Caramel Macchiato





once upon a rainy Saturday



It'd been raining all Saturday long, and Jack and David had spent most of the day cooped up inside hanging out... watching movies, playing video games, and even nerf football (which ended as soon as Jack let the ball go wild and it landed in the middle of the dishes Jack's mom was about to start doing).

At half past one a.m., Jack's parents having gone to bed long before, Jack suggested they make popcorn and exchange the scariest stories they could come up with - like some kind of impromptu camping trip. He knew it sounded dorky, but David agreed anyway.

And so here they are, under the duvet of Jack's bed with a couple flashlights.. the popcorn abandoned as they became enthralled in each others stories. The one David just told was particularly funny for whatever reason, and Jack laid back against his pillows laughing. When they finally calmed down, Jack shook his head, "I can't come up with another one." He stretches and yawns, and after a moment looks curiously to David and asks, "Do you have another, or do you wanna stop?"


David looked thoughtful. "I have one other one that I actually haven't told anyone except my ex-girlfriend," David shifts closer to Jack, his voice getting quiet and intimate. "It was when I was about nine, I think, and I had finished a school project over at a friend's house. We stayed up so late that the sun was coming up and instead of just staying over, I thought mom would be mad so I insisted on going back home. My friend didn't live that far, maybe two or three blocks. I left, it was a gray dawn and the streets were empty. I was walking and walking, but I got this real funny feeling, and when I looked behind me, I saw this man walking about eight or ten blocks behind.

"The man was dressed all in gray, and I couldn't really make out his face, but the only impression I got was that it looked... I dunno. Blank. Robotic,like. But it was the way he walked -- he strode perfectly and evenly, every single step, and his arms, he swung in wide arcs, almost chest-level and back down, as if he was marching. Up and down. I figured he was just one of those weird speed walkers and kept going.

"I was nearly home. But when I looked behind me again, the man was suddenly only about one block behind me. He was still walking at that same pace, still with those weirdly swinging arms, up and down, still with that blank, robotic face. He was coming up fast. I thought that even if I stopped, he'd just walk right through me, or right over me, or maybe he was intending to catch me, I dunno. Of course, I totally panicked and my house at the time was on a sort of small hill. So I cut across the hill, not looking back, fumbled with my keys, ran in and upstairs to the stairwell window that was facing outside. I figured that by the time I got there, the guy-creature-thing would be passing right in front of my house.  But when I looked... I saw nothing.  Not for blocks." David drew a deep breath. "It was freaky." He rested his head on the pillow and his eyes flicked up at Jack. He suddenly grinned. "Well! I guess it's bedtime now, huh?" He yawned and snuggled against the pillow, forgetting that he wasn't in his own bed.


Jack listens quietly to the story, his mouth parted slightly and eyes wide. When David finished and snuggled in, Jack clasped a hand tightly on his friend's wrist. "Wait, David.." his voice is hushed and he wears a mock-spooked expression on his face, "your story.. it isn't over. That guy, I know who you're talking about. I've seen him around here twice.. late at night. Except, one of the times I saw his face, and his eyes... his eyes glowed yellow. ...What do you think it means?" He pauses, waiting for David's reaction.


For a moment, David almost believed Jack, when he said that the story wasn't over. A chill flickered down his spine and Jack's urgent hand on his wrist didn't help any. Then he opened one eye and peered at Jack, and spotted the expression on the blond boy's face. Oh. "Yellow eyes, huh? Kid, you've been reading one too many sci-fi books." David wanted to make the whole thing lighter, and distract himself from that weird cold that still lingered at the base of his spine. He looked at Jack's hand, still clutching his wrist, and then slowly back up at Jack, hoping - by his smirk alone - to make Jack blush. Jack had a way of blushing spontaneously if looked at the right way. "Besides," he drawled, "It was a true story. No fooling. Serious, it was creepy. If you did see him twice, Jacky, it's too bad he didn't bowl you over. God knows your tiny midget legs couldn't run fast enough from him." David stuck the tip of his tongue out between his teeth, grinning sleepily like the cheshire cat.


Jack's face betrays his thoughts as he first looks poutily disappointed that David didn't believe him, then he does blush and tries to ignore the fast pounding of his heart that's worse than the result of any of David's stories, and finally, his eyes narrow and he pounces on David. "I don't have tiny midget legs!" he half whispers, half hisses, both of his hands wrapped tight around both of David's wrists, his face menacingly close to David's. Except it isn't very menacing, because he's just joking around, and sticks his tongue out in return, "At least my knees aren't all big and knobby like yours!"


