The Danning Beginnings – Chapter Seventeen

I had disturbing dreams the night after my date with Kay. I woke up drenched in sweat, among other things, at one point and I felt like a kid for it. I got some clean clothes and got a quick shower before bundling all my messy clothes and bedclothes into a hamper. We didn’t have a washer and dryer, and we had to go to the laundromat. We need to get a washer and dryer, I thought as I remade my bed.

I climbed between the cool sheets and tried to get some more sleep, which came and went throughout the rest of the night along with the dreams. Thankfully I didn’t have to change my clothes again. Just after dawn I put on regular clothes and went to make breakfast. Hash browns, bacon, eggs. I wasn’t sure when anyone else was getting up so I only made enough for myself. I had just sat down when Kay came in.

“Morning,” I said, immediately getting up again. “Here, have this–I’ll make more.”

“N-no, I can have s-some toast.”

“Sure? I really don’t mind making more. I was planning on it.” I waved my hand at the bowl of diced, uncooked potatoes. “Please?”

Kay shrugged and sat down. “Ok. Th-thank you, but you d-d-don’t need to c-cook all the time…”

“If you won’t let me pay rent, then you’re just gonna have to put up with my cooking.” I tossed some potatoes and bacon in. “It’s not that bad, is it?”

Kay giggled. “No. You’re a g-good cook. Thank you.”

“Hey, I was wondering, if I’m not paying bills or anything, if I save up could I possibly have laundry stuff installed…? A washer and dryer? It’s your house, so I’m fine with the answer being no.”

“I n-never thought about it when I was buying a house, I w-was so used to going to the laundromat…” Kay tucked some of the egg in his mouth and then swallowed. “I’ll h-have someone come over as soon as possible.”

“I won’t be able to–no… Kay, I meant I could pay for everything.” I added the egg into the pan, hoping he’d listen to me about this. “If I’m the one that wants them, I should pay for them.”

“It’s m-my laundry t-t-too…”

I put my food on a plate and joined Kay at the table. “More so for me and Cal. Wait and see if I get the job at least, and if you keep insisting to pay for it, I will pay you back.”

Kay shrugged and ducked his head. “Ok. If th-that’s what you want. B-but I still think…” He trailed off and went quiet. “When’s your interview…?”

“Tomorrow afternoon.”

“I c-can take you in you’d like.”

“All right.”

“And maybe we can g-go for… coffee or something after…?”

I grinned. “Date two so soon? Ah, no sorry!” I exclaimed as he began stammering and blushing. “Coffee sounds wonderful.”

*

The day wasn’t quite as awkward as things were before but still a bit, and Cal kept asking me how our date went. I didn’t think he really wanted to know details but if I had a good time. When I told him I did, he made a face and left the subject alone. Kay left at one point and came back a few hours later which made me wonder if he had a job. I couldn’t really remember him ever seeming to have one. He was gone at random hours in the day, when he was gone.

When he got back, he took me to the laundromat so I could do all the laundry. I was humiliated as I shoved my soiled clothes and sheets into a washer, as if everyone could see what I had done even though I knew perfectly well nobody could. I just really hoped I didn’t have the same problem that night and while I did have rather sexual dreams, I woke up before I made a mess and was able to jump into a cold shower before having to take another trip to the laundromat.

Besides, I had a full day ahead of me and didn’t really have time for laundry anyway. I only made porridge for breakfast as I was pretty nervous for my interview. I dressed somewhat nicely and when it was time to go, Cal gave me a hug and told me good luck. “Thanks,” I said, reaching out for his head.

“Naw.” He ducked under my hand. “You guys will be gone for a while, yeah?”

“I dunno, probably. Why?”

“Penny’s starting to talk to me again, I thought maybe she and I could, you know. Watch a movie, have pizza or something.” He messed with his bracelet, scowling while he did so. “Maybe I can finally, you know… fix things. Whatever is wrong. You know, she has barely spoken to me in like, a month?” His head snapped up. “Except to make you and Kay kiss and to give advice about your clothes–she’s more interested in your lives than being my friend. But… hopefully… y’know?”

“Um. Yeah… so I’ll see you later. Here’s some money for the pizza.”

Kay took me to my interview and it went pretty well. Because of my age, my new age, the lack of previous employment wasn’t as big a deal. The manager was real nice and friendly, and I was pretty sure I got the job though I wouldn’t find out until later that week. Kay and I had some lunch then took a short walk downtown, stopping to listen and then tip a guitar player.

When we got home Cal seemed pretty perky and told me he and Penny were friends again. Kay was a lot more excited than I was, though I did try to muster up some excitement. I was glad he was happy at the least.

*

The day after my interview some men came into the house to figure out where to put the new washer and dryer that apparently had been ordered the previous night. I folded my arms and frowned at Kay who avoided my gaze. “It’s g-g-good to have and b-b-b-besides, I’m sure you’ll, uh, g-g-get the j–job…” He gave me a hopeful smile and I couldn’t frown anymore.

“You win,” I said and resisted the urge to kiss him. I thought if we continued a relationship. Became a real couple. What sort of life we’d have. Would it be any different from this? Me, a part-time job, doing the chores around the house, him with the real job (if he had a real job) and doing things like calling people in to get appliances installed. I had told Nicky I’d be a househusband and for a flash, one quick flash, I had this feeling that I almost was–and it was a good feeling. I looked at Kay, and hoped that this would work out.

I really liked him. Even more that I had realized, because I could really see us being a real couple. A–married couple. I knew it was way, way, way too early to be thinking about that but really, that’s what dating was. Dating led to an engagement, and engagement led to marriage. Just by going out with him again meant I was ready to start thinking about that in a year or two.

Then I thought of something else. Gays could marry in this part of the country… right?

*

We went on our official second date on Wednesday afternoon. A picnic, on the lake’s beach and we were both in pretty casual clothes; I even got Kay to wear sandals. It was quiet and really nice. We got into some heavier discussions this time, our opinions of what was going on in the world around us. We mostly agreed on everything, and I couldn’t agree with him on some things as I didn’t understand what he was going on about as he complained about stuff in the world of science. But with the stuff I did understand, we agreed on; we didn’t go into everything though. Abortion, for instance. And how to discipline kids. I didn’t want to admit what a failure I was at reining Cal in… although I knew he knew quite a lot of it.

Afterwards, we walked by the river holding hands and I remembered a dream I has a while ago. I couldn’t remember when. Walking down the beach, holding the hand of someone. When we got back to the car, before we headed home, we shared our first kiss since the night we finally confessed to each other our feelings. It was short but very sweet.

“How about another movie Friday night?” I asked when we went into the house.

“Y-yes… th-that’d be great.”

“Daaaaad!” Cal came out of the bathroom and folded his arms. I raised an eyebrow at him. “I need money.”

“What for…?”

“Flowers.”

“What for?”

He pursed his lips and narrowed his eyes. “Girls like flowers. Penny–is starting to forgive me an’ stuff. I thought, yunno, it’d be, uh, nice and stuff.” He kicked at the floor. “So yeah I need some money.”

“I’m not buying flowers for–” I started, but Kay was getting his wallet out.

“I’m s-sure she’d l-love flowers.” He handed over some money, and Cal brightened.

“Thanks!! I’ll be back later. Dad.” He shot me a glare and left.

I closed my eyes and didn’t know what to do now. Before I could tell Kay how–not so good it was that he just did that, he said, “I’m s-sorry. I know I sh-shouldn’t have, but I d-d-didn’t want you two t-to get into another fight b-because of his friend.”

Kay did look very apologetic and it tugged at my heartstrings. “Kay–Penny’s imaginary. I know you want to encourage–“

“She’s real. P-please believe me, and trust me!” Kay pressed his hands together, his brow knitting together. “I’m g-going to talk to him tonight. About m-making her real. Maybe soon we c-c-can do that. Not just for him or her, but f-for you too–you need to see he’s not c-crazy or acting out.”

“Kay… I like that you… support his… ramblings… but he’s my son, not yours, and I think it’s time he grows out of this stage.”

Kay looked as though I had slapped him. His lower lip began trembling, and his face became a bit blotchy. “Y-y-y-you’re r-right,” he stammered heavily. “He’s y-your s-s-s-son.”

“Kay–“

“I n-n-n-n-need to d-d-do some w-work…” He strode towards his bedroom and I went after him, stepping in the way when he tried shutting the door. He gripped the edge, avoiding my face. “I n-need t–“

“I didn’t mean to upset you! I’m sorry! At least let me pay you back for–“

“P-p-p-p-please move your f-f-foot.”

“I’m sorry. I just feel weird about you giving him money, and–“

“Please.”

I stared at him but he kept looking down. Swallowing, I moved back and the door shut. Great. Just fricking great. I ruined it. I ruined everything. Everything was going fine, and I just go and blow it. I should have treated him with more respect over this. I mean, Kay was practically a godfather or something to Cal–what with being there during his delivery and stuff. And the two of them had grown close since moving in here. I stepped on Kay’s toes with this one. A few simoleons weren’t too much, and he had managed to stop me and Cal from fighting. Except now me and Kay were fighting. I think… Was this a fight? It almost felt like one. I hoped it wasn’t. But it probably was. Cause I was an idiot, and totally blew it.

