Chapter 14

There are a several things that I'm extremely uncomfortable with and this is one of them. Me, sitting in the car while it fills up with awkward tension. I knew I shouldn't have eavesdropped and it just makes me all the more uncomfortable because I knew exactly why there's this tension. Sometimes ignorance is really bliss.

Mitchell comes out of the place and clings to me while he sobs and told me he hates his father. I can't really blame him but then Leslie pulls a rabbit out of her hat and tells Mitchell that his father really cared for him and still does but she was preventing him from seeing Mitchell. Now Mitchell is probably torn and confused about what really to believe in.

So here are, Mitchell is driving silently towards my house while sniffling. Leslie is in the backseat staring down at her hands which she placed between her lap. And I'm just staring blankly out the window. I mean what could I say? It would be too intrusive to say anything really about what's going on. I remember that I told my mom about me bringing guest over for dinner so I took out my cell. I opted to text instead of call since I didn't want to break the awkward silence.

'Invited Mitchell and his mom over for dinner tonight.'

'When?'

'On our way now.'

'Wish you let me know sooner.'

'Kinda a last minute thing'

'Okay. I'll fix up something quick.'

'Thanks. See you in a bit.'

Deciding to escape the awkwardness, I texted Nancy after.

'Hey.'

'So...did my plan worked? Or did it worked ;)'

'I would roll my eyes at you but I'm not there right now.'

'Well? Details!'

'Yeah, yeah. It worked. We're kinda couple now sorta.'

'Sorta?'

'Well things are a bit... awkward right now.'

'Awkward how?'

'Well... Let's just say its family issues'

'Oh...gotcha.'

'I'm in the car with Mitchell and his mom. It's really awkward.'

'I would say...'

'Well not that. Ugh damn it there's too much shit to be texting.'

'Then call me.'

'I can't exactly talk right now. I just said I'm in the car with Mitchell and his mom.'

'Ughhh I need details!'

'Nothing happened! We went to the beach.'

'Really? Nothing happened?'

'Yes!'

'I'm not a fucking four year old.'

I rolled my eyes. 'Fine. There was some touching. But that was it.' ... 'I'm very impressed from what I felt.'

I could totally sense the sly smirk that Nancy must have right now. 'Yeah well... if only he knew how to use it.'

'Oh I think he knows how. It just a matter of who to use it on ;)'

'And you're telling me he didn't use it on you?'

'Not yet.'

'Keyword sweetie: yet.'

Before I could respond the car came to a stop and I realized we were already at my house. I tucked my cell away and got out of the car. "Well... Here we are."

"Oh my. Your house is absolutely lovely!" Leslie remarked as she got out.

"Yeah... Well I couldn't say the same for the people who live in it though."

"I heard that Ezlor!" My mom shouted as the door opened. Jesus Christ does she have supersonic hearing or something?

"Let me introduce you. This is my mom, Eleanor. Mom this is Mitchell's mom, Leslie."

"Hi Leslie. It's so nice to finally meet you." I rolled my eyes. "Come in! The meatloaf's not quite ready yet but that'll give us time to chat." Oh god. She's making meatloaf again...

...

In we went as introductions are made to my dad who was sitting in the living reading the newspaper. The awkwardness had slowly dissipated as my parents were talking to Leslie while Mitchell sat idly by. I decided to go upstairs and motioned Mitchell to join me which he caught and followed me up. Before I even reach the top I could hear my mom yelling, "Dinner's in 10, so make it quick!"

"Mom, there's something called guests."

"I know sweetie. We wouldn't want to make them wait. That's just rude behavior."

And this is coming from her? I rolled my eyes as I continued on to my room.

I was quickly tackled onto the bed before I even got the chance to close the door. Mitchell was clinging tight to me. "Whoa slow down. My mom was kidding about that. We're not doing anything just so you know."

I felt his head shake between the crook of my neck. "Let's just stay like this. For a bit."

"Sure." I said as I gently patted his head. Silence overtook the room but instead of be awkward it was more of a qualm tranquil silence. I relaxed my body and began to reflect on all the events that had happened so far.

