Saturday, October 7, 2017

Io - Chapter 2

Chapter 2 Briar

I didn’t fall for Io until the eighth grade. We had been best friends all through elementary and middle school. He and I were inseparable. Our parents even let us stay the night at each other’s houses, even though I was a girl and he was a boy. We just had to promise not to tell anyone else about it, because our parents didn’t want to “get any phone calls”. We didn’t really care, to be honest. It’s not like we wanted to tell anybody else about our absolutely radical slumber parties. They might get jealous.
We’d usually do them at my house, because my dad let us have the entire entertainment room to ourselves. It was in the basement, which was only half finished at the time, but it was like our paradise. A big-screen T.V. with every Disney movie on the market (and a few from the vault), an endless collection of video games about aliens and wizards, about a million blankets and pillows, and our own kid-dedicated mini-fridge. My dad really liked to spoil us. He said it used to be his “man cave”, but I always thought that sounded kind of dirty and weird, so I chose not to think about it.
Io and I liked to set up a blanket fort across the leather sectional and throw the other end over the top of the T.V. so we could watch movies in our own ghetto home theater. Io enjoyed bringing his sketching pencils and a pad of paper with him to draw the characters of whatever movie we were watching. It became a kind of game between me and him; I would tell him who to draw and what they would be doing. My favorite was the one of Cinderella riding a pumpkin into battle against some confederate mice. I still have it hanging up in my room, actually.
Io first kissed me in one of those notorious blanket forts. I’ll never forget how it was getting just a little to stuffy on the inside. How his drawing for that night had turned out to be him and I, holding hands in a monochromatic green color scheme.
“This is…” I struggled, very obviously nervous, “... really nice. It’s really nice, Io.”
My eyes were glued to the drawing, but I imagine he smiled then. He moved the pad of paper, forcing my eyes up to his.
“Hey, Space Cadet.”
He had started calling me that a few years back. It kinda just… stuck. I think it had something to do with my mental wanderlust.
“You remember that time in the second grade when I gave you that crayon?”
I chuckled, nodding.
“Yeah, I remember. How could I forget? That’s when I…”
I stopped myself, looking away. That’s when I… what? Starting crushing on him? No, we had been friends for so long since, I don’t think it started so early.
But then again…
“When you... what?” Io’s eyebrows were doing the thing where one was curved up and away to the moon while the other was burrowed deep in his brow. He did that when he wanted answers.
My eyes snapped up. Oh, shit. Think quick. When I… When I… fuck why was I so nervous?
“When I realized how much of a dweeb you were.”
Nice save, Space Cadet.
“Oh? I was a dweeb then?” He snorted, his eyes scrunching up a little as he wiped his forearm across his face. He must have been getting sleepy.
“Do you think I’m still a dweeb?”
“Definitely,” I retorted perhaps a bit too quickly. “Always have been, always will.”
“Then, will you still make good on that favor you owe me?” He grabbed my hand, “Or are dweebs like me not worthy of favors?”
I instantly started glowing as red as a cherry tomato on a ripe summer afternoon. Where was this going and why did I like it so much?
“Depends on what you’re asking.”
“It’s a real big favor. That green crayon really meant alot to me, y’know…”
“I’m willing to humor you.”
He paused. The tension in that stuffy blanket fort made the air even thicker. Damn him for his dramatic timing.
“Would you do me a solid and be my girlfriend?”
I swear to God in Heaven and on Earth that I could cut that air with a fucking butter knife. My mind was screaming “Yes! Yes! Say yes, you incorrigible nincompoop!”. My physical mouth, however, could do nothing but flounder like a couple of fish slapping a wet dock. What was making me so damn nervous? It was just Io.
He didn’t let my wordlessness stop him from kissing me. He didn’t need words to see what I couldn’t. I understood then, with his hands caressing the back of my head. Cinderella playing in the background. In that moment, he gave me everything I needed to know.
So, this is love…

I’m so stupid sometimes.

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