Chapter 1


Bobby looked over to Zack at his locker. Zack nodded to the beat of his indie rock music playing from his iPod through the oversized headphones. He was oblivious to the yearning eyes that followed him through the hallways and even if he did know, he wouldn't mind anyone staring. His sagging jeans were torn at the knees but he didn't buy them that way, he was a skateboarder and with caution to the wind he never used kneepads or helmets. His jeans had seen the world and anything store bought with a tear already in it was just a waste and totally unoriginal. Zack was a classic cool with more edge and his braces—gorgeous.

Zack has messy blond hair that stuck up because he never combed it. His dirty shirt is covered by a clean but wrinkled black and white stripped hooded sweater and his sneakers were dingy and slightly worn at the heel but Zack didn't care. His sneakers may not be new but they had character. They had been with him since he bought his first skateboard and he wore them whenever he was in a good mood.

Zack was a bit of a loner with a decent and kind heart. He paid no mind to most people but Zack was cool. He wasn't football star cool and the only club he'll join is the 'go straight home committee' but he's quietly, and unknowingly, the most popular guy in school. He had a light about him that he himself pays no mind to and maybe that was part of the charm.

Bobby hid his face behind his locker as Zack walked pass him. No, they've never made eye contact. Bobby wouldn't dare do something so bold yet casual.

What if he said hi?

Not only would he be speechless, Bobby's poor heart just might give out from beating too fast.

No, he could never say a word to his crush.

Bobby's a short goodie-goodie with neatly trimmed black hair and perfectly straight teeth. He wore a button up white shirt with black pants because that's what good students who abide by the school dress code do. He was a rule follower with no edge or personality, or at least that what he thought of himself most of the time.

And true to this cliché of smart, do-gooders with no edge, Bobby Fisher was part of the math club and often privately tutored dumb jocks so they'd be smart enough to get a C+ which allowed them to continue to bring the home team to victory for every championship game. Go Cougars!

Bobby blended in with the wall. Zack was a loner which equals cool. Bobby was just alone which was… lonely. Bobby had no friends and the only person ever on his side was his mother who spends her days preying a bigger kid won't have some kind of vendetta against her son and have him come home with a bloody nose.

Bobby's a wimpy kid but he highly doubted anyone would touch him. Without him who's going to lead the jocks to their average passing grades so they can continue being the most loved students in school? No one! Once again, go Cougars!

Bobby sighed and adjusted his glasses.

It wasn't like he was an unhappy 15 year old but there was a lack of excitement everyone else seems to get easily.

The only thing he could get excited about was Zack and that couldn't count if Zack didn't even know his name. It would be amazing if he could simply walk up to that boy and say 'Hey! My name is Bobby Fisher… so… please… please remember next time…'

Unfortunately and quite sadly, Bobby couldn't feign confidence even within his imagination.

Bobby sluggishly walked down the aisle to his first period English class. His near heart attack with Zack really took it out of him.

He sighed.

Why gay? Why couldn't he be blind or missing a few toes instead? That life sounded so much simpler than it is to stare at another boy while simultaneously making sure no one noticed from fear of humiliation. No one makes fun of the blind! Sure, no one hated him now but his situation is a lot better than everyone knowing him as the "gay kid" or worse "faggot!"

He couldn't help himself and its exhausting trying not to acknowledge something like that. Bobby Fisher is a gay and nerdy kid—secretly gay and openly (obviously) nerdy.

Being in class made him not think so pessimistically. All he had to do was listen and take notes. Nothing complicated about that right? Write a heading, put the date, stare at the blackboard, and hand in yesterday's homework.

He was happy Zack isn't in any of his classes. Well, unless Zack was held back a year there isn't a good reason why Zack would ever be in any of his classes. Zack is a junior and Bobby just became a sophomore.

Bobby turns 16 next month.

Besides having lockers in the same hallway Bobby and Zack are always on two different floors of the school most of the day.

Why did it have to be Zack? Him, with his azure eyes that you want to stare into all day. Him, who wouldn't notice you over Nirvana playing through his headphones. He, who's cooler than you and thinks nothing of it because to him he's just being himself as he walks down the hall mumbling the lyrics to a song. Why would he bother looking at a nerd?

Bobby's little feet can barely make a sound when he walks even if he's stomping. Bobby was air compared to Zack who was like rain after a year without—he was cool and refreshing and you could see and feel him and it was all perfect.

If only… if only…

It was bright and sunny out and Bobby was happy to finally be out of school a little earlier since the guy he was supposed to be tutoring went straight home after school. It didn't matter; it was their grade, not his. This gave him time to walk a slow walk home instead of rushing to hop on a crowded bus. In the end, you're always pressed up the exact opposite of what you'd like to be pressed up against. Busses are one of the many evils of the world.

There was nothing on his mind and nothing to do. Bobby adjusted his glasses and started to think maybe a little confidence wouldn't do much harm…

Best case scenario, he becomes Zack's "hey" friend. That person you greet everyday but have no intention of having an actual conversation with. Yes! That could totally be him! And if he's lucky, he can work his up to being a regular friend! But, oh, let's not get ahead of ourselves. Bobby's heart popped out of him just thinking about it.

