When Kristopher Neil Allen is fourteen years old, he realizes that he’s not like everyone else. All of his friends have started to talk about girls, and what it would be like to kiss them. Sure, some of them, most of them really, have already had their first kiss. Kris hasn’t.
He just doesn’t see what’s so special about girls; he would rather play video games with Cale Mills in their basement. Well, not only that, there’s a lot of things he’d rather do than kiss girls. Like sing, play the guitar and piano, and even the viola. It even happens sometimes that he writes his own songs.
His father keeps asking him if he’s got a girlfriend, Kris just shrugs and says all that will come later. He’s got more important things to do right now. Besides, he’s only fourteen. Kris is pretty sure that if he told his father that he’s just not interested, there would be an awkward talk.
It’s not until he’s nearly seventeen that he figures out why he doesn’t have any interest in kissing girls, or an interest to do anything else with them for that matter. That’s when he meets David Roland Cook, a college sophomore with a passion for music just as big as Kris’ own.
David works extra at a café, where Kris goes to get some peace and quiet to work on his lyrics. He’s been writing more and more recently, and he can’t really do it at home, not with Daniel having friends over all the time. He tells his mother he goes to the library studying, which is not exactly a lie. He’s studying his music, okay? Besides, he always brings his homework just in case he feels like studying. He never does.
David always smiles at Kris when he walks through the door, and after a couple of months it’s gotten to the point where they just exchange a nod and David brings him what he wants. Kris always orders the same thing, so he really doesn’t think anything of it.
They form an easy kind of friendship over the few months, and it’s easier than it’s ever felt with Cale or Charles, and Kris learns a lot about David.
“Today is my last day,” David says, having placed the drink and cake in front of Kris. The words take Kris by surprise. He wasn’t expecting that.
“What?” he asks.
“The semester ends on Thursday, I’m going back to Oklahoma for the summer,” David says.
“Oh,” is all Kris gets out. Of course David is going back home. He had known that David wasn’t from around here, so why does he feel sad and betrayed? It’s not like they promised to be best friends forever and never separate more than five miles. Hell, they never see each other outside of the café; they aren’t what people would call friends, more like acquaintances.
“Hey, you okay?” David asks, startling him out of his thoughts.
“Yeah, I guess…” Kris says, not looking up at David. He feels kind of embarrassed, but at least he’s not blushing. Well, he thinks he’s not blushing. “I guess I just didn’t realize that you wouldn’t be here over summer.”
David sits down on the sofa opposite Kris, and puts a hand over Kris’ to stop the shredding of the napkin. Kris can’t not look up at David. “I’ll be back,” David says, smiling ever so slightly. “I still have school here in the fall, you know? It’s not like you’ll never see me again.” He’s silent for a moment, studying Kris. “You do have other friends, don’t you?”
“Of course I have other friends,” Kris says, his voice harsh. Looking at David from under his lashes, he apologizes. “Sorry, that was rude. I was taken by surprise… I guess I’ll miss you.”
“Give me your phone,” David says, out of the blue. When Kris just looks at him, he smiles. “We should exchange numbers, keep in touch.”
“Oh,” Kris says, smiling back as he reaches into his pocket to hand David the phone.
Someone calls for David to get his ass back to work; Kris never actually learned the manager’s name. “Just a minute,” David says, words directed to the manager. He continues to program his number into Kris’ phone. Before handing it back he presses another few buttons. “There you go.”
Kris thinks he hears David say, “I’ll miss you, too,” as he walks away, but it could just be his imagination. When David is gone, Kris checks the phone book, and there it is. David Cook and a number. Checking his phone log, the last call out is to David Cook. Kris smiles, maybe summer won’t be that bad after all.
Kris doesn’t bother to go back to the café again, it would just feel weird without David there. Instead he keeps to himself most of the time, until after two weeks after school ends, Cale and Charles and actually carries him outside.
“What the heck?” he says, struggling to get free, and failing. “What’s going on? Guys?”
It’s not until they’re at Cale’s car that they let him go, only to shove him into the backseat. Charles gets in the back with him, even though it’s really not big enough for just Kris. “You’ve been ignoring us for weeks. We’re taking you out,” Charles says, glaring at Kris.
Kris glares back. “I’ve been busy,” he says.
He can hear Cale snort from the driver’s seat, and he knows that if they weren’t in a moving vehicle Cale would have slapped him. “Busy doing what? Your mom called us, you’ve done nothing but mope for the last few weeks.”
