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Thread: Dreams of You

  1. #1
    when i come to, let us meet. Audo's Avatar
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    Apr 2015
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    Default Dreams of You

    A long while back I asked Goldpanner what she would like me to write about if I were to, hypothetically, write her a short story for her as a Christmas gift. She asked for a story about long distance relationships. And, four years later, I finally delivered! This is for you, GP! Merry Christmas, I hope you like it!

    (Is it too early to post this? Idk. I can never tell with digital gifts. Let me know what y'all think! I worked hard on it.)



    dreams of you.
    WRITTEN FOR: GOLDPANNER
    CONTENT WARNING: MILD SUGGESTIVE THEMES
    AND LANGUAGE

    “Someone had a dream about you!”


    Adrian rubbed the last remnants of sleep from his eyes. His phone’s notification light flashed lavender and he hazily reached over and unlocked his phone.

    “Someone had a dream about you!” a cute personified cloud character with little sneakers chirped. “They described this dream as…” The Dreamr mascot stared up and away as if trying to recall. “Happy!” Adrian smiled.

    “Did you dream of anyone, Adrian?” the cloud asked.

    A hint of a smile curled up in the corner of Adrian’s mouth as he punched his answers into the app.

    “So… you had a ‘sexy/happy’ dream about ‘Carter’, is that right?”

    Yes.

    “Great! An anonymous notification will be sent to ‘Carter’. Is that okay?”

    Yes.

    “Alright! ‘Carter’ will know someone’s been dreaming about him!”

    Adrian closed the app and rolled onto his back. He ran his hand down his bare chest as he absentmindedly searched for constellations in the glow-in-the-dark stars stuck to his bedroom ceiling from when he was younger. He thought over what potential plans he had in store for the day. His mind drifted back towards Carter and the dream he had last night only for his phone to go off. Carter was facetiming him. He accepted and immediately grinned at the sight of his boyfriend on the other end.

    “Hey, babe,” Adrian said as he rolled onto his side.

    Carter rolled onto the opposite side in response. Positioning their phones right, it was almost like the other was resting beside them on the other side of their beds. They never talked about it, but they both instinctively did this every morning for months now, everything lining up just so.

    “Hey,” Carter replied, his voice soft and delicate. His body sighed into the pillow as he traced Adrian’s features with his eyes. A lazy warmth filled his face; the kind of smile you don’t even realize you’re making when it happens, but one that comes about effortlessly on its own.

    They lay like that for a while and listened to the sound of the other breathing, existing. Adrian wished it would never end, and considered canceling the day entirely so he could be there with Carter, taking in his appearance, his sounds, his familiarity. He could look into those blue eyes for hours, days even.

    As he lay there, blissfully unaware of everything beyond his bedroom, beyond each other, an unfortunate thought twisted inside. He wanted nothing more than to reach over, to comb his fingers through Carter’s dirty blond bedhead. To hold him close and feel him in his arms. To run his hands down his skin, his back. There existed a pull in his chest, a desire to close the distance between him and Carter, and then, a pang of sadness when he realized, once more, as he did every morning, that he couldn’t. He was here, in Canada, and Carter, the states.

    Six months later and it wasn’t any easier. He’d been wanting a boyfriend his entire life. He watched everyone else in school hooking up, getting together, falling in love and feeling like it would always be something denied him. And then, Carter. He still couldn’t believe he had someone he cared deeply about, someone that made him feel seen, maybe for the first time ever. It felt almost like a trick the universe was playing on him, to give him nearly everything he wanted, but not quite. How cruel it was, to want nothing more than to reach out and hold another, but never being able to. There was always a screen between them, and it felt like there always would be.

    Inevitably as these thoughts took hold, the blissful spell the boys were under moments ago would slip. Though they both noticed every time it happened, they never spoke of it, and moved on as if it never happened.

    “So, you had a sex dream about me, huh?” Carted said with a smirk. “Was I good?”

    Adrian burrowed his cheek deeper into his pillow and smiled against the fabric. “I dunno. How do you even know it was me? Maybe someone else dreams about you, too.”

    Carter pressed his tongue against the inside of his mouth before letting out a small chuckle. “Oh yeah? Wasn’t you, huh?”

    “Nope,” he teased.

    “You don’t think about me like that?”

    “Honestly, I wasn’t going to bring this up, but I find you… repulsive?” Adrian said as he tried and failed to be straight-faced.

    “Is that right?”

    “Yup. Like, the thought of you naked, just…” he couldn’t even finish the lie.

    “Repulses you, right.” Carted said. He dragged his free hand down his chest. “So, this… this does nothing for you?” He said as his hand, and the phone’s view, went lower and lower down his chest.

    “Y-yeah,” Adrian stammered. “I hate it, like… put a shirt on.”

    “Mmm.” Carter’s hand continued to trail down his body, meeting the blanket that covered his lower half. His gaze locked onto Adrian as he slowly, teasingly, pushed the blanket down.

    Adrian stared hard at Carter’s hand, pulse loud. He didn’t even realize he had been moving his own hand down his body as Carter did. A fire grew inside him and he subconsciously brought the phone a little closer to his face. The air felt thick.

