I crouched in the corner, hugging my knees, praying the intruders wouldn’t notice me. It was bad enough to be hiding in a utility room, but to be discovered there would be a whole new level of humiliation. I could ignore some of my issues, but others wouldn’t be that tolerant.
Yet that wasn't the main thing that occupied my mind.
That boy. The second boy who had entered, what little I'd seen of him in that moment he had stopped in the doorway before shutting the door—his profile, his big eyes, his wavy yellow hair illuminated by the soft evening light. The image still lingered in front of my eyes like a vision. That face. The most perfect face I'd ever seen.
I heard a giggle and then some movement. I tensed, but then realized the two boys moved to the opposite wall, away from where I sat. I let out a silent breath, and strained my eyes, trying to see what they were up to. It was too dark, but I could make out two vague silhouettes, hear whispers, then some wet sounds.
I peeked out a little more from behind the storage rack, my curiosity overriding my better judgement. Even though the boys' blue uniforms rendered them almost invisible in the dark, I could distinguish occasional glimpses of white shirts, rummaging hands, hear the dry sound of fabric rubbing on fabric and the wet sound of lips on lips. One of them was pinned to the wall by the other, who loomed a good head over him. As I was looking, he took a step back and spun the other boy around, his yellow hair visible for a moment before being concealed by his friend's wider frame.
"Take it off," the bigger boy muttered in a low voice, and there were more sounds of clothes and zippers and fabric stretching to the point of tearing.
"Easy, Owen," said the second boy—the pretty one—and then he giggled, and then he gasped, and I could see his pale hands on the wall and the other boy—Owen—pulling his shirt out of his pants in hurried, jerky movements, and then I leaned back into my corner and closed my eyes, realizing what I was seeing, not wanting to see it.
I couldn’t help hearing it, though. A couple of surprised gasps and half stifled moans, and a low grunt clearly coming from Owen, and then rhythmical movements, skin slapping against skin, and occasional clanging of a belt buckle against the floor. I put my hands over my ears, but then, surprising myself, removed them. The sounds were enticing. I tried to envision what that perfect face looked like now, and then I felt like a perv for imagining such things. This was so wrong, eavesdropping on them like that, and yet the effect it had on me was undeniable, and my own breathing was just as ragged as theirs. I had to press a hand to my mouth to make sure I remained quiet.
It lasted for perhaps a few minutes, although it felt longer. Eventually there was a low groan and a sigh, and the movements stopped and for a while everything was quiet apart for some labored breathing. Then, there were sounds of pants being pulled up and zippers closed and all the quiet sounds of two people getting their clothes in order. No more giggles or kisses. In a few moments, the door opened and the bigger boy—Owen—slid out, closing it behind him.
I held my breath, feeling with my every fiber the presence of the second one. He stood by the door, very still, probably just taking another minute before coming out himself. Still, there was something sad and underwhelming in seeing him like that, left alone after what they'd just been doing. Wasn't there supposed to be a hug, a whisper, some show of affection? I felt a sudden rush of annoyance at Owen. If I could get someone so perfect, I would have treated him differently.
With a click, the door opened again, and the boy stepped outside, the evening light briefly shimmering on his yellow hair before the door clicked closed and it was dark again.
I closed my eyes. This was ridiculous. I couldn’t get obsessed about someone I'd only seen for a moment. So what if he had a pretty face? He could still be a bad person. He could be mean. Perhaps I just reacted so strongly because those two were the first people I have seen in my life who were clearly gay. I knew that I was gay for as long as I could remember, and I also knew nobody else around me was. It felt liberating, seeing two people who were just like me.
Still, that wasn't something that should change my opinion on Highbridge. I still had to leave, go back to my old school and old life, and never see that face again. Never learn his name. Never have a chance to…get to know him better?
Ridiculous. Why would someone like him want to know someone like me?
And yet deep inside I knew that my decision had been made.
I wanted to stay in Highbridge.