Teens & Young Adult Gay Romance

[A Continuation of 'When It Hits You']

It's the things we fight tooth and nail for that always teach us the biggest lessons. I'll be honest, I'd never had a boyfriend before Jake. Exactly zero experience to speak of. So, when the reality that I had gotten my way really started to sink in, it came with some of the strongest self-doubt I'd ever felt.

I remember sitting on his porch steps three weeks after our fight, dressed in a pair of khaki shorts and a polo I'd borrowed from his closet, with my arms crossed. The sun was setting, and a summer chill was beginning to set in. I could hear Jake inside shouting jumbled up words across the house to his mother, changing out of his cap and gown. He stumbled out of the front door a moment later, dressed similarly to me, smiling his big, goofy smile. I glanced at him over my shoulder and thought my heart might burst out of my chest just looking at him. It had hit me time and time again since we got together... the reality that he was mine. But with that always came the whispered thought that someday that might not be the case.

I turned back, facing the front yard, the sun beginning to disappear behind a shroud of trees, the sky like tangerine sherbet. I felt the urge to cry, but swallowed it. Jake joined me on the stoop and could see through me immediately. He'd always been able to...

"What's wrong?"

His voice. So soft. A sob constricted my throat even more, stealing my ability to speak, so I just shook my head. His hand found the small of my back and rubbed circles comfortingly through my shirt.

"We don't have to talk about it. Whatever it is. But you can at least tell me how you're feeling?" Jake pressed gently, staring at me with puppy dog eyes. His brown hair perfectly combed back out of his eyes, one strand falling effortlessly against the golden skin of his forehead. I could still see the whisper of my punch against his eye, the slightest bit of bruise left over. Without thinking, I raised my hand and let my palm rest against his cheek. He didn't hesitate to kiss the bend of my thumb, smiling at me warmly.

I felt my first tear fall, and sniffled, trying to stifle another.

"I'm just... scared."

Jake seemed to chew on this new information, searching my teary eyes for extra detail, though he looked as if he hadn't come up with anything. I broke our gaze for the first time and looked down at my lap, taking my hand away from his face. His graduation day and I was an emotional wreck. I felt a wave of guilt wash over me for my selfishness. And then my breath caught in my throat when Jake reached out and took my hand into his, cradling it, as if condemning my thoughts. The earnest nature of his gesture made me feel even worse, and more tears started to roll down my face before I could stop them, bowing my head.

"It's okay to be scared, Niki," Jake hummed, his voice warming me from the inside out, "But... can you tell me why?"

I looked at my hand in his, the dreamy light from the sunset washing all over our skin, and realized I owed him an explanation.

"I'm scared... you won't look at me like this forever," I sighed, swallowing hard as I dared to meet his eye again.

To my surprise, he was grinning, looking at me like I had just told the best joke he'd ever heard. I felt my face run hot, and knew my cheeks had gone beet red. Before I could pull away, my mouth half open with something defensive to say, he closed the space between us. I could have tried to fight his kiss with everything I had, but once his lips were on mine, I was melted against him every time.

"I'm glad you want this forever," He whispered once he pulled away, our eyes still closed, our lips brushing with each syllable. I sucked in a deep breath as I tried to calm the hammering desire now ignited in my chest.

"I want you forever, too," Jake finished, opening his eyes, gaze planted on me like everything else had faded to black and white around us. I don't even remember if I responded, his words completely crumbling my inhibitions.

A whole year ago that was, a whole year we'd spent together. I stood in my room that afternoon looking myself over in the mirror, adjusting my cap and gown tirelessly. I'd dyed my hair blonde for the occasion. Jake loved my hair lighter. I loved how much he loved it. I shifted my weight, brushing a bit of my bangs under my cap. Something just didn't feel right. I glanced down at my wristwatch and felt my chest tighten looking at the time. We'd have to leave for the commencement any minute, and Jake still hadn't arrived. He promised he'd be there.

