Boy Meets Boy

Page 35


“You didn't think so at the time.”
“Oh, but I'm wiser now.”
To my surprise, it's Amber who steps in this time.
“Do you guys always do this?” she asks.
“Yes,” Trilby and Infinite Darlene reply together. Then they try to jinx each other, but that too is simultaneous.
“And what do you get out of it?” Amber asks.
“Excuse me?” Trilby looks a little down her nose at Amber. Amber seems to fade into her overalls, but she's gone too far now to turn back.
“It's clear to everyone how much you're getting off on getting even,” she observes. “Can't you just admit that?”
“No way.”
“You're out of your mind.”
“Am I?”
Trilby gives Amber a serious once-over. “I think I'll go look for dress ideas myself. I don't know why I asked a girl wearing OshKosh to help me in the first place.”
“They're not OshKosh. They're Old Navy.”
“That's not my point.”
“Yeah, but it's mine.”
Trilby storms off dramatically. Infinite Darlene storms off with equal drama in the opposite direction.
Amber laughs.
“Well done,” I say. “I swear, if you weren't an Old Navy—wearing lesbian Club Kid, I'd probably kiss you right now.”
Amber's laugh stops. She looks around to see if anyone's heard.
I've gone too fan I think. I m sorry, I say.
Amber waves me off. “It's okay. It's just that I'm not… well, I don't like to think of myself as … a Club Kid.”
She smiles again.
“I'll never think of you that way again,” I promise.
“I mean, I love joining clubs and all. I just don't want word to get out, okay?”
Her secret is safe with me.
Away from the Club Kids, she's so much more sure of herself. Or maybe she's just as sure of herself when she's with the other Club Kids, only she doesn't have a chance to show it.
“Trilby and Infinite Darlene are like Nelly Peterson and George Bly,” Amber observes. “Nelly and George were great friends until they started competing for valedictorian. Now it's all about the grades. They want to beat each other, and at the same time they secretly want to be each other. So they fight.”
“And how will it end?”
“They'll either kill each other or sleep together. The jury's still out.”
“But Trilby and Infinite Darlene don't want to sleep together— they want to sleep with the same people.”
“Different kind of tension, same emotional results. Plus, who says they don't want to sleep together?”
“Are you saying that Infinite Darlene is a lesbian?”
“Stranger things have happened. And that's just in this town.” Amber looks across the cemetery. “You know who I like the most in here?”
“The witch in the corner. She lived here two hundred years ago. Her memory book is full of spells that have been written in over the years.”
“You like that?”
Amber nods. “I once went out with a witch. It didn't end well.”
“What happened?”
“I didn't get along with her cat.”
We are quiet again in the near dark. I realize I should be doing some serious architecting at this point, but I'm not sure what to do. Suddenly, Amy and Emily ^are lit by a flash as they trace gravestone inscriptions. Then another flash. Someone is taking pictures.
Infinite Darlene sidles up behind me.
“I asked him to come,” she whispered. “I figured we could use some black-and-white shots.”
“You're interfering!” I accuse.
She bats an eyelash. “Of course I am. That's what friends are for.”
Noah doesn't seem to notice me. He focuses on the gnarled branches reaching out to cover the emerging moon. He focuses on the angel statuary, making their wings turn a ghostly pale in one illuminated moment.
“Go over and say hello,” Infinite Darlene insists.
“You're the one who invited him,” I grumble.
“Yes, but you're the host”
I'm ready to dig in my heels and resist Infinite Darlene's meddling. Then Amber asks me, “What do you really want to do?” And I think about it. What I want to do is run away into the darkness. What I really want to do is talk to him.
So I walk over.
He is sitting on the ground now, getting a level shot of a tombstone.
“Hey,” I say.
Snap and flash. My eyes take a second to readjust. He stands in the afterglow.
“Hey,” he says.
It's too dark for me to see his full expression.
“I'm glad you're taking pictures,” I go on. “I mean, it was a good idea.”
“Did you ask Infinite Darlene to ask me?” His voice is casual curiosity, nothing more.
“No. But I should have.”
“Because you're a really good photographer.”
He thanks me and we teeter there for a moment. We are not moving, but we're teetering at the same time.
“Look …” I've missed you. Do I really have to say it? Can't he see it on my face? I'm about to say it—then I hear someone calling my name.
“Paul! You've got to come see this, Paull”
It's Kyle. He runs over to me, not seeing Noah.
“Oh, sorry,” he says when he realizes I'm not alone.
“No problem,” Noah replies, raising his camera from his side.
Don't go, I want to say. But I can't say it in front of Kyle, who looks so excited to have found me.
The moment's over. Noah nods at me and Kyle, then walks away. I call out another thanks to him, but he only sends back another nod.
“Sorry,” Kyle says again. “I didn't know you were—”
“He was just taking some shots of the cemetery for the dance. Infinite Darlene asked him.”
We stand there for a moment, Kyle looking at me.
“You wanted to show me something?” I prompt.
“Yeah. This way.”
He takes me to the dowager's crypt. I had forgotten all about it.
Kyle has lit the inside with candles, so as we approach, it looks like an elfin mansion with a fire in the grate. The outside is plain (“I won't be seeing it from the outside,” the dowager is rumored to have said), but the inside is colored fifty-two different shades of blue. Every year or two they touch it up, importing paint from as far away as Cyprus to make the blue complete.