"I mean it, Typh, I really do."
"What?" I retort, "What do you know? How do you expect me to believe you at all? Doesn't it occur to you that I'm the one who came out and not you?"
"I don't know how to explain this," Jo frowns as he uses his paws to massage his nose bridge, "I know it is hard to even believe. But please, at least let me try."
Jo takes my paw and pulls me along, taking a left turn instead of the usual right.
"Where are you going?" I ask, "Our home is the other side..."
"I know, but I figure we should go somewhere else to talk without our parents in the way."
I remain silent along the way to wherever he is bringing me to.
But my mind is far from silent.
What on earth is Jo thinking? Is this some sort of a sick joke? Perhaps he didn't actually want to be friends with me, but keep me to poke fun of, to laugh at? Is he bringing me to a desolate area and make me never to be able to come back? Is he going to threaten me?
Okay, let's be more rational here. Not that the previous possibilities are impossible though. But I don't think my luck can make my life THAT dramatic or exciting.
It is not that I refuse to admit that Jo may like males just as I do. But if he didn't know what gay truly meant few days ago, how can he be one? He even claims to like me! Isn't it weird?
Not to mention that I have just come out to him not too long ago as well. Is it too much of a coincidence for him to like me a few days later? Is that even possible?
And what does he know about liking someone? Are his feelings for me real or just an illusion for him? Are his feelings for me as strong as or even stronger than what I feel for Gerrald? Can his feelings last for at least eight months like I did for that stupid bear who refuses to notice me?
And fuck my life for having to endure this second turmoil just a week after the first.
"We're here," Jo announces, letting go of my hand, bends down and pat the dry grass, "Here, have a seat."
This place, this familiar area... it's been a while since I've been here.
"What are we doing here?" I ask.
"To talk and to think," Jo answers, "I came here last week right after you left my house. I came here to straighten my thoughts and it worked. That, and I know it can be cold at night, but it's fine, I have an extra jacket in my bag, and we can share."
"Did you come here and catch a flu?" I ask and sigh, "It's less cold today, and you should have lied down on the slope instead of staying up here and get blown by wind."
Jo snaps his fingers, "Oh yeah, why didn't I think of that?"
"Just like the old times, eh?" Jo says, after we lay down on the fluffy dry grass.
Yeah, just like the old times. I don't know how much grass can differ from each other, but this patch of grass here is probably the best to lie down on. It's somehow always dry and comfy, unless it rains, of course. You know, that kind where you wanna just roll around in it? And it's almost completely bug-free, for some reason.
"Mm hmm," I say, "How long has it been since the last time we've been here already? School has totally kept us from coming back... It is always school, home, school, home. Even weekends are used to finish our work..."
"Yeah..." Jo agrees, "Here's relaxing isn't it?"
Hang on. We're not here to relax!
"Wait. This isn't the time for small talk!!" I exclaim, "We're not here to laze around!"
"Uh, yes. I suppose so..." Jo says, "I just thought that coming here can help me relax and think better... But well, let's not digress any longer. I..."
Jo's muzzle is twitching, but he isn't uttering any form of sound. Seeing him in his predicament makes me feel kind of bad. I know how it feels to be unable to explain things in words. Language has its own barriers; there will be times where no words can carry the message you want to put forward, for it can only be felt.
"It's okay, Jo," I say, trying to help, "Take your time, there's no school tomorrow, and I'm here to listen. There's no rush."
Jo let out a deep breath. If it isn't for the situation, it will have been pretty funny, because he is behaving like me, the week ago me.
"I thought a little when you left," Jo explains, "About you, about your... orientation. Then I thought about myself. I thought that we were really similar, being single, rejecting girls in search for the 'feel'... So whatever is happening to you most likely is happening to me."
But that doesn't mean you are gay, it could be really just be because the right one isn't here yet, I thought.
"Then the night where we talked, you told me to ask questions?" Jo continues while I nod my head, "You tried to explain to me what it means to be gay. You told me that it is all about preference; it is nothing more than an attraction to your own gender, and there's no choice in it. Then I look at you, and realise that actually, most of the stereotypes are merely misconceptions. There's no fixed behaviour or answer. Not all gays are the same; and they are just as normal as anyone else. Gay guys behave the same as straight guys, only difference is that the opposite partner is changed from female to male."