So technically, Mitchell and I are now what people would call an item. I mean I think we made our feelings pretty clear. It gets a little bit murky though on how far we want this item to be. Is this going to be some kind of dirty secret that Mitchell's going to lock up in his closet, or will he profess to the school that we're dating. I highly doubt the latter but at this point I won't push it. As unhappy as it would make me to hide our relationship, I still believe that Mitchell could use some coping time first. I didn't exactly transcend from clueless kid to hooray I'm gay in 24 hours. While I didn't have a clue about these things before, I'm pretty sure Mitchell has been struggling with his sexual orientation for a while. Mine kinda just bitch slap me so that was like a shock awakening.

Then there's the issue with his father. From the conversation I overheard his father turns out not to be such an asshole as I originally thought he was and Mitchell's mom is partially to blame for this rocky relationship between them. But where would he go from here. I mean it's going to be hard for Mitchell to accept his reality. It's like he grew up believing so strongly in one thing, and then it gets shattered in an instance. If your sole foundation gets destroyed, it's going to be hard to believe in anything anymore. I just hope that Mitchell's strong enough to pick up the pieces and remake his foundation.

In a way I'm a bit glad that his father didn't turn out to be a complete asshole. I'm sure once Mitchell gets over this, and he will, it would be beneficial for him to bond with his father who can help him get through all these confused feelings he has. I'm sure his father was in the same shoe as he is now and going through the same things. In any case this is not my business. I can only provide side support.

"Dinner time boys! Finish quickly and come down." My mom's voice brought me back to reality. Mitchell was still hugging me but not as tightly as before. His breathing has slowly relaxed as well.

"You wanna talk about it after dinner?" I asked as I rubbed his head.

"Maybe. Let's eat dinner first. I'm starving." He raised his head and gave me a quirk, slightly forced smile.

I smile back as I grabbed his hand and led him downstairs.

...

Dinner was surprisingly uneventful, which is my terms is a good thing. Perhaps it's because there was actually another adult around that my parents decided to behave like one. Most of the conversation revolved around Leslie getting to know my parents and likewise. Mitchell and I mainly ate in silence as we tuned in on the conversation.

"So this was a dramatic change all of a sudden. Are you two going out now or something?" My mom asked.

"Well..." I started to reply as I rubbed the back of my neck.

"Yes." Mitchell said firmly as he grabbed my hands.

"Well that's wonderful." My mom flashed him a smile. "But remember Mitchell. Flagpole." Mitchell's face blanched at the word and I couldn't help but snicker.

"Flagpole?" Leslie gave my mom a confused look.

"Oh nothing. Just a little reminder for Mitchell that's all." My mom answered as she blinked innocently with her eyes.

"Anyways. This has been quite a long day for all of us. You must be tired from work Leslie and Mitchell and I had an exciting day so how about we call this a night." I just wanted to defuse the situation before Leslie became more inquisitive. The less she knows about the true side of my parents, the better.

"Oh but we haven't even had dessert yet."

"Oh no Eleanor, I'm quite full. The meatloaf was delicious. Thank you for the meal, but Ezlor is right. It has been a long day for me and I'm quite tired." She gave my mom a weak look. Leslie does look extremely tired. I mean if those bags under her eyes were any indication...

My mom seems to get the hint too and decided to let it go. "Alright. Let me pack you some leftover for you to take to lunch tomorrow."

"Oh no it's quite alright."

"No, no. I insist." My mom quickly got up to pack some of the meatloaf before Leslie got a chance to refused. A few minutes later she returned with a small bag and gave it Leslie who accepted with a gracious smile.

We escorted them out towards the car and before Leslie got in my dad called out, "Think about the offer, okay?" Leslie smile and nodded before closing the door.

"Thanks Mr. and Mrs. Zane for the dinner. I'll call you later tonight Ez." Mitchell gave us a wave before getting in himself and driving off.

"Offer?" I asked my dad as we began filing back into the house.

"I asked her if she wanted to come work for my firm. We've been trying to find a receptionist and the pay is better than what she's making now. At least this way she won't overwork herself."

"Dad... That's great and everything but..."

"But...?"

"I hope you're not just offering her the job because of the situation she's in. I mean don't get me wrong. I think it's wonderful that you're trying to help her out and I'm all for it. It's just, I don't know. It feels wrong to give someone a job because of their situation rather than their skills."

"A little empathy now and again won't hurt. And besides, I know she can do the job just fine based on our conversation."

"If you say so..."

