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When Dante and I left the desert that night, I felt different driving home. Dante fumbled around in the dark until he found my hand and held it. He squeezed. I squeezed back. We talked about things like we normally did and I felt more relaxed, this sort euphoria washing through me. I knew that Dante felt it too. 

Neither of us had a watch and we'd stayed out in the desert so long I wasn't sure if we'd broke curfew or not by the time I pulled up in front of the Quintana's house. Dante couldn't get his seat belt off fast enough before he was over the gear shift, kissing me again. He kissed me like he would never kiss me again. I kissed him back. We kissed for a long time and then I finally pulled back.

"What time do you think it is?" I asked. 

Dante shrugged. He didn't seem to understand that I was asking in a troubled way. 

"Our parents might kill us," I said.

"Fine with me," Dante said. "I'd be happy to die like this."

I started to roll my eyes, but he was already grinning and kissing me again. He pulled back this time, brushing some of my hair away from my face, studying me like he was storing the image for later.

"Stay the night," he said, rubbing his nose against mine as his lips find mine again, more chaste this time. "You can call your parents."

"Um, about that," I said, taking his hand, rubbing the pad of my thumb across it. I could feel my face heating up.

"What?" He pulled back again. "Ari, what?"

I ran my other hand through my hair awkwardly. I laughed a little, though it was laugh out of nervousness not humor.

"My parents know about us," I said.

Dante frowned. "What?"

"I talked with them," I said, too embarrassed to say that my dad had basically came out for me. "They sort of encouraged me to tell you."

Dante pulled all the way back, eyebrows furrowed slightly, lips pouting. 

"Huh." He said, and then he shrugged. 

"I'm sure if I call and tell them I'm staying over my mom will think we're doing something licit," I said, and meant it as a joke.

Dante understood and he grinned, claiming my lips again and then kissed my jawline. It gave me goosebumps. He kissed my neck. He kissed the soft spot between my neck and collarbone. 

"I guess," he said with exaggerated annoyance. "But you'll be here tomorrow."

He didn't ask me. He told me. It made me laugh.

"Yes," I said. 

He got out of my truck and so did I. I just wasn't ready to say goodnight. It was weird. All this warmth coursing through me. I felt light and free and not really in touch with reality. We were about to kiss one last time for the evening when Sam stepped out of the house.

"I thought I heard your truck," he said. He was wearing a flannel robe over his pajama pants.

"Hi, Dad," Dante said, looking at me and then looking away.

"Dante," Sam said, but not as sternly as I think he wanted to sound. "It's really late. It's almost two."

"Oh no!" I groaned. "My parents are gonna kill me."

"Step inside and call them," Sam told me. "Let them know you're on your way. Your mother's called already."

I went to the porch, but Sam and Dante did not follow me. Sam waved me inside with a cheerful smile. I went inside where Mrs. Quintana was coming down the stairs. I smiled at her, a little nervously. 

"We were worried about you boys," was all she said before kissing my cheek. "Call your mother, Ari."

"Yes, Ma'am," I muttered, moving to the phone.

My mother answered on the first ring.

"Ari?" She asked.

"Hi, Mom," I said. "I'm sorry it's so late. We lost track of time-"

"Mijo, it's alright," she said. "When it started pushing one I was worried. Find a phone next time. Call me."

"There's no phones out in the desert," I reminded her. 

There was a long silence.

"How are you?" She asked.

I knew what she was really asking. She wanted to know if I'd told Dante. 

"I'm good," I said, running my fingers through my thick hair. "I'm really good, Mom...thank you for, you know."

I could hear Legs barking in the background. I heard my mother lightly scold her and then say, "Yes, I'm talking to him now." 

My father must have been up and waiting for my call too. 

"I'll be home in a few minutes," I said.

"Drive carefully," Mom said. "I love you, Ari."

"Love you too."

When I walked out of the house, truck keys jingling in my hand, Sam and Dante were still standing on the steps talking. I awkwardly stood before them, unsure if I should just leave or not.

"Call your mother?" Sam asked.

"Yes," I said.

Dante gave his Dad a strange look with his eyebrows raised. 

"Bye, Dad," he said slowly and Sam playfully scuffed the back of his head.

"Inside in ten minutes," he told him as he went back inside.

I looked at Dante.

"What was that?" I asked

"I told my Dad where we were," he said cooly, a smile tugging at the corner of his mouth, making his nose scrunch up a little bit on one side.