    Carter stopped lowering the blanket just enough to reveal he wasn’t wearing any sleep pants. He wasn’t wearing anything at all in fact. Adrian swallowed, unable to look away from the tuft of hair at the end of Carter’s treasure trail. Carter closed his eyes and stretched—his back curved forward as he let out a soft moan that drove Adrian crazy.

    “You’re right,” Carter said. In one quick movement he pulled the covers up to his neck and curled up in them like a little cocoon. “You don’t wanna see this gross body.”

    Adrian hadn’t realized he was biting his lip. It took a lot for him not to let out an involuntary pleading whine in disappointment. He shifted uncomfortably, hoping his body’s own reaction to Carter’s tease wasn’t evident through the phone. “You…”

    “Hm?” Carter grinned wide.

    Adrian let out a held breath and scratched the back of his neck. His cheeks burned but he pretended not to notice. Already he knew he would be replaying what just happened in his mind all day. And later that night.

    He rolled onto his back and sighed, phone facing up to the ceiling. They stayed like that for a moment until Carter spoke up on the other end once more. Adrian held the phone above him.

    “What are you up to today?” Carter asked. He was still wrapped up in the blankets, only his head peeking through. The sight of it made Adrian crack a smile.

    “Um,” he said. “I’m meeting up with Lexi later.”

    “I don’t think she likes me.”

    “I don’t really know if Lexi likes anyone, to be honest. She’s kind of just… her own little island that she only lets people visit sometimes.”

    “Anytime I say something in the group chat, she, like, pretends I didn’t say anything.”

    “Really?”

    “Yeah.”

    “Huh. I’ll talk to her about it.”

    “You don’t have to,” Carter said, coming out of his cocoon a little as he shifted to hold the phone with both hands. “It’s just weird. I don’t think she trusts me.”

    “Maybe it’s because you’re American,” Adrian joked.

    “Must be it. Hates that red, white, and blue.”

    “I think we’ve solved it.”

    Carter let out a small laugh. “What are you guys doing anyway?”

    “Going to the mall I think. Lexi wants some shopping advice or something.”

    “Has she seen what you wear?”

    “Hey, shut up. I’ve got… style… sort of.”

    “Mhmm.”

    “I think she thinks gay people naturally have an enlightened taste in clothes or something. Even if I don’t show it, she believes it’s hiding deep down.”

    “She’ll be disappointed when you pick out shirts and jeans for her, haha.”

    Adrian rolled his eyes. “Hey, maybe she’s right. Maybe I do have good taste and it hasn’t had a chance to, like, bloom or whatever. Maybe once I come out I’ll be this big gay butterfly that, like, wears great clothes.”

    “Hm.”

    “What?”

    “I swear I wasn’t going to bring this up, but since you did….”

    Adrian sat up on his bed. “Yeah?”

    “It’s just… when are you going to come out? I don’t want to push you or anything but like when we first started talking you said you were waiting for a reason to. And… it’s been six months. Am I not enough of a reason?”

    Adrian’s shoulders slackened. He scratched at his wrist with his free hand, shaking the phone a little as he did so. “I…” He looked at Carter. “It’s scary, you know? I don’t know how my parents would take it.”

    “But you live in Canada.”

    “…yeah?”

    “Isn’t it supposed to be better up there? You guys have been able to get married for like a decade now.” Carter unwrapped himself from the blankets and sat up in his bed, too. “It makes me feel kind of… I don’t know. It’s kind of crappy you don’t want to tell people about me. It makes me feel like I don’t really matter to you.”

    “That’s not it,” Adrian replied. “You do matter to me. A lot. But this, it’s like my family you know? It’s everyone at my school. It’s complicated. I don’t know how they will react. They’re kind of… traditional.”

    “I get that it’s hard. Hell, I went through it myself. I came out and it was fine. All of my friends know about you. I’ve even shown my mom a picture of you.”

    “You have?”

    “I wanted her to see how cute my boyfriend is.”

    Boyfriend. It still felt so crazy to him, after all this time, to finally be able to call someone that and have them say it back. Carter meant so much to him but that didn’t change who his parents were, or the realities of the small town he lived in. It was different for Carter.

    “Do you get why it would upset me that you don’t want the same?”

    “I do. And I do want to,” Adrian said. “I honestly do. But… I’m not ready.”

    “You’re never going to be ready. Sometimes you have to take a jump, y’know? Just get it out there and deal with it and th—.”

    “Can we talk about this later, maybe?” Adrian interrupted. “I can’t wrap my head around it right now and I’m getting late for meeting Lexi.”

    Carter let the phone go loose in his hands. “Yeah. Okay.”

    “I’m sorry,” Adrian replied.

    “It’s okay.” Carted softened. “I just… I like us, you know? I want people to see how happy we are.”

    Adrian looked away. “Yeah….” He took a breath. “Okay. I should get dressed.”

    “You gonna let me watch?”

    Adrian laughed. “No.”

    “Aw.”

    He shook his head, smiling. “I’ll text you later, okay?”

    “Okay.”

    They said their goodbyes and Adrian hung up the call. He dropped his hand into his lap, phone falling loose. Past his bedroom door, he could hear his parents move through the kitchen, clanging dishes and talking to each other. He couldn’t make out what they were saying, but the mumbled sound of their presence felt more like a threat than a comfort.

