"Yes!" AJ turned to me, smiling brightly. "It'll be a blast!"
"Well…" I rubbed my hands on my legs nervously beneath the table, looking away. "I don't know if I'll be able to get through my parents."
My blue-haired friend raised an eyebrow at me and crossed his arms.
"It never stopped you before."
"I- I know but…"
"I know what it is."
I suddenly became rigid all over.
"Y- You do?'
"Yep," AJ leaned forward, smiling slyly. "You're already going with someone, aren't you?"
My face burned red and I closed my eyes, exhaling slowly.
"HA!" AJ jumped up, pointing to me. "I KNEW IT!"
The people around us in the cafeteria turned to stare at AJ and I jumped up, dragging him out into the halls of the school.
"Shut up," I hissed, smacking him in the head.
"Is it that Talen guy?" He asked, apparently unfazed by my attempt at inflicting pain upon him.
"Y- Yeah," I whispered, looking down as my face heated up with embarrassment. "He's picking me up today."
"Does he even know you like him?"
My eyes lowered and I bit my lip.
"I wonder if your parents would ever accept him if he were to… you know… become a, heh, 'more involved friend.'"
A soft blush covered my cheeks and I crossed my arms with irritation.
"Well let's see. He's an adult, 6 years older than me in fact, who dresses like a total badass, has tattoos, and smokes. Yep. They'll totally approve."
"Lovin' that sarcasm, Gage," AJ smirked, punching my arm playfully.
I smiled and stared at him for a moment, an idea running through my head.
"What if… what if you go with us?"
"What? And be a third wheel? I don't think so."
"No, Talen said something about taking his brother with us so it's cool."
The blue-haired teen stared at me and then after a moment, shrugged.
"Fine," He mumbled, looking away.
"Hooray," I whispered, smiling and gently pumping my fist into the air in celebration of my small victory.
After school, I walked out into the bus loop, the sun's blistering rays making sweat form on my forehead as I walked against the heavy traffic of students towards the parking lot. I pulled off my dense sweatshirt and stepped onto the sidewalk, and started trekking away from the school. A loud car horn brought me to a stop and I spun around to see an older, red mustang pulling up next to me. I squinted through the open window at the hazel-eyed man in the driver's seat.
"Hey Rich Boy!" A giddy Talen yelled from the car, grinning widely. "Get your skinny ass in here. We're getting us some ice cream!"
I laughed and jumped into the car without any hesitation, giving my new friend a sideways glance as he watched me fumble with the seat belt.
"Hey," I greeted him, my face bright with joy.
"How's it going?"
I shrugged and threw my bag into the backseat.
"Good, I guess. It was a long day."
"Have you ever had a day that felt short when school was involved?"
"That's true," I chuckled, thoughtfully running a hand through my dark hair as Talen started driving into the city. I gazed at him with sudden curiosity and lowered my hand. "Did you go to college or anything?"
The black-haired man made me jump when he burst out laughing.
"I didn't even finish high school," He answered, wiping his eyes as he drove.
"W- Why?" I stuttered, turning toward him, intrigued.
"I was failing practically all my classes, except gym. If I was gonna fail, there was no point in even going, so I dropped out."
"You're parents didn't mind? You didn't get in trouble for it?"
"My parents?" Talen chuckled dryly, shaking his head. "Well, maybe its best you know."
I tilted my head in confusion as Talen gripped the steering wheel with both hands, so tight his knuckles turned white. I could tell that this story was not going to be pleasant.
"Hey," I whispered, putting a comforting hand on his tense arm. He flinched. "You don't have to tell me until you're ready."
"That's the thing. I don't know if I'll ever be ready."
"It's cool, Talen."
I felt his muscles relax as he let out a relieved sigh.
"Thanks, man," He said with a slightly crooked smile. "It's not the most enjoyable story in the world."
After a few minutes of talking and laughing, we slowed to a stop in front of the music store. I got out of the car and walked toward the doors. Before I could open them, a hand grabbed my arm and began dragging me down the sidewalk.
"T- Talen! Where are we going?"
"Candyland!" He said, annoyingly optimistic, "I said we were getting ice cream," Talen grinned. "I stay true to my word."
The persistent man released me and slowed his pace so I could catch up to him. As I walked next to Talen, I couldn't keep my eyes off his hand as it swung slightly with his stride. My fingers fidgeted impatiently by my sides, wanting so badly to feel his strong hand intertwined with mine. As Talen glimpsed over at me, I quickly averted my eyes, my cheeks burning.
"You're hilarious," He smirked, slowing his stride.
