By the time we realized we only had fifteen minutes before our movie was about to start, we had to quickly pay our bill and rush out the door. Seeing Freckles laughing and smiling so much made me feel great. He needed someone to make him forget the stress in his life, someone he could just let go and have fun with. It made me feel proud that I was that person.
He may not have realized it, but Damien was my outlet too. I had been living a pretty repetitive life, like a pendulum that swung between home and work. I had almost lost any social life I had once had. It had been so long since I last saw Scott and Lance, it was as if a whole lifetime had passed me by.
In a lot of ways, I really wasn’t the same guy I was back then. I had changed and grown so much that I didn’t feel like the same person anymore and I even looked different. I carried myself differently after I started telling people I was into other guys. It was such a liberating experience, such a burden had been lifted off my shoulders.
I thought back to that afternoon I first saw Freckles, sitting across the room. Laughing, living a care free life. We were both so young back then, he was only a year older than me. Four years can change a lot. I had gone through so many experiences and from what Damien said, he had gone through a lot too. I can’t imagine having been engaged to someone. I mostly couldn’t imagine it because I had never been in a relationship that lasted more than three months.
Three years together, he must have really loved Megan, probably still loved her to put up with the things he talked about.
As we drove off from the restaurant and headed in the direction of the theater, I had quieted down from all the thinking I was doing. I brought myself back to the moment and looked over at Freckles. He must have sensed me looking at him and he looked back at me and smiled.
I reached over and grabbed the hat off his head, he shouted, “Hey, give that back!”
“Man, you don’t need a hat on anymore, it’s dark outside.” I looked down at the clock on his stereo system, “Dude, look it’s almost 9:30, the sun won’t be back out for a long time.”
“Yeah, but my hair looks like crap.” He reach up with his hand and combed through it with his fingers. It amused me that he was self-conscious about his hair. I looked up at it as we passed under the street lights, the yellow glow of the lights shown down through the windshield and briefly lit up his face and I couldn’t really see the true color of his hair, but I knew it was some variant of strawberry blonde.
“How do you turn the inside lights on?” I asked, wanting to see his hair.
He reached up to the console of buttons and switches running along the middle of the top of the cab and pushed something. The cab lit up with light and he turned to me, “Are you happy now? See, my hair looks like shit, now give my hat back.”
I smiled at him, amused by his insecurity and adoring him at the same time, “Dude, what color is your hair? You’re a ginger aren’t you?” I said snickering as I already knew the truth.
“Hahaha, you jackass, give me that hat!” Damien jokingly demanded.
“Gingers are badass, rare things are prized things. You should be proud of your hair.” I said, trying to assure him that it was nothing to be embarrassed about.
“Imagine what it was like for me in school though, I’m short, I’m a redhead, pasty white skin and I have these stupid ass freckles all over the place.” Damien complained, looking down at his arms.
I was a little upset to hear him call his freckles stupid. If only he had known that it was one of the most important physical features he had in my opinion, the very thing that spawned his nickname four years ago. I thought about his remark that he had them all over the place. I thought about what he meant exactly by all over the place.
“Haha, there’s nothing wrong with your freckles man, they are unique, they’re a part of what makes you Damien. You shouldn’t have such a negative perception of them, regardless of any kind of teasing you used to receive as a kid. Think of it as something special, something that sets you apart from the average guy. Something that makes people remember you.” I had to throw that last line out there, to test his response.
“Something that makes people remember me, eh?” Damien inquired as though he clung on to those words and took a moment to think about them.
“I guess it is something not a lot of people have, but Megan never really liked them. One time she even asked me to use this cream stuff she bought that was supposed to lighten their color. I told her I’d use it, but I never did. I thought it was stupid and the idea of smearing cream on my face just because I had spots made me feel gay as fuck.” Damien confessed.
“Gay as fuck?” I asked.
“Yeah, like who cares about their appearance that much, but fags, you know?” Damien declared.
“Really?” I asked with a stern response, holding up his hat, “Weren’t you just whining about wanting your hat back because of how your hair looked, haha?” I laughed off his gay bashing by teasing him for acting the same way.
“That’s totally not the same thing!” He said trying to be convincing.
I tossed his hat back to him while shaking my head in disapproval, it landed on the seat between his legs where I had aimed, “Careful there man, that’s a sensitive area you know.” He said, picking up the hat and placing it on his head, pulling it down snug to his ears.
I rolled my eyes at him, he was so much fun to taunt and tease and based on his responses I felt as though he liked it. We really didn’t need to do anything, just shooting the breeze and giving each other a hard time playfully, was fun enough for me.
We finally made it to the theater, we had chatted so much that I didn’t even notice his radio playing or the fact that we had driven all the way to the other side of the city. Time seemed to go by so fast when I was with Damien, I was so enthralled by Freckles, nothing outside of he and I really mattered to me. I wanted this night to last forever, but truly it was flashing by.
Pulling into the lot, I realized that the theater was pretty quiet tonight, which meant that we wouldn’t have a hard time finding good seats even though we were anything but on time.