"Oh."

"He told me," Dante said, stepping away from the railing. "That when he was dating my mom, that he always gave her a goodnight kiss at the door."

He took my hands and I leaned in as he kissed me, very slow this time. I made a little noise and pulled back, my face bright red against my brown skin. 

"I'm sorry," I said thinking about how stupid I was. 

Dante laughed a little and gave me a big hug, kissing my cheek.

"Tomorrow," he said.

"Tomorrow," I said.

-----------------

The next few weeks were great. We never officially told our parents, "Hey, we're dating!" 

We didn't need to. The morning after I dropped Dante off, my mother made a big show about making a giant breakfast. A good breakfast too. Eggs and potatoes and peppers with homemade tortillas. We all sat down together to eat and she asked me in a pleasant way how the rest of my evening went.

"It was fine," I said. "We talked."

I didn't need to tell her or my dad what we talked about. They understood. Dad smiled at me, his eyes crinkling as he ate his tacos. Mom told me I looked happier. Tears filled her eyes and she told me she was proud of me. 

Dante and I did our normal routine of wandering around, going swimming, hanging out in his room, hanging out in my room. Dante surprised me, though, about a week after that night, when I was at his house one evening. His mom had cooked spaghetti and served it with salad and bread and had candles on the table. At first I thought they were setting us up on some strange date, but then Sam finally laughed and patted my shoulder. I guess it showed how weird I felt.

"It's our anniversary," he said. 

"Why do you want us here?" Dante asked, frowning. 

"A double date," his mother joked. We all laughed.

I was red in the face again. I knew because I felt hot, and then Dante held up his glass.

"To Sam and Soledad," he said. 

They raised their glasses in return. 

"To Dante and Ari," Sam said, and Dante kissed me. Not a deep kiss. Just a little peck on the lips. I'm surprised I didn't burst into flames. I looked at his parents. They were smiling.

"Salud!" His parents said.

"Salud!" We said. 

Our glasses all clinked together. 

Dante offered to take care of the kitchen and I offered to help him. When his parents disappeared upstairs I said, "Guess they know, huh?" 

"Of course they do," he said. He then stopped washing and wiped his hands on his jeans.

"Stay the night," he said. "Please?"

"Won't your parents...?" I glanced in the direction of the stairs.

"It's just to sleep," Dante said. "I promise. My parents trust me."

I turned red again. I hadn't even considered...that.

"Let me call my mom," I said. 

Dante watched me as I moved to the phone. My mother answered and I asked the question, tugging at my hair. I may have not known the Quintanas all that well, but I sure knew my own parents. There was a loud silence.

"Ari," my mother said slowly.

"It's just to sleep," I said quietly, kind of wishing Dante wasn't just standing there in ear-shot. I heard him let out a flat chuckle that sounded like, 'hn'. I flipped him off.  He moved to my backside and wrapped his arms around me, kissing my neck. 

I could almost picture my mother, standing in our house, biting in her lip trying to decide what to say next. 

"Ask Dante if we would like to stay here," she finally said neutrally. "He can come over and then next time-"

"Mom." I groaned softly. "Okay, I'll ask."

"Do you want to go stay at my house instead?" I asked.

Dante's brows furrowed slightly. "Okay."

"Yeah, we'll be there soon," I told her. 

-----

I was dreading what my parents would say the whole way there. When we got to my house, my parents were waiting in the living room, watching television in a casual manner. They didn't fool me. I know they didn't watch television.

"Hello," my mother said, like she was surprised. She kissed me and then Dante. 

"I just went to the store," my dad said. "I got ice cream."

He beamed when he said it, like we were little kids. We joined them in the kitchen and Dad served us all bowls of vanilla ice cream while my mom got down to business. 

"We need to talk to you," she said.

Dante mouthed a thank you to my father and began eating his ice cream, staring at my mom. Dad sat down.

"We know that you're together now," she said, looking at me. I wanted to stick my face in my bowl of ice cream it was so warm. 

"We know that you're teenagers," Dad added.

"We're not..." I sighed, frustrated.

"I know, Mijo," my mom said, reaching over to comb my hair with her fingers. 

I wanted to tell her there's no possible way she could have known, but she somehow did. She always knew everything. Sometimes I think my mother and Dante's mother should get together and write the ultimate parenting book. Or open up a psychic hotline. 

Dante looked at me. 

My mother continued, "We want you boys to be careful. We want you to be safe."

