Chapter 37

May 31 (Continued)

So, Ok.

First off, I went to bed late because Chandler and my Dad got into a fascinating conversation about all kinds of stuff. Mostly, what was Chandler majoring in college? What were his plans after college? Did he ever pursue singing for anything (Yaaas! Yes he has!) Basically, ChanChan is studying design in three ways and he’s doing so at the art school. I didn’t even know art school was an option. I thought you had to go to the Uni or to community college to get to the Uni. I didn’t know you could go other places for a degree. Sweet!

I hate ‘real’ school. I’d love it if I could go somewhere that I can learn something that isn’t ‘school school’ but just a place to learn interesting stuff about stuff you already like to do. Sweet!

Anyways, he’s studying design for interiors, business branding, and for ‘artistic expression,’ which is pretty vague, but Chandler assures that it is probably the most important part of the design degree because it ties all other forms of design together. He sounded so much like he knew what he was doing. Wow! Like, somebody that knows what they want and what they are doing! Sweet!

Somehow the focus went on me again (embarrassing!) and I told Chandler what my Dad already knew: I liked geometry, I liked to draw, and I liked video games. Chandler ‘probed me’ (snicker) to dig out what all that meant and “What do you like best about the video games, Bran?” After getting over myself I told him that my favorite part of the video games that I do is designing my character’s look. I will literally spend HOURS cycling through hairstyles for my game character profiles. Then I’ll spend MORE hours on trying to get the clothes or armor right. I’m such a nerd.

Chandler smiled at me and I swore I’d gone numb everywhere but my boner. Oh my GAWD when Chandler smiles it’s like God just shined His flashlight on you!

So, he said that I might be a candidate for the school of fashion design where he studies. That was something I never thought of before, but it makes incredible sense. I love buying clothes and I love dressing myself up in them, but more so I like dressing other people up since I doubt that I, myself, can make anything look very good on me no matter how fashionable.

For instance, I’d KILL to grab Jamie off for a while and get him out of his jeans and t-shirt deal. (Not just to get him naked, which would be ‘fabulous’ as Chandler would say, but to get him into something that would make him look like a real rock star! Jamie is adorable anyway, but if he gave me a chance I’d make him a god among teen boys! He’s the perfect Ken doll, I swear!

This may be impossible, though. I can’t even get Marie to cooperate with me in the clothes department. She insists that puke colored mock turtle-neck she bought is beautiful. She’s wrong, but I leave it alone since she likes it. (UGH!)

Oh my God, I’m rambling again! What the Hell!

So, Chandler kept us up longer than usual because he was doing ‘school counselor’ on me, but that was put to an end when my Dad said I’d be studying Architecture. That’s what I’ll be doing. Thanks, Dad. Well, so much for personal choice in a livelihood. Whatever . . .

Anyways, so (I’m saying ‘so’ too much) this morning I got up like ultra-early for a Saturday. It was 7 AM! It’s WEIRD getting up early on a Saturday, you know? It’s like quiet and everything! I made waffles which woke my Dad up because he loves waffles. I even did some sausages. While we were scarfing, I hear the distinct rumble of a certain Porsche come up into our driveway and it’s, like, only 8 AM! I never thought Chandler, of all people, would be an early bird, but . . . I don’t know him very well yet, I guess. It’s funny how you can get impressions about a person from everything you’ve seen on TV. Chandler seemed to me, like, one of those Party Guys that stays up all night and sleeps in the daytime. He’s so ‘scene,’ if you get me. So, ‘hip’ as my poor old Daddy would say in his ‘Senioritis’ (Hehehehe! My Uncle taught me that one. I know. I’m evil.)

I heard the knock on the door and, yes, I, kind of, ran over to it.

“Brandon! No running in the house! You know better than that! Whoever’s at the door will wait a second or two for you to get to the door in a civilized way.” My Dad scolded me, but smirked, I guess, because I was acting so weird this morning. I was excited! I mean . . . Chandler was on the other side of the door!

Ok, I admit I’m developing kind of a ‘thing’ for Chandler. Sorry Billy, but not sorry. Remember, you seem to have a thing for Jamie. So, if you have to crush on a Cross then I guess I have to too! You take the blond and I’ll take the redhead! Hehehe!

Gee, I HOPE Billy has a crush on Jamie like I think he does because, like I said before a while back, that could open some doors for me and . . . Billy will still be first in my eyes. But, Chandler is a close second! It’s too bad he’s so much older than me. I really think we would really hit it off . . . or get it off. Oooo, bad thoughts! Bad thoughts!

