Friday, March 23, 2012
least of his worries
The pizza was just the way Henry liked it, thin and crispy. But he insisted they should go dutch because he knew Derrick had so much going on with a play and well... the play.
"No. I'm getting this." Derrick insisted. They'd played a round or two of fussball. The pool tables were busy, and besides, Henry loved fussball. But he let Derrick win most of the games. Just because. He didn't want Derrick to think he was a jerk of some kind. And besides, he sometimes wondered if Derrick thought he got the short end of most things.
For one, Derrick was short. But that didn't stop Derrick from having a certain sort of cool persona. Or at least, in Henry's eyes. And he didn't really see a short, shrimp of a guy, that Derrick spoke of ..about himself. No, Henry found Derrick intriguing, bold and remarkable. Perhaps a pioneer of some sort at school. After all, Derrick was openly gay, but not of the flamboyant nature. Possibly, a little EMO, but not completely. No, Derrick was so Derrick. And it made Henry all the more giddy. Henry was afraid, a little too much. Yet this certain happiness pulsed through him when Derrick was around. And Henry didn't want it to stop. He hoped they were a couple.
"But.." Henry didn't know what to say. He wanted Derrick, all to himself. Here he was so happy to see him, and Derrick hadn't cracked a smile once. He was so serious. Maybe they were exact opposites, and that was the attraction.
Although, Henry didn't think so. Not when he couldn't help but want the best for Derrick. He yearned to spend more time with him.
They played a few more games. It wasn't really that late.
"I don't think my parents are home." Henry finally told Derrick, as if it might be an invitation of some kind. He just wanted to be alone with him. Not here at the pizza place.
"I better not, tonight." Derrick told him he was tired.
"Are you coming down with something?" Henry asked. "I mean, I'd get sick with you..." He gritted then, thinking that was wrong to say. But he would, just to have a little more time with Derrick.
Finally, they got in Derrick's old car. It ran well and that's all that mattered. It was getting colder. Starting to rain.
"I need to talk to you, about something." Derrick's words sounded like a threat to Henry.
"OK." Henry wished he'd spill it, but it was a quiet ride home. Henry was beginning to think the worst. Henry wasn't smiling. Funny, how he'd been so high on Derrick's essence. Now, he was feeling as if he might be getting a sad case of the flu. Henry bit his bottom lip. He felt so low now. How did this happen? His nose was beginning to run. Yes, such a sick feeling. Even in the pit of his stomach.
"Are you breaking up with me?" Henry's throat hurt when he asked. They made it to his drive way. Derrick shut off the engine.
"It might be best." Derrick was solemn. No expression.
"But why? What did I do?" Instantly, Henry was in tears, as he waited.
"You, didn't do anything." Derrick shook his head. Henry looked over and saw that Derrick was full of sad emotions, too.
"Oh God.." Henry let the tears slip. "You think its just a crush, don't you? But its not. I really think you're..amazing...Am I not serious, enough?"
"You deserve so much better. A lot better than me." Derrick tried to laugh. "You're so tall."
"That's the only reason?" Henry found himself babbling now as he cleared his throat. It was raining harder. Little bits of ice tapped against the roof of the car and covered the windshield. A shiver shot through him, as he hugged himself.
"No." Derrick shook his head.
"Then what is it?" Henry looked at him as if needed to know, so he'd never do it again. He wanted to make this right.
"I did something. And..and if I were you, I'd be..furious. I dunno how you could even stand to look at me. I wouldn't trust me, you know. Because..because..I don't do things like this. I really don't." Derrick tried to clear his throat. Henry watched Derrick's knuckles go white as he clung on to the stirring wheel.
"OK, so, you're seeing someone in the play. Is that it?" He was thinking that football player who looked like the blonde guy on Glee. He was a lead player. Which Henry found awful strange, because usually he was kind of a bully to people like Derrick.
Derrick shook his head, no. "Its Josie, she's .." Derrick squinted hard. "She's gonna have a baby, and..and its mine."
Henry suddenly felt he could breathe again.
"Wow." Was all he said.
"She's seeing some college dude now. I mean, we're still friends. Its just ..It was so awful ..when my sister died..you know..and..uh..that's when it happened. I feel so bad, letting everyone down like this...even someone who isn't born yet... Only I'm kind of happy about it too." He wiped the tears from the back of the sleeve of his dark steampunk jacket. "I mean, Josie and me..will never be together, or anything, but I gotta be there for her, you know. And the baby. I want to do the right thing. Some how. I need to find a job." He shook his head, no. "I just can't do this to you. I can't."
"But..I want to be here, for you. Please? I want to be with you. And I would be there, for you, the baby, too. Even Josie." Henry found himself saying. "You can't just be..all alone. I won't let you." He unbuckled his seat belt then, edged closer to Derrick.
It was frigid out. An ice storm. Here they were. So close. Warmth in Henry's grasp. Perhaps the most sloppy kiss ever, but Henry wasn't going anywhere. Neither was Derrick.