She nodded at my dad and he obediently stood up and disappeared down the hall. He returned with a small paper bag. He passed it to me, finally looking as awkward as I did. I pulled out a box of condoms. I wanted to die. 

"There's more in the bathroom," Mom said. "I don't keep count."

After they let us leave the table, Dante's bowl void of any ice cream and mine a puddle of vanilla soup, we went to my room. I closed my door and Dante laughed.

"That was fun," he said, taking the box of condoms from my hand, reading it. 

I collapsed onto my bed, covering my face with my hands. Dante sat down beside me, still reading the box. He set it aside and half laid beside me, kissing my cheek, then my nose, then my jaw. He stroked my hair.

"You okay?" He asked. 

"Yeah." I uncovered my face and he kissed my lips.

We changed and brushed our teeth and then climbed into my bed. It was a little unnerving, Dante climbing into bed with me, going to sleep with me. He didn't bring up sex, but even after we stopped talking, I knew it was on both of our minds. I didn't tell him I was scared of sex. I was scared of not knowing anything about it. I was scared of my own embarrassment. 

Of course, Dante is Dante, and he's as bad as his mother when it comes to mind reading. 

"Do you think about sex?" He asked casually, turning on his side to face me.

"Yes," I said in a voice that I hoped wasn't as small as I thought.

"Good thoughts or bad thoughts?" He asked. There was no malice to his voice. No suspicion.

"I don't think I'd be any good at it," I admitted.

"That's not possible, Ari," Dante murmured, snuggling up to me. He sighed.

-------

Dante was very patient with me about sex. I know that most boys are quick to dive right in, to pressure girls, and why should boys who like boys be any different? Dante was different. I think it's because he cared about me more than he cared about sex.

We would go out to the desert where we were guaranteed to be alone and make out. We didn't call it that. We didn't call it anything. We went from kissing to really kissing to feeling each other under our clothes. Dante was a very good kisser. I think it was the artist in him. He also always knew where to put his hands.  After we would kiss and feel for a while, we would lay in the bed of my truck and star gaze. We would talk. 

One night Dante wanted to talk about sex. 

"Are you scared of sex because it's two guys?" He asked. 

"A little," I said. I hardly knew about sex between a man and a woman let alone between two men. I had an idea, but so many questions I was too embarrassed to ask. 

"You know what sex is, right?" He asked.

I was indignant. 

"Yes," I said, squirming next to him. "I'm not stupid."

"I know that," he said, kissing my temple. "I mean, yeah, sex is part A going to part B in sex ed class, but sex is about making each other feel good. It's about absolute trust. Being vulnerable around someone you l-"

He stopped and turned red. I'd never seen Dante blush. I watched him, waiting.

"There are different ways to have sex," he said. 

"Not here," I said, wondering if that's what he was getting at.

We both laughed a little. 

--------

The following Friday, our parents were going dancing together. They asked if we wanted to come and we both said no. Dante was over at my house and before my parents left to go meet his parents, my mom kissed me and gave me a look. A look that said, 'remember our talk'. 

After they left, I made us quesadillas and then got us each a beer from the fridge. We sat on the couch and talked for a long time. Then there was silence. Then there was kissing. Then Dante asked if he could touch me.

"What?" I asked quietly. 

"I'm sorry," he sputtered. "I shouldn't have just-not like that-I was just in the moment-"

"It's okay," I said, feeling my heart pounding all the way to my ears. 

We stared at each other.

"I'm not really sure..." I said, tugging a little at my hair. I had gotten it cut recently, finally, and I missed tugging long hair. 

"Not really sure about what, Ari?" He asked softly. 

"I don't know what to do," I confessed quietly. It was out there now. I didn't know enough about sex to know how to participate. 

Dante kissed me long and hard. When he finally pulled away, he asked, "Do you trust me, Ari?"

"Yes," I said and I scooted back against the couch a little, giving him access, I realized, to unbutton my jeans. I was so nervous, but at the same time...I don't know, something else. 

He looked at me, and I nodded. He got my jeans down, taking off my shoes and I chuckled softly as he tossed them to the side as if to say 'bye shoes'. When my jeans were off, he carefully palmed me through my underwear. I bit my bottom lip. He moved closer and kissed me again, distracting me as he pulled my underwear down. I lifted up so he could. Then I stopped.

"Not on the couch!" I said, coming back down to Earth.

"Your room?" He said, and I nodded. 

