I was researching what the top three symptoms of AIDS were when I began feeling snacky. Damn, my friend Johnny was right, exercising makes you a hungry little beast all day long.
Closing my laptop, I swung my legs over the side of my bed and headed towards the kitchen to begin rummaging around for anything edible. After pushing things this way and that in the white rectangle we humans call a fridge, I finally came across what I was hoping to eat.
A perfect, white jug of milk for me and me only. I let out a soft sigh before uncapping it and taking a big gulp straight from the spout. It took me about point two seconds to realize that it was expired and chunkier than my dad before he got a gym membership after thanksgiving last fall.
I quickly spit the horrifyingly disgusting substance in what I thought was the sink hole but what ended up being on the counter and the clean dishes I'd washed not two hours ago that were stacked in four separate piles atop the smooth marble surface.
"Fuck!" I shouted at the top lungs, turning the sink on and quaffing water, getting it all over my shirt and the floor. As I heaved and hoed, trying to get all the disgusting liquid and chunky crap out of my mouth, I had to wonder why on gods green earth my father hadn't thought to, I don't know? Get milk that wasn't, like, two months expired!
I ended up crying for ten minutes before grabbing a roll of paper towels and cleaning up my unfortunate spill..s. I didn't bother re-washing the dishes since they were clean and my father usually just ate takeout anyways. It was a bit annoying how he worked such late hours down at the station. Means I get to see him for approximately five minutes each day. But then again, it also means I don't get in trouble all that often.
Once I was done cleaning and I'd tossed all the soiled paper towels in the trash, I went back to my bedroom and grabbed my jacket hung on the back of the door before heading out of the house, texting Johnny on the way.
Meet me at In-n-out in fifteen? I've got the spoiled milk blues :(
It didn't take long for him to text me back. He actually did so while I was shoving the device in my pocket, which meant I nearly dropped it on the ground as I started down the street I live on. But at least it brought a big smile to my face.
that totally sucks, Trev! :( I knew Koko couldn't be trusted with the simple task of buying groceries.
You say that like he's your dad, John. I replied, chuckling quietly as I passed Mr. Hodgkinson and his husband's house, sending a wave their way and biting my lip to keep from laughing at them wrestling with their son, Pentagon, on their front lawn. That kid seriously wears white face paint to his college his classes everyday and thinks dressing like a ninja is actually cool. Hate to break it to him, but it hasn't been since like 2008.
Could be one day ;)
I find Johnny's recent change in behavior as well as the way he treats me to be sort of strange. I mean, we've always been sorta flirty and kind to one another but he's been.. I don't know? Overly flirty?.. Not that I mind all that much. I just find it to be a little out of the ordinary is all. Though the New Year's Eve party we attended a little over a month ago could be blamed for that..
See ya there, hubs. I replied, going along with the joke.
I soon arrived at the fast food restaurant, looking down at my phone and wondering when Johnny would text me to let me know when he'd be arriving, when a tall man opened the door for me to pass through.
"Thanks," I muttered, not bothering to glance up at him since all I really wanted was to get in, sit down, and eat a late lunch slash early dinner with my best friend.
I only made it about three steps before a familiar weight was resting atop my shoulder and my ears were filled with bubbly laughter.
I was pulled closer to his side and began laughing a bit myself. "John! That was you? What he hell!"
I could now feel it as he laughed, the slight shake of his chest against my side. "You should've seen your face! It was honestly priceless, Trevy."
"Yeah, well the novelty's worn off already, so let's just find us some seats." I said, grabbing the hand resting atop my shoulder to lift his arm up and off of me. Instead of releasing my hand like he normally would've, he entwined his fingers with mine and gave a little squeeze. I felt a very unwelcome blush rise to my cheeks and fought it, silently hoping and praying it'd go away before he could take note of it and tease me for it.
"Or we could order together," he looked down at me, a knowing smile on his face. Little bastard knew exactly what he was doing to me, and he was enjoying it way too much. "That sound good to you?"
