Finding Love

by PeterG09



"Can I ask you something?"

"Of course. What is it?"

She was standing by the sink getting something ready for supper. This was good because we could talk without looking at each other. I was doing my very best to be casual.

"How did you decide that Dad was the person you loved?" Whew, that was not as awful as I had dreaded.

"That's a deep question" she said, pausing in her work. "Why do you ask?"

"It's just that in PHE today we were talking about relationships, and about things like that. So I wondered." Fortunately I had worked on that question and answer.

"Well, Dad and I worked together. It took some months before he asked me one day if I would like to go out for a coffee. We went to a café around the corner from the office for twenty minutes, and came back over an hour later. We both got in trouble after that. But apparently most of the others in the office wondered why we took so long to go out together."

"And that was it? You got married?"

"Goodness no. We met a lot over the next few months and eventually your Dad proposed. I said Yes and it was another two years before we got married."

"Why so long?" I asked. "If you loved him, why not get married straight away?"

"What a lot of questions. It takes a lot of time to really get to know someone. There's lots more to it than just having coffee together. You want to find out how people are when things are going well, and when there are problems. Some people get married very soon after meeting, and for some of them it works out. We both needed time to think things through first."

"Thanks Mum. I'm glad you chose Dad."

"So am I. And thank for asking. After all, we are part of your history so you need to know where you come from."

Of course I never got ask the question that was really burning away inside me. I could not even put together the words of the question I desperately wanted answered. How do you know you want to be with a girl, or a boy?

Step back two weeks. For years Dan and I had messed around together. We were about the same age so for a long time we had a joint birthday party. We were always around each other's houses. We goofed about together and got in to trouble together. We were just entering puberty together.

One day out of the blue Dan said "What d'you reckon on girls?" They were a bit of a mystery to us. There were girls in our class and sometimes they messed around with the boys, but mostly they stuck together like a group. All they seemed to do was take selfies and talk about what they looked like.

"I dunno. I don't rate them a lot. I wouldn't know how to start talking to one of them." We knew that some of the girls had been out with boys from the year above us so presumably the boys had the courage to ask them. But we couldn't talk to the older boys about this, they would have ragged us rotten.

Dan was quiet and thoughtful. Something was bugging him. It was a couple of days later when he was around my place and we had finished doing our homework that he finally came out with it. "S'pose you didn't want to ask a girl out, but you wanted to ask another boy? Just s'posing?" This was a new angle to me, nothing I'd ever thought of.

"How would you know if you wanted to go out with a boy or a girl? What tells you?"

"Well we go out a lot. We go to the cinema and to the Shake Shop, but I suppose going on a date or something is different. You would hold hands and stuff." I could not bring myself to say the 'K' word.

Dan persisted. "Yeh, but how would you know? I might be nice to be with a girl and maybe it would be the same with a boy. Would you have to try both to see which one you liked most?"

"Anyway", I said, playing my trump card, "not all girls are the same so you would have to try a lot of them." We had done diversity in class so I knew I was on safe ground. The Dan undercut me: "Yeh, but boys are different too. They're not all the same."

I felt a bit odd inside because this was just what I had started to notice with Dan. He was letting his hair grow a bit, and there was a curl developing just over his left ear. I longed to run my fingers through it. I could look at him side-on in class and notice the shape of his cheek-bones and the line of his jaw. One night I could not remember the colour of his eyes and spent most of the next day trying to look at him face-on. I was starting to spend quite a lot of time looking at him and thinking about him.

The discussion tailed off as we tried and failed to work out what the differences were and how you knew which you liked more. And it was not as though we were talking about at real problem.

That Friday at school Dan asked if I would like to go to the cinema to see the new James Bond film. Of course I said yes. Ha said his parents were out in the afternoon and evening and we could go back to his for food afterwards. His mother would leave some stuff in the fridge for us. He said he would come around to our place to pick me up. That was odd because we would usually just meet at the cinema. Still, I said Yes.

When he did turn up at our door I was really surprised. Usually we would just be wearing T-shirts and hoodies over trackie bottoms or something like that. But Dan was wearing a proper clean shirt and trousers and his shoes looked like he'd cleaned them. His hair looked all tidy and brushed. I told him I hardly recognised him. "D'you mind?" he asked, "only we're going out."

I asked him to wait while I got tidied up. I though that perhaps he felt that as we were getting older we ought to behave our age and not muck about like little kids. I put on some clean jeans and a shirt and tried to make my hair look a bit tidier. I knew some boys in our year were already using deodorants and hair gel but I didn't have money for any of that and anyway I wasn't interested. When I though I looked reasonable I went downstairs and we left the house.

