Daniel and Jenson had been best friends since middle school.
Daniel hung out at Jenson’s house every Friday. They played video games and ate snacks.
Jenson looked at Daniel with content. Daniel made eye contact with Jenson and noticed his blue eyes sparkled in the moonlight that came through the window.
Daniel shook his head to return to reality.
“What do you want to play next, Dan?” Jenson asked.
“Uh, what?” Dan asked still in an attractive trance.
“What game do you want to play next?” Jenson repeated, becoming a little annoyed.
“Oh, I don’t know. Whatever you want.”
“That’s odd, you usually pick the next game we play.”
“Hey, I’m feeling risky.”
“Crashing Towers it is.”
“Isn’t that the game where you have to jump to the next building before it falls apart?”
“Yes, you had the chance to choose a game, but you didn’t take advantage of it.”
“Sounds fun,” Dan said with sarcasm.
They played the game and the whole time Dan couldn’t stop staring at his friend. He noticed the little blond curl in his bangs. He noticed he was gaining muscle mass.
“Could I go with you the next time you hit the gym? I’m getting a little fat,” Dan asked.
“Sure, I guess. I go every other day, how about this coming Sunday?”
“Alright, which gym do you go to?”
“The Galaxy Fitness on Main Street.”
“Cool, see you there.”
“Be prepared to sweat and get swole.”
“I’m just kidding.” Jenson furrowed his brow and frowned with worry.“I’ll see you there at two on Sunday.”
“See you there,” Dan said with a smile.
Dan couldn’t get Jenson off his mind over the next few days. He usually thought about normal friend-related things like the stuff he wanted to tell Jenson, but he thought about being more than friends.
Sunday arrived and Dan’s mother drove him to the gym.
“Have fun on your date!” Dan’s mom joked.
“It’s not a date. We’re just working out.” Dan stepped out of the car.
“Okay, see you in an hour.”
Dan shut the car door and walked into the gym. He looked around for his friend and found him in the back of the gym on one of the ellipticals.
“Hey, Jenson. Working up a good sweat?”
“Hey, Dan, yeah.”
Dan hoped onto the elliptical next to Jenson’s and pressed play on his phone.
Twenty minutes went by and Jenson got off the machine. He walked over to the weight station and started pumping the dumbbells.
Dan wandered over to the dumbbells and sat at the weight bench next to Jenson. He grabbed two five-pound weights.
“So, how long have you been working out?” Dan asked as he struggled to lift five pounds.
“A little over a year–”
Dan dropped the weights on the floor.
“Woah, why don’t you try the one-pound weights.”
A few people held in their laughter. Dan saw the other gym patrons’ cheeks fill up with air and
their eyes watered. He sulked over to the men’s bathroom and splashed water onto his face.
He returned to the weight station and tried to pick up the five-pound weights. He looked in the mirror and saw Jenson’s piercing blue eyes staring right back at him. He dropped the weights as they were too heavy. The gym patrons broke into laughter.
“Hey, I’m just a beginner. I bet this is how all of you started,” Dan told the patrons. “I’ll be on the treadmill if you need me, Jenson.”
Dan watched Jenson from afar and he saw Jenson’s loose black-lined tanktop swaying as he lifted weights.
He tried to focus on his legs moving with the rhythm of the treadmill belt, but he couldn’t help himself. He couldn’t take his eyes off Jenson sweating body. He walked up to Jenson once he was done on the treadmill and he saw the sweat dripping down and around Jenson’s biceps and triceps. He felt the need to touch those muscles, but he ignored the impulses and temptations. Did I come here to get a sweat on or check out my friend?
“Hey, are you ready to go? I need a shower,” Jenson said as sweat dripped down his face.
“Yeah, my mom’s picking me up. She’ll be here in a few minutes,” Dan replied, trying not to look at Jenson’s hot bod.
“I could bring you home.”
“No, no. I don’t want to make my mother come all this way.”
“Come all this way? Where do you live?”
“On Baker Street.”
“That’s right by my house and you can tell your mother your friend’s dropping you off.”
“No, I’d rather wait for my mom.”
“Are you sure?”
Dan gave into his enticements. “If you insist. Sure, why not. Let me just text my mom.”
“Let’s go. My car’s parked right out here.” Jenson pointed to red Chevy in the back of the parking lot.
Dan followed Jenson to his car and got a whiff of Dan’s body odor. It was stinky but then alluring. He walked faster to get closer and get a bigger whiff.