I held my ground and didn't allow my voice to waver one bit as I mustered up the strength to respond. "Sounds great, John."
We ended up waiting in line for a little over ten minutes before we got to the front and ordered our burgers, drinks and fries. He released my hand to go and fill our drink cups with every soda flavor except for diet or iced tea, while I waited around with the receipt and nearly jumped out of my skin when they yelled "28!" into the speaker. I then went on to grab the food and plop down across from Johnny in the booth he'd claimed.
"I nearly crapped myself when they called out our number," I chuckled out, reaching across the table to grab my drink from where it rested in front of Johnny to take a long sip. If I let a moan slip past my lips at how delicious the mix he'd made was, he only reacted very visibly. "Damn that's good."
"Right.." he flushed a dark shade of pink, running his fingers through his wavy mane of hair to get it out of his face. "Well, I am rather proficient in making guys moan, so."
"Get your mind out of the gutter, Mundo." I replied, trying not to think too hard about what he'd just said. I had to take a bite of my burger to keep from opening my mouth and asking him so many questions. Some about why he's been acting strange and some about his choice of words.
It wasn't exactly out of the ordinary for him to make innuendos, but it was strange of him to include himself in them. Even though we are best friends, he doesn't typically tell me much about his dating life. Though that's most likely just because he likes to keep things a bit private.
It was a while before either of us spoke another word, Johnny being the one to break the silence and mutter something under his breath about needing ketchup for these 'dry ass fries'.
I waited at the table for a while, chewing my burger and popping a few fries that most certainly were dry into my mouth. After five minutes had passed by and he still wasn't back, I got bored of eating and leaned back in the booth, banging the back of my head against something, and cursing aloud. I then sat up straight and began drumming my fingers atop the table, eyes glancing around the room, hoping to find my friend.
Maybe he needed a bathroom break? I already looked like a big enough loser sitting alone at a table for two or four, half eaten burgers and drinks with bitten straws, as well as balled up napkins covered in grease sitting atop the table, and the last thing I needed was to look like a complete and utter freak going into the men's bathroom and glancing under stall doors. Or worse, walking in the room and seeing that he was standing in front of a urinal taking a wiz all along.
Just as I was about to half-stand up and glance around the corner one last time, I saw Johnny coming back from somewhere, making me panic for a second and pretend I was sipping my drink, which ended with me getting a straw to the eye.
"Fuck!" I cursed, pressing a flat palm to my eye and rubbing at it. Luckily, I don't think he noticed.
"Hey," he called in greeting, sitting across from me and setting down a little paper cup of ketchup. "Sorry I was gone for so long. Kinda had to use the restroom."
"It's fine," I mumbled, dipping a dry fry into a cup of ketchup. "Just made me look like a bit of a loser is all."
"A loser, huh?" He ran a hand through his hair, looking like he was trying to hold back a laugh. "Well, if you're a loser, I don't even want to know that makes me."
I hummed thoughtfully for a moment, stroking my non-existent goatee. "If I had to guess, I'd probably say.. not a loser."
"If you insist on referring to yourself as a loser, then I suppose that means we balance each other out pretty nicely."
"I guess we do." I smirked, finding that there was nowhere else to look but his face. I got lost in those deep brown eyes of his I hadn't given myself the pleasure of looking into for the longest time. Since New Year's Eve seven weeks ago, to be exact.
He bowed his head, getting back to eating his burger and trying to choke down a few fries now that they had some sort of slick substance to lube 'em up with. Maybe that wasn't the best analogy I could've used, but it works.
Our conversation had died down for the most part, only picking back up ten or so minutes later when we finished eating and just had a big pile of trash laying atop the white table that wasn't so white anymore.
"So, you drank spoiled milk and decided to ask me out, huh?" Johnny asked, catching me off guard as I began piling my red tray high with trash to toss out.
