You know how when you're little, everybody and their mother tell you you're special? They brag on you, and make you feel like you really are different from everybody else. You get that assumption stuck in your head that you're GOING to live happily ever after. Even if the world is about to blow up, you'll be the one who gets to ride the spaceship to Mars and survive it. You just HAVE to live happily ever after, right? I mean, you're the main character of the story... right?
You can tell the people who actually believe this from the ones who don't. It's really not that difficult, since all you have to do is look at their faces, pay attention to the way they move and talk, and maybe ask a question or two. The woman who finds herself nearing fifty, still raising children, all alone since her husband abandoned her, only to have all of her kids die in an accident on the school bus they ride; she sacrificed her entire life, and for what? She doesn't believe it.
Well, there I was, sitting in school as the bell rang to leave. I hopped up quickly, all smiles, and proceeded to haul ass out of there.
"Slow down!" Darren said as I slammed into him in the hall. "You don't have to rocket outta here to catch me everyday!"
My heart caught in my throat for a second, but I knew I was just being stupid. There was no way he would know that I'd had a crush on him for my entire life. Well, since preschool, anyway, when he shared his Popsicle with me after I dropped mine in the sand and started crying about it. It was kind of sweet how he'd become my protector since that incident.
"Well, what if you decide to leave without me, and I'm stranded here? Gotta make sure I catch you before you leave." I said.
"Dumbass, you run into me again like that and I just might." Darren said with his trademarked cheeky grin. You know; the one your crush would give when they were making a little joke. The one your crush gave that made you melt like so many gummy bears left in the sun. The look that could make you smile even if your puppy had just been killed by a sadistic trucker with a penchant for animal necrophilia.
"Then I'd have to knife your tires, y'know." I told him matter-of-factly.
"Is that so?"
"You don't think I'll do it?"
"I don't think you know what would happen to you if you did!"
I reached for the passenger side door handle as we came up to his mustang. He was the hottest boy, with the hottest car. Instead of classic red, this mustang was baby blue, and made me want to throw him into its back seat. I'd tell you the year and all that, but I've never been much of a car person. I was always too busy looking at the guys that were ogling the cars. I pulled the handle, but my hand slipped off as I was tackled from the side.
"Put me down!" I yelled. Darren was easily half a foot taller than me, and I found myself staring at his collarbone as he carried me a few feet away from where I'd been. I tried my damndest to get him into a headlock to no avail, but hey, I'm a wimp sometimes, k? So, I did what I do best. I bit him.
"Bastard cheating shoulder biter!" he screamed as he dropped my snickering form.
"That's what you get for picking on people smaller than you!"
"It's fair, since you could probably flatten my tires with those TEETH of yours!"
"Ah, quit being a sore loser, Darren." I resisted the urge to giggle as I looked nonchalantly at my nails, and then hopped over the door into the passenger seat.
As he made his way around the car, I took the opportunity to molest every part of him with my eyes as I could. Darren was gorgeous.
Well, truthfully, he probably wasn't gorgeous. But, he was perfect to ME, and that blew my mind every time I snuck a peek at him.
"Now that you're through checking out my ass, you wanna go get something to munch on? We have to be back in about half an hour to help with the Halloween dance decorations."
"Let's go! And you know that nobody can resist your sexy booty, Darren!" I'd learned long before that the easiest way to act normal was to laugh anything and everything off. Humor destroys awkwardness, no problem.
I rifled through his glove box, hunting for cigarettes and a lighter. Those were one of the things we got into together, as well, and it just kind of stuck. We were never the best of kids, but we never caused any real harm. So I lit one, handed it to him, and lit my own.
"Thanks, I always have my bitches light my cigarettes." Darren said. I glared at him. He stole that from me the first time I used it, and if I didn't remember to say ‘I always light my bitches' cigarettes', he'd use it against me. So, this time, I lamely offered my rebuttal.
We pulled into Sonic and ordered. From experience, we knew it would be probably fifteen minutes before we got our food since they were always packed when school let out. This was really just our normal routine, except that we had to head back to help after school today instead of going to one of our two houses to hang out.
"Hey Robby, um, I know you were actually looking at my ass earlier." Darren spit out quickly during a lull of silence in the car. I immediately went into red alert status. The sirens sounded in my brain, and I started into Disaster Avoidance Plan A.
"No I wasn't, you just wish!" I said, trying to joke it off.
"Seriously, Robby." That was all he said. I panicked, and went to Disaster Avoidance Plan B.
"Okay, so I was, but I'm really sorry Darren! I'll never hit on you or anything, so can we just be friends? And if you don't wanna be, I'll understand, I'll get outta the car right here and now, just please don't hate me, I'm sorry, I really..."
