There's always a certain amount of 'pressure' that you have to fight off when it comes to truly being yourself. There shouldn't be anything weird about this, but you feel it regardless. Walking down the hall, hand in hand, with the most beautiful, most engaging, most lovable boy in the entire school...should be appreciated with a sense of pride. Hell, maybe even with a touch of arrogance, as I know that a lot of people could only hope to be as happy with another boy as I am with mine. Hehehe!
And yet...the 'pressure' remains.
I heard a few conversations by the lockers come to a complete stop when we walked by. I could feel their eyes on us. I could practically hear an army of individual little 'gossip hamsters' spinning their wheels as the sight of two boys holding hands gave them something to gawk at and talk about. What would high school be if it weren't for rumors and exaggerated drama? And yeah...I felt the tension behind it. I trembled a little bit. I blushed a little bit. I guided my eyes down to the floor and concentrated, solely, on what was happening just a few steps ahead of me for fear that I'd meet the gaze of someone who disapproved, and would somehow allow that to eat away at my confidence. But I didn't let go of Tanner's hand. I refused. And he never once cringed or pulled back to let go of mine. I don't know...it was kind of scary to think that we were so...'exposed' at that very moment. I can only compare it to a few years ago when we had swim classes in school, and I had to strip down naked in front of my classmates for the first time to get dressed in a revealing pair of navy blue speedos. Nothing makes you more self conscious than knowing that the people you see every single day can suddenly get an intimate look at parts of you that were once so private. So frighteningly hidden from the rest of the world up until that very moment. It's more than just being modest. It's bordering on being outright terrifying, you know?
But it was Tanner's gentle squeeze of my hand, looking over at me to give me a bashful smile as he, undoubtedly, felt me getting more and more nervous with every step...that calmed my nerves. It reassured me that he was ok with this. And with a healthy blush of his own, bringing vibrant colors to his smooth cheeks and a sparkle to his pretty eyes...I felt rejuvenated again.
Tanner's beauty easily reminded me why all of this was worth it. And despite a little weirdness and high school 'pressure'...I didn't regret it at all.
I walked Tanner to his first period class, still experiencing a bit of awkwardness in public, but battling it as best as I could. And when we got to his door, a few of his classmates wrinkling their brow as they took notice of our affection. I found myself getting a bit 'stuck' as to what to do next as Tanner turned to me, those bright eyes of his glimmering with an intimate shine that I don't think I've ever really seen before. "Hehehe, what?" I asked.
"I'm just...I'm proud of you, Derrick. I think I'm proud of me too, right now." He smiled.
"Proud of what?"
"You know what." He giggled. And a warm surge of chills and goosebumps seemed to run up and down my spine, spreading to my cheeks as I grinned timidly, swooning over the amazing grace that was his boyish aura and gentle touch.
The bell rang, and the hallways quickly began to empty out as students flooded into their classrooms. I almost didn't want to let Tanner go, but I knew that I had a class of my own to get to soon before I ended up getting myself in trouble. So...after a brief pause, I raised Tanner's hand up to my lips and gave the back of his knuckles a gentleman's kiss. "Have a good day, hon." I whispered.
Tanner's knees dipped slightly from the gesture, catching him by surprise just as his teacher came over to close the door and get his class started. Tanner suddenly giggled to himself, and said, "You too!" Lunging forward to kiss me on the cheek. Hehehe, he's so damn CUTE when he's being goofy. "See you later?"
"Lunchtime. For sure."
"K. Bye bye."
"Bye...." I sighed wistfully, and I noticed his male teacher giving me a bit of a raised eyebrow. But as soon as his back was turned, I stuck my tongue out at him and saw Tanner snickering in the cutest way. Hehehe! God, I love that boy!
I think I spent the next two or three classes just coasting through my lessons and classwork with a mind that was totally blank. Not recording or remembering anything at all. My next few lass periods consisted of moments of me dreamily smiling to myself, and moments where I had to find reasons to get myself back on track after staring off into space for long periods of time. I almost couldn't understand why my love for Tanner was getting so much stronger than it already was. I mean...just how far can I expect to fall for this boy? I was kind of hoping that the 'unhealthy obsession' part of us being together would have come to a satisfying end by now, and we could just level off somehow and ease into some kind of intimate comfort zone where I didn't feel like I was floating all day long.
The weird thing is...I think I'm even more addicted to him than ever. Wow...
