Chapter 3

The first mistake that I made when it came to enjoying my day off from work...was waking up early. The first rule of 'time off' is SLEEP LATER THAN NORMAL!!! My second mistake was spending those early morning hours going to the dreaded DMV to try to get a new driver's license. I shouldn't have been driving without one, but it's only a bad situation if I get caught. Which, hopefully, I won't. A forty-five-minute affair with the bus system in this city is the absolute pits when measured against a fifteen-minute car ride and some special time to spend drinking coffee with Dustin.

Sighhh....Dustin. Sometimes I touch my finger to my lips and wonder if it had all been a dream. I sit back, smile to myself uncontrollably, and I reply the kissing over and over again. With Dustin's lean little body stumbling around in the front seat of the car, his long fingers caressing my face softly, reaching up to my ears. The feel of his silken blond hair sweeping gently across my cheek, the fresh and virginal taste of his young breath as his lips moved experimentally against my own. The way his warm, wet, tongue learned so quickly how to be involved in the art of kissing...and the way his slim body trembled in my arms with the excitement of this new experience. My God...I could become so lost in the daydreamed images of our embrace, that reality itself became somewhat of a faded illusion. Life seemed dull and colorless in comparison to those few short moments...when our emotions broke free of the chains holding them back, and we connected with a passion that consumed us both.

I haven't felt a love like this since the very first time. Except for THIS time...I'm REALLY confused!

I finished my morning errands and all, and remembered my promise to Dustin that I'd stop by and at least say hello for a little while. But...as I drove closer and closer to the mall...my car soon turning into the crowded parking lot...I felt an ice cold flurry of chills flutter across the surface of my very soul. It's hard to explain, but I got more and more nervous the closer I got to seeing him again. As I found a parking place and pulled into it, my heart began to feel heavy and weighed down with emotion. This unrestricted sense of 'worry' just suddenly fell on me like a ton of cinder blocks, and when I turned off the car, I had to brace myself for the impact of seeing those young blue eyes meeting mine again. This was the first time I will have seen him since we confessed how we felt about each other, and it scared me.

What if I took advantage? What if he hates me for seducing him like that? What if I did something to damage him or hurt him? What if it's the opposite? What if I go in there, and he jumps into my arms and blindly kisses me in front of everybody? What if he accidentally told someone out of pure joy...and the police are there waiting for me to show up? Or worse...his PARENTS? What if he's made me like the love of his whole LIFE? Do you know what kind of PRESSURE that is...having a virgin boy give you his heart so openly, so willingly, and wrap his entire world around you? What if I can't live up to his expectations? Oh God....what if I end up hurting him? He'll never forgive me. Not ever. Sighhh....this seemed like such a good idea before I actually had time to 'think' about it.

I rested my hands on the steering wheel, just sitting in the parked car for a few minutes while I tried to catch the breath that thoughts of Dustin had stolen from me. I took a moment to close my eyes and consider what it might mean, seeing that beautiful boy again, and realizing that our relationship as friends no longer exists in the same capacity. Not anymore. Not after last night. But a slice of my heart officially belonged to him now, and the only thing more terrifying than engaging his love head on....was the concept of having to let it go. So..with one last deep breath, I opened the car door, grabbed the keys, and headed towards the mall. God, give me strength.

I could feel my hands shaking as I walked in through the mall entrance and made my way to the escalator. Breathe normal, Eric. It's ok. Just...go by the music store, say hello, and if he gives you any kind of withdrawn or embarrassed vibe at all, we turn and leave. And we never....sighhh...we never come near him again. Ever. Ok..get ready. Almost there now. Here, we go.

As I came around the corner of the store...I peeked inside to see if I could catch sight of him before he saw me first. Thankfully, he was helping a customer at the time, and I was able to let my eyes linger on him for a while. It's a struggle that you can't imagine, having your heart inflate to three times its size and causing your steps to float above ground...while you try to anchor yourself down to some sort of logical reality. I shouldn't be this happy to see him. He's going to notice it right away if I don't tone it down a little bit. I stepped rather cautiously into the store, still watching him from across the room, and hoping that he wouldn't see me. Not yet. My mind isn't ready for it yet.

Awww, look at him. Is it any wonder that I was struck so blindly by the love bug when he entered my life. He was even more gorgeous than I remember. Even my most romantic fantasies can't touch the vision before me. There's no way that my mind can capture the subtleties of his movements, or the quality of his grace, or the unpredictability of his cute, little, tilted smile. It was making me CRAZY to not be able to love him completely. To just throw myself into the emotion and be totally swept away by this constant surge of adrenaline that had been pumping through me all morning long. But the truth is...I wasn't sure that any of this was sane. And even if, by some odd chance, it WAS...that still didn't make it possible. So the whole situation was similar to diving head first into a pool with a blindfold on...not knowing whether there was a cool refreshing splash awaiting you below, or a fatal impact with the merciless concrete at the bottom.

