Chapter 1: More than friends?
Jonah - with a stupid smile on his face - hastened to go to the skate park where Cyrus should already wait for him. The two boys had met the day before, had spent some time at The Spoon and had decided to get together at the park the following day. Jonah - who knew that his best friend could be ill at ease in front of people he didn't know - offered Cyrus to go there early in the next morning so he could teach him some basics before other kids rolled in. Besides, Jonah had another helmet, a second pair of elbow pads and knee pads in his bag so that they could skateboard together as soon as Cyrus felt safe on his wheels.
Jonah couldn't help but beam with pride after seeing that Cyrus was wearing his Space Otters jersey: he was one of the few members of the team who earned it most because his crew wouldn't have gotten this far without Cyrus' tips and tricks. But Jonah also wondered why he was dressed in it: Cyrus had explained that he only carried it on important occasions. There was nothing exceptional today: the two of them just hanged out and had a good time.
The skate park was empty when they walked in there as Jonah expected.
Cyrus - who had already acquired the art of standing still on the board the first time Jonah taught him - kicked off. This was followed fast by a lesson in falling off but soon enough he was comfortable with standing on the moving board and rocking to get it going roughly to the desired direction.
Andi and Buffy are totally wrong about Cy: he's not as hopeless as they think. Yes, it's true he had been sick on a merry-go-round but maybe he had eaten something spoiled before. They should have more faith in him!
Jonah thought it was time to teach his vest friend how to do an ollie. They had still time before being alone together anymore.
"Cy," he said while approaching him, "stand still for a sec. How d' ya feel about learning your first trick?"
"Really?" Cyrus asked with a worried voice. "I ain't sure I could..."
"Don't worry," he reassured him. "It's an easy one. Besides, you trust me, right?"
So, after equipping with his protections, Jonah jumped on his board.
"Now," he explained to him while demonstrating the move, "what you gonna do is, like, get going a bit then do a little squat, jump up a little then kick down on the back of the board. Just make sure that you lift your front leg up so that your skateboard can pop up. Then level it out and land on it."
"Okay, I'm gonna try."
So Cyrus got on his board with more or less of confidence and then got going, squatted, popped his skateboard, proceeded to miss it as he put his feet down and almost fell. But Jonah who was at his side caught him so that Cyrus was in his arms.
Why did you blush all of a sudden? Jonah wondered when his friend was back on his feet.
"I told you I couldn't do it," Cyrus stated, his head down.
"It's okay, Cy. It's easy but you need more practice. It wasn't so bad for a first try though. And know I didn't do it the first time either."
"I don't believe you: you're just saying it to..."
"Your words are hurting me," Jonah who felt piqued by his friend's comment blurted. "I'd be a bad buddy if I lied to you."
"So-Sorry," Cyrus tried to salvage his mistake. "You've been honest with me all along."
"Don't worry, I'm over it."
So Cyrus - relieved - immediately jumped on the board and practiced the move until he succeeded in landing a decent ollie with Jonah's encouragement.
"Why don't you take a break? You totally deserved it, Cy."
His friend nodded so Jonah brought him to his favorite spot. Once seated, Cyrus opened his bag that contained amount of drinks and foods: it reminded Jonah of the first time his friend - and first fan - had offered his services to the frisbee team.
"I hope you had fun anyway," Jonah said while picking up some fruit juice and a cereal bar.
"Course, I always take a lot of pleasure with you. I wanna apologize again for calling you a liar. I was just trying to make you proud of me."
"I am, Cy. Like the other day. I still remember your words..."
"Yup," Jonah replied before quoting him. My all life I lived in a cloud of fear but today I was reckless, I stood on the edge and looked into the abyss."
Cyrus looked at him with great big round eyes.
"What? You were right: it was a milestone. I was glad to have done my part. Even if you scared the hell out of me when you fell in the bushes."
"You, you w-were w-wor..."
But Cyrus couldn't finish his sentence. Jonah noticed that he started being overwhelmed by his emotions so he came closer and hugged him.
"Course, I care about you."
And Cyrus - hearing his words - blushed once more.
"You're so nice. I'm sure other boys would have fun of me..."
"And they'd be totally wrong," Jonah said before adding. "They don't know how docious magocious you are."
Cyrus who went redder had the biggest smile on his face but had to pull through because Jonah was going to think he was weird - and he didn't want him to see that way - so he changed the subject. They spoke on a variety of topics for a while before their conversation turned to their friends who went on holiday.
"Well, Buffy texted me earlier: she made it okay. But I haven't heard from Andi. What about you?"
"Me neither, " Jonah replied with a hint of sadness. "But I'm not surprised..."
"What do you mean?" Cyrus asked, taken aback. "What's wrong?"
But Jonah didn't say anything and sighed loudly.
"I think I just haven't had any luck with girls," he eventually told Cyrus. "I was so glad that a girl like Amber was interested in me: she was my first girlfriend and I was so naive. I didn't realize that something was wrong about our relationship: I only did it when I met the three of you and even I didn't want to admit it first when Andi told me that she saw Amber with another boy..."
And it was the turn of Cyrus to hug him. Even if it was short-lived because he was afraid of telling Jonah how he felt. It wasn't the good time: he only needed his friend Cy-guy, even if it ripped him more and more inside. He had planned to come out to Jonah.
"But you're all right now. And Andi's not like Amber."
"Yeah, you're right: she's so sweet and so funny. But..."
Jonah lowered his head before finishing his sentence so Cyrus patiently waited that he mustered up his courage to carry on.
Are you afraid to tell me something that will upset me?
But Cyrus didn't say it aloud.
"I feel like I don't like Andi like that," he finally admitted without looking at Cyrus.
He shook his head before pausing again.
"But I don't understand how come... Do you remember the day I broke up with Amber?"
Cyrus nodded before saying yes because Jonah was still staring at his feet.
"It hurt me when Andi barely stopped to say hello that day. As if I was just a schoolmate . As if she didn't care about me anymore."
Cyrus remembered it well: he hadn't liked what Andi confessed that she was feeling better without Jonah in her life. Even if he got her after what she went through because of Amber's jealousy and Jonah's attitude. But, at the same time, he was sad for Jonah: he seemed lonely among Amber and the other guys and girls. That's why he waved at Jonah because he wanted to show him he still mattered to him. And Andi blamed him, almost accusing Cyrus to be on Jonah's side. But he didn't want to choose between Andi and Jonah because he liked them so much.
Cyrus kept that to himself too.
"I left The Spoon shortly after you two did: I wanted to have a serious talk with her while you were tying your shoe but I shied away and Amber caught up to me. We started arguing: she told me that Andi liked me more than a friend if she was turning her head to me and I denied without any real conviction before looking at you who were moving away."
Cyrus hid as well as he could his emotion after Jonah's words, wondered if the boy next to him was staring at him without realizing it but chased away that thought. His feelings were trying to decieve him.
He had also turned his head to Jonah but he was gone. He had felt some sadness while looking at the empty street.
"You okay, Cy?"
He tried to get his act together as quickly as possible but didn't have time to answer Jonah. Someone called him.
Cyrus immediately felt ill at ease in front of the new three kids - despite their friendly grin - so Jonah who put a good face decided to make introductions.
"Guys, let me introduce Cyrus to you."
"So," a blond boy with grey eyes and a slight French accent said, "this is the famous Cyrus you don't stop talking about. My name's Louis."
Cyrus couldn't help but stare at Jonah who nervously rubbed his neck.
"I'm Kane," a black-haired and dark-eyed guy then told him.
"Aaron," the third one with with black curly hair and green eyes just said before adding. "I thought you had to go on holiday last week, Jojo. Something happened?"
"Yeah, my dad did: he changed his mind again. But it doesn't matter since Cy-guy spends some time with me."
"And you guys, of course."
Cyrus couldn't but blush a bit. The boy called Kane seemed to notice without saying anything.
"Well," Louis asked, "what do you do here?"
"I'm teaching to do an ollie."
"He did a decent one."
"Really? Show us."
But Cyrus shook his head vigorously.
"Cmon, nobody's gonna make fun of you: you're Jojo's friend. We'd insult him if we..."
"Yeah, Cy. Show them how a good teacher I am."
Cyrus alternatively looked at Jonah and the three boys and then reluctantly equipped himself before going down the spot. He closed his eyes, took a deep breath, viewed the steps and finally performed the trick. When he was done, he didn't hear laughters, only silence.
"And you said it was just decent?" Louis exclaimed. "It was pretty awesome! Do it again, please."
"Yeah," the other boys - including Jonah - exclaimed. "Please."
So, as if he was relieved of some weight, Cyrus performed the trick again. The four boys cheered him. All of them then returned to the spot and sat down.
The time passed quite pleasantly as Cyrus felt more and more comfortable with the three boys. Unlike Jonah who was more and more upset even if he didn't get why at first before noticing that Louis didn't stop glancing at Cyrus who glanced back and started blushing. Jonah didn't like that at all so he suggested to go skating. Jonah and the three boys immediately got up while inviting Cyrus to join them but he declined because he was sure he'd bother them - even if they assured him to the contrary - so he promised to go with them the next time. But Louis decided to stay with him so that he didn't feel lonely and offered to explain some of their moves. Jonah couldn't help but frown while the two boys were moving away but he needed to get his head in the right place and there was nothing like skateboarding.
So Cyrus and the blond boy took place along the way that they would follow through the park. Cyrus was totally excited: he was going to admire Jonah's skills. Kane soared first, then Aaron and Jonah finally dropped into the quarter-pipe. The line out of it brought him to the edge of the bowl, which was roughly kidney shaped. The goal was to gather speed, bank around the edge of the kidney bowl, then hop up on to a succession of rails that would take them to another series of banks and on to more obstacles. The distance between the place where the three boys had to go out of the kidney bowl and the bank up to the rails was short and at an arduous angle. It was possible to tell whether they were going to make it if they got a little air off the lip of the hump coming out of the bowl. Not making it meant bailing or having a terrible wipeout likely involving their head hitting metal rails.
The two of them quickly re-stationed themselves near the rails. Cyrus became more and more nervous because Jonah came out of the bowl so Louis tried to reassure him before putting his hand on his shoulder.
Jonah who saw the gesture didn't bail, began to panic and lost control. Louis - who knew what might happen to Jonah - immediately got up, leapt on the course, ran toward him and deftly plucked him from the board. Jonah clung to him while Louis ran a little ways before slowing down and putting him down on the grass. Cyrus - close behind the blond boy - helped him.
"What happened?" Aaron and Kane inquired when they joined the three of them.
"I got distracted," Jonah just replied while glancing at Cyrus and Louis very quickly.
"You know you have to be focused though: it's not the first time we do that course."
"I know," he answered while lifting his shirt up. "Just got a few scratches."
Cyrus couldn't help but blush - while his eyes lingered a bit on Jonah's lower back - before looking away.
"Thanks to Louis," Jonah reluctantly added after a few seconds of hesitation.
"You'll get some rest for now. Doctor's orders."
"As you wish," he said while taking off his protections and going back to his favorite spot.
Louis and Cyrus sat down next to each other - which depleased Jonah - while Aaron, Kane and Jonah took place in front of the two boys and started talking about everything and nothing until they returned to skating. Cyrus went with them as he had promised and because Louis wanted to teach him a new trick while the other boys were practicing on their side, except Jonah who decided to stay with Cyrus too.
I won't leave them on their own. I don't want anyone else but me to be close to Cy. I know it's selfish...
Or I'm... jealous? Whatever! It's true I like being around him: he makes me forget all my problems. It's also true I've never been so close to another boy. Not even to Aaron that I know since Kindergarten...
"Jonah, you're zoning out again?"
"No, I mean yes. Sorry, Cy. So ready to learn another trick?"
"Course, Jo sensei!"
"Well," Louis warned him, "look at me: it's called a frontside 180 but let me show you"
Then he jumped on his board: he positioned his feet as for an ollie, except that his back foot was at the end of the board, he then leant down and slightly twisted his shoulders before popping his board while putting its tail with his back foot so that he performed the move. He did it again more slowly before breaking down each step.
Cyrus was particularly pleased to be with Jonah and Louis who seemed to be interested in him. He thought that the blond boy with his breathtaking gray eyes and his shining smile looked amazing. He had still wondered if he was really gay after telling Buffy he had a crush on Jonah because no other boy drew his attention.
Yep... definitely gay.
He couldn't help but grin while looking at Louis who smiled back. After turning to Jonah, he noted that there was a hint of sadness in his eyes: he shouldn't understand what was going on. Maybe it was time to tell him the truth so he took his courage in both hands.
"Can I talk to you?" He asked nervously before turning to the blond boy. "Alone?"
Louis just nodded and moved away. Cyrus was preparing for several weeks: he had watched many coming out videos and had sought advice from his four parents who could provide the best answers as shrinks after coming out to them just before his bar Mitzvah. They accepted him as he was.
But he hadn't found the strength to come out to Andi and Jonah yet.
"Jonah," Cyrus said in all seriousness, "you're right when you tell me I'm one of a kind."
He paused before lowering his head and taking a deep breath.
"So are you in my heart."
Cyrus then looked up.
