Author's Note: First, I'm going to let out a massive sigh of relief and happiness, because I have finally, after working on it for the last gajillion hours, finished this chapter! And yes! It's a massively long one, and does some serious explaining! Though it might annoy you, because I have missed out something massive at the beginning, which I wasn't planning to do, but oh well, perhaps the missing details will appear next chapter? We can but hope! On the subject of hope, hopefully you'll enjoy this chapter! And hopefully you'll review!

12 February, 2007

"Make way ladies, Joseph Carter-Dowl has officially invaded Cloud Nine, and he intends to set up camp there for a long, long time to come!" is what I'd like to proclaim to the world. Unfortunately, due to the laws of discretion, I'm going to just have to settle for this journal. On the subject of which, if you get any fatter, I'm going to have to put you on a diet. No, just kidding, where else would I record every single little thing my beloved does? Every one of my delicious memories? I can't chance forgetting a single one!

Although, to be honest, and, despite the fact that I would never, ever chance it, I don't believe I could forget any of these, my most precious memories, even if I tried. For example, without looking back at the entry for 1 June, 2005, I can remember every minute little detail of the day. Of course, this was, I have to admit, the best day of my life to date. In fact, I'll even prove to you that I can remember, journal. There is, after all, no physical being around that I can gush to, and since I am evidently the female side of my relationship, I feel that I ought to do at least some namby-pamby, wishy-washy, girly crap: such as retelling the high points of my relationship with precise details. Here I go:

The day started out like any other. Tim the Geek, and Gertrude the Foreign Exchange Student were forcing us to attend the end of year disco, then the end of year after party - this year we had, amazingly, been invited. The invite might possibly, however, not have been accredited to us rising in the 'cool' poll, but to Gertrude, who had been doing Cindy the Lead Cheerleader's German work, and living in her house all year. Coincidentally, the party was going to be held at Cindy's house, since her parents had disappeared for an early vacation to Majorca, and she lived right down the street from the school.

Though Cassie the Rebel and Sally the Goth had originally been in favour of 'absolutely, definitely, and certainly not going,' the guilt trips from Gertrude (Ich bin only here another week), and the whinging of Lindsey the Lesbian had apparently won them over, "just in time to go and buy new clothes." Personally, I'd put up a little bit of a fight, for the sake of not looking like a disco-loving chick, but I always knew that my defences would crumble pretty quickly, since I'd heard the week before that Christopher Geri-Fadden (most gorgeous man on the planet, and my crush since I'd seen him for the first time in the cafeteria, at lunch, on 3 September, 2004), was planning on being there.

I supposed to myself that night before we set out, whilst looking at myself in the full length mirror of Cassie's bathroom, that I'd been quite fortuitous. The rebel herself had decided that tonight was the night I got a makeover, and thus it was probably the first time I ever looked something close to 'cool.' Of course, none of the clothes (save for the boxers) I was wearing were actually my own, but by some strange and wonderful twist of fate, Cassie's older brother (Edward the Emotional) was almost exactly the same size as me - though his wardrobe was completely different.

But at some point during my long look in the mirror, I decided that I liked what I saw. I liked the way this black tee shirt fitted so tightly around my torso, and the tops of my arms; and I liked the plain silver dog tags that hung around my neck. Though alone I'd never summon the confidence to have donned them myself, I found I loved the way the tiny, skinny-fit jeans hugged my legs, and the way that bulky black boots made me feel more dangerous. When I slipped it on, I loved the warm black hoodie with the stupid purple cross design on the back. And finally, for once, I even liked the way my hair fell in almost anally straight sheets around my face, brushing my close-to-girly cheekbones, with the fringe that just skirted the top of my eyes. I began to understand, that night, why girls seem to enjoy getting ready to go out so much: it's because the finished product makes you feel good.