    - & -

    The cold air nipped at Adrian’s face as he stepped outside and slipped on a toque. He held the collar of his peacoat close together and began walking toward the mall to meet up with Lexi. Christmas was only a week away and yet their small town hadn’t seen any snow at all. It unsettled him every time he stepped outside. Everything looked like Autumn but felt like Winter. The lack of snow seemed incongruous to everything. It was looking like it was going to be his first non-white Christmas since he could remember.

    In some ways it was nice as it meant not having to worry about slipping on ice or shoveling out the driveway, but it also made everything not really feel like Christmas. Winter was one of his favourite times of the year. He thought about making snowmen and going ice skating with Carter one day. Snuggling up next to the fire. Hot chocolate. Everything about the season made him feel warm and cozy. Shame the world didn’t reflect it.

    Adrian took out his phone and snapped a quick selfie to send to Carter over Snapchat. DAY SIXTY SEVEN, STILL NO SNOW. SEND HELP. He wrote for the caption along with a sadface emoji.

    Carter’s reply was almost instant. CAN’T HELP YOU THERE. NO SNOW HERE EITHER. The caption read below a pic of his similarly dire surroundings.

    Another snap came soon after. BTW U LOOK CUTE ALL RED FACED LIKE THAT. It read, with a selfie of Carter sticking his tongue out.

    Adrian’s face went even redder. He tucked his phone into his pocket but held onto it inside as he continued toward the mall. His mind drifted back to the conversation he had with Carter that morning. There didn’t seem to be a way to explain to him he wasn’t ready for his world to change by coming out. His parents had never been overtly homophobic, at least, not in a way he could clearly point to as an excuse not to tell them. They made jokes sometimes. Disparaging comments. But they also posed themselves as socially liberal to their friends. It was hard for him to know if it was an act—if they would react well or blow up—but he knew he couldn’t keep it from them forever.

    He and Carter were both in their final year of high school. Soon he’d be out of this town and out and away from his parents and the life he’s lived up until now. A whole wide world of possibilities existed out there and he was excited to meet them all and find out what and who he wanted to be. There wasn’t really escape from his parents though and the pressure to come out to them was mounting as graduation loomed. Adrian hadn’t made any specific plans, just that he would come out to them before moving on to university.

    Coming out was something he knew he was going to do, wanted to do maybe even, but he also knew it was not something he was prepared for. It was something that hung in the air in their conversations though, sometimes nearby, sometimes off in the corner. He was always aware that it was a sticking point for Carter, something that bugged him and he understood why, sort of, but Carter also just… didn’t get it. Carter had amazing and supportive parents and he didn’t seem to ever remember that’s not the case for most people. The uncertainty behind how his parents would react was overwhelming.

    And it was almost Christmas. Couldn’t it wait?

    Adrian obsessed over it as he walked. Eventually the mall came into view and with it: Lexi. Even from the end of the sidewalk Adrian could make out her bright blue jeep as it practically glared in the parking lot.

    He found her laying down on her jacket on the hood of her car wearing short shorts and a t-shirt. Janelle Monae played from the speaker on her phone as she lay back with her periwinkle sunglasses on. When he approached it took her a moment to acknowledge his presence. She tilted in his direction and lowered her glasses just enough for her eyes to peer over them. Lexi smirked and returned to her original position.

    “Hey bitch,” she said in such a commonplace tone you’d think that really was his name.

    “Aren’t you cold?”

    “Only inside, babe.” Her breath crystallized into the air above them like a puff of smoke. Adrian often thought it was odd that she didn’t smoke because it was hard to deny it wouldn’t complement her overall style. He brought it up one time and she simply told him to ‘miss me with that cancer shit’. In fact, Lexi was a vegan that was pretty much straight-edge with all drugs, even alcohol. If people were going to find her interesting, she was damned sure it would be because of who she was and not what she took.

    Lexi hopped off the hood of the car and grabbed the bomber jacket she had been laying on. It was blue with an elegant white floral print design. She slipped it on in one smooth motion and headed to the mall entrance. Adrian hurried to get in-step with her.

    “So why are we here?” he asked.

    “I need a good look that blends two styles.”

    “What are the styles?”

    “Slutty but classy,” she said as she took off her sunglasses and perched them atop her head.

    “Of course.”

    She held the door open for him and they headed inside. Adrian started to unbundle from his various winter clothes as the heat in the mall vastly overcompensated for the season. He pocketed his toque and undid the buttons on his peacoat. Lexi reached over and fixed up his hair as he did so.

    “What’s it for?” he asked as she fiddled with his bangs.

    “Josh is having a big Christmas party on Saturday.”

    “And you need to be classy for that?”

    “No. I want to be classy for it. Sort of.” She seemed satisfied with her work and stepped away from him. Her hand naturally found position on her hip. “I also have like a family thing earlier in the day and I don’t feel like changing so the look kinda needs to pull double duty.”

    “You could wear a long skirt to the family thing and then pull it up and make it a short sleeveless dress for the party?”

    “Resourceful,” she said.

    “I saw it in a movie.”

    “Figures.”