But as I watched him help the lady find her music, I fell for him all over again. Like it was the first time. His gestures and friendly manner made the lady smile warmly in his direction, and she even laughed a bit as he warned her against one of the 'popular, even though they're TERRIBLE' bands on the new release wall. The long side of his light blond hair seemed to have a personality all its own, and it would sway back and forth playfully with every move of his head. Dramatically accenting his every word, and creating a cheerful dance for his natural charm. I loved to stare at his waist too. Not his ass, mind you....although I took a peek or two at that too. But his waist. It was so erotically trim and wiry. I bet my fingers would almost touch if I gripped him with both hands. I'd love to just rest my hands on those firm, slender, hips...and look into his baby blue eyes as I pulled him close to me. Oh, how I longed to kiss those lips again. To feel that youthful softness on my lips, and taste the sweetness of his tongue, and feel his hurried breath against my cheek. I was breathless from the mere idea of it. Wow.....just look at him. It was hard to stand still once my eyes lingered on his beauty.

It was then that Dustin's eyes glanced up for a moment, and he caught sight of me. I froze...yanked out of my surreal observations and forced to suddenly deal with the reality that me coming here to see him today...just might have been a REALLY bad idea. But it was only a moment later that a pretty little smile spread across his sweet boyish lips, and he tried to quickly wrap up what he was doing with the customer he was helping. He was polite, quick-witted, and he got away from her pretty fast without giving a single sign that he was trying to escape her attention. Hehehe, so far, so good. At least he's not shouting out, 'Hey! That's the guy who molested me yesterday!' to mall security. So I suppose I'm doing ok.

Dustin broke away from the lady with a smile, and then practically skipped over to talk to me. "Hey!" He said happily, and without me saying a single word to him, began to blush and giggle with the sweetest shrug in his slim shoulders.
"Hey, yourself." I said, hoping that it was a 'neutral' enough comment to not press any sudden expectations on his young mind, but wouldn't seem standoffish either. I was standing on an emotional tightrope here. God forbid if I were to accidentally fall on one side or the other and end up getting myself into a really deep, problematic, situation concerning a boy whose feelings were too fragile for me to play with.

"Hey, Karen? I'm going on break." He said, his sweet smile still beaming at me with the brightness of a hundred stars. He lightly reached out an arm to touch my chest through the fabric of my shirt, and he wiggled his nose once or twice at me before playfully skipping off to the back to grab some money out of his jacket pocket. "See ya later." He said as he walked past his manager at the desk.

"Um...ok.....I GUESS you can go." Karen said, not exactly giving him permission to take his break right at THAT particular moment...but not really having the opportunity to STOP him either with how fast he was moving.

"C'mon!" Dustin took hold of my arm, up by the elbow, and the contact was electric. I mean, every sensual bell and whistle in my entire body went bonkers all at once. And as he dragged me out into the hallway, I felt a cold shower of paranoia wash over me. I can't explain it, but as good as his soft hand felt on me, there was this instant repulsion from the visible display of affection. This uncontrollable urge warned me to pull away before someone noticed us touching. I don't know what it was. Perhaps the fear that it would look too...'cozy' and 'intimate'...for Dustin and me to be interacting like this. I was worried that someone would see. Or worse...suspect. Or maybe it was something even more unthinkably terrifying than that. Maybe it was because I felt my knees turn to jelly, my heart begins to race, my breath cut down to almost nothing, and my 'lower inches' starting to swell and tighten, with the simple touch of his soft young skin with mine. The sheer thrill in his voice when he addressed me...it made me feel like weeping openly with joy until I was too weak to stand. Even though he was obviously enjoying my visit...all I could do was fret over how awful this whole thing 'could' be if I wasn't extremely careful. About EVERYTHING!

He was in a rush to get me to the food court, from the looks of it, and tugged a bit harder as his footsteps quickened with every step. He turned to look at me, and I felt almost dizzy from his fondness. Dustin had a gorgeous smile that could create a nauseating series of orgasmic vibrations in the pit of your stomach with ease...and I was completely helpless against it when he flashed that flirtatious smirk in my direction.

The only thing that could prevent my body from going completely haywire at that moment, was lightly pulling my hand out of his enamored grip with a bashful smile of my own. I was being as inconspicuous as I possibly could be, hoping that he wouldn't see it as some sort of 'rejection' of his feelings. Dustin looked down for a second, but didn't seem to mind too much. He kept the same bounce in his step, and his eyes were shining so bright that they looked almost like ice blue neon lights as they fixed their gaze on me. It took me a moment to even realize that I had been infected by the contagious beauty of his smile...furtively giggling myself. A warm blush creeped into my cheeks, and Dustin leaned into me to give me an innocent hug from the side as we headed towards the food court together. Things were definitely going to be different between us from now on. I could feel a gentle tremble in his lean frame as it connected to mine. His jittery excitement causing him to giggle a bit as he tried to keep his composure around me. He attempted to appear 'cool' in my presence, as though his youthful body wasn't overwhelmed with the sensation of lightning let out of its bottle. But deep down, he was so spellbound that he was hardly able to speak. Trust me, I know the feeling, honey.

Sighhhh....what had I gotten myself into?

