Three Couples, Six People, Many Songs(#10)
Song #10 - Love You Madly, Cake
Gary drummed his fingers on the table as he waited for Ash to arrive, although he was careful not to make too much noise. Where the hell was he? He had specifically said he would be there at five. And it was seven according to the clock next to the bookcase at Gary's side.
The library had become their meeting place because it was just about half-way between their homes. That and if one of them was late, the other could occupy himself by reading. Of course, they had not considering one of them being an entire two hours late.
For a moment Gary smiled, happy that Ash had made it. But then the smile turned to a frown. Why hadn't Ash been there earlier? "Hey Ash."
Ash smiled brightly, as if he hadn't noticed the change in Gary's attitude. "Hey, you wanna go to a movie? There's a good new one out that I think you'd like. Brock and Misty saw it and they both loved it. I can get us cheap tickets too, got a distant relative that works at the theatre. So you wanna go?" It was almost as if Ash had practiced talking fast, diverting Gary's attention from his thoughts and to trying to keep up with what he said.
For a moment Gary really wanted to say no. He honestly did. Ash kept going against his word, but then covering it up with something else, and Gary did not want to go on like that. So they had never quite gotten around to making their relationship exactly official, for neither had really asked the other out, but they were as good as dating. Had been since the beginning of their summer break. Now school would be starting again soon.
"Gary?" Ash said, his voice low, for they were in a library after all. He sat down at the table, right across from Gary, and folded his arms across the surface. Resting his head where his wrists crossed, he looked up at Gary, his brown eyes hopeful and an ever so slight pout present on his lips. "Please?"
Gary sighed, and against his better judgment, nodded.
Ash's eyes brightened again, and that innocent but not smile that he had perfected graced his face again. Like a puppy, Gary thought. So much like a puppy...
"So, what'd you think?" Ash asked, linking his arm with Gary's as they left the tiny little theatre. A few people looked at them strangely, but Ash ignored them.
Gary shrugged. "It was alright."
"Alright? Just alright?" Ash seemed to look slightly dejected. "I thought you'd like it..."
Gary raised an eyebrow suspiciously. This was not normal Ash behavior. Normal Ash would argue the quality of the movie with him, not act like a, a kicked puppy. "Is something wrong Ash?"
Ash looked up, obviously faking a smile. "No, why?"
"First of all you were two hours late. Second of all, you're not acting like yourself." Gary looked around and noted that they had started to walk deeper into town. Maybe they could get something to eat...
"Just, I had a fight with my mother. Nothing much. I don't want to tal-"
"Yes you do."
Ash frowned. "Who are you to tell me what I want to do?"
Not quite in the mood to fight, Gary avoided looking at Ash and busied himself by looking for some sort of restaurant or diner. "Just tell me what happened Ash. I deserve to know why I was stuck in the library for two hours."
"She was just pestering me about my grades and stuff. Says I have to start thinking about college."
"That took two hours?"
"Well... I didn't get home till six." Ash winced inwardly. He had hoped Gary wouldn't notice the whole time factor. "I was out again."
"You didn't go to school today did you?"
Gary broke away from Ash and looked at him, wondering for a moment what was going on in his head. "Goddamit Ash! You're gonna be a Junior next year!"
Ash frowned and folded his arms across his chest. "What if I don't want to go to college?"
"Then don't! But at *least* graduate."
"It's none of your business."
"I'm *making* it my business cause *you're* my business."
"And what if I don't want to be?"
Gary was, to put it mildly, shocked. Not only were they having a fight in the middle of a sidewalk, but... "You're breaking up with me?"
"Do you *want* me to break up with you?" Ash's eyes were narrowed sharply, and he glared at Gary through angry brown eyes.
"Of course I don't."
"Then stop mothering me."
Gary glared back at Ash, and then, noticing that some people were staring, grabbed Ash and started dragging him in the direction that lead out of town.
"What the fuck are you doing? Let go of me!" Ash struggled against Gary, but the older boy was stronger and hand a firm and painful grip on his right arm.
Gary didn't say anything until Ash had calmed down and they were around less people. When he was sure that Ash would not run, he let him go, and finally decided to get what had been bothering him off his chest. First he looked at Ash, taking in the still angry brown eyes, the messy black hair, the light blue-shirt, the jeans that looked like there were about to fall off any minute but some miracle of nature was keeping them up. "Ash, am I your boyfriend or not? We've been avoiding ever saying that for sure and it's really starting to bug me. I do *not* like this and I want to know the answer now." Gary noticed that Ash seemed surprised by this little outburst and he decided to take advantage of the situation. "I know you don't like it when I interfere but I'm worried about you; I care about you. And you're a smart guy. I don't want you throwing that away. And what's up with you just ditching me like you did earlier? I understand that you were upset but that was really annoying, and, well, *bitchy* of you to do.