I gasped in shock as Talen chuckled and slowly slid his hand around mine, interlocking our fingers. My cheeks burned and a weird squeal escaped my throat. I coughed to hide it and looked away, my heart beating hard in my chest.
"Look!" Talen pointed toward the park where an ice cream stand was waiting and smiled at me, bouncing slightly on the balls of his feet. "Ice cream!"
He's like a little kid sometimes, I laughed to myself as I saw how eager he was. It's somehow, extremely attractive.
His grip on my hand tightened as he dragged me to the stand to wait in line.
Talen ordered two fudge bars and then handed me one, his already unwrapped and stuffed nice and safe inside his mouth.
"You're ridiculous," I laughed, taking a bite of the cold ice cream.
"Ahm Hungwy," His words were muffled as he shifted the ice cream in his mouth, some of it dripping down his chin and making me burst out laughing.
"You're making such a mess," I snorted, trying to hand him some napkins to wipe his mouth.
"You should give me a big hug," He chuckled as he pulled the melting Popsicle out of his mouth.
"With chocolate all over you? I don't think so."
"Come on! Give Talen some lovin'!"
Talen opened his arms wide and teetered over to me as I lifted my arms up to shield myself from his dripping chin.
"Agh! Get away!"
"RAAHHH!" He wrapped his arms around me tightly as I felt like I was going to double over with laughter.
"Dude, let me go!"
Talen snickered and finally released me and then I looked down, realizing he had squished my fudge bar between us, getting it all over our shirts.
"Oh, man!" I shouted, trying to scrub my shirt with napkins but only spreading the chocolate. "My mom's gonna kill me!"
Talen and I looked at each other and then erupted with laughter all over again, my stomach getting a work out.
"Let's go," My chocolate-covered friend answered, trying to hold back tears left over from our laughing fit. "Being seen in public like this will ruin my reputation."
"It was your faut!"
Talen smiled crookedly, and flicked my nose.
"Sh," He whispered and suddenly picked me up, throwing me over his shoulder.
"What the hell! TALEN!"
He walked all the way back to the car with me on his back, my arms flailing and my mouth spitting out curse words.
Talen gasped as he heard me and tightened his grip on my legs.
"Gage!" He yelled, dramatically. "There are children here! Don't say such words in front of them!"
"Shut the hell up and put me down!"
Smirking he sat me down in the passenger's seat of the car and looked at me with half-slit eyes. I stared back at him, my eyes wide and my breathing irregular.
"You totally liked it."
I flung my hand out to smack him playfully but he moved back and shut the door before I could come in contact with his face.
I crossed my arms and mumbled angrily to myself.
When Talen stopped a block away from my house, I stayed where I was staring out the car's window. I didn't want to go home yet. I was having such a great time with him and I didn't want this day to end.
"So this weekend," Talen said, making me turn my attention toward him. "Can I take you to the carnival with me?"
"Yeah, and by the way, you said something about your brother, um, Cain, going with us?"
"Oh, yeah, what about it?"
"To make it even, do you mind if AJ goes too?"
"That blue-haired kid that was with you when we met?"
"Yeah, sure. Then Cain will have someone to talk to."
I smiled and gave him a small nod.
"Alright then I'll see you this weekend."
I got out of the car and gave him a small wave as he drove off.
Walking into the house, I threw my bag onto the ground and climbed up the stairs. Good. My parents were still at work so I had some peace and quiet for about another hour. My room was pitch-black as I entered it. I hadn't realized I had spent practically all afternoon with Talen. It felt like such a short time. A small light flickered and my phone vibrated in my hand. I lifted it up to see a message staring back at me.
Rich boy! What's up?
Layin' on my bed. You?
Same here. Man, it's like we're connected.
I want to sleep but I can't stop thinking about something.
And what is that something?
How amazing it's gonna be when I take a bite of that big ass piece of fried dough at the carnival this weekend. I'm pretty excited.
Today was fun! XD
Yeah but thanks to you, I have to try to get these stains out of my shirt!
Ah, get over it. You know you loved it.
You see? I just knew it!
God damn it. Talen >C
Hey I didn't type it ;] You made that mistake yourself.
Whatever. I'm going to bed.
Night, my na´ve friend!
That small, slim chance of being with Talen slowly grew larger by the minute. Maybe Talen did like me more than a friend. Maybe actually being with him could work out after all. I couldn't tell him until I knew that he liked me for sure. I didn't want to creep him out or drive him away so I'd have to keep my crush a secret just for a little while longer. I hoped it wouldn't be too much longer though, because I've been known to grow impatient.