    She headed down the mall, passing by many of the stores with barely a glance. Adrian began to wonder why she insisted he come because it was clear she had something already in mind the way she breezed through the mall. He began texting Carter as he trailed behind her.

    “With Lexi now. She’s… a lot.”

    “Always is.”

    Texting with Carter when they couldn’t Skype or FaceTime helped make them feel like they were still connected. In a way, it was like Carter was there with him as he experienced his day. He pictured him almost like a kind of ghostly presence sitting beside him. When he received a text, he imagined it like he was right there, saying it to him. It was all wishful thinking really, but it helped him feel closer to him. As he tailed Lexi as she tore through the store with clear intent, grabbing this and that to try on in the changing rooms, he pictured Carter right there with him, laughing and making little jokes and eye rolling about her behaviour.

    While Lexi tried on clothes, Adrian sat down in the little waiting area outside the changing rooms. He envisioned Carter sitting beside him, arm around him. It was an imagination that felt all at once both cozy and lonely. Feeling like he was closer to him, but also acknowledging the reality that he wasn’t at all. Carter’s quick texts and reactions helped make it seem like he was with him, but of course he wasn’t. He was back in the states, probably imagining the same thing.

    “Maybe you should go,” Lexi said from the changing room.

    “Like, leave?”

    “I mean the party.” She opened the door and came out in a small black cocktail dress. “Josh’s party.” She checked out her ass in the mirror hanging from the changing room door. It strained to cover it.

    “Her ass would probably pop out the minute she bends over or sits down,” Carter said.

    “Maybe that’s by design?” Adrian replied. “She did say she wanted something slutty. Give Josh the big show.”

    “I don’t really think that’s my kind of thing,” Adrian replied between texts.

    “Yeah, I know. Nothing is ever your kind of thing.” She unzipped the dress. “I swear if I hadn’t asked you to come you would have just stayed home talking up your friend all day.”

    Friend.

    “Might be good for you to get out. Hell, you could even get laid for once.” She headed back into the changing room and closed the door. “I think Josh’s friend is gay.”

    “I have a boyfriend,” Adrian said a bit too loudly.

    “Mmm,” was her only reply.

    “I told you she didn’t like me.”

    “Starting to feel like she probably doesn’t like me either, to be honest.”

    Adrian pretended Carter held him closer on the bench. He distracted himself from Lexi by sending selfies to Carter. Replies came quickly and Adrian made sure to screenshot the cutest ones to keep on his phone. It was such a simple thing, but it really was a comfort.

    After trying on a bunch of other outfits and not being satisfied with any of them, Lexi finally declared that she had found it, the perfect blend of slutty and classy for the party. She stepped out of the changing room wearing a short sleeved zipped up black cropped jacket and a high-waist long red skirt that went down to her calves. A sliver of her midriff peeked through between the skirt and jacket. She struck a pose with one leg slightly forward and a hand on her hip.

    “Well?” she said. “What do you think? Give me the Gay Opinion.”

    “The Gay Opinion is that it’s nice.”

    “’Nice’? You’re so bad at this, Adrian.”

    “I don’t know what to say! Not all gay people are fashionable.”

    “I know. Have you seen you?” She turned to address the mirror instead.

    “If you know I don’t know anything about this stuff then why did you ask me to come?”

    She glanced over her shoulder. “Because I wanted your company, jackass.”

    “Oh.” He slumped in his seat and looked down at his phone. “Sorry.”

    “Now I feel bad.”

    “I don’t know, man. She kinda set you up to think that’s why she asked you,” Carter replied.

    “I guess.”

    “It’s whatever.” She faced him again. “You really think it’s good?”

    “It’s great,” he said. “To be honest though I don’t really get the slutty vibe from it very much.”

    Lexi unzipped the jacket almost completely, her cleavage practically spilling out. She reached down and pulled up the end of the skirt on her left side and clipped it high up on her thigh, higher than her short shorts were. Like a punctuation mark, she popped her hip and raised an eyebrow. “Well?”

    “Okay, yeah, I see it. Damn.”

    She smirked.


    Lexi propped her feet onto the nearby chair as she picked at her fries. She sat in profile to him as she ate her meal one fry at a time. Being a vegan, she had very limited options at the mall food court, but if she minded she didn’t say anything.

    “I’m happy with it,” she said. “Hopefully Josh will be, too,” she added, her lips curled into a smile. “You really sure you don’t want to come? I’m the best wingman you could get, Adrian.”

    “I’m in a relationship.”

    She put the fry she was about to eat back in the package. Her head slumped a little to the side as it seemed she debated speaking up or not. The debate must have been ongoing because a silence that felt like it stretched on endlessly took hold.

    “Just say it.”

    “Fine.” She set the fries down on the table. “I’m not saying any of this to, like, piss you off or anything, okay? Like I’m saying it as your best friend, but…”

    “But what?”

    “This thing you have going on with Carter… It’s not actually real, you know?”

    Adrian sat up. “What are you talking about? Of course it’s real. He’s my boyfriend.”

    “She doesn’t think what we have is, like, real or something.”

    “I don’t know why you listen to her, she’s just obsessed with creating drama.”