I sucked in a deep breath and trusted, flattening my gown against my chest as I headed for the door. I glanced out of my bedroom window at the driveway and saw my parents' car was already gone. They'd already headed to the school themselves. I knew I had to get going, shoving my worry aside. As I walked gingerly out of the front door I grabbed my car keys off of the table. I tried to keep my eyes locked on the car as I walked outside, begging this doubt to let me go. And then I heard him.

"Hey, graduate."

I looked over and there he was, leaning up against the old oak tree in our yard, holding a bouquet of blue roses, his free hand tucked neatly into the pocket of his slacks. I hadn't seen him in over a month. As soon as I registered he was really standing there, I ran through the grass and jumped into his arms. Somehow it felt special, as the afternoon sun shone down on everything, and a cool breeze brushed through the trees. He held me against him while still keeping the flowers safe, pulling back after a moment to show me his signature, perfect smile.

"I know you weren't questioning if I'd make it," he scolded playfully, his hand still comfortably resting on my waist. I batted my eyelashes, embarrassed that he was always able to read my mind.

"When did you even get here? I was waiting to see your car all day," I asked in return, reaching up to brush a piece of his brown hair out of his eyes. He smiled knowingly, and I could tell I had missed something.

"I've been here since yesterday."

I could feel my face contorting with confusion, my eyebrows narrowing at his words. I opened my mouth to ask another question but stopped when I noticed the small, suede box in Jake's other hand. I met his eyes and he swallowed hard. It was not often I got to see him look so nervous. My heart started hammering in my chest.

"Jake... is that-"

He shook his head gently and started shyly, "It doesn't have to be an engagement ring. I know we're really young. I know this sounds insane, I know."

I stared into his eyes, tears prickling the corners of my own almost immediately as the situation started becoming clearer.

"I talked to your parents... So, they know about us. They seemed hesitant, but they gave me their blessing. ...I don't know if you remember but, a year ago today you told me you were scared."

And just like a year before, I felt my first tear fall, rolling slowly over my cheek as I stared at him, so much love in my eyes it was flowing out of me.

"You told me you wanted this forever... and I haven't been able to stop thinking about that since. It doesn't have to be so big. I know engagement is a big deal."

He cracked open the box and revealed a simple silver ring, the sun glinting off of the polished metal.

"I just wanted to give you something to show you that I'm in this for life. I know it's only been a year but-"

I couldn't stop myself, I cut him off with a kiss, holding his face in my hands. Finally, the bouquet fell onto the grass and he fully engulfed me with his arms, holding the ring box in one of his fists. He kissed me so sweetly, like I might break if he handled me too roughly. It dawned on me then, as I felt his hand clutch my gown in his fist like I was about to run away. The roles had been reversed. He was scared.

"I've never loved a person as much as I love you," I sighed, eyes still closed, my forehead pressed against Jake's. It was all I could think to say to try to convey my feelings. I felt his entire body relax at my words, so delighted to be able to put him at ease.

"I don't think I ever loved anyone... not until I started loving you," Jake replied truthfully, our gaze meeting once again. I smiled, blushing at his words. He took my left hand a moment later and slipped the ring onto my finger. My hand felt heavier, but my heart felt lighter. It was seconds after I realized how late we were for the commencement. We ran in in the middle of the ceremony, though I'd made it just in time to receive my diploma.

Just the way he'd beamed at me from the stage a year before, I got to do the same. Though, it seemed obvious to me graduating was the secondary celebration. I could have gone without my diploma... but that ring meant the world and more to me. Millions of people graduated every year... how many could say they'd found their soulmate?

August 06, 2023 14:04

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15:22 Aug 06, 2023

Awwww 🥺😊👏 That's all Ive got!


Brynn Helena
15:47 Aug 06, 2023

thank you!!!


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Martin Ross
17:08 Oct 29, 2023

So happy to see the next chapter! You have a great novel in the making if you wish…


Brynn Helena
20:12 Oct 29, 2023

thank you!!


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17:56 Oct 09, 2023

This was amazing!! I loved the original story and love this so much too, you're an awesome writer! They are just an adorable couple, you wrote them beautifully and it makes their story so sweet, I just love this and them, thank you for blessing us with your great writing :DDD


Brynn Helena
00:09 Oct 10, 2023

thank you so much!! <3


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