*

I wallowed in misery in my room for most the day while Kay was in his room for most the time, too. Cal came home at some point and shut himself up in his room. I wondered if he had bought flowers, or what he spent his money on. At dinnertime I went to the kitchen and made Kay’s favorite food as an apology. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Nothing fancy unfortunately but hopefully a nice enough gesture that he’d forgive me.

Cal crinkled his nose up when he saw the sandwiches and chips but Kay beamed. “P-P-PB and J-Js. My f-favorite!”

“I know,” I said, setting a pitcher of lemonade on the table. “It’s sort of a… ‘I’m sorry’?”

Kay’s eyes softened. “N-no… I’m the one who should b-be apologizing. I acted out of l-line.”

Cal’s head swiveled back and forth and at that he said, “Yeah, it’s like an after school special in here. Can I eat now?”

After dinner I cleaned up while the two of them sat in the living room and talked. They weren’t trying to be quiet so I heard pretty much everything said, which was about the whole imaginary friend thing.

“I’m g-going to try to get the components as s-soon as I can,” Kay said. “I will g-get the potion made, but… I j-just need to make sure y-you’re ready, too.”

“Iunno. I think so. I’ve checked… a book out… from the, um, uh, library, for, uh, um, and well, I surfed some websites, and uh, well, yeah. I uh… uhhhh… yeah.”

Kay laughed gently. “I have a ph-physiology book you c-can borrow.”

“But–I read an anatomy book!” I could hear how embarrassed my son was, which made me smile. Nice to know he was at least a little bit innocent.

“Anatomy is… m-more the… f-f-form. Physiology is the f-f-function, and you n-need to know a bit about th-that as well, Calcifer. That is, if you w-want her to be a n-normal girl. At least… th-that’s what we think.”

“Think?”

“Uhhhhh, w-w-we never r-really had… this experiment go all th-the way… quite yet. Penny will be th-the first.”

“WHAT?! I thought–“

“C-Cal, please calm down.”

“So you don’t know what you’re doing at all!”

“N–no. I mean, y-yes. I mean… I know wh-what I’m doing. My–sister–and I d-did an extensive amount of r-research on the mysterious dolls, the original k-kind. We… don’t completely know how th-those work, but I am n-ninety-four-point-th-three sure that Penny will r-react in the s-same manner to the chemical solution.”

“Oh–Watcher. But you don’t know. What if it doesn’t work? You don’t even know if you can make her real!”

“Calcifer–“

“But you don’t, do you? You’re only ninety-four percent sure!”

“…p-point…three… but–“

“What if it doesn’t work!?”

“Then w-we’ll keep trying!” I could hear the pleading in Kay’s voice, and  the pain when Cal spoke. I gripped the sponge, wishing desperately I could do something to help. Stop acting like he’s a lunatic… that would help.

“What if she’s never real?” Cal’s voice broke. “What if… Penny… How could you DO this?! How could you put her in my life and never know for sure if I can make her real?! It’s so–fucking–CRUEL!” I heard stomp-stomp-stomp and then SLAM as he went to his room, and then soft crying.

I yanked my hands from the soapy water and hurried into the living room, wiping my hands off on my pants. Kay’s head was in his hands and I put mine around him. He jumped at my touch, and then put his arms around me. “It’s okay.” I held him tightly as he cried into my chest. He was not having a good day between me and my son.

“He’s… r-r-right…”

“No. Don’t listen to him, he’s a teenager and he’s upset.” I stroked Kay’s hair and maneuvered him into my lap. “You’re not cruel.”

“I am. I didn’t know wh-what would happen to her.” Kay pulled back and stared at me with dull eyes. “I d-didn’t know what would happen to you, if you’d successfully h-have a child or just fail l-like the others.”

“You said there was another success,” I pointed out.

Kay slid off my lap and moved away from me, huddled over. “I l-lied, we both l-lied. You were the first s-success, Jacob. All the other experiments…” He paused and then covered his face. “They all d-died. Fathers and children. All of th-them. They died, b-because we didn’t know what we were doing, just l-like Penny, just like–“

I pulled his hands from his face so I could wipe his tears away. I tried to look calmer than I felt but it was difficult. I felt really, really, really sick. Everyone else like me died, I was the first. I tried to squash that thought as I kissed Kay’s forehead. “I was a success though. Calcifer and I are both fine. And Penny… if she’s what you say she is… she’ll be fine too.”

He just blinked at me, another tear slipping from under his glasses. I wiped it away and then pressed my lips against his. He slumped against me, kissing back. My hands went up to his back and stayed there even after our kiss was over with. “So many f-failed experiments,” he whispered.

“And plenty of successful ones as well, I’m sure.” I didn’t know for sure, all those other pregnant men died? but I tried to be hopeful, and indeed Kay smiled.

“A f-f-few. I m-mean… we successfully transfered her s-soul into the doll, we can bring her p-properly to life.”

“Why did you–um, no offense, but really. Why? Why put a soul in a doll and then bring it to life?”

Kay shrugged and put his head against my shoulder. “Her idea in the s-search for immortality. It w-w-was long before she discovered the y-y-youth potion. We were h-hoping by putting a soul into a d-doll and then having the doll brought to life, it would b-basically resurrect the person.” He shook his head a bit. “We w-w-were wrong, though.”

“How do you know…?”

“From wh-what Calcifer’s told me, Penny has… z-zero recollection of her p-previous life.” Kay pulled away from me and wiped at his eyes. “I g-guess it’s good my sister discovered the youth p-potion, since this wasn’t what sh-she was going for. Though, we a–well, I am h-hoping Penny is turned h-human. I j-just… my… sister…” He stopped and I reached down to take his hand.

“So it’s not just aliens, hmm?”

Kay laughed at that. “N-not just? No. It is. We… well, sh-she needs to live as l-long as it takes to m-meet them.”

“Do you feel the same?” I inquired.

“I d-d-don’t know. I used to th-think the stars held all the answers f-for everything, as she d-does.” Kay began going red and he looked away from me, a coy smile on his lips. “But I’m b-beginning to think that th-there is plenty here on earth th-that can make me j-just as happy.”

My breath caught for a second and I began smiling quite a bit. “Like…?”

He faced me again and those beautiful green eyes bore into my purple ones. “Like y-you,” he said, and tipped his head forward so our lips met firmly.

*

I got the phone call from the grocery store Thursday evening. “Jacob Danevbie?” the woman asked and I nodded before remembering I was on the phone.

“Yes, speaking,” I said, feeling stupid now.

“This is Mrs. Schwartz–from Twinbrook Mart? Congratulations! I think you’ll be an excellent choice as our new employee. When can you come in for some training?”

We talked for a few minutes, and then I happily hung up. I’d be going in next Tuesday for some training and then I’d be starting in a week! I went over to Kay’s room and knocked. When he opened the door, I threw my arms around him in excitement. “I got the job!”

“C-congrats!” He hugged back, beaming up at me. “Wh-when do you start?”

“Next Thursday, though I have to go in Tuesday for t–” I stopped as the phone rang again. “I’ll get that.” I went over and picked up the phone. “Hello, Redding resi–“

“You’re not Kay.”

I clutched the phone, and looked towards him. He was still in the doorway of his room. “Um, n-no, do you want me to go g–“

“Of course I do.”

I gulped and went over, handing the phone over towards Kay. “It’s for you,” I said hesitantly. “It’s… your sister.”

Kay’s eyes went huge and he just gaped at the phone. Then he snatched it from my hand and pressed it hard against the side of his head. “S-Sister?” he squeaked. A look of intense relief washed over his face. “Yes, I–wh-what? Oh, it’s ch-charging, I had it t-t-turned off for–what? Y… you what?” His voice dropped and all color drained from his face. He stared at me then backed up, shutting the door.

I went to tell Cal the good news about my job but he didn’t seem very interested. He congratulated me and then went back to studying the physiology book which Kay had lent him. After that I just went back to tidying up the kitchen, burning with curiosity over what Jay had wanted. It had been a month now since the fight, almost to the day. Not a peep from her for so long and now something. Maybe something bad had happened? Kay seemed distressed and I was surprised when he emerged from his room pretty much as soon as I got into the kitchen. Less than a minute…

He staggered to the cradle to put the phone up and then he just stood there, swaying a bit. I hurried over and placed a hand on his arm. “Kay?” I asked. “Is–everything okay?” I was really worried now, he was so pale and terrified-looking.

“Ah… n…. no.” He took a step back and pushed his fingers against his temple. “My sister… m-m-my sister…”

“Is she all right…?”

He clutched at my shirt and focused his gaze on my chest. “She’s–p-pregnant.”

The Danning Beginnings – Chapter Sixteen

Maybe it was a bad idea to ask Calcifer to stay away so long since now Kay and I had a couple hours to ourselves in the house alone, with awkwardness going on. I thought about trying to get a hold of him, get him to come back, but decided not to. It would be difficult to track him down anyway. Perhaps a cell phone was in order.

