Momentos: Excerpt #2

July 17, 2011

This is a scene from Chapter 2. Mick and Paul are getting acquainted after meeting for the first time that morning. They’re in Paul’s bedroom. Mick is the speaker and he’s interviewing Paul for the school paper.

“Let’s change the subject,” I said, feeling sorry for him suddenly. I threw myself on Paul’s bed and crossed my arms underneath my head. “Are you a virgin?”

Paul’s eyebrows almost hit his hairline when he looked at me in shock. “It’s really none of your business.”

“I suppose not, but I’m being nosy again. I’m a technical virgin, if you want to know.”

“What the hell is that?”

I sat up, hugging the pillow to my chest. “I’ve done everything but fuck.”

“Why?”

“I haven’t found the right person.”

“I’m sure there must be a hundred cheerleaders waiting in line.”

“Who’s talking about girls?”

“What?”

“I’m gay,” I said easily. “Is that a problem?” Now would be the time to freak and throw me out.

“Why are you telling me?”

Although his voice was steady, Paul’s fair skin lent itself to blushing, and right now his cheeks were blood red. “Don’t sweat it,” I said, trying to put him at ease. He looked like he was about to faint. “I thought I should get the disclosure out of the way.”

“Okay,” Paul exhaled. “Is there something about me that gave you the wrong impression?”

Someone knocked on the door, rescuing me. I was never happier to see anyone in my life. I realized, way too late, that I should have kept my mouth shut. I’d made a friend in a brand new school and didn’t want to blow it before it even got off the ground. Paul seemed like a nice guy, and if he wasn’t into me, that was cool. I wouldn’t mind having him as a buddy.

The pizza smelled heavenly and I lunged, almost knocking it off the tray that the butler balanced precariously. I swiped a piece, grabbed a paper napkin, and took a huge bite. “Damn, that’s good,” I garbled through a mouthful of steaming hot, cheesy crust. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome,” Baxter replied stiffly. He probably wasn’t used to such enthusiasm over food. Part of it was my nerves. I was sure Paul would ask me to leave any minute now.

“Is there anything else you need, Paul?”

“No, we’re good.”

“Very well.”

“Why does he call you, Paul?” I asked, as soon as the door closed. “Shouldn’t he be saying your highness or some other crap, seeing as how he’s your butler?”

“Baxter’s been around since I was six years old. He’s practically my mother.”

“Mine’s much prettier,” I joked, “but he seems like a nice guy.”

“He is a nice guy. Way cooler than my dad and always there for me.”

“Then you’re lucky,” I said, wiping the grease off my hands and mouth. “Now, answer my question.”

“What question?” Paul evaded.

“Are you a virgin?”

“I …guess I am,” he stuttered.

“You guess?”

“I am.”

“How come?”

“What?”

“How come you haven’t slept with anyone yet? You’ve got it all, dude, the looks, the car, the money. I would think they’d be tripping all over themselves to climb into your bed.”

“I haven’t found the right person either.”

“Do you date?”

“Of course I date!” Paul huffed indignantly.

“What’s her name?”

“Who?”

“Earth to Paul…you sure are spacey.”

“Jesus, Mick. This was supposed to be a relaxed interview, not a fucking cross-examination. What are you, a cop?”

I busted out laughing. “I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

Now what are you talking about?” Paul asked.

“My dad’s a detective.”

“I thought he was a big pothead?”

“He was. Now he’s a cop who smokes pot recreationally like other men drink. He’s not a junkie, Paul.”

“We should be grateful,” Paul deadpanned.

“Are you always this serious?”

“No…but I’m not hyper like you.”

“Spontaneous is the word I like to use.”

“Whatever, man. I think I’ll have a slice of pizza before you demolish the entire thing,” Paul said, reaching for his share of the rapidly diminishing pie. His arm brushed against my chest and he pulled it back instantly. “Sorry about that.”

I looked into his eyes and could see the panic. Whatever was going on in his head was starting to show through his increasing sarcasm but I was determined to set him at ease. “Don’t worry, Paul, I’m not going to seduce you. Just because I’m gay doesn’t mean I’m a sex maniac. I can control my urges. And yeah, you’re hot and all, but I would never force you to do anything that goes against your nature.”

“Why are you so defensive?” Paul asked, and then blushed even more as he realized what I’d said. “I’m hot?”

“Yeah, you are,” I said softly, “but that’s neither here nor there. I’m tired of guys who feel like they have to wear a chastity belt around me when I announce I’m gay. If I were straight, you wouldn’t have thought twice about brushing up against my chest.”

“I’m sorry,” Paul apologized.

“Don’t you know anyone who’s gay?”

“No.”

“I can guarantee you I’m not the only one in our high school who’s into guys. The others just aren’t honest about it.”

“Do you have a boyfriend?” Paul asked, using the word tentatively.

“I’m working on it,” I smiled. “Are you offering?”

Paul shook his head vehemently.

“Too bad,” I said. “There’s something about you that I find very attractive.”

“Do you think I’m gay?”

“Are you?” I stood, stepping over the makeshift picnic on the floor, and walked toward Paul who’d also stood up but was backing away from me.

“Don’t come closer,” he warned.

“I’m not going to hurt you, Paul.”

“Am I radiating some kind of signal?”

“Should you be?” I was encouraged that Paul was talking, instead of pushing me away angrily. If he were straight, he would have hit me by now or thrown me out. I got closer, licking my lips and practically devouring him with my intense gaze. “Have you ever had fantasies about men?” I asked gently. “You can tell me, Paul.”

Paul stepped back and gasped when he hit the wall. His eyes rounded in surprise, and his cheeks were no longer red; they were pale and beads of sweat dotted his upper lip. I was sure he was going to faint, so I reached out and touched his arm lightly. “Forget about my question. It was out of line.”

“No,” Paul shook his head and took a huge breath. “The truth is,” he confessed, “I’ve had…thoughts.”

“Man on man thoughts?” I knew it!

“Stay away,” Paul begged, pushing lightly against my chest.

“Do I scare you?” I lowered my voice but never moved from my spot. I was close enough to smell his fear and see the veins pulsing at his temple as he clenched his jaw. I could have kissed him easily but I knew he’d bolt.

“A little,” Paul whispered.

“Is it me, or is it the entire concept of being gay that’s freaking you out?”

“Both,” Paul admitted, “I’ve never acted on my feelings.”

“There’s always a first time.”

“Wait,” Paul said as my face dipped toward his. He didn’t push me away though, he closed his eyes instead

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