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Jude felt a surge of electricity at the touch of Connor’s hand. It was moments like these where Jude wanted to tell Connor everything he was feeling. Ever since they started dating, Jude could not stop thinking about Connor and the way he made him feel. Jude and Connor had grown up best friends, but now they were each becoming aware of feelings they were both discovering for the first time. This had scared Jude because his previous foster families had told him that those types of feelings were bad, but Callie and his two moms made it clear that they would love Jude no matter what. Connor was the only other person who not only accepted Jude for who he was, but was now starting to return his feelings.
Connor looked at Jude expectantly. Jude let go of Connor’s hand reluctantly. Connor had made no attempt to break Jude’s grip, but Jude had noticed his boyfriend tense up and breathe harder after a group of student athletes had passed by them.
After composing himself, Jude looked up at his boyfriend. “I forgot to ask you something the other day.”
Connor looked down, anticipating the question that he knew was coming.
“I know Daria visited you when I wasn’t at your house. I was just wondering what you talked about. Did you tell her about us?”
Connor locked his jaw, an old habit Jude noticed about his friend whenever he got nervous or distressed.
Connor replied, “I broke up with Daria.”
Jude’s eyes widened, “So she knows…”
Connor nodded, “Kind of, I told her I’m gay.”
“She was fine with it?” Jude asked in wide eyed surprise.
“Yeah, she was really nice. She came over a few more times after that just to talk. I couldn’t really tell her I had other plans you know…” Jude considered this as Connor looked down at his still ailing foot. “I didn’t tell her about us. I wanted to but I thought she might get hurt if she knew that if the whole time I was with her I wanted to be with you.”
Jude looked at his boyfriend. If this was going to work, they had to be honest with each other, “You don’t have to feel bad. She may think that I came between you or something.”
Connor steeled himself, “I wanted to be with you even before Daria. I just couldn’t tell you”.
Jude’s heart started fluttering. His boyfriend was pouring his heart out. Jude wanted so badly to hug him tight and tell him that he had always felt the same way. However, he was being reserved as usual. It was for his own good, and Connor’s. That’s what he told himself anyway. But Jude wondered if it didn’t have to be that way all the time.
Jude suddenly remembered, “I didn’t tell you but Taylor kind of knows. I haven’t told her about us yet but she thinks I have a crush on you.”
Connor was surprised at this. He knew Taylor was Jude’s friend, but hadn’t talked to her since the day she came over with her father to visit him at the hospital. Connor remembered how Taylor’s dad kept apologizing and saying how he felt like there was nothing he could do to make up for what he did. Connor forgave him for what was a terrible accident.
Jude continued, “She doesn’t know it’s more than just a crush.”
Connor blushed, “I wish we could spend some time together, you know…”
Jude giggled nervously and looked deep into Connor’s hazel eyes, “you mean by ourselves…”.
Jude could barely suppress a smile as he thought of what Connor said the last time they tried to spend some alone time together. He often wondered what Connor and Daria did when they used to be alone together. It was often at the tip of his tongue to ask his boyfriend, but Jude decided he wouldn’t ask just yet. He didn’t want to seem like the jealous type when Connor just admitted that he wanted Jude all along.
Connor smiled in recognition, before looking off in the distance dejectedly “It’s my dad though. He doesn’t want me getting hurt again. He says I have to heal.”
Adam had taken Connor’s rehabilitation very seriously. He reminded Connor that while physical activity was important, he had to be extra careful not to exacerbate his injury, which would sideline him for even longer. Adam had gone to Lena the first day to schedule makeup exams so Connor could be caught up on everything.
The bell rang, signaling them to get to class. Connor shuffled along on his crutches while Jude reached out for Connor’s books, “No need to carry those.”
Connor pointed in the opposite direction, “But your class is over there.”
Jude and Connor had some of the same classes, but different periods.
Jude laughed, carefully nudging his boyfriend’s ribs, “I’ll just walk you to your class first. I don’t mind.”
Connor beamed at Jude, “I don’t mind that you carry my books. If only I can return the favor.”
Jude regarded Connor with a mixture of disbelief and amusement, “You can. By going to the beach with me after school. I’m sure your dad won’t mind if we make it back to your place before sunset.”
Connor hadn’t thought of it for long before breaking out into a huge grin, “Sure. It’s a date”
Jude could barely contain himself, but then remembered they were still at school and had to get through the whole day. In the short time it took them to walk to Connor’s class, Jude thought of all the things they could do. They finally could act like a real couple by doing things like going on carnival rides or stuffing their faces with deep fried desserts. Something about it felt perfect, even though Jude wondered if Connor’s dad would really be okay with everything at this stage. Jude felt that Mr. Stevens may still have felt that his son was growing up too fast.
Connor carefully sat down as Jude took his crutches, while still trying to balance Connor’s books.
“Hey Jude”, Daria came from behind the two boys. “I can take those”, she said, gesturing to Connor’s books.