I was bundled up in a sweater, a hoodie, a pea coat, a scarf, two pairs of gloves, two pairs of socks, boots, and jeans. I looked like I was about to head off into the arctic for two months doing research instead of going on my first date with Roz. And believe it or not, it wasn't even my mom who was making me dress this way, it was Roz.

"Roz," I say, though my voice comes out muffled because of the scarf wrapped around my mouth. I push it down some. "Roz."

Roz is puttering around my room, a ball of nervous energy as he makes small comments to himself, checking his pockets for his wallet and money and just generally being concerned about making this date the best it can be. I mean, to me, it doesn't matter where we go, really. I'd go just about anywhere if it's with Roz. He's nice to me, not like my last boyfriend, and we were friends first so he knows me a lot better. Actually, he knows me better than I know myself sometimes. Even when I want to do something I know I shouldn't, Roz is always there to help me out of everything. I think he may have been a saint in a past life. He's more than any guy could ask for.

Plus he's fucking cute.

I sit down on my bed, smirking as he trips over a wire to the PS3 that I forgot to push behind the TV. He's been working himself up into a tizzy before he even got here, I could tell when he showed up with his blond hair so flat that it didn't even appear to have the normal volume that it usually does. And Roz has curly hair that's normally flopping all over the place. When I saw what he'd done I almost laughed myself into a coma. It was so cute.

So, so cute.

I laugh into my gloved hand. "Roz, hey, buddy. Calm down."

He waves me off. "I am calm."

"You're really not."

"I really am. I listened to Sounds of the Forest before I came over."

That was another thing about Roz that I found out I loved beyond everything. He listens to Zen, yoga tapes and forest sounds and thunderstorms. He downloaded them onto his iPod. I think he got into the whole centering with oneself thing over the summer before junior year. He went to a retreat with his mom and older sister and ended up loving every second of it. I guess it's nice to have something that you do. Like, a thing that's just for you. I guess my thing would have to be the PS3. Videogames. Zelda and shit like that. I was a little reluctant at first to tell Roz about my gaming obsession because I was embarrassed about it and no one knows about it except me and my older brother. But Roz was incredibly understanding and he only made fun of me once. I thought that was very upstanding of him.

"Where are we going exactly?" I ask, pulling at the mittens on my hands. "And why am I dressed like this?"

"We're going ice skating," he answers, sounding harassed. "It's cold out, middle of December, Aaron. You're supposed to be dressed like this."

I pull my collar away from my neck with a grimace. "Yeah, but, can I wear a little less? I'm dying."


"Come on, just let me take off the extra gloves and the hoodie."

"Absolutely not."


Roz sighs deeply, a crease appearing between his eyebrows. "I forgot my ice skates."

"You can rent a pair." I say, watching him covertly while I slide off the mittens, going for the buttons on the coat next. I get the coat half way off before Roz turns on me, face creased with worry.

"Yeah," he whines. "But I wanted to wear my own skates."

I slip out of my hoodie and quickly replace the coat so he doesn't see, pushing the hoodie beneath the covers on my bed. "You can borrow mine and I'll rent a pair."

"No. I'm taking you out, Aaron." He bites his lip, looking indecisive. "No, you keep yours. I'll rent a pair. Let's go."

I follow Roz until we're downstairs, out the door, and headed into the car. Roz drives us everywhere, even if we're not going on a date, because I don't have a driver's license. Everyone thinks I'm being ridiculous and lazy for not getting one. My older brother, Brody, said that you can't go anywhere without a car and without a license a car is moot. Whatever. I take the bus everywhere or I get a ride from one of my friends. It's not an unhappy existence.

Roz gets us to the rink in record time, not that it's very far. I wait for Roz by the ice rink, kicking my skates into the plush, black stuff that they line the outside of the rink with to make it easier to walk around. When Roz finally comes out with his skates in hand, I grin up at him. I love his reactions when I smile. He gets flustered and confused, starts babbling about absolutely nothing and won't look me in the eye for a long time. Normally he's good with eye contact and telling me what to do, but when I get to him like that he gets a little distracted. I don't mind it at all, either. Makes me feel good.

