"So, you just come here to just hang out every now and then, or what?" The other boy asked.
Jesse said, "Well, not all the time. But I drop in every now and then. You know, on special occasions."
"That's cool. Is Artie here with you? I think he's hilarious, even though he never says anything. You two crack me up. You have a good chemistry going on camera." As this 'Jimmy Jukebox' character kept talking to Jesse, I found myself feeling like I was being pushed further and further into the background.
What was I being so jealous for? It didn't make any logical sense for me to be worried about Jesse suddenly being interested in another boy. Deep down, I knewthat this wasn't the case. But there was an unavoidable need to suddenly protect my assets here. I was just searching my mixed up thoughts for a clever way of breaking up this little conversation without coming off as 'rude'. That's all.
Having a boyfriend like Jesse is going to be a challenge for me sometimes. I can already tell. Because he's not only gorgeous, but he's Youtube famous on top of it. People LOVE 'Jesse-101'! How am I supposed to keep his attention when every cute gay teen within a 100 mile radius is ready to fall to their knees and worship the ground he walks on at the very sight of him? Do you know how many hotties Jesse must pass on the street every single day? How many gorgeous boys and jocks and popular kids he goes to school with? And that's not to mention the uber cuties he must be talking to online every night before he goes to bed. Right now, there's probably a blazing hot, 15 year old, Australian boy model, watching his videos and deciding how to write him his first adoring fan letter. He's been taking professional photos of his sexy bulge and his tight bubbled ass cheeks while wearing an obscenely skimpy pair of soaking wet speedos on an Aussie beach all day...and I will have spent my afternoon stuffing my face with 'Cheesy Pete's' meat-lovers pizza and guzzling it down with fizzy, acne inducing, sodas. Ugh! I've got an entire planet's worth of competition to deal with, and I slip up within the first few weeks of having a real boyfriend to call my own.
I wish I was better at this.
"I'm almost up to 2000 subscribers now. Just about ten or fifteen more to go." Jesse told him. "I was thinking of maybe having a little celebration or something. Just as a thank you for the fans, you know?"
"Always a good idea." Jimmy said. "Say, I'll give you a shout out this week on my next video once I get it all edited and polished. Maybe I can guide a few more subscribers your way. Might help you reach that milestone a little bit faster."
Jesse seemed flabbergasted. His eyes brightened up and he gave Jimmy the biggest grin ever.
And me? I felt like I was pushed even further into the shadows than before. It's really dark and cold on the outside of this conversation.
"Are you serious? Dude...that would be so amazing! I'm...I'm, like...so honored right now!" Jesse giggled, and the cutest little blush began to rush up into his face.
"Yeah, well,I figure us openly gay teens gotta stick together, right?" Jimmy said.
Fuck! He's gay too???
This is SO not okay!
Had Jesse even looked in my direction over the last minute or two? Ok...I need to put a serious END to this shit! Like...right now.
"Ahem..." I was quiet about clearing my throat, but got both of them to turn to look at me anyway. Ok, Tristan...now hide the obvious envy and smile. Thaaaat's it. Smile like nothing's wrong. "Hi..." I said softly.
"OH!" Jesse grinned, finally remembering that I was even standing there. "Jimmy...can I call you Jimmy? This is my...umm..." Jesse stumbled for a second, and then said, "...This is Tristan."
I'm just 'Tristan' now? Is that how it is?
Jimmy stuck out his hand and I shook it while flashing him one of the fakest smiles that I've ever crafted before. But it wasn't easy. It was like biting into a lemon wedge and trying to keep a normal expression going at the same time. I know it's in my head. I do. I swear. I just...I want to make sure that I'm paying attention to what's going on. That's all.
It's ok for me to do that, right? For my very first boyfriend? That doesn't make me a psycho or anything. I'm just saying hi.
"Heya, Tristan." Jimmy seemed friendly enough. Soft hands. Cute smile. Soft brown eyes and longish, brownish-blond hair. I'd hate him instantly if he wasn't so nice to me. "Your friend here is on his way to hitting the big time. I'll keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best."
"Me too." Jesse grinned. "I've got a long way to go before I've reached your level, but I'll be working on it. You can believe it."
Jimmy's eyes connected with mine for a quick moment, and all three of us stopped talking for a few seconds. Was my fake smile giving away more than it should have? He looked at me, then back at Jesse, and I couldn't help but to wonder if he had immediately put two and two together concerning us being there together.
Jimmy nodded slightly, and he was polite in making a somewhat hasty exit. "Well...like I said, I'm here with some family tonight. I should probably get back over there before they send out a search party. But I'll keep watching your videos as long as you keep making 'em. Bet on it."
Jesse sighed, "Thanks! You too! I'll tell Artie I got to meet you. He's gonna flip out."
"Definitely give him hugs and kisses for me. He's utterly adorable." Jimmy glanced back at me briefly, and then added, "I'll let you two get back to your 'special occasion'. Maybe I'll see you around some time."