"Yes.." I began, curious and confused as to whether or not he was referring to me inviting him out for dinner or an actual date. "I believe that's what happened."
"Was it super sour and chunky?"
"Yeah, and I nearly gagged to death on it and spat it on top of the counter and all the clean dishes."
"Gross, next time I have dinner at yours, I'll make sure to eat off a paper plate or the floor." Johnny rose from his seat, tossing his empty drink cup in the trash and keeping mine.
"Are you inviting yourself over?" I took my drink back from him, taking a long sip while eyeing him.
"I didn't mean tonight, but yeah. I like your house and you're always alone."
"Oh, you wanna get me alone, huh?" I teased, walking ahead of him to exit the building, holding the door open for him and waiting for him to pass through.
"I mean.. yeah," he mumbled, now walking ahead of me at a slower than usual pace. "Konnan's never home and I know you get lonely in that big place all by yourself."
"That's.. considerate of you but I'm old enough to take care of myself, John." I replied in a whisper, hands stuffed deep in my jacket pockets to keep them safe from the cold bite of winter.
He suddenly turned to face me, a slightly irritated look on his face. "Are you listening to a word I'm saying, Trevor? I don't want you to be alone. I want to go home with you after class and keep you company, be your friend, until your father comes home where he should be."
In the moment it felt as if all their air escaped my lungs and all I could do was stare at him as he awaited my response. An 'oh' sound escaped my mouth and I felt like an idiot for not being able to come up with anything better.
"I care a lot about you, Trev. And I really like spending time with you. I know you try not to let your father being absent bother you all that much, but I know it does. I know how you feel." He took slow steps toward me until we stood mere inches apart from one another. I didn't know what he was planning on doing, so I breathed shallowly and awaited his next move. He leaned in and gathered me in a warm, strong embrace that felt as if it would never end. And maybe I didn't want it to.
"I do get lonely sometimes. But I try to not let it bother me. My dad works long hours for a reason and I don't want him to feel worse about it than he already does." I mumbled into his shoulder, sure that he heard every last vowel and consonant.
"You know what?" He pulled out of the hug, placing his hands on either side of my biceps and holding me half an arms length away from him. "I think I am inviting myself over to your place. We're gonna have a sleepover tonight and you're going to like it."
I couldn't help the smile that broke out on my face. Watching trashy reality TV and laying out on the couch with Johnny sounds like the perfect way to end my night. College classes were very tiring this afternoon. "Sounds like a nice, relaxing way to end my exhausting day."
"Classes tire you out today?"
"You know it, John. But luckily I only had three today so I'm not completely out of sorts."
"Let's get outta here, Trev." Johnny smiled, tossing an arm over my shoulder to begin leading me.. somewhere.
"Did you drive or walk?"
"I didn't want to freeze my ass off so I drove." He laughed, the sweet sound filling my ears and making me crack up too.
"It is pretty damn cold out here."
"Yeah, but luckily I got my car's heater fixed the other day. We'll be nice and toasty for the drive home."
"Oh, so it's your house now, huh?" I teased, turning my head to look up at him, my nose touching the bottom of his chin and making us both turn away.
"I mean.. I hang out there a lot, so.. Uh, you know what I mean, right?" His tone had a nervous lilt to it, showing me just how uncomfortable he felt without me even needing to look his way.
"Yeah, I think I get you," I took a shaky breath before continuing. "I sometimes think you like my house better than yours."
"My house isn't really much of a home now that Moms gone and Dad.. Dad isn't alright, Trev."
I wrapped my arms around his midsection, leaning my head against his chest and giving him a soft squeeze. He's been having a difficult time dealing with his mother leaving him and his father. I've been helping him deal with it for the better part of a year, it's gotten easier for him, but I know how much it pains him to speak of it. To speak of her.
I know how much he hates it when people pity him and tell him they're sorry, but I care very deeply for him and really am sorry. "I'm sorry, John. I shouldn't have dredged up painful memories. I know how hard it is for you to talk about her."