I’ll admit to having got a little hard running to meet Chandler at the door. I’m glad it only became a ‘semi’ because a full-on tent in my pants would have been hard to explain. Of course, I get hard for no reason at all these days. I won’t even be thinking about anything and . . . boing!

It got worse when I opened the door and saw what was standing there! OMG!

Chandler had these really tight narrow cut black jeans that left NOTHING to the imagination. They narrowed down into his bare feet that had these Vans slip-on type shoes in bright red. I tried not to look at his package, but my eyes wouldn’t cooperate because he was ‘showing’ pretty good. I think Chandler is possibly huge down there. Then he had on this t-shirt with, like, some kind of art on it. I couldn’t tell what it was. The shirt background was black and the ‘art’ was every color of the rainbow . . . seriously! It was like a squiggle-fest of lines in each color of the rainbow.

He had a cute black hat on that he wore on the back of his head, sort of, so that his strawberry-red hair could pop out from under the front of the brim, there. He took off his round sunglasses and smiled wide at me (God’s Flashlight, remember) and reached out and gave me a big hug! Chandler smelled soooo good! He’s like spicy smelling but not like tacos but like pumpkin pie, or whatever. He smells like ‘Christmas,’ if that makes any sense which I’m sure it doesn’t.

“Hey, BranBran! Thanks for getting the door! Nice! May I come in?” He asked me, which I thought was silly because, well, of COURSE, he could come in! Why wait?

So I let him in and my Dad stands up from the kitchen table and comes over to shake his hand and say good morning and stuff. They chat about I don’t know what. He offers some of my waffles which Chandler refuses which made me a little sad. I would have liked to have impressed him with my waffle toasting skills. But he just said, “Oh, no thanks, Mr. Temple. I have to watch carbs and sugars. I’m ‘cutting’ or whatever my PT calls it. It’s a major drag and I fully intend to CHEAT today when we get to the city!” Chandler said. I asked him what ‘PT’ was and he said Personal Trainer. He actually had a coach in PE that he pays to torture him? Jeeze! I don’t know if I want to get older if I have to do THAT all the time to look like Chandler does.

Ok, so I need to move things along . . .

So, I got to ride back over to the Cross house, ‘cause apparently, Chandler was coming in from the city to get me first (wow!) and then needed to go get Jamie and Marie. Along the way, we chit-chatted, though I was doing a lousy job of it. I was afraid of saying something stupid and found myself becoming really shy and self-conscious next to Chandler. He seemed to pick up on that and reached over to give me a friendly pat on the knee (which made me jump a bit).

“Don’t be such a Nervous Nelly, BranBran! You need to have more confidence in yourself! When you’re not thinking about yourself and being self-conscious you light up like a nightclub with neon! Don’t hide that! It’s so great and you’re such a cutie! Why should you have to be self-conscious? Anybody that got lucky enough to be with you should thank their lucky stars! Marie thinks the sun shines out of your butt-crack! Hehehe!” That’s right! That’s what Chandler said to me in the car! He said I was a ‘cutie’! Honestly, I didn’t hear much else after that because I’d drifted into a rainbow fog made of cotton candy!

All too soon, though, we arrived at their house and both of the blondes were already standing in the driveway waiting to go. Mind you, this was only a little after 8 AM on a Saturday. Teenagers would try not to get up before noon if the had their way. Even me! Jamie and Marie looked, kind of, excited about us arriving. I’d thought that Jamie, in particular, would head out for Downtown or on the pier all the time! I mean, he’s got access to any number of cars that could take him. Wouldn’t he get the chance to go all the time?

“He Chan! Hey Sweetums! ~smooch~”. Marie just had to give me a kiss on my cheek which made me weird out entirely, though I suffered in silence and forced a smile. Jamie was humming and singing (really badly) something he was listening to in his earbuds. Chan caught my reaction to Marie’s smooch and seemed to smile, but to himself more than to me or Marie. It was like he knew some secret and just wasn’t saying anything.

Before long, we were entering into the city with all the buildings looming over us like giant square giants. There’s something about going into the city and you haven’t been for a while. You forget how big and awesome skyscrapers can be and Chicago is second to none when it comes to skyscrapers and I don’t care what people from New York say. We came down street-level and wormed our way through traffic until I saw the giant silver ‘jelly bean’ that is the center of Millennium Park. The concert hall was visible too and both are fantastically weird! I love how oddball Millennium Park is. It screams ARTISTIC at the top of its lungs!

