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Meet me at six o’clock at the cinema in town.
I couldn't believe it! Jason Wray had asked me out on a date!
The date was not my plan for the night what-so-ever. Jason had planned it, I had just gone with the flow, but here we were—sat in the film theatre watching the beginning of the adverts for a film he had picked, his arm hanging loosely around my shoulders.
The rumour had been that many girls had found themselves in my place right now, sitting in the seats at the back of the theatre, a cup of lemonade, large sized, and a couple of bags of popcorn to the side. It had come to a complete shock when he had asked me to go out with him, like a stab to the heart.
I had half expected it to be a joke, the fact that he had told me to tell no one was a big red flag. But when I turned up to the cinema, and there he was, two tickets in hand and looking rather classy, he had pulled out all the stops... and I had not.
It had been strange—receiving his note on my desk earlier that day, to be honest. Jason and I were not friends; he was far too popular to even speak to me as an acquaintance, so all I would get was a few glances through the hallway.
And that had been the only interaction we had over many years of being at school together.
When it said to meet him at the cinema in town at six o'clock, I was even more shocked. Shocked enough that I stood from my seat and almost called his name to give back the note. But when I looked back down to the letter, it told me not to tell anyone about it.
The initial interaction at the cinema had been awkward. And why wouldn't it be? I was standing with Jason Wray! He was a football star at school; he was popular mainly for that fact. He would come back from the field covered in mud and always carrying a ball and was always pawned over by the cheerleaders and other popular girls who wanted to get his attention.
But I was now sitting in the cinema, the film playing in the background and his arm around me. I was content, safe and boiling. Warm enough to start a sweat going, not the best first impression.
The film Jason had picked was not the best film I'd seen, maybe because it was not the sort of film I would usually watch, but I didn't mind, not one bit.
Halfway through the film, I grabbed the arm that was around my shoulder and held it tightly. If anyone didn't know any better, people would have thought we were a couple, but we were not, and most likely I would be cast to the side after tonight. I had to hold Jason's hand one time, even as weird as that sounds in my head.
Jason and I had spent some time together on a school trip, only four people got to take part, and we were the winners of this prize. We did not talk for the entire duration, I stuck to myself and so did he, I just figured he did not want to speak, the other two, however, I got on with like a house on fire. So the invitation to the film was a complete mind blow—I thought he had forgotten I existed.
We did not talk for the entire film, I would have thought it was rude for the other watchers if we did, but I wanted to know something, I wanted to know why he had asked me of all people.
It was cold outside; the film had been two hours, a lot longer than I had anticipated. My coat was wrapping around me like a safety barrier, as it blew in the wind as Jason he was wearing a jacket and scarf. "What do you want to do now?" I asked, shivering.
"Do you want to go for a meal?" Jason asked as we stood outside of the cinema doors, the wind hugging both of us and messing up his hair ever so slightly.
"I could go for pizza?" I said it was more of a question to him, but it was cold, and my teeth chattered as I spoke.
"My treat," Jason said, smiling as he began to walk away from the spot, I knew then, this moment was my chance, I needed to ask now or I never would.
"Why did you ask me out on this date?" I mustered up the courage to ask, it was not an easy question at all, considering the situation we were in—Jason turned around on the spot. He looked at me as if pleading for me to stop asking the question, but I needed to know what was happening here, why had he invited me?
"I knew you were going to ask this question," Jason said as he began to walk back over towards me, taking one of my hands in his.
"What's the jig?" I asked, more challenging this time. If no one knew better, it would look once again like we were a couple having a serious conversation. "Why did you invite me here?"
"I wanted to see how I felt," Jason asked the question more to himself. "I don't know; I just wanted to feel something."
"So I was just an experiment?" I felt hurt, I almost felt my heartbeat jump out of my chest, and I wasn't even sure why. Maybe it's because I thought we might be able to make something of this.
"No, because, you are the real thing!" Jason said before letting out a small laugh in the cold. "You made me feel something; I asked you out tonight because I like you."
"You've been out with girls though; I'll probably just be a blip," I replied.
Jason shook his head before getting closer to me, his lips teetering on words, words he had wanted to say for a long time.
"I'm gay, Thomas. All those girls were just rumours; they made it all up to get attention. I like you; I have for a long time."
"You don't know how long I've liked you, Jason, but I never knew you were gay, I suppose no one knows until they accept it," I said moving back from my date. "We don't even know anything about each other. I’ve never talked to you before tonight!"
"We don't have to make this public if you don't want to," Jason said smiling. I smiled back, unable to hold any anger against him. "And that is a temporary problem; I can get to know you if you'll let me."
"You aren't even out of the closet," I said laughing at becoming public with whatever we were.
"That's also a temporary problem, I've wanted to for so long, but with you... someone I have feelings for, and maybe I could get the courage to come out finally? We wouldn't have to go into detail about what we are..." Jason said, getting way in over his head too quickly. "What are we?"
"I think you get to decide that, you asked me on the date," I said before he moved towards me again, but he said nothing and just planted his lips on mine.
I felt it all. I hoped Jason did too.
"I say we give it a shot—you and me," Jason said retracting from the kiss. I saw him in a different light now, more obtainable; I could not have predicted this what so ever. "What do you say?"
"Yes," I replied, not even hearing what I had said moment before, part of my mind was saying no, I didn’t know if he was joking and all of this would be over social media the morning after. But as a smile crept on his face, although I had not heard myself, I knew I had said yes to his question. "I say yes."
And that was when I felt his arms once again wrap around me, and moments later I was the air in a hug.
“I say yes, as long as this isn’t some big joke, I’ve liked you for a long time, Jason and I wouldn’t want you to break my heart,” I said as he put me down.
Jason then noticed that there were a few people that he recognised from school exiting the cinema. They weren’t that popular, but I knew them too, they were in my English class.
“Hey girls, can I tell you something?” I heard Jason say from close by. I saw that the girls said nothing but just nodded as if they were confused as to why Jason Wray was talking to them. “I’m gay, and this… is my boyfriend, Thomas Harrington.”
This conversation was an unexpected end to the night.
The girls all looked shocked as they were tapping away on their phones, clearly revealing to all their friends about what they had just heard Jason tell them.
“You know, there is no going back now, Jason,” I laughed as we walked away with his hand in mine. He had held onto it when he was introducing me to the girls. As if I was a trophy… it felt somewhat good.
"Just the way I want it," Jason said as stopped in his tracks, letting our hands come apart from each other, a smile on his face as he bent his head down to reach mine and planted a small kiss on my lips. "So, pizza?"
I just burnt out into laughter. I really could not believe this had just happened. Had this happened? Was I in some unbelievable dream?
"Sounds great," I replied smiling, his hand once again found mine as we began to walk off.
He gave me his scarf too as we parted for that night—the night that could have lasted a thousand and one years and I wouldn’t have complained.
I didn’t quite understand it at first, why someone like Jason Wray would have asked me out on a date, but now, with a smile on my face… I got it. He just wanted to feel something natural to him.
And I was happy enough to give him just that.