"Thanks, Trev." I finally found the courage to look up at him, and when I did he was smiling sadly down at me.
"Let's go home, John." I said, hoping he'd understand that what's mine is his. He answered me by leaning his cheek against the top of my head, silently leading me over to his parked car where we were forced to separate and enter the warm embrace the heater provided us with.
"So, Bachelor In Paradise or The Millionaire Matchmaker?" I asked as I dropped down onto the couch beside Johnny and curled into his side. He adjusted the soft, fuzzy blanket laying atop our bodies to better cover us.
"Definitely Millionaire Matchmaker. I heard the newest episode has two gay millionaires and I am so here for that."
"Ah, so you wanna watch a gay episode with your gay friend, huh?"
Johnny's steady pattern of breathing halted then came back, only it was shakier. I could literally feel his nervousness since I was pressed up against his side.
"About that.." he mumbled, handing me the remote so that I could select the TV show on Hulu.
I felt as though I knew what conversation was coming, but I felt like he really didn't need to tell me just yet.
"John, it's fine. We don't have to talk about this just yet." I selected the episode we were on, pressing play before he could muster up the courage to speak another word. 'Cause if he did, I don't think I'd be able to myself. My throat would close up and I'd end up making a complete fool of myself.
"But I have something important to tell you."
"But our show is playing, John. Can't- can't this conversation wait until tomorrow?"
"It could, but I feel like having it now." He said, voice slightly shaky. I was about to suggest he do it tomorrow one last time when his hand was suddenly on mine, gently uncurling my fingers from where they gripped at the remote. He easily slipped the sleek plastic device from my now open palm and set in down on his lap.
He shifted around till he was looking right at me, basically forcing me to look his way.
"Trevor.." he trailed off, voice shaky and unconfident. "I.. I think that I should tell you something I've been meaning to tell you for a while now."
I nodded hesitantly, not quite wanting him to continue but knowing this is what he wanted and needed. "Y-yeah?"
"There's a reason I don't like talking about my relationships with you.." he gnawed on his lip, eyes glued to his lap as he spoke his next words. "I.. I don't just date women, Trevor."
Just as I thought, he had planned on admitting something deeply personal to me. I'd done the same with him in a similar setting. It didn't end in tears or some big 'I still love you' speech, but it certainly was difficult for the both of us and we'd ended up hugging it out.
"I've dated a few men over the course of the last three or so years. You know, since we graduated high school."
"So, you're...?" I gesticulated, coherent words not quite able to travel from my brain to my mouth.
He broke into a nervous smile, running a hand through his hair like he always does when he's out of sorts. "Yeah." He finally managed to get out. It came out sounding like one big sigh, almost like a weight had been lifted off his shoulders. "Yeah, I am." He repeated himself, sounding much more confident and sure of himself than he did the first time around.
I too broke into a smile, happy that he finally felt comfortable enough to share such a personal part of himself with me, his best friend since elementary school. I wracked my brain for the right thing to say, coming up completely blank after a good thirty seconds.
Johnny was just looking at me, seeming to become more and more anxious and unsure of himself as the proverbial clock ticked and seconds became a minute. Knowing that I was the cause of his unease, I opened my mouth and went on to make multiple attempts at forming a coherent sentence, a reply, anything. It all came out sounding like I had a literal frog in my throat, so I ended up throwing the whole "speaking a human language" thing and pulled him into a hug.
An 'oof' sound slipped past his lips as all the air escaped his body and he reciprocated, wrapping his strong arms around me and burrowing his head in the crook of my neck as if to hide from the world for a minute, like we were inside of our own bubble and time seemed to pass by in slow motion as we breathed shallowly.
"D-does this mean you're okay with it?.."
At the slight crack in his voice I pulled him closer to my chest, squeezing my eyes shut and breathing in his scent. His deodorant, his cologne, his laundry detergent, they were all familiar and comforting smells that mixed together in a way that was indescribable.
