It was when we both went back into the bedroom that Jesse and I saw Artie fumbling around with his arms full of his notebooks and drawings, looking nervous and trying to flee the scene like some kind of bank robber when he hears police sirens in the background? What the...?
Jesse and I both stopped him from trying to hurry out of the room, and we asked him what was going on. "I just...I can't! Ok? I need to...ummm...look, can you make up some kind of excuse or something for me? Just tell Scotty that I had an emergency and I suddenly had to leave. K?" He said, his voice squeaking at an even higher pitch than usual.
"Whoah, whoah, whoah....wait..." Jesse exclaimed, confused. "What are you talking about? Dude, come here!"
"Jesse..." He whimpered.
"Seriously! Hurry up!" Jesse demanded, and Artie shuffled his way back into his room with this really pained look on his face. Uh oh! What happened? What went wrong?
We were baffled by his sudden change in behavior, and with a hushed voice, Jesse asked him, "Artie, what's the matter? What are you bailing on us for?"
"I can't do this, ok?" Artie said. "Look, I mean...this was cool and all, but I just, like...I can't, ok? This doesn't feel right." Then Artie looked at me with the saddest eyes, and he's like, "I'm soooo sorry, Tristan. I know you were trying to do something cool for me, and it's an awesome surprise, but...like...it's just..."
In a bit of a mild panic, I interrupted him and said, "Listen...Scotty can be a bit of an 'acquired taste', you know? I get that. I mean...I know that he can seem a little bit awkward at first...but, Artie, you've just gotta give him a chance. You'd be surprised at how fast he grows on you! Just talk to him some more!"
"That's not it, Tristan..." Artie whined.
Jesse asked, "What is it then?"
It almost looked like it HURT Artie to say the words out loud, but as he began to frantically pace back and forth in front of Jesse's bedroom mirror, he squeaked, "He's...he's really HOT! Ok?"
I hope the shock of hearing that didn't show on my face, but it was hard for me to hold it back. "He's...wait...WHAT?"
"Omigod, you guys! He's hot! He's like...he's TOO hot! Holy fucking Christ that boy is, like...he's one of the hottest boys that I've ever seen before in my LIFE! Why did you bring him over here???"
Jesse and I exchanged a look, and out of pure curiosity, I asked Artie, "...We're still talking about Scotty Lynch, right?"
"YES!!! How could you guys just trap me like that! I'm totally freaking out right now!" He said, pacing even faster back and forth.
I mean...I've never really heard anybody say something like that about Scotty before. I mean, he was cute, sure...I'm not blind. But as I watched Artie shiver and wiggle and basically fall apart right in front of my eyes...I began to wonder if I was missing out on something all this time. I think he was really serious about this. He was almost completely overwhelmed by his own infatuation. And this was just after a few minutes of being in the same room with him.
"You think he's the hottest boy you've ever seen?" I asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Don't YOU think so?" Artie asked.
"Scotty? Ummm...sure. I guess so..."
"It's so hard to breathe right now." Artie said, turning to Jesse, "Don't let him sit net to me anymore today, ok? Just...run interference for me or something."
"Geez, Artie...calm down! I've never seen you like this before!" Jesse said. "You guys were getting along great just a minute ago. Why are you trying to run away from him now?"
"I didn't think he was going to be THAT fucking hot! Jesse, c'mon...just...let me make an excuse to go home. K? Back me up here."
"What am I? A 'reverse wingman', over here? No. Chill out. Talk to him. He likes boys just like you do."
"No he doesn't! When I asked him, he said 'no'!" Artie said.
I chimed in, telling him, "No he didn't. He never said no. What he said was about as far as you can get from saying no without being in a whole other zip code of conversation. He's basically telling you that he's open to being, you know...interested."
"It sounded like a 'no' to me." Artie pouted.
Jesse asked him, "Hey, Artie? Would you ever fuck a puppy?"
"There ya go. See how easy that was? Does that sound anything like what Scotty told you?"
"Told who about what?" Scotty said as he came over to stand in the doorway. Artie immediately shut down like a disconnected robot, a deep blush rushing up into his face until he was forced to sit in Jesse's desk chair to keep from being dizzy. "What're you guys talking about?"
"Nothing." Jesse told him.
I added, "Just goofing around, that's all." As Scotty walked back in the bedroom, I couldn't help but to take a much closer look at him. I mean...he's still really cute for his age. That same brass blond angel with the blue eyes that I'm sure most of the girls in his junior high classes go crazy over, even if they're too shy to tell him so. But after Artie's reaction, I couldn't help but to be confused by his extremely hyper reaction to him. All I see is...well...Scotty Lynch. I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
"What?" Scotty asked, catching me staring at him with an intensity that he wasn't quite used to.
"Nothing. I'm just...whatever. No big deal." I said. Is he really that hot? I don't know....hehehe, maybe he is. How cool is it that Artie can appreciate him on a whole other level that I've never even explored before. I guess some chance encounters are simply meant to be. It's like fate under construction.