Bobby smiled to himself and looked up at the sky; walking so slowly he barely looked as if he was moving at all. Can something so cool happen to him? Ha, well… he can dream if he wanted.

"Outtttta the waaaay!" Bobby turned around and suddenly a tall body going full speed on a skateboard smacked into him, knocking him down on the ground. His glasses fell off his face and landed next to him with an audible cracking sound. His glasses broke right in half.

Bobby had the wind knocked out of him and it took him a while before he could sense the heavy weight on him and what that heavy weight was.

Bobby blinked and then opened his eyes wide. Zack's lying right on top of him….

Three… two… one…

'ZACK'S RIGHT ON TOP ON ME!' Bobby screamed in his head.

Zack patted Bobby's cheek. "Are you okay man?" Zack finally shifted his weight and got himself off of the smaller boy.

Zack put out his hand and Bobby gingerly took it and was lifted to his feet with no effort at all. He would have been surprised by the strength of Zack's hand if he wasn't still confused.

"You okay Shorty?" Zack ruffled bobby's neat black hair before picking up his glasses and holding it out in front of Bobby. "I think I broke your glasses Shorty." Zack gave him a crooked but sincere apologetic smile.

Finally, Bobby composed himself enough to react. "It's okay… I'm not hurt."

But he was hurt, he felt on his right arm and it was killing him. "Are you sure? Anything broken besides your glasses?" Zack touched his right arm and sure enough Bobby jerked away in pain.

"Aw man, I'm sorry. I was riding down that hill and the next thing I knew I was preying something other than a speeding car was going to stop me." Zack looked around and picked up his skateboard. "Come on let's go."

"Where?" Bobby asked as the rational side of him took over. "Where are we going?"

Zack smiled at him. "I'm taking you home little guy."

"I… I'm not little." Bobby blushed. Zack is a modest 5'11 (180 cm) but poor Bobby just missed the train when everyone around him hit puberty and sprouted 6 inches. He still had time though! Bobby was definitely going to get taller. For now he had to just deal with his petite 5'4 (163 cm) height.

"Don't take it too hard man." He took Bobby's hand and continued to walk down the street. Why was Zack holding his hand? Did he really remind the Nirvana fan so much of a toddler that he had to be led by his hand like this? Bobby secretly was enjoying the contact but a part of him wanted to be annoyed. Zack's palm was wide and warm and his fingers are long and gentle as they curled over Bobby's hand to hold. Darn it… Zack is so cute. Bobby wished that moment could last forever.

Bobby stared at Zack's hand and felt his face heat up to turn into an intense blush. It was nice to dream but this was much more than he'd ever think to happen in real life. He was supposed to be that friend you greet but have no interest in having a conversation with. Despite the pain he was in, it really had to be his lucky day.

Finally, they made it to an old red corvette. They stopped in front of the car. "This is Mandy… isn't she pretty? She's old but she still got it."

Bobby was confused. There was no one in the car.

'Oh wait, don't tell me…'

"Born in 1979, people don't even drive corvettes like this anymore."

"Oh! So you were talking about the car." Bobby said with a shaky laugh. His arm felt like to was ready to fall off. But he was so proud that he understood it actually took the pain away for a minute. Bobby then worried if being in Zack's presence made him slower. He shook his head. That was a stupid theory.

"Of course I was, now get in. My mom can take care of your arm and I've got some tape that'll fix your glasses right up." Zack's smile made Bobby weak in the knees—like he'd ever say no to that!

"The name's Zack."

'I already know your name…' Bobby thought. "My name is Bobby." He said evenly though he was still stunned by the older boy's big smile.

It's because of Zack that Bobby finds braces so adorable. But if you asked him to explain Bobby wouldn't be able to find the words to describe how cute they were. He doubted Zack would have them for much longer since his teeth seemed all straight already. He silently hoped he'd have them for much longer though he doubted Zack would be all gung ho for it.

Zack noticed Bobby's hesitation. "Hey, at least let me buy you something. Something cheap, like pizza. One slice. Plain. I've only got like 6 bucks on me." He leaned against his car and waited for Bobby's response. It came to him that maybe he was moving too fast for the kid.

He wasn't sure if he'd seen the kid before though he was sure they went to the same school. Maybe he'd seen him in the halls before? He couldn't recall. Zack sure as hell could never be certain since he pays little to no attention to the people around him unless everyone's running from a fire and he needs to know which way is to safety.

"No, um, no I'll go with you." Bobby took a tiny step forward. Bobby was love struck and it was making him crazy.

"Alright! Let's hit it little dude." Zack jumped in his car and Bobby slowly climbed into it.

It was then that Bobby learned something new about his crush: Zack is the craziest driver alive.

Bobby barely had time to put on his seatbelt before Zack kicked it into high gear. He blazed through the streets as if the laws didn't apply to him. He stomped the gas pedal, narrowly missing red lights and stop signs and another car that was also driving with the hostility of a rabid animal.