"Don't sweat it too much Ez. Look I wouldn't have offer her that position if I didn't think she was qualified for it. Trust me, I'm not a saint. I don't go around offering jobs to every hobo on the street."

"I suppose." Now I felt a bit guilty for bringing that up. I mean yes it is good that my dad offered her a job but I didn't want it to be some kind of pity offer.

My dad sighed. "Ez, I just told her to come in for a formal interview. That's all. I haven't extended the job to her yet. I'm not going to hire someone if I know they are not qualify for it."

"Yeah. Right. It's just I didn't want it to come off as you pitying her or something."

"Rather than pity, it's more the exact opposite. I find her quite admirable." He scoffed. "She's been through more stuff than both me and your mother and she came out strong. I mean imagine me or your mom trying to raise a drama queen like you by ourselves."

"I'm not a drama queen!"

"Whatever you say your royal highness."

...

Man it's been a really long day. From tussling on the beach, to meeting the parents, I'm really tired out. Speaking of which, it just hit me. We already met the parents. This is going a bit too fast isn't it? Don't normal relationship takes a while before the couple actually starts to meet each other parents, when the relationship gets more serious. We've what? Been established as a couple in less than 24 hours and already we met each other parents? This is not going as how I imagine a relationship to be going.

I mean where's all the puppy love and shit that I see on TV? Like going to the movies together and sharing a drink and popcorn. Or walking around a park holding hands. Or endless hours on the phone talking about sweet nothings. Maybe I've been reading too much cliché romance novel. I have the girls to blame and their unreasonable obsession for them. I swear if I have to sit through another Twilight movie...and just for the record I'm on team werewolf and vampire hunters. The girls didn't find that answer amusing since they are split between the two and I was the deciding factor.

Anyways, I always thought that relationship happens slowly as both parties slowly began to develop feelings for each other. In this case, it's more of these feelings enveloping us. Do I think that we're rushing things too fast? I'm not really sure. I've never been in a relationship before so I'm just happy to have someone to call my boyfriend. I mean it's not like first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in a baby carriage, but somehow it feels like that in a sense that things might be proceeding a lot faster than it should.

There's too many ambiguity going on that I still don't understand, so I'll simplify it by looking at what I do know. And what I know is that in this moment, it feels good being with him. There's a bubbly feeling inside of me whenever I see him and my heart began to pace dramatically. There's a long ache that I have whenever I don't see him and it quickly quells when he's near. Sounds like something right out of Twilight I suppose.

I was suddenly jerked away from my thoughts by a tapping at the window. I thought I imagined it but it came again so I got out of bed and peered outside. To my surprise I found Mitchell down in my backyard throwing pebbles up. I opened the window and do that thing where you try to whisper but in a loud voice so it's not really a whisper anymore.

"What are you doing? In my back yard? In the middle of the night?"

"You still owe me for another day."

"Are you crazy?"

"Only for you."

"Please do not tell me you've been reading Twilight."

"The fuck is that?"

"Forget it. Go home! It's almost 2!"

"Let me up!"

"Excuse me?"

"I wanna spend the night with you."

"Okay. Now I really know you're crazy."

"If you're not gonna let me in, I'm gonna come up there by force."

"What the he-" Before I could finished, Mitchell began to climb up onto the house using the gutter. "Wait, wait, wait. Stop. Stop. Stop! You're gonna collapse the thing."

"Aw, but I'm trying to be romantic."

"This isn't freaking Romeo and Juliet."

"Ah Romeo, where for art thou Romeo?"

"First. Get off the gutter. Second are you Juliet then? If so why are you down there when you should be up here."

"Exactly."

I sighed. "Just come out to the front. I'll unlock the front door." That apparently appeased him and he got off and headed out towards the front. I highly doubt he could've climbed up anyways using the gutter. Considering his size and weight, the gutter would've most likely collapsed and I don't want to explain that to my parents how that happen.

Sneakily, I slowly opened my door and headed downstairs, tip-toeing each step so that I won't make a lot of nose. Relief finally came over me when I've made it to the front and I didn't hear any noises coming from my parent's bedroom. Thank god they are still asleep.

I quickly unlocked the door and opened it. "You do realize what time is it?"

"Well... I was hoping to do something romantic like serenade you from below, but I figured since it's so late that wasn't such a good idea."

"It's not such a good idea to be creeping around my backyard at the dead of night!"

