I let my feet dangle over the edge on one side of the bed, Summer let hers dangle over the other. Jason's feet dangled over the foot of the bed...and all three of us laid back so all of our heads were touching, staring up at the ceiling.
I started with, "Ok...on a scale of one to ten, how badly did I do today?"
"With ten being the best or the worst?" Jason asked.
"Arrrrgh! Was I really that bad???" I groaned, but Summer gave Jason a pinch.
"He's just messing with your head, Gabe. Don't pay Jason any attention."
"But it WAS pretty bad though, right?" I cringed.
Summer sighed to herself, and said, "It wasn't exactly your best performance, no. But you wanna know what the awesome thing is? I don't think he cares. In fact, I think Niles might actually think it's cute."
"I was kinda getting that vibe too." Jason said. "It's like...you can do no wrong in his eyes. Every word that comes out of your mouth was all sugar treats and fine poetry as far as he was concerned. I'm pretty sure that you've got nothing to worry about. He's totally into you."
I felt a queasy little ache in the center of my stomach and whined, "Him being into me is plenty to worry about, Jason. Believe me."
"I don't get it. Why is that a bad thing?" He asked.
"No..." He said. "Finding a really cute boy to love is complicated. Trying to figure out if he's gay is complicated. Then trying to find a cute boy, who's gay, and actually likes you back, is CRAZY complicated! But you're already three for three, Gabe. All you have to do now is say 'yes' to the guy and enjoy the butt sex."
Another pinch from Summer was inevitable.
"What Jason MEANS to say is that the most difficult parts of this whole process are over. He's inviting you to give this a try. Just say 'yes', Gabe. Say yes and try going out on an actual date with someone that's truly interested in you..."
"I can't just...say 'yes', ok???" I told them.
"Because...it's not..." I knew what it was, but I didn't know how to describe the feeling. "...I can't just have him ask me out, and then I just...let him...well, I don't want to say yes and just...give in like that. You know?"
They were silent for a second or two, and then they both sat up simultaneously and said, "WHAT?!?!"
With a frustrated grunt, I sat up too. "It's like...why can't I just make all the first moves, huh? And then...and then *HE* can just say yes, and then things will balance out a little bit better. Right?"
Summer was like, "I have absolutely NO idea what the heck you're talking about right now..."
I said, "I'm saying that...if Niles is making all the moves and all the plans, and all I'm doing is trying to keep up, then that I means...I don't know...it's like I have to submit to him or something. Surrender. It makes me uncomfortable, ok? I just want to get away from all this and THINK for a little bit. Get a bird's eye view on the situation and make sure that I don't make any big mistakes. That's all."
Jason asked me, "Do you have any clue how incredibly psychotic you sound right now?"
Summer shook her head for a moment, and said, "Gabe...sweetie? That's totally mental. I mean, I know you had a few control issues, but..."
"It's NOT about control issues! I just want a chance to develop an educated perspective. Nothing more."
"No it's not. Gabe, honey...you're squirming over this because it's not under your direct control. Aren't you?" Summer asked.
Jason rolled his eyes, "Awww, seriously, dude? I mean, what are you gonna do? Write out a script for you two on your next date? Just GO with it, dude. Let it happen."
"I don't like that idea. I don't like that idea at ALL." I said, feeling my breath getting short just thinking about it. A deadly cocktail of helplessness and frustration began to slip into my bloodstream, and I stood up from the bed...beginning to pace back and forth to work off the excess energy.
Summer said, "Ok, look...you're nervous. I get that. We all get nervous, Gabe. Everybody is a little shaky when it comes to someone they have REAL feelings for. And that's ok. There's nothing wrong with that. I mean...like you remember a couple of months ago when Jason used to practically run out of the cafeteria every time that girl, Leila, from my pottery class came to get her lunch?"
"God, she was hot..." Jason said under his breath.
"Well? Jason was scared, but he got up the guts to finally walk over and talk to her a couple of times, and it worked out fine. She hadn't even noticed that he was watching at first. Shortly after he got the stones to actually talk to her, she said he was really cute."
"She DID?" Jason asked.
"The point is...if you take a few risks, a few leaps of faith...sometimes you find out that it was totally worth it."
"So wait...Leila said she thought I was cute? When? How long after? How did she say it? Like...did you bring it up, or did she bring it up?" Jason asked, but Summer put her hand up to ignore him.
She said, "Gabe...this is something really special here. People would KILL for an opportunity like this!"
I said, "I don't know, Summer. I feel like I'm driving blindfolded at top speed here. I just...I want to back up and look at what my options are..."