"I'm SO glad you came today. I didn't know if you were going to drop by, or not." He said.

"Hehehe, why not?"

"Well........you know..." He blushed. "I just....didn't know what to expect, is all. I thought you might be....well, whatever. I'm just glad you came." Do you have ANY idea how incredibly cute he was being at that moment??? Damn, I loved that boy!

He sat me down at a table away from everybody else once we made it to the food court, and grinned down at me. "What do you want to eat? I'll get it for you." He said.

"Hehehe, you don't need to do all that. I can get it myself."

"I don't mind. What do you want?" You know, before last night...I would have happily argued the point with him for the next five minutes at least. But today...he seemed so 'anxious' about doing something nice for me that I didn't have the heart. It's like it was gonna cause him some level of disgrace if I didn't let him 'serve' me lunch. And as always, he had me wrapped around his little finger.

"Um...just a Philly Cheese Steak and some fries would be cool." I said, handing him enough cash to cover it, and he grinned happily at me.

"Sweet! Ok...I'll be right back! You want something to drink?" I shook my head, and he started to back away from the table. "Ok, well...cool. I'll be back. Don't go anywhere, k?" Then he hurried off to...get me my lunch. I was a bit worried that he'd blow me a kiss or wink or do something affectionate that everyone else around us would be able to see. But thankfully...he didn't. Not in the open, anyway. I could have easily leaned back and stroked my own ego over how awfully lovestruck he seemed all of the sudden. But the truth was...I was probably even worse off than he was. I don't think I've ever had an emotion this pure running through me like this before. It broke down all means of logic and crushed me under the weight of its all-consuming influence. Yeah...I had fallen for Dustin twice as hard. The only difference is that I was too damn scared to show it to him for fear that my feelings would get out of control. If I began to offer up my love and affection as freely as he was, it would be like stacking a pile of bricks on my shoulders while standing in quicksand. I was already a few tongue kisses and lustful gropes away from being a full-fledged 'child molester' at this point, and the last thing I wanted to do was encourage his irresistible talent for temptation by feeding his emotions with positive reinforcement. If he fell any more in love, he'd become a billion times more lovely than he already was in my eyes. And he'd be able to seduce me in seconds if he really wanted to. There would be no holding back. I wouldn't feel the least bit bad about it until it was over...and that can be a scary thing to think about.
Jesus...I'm SO screwed up right now!

"Here ya go!" He said, practically slamming down a tray on the table in front of me. Then, Dustin cheerfully scooted in to sit across from me at the table. He let the long side of his hair glide back out of his amazingly hypnotic eyes, and stared at me in silence with a boyish smile. He didn't even bother to unwrap his sandwich until I unwrapped mine first. He just stared....nervously quaking in his seat. God...it was SO damn cute that I could hardly manage to keep from sliding out of my chair. "So...how was the driver's license place?" He asked.

"Hehehe, beyond terrible. I got there, went to the first desk, and asked how I could get a new ID." I said. "You know what they asked me?"


"They asked me for ID!" I laughed, and he wrinkled up his forehead with a grin.

"I thought you said you were going there to GET an ID?"

"I KNOW!!! I WAS! Evidently, I can't get an ID because I don't have an ID...which I can't get unless I have an ID...which I can't get unless I have an ID...and on and on into infinity. WONDERFUL system we have, isn't it?"

"Hehehe, well how the hell are you supposed to get an ID if you don't have an ID?" He giggled.

"I've gotta better question for you..." I said, "If I already had an ID...why the hell would I NEED an ID?" He thought about it a quick second and giggled to himself. "So, I basically had to go back two or three times, and still didn't get it right. I got nothing. I don't think I ever had so much trouble trying to prove I exist before."

"Hehehe! That sucks man." Dustin grinned at my wasted time at the DMV, and nibbled a bit at his fries. You know...for a moment, it almost felt like we could slip back into that friendly chatter that we used to have before last night's little fiasco. What we had run a bit deeper than some instant sexual attraction and a few wild teenage hormones. But did that make things better? Or worse? If anything, it meant that I had a lot more to lose by screwing this up. And just as I was stressing over whether or not to even bring it up, Dustin got that look on his face again. That sweet and bashful grin that he always got when he wanted to say something, but was too shy to go through with it. The same look he had when he asked for an application for the store. The same look he had when he asked me to take him to the movies. The same look he had when he asked me for my phone number.

The same look he had in his eyes when he told me.....he 'loved' me.

"Um...yeah..." He said out of nowhere, looking down at the table. Then he snickered a bit, as though he was trying to hold his giggles in, but couldn't quite manage. His blush turned his face dark pink right in front of me, and despite my spontaneous smile, it made me nervous inside. "...Hehehe, so..." He was squirming a bit in his seat, his uneasy hand dipping a single french fry into a small dab of ketchup so he'd have an activity to keep him from looking me in the eye. I began to tremble a bit but held myself together. Don't say it, Dustin. Just...whatever it is, don't say it. Ok? Not yet. "So....I was thinking...you know, about last night..." He looked up for a brief second, then giggled some more before his blush deepened to a darker shade of red. "...I mean...well...what do you think?"

