometimes talk about how he likes this...', and soon, we were like a couple of new parents who come to a party and talk about their babies and toddlers the whole time. Oh man...I can't believe that we've become those guys. But, there's something truly comforting about the idea that we were both able to re-imagine our current friendship through something as simple as maturing beyond what we were used to. If only we could get Jason a steady sweetheart too and pull him up onto the bandwagon, the three of us might get back to what we had before this whole 'sexual pursuit' thing became such an all encompassing part of what we talked about, day after day.

It's a long shot, but anything is possible, I suppose. Right?

Eventually, it got too dark for me to stick around for much longer. The last thing I needed was for my parents to start calling around, trying to figure out where I am and what I was up to. Today was too perfect for me to ruin it now with some oppressive parental oversight interfering in my business. Hehehe!

"Alright, I guess I'll catch you some time soon, bud." I told him. "Good luck on setting up that date with Gabe next week. I think you two sound like you're going to have fun."

"I hope so." Kyle grinned. "I can't believe that I'm actually nervous to meet him. It feels a little crazy, actually."

"I'm sure you've been nervous before." I said.

"No. Not really. Not like this. I mean, I've been extremely horny, sure...but not nervous." I think the look on my face is what caused him to snicker to himself. "It's TRUE! It's pretty much just like you described it, Kev. The sensation is totally different. 'Hooking up' is like...going to a movie, already knowing how it's going to end. Even if the end sounds awesome, you just want to hurry up and GET there already. Every other part of the date seems like some sort of frustrating obstacle. It's like...can't we just skip ahead and get naked already? Hehehe!"

"And now?" I asked with smirk.

"Now...I have no idea, whatsoever, how this whole thing is going to turn out. And it's kinda cool, dude. I'm actually feeling anxious, here. It makes every moment leading to the big climax more...unpredictable. More...ummm..."


He smiled, blushing slightly. "Yeah. Romantic." He said with a heavy breath. "It's much more satisfying to me in a way. Makes me want to step my game up a little bit. Hehehe, ugh...I'm turning into you these days, aren't I? God help me."

"God help us both." I giggled, and gave him a quick hug before walking out on to his front porch. "You be a gentleman this weekend, punk! You hear me? Hehehe!"

"I'll do my best, bitch!" He replied.

"Surely, you can do better than that. Geez..." I said. "...You're gonna fuck this up. Get on my level, already."

Seeing the irony of me telling him that for a change, he couldn't help but to laugh at himself before watching me walk out to the sidewalk to go home. It felt good. There's no other way for me to say it. It just...it felt good. Yeah, that describes it perfectly.

I won't lie and tell you that I simply stopped being self conscious about the fact that I had no right to be as lucky as I was, finding and falling for a boy like Rory. Or how unfathomably grateful I was to have him like me back the way he does...even with me repeatedly screwing things up. Everything about him still makes me nervous. He's so cool to talk to, and a lot of fun to be around...but there's always this voice in the back of my mind who's constantly asking, 'Why me???' Of all the cute boys in the world...I just never had enough of an ego to think that I was worthy of jumping to the front of the line, you know?

It's difficult to let it sink in, I suppose. I'm trying to calm down, but...yeah. It's a hell of a lot easier said than done. Trust me on this.

I ate dinner that night, watched a little TV, surfed around on Youtube for crazy videos for a bit, hoping to re-immerse myself back into some sort of believable reality. But, just as I was shaking off the last few remaining jitters of knowing that the cutest boy in the world was willing to open claim that he was falling in love with me...my phone rang.

Seeing his number come up cased all of those unrestricted shivers to come rushing back up to the surface, exciting me inside and out like a little boy just waking up on Christmas morning. Omigod...I had to take a few seconds to collect myself before scurrying over to my bedroom door to shut it tight before picking up the call. "Hello?"

"Hey..." Came Rory's voice from the other end. Oh wow, he sounded almost as nervous as I did. "Are you busy or anything?"

"Who me?" I asked. "Hehehe, not a chance. Not whenever you're involved. What's up?"

With a grin and a deep sigh, Rory said, "This might sound weird, but I found myself missing you again. Like already. I guess I just wanted to hear your voice tonight."

Gahhh!!! What do I say? "Well...here I am." I answered. "Ummm...do you want me to sing something for you? I know all the words to Justin Timberlake's, 'Can't Stop The Feeling'!"

I was graced with the warmth and beauty of Rory's cute little laugh the moment I said it. "Hehehe, ummm, no. That's not at all necessary..."

"I don't have the music, but I can bust it out, acapella style, if you want."

"I do NOT want!" He giggled, but I started things off anyway.