At ten to seven (we weren't quite cool enough to pull off fashionably late) I stomped down the stairs to find the rest of the gang waiting patiently at the bottom. When I reached them, they exclaimed over my 'new style' for a few moments, whilst Cassie grinned at me from the corner, before we left. The girls walked out first, linking arms in the street, and us guys followed behind, the clatter of eight heels, and the high pitched giggles of the four scantily dressed females leading the way.

Perhaps none of these things are particularly important, but I like to remember things exactly as they were at the time, including the lead up to certain events, what others were doing, and what everyone was wearing. I also like to remember the exact times, so I suppose you could call me something of a perfectionist.

At seven on the dot (or so) we arrived at the school doors, where we quickly gave in our tickets, before entering the, surprisingly full, school hall. Though none of the 'mega popular' people were there yet, since they were the ones that could get away with being fashionably late, the hall was already packed with people. In the middle was the designated dance floor (that Tony and Gertrude quickly headed for), which was crowded with a lot of guys, and a lot more girls, all 'bump 'n' grinding' to some 'get the party started' type music. Around the outside of this area, there were small tables, surrounded by chairs; a lot of which were taken by shiny-faced partiers, fresh off the dance floor with drinks in hand. Surprisingly, there was also a table of arcane-ridden, glasses wearing hopefuls, who were playing cards, but glancing hopefully up at the dance floor every now and then, probably wishing that they were one of the people shaking their bits and pieces to the racket spewing out of speakers from around the hall. On the stage was the DJ himself, who's name, I was already guessing, was something like MC Hammer-Yourself-To-Death, and just behind him was a sign that told the hungry and thirsty masses that food and drinks were available in the Tech classrooms.

Being a guy, and not one that was particularly interested in doing any dancing quite so early in the evening, I immediately headed in the direction of the aforementioned rooms, in the hopes of getting to the good food before it was all gone, and just the salad-y bits (you know you hate them) were left. I'd taken three good, long strides, and was in the process of imagining how the taste of chocolate fingers, and caramel bites were going to mix in my mouth and create a terrific taste explosion, when I felt a small hand grab the back of my hoodie, and yank me backwards once again.

"Oh no you don't, Mr! You're dancing with us, right Vampy?" Of course, Cassie's ideas of a good time would conflict most inconveniently with mine. I turned in time to see Sally the Goth, who had apparently been renamed 'Vampy' for the night, due to her outfit (that consisted of a very short dress, some very big heels, plus some genuinely fake teeth), nod her head enthusiastically. I quickly noticed that Lindsey had managed to abandon ship, and decided to just resign myself to the fate my gal-pals had picked out for me.

Not five minutes later I had one girl on each arm, each doing their own little thing. Despite being the rebel, Cassie's dancing was of the timid sort of a girl who was worried about how she moved. Apparently she wasn't as confident as we'd all believed. I caught her glancing at other people a few times, and the way she moved her feet only in very little circles, one hand always clutching some part of me: my hand, my forearm, my bicep, my shoulder, wrapped around my waist, or clutching at my shirt (I took the hoodie off and tied it around my hips, since it was boiling at the centre of the dance floor). Sally, on the other hand, slid her hand into mine, and danced crazily around, waving her spare arm in the air, thrusting out her chest, and screaming with laughter - her red-slathered lips stretched out into a wide smile, the ends of her fangs peeking out slightly as she moved.

The hours passed in a haze of sweaty moments, and cheesy music. At some point, a shy boy from a lowe year with a lip piercing, and a stutter asked to cut in, then took a grinning Sally off my hands. Soon after, Lindsey turned up and took the empty place on my arm; she was quickly followed by Tony and Gertrude, who were seemingly glued together from the waist upwards, and we formed a small, dancing clientele of five. I'm not quite sure when I started enjoying the night, but I think it was a little bit before this.