I did notice that I was getting a few more looks from my classmates than I usually did. Many of them seemed to be looks of confusion. Almost as if the other students didn't know how to handle this new treasure trove of information about me. Or maybe they didn't know how a worthless 'slug' like me could get a perfect 10 like Tanner to ever give me a second look after they had obviously put so much work into tearing me down and making me feel like shit, almost from day one. It was kind of a cool feeling, you know? Being able to hold my head up in that place, despite their BEST efforts to make sure that maintaining any level of self love or pride at all. Hehehe, did they really think that their opinion of me mattered that much? I mean, don't get me wrong...there were times when it hurt. Times when I really just wished I was invisible and could run back to my old neighborhood with my tail between my legs so I could return to some sense of comfort and balance in my life. But their bullshit comments and snotty view of what it is to be worthy of respect and common decency? It doesn't matter anywhere NEAR as much as they wish it did. They don't own me. They can't control how I feel. And they have no power at all when it comes to me being happy with who I am.
So keep your money and your trust funds and your gossip and your fancy pool parties on the weekends. I'll be just fine. I promise you. The best parts of my life...a caring mother, a school award winning level of intelligence, the cherished memories of my father who was willing to sacrifice everything just to give me a head start in life, and the rapidly beating heart of a boy that most people would KILL to have love them the way he loves me...it's all stuff that money can't buy anyway. So...like I said...
...I'll be just fine.
Tanner and I got together in the cafeteria for lunch today. Hehehe, and, well...as to be expected, the whispers continued. In fact, it seemed like they got louder. I thought it was just my own paranoia at first, but it wasn't. We had become a bit of a spectacle since this morning. And you want to know something? Once the initial fear and shock had worn off...I almost felt emboldened to push the envelop even further. I wanted to take our love and show it off to everybody who was pretending not to be watching us. I actually reached across the lunch table to hold Tanner's hand again, right there in front of everybody. At first, I tried to block out the whispers and the immature giggles happening around us, but now I welcomed them. I mean, not having the kind of financial privileges and luxuries that the other students were simply born with has always gotten me singled out as not being 'like everybody else' from the start. So I guess you could say that this was nothing really new for me. And Tanner seemed to seriously soak up the idea that he was with me, and the he was a part of something that he truly valued, and didn't just purchase with the funds available to him. I think it made our bond stronger than ever.
Hehehe, unfortunately...it's really HARD to eat a school lunch when one of your hands is clasped around your boyfriend's. Not that we didn't try, but as I saw Tanner try to use his left hand to bring his flat slice of school pizza up to his mouth, smearing some sauce on his lips and taking a bit...a long string of cheese stretching out until it was hanging from the side of his lips. He started to giggle madly while he was chewing, and I couldn't help but to join him as the ridiculous sight of it just tickled me inside and out.
"Hehehe, let go of me, already!" Tanner said, and I blushed as I let his hand go and watched him reach for his napkin. "Ugh! Ok. I got it. You can hold my hand again."
"Unh unh! You told me to let you go." I smirked.
"Just for a second! That's all." He replied. "I like it when you hold my hand. Your hands are super soft. It's awesome."
"NOPE! You wanted to be 'free', so I freed you."
"Hahaha! You suck!" He said. "But I love you, anyway."
"I love you too." I told him.
Tanner sort of glanced around the cafeteria, and as his blush deepened, he shyly said, "You know...I think the whole school is going to be talking about us by the end of the week, right?"
"Hehehe, what else do they have to talk about?" I replied, taking a bit of my own pizza, now that my hands were free. But...after thinking about it for a second or two, I asked him, "Is that...like...ok with you?"
He nodded. "Is it ok with you?"
I nodded too, and we shared another grin as we continued to eat our lunch in peace. No interruptions. No comments. No judgements. Just me and my sweetheart, happy to be in each other's presence again. If only for a little while.
I'd be lying if I said that it didn't hurt me to hear the bell ring again, splitting me and Tanner up again until the end of the day. I was so heavily locked in to my infatuated fixation on my boyfriend, that it was maddening to think that any social institution like 'school' would step in and ask us to spend any extended time apart at all. It's just plain blasphemous. Seriously.
We had both graduated to giving each other kisses on the cheek to say goodbye in the hall. Just...a few innocent pecks here and there. Nothing raunchy or suggestive enough to get a wandering teacher or anything to pull us apart and get back to class...just...you know...hehehe...
Something to alleviate some of the burden of trying to carry all of this sugar sweet feelings all by myself. I had it in abundance, and I needed some help. That's all.
I never would have imagined that I ever would have reached a time in my life where something this risque would seem ok to me. And yet, here we are. And it feels good. Sooooo good.