We moved to my room and he couldn't pull me onto my bed fast enough. He pulled my underwear down again and then moved up to kiss me once more. He was touching me. My breathing was changing. I fumbled blindly at my sheets. 

"Dante," I said, my toes digging into the mattress. 

"It's okay, Ari," he said, and I wondered how he knew that saying his name right then expressed my fear and uncertainty. 

"Oh my God," I said, and I could feel this familiar feeling in my lower belly. I knew what it was and I was afraid to do it in front of Dante. 

Dante kissed the inside of my thigh and then it happened. My face glowed with embarrassment. I panted heavily. Dante looked at his hand, which was sticky. I was mortified. He slid up the length of me and kissed me, really kissed me. 

"Good boy," he murmured, grinning, and I grinned a little too.

After I regained some composure, I sat up and he did too. 

"Can I..." I swallowed hard. "to you?"

Dante kissed me again.

"It's okay," he said. "I don't want to pressure you."

"I want to," I said, but my voice sounded small again. Did he think I wouldn't do it right? What if I didn't do it right.

"Yeah," he said. "Okay."

I helped him to get his pants and underwear off, but then I went one step further and helped him to remove his shirt. He seemed surprised by that. Then I awkwardly froze. Dante kissed me and said, "It's okay. I'm really okay."

"Can you...talk while I do it?" I asked. 

Dante smiled like I was precious. He nodded. And he talked. I was trying to copy what he did, and he kept telling me that I was doing good. He leaned in and kissed me. He made noises that I wanted to hear again and again. When it was over, we laid down on my bed, not saying anything. 

--------

We began to talk about sex after that. We experimented with our hands, and with our mouths. That was different, but it was nice in a very private way. We decided that we would do it next time my parents were out. Which happened two weeks before school started again.

"We'll let you know how Sylvia's doing," my mother said as she picked up her overnight bag. My sister had been taken to the hospital for appendicitis. My mother and father were going to check on her and then help with the kids. They would be gone for the night.

"You're not happy that my sister had emergency surgery, are you?" I asked Dante, who was smiling when we were finally alone.

He simply said, "Let's eat dinner."

Dante cooked. In my house. Which was kind of weird. Nothing elaborate. Just eggs and bacon and toast. We showered after that, together, and then brushed our teeth. Neither of us had mentioned it, but I knew we were going to have sex. I was nervous, but in a good way. 

When we got into my bed, we started kissing. Dante chuckled through our kissing and said, "Maybe we shouldn't have put pajamas on."

"Do you want to?" I asked. "Tonight?"

"I do," he said. "Every night, but I want you to be ready."

He ran his hand through my hair. "I love you, you know."

At that moment, there was no other human being more precious than Dante. I kissed him. And I kissed him. And I kissed him. Our clothes were off kind of fast. It was happening. This was happening. 

"How do you want...?" I was too embarrassed to ask. 

"Maybe you should top," he said. 

"What's...?" I started to ask, but then I remembered. He'd explained this to me.

I was suddenly worried that I would screw everything up. That I'd accidentally hurt him. I shook my head.

"You want me to?" He asked, eyebrows raised.

I nodded.

Dante kissed me and asked where the lube was. My parents had actually provided lube in the condom bag. It was still there. He brought it out, along with a condom. After he'd gotten it on, he kissed me again and said in my ear, "I love you, Ari."

"Me too," I said.

We laid down again, and I started to turn over, but Dante gently nudged me, coaxing me on my back again. I was confused. He got between my legs and coated his fingers with lube. Some of it dripped on my stomach. It was cold. 

"If anything starts to hurt or you're done," he said. "Just tell me. Tell me and we'll stop, okay?"

I nodded. Dante leaned down to kiss me and the kiss deepened when I felt his first finger. When he used another finger, I felt something different. I jumped a little. Dante grinned against my mouth. 

"I got you," he said, touching that spot again.

It felt really good. I kind of missed his fingers when he pulled them out. He maneuvered us so that my legs were wrapped around him, he was over me, kissing me everywhere. He combed my hair with his fingers.

 "It might hurt at first," he said and paused, giving me time to say never mind, to change my mind.

"I'll be okay," I said and it did hurt. It hurt a lot. I squeezed his arms. 

He kissed me, giving me time and said, "You're doing so good, Ari." 