"Cool. I mean...yeah. Maybe. Or...er...something." Jesse stuttered, and Jimmy waved at us as he sort of returned to just being an extremely cute face from across the arcade. What just happened? Seriously...WHAT just happened? "Dude, I'm starving right now. Do you wanna grab a couple of slices of pizza or something? They've got great food here."
Pizza? But...but...what happened to my kisses? What happened to him not being able to help himself around me, and wanting to spend just a few minutes outside, mashing our lips together in the dark? That super hot moment got reduced to...'Hey, let's get some pizza?'
"Um...sure. Ok." I said, still trying to bury my disappointment in the pit of my stomach. The emotion fought me every bit of the way. It was like giving me an entire grapefruit to swallow whole.
Jesse's brow wrinkled up for a second. "Or...we can eat something else, if you're not a pizza fan. Or just not in the mood. They've got a whole menu if you want to check it out and get something else..."
"No way. It's fine. Pizza's good." I said with a shrug.
"Are you sure?"
"Of course. Let me taste this awesome Cheesy Pete's pizza you've been talking about. I'm down for a slice or two."
Jesse's cute smile brightened up again, and he ran his fingers through his silken locks of shimmering gold before putting an arm over my shoulder and walking me over to one of the booths in the restaurant area of the place. "You're gonna love it. Trust me on this. Is pepperoni and sausage ok?"
"Is there any other pizza worth having?" I answered, breathing in some extra oxygen to keep my heart from deflating in my chest. Ugh...'feelings' are SO stupid! Not to mention, hard to regulate with something as effective as common sense.
I swear...I'm really NOT trying to feel this way.
I'm starting to think that my previous pairing with Jason Fixx has plagued me with a few 'issues' that I'd be better off ignoring before it causes me to do something self destructive.
We sat across from one another, and I swear that Jesse gets more radiant, more stunning, every time I lay eyes on him. It's almost as if my mind keeps trying to wake me up from some sort of super vivid wet dream before I mess up another set of bed sheets. And yet, I couldn't keep my confidence from slowly shrinking as I saw the elated look on Jesse's face. He seemed...excited, you know? I mean...he was excited to see me too, but this was slightly different. I don't know. I'm confused right now.
"Do you think he'll really mention me in his next video?" Jesse beamed. "Can you imagine? ME...getting an official shout out from Jimmy Jukebox! He's got over 35 thousand subscribers. I can't even fathomwhat it must be like to have that many people watching me online. It's gotta be a rush, right?"
"Uh huh..." I said, taking a sip of my soda to keep from looking Jesse directly in the eye.
"He listens to every kind of music, like...ever. I don't know how he keeps track of it all. I tried a couple of challenges and got a song here or there, but other subscribers always pull something out of left field, like whoah! And then I have to download more new music. I'll bet half of my playlist at home came from his channel. Hehehe, I was a bit of an addict for a while. I need to step my game up." He just kept going on and on about it. How am I still trapped back here in the shadow of a conversation that ended five minutes ago? "His channel is really cool. I wonder who designed it for him. I should ask Artie to draw us something cool to snazzy up the site this weekend. Just in case. If we get any new visitors, I want the 'Jesse-101' channel to look its best. First impressions and all that. Oh man...what if we top the two thousand subscriber mark this weekend? I'll have to make a video to say thanks. I don't even know what I'm going to say yet. I should probably start taking notes or something. Shit, I've gotta call Artie and tell him that we need to brainstorm on some ideas..." I just kept my head down. Occasionally giving Jesse a smirk or a nod to let him know that I was still listening. Even if I wish he would stop already. "Dude, do you wannna see some of Jimmy's vlogs? They're pretty funny!"
Before I could even answer, Jesse brought his phone out and got on Youtube. standing up to come sit next to me on my side of the booth and show them to me.
Great. More Jimmy Jukebox. Hooray.
While feeling Jesse's body next to mine provided me with a predictable thrill...I was moaning under my breath over the fact that he only did it to show me video footage of his...online 'hero', or whatever. It was hard to not show any signs of disapproval, but I tried. I really did.
"Hehehe, omigod, this one is really funny! I think this is one of the first videos that I found by him. It sorta got me to thinking that maybe I could make Youtube videos of my own. I guess you could say that he inspired this whole 'Jesse-101' thing. He was my age, and he was super cute, and he was openly gay, like...with no apologies. He didn't have to be some angry activist about it or anything either. He was just comfortable in his own skin, you know? And it made me want to feel the same way. i feel like I owe him so much. I don't know who I'd be right now if I hadn't found his channel. It's weird...looking back and seeing this big fork in the road where your life could have gone one way or the other...and to be truly proud of the path you've chosen. It's just...something that I think about from time to time." I think Jesse saw me look away, an unfamiliar slump in my shoulders. And it was a that moment that I think he finally got it. With a grin, he gave me a couple of nudges with his elbow. "You still commanding the starship up there?" he asked.
"You looked like you were drifting away from me there. Everything ok?" He asked.
