"I really can't believe Dante is gay" Elsie said making small circles on my chest, "he and Smoker actually make a pretty cute couple."
"Yeah, cute" I glared up at Elsie's ceiling.
I don't know what possessed me to tell Elsie that Dante's gay and he's dating Smoker. Quite frankly it's none of her business, but I needed somebody to vent to.
"And it's really good that you two made up. You seem a lot happier than before."
"What's wrong baby?"
"I can tell when something's bothering you."
"He just spends every waking moment with Smoker instead with his best friend."
I gritted my teeth.
"It's fine that you're jealous, it's normal. I used to be jealous of Dante all the time. Before we started dating all you talked about was Dante, and all you wanted to do was be with Dante. There was never you and me."
"Now there's you and me" I rubbed her shoulder.
She smiled using my chest as a pillow. "Yeah, now there is, and I've never been happier."
"I need to be getting home, I have homework to do."
"Let's go out tomorrow, yeah?"
"Alright, it's a date."
I climbed out of Elsie's bed and dressed, I kissed her goodbye and drove home.
"Hey" Dante said when I walked through the front door.
"Hey" I opened the fridge looking for food to eat.
"Where've you been?"
"Elsie's." I glanced at Dante, his face had darkened as he stared down at his homework.
"What about you?"
"Just been hanging out here all day."
"Really? I thought you would be hanging out with Smoker, since that's all you do."
Dante frowned at me. "What are you trying to imply?"
"Nothing" I made myself a sandwich and sat beside Dante.
The two of us were silent for awhile.
"How's Elsie?" Dante asked.
"She's fine, she says you and Smoker make a cute couple."
Dante's eyes widened. "You told her I was gay?!"
"You never told me I couldn't tell her."
Dante let out a sigh. "Well, tell her I said thanks, I guess."
"Or you can tell her yourself. There's no reason to stop being her friend now that you have Smoker, right?
Dante shook his head. "She still gets to have you."
I don't want to talk about me and Elsie right now. "Smoker still hates me, right?"
"Yeah, a little bit. They all do."
"That's too bad, I really liked Seth too. And explains why Tyler doesn't talk to me anymore. Oh well."
Dante nodded tapping his pencil against his textbook.
"Have you and Smoker, you know, done it?"
Dante shook his head. "I want to take things slow, I need to sort out my feelings before we do anything."
"So wait, you don't like him in that way?"
"No I do, but it's a little confusing for me. I like him, but I want you more."
"That's kind of how I feel between you and Elsie."
Dante put down his pencil. "You know, of all my years of knowing you, you have no idea how long I have waited to hear you say you loved me back. But this wasn't how I imagined it. I didn't imagine things to be all complicated, I didn't imagine me being in a relationship with somebody else. And I imagined you breaking up with Elsie to be with me. Knowing that you love me back makes me really happy, but I know I truly can't be happy with you."
I'm a jerk, I know that. I wouldn't break up with Elsie to be with Dante. I don't want to be seen with him in that way and I love Elsie too much to break her heart. So I break Dante's heart instead, having him watch me be happy with my girlfriend, making him wish that was him instead of Elsie. I'm a jerk.
I leaned over and kissed Dante. Dante moved away but I followed him, keeping our lips pressed together. This is as much as I can do for Dante. I can show him how I feel, but only behind closed doors. But it isn't enough for him, or for me. But this is all I can do.
"I want you" I whispered on his lips.
Dante pulled away. "We can't. We're not supposed to be doing this."
"No we're not, but we're doing it because we want to." I slid off my chair and walked over to my best friend and stood between his legs. "And I want you" I held the back of his neck bringing our faces closer.
Dante pushed away and stood. "You're not helping matters! You're making everything harder than it needs to be!"
"I know what I'm doing, but I can't help it! I've never felt so jealous and angry in my life. I love you and I want you for myself. And knowing that I can't have you makes me do these things. I'm sorry, but I just…can't."
"I know" Dante's hand caressed my cheek, "I know it's hard, it's hard for the both of us, and it's okay. We're going to slip up once or twice, but we need to stop when things go too far."
Dante kissed my forehead and took my hand. I reached up kissing him, and Dante didn't fight back. We just stood there, kissing each other, my arm wrapped around his neck, his hand on my hip. It was nice, and I wanted to stay embraced like this forever. But Dante broke the kiss and sat back down to finish his homework and I finished my sandwich. We pretended that we didn't just make out a few seconds ago, something we've learned to do so well. We talked about our weekend plans then talked about nothing in particular. Then Dante went into his room and I went into mine.
It's cool that we pretend nothing is wrong between us even though there's something very wrong. But despite what my parents and Elsie have been telling me talking doesn't solve everything. Not this.
The next day I went out with Elsie as planned, but truthfully I didn't want to. I wanted to go home and hang out with Dante.
"I bought my ticket to the fall dance" said Elsie, "did you get yours yet?"
"No, not yet."
"You better hurry before prices go up. Oh, also the Senior Dinner Dance is coming up. We're going right?"
"Yeah, wouldn't miss it."
"You think we can visit a few dress stores?"
One thing I hate most about dances is having to be dragged along with Elsie to look at dresses. She takes hours! She knows I hate doing this, but she also knows I will suck it up just for her.
"You have a ton of pretty dresses at home" I said, "from the last dances we went to."
"Toby, I can't wear the same dress to all the dances, are you stupid?"
I rolled my eyes. "I apologize for my stupidity."
