Just Hit 'Send' - The High School Years

by Grasshopper

Ch. 4

Have you ever done something reeeally stupid? Of course you have. We've all done something so dumb, we wanted to staple a sign to our forehead: "Beware of Idiot Boy". Jordan should have been so relieved, so happy that finally someone knew......and didn't hate him. But, all he could think about was Danny.

Jordan was one of those incredibly weird people who wanted everyone to like him, who never could get it through his head that everyone wasn't gonna like him, that some people just disliked him on sight. No reason; just did. It could be anything from the way he flipped his hair out of his eyes, to the way he laughed, to the fact his friends were very um....eclectic, or that he had never had zits. It could be anything or nothing at all. He worried when he had hurt anyone......and he had hurt someone badly. Someone he couldn't find..........who could just disappear from his life as quickly as he had entered it. He didn't know his last name, where he lived, nothing. He was counting on the hope that Danny would check the message board tonight.

Just as he rounded the corner, almost making it to homeroom, arms flung themselves around his waist. Soft arms, attached to a soft person, a soft person who smelled pretty. Stopping in mid-flight, Jordan turned his head to see Debbie's blonde curls bouncing. 'Oh shit!' he thought. 'This I just truly don't need,' but Debbie WAS in his homeroom. He had to go in. She was attached like a tick on a redbone hound.

"Hi Deb," he smiled, trying in vain to wiggle out of her grip. 'God, she was strong.'

"We're still on for tomorrow night, aren't we Sugar?" she kinda purred, taking hold of his ID lanyard and twisting it. Jordan slipped it out of her fingers gently.

'Sugar? Where the hell did that come from?' He felt like a prize at the county fair. "Yep, Sure are. Gotta get to class," he mumbled as he headed towards his usual seat by the window. Why do girls always think that they have like some kind of claim on you if you smile at them?

Flopping down in the chair desk, Jordan's thoughts immediately turned to his problems and away from blonde curls and sweet smelling girls. How could he make it up to Danny? What in the world could he say that would make it all right? He had been the one that had asked for the connection and then he had been the one to run. 'Jordan........you are crap, just crap,' he muttered.

He almost dreaded seeing Griffin today. He didn't like his secret out in the open. He knew Griff wouldn't do anything but it was just too personal, too scary. Jordan had decided that living in the little box, inside the red bandana, tucked way down deep in the pocket of the coat, waaaaaaaay at the back of the deep dark closet was just fine. He liked the feeling that the little box gave him. He liked the smell of the mothballs. Yep, closet life was perfect. He didn't want anyone opening the door. God forbid anyone find him!

During Trig, he worried about Danny being upset.

During Lit, he worried that Debbie would think he liked her.

During Marriage & Family [ that was a joke], he worried that Griff would slip up and say something and didn't hear the teacher assign him a "wife".

During PE, he ran track and tried not to think.

During lunch, he laughed and joked and avoided Griff's eyes.

During, Amer. Gov, he watched Kevvy Allen twist that little curl that nestled right behind his left ear.

During Chem, he nearly caught his clothes on fire with the damn Bunsen burner cause he had no idea what the hell the teacher said.

By the end of the day, Jordan was so exhausted from worrying, he grabbed his board and headed toward the parking lot to catch a ride, hoping that he could just go home, throw a saddle on Jolene and ride away into the sunset like John Wayne. Too many words, too much thinking and Jordan retreated inside himself. No one could tell because he was always smiling, but he was gone. He had learned very early on that a smile convinced everyone........... because everyone wanted to believe that he was okay. It was easier. And Jordan had a great smile !

That evening, he brushed his favorite girl down, kissed her beautiful brown mane and turned out the light. 'Nite,' he called softly and heard her answering whiney. He knew he had to do something now. No putting it off. So, he put it off.

He watched, aka stared at, Lord of the Rings. Usually, Legolas kind of um...........grabbed his attention but tonight he just stared at the screen.

"Mama, want me to help you?" he asked, leaning against the door jam as she stood ironing his dad's shirt. She wrinkled her nose and laughed, "Sure, Hon, come iron," and watched him disappear.

Three peanut butter and banana sandwiches [crusts cut off], a dill pickle, the last 9 oreos in the package and a Shop&Go gallon sized mug of Dr Pepper later, Jordan knew he had to turn on that machine. Damn thing ! Why did he ever get it?

Sitting down in front of the screen, he clicked it on. He listened to the weird whirring, churning noise of the internet hookup and he was online.

Clicking on the now familiar site, he searched for his old post. Found, he clicked on Danny's reply and hit reply.


Please talk to me. I was really wrong. Please?