"Shut up, Robby!" Darren yelled, cutting off my incessant blabbing.
"But, Darren, I didn't mean..." I started again, this time with my voice cracking and tears streaming down my face. Darren had this disgusted look on his face, which only made me sob harder.
The next thing I knew, though, was that his lips were pressed against mine, and his tongue was seeking entrance to my mouth. My eyes flew open, and I didn't know how to react until I heard a voice from beside the car.
"That'll be eight ninety-five." A woman chewing bubble gum said. We immediately backed away from each other, my face, not to mention Darren's, burning with embarrassment. "Ah, a little lovers' spat, huh? Well, keep hold of that one, hun, he's a cute one, no need to be makin' him cry." Darren looked down shamefaced, and I knew my face was plastered with a confused look as he handed her a ten. I hadn't made Darren cry... OH! She was calling ME cute!
"Here's ya change, sweetheart. Now you boys be good." She said, and sauntered off carrying the now empty red tray with her, popping her gum as she went. A few more moments of silence persisted. That is, until I opened my fat mouth again.
"What the fuck, Darren!?!" I screamed nearly hysteric. He took one look at me, tear-tracks on my face, eyebrows furrowed in confusion, holding a cheeseburger, and immediately started laughing.
I guess it was contagious, and pretty soon I had a case of the giggles, too. He grabbed my hand, and squeezed as I munched a French fry (which I nearly choked on at his touch).
"I'm sorry I freaked you out, Robby. It's just that it's so hard to get you to shut up once you get going, and I already knew you were trying to cover and fix things that didn't need to be covered or fixed." Darren said, looking at his hamburger. As that sunk in, I looked up at him, watching him re-arrange the pickles on the burger. He was weird like that, always had to have the pickles in an even layer before he would eat them.
"So what does that mean?" I asked him, afraid to hope.
"It means I like looking at your ass, too, Robby." He said, and gave me THAT grin again.
"But how did you know?!" I asked frantically, wondering if I'd given away something to him.
"Liz told me. She said she noticed you looking, and the way you act towards me, and how we're always together... she said it gave it away, if you know what you're looking for, like she evidently does." Darren explained. Liz... that sneaky bitch! How DARE she tell Darren! If she knew, she should have told ME! I'm the one who's known her the longest, even if it was only by five minutes (Darren walked in the room shortly after). Darren must have noticed the look on my face. He picked up something from the floorboard, and a flash dazzled my eyes and wiped the angry look from my face.
"What the hell?!" I sputtered.
"She told me to get a picture of your face for her, or she'd kick me in the nads next time she saw me. I think she's a little sadistic, if you wanna know the truth." Darren said, giggling at me. I sulked.
"Fine, you give her that picture, and you don't get another kiss." I said, knowing I didn't mean it.
"But Liz will hurt my special place!" he whined. I had to laugh at that.
"Well, I suppose I can handle Liz. Now c'mere, Dare." I said, using his nickname. Our lips met again, and this time I bathed in the electric glow instead of being shocked by it.
We parted, and of course noticed the time.
"Let's go, or Liz will kill us both for not being there to help with the decorations." Darren sighed.
We rode back to the school, and walked to the gym. The door opened as we arrived, and Liz strode out, guns blazing.
"And don't drop that again! Put the sign up! Can you idiots not use tape?! Uggh!" She screamed, and my eyes narrowed at her. She saw me glaring, and immediately her face lit up.
"So, did you get my picture?!" She asked Darren gleefully.
"Yeah, but I think you wanna discuss that with Robby first." He said tactfully. So, I leapt at her.
"Liz, you devil-whore!" I screamed as I tackled her. We fell over into the grass, Liz giggling the entire time.
"Well, I knew you wouldn't do anything if I told you, so I had to go to your lover-boy over there!" She said. Of course, she was right... I'd have probably been too nervous to do anything about the information she would've given me.
"Yeah, I guess so..." I said, sulking about it.
"Well, I know so. Just like I know you better get your queer asses in here and help me with these decorations!"
I was on cloud nine knowing that the boy I loved the most in the whole world actually returned what I felt. The afternoon blazed by, and soon we had the whole gym decorated in the most incredibly, awesomely, spooktastically cool way possible. After giving a giant hug to Liz, Darren and I set out.
It was just starting to get dark out, and I really didn't feel like going home this early on what could probably be considered the best day of my life. So, I suggested that we go do what dates had been doing for countless centuries; find a dark place and make out. Well, I didn't just come out and say it, but I hinted.