“Ah! Beautiful blue sky today with a few clouds. Perfect for photographing the Cloud Gate. I should get some really fabulous shots today! It might get a little boring for you guys so you can wander around if you want to. Just text me so that I know where you are and I can meet up with you.” Chandler was very much in Big Brother mode today which is a funny mix of ‘mom and dad’ all at once for the younger Crosses.

I, for one, had no real reason to think helping Chandler photograph stuff would be boring at all. Photography has always fascinated me anyway, but I was always too intimidated by the complicated cameras to get into it seriously. I mean, I can take pretty good pictures on my smartphone, but I know there is more to photography than that. I’ve read about it in the library.

“I don’t mind helping you out, Chandler, if that is ok. I always wanted to learn a bit about photography anyway.” I offered. Chandler turned and put God’s Flashlight back on me with his smile, again, and this time it looked even cooler because he had his round sunglasses on and his cool black ‘pork pie-fedora-thingie’ hat.

“We’ll see how long that lasts, but sure! Come with! I need a caddy for my bags anyway. Hehehe!” Chandler giggled as he parked the car. We got out and started on our way walking through the tree lined mall that opened up to the Cloud Gate. That is an AWESOME sight if you’ve never seen it before! It’s like looking at everything else around it, but upside-down and twisted up! It’s like a gigantic water droplet that never evaporates!

“Here, BranBran, you hold this while I set up the tripod. This is a good place for some wide-angle shots and possibly a panorama.” He shifted his rather large bag from his shoulder and handed it to me while opening another bag he had been carrying to get his tripod out. Oof! It’s no wonder Chandler has all those muscles. That stuff was HEAVY!

“OOO! OOO! A trick-skater! Come on Marie! I gotta see this!” Jamie went into ‘Look Squirrel’ mode and quickly jogged after a guy who was making some incredible moves on rollerblades a short distance away. Marie tsked at him and looked torn.

“Ohhh, I don’t know what to do! Should I go with Jamie or stay here?” Marie made a strained whine in the back of her throat. She obviously wanted to watch the skater but knew I’d sold my soul to Chandler’s art project.

“You can go along too, Brandon. I’ll be here for a while so if I need you, all I gotta do is text. You can find me.” Chandler said, kind of absentmindedly, because he was concentrating on some interesting technology on his tripod I’d never seen before. I, actually, was more interested in what he was doing than I was in the skater, but I went with Marie instead because, officially, that’s why I was really out with these guys.

We actually ended up watching the skater’s full show with Jamie shamelessly trying to get in on the act by seeing if he could do some of the moves. The skater dude was really cool about it and Jamie’s goofiness had the crowd laughing and clapping. What a complete ham! Marie and I just looked at each other and shrugged through most of Jamie’s ‘performance’.

I returned to Chandler in time to see him doing something really interesting that I’d never seen done before. He had put his camera on a gadget on his tripod that had a long cord running from it to a hand control. He stood watching his phone while the camera rotated. I always wondered how they did those huge panorama photos before!

“Wow! Are you ‘panoramaing?’ ”. I asked him.

“Yessir! Panning is the proper term ‘cause the camera pans back and forth exposing the film to take the long picture.” Chandler sounded a lot like one of my teachers there for a moment: the coolest, hottest teacher imaginable, but a teacher all the same.

“We’re gonna go get some caramel corn. You wanna come with us, Brandon?” Marie asked hopefully. This time I was too far gone into Chandler’s lesson to want to go anywhere. I found that what he was doing was way more interesting than caramel corn. Maybe, it was because I found Chandler so ‘interesting’ too.

I came back to his use of the word ‘film’. Film was something I only knew about from books. I’d never had to deal with it before because everything ‘photo-ey’ I’ve ever done has been electronic with a digital camera. Using film just seemed weird to me.

“You said you are exposing film? Why are you using film instead of a digital camera? Wouldn’t it be a lot easier?” I asked and he chuckled a bit.

“That’s why I use film because it isn’t easier. People don’t want to use it anymore and, honestly, for an artist, that’s the best thing. Your choice of medium allows you to do things that you can’t do with more common things. I can, for instance, do all kinds of amazing effects in a dark room with this film that it would take Photoshop to do with a digital camera. The thing is that most of those tricks in Photoshop are things most photo artists know about intimately so they can tell when your photo has been doctored digitally. They can also tell when a real authentic photographic artist has taken the time and love to develop their film into something spectacular. Film is closer to ‘real,’ I guess.” He explained and I loved hearing how he explained things.