Chapter 2: Epiphany
Cyrus and Jonah meet at The Spoon so that they speak their mind.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
A few hours later
So are you in my heart.
Lying in his bed, the words still echoed in Jonah's mind while his heart was racing. It was the first time he was feeling such an emotion: Amber nor Andi had never generated that feeling.
Does it mean that...? Think about it.
Amber was his first girlfriend so it was normal that he was awkward and naive but she always took his hand and they kissed once because she wanted to. So he thought he liked her like that, even if he wasn't quite sure about it. As for Andi, he didn't lie to her when he told that he liked being around her more than any other girl but he gradually realized that he didn't act like her boyfriend but more like her friend. Although the two of them had held hands many times, it wasn't really a natural act.
Maybe it's not a crush... Maybe I'm just trying to make up for what she went through BECAUSE OF ME... I don't wanna believe it because... it'd mean that I'm hurting her feelings again!
Jonah immediately sat up: he should find out as soon as possible. But he wondered who could help him and instantly thought of Cyrus. Was he the best one to do it though? It was true that Andi was his friend and Jonah was sure that he'd never betray her deliberately because Cyrus was the most loyal friend he knew. So he lectured himself, caught his phone and texted him - using the right words so that his speech wasn't misinterpreted by Cyrus - before lying again and falling asleep.
"Come on!" Jonah said enthusiastically, splashing gently Cyrus with the water from the pool. "Please..."
"Why me?" His friend - hilarious - inquired while lifting his towel so that it shielded from the water. "Why not Marty or TJ? They're more athletic than me!"
"Yeah," Jonah - infected with his laughter - replied , "you're right but neither of them is as docious ferocious as you!"
"Don't make fun of me, Jo-bro."
"I don't. Buffy told me how you destroyed her and her team when you played dodge ball the other day."
No sooner had Cyrus turned to his friend who was relaxing on her sun bed than she peered at him over her sunglasses and smiled. So he smiled back, got up, took off his shirt, kicked off his sandals and jogged over the pool before jumping in with a whoop and a cannonball.
"Well, who needs to get their butt kicked today?"
Jonah couldn't help but burst into laughter - he liked that side of Cyrus who was getting more brazen - before pointing at two boys across the volleyball net.
"Really ready to face me and Jodzilla? You aren't scared of anything... I admire your bravery, you know that?"
"How did you call me?" He asked, unable to hide his smile after hearing the new nickname Cyrus just gave him.
"Jodzilla, why? Okay, right now, you look more like a baby Godzilla with your so nice smile."
Despite the weird compliment, Jonah immediately felt his cheeks flushing so he lowered himself into the water, while hoping that no one saw how red his face went. When he finally came back to the surface, he had regained his composure.
The game could finally start. The two of them quickly drew attention from all those who were around the pool: they encouraged the four boys in the water, cheered them and loudly laughed every time Cyrus and Jonah had their weird handshake after scoring a point. Jonah couldn't remember when he had this much fun.
"Kids," his mum suddenly exclaimed, "it's time for the birhday cake. Dry you off and come to the living room."
Jonah reluctantly went out of the pool, took the first towel he saw, waited that Cyrus finished drying before the two of them walked into the living room where everyone was already around the cake.
"Hurry up, Birthday Boy."
He then sat down at the end of the table, while Buffy, Andi and - of course - Cyrus stood just behind him, before everyone started singing Happy Birthday. Jonah looked at everybody, made a silent wish after glancing at Cyrus and blown out the candles. When it was all over, his guests took their place whilst his mum cut slices and gave pieces to his friends. Jonah then listened to Andi and Buffy's holiday experiences before Cyrus told about his skateboard sessions.
All of a sudden, it was pitch-black. No sooner had Jonah wondered what was happening than he heard music and spotlights of different colors gradually popped up, turning the room into a dancing room. Andi quickly got up and asked him to dance before taking his hand and dragging him to the center of the room: they started dancing and Jonah liked it because it reminded him of her party. After a while, the music changed: it was a slow song. So Jonah and Andi gradually got closer.
But the music suddenly stopped and it was pitch-black again. When the light returned, he saw someone with a colorful wig just in front of him. The dancer - Andi? - was awesome, despite his/her weird moves and Jonah couldn't resist when he/she waved him over. The two of them quickly became one and Jonah lost track of time: if he had fun with Andi a bit earlier, it was an all new level of fun as if he danced with someone else.
Which was the case when Cyrus took off his wig.
"You have fun?"
"I always have fun with YOU," Jonah couldn't help but say with his brightest grin.
After exerting themselves once again, Jonah and his friends emptied the rest of the drinks before his mom called him so that he opened his gifts. After thanking his guests, there was only one left that Andi put on his arm : it was an awesome wristband on which he could read a strange word.
"What does it mean?" He asked her while kissing her cheek gently.
"It just means..."
Jonah woke up before hearing the end of her sentence - while the word escaped him - and looked beyond his window where the sun was already high in the sky. When he was fully awake, he chose some clothes, went to the bathroom, took his shower, got dressed, headed downstairs and walked into the kitchen where there was a note from his parents. After doing some housework and grabbing a snack, he closed the door and slowly went to meet Cyrus at The Spoon. He didn't stop thinking about his dream the whole way, trying to remember the word on the wristband Andi gave him.
Almost a quarter of an hour later, he pushed the door of The Spoon and looked around: it was still crowded. Fortunately, Cyrus was already there so he quickly headed to his friend.
"Cy,"he greeted him in a good way.
"Jonah," his friend whispering and waving at him shyly.
"What's wrong?" Jonah - frowning - immediately inquired before pausing and adding a few seconds later. "Don't tell me my text scared you..."
"Don't bother, I already know what you say next. Amber warned me."
"Where is she?" He asked with a pinch of irritation because his ex-girlfriend couldn't help but inferfere in his life as if they were still together.
"She already left: she just finished her shift. C'mon, spit it out: we can't be friends anymore after telling you about..."
"Don't talk nonsense," Jonah cut him off, while reaching out to him and taking his hands without a second thought. "Nothing can ruin our friendship! No, not our friendship but our bond. Yeah, I dare say it: we're more than friends, we're more like brothers. You're the only one to be still there for me since we know each other..."
"No, let me finish, Cy. I'll always remember when you checked on me after my first breakup with Amber. I was feeling at my lowest but you cheered me up without giving up, despite my stubbornness. I knew then that I could rely on you. I've gradually gotten to know you since then and I found out someone special. Besides, you know how to make me feel good like nobody else."
"Thanks," Cyrus shyly said.
"No need to thank me. Wish I could do likewise because you deserve it. I don't get why Andi and Buffy think you're hopeless..."
"Maybe because I am..."
"You're totally wrong. Do you think someone hopeless is able to do two tricks so easily?"
"That's down to you and Louis..."
"We only showed you the way. You were on the board, you did the move! Stop knocking yourself out in here, Cy-guy!"
"Do not let anyone make you think you're less than them."
He suddenly realized that the face of Cyrus was red as a raspberry, frowned and then saw his hands.
"I'm sorry," he told him while withdrawing his hands, "I'm really, really sorry. I shoudn't have done that."
"It's ok-kay," Cyrus said, "I d-didn't mind; it, it was qui-quite p-pleasant."
So Jonah took his hands again - without caring about people around them - and tightened his grip because it would seem that Cyrus needed that touch.
"You're by far the best person I know."
He paused and looked at Cyrus.
"Let's order your baby taters: I'm starving."
He then raised his hand so that a waiter took their orders. While waiting to be served, the two of them talked about light subjects and Jonah asked about Andi and Buffy: Cyrus - whose smile was back - told him about their day and some fun facts. Jonah couldn't help but sigh because Andi didn't deign to call or text him since she went on vacation.
"You okay?" Cyrus inquired.
"Think Andi is happy?" He asked instead of answering his question.
"What do you mean?"
"We didn't talk to each other for awhile."
"To be honest, I dunno. She no longer confides in me and I'm sorry. You have to ask Buffy. All that I can say is that she didn't know at first - I just quote her - if you were together or just friends who liked holding hands. One thing is for sure, every time she looks at you, she grins."
"You know," Jonah sighed, "I've been asking myself the same question for awhile. I'm really happy with her but I feel like our relationship misses something. I don't get it."
He looked straight at Cyrus.
"Could you help me to get some light? Perhaps I'm asking you too much..."
"You know I'd do anything for you and Andi," Cyrus replied while adding inside. "Even if that makes me unhappy."
"I don't want to hurt her again. I did once and it almost cost me a lot."
"I witnessed it: I remember how sad you looked and sounded. I think she was wrong when she decided to cut ties with you. Even if I get her. But I feel sorry for you when I saw you with Amber's friends because you seemed so lonely."
"Yes, I was: the guys made fun of me cos I played frisbee that wasn't a real sport according to them. They only talked about football and baseball..."
"I so much wanted to be with you: you had so fun. That was when I unserstood where I belonged: you were the ones who really cared about me. Especially you, Cy. I owe you so much. I got you were a real friend. No, I got you were my best friend. That was also when I understood that I had to apologize to Andi after using her feelings unknowingly."
He paused again.
"And this is where the problem lies."
"What do you mean?"
"I'm wondering if I didn't confuse my guilt with a crush..."
"Be honest, how do you feel about Andi?"
"Your baby taters," the waiter said before Jonah could reply to Cyrus.
"It's on me," Jonah claimed when Cyrus unpocketed his wallet.
After paying the bills, he was deep in thought again so that he could explain how he felt about her. But it was complicated so he took his time while picking up a few baby taters and playing with them. That gave Cyrus an idea, even if he knew The Spoon wasn't the perfect place for that kind of situation. But it began to empty so they would be quiet because nobody would bother them.
When a kid didn't get to say the things, his parents - as shrinks - gave him some toys so that he could express his feelings.
Maybe it could work with Jonah too.
"Hey," he said, taking a baby tater and trying to imitate Andi's voice. "How you doing?"
Jonah looked up.
"Play along, Jo-bro."
So Jonah hesitantly took another one.
"Hey," he replied, unable to hide his smile, "I'm good."
"Do you miss me?"
"Of course, I miss you: I don't have any news from you. But, thanks to Cyrus, I know you and Buffy are all right and you two have a good time."
Jonah stopped talking and lowered his head before speaking again after a few seconds of silence.
"I just wish I'd hear your voice or read your words, though. Please, call me."
Cyrus tried to hide his sadness as much as possible.
"I'm glad that you still think of me but I also need to be alone because it's been a rough few months."
"I know. I don't just understand why you don't confide on me like you do with Buffy and Cyrus. We go out together, right?"
"Do you really think so, Jonah? Or are we just friends? Do you like me?"
"Of course, I like you, Andi."
"No, I mean, do you like me like that?"
Jonah went silent: he was unable to answer that question. He alternately looked at his baby tater and Cyrus. As he just said, he liked her and the two of them were spending really good times together. It was true they were holding hands like a real couple but he only took her hand because a boyfriend had to do it.
"I, I don't think so," he eventually stated, his eyes staring at the table.
Cyrus immediately looked straight at him but his friend didn't dare look up.
"You're my friend, Andi. A great friend who opened my eyes. But I, I c-can't like you like..."
Jonah was unable to finish his sentence. Cyrus dropped his baby tater, got up, sat next to him and put his arm around his shoulders before his friend pressed his front against him and began to cry softly.
"Your friend's okay?" Their waiter asked worried.
"I will ensure it. Bring us some drinks, please. Anything, thanks."
"Why don't I like Andi like that?" Jonah asked with dry eyes. "She's got everything you could want from a girlfriend. Unlike Amber."
"I think so but I can't explain it."
"I don't understand either. Especially after last night."
"I dreamed of you, Buffy and Andi. You were at my birthday party."
So Jonah - between two sobs - told him about his dream while Cyrus listened to him carefully and tapped his back gently.
"And Andi gave me her present, the most beautiful wristband she ever made. She had written a mysterious word but I didn't understand the meaning. She just told me it described the most awesome relationship, according to her."
"What the word says?"
The eyes of Cyrus immediately went wide.
Thanks for reading the second chapter. I can't wait to read your comments.
Chapter 3: Into the maze of a tricky situation
Cyrus seeks guidance from his parents and crosses Jonah's path.
The next day
Cyrus knocked at the door of his stepmom's office.
"Mary, do you have a minute?"
"Sure, have a seat while I end this file."
Cyrus didn't like that room because he always felt like one of his stepmom's patient but he wished to ask her a question that had been bugging him since the day before: he was so afraid that Jonah's dream ending was just wishful thinking. Cyrus had to question her before she went to her meeting because he knew his stepmom would come home in the night.
"Well," Mrs Goodman began to say before frowning, "You okay? You look tired, Cyrus."
"I'm good, even if it's tue I had a bad night..."
"Is it because of your... What do you call it? Your crash?"
"My crush," Cyrus replied, unable to hide his grin. "Yeah..."
He paused before asking after a few seconds of hesitation: he felt more and more nervous.
"D-Do you know if our dreams can unveil our hidden feelings?"
"It's a very interesting question but it's also a very complex matter," she answered learnedly. "The mind is an intriguing thing, you know."