    He imagined Carter sitting beside him at the table, just as disgusted at what Lexi was saying as he was. But it felt less reassuring than he hoped. Carter wasn’t actually there, and he couldn’t deny that.

    “It’s not," she said. “Like, what do you guys even do? Send each other dickpics every day? That isn’t a relationship.”

    “She thinks all we do is send each other dickpics.”

    “Haha, I bet you’d like that, huh?” Carter replied and Adrian could practically feel him wink.

    “I don’t want to hurt you, Adrian,” Lexi went on. “But this thing… you're both just presenting fake versions of yourselves. You’re controlling how you look, what you say. You’re careful not to reveal too much, or to let him know your weird ticks or habits or whatever, right?”

    Adrian focused on the food on their table. He didn’t present his flaws openly to Carter, and sometimes when he took selfies or sent him pics there would be dozens of scrapped ones before the one he’d actually send. But, wasn’t that true of all relationships? Aren’t they all about sharing the best parts of you in the beginning? He thought so anyway, but this was his first boyfriend. Maybe he was wrong.

    “A real relationship isn’t an hour Skype conversation every few days, or sending nudes on Snapchat, Adrian. It’s lived-in. It’s in-person contact and communication. Like, what’s going to happen when you meet Carter, if ever, and you can’t hide these parts of you that you don’t want him to know about? You’ve been hiding yourself your whole life, but that’s not something you can do in an actual relationship. That’s not love."

    He wanted nothing more than to reach over and grab Carter’s hand. But there was no hand to grab. Carter wasn’t there. He wasn’t flesh and blood beside him. He was text messages in his phone. Selfies on his screen. Soon he felt the imagined Carter he had been picturing start to falter and fade.

    “And how do you know he’s even being faithful to you, Adrian? That he isn’t going to find someone real that he can actually connect with, someone he can actually touch? Carter’s not in the closet like you are. He’s out there. And you’re still stuck in here.”

    “She thinks you’re just going to find someone real and leave me.”

    Lexi faced him. She rested her hands on the table, fingers interlocked. “Do you even know he is who he says he is? That he does what he says he does? If you’re only showing him the best parts of you, you know he’s doing the same.”

    “Carter?”

    She reached over and touched his hand. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I don’t want to see you get hurt. These kinds of things… they just… they don’t last. Sooner or later, they always find something real instead.”

    Carter didn’t respond, and the imagined version Adrian had been picturing sitting beside him faded from view. He was alone.

    Adrian pulled his hand back. “It’s not like that,” he insisted. “Me and Carter, we’re good. We’re real. The feelings we have are real. You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

    Lexi watched him carefully. Her features were uncommonly soft and gentle. After a moment, she nodded lightly and sat back in her chair, hands enclosed in her lap.

    “Okay,” she said softly.

    But he knew she wasn’t convinced, and he wasn’t sure if he was either.

    - & -

    “Someone had a dream about you!”

    “They described this dream as… unpleasant.”

    Adrian stared at the cloud mascot’s dejected face and the word—”unpleasant”. His breath caught in his throat. Something shifted yesterday after telling Carter what Lexi had been saying. They hadn’t talked since then, and now, this…

    He closed Dreamr and navigated toward his messaging app. Still hanging there, unanswered, were his attempts at reaching Carter. Had he scared him away? Was Lexi’s comments sprouting doubt in them both, maybe even over nothing, but doubts all the same? Or was there something more to it? Of course he knew he should just talk to Carter about this. Call him or FaceTime him or something. Deal with it all: the doubts, the insecurities, the dream he must’ve had last night. Get it out in the open and addressed. It was the smart thing to do, he knew, and yet, staring at the message screen, fingers hovering over the keypad, he couldn’t bring himself to do so.

    What if there was more to it? What if Lexi had been right? What if…

    Adrian let the phone fall out of his hand. He brought his knees closer to him on the bed and looked out his bedroom window to the still snowless winter beyond. His best attempts were made to push the thought down deep inside him, to not let himself think it, because he knew once he had there was no going back. Once he let himself believe it really could be true, how would he ever be able to think that it wasn’t? But he couldn’t stop it, try as he might, for it was what took hold in the back of his mind ever since Lexi brought it up.

    What if Carter really had cheated on him? What if he really had found something ‘real’ instead? What would he do then?

    He picked up his phone once more. The screen still showed it all.

    “She thinks you’re just going to find someone real and leave me.”

    “Carter?”

    “…”

    “…Carter?”

    “Call me?”

    “…”

    “I don’t know if what Lexi said upset you or not, or if maybe your phone died or something. But please just message me back so I don’t go crazy okay, lol?”

    “?”

    “Just forget about what she said, okay? She doesn’t know us. She doesn’t know what she’s talking about.”

    “…”

    “Okay… I’m going to bed… Please get back to me when you see this.”

    His thumb hovered over the icon to call Carter, and he hesitated.


    Days passed much the same. While Carter and Adrian did text and talk in the intervening time, it wasn’t like it used to be. Most times Carter would only respond with one word answers, and soon the conversation would drift into silence. The questions of what happened, what was going on, and whether or not Lexi was right hung in the air between them, but Adrian could never bring himself to vocalize them, for he feared an answer he wouldn’t be able to unknow.