Dammit! Not only is he addressing the issue, but he's making ME make the first admission! Damn smart teenagers and their bag of social tricks! "Um...like, about what?" That's just great, Eric. Pretend you're stupid. Hey, I've got a bright idea. Maybe you can pretend you're a PLANT, and he'll walk away. Great going, doofus!

"You know...last night." He repeated. He was gently biting his bottom lip now, his French fry spreading the ketchup out in circles as he waited for me to answer. He wasn't smiling as brightly as he was a second ago, and I could hear a slight tremble in his voice, as he prayed that I wouldn't reject him. God...I didn't WANT to reject him! I'd take him home right now if I thought I could. I just...he's only 14...if I even HINT at the concept of me enjoying our kiss...I'll be leading him into a sinful and hurtful relationship that's going to end up damaging him and throwing me in jail. And yet, with the danger and the fury and the FEAR surrounding such an admission...it was as clear as day to anyone who looked me in the eye.

"Dustin...look, we have to talk." I said, as though I knew what the hell to follow that up with. Exactly what kind of grown-up conversation was I going to have with this boy that was going to explain how much I love him in every way imaginable...but never want to touch him again because it's wrong?

"It's ok....I mean...if you didn't like it. I never kissed anybody before, like...ever, so..." His smile began to shrink. Smaller and smaller, his grin faded, his cheeks begin to droop, his quakes increasing in intensity, his hands fidgeting helplessly. "You probably had better, huh?" He said. "Actually, you know what? Don't worry about it. I mean, I'm not gonna get all stupid about it. It was just some dumb...whatever." He shrugged his slim shoulders, lowering his head, and his hair fell forward gently as if to completely curtain his fragile emotions from me.

"Dustin..." I spoke before I knew what to say next. I took a hold of his free hand without even knowing that I was doing it. I took a quick look around to make sure that nobody was watching, or close enough to hear me. It was then that my mind seemed to shut down completely, and my heart spoke for itself. "...Kissing you was the most amazing things I've ever felt in my entire life. I can honestly tell you that I've never had better. Not from anyone." Dustin's big blue eyes widened, stretching until I thought he'd tear a muscle, hehehe! And he had to fight to keep his mouth from dropping open as well.

"OMIGOD! Me too!" He shouted, a bit louder than I expected him to. His energy bubbled up so fast that I almost expected him to suddenly 'pop' like a balloon. He lowered his voice to a whisper for a second, but his every word got a bit louder as he talked at a hundred miles an hour without taking a single breath. "I'm so glad you liked it, because I thought I might be doing it wrong, but you just totally let me do it and it was SO totally awesome, and I thought about it all night long and every time I think about you it's like this great big explosion inside my heart and it just feels SO cool, you know what I mean?"

"Hehehe, I'm afraid I didn't catch all of that." I grinned.

"Eric....don't think I'm a dork or anything, ok? But I love you soooo much! Oh man...I was, like, totally in love with you before, but when you kissed me, or when I kissed you, or whatever, it was like a ZILLION times better! I can't believe how awesome this feels! I can't think about anything else, which sucks because I keep getting boners at work, and I have to lean up against the cd racks so I'm not walking around 'bulging' all day, cause that would be SO nasty..."
"Dustin...hahaha, slow down, babe! Breathe!" It was hilarious to see him so playfully happy that he couldn't control himself. It created this warmth that wrapped itself around my heart and made me feel so invincibly sweet inside! Seeing him happy, honestly HAPPY, it nearly brought tears to my eyes. "You ok?"

"I'm sorry. I just....ugh!" He quietly grunted to himself, and I could see his eyes flutter up to the ceiling as he tried to find the words to express how he felt. His speechlessness, however, spoke volumes more than words ever could. And that was the end of my willpower for the time being. Thank goodness I was good at hiding my excitement. Because he'd explode for sure if I gave him any more encouragement.

I think it was an overdose of his youthful exuberance that jolted me into such an overwhelming fit of giggles. And the more I tried to hold it back, the more he tried to do the same. But God forbid one of us saw the other crack a smile because it was all snickers after that. I swear....it was like being in love for the very first time. My body tingled from head to toe, and I became so giddy that I couldn't even bare to look at him, for fear that I'd burst right along with him. What the hell was the matter with me???

"Um....ok...so...um, do you wanna like...'go out' sometime or something?" He asked me with the most adorable blush and bashful grin, and I started to laugh at what a sweet gesture it was for him to ask me out on a date. Not to INSULT him, of course. I just couldn't help but be taken in by his mercilessly cute proposition. I felt like a nervous, but damn lucky, teen prom date the way that he said it.

"Well, I don't know about all that. It would look a little awkward for us to be making out with me in a restaurant. Don't you think?"

The cutest little high pitched whimper left him without him even open his lips, and he had to wiggle his thin body a bit in his seat. "You'd kiss me in a restaurant?"

