I returned from play practice, still not quite out of the character of Puck, to find Todd curled up on his bed, flipping through a book of poetry. I could see an SH and a Y peeking out from underneath his hand, so it must have been Shelley. "Boo!" I exclaimed, just to see Todd jump and nervously slam the book shut. He did, and I caught myself grinning at him for being so typically himself. He was always so shy and sweet and ... yeah. Todd, the one who would run like a frightened rabbit if he knew half the things I'd thought about him. Cute as it would be, it probably wouldn't be good for our friendship.
"How was practice?" he asked quietly, leaning back and setting his book on the desk. The result was his body practically laid out on display for me. I swallowed, controlled myself, and threw my script on my bed before hoisting myself into a seat on the window ledge. I shrugged.
"That poem today," I began. He looked up at me, eyes wide, as though expecting harsh criticism. "It was really good. I ... How did you come up with that off the top of your head?"
Todd curled himself up, pulling his legs to his chest and resting his chin on his knees. He somehow managed to shrug in that position. "I did what Mr. Keating told me to, just said what occured to me." He looked over at me, with wide, uncertain eyes. "You really liked it?" he asked.
I nodded. "Really. It was impressive. Crazy, psychotic, intense." I knew I was shooting him a completely improper look as I said the final word. Although I knew Todd needed a boost to his ego, I fought the urge to keep complimenting him; my overtures would become unsuitable if I didn't stop. Now. I glanced at the book he'd set on the table. "You're reading Shelley?" I asked.
He nodded ever-so-slightly. "Charlie lent it to me," he explained.
"He only has that book because it attract romantic women by the flock," I informed him.
Todd blushed slightly. "I like it," he mumbled into his knees.
I swallowed and prayed for courage before asking my next question: "Would you read me one of the poems you like?" I really did want to know the sort of poems he gravitated to. Besides, he needed to learn to speak in front of people, even if it was only me. The fact that I might get to hear his voice go heartbreakingly intense again, though Shelley doesn't really have that sort of intensity, was a bonus. Really.
"I ... sure," he said. I almost started to argue with him before I realized that he'd agreed.
He leaned back to pick up the book, again lying in that prone position. I jammed my left thumbnail into my right palm and tried to focus on the pain instead of his body. He sat back up after finally grabbing the book, and he cracked it open, setting it on his thighs. He began, "Music when soft voices die --"
"I've heard that before," I told him. It didn't bother me that I'd heard it before. I figured I probably would have heard whatever poem he read me before. My problem with Music, When Soft Voices Die was that it's only eight lines long.
Todd's ears were turning slightly pink as he turned to a new page. He cleared his throat, then began to read.
"The fountains mingle with the river
And the rivers with the Ocean,
The winds of Heaven mix forever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single;
All things by law divine
In one spirit meet and mingle.
Why not I with thine?-"
He paused for a moment, and I thought he'd stopped, but he continued on.
"See the mountains kiss high Heaven
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
If it disdained its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth
And the moonbeams kiss the sea:
What is all this sweet work worth
If thou kiss not me?"
I had nothing to say to that because some tiny part of me was screaming that Todd was somehow letting me know that he was just as interested as I, while the rest of me was arguing that he'd simply run if he knew.
He looked up from the book at me. "I haven't got out of the section on love poetry yet," he apologized. I nodded.
The conversation fell into an uncomfortable silence. Damn. We sat there for a few moments before I finally asked, "Do you write love poetry?"
He looked slightly in shock. "N-no, I don't. I haven't got anyone to whom I could write love poetry. I'm not really ... I'd wind up like Knox, in some sort of unrequited madness. The poetry wouldn't be appreciated."
"What? You don't think that someone out there likes you?" I asked unbelieving ly. When he nodded, I felt the sudden need to remedy the situation. "You're the quiet, passionate intellectual, Todd. Girls dig that."
"Oh, right. Who in their right mind would like me?" Todd asked in a fit of self-deprication.
The answer was out of my mouth before I could stop it. "I would." It wasn't really until I saw his eyes widen in shock that I realized that I'd said that out loud. Despite the ease with which the original statement had been made, I had to fight to get my mouth to say something which would fix the situation. "Well, what I mean is ..." I looked again at him, and although there was shock on his face, it seemed to be almost pleasantly so. Besides, he hadn't run yet. "You're not going to tell anyone, are you?"
His shock seemed to increase with that question, and it occured to me that I ought to stop frightening the poor boy. "No," he answered simply, curling up tighter and hugging the book to his chest. "I mean, I'm not ... Do you want to ask to be put with a new roommate?" I had no idea how Todd was processing this new information.
"No." The one word comment again set me on edge.
"Does it even bother you?" I asked. This was getting very very strange.
"Not really. It just surprised me," Todd answered far too calmly.
It took a great deal of courage to force out the next question. "Is it a good thing?"
He looked up at me suddenly. "I ... er ... sort of." By now his blush had spread from his ears down across his cheeks. It was cute. Very very cute. I got up from the window and settled at the foot of his bed. His eyes again widened in shock.
"Do you want me to leave?" I asked, my voice suddenly gone soft and low on me.
"I ... no," he answered. This was becoming a very unexpected development. Unexpected developments are something of which I'm a big fan.
"Could you stop being monosyllabic?" I asked.
"I doubt it, but I'll try," Todd replied as he looked everywhere but at me.
"So. You're fine with the fact that --"
"Are you being acception or... --"
"Do I feel the same way?" Todd asked. I nodded. He shrugged. "Probably."
Oh Christ. I am definitely a fan of these unexpected developments.
"Well then," I continued, feeling more than a little strange. "Can I kiss you?"
"I ... I don't think that's be a good idea."
Okay, not those sort of unexpected developments. "Why not?" I asked.
"It's immoral and we're roommates and friends and --"
"It's not immoral. Didn't you even listen to that damned poem you read?" I cut him off. He sighed, as though finding my actions as typical as I found his. "And I don't think it will hurt the friendship."
"Fine, then. Go ahead," he said, not sounding particularly enthused. In fact, he sounded frightened out of his wits.
"It's a kiss, not a death sentence," I informed him. I was determined to make him enjoy the kiss, out of desire for many many more. I knelt and leaned over him to gently press my lips to his. After a few seconds, he responded, and began returning the kiss. I felt the slight pressure of his teeth on my lower lip and the next thing I knew, the two of us were sprawled on Todd's bed, and the kiss had grown into an urgent tangle of lips and tongues. I pulled back form him slightly, and he sucked in a breath. "That wasn't so bad, now was it?" I asked as I felt a grin form on my face.
"No. It's wasn't," he replied. He glanced at the door, which was shut, then looked back at me. "May I have another?" he asked, smiling shyly back at me.
I prayed that no one would even think to open the door before knocking, then caught his mouth with my own again, fully prepared for this kissing session to last all night.
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