"You know, you kind of suck," he says it with that lazy, smirking smile of his. I kind of hate that smile. I also kind of love Leigh Carlisle.

"And I kind of want to kiss you," I throw back, winking at him. I'm half teasing, half serious. I wonder if he can distinguish the tone of longing I'm sure is mixed in somewhere. It's probably stupid to joke around this way. Casual comments like this squeeze and twist my insides.

He laughs at me. I don't grin because the situation is funny. I grin because I like the sound of his laughter. It's the sweetest sound that can come from those lips. When he catches me with that goofy grin on my face, Leigh stops laughing to regard me with that idle smirk. He doesn't say anything at first, and it's seems like the matter will be put to rest. But he, like on many occasions, proves me wrong.

"I kind of wouldn't mind if you did."

I'm not smart enough to take apart the multiple layers that veil that one little sentence. I'm not good at figuring out enigmas. However, with the worst of luck, I have a maddening crush on one. It sort of sucks. Sort of.

"It's going to rain," Leigh informs me, suddenly, changing the subject. I turn to look at him. He's not looking at me now; he's chasing birds in the sky with his eyes. He has these stunning, hazel eyes that make you stop breathing if he looks at you just right. In the sunshine, he looks ridiculously beautiful.

I want to stroke that messy but devastatingly cool mop of brown and honey blond hair. I want to kiss the hollow of his collarbone. I want to brush my thumb over his knuckles to see if his tan skin is as soft as it looks. "Yup," I agree dumbly, goofy grin and all.

We lose track of the time and end up watching the sunset together.

The track meet is looming. I'm busy gulping down coach's recipe to success (which might just be toxic waste) and practicing. I was born to run. Even when I was a baby, I was toddling around at profound speeds, always managing to break priceless ornamental objects.

Morning runs might be the death of me today. I'm tired and the energy just isn't there. I just want to sleep. Except I can just feel finish line under my sneakers and it gives me the drive to keep churning out the speed. I want to win. I always want to win.


The voice is so quiet I barely hear it calling me. I slow down until I'm jogging in place. I can tell that he is fresh from bed yet he looks nothing short of gorgeous. I ache to hold him and tell him how nice he looks on this fine morning. Instead, I accept the coffee he's offering me. I drink the hot liquid in large gulps. Then I hand the mug back to him.

Leigh gazes at me in a heart-jarring way. I am breath-taken. He looks me straight in the eye, raises the cup, and takes a sip of the remaining coffee. That thudding in my ears, I realize, is my blood pounding. "Thanks for the coffee," I mumble, quickly on my way, unsure what else to do. I am definitely not a morning person.

Fuck. Whatever that was that happened back there – I don't know how to interpret it. Suddenly bursting with energy I can't contain, I sprint faster and faster and faster until I tumble onto a soft carpet of grass. I'm still laying there when Leigh finds me. He always finds me.

"You can run, but you can't hide," he tells me. I reach out and brush my fingers against his ankle. He isn't wearing shoes again. I lose my shoes often, but it's not the same in his case. He takes his shoes off to walk barefoot all the time.

Leigh doesn't react the way I expect. He usually never does. I expect him to jump back and give me a weird look, but he doesn't. Instead he is giving me that intense look again. The look he gave me before putting his lips on the same mug I drank from.

"I'm going to fail the science test," I blurt out, unable to take the discomforting silence any longer. The awkward tension is broken then as he laughs his enchanting laugh.

"But you'll win at the track meet," he predicts nonchalantly. It's so casual, but I'm grinning so widely my face feels as though it will split in half. Leigh returns the grin with a slight tilt of the lips that can definitely be passed off as a smile.

"You better cheer me on."

"Okay," Leigh agrees. He's wearing that damn smirk and I want to kiss it off his face. Of course, I don't.

Despite having a girly name, Leigh acts like no girl. I've seen him pick spiders up. Spiders! I hate spiders. They make me scream like a little girl, whereas he can simply pick them up and set them outside. God, he's such a freak.

"Maybe you're the freak, Marshall Walker," is his answer to that. He resumes the task of reading, and I don't know how to decipher the employment of my full name. The book is hiding his face from view. I push it down with one hand.

Leigh raises an eyebrow at me.

"Hi," I whisper.

"Hi," he whispers back. And I know he's not upset. He smiles one of those rare, mind-numbing smiles. I love those smiles.