After Roz gets his skates on we're out onto the rink. I have no sense of stability when it comes to ice skating, no matter how many years I've been going. And despite the fact that my brother plays hockey and has tried to teach me on numerous occasions, I just can't do it. I'm starting to believe that's why Roz chose this as our first date in the first place. Because he knows I don't know what the fuck I'm doing and he can be there to save the day when I fall flat on my ass. I think he's got some sort of hero complex.

Whatever. I use it to my advantage anyway. I grab onto Roz's arm, pulling him closer than need be. He's flushed but doesn't seem to mind. We skate around the rink a few times, not exchanging any words, just enjoying each other's company when Roz breaks the silence.

"Uh," he mutters, face red. "Aaron?"

"Yeah?" I say, a little dazed from being so close. He smells so good, too. Like winter and cookies.

He clears his throat. "I like you."

"Good to know," I respond, nudging him and throwing us slightly off balance.

Roz purses his lips. "I mean, I really like you. And…"

"And…?" I prompt.

He's squirming. God, he's really squirming.

I love it.

I could eat him with a spoon.

I'd have him right here on the fucking ice if I knew the coldness wouldn't kill my boner.

I should shove him against the side of the rink and suck his tongue into my mouth.

I should put my hands in his pants—

"And I want you to be my boyfriend."


"What?" I ask, stopping completely. We're off to the side so no one really cares. But I blink up at him because he's a little bit taller than I am, but not by much. He must've said something embarrassing if he's blushing so much. Or maybe he's cold. Nah, I know Roz well enough. He said something creepy.

Roz avoids looking me directly in the eyes and that makes me a little irritated because I like his eyes. They're green and brown. Like mint chocolate chip ice cream. Not that I like that kind but I like ice cream and that's the point. I clear my throat so he'll look my way. He does and I feel the irritation ebb away.

"What'd you say?" I ask, grabbing his hand into my own.

His hands tightens on mine before he answers. "I said that I want you to be my boyfriend."

My eyes widen, my grin stretching across my face. I must look a sight with that combination but I don't even care. I mean, I considered us boyfriends already but I love that he asked directly. He wants to make us all official and shit. Fucking cute.

"That's a given, Roz." I say.

His returning grin might be even bigger than my own. I move in quickly to press my lips against his. They're dry from being out in the cold and I don't even care. When I pull back that blush has spread over his cheeks again.

"That's our first kiss, Roz." I say mildly. "And I had to make the first move. I thought you were a man."

"Shut up," he says good naturedly, still smiling. "And what are you? A girl?"

I sneer. "Hey, I'm getting a haircut next weekend. Don't be a dick."

Roz weaves his hand up in my hair, grabbing it and giving it a light tug until my head is tilted back. His face looms over my own, his lips hovering over mine. I can feel his breath puff out when he says, "Good." And drops a deeper, tastier kiss than the first on me. He pulls away, smirking at my dazed expression. "I was wondering when you were gonna do something about that mess."

"Suck it…" I mumble.

He grabs my hand, pulling me back out onto the ice. "So, first date a success?" he asks. He tries to make it sound playful but I can sense the slight unease under the joke of it. He's been nervous the entire time, especially when he asked me out last week. God that was hilarious. We were at school, out in the front of the school waiting for the Centro, when he got all flustered and fidgety. He couldn't finish his question, and though I knew what he was saying I didn't bother helping him out. I don't know, I like when he looks all fucked over. Makes me horny.

I shrug. "I dunno," I watch our feet glide across the ice. "Depends if you're gonna buy me a cinnamon-sugar donut after this."

Roz laughs. "Yeah, I think I can handle that."

"In that case," I peck him on the cheek. "Well done, Mr. Harper."