Andrew arrived in the waiting room a little late. Stupidly, he had spent most of his time after school thinking about changing his clothes, because he had spilled something on his t-shirt in chemistry and it smelled funny. That made him think about Ryan and wanting to wear something nice. All he had were t-shirts. They were easier to put on than a long sleeve shirt, but it was chilly outside so he thought maybe he could wear one of the thermal shirts his mom had bought him at the end of last year. A gray one. But then he ended up putting his sweatshirt on over it, so it didn't even matter.
Then he started fussing around with his hair.
At the end of English class, Ryan had stopped him with the lightest of touches on his arm. "Hey," Ryan had said.
Andrew had waited, then finally said, "Yeah?" It might have come out a little sharp. He was kind of annoyed that Ryan hadn't even looked him once during lunch. Like, would a little eye contact kill him? It certainly wasn't going to make all his friends suddenly aware that he was gay.
"Uh, you wanna work on the project tonight again?" Ryan asked.
"Yeah," Andrew said quickly. So quickly he wanted to smack himself for being so obvious. "My house again? After...?"
"Yeah," said Ryan, and then Ryan had turned and walked away. Monica, with her stinky cheese face, watched the whole time. Ugh.
Anyway, it meant that he was late getting to therapy and now, as he sat down – one seat closer than usual – he saw that Ryan looked nervous. Really nervous. Rubbing his palms on his knees. Glancing at the clock. Looking at Andrew and smiling then not smiling and looking away.
"Hey," Andrew said. Then, because something seemed to be up, he added, "What's up?"
"Uh. Um." Ryan's knee bounced. "I, uh, have something I want to tell you."
Oh shit. Andrew steeled himself. Tuesday night had been too good to be true, then. He'd been too forward and scared Ryan off. That would explain Ryan's behavior in the cafeteria. Maybe, after thinking about it, Ryan had realized that it wouldn't be so awesome to be dating the kid with one arm. Andrew ground his teeth together and waited for Ryan to spit it out.
"I, uh. I... Jacky, I--"
"Ryan? I'm ready for you," said Dr. Burns, strolling into the waiting room.
Ryan jumped up. "Yes, sir." Then, with a panicked and somewhat relieved look, he said to Andrew, "Um, I'll tell you after."
"Sure," said Andrew.
When Ryan was gone he let himself deflate. Tonight was going to suck if Ryan straight up told him he didn't feel the same way.
Dr. Greene called him in a minute later. Andrew dragged himself in and flung himself into the chair. After a moment of silence, she said, "You look like you have something on your mind."
"No," Andrew said.
"Okay, then, perhaps today we can have that long-awaited discussion of the eulogy you wrote."
Andrew frowned, and chewed on the inside of his cheek while Dr. Greene pulled out some familiar-looking papers. "I guess... I have something..."
Dr. Greene raised an eyebrow.
"Kind of related to what we talked about last time."
"Let's hear it."
"Okay... well, I like this kid at school. And I think he likes me. Or I thought he did. I don't know. I can't tell." He scraped at something on his jeans. Gross, was that mustard? When was the last time he ate something with mustard?
"Have you told this boy how you feel?"
He heaved a sigh. "He's, like, really popular at school. I just don't know what he would see in me. Never mind—" He gestured toward the empty space where his left arm should be.
"What do you see in him?"
That wasn't a question he expected. Dr. Greene had a way of doing that. "I don't know. I mean, he's attractive. That's not really why I like him. I guess... at first I thought he was one way but he's really nice and kind of awkward and..." He shrugged instead of saying what he wanted to say: that he just wanted to give Ryan a big hug.
YOU ARE READING
Waiting RoomTeen Fiction
Everyone at school knows Andrew Jackson Jennings. Lost an arm in a car accident. Openly gay. Future school shooter. Everyone at school knows Ryan Sullivan. Football captain. Nice guy. Future valedictorian. When Andrew ends up in therapy after writin...