More of Ryle and Shane
I love them. I don’t know why, but they are the characters who keep poking my brain, demanding to have their story written. Unfortunately, their story comes to me in flashes, flashes that I have sudden urges to write. So, I will eventually get their complete back story done, but it’s likely never going to be more than a collection of short stories of varying length, never a novel.
Here’s a story from their freshman year, when things begin. I posted Shane’s coming-out-to-Ryle scene already.
Ryle Salvador had spent the last six months trying to figure himself out, ever since his best friend since third grade, Shane Knight, came out to him. Ryle had casually asked Shane numerous questions about how he’d come to decide what his sexuality was, and he wondered if Shane was having suspicions about him. If he wondered about Ryle, he didn’t say anything, though.
But, it was watching Shane date a guy one year older than himself that really helped Ryle face the truth. He couldn’t fight the wave of jealousy that hit him every time he saw them together, and he was ashamed of how hard it was to hide his smile when Shane told him he’d been dumped after only two weeks.
“High school sucks,” Shane grumbled while they did their homework at Shane’s house a few days later.
Ryle glanced up from the English book he wasn’t really reading. “Yeah, too much work.”
Shane shook his head and threw down his pencil. “No, everything about it sucks. The homework, the classes, the people… Some idiot in history is calling me names now. And Joe’s a bitch.”
“I told you not to date him,” Ryle replied, glancing down at his book again. “He’s not your type.”
“How would you know?” Shane demanded. “I mean, sure, we’ve known each other for six years, but you’re not -”
There was a long pause, during which Ryle stared at page 57 of Lord of the Flies and took nothing in. Why was he so scared? Shane, of all people, should understand him.
“What?” Shane finally asked.
“Why did you think I asked you so many questions?” Ryle’s throat felt like sandpaper as he spoke.
“I guess I wondered… I just thought you were curious, since we’d known each other for so long…”
Ryle finally set the book down. “No. I had been wondering about myself before that. I just wanted to find out how to know for sure.”
Shane nodded and picked his pencil back up to play with it. “So… back to my point. What is my type?”
Ryle shrugged. “I’d say someone like me.”
“Someone like you,” Shane repeated, a frightened expression on his face.
“Yeah,” Ryle said, blushing.
“We could ruin what we have,” Shane pointed out quietly. “I don’t want that.”
Ryle nodded and looked away. “I know. I don’t want that to happen either. But what if…” He shook his head and got up from the kitchen table. “I’m sorry,” he stated as he gathered his backpack and his books. There were suddenly tears in his eyes, and he didn’t know why. He started for the door.
“Wait!” Shane jumped to his feet and cut him off before he got to the front door. “Ryle, please,” he begged. “You didn’t give me time to let it sink in. You just surprised me with two really big things.” His green eyes gazed into Ryle’s, and he suddenly shook his head. “You’re right,” he agreed quietly. “What if? I can’t lose this chance. But we’ve been friends for so long…”
“We’ll always be friends,” Ryle assured him. “If it doesn’t work out, we’ll know we were only meant to be friends.”
Shane nodded and took Ryle’s books away to set them on the floor. Then he pulled Ryle into a tight hug. Ryle put his arms around Shane, resting his head against his friend’s shoulder. He loved the feeling of the tender hug; the last time Shane had hugged him this tightly, they had been ten years old – best friends for only a year – and Ryle had been coping with his father’s sudden death. Ryle had felt devotion from Shane then, and he felt it now.
After a while Shane took a step back, and Ryle leaned close, giving Shane a light kiss on the cheek. Shane responded by giving Ryle a soft kiss on the lips. Ryle smiled, so glad to finally be giving them a chance at something more than friendship.
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