Thanks again for your comments. I hope you enjoy reading this chapter as much as I did writing it. Your thoughts and feedback are appreciated and are what encourage me to keep going. I’m kind of not feeling the title anymore, and was thinking of changing it to “More than a Crush.” Any thoughts?
Connor and Jude chose a secluded part of the beach. Other than the soothing sounds of the waves ebbing and flowing, nothing could disturb the comfortable silence that had set in between them. After several blissful minutes of staring off in the distance, Connor had felt Jude’s eyes studying him. Despite his best efforts, he could not hide the smile that slowly crept on his lips.
Jude had acted so flustered when Daria surprised both of them earlier that day. As far as Jude could tell, Daria was still not over Connor. However, Connor reassured Jude that she had been nothing but supportive when Connor came out to her, although Connor had to admit that she may still have harbored some feelings for him. That was what made telling her the entire truth so difficult. Although he knew he would have to tell Daria about Jude eventually, he decided not to let that thought interfere with the tender moment happening right now.
Connor had turned to find that Jude was still looking at him with that same wistful expression, probably wondering what he was thinking about. Sometimes he felt like Jude could look into his eyes and know exactly what he was feeling. Connor scooted even closer to Jude so their arms and hips were touching. Both boys were radiating heat. Connor could sense that Jude was becoming very nervous and was thinking of how to calm his boyfriend. Should he go for another kiss? Connor decided to go for Jude’s hand, running his fingers playfully over Jude’s palm. Jude said nothing at first, but Connor kept circling Jude’s palm with his index finger until Jude started giggling.
Connor loved it when Jude laughed. What was even better was when Jude was trying hard not to laugh, like right now. It was adorable.
Connor marveled at how much Jude had grown during the time he had known him. When Connor had first met Jude, he hardly ever laughed. In the beginning, he hardly said a word, except to ask if something was okay or to apologize for something that wasn’t his fault. As Jude’s best friend, he knew he had to be that person that Jude could trust no matter what.
“This was a great idea”, Jude said, “Are you sure your dad is okay with this?”
Connor nodded somberly, “I told him I haven’t been out in so long.”
Jude smiled at the thought, “I’m glad he’s fine with us hanging out again.”
Connor took Jude’s hand in his own, which caused Jude to momentarily stop breathing, “He doesn’t have to know everything we do. All he has to know is how much I like being with you.”
Jude was breathing harder now, “I like being with you too.”
They had spoken these words before, but today it became infused with so much more meaning. Both boys had not taken their eyes off of each other. Despite the positive emotions on display, Connor could still sense an unease in Jude. It was similar to what he sensed when they went on that camping trip, which seemed so long ago now when they were still uncertain about their feelings and were still tentative around each other.
Connor remembered how Jude had trouble staying asleep and kept reaching out for Connor, thinking he was Callie. Connor had given up falling asleep that night. He was going to find out why Jude was so scared all the time. Jude told a story about being afraid of lightning and wind. Connor had not believed the shivering boy, whose voice still trembled when talking about his memories of life before the Fosters. Connor kissed Jude to make him forget all about the past, and the lies he kept telling to make those bad feelings go away. He kissed his best friend to show him that there was nothing he could say to him that would make him ashamed of him.
Connor knew now that his feelings for his friend ran far deeper than he was likely to admit at the time. Connor just assumed that everything would return to normal, but things would change between them. Rather than grow apart, their friendship evolved and grew stronger. Jude would be more more open with Connor, and more than that, Connor would sense his friend being more comfortable in his own skin.
Right now, Connor wanted to find out what memories were still haunting his boyfriend, but there was another part of him that wanted to simply make Jude forget. Connor decided that getting Jude to open up about his past was something that would happen when Jude was ready. Right now they were finally alone, and Connor had waited long enough.
Connor quickly closed the gap between him and his boyfriend’s lips, touching it only softly at first, in a way that recalled their kiss in Jude’s bedroom. At the time, they were still friends who were discovering their feelings for each other. Instead of pulling away, Connor went for a deeper kiss this time. This kiss would feel a lot different. This was their first official kiss as boyfriends, and so it felt more assured, more probing. Jude relaxed as all his doubts seemed to melt away. The kiss lasted several seconds with neither boy wanting to pull away so soon. As they pulled apart, Connor saw Jude light up as he let the positive emotions that came with the moment sweep over him. Connor then allowed Jude to rest his head on his shoulder.
They barely noticed the small group of spectators that stood only a short distance away.