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“So Nick, what do you want to do tonight?”
I sigh. “The same thing we do every Saturday, David Michael. Watch Dr. Who.”
My friend rolls his eyes. “Way to be a bad sport.”
“I’m not going to say try and take over the world!”
“Why not?” David Michael is fiddling around with the DVD player.
“Because Pinky and the Brain jokes got old ten years ago.”
“You thought it was funny two days ago!”
“Yeah well.” I sigh. “Maybe I’m just not feeling it today.”
“You’re not feeling the nerdy?” David Michael raises an eyebrow at me. “Do you have a fever or something?”
“No.” I sigh. “Just put on the dumb Dr. Who that we watch every Saturday, without fail.”
“Excuse me? Did you just call the greatest television show ever made dumb?” He pauses the television as the theme credits begin to roll. “Okay. What shit has Adam been giving you tonight?”
I glare down at the Oreo I’m eating.
“We both know Adam’s a dumbass who wouldn’t be fit to wipe the mud off David Tennant’s amazing Converses. What did he say?”
I sigh moodily.
“Out with it, Nicky.”
“Don’t call me that!”
“Then tell me what he said!”
“If you must know, he told me I’m a loser for not going to Haley Braddock’s party tonight, when it’s the biggest one of the semester.” I resume my glaring at the Oreo. “Then he asked me if I wanted to be the star of the sequel to the Forty Year Old Virgin.”
David Michael gapes at me. “It’s official. Adam is king of the douchenozzles.”
“That’s why you shouldn’t listen to him.” He plops down next to me. “Besides, you hate stuff like Haley’s party, and Haley’s the queen of poor life choices, so I’ll bet you anything that the cops will break it up in half an hour, and then Adam will be grounded for a month again.” He smirks.
“I don’t know.” I sigh. “It’s just that even Margo’s going and here I am, a sophomore in high school, still watching fantasy shows instead of sneaking out and getting drunk.”
“Sorry my friend, but our nerdy pastimes are far superior to the shit Adam and Jordan do.”
I snort. “Yeah. That’s why we’re so popular.”
David Michael is quiet for a moment. “Byron isn’t going either,” he points out.
I snort. “That’s because Byron is currently upstairs with Jeff, doing things I don’t want to even think about.” I sigh. Yet another thing that’s been bothering me. People always comment that Byron and I are alike and in a lot of ways, we are. He’s far nerdier than Adam and Jordan and much sweeter. We’re both on the shyer side, and driven in school. However, we’re different in the regard that he’s actually had luck in the romance department. He and Jeff have been dating for two years, and are nauseatingly cute together, while I’ve never even kissed anyone before.
Then, speak of the devil, I hear Byron yelling--”
“Nick? Where are you?”
“In the living room!”
My brother’s face is flushed as he comes in. I smirk at him.
“Might want to get a scarf.”
“You have a giant hickey on your neck,” I say, as David Michael starts cracking up.
“Jerk.” Byron shoves me. “What episode are you watching tonight?”
“Probably some stuff from season two.”
“Ooh nice.” He grins. “Well, I’d watch with you guys, but--”
“We have other activities planned.” Jeff says, sidling into the room. He’s eating a brownie, and smirking widely as he wraps his arms around my brother. “Hey Nick.” He says to me. “Dr. Who again?”
“Of course.” I roll my eyes as Byron wipes chocolate from his boyfriend’s face and starts to chide him that he’s already eaten five of the things, and he just made those brownies tonight.
“Get a room.” I sing-song.
“Oh right.” Byron turns to me. “That was the original purpose of coming in here.”
“I meant a room that I’m not in!”
“No!” My brother flushes slightly. “I mean, I was going to tell you that I’m going over to Jeff’s house for a bit and that if mom asks, we’re at the library.”
“Got it.” I sigh. “Lack of parental units over there?”
Jeff smirks even wider, if possible. “Yup. My mom and Richard are at some dumb 1930s film festival tonight, and they won’t be back for hours.”
“Thank you for the wonderful bit of TMI,” I say. “Have fun you two.”
Byron smiles at me. “Thanks Nick. And remember--library.”
“I’ve covered for you ten thousand times before, so I think I can handle it again.”
My brother just laughs. As he and Jeff grab their coats, I can hear them laughing even harder, and then Byron say “cut it out!” Then, a longer pause.
“Stop that!” I can’t help but yell. “I can hear the smacking!”
“Alright, alright! We’re going!”
David Michael grins at me. “Nice reference.”
“Oh yeah. That’s why I’ve got so much luck in the romance department.” I pitch my voice so it sounds more nasal and has a slight lisp. ‘Hi. I can quote Buffy on demand. Wanna be my girlfriend?”
He bursts out laughing. “Hi. I like Tardises. Wanna be my girlfriend?”
“Hi. I know various dialects of Elvish. Wanna be my girlfriend?”
We’re laughing so hard now, tears are pouring down my face.
“Oh my friend.” I say. “Our lives are pathetic.”
“Well, at least we can laugh about them, right?” David Michael turns to me with an expectant grin on his face. “Dr. Who then?”
As we start to watch, we’re interrupted again, this time by my mother.