“So,” Charles takes on. “We’re taking you to the pier, and you’re going to have fun, even if it kills you. And maybe if you’re lucky, we won’t pester you too much about what the hell has been going on. If I didn’t know better, I would have thought you’d broken up with your girlfriend.”
Kris stiffens at the words. “I don’t have a girlfriend,” he says. “And I didn’t have one a few weeks ago, either, you know that.”
“Actually, we wouldn’t,” Cale says, looking at them in the rear view mirror. “You’ve been spending a lot of time by yourself lately, so you could have been anywhere.”
Kris sighs. “I don’t, and I didn’t, have a girlfriend. Do we really have to go to the pier? Can’t we just watch a movie or something?”
“No, we can’t,” Cale says. They spend the rest of the short drive in silence. Kris tries to think of more ways to get out of going, but he draws a blank.
When they get to the pier, it looks like at least half their school is there. Kris really isn’t in the mood for this, not at all. “Can’t we just-” he tries one more time.
“No!” Charles and Cale interrupt in unison. “We can’t.”
They’re barely out of the car before a group of their friends are surrounding them, and Kris really wishes that his bedroom door had a lock on it. Or, that his friends would learn how to mind their own business.
“Are you okay?” The voice startles him out of his thoughts. It’s Katy O’Connell. She’s one year younger than Kris, and they really aren’t that close. They have a few friends in common, and they go to the same church, but that’s it. “I’m sorry,” she says. “I didn’t mean to startle you. Are you okay though? You look kind of sad…”
Kris shrugs, looking around them to see that they’ve been left alone. “It’s nothing, really.” He can tell by the look in her eyes that she doesn’t buy it, but she just nods. “Want to go for a walk?” he asks, without really being sure why.
They walk along the beach, talking about everything and nothing, and before Kris knows it, he’s got Katy’s smaller hand in his. It feels different; it’s not something that he usually does. He’s not actually sure he’s done it before, which is kind of sad.
Kris realizes when he’s in bed that night, about to go to sleep, that he hasn’t thought about David all night. Just thinking that makes something tug inside him. He hasn’t had any kind of contact with David since he last saw him at the café.
He won’t deny that he’s wanted to contact David more than once, but he never have, because really, that would be kind of awkward. He’s not even really sure why David gave him his number in the first place.
Kris and Katy spend a lot of time together over the following weeks. Kris guesses that what they do can count as going on dates, but they don’t really do anything that would define what they are other than friends.
When his phone rings as he’s on his way to meet Katy one day, and the display reads David Cook, it’s totally unexpected. Kris stops dead in his tracks, he knows he should answer, but again there’s that feeling in his gut which he can’t quite place.
Just before he knows it’s about to go to voicemail, Kris decides to answer. “David?”
“Hey, Kris,” David says, sounding happy yet Kris gets the feeling that something might be wrong. “Are you okay?”
“Sure,” Kris says, sitting down on a low wall near where he stopped. “Why wouldn’t I be? Are you okay? Nothing happened, did it?”
“Yeah, no, I’m okay,” David says, and Kris can picture him shrugging and rubbing a hand over the back of his neck. “It’s just, you haven’t called? I was kind of expecting you to, I guess…” Kris can hear him take a deep breath. “But everything’s okay, then?”
“Yeah, everything’s fine…” Kris says, not sure which subjects are safe to talk about, if he should tell David what’s really on his mind. “I just didn’t want to impose, you know?” he says, in the end. “I mean, you’re only back home for so long, I figured you would want to spend time with your family and friends. Don’t need some kid calling you for a chat.”
“I wouldn’t have minded,” David says, after a moment. His voice is lower this time. “I’ve kind of missed the sound of your voice. I guess I’ve gotten used to seeing you so often that now that I don’t, it feels like there’s something missing. You know?”
“Yeah…” Kris says, on a breath. He knows exactly what that’s like. “So, have you done anything interesting so far? Bet it’s good to be back home, being spoiled by your mom. I’m sure she spoils you rotten… I’ve seen those puppy eyes of yours.”
David laughs. “Yeah, she might have spoiled me some. Hey, speaking of puppy eyes… you’ll never believe this, but I bought myself a dog, actually.”
The unexpected confession startles a laugh out of Kris, too. “You bought a dog?”
“I did, yeah,” David says, happiness in his voice. “So, what about you? Any news to share?”