Cyrus couldn't help but sigh lightly: he knew she was unable to stop talking as soon as it was about one of her favorite topics.
"Sorry, I digress. Sometimes, our mind tries to get a message to ourselves and our dreams are the perfect messengers for such a mission. Can you tell me more about that specific dream?"
Cyrus hesitated a bit because he felt like he was about to betray Jonah somehow.
"You don't have to do it but, if it makes you comfortable, it'll stay between us."
So he told about Jonah's dream and explained the meaning of Jyrus after she asked the question. She smiled at him so he immediately felt reassured.
"I think it's very good news," his stepmom said, while getting up and hugging him. "This boy seems to have feelings for you, even if he isn't aware of it yet. I'm so happy for you because I guess you had a rough time recently. It's so hard not to know if the one you liked is sharing the same feelings but it's even harder for gay people because they are afraid to be rejected or hated by the person they liked. So I'm really happy for you: you deserve it. You're such a good boy."
"Thanks," Cyrus told her, unable to hold back his tears. "You're right but it's harder than you think because of Andi. You know the two of them are together somehow, right?"
His stepmom just nodded.
"I thought it wouldn't be painful to be around them but I was wrong so I decided to go my own way. Unfortunately, it wasn't really helpful: I missed Jonah so much. I tried to be interested in other boys but..."
"The four of us witnessed your change of attitude: you became withdrawn. We wish you'd have talked to us but we didn't know how to help you without steeping yourself further."
"When you came out to the four of us the other week, we really felt relieved. I know you had to be afraid we could be judgemental."
She paused again before laughing slightly.
"It's not easy to have four shrinks as parents. But we would be mediocre professionals and even more poor parents, right?"
"Yeah," Cyrus confirmed, grinning though, "that's what I said to Jonah when he asked me why I was always so nervous. But, at the same time, you four are the best ones."
"Well, you should invite him to come over someday: I'd like to meet the boy who changed our own."
"So that he'll go under your scalpels? No thanks. Anyway, you already met him at my bar mitzva."
"Don't be so harsh, Cyrus. We know how handle ourselves!"
"I'll think about it," Cyrus replied smirking before changing the subject. "Maybe you should go: you'll be late."
"Don't worry, you're more important than this meeting. Besides, I'm determined to not make the same mistakes: I witnessed what my other children went through because of me being workaholic. Do you know what to do now you have a chance with him?"
Cyrus slowly shook his head so his stepmom sat down next to him and took her time to give him some advice.
"Think really hard about it," she recommended after being done. "I know you'll do your best. Be careful, take your time: you must accompany him on his journey without being selfish. I know you're not but our feelings can betray us. And, at your age..."
She didn't finish her sentence but Cyrus got her advisory. They then said goodbye before his stepmom took her bag and her keys, went to her car and left the house and the street. As for Cyrus, he went downstairs and walked into the kitchen where his dad was waiting for him.
"So, do you have the answer you were looking for?" He asked, while sipping his coffee.
"Yup," Cyrus replied, his heart beating like puppies at the thought of Jonah's hidden feelings for him, "Mary was really helpful. Thanks, dad."
"Well, what are your plans for today?"
"Dunno yet," he replied, while taking a bowl, his favorite cereal and a milk bottle that he put on the kitchen table before sitting down. "I thought I'd go to the library this afternoon."
"You won't go to the skate park and christen the board we bought yesterday?"
"I don't think so."
"I'll go shopping later. You wanna come with me?"
"Meet me at the car," Mr Goodman said when his son was done eating.
So Cyrus cleared the table, put down his bowl in the sink, stowed his cereal and the milk bottle, went upstairs, got changed and grabbed his phone before waiting for his dad next to the car.
"It's been a while since Andi came over," his dad stated while getting in the car, "everything's ok between you and her?"
"I think so," he replied without much conviction. "Don't forget she's dating Jonah now so the two of them spend much of their time together."
"Yeah, I know but you also told me that Buffy often hanged out with them. But, you don't so I'm a bit worried."
"As I told Mary earlier," Cyrus explained, "I don't feel comfortable enough to be around them outside of school and..."
But he didn't finish his sentence because he felt like Andi was mad at him recently. She was glaring at him every time she thought he didn't pay attention to her.
"She knows about your feelings for Jonah?"
"No, I didn't tell her anything yet. I don't think it's the right time to talk about it. Besides, the two of them have some issues right now."
"Maybe she knows unconsciously."
"Yes, it can be. But you know it's toxic to keep all that in: you could lose her because you're hiding something big from her."
"Yeah but how will she feel if me, her closest friend, tell her I have feelings for her boyfriend... and... he feels the same way for me. You don't think she'd pin their issues on me?"
"What?" His dad exclaimed while turning to him. "That's what Mary and you talked about?"
"Yes. Watch the road, dad, please. According to her, Jonah's mind tries to explain through his dreams that he likes me."
"You told us you two were closed and you have a crush on him. I get your dilemma now. I guess Mary gave you some advice?"
"She told me I needed to make him understand his feelings but I don't see how."
"Just talk to him."
Mr Goodman thought for a moment before resuming.
"Besides, you two are lucky."
"What do you mean?"
"As Andi's on vacation, you can spend more time together. You need time and patience so that you don't push him and you'll see that Jonah will gradually get his own feelings."
"You think it will work?"
"Of course, son. Trust me."
After a while, Mr Goodman drove into the grocery store parking lot, parked the car and the two of them headed to the building. Cyrus was silent until they came home: he was torn between his feelings for Jonah and his loyalty to Andi. What his dad had revealed him didn't reassure him because he knew he was going to hurt his closest friend if it was like his dad and his stepmom said. He cared about Andi like Jonah did when he understood that he didn't her like that: neither of them wanted to hurt her feelings.
"You sure there's no other way so that Andi won't suffer?" He asked his dad, while putting down a grocery bag on the kitchen table.
"Unfortunately, I am. If you don't tell her what you know, the three of you will suffer: Andi, because she likes someone who doesn't like her back and she'll feel betrayed by you who is supposed to be honest with her, Jonah because he needs to get his feelings for you and YOU because you will have made a bad decision that will cost you the ones you care about."
His dad paused before staring at Cyrus solemnly.
"I don't want that!"
He paused again.
"Know that Andi will be able to move on after a heartbreak. Everybody gets over but no one can get over a treason. You really care for them, right?"
"Course!" He replied without hesitation.
"I know it's quite a burden for a kid like you. But you are a strong one and you're not alone: me, Mary, your mom and Steven, we're on your side. Without forgetting Buffy."
His dad got closer and hugged him tightly.
"You're my son and I'm really proud of you."
Cyrus hugged him back. He felt safe in his dad's arms and that feeling reminded him of the day he came out to his four parents.
Cyrus was so anxious that he had barely touched his food. He knew his four parents were worried because they didn't stop glancing at him during dinner. He sighed as the fateful moment arrived very quickly so he thought of text Buffy sent earlier before getting up.
"I wanna tell you something important."
His parents put down their knives and forks and looked straight at him without a word. The silence around the table was deafening and more stressful, according to him.
"Mom, dad, Mary, Steve, I'm GAY!" He blurted.
"So what?" Steven, the new husband of his mom, asked before taking his glass.
"Honey!" His mom immediately scolded.
"What? There's no surprise."
"Show respect," his dad cut him off. "This is his big moment. Congrats, son!"
He then got up and hugged Cyrus tightly, soon followed by the three other adults. Cyrus - bathed by their embrace - stayed quiet because he hadn't expected that. He had read and watched so many comings out and witnessed all parents reaction.
"We're proud of you!" His mom and Mary exclaimed after all of them decided to let him breathe again.
"So we are," his dad and Steven hastened to add.
"You knew?" Cyrus who felt relieved asked incredulously.
"Of course," Steven replied before adding smiling. "We're shrinks!"
Cyrus was unable to hide his smile: Steven was the funniest man he ever knew. He had to admit to himself that he loved his stepmom and his stepdad even if he had been sad when his parents had decided to divorce.
"We had some suspicions, your mom and me, before you dated that girl... What's her name?"
"Yeah, hows she doing actually?"
"She's good. By the way, thanks for your advice, Steve. Our breakup wasn't too painful. We are still friends."
"At your service, Cyrus. She didn't deserve to suffer, I like her."
"Why didn't you tell me about your suspicions?"
"It's your life, son. It wasn't our business, even if we're your parents."
"Your dad's right, Cy. You want some advice, we're here."
"Listen to your mom, son. Besides, we weren't going to steal your moment. We knew you'd tell us as soon as you'd be ready and we had the impression that it wouldn't be long, from the way you didn't stop talking of your new friend Jonah."
The four of them hugged him again.
"Know that we'll always be proud of you," they claimed with one voice.
His dad made lunch while Cyrus was texting Buffy, they then ate before Mr Goodman dropped him at the library where he spent much of his afternoon. He decided to walk home, cut through the park and saw Jonah who was sitting with his board on a bench aside so he came to him.
"Hey, Mr J. How you doing today?"
"Hey," his friend replied with a little voice. So-so but it's good to see you."
The shadow of Jonah's grin - the one Cyrus loved so much - passed on his face quickly.
That's a good start at least.
"You been here long?"
"Not really, I was just wandering around with the expectation that I could find some answers."
"Did you find some?"
"I think so," Jonah said, sighing. "I'll talk to Andi as soon as she will be back from vacation and then I'll break up with her. Maybe your parents will be able to give me some advice: they helped you with Iris, right?"
"How do you know that?"
"I overheard your stepdad about you and Iris. How's she doing?"
"She's good, even if it had been tough for her but she found a new boyfriend. I think his name's Lance."
"I don't think my parents will be really helpful like your stepdad. If I got back with Amber, it was because I followed their advice. That wasn't their best suggestion."
"Yeah," Cyrus confirmed with a slight laughter before asking on a more serious note. "You sure about you and Andi?"
"Unfortunately, yes. I thought about it all night: we don't have a real relationship. Even if we spend time together, I don't believe we belong together. Like Marty and Buffy, for instance."
"It's true they make a good couple."
"Well, me and Andi don't: the more I think about it, the more our relationship seems artificial and meaningless! I feel nothing for her but friendship. Besides, I have more fun with you than with with her. Whatever we do and wherever we are. But I don't get it."
"None taken," Cyrus replied, while thinking. "How can he be so blind?"
"By the way, Cy, how about going skateboarding tomorrow? Just the two of us?"
"I'd love to but I can't: me and my mom will visit my grandparents and we won't be back until later on Sunday."
Jonah immediately felt disapppointed but didn't want him to know so he showed him a false smile. Cyrus wasn't fooled but didn't make any comment.
"Well I have to go home. See you."
"See ya, cutie."
The eyes of Cyrus went wide: he stared at Jonah who looked back at him as if nothing had happened. He then walked away, blushing and his heart racing.
Chapter 4: Trust your heart
Jonah finally understands what happens to him.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
"Cy!" He suddenly called out before his friend turned the corner. "Wait!"
Cyrus immediately stopped, turned around and couldn't help but grin at Jonah who smiled back.
"You don't mind if I'm walking with you?"
"Course not," Cyrus replied, while his smile widened.
Jonah - whose heart was beating like puppies - felt like he was going to melt if he kept staring at his smile. He couldn't believe what was just happening to him since he understood that he used the word cutie a few minutes ago. It was like a revelation: he'd never experienced such feelings with Amber and Andi. But he quickly wondered if he didn't imagine things: he had been wrong in his feelings for the two girls.
Wasn't Jonah going to make another mistake? He couldn't hurt his friend's feelings because Cyrus was the sweetest boy he'd ever known.
I won't be the one who will break his heart. Especially after he told he had a crush on me.
"How your siblings doing?" Cyrus inquired after a few minutes of silence.
"They're good, even if Cam is unbearable these days. She must go to summer school: it doesn't make her happy so she doesn't stop bickering with Con."
"I must admit that she's a character!" Cyrus stated before adding smirking. "She reminds me very much of Amber."
"You can say that. I already feel sorry for her first boyfriend!"
"At least, you'll be able to give him some advice."
"Don't rub it in!" Jonah retorted, while punching his friend's arm gently.
But as soon as his fist touched the skin, he felt some sort of static shock and had to remove his hand immediately.
"I feel like there's some sort of tension in the air," Cyrus couldn't help but comment giggling before changing the subject. "So that's why you didn't go on holiday yet?"
"You can't imagine how true your words are," Jonah thought before replying. "Yup!"
"What are your parents planning on?"
"We'll visit our grandparents who live in Germany after summer school. What about you?"
"Mine live in Israel since they are retired," Cyrus answered after a full minute of silence. "They are a bit old-fashioned so..."
He couldn't finish his sentence. Jonah noticed he was about to cry so he got closer and tapped his back, despite the unpleasant sensation of static shock. He didn't understand what was happening to his friend but didn't ask any question because he respected his silence. Besides, Cyrus would talk to him if he needed to confide in: the two of them paid attention to each other since they got to know each other.
"Sorry," Cyrus said, while wiping his tears.
"Don't be. I owe you an apology: I wasn't a great friend lately."
