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They Have a Word For This

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It started like this: A tiny comment flew by word of mouth to Bill’s ear and got stuck there in between thoughts of missing a fork on his lunch tray and wondering whether he should bother to do the homework early after school. An inconspicuous comment, really. At the next table sat Pamala Aynes, who looked at her friend Trinity and said exactly what was on her mind.

 

“Hey, you know the guy next to you?” Pamala said quietly to Trinity, mindful of how close they were to the subject in question. But she still managed to snag Bill’s attention. “I wonder why he’s alone today.”

 

“Yeah, isn’t he always with Ted Logan?” Trinity said conspiratorially. Bill picked at the bread bun on his burger. It doesn’t feel good to be talked about.

 

“Speaking of Bill and Ted...they’re really close. Like, really close. Do you think he’s...?” Pamela looked up at Trinity from her notebook with the pencil still poised in her hand. Bill grit his teeth.

 

“Do you think they’re...?” The girls shared a moment of silence. Bill stood up from the bench abruptly and decided he would need that fork after all.

 

Bill doesn’t reach higher than Ted’s nose. He noticed this while standing next to him in the line to the cash register at a Seven Eleven. Even with his head bowed, long, dark brown hair spilling over like a curtain, Ted was still taller. Bill’s gaze traveled from his head to his hands. Ted was looking at the ingredient label on his Twix bar. The golden candy bar looked extra small in his large, pink palm. Bill stared at his hand, unable to take his eyes away.

 

Ted looked up from the bar at Bill. Slowly he donned a small smile.

 

“Hey.” He said. Bill broke from his trance and his eyes snapped up to Ted’s. His warm smile. Some of that warmth seemed to creep into Bill’s own cheeks, though he didn’t even know why. He felt like a boy caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

 

“...Hey.” Bill stammered out weakly and turned his head resolutely forward. Ted smiled and looked forward as well, whistling quietly. Bill found he quite liked the tune. It wasn’t like any song he’d heard before, because he didn’t usually listen to songs that didn’t include an electric guitar being shredded or some sick baseline. The song wasn’t slow, but mid tempo, and it was reminiscent of something summery. Something you could easily strum an acoustic guitar too.

 

Before he knew it they were walking down the sidewalk and Ted was still humming the tune. When Ted stopped everything got a little duller. Though it didn’t completely lose its colour with him still in sight.