“I guess . . .” I said as I let my eyes wander. My eyes immediately spotted, perhaps, the most gorgeous human being I’d ever laid eyes on jogging along. He had nothing but running shorts on and he had dark blonde hair. In a lot of ways, he looked like an older Billy. I just stared at him and couldn’t get my eyes off of him! His muscles just rippled and rolled as he ran and his ass bounced! I, of course, got immediately hard.

“Nice ass . . .” Chandler said under his breath and took a quick snap of the guy with his phone.

Without even thinking I just said dreamily: “Yeah . . .”

That’s right! That’s what I did. Right there. Right in front of the most gorgeous old guy on the planet taking pictures of the other most gorgeous old guy on the planet.

I fucking OUTED myself! Oh, I was sooooo embarrassed and scared! I literally started to shake in my shoes! I was close to going to the bathroom right in my pants! You’d have thought I’d just gotten missed by a TRAIN or something!

Chandler must have heard me gasp because he looked over at me and stared over his sunglasses at me with a knowing but concerned look. I wanted to run away! I wanted to run FAR away! Oh my God! I was so shocked I actually started to cry right in front of him!

But, “Brandon, Honey! Calm down there, Baby Boy. It’s gonna be OK!” He walked up closer to me and knelt down and held my hands. His blue eyes mesmerized me and I couldn’t help but quiet down.

Then he said: “First of all, you got nothing to be ashamed of. You are a horny teenager, same as me still, really. Guys with built bodies are severely fuckable and I’ll be the first to tell you that. But then, I know what I am and what I like. I have for a long time. I’ve had time to figure things out. I’ll tell you there’s nothing wrong with it or with you if you like what you like too. Just, don’t make any decisions yet. You still have a lot going on down there and this is a time to figure it out so don’t ‘commit’ yourself to anything before you know. Happily ‘commit’ yourself when you find the right person . . . whoever or whatever they may be.” Chandler’s words were perfect just like he is: so wise and needed. But, I still couldn’t get ahold of myself to stop the tears entirely.

He reached over and gave me a big hug, but I was still nervous about what he knew about me despite what he said that I probably didn’t take the hug as well as I should have.

“Oh, and here’s a rule if you are Gay, BranBran. You never Out anyone else. It’s about the most horrible thing you can do to a person. Coming Out is a very personal thing that can only be done by the person themselves when the time is right. As you might have figured out by now, I’m Gay and I will never ever Out anyone else under any circumstances. So, if you like what you like, I won’t be telling anyone about it. That’s for you to do.” Chandler looked deeper into my eyes that must have been red and wet with crying because I’d scared myself so bad, but I could tell he was sincere.

“Promise?” I asked him with a shaky voice.

“ . . . and hope to die.” Chandler crossed his heart.

“If you ever have questions, though, don’t hesitate, Kay?” Chandler said as he stood up to go back to his camera.

“Kay.” I said.

“Cool . . . now let’s see what we came up with here. I got a digital feed from my Canon here to see how the panorama may have come out. Look! Isn’t it pretty?” He had me look into his phone and I saw what he’d been photographing and it was REALLY beautiful. What’s more, it caught the handsome running guy turning to look in the camera’s direction with a big smile. I think he might have been looking right at Chandler when he did that.

“Hmmm. Looks like I might have a date later. Nice!” Chandler said and winked at me before putting his sunglasses back on.

So, the rest of the day went by in a kind of a blur. What Chandler said to me took a lot of processing. Marie and Jamie mentioned that I was being too quiet and wanted to know what was up, but Chandler kept interrupting and distracting them with new things to see, eat, or do. He stuck with me for the rest of our time out at Millennium Park. I doubt he got as much photography done as he thought he would, but something tells me he wasn’t out there with us today just to take photos.

We listened to a free concert at the Jay Pritzker Pavillion and then had a dinner of fish and chips over by Navy Pier after a walk. Chandler got me home about 9 PM and he dropped me off last. While we were alone in the car we didn’t talk any more about my ‘Outing’ today. We just talked music and photos and friendly stuff.

He did give me one last hug and a small peck on my cheek which I thought was a little weird, but nice.

“Say hi to your Dad for me. I’ll be out of town for a while, but if you need a chat, text me. You have my number. Be good, but even better, be YOU!” He said.

With that, he rumbled off in that fantastically fabulous car of his and I was left watching the road he left on.

What happened today?

I’m not really sure, but I think I just stepped into a whole lot bigger world than I thought I’d be stepping into today.

All I can say is that . . . I feel good and this was a really good day today. It has given me a lot to think about and now, also, maybe I have a friend that can understand me in a way only another Gay guy can.

This is Brandon back from his Outing.

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