"Don't start that again: it's a hard thing to get through. Finding out that you don't like her like that is something terrible because you know this can't go on any longer and you have to tell her without hurting her feelings too much..."
"That's no excuse! Jonah got carried away before calming down. "Sorry, I was so selfish that I almost forgot how a great friend you were... I, I mean, I care about you."
...More than you think or you hope.
"I know that," Cyrus said, frowning. "I can't hold that against you, Jocious Magocious."
Jonah burst out laughing. Cyrus was the only one who made him forget his concerns. And it was just one of the reasons that he was so precious in Jonah's sight.
"Sorry again," he said before the two of them started walking again.
They went silent until they were in front of the Goodman house.
"Since you're here, how about coming in?... Unless you have other plans."
"I don't but I don't want to bother your parents."
"Don't worry, you won't: my stepmom's gone to a meeting before visiting her patients so she'll be back late tonight. And my dad must be glued to the television right now."
Cyrus paused before adding with a flirty tone.
"The house is ours."
Jonah went red and looked away, while Cyrus couldn't hide his smirk.
"Dad, I'm home," he said after kicking off his shoes. "We also have a guest."
"Welcome home," Mr Goodman - who walked out of the kitchen - greeted them. "Hi, Jonah. Are you hungry? I was making a little snack. Would you like one?"
Cyrus and Jonah - who could get his act together - looked at each other and nodded.
"Hi, Mr Goodman. How you doing?"
"I'm fine, thank you. It feels good to relax once in a while. What about you?"
"So-so," he replied truthfully. "At least, with a friend like Cy, it's easy to forget my problems."
"If you need some advice from a professionnal, my office is right across the hall."
Cyrus couldn't help but glare at his dad. Which made him and Jonah laugh.
"I'm kidding, son!"
"Well, save your jokes and make us our snacks!"
"You're so grumpy sometimes," Mr Goodman stated smirking, while putting on the kitchen table some peanut butter and three jars of jam. "Which one do you want?"
Jonah just chose one at random.
"I was told that you almost won the championship," he said while making Jonah's snack.
"Yes, we met the toughest team but I'm not gonna complain: I wasn't sure we'd make it this far. Do you know Cy was our first fan?"
"We don't," Mr Goodman answered him, while smirking at his son. "He never forced us to watch all your games and trainings."
Jonah frowned at him, while Cyrus - reddening - couldn't help but glare at his dad who seemed to like teasing his son. He was almost jealous of the bond between Cyrus and his dad. Jonah's relationship with his own father and his mom gradually became tense: the mood at the house wasn't great lately. According to him, it started after he broke up with Amber and he got closer to The Good Hair Crew. He had noticed that his parents didn't like his new friends, unlike his siblings.
So Jonah and his young brother Connor got away from home as often as possible and the two of them particularly liked when one of their friends invited them to a sleep over. He hoped that their holidays in Germany would bring back some peacefulness. He enjoyed the mood in his friend's house, even if he was there for a few minutes. While they ate their snacks, Mr Goodman left the kitchen and went back to the living room.
"Sorry, my dad's really hopeless."
"Like father like son," Jonah thought smirking.
"I'd take a dip," Cyrus said after they were finished eating. "You in?"
"I'd love to but I don't have a suit..."
"Doesn't matter, I'll lend you one. Let's clear the table and then we'll go to my room."
As soon as the kitchen was clean, Cyrus brought him to upstairs. While they were climbing the steps, their arms accidentally touched and Jonah immediately felt goose bumps as well as a pleasant sensation inside and he noticed that his friend seemed to have experienced something similar, even if he did everything to hide it. But Jonah wasn't fooled: the two of them knew each other too well. Besides, he was more and more sure that he wasn't wrong in his feelings for Cyrus because he never went through such sensations with Amber and Andi. Even when he had held their hand.
But he needed an additional proof - the ultimate and sensitive one - that he liked Cyrus like that.
"Well, here's my room."
"WOW!" Jonah exclaimed. "I've never seen so many books! Did you read them all?"
Cyrus proudly smiled.
"Please, feel free."
Jonah couldn't believe that his bookshelf occupied half of the room and felt a bit ashamed because there barely was a couple of books in his own room.
"You can look for swimsuits in my wardrobe. When you'll find one, go get changed to the bathroom: it's the door across mine. I'll wait here."
"Thanks," he said after picking a suit at random and before walking into the bathroom.
Jonah quickly got changed, came back to the bedroom but stopped when he saw that Cyrus was already wearing his own swim suit: he couldn't help but think he really was the cutest boy he'd ever seen.
Who'd have thought I liked that boy like that? Someone'd have told me that a few months ago, I wouldn't have believed him. Me and Amber, we were together and, after I broke up with her, I was spending most of my time with Andi. But I have to face reality: I wasn't entirely happy then. By the way, I still don't understand why Amber wanted to go out with me. As far as I know, high schoolers date each other and make fun of middle schoolers like me: I'd got the proof when she asked me to meet her friends who thought that playing frisbee couldn't be compared with baseball or football.
And what about my relationship with Andi? I thought she would be way nicer than Amber. And she is. As a friend. But not as a girlfriend. Apart from the fact that I wasn't into her, I also found out that she didn't care about my feelings sometimes - like Amber - but also and above all she didn't trust me. I was hurt the day she questioned me about my relationship with Natalie, a fellow frisbee player from another school, because she thought I was a liar and I was cheating on her. It's true Natalie is a beautiful girl but I only love her skills. I even asked her if she could teach me some of her tricks.
Truth is, I don't remember any girl who really caught my eye...
"What are you staring at?" Cyrus asked him, frowning.
"So-Sorry," Jonah replied, unable to take his eyes off him. "I, I was just zoning out."
"Sooooo..." he said, while gradually moving closer to the door.
Jonah - wary - was following him with his eyes.
"The last one into the water will pay a forfeit," Cyrus kept on before rushing to his swimming pool.
Jonah couldn't help but grin before going after him.
If I wasn't really happy with Amber and Andi, it's quite the opposite with Cy. He never stopped surprising me since we knew each other: I always had fun every time the two of us hang out, he's the best listener, he always knew how to cheer me up and he's the only one who never turned his back even after I ruined my friendship with Andi.
"You lost, J-rex!"
And then he jumped in with a whoop and a cannonball. As soon as he heard his new nickname, Jonah's heart raced again and he remembered his dream.
"I'm giving you this wristband so that you know who you're really belonging to," Andi said.
"What does JYRUS means?"
"You've got to figure out for yourself."
While Cyrus and Jonah were playing in the swimming pool, the words J-rex and Jyrus didn't stop rotating in Jonah's mind until he got the meaning of his dream.
J-rex, Jyrus, J-rex, J...yrus...
JONAH AND CYRUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Without a second thought, he swam to Cyrus who stared at him when Jonah leaned closer to him. His eyes suddenly widened when their face almost touched.
Before Cyrus could even anticipate his movement, Jonah softly pressed his lips against his. Not the only short kiss Amber gave him. Cyrus's lips were so soft that he wanted it to last forever but Cyrus took a step back.
"J-Jo, Jonah," he tried to say but was unable to finish his sentence.
"Cy," Jonah said shyly, "I, I, I like you."
"What about Andi?" He asked, feeling guilty.
Jonah didn't answer him before lowering his head.
"I'm sorry," he blurted out, taking a step back too. "I shouldn't have kissed you but I needed to be sure of my feelings. I made so many mistakes..."
He paused, holding back his tears in any way possible.
"And I failed again."
"No, you didn't: you're just upset. What you're going through right now isn't easy. I was there. No, I should say that I'm still there."
"Cyrus is right," Mr Goodman suddenly said before turning to his son. "Sorry, son, I wanted to ask Jonah if he wanted to stay for dinner and I..."
Jonah was so embarrassed that he wanted to vanish and immediately thought of his parents when Mr Goodman would talk about the kiss. But Mr Goodman quickly reassured him as if he had read his mind and explained to him that he'd keep his secret. Jonah felt like a tremendous weight was lifted from his shoulders.
"So," he asked him to change the subject, "will you stay for dinner?"
Jonah took a long look at Cyrus and his dad before accepting the invitation if his parents agreed. Mr Goodman handed him his own phone so that Jonah called them and, after a brief discussion during which he promised to come home before nine thirty, gave back his device.
"Well, I'll leave you two alone until dinner. Let me just give you a little advice, if you don't mind, Jonah."
Jonah looked up.
"Don't make a hasty decision: take your time to think about it. Enjoy the pool!"
Jonah thanked him and went back to playing with Cyrus, while remembering the pleasure of the kiss the two of them just shared earlier.
I'm finally back. I just hope the wait wasn't too long.
Chapter 5: Calm before the storm
Jonah has a great time with Cyrus and his parents.
A few hours later.
After being changed, the two boys went downstairs and headed to the kitchen where Mr Goodman was making the dinner.
"It smells so good!" Jonah exclaimed as soon as he walked into the room before asking Cyrus. "What's this?"
"It's just an old family recipe. You'll see, the gefilte fish is delicious and it's my favorite dish. What else do you do, dad?"
"I made a knafeh too," his dad added, while turning to the two boys.
Jonah tried not to laugh when he saw Mr Goodman's apron - on which there was a manga character with blond hair and it was written Super Saiyajin of the kitchen - but couldn't help but nudge Cyrus who raised his eyes in heaven and sighed.
I was so right when I said that Cy took after his dad: they're as funny and weird as each other.
"What are we celebrating?" Cyrus inquired, looking at his dad suspiciously.
"Nothing," his dad replied, looking away as if he was hiding something. "Come and play video games til Mary comes home."
"Really?" Cyrus expressed his surprise. "I thought she was working late tonight."
"You're right: she was supposed to come home at ten. But, when I called her a few minutes ago, she told me that her last meeting had been postponed."
He didn't believe his dad because something was bothering him but didn't know what it was yet. Jonah was right when he said that Cyrus was taking after his father: the two of them had many things in common. More than the boy wanted to admit. Like his dad, he knew how to build a confidence - Jonah and TJ, the captain of the basketball team, could vouch for that - and had some very good instincts that were useful to help Jonah every time he was a little down.
"Don't just stand there," Mr Goodman told them anxiously. "Go to the living room."
Cyrus couldn't help but smirk because he had touched a nerve: his dad was only nervous when he felt guilty. But his smirk immediately wiped from his face: he just figured that his dad told Mary what happened in the swimming pool - despite his promise to Jonah - so that was why she was coming back early.
"You okay, Cy?"
"Yeah, yeah. Well, how about playing Mario kart?"
After Cyrus turned on his console and handed Jonah a game controller, the two boys decided to challenge themselves before starting to play. To stir things up. Time then flew like an arrow.
"It's been a long time since our house was so noisy," Mrs Goodman suddenly stated.
"Sorry," Jonah hastened to say, "my bad!"
"Don't be, I missed it. Cyrus is too quiet when he's alone. It feels so good when his friends come over. It's so rare now. By the way, nice to see you again, Jonah."
"Nice to see you too, Mrs Goodman."
"Don't be so formal and call me Mary. You're family now."
As soon as he heard these words, Jonah couldn't help but blush while Cyrus glared at his stepmom.
"What's this look?" She asked him, pretending to be sad. "What a nice welcome!"
"W-What d-do y-you mean?" Jonah asked, worried all of a sudden.
"I'm just saying that you like each other like..." She started to explain before correcting herself as soon as she saw his stepson's angry look. "You like each other. Like brothers I mean. So you're a full member of our family."
"Thanks," he said relieved after being afraid that she knew about him and Cyrus.
"Can we talk alone?" Cyrus ordered before turning to Jonah and getting up. "I won't be long."
Mary followed him and the two of them walked into the kitchen where his dad finished to set the table.
"What's going on?" He inquired frowning.
"What's going on?" Cyrus echoed angrily. "You promised Jonah you weren't gonna tell anyone about the kiss! You can't be trusted sometimes!"
"What kiss are you talking about?" His stepmom couldn't help but ask.
"Please, cut the acting with me. I got it: dad told you what happened this afternoon."
But the more Cyrus looked at Mary, the less he believed he was right. Was he wrong? Did he misread the signs? His dad had acted earlier as if he was guilty of doing something wrong, though. But it wouldn't have been what he thought?
"Son, give me some credit, will you? I gave Jonah my word that I'd keep this between the three of us so I'll never betray the kid."
"What kiss are you talking about?" His stepmom asked again.
"But why you were so nervous?"
"I knew you'd be upset as soon as you found out that Mary would come home while Jonah would be still here. I know that you don't want him to feel uncomfortable because of us and our bad habits of shrinks, by your words."
"I'm sorry," Cyrus said, lowering his head. "I'm really so..."
"Well," his stepmom cut him off, "Who's finally gonna tell me about that kiss?"
"I kissed Cyrus," Jonah - who stood on the threshold of the kitchen - stated all of a sudden.
All eyes were upon him instantly.
"I don't regret it," he added, facing down Cyrus' stepmom. "And I'll never be ashamed of it!"
He paused before looking at his boy.
"I loved it because it's my true first kiss. I had never felt that before."
Cyrus couldn't help but redden.
"You're so damn right," Mary exclaimed before embracing Jonah tightly to his amazement. "You're such a brave young man!"