“Not really,” Kris says. He looks down on his watch, seeing that he’s already late to meet up with Katy. “Actually, I have to go. I kind of have plans, and I’m already late.”
“Oh, okay,” David says, and Kris almost think he sounds disappointed. Almost. “Well, I guess I’ll see you when I get back. It was nice talking to you, Kris.”
“Yeah, you too,” Kris says, feeling that tug again. “I’ll see you soon.”
When Kris finally does get to Katy, he only apologizes for being late, doesn’t think to mention why. Katy doesn’t ask, just smiles and asks if they should leave.
Time passes faster as Kris spends more and more time with Katy and their mutual friends, and he presses all thoughts about David to the back of his mind. Before he knows it, school is starting again, and with school comes homework.
Even though Katy is one year below Kris, they do their homework together more often than not, either at Kris’ place or Katy’s. Except for one day, when Katy suggest they go somewhere else.
“I know a place,” Kris says, without thinking.
That’s how they end up at the café, and of course David is working. Kris knows that he spots them as soon as they walk inside from the way he first freezes, then breaks out into a huge smile.
Kris can feel a sense of longing wash over him when he sees that smile. He hadn’t realized just how much he’d missed David. It’s a new feeling, and Kris isn’t sure why he feels this way.
“Hey man,” David says, as they reach the counter. “I was wondering when you’d stop by.”
“Hi, David,” Kris says, glancing over at Katy. “Yeah, you know, it’s been a little crazy. I’d kind of forgotten what it was like to go to school. Seems like they’re extra tough this year, too.”
“I know how you feel,” David says, with feeling. “Believe me.” That’s when David looks behind him, where Kris knows Katy is standing. He looks back at Kris and arches an eyebrow. “Who’s your friend?”
Kris can’t help but notice the way the word friend comes out, like David thinks they’re more than that. There’s even something resembling resentment in his voice. Kris isn’t sure how he feels about that. “Oh, this is Katy,” Kris says. “Katy, this is David Cook.” He takes a step back putting a hand on Katy’s lower back and letting Katy take a step forward to introduce them properly.
“Nice to meet you, David,” Katy says. There’s something strange in her voice too, like she has to try hard to be polite. Kris realizes that he probably should have told Katy about David before taking her here.
“Nice to meet you, too,” David says, giving her a half smile. “Katy.” He turns back to Kris then. “So, what can I get you? The usual for you, Kris?”
“Uhh, yeah, I guess,” Kris says, shrugging. He always gets the same; it’s really not a question anymore of what he’ll have when he’s here.
“What would you like, Katy?” David asks, directing his attention to Katy once again.
“I’ll just have whatever Kris is having,” Katy says. When Kris looks at her, he can see a slight blush on her cheeks. He can’t blame her for feeling uncomfortable.
David nods, looking at Kris one more time, his eyes unreadable. “Coming right up.”
They find a table and settle down in silence, Kris isn’t sure what to say and he can feel that Katy is dying to ask something.
As they do their homework, chatting about everything and nothing while eating their cakes, Kris can feel David’s eyes in the back of his neck, and when he turns to look he sees as David stares at him for a second before turning away and going back to work.
The following day is a Saturday and Kris decides to go back to the café by himself. He can’t let go of the feeling that something wasn’t quite right with David the day before.
Kris’ suspicions are confirmed when he walks through the door and sees David stiffen when their eyes meet across the room.
It only lasts for a fraction of a second, and before Kris can reach the counter, David disappears to the back and through the door that reads Staff Only. Kris sighs; something is definitely going on with David.
“Kris, right?” A girl asks behind him, making him jump.
Turning around, he has to look down to face the girl, it doesn’t happen often. She’s wearing an apron, and Kris vaguely remembers seeing her before, but they’ve never spoken. “Yes?” It comes out as a question, and Kris really wants to know how this girl knows his name.
The girl, Kelly her nametag reads, takes a step closer and puts a hand on his elbow. “Give him some time, he’ll come around, I’m sure.”
What’s that supposed to mean? Kris wants to ask, but doesn’t. “Did something happen?” he asks instead. Not for the first time since entering the café does Kris feel like he’s missed something important.
Kelly’s silent for a moment, sighing. “I think it might be better if you talk to Dave about this. I don’t want to interfere in things that really aren’t my business.”
“But-” Kris starts, only to be interrupted by Kelly.
“Kris, just give him some time. Okay?” she smiles, but it doesn’t reach her eyes. “Now, is there anything I can get you?”