Automatically, my lips stretch into a love-struck grin. I feel it and wonder if I look stupid. I lack the ability to think when he pulls out one of his smiles. All thought processes are halted and everything goes into powering the rapid beating of my heart. That radiant smile on that pretty face is the only thing my eyes truly see in this moment.

Up goes the book, obscuring his face from my vision. I can almost feel his smirk. "Shy as a proper young maiden," I tease affectionately. Under the table, his bare foot brushes against my shin. I die a little on the inside. I think he was trying to kick me, but the failed attempt only manages to send shivers down my spine.

I feel his toes again. Maybe he's not trying to kick me after all.

Daylight fades quickly as I run my laps around the track. Music from my earphones drowns out the desolate silence. Long after everyone has gone home, I'm still here. Running until the soles of my shoes have memorized the texture of the track.

I lift my gaze from the ground as I near another curve in the track. The image of Leigh settled in the crook of the bend where green meets black takes a moment to register. "Leigh?" I almost trip and fall flat on my face.

As I jog past him, I whirl around to look at him. Running backwards turns out to be a bad decision. I stumble over my own two feet. "Fuck," I yelp as I fall hard onto my butt. I've lost my rhythm now. First comes the anger, boiling and red. It fades momentarily and resigned frustration replaces it. I hang my head.

Soon, I hear footsteps. Leigh kneels at my side and removes the earphones from my ear. He lets them trail onto the ground. I feel the light pressure of his hand on my thigh, positioned somewhere between friendly and inappropriate. "Hey," he murmurs, his fingers brushing the back of my neck. His tone is a soft whisper of chill out, man.

It would be the perfect time to kiss him. Except I don't. I don't even look up at him.

He pulls away suddenly and comforting hands turn into vicious hands. He shoves me. Flat on my back, I stare up at him. Leigh glares down at me as cool as ice. He doesn't say anything; his eyes say it all. Get up off your ass and run, you mother fucker, before I kick your ass. I get up.

"What're you doing here, Leigh?"

"I came to watch," he tells me, staring off into the distance, as if he has conjured an image of me tearing down the track. "And to give you a ride."

He lifts his hand and jingles a ring of keys as if to prove this. Leigh knows me too well. He knows that when I stay late by myself, I end up walking home by myself. He's a good friend (just a friend) that way.

I put my earphones back in and turn the music down to a soft roar. "Let me finish this lap. Then we can go," I tell him. I leave him standing in my dust. I know that, somewhere behind me, he's laughing.

"Leigh. What the fuck are we doing here? I have to get up early so I can run," I complain, shoving my hands deep into the pockets of my jeans.

Stars are scattered across the night sky. The fence around the pool towers above us. Leigh scrambles up over the fence and makes it look so cool that I feel like an elephant trying to do the same thing. When we're both over the fence, I open my mouth to protest. "Leigh, what – " the words stop abruptly and I'm gaping as Leigh strips off his shirt.

He tosses the shirt onto a pool chair and his jeans follow shortly. Standing there in only his boxers, he stuns me into silence. "Close your mouth and stop drooling," he teases, sauntering towards the edge of the pool. I follow the movement of his hips with my eyes.

By this time, I'm scrambling out of my clothes. "I wasn't drooling," I defend. I'm hopping around in a rush to get out of my pants. When I've finally stripped down to my boxers, Leigh's preparing to dive in. I grin. Perfect.

With a running leap, I tackle him into the water. Our bodies tangle underwater. We are a mess of arms and legs and hands. Every contact of our bare skin as we try to disentangle leaves me tingling. We both come up laughing. I swipe the wet strands of brown hair out of my eyes.

Immediately, I am surprised at the lack of distance between us. Leigh is smiling at me, and it's not his trademark smirk this time. It's a genuine curve of his lips that I want to feel against my lips. Have you ever wanted to tell someone you love them? I did. Right then. I wanted to ruin a perfect moment with three little words.

It might just be my imagination running wild, but Leigh seems to lean in. I freeze up. I should kiss him. I burn with the desire to do just that. I don't lean in. I see a flicker of unnamed emotion in his eyes. He swims away and climbs out of the water. "Leigh," I call after him, frustrated by my own stupidity and this dramatic change in mood.