"I got...that...SUNSHINE in my pocket! Got that good song in my feet! I feel that hot blood in my body, when it drops! Oooh!"

"Kevin! Hehehe!"

"I can't take my eyes up off it, moving so phenomenally! You're gonna like the way we rock it...so don't stop!"


"I can't stop the FEELING!!!" I squealed, cutting him off and trying to hit a high note that I had NO damn business ever trying to reach while my voice was still a little shaky after going through the big change.

Rory just burst out in a full blown fit of laughter at my horrendous singing, and instead of givin him a chance to catch his breath, I just kept going. I even started dancing around my room a bit, making me a bit breathless as I tried, desperately, to keep from doubling over in laughter myself.

"So just dance! Dance! Dance! I can't stop the FEELING!!! So just keep dancing! C'mon!!!"

"Hahahahaha!!! Noooooo! I can't stand it! STOP! Kevin! OMIGOD! Hahaha!!!" He howled, and I swear that he actually fell off of his bed, a loud thud echoing throughout his room as he curled up in a ball and tried to keep it together.

"Hehehe! What? Are you saying that you don't like my singing?"

"I can't...I can't breathe! Hahaha!" Awwww, Rory's so cute! "Don't ever do that to me again! You're so freakin' silly!"

"Hehehe, well I know who I'M not inviting to my first concert at Madison Square Garden!" I said.

"That's more of a blessing than a curse, babe."

I almost gasped when I heard him call me that, but I was quick to catch it before he was able to hear it. I don't know...I just had this weird, macho, instinct running through my veins that didn't want him to know the extent of how crazy I was over him. Seriously, just hearing him laugh like that, straight from his gut...it made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I just hope he knows that this is how he makes me feel all day long, whether he's goofing around or not. He's so special to me.

Ugh! I was trying not to let my obsession rule over me so much, but he's too adorable to not feel proud of the fact that he was willing to share some of his radiant light with me every now and then.

I guess I miss him too.

I heard Rory cough a few times, and I asked, "Hehehe, are you ok?"

"What the heck was that? You're insane." He giggled. "I needed that. It makes me feel close to you all over again."

"That's a good thing, right?"

"It's the best thing ever, Kevin. Thanks."

"Cool..." I said, just above a whisper. Then we shared a moment of silence. Not an uncomfortable silence, mind you. Just a silence. This short, yet timeless, gap in time where we seemed to be able to convey our true feelings for one another more through what we didn't say than anything that wecould have said. It's hard to explain, I guess. But...

...Sometimes, spoken words get in the way.

"I'm not coming off as some kind of creepy stalker or anything, am I?" Rory grinned.

"What? No. Why?"

"I don't know." He said. "I feel like it's getting harder and harder to stay away from you for any extended length of time, I guess."

He seemed a little embarrassed to say the words out loud so i tried to comfort him by saying, "Who ever said that you had to? The way I see it...you make for good company. I'm kinda glad that you called tonight."

"Yeah...me too." He sighed.

"It's because of my singing, isn't it?"

"Hahaha! NO! And don't you dare get me started again. My stomach still hurts from the first time." He said. "It's so cool that you make me laugh, Kevin. And that I can talk to you about...well...just about anything, really. I never really had anybody that I could say that about before."

"That seems a little far-fetched." I told him. "I probably would have fallen all over myself just trying to get you to notice me from day one."

"Now who's theory is 'far-fetched'? Hehehe!"

"You have no idea how amazing you are, do you? I mean, seriously...the very idea of you not having a million boyfriends before me is simply mind boggling beyond belief."

He paused for a moment, and he said, "I tried once. You know, once I was old enough to maybe meet up with somebody and give the whole dating thing a try."

"Oh." I said. I mean, I wasn't hurt or anything. I just...I think I was a little jealous for some reason.

"Nothing happened." He was quick to assure me. "It was two dates, and I really thought that maybe it could be the start of something cool. You know? We held hands on the second date, which I thought was nice. No kissing or anything. Promise." He said, but the more I heard, the harder it was for me to swallow that envious little lump in the back of my throat. "We didn't have much to talk about. The whole thing felt kind of awkward, to be honest. But I figured that first dates are supposed to be awkward, right? Plus, I was barely out to anybody, and I was nervous, and he seemed to really like me so I was worried about whether or not I'd end up being some kind of disappointment by the end of the night or something. It was just this...really bizarre experience. I didn't know what to feel about that whole thing."

He stopped talking. I guess, waiting for my response. So I forced one out. "So...what happened? With this, like...other guy?"

Rory told me, "Nothing happened. It wasn't anything like what I was hoping it would be."

"Well, I mean...Rory...you can tell me if you guys, like, 'hooked up' or something. I'd totally understand if..."