Again, Kris has to ask himself what the hell that’s supposed to mean. He really must have missed something important. “I… just a Coke, please?”
Kelly smiles, moving behind the counter. “On the house,” she says, uncapping the bottle and handing it over. “And Kris, he will come around, I’m sure of it. He just needs some time to sort his head out.”
Before Kris can ask what she’s talking about, Kelly disappears through the Staff Only door, leaving a bewildered Kris behind. He stands there for a second, half expecting her to come back, but when she doesn’t he moves to his regular table.
Kris half wishes that he’d taken his homework with him, as that would at least have given him something to do. He’s got no idea how long he will have to wait for David to ‘come around’ as Kelly had put it.
It hurts, that someone Kris likes as much as he likes David won’t talk to him. He just wants to help, and he can’t do that when David won’t talk to him. It feels like a hand reaches into his chest and squeezes his heart tight. He’s never felt like that before, and he wonders what that means.
He’s in the middle of shredding his third napkin and humming the latest song he’s been working on when a shadow falls over him. Looking up, he meets David’s closed off blue eyes.
“Hi,” David says, and for the first time since Kris has known him he seems almost shy. “Can we talk?”
Kris shrugs. “Sure.” On the outside he might seem indifferent, but he finds his insides reeling, nervous about what David is about to tell him.
“Wanna go for a walk?” David nods to the door.
“Sure,” Kris says again, it seems to be the only thing he can say lately.
When Kris gets up, David’s face breaks out into a smile. “Great,” he says.
“So,” they both say as one after a minute of walking in silence. It startles a chuckle out of Kris, and it eases the awkwardness.
“You go first,” Kris says. He can almost feel David stiffen next to him.
David takes a deep breath before speaking, his voice low and timid. “I didn’t know you got a girlfriend over the summer.”
The words make Kris stop abruptly. “Girlfriend?” What’s David talking about? “Do you mean Katy?”
“Yeah. She seems nice,” David says. “You were holding out on me when you said nothing special was going on. So, did you get to third base yet?” Kris can tell he’s trying to make light of the situation, but he’s failing miserably.
“David, I don’t have a girlfriend,” Kris says, tilting his head. “Katy’s just a good friend.”
“I just assumed…” David sighs, carding the fingers of his left hand through his hair. “You didn’t come around until yesterday and you brought Katy, so it’s not that big of a leap for me to think she’s your girlfriend.”
“Would it matter if she was?” Kris asks. “Kelly implied that something had happened. Did you have a bad break up or something? Is that why you’re acting like this?”
“No…” David says, and continues to walk, Kris having no option but to follow. “No, I didn’t have a bad break up.”
“Then what is it?” Kris asks, slightly out of breath at the speed David is walking. “What’s going on?”
David huffs out a breath, slowing his pace a little. “You never called. You didn’t even text.” His voice sounds almost sad.
“I didn’t think you’d want me to,” Kris says, glad to finally get out what he’s been thinking for months. “I thought you just gave me your number to be nice, you know?” He sees a bench a few feet away and goes to sit down on it. He doesn’t turn to see if David’s following. Kris sighs. “You’re older than me, what would you want with a friend like me hanging around your neck?”
“You really don’t get it, do you?” David asks, carding his hand through his hair once again. “You really have no clue…”
Kris starts fiddling with the hem of his plaid shirt. “I don’t know what it is that I’m supposed to get. It would probably help if you would just say it outright.”
David doesn’t say anything for what feels like a very long time. Kris feels a little uncomfortable when David is studying him like that, like he’s trying to read Kris’ mind. He’s not ready for what happens next, which is David placing his lips against Kris’. Before Kris’ mind registers what’s really happening though, David pulls back.
Kris blinks, trying to make some sense of what just happened. One hand unconsciously goes up to his lips, touching them. It’s almost as if they’re tingling.
“I’m sorry,” David says. “I shouldn’t have done that.” He stands up to leave, only to be pulled down again by Kris.
“You can’t just say that and then leave,” Kris says. “You can’t just kiss me and then leave. We need to talk about this, David.”
“What’s there to talk about?” David says. There’s a blush making its way up his cheeks. “I think it’s better if I just leave.”
“I think there’s a lot to talk about,” Kris says, on the verge of getting annoyed. “Like the fact that I just had my first kiss, for which I was totally unprepared by the way, and now you just want to leave?”