"Hehehe, no. But we would have to be rather....'careful' about all this." What the fuck was I saying??? NO!!! NO!!! STOP this immediately! There's no way in hell that you're making actual PLANS to do this! "I could get into real trouble just from kissing you last night."

"I won't tell anybody! I swear! Just give me a chance, ok? I'll be the PERFECT boyfriend! You can have whatever you want, I promise!"

"Shhhh!" I had to hush him up a bit as I began to get more paranoid about us discussing this horror in public. "Dustin...maybe we should talk about this in private some time soon. Ok? I mean...if this is what you want..."

"This is TOTALLY what I want!!!"

I put up a finger to tell him to wait before jumping the gun, "...If this is what you want, then we should really take this step by step and go slow." I was trying hard to be an 'adult' about it all, but deep down, I wasn't buying it. I wasn't in any elevated position from the glow of his infatuation. I wanted him just as bad as he seemed to want me, if not worse. I wanted to take him right there on the food court table, again and again until we were too exhausted to go any further. I wanted to laugh and skip down the hall with the same goofy grin that he had. You'd think that once you got older and a bit more experienced, love wouldn't be able to sucker punch you like it did when you were a kid. But I guess you never really have control over when it strikes, or how hard it hits you when it's someone worth the struggle it takes to analyze how powerless you are against it. Jesus...I can't believe that this is actually real. I just wanna slow down. Maybe by going slow, I can give him a bunch of opportunities to back out of this while he can. Maybe I can get the chance to back out too before I end up diving into a bad situation. I know...it sounds weird, but as much as I wanted him, I don't think I could ever hurt that boy and live with myself. I just...I felt safer in the confusion of what to do than I did give into what my heart desired most. Dustin's love.

"So, can you take me home today? I get off at 5 o'clock." Dustin said with a mischievous grin.

He wants to make out in broad daylight this time??? "Aren't your parents home?" I asked with a bit of a shocked look on my face.

He laughed at my presumption. "Don't be so extra, dude! I just don't wanna take the bus." Thank God. "So...will you come back and scoop me up in a few hours?"

"It's still my day off, you know?" Why fight it? All he had to do was smile at me, and I crumbled as usual. "Sighhh...fine...but if you're not outside by 5:15, you're bus-bound, my friend."

"I wouldn't dream of making you wait." He grinned. The rest of his lunch break, Dustin didn't really eat anything. He just played with his food, and smiled a lot, a sweetened blush coloring his face almost the entire time. And he ended up throwing half of it away once it got cold and he had to go back to work. I started to get up to walk him back to the record store, but he sat there in a dreamy haze for a moment longer.

"You ok?"

He looked up at me, his eyes shiny with a love-induced glaze, and he simply mumbled..."Uh huh."

"Well...you gotta get back to work."

"I know. I just...I don't want you to go." He said, tugging at his earlobe a bit, and then he got up. "Sorry. I'm being weird." He said and straightened up right away. Then whispered, "Eric....I love you." His voice was shaking, and I saw his knees get weak, and dip slightly when the words left his mouth.

Despite my better judgment, my 'duty' as the adult in all this, I whispered back with just as much of a weakness in the very center of my soul. "Dustin...I love you too." My whole body felt an electric buzz when I said it, and it lingered while I tried to keep my hands from trembling. Another light squeal came from the back of his throat, and he melted right in front of me. I could have knocked him over with a feather at that point. Awwww, he's killing me here! "Come on, let's get you back to work," I said, and we made our way back to the store.

That was day one of a two-week affair that took me to the very LIMITS of my restraint. Every day he'd call me up on the phone to make sure I was alright. Even when he had just seen me at work a few hours earlier. And when he called, we'd talk for hours on end with no effort at all. Something I didn't even do when I was his age. To just sit back and listen to him talk about anything gave me a rush like you wouldn't believe. His voice was so damn cute, and it gave every word a playful feeling all its own. Then, when it got to be late, he'd quiet down, and talk until his mom made him go to bed. But even then, he'd sometimes tell me 'not to go anywhere'...and he'd call me back right after turning out his lights for the night. And I'd squirm as I listened to his boyish voice whisper to me on the phone from under his sheets for another hour or so. Occasionally he'd get caught if I made him laugh and it blew his cover. Then his mother would come in and tell him again to get off of the phone. Even THEN he'd sometimes tell me to wait in case he tried to call again after she went to bed, but I didn't want to push it quite that far. I might have been corrupting this poor boy little by little, but I had to draw the line when it came to him getting into trouble. It was a wild feeling, and we enjoyed every minute of it.

The best was having him say 'I love you' out of nowhere. He would say it ten times in an hour and sigh every time right before the words left his mouth. He said that it 'gave his heart an orgasm' to just tell me that, and it got twice as bad when I answered back. And if I ever caught him with it first, I'd hear him adjusting the phone as his limp body slid off of his bed and down onto the floor. And you know what? He was right...it did give your heart and orgasm. This....'energy' would seemingly cascade down on your neck and shoulders, completely drenching you in this feeling of magic and wonder, and after a mindblowing minute or two, it would fade away into a feeling of total comfort. Only to be brought back a few minutes later when the 'I love yous' started all over again. God, it was great.