Damien pulled into an open space in the first row nearest the entrance of the theater. He shut off the engine and we climbed out, the movement made me burp and I felt no need to say excuse me. I closed the door and walked around to the front of the truck and waited for Freckles.
“I heard that,” Damien said as he walked to the front of the truck, “You should have come out on this side, gas was passed too, haha, but from a different hole, haha!” Damien couldn’t get his entire sentence out before making himself crack up, laughing hysterically.
I laughed too, he was such a genuine, down-to-Earth, funny guy, I couldn’t remember a time when I smiled and laughed more.
“You crack me up man.” I told him, still laughing a little.
From across the lot, someone in a group of people yelled out to Damien, “Sorry about your penis bro!”
Damien looked over at the group and yelled back, “What!?!?”
“That compensator… your big ass truck, you’re trying to compensate for a small dick and judging by your height it must be tiny as fuck, hahaha!” The guy in the crowd shouted, while the others around him joined in his laughter.
I started to get pissed off, not just because they were poking fun at Damien’s height or the suggested size of his dick, but simply because they were taunting him. I felt extremely protective of him, just as I did earlier that day during the water balloon fight. My heart rate was starting to increase and I could feel a rush of adrenaline.
I could see on Damien’s face that he was getting pissed off too, “You don’t like my truck? That’s too bad man. You know, your mom didn’t complain last night when I gave her a ride… and I don’t mean in my truck, haha!” Freckles laughed and I laughed too.
Damien took a few steps toward the group who were standing along the building, expecting a come back line. The guy that was mouthing him stepped forward out of the group and I walked up beside Damien, to let him and them know that Damien wasn’t in this on his own.
The other members of the group reached out and grabbed the guy, holding him back. I had a feeling whether they had grabbed him or not, he was too much of a pussy to actually start a fight.
Damien was short, but his arms were no joke, he was built for a little guy and I had no doubt in my mind that he would definitely swing at the biggest mother fucker in the group. I wasn’t anticipating being in a fight tonight when I left my apartment, but if one broke out, there was no way in hell I’d let Damien go it alone.
The guy had shut up and we carried on to the entrance. We got to the door and Damien said under his breath, “Stupid ass son of a bitch, I really want to knock his fucking teeth in.”
I believed every word out of Damien’s mouth. I didn’t think myself a coward, but I was glad we didn’t get into a fight, I wanted this night to go smoothly, where we both ended up happy and tired from hanging out, not bloody, bruised and exhausted from a brawl.
Inside we got our tickets, Damien hadn’t said a word to me since we had made our way inside. I was hesitant to say anything in case he was still fuming. I also wondered if he was embarrassed about what had happened or what the guy had chosen to poke fun of him for. I didn’t want to bring it up if he was trying to forget it, but I didn’t want to just stand there like a douche and not attempt to voice my anger at the guy outside, reassuring Damien that I supported him and was equally pissed off.
We stood a little ways from the concession stand as I looked at Damien’s face trying to read a sign to his current state of mind. He looked over at me and moved his eyebrows up and down once. No other expression. I didn’t know how to take that, I pursed my lips and moved them to one side while lifting my eyebrows and shrugging my shoulders, as if to say oh well.
“Hey, I’m gonna take a piss, I’ll be back in a sec, we need to get to the auditorium cause I’m sure the movie has started.” I said breaking the silence.
“Me too.” Damien said seconding my need for a head call.
Damn it, I thought to myself, it’s always awkward when a guy you know follows you into the bathroom to piss. I got nervous when people stood next to me while I peed anyway and the thought of Freckles standing at a urinal next to me, made me really uncomfortable. I very well couldn’t tell him he had to wait his turn, so I just turned and made my way to the restroom.
I could hear Damien walk into the restroom behind me, his boots clunking on the tile floor. I scanned the open urinals and picked one on the end, leaving plenty of options for Damien, hoping he wouldn’t pick the one right next to me.
To my relief, he didn’t, he left one open urinal between us. I undid my zipper and stood there a bit. I couldn’t go, I was too nervous. My heart started pounding with the realization that Freckles was just feet away from me and here we both were standing there with our dicks in our hands.
The silence of the bathroom broke, when I could hear the trickling sound coming from Damien. I rolled my eyes and took a deep breath, telling myself to calm down and just piss. I finally did and by the time Damien had zipped up and made his way to the sinks, I had finished too. I was just glad the awkward moment was over with.
I joined him at the sinks to wash my hands. I looked up in the mirror at myself, looking to make sure I didn’t look like complete crap. I looked a little tired, but other than that I thought I still looked good. I glanced over at Damien and he was also checking himself in the mirror.
He spotted something on his face and leaned in closer. He had noticed a small zit on the side of his face. He glanced over at me and caught me looking, “Shut up!” He said with a cocky nod of his head in acknowledgement of me.
“I didn’t say anything!” I said with a crack in my voice.
He reached down and turned the water on, stuck his hand under it and then reached up and flicked the water off his hands at me.
“Ya jerk!” I shouted and reached down into the sink to make my hands wet and flung water back at him.
“Come on,” Damien said laughing while reaching for some paper towels, “Hopefully we haven’t missed anything too important.”