After several, several minutes of us sitting in awkward silence I muttered something about cleaning. I got up and then he jumped to his feet and offered to help. “No, it’s okay,” I promised. “I’m doing a lot better.”

“But you j-j-just fell,” he pointed out.

I rubbed my stomach with a smile. “Yeah and it’s not hurting much. Your sister did a good job.” He ducked his head, and I regretted saying anything about her because of the fight. “Um–so… I’ll just start cleaning. The main bathroom needs some work and… ahh… H-hey, Kay?”

“Yes?”

“I can still find a job…” I shuffled a bit, feeling more embarrassed. “I w-won’t move to a new house but… I’d still like to get a job to pay for things, like rent and–“

“No r-rent!” he exclaimed.

“–and dates,” I finished with a grin as he went red. “It wouldn’t be fair for you to pay for everything for every date we go on.” If we go on more than one date, I added silently. I really hoped we went on more than one. “I’m going to clean now. Um. D… do you need anything?” He shook his head so I went into the bathroom, shutting the door behind me. The whole atmosphere felt so weird but I hoped that that would change soon.

*

“A–what?” Cal hissed out after dinner. “You what?”

“We’re going on a date,” I replied as I washed the dishes. Kay was in his room, thankfully. The whole evening had been terribly awkward, even after Cal came home. “You shouldn’t act too surprised since you were demanding we kiss.”

Cal’s face darkened and he kicked the floor. “Yeah well it’s weird. You’re both guys.”

I shoved my hands deeper into the soapy water, trying to focus on the hot feeling going through my hands instead of the terror creeping into my heart. “Is that such a problem?” I muttered.

“It’s weird,” he said again. “I’ve never known anyone like–like that. Now y… my father. My father? It’s just a bit… no. It’s a lot weird.” He came over and leaned against the counter so he could look at me. “Do you… seriously like him?”

“You wanted me to kiss him.”

“Do. You. Like. Him?”

A deadlock. I pulled my hands out of the water and began drying them off. “I think so. Is that what you want to hear?”

“I want the truth, Dad. Please?”

I put my hands on my hips and stared him down. “Yes. I like him. I think that… I’ve made mistakes about myself in the past. Maybe that’s why things didn’t work out with Nicky. Maybe that’s why I never had any other girlfriend. I might be gay, at the very least I do like Kay. And I’m hoping that my son, that insisted I kiss another guy, is all right with it. If you’re not all right with it…” I trailed off and swallowed.

“If I’m not okay with it?” he asked.

I shrugged. “Then I’ll cancel my date with him.”

Cal frowned deeply. “Even though you like him?”

“Yes.”

“And you really want to go on this date?”

“Yes. You’re my son, Cal. Your happiness and comfort is very important to me.” I leaned back against the counter as well, looking at the other wall. “If you’re not happy, or comfortable, with me dating a guy then I won’t.”

“Just like that?”

I ran my fingers through my hair, leaving a damp trail. “Watcher… Calcifer, when you have kids you’ll understand. At least I hope you will. Yes. Just like that.”

“If you told me not to go on a date with someone I liked, I’d still go,” he said stubbornly.

I laughed. “I know you would. I don’t blame you. You’re still a kid, things are very different for someone without any responsibilities other than school. But I do have responsibilities. Namely you. I am going to find a job to provide the best I can for you, and I will do everything I can for you. If that means giving…” I stopped and shook my head. “If that means not dating him then that is what I will do.”

Cal blinked and looked past me, opening his mouth. I took in a deep breath and began talking again. “But I do want to say something. Whatever you say after this is fine. If you still are uncomfortable with this, then that’s fine.”

“Dad, I–“

“But I want to say this, all right?” I sucked in some more air, trying to prepare myself for this unplanned speech. I didn’t want to do this and wasn’t even sure exactly what to say, but I hoped it would help. “I do like him. And I want to see if this–if this could go somewhere. You’re my son and I love you, but I am hoping–so very much–that you are open to unconventional relationships. People… fall in love… all the time. And sometimes it is with someone that mainstream society might not agree with, such as…. homosexuality. Love… should never be defined. Not by race, or sex. I admit that it’s taken me by surprise, falling for a guy, but I’m learning to accept it because I know that whatever it is I am feeling right now is real. I hope that you… understand that.”

Cal got a look on his face I couldn’t figure out what it meant. “Dad. Look, I never said I had a problem with it. I just said it was weird. Weird’s not a problem. Is it?”

I thought back to everything he said, then blushed. “Ah, so you–you didn’t. Well, uh, I don’t know. What sort of weird d’you mean?”

“Iunno.” He shrugged. “Like, someone seeing some strange animal for the first time. It’s weird, and a bit frightening since it’s not something they’ve seen before, but… not like… those creepos who KILL the strange animal. Just… you know…” He waved his hand around. “Weird. You understand, don’t you… Kay?”

I spun around and saw in shock Kay standing there, looking awkward and nervous. He jumped. “Uh, ah, um, I’m s-s-sorry, I d-didn’t m-mean to overhear, I j-just… I was… c-coming in for a d-drink and…” He bowed his head. “I’m s-sorry.”

“It’s fine. It’s not like we–we were whispering or anything.” I tried to remember everything exactly that had been said. There was no reason for him to be upset about me… wanting to… be the best for Cal. Right? “Want me to fix you a glass of something?” I offered.

Kay shook his head, looked at Cal, and then retreated from the room. I now looked at Cal who went red. “I never said anything bad!” he grumbled. “And unconventional is fine. Not like–like–Oh forget it!” He stalked out of the room and I returned to the dishes.

*

Everything was even worse over the next couple of days. It felt like we were all walking on eggshells. Wasn’t our talk and agreement for a date supposed to STOP this? But Kay barely spoke, Cal seemed more grumbly than usual, and I found myself finding more and more excuses to clean and not socialize. It’s not like I didn’t want to, but whenever we were around each other he would just blush and stare at the ground and my mind went completely blank.

And then it was Friday.

Date night. I was going on an actual date for the first time in ages and I felt like a jumble of nerves. I didn’t know how Kay felt, but I hoped he was doing better than I was. It was so strange having breakfast and lunch with him, the anticipation of the date swirling around us. Finally it was time to get ready and I went into my room and stared at my clothes. I didn’t have anything too nice. It had been years since I went out for anything really nice. I mostly had T-shirts and jeans or khakis.

“Can I come in?” Cal was already in my room when he asked this so I nodded. “How long are you guys gonna be out?”

“A couple hours, not too late. You’ll be fine alone, right?”

“I’m fourteen. Not four. And not–” He stopped and his face darkened. “No shitty babysitters.”

“Cal,” I warned. “She may have been that and worse, but please don’t use language like that. Now what do you think I should wear?”

“Those nice khaki pants and that one button-up shirt you have, the one with the swirly thing.” I stared at him and he pursed his lips. “Penny said it, told me to tell you.” He turned to look over his shoulder. “So now you’re talking to me? Oh, just to talk to him, wow thanks. What did I ever d–no! Pens, get back here!” And he took off running to his room.

I shut the door and got dressed in what Cal suggested. I then went into the bathroom to fix my hair. I stared at my reflection, wondering what the hell I was doing. Not only starting a possible relationship but a whole new lifestyle at my age. And with someone like him. What the hell could he possibly even see in me? He was smart, super smart. His pinky was probably smarter than me. He helped develop a scientific breakthrough with the male pregnancy, and who knew what else he helped discover with his sister?

I leaned against the sink, taking in deep breaths. Mediocre grades at best, nothing outstanding. I worked a night shift in a graveyard for over a decade and would probably wind up a grocery clerk. I had an unruly teenaged son who had an imaginary friend. I had nothing to offer him. Nothing. I was just fooling myself with the thought this could go anywhere.

Might as well get this over with. I left the bathroom and waited in the living room. Cal was in his room so I just stood near the window and looked outside until Kay came out of his room. As soon as he saw me, he went red and looked ready to bolt. I smiled at him. “Hey. You look nice.”

He did look very nice. He he actually looked more casual from how he usually did, but he looked very nice. “Th-thanks,” he mumbled. “Y-you do too. Um… sh-should we go?”

“Yep. Hey Cal? We’re headed out. Careful if you use the stove and keep the door locked,” I called towards his door. I heard him grunt in response. “All right, I’m ready…”

We got into his car and I wiped my sweaty palms on my thighs. I was used to taking someone out but I had very little money and no car. Did this mean I was the… girl? That was an odd thought but then again, that was more sexist than anything. After all I had been wanting to be a househusband so I guess it didn’t matter who took who out. It just felt different.

“Are w-we going to th-the bistro?” he asked, driving down the street.

“Yes, if that’s okay.” Wouldn’t it be his decision since he was paying?

“S-sounds g-g-great.”

The car ride was very quiet and I grasped around for something to talk about. What could I possibly talk about? Suddenly it seemed like anything we ever talked about before was ridiculous. He was probably used to discussing things like… quantum physics and… mathematician theories or something. “So how did you get into being a… um… what kind of Professor are you?”

“I t-taught at an academy f-for a short wh-while,” he answered, sounding a bit clipped despite his stutter. “B- but mostly I w-was a research professor and w-worked with my sister, more f-for labs than education. I w-was then taken on at L-Landgraab Facilities.”