After moving past the way his touch and smell always managed to affect me, I could finally think clearly. And let me tell you, I felt terrible. How could I've been so.. so caught up in the moment, in my own thoughts, that I forgot about him and how he must be feeling?
"John.. I.." I took a deep breath, releasing it very slowly and noticing how it made him shiver the slightest bit. "Thank you for- for sharing something so deeply personal with me. This couldn't have been an easy decision for you to make."
"I'm just going to be honest and say that I've tried to tell you so many times, Trev. I always managed to somehow just.. chicken out at the last second and keep it to myself. Bottle it up and let it ferment."
I slowly pulled out of our embrace, readjusting my position to curl into his side once more. "Why did you decide to tell me now? If you don't mind my asking. Is there a guy I should know about?"
He slung an arm over my shoulder, thumb lightly stroking it through the fabric of my sweatshirt. He sighed before beginning to speak. "I don't know.. it just felt like the right time, I guess. Plus I was sick and tired of keeping it a secret from you. You're my best friend and I love you lots, Trev. I don't want to keep things from you anymore. I want to be open and honest with you like we were when we were kids."
"Like when we were six and you told me you accidentally stepped on and killed a praying mantis during recess. It was so adorable and sad how broken up you were about it. But damn did that bug get a good funeral."
"Hey, it made a crunch sound when I stepped on it. I'm honestly surprised I didn't need intense therapy after the incident." Neither of us made any sound whatsoever for a minute until he replied to the question I'd asked earlier. "And, uh, to answer your question: no, I do not have a boyfriend. Uh.. yeah. I have so much more to tell you but that can wait until tomorrow. Or at least until after we finish this episode we watched around point two seconds of."
"We could skip out on watching TV tonight if you wanna keep talking," I suggested, half hoping he'd say yes so I could get the deets on all the stuff he wanted to tell me. I didn't want to get my hopes up and start assuming things, but I felt that whatever it is he needed to get off his chest had to do with how strange he's been acting over the course of the last seven or so weeks.
"No, I'm fine. I think I've divulged enough secrets for one night anyway."
"Alright," I smiled down at my lap, feeling hopeful that we'd end up not sleeping tonight and just talking till the sun rises and our stomachs growl. "But if you end up changing your mind, just know that I love you and am here if you need me."
I received an answering kiss to the top of my head, the TV show being played a moment later. The loud and obnoxious voice of the host, Patti Stanger filling the silence that'd settled between us.
It was three episodes and god knows how long later, and I was on the cusp falling asleep to Patti yelling at her interns for picking girls that were 'absolute crap', when I felt Johnny begin to shift around on the couch to adjust our position. He ended up laying on his back, me somehow ending up laying on top of him with my cheek resting against his chest.
I breathed shallowly for a long moment, not daring to speak a word and ruin the moment as my eyes that I could barley keep open continuously went in and out of focus on the show still playing on the TV. I hadn't checked the time since we arrived at my house but I'd assume it was around two in the morning by this point. My dad wasn't home yet, which probably meant he was working the night shift and would come back around the time I left for my two classes I have in the wee hours of the morning.
For once in my life I wasn't worried about my father not eating regular meals or coming home at an appropriate time, I was much too caught up in personal feelings about something -or someone- entirely different to be worried about my old man. He would for sure be getting hounded by Rey or one of his other co-workers to eat a meal at this time of night, so I knew he wasn't in any immediate danger of starvation.
I was drifting in and out of what felt like a fever dream. Only the dream I was drifting in and out of was real life. Me laying on top of my best friend, his hands clasped together and resting atop the small of my back beneath the blanket- that was all real. Him being interested in men.. that was real. I'd kinda known -or at least hoped- for a while now. Probably since around seventh or eight grade. And the possibility of him ever being able to reciprocate certain feelings I have for him have increased by a good margin.