"I want to love you Ash, I really do. But you make it so hard..." Gary frowned, then sighed and looked at the sidewalk for a minute before looking back at Ash. "Damnit Ash, I *do* love you, and I can't take all this beating around the bush anymore. Do *you* love me? If you don't... Then you know what? Go ahead and do whatever the hell it is that you want, because you're never gonna listen to me. But if you do, well, I want to help you. Don't try and pretend that you don't need it Ash, because you do. Even Misty and Brock have noticed it, and they've tried to help, but then you just keep running away. What's up with you Ash?"
The younger boy just stared at Gary, his face expressionless. But then slowly a sad sort of smile started to form, and he put his hands in his pockets and let his eyes wander away from Gary's face. "Come to my house." He said, turning and walking, leaving Gary no better choice than to follow.
They walked toward Ash's house somewhat quietly. Every now and then Gary would try to Ask something, but Ash would either ignore him or cut him off. The strange little smile remained on his face the entire walk. They entered the house somewhat quietly, for Ash's mother would likely be asleep and they did not want to wake her. Up the stairs and into Ash's room. In through the door. Room still messy but not as bad as before. The stuffed cat remained on the bed.
Ash sat down on his bed and looked up at Gary, then lay down and hugged the toy cat. "Remember it?" Ash asked softly, the sad smile turning into a sort of quirky, half-amused smile.
"Yeah." Gary replied, sitting down next to Ash.
"It reminded me of you..." Ash whispered, and Gary just barely heard him. "I got it when I was thirteen."
"Thirteen?" Gary frowned, looking at Ash. "But we hadn't talked since we were-"
"I used to watch you." Ash set the cat back by his pillows and then stared at some posters. "You reminded me of some sort of solitary, black tom-cat. You didn't have any friends. I wanted to talk to you again, but I had Misty and Brock. Yet you intrigued me, and I ended up getting this cat..."
"You were stalking me?"
Ash laughed, turning onto his back. "No, don't flatter yourself. I didn't start really developing interest in you until we met up at the club."
Gary laid down beside Ash and propped himself up on his elbows. "Do you love me or not?"
Ash smiled, folding his arms behind his head. "Maybe."
"Aw come on!" Gary poked Ash in the ribs.
"Where's the hurry?" Ash smirked, but then the smirk turned into a look of shock when Gary shoved him off the bed. "Hey!"
Gary peeked over the edge of the bed. "Tell me!"
"Nope." Ash sat up and pulled Gary over the edge.
"Ow." Gary sat up, rubbing his back. "That hurt."
"You think *I'm* not sore?"
"I'm older! I bruise easier."
"Sure thing, Gramps."
Gary snorted, but then he turned serious again. "Ash, I really need to know. Am I wasting my time?"
Ash seemed to think it over for a little while, but then he shook his head. "No."
"Then why do you play with me like this? It's not fun for me Ash. I *don't* like being toyed with. If I did, I'd be straight."
Ash got up and helped Gary to stand, but then the younger boy gently pushed him against the wall. "Remember this?"
Gary blinked, but then a sense of recognition passed over his face. The time he had stolen the stuffed cat. "Yeah, I remember."
Ash leaned in close to Gary, their faces only about two inches apart. "Remember what didn't happen then?"
Gary nodded, cautiously wrapping one arm around Ash's waist at the same time. Unlike other times, Ash did not struggle to break free. Usually he hated to be confined in any way. Tentatively, Gary reached up and placed his hand on Ash's cheek, bringing it down to his chin and leaning in. Stopping right before their lips touched, he waited briefly to see if Ash would change his mind, but he didn't, and they kissed. Short, sweet, and innocent. Like most of their kisses before, but there was something different. Something more pure and genuine about it. Pulling back, Gary smiled. One of those "I'm the luckiest guy in the world smiles" that Ash felt were little drops of heaven.
"You know what Gary?" Ash said, resting his chin on Gary's shoulder.
"You're not frozen anymore."
Gary wrapped his other arm around Ash, pulling the smaller boy closer. "I love you."
Ash didn't answer back, but kissed Gary softly on his neck. "You wanna make some sandwiches? We went grocery shopping today," Ash said before kissing Gary on the lips again.
"Sure," Gary replied, a goofy sort of smile on his face. "Anything's fine with me."
Back to the library