Bobby would have asked Zack to slow down if rock music wasn't blaring through the speakers of the car. His life flashed before his eyes and suddenly the car stopped. If it hadn't been for the seatbelt Bobby was sure his tiny body would have flown out of the car.

"Come on, my mom should be home now." He made his way to his house while Bobby cautiously followed behind. All Zack could think of was if his mom would make him sandwich if he asked for it while Bobby's heart and mind were both frazzled beyond repair.

Zack approached his mother slowly. She was going to kill him knowing he nearly killed that little shorty because of his stupid idea to ride down a hill. "Mom… this guy, he, um, fell… and broke his arm."

She was a dark haired woman wearing scrubs. Her hair was tied into a very messy bun and her white sneakers were a little dirty too. She had worked a double shift and seeing her son would have made her happy if Zack's face wasn't so guilty right now.

She raised her eyebrow. "You broke your arm?" She looked from her son to the small boy behind him.

"I… I don't think it's really b-broken. I… I don't know f-for sure."

The little boy looked like he was close to crying. Bobby was actually in between throwing up and crying, both of which would be awful. "What did you do Zack?" She got up from her seat and went over to the kid and took his right arm. "Whatever Zack did you can tell me and he'll be grounded for life." She eyed her guilty looking son before looking back to the scared looking kid.

Bobby looked at Zack who was now standing behind his mom waving his arms about. Bobby was confused at first but then understood. He wanted Bobby to cover for him.

"Actually… I'm the one who got on his skateboard and fell off. Zack warned me but I didn't listen."

Lying to someone's mother! Bobby felt like a different person. Zack looked relieved though.

"Well you're arm isn't broken but it must hurt like hell. I'll wrap it up and give you some pain killers ok?" She turned back to Zack who suddenly looked very innocent. "You're still grounded." She said firmly and walked off.

Zack watched her leave then smirked. "I knew I wasn't going to get away with it."

"Sorry…" Bobby mumbled. He couldn't save him from getting in trouble.

"What? Na, she reads minds or something. Nothing gets past her." He took Bobby's glasses and taped up the middle. The piece of tape he used was white and thick and Zack smiled when he places the specs back on Bobby's face.

'Cute…' the blond thought.

Bobby' pouted a little, he felt like a toddler or something. Zack's mother returned with the wrap and a little pill for the pain. It was second nature to her now; she wrapped up Bobby's arm without even looking. Instead, she lectured her son for the millionth time about safety with his skateboard.

"Dinner is on the stove. I'm going to bed." She didn't give the two boys a second look as she made her way to her bedroom. "Don't destroy the house!" She yelled once she was out of sight.

"You hungry… uh…?" Zack looked at the shorter boy. It was on the tip of his tongue…

Bobby hit a new low in his life. "My name is Bobby."

"Right! That's what I was going for." Zack could tell he offended the boy. "Sorry little dude."

"I'm not little…" Bobby turned away, flushed. Zack frowned. He wasn't used to dealing with people very much and it seemed the only thing he knew how to do was upset the boy or hurt him physically. Normally he wouldn't care but there was something about Bobby that made the blond want to keep him around and more importantly, keep him happy.

But this friendship didn't seem like it was going to happen. Bobby was tense and looked utterly uncomfortable.

"Okay then, now that you're all patched up I could take you home if you want." Zack offered.

Bobby pouted. He didn't want to leave but nodded anyway. Maybe he should count his blessings. He got this close to his crush so he should be satisfied. And if Zack remembered his name tomorrow then the older boy not taking him seriously at all would be worth it… at least a little.

They climbed into Zack's car and drove to Bobby's home in silence. Even Zack's usual crazy driving had evened out. Instead, Zack drove at the correct driving limit. The air was heavy and the both of them were too consumed in their own thoughts to say a word to the other.

Finally, Zack slowed down the car to a stop. "Is this right?" Bobby had told him the address but there hadn't been any talking since then so Zack winged it for the most part.

Bobby snapped out of it and realized they were sitting in front of his house. "Um… yeah." He said but hadn't opened the door to leave.

"I was just teasing when I called you little, you know? I wasn't trying to hurt feelings."

At this, Bobby smiled. He'd been feeling so embarrassed this whole time, not to mention the love of his life had forgotten his name within minutes. Then again he'd known the blond for a long time now. Technically, he shouldn't have even known Zack's name before today so Zack forgetting might have been a normal thing.

Anyway, none of that mattered anymore; Zack was sorry and giving Bobby his full attention.

Bobby nodded. "It's okay."

What about the younger boy did Zack find so adorable? He looked normal enough, maybe even a little geeky but suddenly Zack thought, maybe, just this once, he'd try to remember the name of another person. Lord knows he's more than a little less than socially active.

"Goodbye." Bobby said and slowly climbed out of the car and gently closing the car door.

"Later!" Zack shouted before zooming off into the street.

Bobby watched as Zack's corvette quickly disappears down the street. Did he say "later"? Did that mean Zack wanted to see him again? Maybe they'll say hi to each other the next day in school!

Bobby did a little dance right there in the middle of the street.

"YES!" He shouted into the air.

He was the happiest boy alive.