Dan opened Jenson’s passenger’s side door and the smell from the car wreaked of sweaty gym socks. Dan got used to the smell as Jenson drove him to his house.
“Well, here we are,” Jenson said as he parked in front of Dan’s house.
“Thanks again,” Dan replied as he got out of the car.
“And sorry for the smell.”
“I didn’t mind it.”
Dan walked inside.
A few weeks later, Jenson was invited to a party and he asked Dan if he wanted to be his plus one. He agreed since they would get to spend more time together.
Jenson drove Dan to Kendra’s party in the suburbs. Dan couldn’t stop imagining scenarios that might happen at this party. What if someone sees me looking at Jenson?
They walk into the party.
“Sorry we’re late,” Jenson said to Kendra.
“It’s alright as long as you’re here.” Kendra closed the front door. “Let me introduce you to a few people.”
They walked over to the speaker and Kendra turned it down. “This is Maya and this is Joshua. And this Katy.”
“We’ve been acquainted already,” Jenson said.
“You two know each other?” Kendra asked.
“We used to date,” Katy replied. “You look good–toned, Jenson.”
“Thanks, you look good too.”
Dan looked at his shoes and back at the ex-lovers. He crossed his arms and looked around the room.
The party went on and Katy and Jenson caught up. Dan stood in front of the drink table.
The party ended and Jenson carried Dan to his car and drove him home.
The morning after, Jenson woke up with a headache. He thought, I have to confess my feelings to Jenson. But he’s straight. If I don’t he might drag me to another party his exes are at.
Weeks passed, Dan longed for Jenson, but he couldn’t have him. But he had to do something. Crushes come and go, but this was his best friend.
Dan just got his driver’s license and surprised Jenson for his seventeenth birthday by taking him to the best diner in town.
They walked into the diner and the hostess showed them to a table.
They ordered their drinks and then ordered their food.
“Happy birthday, buddy!” Dan said as he handed him a small square box.
Jenson shook it.
“Well, go ahead and open it.”
Jenson unwrapped the gift wrap and it was the Diana Ross album “Diana”.
“I know you like Diana Ross, so here you go.”
Jenson hid the CD behind his back. “I don’t want anyone to know I like Diana Ross, but thank you.”
“Why not? Be proud of your taste in music.”
“What? I don’t want anyone to know I’m–”
Their food was set in front of them.
Dan bit one of his fries. “It’s okay, I like Diana Ross too.” He winked.
“What was that wink about?”
Dan blushed. “I like guys.”
“What, since when?”
“Since always, I guess.” Dan sighed. “And I know this is your day, your birthday, but I have something else to tell you.”
“What is it?”
“I like you.”
“I like you too, bro.”
“No, I mean I like like you.”
“What? Get outta here!”
“It’s true. I have for a month or two now.”
“I did have a feeling you might.”
“You’re always checking me out–See you doing right now.”
“Don’t be sorry. It’s who you are and it’s a little flattering. And you’re a good-looking guy, but I’m straight.”
“Are you sure?”
“Alright. So, we’re still friends?”
They finished their food and the waitress brought out a little chocolate frosted cake. They did not sing to him as requested by Dan.
A few weeks later, a depressed Dan tripped on a pencil and Jenson caught him. They looked into each other’s eyes and Jenson dropped him when he saw Katy.
Katy and Jenson were dating again.
Maybe he’s lying and he’s gay too. I don’t think so.
Katy and Jenson date for months until they break up again. Then Jenson took Abby as a rebound and they date for a few weeks until their eventual breakup.
Maybe I can make him happy? I don’t know.
Dan was invited to what the kids were calling an “experimenting party” or a “kissing party”, a party where you kiss a bunch of people. That’s all Dan heard about it.
Dan drove himself to the party and was surprised when he saw Jenson outside. They’ve had some distance since Jenson had been dating a few girls. He saw him climb the ladder up to the treehouse and he followed. He was going to kiss Jenson.
After a few hours of waiting and kissing guys and girls, the party got wild. The rain poured and people started to head to their cars. A few girls and Jenson stayed in the treehouse.
Dan went in for a kiss with Kimberly, but lightning struck the tree. It knocked the tree over and when he opened his eyes, his lips were on Jenson’s.
Jenson jumped off Dan in disgust and ran off.
“What did you expect, from a kissing party?” Dan shouted.
Dan and Jenson drifted apart and lose touch after high school. Dan missed his friend, but maybe they’d see each other again.