David’s eyes go comically wide, and seconds later he’s off the bench, leaving Kris confused and clueless to what just happened. “David!” he says, getting up too. “Hang on, damn it!”
There’s no way that he’ll catch up to David, though, not with the height difference and the head start David already has. He slumps against a tree, watching David disappear around a corner.
Now what’s he supposed to do? For the very first time in his life he feels something resembling love that isn’t platonic, and it’s over before it’s even had a chance to begin.
Kris walks around town aimlessly for a while, but makes sure he’s home in time for dinner. When his mother asks if he’s had a good day he just smiles and nods. She doesn’t say anything, so Kris doesn’t offer any more details, glad that she’s lain off the interrogation for at least that day.
He spends the rest of the weekend in his room, playing guitar and singing songs about broken hearts, though not loud enough for anyone to overhear.
When Monday comes around, Kris has to force himself to go to school, even though he’d rather be anywhere but there. He just knows that at least one of his friends will notice that he’s not being himself and call him on it.
He does get some curious glances from them; he knows he’s too quiet, even for him, but no one mentions anything. Until Wednesday afternoon, that is.
Kris is at his locker when Katy comes up to him. “You okay?” she asks, putting a hand on his elbow.
“Fine,” Kris says, pretending to search for a book in his locker.
“Did you have a fight with David?” The question is so unexpected that Kris can’t hold back his reaction. His entire body goes rigid and he gasps. “What happened, Kris?”
“Can we not talk about this here, Katy?” Kris keeps his voice deliberately low as he turns around. “It’s complicated, you know?”
Kris thinks he can see something akin to pity in her eyes when Katy looks at him. “Yeah, okay. We can meet outside, go for a walk after school?”
Kris spends his last class that day lost in thought. He’s not sure how much he should tell Katy. He wants to tell her the entire truth, but if he does, his life will change forever. Though if he doesn’t, he’ll feel like he’s betrayed her trust and their friendship. Besides, it would be a relief to have someone to share all this with.
When the class is dismissed Kris is no closer to figuring out what to tell Katy, nor does he have any idea what went on in class or if they have any kind of homework.
Katy is waiting next to his locker when Kris gets there. He looks at her, arching an eyebrow. “Thought you were gonna wait outside?”
“I did,” Katy says, flashing him a smile. “I don’t trust you not to take the backdoor out though, so I thought I’d wait here.”
“I would not,” Kris says, trying to keep a straight face.
“Yeah, Allen, you totally would,” Katy says. “I know you by now.”
Kris makes a face when opening his locker, grabbing his backpack and throwing in the books he’ll need to do his homework. “You think you’re so smart, don’t you?” He laughs as Katy sticks her tongue out at him. “You ready to go?”
As they leave the school grounds, Kris can feel the nervous feeling creeping up on him again. He still isn’t sure what to say to Katy about what’s happened.
They walk in silence for a few minutes, until Kris just has to break the silence. “David kissed me,” he says. Of all of the things he’d thought he’d say to Katy, that was not it.
Katy stops, dead in her tracks. When Kris turns to look at her, she looks like a fish out of water, mouth opening and closing, eyes wide. “What?” she asks, eventually. “He kissed you?”
“He did.” Kris nods; waiting for the moment she blows a fuse or something. She’s bound to mention how that’s not the natural thing to do, how boys should kiss girls and not other boys. What they’ve been taught in church.
“What did you do?” she asks, voice barely above a whisper.
Kris thinks back at the moment, winces when he remembers how David just left. “Nothing, he just left.” He can’t hide the hurt in his voice. “I didn’t… he didn’t… and then he just left.”
An awkward silence follows, something that Kris expected. He knows the way Katy has been raised, has learned how her parents views things like this. It’s natural that Katy has inherited the same views, but now that it’s out there in the open, it’s too late to take it back.
Kris can see her processing what he just said, and knows the second she realizes the full meaning by the way her face falls. “I had no idea…” she says. “Was I supposed to have known that you…” she can’t complete her thoughts.
“No, Katy,” Kris says, taking a deep breath and playing with the hem of his shirt. “I never meant to lead you on, if that’s what I did. I didn’t even know myself, or at least didn’t want to acknowledge it. Not until recently at least, and then he just left.”
This time when he looks at Katy, there is pity all over her face.
“I have an idea, come on,” Katy says, after another awkward and lengthy silence, taking a hold of Kris’ hand and pulling him along as she starts walking.