"Aw common now. You still owe me a day of being my slave."

"I think you're taking this a bit too seriously."

"Aren't you going to invite me in?"

"You're not seriously going to-"

"Promises are meant to be kept."

"How am I gonna explain to my parents in the morning-"

"I'll sneak out before then."

"You're insane."

"But you like me anyways."

I snarled at him, giving him the nastiest glare I could. "You're lucky you're hot." He grinned widely as he let himself him. "Move quietly. I don't want to wake up my parents."

We slowly crept up the stairs. My heart was pounding a mile a minute, partially because I don't know what would happen if my parents wake up and also the fact that I'm sneaking my boyfriend into my house at God knows what time in the middle of the night.

I swear the process must've taken an hour, or at least it felt like it until we finally reached my room. I quickly, but quietly, shut the door and was instantly tackled onto the bed.

"You know," I said as I landed on the mattress, "this seems so out of character for you."

"Mm. How so?"

"I didn't imagine you to be so..."

"So...?"

"Clingy, I supposed."

"Well, we're dating now aren't we?"

"Isn't this moving a bit too fast?"

"How so?"

"Well generally you first start by getting to know each other. Then maybe hold hands. If you're lucky you'll get to first base. But it looks like you hit a home run."

"What's wrong with getting to know each other, emotionally and physically."

"Hey, hey, hey. None of that tonight. Your hands will remain above the waistline at all times tonight."

"Aww common. You're no fun. It's hard to fall asleep when you got perma hard-on."

"Then you should be in your own bed!"

"Shhh. Not so loud. We wouldn't want to wake your parents."

Before I could respond, I heard some noises outside my door. I whispered quietly to Mitchell, "Let me off for a sec." He complied, although a bit reluctantly. I got off the bed and slowly tiptoed through to my door then suddenly opened it.

"Ah..." To my not so surprise, I found my mom was pasting her face against my door.

"Eavesdropping is a bad habit you know."

"Sneaking boys into your room in the middle of the night is a much worse habit."

"Ah, looks like the cat's out of the bag." Mitchell said from my bed.

"You!" I turned around and glared at him. "Alright, you caught me. You want me to send him home?"

"No that's alright. Just wanted to check up on you."

"When did you find out anyways."

"I'm a light sleeper. Besides, you can't hide anything from me."

I rolled my eyes. "Well, certainly not something as big as that anyways."

"In more ways than one!" Mitchell added. I swear if looks can kill... then Mitchell would be dead right about now from my glare.

"Well, don't want to disturb you two. Just wanted to remind you that all the essentials are in the top drawer." My mom grinned.

"Okay time out." I turn around to Mitchell. "You stay there." Then I went outside and shut the door behind me. "First off, shouldn't you be a bit concern that I'm sneaking a guy into my room at 2 AM in the morning for God knows what reason?"

"Well that's why I came and check up on you didn't I? To remind you to use cond-"

"I think you're missing the point here."

"Oh please Ezlor. We already had this discussion. Sex is not the issue here."

"I think it is a very big issue!"

My mom shrugged. "Only if you make it so."

"And secondly, why are you sneaking condoms and lube and God knows what else, actually scratch that, I don't think God would want to know, into my drawers?"

"Well better be prepared than sorry."

"I-I'm sorry. This is so hard to wrap my mind around."

"Around what?"

"Everything. Mitchell and all this. I mean this going pretty fast pace here. And you guys. Just accepting. I mean this has got to be the most unconventional way to develop my relationship."

"Conventional is boring."

"I mean shouldn't you be all the more concern, like those parents we see on T.V. who have strict curfews and won't let you date until you're married."

My mom sighed, "This really isn't the time to be having this kind of discussion but might as well get it out of the way. Not to sound sexist or anything but you're a boy. The worst that I can imagine happening between the two of you is you getting some kind of STD. I also know without a doubt you won't be getting anyone pregnant, ever. Of course I would be a lot more concern about this had it been some random boy I have never met before, but I have met Mitchell, and his mother and that's enough to assure me that everything will be okay. You know that we take a leisure pace when it comes to parenting. Stricter rules doesn't necessarily raise a good child. Life's too short to be bogged down by unnecessarily discipline. But if you really want a curfew I'm not against that idea."

