Chad wiped his forehead, sweaty from the game. He grasped Ryan’s
hand. “Good game, bro,” Chad said, mentally cursing himself for offering the
sweatier hand. Ryan shrugged, “Thanks. I like the way you swing.” Chad smiled
and looked down, nervously adjusting his man bun. Taylor, man. Think of
Taylor, Chad thought, trying to crush the butterflies in his stomach.
He could feel it building, like a wave the ocean just can’t control. Chad
wasn’t used to feeling that were so…light. He was used to punching stuff when
he was mad, yelling aggressively at fans of musical theatre, and not dancing.
His relationship with Taylor was…fun, but it just wasn’t right. She didn’t
challenge him. She just griped about how he didn’t try hard enough in school
and that he was unmotivated. She didn’t know how to get into his head. If she
did, Taylor would know how hard it was for him to focus. The numbers and
letters always got all jumbled in his brain. He would feel overwhelmed and
confused. Which was kind of how he felt now.
“You okay, man?” Ryan asked, putting his hand on Chad’s
shoulder. The letters formed words and lined up into sentences Chad pretended
not to see. What team am I playing for?
“Yeah, I’m fabulous,” Chad replied, trying to hide his
“Let’s go to the party,” Ryan put his arm around Chad’s shoulder
and Chad timidly slid his arm around Ryan’s waist, trying to look casual.
Chad and Ryan carpooled to Gabriella’s house.
“Awww, damn. I love this song,” Chad said, reaching to turn up
the volume. Ryan and Chad’s hands met on the dial. They both laughed nervously.
And Chad tried to brush it off, all cool like so he started singing along
quietly and Ryan joined in, harmonizing.
“No offence to Troy, cuz he’s my best friend, but you should’ve
gotten that part, Ryan.“ What the hell, Chad. Get your head in the
game, man. Six years of being in a locker room with naked guys and
you’d think he would have discovered before…
Ryan snorted, “Thanks, but ya know, there are more
important things than a high school musical." And there are more
important things than what people in high school think of you. You don’t have
to stick to the status quo, Chad thought. With Ryan he felt…different.
It was nice talking to guy who know about more than basketball and protein
shakes. Why had they never hung out before?
Chad looked Ryan in the eyes. He seemed so chill and relaxed.
Their eyes met. It was "the look.” Chad had hooked up with enough
cheerleaders to recognize bedroom eyes. He looked back on the road and hoped
Ryan didn’t see his blush. A sideways revealed a grin on Ryan’s face as they
pulled into the Montez driveway. They were met by a cheer when they entered the
“Hey, guys!” Chad answered, grinning. “Imma pop upstairs and
shower, but I’ll be right back for some of those brownies, Ms. Montez!” Ryan
followed Chad upstairs to the guest bedroom.
Chad turned around. “Hey, just so you know…I’ve never been with…ya
“Hey, that’s fine,” Ryan said, putting his hands on both Chad’s
shoulders. Clarity. Chad took a deep breath. He was beginning to relax, though
he felt his heart beat faster and his face grow hot. He put his hand on the
back of Ryan’s neck and their foreheads touched.
“Hey,” Ryan whispered. “This could be the start of something
And they kissed with passion and fervor like Chad had never
kissed before. He was soaring, flying. All those drunken nights with random
girls always left him empty, but this was real.
They came downstairs an hour later, wearing each others clothes.
As they ate their brownies, Chad whispered to Ryan, “Okay. Maybe I DO