At the cinema there was a question of our age for the film but we were regulars and the ticket staff let us in. Dan wanted to sit near the back on the aisle, away from the door. It was one of those double seats with no arm-rest between. He said it was so that no-one would trip over us if they went out to the loo or to get more popcorn. This was strange too, because we usually sat as near the middle of the cinema as possible. The lights went down and the adverts began. When they were over the lights came on again and Dan said he wanted to go to the loo. He went first and I followed so that no-one nicked our seats while we were away. Then the main film began. It was quite noisy and there were some bits that were scary, which is what we expected. During one of these I was aware that Dan's arm had fallen between us. I could feel that warmth of his body through the material of my trousers. It was quite exciting. I casually let my own arm lie so that it touched his. At one of the really exciting bits of the film there was a loud explosion that startled us. Without thinking I put my open palm over his hand. As soon as it happened I drew it back but Dan held my fingers in his. Nothing was said and nothing more happened, but we sat like that until the film ended.

Our walk back to his place was quiet. I don't know what he might have wanted to say; I wanted to ask – what? I had no idea. I felt excited by what had happened but I didn't know whether it was deliberate or accidental.

At his house he let us in and we made some drinks. It was too early for supper. We sat in the lounge and started to talk about the film. I said I could not work out how one of the fight sequences was done and we argued about whether it was Daniel Craig or a stuntman who did it. Dan said "Look I'll show you." He stood up and yanked me to my feet. We stood like the actors had and tried the move. We over-balanced and fell onto the sofa. We ended up with me half-sitting, sprawled on the seat, and Dan on top of me. For a moment our faces were just a few inches apart. Then suddenly he came closer and I felt his lips on mine.

I lay there still, not resisting, stunned by surprise. There was suddenly a lot to take in. Dan drew back slightly so that he could look at me eye-to-eye. He said "Sorry, d'you mind?" It was all I could do to mumble something about nothing to be sorry about. The next time he made a proper contact and I was ready for him. I put a hand clumsily on the back of his neck and held him to me so that there could be no doubt that I wanted this. At least I think I wanted it. At that moment I certainly did.

I cannot remember how we broke apart but then we were sitting side-by-side, holding hands. I said "That was nice" and he said "For me too'". We were both looking at our feet, unsure of what the next move would be, and who would make it. Finally he said "Let's get our food." That broke the spell.

We found the pizza and chips that had been left out for us to cook. Both of us being latch-key kids, basic cooking was no problem. But we kept bumping into each other accidentally, and there was more giggling than usual. We were both high on a new sort of emotion.

By the time Dan's parents came back we had cleared everything up and tidied the place. They probably had no idea that we had been sitting rather close together holding hands.

Now step forward to after the discussion with my Mother. In our minds we were definitely boyfriends. I wanted to shout it out to the world and neither of us dared say a thing, or do anything that would give us away. That was the worst – worse than wondering how to tell my parents what I felt.

The problem was that we wanted to be together but we couldn't work out how. Obviously there was my room and Dan's room but we couldn't spend all the time indoors. The parents would notice because that wasn't what we normally did. The cinema was too expensive to go often and anyway we didn't like a lot of the films. Burger bars and cafes would be OK but again there was the possibility of running in to people we knew, plus the cost There was nothing for us in the park other than walking or sitting on a bench, again in public. In the summer we could go for bike rides to somewhere not too crowded, but summer was a long way off. Dan and I were talking about this one day.

"I suppose it's got to be our rooms. We could just do it and see if they notice that we're spending a lot of time with the door shut. They'd probably work it out, what was going on. At least if we had girlfriends they wouldn't let us be in our rooms with them so we're actually better off with each other. It's maybe better if we tell them than if we let them find out."

"What if they're angry or something, or stop us seeing each other?"

"Dunno, but they can't stop us meeting at school, not without moving us to another school."

We talked over which parents were likely to be the most accepting. It felt like it was going to be mine. And so it was that one day after school I was in the kitchen with my Mother while she got the supper ready.



"Can I ask you something…..?"

Talk about this story on our forum

Authors deserve your feedback. It's the only payment they get. If you go to the top of the page you will find the author's name. Click that and you can email the author easily.* Please take a few moments, if you liked the story, to say so.

[For those who use webmail, or whose regular email client opens when they want to use webmail instead: Please right click the author's name. A menu will open in which you can copy the email address (it goes directly to your clipboard without having the courtesy of mentioning that to you) to paste into your webmail system (Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo etc). Each browser is subtly different, each Webmail system is different, or we'd give fuller instructions here. We trust you to know how to use your own system. Note: If the email address pastes or arrives with %40 in the middle, replace that weird set of characters with an @ sign.]

* Some browsers may require a right click instead