Day after day, I enjoyed the delicate grace of his undeniable charm. I wrapped myself up in a fantasy that just a few months ago seemed like a taboo worthy of damnation. I watched his face brighten up every time he saw me and had him drag me helplessly back and forth between early morning coffee, to lunch in the food court, to driving him home after work. His love seemed to double with each new day, and I had absolutely no problem keeping up the pace. The strange thing is, being so head over heels for a 14-year-old boy wasn't exactly what I thought it would be. I expected a huge generational gap to occur. I expected mindless chatter about high school and pop music and Saturday morning cartoons. I kinda figured that 14 was too young to really be able to interact with someone who was, for all intents and purposes, an adult. But Dustin wasn't like that at all. He was probably smarter than I was, and he philosophized about things that had meaning and depth. His conversation was full of wit and humor and never failed to interest me from the first sentence to the last. He enchanted me, intrigued me, and was eager to please me, all at the same time.

He was wildly sexual when he wanted to be too. With a wink and a smile, he could turn almost anything into a dirty joke. It got to the point where I'd have to watch my every word around him. His love was so...so pure. He was full of joy, and endless energy, and he wasn't afraid to show me a certain level of affection whenever we talked on the phone, or had a moment of privacy at the mall. Even wanting to hold my hand or hug up to my arm while we were driving. I couldn't understand why being with Dustin was so....NORMAL. There should be something so wrong about his love, so unholy. There should be more trickery and deceit involved in all this. This should be a sick experience for me and a traumatic experience for him. Isn't that what all the books said? Isn't that what the movies and tv shows always display as the lone model for the average child molester? But, as many times as I cautiously examined my actions to see if I was leading him in the wrong direction, or taking advantage of his inexperience...I couldn't find the hidden 'glitch' that gave a relationship like this its abusive and terrifying nightmare of a reputation. Like I said...it wasn't what I thought it would be, and Dustin's love held strong through my every doubt and insecurity. It was a guilt-free blessing that I was learning to cherish with my whole heart.

God...that boy could lift your spirits with little to no effort at all. It wasn't a childlike 'puppy love' sort of thing with him either. He wasn't just totally lost in a boyish dream of admiration fired up by adolescent hormones. No...despite moments of sweet giggles and jittery nerves, he knew exactly what the deal was. I was tempted to have him help ME learn how to handle this situation so well. Again, he surprised me by having his intellect reach beyond some schoolboy crush and touch on a maturity that I didn't develop until I was 19 or 20. Dustin was coy, and flirtatious, with a perfect sense of timing as to when to use them. He was compassionate, sensual, understanding, perceptive...he listened to my every word and was willing to humor me without asking for anything in return. He was even remarkably patient through the many times I said no to 'hanging out' somewhere in private. It was cute to have him ask, but I tried my best to keep that part of what we had on hold. I fantasized about it every day but was afraid that I'd be crossing some line that kept this whole thing working. I didn't want Dustin to know how badly I had fallen for him, I held it back with every last bit of emotional strength that I had, but it slipped past me anyway. He attracted compliments and laughs and confessions of love with a gravitational pull that was impossible to resist. I just hope that I can keep my senses long enough to maintain some level of control concerning him. But it got harder and harder every single day....pun intended.

Nope, no sex. Not even a kiss, unless you count the ones the little brat stole from me when I wasn't looking. Oh yes, he was the undisputed champion of distraction when it came to stealing kisses. All he'd have to do is point something out in the corner, or pretend to see something over my shoulder, and by the time I turned back to tell him I couldn't see it, he had moved close enough to land a speedy smooch on the side of my lips. And once I got wise to his little tricks, he invented new ones. Once even going so far as buttoning his shirt up wrong at the collar, knowing I'd offer to fix it for him. The second my hands reached for the top button...smooch, right on the lips. He giggled for five minutes straight being able to catch me with that one. Thank goodness he only did this in the early mornings when the mall was still closed and nobody was around to spy on us. But...as playful and fun as this whole relationship was in the beginning, the fact that we couldn't really be...'close'...was beginning to frustrate us both. There was a tension that was growing, and I felt things rising to a point where this giddy 'play-date' stuff wasn't going to be enough to satisfy us for much longer. Don't get me wrong, we had fun, and we were friends with or without the whole 'sex' thing pushing us together. But...I wanted to hold him. I hate to admit....dammit...it makes me feel SO guilty to even think it...but as much as his heart and mind amazed me, I wanted his body too. He was sexy in the most alluring way. And thoughts of touching him, kissing him, cuddling that smooth lean body against me...it flooded my conscious every minute of the day. I wanted to taste his tongue on my lips again, I wanted to wrap my arms around his waist and squeeze him tight. It literally HURT to be near him sometimes because of it. The thing is, I know he felt it too. Which only made the tension build up faster. He'd look at me sometimes, without saying a word, and the longing in his eyes would almost crush me inside. If I'M thinking of sex this much, HE must be completely consumed by it. It made me wonder if, maybe, it could actually happen. How amazing would it be to let that lingering fantasy of mine finally merge with reality? Out of all of the gorgeous boys I had ever drooled over and mentally undressed and jacked off to alone at night...not a single one of them held the importance that Dustin did in my life. He had systematically wiped the slate clean and became the only boy allowed in my heart. What if he wants me too? What if we decide to have sex....and it turns out to be 'good'? REALLY good? What if this story ends with a healthy relationship, and a happy teenage boy, and a careful sexual experience that's slow and sweet and pleasurable for us both? Instead of the predictable misery that I've been dreading since I first realized that a teenager's beauty wasn't totally wasted on me. What if he keeps his promise to never tell a soul...and we actually get to live happily ever after? I tossed and turned all night long thinking about it, but I'm programmed to hate myself for even considering it. And for now, that's enough to keep my most explosive desires at bay. For now...