“Where are we going,” Kris asks, but doesn’t get an answer out of Katy.
It’s not until they’ve been walking for about ten minutes that Kris realizes they’re going to Wal-Mart. “What are we gonna do at Wal-Mart?”
Katy turns back at him, smiling mysteriously. “We need supplies.”
“Supplies? Supplies for what?” Kris asks, confused.
“For moping, and forgetting,” Katy says. “We’re gonna eat buckets of ice cream, and then we’re gonna do makeovers.”
“Katy, I’m not a girl,” Kris says, shuffling his feet as he walks, and studying the pattern of the floor. “I just happen to be-” he bumps into someone, and it’s just pure luck that they put a hand on his arm so that he doesn’t fall on his ass. He looks up to say thank you to whoever it is, but when his eyes meets David’s, all thoughts fly out the window. “-gay,” he finishes.
Kris watches as David’s eyes go wide; with what Kris isn’t sure.
“David, hi,” Kris says, coughing to hide his surprise.
“Hey Kris,” David says, giving a small wave, and Kris is glad that he doesn’t ask how he’s feeling because that might just break him.
“What are you doing here?” Kris asks. “Aren’t you supposed to be working right now?”
David’s eyes drift form Kris to somewhere over his shoulder and Kris can tell the exact moment he spots Katy. He straightens his back and his eyes harden slightly. “I took the day off,” he says, his voice matching his posture. Katy must have done something behind Kris’ back, because the next second, David turns to her, his tone defensive. “What? I’m not allowed to take a day off?”
“That’s not-” Katy starts before David cuts her off.
“Whatever. Look, I’ve gotta go. Have some things I need to take care of.” Before either of them can say anything in return, David turns on his heels and all but runs through the store.
“I am so sorry about that,” Kris says. “I really don’t know what’s wrong with him.”
Katy just giggles and says, “Boys,” which only serves to make Kris even more confused.
“Why do I get the feeling you know what that was all about?” Kris asks, tilting his head and crossing his arms.
“Come on, let’s go find you some new clothes,” Katy says, before she takes his hand and drags him through the store. All Kris can do is groan and follow.
They spend like what feels like an eternity with Katy picking out clothes for Kris to try on. Most of them look really stupid, or downright ugly, but Katy just nods every time he mentions it. Eventually he's learned to laugh about it, by which time Katy deems him cured.
When they leave he's even bought a few items some of which aren't at all his usual style – along with enough ice cream to feed about fifty people.
"So, what are you gonna do about it?" Katy asks after a lengthy silence, around a mouthful of ice cream.
"About what?" Really, people need to learn to start at the beginning of conversations.
"David," she says, the 'duh!' is written all over her face.
Just like that, his good mood is gone. "Not a whole lot I can do about that, is there?"
"Oh my gosh," Katy says. "You boys are so stupid. If you'd actually talk to each other, really talk, then I wouldn't have to gain like three pounds by eating all this ice cream."
"Umm, I'm pretty sure the ice cream was your idea," Kris says, pointing his spoon at Katy.
"Because that's what you do when your friend is heartbroken," Katy says, pouting as she eats another spoonful of ice cream.
"I'm not heartbroken," Kris says, to which Katy huffs. “Really, I’m not.”
“Kris, you don’t have to pretend. I know the signs, I’ve been looking for them all summer,” Katy says, and it takes longer than it should have for Kris to get the full meaning of those words.
“How long?” is all Kris can ask. Katy just shrugs.
“Promise me something,” she says, leaning her head against his shoulder and putting a hand on his knee. “Promise me that you’ll do something about it. Because right now, David thinks we’re dating, and as much as I wish it were true, it’s not, and he’s got no reason to be jealous of me. It’s stupid that you’re both heartbroken when really, you’re both in love with each other.”
She finishes her speech by taking another spoonful of ice cream.
“Huh,” Kris says, once again stunned to silence.
“Sing him one of your songs,” Katy says.
“You think I should sing him a song?” Kris asks. “One of my songs?”
Katy giggles. “Think about it.”
Kris does. He thinks about it all the way home, thinks about it during dinner, thinks about it in bed that night. He realizes, just as he drifts off to sleep, that Katy is right. Singing is what he does best, so why not sing it out?
He gets out of bed, turning the lamp on his desk on and studies the sheets of music and lyrics that are spread over the desk.