"Honey," Mr Goodman said, unable to hide his smile when he saw his face, "don't hug him so thight unless you want Cyrus to date a zombie boy."
As soon as she loosened her embrace, Jonah stepped back, stiffened, stretched his arms and headed to Cyrus with a vacant look and in a funny way.
"Cyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyrusssssssss," he asked with a voice that seemed to come from beyond the grave, "doooo youuu wwwwanna gooo out wwwwith meeee?"
Cyrus' dad and stepmom burst out laughing, while he was trying to keep his straight face as much as possible.
"I'd love to but we both know I won't as long as you're still with Andi."
"I have a son who knows how to kill the mood," Mr Goodman sighed.
"He's right," Jonah confirmed, even if his words were breaking his own heart. "We had a broad discussion in his room: I can't betray Andi, even if I was wrong about my feelings for her. I need to talk to her as soon as possible so that we can work things out. Besides, when it'll be done, me and Cy won't be able to date shortly after my breakup with Andi: we have to do the groundwork so that we don't hurt her feelings. I hope me and she will still be friends, like Cyrus and Iris."
"I don't want to lose my friend either," Cyrus added.
"Since when kids are so wise?" Cyrus' dad and stepmom asked with one voice. "But don't forget you're not alone: I'm sure you can count on Buffy, right? And we can help you too."
"Thanks, dad, Mary."
"Yes, thank you, Mr and Mrs Goodman."
"I already told you not to be so formal," Cyrus' stepmom restated. "Call us Eli and Mary. Well, how starting dinner because all those emotions gave me a real appetite!"
"I'm starving," Jonah exclaimed.
"You're always starving," Cyrus couldn't help but clarify.
"It's not my fault if I'm a growing boy!"
"Well," Mr Goodman said, "take your seat while I'll go get the starter out of the freezer and the dish is heated. Mary, give 'em some drinks, please."
When he came back, he put a salad on the kitchen table and sat between his wife and his son before explaining to Jonah which ingredients were making up the starter.
"So," Mary asked him while he was eating like a wolf under their amused eyes, "how are your holidays so far?"
"Pretty well since I met Cy. I thought at first I was the only one who didn't go on vacation so I was expecting to get until my sister will finish summer school. I'm really lucky: I always lose track of time when we both hang out."
"He told us that you and one of your friends kept on teaching him how to skate..."
"Louis," Cyrus couldn't help but cut his dad off before blushing a bit.
"I was really surprised after his accident the other day..."
"My bad, Mr Goodman."
"C'mon, you didn't do anything wrong. It's the first time he doesn't give up after making a mistake. I think it's because of you, kiddo."
"If you'll allow me to speak freely, you're wrong about Cy. Like Buffy and Andi. He's more than meets the eye and I'm not the only one: ask our friend TJ."
"Who's he?" Mary inquired.
"I told you about him, dad. He's the captain of the basketball team."
"I remember now... but I thought you didn't like him after what happened between Buffy and him..."
"I was simply mistaken about him: I thought he was just an arrogant jock but - What do you people say? - He's hiding a certain fragility behind his mask of smugness. I noticed it when we met the second time: he just flinched as soon as I called him scary basketball guy but he didn't get angry and gave me his name..."
"You're such a daredevil sometimes," Jonah congratulted him while punching him gently. "Even if he's not really that bad, TJ doesn't respond well to being prodded. Ask his teammates."
"Really?" Cyrus asked. "It's strange because I did it repeatedly since then but he just corrected me nicely. You know me, I can't help but tease sometimes. Anyway, even if we aren't the best of friends, we get along well. By the way, do you know if it goes well at his basketball camp?"
"He obviously has fun from our last call," Jonah resumed. Even if it's not a holiday camp, as you can imagine."
"It's true he must surpass himself but I'm sure it's just a piece of cake after Buffy came on board last year. I can't help but laugh when I saw that TJ underestimated her: he quickly kicked himself."
"She's so competitive in her head... and so driven to win and be the best at what she's doing that sometimes it takes away from how much fun she's having. Do you remember the Renaissance Fair?"
Cyrus just nodded.
"I didn't understand why she wanted desperately to win but, after she explained to me, I felt all of her sadness."
"You know," Mary said, "you and Cyrus are lucky because you can be with your parents every day while Buffy have to talk to her mom through a screen. And from time to time. Kids, at your age, need their parents so, without them, they feel very lonely. But I know she can count on you and Cyrus: you're her other family."
"Sure, I just hope I can ease her sadness as well as you Cy and Andi."
"You do," Cyrus reassured him while putting his hand on Jonah's forearm without thinking about it. "She's grateful to you for being her friend, even if she doesn't show it because it'd be a sign of weakness, according to her. That's also why her relationship with Marty isn't terrific right now."
"I noticed he often looked at her in a strange way recently."
"He has many questions about their bond. I tried to comfort him as much as I can without betraying what she confides to me. Maybe you and Marty..."
His dad and his stepmom looked at each other and couldn't help but smile.
"What?" he enquired after catching their look.
Cyrus frowned so Mary decided to explain to him that he was gifted to make people talk like a very good shrink. He couldn't help but pout after experiencing the behaviour of his four parents so many times: he'd give anything to be different sometimes. His facial expression made Jonah laugh. Which helped him to relax.
"Sure," Jonah replied to him after a full minute of silence, "if I can help them both... It's true we don't know each other very well but he's a nice boy. Not as nice as you, Cy-kick."
He then punched Cyrus' arm again and noted the softened look of Mr and Mrs Goodman who got up and cleared the table before bringing new plates and cutlery. Meanwhile, Cyrus and Jonah talked about anything and everything.
"I hope you'll like my dad's gefilte fish."
"I'll do: his salad was very good."
"Thank you," Mr Goodman said while putting the dish on the table before serving her wife and the two boys. "By the way, son, how far are you with your new project?"
"What is it?" Jonah inquired.
"You didn't tell him about it?" Mary expressed her surprise.
"We both were pretty busy lately," he answered before turning to Jonah. "I so loved when we made that short video for the school's website! I wondered if you'd be interested in creating a YT channel with..."
"SURE!" Jonah - who immediately beamed - cut him off. "You know I'm here for you, whatever you need."
He remembered well how much fun the two of them had that day. He had even played in some other short videos with Natalie, a fellow frisbee player he met earlier, thereafter but he quickly got bored because he hadn't found the pleasure he had with Cyrus.
"Course! What kind of videos you'd like to make?"
"I thought of daily vlogs first because that don't require not necessarily to be a great editor. But you can make some suggestions too: you'll be the co-creator."
"The thing is I don't have much ideas, except talk about frisbee or board."
But I'd gladly rack my brain if it meant spending more time with my boy.
Those two words had no sooner blown through his mind than Jonah felt a physical and mental well-being that illuminated his face instantly.
So that's what liking someone like that is? It has absolutely nothing to do with the feelings I thought I had for Andi! My heart doesn't stop pounding, I feel goose bumps and my stomach flips every time our arms touch. When I look at Cyrus, I can't think straight: it's so weird and so good that I feel like I'll lose my mind. I can't believe that he makes me feel quite like this. It should scare me but I just want more!
Lost in his thoughts, he wasn't aware that his facial expression didn't go unnoticed until he saw Cyrus' quizzical look and the huge smile of his parents.
"You're being all weird suddenly. You okay?"
"Yup, I don't even remember feeling so good!"
Cyrus took Jonah's glass, held it up to the light and smelt it before staring at his parents.
"Did you drug him?"
He immediately broke out laughing: Cyrus was really priceless.
"No, I'm just fine, Cy."
Jonah paused, turned to his boy and kissed him on the cheek.
"You're the perfect boyfriend," he added before putting a finger on his lips so that Cyrus - who got all red - didn't ruin that moment.
Cyrus was quiet for the rest of the dinner and made the resolution not to wash his cheek anymore.
Chapter 6: In the closet
Jonah finds out a different side of his parents.
Two days later at the Beck's
Jonah - who couldn't have slept all night - immediately sat up on his bed as soon as he heard his sister: she walked out of her bedroom and went to the bathroom before stepping down the stairs. And then it was silent so he lied again, closed his eyes, felt tears building up and started to cry once more as quietly as possible. He couldn't believe he had still the strength to weep after what he had gone through since his parents had found out his relationship with Cyrus accidentally.
"J," Cameron asked worried through the door, "you okay?"
Jonah - after wiping his teary eyes - tried to answer her but in vain: he'd got a sore throat because he had argued with his parents badly the day before.
"Sweetie," their dad cut her off gently, "leave your brother alone: he needs some rest. I think he's sick so I'll call Dr Stevens after driving you to school. Don't worry, you'll see him later."
"Awright," she replied to him before taking her backpack.
"I guess you're proud of yourself," Mr Beck threateningly stated when his daughter was downstairs. "You make me lie to your sister."
Jonah couldn't help but shiver as soon as he heard his tone: he wasn't recognizing his dad - nor his mom - anymore. If he played a character in an old sci-fi or horror movie his dad usually watched, he could think that evil people had substituted his parents but that was real: he just witnessed a side of them - their darkest one - he had never seen and it was scaring him.
"I think it's about time that we're taking of you seriously," his dad added while unlocking the door of Jonah's bedroom. "Now, go to the kitchen: mom's waiting for you."
Jonah didn't make him say it twice and rushed to the room, while glancing at his dad very carefully.
"Jo," Mrs Beck told him coldly, "sit down, eat your breakfast, then go get changed and wait for your dad in the exercise room."
While he was eating, his mom talked about nothing and everything before getting to the more serious things.
"I don't get you, sweetie. What happens to you? You can't like that boy like that. Did you forget you went out with Amber? She's a very nice girl, though. Me and your dad, we like her well and you were so great together. I don't understand why you broke with her..."
She paused and stared at her son - shaking her head and sighing loudly - before adding.
"What about that other girl? What's her name, by the way?"
"Andi," Jonah whispered.
"Yeah, Andi. She's not that bad either, even if she's..."
But she didn't finish her sentence: Jonah knew well what his two parents really thought of her because they kept comparing the two girls every time he was talking with his dad and his mom. Amber had still the avantage, even when Jonah told how insecure he was with her because she tended to make very bad comments on him sometimes. Jonah had expected that his parents would stand by him but they both assured him that he imagined things because he was a bit young and couldn't understand that she was perfect for him. His dad even became irritated sometimes and told him he just was a brat who was constantly complaining and didn't deserve to have such a girlfriend.
When jonah was done eating, he cleared the table under the supervision of his mom, went back to his room, took some clothes and headed to the exercise room so that he had time to warm up before his dad came home. But he also took the opportunity to look for his laptop and his phone that his parents hid somewhere the night before. The least he could do is try to get his hands on his device again if anything went wrong.
"Don't waste your breath," his dad suddenly said, "your phone and your laptop are in our room."
"You're wrong," Jonah - whose heart was racing instantly - lied to him. "I was just looking for a towel."
Mr Beck stared at his son who had learned to hide his real emotions behind his "two facial expressions", like her friend Buffy called it. It was his best defense, though.
"Well, you don't need one right now. Put your gloves on instead. I'll show you what a man, a real one, is. You're done playing that "sport" for girls."
Jonah flinched inside as soon as he heard his dad's disdainful tone but he wouldn't give him that pleasure. He was proud to be the captain of the frisbee team: he fought hard so that the ex principal of Jefferson middle school agreed that he could form a team.
But also and above all, he wouldn't have been lucky to meet Cyrus without his team. He was so much more than just a fan and a great friend: he was someone who changed his life forever, even if Jonah took a very long time to get it.
"Keep your head out of the clouds and put them up!" His dad told him, while protecting his face with his fists.
So Jonah imitated his dad.
"Well, can you tell me what's so special about that boy?"
You and mom can't figure out even if I explained to you.
"You're silent because you're starting to understand that you're barking up the wrong tree with him, right? He's a boy like you! It isn't going anywhere! You two can't make a real family! You'll just be miserable for the rest of life! Besides, you ever think about your mom?"
And then his dad threw his punch so hard that Jonah lost his balance and fell to the ground.
"I think I found the good doctor for Jonah," his mom suddenly said walking into the exercise room. "C'mon, Jo, get up! His name's Stephen Akridge."
Jonah couldn't help but be amazed as soon as he heard the name of Cyrus' stepdad and wondered why his parents wanted to schedule an appointment with Cyrus' stepdad who was a shrink. Did his mom and his dad think he was sick in his head because he liked another boy? He couldn't believe it.
"Who's he?" He asked pretending that he didn't know him while trying to get up even though his head spinned slightly.
"He's gonna help you to get better, sweetie. He's a shrink."
"How do you know him?" His dad inquired.
"D' you remember Michelle? Michelle Byer?"
Mr Beck nodded.
"Her younger son, Aidan, is one of his patient and he makes remarkable progress, according to her. So, do you agree?"
"Of course," his dad replied smiling, "make an appointment as quickly as possible. Tell him it's an emergency: we can't afford to lose more time."
His mom immediately left them.
"What's a real family, dad?" Jonah couldn't help but answer his dad. "I was told that DNA didn't make a family, love just did!"