We parked on a back-road turnaround, from which you could see the parking lot of the local shopping center. It wasn't very well known, so we were safe from intrusion and prying eyes.
"Dare, how long have you liked me?" I asked him, out of curiosity, while we took a break from tonsil hockey. Running his fingers through my dark, almost black hair, he replied.
"Do you remember when I dated that girl, Jessica?"
"Well, I dated her because I thought that boys were just supposed to date girls, and I wanted to be normal and all, so I went out with her. I thought she was pretty and all, but the whole time I was with her, I kept thinking that you were prettier. When she said something funny, I'd think about how much you made me laugh. When she held my hand, I thought about what it would be like to hold your hand instead. And when she kissed me, I wished I was kissing you instead." He told me. My heart jumped into my throat, and I knew I wouldn't be able to stop smiling if someone pressed a gun to my head. "What about you, Robby?"
"Oh, well, I thought it was really hot when you shared your Popsicle with me, and I wanted to do you ever since!" I said, and stuck my tongue out. He licked it (DARE LICKED MY TONGUE, AAHH!), and popped me on the leg.
"Seriously, Robby, when did you start to really like me?" he asked. I straightened up, and replied.
"Really, ever since you shared that Popsicle. I didn't really think it was hot at the time, but I knew you were somebody I really liked and wanted to spend time with. I guess the feeling never went away, just changed a little." I told him. After that, he hugged me tighter, and kissed the back of my neck.
"I love you, Robby."
"I love you too, Dare."
Pretty soon, it was getting close to ten o'clock. I had to be home before long, and I knew that Darren did, too. Our parents would hardly let us stay over at each other's house during the week since we were so rowdy when we were younger.
We pulled into my driveway, and I leaned over close to Dare, and kissed him again. I'd started to think that I'd never be tired of kissing him, and I'd do it until my lips fell off.
"I really love you, Robby. Always have, you know." He told me, smiling. It made me so fucking happy, SO happy, you have no idea! So I kissed him again.
"I really love you too, Dare. I'll see you at school tomorrow." I told him, and hopped out of the car. I stood on my porch and watched him back out of the driveway.
All of a sudden, though, as I was about to turn the doorknob to go in, I heard a screech and turned my head instead. I was just in time to see a gigantic pick-up slam into the side of Dare's baby blue mustang.
Something in my chest tightened so much that it hurt, and I couldn't breathe. I couldn't even scream. I felt a hot tear trace its way down my cheek, but I barely knew what was going on. I was just tracing the path of the skid marks on the road to where the twisted hunk of baby blue mustang lay.
I turned and went to bang on the door, but it was already swinging open. My mother's jaw dropped as she realized what was going on, and she grabbed onto me. I didn't know if it was more for me or for her. I know that she yelled for my father to call 911, but I don't really know what happened after that. All I could see was the wreckage.
Dare's mustang was all but totaled, but that pick-up was practically fine. Irony, huh? They told my parents later that the driver was drunk, too, which I guess is why he came screaming around a blind curve like that, without his headlights on.
After the skid marks and the twisted mustang, the next image clear in my mind was the funeral. I remember the preacher talking about what a good person Darren was, and how it was such a shame that he died before reaching his potential, and all that other. I got up at his funeral, said a few words, and of course, broke into tears before I could finish the meager speech I'd made. I finished with "I really loved Darren, and what happened to him wasn't fair."
Of course, I knew it wasn't fair... everybody knew that was obvious. I'm pretty sure you know, now, that not everybody gets their happy ending. I was never prepared for something like that to happen to me.
For a long time, I just thought "He can't be dead. He loves me, and I love him, and we're going to be happy." Then, for a while, I wondered if it was somehow my fault. I regretted not inviting him inside. I regretted not kissing him one more time to make him stay just a few seconds longer. I had so many regrets I wanted to slam my head against anything, like those thoughts would just come tumbling out of my ear.
So now I knew, Dare wouldn't have a happy ending. Dare would never live with me later in life, and Dare wouldn't be able to kiss me, ever again. I knew that. And he wasn't the only one. There were others just as heartbroken as I, who would sympathize. There were other people who were denied their happy endings, and I saw it everyday, and thought that maybe I wasn't the most unlucky person in the world. Maybe it could be worse. Dare's face would pop in my head, then, and I knew that I was really the luckiest person in the world to have had his love. But that never made it quit hurting.
Hope you enjoyed this short story. You can get me at email@example.com, and please visit my site at http://members.gayauthors.org/razor/ and check out my forum at http://members.gayauthors.org/razor/http://www.gayauthors.org/forums/index.php?showforum=143
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