"Yeah. I'm ok." I replied, but he wasn't buying it, nudging me again.
"You know that I'm just...talking 'shop', right? About Jimmy?"
"Psh! Sure. Of course. It's ok."
But Jesse said, "No, seriously...look at me, k?" I felt this sense of shame welling up inside of me for being exposed for the envious jerk that I was. I didn't mean it. I wasn't trying to demand any extra attention from Jesse like some kind of selfish child, I just...I can't imagine anybody being more interesting or more amazing in my life than Jesse is. I guess I kind of wanted to hold the same place in his life too. Does that make sense?
"It's ok, Jesse. Really, it is. Jimmy seems cool. I get it."
Jesse blushed and reached for my hand under the table. "Tristan...hehehe, it's just Youtube. Nothing else. At the end of the day, I came here to see you. Only you." He raised my hand up to lightly kiss the back of my knuckles with his soft, pink, lips...giving me a warm shiver. "I wasn't sure if you were comfortable being 'outed' in front of someone you didn't know, so I didn't blurt it out without your permission. But...as far as I'm concerned...you're the coolest thing that's ever happened to me. If it doesn't bother you, I'd be more than proud to tell the whole world that you're my boyfriend. Nothing would make me happier."
"Jesse...you don't have to..."
"Yes, I do. Tristan...I've never felt like this about anybody before. I'm not stupid enough to throw something so special away over something so petty. I want you. Only you. You're, like...my first love. I want to do this right, k? All I want is to...think abut you. And have you think about me too."
I felt a smile spread across my face without permission. A deep red blush to follow.
"I'm being silly, aren't I?" I said.
"You're CUTE when you're being silly." He said, and gave me a quick kiss on the cheek to add a tender exclamation mark on his affectionate comment. "No more Jimmy talk, k?"
"It's ok. Honestly."
"No, it's not. This is our date. Just you and me. I can talk about Youtube antics any time. Tonight, I just want to look at your pretty eyes and pretend that every moment that I spend not kissing you on the lips is a waste of time."
"Hehehe, you certainly know how to charm a boy into a full blown sugar coma, don't you?"
"Maybe I have a few sissy talents of my own. What do you think?" He giggled.
I looked into his eyes, and with a smirk, I said, "I think I love you too..." Yeah, I used the 'L' word. But it felt appropriate. I couldn't really define what was going on in my heart when it came to Jesse Kyler's smile...but anything short of the word 'love' felt like a diminished expression of the emotions flowing through me at that moment. I wanted him too badly to water it down with a less potent term of affection. I really felt like I was totally in love. Not a crush, not a grand infatuation, not an impulsive fantasy fueled by the fact that he was so goddamned GORGEOUS that it almost hurt to look at him! But, actual love. True love.
Sometimes I feel as if the whole world can hear the thundering heartbeat in my chest. With Jesse sitting right next to me...I felt like I was going to lose control any minute and start tongue kissing him right there in front of the whole restaurant and arcade...hidden secrets, be damned!
That's when our waiter came up to the table and said, "Your pizza will be up in just a few minutes, guys. Did you want anything else to drink?"
Jesse said, "Nah, we're cool. We're going to run over to the redemption counter for a second. Can you just leave the pizza here on our table when it's ready?"
"Sure thing. It'll be hot and ready when you get back." He said, and Jesse took me by the hand to lead me over to the prize counter.
"Alright, Mr. Skeeball Wizard...get me something." Jesse gave me a tickle, and I swatted his hand away before I burst out laughing.
"How do you know I don't want to get something for myself?" I said, and he reached out to tickle me again. "DON'T! Hehehe! Geez...I was just kidding!" We spent a couple of minutes looking behind the counter, me having 1300 tickets from the games I played. Then, my eyes caught sight of something. A small collection of rubber bracelets, some pink and some yellow...and they were only 400 tickets each. On the side of the bracelets were the words, 'Totally Yours'. I don't know, it just inspired me, I guess. I asked the lady behind the counter, "Excuse me? Can I get some of these bracelets? Two pink, and two yellow?"
"Anything you want, hon." She smiled, and grabbed them for us. I turned in my tickets, and I saw Jesse blush as I took one of the pink ones and stretched it out to put on his wrist for him. Then I took a yellow one and put it on his other wrist.
Jesse returned the sentiment, ceremoniously putting the pink and yellow bands on my wrists as well. As always...we 'matched'. Hehehe!
"These are cool. I still have..."Before I could finish, Jesse kissed me on the lips. It was a quick surprise, but I think it was one of those moments when he couldn't help himself. Hehehe, I LIKE those moments. I giggled, "...Some tickets left. That's what I was gonna say...ummm...hehehe!"
We both looked up, and that Jimmy Jukebox guy was standing right there behind us with the biggest smirk on his face! Jesse and I had been caught red handed, but Jimmy seemed to be really supportive of us being together. He just shook his head and said, "Don't mind me. I'm just here for a pocket sized panda bear. Hehehe!"
Awwww...maybe that Jimmy guy is not so bad after all.