"K..." Scotty said, and he took his seat at the foot of Jesse's bed again. Unfortunately, Artie had taken a different seat altogether to keep his distance, but when Scotty grinned at him and asked, "Can I see more of the drawings in your notebook?" I could almost hear Artie's heartbeat speed up to the point where I was worried it would burst at any moment.
"M-M-Most of my drawings suck..." Artie said softly.
But Scotty told him, "I don't think they suck. Everything that I've seen so far seemed pretty boss."
Jesse and I could see Artie experience a wave of love stricken tremors that nearly rattled him right out of that chair. "Ummm...k. I mean, if...if you really want to." I then saw Artie sort of close his legs, his foot bouncing up and down as he tried to clumsily turn around and grab a hold of his notebook on the desk. Wait...was Artie getting hard??? I know that 'dance'...trying to hide a spontaneous erection from the other people in the room. I've done it many times myself. I've practically become a master at it. And I've had to do it in the middle of high school showers! "A lot of it is just silly storyboard stuff for the channel..." Artie said, holding the notebook over his lap. "...But...ummm, I guess there's some other sketches of just...random stuff in there too. So..."
"Ah, ok. Cool." Scotty replied, and was kind of waiting for Artie to get up and hand him the book personally. But I don't think Artie wanted to stand up at that particular moment. So there was this really uncomfortable pause between the four of us...one that seemed to last forever and a day. And just as I was about to get up and maybe spare Artie the embarrassment of having to find away to keep his boner out of sight...he simply cleared his throat.
Then he nervously said, "Heads up!" And he tossed his notebook to Scotty from halfway across the room. Hehehe, Scotty was BARELY able to catch it before having the notebook hit his head, causing me and Jesse to snicker under our breath as his brow furrowed slightly, unable to guess at what had Artie acting so strange all of a sudden. I'm pretty Jesse knew what was going on too, but we tried to keep from making any eye contact for fear that one of us would start laughing out loud and set the other off until we were both rolling on the floor. That wouldn't be cool. This was cute! Let them have their little moment, you know? I almost wish that we could somehow find a way to leave the room without Artie falling all to pieces, or having Scotty get paranoid about me and Jessie being alone together and out of his sight for more than a few seconds at a time. I guess we're both stuck in the spectator's box for now.
Scotty opened the notebook and started carefully turning the pages to see all the stuff that Artie had drawn inside. The room fell silent for a minute or two, and I noticed that Artie was fidgeting something awful at first, staring at the pages that Scotty was looking at, and occasionally cringing as he came to a few pages full of stuff that I guess he just doodled and didn't feel like it was his best work. But once he heard Scotty say, "Oh man, this one is really cool. Oh...and this one too. You're good at this stuff, Artie." He blushed really really hard, but he also smiled to himself. Almost with pride, causing his rose colored cheeks to relax with a certain level of comfort. I mean, Artie was awesome! Did he really expect a rejection here?
However...where Artie's gaze was completely focused on his notebook before, worried about what Scotty might think of his drawings and looking for some sort of a subliminal reaction to his artwork...he was now taking long loving gazes at Scotty himself. I saw his expression just melt into this surreal sense of craving...eyes glazed over...staring at Scotty's face from the side and sighing to himself as he appeared to instantly fall in love with him at first sight. It was crazy to see it from a different perspective, you know?
I mean, I've been swatting away Scotty Lynch's affections for as long as I've known him...and I've seen that look directed at me many times in the past. But I guess that made it a rather uncomfortable situation at the time. But now...seeing that same infatuation in Artie's eyes was kind of...beautiful. You know? Did I look like that whenever I stared at Jesse? Was I being that obvious? Geez! If so, I'm surprised that I was able to keep my sexuality a secret at all.
No wonder my mom keeps trying to give me pamphlets on being a gay teenager!
"Oh wow! I think this one is my favorite!" Scotty said, shattering the silence in the room. He turned his head to look Artie in the eye, and I think it caught him off guard, because he suddenly gasped and spun around in Jesse's desk chair to face the other way.
"Oh...oh yeah? Which one?" He said, his slightly 'girlish' voice struggling valiantly to keep from squeaking, mid-sentence.
"The one with the sword guy in the hood and cloak. This one is dope. I like it."
"Oh." Artie said, still trembling. "Ok. Cool."
Jesse looked over at me again, and I almost started laughing, but I held my breath until the giggles died down. I thought Artie was supposed to be the 'brave' one off camera. It's so weird to see him turtle up like this in front of another boy.
Scotty lifted the notebook and said, "Look, Tristan. Isn't this one cool?" And he showed me the sketch, which actually looked like something that came right out of a comic book, to be honest.
"Oh definitely. Artie does some amazing work. Just imagine what he's probably hiding from us some place where we can't take a peek at it."
"Wait...is this Justin Bieber?" Scotty asked, turning to the next page.
Artie's face went from a deep blush to turning almost a pale white immediately. "Wha...? Huh? No! That's not...psh...I mean..."
"Really? It looks just like Justin Bieber. Like...from his first album..."
"Nah. It's just the hair, probably. It's a weird coincidence." Artie said in his defense.
