Chapter 4

The RelationRaft

Sunlight and the sounds of birds singing gently lulled Ivan out of his sleep. It was a beautiful morning: the storm was over, and all was well. That is, until Ivan realized that he was still snuggled up against Isaac! He snapped his head up at once, in alarm.

"Good morning," Isaac said sleepily with a smile on his face.

"G-good morning," Ivan replied shakily, although he couldn't help but blush as he saw Isaac smile at him.

"What are you doing there?" Isaac asked pleasantly, ruffling Ivan's hair.

"Nothing," Ivan said, wondering what to do. Then he made up his mind: if it was going to be any time, it was now.

"Well, you're obviously doing something," Isaac chuckled. "What's going on?"

"You're just comfy, is all," Ivan said bashfully, snuggling closer to Isaac.

"Oh so now I'm a pillow to you?"

"Yes," Ivan replied.

Isaac smiled and scratched his head. "You know, Ivan… it may just be me, but I think there's something you need to tell me. Am I wrong?"

Ivan gulped. "Well, yeah… But, you've probably already figured it out."

"Well, I have a hunch," Isaac said, rubbing Ivan's back a bit, "But I want to hear it from you."

'This is it!' Ivan's mind declared with triumph. Ivan took a deep breath, and blurted it out all at once. "Isaac, I like you! I like you so much it's driving me insane! For so long I've been wanting to tell you, but I couldn't, I just couldn't with Mia and Jenna around and all the guys, and well… that's the reason I wanted to come with you. I just wanted to be alone with you, if just for a little while." He ran his hand over Isaac's cheek. "Please tell me you feel the same…."

Isaac smiled and ruffled Ivan's hair. "You are so cute," he said, but this caused Ivan to grab the older boy by his collar.

"Don't call this cute!" he snarled. "Everything I do you call it 'cute' because I'm younger than you are. Well this is real! This is what I feel deep down inside." He dropped his voice a bit before continuing, gazing right into Isaac's eyes. "I am madly in love with you," he said. "I will do absolutely anything to be with you. I have feelings for you that I've never had for anybody else in my life. You are my hero, my warrior, and my angel."

For several moments there was a heavy air of anticipation in the tent, and Isaac continued to look into Ivan's eyes, although his smile wasn't as broad as it used to be.

Finally, Isaac said, "Ivan, I…I'm touched that you feel that way about me. You're handsome, you're funny, you're a great guy, and… I like you too."

"You're serious?" Ivan asked quietly, not daring to let his emotion spill forth too soon.

"Yeah, yeah I am. But, I'm not so sure if…"

"If what?" Ivan cut in. "What could possibly stand in our way now?"

"I'm just not sure if we're ready to have a relationship."

"What?" Ivan gasped, it sounding almost like a yelp.

"There's just too much in the way… Like what I would tell everyone back home, what I would tell my parents…"

"So, we can't be together because of that?"

"I said, I don't know…"

Ivan propped himself up on Isaac's chest. "Well come on! I mean, it wouldn't have to be a relationship! It could be a relation-boat! Or even a relation-raft! Anything!" He buried his head in Isaac's shoulder. "I just want to be closer to you… you have no idea…"

"A relationraft," Isaac said with a chuckle. "Now see, that's what I mean when I say you're cute. Look, let's worry about our mission for now, and get it out of the way. Then, we can think about what to do."

'No… I just bared my soul to Isaac and he's going to shove me aside? I won't let that happen… he's MINE!' Ivan sprang forward and began to kiss Isaac. Everything he'd ever felt about this dream boy came surging back with a vengeance as he pressed his lips time and time again against Isaac's. But when Ivan began to rub his tongue against Isaac's outer lip, he got pushed back gently.

"Easy there, tiger," Isaac scolded softly, causing Ivan to pout. "Look, I promise you it will be something. Definitely not nothing."

"Will you give me your word?" Ivan said seriously.

"I swear it," Isaac said firmly.

Ivan smiled.