“Your dad and I are going to the movies.” She says, looking around. “Is it just you two?”
“Yup.” I nod. God, even my parents have more exciting lives. Hell, Claire’s social calendar is more riveting, as she’s at a sleepover.
“Where’s Byron?”
“He and Jeff went to the library.”
“Ah, of course.” She smirks. “To study for Biology, I’m sure.”
Nothing escapes my mother.
“Well.” She continues. “I trust you can handle being alone for a couple hours?”
“Oh yeah.”
“Don’t go too crazy.” She bends down and kisses my forehead.
“I’m going to eat this whole package of Oreos!” I yell at her retreating back. She laughs in response.
It’s a good episode of Dr. Who, but I can’t focus.
My mom had said ‘don’t go too crazy’ because she knows I won’t.
What if just this once, I surprised her?
I’m fifteen years old and yet every weekend, I do my homework, and then devote the rest of the time to shows like these. Dr. Who will always be here, I think. For once Nick, put in a little variation.
“David Michael.” I say. “Pause it.”
“Again?” He groans. “Tooth and Claw is one of the best episodes, Nick!”
“I know. I’ve only seen it about ten times.”
“So why are we pausing it?”
“Because we’re going to do something different.” I get up.
“Like what? Have Chips Ahoy instead of Oreos?”
“Nope.” I’m heading down the hallway now.
“Nick, this isn’t the way to the kitchen.”
I grin. “Dad’s liquor cabinet is in the study.”
“This is such a bad idea.”
“Oh come on.” I roll my eyes. “We’re not even doing shots. This is Vodka and cranberry juice. My mom drinks these with her book club.”
David Michael shudders. “It tastes nasty.”
“Well, maybe there’s something you’d like more.” I pull out the other things I’ve grabbed. “We’ve got Tequila, Bailey’s, and Gin.”
My friend sighs. “I guess I’ll try the Bailey’s.”
Three glasses later, we’re giggling hysterically. I’ve never been drunk before, but a part of me loves the tingly-I-don’t-care feeling I’m getting.
“Why haven’t we tried Bailey’s before?” David Michael laughs, taking another huge gulp. “Because we’re dumb.”
“So dumb, because Bailey’s is fucking delicious!”
“Yup.” I pour myself another glass. “It’s genius. Make something that doesn’t even taste like alcohol, for people who hate the taste of alcohol, so they can get drunk too!”
“So genius. I want to write the makers of Baileys a letter that’s like, dear Baileys I love you so much, it’s not even funny.”
I start laughing so hard, I can barely breathe.
“Nick!” David Michael says. “You know what we should do. We should be like the cool kids, and play one of those games.”
“Like a drinking game?”
“Yeah!” He grins at me, grabs at my hand. “We should play Never Have I Ever, because Sam likes that game and Sam’s pretty cool.”
“It’s going to be the most vanilla version of Never Have I Ever of all time.”
“Because we’re so vanilla!” David Michael starts squeaking in laughter.
“Exactly!” I sigh, and take another sip. “You start.”
“Okay.” David Michael takes a deep breath. “Never have I ever shipped Rose and Ten.”
“Damn it.” I take a gulp. “Fine. I guess it will be vanilla and nerdgasmic. Never have I ever written Battlestar Galactica fanfiction.”
“You suck, Pike. Never have I ever liked Riley Finn.”
“Fuck you.” I take a drink. “Look, the goal of tonight is to move away from the nerdiness. The point of this game is not to be vanilla.”
“But we are. That’s why this game is funny. It’s ironic.”
“David Michael.” I snap. “Have another drink. Drink until the desire for nerdiness goes away, or at least get away from the nerdy questions.”
“Oh fine. I guess I’ll indulge you, and whatever weird mood this is.”
“Good.” I take a deep breath, desperately trying to find something that doesn’t relate to televisions shows or any of the other ridiculous activities we find fun.
“Never have I ever raided my parents liquor cabinet.” David Michael says, with a slight smirk.
“Never have I ever--” I sigh, trying with all my might to find something, but nothing works. I take another drink, as a part of me wonders why I thought this was a good idea in the first place. Maybe it’s not too late to turn on the television again. No, I think. Fuck it. I’ll just blurt something out, and then we’ll laugh about what losers we are because that’s what we do.
“Never have I ever tried pot.” I say.
My mouth drops open as David Michael takes a slow sip.
He nods. “Once. It was awful and I’ll never do it again.”
“Last summer. Sam and his friends had some, and convinced me I should live a little.” He laughs. “I guess this is the second wild thing I’ve done.”
“Whoa.” I shake my head. “What else don’t I know about you?”
“The question is Nick, what don’t I know about you?” He raises an eyebrow at me.
“I haven’t done much.” I say. “You know that.”
“Alright.” He looks at me, then bursts into giggles.
“Out with it.”
“Never have I ever French kissed anyone,” he says, lightly.
“Oh come on!” I roll my eyes. “You really thought you were going to get me out on that one?”
“It was worth a shot!”
I take a deep breath. “How about this? Never have I ever kissed anyone, period.”
David Michael takes a drink.
“Karen does not count!” I snap.