“How old were you…? I mean, when we first met you seemed to be my age and I remember you and your sister were calling me not long after I moved to Sunset Valley, so that would put you in your early twenties at most. Were you an assistant?”

“N-no. Th-that was when I was a research professor.”

“Wow, at such a young age?”

I noticed his teeth clenched and his fingers tightened around the wheel. “Y-yes. B-but you didn’t go to col-college, did y-you?”

I was taken aback by this. “No, I moved here. How did you know?”

“I know a b-bit about y-y-you. N… not everything of c-course but… you d-didn’t go to c-college and started w-working at Busy B-Bee’s daycare c-center. We h-had to d-do some r-research on our…” He stopped and reddened.

“Test subject?” I offered and he nodded. “Yeah, that makes sense.”

Awkward silence. We got to the cafe and were given seats outside, since the weather was so nice. I picked up at the menu and decided to find something inexpensive. I asked if he ate here often and he said no, and then more awkward silence. We got our drinks then ordered our dinners. Now that we didn’t have our menus to look at, the awkward silence seemed even more awkward.

“I h-hope C-Calcifer l-likes the school here in T-Twinbrook,” he said.

“I’m sure he will, though he does sometimes seem to have… difficulty with authority.”

“He’s a g-good kid.” Kay stared in my direction but the look in his eyes was far off. “You are v-very lucky.”

“Thanks to you!” I held up my glass and he jerked.

“Wh-what?”

“To you, and your sister, for giving me him.”

“Oh. R… right.”

Several seconds went by and I sipped at my water, trying to sort through my thoughts. Trying to figure out what to say. “I think–” I stopped, having about to say I thought he was brave for saving the vampire but I really didn’t want to bring up the subject that linked to his sister. Kay’s eyes were on me. “I think it’s interesting you got into the whole… science thing. I don’t know much about… well, anything really,” I laughed. “What parts, er, what subject interests you most?”

“Jacob, are you r-r-really interested in th-that sort of thing?” he asked. “B-because it’s fine if y-you’re not.”

“I’m interested in you,” I said and his head lowered a bit. “But if you want to talk about something else, that’s fine.”

“It’s f-fine.” He got a large smile on his face which made me smile. Then he launched into talking quite animatedly about history, and research, and all sort of stuff. I understood only part of it but nodded and listened to everything. I asked a few questions and was very pleased at how happy he seemed. It was like all the stress and misery of what happened with Jay just melted away.

He began asking questions about me and there wasn’t too much to say. I had never done anything too spectacular in my life and I didn’t exactly have much to say about my family, so I mostly talked about Cal. From there we got onto the subject of Penny, and Kay had just said he knew the imaginary friend really did exist, in a sense, when our food came.

“You actually believe Cal?” I asked, spreading my napkin on my lap.

“Y-yes. My s-sister and I knew about th-these things a l-long time ago, and m-my sister has always b-been interested in m-making them. Penny is one w-we made. Judging from wh-what I’ve r-research, Cal should see her most often as a l-life-sized v-version of the miniature doll. Wh-when he is around, y-you probably won’t ever s-see the smaller version of th-the doll.” His eyes locked onto mine. “Except wh-when she is, as C-Cal told me, ‘sulking’.” He grinned and shook his head. “D-dolls c-can be very jealous of their friend. Calcifer… is h-her whole life. He is what sh-she knows the most.”

“No offense but this sounds–“

“Crazy?” I nodded and he shrugged. “I kn-know. But it’s t-true and I am h-hoping I can g-get my hands on the chemical components t-to make the p-potion to make her real.”

“Why couldn’t you just make her real in the first place?” I asked. “When you made her? I mean, what’s the point in making this doll and sending her to Cal?”

“B-because a doll needs to bond w-with a human,” he said. “A child. A b-baby, being part of h-his or her life, and only that p-person can bring the—ah, d-doll to life. I c-can make the potion but Calcifer w-will have to give it to her.” He sipped at his drink and began going red. “That is wh-why… I think… about the, um, v-vampire… being naked. In order to make the d-doll as real as any other human, he has t-to have knowledge of the human body. As the v-vampire could read minds, that’s why she… I suppose d-decided to help him.”

I nearly choked on my food. I had NOTHING I could say in response. That was just complete nonsense but I kept silent. Cal was a teenage boy, and was just probably telling Kay that as an excuse for looking at naked women. “I see.”

“If y-you don’t believe him, at l-least believe me?” he asked with a small upwards twitch of the lips.

“I–believe you both.” Sort of.

“So… wh-what… never mind…”

“No, what?” I asked, giving him a reassuring smile.

“It’s st-stupid.”

“It’s not.”

He blushed and poked at his food. “What’s your f-favorite color?”

I raised my eyebrows and couldn’t help but smile more. “Green,” I replied. “I love the color green. What about you?”

He shrugged and poked even more at the food, pushing some of it around. “Wh-white. I like the c-color white. It’s very… n-… nothing… it’s stupid.”

“Kay, nothing you say will sound stupid to me,” I said.

“It’s a s-simple.” He stared at me now. “It’s clean. Th-that doesn’t sound stupid?”

“No. It makes sense. I–I guess one reason I like green is it reminds me of… life…”

Kay beamed at me now. “That m-makes sense too. It’s the c-color of spring, of r-rebirth, renewal. Life. It s-suits you… And you l-look… g-g-g-good in g-g-g-g-green…”

“Thanks. You look good in, ah, white. Lab… coats and all that.” He mumbled an embarrassed thanks and then there was some more awkward silence. “Do you ever watch any TV or movies? I see you reading a lot, and on the computer, but usually the TV is on something Cal wants to watch, or when I turn it on. In fact… I don’t remember seeing any DVDs or anything.”

“I h-have some, in a box,” he replied, carefully taking a bite of his food. “I have a l-lot of stuff in st-storage though. I recently moved and d-didn’t have the room for… some of my things.”

“Wow, you must have lived in a really big place before,” I said and he looked a bit panicked. “Why’d you move?”

“Ah—uhhh–termites,” he squeaked, bowing his head again. “Ah, so uh, um, are you st-still going for th-that grocery clerk job?”

“Even if I’m staying with you, I’d like a job, yes. I told you before. I mean, even if I am living with you and not paying rent, I want to help with food and stuff and of course I will have to pay for Cal’s stuff. School supplies, clothes, medical bills…” I took a swig of my drink then smiled. “So you never answered. What sort of movies and TV shows do you like?”

“Science f…fiction…”

I couldn’t help but laugh. “Why am I not surprised?”

We talked about movies and stuff for a while, talking about other things like places we always wanted to go and that sort of thing. We finished our food and Kay paid for everything while I left the tip. We headed over to the movie theater and chose a new sci-fi movie since we hadn’t previously decided what to watch. It was some thriller with aliens. Kay paid for the tickets, and the popcorn and drinks. I tried paying at least for the snacks but he refused to let me.

We went into the theater and tried to figure out where to sit. At first I felt out of place as an old man, since most the people in the theater seemed to be young. Teenagers, young adults. But I glanced sideways at Kay and remembered we were young too. Young adults, twenty-one. “Where do you like to sit?” I whispered.

“Ah–th-th-the back,” he squeaked. “B-but where do you prefer to s-sit?”

“Wherever,” I said, looking around. “The back is fine,” I added without thinking. Kay went really red and it wasn’t until we got our seats that I realized why. Yeah. Back row. I felt like a perv.

We got our drinks settled and the popcorn was put in his lap and then I sat with my hands in my lap since the armrests–I didn’t think I could stand having arm contact with him right now. We talked a bit before the lights went out and the previews came on. It had been ages since I had seen a movie and the last movie I saw in theaters was a kid’s movie with Cal about three years ago. These previews were more adult, lots of violence and dirty jokes. Then the movie came on and it started out a bit strange but started getting really good.

I had a difficult time getting popcorn, as it was still in Kay’s lap. I really felt uncomfortable reaching over and–ah–well, it was just really uncomfortable. A few times our elbows bumped together and at one point we both reached for the popcorn at the same time and when our hands grazed together, we both grew red.

The movie continued, aliens and space soldiers blasting at each other. Kay occasionally made derisive comments about the aliens and the technology, which really amused me. At one point I asked if he was enjoying the movie and he assured me he was. “Are y-you?” he whispered back, and I nodded. “Are my c-comments annoying you…?”

“No,” I replied. “I don’t mind at all.”

We waited until after the credits were over before leaving and then headed home. The lights were all off, except for one in Cal’s room. We lingered outside the door for a moment in the dark. “I–I guess we m-might as well go in,” he stammered.

“So I guess this is… the end of our… date?”

He focused on my face for just a second before dropping his gaze. “Y-yes. I… I’m sorry.”

“For what?”

“Not…b-b-b-being a good… d-date.”