The most important part of the school disco, however, happened a few moments after this, during the five part dance-fest. This started off as the first big downer of the night, but quickly turned into one of the most amazing parts of forever. I'll explain the downer first. You see, I'd known what was going to happen, and I'd expected it since the week before, when I first discovered that Christopher Geri-Fadden was going to be in attendance, but I suppose that no amount of preparation was enough to stop your heart breaking at the sight of the boy you're head over heels with, dancing with not one, not two, but three absolutely stunning blondes. The moment I saw them, just beyond Lindsey, to my left, I felt as though a huge black hole was sucking at my feet, and pulling me downwards. For a few moments, I wanted there to be a black hole, pulling me in a downward spiral; I wanted a vortex to open beneath me and suck me into it, then I wanted to stay there forever.

Watching the 'dancing' girls rubbing themselves up against Geri-Fadden was like watching a car-crash, or an aeroplane explode, the sort of thing you just couldn't help but stare at in fascination. Though unlike such a crash/explosion, there was a part of me that couldn't help but wish I was in one of the blonde's places (preferably blonde number two, in the middle, since she was draped across his front, with her glitter-covered arms around his neck, and her mouth just below his ear). But I'd always been stubborn, so I decided to beat the beast, and look away. It was just then, in that moment of decision, that it happened.

Christopher Geri-Fadden turned towards me, and our eyes, for the first time, locked together. To begin with I thought the squirmy feeling in my stomach was because the boy I liked was staring right at me, and into my eyes. But then I heard the siren call in my mind that had visited me only a couple of the times in my past. It was one of the most useful resources I possessed, calling out to me. It was my 'gaydar'.

Our 'look' must have lasted only a few seconds, before I finally tore my eyes from his, and looked away. I focused on the fused lips of Tony and Gertrude for a few seconds, trying to stop the pounding of my heart, and attempting to absorb what I'd just discovered (Christopher Geri-Fadden was gay! Homosexual! Batting for the other team! He was in my reach!), before letting my eyes casually find him again; this time, I noticed the subtle body language that I'd been blinded to before.

Though dancing, he was leaning backwards, towards the only space around him that wasn't filled by a touchy-feely female. His eyes weren't focused on the women around him either, they were staring right past them, or they were on the ground, or rolled up towards the ceiling and at the bright lights, as though something would fall down from the sky and save him. He blinked, every now and then, and blushed as a girl touched him in a certain way. Not only this, but, unlike his jock friends, that were all dancing with their own busty blondes and brunettes around the place, he wasn't smiling. At least, not his smile. No, his left eye wasn't crinkled almost shut; in fact, there was no crinkling of the eyes at all, just the ends of his lips quirked up in a self-conscious grin.

I wanted to punch the air, sing, and go to church, all at the same time. I wanted to shake off my girls, plough through his, and engage him in similar activities to those being carried out by the lips of T and G. I just wanted.

Instead, I watched, glancing to the side every few moments at his uneasy shuffle, and his beautiful, nervous face, whilst keeping up with my own whirling, twirling companions. I found myself sporting a secret little smile. Following this, the last, and slowest dance, came quickly. Sally and her man returned to us, then Lindsey managed to grab another boy from the year below, so that we could all pair off for the finale. I was all too happy to let Cassie wrap her arms around my neck, and lead me round the dance floor. I was all too happy to snicker at the rude comments she made about other couples that waltzed around. And I was all too happy, when the music finally ended with a few words from the headmaster, which nobody heard, to let Cassie the Rebel lead me away to where our friends were, then down the road to Cindy's.

How am I doing, journal? Is this as detailed as the original entry was? I can even tell you, though I'm sure in the original entry, I didn't record it, that the number of Cindy the Cheerleader's house was 5, I can tell you that the door was green, with a white bell, and a golden letterbox. I can also recall with great dexterity that the lawn was freshly mown, but already covered with empty beer cans by the time we arrived, at twenty five minutes to eleven.