"But this is not quite the issue. This just exposes me to see other males as potential mates, something that never crossed my mind. And I thought, 'Hey, could I have missed out some guy that I actually might want to be with?', and that's when I saw you. You talked about Gerrald, how you can like someone who never really speaks to you. No kid, I admit that I was a little jealous of Gerrald, and this jealousy is something I've never experience before. I realise that I don't want to lose you to Gerrald."
"But Jo, that could just be because that you don't want me to give up our friendship," I reply, "You're just afraid that I will care less about you if I'm attached."
"That's what I initially thought so too," Jo says, "Perhaps it is that day we nearly broke our friendship, I got scared that it may happen again. But it isn't this simple. When I fell sick, the most recent one, I had dreams, and one of them included you, Typh. You were holding me close and calming me down... The thing is, I wanted it to happen. When I first woke up, I really hoped that you were there; I don't want to be separated from you. I wanted to tell you that I don't want you to go, but to stay by my side. I wanted to hold you and... well, feel you, but not in a sick way."
"And there's more. You told me to wait for two days and see if the feelings tide over. During this time, right after you left my house, I tried to reason with myself that I'm just jumping into conclusions. I thought that if I really had a thing for you, there should have signs throughout our years together."
"I told you to wait for two weeks actually," I say, "Two days was just a bet."
"I know, I just want to clear things with you."
"Uh, sorry for interrupting. Go on."
"No," Jo says, "Actually, I'm not so sure of my feelings as well. So far I figured that I want to protect you, hold you, take care of you... and I want you to be exclusively mine. The incident a week ago is probably one of the few times we quarrel with each other before separating. I never had a desire to want you because you have always been with me. And when you left, I was so crushed. The idea of you leaving makes me feel insecure... all these that I've never felt before until you really left."
"But will these feelings last?" I question him, "Do you feel for me the same or even more than I do for Gerrald? It's not just the fear of losing him to someone else. It is a want. It is a desire to be with him; a desire for his... everything. Even though he is different, even though he is not as perfect as I hoped, even though he don't know me or refuses to acknowledge me... I still wish to be with him. I hope for the best for him. I wait for a miracle for him to come to me even though I know the odds are hell against me. And all these have been going on for a long time, Jo."
"I know," Jo says, "I can't match your love for him with time. The thing is, I want you too. You don't have to accept it, but I want you to know that I like you. I don't know why, I know it's kind of impossible for you to reciprocate immediately, but I just want you to know."
"And let's be honest here, I have felt for you in those kinds of ways before... The few times I had my wet dreams... It was all about you, about us doing..." Jo coughs with a light blush, "I didn't really think much about it then, because I thought it's impossible for two males to be together in the first place. But now..."
That's new. I had no idea he would feel for me this way. Suppose he told me then and insist on trying it out for real... Okay, inappropriate thoughts again.
"I've never felt for anyone as much as I do for you, Typh. No guy or girl has ever made me feel this way. I'm just as new and confused as you are. You don't need to give me an answer now, Typh. But I'll show you that I'm more worth than waiting on Gerrald. That bear... I don't believe that he didn't notice anything after so long. Eight months, you say?" Jo asks.
"Yes... And I have a small feeling that he purposely avoids me. For one, he never looks up. Maybe he truly dislikes me, I don't know." I reply, letting out a sigh.
"It's his loss. I'll still be here for you. No matter you like it or not, I'll be here, as a friend, best friend, or... well..." Jo's voice trailed off.
"Jo, I think you know very well that I can't give you a reply now. I'm stuck with Gerrald, and I'm not confident of your feelings to me. And you noticed that after today, our friendship can never be the same again," I say.
"It's okay. I'll wait with you. I want to confirm my feelings for myself, and at the same time, show you that my feelings are real. About Gerrald... If you allow, I will do my best to help you forget him. As for our friendship, if it changes for the better, then I don't have any complains. All these don't matter, so long as I'm with you."
"I wish that I'm as optimistic as you are, Jo."