"Uh, I'll pass." I sighed. "I don't know. This doesn't seem to be developing at all how I imagine it to be."

"How do you imagine it to be?"

"Well you know. More slowly. Start by getting to know each other, then going on dates, then after maybe a couple months we introduce each other to our families when things got serious. We're already meeting the families in less than a day of us deciding to date. I mean it's a bit unrealistic don't you think?"

"I suppose, but once again I think your drama queen is acting up and you're thinking about it too deeply."

"I'm not a drama queen."

"Like I said before, things don't always go as how you imagine it would be, or life wouldn't be fun. In your mind you have a concept that is influenced by the things you see in the media, but your idea of "realistic" would be much different if you were in a different culture. You know in some countries where arranged marriage is the norm, most people don't even get to see their to-be spouse until the day of. Don't you think that unrealistic? To marry someone you have never met before? But to them that's realistic. Like I said, normal is a relative term."

"I...guess?"

"Let me simplify it for you. Are you unhappy by the ways things have developed up to this point?"

"Not...really."

"Then what's the problem?"

It was so simple. The answer was right there. I really do spend too much time debating with myself rather than just seeing the answer that was right in front of me. It's true, from an outside perspective, people would probably say how unrealistic our relationship had developed. I mean can you imagine one day hating someone, who you probably would consider your arch nemesis, and then suddenly liking him? Misunderstanding or not, it's hard to overcome such obstacles when there's a lot of bitter resentment between both parties. But we did. Mitchell did.

He saved me even though he was threatened by my existence. I could've been extremely screwed had he not been that at that moment. He extended a helping hand. But he quickly pulled away when I try to reach out to grab it. This just makes me realize that it goes both ways. I have to extend my hand back as well.

So what if progress seems a bit too fast? It's not like there's a direct manual on how to develop a relationship (but I digress). Rather than tormenting myself with the if's and the maybe's, I should focus on the now and here. Now. Mitchell and I are dating. Here. He's in my room. The world doesn't know, well with the exception of my parents. What happens between us is just that. Between us. I shouldn't let other things influence my decision because I fear it's not going "normally" as how I picture it to be. That would make me a complete hypocrite to all the ideals I hold.

"You're right mom."

"Of course I am. I'm your mother after all. Now don't keep your man waiting."

"Really mom. This is like borderline child molestation."

"How rude!"

"Yeah, yeah. Well you don't have to worry cause nothing's gonna happen tonight."

"Pfft. Yeah, and I'm an alien from Mars."

"Honest!"

"Well something else was certainly honest when you went out to greet me." My mom eyed my crotch.

"You know, one of these days when child protective services shows up..."

My mom pretended to yawn. "Oh look at the time. It's so late. I really should get to bed. Good night Ezlie."

"You know I hate that name. Night mom." Well one down I suppose.

"Oh and one last thing. Just a quick tip. You might want to lock your doors from now on when you sneak your boyfriend in. You never know who could open it."

"We won't be doing anything that would warrant locking my doors!"

"Right, right, right. Just don't stay up too late." With that she finally went to her room. Seriously, between her and Nancy... those two will be the death of me.

...

"Man your mom. She's pretty..."

"Yeah I know. Were you eavesdropping on us?" I asked as I shut the door behind me...and locked it.

"Kinda hard not to. Your walls are paper thin." Somehow I highly doubt that. "Speaking of which, you definitely need to sound proof it."

"Why?"

"You know for when we do stuff."

"I will assure you that anything we do in this room will not require soundproofing."

"Oh? Didn't know you like other people to hear us."

"Because we're not doing anything like that!"

"At least something else was a little more honest."

"Stop it! First my mom, now you. It was just a normal bodily reaction. That's all."

"Sureeeeee."

"Urgh...Okay but really now. Why are you here?"

"I told you-"

"No I mean really. I find it hard to believe you came to see me in the middle of the night just cause you wanted to spend quality time together."

"Well... there is that." He held out his hands and I took it as if by instinct. He quickly pulled me into him onto the bed. "It's just..."

"Just...?"

"About my d-dad."

I knew this would eventually come up. "What about your dad?"

"It's like you think you know someone your whole life and then..."

"They weren't as you thought they were?"

"Yeah...exactly." Silence filled the room but strangely enough it didn't become awkward. It was just me lying against Mitchell as he cradled me. Only the sound of our soft breathing could be heard. "I don't know what to do Ez."