It was a Friday afternoon, and I was watching Dustin from across the hall like I always do. I don't think I've ever been happier to come into work. Sometimes, he'd be oblivious to my stare, and other times, he'd peek back at me with a grin. To hold a look with him from across that hall for even a few seconds would turn me to warm butter, and I'd want him even more.

"I hate this fucking place sometimes," Jack mumbled as he walked back behind the counter. "How hard is it to put things back where you found them? You pick up ONE movie, you look at it, you put it back on the shelf where you got it, and then you pick up another. It's not a difficult concept to understand. Fucking savages!" He grunted, but all I could do was smile quietly to myself. "You know....I wish I could just catch the person doing it. I'd smack him hard enough to make his teeth rattle. So from that moment on, every time he went to a store and went to put something in the wrong place, he'd think about that smack and change his ways. It could be a whole retail revolution." Dustin's work shirt looked so cute tucked into his pants like that. He knew how to do it just right. His legs looked so long and lickable...."Look at this...I mean, come on! Battlefield Earth? This guy wasn't going to buy Battlefield Earth! So why did he pick it up out of the Sci-Fi section and put it in with the Westerns? That's ridiculous." Dustin has the cutest way of brushing his hair out of his eyes when he talks. He tucks those long blond locks behind his ear, and his blue eyes get exposed to the light...it's breathtaking. The smoothness of his cheeks and soft neck...it had to be the work of God's finest angels. I'd do anything to kiss that blemish-free skin again. He was so warm..."Say, Eric. I was wondering if maybe you could cover a shift for me next Saturday. If I have to spend one more Saturday in a row in this place, I'm going to 'Columbine' the whole fucking mall." Sometimes, when Dustin was walking in front of me, he'd stop suddenly and say, 'Oops!' on purpose. I'd run right into the back of him if I was close enough, and he always got a slight thrill out of that. I loved it when he did that. His hair would be right there at my lips, and I could inhale the sunshine scented silk of his locks with a single sniff. And he'd push his butt out slightly to make sure that it brushed across the front of my pants. You know, from the way his pants hung low on his sleek frame, you wouldn't think this boy had much of an ass on him. But whenever I bumped into it...I felt a definite 'bounce' there. A spongy soft cushion with a highly erotic bubbled curve that I imagined was as smooth and creamy white as it was the day he was born. I'd feel it press against me, the crevice in between his round globe fitting against my lap like the missing piece of a puzzle, and it would practically paralyze me from the waist down with sensual vibrations of passion. He was hiding one hell of a delicious peach in those baggy pants, and all I wanted to do was wrap my arms around his chest and soft tummy, and grind into him slowly...placing soft kisses on his neck...reaching around to firmly stroke his full...hard...boyishly smooth...mouthwatering..."ERIC! Dude, are you spacing on me, or what?" Jack broke my concentration, and I jerked my head around to pay attention.

"Huh? I'm sorry. I didn't get a lot of sleep last night. I'm a little off balance, that's all." I started to turn around to talk to him face to face, but I suddenly realized that I was standing at FULL attention from my dreamy thoughts a moment ago. So I leaned over the counter and just turned my head to listen to what Jack was talking about.

"I was asking if you could cover for me next Saturday. I'll totally make it up to you later. Promise."

"Oh...yeah. Yeah sure. That's no problem." I didn't mind at all. I think Dustin is working this Saturday too. That's just more time for us to spend together. Sighhh....I'm thinking about him WAY too much, aren't I?

"Besides...I've sorta got 'plans' for that night. And I need my strength, if you know what I mean?" Jack grinned, and I knew exactly what he meant.

"Omigod, you're kidding! You mean Phillip actually got the boat for the weekend?" I asked. Jack had been talking about being alone on a boat with his new boyfriend for over a week now. Somehow, I didn't think Phillip's wife was ever going to give him the freedom to leave for a whole weekend. But I guess he talked her into it.

"Yep! Friday, Saturday, AND Sunday! We might go out on the lake and tool around for a bit, but it's mostly just a place for us to really get some time alone. And it's a hell of a lot more comfortable than trying to make out in his Chevy! Hehehe, you can't imagine how uncomfortable it is trying to get it on in somebody's car."