David made no move to get out form under Jack. Instead, his face fell and he stared at Jack with an expression of utter sorrow. "Oh god you're right. My knees are awful. Ever since that terrible accident with my uncle's lawn mower.... D-d'you think your parents could spring for some plastic surgery to fix these awful awful joints of mine? Maybe I can get my lips botoxed as well, I've always been keen on pouty lips. Whaddyou think, hmmm?" David pursed his lips up, into a kissy face in an annoyingly teasing way.

 
Jack giggles at David's kissy face, and he leans down to kiss him, just to freak him out, right? But quickly looses his nerve. Hoping David didn't notice, he blurts out (in a bad English accent) "Let ME fix your lips, dahling!" He adjusts his hold on David, moving his arms away he sits on David's stomach, and brings his leg around. Jack plants his foot over David's mouth, and grins down at the older boy. "This is a very popular treatment." Squish squish squish.


David takes hold of Jack's ankle with both hands and  twists it off, sputtering. "Good gracious, are you trying to kill me?" He easily - almost too easily - flips Jack onto his back and pins him down, his face very close to Jack's. "Stay. Put. Mister. I'm gonna go wash my face. Erk. Nasty, nasty little boy." David mumbles as he slides of the bed and into Jack's bathroom. While he scrubs his face, it occurred to him that he had never been in Jack's little bathroom until then. It was small, and had a stand-up shower, a sink and toilet. Jack's towels were red and blue (Spider-Man towels?) as was his bath mat. Everything else on the counter was normal - toothpaste with the cap off, toothbrush probably acquired from the dentist, face wash, dental floss. A waterproof radio. Sauntering out, David leaned against the door frame. "So Jacky -- where d'you keep the condoms?"


Jack laughs as David leaves to use the bathroom. It isn't until David is out of the room that he realizes how much he's forcing the laugh. He doesn't think it's supposed to feel so good to have another boy on top of you. And god, he can't even believe some of the thoughts whirling around in his head. "Shit," he whispers to himself, "what's wrong with me?" He rubs his eyes, trying to wipe away some of the strange images. When he looks back up with a sigh, there's David leaning against the door frame like he owns the room and everything and everyONE in it, and maybe, Jack thinks briefly, he sort of does. But David's comment halts Jack's thoughts, and Jack's face goes red. He just sort of gapes at David for a moment, and then sputters, "Wh-what??" He blinks, and realizes David must be teasing. Jack throws a pillow at David, an embarrassed scowl on his face, "Shut up, Sookie.. I've never.. er.. just shush!"


David blinks a couple times, absolutely surprised at Jack's blushy reaction. "Oh. Oh, you mean you've never..." David pads over to the bed and sits on it, curiously. "Like, you're still a virgin? Oh. Well- not that it's a bad thing or anything. In fact," David laid back down on the bed, stretching his arms up above his head. "I guess I'm not really surprised, you, well. You are very shy and like, new to stuff." David wanted to say naive, but he also did not want to insult Jack. He was quiet for a bit, letting Jack relax. Then as casually as he could, because he didn't want to alarm Jack, he piped up, "So.... Have you ever kissed a girl? Like, have you ever wanted to.. y'know, do it?"


Jack pulls his knees up and rests his chin on them, feeling suddenly twelve instead of fourteen. He briefly considers lying, saying sure, he kissed a girl.. he's kissed a few girls. But he knows it's too late now, and he can't lie to David any more than he already has. He doesn't want to.
 
His voice is quiet, "I've never.. no, I haven't ever kissed a girl." He toes the duvet, looking at his feet.. anywhere but at David, and lets out a small sigh, "Sure I've wanted to.. of course. It.. probably feels great since everyone likes to do it so much. There are a few girls at school who seem nice enough, but.." he lets his sentence drift off with a small shrug, and doesn't finish. He hopes that wasn't lying too badly. He really does want to kiss.. someone, just, not a girl. ..'Oh geez,' he finally admits to himself with a small involuntary shake, 'you don't like girls, do you'? Jack feels his throat go dry, and he thinks over and over, 'this is no good, no good, no good at all'.


Jack curls up and looks absolutely tiny. David listens to him, rubbing his stomach idly. Jack gives him the story he was expecting - not much experience, maybe some cute girls at school, oh well. 'Still getting out of the cootie phase', David supposed. 'Or maybe... something else. Jack was not very good at hiding his feelings, and there were some times when he looked at David - like, really looked - that always seemed extremely familiar. Only now, as Jack was tapering off his ramble, did David recognize it. Girls. Girls gave David that look, although he never, ever understood why. Other than his first girlfriend, it was always intimidating. With Jack, however, it felt oddly natural. He smiles encouragingly at Jack, still trailing his finger up and down his mid-section. "It's okay, Jack, it's cool. You're cool. Lots of guys our age haven't done it yet, or even gotten very far. What makes me confused," David rolls onto his stomach and lightly pinches at the skin of Jack's ankles, "is why not. You're not fat or pimply or stupid or immature. You have looks. And you're pretty cool. And there are some quiet, shy little cuties at school.  Maybe you're just not ready?"


