The last thing Brady expected when he walked in to the band room was to fall in love. He was going to ask the band director to find a recording of the National Anthem to play at a weight lifting fundraiser, but of course the eccentric woman wasn’t there. Brady was in no rush to return to class and he figured that as a senior juggling student council and football, he had earned the right to be a lazy bum. He leaned against the wall and closed his eyes, feeling like passing out from the exhaustion of his hectic life.
Piano music drifted from one of the practice rooms. It was a slow, melancholy piece that made chill bumps rise up on his arms. He followed the sound, almost helpless under its power. He had to hear more of it, see where it came from.
He found the source of the sound. A thin, pale boy with dark hair that was longer than most boys in the small town of Westmore wore their hair. It looked soft though, shiny. The boy’s eyes were like a starless night sky and seemed to focus on nothing in particular. Brady watched his hands move across the keyboard. It was almost erotic the way his fingers made the music.
Brady stopped himself right there. What was he thinking? Erotic? Brady was straight. He liked girls. He liked how they looked and how they smelled and felt. But then…he watched the piano boy playing…and he loved the way he looked and he wondered how he smelled and felt.
He couldn’t have those thoughts. His mother and stepfather would kill him. What would people think of him? “No,” he said to himself. Blinking several times and turning his eyes away.
“What?” a voice behind him asked. Oh, how Brady hated freshman.
“Who is that?” he asked.
The pudgy girl with unfortunate skin squinted her eyes and looked into the room. “Ezra, the new kid. He’s in your class.”
Brady examined the boy again. Ezra was much smaller than any senior guy that Brady had ever seen. But that didn’t really matter. Ezra looked like an angel and the music he played was nearly as beautiful as he was. Again, Brady mentally slapped himself. He shouldn’t be calling another guy beautiful. He was not gay.
The freshman girl had been talking the whole time Brady was lost in thought and he had to ask her to repeat herself.
“He’s like weird,” the girl said. “He doesn’t talk or anything. I think he’s like special ed or something.”
Later Brady’s eyes were drawn to Ezra as he walked across the cafeteria. Standing, Ezra looked even smaller than Brady had first guessed. He was about five foot one and maybe a little over a hundred pounds. His clothes were all black or grey and his eyes showed the same vacant expression Brady had seen when Ezra was playing the piano.
“Hey,” he said to his friends, “did you guys hear there’s a new senior?”
“Yeah, some piano guy,” Bryan said, before resuming the process of shoveling food into his mouth.
His friends didn’t seem interested in the topic, but Brady did not give up. “Do any of you guys have a class with him?” he asked.
Bryan’s smart girlfriend piped up. “He’s in advanced math with me.”
“What do you think of him?”
Paul laughed and said, “Why so interested, Walker? Got a little crush on him.”
“Shut up,” Brady snapped. He and Paul had always been rivals when it came to sports and girls. More often than not, Brady won, but Paul never failed to make life difficult for him.
“I didn’t know you swung that way,” Paul continued, and soon half of the group at the table was snickering.
“I don’t, just ask your girlfriend,” Brady said. Their lunch companions were loving the conflict and all of them reacted to what Brady said with a simultaneous “Ohhh!”
Paul’s smile dropped and he stood, slamming his fists against the bahis firmaları table. “Shut your mouth or I’ll shut it for you.”
Bryan sensed the situation escalating and intervened, “Easy now, no need to get into that.” At that moment the bell rang, but Brady knew his comment would not go unpunished.
After school, Brady paced in front of the band room, debating going in. He wasn’t even sure Ezra was there, but he just wanted a chance to see him again. Finally, he went in.
“Brady!” the band director said loudly, rushing over to him. “How are you? How is your mom? Great job in the game last Friday! You know you’re the band’s favorite!!”
He smiled, and accepted the compliment, but the truth was he kind of hated the attention sometimes. “I’m good and so is my mom. Mrs. S, I was wondering if you had a recording of The Star-Spangled Banner. The principal wants it played before the fundraiser this weekend.”
The older woman made a great show of thinking about his request. “Well, I don’t believe we have any recordings, but I could have one made. In fact…”
Without finishing her thought, Mrs. Smith started walking away from him. Brady followed uncertainly. She stopped in front of the piano room, where a fast and complicated melody was playing. She spoke to the person inside and then stepped out. “We’ll have your recording in a moment.”