He hit 'send' and waited.........and waited.........and waited, for the MSN flag to pop up in the corner of his screen. Have you ever waited for someone to answer, your heart in your throat? And no answer came? And you wondered why you thought you were anything special that he would even want to talk to you in the first place? Have you ever wanted to e-mail someone that everyone liked to talk to and just...couldn't? Jordan waited like that. Knowing Danny wasn't going to answer but just hoping.

By midnight, he knew Danny wasn't going to talk to him. Jordan turned off the computer and sat by the window, staring at the fingernail moon that seemed to have a star hooked to one pointed curve. He was lost as to what he could do.

Staring at the screen, Danny just couldn't make himself answer. He had held the pills in his hand, thought how easy an answer it was but just couldn't put them in his mouth. He had wanted to die so many times over the last two years but he knew he would never do it. It wasn't in him. Either he wasn't brave enough or he wasn't stupid enough. He couldn't decide which. And the bitch of it was..........he wanted SO badly to talk to Jordan.

He moved carefully over to the window and looked at the crescent moon and how it had trapped a star. He wondered if Jordan ever looked at the moon ?

Friday night rolled toward him like a freight train. Jordan was SO not excited about going to a dance. He loved to dance but he kept picturing Danny somewhere, hurt because he had been careless with their friendship.

He did not want Debbie all over him tonight but knew it was inevitable.

Girls seemed to think they had to give it away or guys wouldn't like them.

They couldn't give it to Jordan cause he plain didn't want it and that seemed to make them try harder. He sighed as he showered, pulled on black jeans, a white A&F baggie t-shirt and sneaks. He'd go but damn if he'd dress up. He realized that it was getting harder and harder to fake all this.

Staring into the mirror, he pretended he was getting dressed to meet Danny for the first time. What would he see? Would he like what he saw? Dirty blonde hair hiding one eye til he flipped it back, green eyes ringed with gray, stupid freckles and dimples framing that damn crooked smile. He wondered what Danny looked like. Would Danny think he was cute? Sexy? Anything? Was he sexy? Snorting, Jordan flicked off the light and slid down the banister to go wait on the front porch for Griff, Joey and Ty.

The score was tied, the Panthers gave one last push and, as the clock was running out, Jimmy O'Conner kicked a field goal and they won. The crowd was excited, the cheerleaders nauseatingly thrilled and it was time to dance.

Jordan just leaned against the wall in the gym, one foot against the wall and waited. He knew she'd find him. It was weird how girls could always find you like they have some kind of radar.

The music was loud, the DJ screaming over it and the kids hyperventilating from the game. Jordan wished he was on the moon, sitting on that tiny star.

As Debbie pulled on his arm; as he let her drag him into the sweating, flailing throng, Jordan Lawrence wished with all his heart that he could be anywhere but there. Dancing was freeing though. He felt the music begin to flow through him and he just let it release him........for a minute.........for the time.

No matter that Debbie was pressing against him; no matter that his body was reacting to the heavy music and not to her. What did it matter anyway?

Oh God ! A slow song. Jordan geared up for arms, boobs, lips.

"Tell me you've had trouble sleeping,

That you toss and turn from side to side.

That it's my face you've been seeing

In your dreams at night.

Tell me that you wake up crying

And you're not sure exactly why.

Tell me that something is missing

In your life, In your life."

As Debbie tried to take up residence inside his skin, as he tried to back away from her to breathe, the words took form in his brain. Something was missing! And he wasn't gonna find it here; not with her. His body hard; not from the girl in his arms but from the thoughts freewheeling in his head, Jordan knew he was in the wrong place. Debbie was grinding her hips up against him and all he wanted was out !

"Jordan," she whispered in his ear. "I want you." His eyes widened and he stepped back, holding her at arm's length. He'd heard this too many times but this time was different. This time, he really wanted an answer.

"What, Debbie? What do you want?" he asked, so ready to be gone but never wanting to hurt anyone. "We hardly know each other. How could you want me?"

She looked flustered, confused. Jordan relented. This wasn't the place to try to explain that she shouldn't hold herself so cheap, shouldn't give it away. "Never mind," he soothed. "Let's find Griff and Kelly." He grabbed her hand and pulled her over to his friend. Griff took one look at Jordan's face and laughed, "Let's go get something to eat. I think Jordan's had enough dancing for one night."

My God! Finally it was midnight. Jordan untangled himself from Debbie and walked her to her door. "See ya, Deb," he said softly. She tiptoed up and kissed him, trying to hold on even then. He felt her lips, knew he could have more if he wanted. He kissed her soundly and turned to go.