I took his hand and smiled at the sound he made. “When did I say that?” There was a second or two and then he stepped closer to me, and I moved closer to him. And then I let go of his hand and opened the door. Kay’s mouth opened and closed before slight upset crossed his face. “I don’t think we should, um–well, uh…” JEEZ why was it so hard to say ‘kiss’? “Uh–“

“Someone m-m-might see,” he finished as he slipped past me. The room was dark but light and music were coming out from under Cal’s door. I quietly shut the front door and then took Kay’s hand again. “You had a g-good time?”

“Yes. Did you?”

“Y-yes.”

“So… you want to go out again sometime… soon?” I asked, hopefully.

Kay smiled, at least it looked like it in the dark. “Y-yes.”

It felt like I had little control over anything. I couldn’t figure out what to say, or how to initiate the kiss. I rather hoped he would, but when he didn’t I wasn’t sure if that meant I shouldn’t. Then I decided I might as well and as I was about to make lip contact (or hopefully make lip contact, it was pretty dark) I heard Cal’s door open and the room got lighter.

Kay and I sprang apart as Cal looked at us a bit guiltily. “Er, I thought I heard–I was just making sure–um–sorry…”

“It’s fine,” I said quickly. “G-goodnight Kay, I’ll s-see you in the morning…”

“G-g-g-goodnight, Jacob,” he whispered, making a beeline for his room.

“Dad–I didn’t mean to, uhhh, interrupt…” Cal said as I locked the front door and headed towards my own room.

“It’s fine,” I said, hand on my doorknob. “Goodnight.”

“Dad–“

“Goodnight, Cal.” I went into my room and quickly shut the door behind me, feeling a bit empty.

The Danning Beginnings – Chapter Fifteen

So here I was, kissing Kay fully on the lips. It had gone on for several seconds and was nearing a minute before our contact broke, which I didn’t like. I was tempted to pull him close and kiss him again, but I didn’t. I let go of his chin and stepped back, keeping my eyes on his huge, giant, enormous ones. I had totally scared him.

“Jacob.” His voice quavered a bit but the upside was his hands weren’t over his mouth and he wasn’t running off.

“Kay,” I said, feeling a bit strange to use basically just his initial in such an intimate moment. I wonder if there was more intimate moments what I would–NO!!!!! JACOB DO NOT THINK OF THAT! Oh. Watcher. This was getting so out of hand so fast.

“Y-y-y-you kissed me,” he squeaked.

“Yeah,” I said breathlessly. “I did. And… I want to… do it again.”

His eyebrows lifted. “You d-d-d-d-do?” he stammered, apparently shocked.

“Yes. I do.” I searched his face looking for any indication that he’d like it. He just looked shocked. “Kay, I think we need to talk.”

“You k-kissed me.”

“Yeah.” I moved a bit back from him, also trying to resist. I really wanted to do this again. It was overwhelming. I really lost all sense. “And we need to talk. About–about the kiss and–and other things.” I ran my fingers through my hair, trying to figure out exactly what to say. I really didn’t know how to do this, it was happening so fast. I just started having feelings for him–Recently? The past few days? Was that true? I thought back to first seeing him in the park, when he gave me the potion. And before that. Ages ago, when I was pregnant I enjoyed his company. That wasn’t feelings like this but it was a start. Had he been around more, would this have happened then? “See, the th–“

But my words were cut off by Kay grabbing me and jerking me close to him, and we were kissing again. I staggered back in both surprise and from the force of the kiss. His hands were holding my shoulders tightly. Just when I started to relax, it was over. He stumbled back, one hand over his mouth (not both thankfully) and he didn’t run.

“I’ve n-n-n-n-never done anything l-like that b-before,” he said, his voice muffled.

I touched my lips. “I think… that’s how we ended up like this. Neither of us… doing anything… like this… sooner…” My eyes met his and I felt so afraid. “So uh… this means you… have… f-feelings… for me?”

He blinked once, very slowly. Then he came forward and smacked my arm. “I just s-said I’ve n-never done th-that. You th-think I w-w-would for n-no reason? I… w-wanted to kiss you again and st-still do.”

“You still want to kiss me?” I asked.

“You d-don’t want to k-kiss me?” he asked, looking as concerned as I felt moments ago.

“I do want to kiss you again… Kay, I like you. A lot. I don’t know exactly when it happened but I realized it a week or two ago. Okay, so it happened at the, um, sponge bath you gave me. Er–okay, so it happened when that vampire kissed you and I felt…” I paused.

“You f-felt what?”

“Jealous.”

Kay smiled for the first time in several days, since before his fight with his sister. “You f-felt… jealous?”

“Yeah which was really strange considering I had no idea that I was gay,” I replied, and he tilted his head. “Yeah. I don’t know. It’s been a wild few days. Week. Whatever. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. I mean, I’m still confused about–about everything. Oh, no,” I said when I saw the look on his face. “I’m… not confused about everything. I’m confused about a lot of things. But not about one thing.”

“Wh-what’s that?”

“I just said, Kay. I like you.” I smiled back at him and he looked embarrassed. “But everything else I am confused about. I know I like you but the whole… gay thing… I am still confused about. The–sudden events… I mean, everything happening so quickly is confusing. The fact that my fourteen-year-old son called me out on being gay then shouting at us to kiss is confusing.”

“Y-yeah, there is s-s-so much confusion. Th-things just seemed to–to r-randomly jump start.”

“Yeah, very sudden. Very–fast.” We just kept looking at each other, and I was resisting the powerful urge to kiss him again. We had kissed three times in five minutes. I wanted it to be four kisses–or more–in ten minutes. But I was not going to go overboard with this. Just cause I wanted to… grab him and… kiss him.. hard… didn’t mean I was going to. Or should. I definitely should not.

“Wh-what now?” he asked.

I shrugged one shoulder. “I think we should go for what I mentioned a couple minutes ago. I think we, uh, should talk. About… everything.”

“I–I d-d-don’t think… h-here is the b-best place,” he muttered.

I was about to ask why then I realized the only place to sit was the bed. “How about I give Cal some money to go out and we can talk in the living room?” I suggested and he nodded, so I headed through the living room and knocked at his door until he answered. When he opened the door I could tell he was really freaked out. I didn’t blame him. “Are you busy?”

“Kinda busy,” was the answer. “I’m sort of trying to you know, wipe my memory. Get Penny to talk to me. Neither’s going so well. After she made you guys kiss she stomped back in here and, yeah.” He stepped aside to indicate his doll on the floor. “Then again, this was a good thing. Making you two kiss was the first time since–ages–that she’s been in anything but this form. I don’t know why. She won’t tell me. Been days. A week. A week without Penny. Yeah, I don’t like that. Could you talk to her?”

“I’m not talking to a doll, Calcifer.”

His entire face darkened. “She’s not a doll, she’s a person that just so happens to be able to turn into a doll! You never understand. Just–forget it!” He started to slam his door shut but I put my body in the way. “Hey, stop it!”

“Here’s some simoleons.” I pulled a few bills out of my pocket and put it in his hand.

“Whoa, this is a lot,” he said, staring. “Is this a bribe? For what? To not talk about Penny? Cause I don’t do th–“

“No, it’s not a bribe about Penny, it’s a bribe to go out of the house and see a movie or something,” I said.

He looked at the money then back up at me with narrowed eyes. “You want me out of the house? Wh–oh Watcher, it’s not so you two can, like, get it on, is it?”

“NO!” I shouted. “Don’t–just–don’t! No. No way. Trust me no, no, no. Kay and I need to talk and we’d both feel more comfortable without you being around. And don’t ever–talk about–sex that way. It’s not ‘getting it on’. There’s nothing to ‘get on’.”

“If you want to be safe there is. Okay, why am I ever saying this to my dad! It’s gross!”

“I have no clue,” I said then moved away from his door. “Just get your shoes on and go for a while, okay? See a movie. Go to the diner. Be back before six.”

He tucked the money into his pocket and slammed the door shut. I moved to the couch and sat down, feeling awkward about this. I felt like a teenager again. Hell, I was practically one anyway. I was just physically twenty-one. Oh man, all my hormones–no wonder. Oh man, no wonder I was so horny now. If my hormones were all–young again. I’d have to ask Kay about that.

I looked over as Cal came slamming out of his room. “I’ll be out till six,” he snapped then left the house, slamming the door of course.

I folded my hands in my lap and regretted this. Alone in the house with Kay discussing our feelings. Yeah. Brilliant idea. But it was better than talking about it on a bed. I didn’t look up when Kay came out of his room. He walked over then sat down on the other side of the couch, a large space between us. Good start.

“So… Cal…?” he began.

“Movies and stuff,” I answered, still not looking at him. “What should we, um, where should we–start?”

“I’ve l-liked you… f-for a long time,” he admitted and I finally looked at him from out of the corner of my eye. “I was n-never going to say. I didn’t th-think you were… h-homosexual.”

“I didn’t think so either but–being here with you has really thrown me into a loop. Maybe I’m not homosexual. Maybe I’m just… into you. Regardless of your sex.”

I noticed his was going brilliantly red and I tried not to grin, realizing how much he liked what I just said. Then my grin was wiped from my face when he said, “You d-do realize if I w-was a girl I’d be identical t-to my sister, right?”