Of course. He’s got the perfect song right there. When he thinks back to the days he spent writing it, he realizes that he spent pretty much all that time thinking about David. Kris wonders what that means, has he really been in love with David for that long? If so, how can he not have known what it was he was feeling sooner than what he did?
“So, did you find a song?” Katy brings the subject up again the next day during lunch. They’re alone at their table, the rest of their friends having gone to a diner to eat instead.
Kris nods, taking a bite of what he thinks is supposed to be chicken, but looks way too gray and tastes too much like rubber to convince him. He has to swallow it down with half a glass of juice.
“What are you still doing here?” Katy both looks and sounds horrified.
“I have class?” Kris winces as the expression on Katy’s face changes. That was clearly the wrong thing to say. “His shift doesn’t even start for like three hours?” He doesn’t mention that he’s got David’s number and could just call him.
“Someone will know where to find him,” Katy says. “You’re not gonna let something as pivotal as class stand in the way of true love and happiness. Go, go find him and sweep him off his feet. Go.”
It takes Katy getting up and nearly dragging him out of his seat for Kris to move. He tries to tell her that this is really not a good idea, he can’t just skip classes, but she won’t listen.
He makes it home faster than he’s ever done before, which means he’s got to take a quick shower so that he doesn’t smell like ass when he finally does get there. He even changes into one of the shirts Katy made him buy the day before. It seems to be the day for bold new Kris, after all.
Grabbing his guitar, he leaves the house. It’s not until he’s halfway to the café that he feels nervousness creeping up on him, and more than a little doubt. What if Katy is wrong? What if David doesn’t want to be with him at all? What if David did want to be with him but had changed his mind? What happens if he doesn’t say no?
Not that he wants David to turn him down, because that would probably be the worst thing that could happen. But what if he doesn’t turn him down? What happens then? It’s not like it’s gonna be the same as it would be if one of them were a girl.
Before he knows it, he’s at the café. Taking a deep breath he goes inside and all but runs into Kelly. “Kris,” she says. “What are you doing here?”
“I need to talk to David,” Kris says, looking around the café, even though he knows that David isn’t there.
“Oh Kris, he’s not here today.” There is something akin to pity in her voice. “He’s not working again until next Friday.”
“Next Friday?” He very nearly squeaks.
“He took like two weeks off,” Kelly says, nodding. “He said he had a lot to do in school…”
The doubt is obvious in her voice, and Kris doesn’t think that it’s the real reason, but he’s not selfish enough to believe that what happened the other day has anything to do with it either. Maybe he is busy.
“I need to talk to him,” Kris says, adjusting the guitar case on his back. “It’s important.”
“I really don’t know where he is…” Kelly says, sounding hesitant.
“But you know where he lives, don’t you?” Kris can’t help it; he brings out the puppy eyes. “It’s really important. I’m skipping school for this, Kelly…”
Kelly sighs. “He lives right around the corner,” she says, taking out her notepad and paper, writing something on it before ripping the page of and handing it to Kris.
Glancing at the paper, Kris does indeed see an address there. “Thanks Kelly.” He steps forward, kissing her cheek before leaving the café.
It only takes a couple of minutes before Kris is outside David’s front door. Before he can talk himself into leaving, he knocks on the door, waiting for someone to open. He nearly jumps as the door opens to reveal David.
“Kris, hi, what are you doing here?” David sounds just as surprised as he looks.
Kris grabs the strap of his guitar case so hard that his knuckles turn white. “I think we need to… Can I come in?”
David nods and steps to the side, watching Kris closely, and it’s obvious that he’s got no idea what’s going on. Kris toes off his shoes as David closes the door. “We can go into the living room,” David says. “Do you want anything to drink?”
Kris shakes his head as he sits down on the couch, taking out his guitar.
“What are you doing?” David asks. “Wait, aren’t you supposed to be in class right now?”
Kris looks up at David from under his lashes as he starts strumming.
"Strumming on my six string, Wondering what this world might bring…" He starts singing, voice low and hesitant at first, but it grows stronger, bolder, as he watches the expression on David’s face go from confusion to recognition to hope.
Somewhere along the way, Kris closes his eyes, and when the song is over he puts his guitar aside without opening them. The room is completely silent, and the only reason Kris knows that David has moved is because of the dipping of the couch, right before David’s lips covers his. This time David doesn’t pull back. Neither does Kris.
When Kris Allen is eighteen, his life finally makes sense. All thanks to David Cook. (And maybe, as David points out the next time they see her, maybe just a little bit to Katy, too.)