Using - Sorority Noise
Benji was quiet for a long time after the kiss. At first, he just looked at me for a long time. The corner of his mouth kept flicking up in a tiny little smile and then he would go back to staring. I had moved my hand around from his back to his chest and I could feel his heart pounding under my palm. It fluttered like a hummingbird as he drew in a deep breath. "Are you okay?" I asked when the silence began to feel heavy and suffocating. He licked his lips and nodded, a cough squeezing out of his throat. This seemed to have broken the trance and he looked away quickly then, a blush creeping quickly up his neck. He cleared his throat again. "Yeah I just...I wasn't really expecting that," he said quietly.
"Oh," I breathed, "was that okay?"
"Yes! Oh my god, yes. Jey, I totally initiated that don't even worry about it."
I felt a smile taking over my face. I tried to ignore the fact that we were dancing around the word 'kiss.' He looked so cute laying there, his hair laying softly on the pillow and his mouth stuck in just a little bit of a smirk.
I helped him put his brace back on underneath the pink sweatshirt and on his bare skin. I knew that I was staring and taking way too long to help him, but I couldn't help taking in the gentle curves of his chest and how smooth the skin there was. Once it was on, he sat up and sat cross-legged next to me. "Honestly, I thought you were cute the first day I saw you," I admitted, "I just didn't know if you liked boys so I left it alone. I had no idea that you are bi." Something dark flashed across Benji's face for a second. His heavy eyebrows settled down low over his eyes. He made an awkward little gurgle in his throat, "I don't really think I am." That one comment made me feel like my heart was plummeting down to my stomach. "What?" I choked out, "what was that then?" Benji reeled, stuttering over his words, "no, no, Jey. That was different. That was awesome. But I don't think I'm gay or bi or whatever. I mean maybe. Guys are great but I just don't know." He was rambling now, his cheeks red and I could almost see him trying to pull the words back into his mouth.
I couldn't explain the anger that was bubbling like acid in my throat. We had just shared such an intimate moment and without a doubt the best kiss I'd ever had. And he wasn't saying he didn't like me. But I still felt like he had taken something from me. Like I had poured a little bit of my soul into that kiss and he had taken it and then come back with the 'oh um I just dunno if I like boys.' He was looking pitifully at me now, chewing at the inside of his lip. I sighed heavily and pulled out my phone, sending a quick text to Aspen. "I really need to go home now," I told him, climbing off his bed. "Jey," he sighed, reaching one hand out to me.
"Aspen's coming. She lives right around the corner. I just have some stuff at home to take care of."
He grabbed my hand and gave it a gentle squeeze, "Jey are we good?"
I nodded tightly and perched back on the edge of the bed until Aspen texted that she was out front. Benji said goodbye softly as I excused myself from his room and made my way out of his house as quickly as possible, thanking his mom on the way out.
As I climbed in, Aspen turned down the music. She was wearing heavy doc marten boots and fishnets with her black skirt. "Did I interrupt something?" I raised an eyebrow at her. She shrugged nonchalantly and slid her signature pack of American Spirits across the bench seat to me. I thought about Benji crinkling his nose at me when I smoked earlier, before pushing the thought aside and lighting one. "I was looking for a reason to cancel anyway," Aspen sighed, "how'd it go in there, kid?" I groaned and took a deep drag until smoke burned in my lungs, "we kissed." Aspen slammed on the brakes so hard I had to throw a hand out onto the dash and her tires screamed in protest. "Jesus, Aspen!" I yelled, "you want to wreck another car?"
"Shut up," she shouted back. She turned the radio all the way off, threw the car into park and pulled one knee up onto the seat so she could look at me. "We're not talking about how bad my driving is when you just KISSED Benji." Her voice was loud and seemed to bounce around the car. "It doesn't even matter," I protested, "I mean it does. It was awesome and he smelled so damn good. And god, he was warm. But then he said he wasn't sure if he actually liked boys."
Aspen was still staring at me with her mouth hanging open. She started to shake her head really slowly at first, then faster until her short hair was swinging and flashing in the light of the setting sun. She dropped her cigarette butt into an empty monster can in the cup holder and made a noise somewhere between a scoff and a laugh, "So you just bolted?"
"Well, yeah I did," I shot back, "I'm not going to waste my time on someone who's not gay."
"Someone who doesn't know if he's gay," she corrected.
"It doesn't matter. I'm just going to get my feelings hurt when he inevitably decides that his gay phase is over. I'll become just a story he tells about when he was 'experimenting.'"
"I think you're being a little ridiculous."
We glared at each other across the car for a tense minute before she started driving again. Almost five minutes passed before she finally spoke up again, "all I'm saying, Jorge, is that the boy is confused. He's probably been having these feelings for a while and you finally gave him a safe place to explore them. And now you're going to take that away from him. Maybe he'll never get that opportunity again." I didn't reply. She was right. I knew she was right and I could see now that I was being a little unreasonable. "Okay, I'll think about it," I finally said. She kissed my cheek when she dropped me off and made me promise to text her tomorrow.
When I reached our building, I could see Adrian's light on in his window. Dusk was only just coming to a close but my mom was passed out in the recliner, the TV playing the evening news. I crept past her toward my room, but when I pushed the door open quietly, I found Adrian sitting at the foot of my bed. "Have fun?" He asked, his tone clipped and his eyes on the floor. The whole situation was so weird, I didn't say anything. "So my study group for Psych meets at this dude's house across town," he continued, "and I saw you walking around with your friend." I froze in the corner of the room, my shoes in my hand. The way he said 'friend' made it sound like he was spitting out something that was too sour. "So?" I whispered.
"Jorge," Adrian's tone was level, but tight and frightening, "are you gay?"
For all his teasing and prodding, Adrian had never come right out and asked me a question like that. He'd called me every slur in the book and made his homophobia abundantly clear. But never actually asked.
"Are you dating that guy? Are you a queer?" He repeated, his fists clenching and unclenching on my comforter. I still didn't answer, frozen. My hands were starting to shake. Adrian got up and shoved me, my back slamming against the wall. "Better hope Mom doesn't find out," he hissed.
Okay listen, I know not a lot happens in this part but it was important to set up everything else!! I promise more exciting things will be happening soon. Thank you everyone for reading this. What a fun creative outlet I get to share with you! 🤩
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