"Oh....I have a few ideas about it." I grinned to myself.

"But it's not as...sweet. You know? I wanna be alone with him somewhere where we can spread out. I wanna be able to tell him how much I love him without whispering it under my breath, or trying to hide it in case someone is watching. You know what I mean?" He said.

"Yeah. Yeah, I do."

"I know he's not supposed to be with me and I shouldn't really be pushing this, but...I'm in love, you know? I mean...REALLY in love. I worried about it for a while, but I want him. He really cares about me and I care about him, and when we're together...everything is just....it's perfect."

"I can imagine," I said softly, my heart now pounding worse than before.

"I can't believe it...I'm really in love, Eric. I can't just throw this one back. I think I'm gonna go for it. I mean, a lot of people go their whole lives never feeling this complete...and...to hell with the whole damn world if they don't get it. ext weekend, I'm gonna tell Phillip that I wanna be with him. Just the two of us. Forever. What do you think? Should I do it?"

I looked Jack right in the eye, and with a heavy heart, I said, "I don't think I've ever seen you so happy. And...when your heart chooses somebody, and they are willing to return that love to you...that's a rare and beautiful thing dude. I say, follow your heart. Grab this opportunity to be happy and hold on tight...the rest of the world be damned." I think I said it more for myself than I did for Jack, but the smile on his face let me know it had done some good. He's gonna go for it. He's going after the one he loves, and he's going to open the floodgates so that his affection can blossom into something wondrous. Who knows...maybe a feeling like this is worth the risk. Maybe...it's more of a virtue to give and return love than it is to hold it back with such aggravation.

"Thanks, Eric. That's so damn cool of you." He said, and gave me a friendly pat on the shoulder. "You're gonna make somebody an amazing boyfriend someday, you know that?"

"Hehehe, here's hoping," I replied with a temporary raise of my eyebrow. Then I noticed Jack looking at something over my shoulder.

"Hey, don't look now...but the jailbait across the hall is trying to get your attention." Jack grinned.

I turned around and saw Dustin waving his arms back and forth, making a minor spectacle of himself. I mouthed the word, 'What?' to him, but he just giggled and kept signaling for me to come over. "Sighhh...Jack, do you mind?"

"No. Go. Before the poor kid pops and floods his boxers." He joked. He has NO idea what kind of image that just put in my mind! "I'll watch the register."

I walked out to the middle of the hall to meet him half way, and he suck out from work to meet me. "Eric, dude...can you gimmee a ride home?"

"You know...until I get my new license, I'm taking a pretty big risk driving you back and forth. I'm not even supposed to be driving on it myself."

"You could let ME drive, if you want." He said with a mischevious smirk.

"Har dee har. I don't think so."

"No, really...I need a lift. Pleeeeeeaaaase? I got something special to do." He was adorable when he begged.

"Something special, huh?"


"Like what?"

"I'm cooking dinner for my parents. I wanna beat 'em home so I don't get caught in the middle of it. It would be cool to have it all ready by the time they get there, you know?"

I thought about it a second, as though I had a choice. "I suppose."

"But it's no big deal, right? I mean, if you don't wanna take me, you don't have to."

"Quit bluffinglimitless amount of charisma, I swear.

"Ok, ok, you got me. Just...I need to get some groceries first, so.."

"Ohhhh, so we're going grocery shopping too, eh?" I folded my arms. "Why do I suddenly feel like I'm being suckered into this?"

"Don't feel 'suckered', ok? Please?" Geez, this cutie knew how to really give you the most amazing puppy dog eyes when he wanted to. Without overdoing it, or making it comical. It was just this subtle pout that you could absorb into your system without even knowing it. "Really, if you help me out, I'll SO make it up to you. K?"

He raised his eyebrows a little bit, a boyish smile crossing his lips. "You know I'm going to say yes, don't you?" I giggled.

"You don't have to. But I want you to."

"Come find me after work. I'll do it." I said.

"Hehehe....you said 'cum'. AND you said 'do it'! That's a double score. We really should start betting money on this stuff, you know?"

"Whatever, pervert. Just make sure you see me after you get off from work. Got it?"

"Yep! Cool! I might need you to help me inside with the groceries too though. Is that alright?" He smiled, his blush deepening and his eyes directing themselves down to his shoes.

"Sure. Whatever it takes."

"Cool." He beamed me that charming grin of his and then added. "By the way...you said 'get off'. That's triple score now." And I shook my head as he started walking back to work across the hall.

Damn...I really love that kid. There was no doubt about it. He was gorgeous, sure, and it doesn't hurt that he has a body worth drooling over. But the truth is, his very character overwhelmed me. His personality invaded my every thought and just letting him cross my mind inspired a smile. Feeling love like this...it reminds you just how incredible it is to truly feel complete, you know? To float above the world and wonder how life was bearable before that special someone came along. Wow...there it goes. Another 'heart orgasm'.

Wait...did he just says that I was going to help him into the house with groceries when his parents weren't home???