Him (Part 2)
As the two settled in, Nathan kindly refused Julienne’s offer of buying him a drink. In a good natured, yet stubborn fashion, Julienne refused Nathan’s refusal.
“Oh, come on, I insist,” Julienne said. “Let me buy you a drink.”
“It’s seriously fine, boo. Do not worry about it,” Nathan replied.
“I’m going to worry about it, so you might as well buy one to save me from a panic attack.”
Nathan groaned. The obnoxious, yet genuine obstinence of his new love interest was yet another thing foreign to him.
In general, Nathan was more of a narcissist. He did things to better his life, almost never caring about how those actions affected others. Nathan would purposely exhibit this trait, whether perceived as a strength or flaw, because to him, humans are all selfish. Instead of complaining about how that will never be changed, it is more productive to embrace this universal flaw for what it is.
In a flash, Nathan stepped out of his comfort zone.
“Fine, I’ll have a tall Caramel Macchiato, no whipped cream. Also, you’re an amazing person,” he said with a blush.
Julienne pasted a smile on his face as he walked to the register, obviously satisfied with how the date was going.
Julienne never had an actual relationship before. His previous love interests were mediated by thousands of miles and a cell phone signal. Even with all the optimism possible, those long distance hopes disappeared into clear air.
Then there were the two superficial boys from the beginning of the school year.
The first fling lasted a calendar week. Julienne and the boy were both homosexual and in the same grade, but that was basically all they shared in common. Then there was the second fling, and without a doubt, this one was to be regretted the most.
Even after the two in-person encounters he involved himself in, he still felt he had not been with someone to the point where he was content. Hell, he never even received a kiss. All Julienne wanted was to not count these two buffoons as his exes, but those buffoons were all he could boast.
The fact that he had a chance to actually talk, cuddle, or even kiss this young man he was buying coffee for made his heart pound. All he wanted to do was be with him, for everything to work out. But due to his age and dating past, he truly had no clue what he was doing.
Suddenly, the barista, drink in hand, screamed his name, taking him out of his anxiety driven thought pattern.
“Thank you, ma’am,” Julienne politely said, struggling to keep his hand from shaking as he carried the drink to Nathan. It was quite evident to both of him that he was gradually becoming more nervous.
“You are such a doll,” Nathan said as he saved the drink from spilling. “Thank you.”
And from that moment, a conversation ensued. It took many twists as the words regurgitated from both of their mouths. With every question, statement, and remark, they were on the process of getting to know each other better. There were varied pauses when sipping their hot beverages or using the restroom, but their constant jawing made two hours pass in five minutes.
Nathan looked out of the window with hope to get some fresh air, but the continuous precipitation stood as an obstacle towards doing so. If he were to be alone, he would walk anyway.
At an instant, the conversation came to a close as Nathan began to think, trying to solve an internal conflict. Would Julienne gladly join along on a walk, his clothes getting soaked as they dawdled around the metropolitan area? Or would Julienne look him in the eyes and call him crazy for thinking he would walk in that kind of weather?
Nathan gave it a shot.
“Say, these two dry hours in this coffee shop have been amazing, Julienne. How about we walk around for a bit, yeah?”
“Yes, I would love to.”
Nathan sighed in relief.
“Good. I thought I was the only one dying from the stuffiness of this place.”
“Me too,” Julienne agreed. “But where will we go? I do not have a ride back to my place until my mother gets off work, which will be around seven-thirty.”
Again, the conversation was paused due to Nathan’s indecisiveness. A million propositions came to mind, but none were to be grasped and taken into consideration. Seven-thirty was far from where they were at, and he did not want to be out for that much longer.
“How about I walk you home?,” Nathan asked. “You know, so you can get to a dry place with more to do.”
“I’m down for that, but what about you? You will get soaked if you walk home from my house, and I don’t want you to get sick.”
Nathan blushed as a smile plastered across his face. If Julienne would go out of his way to think about Nathan, Nathan knew that Julienne was worth the soaked clothes.
“Don’t worry about it,” Nathan said. “I like you, so you can embrace being an exception of mine.”
The smile on Nathan’s face proved contagious, as Julienne’s face was soon evident of pure happiness. Before they proceeded to walk, Julienne stopped Nathan in mid-step and gave him a tight hug. This hug was not just a normal sign of affection like most, it sparked a connection. A connection they both picked up on right away.
Once again, conversation began as they walked down through the subdivisions of suburbia.
While this date seemed to be the foundation for future dates, Nathan kept logic and his future in mind. With college coming up in less than eight months, a stressful move soon after that, and a new job that would take up his time, the cons outweighed the pros at this point.
Regardless, though, Nathan still took this high school freshman into consideration. He thought, was this a chance that was worth being taken? Would someone three years younger than him, more innocent and less matured, be worth his already limited free time?
Within the cascades of uncertainty, Nathan knew one thing for sure, and that was he did not deserve him. He did not deserve his down-to-earth demeanor, nor his genuine personality. He did not deserve that smile that could blind millions, those eyelashes that sweep civilization off Hawaii every time he blinks, and especially his geeky, yet incredibly cute laugh.
Like the upfront and honest person he was, Nathan came clean to how he was feeling. He interrupted the conversation.
“Julienne, would you mind if we change the subject?,” Nathan asked. “I would appreciate if I could address what is currently on my mind.”
“Why, of course,” Julienne exclaimed. “It’s not like we were talking about anything of high importance.”
Nathan choked on his words, not knowing exactly what to tell him. It was only the first date, but he felt that he could trust Julienne. Trusting someone was something he normally could not do. It was official, this boy is an old soul, therefore he deserves the truth, Nathan thought.
“Julienne, I think you’re an amazing person. From top to bottom, you are a perfect example of how mankind has not always done wrong. You’re pure, selfless, and one of the most caring people I have ever gotten the chance to know in two hours…”
Julienne interrupted. His smile went to a frown in the shortest interval of time.
“But you’re not interested, right? You’re not interested in me because I am younger? You’re not interested in me because I am not as attractive as guys you have dated, or simply because I don’t have my life figured out yet?,” he said as he grew numb. “Did I hit the nail right on the head?”
Nathan gasped, but rather in relief. Through the words, he could tell this boy has not had it easy, especially with other guys. That made Nathan even more comfortable for what he was about to say.
“Not at all,” Nathan assured him. “In fact, I am totally interested. It’s just…”
And just like that, the skeletons Nathan hid in his closet for so long had finally came creaking out.