Ezra emerged from the practice room and Brady felt a chill at the sight of him. Ezra didn’t seem to notice Brady.
Brady knew he didn’t have to stick around, but he took a seat and watched as Mrs. S set up the recording equipment. Ezra disappeared into a room and returned with two silver trumpets and sheet music.
Fifteen minutes later, Mrs. S handed Brady a CD and sent both boys on their way.
“So, when did you move here?” Brady asked.
Ezra didn’t answer and continued to walk towards the parking lot.
Brady normally parked by the athletic complex, but he followed Ezra anyway.
“Hey, I think its cool how you play music and stuff like that. I tried to back in elementary, but I was no good at it. My parents didn’t want me to be in band. They wanted me to be in sports. My dad…well stepdad, he was always pushing me to do football. I don’t really like it though.”
Brady stopped rambling and realized he had just told Ezra something he hadn’t told anyone before. Ezra still wasn’t speaking, but Brady noticed that he had started to look over at him. That seemed like a good sign.
“So, when did you start playing piano like that?”
“Hey, since you’re new and all do you want to go do something? I could show you a good place to eat if you’re hungry.”
Still no reply.
“Are you hungry?”
Finally, a nod.
Ezra hadn’t said a word through their meal and as Brady drove him back to his vehicle at the high school he started to wonder why. As he studied Ezra’s eyes, it seemed less like it was detachment they reflected, but some unspeakable pain. Brady wanted to hold him close and he didn’t care anymore what others would think. He’d given up fighting the attraction he felt.
“Ezra, I got something to say. Please don’t freak out.”
Ezra nodded absently. Brady parked his truck next to the only remaining car in the high school parking lot.
Brady took a deep breath and started to pour his heart out. “I have these feelings for you that I don’t understand. I’m not gay, I swear, but you make me…I mean I don’t know where this came from. I saw you today and I just couldn’t stop thinking about you. I want to know everything about you. I want to hold you and…other things. Are you as freaked out as I am? Because I don’t understand why I feel this way. All I know is I want you.”
Ezra kaçak iddaa was staring at Brady now, still no words.
Brady sighed. “Well…I guess let me help you out of the truck.”
Brady went to the passenger side and opened the door. Ezra used Brady’s arm to step out of the truck, but he didn’t let go. Brady was bent down to eye level with the boy that was a foot shorter than him.
Ezra softly kissed Brady’s cheek, smiled distantly, and then got into his car. Brady was still standing dumbfounded as Ezra drove away.
Brady’s light brown hair was curly and wet as he stepped out of the locker room. He drifted over to where the band was quickly and efficiently storing their equipment and returning it to the band room. Ezra was there, as Brady knew he would be. He had been sort of stalking his classmate since that sweet kiss on the cheek. He knew it wasn’t much, but he’d relived it a thousand times since then. There was something about Ezra that made Brady want to share all his secrets. Brady waited until Ezra started to walk towards the parking lot.
“Hey, wait up!” he called.
Ezra turned and Brady jogged to catch up to him. Brady couldn’t figure out if Ezra even liked seeing him, but for Brady there was no option. He had to.
“You know, I can never figure out what you’re thinking,” Brady said. “Do you even like me? At all?”
“OK, well I was wondering…I mean I don’t know if this is something you would like but I know this place no one goes. I just thought maybe you would want to come and just hang out. Just me and you.”
They reached Brady’s truck and Ezra smiled. Brady helped him into the truck and drove down the country back roads, so far in the middle of nowhere that none of his friends would dare go back there for their drunken parties.
Brady parked next to a pond that was like black glass that reflected the full moon and stars above them. He went to the passenger side and opened the door. Ezra looked uncertain and didn’t remove his seatbelt to step outside of the vehicle.
“It’s alright. Trust me.” Brady held out his hand. Ezra was frozen for a moment, several emotions swirling in his eyes, but finally he unbuckled and took Brady’s hand.
They sat in the truck bed and looked at the stars for a while.
“Man, I really like you,” Brady said. “I couldn’t do this with any of my friends. They just don’t appreciate this. Do you like this? Was this a good idea?” Brady glanced in Ezra’s direction and saw him shivering. He fumbled trying to remove his letterman jacket but finally got out of it and wrapped it around Ezra’s shoulders. He couldn’t resist kissing Ezra on the forehead. Ezra looked at him for a moment and then returned his gaze to the stars, but Brady noticed that Ezra had slightly shifted to be closer to him.