Jack looks down through his lashes at David's finger tracing an idle line up and down his mid-section. He doesn't know why, but this sends small shivers up his arms and makes his stomach turn. It's a wonder he notices it with how nauseous he feels at the moment. 'No good. No good.' He doesn't dare look at David's face, and his lips purse together at David's question. 'Just tell him you're fourteen, you idiot,' he thinks to himself. 'Just tell him, you're going to have to eventually anyway. Fourteen year olds couldn't be expected to have done much, right? Just tell him.'
 
Instead, what comes out, slightly hoarse, is, "Yeah.. not ready, I guess. It's no big deal, right? Uh... God says not to have sex until you're married anyway. It's probably better this way." He forces a smile, intending to make it seem like he's joking. He brings his eyes upward a bit, to look at David's face. 'No good. No good.' "So.. ah.. I guess you've had sex, huh?"


David rolls his eyes. "Catholicism is such a crock. Listen, we'll make sure you have sex before you're married, okay?" David grins. "Or else how else are you gonna make the wife happy? " He notices Jack getting even more nervous and decides to change the subject. "Ahh, yeah, I, uh, already did the deed. With my first girlfriend." David's voice gets softer and dreamier. "I was 14. She was fantastic. Older than me, so she had some experience. But we were so... compatible. I dunno, it was great. We, uh, we broke up, because of the next time I ah, had sex." David looks down, and tries not to look as vulnerable as he felt. "Sometimes I wish I had the chance to stay with her forever. Fate can really mess you up." He looks at Jack, echoing Jack's attempted smile and sort of failing. "Just make sure that the first time you do it, it's with someone you really care about. Yeah. I'm, uh. It's late. We'd better hit the hay." Not wanting to talk anymore, David hopes he made it clear by crashing down onto the bed and closing his eyes tight.


Jack listens to David without saying a word, his gaze never leaving his friend's face. But when David mentions his ex-girlfriend, and that they... that they had sex, and how fantastic she was, his hands clench his pajama pant legs and his stomach gives an involuntary lurch. He knows what this is, oh yes, it's jealousy. Jealousy, because, you stupid twit, you don't want anyone else to touch him. You don't want him wishing he could be with anyone but you. You don't want him to think that fate messed up, because fate brought him to you. is what that annoying voice in the back of his mind tells him. He forces the thoughts away.. they're stupid and girlish, and what does it matter what David did two years ago? But then, what would it matter how he feels now, because he'd never... Jack lays back, and pulls the blankets up to cover his chest. "Good night, David," he whispers.

Jack closes his eyes, and tries to sleep. But he's too aware of David next to him, his steady breathing, his occasional shifting. And all these new thoughts won't leave him alone. Where did this.. feeling.. come from? Jack wonders to himself. Am I really... gay? He sighs, and his thoughts continue to run in that direction. An hour goes by, he glances over at his bedside alarm clock, and the digital numbers glow an unsettling 2:24. Jack just can't get to sleep.

He turns on his side, and looks over at David, who is sleeping quite peacefully. Moonlight shines in through the slits in the blinds of the nearest window, and Jack props himself up a bit to look at the other boy. David's slightly long, black hair seems to lay perfectly on the pillow, and in the moonlight his skin seems to take on some kind of ethereal glow. Jack laughs quietly to himself, he never knew liking someone gave you such thoughts. That must be where poetry comes from. He gazes for awhile, figuring if he can't get to sleep he might as well spend the time well. His mind goes back to David asking, 'have you ever kissed a girl?'.. back to David's face so close to his, his lips, just inches away. And he thinks, no, he doesn't want to kiss a girl, he wants to kiss David. He thinks he might want it more than he's ever wanted anything else. But David is straight.. he's still in love with his first girlfriend, he thinks girls are cute and a great catch, and he would never kiss his best friend. So maybe, Jack thinks, I should just kiss him.. he never has to know, he's asleep.. he'd never find out.

Jack puts on a brave face for no one, he takes a deep breath and leans in close. He can feel David's deep-sleep breathing on his cheek, it makes the hairs on the back of his neck prickle in a surprisingly good way. Jack covers David's lips with his own and closes his eyes. He might imagine David is awake and wanting this too, but his mind is clear. All he can feel is.. soft, warm. He never knew a kiss would feel so nice, a touch of lips so wonderful. He lingers only a moment, he doesn't want David to wake up. As he pulls away, his lips brush David's ear, and he whispers, "I wish..." but he can't put what he wishes into words, and instead he just lays back on his pillow. A pleased, almost serene smile, graces Jack's face.. he closes his eyes and manages to fall asleep not long after.