And that was all I could think about as my head rested atop his warm chest, his heart beating steadily in my ear. The sound comforting. Almost enough to lull me to sleep a couple of times. But I forced myself to stay awake, knowing that if my eyes closed for good and my breathing evened out, I would never muster up the courage to ask him the question that's been rattling around in my brain for an embarrassingly long amount of time. Mainly since New Years Eve, a couple of months after we'd turned twenty-one and decided to get drunk at a party a college buddy of his had been hosting. I think his name was PJ, but that wasn't important to the story or what had happened that night.
However, what was important was what happened after we stepped through those doors and nursed a couple of surprisingly tasty alcoholic drinks.
It must've been half past eleven o'clock when I was struggling to stand on my own two feet and Johnny had to lean me against the island in his friend's parents' kitchen and hold me steady with his strong hands. I had been spewing so many different stupid, meaningless statements and questions when he cut me off to ask a question of his own.
He'd asked me I had anyone in mind that I wanted to kiss at midnight and I replied with a meek and slightly slurred "No,". I don't think I'd ever be able to forget his reaction to the single word even if I suffered from a bad concussion and had amnesia. He'd laughed in my face, the sound coming off as mocking to my ears for a minute. Until he'd wiped the grin off his face and got serious, asking me if I was being serious.
Confused and slightly agitated, I crossed my arms and gave what I'd hoped was a firm nod in affirmation. He'd been quick to stutter out a quiet apology and go on to explain his reasoning for reacting so.. poorly. He'd thought I'd been joking, since I could "Literally get with any guy I wanted to,". I remember trying to keep my drunk self from blurting out which guy in particular I wanted to kiss at the stroke of midnight, opting for nodding in understanding and trying to move past the thoughts clouding my mind.
After a moment of us awkwardly staring into each other's eyes in the dim kitchen lit up only by the soft glow of white Christmas lights strung up around the room and a light outside the patio door behind me where everyone was socializing, smoking weed and drinking, I decided to cut the tension with a question of my own. I asked if there was anyone he was planning on giving his midnight kiss to. He kept silent for a beat, the tip of his pink tongue slipping past the seam of his lips to quickly wet them before disappearing a second later. He looked nervous, almost hesitant to tell me, his best friend. But then again, he never did like talking to me about his crushes or short-lived romances and relationships.
His eyes were focused on anything but me, his hands gripping me slightly tighter as ambiguous words left his mouth to go in through one of my ears and come right out the other. "Come again?" I'd slurred out.
"I might have someone in mind," he'd repeated himself.
We stood in the relatively empty kitchen together, my head cocked to one side in confusion. Johnny didn't look confused, he looked like a man with conviction. A nervous one at that.
"And who might that be?" I prodded, hoping to at least get a name out of him. All I got was a slight shake of the head and a "You'll find out soon." in response.
To say I was confused would be an understatement. I was utterly befuddled by how goddamned ambiguous he was being with me. I wanted to ask more questions, wanted to pry the information out of him no matter the cost, but we'd been interrupted by his South African buddy.. PJ, who was hosting the party. The guy had practically dragged Johnny off, muttering something about 'needing to see how disgusting a shit he took looked and smelled'.
I'd been left standing there alone, Johnny muttering a quiet apology at having to leave me to go look at his friends' dookie, and saying he'd catch up with me later.
I sighed and pulled up a chair, plopping down in it and dozing off for a good ten minutes until a crick had formed in my neck and I was being dragged off by one of Johnny's classmates, Taya, and getting pushed into his general direction where I then had to navigate myself through a dark room crowded with a sea of people making so much noise it hurt my ears and gave me a little taste of what my hangover would feel like the following morning.
"Hey! I was looking for you!" He'd called out, bringing me into a sloppy bear hug. I could smell the alcohol on his body and his breath and knew that he'd likely been dragged into some sort of drinking game while I'd been asleep.
I remember trying to keep steady after he'd released me, which ended in me tripping over my own two feet and getting caught my him before I could topple over and face-plant on the hardwood floor.
