I just stood there in the middle of the room, gaping at him. I've always found it hard to identify sarcasm, and what he just said was surely sarcasm, had to be. Or maybe I have misheard him. Or the word 'fuck' had some other meaning.
"What?" I said. "I mean…pardon?"
"Do you want to fuck?" he repeated, making pauses between words, his eyes sparkling with amusement, which only strengthened my conviction that this was some kind of joke.
"Like in…having sex?" My knees felt suddenly weak.
"Bingo." He got up from his bed and sauntered over to me. He stopped in front of me, retrieved the book from my grip and tossed it on the bed. Then he smiled, his face impossibly close and impossibly beautiful.
"I didn't say I was gay," I whispered.
"Everybody's straight as an arrow." He let out a little chuckle. "Until they get stuck in a boarding school with a bunch of other boys and their raging hormones, and then some of them temporarily reconsider." He eyed me. "So, do you feel like it?"
I swallowed hard. I was obsessed with him, true, but this was too fast and too scary.
"I don't know," I said.
He shrugged. "Well, let's just check, should we?"
He leaned forward and pressed his lips to mine, and my heart just stopped. His lips were soft and his mouth hot, and it felt even better than when I had imagined it before, because this was real, it was Jesse kissing me, Jesse who wouldn’t even look my way when I walked past him, who wouldn’t share a table with me at breakfast, and yet for some reason was willing to do something so intimate with someone he barely knew.
It was that last thought that made me draw back, putting my hands on his chest, pushing him away. It was a gentle push but I regretted it immediately. I didn’t want to hurt him, I wanted to hold him and never let go, and yet I wanted him to know me first, not just be a stranger whom he kissed out of boredom.
"No," I muttered. "S-sorry."
The surprised look on his face changed into amusement as he looked down.
"You're a bit conflicted about this." He reached over and brushed his hand over the fabric of my trousers that was stretching at my groin area.
I stumbled back to escape his touch. "No, I…"
"We… We haven't been formally introduced."
He gaped at me for a moment, then folded in a bout of laughter.
"Oh, my," he whimpered. "Holy crap, do people even speak like that anymore? It's like you've stepped out of some Victorian novel."
I stood there, my face hot, not knowing what to say, only knowing that I'm screwing this up in so many ways at once.
"It's okay," he said, straightening up again, wiping his tears. "You're entertaining. Not the kind of entertaining I've been looking for, but I'll take it."
He stepped back and offered me a hand after a little ceremonial bow.
"Jesse Thomson, at your service," he said. "To whom I have the honor of speaking?"
I blinked, trying to figure if he was playing or mocking me or both.
"Gordon Brown," I said, accepting the handshake.
"Good," he said as I released his hand. "Does this count as a formal introduction?"
"I meant we need to get to know each other better," I muttered. "Like, become friends before we… become anything else."
He tilted his head to one side, examining me. Then, he moved away, sat down on his bed and patted the blanket with his hand. "Come here," he said. "Come on, I don’t bite."
Moving stiffly, I walked over and sat down on the firm mattress, very conscious of his proximity. There was a pleasant smell about him, too, probably some cologne or deodorant he was wearing.
"You see, Gordon Brown," he said. "I'm not looking for a soulmate or a friend for life or anything. I'm just trying to survive this shithole of a school, and to do that I have to relax sometimes and have some fun. Get it?"
"I guess." I cleared my throat.
"The point is, if you’re going to push me away, and give me that 'get to know each other better' crap, you can as well leave right now. Because if you can’t make me feel good, then why would I want to know you better?"
He looked at me expectantly, and then, without thinking, I leaned forward and kissed him.
I guess the only reason I was able to do that was that I wasn't thinking, because otherwise I would have chickened out. As it stood, within moments we were sliding from the bed and half sitting, half laying on the floor, our arms and legs entangled, our mouths exploring. His hands began to unbuckle my belt. I couldn't control my breath, it was too much, his body brushing against mine, so close, so available. I moaned and tried to move away, but it was too late, and for a moment my whole body was engulfed by an enormous wave of pleasure followed almost immediately by an equally large wave of shame.
"Oh!" He moved away and glanced down. "Oh, crap, are you…you're done?" He blinked a few times, then laughed. "Wow. Ladies and gentlemen, the title of the worst lover ever goes to…what was your name again?"
I sat there, stunned, the only thing going through my mind was—I've ruined it. He was talking to me and doing things I couldn't hope we'd ever do, and then I just went ahead and ruined it all like the idiot that I am. I could never get anything right. I could never be worthy of someone awesome like Jesse.
And then, to my own shock, I began to cry.