“You’re really cute, you know that?” Brady said and then he laughed a little. “I still can’t get used to this. I always thought I was straight. But I don’t know what I am now. You’re all I think about, honestly. I haven’t thought about a girl since I saw you that day when you were playing the piano. You’re just unbelievably beautiful.” He laughed again. “Imagine if anyone knew I was saying this. My stepdad would beat the crap out of me. I mean, if he could. I don’t let him do that anymore.” Brady realized he was rambling again and stopped talking for a moment. “You know, I don’t get how you say nothing and I’m telling you all my secrets.”
Ezra was looking at Brady, with a half smile on his face and his eyes unreadable. Brady thought for a moment they might kiss, but then pain flared in his back and he couldn’t manage to cover his reaction. Ezra’s eyebrows came closer together and the look in his eyes seemed to ask ‘What’s wrong?’
“My kaçak bahis back. I’ve had this pain ever since my stepdad threw me off the porch when I was ten. It only hurts after a long practice or a game. I forgot to bring my pills for it too.”
Ezra scooted and situated himself behind Brady and started to rub his small, warm hands over Brady’s back. Brady recalled how those hands could bring music from the piano so beautifully and he felt warmth in his stomach that spread over his body as Ezra’s hands worked the knots out of his back. Brady felt himself growing hard and finally he couldn’t resist turning his body to face Ezra. Their eyes met for a moment and Brady put his hand under Ezra’s chin.
After what felt like forever, Brady brought Ezra close to him and their lips met. Brady slipped his tongue into Ezra’s mouth and it tasted sweeter than he’d dreamt about. He put his arms around Ezra, feeling his small body surrounded by the thick material of the jacket. Brady wanted to be as close as possible. He slipped his arms into the jacket. Ezra made a soft moaning sound and pressed himself closer to Brady, his small hands now digging into Brady’s shoulders.
Brady started to work his fingers under Ezra’s layers of shirts, finally reaching the warm skin of his back. He wanted to rip the cloth away and kiss Ezra everywhere on his body. His finger brushed a slightly raised area, softer than the skin around it. Ezra’s body went stiff and he started to push Brady away.
Brady removed his hand and started to panic. “Look, I’m sorry. I didn’t know.”
Ezra had retreated all the way to the back of the truck bed and a single tear ran down his face.
“I’m sorry,” Brady said softly, approaching him slowly. He felt like a cold fist was clenching his stomach and his throat was tight. “I didn’t mean to. I won’t touch you again unless you want me too. Please don’t be upset.”
Finally Brady was beside Ezra. “I’m sorry. Was that a scar? I’m sorry. I don’t want to know unless you want me to. You’re in control, Ezra, I swear.”
A few more tears had made their way on to Ezra’s cheeks and he wouldn’t look at Brady.
“Can I wipe your tears away? I swear that’s all I want.”
Ezra didn’t react, but Brady slowly raised his hand and wiped away the glistening tears. “I’m sorry. I always felt like there was something about you. Is that why you never talk? Look, I don’t want anything from you that you don’t want to give.”
Ezra flew into Brady’s arms, kissing him all over his face, crying even more. He curled himself against Brady, kissing his neck and putting his arms around him tightly.
Brady smiled wider than he ever remembered. He rubbed his hand over Ezra’s back. He didn’t like that there was so much cloth between their skin, but still the moment was intimate. Finally Ezra let out a long, shuddering breath. Not only had he stopped crying, but he had fallen asleep.Ezra looked completely different while he slept. He looked much younger than he was and the innocent way he sucked on his index finger with his head on Brady’s chest made Brady feel protective. Brady kissed his forehead for the second time that night.
Carefully, he carried Ezra from the bed of the truck, to the passenger seat. He drove slowly back to the farm-to-market road, back to the school, back to reality. He let his truck idle in the parking space next to Ezra’s car.
He was feeling something unbelievable and exhilarating. It was love.
He glanced over at Ezra, curled up in Brady’s letterman jacket that was like a blanket on him. He smiled and leaned over to kiss Ezra’s cheek. As he was settling himself back in the driver’s seat, he saw the clock in the corner of his eye. It was three o’ clock. Two hours past curfew.
“I’m dead,” Brady said. “Fuck.”
He stepped out of the truck and went to the passenger side. He hated to wake Ezra, but the longer he sat there the drunker his stepdad would be and the worse the fight would be.