And then like magic, it didn't hurt anymore. It felt good. It felt really good. I kissed him, letting him know that he could move faster. It was incredible and not just because of the physical pleasure but because of how close we were. How this was my first time and his first time. No matter what happened later, it would always be the first time. I felt the familiar feeling in my lower belly and gripped onto Dante. He kissed me. He started to touch me, to get me off, but I didn't need him to apparently. I trembled as waves of pleasure went through me and then I felt him do the same and then I burst into tears. Loud uncontrollable sobs. Dante pulled out quickly, panting a little and he held me. 

"Ari," he said worriedly, his voice trembling. "Oh God. Ari?"

I covered my face, ashamed for crying. I couldn't seem to stop. What was wrong with me? What had happened? I wasn't upset-that much I knew. I had enjoyed it. It had been the sweetest thing I'd done with Dante and here I was bawling my eyes out.

"Ari, I'm sorry." Dante started to cry too, kissing my forehead. 

After a few minutes, I managed to calm down, and then I let out a breathy, tired laugh. 

"I told you I'm no good at sex," I told him. 

Dante looked at me, tears still streaming down his cheeks. I wiped them away with the back of my hand. 

"I'm not upset," I assured him. 

"You started crying," he said, his voice small.

"Yeah, it's...weird," I finally said. "When I...you know..."

"Came?" He said, still sounding slightly panicked. 

"Yeah," I agreed. "It was like a water balloon being pricked. I didn't even know I was going to start crying."

Dante looked at me for a long time like he didn't believe me. I told him to stop looking at me like that.

"You didn't do anything wrong," I said. "It was good. It was great. I'm just defective or something."

Dante didn't really say much and I think I ruined our first time for him. We got redressed in our t-shirts and pajama pants and laid back down. Dante hugged onto me.

"It's okay," he said. "You won't hurt my feelings. Did I hurt you? Were you not ready?"

I turned to him. I kissed him.

"You didn't hurt me," I assured him.

---------

Gina, who I'd finally confessed my dilemma to because she was my other best friend whether I liked it or not, didn't seem surprised. She already knew about Dante. She liked to hang out with him. She didn't tease him like she did me, but maybe she would when they got to know each other really well. 

"Sex is very emotional," she said. "Mostly it's girls that cry, though."

I frowned. She grinned. 

"Was it good?" She asked.

"I'm not answering that," I told her. 

"Were you guys loud?" She asked.

"Gina, stop."

"It's okay, " she said. "Dante will give me the details."

She laughed and punched me in the arm. I couldn't help but love her.

 

----------------

I cried a lot when we had sex. It took Dante a lot of convincing that some people just did that, and I was trying really hard to work on it, but I had absolutely no control. It was like my orgasm came with tears. Even when I topped (that was such a weird term) I cried. It took ME a lot of convincing to top. The pain had been quick, but excruciating for me the first time and I couldn't imagine putting Dante through it. He insisted, though. He typically liked to 'bottom' from 'the top'. All of these terms were confusing. 

 Dante brought up that I could come without being touched. It embarrassed me. I cried and didn't ejaculate correctly. He said he loved it. 

"You're like a unicorn," he said. "Most guys have to be touched."

--------

When school started, we didn't get to see a lot of each other except for on weekends. Dante invited me to a party with a bunch of boys from his school at someone's house. I went and after being there a few minutes, wished I hadn't. Dante was popular. Everyone seemed happy to see him and made jokes with him that only made sense if you were on the swim team or went to his school. After a while, I went outside.

Dante found me about fifteen minutes later. 

"There you are," he said, sitting next to me on the steps of the deck by the pool. 

I didn't say anything. He took my hand that was holding a beer, removed the beer, and held my hand. 

"Are you okay?" He asked. 

"Yeah," I said. 

"A lot of these guys like you," I said. "You have a lot of friends."

"They wouldn't think that outside of school," he said, taking a drink of my beer. 

I looked at him.

"Come on, Ari," he said, laughing a little. "I go to a Catholic school. I live in El Paso, Texas."

I knew what he meant. It was fine around our parents and Gina and Susie, but the rest of the world...we had to hide. We had to be 'just friends'. 

"I have dreams about that night," he said. "In the alley."

I wanted to hold him, but I couldn't. Not here.

"They kept calling me 'fag'," he said. " 'Queer'. 'Disgusting'. I've never had anyone not like me before."

"They're assholes," I said. "And I wish I could have been there. I would have NEVER left you."

"When they left," he said quietly. "I remember thinking I was going to die. I was thinking that. One of them had threatened to slit my throat. He showed me the knife."