“… I’m gay,” I stated which caused him to chuckle. “No offense, but that just… makes me… anyway, this isn’t what we’re talking about. We’re talking about our feelings. And, uh, dealing with the… confusion.”

“Y… you’re so d-different f-from any other guy I’ve ever l-liked.” When he finished that sentence I wondered what he meant, hoping a bit for more but he just sighed. “I have a c-confession. Um. The other d-day I overheard you t-talking to C-Calcifer. It w-was… th-the really b-big talk and I know I sh-shouldn’t have listened in…”

“You mean when Cal asked if I liked you?” I asked, trying to sort this out. “Then how come you didn’t say anything s–“

“N-no!” He lifted his chin to stare. “No, I d-d-d-didn’t know about th-that. I m-meant when you t-told him about… your ex-g-girlfriend.”

I closed my eyes, twisting the edge of my shirt between my fingers. “Oh.”

“I’m s-sorry all that happened. I didn’t know. I knew you had relationship p-problems, that was one r-reason my sister thought you’d be m-more willing t-t-to help us with the male p-pregnancy. I just… didn’t… know th-the extent. I’m so sorry. I c-c-c-can’t even imagine what you w-went through.”

“I didn’t know you heard,” I said quietly.

“I w-was… about t-to come in and ask about… f-f-food… I’m really s-sorry.”

“It’s all right, Kay. I mean, it’s something you should probably know about me anyway if we…”

“If we?”

I blushed and looked away. “So, uh, you’re… gay.”

“Mm.” He nodded which I could see just at the edge of my vision. “I’ve known f-for a long time. P… pu… puberty, p-pretty much. I st-started liking… g-guys. But the guys I l-liked back then were n… not good.” His feet turned inward a bit and he hunched over as if trying to shield himself. “I’ve n-never had a b-boyfriend.”

I almost asked if he wanted one then quickly stopped myself. “I’ve only technically had one girlfriend. You’re… the first guy… I’ve ever been interested in. And, uh… kissed.”

“I’ve b-been kissed before but–they w-weren’t good. At all.”

“The vampire wasn’t a good kisser?”

He was scarlet and hunched even more. “Well. N-not as g-g-g-good as y-y-you.”

I grinned. “You’re a–a very good kisser yourself.” He went even more scarlet. “Um–I had a question. About the youth potion. You know, I won’t lie, it’s been a long while since I felt… quite like I have been. Does, uh, does the youth potion effect the um–hormones?”

He looked up, looking at me completely now. “Huh. I n-never th-thought of something like that. It is p-possible. Theoretically… it makes s-sense. When th-the body–wait. H-…. hor…monal?” he squeaked. Now I went scarlet and avoided his look. He gave another squeak. “Uh–w-w-well–uh–um–“

“Theoretically yes is, uh, a good answer,” I mumbled and he nodded and remained quiet. Awkward silence then ensued. “So what do we do now? I mean, I like you And… you like me?”

“Very m-much so.”

More awkward silence. “Okay well there’s no–um–handbook or guidebook that comes with discovery of orientation change, so I am just… I am gonna be really… confused for a while about… all this but… I–I’d like to… Oh jeez. I’d like to–I–I’d like–uh, I–“

“J-Jacob?”

I turned towards him again. He was scooting a bit closer. “Yeah?”

“I’d l-like to too.” Then he kissed me, again. I tensed up in surprised then relaxed, cautiously putting my hands on his shoulders as I kissed him back. I closed my eyes tight and began kissing him a bit firmer, our lips pressing together hard. Then I had no clue where to put my hands. His shoulders were a good place but should I move one to his back? Or arm? Or back of his head? His hands were against my chest. And his lips–it was an amazing kiss, another amazing kiss that just blew my mind. Four kisses, in eighteen minutes.

“You want to too?” I asked when we were done. He nodded and I nervously touched his cheek. “Pursue a r-relationship?”

“I… Th-that’s what I thought you m-meant,” he said, startled. “Well, that’s what I thought you w-were trying to say, s-so that’s what I w-was agreeing to. G-going… uh, trying to–uh, a r-r-relationship. I’ve n-never been in a relationship.” He blushed and I realized just then how… cute he was when he blushed.

My hand fell to my lap and I bit my bottom lip. “Kay, I have a… confession as well. About overhearing things.”

“Wh-what is it?” He inched even closer to me and his hand brushed against my hand that was resting on the couch. We both jumped at the touch.

“A while ago when you were–” Ugh, how was I supposed to say this? “I overheard some of… what was… said between you and your sister, before you helped the vampire. When you said–and then I said I didn’t overhear anything, and it was a lie, and I’m sorry. I just didn’t want you make you uncomfortable knowing I heard… what was said.”

“What was it?” he asked innocently, apparently haven forgotten about that particular argument or at least what was said. How am I supposed to say the V word? He just kept looking at me, waiting for the answer.

“I don’t know what exactly was said during that particular, uh, argument. But I did hear you yell that you were–you are–not–experienced–with–relationships.” There. That was a good way of putting it.

“I’ve n-never been in a–oh!” He covered his mouth. “Oh! Th-that. You h-heard that. I… I guess it d-doesn’t matter now since you know I’ve n-never had a relationship before.”

Huh, that went a lot easier than expected. “And you know that I…?”

“I know y-you’ve been with a w-woman,” he said and then he inched closer again. He was staring straight ahead. “Is it as g-gross as I’ve always suspected it is?”

“I don’t know. I mean, I’ve only ever been with one woman and–it was… I thought it was… nice but… as I have nothing to compare it to, and she never truly loved me, and it wasn’t exactly… what I wanted the most… I don’t know. I guess we shouldn’t be talking about–that stuff right now. After all we’re just… we’ve just…”

“I don’t know h-how to d-d-d-deal with th-this sort of thing. I mean… the… idea of… a r-relationship. I’ve… w-wanted one for a long time and–with you–has b-been… something… I’ve w-wanted. But I don’t kn-know how t-to… deal with this. What to say. Wh-what to do.”

“I feel kind of awkward too,” I admitted. “I keep thinking what I should do, or say as well. But that’s ok. We can learn together.” I reached over and put my hand on his. This time, only he jumped. “Two… fifty-some year old men who look like they’re twenty and both very awkward when it comes to relationships… can learn… together. I think that’s part of the relationship process. Learning. And now I’m just babbling.”

His hand move under mine so it was facing up, and his fingers linked with mine. “It’s okay. I l-like listening t-to you.”

“Uh… how about… kissing?”

“I l-like that too.”

We kissed again, for the fifth time. Like the ones before it felt really good and I hated it when it ended. Then we had the awkward silence again, and I began to feel afraid this is how things were going to go with us from now on. This is just the beginning of things, of course it will be awkward, and we can work at it.

“So–wh-what now?” he asked.

I pushed some hair back and tried to think but my mind was pretty much blank. “How about a date?” I offered.

“D-date?” he asked, looking up towards me. “You w-want to go on a date w-with me?”

“I’m not the kind of person to just be with someone just for… kissing. As nice as the kissing is. I like you, so yes. I want to go on a date with you.”

He let out a breathy laugh. “Okay. Um, wh-when?”

“How about… Friday night?” I offered.

“That sounds v-very good,” he admitted with a smile. “But… w-wait, we’re not done talking about things. There’s an issue w-we haven’t discussed.” Now I was looking at him curiously. “Wh-what about your job interview? And the plans t-to move?”

I blew out some air and then leaned back against the couch, frowning. “I need to take care of and provide for my son,” I pointed out. “I don’t know… if we should stay here… when you and I are just…” I saw the grief-stricken look on his face and remembered the words from earlier. “Kay, last week when I was comforting you after the fight with Jay, you asked me to promise not to leave. That wasn’t just about that moment, was it?”

Kay was up on his feet and was about to run off but I grabbed the back of his shirt, tugging him back. “L-let me g-go!” he stammered, struggling against me. “Let go!”

“Jeez, Kay, sometimes you remind me so much of Cal!” I exclaimed and he froze up.

“Wh-wh-wh-wh-what does th-th-that mean?” His stammer was very obviously worse and he was definitely avoiding our eyes meeting.

“Because he as a tendency to just literally run away from something he doesn’t want to deal with,” I said and guided his arm so we were facing each other though he was still looking down. “Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Just seems to be something you do too. You and Cal should have a Runners Anonymous meeting or something.” He raised his head at that at least though his eyes were huge with horror. “It’s a joke?”

“Ohhh, ha ha,” he replied weakly.

“No bad jokes on our date,” I said, trying to make as light of it for his sake though now I suspected there was something he was not going to tell me. I wasn’t going to dig at this right now though. “But what about the promise you asked of me?”

“I w-want you to stay here,” he said as he put his hands on my arms. “I was h-hoping you would want to c-continue staying with me. After we g-got you fixed up. I have all th-this room and it’s j-just me. And if you n-need a job I could hire you!”

“For what?”

“Oh—oh!” He pretty much burst into flames. “N-n-n-no! I d-d-didn’t mean–no–th-that sounded so wrong!”

“What did?” I asked, then realized. It was all I could do not to start giggling. “Wait… Kay, uh, I… you–did you think that I thought that you meant something–ah, sexual about that?” My words sounded very awkward as I spoke and Kay looked more distressed. “I didn’t. I just… wasn’t really sure exactly what you did mean.”