    Of course he knew that they couldn’t continue on like this forever. But he was too scared of losing him completely to bring himself to do it. In his mind he knew it wasn’t much different—how they were going on now wasn’t the close relationship he once knew—but the thought of actually, officially, losing it was too much.

    And so he started looking toward other explanations, ones that could put his mind at ease. Maybe Carter was just busy. It was getting closer and closer to Christmas, which can be a hectic time for a lot of people. Perhaps it was all in Adrian’s head that something was wrong, that he was doubting for nothing and maybe from Carter’s perspective everything was totally normal.

    No.

    While he knew that he could sometimes be overly anxious, there was no denying that something was wrong, something was getting between them. That didn’t have to mean cheating though, did it? It could be a bunch of things.

    It dawned on Adrian it might have been the fact he still hadn’t come out to his parents. Maybe it grated on Carter more than he anticipated. Adrian was so focused on Lexi he forgot their conversation that morning that he cut short. What if the way forward was to come out? Maybe that was what Carter needed.

    But what did he himself need? He knew he still wasn’t ready, and the thought of doing it now, mere days away from Christmas, filled him with an immense sense of dread. It was too much for him, but he couldn’t bear the state of him and Carter much longer either. He had to do what he needed to in order to mend the relationship. It scared the shit out of him, but he was going to do it. He was going to come out to his parents. And maybe then things would finally get back to how they used to be.

    - & -

    As Adrian attempted to prepare himself for the tough conversation he was about to have with his family, he couldn’t help worry. Coming out might patch things up between him and Carter and help them get back to how they were, but it was also something he’d never be able to take back once he said it to his family. There was no unsaying those words and while he leaned towards the belief that everything would be more or less fine with them, there was always the chance that it wouldn’t be. What if they despised him for it? What if they threw him out of the house? What if they disowned him? Wouldn’t it make more sense for him to at least wait until he was in college and on his own just in case?

    Even as he tried to psych himself up, he was filled with doubt and fear. He wasn’t ready. That was all there was to it. He wasn’t ready for his life, his world, to change like this. But he had no real option. Adrian fully believed that risking it was the way back to Carter. And he tried to tell himself it was worth it.

    He waited all day for his family to come home from work. Tomorrow was Christmas Eve and he knew the timing was terrible but it couldn’t wait any longer. He couldn’t keep this going with Carter, this state of uncertainty and strife. They needed to move past it, no matter what.

    All through dinner with his family he wondered if it was going to be the last one they had. His parents were their usual boisterous selves, full of laughter and conversation. He picked at his meal for most of the night until he could be excused back to his room. Soon his mom and dad would settle in the living room, and he’d approach them and tell them everything, and then, his world would change. It made him sick to his stomach.

    Adrian watched the clock on his bedroom wall tick away. He kept telling himself just ten more minutes, five more minutes. Told himself it would be better to wait until their evening shows were over. Pretty soon it was ten o’clock and he still hadn’t left his room. There was a pain in his throat he tried to suppress but it persisted, like choking on barbed wire.

    He picked up his phone. “Hey,” he messaged Carter.

    No response.

    Outside the world looked chilly and dead, but there still wasn’t any snow.

    “I don’t know what’s going on between us,” he wrote. “I just know it’s hurting me and I don’t know how to fix it.” He waited a few minutes for a response. “I’m coming out to my parents. Tonight. If that’s what I have to do for things to be okay between us, I’ll do it.”

    “Don’t, Adrian,” Carter replied almost instantly.

    “What?”

    “I don’t think you should come out to them…”

    He stared at his phone. “What are you talking about? You’ve been bugging me for like months to come out to them and now that I’m literally about to you change your mind and say I shouldn’t? What’s going on?”

    “I… I don’t think you should… not because of me.”

    For almost their entire relationship Adrian being in the closet had been a sticking point for Carter, mildly at first, but it only got worse the closer they got and the further along their relationship progressed and now, all of the sudden, he didn’t think it was a good idea? That he shouldn’t do it ‘because of him’? What the hell was going on? What did he mean by that? Was it because they were on the rocks? That Carter didn’t think it was worth it anymore because they weren’t going to last? Or did Carter really cheat on h—

    No. That wasn’t the Carter he knew. The Carter he knew wanted him to come out. He had to believe that, and he had to believe it was the only way to make things right.

    “I’m doing it,” Adrian wrote. “I’m going to go tell them right now.”

    He pocketed his phone and left his bedroom.

    As he headed down the hallway to the living room, he could hear the muffled voices of his parents just beyond the door. They were laughing about something.

    It unsettled him the closer he got to them, the closer he got to this big life changing event he knew he wasn’t ready for.

    Growing up he always found it weird his family’s living room had a door. Most places he went the living room was always open, something you could walk right into. It felt like a boundary set by his parents, even though he was sure they weren’t the ones who put it there. But that was the feeling it gave him: that the living room wasn’t an open space, but a space that belonged to them, a space you were either intruding upon or playing guest to, but not one meant for you.

    He hated it growing up, but now, his heart in his throat, his fists clenched, on the precipice of a life altering decision, he found it a comfort. It was a refuge. One final and clear obstacle dividing his current life from his new one.