I felt anger inside of me. The same anger when I beat up Julian. Dante had never told me this before. 

"But I also thought of you," he said. "Not my mom or my dad. Not at first, which was weird because I was kind of mad at you. Remember?"

I nodded. 

"I think I was saying your name," he said. "I'm not sure, but when I woke up in the ambulance, I asked about you. That's what my mom said. She had been confused because they asked who you were and she said, 'what's he got to do with this?' and they said I was asking them to go and get you."

He let out a breathy laugh. It sounded sad.

"Ari, I get scared sometimes," he said, looking up at the sky. No stars. Too much light pollution.

"Because of those guys?" I asked. "Dante, now that i heard it from you, I'll never let you out of my sight. Hell, you'll have to move in with me."

He laughed again. I smiled.

"I get scared because I love you," he said. "I know 'I love you' to a lot of people means 'I like you', 'I enjoy your company' but, Ari, I feel so much more, and it scares me."

"I think I know what you mean," I told him, leaning back on my palms. "I loved you, but I didn't know that yet. I thought love was just happy, holding hands stuff too. I didn't know there was sadness and anger so strong there are no words for it."

Dante nodded and I knew that he knew I was telling the truth. 

"I thought I was really going to kill Julian," I muttered. It was my darkest secret-the one that connected to me to Bernardo-and it was out there now. "I think I could have killed him."

---------

We went out on our first 'date' with Gina and Susie. Susie joked that they were our 'beards' and Dante had to explain what it meant. He jokingly picked Susie as his 'girlfriend' and called Gina 'Mrs. Mendoza'. She kept swatting at him every time he said it. 

"I think my mom thinks Susie and I are lesbians," Gina said. "I know my dad does."

"Are you?" Dante asked, holding Susie's hand, swinging their joined hands as we walked down the sidewalk.

"I wish," Gina said. "I like dick just as much as you."

"Gina!" I groaned.

We went to a sit down restaurant and slid into our booth, Gina and me on one side, Dante and Susie on the other. We looked at our menus.

"You look so cute in your collar shirt," Gina told me. I zipped up my sweater, rolling my eyes.

"So, Dante," Gina said and Dante raised his eyebrows, putting his menu down. "Is Ari loud in bed?"

The girls busted out laughing. We ordered our food and ate and had a good time. We shared two desserts and after went to the movies. Dante and I got to sit next to each other at the movies. We got to hold hands.

---------

We got called fags. We'd driven to New Mexico one weekend (after we begged and begged) and ate lunch and dinner. We thought we were alone in front of the restaurant. There was no one around, but then a truck sped by with some guys and one of them yelled "FAGS!"

I dropped Dante's hand like a hot potato, but not out of shame. I honestly, for a split second, thought I was going to chase the truck. I came back to reality seconds after. Dante looked ashamed. He rubbed his bicep with his other hand.

"Don't worry about those guys," I said. 

"Yeah," he said quietly.

I surprised him. My parents had booked us a hotel. When I drove up, he frowned.

"I didn't bring any clothes," he said. 

"I packed them," I said, nodding to a bag on the floor. He thought it was my workout bag.

Dante's smile was contagious. The hotel was nice, and practically empty since the summer was over. We swam in the pool, having it all to ourselves. We kissed in the pool. We showered together. We were alone, miles from home where nobody knew us, and that made sex much sweeter. When I cried now, Dante understood, and he would kiss my tears. He would tell me how much he loved. He would stroke my hair.

"One day," I said, chuckling. "I'm not going to cry."

"One day," he said, flopping down next to me. We still smelled like chlorine. "We're not going to have to feel this great just because we're so far away."

I wanted to ask him if I was the other boy he wanted to marry, remembering his letter, but I was too shy. I simply took his hand and kissed it. He kissed my lips. When we were almost asleep, I asked.

"Dante?"

"Mmhmm?"

"Remember when you told your parents you wanted to marry another boy?"

"Hm?"

"The letter?"

"Mm."

"Are you awake?"

"Mmhmm."

"Do you want to marry me someday?"

There was no answer. I rolled over. He'd probably fallen asleep.

"What'd you say?" He sort of jolted awake, rolling over too to wrap his arms around me.

I chuckled. 

"Go to sleep."

"Do I want to marry you?" He slurred. "Yes."

"When?" He asked, still sounding sleepy. I think he actually was asleep.

"We'll figure it out," I said, and then I fell asleep too.