The weekend before school started again, Adam came back. He didn’t bother asking why I’d been throwing a football at a brick wall for the past two hours when he walked into our backyard. Instead, he went straight to my sister, who was already running up to him.
“I thought I’d surprise you,” Adam said, lifting my sister up as she laughed.
God. I threw the football one more time before turning to look at them. “Can’t you invite her on a date for a surprise? That seems like a gentleman thing to do.”
Adam glanced at Evelyn, and then he gave me a warning smile. “I don’t need your advice, Ezra.”
“Do you think I care?” I barked, throwing down the football.
Evelyn rolled her eyes, going to Adam instead of me. Since when? “There’s no need to begin a fight,” she told him. “He’s mad about the usual, and that’s his fault. Come on.” Glaring at me, she led Adam into the house, probably up to her bedroom.
Grunting, I picked the football back up and started throwing it at something that would make a dent.
I continued picking fights with Adam when he was around. I don’t know why I would - we’d always been good friends - but something about Evelyn’s happiness seemed unfair, terrifying. What if he took that away from her? What happens when he stops caring? I even argued with Dad a few times, which resulted in hours at the gym and extra lessons to keep my temper in check.
Eric and I even got into some horseplay, which we hadn’t done in years. It felt good to get everything off my chest, even at school when I’d argue with Evvie. I know she didn’t deserve any of it, and I could see the hurt in her eyes, but she always stood her ground. I couldn’t find where mine was.
The nights were different. Even though I’d been ignoring Delcan for most of the time back at school, in my dreams, he never stopped showing up. In some aspects, Delcan was there. Sometimes, it was simple dreams. Things I wanted to happen in real life, I think. Us holding hands in public, me taking him out to dinners without hundreds of eyes following us, and Delcan laughing with my parents.
Other times, the dreams were different. It would almost seem like I was really touching Delcan’s skin like we were really kissing. It felt so real like I’d been making out with him and showing him everything I had millions of times already. I’d wake up in pools of sweat, punching pillows until they were flat. I tried going back to sleep, but I couldn’t.
Dad kept on screaming at Mom, and she’d answer helplessly. 425Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡG0nE42FL5w
425Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡqMWo4gLoDs
By Valentine’s day, things were better. I’d lost whatever violent urges I was feeling, and I could smile without faking it. I congratulated Evelyn when Adam asked her to the dance, and I laughed with Haven when she told me about the guys she’d pretend to care about. Evvie and I decided it wouldn’t kill going to the dance together, as long as I could find some way to lie to Dad.
I wasn’t shocked to find my name on the list for next year’s football team either. I got tons of pats on the back and fist punches from everyone else on the team, including a bro-hug from Thomas. Quarterback for three years straight was impressive - Dad will be proud.
I celebrated with the rest of the team in front of the gym doors before I saw Delcan walk by. He still walked with confidence and pride, but I saw the worry in his face. I excused myself from my teammates, saying I was going to find Evvie and get some action. They all hollered in response, allowing me to catch up with Delcan.
“Hey,” I said.
Delcan turned to look at me, his eyebrows raised. “Hi?”
Behind my back, I twisted my fingers with each other. My other hand stayed at my side, hopefully looking confident. “How are you?”
Slowly, Delcan tilted his head to the side. “What do you want?”425Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡhurzLSOxz9
“Nothing,” I answered. “I just, you know, wanted to talk.”
Delcan lifted up his chin to look at me completely. A smile spread over his face. “My answer was going to be yes, by the way.”
I blinked. “It was?”
“This is why you let me finish,” Delcan said, shrugging. “I don’t really pay attention, so I didn’t know a dance was going on in the first place. Either way, I would say yes.”
I shouldn’t have been that stupid. I turned behind me to see if any of my teammates had left their huddle, but they all seemed to still be chanting in the same spot. “I’m sorry,” I told Delcan. You should have waited, I thought to myself. “It’s my fault-”
“No, it isn’t. I just need to pay attention more.” Delcan chuckled to himself like it was an old joke. “Are you quarterback again?”
The sounds of chanting faded as my teammates filled out the back door. I’m assuming they’ll throw a party that I should be hosting, but instead, Adam will take my place and host it at his parent’s second house in the suburban neighborhood. Only teachers would be left in the building now. “Yeah,” I said.
“You don’t seem to be happy about it,” Delcan challenged.
“I am,” I protested, biting back a smile.
Delcan moved his tongue around in his mouth, contemplating his answer. “Alright,” he muttered.
“So...you’ll be my date?”
I glanced at the clock again as Delcan started talking. 3:30. Evelyn only has a few more minutes of practice. “I’m guessing becoming your date means we’re secret about it, right?”
Shoot. I didn’t even think of any of that. But what kind of person am I to allow my partner to stretch their neck as far as it can go while I stand back and watch? Delcan deserves to be loved and shown off because he is amazing. And it’s not like people at school would tell my parents.
But the chaperones might.
Not in the last five minutes, they don’t, I reminded myself. A few parents participate in keeping an eye on their children, but they usually get so bored by the lack of drama we make that they leave early, allowing the dry humping to flourish. I leaned into Delcan, going to his height. “I promise you, we’ll dance together.”425Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡ9wMCda6jOF
“Okay,” he responded, looking me in the eyes. In most of my dreams, Delcan’s eyes had been filled with hunger, angst, or happiness. Sometimes even love. But right now, they were overflowing with curiosity and unawareness. “Do you guys have cameras?”
What school doesn’t? “Yes,” I said.
“And...do you know what time they turn on? Or what brand they are?”
I looked at him with caution. “Can I ask why?”425Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡFuYRUMVrQd
“We’ll need to delete some footage before Greene gets those very chubby hands on them,” he explained. In less than a second, Delcan pulled me from the back of my neck into him, pressing a kiss to my cheek. When he pulled away, I smiled. “See?”
“We’re going to be deleting more than that.” Delcan didn’t complain when I pushed him against a marble wall, or when I kissed his neck. He responded to me with a quiet, low moan, sending pleasure through each bone in my body. Before I could kiss him again, he muttered something in my ear.
“What?”425Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡGl63RPgBtB
“Blindspot,” Delcan said again. He smiled when he realized I didn’t understand. “A place where the cameras can’t see anything.” Delcan dropped from my grip, pointing to Principal Greene’s office door. The office light was still glowing but in a dim setting. “The cameras wouldn’t see a thing if you pushed me up against that door and we just...had at it.”
I turned my head back to look at him. “One of these days, I’m gonna get caught.”
Delcan smiled, leaning into me. I took him in, thankful to know touching him was a reality. “Well until then, we should have some fun.” ns 18.104.22.168da2