    Beyond the door, his father’s and mother’s voices were clearer. Adrian couldn’t make out what they were saying, but he could hear their tone, the rhythm of their sentences. Their presence was real and heavy.

    His hands shook as he reached for the doorknob. He felt the cold metal in his palm and knew with frightening clarity this was not what he wanted, this was not something he was prepared for at all.

    Adrian wished for something, anything, to come and pull him from the door, but pulling away meant pulling away from Carter, from their relationship, and so, he started to turn the handle.

    His phone went off.

    With one hand still on the doorknob, he reached into his pocket with his other and pulled it out. Carter was calling him. Adrian looked from the phone to the door and back. He let go.

    He accepted the call and held the phone up to his ear. “Carter?”

    “We need to talk, Adrian.”

    - & -

    Adrian stepped outside into the cold bitter air. He held his peacoat close to his body as he headed up the hill by his house. There was a bench up there that overlooked the lake nearby. It had always been one of his favourite places, and he’d always think about one day showing Carter. Something so simple—sitting there together, in the same space, looking out at the water—felt so achingly beautiful to him. For now, he sat alone.

    He tried to calm his nerves. His breath crystallized in the air in front of him. One after another it blew out and dispersed away. Deep held breaths released slowly, counted one at a time. After the tenth came and went, he pulled his phone out of his pocket and took Carter off hold.

    “Hey…,” he said.

    “Hey,” Carter replied softly.

    Adrian had been avoiding asking Carter the tough questions for days. But sitting there now, finally hearing his voice again, he knew there was no avoiding it. Regardless of what the answers were, there was no way for them to move forward without talking about it, without facing the truth. Maybe that meant the end of them, but he knew the only chance for them to continue on required them being open about it now. And so, he finally asked the question that had been eating him up for days.

    “Carter… did you cheat on me? Just… tell me that.”

    “No,” Carter said quickly, sharply, without hesitation. “I didn’t cheat on you, Adrian, I promise. But…”

    “But you wanted to?”

    “No…”

    “Then what?”

    “I could have,” he finally said. Carter sighed, and it took him a while before he spoke. “This guy came into my work the other day,” he said. “And he was cute. You would have thought so. And like… I don’t know. He flirted with me, and I kind of flirted back. At one point he touched my hand and… Shit. I don’t know, Adrian. It was just so warm, and….”

    “Real?” Adrian tried to keep his voice from breaking.

    “Yeah…,” Carter replied. “It felt real. Like, something I could hold and know, and it kinda scared me in a way.”

    Adrian cleared his throat. He could feel the beginnings of tears from along his eyes.

    “After he left, my friends got on my case. Asking me, like, why didn’t I get his number, why didn’t I go after him. And I said, you know, I have a boyfriend. But they did what Lexi did. ‘You could have something real’, ‘you could actually be with someone’. And… it got to me. It made me doubt things, it made me doubt us.”

    “I get it,” Adrian said. “I started doubting us, too.”

    “And it’s so stupid, right? Like we were so good before. We were happy. But I guess when they said that stuff, it got to me, it, like, pulled all this stuff up that I was trying to keep down deep. And I started pulling away because I didn’t know what to do about it.”

    Adrian pulled his coat in tight around him. He hugged his chest with his free arm.

    “I didn’t cheat on you, Adrian. I would never cheat on you. But I could have, and it messed me up. I pulled away and I’m sorry. Not talking to you about this was so stupid and only made things worse.”

    “Yeah,” Adrian said. “I’m also sorry. I should have talked to you about what I was going through, too, but I was so scared of getting an answer I didn’t want.”

    “I know what you mean. Long distance is brutal, man,” Carter said. “Like, it’s so much harder than I thought it would be. Every night I go to bed wishing you were next to me, that I could hold you and feel you and kiss you and I can’t and it really, really, sucks.”

    “It does.”

    “But you mean so much to me, Adrian. And I don’t want to lose you. I want to keep being your boyfriend, even when it’s hard, even when we doubt ourselves. Because I know we’re meant to be together. I f*cking love you, Adrian. And like, it’s fine if you don’t feel the s—.”

    “I f*cking love you, too,” Adrian interrupted.

    They sat in silence for a moment, connected by their breathing on either side of the phone, and a persistent warmth growing inside of them, even against the winter cold.

    For so long they both avoided opening up, not just about their joy, but about their problems, too. But now that they had, Adrian felt relieved, not scared. The future was frightening in some ways, and the unknown with it, but being vulnerable with Carter… he knew now it was the only true way forward. Through the good, and the bad. And that’s why he knew he had to keep going, and had to come clean about all that was unsaid.

    “Carter…”

    “Yeah?”

    “I’m not ready to come out to my family. And I know that probably disappoints you and bugs you, but you have to know it has nothing to do with you. It’s not that I’m ashamed of you or of us or that I’m hiding you away or that I don’t want people to see how happy we are or any of that. It’s just not something I’m ready for and I need you to know that, even if it’s… not enough for you.”