“I d-don’t know, I just… don’t want you to go.” He put his arms around himself, rolling his eyes towards the floor. “I l-like you living here. I like Calcifer living here. And P-Penny. I w-want to help Cal, with Penny. I want–you. Around. I’m n-not good at being b-by myself. I’ve… r-rarely been by myself, for almost m-my entire life I’ve lived with my s-sister, except the past couple of y-years I’ve been living by myself in Twinbrook and w-well, with Jay visiting sometimes it never s-seemed so bad but now she h-hates me and… now that I’ve had you and Cal here for a couple of weeks…” He ducked his head low. “I d-don’t want to go back to how it w-was before.”

I grabbed his arms and his head lifted back up. “You won’t,” I said. “I’ll stay. We. We will stay.”

And then it was our sixth kiss. Just as mind-blowingly amazing as the other.

The Danning Beginnings – Chapter Fourteen

It was so strange knowing my son knew what had happened to me. After I told him the story about Nicky and the abortions, he locked himself in his room for a while. I was left alone for quite some time until Kay entered the room with my dinner. As he had since his sister fought with him, he sat down and ate with me. And as he had since, he barely ate anything. Pretty soon he’d be losing weight and he looked so–hollow… I worried if he didn’t eat more he’d wither away into nothing.

Tonight during dinner it seemed even stranger than before. He did not say a single word. He poked at the sesame chicken on his plate and avoided looking at me. I tried to strike up a conversation but he didn’t answer. I guess that his day was really bad, I thought, giving up trying to talk to him.

I finished my plate, he had half of his and then he took the plates to go. Our fingers brushed, and he jolted back. “S-sorry,” he whispered.

“It’s fine,” I assured him. We had curled up in bed together for ages and now my fingers touching his fingers bothered him? “Kay?” He hesitated but didn’t answer. I took the hesitation to mean I could keep talking. “Did something happen today? Is there anything I can do to help?”

“N… no… I’m… f-fine.” He clutched the plates, looking hard at them. “W-well, I just w-wanted to say… I’m… s-sorry…”

“For what?” I asked. He pressed his lips together and then left the room very quickly, leaving me in complete confusion.

*

A week after the vampire left the house and I was able to move around easily on my own. Kay had been helping me get my strength back, walking with me up and down the house. At this point I tried convincing him to let me take back my original room but he pointed out his bigger bed was more comfortable.

“Yes but I’m doing so much better now,” I said, rubbing my midriff which hadn’t given me any pain in over three days.

“I w-w-want you to be as c-c-comfortable as you c-can be,” he said.

“I’ll be comfortable in my old bed,” I said, wondering if I could make him realize he had every right to be comfortable as well. “Maybe being in your old bed will help you sleep better at night?” I suggested.

He shook his head. “I’m f-fine wherever.”

“Good! Then you’ll be in your old room, and I’ll be in mine,” I said and his eyes narrowed a bit. Without waiting for him to figure it out, I went into my old room and stretched onto the bed. Kay came to the doorway and just stared at me with now widened eyes. “Hey, I’m fine here.”

“Oh… okay. I–I’ll t-take… the… b-big bed th-then…” He moved his weight to his other foot and looked as if he wanted to say something but then he went off, probably towards his room. What is with him? I wondered. What was so wrong for him to have his old bed? I was just trying to make things easier and better for him. I… I wanted him to… be as comfortable as he could be.

*

It was strange being in a single bed again and a bit difficult to get used to. I decided when I got our own place, I’d buy a bigger bed. A nice, comfy one. Maybe that would be nice. Though… the thought of leaving Kay was… a bit saddening. I tried not to think of it too much, and then when I finally got him out of my mind, Cal came into the room. He picked up something off my dresser and examined it before setting it back down and picking something else up.

“Yes?” I asked, sitting up, and then sliding out of bed. I had spent so much time in bed I liked being out of it now.

“Can I talk to you about something?” He kept his back to me as he studied the lamp on my dresser.

“Sure, anything.”

“I’m–I’m sorry about, uh, what happened. With… Nicole was her name?”

I frowned, rubbing the back of my neck. “Nicky.”

“I’m really sorry, Dad.” His eyes locked onto mine and I smiled.

“As hard as it was, at least something good happened. After all, if I stayed with her I probably wouldn’t have had you.” I reached over and rubbed his impossibly tall hair.

“Daaaaaad!” he whined, ducking away and I laughed. “Well–since then, I’ve been thinking. And what you said a while ago–about love.”

“Oh?”

“You ever think about meeting someone?”

Not exactly what I was expecting. Was he going to try to play matchmaker? Then again, he did need a mother… didn’t he? “I’ve thought about it,” I said hesitantly. “I might, one day. I’d like to meet someone to have a relationship with. But right now, things are complicated.”

He winced slightly. “What sort of complicated?”

“I’m a twenty-one year old with a fourteen-year-old-son,” I pointed out.

“Ewww that’s like, eight years old!” Cal shrieked with a laugh.

I grinned back. “Actually, seven.” Then I regretted it, hoping he wouldn’t take my correction the wrong way. But he just kept laughing, exclaiming how gross that was. “You see my problem. And we look too much alike to say adoption.”

“You shouldn’t give up on love or, y’know, anything like that,” he said,  scratching his forehead. “Um–I had a question about, um, that sort of thing. I mean… well not about me though–well, never mind. But–see I was wondering–was–Nicky your only g-girlfriend?”

“More or less,” I said with a shrug. “I went on a couple dates now and then with other girls in my life. Nothing after Nicky though. Why?”

“I was just–I mean, just wondering…” His fingers were twitching a bit and he looked as if he might run off. “Look. I know things have been so whacked out lately and I know–I know you’ve been–hurt by–a girl–and–things have just been so weird here. I… mean…” His head went really low now and he was going splotchy with redness. “I mean… you… are you… I was wondering if you…”

He trailed off and poked the ground with his toes. “Cal, whatever it is, you can ask me,” I said.

“Dad, you and–and Kay–were in bed together.”

For a split second I had no clue what he was meaning by that and when I realized, I was as red as he was. “C-Cal! I–we–that w-w-wasn’t anything–s-sexual! I was c-comforting him!”

“You were naked.”

“I wasn’t!” I protested. “I had my–my undies on.”

“Dad, how many straight men call them ‘undies’?”

My eyes remained on him, unblinking. “C…Cal…” I was very confused by this.

“Dad, are you gay?” he asked, finally saying the word.

“No,” I said immediately. He raised his eyebrows. “I’m not…” I don’t think I am, I thought. I sort of wonder… but I’m.. not quite… sure. “Why would you think I am?”

“Dad, you were in bed with another man and you were just in your… ‘undies’.” He did the finger-quote thing around the last word.

“I was comforting him–“

“You could’ve put a shirt on or something. I TOTALLY understand you wanting to comfort him, yeah, I do. But you never felt–awkward–being almost completely naked while, uh, you know, hugging him?”

Now I was brilliantly red and wished he had run off without bringing this subject up. “I didn’t think about it. He was upset. He needed comforting. I–needed to comfort him.”

“Didn’t you move to the other room? You had time to throw something on after the first few hours, yeah, even if you didn’t think about it the first time, wasn’t it awkward enough that you–you felt awkward–and stuff–jumping back into bed with him still almost naked?”

“Cal!”

“Do you like him?”

“Cal–“

“Well, do you?” He folded his arms and stared hard at me.

I gulped and clawed at my brain for an answer. There was an answer to this. “I… am… not… having this conversation with you, Calcifer.”

Calcifer stepped back, mouth wide open. Then he clamped it shut and rubbed his head. “Okay. Okay. My dad is gay. Ok.”

“I never said–“

“Yes you did.”

“No, I didn’t!”

“Yes, Dad, you did. I–I’ll be in my room. I’ll just–yeah.” He turned towards the door, starting to push it open. He then clicked it shut and turned back to face me. “But you know, Dad, I think he likes you too.” The he shot out of the door like a rabbit, slamming it behind him and leaving me alone with those words.

I staggered back, staring now at the closed door. I hadn’t said anything… about… being gay… or liking Kay… Had I? I went through all the things said and tried to figure out exactly what made him think I was gay. Okay, so it was a bit… okay, a lot… okay… a…

Okay, so I was gay. At least–I was thinking I was. I might–like a guy. I wasn’t necessarily gay. Bisexual didn’t sound right either. And Kay, well, the situation was awkward. And I knew he didn’t… wouldn’t… would never…

That kiss, I thought, turning to look at the window now. He reacted shocked, not negatively.

But there was a world of difference between a beautiful vampire’s kiss and all the baggage that would be dragged with a fifty-some year old man with a teenaged son. Even if the old man looked like a twenty-one year old. Though Kay was probably the only person who’d ever understand this predicament of mine. In fact, the only person I could really date anyway without the whole secret getting out.

I fell onto the bed and moaned. I was gay. And I liked Kay. A lot. This was not how things were supposed to go. And, they weren’t going to go anyplace else. Did–did he like me? Was he gay? I didn’t know for sure. He was so nice to me but he was trying to make up for past mistakes, or could be taken that way. Everything he had done could be taken another way. That was the problem.