"This is that kind of things they teach you at school? And you dare talk about love? Love is between a boy and a girl! Nature just works that way!!!"
Jonah was taken aback: his dad had a simple-minded opinion about love and life that were far more complicated. He couldn't help but shake his head.
"You don't agree?" His dad asked, touching Jonah's forehead repeatedly as if he tried to hammer home his own belief. "Don't allow that thoughts to enter your mind, son. It doesn't have to be that way. I'm sure that shrink will explain it to you better than me."
Jonah shook his head again.
"You don't believe me? I'll show you! After our little exercice, you'll start to get it. Keep your guard up!"
And then his dad lashed out so he tried to fend off blows as long as possible until he fell to the ground again.
"GET UP AND PUNCH ME! Only the weak ones do nothing!!! My children aren't weak: they're strong."
So Jonah got up again before falling again because he was so tired to listen to his dad that he just wanted to go back to his room.
"GET UP! GET UP!" his dad started to scream before throwing his gloves on Jonah. "Go to your room: I don't want to see you anymore. YOU SHAME ME!"
Jonah immediately rushed into his room, threw himself on his bed and put his hands over his ears so that he didn't hear his dad's words that whirled in his mind. He so wanted to cry but he wouldn't give his dad that pleasure. Completely drained, he quickly fell asleep and only woke up when he heard the doorbell. So he quietly went downstairs.
"Hi, Louis. How you doing?"
"Hey, Mr Beck. I'm good. And you?"
"I'm good too. I guess you came to see Jonah. Unfortunately, he's sick..."
"Why did he answer my text?" Louis - who expressed his doubts, according to Jonah - inquired.
"He wasn't really lucky," his dad replied after a few seconds of silence. "Connor tripped on Jonah's phone and broke it by accident."
"Can I see him though?"
"Do you want to get sick too? I guess you wanna enjoy your holiday, right? Anyway, the doctor said he was contagious: he's in bed with a flu and he has a pretty serious strep. So he has to stay in his room: we don't his siblings to get infected either."
"Thanks," Louis answered after a few seconds of silence. "Tell him I said hi."
"Of course. Don't worry, he'll get better soon."
And then his dad closed the door.
"You can come out now, " he stated with a joyless laughter after turning around. "Do you realize I don't stop lying to everyone because of you?"
Jonah didn't tell anything because he knew he wouldn't have the last word so he went upstairs, took new clothes and a quick shower before getting back in his room and taking a nap again.
He woke up again when Cameron walked into his room abruptly.
"Well," she asked sitting on his bed, "how you doing now? What the doctor did say to you?"
But, before he could answer her, their dad explained to her what he already tell his friend Louis and asked her to get out of the room.
"Daddy, I need him right now: I don't get the algebra lesson..."
"I ain't gonna ask you again. Connor can't help you? He's in his room. I don't want you to be sick too."
She didn't finish her sentence, quizzically looked at Jonah who silently made her understand that she shouldn't make their dad angry and rushed out of the room. Jonah didn't want their dad to go after her or Connor.
"We'll eat in an hour," Mr Beck told him before adding and going downstairs. "Your plate will be in the kitchen: I don't want you to contaminate your siblings."
So Jonah just waited until it was time for dinner, came down after the twins and walked into the kitchen where his mom told him where his food was before going to the dining room. He sighed as soon as she left him: he wish he'd be sitting next to Cameron and across Connor and listen to his parents who'd tell them about their day but he knew it was over. But, after a while, he wondered if he was probably better off alone in the kitchen than in the other room where the mood wasn't great either. Their parents were the only one who were talking: when they asked his siblings a question, Cameron and Connor didn't answer them immediately. Jonah imagined the twins looking at each other before saying something. His sister even tried to go to the kitchen when she dropped her fork "by accident" but their mom got up and took a new one without a glance for Jonah.
As soon as he was done and he cleared the table, he went back to his room and lied on his bed. Time seemed very long that day and he wondered if he was able to handle a new one. Lost in his thoughts, he didn't hear his door.
"What's going on between you, daddy and mommy?" Connor softly inquired after closing the door.
"Con," Jonah whispered while looking at his door, "what are you doing here? Go back to your room now."
"I'll only do after you'll tell me the truth."
"You heard dad, right? I'm sick so get out before catching what I have."
"You think you're talking to Cam? You're as sick as I am... Don't worry, they're watching their favorite show. So?"
"I don't want you being in trouble..."
"Don't tell me it's because of your boyfriend!"
Jonah couldn't help but stare at his brother and went mute. Connor laughed slightly before adding.
"Don't look at me like that, Jo. You really thought I didn't see how you were acting when you were together? I'm not Cam! I saw you with Amber - I can't really suffer her! - or with Andi - it's her name, right?"
Jonah just nodded: he knew Connor was smart but he didn't think his mind was so sharp. So he told him what happened because his brother wouldn't stop being on him until he knew the truth. Connor's eyes gradually went wide and Jonah saw that he started to clench his hands.
"Don't do something docious cretinous," he warned his sibling. "I gotta handle this alone."
As Connor was about to object something, the two of them heard something behind the window where Louis crouching greeted them. So Jonah opened it and his friend entered the room.
"What are you doing there, L?"
"I think I'm having a feeling of déjà-entendu," his young brother couldn't help but comment.
"Just came to see if you're alright. Sorry but I didn't believe your dad when he told me you were sick. And I was right. So what's going on?"
So Jonah told his story once again after asking Connor to keep an eye on their parents. As soon as he had ceased speaking, he broke down and went to his friend's arms who tried to comfort him. After a while, Jonah managed to calm down so Louis said that he'd come up with a plan with Aaron, Kane and Cyrus' help and gave him his phone in case he wanted to talk to Cyrus. And he left after promising he'd come back the next evening.
Jonah hastened to call Cyrus.
Chapter 7: Brave new world
Cyrus and Jonah have a long talk on the phone.
Sorry that this chapter took time. Hazards of life.
Louis: So-so, Cy-Guy.
Louis: It's me Jolamajema :)))) Louis gave me his phone.
Cyrus hesitated for a little while before writing the question that tormented him since Louis explained that he couldn't have seen Jonah because of his "sickness".
What's going on? You really sick or...
Louis: Long story short. 2 secs.
His phone immediately rang.
"Hey!" Jonah echoed. "It's so good to hear your voice: I missed it."
"What's going on?" Cyrus - blushing and frowning - inquired.
As soon as he asked that question, he heard Jonah sighing loudly. So he encouraged him to talk before going silent and listening to him. Cyrus quickly clenced his fists when he got what Jonah went through since the day before but didn't interrupt him. When he was done, Cyrus tried to comfort him and reassure him by promising that his stepdad would be by his side. Jonah thanked him before bursting into tears: it seized his heart to hear him crying. Cyrus would give everything to be sitting next to him and hug him tightly. Once Jonah had calmed down, he decided to change the subject so he told about a dream he had the other night.
"I dreamed we had a date," he explained before going red.
While awaiting Jonah, he paced across the theater - where the two of them should meet soon - before looking at his reflection in a shop window. He asked Andi and Buffy to help him with his clothes because he wanted that their date would be perfect. So the three of them spent all afternoon trying to choose the best clothes for his date with Jonah: they opted an all navy blue look that complemented his black eyes, according to his two best friends. While he ran his hand through his hair once more, he didn't notice that someone stood behind him until he felt a breath against his neck.
Cyrus couldn't help but grin at Jonah's reflection before turning around and staring at him from head to foot: his boyfriend - the word was a sweet sound to his ears - was wearing a burgundy hoodie, a dark rey shirt, black pants and sneakers.
The two of them couldn't take their eyes off each other.
"Where should we sit?"
"Wherever you want."
"Actually, what if we go up there?" Jonah asked, looking at the back row.
Cyrus tracked his gaze.
"Unless you wanna sit right there?" Jonah suggested quickly.
Cyrus didn't know what to do.
"Look, if people start talking during the movie, it'll be quieter in the back. Besides, I know how uncomfortable you are sometimes when there are people around you."
They climbed the steps after Cyrus nodded.
"Why are you nervous all of a sudden?" Jonah whispered.
He didn't reply immediately.
"It seems that's what people tell their parents when they don't want to know what they're really doing."
Jonah quizzically looked at him.
"Going to the movies," he felt compelled to explain, "a dark place you can do things with the girl - or the boy - that you can't do in the light.
His boyfriend didn't still get it.
"HOOKING UP!" He blurted a little bit loud.
As soon as some people looked at them, Jonah brought him to the last row and they settled comfortably after putting their drinks and the popcorn in the armchair between their seats. After a little while, they looked at each other and started giggling. But, when the lights dimmed and trailers started rolling, they went quiet and focused on the movie.
Until their hands touched accidentally.
Cyrus - feeling goose bumps and something like butterflies in his stomach instantly - lowered his eyes to their hands before raising them to Jonah who looked back and grinned. He was suddenly mesmerized and couldn't take his eyes off his boyfriend who seemed to experience the same thing: the two of them started laughing awkwardly before turning all red.
Cyrus gradually lost interest in the movie because he just wanted to feel that new sensations again. So, when Jonah put his arm on his elbow rest, he did likewise and, as soon as their arms brushed, he felt a pleasant warmth flooding him and couldn't help but heave a strange sigh.
"Be careful," Jonah warned him, smiling widely. "People'll get the wrong idea..."
Cyrus didn't care about them right now. He put his hand on Jonah's who intertwined his fingers with his swiftly. After a while, he felt his boyfriend's hair tickling his cheek and his neck when Jonah rested his head on his shoulder. He was over the moon until the lights came back.
They decided to cut through the park after leaving the theater. While they walked across the street, Jonah took his hand.
"I hope you don't mind but my palms are sweaty sometimes. I better warn you."
Cyrus couldn't help but chuckle. While crossing the square, they talked about this and that until they went past the playground where a familiar figure was sitting on a swing.
"Hey, awesome basketball guy!"
"Hey, champ! Hey, Jonah. What brings you two lovebirds here today?"
"Nothing special," Cyrus explained, sitting next to him while Jonah took the last swing. "We just got back from the theater and we'll meet some friends at The Spoon. What about you?"
"I just needed to get some air," TJ replied before inquiring with a smirk. "How was the movie?"
"Let's say it was kinda cool," Jonah answered before adding. " From what we've watched..."
"Spare me the details," their friend cut him off, pretending to be embarrassed.
"Ewww," Cyrus - starting to swing - warned him, "don't imagine things."
"I'm kidding," TJ replied before doing likewise. "Now, lets find out who swings the highest. You in, J?"
The three of them had fun so much so that Cyrus forgot his fear of heights. He felt the same sensation that he had experienced when TJ was pushing him and ended up laughing out loud: his friend and his boyfriend - contaminated by his laughter - roared in laughter too. After a while, TJ and Jonah jumped from their swings and looked at him.
"Well," Tj told, "do as we did."
"No, no, no, no, I can't, I really can't..."
"Cmon," Jonah added, "you can do it. Don't forget what you told the other day: you're a hothead now. Anyway, I'm just here: I'll catch you. So trust me."
Cyrus hesitated for a little while before jumping from his swing. He managed to land without getting hurt and then Jonah helped him to stand up.
"See?" TJ stated, clapping him on the back. "Just remember that nobody has the right to tell you what you can't do. You're stronger than you think."
"He's right," his boyfriend confirmed, kissing his cheek.
"You two are so adorable!"
Cyrus couldn't help but blush.
"Sorry but we gotta go," Jonah said after looking at his phone. "The boys must wonder where we are."
"Right, let's go. They must imagine things like you, TJ. By the way, how about you come with us at The Spoon? It's been a while since we hanged out together... Unless you got any other plans?"
"Here you are at last!" Louis exclaimed when the three of them walked into The Spoon
"Let me introduce TJ to you," Cyrus told their three friends. "He's the captain of our basketball team. And a great friend of mine."
"We've already met," Aaron said, shaking his hand. "Our teams faced each other a few weeks ago."
"It's nice to see you again. I heard you lost one of your best players: what happened?"
"Lucas had to move to Europe because his dad found a job in Ireland," Aaron replied, inviting them to take a seat. "I'm gonna miss him: we know each other since kindergarten."
Kane and Louis then introduced themselves to TJ and greeted Cyrus and Jonah. The six of them talked about this and that until someone came to their table.
"Hi, I'm Hawk, your waiter."
Cyrus raised his eyes and saw the most cute young server he had ever seen: he had awesome hazel eyes, sandy hair and brown cocoa skin. Jonah gently nudged him.
"If you must stare at someone like that," he whispered with a wide smile, "it must be me."
"Eww," Cyrus said, pretending to be hurt, "don't need to break a rib. Gotta say he's handsome, right? Even if he's not as attractive as you, Jhottie."
"You're right," his boyfriend - who blushed as soon as he heard his new nickname again - admitted, "he's gorgeous. Look at Louis: I think he's floored too."
All eyes turned to their friends who couldn't keep his eyes off the waiter while Cyrus and Jonah started playing footsie quietly. As soon as the server took their orders and left their table, Aaron, Kane and even TJ teased Louis who couldn't help but blush.