"What do you mean?"

"It's like, I still hate him but...my mom told me it wasn't his fault. I-I don't know. I'm just so fucking confused right now."

I thought about it for while. I'm not really good with this type of thing. I mean how could I give sound advice to someone who has parent troubles when both of mine are still together and both still love me. Then I remember my mom's advice and decided I shouldn't think too deeply on this. It didn't matter if Mitchell's parents were still together or divorce. The key here is that they still both love him, according to his mother anyways. His dad wanted to make amends. He want to talk to Mitchell. To see him.

"Maybe you should try to talk to your dad."

"But...I...I don't think I can. I still have a lot of hate for him."

"Well it seems to have been misplaced. I'm not saying you should instantly bond and become buddies, but I think taking baby steps to mend the bridge between you two will be a step forward don't you think?"

"Well..."

"Before you came over tonight I was thinking and it kinda relates to this. First is perception. Before we even started talking, I always thought you were a grade A asshole from the way you treated me." I felt Mitchell's body tightened. "Relax. I'm trying to illustrate a point here. Anyways that was before. I was bitter at you for bullying on me and you felt fear from my actions that might jeopardize your own position. So we had a pretty rocky start."

"I'll say."

"Point is, besides all that, when you saved me at that gay club, that changes everything. Despite butting head with each other constantly, you still reached out and helped me even though you could have left me in a dire situation."

"I don't see where you're going with this."

"Let me finish. So that changes my perception. You weren't a grade A asshole anymore and I decided to give you a chance. I mean I was conflicted at first too. I always thought of you as someone I hated, but then you did something that was a complete 360. But I shouldn't hold onto such notions. If I had I wouldn't have found out all these other things about you. Why you acted the way you did? That deep down you're a very loving person who really cares for his mom. That you like reading. That you're a bit possessive. What a big ass pervert you are and you let your dick do your thinking."

"Hey! I didn't see you complaining about it two days ago."

"Secondly, you extended your hand to help me out even though we were enemies, but when I try to reciprocate you backed away. I can still remember that night when you spouted that cheesy line, 'you deserve better'. I think you been reading too much romance novel."

"Pfft. I really don't see your point here, but I am liking the flattery."

"That's when I realized that even though you extended your hand to me, I didn't do the same for you. When you tried to pull away, I decided to extend my hand and grab onto yours. If I hadn't, I guess we wouldn't be here today. What I'm trying to say is that your dad is trying to extend his hand to reach out to you, but you can simply just stand still and reciprocate it. If I had just stand still, we wouldn't be together and you would still be afraid of getting outted. Your dad is putting an effort and showing in anyways he can that he cares for you. I think you should do the same and reach out to him as well. You'll then meet on a common ground. Get it?"

Hopefully I managed to get the message through to him but I'm somewhat doubtful since minutes have gone by and he was still silent. Suddenly I was crushed up against him. "C-Can't. Breathe." I started slapping his back for him to ease up.

"I'm so glad I met you."

"Where did this come from all of a sudden?"

"It's not all of a sudden. I definitely could see you take after your mom."

"Oh God. Please do not say that. You know how she is!"

"What I mean is, you're really smart."

"Well I am in 3 AP classes."

"Are you doing this on purpose or just being oblivious."

"Oh lighten up. I know what you mean."

"But, really," Mitchell slowly caressed my cheek. "I'm so glad I met you. I was confused about myself for so long. Hating my dad for who he was and when it turned out I could be just like him. It was just a fucking mess in my head.

"Then I had Nancy and I thought all this would go away once I get a girlfriend. I would feel different and this was all a side-effect from the trauma I had in the past. But it didn't go away. I couldn't feel the same way for her as I felt about you. So I just ended up hating myself. I felt guilty for lying to Nancy. Remember how I told you how everything just felt empty inside?"

"Yeah. I still remember."

"Well that's how I would describe it. It was like a deep void was building inside me. I was unhappy. Nothing brought me any type of emotion, not even playing football. But then I met you and everything didn't felt so voided. For the first time I felt something I hadn't felt in a long time. Relief. I wasn't the only one. My attraction towards other guys wasn't just something that is wrong with me. I'm not the only one with this kind of problem. But you were different from me. You took it head on. You realized who you were and you went forward with it without even looking back. You didn't doubt yourself."