“It wasn’t Karen,” he says, slowly.
“Who then?”
He looks at me. “Promise you won’t tell?”
“Who would I tell? Pow?”
“You know when I went to science camp last year? Well, the last night, some of us snuck off and had some beers--”
“You are full of surprises tonight.”
“Shut up. Anyways, long story short, I ended up kissing um, a boy that I’d gotten to be friends with.” His face is bright red.
“Holy shit.” I breathe.
“Yeah.” He mumbles. “It just sort of happened. He wasn’t all that thrilled and I left camp in humiliation.”
I have to take another drink of Baileys. “Wait,” I say, slowly. “You’re straight though. You’re always going on about Hannah and how much you wish she’d notice you!”
He shrugs. “Ever heard of the Kinsey scale, Nick?”
“Well yeah, but--”
“Never mind. Forget I ever said anything.” He sighs, and suddenly looks miserable.
My mind is racing, which might be the alcohol.
I’ve known David Michael since we were kids. We used to watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles together, and plot ways to get back at Adam and Jordan for refusing us admission to science club. We’d drifted apart a bit when he’d moved across town, only to become friends again when we’d had study hall together freshman year and he’d laughed at my “ten is not just a number” t-shirt instead of staring at it in confusion. From there, we’d become fast allies. Yet for some reason, at this moment, I’m just noticing how well, handsome he is.
I’m pretty straight as well. I stare shamelessly at Marilyn Arnold in AP Chem, and have posters of Sarah Michelle Gellar on my wall. Yet there’s a part of me that wonders what it would be like to lean over and just kiss my friend, the part of me that also thinks that Riley Finn has pretty awesome arm muscles, or that David Tennant looks cute when he smiles.
Like my friend says, it’s called the Kinsey scale and maybe it’s the Baileys making judgements for me, but tonight damn it, I want to tip it.
Here goes nothing.
“Never have I ever kissed a boy before.” I say.
Silence. Oh God. I am a moron. Goodbye David Michael it was nice knowing you, our friendship was great while it lasted--
“Don’t be a tease, Nick.” He says, softly.
I burst out laughing. “I don’t think I have it in me to be a tease. That’s more Adam’s department.”
More silence.
“You mean,” he asks. “You actually want to--”
I kiss him square on the lips. Then, holy shit, my friend is kissing me back.
I can’t help it. My first reaction is to think that kissing is weird. It’s slobbery and I don’t know completely what to do, but there’s another part of me that really likes it, especially when David Michael runs a hand along my neck and whispers, “just relax.”
I let out another little gasp when his tongue swipes across my lip, but I open my mouth to let him in. The kiss is becoming deeper, more insistent, not quite so sloppy. I don’t completely know what to do with my arms, so I settle for wrapping them around his waist. He lets out a little sigh, before breaking away.
“Don’t stop.” I mutter.
“I just have to say that I think now, you’ve definitely kissed a boy.” He holds out the Baileys to me. “Drink up, Nicky-Pooh.”
“If do, will you kiss me again?”
He grins. “Most definitely.”
We end up moving to the couch. Holy shit, I think, as his hands begin to move up my shirt, I’ve certainly graduated from vanilla tonight.
Suddenly, the movement stops. I groan.
“You say I’m a tease!” I snap.
“Nick.” David Michael looks at me. His face is flushed, hair sticking up in a wild curly mess. I can’t help but reach out and start to play with a stray lock.
“What is this?” He says, softly. “What are we doing?”
“Kissing.” I laugh.
“We’re also very drunk.” He says.
“So we should kiss more, because that’s what people do when they’re drunk.”
“What’s going to happen tomorrow? Are we going to be awkward and never be able to watch Dr. Who together again? Is this going to be science camp, the sequel?”
I sigh. “First of all,” I say, lightly running my fingers across his back, there will always be Dr. Who, and we will always watch it, because that’s what we do. Second, we should worry about what we’re going to call this tomorrow. We shouldn’t be over-analyzing anything right now, because we’re drinking alcohol.”
“Nick, I can’t lose you as a friend.”
“You’re not going to.” I lean over, and kiss him. “Like you said, it’s called the Kinsey scale. Now can we please, please just have fun and for once, live on the edge?”
He answers by returning the kiss.
“You drive a hard bargain, Pike.” He says, as we break apart. “If this is awkward tomorrow though--”
“Less talk, more making out!”
An hour later, I head to the kitchen to get a glass of water. David Michael is lying on the couch, picking out a new episode for us to watch.
Somehow, I think this weird Kinsey scale thing is going to work out for the better, I think. Now I have someone to watch nerdy shows with, and make out with during commercials. Suddenly, I understand why Byron and Jeff watch so many movies together.
The alcohol is wearing off, and I don’t regret anything I’ve done this evening. On the contrary, I’m happier than I’ve been in ages. I don’t know if we’ll ever have anything “official,” but for now, I’m just going to let things happen. All I know is that Adam was wrong about his earlier prediction, and this delights me to no end.
As I head back to the living room, I catch a glimpse of my reflection in the hallway mirror, and grin even wider, as I think of what I said to Byron earlier that night.
For once, I’m the one who needs a scarf.