At the end of the school day, Tanner and I were getting ready to walk out through the front doors so we could catch the bus home...and that was when I got my very first urge to maybe tone things down a bit. NOT because of any of the other students in the halls or anything, because...let's be honest...FUCK those people! They never really showed me any real sense of love anyway. They wouldn't even be talking about me if it wasn't for our open displays of affection to one another. But I did notice that Mitch was coming out of one of his classrooms, and when he saw Tanner and me holding hands, he seemed slightly disgusted by the idea. I wish that I could say that I had no idea what reason he would have to look at me that way...but, deep down, I knew exactly what was going through his head. And when I saw Chris walk out of that same classroom a few moments later, I actually let go of Tanner's hand and felt a pinch of guilt for showcasing our blossoming relationship the way I have been throughout the whole day. I mean, it's not like Chris was really upset with us or anything...but he did see us together. And if anybody was tuned in to the high school rumor mill...it was Chris and Mitch. Even if they weren't talking to one another at the moment, Mitch still seemed to be very protective of Chris' emotions. Emotions that were a lot more fragile than he would ever admit to.
It's not like I was ashamed of my love for Tanner...I just didn't see the need to rub poor Chris' face in it. That's all. I don't know...I can be overly empathetic when it comes to that sort of thing, I guess.
He didn't say anything. Chris just sort of gave us a look, and then he turned to walk away towards the other end of the hallway. Mitch, on the hand, shook his head and rolled his eyes...also walking away from us, but not in the same direction as Chris. I guess they're still having their own issues to deal with. I don't even know if Tanner saw it or not, but he did notice that I had let go of his hand, and I tried to cover myself by unzipping my backpack and rumbling around inside for a few seconds to make it look like I was just searching for something. Sorry. Hurting other people just isn't my thing. And Chris didn't seem to be dealing with this too well, as I'm sure he was sick of hearing about us at this point.
Stay strong, Derrick. It's worth it. Just remember that this is all sooooo worth it.
Tanner and I got on the bus out front, and as soon as we sat down next to one another near the back of the bus, he immediately reached out for my hand again. "Hehehe...I'm starting to think that you like this hand holding thing." I said.
He giggled, "Yeah. I think I do." He said, his feet bouncing happily under the seat. And then he kissed me on the cheek again, making me blush furiously from the sudden surprise of it all.
When I looked forward, a BUNCH of other kids had their eyes focused on us, and they tried to all quickly turn back around as if we couldn't see their fascination with us and hear all of the noise that came from having nearly thirty students suddenly all try to shift, wiggle, and straighten up, in just one go. Hehehe, bunch of weirdos! How stupid do they think we are? Honestly?
At that moment, I heard Tanner's phone go off, and it was like he jerked away from me so fast, eagerly digging his phone out of his pocket, that I almost felt an instant rejection from it. Hehehe, what the heck was he so happy about?
I turned my head to see Tanner giggling happily to himself. "What?" I asked.
"WHAT?" He laughed.
"What's going on?"
"Nothing." He said. But Tanner is such a terrible liar.
"What's going on over there?" I said, trying to peek at his phone as he quickly pulled it back from me.
At that moment, he quickly gave me another kiss on the lips, and I noticed his stop was coming up. "I love you."
"Unh unh...don't pull that." I chuckled. "What was that with your phone?"
"I was making sure that I had my ride ready for later. That's all. I wanted to make sure that Jackie was going to be able to pick me up, that's all." He said.
"Pick you up from where?"
"From your house." He smiled.
"From MY house? When?" I asked, and he started laughing. Then he showed me some of his text messages. And they were from my MOM!!! "What the...?"
"Oh hush! She invited me over tonight. So...yeah. Deal with it."
"Nobody told me anything about this." I said.
"That's because you freak out too easily for us to tell you much of anything." He said.
"I do NOT freak out!" I said a bit louder than I intended to on a public bus. "And what's with the whole 'us' thing? Are you kidding me? Since when do you and my mom have an 'us' relationship?"
"Hehehe! Jealous much?"
"I don't know! Should I be?" I said, but he just leaned in to try and kiss me again as we passed up his usual bus stop. I leaned away from him, pushing him away with a flurry of boyish giggles passing back and forth between us. I swear...his closeness to my mom is just getting to be a bit weird now. "You could have told me you were coming over, ya know?"
"What makes you think that I'm coming over to see YOU, mister?" He said. "Your mom said she was going to be practicing a few things for her big audition on Tuesday. You're crazy if you think I'm gonna miss out on something like that."
I just shook my head. "Whatever. Just remember...you're supposed to be my boyfriend. Not hers. Ok?" Tanner snickered and held on to my arm as I looked away and tried to keep a straight face. "It's not fair. I saw you first."
"Your mom is a total queen, Derrick. So you're just gonna have to learn to share." He said. "Besides, you're crazy if you think I can live long without seeing your smile at least once a day. So smile for me, k?"
I gave him the most deliberately phony smile that I could, and he gave me a playful smack across the face. "Hey!"
But he simply said, "I love you."
Sighhhh...he's such a cheater, sometimes.
"Love you too..."
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