"Let's go in this one!" She dragged me into a store and I sat myself down as she tried on numerous dresses. She would ask me how she looked in them, and I'll answer honestly that she looked great in it. But apparently my opinion does not matter because she thinks she looks awful in it and goes tries on another one. I wish girls came with a guide book so us guys can understand them a bit better.
Elsie and I went to store to store trying to find the perfect dress. I was starting to get antsy and hungry but Elsie said we needed to go to one more store and then we'll call it a day. We were there for three hours until she finally settled on a sparkling pink mini dress. Fiiinallyyyy! Now she needed to find shoes and I said I needed to get home. I wasn't about to go on another scavenger hunt for shoes. I'm done for the day. I dropped Elsie off at her place and I went home.
"What's up with you?" DJ asked when I arrived home, "you look like you had the life sucked out of you."
"Oh my God you're so lucky you're gay!" I shook his shoulders, "you would never understand the pain I have to go through every year! Girls take decades to pick out one stupid dress!"
"Why not just use the same dress they wore before?"
"According to girl code you can't wear the same dress twice. Which makes no sense to me. Why can't they rent a dress like guys rent a tux? Wouldn't that be easier? That way they won't spend money on a dress they'll never wear again."
"Girls are confusing, that's why I never dated one."
"Is Dante home?"
"Yeah, he's in his room with his friends."
Darn, his friends are here. That means I can't get near him without getting hate glares. Which means I'm stuck in my room until they leave.
"That sucks" I mumbled, I sat at the island and started on my homework.
"Maybe you should talk to his friends" DJ said.
"You know, you're sounding an awful lot like Elsie right now. She thinks talking will solve the world's problems."
"It solved yours and Dante's problems, did it not?"
"Well this is different DJ. It is in the friend rule book to hate the person who hurt your friend. So even if Dante and I made up there's no way in hell his friends will ever forgive me."
"Adrian seems fine with you."
"He's Dante's boyfriend, he's supposed to like me, but everybody knows he doesn't. He hates me because I called Dante a you-know-what, and I had sex with his boyfriend, and his boyfriend is still in love with me while he's with him. Smoker hates me, and I don't blame him."
"Then you should—"
"Do not tell me to talk to him" I interrupted, "because what's going to come out of my mouth is the honest truth. The truth that I'm in love with Dante and I want to be with him. And no guy wants to hear that you're attracted to their boyfriend or girlfriend."
"I'm just surprised you're willing to tell the truth instead of lie."
"Well I'm not going to talk to Smoker, so there will be no truth telling."
DJ patted my shoulder. "I'm going to head down to the bar for a few hours, don't throw any wild parties."
DJ left and I kinda wished he stayed long enough to help quiz me for my up and coming math test. I already know I'm going to fail.
Dante's door opened and his friends came pouring out of his room.
"Dante! Feed us!" Alora hung on Dante's arm, Tyler, Smoker, and Seth were already looking through the refrigerator and the cabinets.
I kept my head down hoping they wouldn't notice me. But why would I ever get what I want?
"Hey Toby" Dante sat beside me, "where were you?"
"Shopping for dresses with Elsie, I can't believe I made it out alive."
"I think you're exaggerating."
"Really? Do you want to switch places and go shoe shopping with Elsie tomorrow?"
Dante shook his head. "I'm good."
"That's what I thought."
"I'm guessing this is for the dance next week."
"Yeah, I still need to get my ticket."
"So do I. Are you going to the Senior Dinner Dance?"
"It's on a freaking yacht, of course I'm going. Are you?"
"I'm thinking about it. I hate dances, but this involves food and I do enjoy food."
"A friend of mine who graduated last year said the food is really good."
"Then maybe I might go."
"Speaking of going" Seth said wrapping an arm round Dante's shoulder, "let's go out to eat, you don't have anything good."
"Yeah sure, you want to come along?"
"Um, no I'm fine."
"Are you sure? I'll pay for you."
"No, it's cool."
Dante pressed a hand to my forehead. "Are you okay? The Toby I know wouldn't pass up free food."
I removed his hand from my face but didn't let go of his hand. "I'm just not in the mood to go out again. But I'm not passing up on free food, you should bring me back something."
"What do you want?"
"Alright" Dante stood his hand slipping out of mine, "I'll bring back whatever."
I watched as Dante and his friends left before I went back to doing my homework. I finished it within the hour and flipped through the channels on the TV. I grew bored and watched videos on YouTube, I grew bored of that and took a nap on the floor. The carpet is so comfortable, I might make the living my room my new room.
"Toby wake up."
"I'm going to tickle you if you don't get up."
"Five more minutes" but I held my sides so there will be no tickling.
"I got you a burger, I'm going to eat it if you're not going to."
I sighed sitting up and looked at the bag dangling in my face. "You didn't spit in it did you?"
Dante frowned. "Fine, I'll eat it."
"No! I was kidding!" I took the bag and opened it, "thanks Dante, you are about to satisfy my hunger."
Dante sat beside me. "Why were you sleeping on the floor?"
"Because it's comfy" I bit into my burger, "where're the others?"
"They went home."
"Do they know you're dating Smoker?"
Dante laid down and shrugged. "Dunno."
He doesn't know? As in he didn't tell them? Alright then.
"Well I've been bored, you must entertain me."
I sighed a little annoyed. "Sure, I guess."
We went into Dante's room and played some scary shit that had a crap ton of jump scares. But Dante and I live for horror and we don't get scared easily. And I have to admit, this game was pretty scary.
You know what sucks? Having to sit this close to Dante and not being able to kiss or touch him. His shoulder brushing against mine and his knee touching mine. I wonder if Dante was feeling the same way. I wonder how long I can keep holding myself back before I lose control of myself.