"You should give it a try," TJ said more seriously before adding with a large smirk. "He didn't blink, even when he heard the comments of this oaf and his boyfriend."
Cyrus instantly winced. Which made Jonah laugh.
"What? Don't think he didn't hear you, Underdog. You need to be more subtle next time."
"I don't think he can," Jonah said, giggling. "I wish you'd hear him while we climbed the stairs at the theater..."
"Stop!" Cyrus exclaimed. "Don't dare you..."
"Don't listen to him," Aaron, Kane, Louis and TJ cut him off. "Go on."
As soon as Jonah started talking about one of the more embarrassing moments of his life, Cyrus went red, sank in the couch and covered his ears.
"That's him all over," TJ stated before turning to him.
"I was nervous," Cyrus defended himself. "Really, really nervous: it was the first time we were about to hang out together without the girls. Even if I didn't care what people might think, I didn't want to ruin our first date..."
"And you didn't. I had a great time with you. Know I was nervous too but I was sure you were gonna do everything to make our date special. In a way nobody could have imagined. You did it: I will never forget it."
TJ was the first one to sing and he - obviously - chose "Eye of the tiger". Cyrus couldn't help but imagine him doing a duet with Buffy: they were so alike. When his friend was done, everybody clapped. Cyrus was the next one and sang a funny song. When Jonah took the mic, he surprised everybody because he had chosen a very moving song.
Yesterday I died, tomorrow's bleeding.
Fall into your sunlight.
The future's open wide, beyond believing.
To know why, hope dies.
Losing what was found, a world so hollow
Suspended in a compromise
The silence of this sound, is soon to follow
And I've lost who I am, and I can't understand
Why my heart is so broken, rejecting your love
(love) without, love gone wrong; lifeless words carry on
But I know, all I know is that the end's beginning
Who I am from the start, take me home to my heart
Let me go and I will run, I will not be silent
All this time spent in vain, wasted years, wasted gain
All is lost, hope remains, and this war's not over
There's a light, there's the sun, taking all shattered ones
To the place we belong, and his love will conquer all
As soon as he put down the mic, Cyrus hugged him because he understood that the song was talking about Jonah's love. So he comforted him and told that he would always be for him.
Aaron and Kane did an awesome duet before Louis sang another one. Everyone then chose the last one and, as Louis had the mic, he started singing.
It's a pleasure to meet you, my friend
Come take a seat at my desk
I gotta tell you kid
The whole team is more than impressed
Your melodies soar and all of your choruses shine
The lyrics are sound and your voice is fundamentally
But face it if you wanna make it onto radio kid
You gotta do as I say
Change all the HIMS into HERS
And just don't tell the world that you're
Louis then invited Tj to get up on stage and sang with him.
Go write us a nonoffensive tasteful conventional song
LIKE THIS ONE
Girls like boys
AND boys like girls
AND THAT'S THE WAY IT SHOULD BE FOREVER
Tj sang the chorus again
Girls like boys
AND boys like girls
AND THAT'S THE WAY IT HAS BEEN FOREVER
Girls like boys
AND boys like girls
AND THAT'S THE WAY IT WILL BE FOREVER
It was then Cyrus' turn to sing the next verse.
DO YOU NEVER GET IT?
THE KIDS ALREADY KNOW
Some girls LIKE girls
Some boys got a BOYFRIEND
I LIKE guys and they LIKE me
We hold hands
And do all the things that lovers DO
He asked Jonah to sing with him.
Some girls like girls
Some boys got a boyfriend
I like guys and they like me
We hold hands
And do all the things that lovers do
Aaron, Kane, Louis and TJ finally joined them so that the six of them sang the chorus together.
When they were done singing, Cyrus leaned over Jonah...
"... And I kissed you on the lips."
Cyrus knew that Jonah was smiling on the other end of the phone. The two of them kept talking until it was time to leave each other.
"Everything will be okay tomorrow," he said before adding. "I swear."
He didn't hang up.
"I love you."
Chapter 8: Face-off
Jonah and his parents meet Dr Akridge.
The next day in the waiting room of Cyrus' stepdad
Jonah - stuck between his two parents - remembered his conversation with Cyrus and couldn't help but grin: his last words still whirled in his head. He wish he'd have time to tell hime he loved him too but Jonah had to hang up very quickly when he noticed that the lights were out in the living room. So he quietly rushed into his room, closed his window, hid Louis' phone and sank down in his bed. He couldn't have texted Cyrus that morning because his parents didn't leave him alone.
After a little while, the office door opened and Cyrus' stepdad got out of the room.
"Mr and Mrs Beck?" He asked, shaking their hands before turning to Jonah. "Your son? What's your name, young man?"
"Jonah?" He stated before smirking. "Welcome, Jonaaah Beck."
Jonah couldn't help but smile as soon as he heard the way Cyrus' stepdad had said his name because he remembered that he used the same tone as Cyrus when they met the first time.
"Please come in and have a seat."
"Well, what can I do for you?" Cyrus' stepdad asked before sitting down.
"I, I thought my wife had explained it on the phone the other day," his dad said before turning to Jonah's mom.
"I did, honey."
"Don't worry, Mr and Mrs Beck. I understood your concern but I want you to tell me face to face."
"Sorry," Jonah's dad - a bit nervous - replied. "It's our first time..."
"Please, calm down and tell me your story."
So his parents complied while Cyrus' stepdad listened carefully and Jonah sighed slightly a few times. When they were done, he turned to Jonah.
"Thank you. Well, young man, your turn."
"Excuse me," Mr Beck said, "but I don't understand why you need to hear our son about this."
"Because I need to know how he's feeling about this situation. He's the first concerned, right? Well, as I already said, your turn, young man. Tell me about that girl."
"At first, I felt lucky that an older girl was interested in me: I got popular and my friends didn't stop congratulating me - even if some were a bit jealous. But... she gradually changed: she became tough with me..."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, what I did for her was never good enough. For instance, I wrote a card for her birthday that said "Happy Birthday from Jonah" but she didn't like it because she wanted to see more emotion in my words..."
Cyrus' stepdad nodded.
"But I said nothing. Having a girlfriend was all new to me so I thought I was just clumsy. But, when I met The Good Hair Crew...
"Who?" Cyrus' stepdad inquired, pretending that he didn't know the three friends.
"The Good Hair Crew aka Andi, Buffy and Cyrus," Jonah explained, smiling widely. "It's the nickname that Cyrus had invented. Anyway, when I met them, I began to understand that my relationship with Amber wasn't really normal. While she claimed to be my friend too, I witnessed what friendship really was: Andi, Buffy and Cyrus had each other."
"So can you explain why it took time to break up with that girl?" Cyrus' stepdad inquired.
"I told my parents but they convinced me that I was imagining things: mom said she was a nice girl and I was lucky to date her and dad told I'd be the laughing stock of the other boys if I was breaking up with her. So I got back together with her..."
"And, as strange as it might seem, I wasn't over her yet. But when I knew she was really toxic, I broke up with Amber
"Explain to me why you decided that your son had to keep that girl while he wasn't so comfortable with that relationship," Cyrus' stepdad asked, turning to Jonah's parents.
"Tell me why you thought our son told you the truth," his dad instantly replied.
"Because Jonah did: I know when I'm being lied to. Even if I don't really know him, I know he was really sad with that girl because of the way he talks about their relationship. You just need to listen to him."
Mrs Beck's eyes went wide while her husband lowered his head and kept quiet.
"Anyway," Jonah's dad said a little while later, "Jonah broke up with her and told about his new girl."
Cyrus' stepdad raised his eyebrows because he didn't like the way Mr Beck talked about his stepson's best friend but didn't say anything. He liked Andi who had always been there for Cyrus. The two of them are - were? - very closed so he had wondered why they had dated each other. Until he understood that Cyrus didn't like girls.
"Well, how are things with... Andi? It's her name, right?"
Jonah couldn't help but smile: Cyrus' stepdad was a really good actor.
"She's a very nice girl and... friend."
"Friend? What do you mean? Didn't you say you dated her?"
"Yeah, but I was wrong: I don't like her like that. But I didn't get it immediately. It's true that I'm closer to Andi than I was to Amber. Being with her makes me feel at ease but... I thought my feelings would change with time at first, they didn't. I feel terrible because I hurt her again. I've no excuse: I can't say it's Amber's fault because she's jealous of Andi. The truth is... I've feelings for someone else."
"See, doctor? He's lost. It's because of that boy. Maybe he wasn't really happy with Amber but he didn't have weird ideas since he knows him. Besides, he can't stop talking about him recently."
"Who are you talking about?" Cyrus' stepdad asked, trying to keep a normal tone voice as much as possible. "Who's that boy, Jonah?"
"Cyrus, Cyrus Goodman. He's the sweetest boy I've ever met, he always cracks me up, he knows how to cheer me up..."
"Didn't you tell me earlier that Andi made you feel at ease too?"
"It's true but Cyrus is one of a kind..."
Cyrus' stepdad couldn't help but smile as soon as Jonah talked about his stepson.
"Do you hear him?" Mr Beck suddenly exclaimed. "You can't have feelings for that f-boy. You dated two girls!!!!!"
Cyrus' stepdad clenched his fist as soon as Jonah's dad almost used the f world, took a deep breathe quietly and exhaled: nobody had the right to insult a boy, especially a boy like Cyrus who was the nicest kid he knew. He also noticed that Jonah was glaring at his dad. So he tried to move forward.
"What do you mean when you say that Jonah can't like another boy because he went out with two girls? Some people like both men and women the same way you like your wife."
"Don't talk rubbish, doctor. Men only like women and women like men."
Cyrus' stepdad couldn't help but roll his eyes: he knew that love was more than that and didn't understand why some people had such a simplistic view of that complex emotion.
"So, Jonah, can you describe what you feel when you are with him?"
The boy stared at his parents before lowering his head.
"I've no words," he said after a while.
Cyrus' stepdad just waited because he knew that Jonah needed to find the right words and it didn't help to rush him.
"I just know that he'll make me feel peaceful... and happy!"
"You didn't get the lesson!" Mr Beck got carried away. "There's no future for you with that... I think you need more time alone to think about it!"
Jonah suddenly looked frightened before begging Cyrus' stepdad quietly.
"Don't be scared."
"My p-parents t-took my phone and my laptop and, and lock-ked me in my room..."
"Don't say more!" His dad warned him before lowering his head as soon as Cyrus' stepdad glared at him.
Cyrus told him once that his mom's new husband could be very intimidating.
"He told my siblings that I was contagious and lied to my friends too. And I, I ate alone in the kitchen while they were in the dining room."
Cyrus' stepdad went silent while glancing at Jonah's parents who immediately turned white.
"Can you go to the waiting room, please? I need to talk to your parents privately."
So Jonah reluctantly got up and went into the other room. As soon as he closed the door, he pressed his ear against it.
"You've no chance of hearing something, Hercules."
As soon as he heard Cyrus' voice, Jonah grinned, turned to him and hugged him tightly.
"How was it?" Cyrus immediately inquired.
So Jonah roughly told what happened in the office.
"I didn't know your stepdad was such a good player," he commented after being done. "But I don't understand why he wants me to wait here."
"I think he has some truthful things he wanna tell your parents and you don't need to hear. I wouldn't be surprised that mom makes a breakthrough appearance soon."
"Besides, I asked him to make sure that we could meet each other secretly too."
He then took Jonah's hand, opened a door and brought him into a small room.
"We'll be safe here," he stated, while digging around in a cupboard. "You want something? I'm sure Luke stashes some drinks and some cookies there."
"Steve's secretary. I don't think if he'll be mad at me if I'm borrowing some of them... Got it! I found a soda can and juice."
"'Kay," Cyrus said, while throwing the can and taking a little box. "He doesn't stop eating."
"What's this?" Jonah asked, showing something on the lid before reading it. "For Cyrus... What does it mean?"
As soon as Cyrus opened the box, he burst out laughing before showing Jonah its content.
"Why there's a chocolate chocolate chip muffin?"
"What a funny guy Darren is sometimes! Chocolate chocolate chip muffin is the first nickname TJ gave me."
While he told Jonah his encounter with TJ in the playground last month, Cyrus took a knife and two small plates, cut the muffin in half and invited to sit down at the table.
"So you were there after leaving me."
"Sorry for being rude. But, when I feel my weakest, I need to be alone."
"It's just too bad that you don't trust me enough to help you like you did for me many times before."
"Don't get me wrong: I trust you. But I don't want you to see me differently."
Jonah started opening his mouth before closing it right away.
"Drink," Cyrus' dad said, while taking his pulse.
"I thought I was dying," he told after putting down his glass.
"You had a panic attack. Something upset you or made you anxious?"
"You wanna talk about it. We can, you know doctor-patient confidentiality."
Jonah shook his head.
"Well, panic attack can be very scary but the symptoms are temporary. Remember that when it'll happen again."
"It could happen again? I couldn't go through again!"
"Sorry, I misspoke. Let me get Cyrus; he can translate for me."
"NO! I DON'T WANT HIM TO KNOW ABOUT THIS..."
"Sorry," Jonah said, "I shouldn't have blamed you. But, if you wanna let me see that other side of you, I'll be there."