"You wanna come in?" he asked Griff as they got to the house. "Stay over?"

"Nah, you go do what you've been Jonesn' to do all night," Griff grinned. "Go find him. Talk it out. You're stretched tighter than fencewire, Jord. You aren't gonna be worth shit til you do."

The house was quiet. He slipped in and touched his mama's cheek like he always did. She covered his hand with hers and sighed. Jordan knew she never slept til he came home. "Love you, Mama," he whispered and, grabbing a Dr Pepper and the container of leftover cold spaghetti, he walked up the stairs to his room.

"Hey guy," he smiled as he saw his cocker spaniel curled up on his pillows. JerimiahWasA was always waiting for him when he got home, right there.

Jordan sighed, 'Girls love me. Dogs love me. Why can't I be satisfied with that?'

Okay! You know that time when you can't escape the inevitable? When there's no place to go? Nowhere else to hide? Jordan turned on the computer and muttered, 'Daniel, be here.' It had become almost an obsession now.

He checked the MB but there had been no reply. He hadn't expected one.

He logged on to MSN and knew that the little red flag had popped up on Danny's screen. He waited a few seconds. Nothing. Okay, Danny wasn't gonna come to him. He clicked on 'send a message' and the box appeared on his screen. He typed:

Jordan says: Danny, please talk to me. I am so sorry.

No response. He knew what he had to do. He had to make it easy for Danny to answer. He had to tell the truth.

Jordan says: Danny, I was at a dance tonight...with a girl. I heard a song and I got um...hard. It wasn't the girl. I was thinking about you. Danny, talk to me.

He watched the screen. Down at the bottom, he saw the words:

Danny is typing a message. Yeehahhh!! Jordan's face broke out into a happy grin. 'Gotcha,' he whispered.

Danny says: Hey

'Well, that's a start,' Jordan laughed.

Jordan says: Hey back. I thought I'd lost you. Don't do that again, please.

You okay?

Danny says: Sure. Never better.

Danny set the bottle he'd been holding on top of the monitor. Now he was better.

Jordan says: I want to know all about you..where you live...what you look like..talk to me Danny

Danny says: I have a picture. It's last years school pic but it's all I've got.

Jordan says: Sokay! I got one that will make you laugh. Send please.

Scuffle, click, browse. All set, Jordan accepts. Danny accepts. Both boys waited, hoping the other didn't think he was a total troll.

Jordan's picture loaded. Danny watched it flash onto the screen. Oh God!

He sat staring at who he was talking to. Skateboard up off the pavement, this kid, no helmet, no pads, was literally flying. Upside down, fingertips grazing the board, body bent at the waist, knees bent, he was directly in the middle of doing a flip in mid air. Danny could see long dark blonde hair, most of his chest as his shirt rode up and long tanned legs. He tried not to center on the butt raised up in the air.

Jordan sat quietly looking at a picture of a boy. He felt his breath catch. Jet black ringlets of curls, a mop really, lips firmly pressed together as if he didn't know how to smile but the bottom lip plump and a little pouty. But it was the eyes that made him want to cry. Danny's heart was in his eyes. He was practically screaming from some deep pain. Jordan wanted to reach through the screen and soothe that look out of those sad eyes. Danny was beautiful.

Danny says: I can't see your face, Jordy. I like what I do see ::blush::

Jordan says: >>giggle<< Okay. Here.

He sent another pic, one with him and Jerimiah out by the pond. He waited.

Danny memorized the boy in front of him. His fingers reached for the screen and he traced each feature. There was a scar on his right cheek above his eyebrow and another on his chin. Danny saw shiny emerald eyes that held laughter captive, long curling eyelashes, round cheeks with some freckles dusted across but it was the smile that caught him. The mouth that he wanted to touch. A crooked smile, up at one corner, dimples creasing his face.

Danny says: Jordy.................

Jordan says: ?

Danny says: nothing.........just............Jordy !

Jordan wriggled in his chair. His body was like pulsing. Little shivers were shooting through his belly. This wasn't like when he looked at porn. This was something entirely different. Someone he thought was cute was looking at him the same way.

Jordan says: Danny? I................

Danny says: Yeah, me too !

Jordan says: Are you.........?

Danny says: I can't help it.

Jordan says: Me either

Danny says: ::giggle:: Will you respect me in the morning?

Jordan says: If you're half a hard as me, I respect you right now.

Danny says: ROFL really? Is okay?

Jordan says: Hell, Dan, go for it.

In two different houses, in two different bedrooms, late at night in the bluish glow of computer screens, two lonely boys found that what had always been a lonely, almost desperate act of release became something else entirely.

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