"Don't worry too much, it isn't healthy."
"Har har, very funny, Jo."
Next thing, I feel that I am being pulled by Jo... pulled into a hug. Honestly speaking, I like hugs. I don't get them very often, and it is an added bonus that Jo is bigger than I am. Any resistance melted into nothingness as I fall into his embrace.
"I've been wanting to do this for quite a while," Jo speaks softly to my ears, "I thought it wasn't appropriate to do it just right after you came out. And now that I've told you how I truly feel... Don't resist me, no matter how much you dislike this. Just allow me to hold you for a moment."
At that, he squeezes me a little tighter and put his legs around mine. His snout rests on my forehead, inhaling deeply.
I feel my subconscious trying to pull myself away when Jo places his legs over mine, but I bit down the urge and relaxed, feeling his warmth seep into me instead. For a moment, I truly felt protected, something that I didn't feel for a long time.
After what felt like a few minutes or so, I feel Jo blowing at the tip of my ears, making me flick my ears in irritation.
Flick. Flick. Flick.
"Jo." I warn.
He ignores me and continues to blow at the sensitive ears. I growl and try to break free, but the initial hug position puts me in an absolute disadvantage to move. I hear him giggle at my struggle which only sparks more annoyance, as usual.
After a while, I finally pry myself away from him and hit him playfully in return. Both of us laugh as we wrestle a little on the grassy slope. I elbowed him in the chest while he tries to pin my limbs down. But of course, playing physical with Jo, I almost never win. And this time is no different.
In the end, I was pinned down by him with my paws by my side... and Jo sitting on me. He made me face upwards so that I can see him. I try to kick but it's useless.
"Give up already," Jo says with a smirk.
"Fine, fine. You win." I admit in defeat.
He leans forward and says, "So what do I get for winning?"
His muzzle is so close to mine, just like the awkward position we were in, during that time in his house. The look in his eyes is the same as before, full of admiration and surprise.
I feel us both holding our breath. I have a hunch he is going to do it, and I act quickly. I free my left paw to stop his muzzle from advancing any further.
Then I feel his right paws holding on to my left arm. I grow scared, because he can kiss me by force if he ever wanted. To my horror, both of his paws held my arms and pin them on the ground. He shows no sign of giving up, only advancement.
"Jo," I call out desperately, "Jo, please don't."
At that, his eyes widen and he buries his muzzle on the patch of grass beside mine. The firm grip of his paws loosens as his entire body slumps down on me.
"I'm sorry," Jo's muffled voice speak out, "I'm such a jerk, I shouldn't have done that."
"Jo?" I say, trying to console him, "Jo, it's okay, I'm not angry. Nothing's wrong." After all, he really hasn't done any wrong.
"No. I promised to protect you, but I have almost done something bad to you, if I had let my instincts on..." Jo howls into the grass.
Jo lifts himself away from me and takes my left arm.
"You know the time when you got your first scar?" Jo asks, "At that time, I promised to... Eh? Wait."
He stops and takes his phone from his pocket, shining the light on my left wrist.
"What's this? Since when did you get a second..."
I snatch my arm back from him and sits up, ears flattening out.
"Typh... Don't be like that. What happened? Please tell me."
I know Jo is going to get really upset after this... but I can't lie now, can I?
"I... It was a week ago... I did this the night I came out and left your home. I thought I lost my best friend forever, so I..." I say, ears flat out to the maximum, "But it isn't your fault, I just couldn't control. Please, Jo. Don't be upset."
Jo crumbles down, taking a seat, pulling his legs close to himself and hiding his muzzle.
"How can you expect me not to? I couldn't protect you, I nearly assaulted you. I'm such a useless beast," Jo mumbles, voice shaking.
"No you're not," I say, carefully placing emphasis on every word. I lift his muzzle up, "I'm not blaming you for anything, so you better stop this."
I grab Jo's head over and hug him, "Don't be silly, and I don't like wimpy guys, so there."
He chuckles and pushes me away, "Jerk."
Yay. I did promise another, didn't I? I intend to write more before I have to leave in March... but keeping the intent is another story. But I'll try to!