"What time is it?" I asked, not wanting to pull my face away from where it was pressed against his warm chest to look past all of the bodies surrounding us and look at the large flatscreen TV mounted on the wall displaying the New Year's Eve countdown show.
"Don't fall asleep on me, Trev. Midnight's only a couple minutes away." I only half understood what he'd said since my head was pressed against his chest and the soothing vibrations I felt travel through his chest and through the rest of my body was very distracting.
"But you'll.. you'll miss out on your.. your, uh.. your New Year's kiss if you stay here with me." I mumbled, only half conscious at that point. I felt a strong set of arms encircle my waist, pulling me closer to his tall frame.
"That's fine by me," he whispered, making it extremely difficult for me to feel the words rumble throughout his chest. "I'm content right where I am."
His words were soon followed by loud shouts of the countdown and a pair of lips being pressed against the top of my head. It was in that moment that I knew somewhere deep down inside there was a possibility he liked me back. That maybe, just maybe I was the one he'd wanted to kiss at the stroke of midnight.
I blinked tiredly back into present time, feeling a million different emotions and not being able to pinpoint a single one of them. His heart rate had picked up sometime in the last couple of minutes, sounding and feeling more erratic to my sensitive ears.
Almost like he too had remembered us being in a similar position many weeks ago, but standing.
I couldn't know for sure whether or not he felt the same way about me unless I asked him. It would be a very difficult subject to broach, but I knew if I didn't do it now, then I never would.
So I took a deep breath, holding it in until I was forced to release it or pass out. My hands absently ran up and down his sides, fingertips lightly scratching at his ribs as I wracked my brain for something, anything to say. I settled on the twentieth thing that came to mind.
"Hey, John?" I whispered, receiving a quiet 'hmm?' in response. "I was wondering.."
"What you said earlier," I stilled my movements, suddenly much too nervous and scared of rejection to be able to think clearly or do anything other than breathe. It took a long moment of silence on my part before I was able to continue. "About.. about why you decided now was a good time to tell me."
His grip on me loosened and he seemed to become kinda distant. Like he was trying to emotionally detach himself from the conversation and the situation. "Oh."
"John.. do you have a boyfriend?"
"No," he was quick to reply, almost sounding defensive. "No, I do not. Why do you ask?"
"I know you said it was a conversation for tomorrow.. but I really need to know now. If I don't ask you right this second, I may never again muster up the courage to."
Johnny stopped breathing all together for a moment, letting me in on just how terrified he must be feeling. "There honestly never was going to be a tomorrow, Trevor. So ask away."
"Who was it you wanted to kiss on New Year's Eve?"
There was silence. Not a word out of him for what felt like a millennia but what couldn't have been more than nine-hundred-ninety-nine years. Then, out of nowhere, I felt the rumble of his chest as he spoke unintelligible words.
"Come again?" I said, unintentionally quoting myself from seven weeks ago.
I don't think his next words were a repetition of his earlier ones but a rephrase. "Do you really want to know?"
I fisted the fabric of his shirt, feeling a sense of complete and utter certainty. "More than anything, John."
"It's you, and it's always been you."
A soft cry slipped past my lips almost without my notice and my hands traveled up to his face to cradle both sides of his head. "Do you really mean it?"
His grip on my midsection tightened once more, pulling me flush against him. He let out the shakiest breath I've ever heard him breathe before nodding the slightest bit. "I do."
I couldn't tell which one of us closed the inch of space separating us, but it led to feeling his warm and soft lips pressed against mine. Hesitant at first until he got the hang of things and became his cool and confident self once again.
I was the first to pull away, keeping my eyes closed and laying my head back down on his chest that rose and fell in sync with every breath he took. I felt him shift to pull the blanket further up my back, now covering my shoulders and the back of my neck.
Even in my lethargic state, I recognized the feeling of warm lips being pressed against my forehead, a whisper following the action.
"I really do."