"You know you heard me." He didn't reply just simply continued to play with the stitching of his sweater. "Hey!" I waved my hand in front of his face to see if that would get his attention, it did. He grabbed my wrist, hard, and threw me on the floor. I lay there for a second, my face full of disbelief.
"Leave me the fuck alone." He looked down over me from the couch. I continued to stare at him, seeing whether or not he was going to help me up, of course didn't.
"What's the matter?" I was sitting up, and looking his direction. He didn't answer. I stood up and walked over to him, he didn't even flinch. "Nathan?" Nothing, not so much as a sigh. I gave up and took a seat next to where he was sitting.
"What the fuck are you looking at?" I was looking at him of course, but I didn't appreciate his tone. He was the one who asked me to come over, but he was acting all pissy all of a sudden. I shifted in my seat and looked him dead in the eye. And you know what that son-of-a-bitch did? He punched me. He punched me dead in the jaw. I brought my hand instantaneously to my face, I tasted blood.
"Are you fucking crazy?" He didn't say a word, just kept on staring into space. "I know you hear me Nathan." Nadda. "You got five fucking seconds to say something or I swear to God I'll…I'll—" I couldn't say it. He called my bluff.
"You'll what? Finish the fucking sentence Joey!" He was standing up, and towering over me. It wasn't like I was scared of Nathan, I could hold my own. It was the fact we were even fighting, that he'd hit me. In our nine years of friendship, we had never so much as argued until now.
"Nuthin." My voice was quite. He mistook it for weakness and went on.
"What? I can't fucking hear you!" He was screaming now, and that was pissing me off. I stood up too, face to face, eye to eye.
"What's wrong with you?" He didn't answer, only stared. He had this evil gleam to his eyes, I didn't like it one bit. I stepped closer to him, he flinched. "If you got somethin to say, say it." Still no answer. I stepped closer.
"Whatever." No apology, no smile, no handshake, just, 'whatever'.
"Whatever?" I shook my head to tell him that wasn't good enough. He smiled a sad smile.
"You really want to know?" I nodded. Of course I wanted to know what was bugging him so bad he felt the need to punch me dead in the jaw. He stepped forward and I got the urge to take a step back, but I didn't. I regretted that decision about ten seconds later. He lifted both his hands to my face and kissed me. He kissed me. And it wasn't gentle. It was hard and rough. Once I came to my senses, I punched him right square in the chest, he doubled over in pain.
"What the fuck are you doing?" He was still on his knees gasping for air. I didn't really expect an answer but I had to say something. You just can't go around kissing other guys, best friend or not. I wiped my mouth with the back of my hand, then kneeled down to help him up. He pushed me away, so I just sat there, waiting for him to make a move. He looked up at me with glistening eyes.
"I told you that you didn't want to know." That was it? No apology? That was so like Nathan.
"Oh!" My voice quivered, "That was your idea of telling me something? Well you've got a helluva way with words, Nate." He didn't say anything. So I decided to keep going, "Could you kindly explain what just happened, in words." He still didn't move, "I promise I won't hit you." He just sat there, with his arms wrapped around his knees. "Nate?" I prompted.
"Well that started out well," I looked at him, urging him to go on, "I like you, Joey, a lot." My breath caught.
"I'm not gay." The words just rolled off my tongue, I wasn't really thinking. But it was true nonetheless.
"Me neither." He looked me dead in the eye, and I felt my face begin to grow hot. I couldn't figure out why. I guess it was because of the conversation. I was always so up tight and prudish at the slightest mention of sex.
"So…" I couldn't find the words I wanted.
"Look, I'm just telling you, okay?" I still couldn't speak. I just felt my face flush again. I was beginning to annoy my own damn self. There was absolutely no reason for me to be blushing in this situation. I pulled at my hair nervously. Why was I nervous? He must have noticed the sudden tension because he leaned in towards me. I jumped a little and he pulled back.
"I'm sorry." I couldn't think of anything else to say. He sighed.
"Don't be, you didn't do anything." I looked down at the rug, unable to look at him any longer. I felt as though my heart would burst from his pitiful expression. I wanted to say something, do something to ease the moment, but I didn't know what to do.
"And neither did you," I smiled, "well besides punching me and that violent excuse for a kiss." I laughed lightly.
"Hey! I take offense!" That was more like the Nate I knew.
"Well that's just too damned bad." He smiled this wide grin and in all my seventeen years on this earth I had never seen anything more beautiful or more frightening. It was at that moment I realized I wanted him, that I had always wanted him. It was like something awakened inside of me, something that had been dormant all these years.
"What you thinkin about?" I shook my head quickly, embarrassed by my thoughts.
"Nothing much." He frowned. I'm pretty sure he thought it was about him; but he took my silence as a bad thing. I decided to make a move. I leaned towards him, hoping he would take the hint. He could be as receptive as white noise when he wanted to be.
"Joey?" He turned his body to face mine. I moved closer to him, hoping that would make it a little more obvious. He froze. I looked up at him hoping to convey what I was too afraid and confused to put into words. He reached his hand towards me slowly, gauging my reaction. I held still and let his cool fingers stoke my face. He moved closer and angled his face towards mine, I closed my eyes. It was a while before I finally felt the coolness of his breath on my face, and even longer before I felt his lips caress mine. The kiss was gentler this time, at least at first. After about a minute or so, it got a little more passionate, a little hungrier. I could barely catch my breath. My hands were knotted in his hair, I couldn't let go, I wouldn't. I wanted that moment to go on forever.
Did that mean I was gay?