"Well... that's not really the case."

"But you didn't deny who you were. You didn't try to convince yourself that it was just some kind of phase and try to move on from it by dating girls."

"Well, when it hit me it just hit me. I mean it just felt normal to me. I didn't really had a reason to doubt because I thought all along this was how it was suppose to be."

"Yeah. It's that kind of thinking that made you confident. I was thinking about reaching out to you but then the guys on the team starting talking and I was scared. If they found out about me would they still treat me the same? Then I got scared again. I wasn't so confident in myself. Hell I didn't even know for sure if I liked girls or guys."

"I think it's pretty normal at our age to be sexually confused."

"So yeah. I did those awful things because I was a coward. I can say that I'm sorry a million times it still won't erase what I did. But I promise you, I'll do everything now to show you I'm not that person you saw in the past. I won't ever be again."

"Mitchell...but..."

"Maybe not in great strides. I probably won't be proclaiming myself gay in front of the entire school any time soon. But I think baby steps will work."

"That's fine with me." I clasped his hands and it felt so warm against mine.

"I wish I had more confidence in myself to go to school and show everyone that you're my boyfriend, but I'm still afraid of what my teammates would say."

"It's okay Mitchell. I understand. Baby steps remember."

"Yeah. And I think the first thing I need to do is to talk to my dad again."

"I think that would be good."

"I-I just don't know what to say to him. I mean...it'll be hard."

"Just say what your comfortable with. Maybe talk to him a few minutes for a couple days per week. Nothing much. I mean we didn't exactly became this close overnight."

"Well..."

"Emotionally." I could hear Mitchell's snickering softly. "Don't get any funny ideas. I told you we're not doing that."

"Aw common. You're ruining the moment."

"You're the one ruining it!"

"Nothing says bonding than some physical contact."

I felt Mitchell's hand slowly slide over my thigh. "Hey! Hey! Hey! I said hands above the waist!"

"Oh, alright." Mitchell replied as he shifted his hand to slide over my chest down towards my stomach. It sent shivers through me. "You know...I don't want to rush or anything but...when are we gonna do it."

"Never."

"Seriously?" Even though it was dark, I could definitely tell that Mitchell had that sad puppy pouting look on his face.

"I don't know. It's just. I'm not ready for it yet." Mentally and physically. "Just...I want to take things slow."

Mitchell stopped rubbing my stomach and moved his hands to caressed my face. "We can go at any pace you like. The last thing I want is for you to get scared or feel pressured. I just want you to know that if at any time you don't want to do something, just say no, okay? I will stop. I swear I will stop. It's gonna be hard when we're like midway but I will stop!"

I couldn't helped by giggle. "Alright, I understand. But I wouldn't be that much of a douche to tell you to stop halfway."

"Good. Cause it'll be almost impossible for me." I blushed.

"But for tonight. Can we just...kiss and cuddle. Does that sound too girly?"

"Anything you want, as long as I can be near you."

"You're like an encyclopedia for cliché lines aren't you?"

"Oh common. What do you want me to say? It's the truth." Without letting me answered, Mitchell quickly pulled me in and locked his lips on mine. I'll be honest, Mitchell might spout all these cheesy lines, but inside my head I'm thinking the same thing. Each time his lips touched mine, it feel just like that night when we first kissed. My heart would pound furiously and the butterflies would spread throughout my body. There's a deep yearning in my gut that craves for more. I feel so light it's like I'm floating. And always, always my face would be flushed, numbed by my embarrassment.

We quietly kissed some more throughout that night. Some were deep kisses that lasted for longer than I could count before my mind short-circuited. Then light pecks on the cheeks and neck. Nibbling on my ear and rustling of my hair. Often Mitchell would bury his face between the nook of my neck and inhale deeply commenting on how I smell like a garden fresh after a rain. I didn't want to spoil it by saying it was just the shampoo I was using. We talked as we cuddled close, holding hands and eventually I drifted off to sleep.

All through that night Mitchell respected my wishes and never once touched me. In some aspects we might be taking it a bit fast, but right here and now, I really wanted to slam on the brakes and take it slow.

Sure some people would think how unconventional our relationship had developed, but hey I'm pretty sure some out there wouldn't even approve of such relationship, even go as far as damning it. But that's them. To me it feels right.