"Your options?" She said. "Here are your options...you let go of the wheel for once and experience what it's like to have a boyfriend who loves you for everything you are....or you walk away from this and spend the rest of your life regretting the fact that you had something sooooo special right in the palm of your ands, and you threw it all away for nothing. Absolutely nothing." They were both sitting there...staring at me. I wish I had a way to make them understand.
Taking a deep breath, I told them, "When he's around...I don't think I like how I feel." It was both true and untrue at the same time. God, this is confusing. "It just feels like I'm falling. All the time. A total freefall, with nothing to grab on to, and no idea if my parachute is going to work or not in case of an emergency. He makes me nervous, he makes me laugh, he makes me speechless...it bothers me. Maybe you guys think it's silly, but I don't like someone else having that kind of power over me. I like to have some level of control. I like to be able to predict what I'm going to do in any given situation. What I'm going to say, or think, or feel. And Niles takes that away from me. ALL of it. It just makes me feel so helpless sometimes." Then I looked up and asked, "I mean...can you guys at least pretend that I'm not crazy when I say that I hate being this vulnerable in front of someone that I'm so infatuated with?"
At this point, Summer got up from the bed and gave me a hug. "I know, sweetie. I do. But you can't just go around looking for someone who's going to let you orchestrate every aspect of your interaction just for comfort's sake. Sometimes you've got to place your trust in someone and just let the cards fall where they may. Give people a chance to 'surprise' you once in a while. You might just enjoy it."
Jason stood up and said, "Too true, Gabe. Totally." But then said, "Speaking of surprises...I mean...getting back to this thing with Leila..."
Summer grunted, "Let it go, Jason! Geez!"
"I'm just asking...I mean, she thinks I'm cute, right? That means she likes me..."
"She's got a boyfriend now, Jason."
"Yeah, but...she likes ME, though, right? So...?"
Cutting him off, she said, "I know that there are a lot of creeps, liars, and losers, out there...but be honest...does Niles really seem like one of them?"
I hated to admit it, but I couldn't even find a flaw worth joking about in response. I just hugged her back and said, "No...he doesn't."
"Good. Then maybe you can stop digging your heels in the dirt with the 'Flintstone brakes' and just enjoy the ride for a little while. Maybe you two can create one of those online erotic fiction stories you guys love so much." She smiled.
"Oh please..." I smirked. "...If this was online fiction, people would already be extremely pissed and angry and throwing bottles at me to hurry up and force me into this before I was ready. I doubt I'd make for great 3-minute jack off material..."
"Well, good. Maybe the world has enough 3-minute jack off material as it is." She grinned. "You're a gay teenager. You're entitled to a certain level of angst and hesitation. But enough is enough. So go get your dreamy boyfriend and go out on a REAL date before *I* start throwing bottles at you!"
At that moment, my mom knocked on the door and saw Summer hugging me around the waist, and Jason standing nearby. "Is everything alright?"
"Yeah, Mom...we're fine. Just..."
"Leaving." Jason said. "We were getting ready to go."
My mom asked, "Are you sure? I can make you guys some snacks if you want." But they were already saying their goodbyes.
Summer kissed me on the cheek, and said, "Remember...just let go of the wheel for a bit, Gabe. Fall. It's OK to fall." She smiled at me and said, "Sometimes...the fall is the most exciting part."
Jason gave me a boyish hug of his own and told me to take care of himself. But on the way, I heard him ask Summer, "So...did you ask Leila if I was cute? Or did she just, like...blurt it out? Like, 'Omigod, Jason is so cute...'?"
"Really? Are we doing this the whole way home?" She said, and I watched them leave the house. Leaving me all alone with my thoughts again. And, right now, they don't make for good company.
Falling. That's all I can feel. A weightless discomfort. No up. No down. No control over my speed as the hard concrete comes rushing up at me. Can't stop myself from getting goofy over him. Can't stop myself from getting hurt if he chooses to reject me. Can't stop feeling afraid whenever I think about him...which sucks because I CAN'T STOP THINKING ABOUT HIM!!!
So what now? What's next? I've got no plan. None.
Should I call him? I'm too scared to call him! But if I DON'T call him, then that means he might call me first. And I'll be sitting here like some silly damsel in distress, jumping at his random beckoning like some sort of deranged court jester.
Yeah, I should call first. I'll call. And...and I'll lay down some rules or something. Come up with a strategy that won't leave me spinning so far out of control. He's 'pretty'. I get that. But I can keep my wits about me when I get around a pretty face, right? I'm not a completely irrational lunatic...
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