Having strolled together down the narrow pathway, pushed open the front door, and followed Gertrude like little ducklings trailing after their mother, as a little group we found ourselves in the cheerleader's half-trashed living room. She, herself, could be seen, obviously plastered, waving a leaky beer can around as she sucked face with the not-so-goody-two-shoed head boy of the previous year. Our girls excused themselves to the bathroom, while Tony and myself headed through the lounge and into the kitchen. Half a tub of Vanilla Ice Cream and a couple of drinks later, the two of us returned to find the living room doubly as crowded as when we left it. Apparently somebody had been charged with the duty of collecting more booze, because there was now a new mountain of bottles and cans stacked up near the door.

Gertrude appeared after a few moments with a couple of bottles, and thrust one into Tony's hand, before pulling him towards the door, and presumably towards the guest room she had been inhabiting for the last eleven and a bit months. I saw the rest of my pals spill back into the room, then set off towards them, and the towering stack of beer bottles they were planted next to. Once I had reached them, I started to bend down towards said stack of drinks, and was about to grab one when I was yanked back by the scruff of my neck, back through the living room, back through the kitchen, out of the French windows, and onto the patio, where the freezing cold air of the night was ready to greet me.

I huffed at Lindsey (and her insane strength) for a few moments, before Sally the Vampy-Goth presented me with a large bottle of something strong, and told me to stop being a girl. I quickly stopped, and sat my freezing butt down on the concrete floor below, pulling my hoodie back on, and twisting the lid off my booze with a pop. I sat drinking and rolling my eyes at the two girls whilst they produced a packet of cigarettes then tried out smoking. It wasn't a long trial, since they both decided they didn't like the taste, put the things out, and promptly forgot all about the event.

A few minutes after the smoking incident, Cassie the Rebel showed up with a large bag that made strange clinking noises as she moved. Turns out she'd managed to snag a large amount of alcohol, and bring it out for us to enjoy. Deciding that somebody had to be the sensible one in the group, I declined any offers of more beer, and instead watched curiously (I'd never really drunk before that night) as they merrily drunk themselves stupid, right out there on the lawn.

Unfortunately, the more drunk they became, the more bored I got. When they say watching drunk people is funny, they probably mean only when you're drunk yourself, which I was not. I toyed with the idea of locating some more alcohol, and drinking away, but eventually decided that I couldn't be bothered. Besides, I wanted to remember what I'd discovered earlier that evening. Christopher Geri-Fadden, gay, who'd have thought it?

As soon as I did think it, he appeared as though I'd called for him, and he'd come running. During the time that my girls had been drinking their weight, several other groups of people had found their way out onto the lawn. Geri-Fadden had been in one of those groups. Now he was, apparently (from the sneaky glances he was throwing around everywhere, and his hunched figure) sneaking his way back inside, and presumably away from the group of girls that'd been hounding him all night. Just as he pulled the French windows back open, I made a snap decision. Throwing a glance at the three wanna-be succubus', I decided that they'd be fine on there own, and threw myself after Geri-Fadden. Maybe it was because I'd suddenly 'grown some balls' or maybe it was the strong stuff I'd steadily been chugging, but now I wanted, no, I needed to confront him. I had to know if he was really gay…or if I was an idiot.

It didn't take long to catch up with him, because, although he was moving quite swiftly, he had to make his way undetected through throngs of people, which, I can tell you, is not easy. Especially since he was trying to avoid the opposite sex (of which there were many in the warmth of the house). I spotted a girl that had noticed him, and begun to follow him; and so, evidently, did he, because he managed to slip into the coat cupboard by the door undetected by her - she disappeared up the stairs, calling his name.

I'm still unsure how I summoned the courage to do the next bit, but somehow, I managed it:

Summoning all of the guts I had, I took my chance, after glancing around and finding the hallway empty, save for myself, and high-tailed it into the cupboard with the object of my affection, who let out a gasp of shock when I suddenly barrelled into him, before closing the door tightly behind me. Apparently he didn't manage to see who I was, because when he spoke, he asked me if I was Stephanie - presumably that was the girl he had been hiding from.

"No," was my quick reply, "it's Joseph Carter."

