Around the Town








He'd been wandering around for hours. The small digital chime on his watch let him know it was one in the morning.  He just couldn't get things out of his head.  What the hell had she been thinking, and worse yet, why had he reacted like he had.  He didn't really feel that way… did he?  He'd always wanted one thing.  Well, he thought he did.  But really, when had he actually pursued it? Suddenly a car was beside him.


"Tom?  What are you doing out roaming the streets at this hour?"  Tom just shook his head dumbly.  "Come on get in, I'll give you a lift home." 


Tom climbed in the passenger seat and slowly breathed in the scents that emanated from the car around him; exhaust fumes, the cologne of his new chauffer, and old pizza surrounded him.   Instead of being nauseating it was strangely comforting.  They drove in silence for several moments, finally the driver spoke.


"Look, you don't seem to want to go home, and I've been on my feet all night.  Do you mind if we just drive around a while; maybe unwind a little?


"Sure, that's cool."


"So, are you going to tell me?"


"Tell you what?" Tom asked.


"Why you’re walking around looking like the world’s been pulled out from under you?  Why you’re pale, and why you look like you'd rather jump out of the car while it’s moving than answer me?


Tom realized he had been tensing up and forced himself to relax.  "I had a bad night."


"Oh?  What happened?"


"Well for starters, I walked in on my sister and some guy earlier." 


"Yeah, and?  What does it matter to you what, or should I say who she does?  You don't have some weird fetish or something, do you?"


Tom actually shuddered at that one "God no!  It's just she's my little sister, she's NOT supposed to be doing stuff like that."  Tom stopped for a moment then continued speaking much softer this time.  "Especially, not before I do."


Tom looked out at the night, cheeks growing warm after admitting his inexperience.  He watched the phosphorous green zips of light of fireflies as they drove along overgrown lots and further out of town, and finally took a deep breath and continued.  "Don't get me wrong, I've made it to a couple bases, and it was fun, I came close once, but she wasn't ready.  You know, I was ok with that.  I told myself it was no big deal.  Hell, not everyone was having sex.  Elsie wasn't having sex.  Then I walk innocently down the hall and WHAM!  There she is with this guy." 


"They're both half naked.  These short robes my mom keeps for guests, wrapped around each of them, and it was like I just knew.  Elsie had done it.  She'd had sex and I hadn't and I was just a total loser.  Then, I don't know."  He trailed off.  This was where things had gotten very confusing, and he damned sure wasn't about to blurt it out.  He probably already sounded nuts. 


"So what did you do?"


Tom's red cheeks got several shades darker as he remembered his reaction.  "I grabbed him and drug him down the hall.  I think Elsie was kind of shocked.  I guess you know I'm not really the physical type.  She stood there stunned for a minute, and before she got moving I'd pulled him into my dad's study and locked the door.  I sort of slammed him into the wall and asked him what the hell he thought he was doing."


"No way."


"Yeah, I mean I can't believe I did it.  He’s sort not the physical type either, really; scrawny arms, not real tall, and I just slammed him against the wall, knocked a couple of dad’s prints off the wall.”


I was right in his face.  I don’t even remember all the shit I said really.  The weird thing; He took it.  Every bit of anger and resentment I spewed over this scrawny guy and he took it.  Then when I stopped yelling he just looked at me, and said 'I think I love her.'  Can you believe that?  I'm beating the crap out of him and this guy just calmly looks at me and tells me he loves her.  Talk about guts.”


"So what happened?"


"I don't know.  I flipped out.  I did something stupid, and I just ran.  Look can we drop this, its over and that's that."


"You didn't do anything to him did you?"


"Yes, no, I don't know.  Look I just want to forget tonight ever happened, can we do that?"


"What did you do, Tom?"


"Nothing" Tom replied, his voice trembling, hands covering his face.


"Tell me.  What happened, Tom?  Look, I promise it'll be ok.  Just tell me what you did."


Tom finally looked up, eyes red.  Tears streamed down his cheeks.  "You got to promise you won't tell anyone, it was just a mistake.  I wasn't thinking; I just did it."


"I promise.” They pulled off the road and the car engine shut off. Without uttering a word they both stepped out of the car and into the warm summer air. 


They walked a little ways, while tom pulled himself together, and then sat on a rock overlooking a small stream.  The moonlight slipped in and out behind fast moving clouds.  Tom stared at the water, finally his companion spoke.


"Tell me."


"It was a mistake.  It doesn't matter."


"Tell me."


"Why do you care?  It doesn't mean anything.  Just drop it."


"I'm here, you’re not going to push me away, now just tell me what happened."


"I kissed him, alright?  I kissed Upchuck.  I don't know why or what the hell I was thinking, and he sure as hell didn't kiss me back.  It was temporary insanity, or stress, or something."


"Did you like it?"




"A simple question, really" 


Tom calmed down a little and thought about it.  "I don't know, I was shocked at myself, and like I said, he didn't kiss back." 


He turned his head a moment and saw his companion’s eyes locked on his.  Suddenly the brief distance between them was gone and strong but wiry arms where wrapping around him.  The feel of stubble itched his face, and then soft lips met his.  Slowly they parted and Tom's own lips opened, as if on their own accord.  He gave up and melted into it, kissing back passionately.  Tongues battled back and forth between their mouths.  After what seemed like an eternity, they broke the kiss.  He could only think of one thing to say. 


"Dammit!  Dammit, dammit, dammit!"


"I liked it too." Trent rasped from beside him.