"Right next to it, it says, 'I heart JB'." Scotty grinned, and then raised an eyebrow as Artie fought to find another deflection technique to get him to turn to the next page instead of concentrating on that one. "Hehehe, it's ok. I get it. Bieber's cute." Scotty sort of blushed himself when he said it out loud, and then peeked over at me to see if I had some kind of reaction to his mild admission of 'guilt' about liking other boys.
I sort of smiled back at him, but then looked away. This isn't my show. He needs to be concentrating on Artie's affections right now, not mine.
"Yeah. I guess so..." Artie whispered. He was really having trouble with this whole interaction. And here I thought that Scotty was going to be the big problem here today. Artie could barely pull himself together. And I don't think he's ever been more self conscious about his voice than he was today. He couldn't even look Scotty in the eye without becoming a nervous wreck, and whenever Scotty smiled at him...you know...just to be friendly or whatever, it shook Artie to his very core. He kept looking over at Jesse, hoping that he'd give him some kind of immediate escape from this madness, his cute little face all frowned up in desperation. But Jesse refused to do it. He was going to stay here with the rest of us, and he was going to love every second of it, whether he wanted to or not.
"So you do story boards and stuff too? I think I remember this video." Scotty asked him.
"You saw that one?"
"Yeah. Pretty funny. Then again, a lot of your stuff is really...ummm..." Scotty's eyes met Artie's baby blue orbs, and he seemed to be awestruck himself for a moment. "...Funny. Like, in a good way, I mean. I like them a lot. They're...they're cool." I thought that was a really good start. Maybe showing a little bit of interest there. But every time Scotty made a connection with Artie, he always turned his head to look at me again. As if I was the Holy Grail of cute boys and everybody else fell to second place in comparison. It was almost like he didn't want to commit to anyone else unless he was one hundred percent SURE that my cherished heart was completely off the table. Maybe it was just a crush that lingered for nostalgia's sake or something, but...Artie certainly doesn't need to play second fiddle to ME. That boy was a stunning example of gay teen perfection in his own right. I just hope that Scotty realizes that and developes the kind of fever for Artie that he developed for me, oh so long ago.
I'm sure that Artie would like that a lot. Hahaha! He really thinks Scotty Lynch is the hottest boy on the planet! Who knew? This whole thing should be a piece of cake for him. All Scotty has to do is say yes. Right?
Artie suddenly stood up and announced, "I'll be right back!" And as he was swiftly making his frantic escape, he roughly grabbed Jesse by the arm and pulled him out of the bedroom with him. It looked like they were both getting sucked out of an airlock on a spaceship in a movie! Jesus!
Sitting there in the room with Scotty, still holding the notebook, I kind of smirked in his direction and said, "So...Artie's pretty cool, huh?"
"Ummm...he's ok." Scotty said, still trying to maintain a nonchalant attitude in front of me. "His drawings are really good. Have you seen these before?"
"Yeah. They're pretty good." I said, but made sure to get back on track before he got off of the subject. "But, the drawings and stuff aside...I mean, he's a really good guy. Artie cracks me up. He's so much fun to be around."
"Oh? Is he?" Scotty said, unconvincingly. "That's cool..."
"He's pretty funny. Jesse is too, but he told me that Artie comes up with a lot of the skits for their channel. You're a fan, right? Did you subscribe?" I asked.
"Oh...well...yeah. I subscribed." He said. "Because the skits are...fun." He seemed really shy about admitting why he did it, but I could see it on his face. Especially with him being so afraid to look me in the eye the whole time, using Artie's notebook as a focus for his bashful gaze and avoiding me as much as he could. "Are you subscribed to their Youtube channel?"
Trying to both say and not say what he was hoping I would in terms of an answer... I nodded. "Yeah. For a while now, actually."
I couldn't tell if Scotty was saddened by the idea of a missed opportunity, or if he was just embracing the not so subtle hint that I was giving him as I looked him in the eye. "I see..." He mumbled softly. "So...you're like..." He stopped himself, and then said, "Nevermind. None of my business."
Come on, Scotty...don't get all down and depressed now! You're so close to grabbing a hold of something great that you don't even know it yet. Ugh! Is this what my mom feels like when she's trying to get me to confess that I like boys? Now WONDER she gets so antsy about it all the time!
After Scotty looked down at his shoes for a second or two, unsure of what else he should say to me...I leaned over to playfully nudge him with my shoulder. Sigh, I'm probably going to regret doing this...but it's for the greater good, right? "That Artie...he's kinda cute, isn't he?"
Scotty looked surprised at first, and then began to turn so red in the face that I thought I might have to catch him to keep him from falling out and fainting on the floor. "Huh...?"
I gave him a knowing smile, raising an eyebrow. "You know he is. Just say it. He's cute."
I don't think he could believe that the words were actually coming out of my mouth, but as I poked him in his tender side with a single finger, Scotty giggled to himself. Saying, "I dunno...maybe..."
"Maybe? Get outta here! That boy is crazy cute! Admit it."
"Hehehe...sorta. Yeah." He said, still flushed and looking away from me. I suppose that was all I could expect from him right now on such short notice...but I'll take it.
At least it's a start.