At least it wasn't the James Bond approach of repeating my first name, which most sad people seem to try and pull off, but can't.

"Oh," came his reply, with a loud sigh of relief, as though he suddenly wasn't petrified of being raped anymore.

Looking back on this, perhaps being relieved that I was another guy wasn't exactly called for, seeing as us males are something like ninety eight percent more likely to be the perpetrators of sexual crimes.

At some point I evidently made the conscious decision to go for the less than tactful approach of just blurting out the question 'Are you gay?' because I suddenly heard myself say it, before finding myself shoved backwards against the wall of the cupboard, with a large warm hand over my mouth.

"Sssh!" he whisper-roared at me, his beer-tainted breath warm on my face, and the feeling of his closeness sending shivers of pleasure up my spine. "Are you insane?"

I must have caught him by surprised when I reached up and tugged his hand away from my mouth (despite how nice it felt having him touch me somewhere, anywhere), because he let go, and his hand fell back to his side.

"No," I whispered back, just as quickly as before, "but I'm gay too, and I just thought that-"

Suddenly his hand was cutting off my words again, and, as I was beginning to grow a little more accustomed to the black, I was able to look up and see that his eyes were wide.

"You're…?" it sounded like a question as he trailed off, and pulled his hand away from my mouth himself this time.

"Yes, and I thought that -"

"So you can tell that I am…" he cut me off with words this time, "That I'm…" he swallowed, and whispered the final word, "gay?"

Again, I'm not quite sure where my courage came from, but I found myself reaching up and gripping his biceps with my hands, then standing on my tiptoes, so that I could press my lips against his. There was a few heart stopping moments, when I found myself just standing there, with my mouth touching his, and him doing nothing - not even breathing. I think I almost cried with happiness, relief, and gratitude to the somebody upstairs that was smiling on me, when Christopher Geri-Fadden pushed his lips outwards in a pout, and turned his head slightly to the left, so that our lips well and truly locked. I felt a warm tingle at the bottom of my cheek as he let out a small sigh, and the air flowed down and out through his lovely nose.

The first kiss between us didn't last long, but I think that during it, he came to the realisation that he was, and is, absolutely, and totally homosexual; a fact that drove me almost crazy with joy. Our first kiss, despite being the most awkward in the history of the universe, was better than the second, which ended quite abruptly in less than three seconds, since his lips' newfound enthusiasm managed to shove my head backwards, and quite painfully into the wall.

"Sorry," he whispered several times, before I managed to shut him up with small, and uncoordinated kiss to the corner of his mouth (it was dark). But after several ungainly tries, the two of us finally managed to get into the swing of things, a few minutes later. My hands still gripped his biceps, but my head rested against the wall, as he dipped down to kiss me, his arms sliding under my hoodie, and resting around my waist, as we started to learn about each other's lips.

I've never been quite sure about what time the two of us left that cupboard and it's coats behind, but it was sometime early the next morning, when the rest of the guests had drunk themselves into stupors, and passed out on couches, chairs, pieces of floor, and in the case of the lucky, on the beds. Together, in silence, we located his jacket, and my friends, who slept deeply together, squashed up against the fireplace. As the suns rays began to creep their way up over the horizon, then in through the lounge windows, I slouched down with the rest of my bedraggled band, while Christopher Geri-Fadden slipped on his coat, gave me one last grin of goodbye, and snuck out into the breezy summer morning.

Author's Note: All still there? Everyone follow that okay? Any comments? Let me know: constructive criticism is very much welcome! Praise is even more welcome! Thanks, by the way, to all my reviewers so far: I love you all!

In particular, I am most concerned about the bits in the cupboard! How was the confrontation? And the kiss? Was it all okay, or was it terrible?! I can always re-write, if it's seriously bad! Aha, I always get rather worried about lovey-dovey kissy scenes, because they're all so different, and difficult to pen (or type, in this case!). Please let me know all your thoughts and feelings on this chapter, and, as always, I hope you enjoyed reading the chapter!