I had no way to be sure.

*

Whatever the talk with Cal was supposed to do, what it did was make me painfully more aware of Kay. I could barely look at him anymore, let alone talk to him. Although that wasn’t too much of an issue, as while Kay would talk animatedly with Cal, whenever I was around his mouth was tightly closed. He barely spoke to me, he avoided my eyes, and oftentimes if we were alone in a room together he would quickly make an exit. As this went on my heart weighed heavier and heavier as I realized the fact was we had probably overstayed our welcome.

That was one possibility, the other being… well there were multiple reasons. He might have figured the same thing Cal figured out and hated it. Or… he did like me too. Any of those was a possibility, but with him avoiding me as much as he could then I couldn’t help but feel…. hurt. Besides, I was doing millions better and able to get around decently on my own. I had enough money to buy or rent a small place and I could start looking for a job.

I began looking in the newspaper, circling jobs, apartments, and homes. There were two in my price-range, tiny little things probably not much bigger than the house we left behind in Sunset Valley. I wished I could give Cal more room like a place we were staying in now but it was out of the question. Hopefully a decent job would help.

I sent in applications, leaving in previous employment as a blank. I wondered what sort of legal trouble I could get in but I figured if Doctor Redding could do it, so could I. After three days I got a call from the grocery store asking for an interview. I wasn’t sure how I was going to get there since I wasn’t well enough to walk on my own. I’d have to ask Kay for now. Maybe I could get a bike or something. I wasn’t really sure about the bus system here.

“An interv-view?” He was looking down at his hands which were trembling. He curled them into fists.

“Yes, I thought I should get a job since I’m feeling better and I’ll need one to pay bills and rent.”

His eyes snapped up, wide and fearful. “R-rent?” he whispered, shaking his head. “You d-don’t owe me anyth-thing—”

“I mean, when Cal and I get our own place,” I said. Kay flinched as if I had slapped him and then he turned away from me slightly.

“You’re… l-leaving…?” His voice drained a bit. The passing days he was slowly recovering from the fight with his sister and still was very broken, but when he talked he sounded better–until now.

“Well, yes. We can’t stay here forever. You have your own life to live, you don’t need us here eating your food and causing you problems.”

“Problems…” He trailed off then turned completely away from me. “It’s n-n-n-not causing any p-problems, Jacob.”

“I appreciate it, I really do, but you can’t be saddled with us for much longer, it wouldn’t be fair on you.”

Now he faced me again and I could tell he was distressed. “Saddled? I’m n-not… I d-d-d-don’t feel that way! You’re w-welcome to stay here as l-long as you need—”

“And we have,” I said gently. “Cal will need some stability in his life before school starts so I’d like to find our own place before then.”

“If… if I’m causing any p-problems with you, Jacob, I c-c-c-can go.” He was wringing his hands tightly and looked like he might break down again any second. Oh Watcher, what had I done?

“This is your house!”

“B-b-b-but… I b-b-bought…” His eyes went down and he clutched his own hands tightly. “If I’ve offended yo-you I’m sorry,” he said in a tiny whisper I barely heard.

I fought off a strong urge to put my arms around him. He really looked like he might cry now. But if the problem was that I liked him–and he knew it–then touching him would be a bad thing. “You haven’t done anything. You’ve shown us nothing but kindness and generosity, and I am so grateful. But Cal and I can’t stay here forever. That’s why I found a job, well hopefully found a job, and have been looking for places to live.”

His hand was shaking as he fumbled with his glasses, at first trying to push them up but then trying to take them off. He yelped as they fell and I swooped down to pick them up automatically. When I bent down there was a little flare of pain. I still had this occasionally and it was no where near as bad as it once was, bad sudden enough that I fell to the ground. I handed his glasses up to him then began trying to get up.

His hands were on me, under my arms as he helped. I moved my weight and thanks to him was able to get up easily. “Thanks,” I said but he just stared up at me with huge eyes, his hands still against my sides. I couldn’t look away from the green, shining brightly behind the lenses. My body tightened slightly and I felt a tugging sensation in my groin.

I tried to pull away but his hands clutched at my shirt. “Don’t go…” His voice was again low, hardly audible; plus his head was bowed low. That tugging sensation grew and I was glad I was wearing jeans and not something looser that would show the erection forming. “Y… y-y-you c-can’t go.” Now he was rather squeaky. “You c-cant. You can’t. You s-said. You promised. You p-p-p-promised.” He was crying now, plucking at my shirt hard. “You promised, you promised!”

Promised? What did I promise? I tried to think of what it might have been but couldn’t remember any promise. Then, I almost had it but he began talking again and it was gone.

“B-b-b-besides, you’re st-still recovering, wh-what if you f-f-fall at–at your home? Or–w-w-work?” His fingers kept working at my shirt as the tears dripped off his face. “You c-could get hurt. You’re st-still r-recovering and healing.”

“I… can’t intrude on you forever…”

“It’s n-n-n-n-not intruding…” he whimpered. “I… I… I…”

“Kay–“

“Yes?”

“I…. I’m sorry… if I…” Oh Watcher why was it so hard to talk? Why was looking into his eyes making me feel this way? Why couldn’t I just…. stop being such a bloody idiot?! He stared, and the words refused to come out of my mouth. Any words. And he wasn’t talking now. So I had to say something. Anything. Anything!

“Oh come on!” We both turned and there was Cal standing by his doorway, arms folded. He was scowling at us. “I’m so sick of this! You two are idiots! Just kiss already and get it over with! Dad, you want it, Kay, you want it, so just–kiss already!”

Kay jerked away from me, eyes even bigger than before. I grit my teeth, my cheeks going red. “Calcifer–” I started, planning on… I dunno, yelling or something, telling him to not–not–stick his nose in my business. But then it felt like someone was grabbing the back of my head and before I could even react, my head was pushed forward.

Against Kay’s face. Against his lips. My lips. Against his.

We were kissing. Hard. Okay more like our faces were squished together by something that felt like a hand on the back of my head, but our lips were making quite a lot of contact. And just the feeling of his lips against mine sent all sorts of sensations through my body.

Then the pressure on the back of my head let up and I pulled away. Kay was pure white, his hands over his mouth in an instant, looking much as he had after the vampire kissed him. And like he did after the vampire kissed him, he ran to his room and slammed the door shut. One of my hands lifted up, my fingers touching my lips.

What the hell just happened? It was as if something had literally shoved us together and–We kissed, I–he–we kissed, that was a strange kiss, but we kissed, a real kiss. I looked at Cal who was staring with his jaw dropped despite the fact he had been the one telling us to–to do that. I started to say it wasn’t my fault when he spoke first.

“Penny, what the heck?” he said, spreading his hands. I furrowed my brow as he was quiet then said, “Okay yes, I know they needed to, I said it, but–… Yeah, I know, it was the only way to make them figure it out because they’re both complete dunderheads and refuse to see the fact they’re both totally into each other like a coupla horny tee… oh I think I’m going to barf just thinking–excuse me.” He ran to the bathroom and shut the door.

What is going on?? I ran my fingers through my hair and considered pretending this never happened. Except I couldn’t do that. There was only one thing I could do.

Sighing, I went towards Kay’s room. It was silent on the other side of the door so I tapped at the wood. “Kay?” I called. Nothing. “Kay, can I come in?” Still nothing. “I’m coming in.” I opened the door and stepped in. He wasn’t there, but the bathroom door was shut. I shut the bedroom door behind me when I went in since I didn’t want Cal to accidentally overhear anything, though that really didn’t matter.

The bathroom door opened and he stepped out, looking miserably at me. “Y… you c-c-can go,” he whispered hoarsely. “I’m s-s-sorry I m-made a big d-deal about it. You… d-d-don’t need to st-stay here.”

“Kay…”

“I g-g-guess I sort of fl-flipped out since, you know, m-my sister–b-b-b-but that’s irrelevant.” He was looking at his shoes now, his hands wringing.

“Kay…”

“I’ve b-b-b-been thinking and I’ll–I don’t–I–I g-g-guess I don’t like the th-thought of… being alone. And–well, I’ll j-j-j-just… I know my s-sister will forgive me if I t-t-try so I’ll… do that. And I… won’t… b-be alone…”

“Kay.”

“So I fl-flipped out b-b-b-badly, and it wasn’t right of m-me so I’m sorry. And I–I–I d-d-didn’t mean to… um, my–my face… I don’t know wh-what happened it felt like s-something pushed th-the back of my head, like someone holding on and–“

Kay.”

“And I’m sorry. F-for… for all… th-the stupid… and I just… I know it’s b-been… and…”

I put my hand under his chin, holding a bit firmly as I bent in and pressed my lips against his. I was kissing him, of my own initiative. I was kissing Kay. For the second time in like, four minutes. And oh my Watcher it felt so nice. I kissed him a bit harder.  All the feelings I had towards him were taking over every single inch of my body, which was getting a couple of inches bigger, and I just kissed him. Oh. Yes. I was so gay.