He sits at the pool's edge and gestures for me to come. I rest my elbows on either side of his legs. The moment is suddenly wrought with tension. Under the water, Leigh's shins are pressed against my chest. He must have forgotten what he wanted to say because he says nothing. I rest my head in his lap. His fingers run through my hair.

I stare at the pool chair where our clothes lie in a heap. I wouldn't mind seeing that same mess of our clothes lying on the floor of a bedroom. Sometimes, people ask me why I haven't gotten with Leigh yet. I never have an answer for them.

"Leigh. I'm a gay, hormonal teenager boy and you're gorgeous. Why haven't I tried to jump your bones yet?" I lift my head and grin to show that I am joking. I wouldn't mind receiving an answer for my question though. "You're not going to answer?" I prod, quietly, my grin slipping.

"It was a rhetorical question." He doesn't even need to ask. That's just who Leigh is. Even so, I feel the disappointment. I had been hoping against hope that at least he would have an answer. I climb out of the water and sit beside him. We're both dangling our feet into the water; our hands are almost touching. The awkward subject evaporates, just like that.

Later, as we grab our clothes and head home, I decide that I should have kissed him when I had the chance.

"Leigh. Do you ever have thoughts about us?" I wonder aloud. It's the night before the track meet. We're stretched out on my bed and sharing my earphones. Music blares into our ears. I feel at peace.

"Do you?" he counters idly. It's just like him to answer a question with a question that could mean everything or nothing. With my eyes closed, I can't tell what he's thinking or if he's thinking at all. He emanates warmth from somewhere next to me.

I want to confess that I think about us so much that, even now as we lay together, my insides are full of fluttering butterflies. However, too cowardly to admit anything of the sort, I open my mouth and words don't come out. As if sensing my hesitation, Leigh responds by taking my hand and murmuring, "Our hands fit together kind of perfectly."

What do you say with that sort of comment hanging in the air? I don't say anything. I simply savor the feeling of our intertwined fingers. If tomorrow doesn't come, I don't think I would mind right now. And yet I'm still wondering what we're doing without each other, why we aren't together. Maybe, for once, our friends are right. Maybe we are meant to be and maybe we are obviously in love and maybe we should be kissing right now.

Later, when he has fallen asleep and night is dripping across the sky, I whisper the softest of answers, "Yes."

Eight start lines in eight lanes. The crowd of enthusiastic fans smothers the tension that weaves in amongst the runners. I stretch in lane five and wish that I could discern familiar faces from the overflowing stands. I search for only one face: a face with startlingly deep, hazel eyes and lips that look soft enough to kiss.

Although I am desperate for even the slightest glimpse of Leigh to help ease the sudden anxiety that knots up my digestive system, I turn away from the colorful mob of fans. I ready myself to go. The noise from the fans slowly dissolves as I concentrate on the sprawling track. I hear only the gunshot that tears into the sky.

When I run, I am freed from, well, everything. The world around me melts away until I am left with only the sound of my breathing, the rapid thump of my heart, and the beat my feet pound against the track. I resist the urge to whoop with joy. I am a burst of rampant speed and energy. I am alive. I am in love.

Laughing, I hurtle past my competition, past the track, past cheering fans who are baffled by my sudden deviation from the race. I sprint all the way to the end of the bleachers. He is a lone figure standing at the side of the track. I have never seen a sight more beautiful. "I love you, Leigh!" I begin shouting my love for him even before I'm in hearing range.

Leigh smiles that mind-blowing smile. And I think my heart might explode.

I race towards him and end up tackling him into the grass. Before I have time to think, I am kissing him ardently. Our lips mesh: open mouths, tongues, and soft warmth. All I think and feel and know at this moment is Leigh. Somewhere around us, the crowd is cheering. Someone has won the race, and it isn't me. Maybe it's the soft pressure of our lips. Maybe it's the comfortable jumble of our limbs. Maybe it's the sweet undertone of laughter in his voice when he says those three little words back to me. But, somehow, I'm okay with being a loser just this once.

A/N: Gawd, I feel like crap today. I have school tomorrow. And I have finals this week. Damn. As if I don't hate school enough already. DDD:

I just started writing this, one day, out of nowhere. I liked how it turned out for the most part. But the ending is suck. OH, HOLYSHIZWAFFLES, WHY DOES THE ENDING SUCK SO MUCH? DDDD:

Yeah. So. Please review. Reviews make me happy~! =3