    “Adrian. You’re enough. I’m so f*cking sorry if I made you feel like you weren’t. It was wrong of me to pressure you, like, ugh. I feel so shitty about it now. I’m just so much happier since I came out and I wanted that for you, too, but I forgot what it was like when I was still in the closet. The fear and anxiety and all that. It was wrong for me to push you. I don’t need you to come out. Like, that’s your journey and I want to help you with it, but I don’t want to be forcing you or anything. You’re enough, I swear.”

    Adrian felt the tension inside him release, and he leaned back against the bench with a small smile on his face. “Thank you. I do want to come out, but I’m not ready just yet.”

    “And that’s okay. And I’ll still be here for when you are. We’ll take it at your speed, okay?”

    “I love you,” Adrian said. He knew they had said it mere moments ago, but he couldn’t help it, the feeling was real.

    Carter laughed. “I love you, too.”

    They continued to talk as they sat there in the cold. It wasn’t like it used to be, Adrian realized. He was right that there was no going back to before. But it was something more familiar, more vulnerable, more lived-in. Something he knew, without a doubt, to be real.

    “You know how you talked about wishing we were together at night and stuff?” Adrian asked.

    “Yeah?”

    “How do you get over that feeling? That… I don’t know… longing? Sometimes it feels like it could swallow me up.”

    Carter thought for a moment. “I guess… it’s just… I look outside and I see all these stars and… Hmm… We may not be right next to each other, breathing in the same air, but I look up and I know—we’re both under the same sky. And that’s how I sleep at night.”

    Adrian looked up at the night sky above him and found it, too, brought him comfort, knowing Carter was also looking up at that same sky. “Carter,” he began. “I want to be with you.”

    “I want to be with you, too, dude. Long distance is f*cking tough, Adrian, but I’m all in.”

    “We should set a date,” Adrian said. “Something we can work towards.”

    “How about I come up there for spring break? You could show me around your town. Prove to Lexi I’m real, haha.”

    “Yeah. Let’s do that.”

    “March 20th. Write it down, Adrian. That’s the day I come up there and rock your world.”

    Adrian laughed. He leaned back on the bench and closed his eyes. The winter air brushed against his cheeks, but he hardly noticed. The thought of finally being able to see Carter and hold him and kiss him and be with him… it lit him up inside. So much that he was legitimately startled when he felt something cold land on his face.

    He opened his eyes to a flurry of white, falling from the sky.

    “It’s snowing,” he said.

    “Yeah,” Carter replied. “Here, too.”

    There on the bench Adrian felt Carter sitting down beside him. They both looked out over the frozen lake as the snow finally began to fall. He placed his hand down beside him and imagined Carter taking it within his own and he knew, where he was, that Carter was doing the same.

    And in the not too far off future, he wouldn’t have to imagine it at all.

    - & -

    “Someone had a dream about you!”

    “They describe this dream as…”

    “Hopeful.”
    Last edited by Audo; December 7, 2018 at 01:45 AM. Reason: TYPOS GOSHDARNIT
       

  2. #2
    KHI Site Staff Goldpanner's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dreams of You

    "You’re enough, I swear.”

    Aaaand this was the part where I teared up on the train.... I love this story so much. It hit a really weird and real place in my heart. I like that the things Lexi said weren't unnecessarily mean - they came from a place of caring and they are in many ways true, even if they aren't the whole truth. And I love the way he didn't tell his parents in the end... That's more real too. This story was about small moments and their weight, no big drama, and it was perfect for a story about long distance relationships which are built from small moments every single day.

    Thank you for this lovely present, you are a wonderful writer and it is a blessing to have so many pieces you've written just for me. BIG HEARTS EMOJI

  3. #3
    when i come to, let us meet. Audo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dreams of You

    Quote Originally Posted by Goldpanner View Post
    "You’re enough, I swear.”

    Aaaand this was the part where I teared up on the train.... I love this story so much. It hit a really weird and real place in my heart.
    Aww I'm so glad to hear you liked it!

    I like that the things Lexi said weren't unnecessarily mean - they came from a place of caring and they are in many ways true, even if they aren't the whole truth.
    Yeah Lexi's comments were heavily inspired by comments/feelings me and my boyfriend both got in past long distance relationships. I knew they had to be included of course.

    And I love the way he didn't tell his parents in the end... That's more real too.
    This was something I went back and forth on a lot actually. Well, in a way. I always knew that I did not want him to come out in the end of the story, but I was worried that it might be unsatisfying to readers, or that they would find it like "wrong"? I tried to lessen the chances of that happening by deemphasizing his parents a bit. Like, you never actually meet them, they are never given names or anything, they just have a presence in his life and story. I think this helped in balancing the expectations and weight of them as characters, but idk lol. It's hard when you're dealing with expectations of certain kinds of narratives. Like I don't think I have ever read a gay ya story with coming out being a key focus and the character doesn't come out or get outed lol. Hopefully it works.

    This story was about small moments and their weight, no big drama, and it was perfect for a story about long distance relationships which are built from small moments every single day.
    this is honestly such a lovely succinct way of describing the story ;-;

    Thank you for this lovely present, you are a wonderful writer and it is a blessing to have so many pieces you've written just for me. BIG HEARTS EMOJI
    Thank you for the lovely comments! I read your comment to people at work, haha. I'm so glad you liked the story. Sorry it took too long to come together, but I guess it needed some time to form first :3

 

 

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