Making our way into the dark auditorium, which was only illuminated by the projector light shining on the massive theater screen, the door behind us closed with a thump and I could sense all the eyes on us from the faceless shadows sitting out in the seats in front of us. The movie had already started as we practically stumbled down the aisle along the rows of seats, still blinded by the contrast of light to dark, trying to find a good spot to sit.
Damien suggested we make our way to the middle of the room and understanding his logic I agreed and followed him. There were a few open seats in the middle row, but we had to squeeze passed a couple who were seated on the end. We made our way awkwardly by them and I took my seat to Damien’s left. I took a deep breath, trying to settle into the moment, shifting my focus to the screen.
“Psst!” Damien hissed in my ear.
“What?” I whispered back to him.
“I gotta fart.” He said trying to keep his voice low.
I laughed out loud and quickly covered my mouth to shut myself up, embarrassed and completely tickled at the same time.
I leaned back over to Damien, “Just let it out man,” I said with a whispering chuckle.
“I already did,” he said giggling to himself like a ten year old.
I sat there smiling and shaking my head, trying to figure out what was happening in the movie, but finding it hard to do, Damien still claimed most of my attention, as he re-situated in his seat, causing it to creak.
Finally I felt like we had settled down and the rest of the audience could go back to their film after the interruption we caused. I had slouched down in my seat, trying to get comfortable for the next near hour or so and not wanting to block anyone’s view, whomever may have been seated behind me. I glanced over at Damien, wondering if he had taken off his hat.
It was still there, he had just tipped it back, almost to the point that the bill was facing straight up. I turned around to glance behind him to see if anyone was sitting there, but it was empty, the protruding bill on his cap wasn’t blocking anyone’s view. I smiled to myself again, telling myself Freckles was such a knucklehead.
About twenty minutes later, Damien became restless again, he stretched out his arms to put his elbows on the arm rests, bumping my right arm and knocking it off the arm rest.
“Oops.” He said innocently.
“No it’s cool,” I said, “You can have it.”
He left his arm there and I crossed my arms over my chest. The end of his elbow rested against the backside of my right arm. At that point I couldn’t focus on anything except the fact that he was touching me. I didn’t know if I should pull my arm away just enough to break the contact or leave it there and just revel in the reality that we were making physical contact.
I glanced over at him out of the corner of my eye, to see if he had noticed he was touching my arm. He was facing forward towards the screen, no expression on his face, not even a smirk. I decided to leave my arm there.
Just a few minutes later, something hit me on the side of my knee and broke my attention from the film. I looked down without moving my head, it was Damien’s knee. Expecting him to quickly pull it back, I waited anxiously before making an attempt to pull mine away.
Seconds passed and his knee didn’t move. I was experiencing sensory override. I was tense and my impulse was to pull back away from him, but my heart didn’t want me to. His arm, his knee, two points of contact. He was just resting them against me, there was no heavy force behind them, but for me it felt like he was pushing me out of my chair. That’s just how intensely I perceived his touch.
Minutes later, my mind was spinning, he still had not moved his arm or his knee off of me. I felt as though I was going to start trembling from the intensity I was feeling, I couldn’t take it and I moved my right knee away from him, breaking contact.
I looked at him out of the corner of my eye again as I moved my leg, to see if he would notice me pull away and glance down, or make any type of facial expression at all. But he was motionless, he didn’t even blink as the light from the screen flickered and shown on his face.
I relaxed back into my seat, accepting the fact that his left elbow was still touching my right arm. It wasn’t long and he shifted again and his knee fell against mine once more. Startled, I looked over at him for half a second and quickly looked back towards the screen.
Was he doing that on purpose? I asked myself. He didn’t seem to be trying to get my attention, but bumping his knee against mine twice was a little suspicious to me. It was very distracting and I was missing out on a lot of the movie, but I liked it, I liked it a lot actually.
My mind erupted like a volcano, racing with thoughts, the what-ifs were flying through my brain. Maybe Damien was trying to tell me something that he couldn’t tell me through conversation? Maybe he wasn’t completely straight? Maybe he had begun to like me… as more than just a friend? Maybe all those times I thought he was flirting with me that day and night, he actually was flirting with me?
Or maybe I was overreacting and it was nothing at all, maybe he was just trying to get comfortable and holding his leg in one position required too much effort and he was just using mine as a brace? Or maybe he was totally straight, but knew I was attracted to him and he was taunting me? Or maybe he was completely unaware that he was even touching my leg at all?
NO, I told myself, he has to know what he’s doing, putting his leg against mine the first time could have been an accident, but to do it a second time without being aware of it? Nope, he definitely knew it and took no action against it, he wanted his leg there, but why?
I looked over at him, he still had no emotion on his face. He just sat there as though he was completely focused on the movie. My instincts told me he wasn’t just focused on the film, he couldn’t be. He just wanted me to think he was, he didn’t want me to know that he had placed his knee against mine on purpose. I decided to let it go and just take in the moment.
I leaned my head up against the back of my seat, my arm and leg still in contact with Damien’s and I pretended to watch the movie… just like Freckles was doing.
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