"No! Ewww!" He said. "Kevin, I swear...it wasn't like that. I've never 'hooked up' with anybody before. Certainly not that guy. Psh!"

"Hehehe, ok."

"I mean, he was cute and all...but it didn't take long to figure out what he was all about. I sort of talked myself into a state of denial about it on that first date, but the second time around, there was no mistaking his whole vibe. It was just...'off'. You know? Way off."

"Off, like...how?"

"Off, like...he never really took the time to be curious about me as a person, you know? He never laughed with me or remembered little details about my life...it was like he didn't reflect any genuine emotion at all."

I said, "How is that even possible? I mean, you're really not all that hard to 'notice', you know?" But, thinking about what I just said, I corrected myself. "I meant personality wise. Not just you being cute and stuff."

"But that's just it, Kev...he was noticing me for all the wrong reasons. It was flattering at first, but...once I realized that him liking me wasn't ever going to go any deeper than that, I just started to feel creepy about the whole thing." Rory sounded kind of sad about it all, and I wish I was close enough to comfort him somehow.

"I'm sorry, man. That was a shitty thing for him to do." I said.

"I don't know. Maybe I expected too much. I just...I thought that maybe I could take a shot, you know? Sure, maybe he saw my picture and thought I was hot or whatever...but once we met and he got to actually know me, he'd see me as something, I don't know, special."

"I take it he didn't even give that a thought." I said.

"No. He just wanted to smile and hold hands and take pictures for his Facebook and Instagram sites to show me off. He wanted to go to public places and was going to ask me to some party with his friends...it was all about him. I felt like a useless prop. I might as well have been a new pair of expensive sneakers. It's sooooo degrading."

He was quiet for a moment, and I said, "That guy was an idiot. But, for what it's worth...I'm glad he was too stupid to see you for who you really are. The I wouldn't have gotten so lucky. So his loss is my gain, right?"

With a bit of a sniffle, Rory said, "Thanks, Kevin." He cleared his throat, and he continued on with, "That's why I decided to take my current picture down off of that website. I changed all of my online avatars too. All I was getting were comments from people who wouldn't otherwise be interested in ever talking to me. People who saw a pretty face and figured, 'oh yeah, there's somebody who physically looks like he's worth my valuable time.' It became the only way for me to have a decent conversation with anybody anymore. But...ever since you and I met up, face to face, for the first time...I felt really bad about lying to you. Or, at least for not telling you the truth. And I know you're gonna say that it doesn't matter and that you care about me anyway, because you're one of the sweetest boys that I've ever met and I thank God that you didn't turn out to be one of those shallow jerks who are more worried about when we're going to get naked than they are actually having a true and meaningful interaction with someone that they really want to be around. I just...I wanted to get that out tonight. I don't know why, but...it was important that I said the words out loud. K?"

"K." I replied, hearing him sniffle again. "So...when are we going to get naked, Rory?" He heard me teasing him, and it almost sounded like he had tears in his eyes as he giggled to himself.

"Hehehe, who says I'm not naked right now?" His voice was shaking, and I heard the phone move away from his face for a second as he wiped his eyes and sniffled again. "You're awesome, Kev. You know that?" Then he blew his nose into some tissue and added, "I'm sorry. I'm not very experienced with the idea of feeling this close to somebody. It's a little overwhelming sometimes. Ugh! I hate that I'm getting so emotional right now, but I can't really help it."

I felt a little choked up myself, but tried to brighten Rory up a bit by very softly singing, "Can't fight the feeling..."

"Hahaha! Kevin! Stop that! Goddammit..." He cackled, and had to blow his nose again when he heard me laughing too. "I love you, Kevin." He sighed.

The words were clear. Crisp. Sincere beyond all belief. And, even though they caught me totally off guard, I didn't hesitate to say, "I love you too, Rory."

We paused for a moment, a thick bubble of emotion swelling up in the back of my throat as well. And as we didn't quite know what to say after that, Rory simple sniffled one last time, and whispered, "G'night."

"Ummm, k. G'night to you too." And he was quick to hang up before his tears got any worse.


I fell back on my bed and just...dreamed with my eyes open for the next ten minutes or so. I can't even describe the emotion that I was experiencing as I stared at the lamp covering above me on the ceiling. I really did love him. I think I loved him before his dynamite good looks really became an issue. But when I asked him if I'd feel the same way right now if he wasn't, like...super model gorgeous? The answer was easy. Of course I would. I wanted to love him, make him laugh, learn everything that I possibly could about him, inspire him, support him, protect him...and brightest light he has is not skin deep. It shines from within.

I love you too, Rory. And I'll see to it that I tell you every day if I can. Every single day.