Chapter 32.4: Ryan/Jacky (2)

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Ryan was walking past Hot Topic when inspiration struck

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Ryan was walking past Hot Topic when inspiration struck.

When Jacky had paid for his mom's gift, he'd had some old Velcro wallet. Ryan knew he couldn't afford much of anything, but he had thought maybe he could afford something. Nope. The cheapest wallet, which Ryan didn't think Jacky would even like, was ten dollars.

He wandered into the bookstore. Jacky liked to read. Ryan didn't exactly have a favorite book he could give to Jacky, although a few titles looked promising. None were priced even close to eight dollars.

A few more stores, and Ryan checked his phone for the time. He had to call it quits. He headed toward Macy's with his head down.

"Hey! Sullivan!"

"Matt?" Ryan said faintly. It was Matt, with Lance and his little brother Lukas. "Hey, guys."

"They let you out?" Matt asked.

"It's not a prison," Ryan said. He realized he was evading the question. "I'm staying at Jacky's this weekend. He's around here somewhere. We're Christmas shopping."

"Anything for me?" Lance said.

Ryan smiled and hid the bag from the sporting goods store behind his leg. "Maybe."

Lance grinned and slapped Ryan on the shoulder. "Next weekend you're staying with me. No parties though. Mom already told me we're stuck baby-sitting this one."

"I don't need a stupid baby-sitter," said Lukas. "I'm thirteen."

"Sure," said Lance, tussling Lukas's hair and ignoring the kid's scowl.

"That's fine," said Ryan.

"Maybe me and a couple of the guys can come over," said Matt. "We can watch a movie or something."

Lukas glared at Matt suspiciously. "That sounds like a party."

"Nah, just some friends," said Lance.

"Okay, well, I have to go meet up with Jacky and his mom," Ryan said.

"No you don't," Matt said.

Ryan followed Matt's gaze over his shoulder. Jacky was heading right toward them.

"Oh, yeah. See you guys." He started toward Jacky, who he now saw didn't look very happy.

"Oh, no, don't let me disturb you!" Jacky walked right past Ryan, to where Matt, Lance, and Lukas were still standing. "Oh, hey, guys. We all just hanging out? Is that what's going on?"

"Jacky," Ryan said.

"Come on. We're all friends now, right? Why don't we all hang out?"

Ryan didn't know what to say. He stood there, frozen, in the middle of the mall, with all his friends staring at him. His boyfriend staring at him.

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