And I'll share my dark secret too.
While they finished eating their muffin, Jonah heard the door open and saw Cyrus' mom who stopped by the small room.
"Hi, Jonah. Cyrus, stop eating this junk."
"Hi, Mrs Akridge."
"Please," Cyrus' mom said, shaking her head. "Call me Cynthia. What are you doing here?"
Jonah looked at Cyrus who just nodded before answering her.
"My parents made an appointment with your husband. They think he'll be able to "fix" me because I like Cy."
After saying these words, he saw a flash of anger in her eyes.
"It all makes sense why Steve wants me to go to his office."
She paused before taking a deep breathe.
"Don't worry, kid. We're gonna talk some sense into your parents. By the way, Cyrus, do you know where's Darren?"
"He's taking his lunch break."
"No, that's really the time?" She said surprised before turning to her son. "Well, I've got to hurry. By the way, since you're here, you're joining us for lunch?"
"Sure. I'll wait here with Jonah until you're done."
She then kissed Cyrus' hair and ruffled Jonah's before going to her husband's office. After she left, Cyrus sighed loudly.
"She's a glutton of work sometimes."
"What are you doing today?" Jonah asked to change the subject because he knew Cyrus didn't like that side of his mother.
"I'll meet Louis and Aaron at The Spoon later before going to the playground with two other guys."
"One has to admit that's the perfect time to ride a board. Where's yours? You know you didn't show me yet."
"Sorry, I didn't take it because we won't go skateboarding today, we'll play basketball."
Jonah's eyes instantly went wide.
"Wait,... say that again. You're kidding, right?"
"Nope," Cyrus replied, grining. "Me and TJ are basketball buddies now. He started teaching me the basics before going to his camp."
"It's true you've been spending a lot of time together recently..."
"You're not jealous, are you?"
"No, of course not. It, it's just a bit surprising the two of you got close so quickly."
"You're right," Cyrus said before adding pensively. "If a month ago I was told I'd befriend someone like TJ who's my complete opposite, I never would've imagined it."
Jonah couldn't help but sense some jealousy unwittingly but, as he was the kind of boy who didn't like to admit it, he didn't say anything.
"I think I may have you to thank for that."
He looked at Cyrus quizzically.
"You were my first ever guy friend. I've just never been comfortable with other boys before we met."
Jonah put on his happy face. Shortly after, while they started talking of this and that, the door is opened and Darren, the secretary of Cyrus' dad, walked into the small room and smiled after seeing the box on the table.
"So, what did you think, Chocolate chocolate chip muffin?"
Before Cyrus could answer him, Darren's phone rang.
"Sir? Okay, I tell him to come in. Jonah? They're waiting for you."
"Don't worry," Cyrus reassured his friend, "it's gonna be okay."
While walking through the door of the small room, Jonah came back, kissed Cyrus' cheek and whispered to him.
"I'm sorry for telling you only now but... I love you too."
Chapter 9: Beyond bromance
Cyrus and Jonah unknowingly start flirting.
I'm done with that story. I hope you like it.
Don't hesitate to give your opinion.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
As soon as he walked out of Dr Akridge's office, Jonah headed to The Spoon, looked through the window but didn't see anyone he knew so he rushed to the basketball court where his friends were supposed to go after eating, according to Cyrus. As he approached the playground, he started hearing gruntings, people calling for the balls, the jerky scraping of the soles and cheers. When he finally reached the place, he saw ten players on the court - Cyrus and Kane were among them -, while three people waited on the side and a fouth one was about to join them.
Jonah liked the warm atmosphere of pickup games which played five against five, so that the fun was secure. Some players knew each other, while others were complete strangers; besides, there was an incredible variety of people and body shapes. The white line was off-limits on the bottom line sometimes while other times it was just the fence. The game always started in the semicircle behind the free throw line. The winners stayed on the court, everyone counted their own faults.
There was no coach, no referee, no establihed team, no distinguishing shirt...
Or - like today - no shirt at all, to his great delight. If he didn't care about the other shirtless players, he couldn't keep his eyes off Cyrus' bare chest: Jonah - even if he was a bit too far - enjoyed watching the muscles that were moving under Cyrus' skin. He then cut across the field carefully and sat next to Aaron who didn't stop smirking as soon as he noticed that Jonah's eyes were following every Cyrus' actions.
"Hey, J. What do you think about the show? You like it?"
"Love it," he replied grinning for himself and still looking at Cyrus. "Where's Louis? I'd like to give his phone back. I don't need it anymore."
"Sorry, he couldn't make it today. I think there's trouble in para..."
Aaron didn't finish his sentence.
"Go get 'em, C! Jump, now!"
Jonah cheered him up too.
"Cy! Cy! Cy! Cy! Cy! Cy! Cy!"
As soon as he heard him, Cyrus paused, looked his way - while watching the opponent team - and grinned before feinting and shooting. Jonah and Aaron immediately roared, while his teammates lifted him and carried him around. Jonah frowned a bit because he was expecting that Cyrus felt uncomfortable but it seemed that the boy didn't care. After everyone calmed down, Cyrus talked to his mates, picked up his shirt under the basketball hoop and quickly headed to his friends before taking a backpack that Aaron handed him and sitting across Jonah.
"You were AWESOME," he yelled out.
"Thanks," Cyrus replied, blushing.
"I feel like TJ didn't teach you only the basics but also some of his tricks."
"True," he answered, getting a bottle and a towel out of his bag. "Who's next?"
A blond-haired girl immediately got up, high-fived him and joined the players.
While Cyrus moped his face and his chest, Jonah drank in the sight of his naked torso, before being mesmerized by a drop of sweat that ran along his neck, and then on his right collarbone, was deflected to his nascent right pectoral, slid against his Star of David, nestled in between like it was meant to hang just there, cascaded on his abs - Cyrus really earned the last nickname Cyxpack he gave him unknowingly - that Jonah had the uncontrollable urge to touch and fell down after reaching his belly button.
"You okay?" Cyrus worried as soon as he noticed that his friend was looking at the ground.
"Yeah," Jonah finally replied after coming to his senses. "No, don't worry: everything went well. I was just zoning out."
He understood that Cyrus thought something wasn't right but Jonah didn't know how to desabuse him without telling him about his lustful look: he needed to find the right words because he didn't want Cyrus to look about him differently. Besides, he had to go at Cyrus' pace if the two of them had to tell Andi about the feelings for each other without ruining their friendship.
Fortunately, Andi was coming back end of the week - according to her before going on vacation with her mom and her dad - so Jonah could set things straight with her quickly.
"So? Tell me what happened after you went back to Steve's office."
Jonah didn't dare get his head up because he knew he'd stare at Cyrus' shirtless body. Just that thought made him blush. And his behavior made Aaron burst out laughing. Cyrus quizzically stared at him who handed his shirt.
"Put it on or he'll "zone out" once more," he just commented, pointing at Jonah.
Cyrus wasn't getting it yet so he looked at Aaron again, turned his head to Jonah before laying his eyes on his chest and finally got it. He couldn't help but smirk before going red too. When Jonah finally looked up, the two of them awkwardly smiled at each other for a while before getting the giggles.
"What's going here?" Kane inquired.
"Dunno," Aaron replied, shrugging. "I think they're just nuts."
Cyrus - tears in his eyes - picked another towel in his bag and gave it to Kane who started moping his face and offered a bottle of water to him.
"Thanks, C. Who's next?"
Aaron got up, high fived Kane and joined the players. Meanwhile, Jonah - wiping his eyes - watched Cyrus' reaction and felt reassured after the two of them shared those giggles: Cyrus didn't freak out so it meant that nothing had changed between them. Jonah finally heaved a sigh.
"As I told you earlier," Jonah told him, "it went well. And it turned out even better than I'd hoped. Even if I don't unerstand how your stepdad managed to talk some sense into my parents."
"Steve's the best."
"You're so right, Cy. As luck would have it, I couldn't have been in better hands."
Your parents were lucky too. If they hadn't chosen Steve and if he didn't manage to talk some sense into them, all of you might lose very big: your parents their right of custody, you and your siblings your dad and your mom. But, in the worst possible case, the three of you would end up in foster care. Nothing like to destroy a family. And YOU unfortunately: you'd feel guilty like all children in a situation like this, while the real CRIMINALS are your parents who want to "fix" their child because he doesn't correspond to their expectations.
Cyrus couldn't help but clench his fists so he took a deep breath and decided to chase away those thoughts and clear his mind.
"Speaking of such," he said, showing the other basketball hoop, "how about a one-on-one?"
"Sure," Jonah replied, while getting up and pulling his shirt off.
"Don't think it'll distract me., Cyrus commented, grinning. "But don't be sad, I'll enjoy each and every moment..."
"Get a room," Kane told them, pretending to be annoyed.
"Don't worry, we will."
As soon as he heard Cyrus' words, Jonah went red.
"I'm kidding, shy boy."
"Er, well, where are we gonna find another ball?"
"Please," Cyrus said, shaking his head and dipping his hand in his backpack. "You should know by now: I've always got what we need."
"Course, your magic bag, Cyxpack!"
He looked up as soon as Jonah called him like that again and was about to think the boy was making fun of him but, after scrutinizing one of his only two facial expressions, Cyrus had to realize that it wasn't a joke and wondered why Jonah had given him such a nickname.
"Do you really think I'm attractive?" He asked - incredulously - while heading to the opposite side of the court.
It was true his body had started changing since he was hanging out with jocks like Jonah, Marty, TJ and his new friends. He had recently looked at himself in the mirror of the bathroom and had noticed that his face wasn't chubby anymore and his chest and his arms had gained some muscles but it was totally normal because he wasn't a child anymore - he was a man now who still went to middle school, as he said to his Bar Mitzvah as a joke - and he had never done some sports before: he'd never liked that - It was one of the reasons why he got along great with Andi - and he was always afraid of hurting himself.
"Course, you are. And I'm not the only one. You didn't notice the stares when we were talking? I didn't say anything but I thought, plenty. We're not together yet but..."
"Are you jealous?"
"I, I think so: it's the proof of my feelings for you. But don't worry, Cy, I'm not like Andi."
"What do you mean about her?"
"She never trusted me: I know she's always been doubtful about my honesty. But I know I wouldn't hurt her feelings deliberately."
Jonah sighed loudly.
"I still couldn't believe she thought I cheated on her with Natalie."
"She's the captain of the Ultimate team from another school and a major player."
As Jonah told about his fellow disc head, Cyrus remembered that girl that Buffy and him had spied on because Andi became paranoid since the day she saw Jonah with that girl.
"Do you imagine that I keep you from hanging out with other boys than me because I woudn't trust you as soon as you're with another boy?"
"I can't, Jonah, because we had always been honest with each other since we met. Even if I didn't tell you about my feelings..."
"It doesn't matter, Cyxpack. Confessing his feelings isn't easy..."
"You've got some kind of fixation on my abs!" Cyrus commented, trying to hide his smile.
"Don't make fun of me. I can't help it, if you've got the sexiest abs I've ever seen."
"Let me tell you I also love what I see right now," he said, running his eyes up and down Jonah who blushed.
"Let's have fun," Jonah told him, while throwing the ball.
"I've alreasy have," Cyrus stated, his eyes still on him.
"I'm talking about another kind of fun," he retorted, smirking.
Jonah began to like flirting with him: he didn't feel uncomfortable and it was coming quite naturally. It didn't sound like Amber's assaults that had embarrassed him since the first day: she seemed a bit scary as soon as she tried to make out with him. It didn't sound like Andi's attempts either: how she flirted with him was going way over his head, if he had to be honest.
"How about going to the movies with the guys tomorrow?" Cyrus inquired, waiting for the right opportunity to trick Jonah's defence. "They don't stop talking about a movie with a lot of actions."
"I wouldn't mind," he replied, his eyes following the ball. "But the two of us should plan something special before Andi's return. As friends, of course."
"Of course. Do you already have an idea?"
"Yup,"Jonah said, while jumping to stop the ball that rolled behind him, "I just hope you enjoy it."
"Not bad for a disc head!" Cyrus commented, smirking.
"I'm more than meets the eye, Cyx;"
After getting the ball back, the two of them returned to their position and Cyrus decided to change tack.
"You heard about Louis and Ash?" He inquired, while rotating about the basketball hoop.
"Yup, Aaron told me earlier. Doesn't surprise me a bit, really. Things weren't going well between him and my cousin for a few weeks."
"He's your cousin?"
"She's my cousin: her name's Ashley."
"It's a girl!?!"
"What did you think? Ash was a boy?... You're not wrong somehow: all the girls in my family are tomboys. Cam's not an exception."
"I didn't think Louis was straight! I felt like he was interested in me as soon as we met."
"He's not. I mean, he's not straight: he's bi."
Cyrus quizzically looked at him.
"It just means he loves boys and girls."
"Oooooh!" He said before feinting Jonah and shooting.
They kept playing and talking for about half and an hour before lying panting under the basketball hoop. After a while, they sat up and Cyrus gave Jonah a bottle of water.
Not far away, two dark eyes were following each gesture of the two boys.
Anger twisted the face, when Cyrus ruffled Jonah's hair.
The second story of these series will come soon.