Kevin hadn't looked at the clock in hours. So it was rather jarring when he finally glanced at the digital numbers and realized it was 1 p.m. He'd stayed up all night and about half the day, thinking.
Thinking of ways to try to pretend like Ben kissing him hadn't really happened. Trying to persuade himself that Ben had just been playing a really unfunny joke. But the hours had passed in frustration because Kevin knew that neither one was true.
The kiss had happened.
Worse, to him at least, Kevin had...enjoyed it. Not conscious of his actions, his fingers went to his lips, reliving the warmth that had traveled through him when Ben's lips had met his. He shuddered. "No. No way. This is crazy," He insisted. The apartment echoed back the word 'crazy' at him. He shook his head. "I am not in love with Tennyson. He's my friend. Nothing else."
This time, the apartment echoed back 'else'. "Oh, shut up!" Kevin said to the walls. His words came back at him again, as just 'shut up'. Kevin growled lowly, a sore temptation to beat his own walls down almost overtaking him.
He decided against it, of course. It was only an echo. He could deal with that. "Guess I should just talk softer," Kevin said in a much lower tone of voice. He waited a moment, certain that the walls would mimic some comedy scene and echo back something he'd said earlier at him. But of course, nothing like that happened. He breathed a sigh of relief.
"I should get some sleep," He said, leaning back into his recliner. He wasn't expecting to get any sleep, not with his mind rushing the way it is. But the moment his eyes closed, he somehow managed to drift off....
Kevin was on a playground. Ben was playing on a see-saw. Well, playing was probably not the best word for it. He was trapped at the top, because no one was on the other side of the see-saw.
Gwen was standing beside Kevin, watching Ben.
"What's going on?" Kevin asked her.
"Oh yeah? For what?"
Kevin frowned at her. "Gwen, 'with great power comes great responsibility'," He quoted at her.
"Why are you quoting Spiderman at me?"
"Why are you tampering in my dreams?" Kevin returned, his voice hard.
Gwen smiled. "Is it that obvious? Ben didn't get it..."
"Yeah, well, Ben can be kinda slow sometimes," Kevin said with a shrug. "But I never have dreams like this, and usually what people are saying doesn't make any sense."
"I'm sorry," Gwen apologized. "But Ben never would have kissed you if I hadn't--"
"And what if I thought that was a good thing?" Kevin said harshly.
"You don't mean that."
"Yes, I do. Gwen, this whole thing is freaking me out! I..." Kevin shook his head. "I'd rather not deal with it."
Gwen pointed towards Ben. "So you want him trapped up there?"
"What do you mean?"
"Look, Ben needs someone by his side. Someone who knows about the alien stuff, and someone who's going to be there for him, and who Ben can be there for. And he wants that to be you."
"Well, maybe I don't wanna be that person."
Gwen rolled her eyes. "Liar."
"What makes you so sure?"
"Because I know how you look at him," Gwen said simply. "You...you used to look at me that way."
Kevin's eyebrows rose involuntarily. Gwen continued. "Back when you liked me. The whole 'mooning' thing. You're doing that to Ben now, only you do it a lot more to him...sometimes he's looking right at you when you make that face...and he still never realized.."
"Gwen, I ain't gay."
Gwen crossed her arms. "You're still in love with my cousin. When are you going to tell him?"
"I'm not in love with him."
"This...this isn't your first dream I entered," Gwen admitted, her voice rushed. "Before I never actively took part, but I watched...I know you were dreaming about Ben a lot lately. And...He was dreaming about you."
"You know, you're too nosy for your own good sometimes."
"If I wasn't, neither one of you would ever have come to terms with this," Gwen defended herself. "Look, tell him or don't. It's your choice. But don't get all jealous when someone else comes and takes him. Ben's a great guy. He doesn't have to wait on you forever."
Kevin kicked at the dirt on the ground, sending a few rocks flying. "I..." He paused, and looked at Gwen carefully. "You're right," the admittal came reluctantly, but Kevin was finally too tired to keep forcing it down. "I...I may have some feelings about Ben."
"Don't tell me that. Tell Ben. You'll wake up in about one minute...head to Mr. Smoothy's. Ben will be there, his usual booth."
"OK...thanks," Kevin said. "And Gwen?"
"I'm...I'm sorry. That it didn't work out with us, you know? You're still really great I just..."
"Love someone else," Gwen finished for him. She shrugged. "Make it up to me by making Ben happy, okay?"
"How many smoothies have you had tonight, man?" Kevin sat down across from Ben, surveying all the empty cups.
"Seven," Ben said with a shrug. "This is my eighth. I go on a bit of a binge when I'm upset, I guess..."
"What are you upset about?"
"Gee, I wonder," Ben said sarcastically, going back to his drink.
"I wanted to talk to you about that, actually," Kevin said, grabbing one of the empty cups and fiddling with it nervously. "Uh...well...about those dreams you'd been having."
"That's not what I'm upset about, Kevin. You know that," Ben's tone was practically acid laced. "And I know you don't want to be around me right now. It's okay. I'll get over it. But not if you keep popping up."
"Well, first off, those dreams are your cousin's fault," Kevin ignored Ben, feeling he needed to explain the full thing. "And secondly, I'm glad she did them."
"Why?" Ben demanded. "You seemed to think I was just joking with you, remember?"
Kevin shook his head. "Denial, I guess. It's just that I...well, Ben...I might," Kevin coughed awkwardly into his hand. "I might feel the same way about you."
"Might?" Ben repeated, setting his smoothie down. But he didn't sound angry anymore. He actually sounded...hopeful, Kevin realized. "When will you know for sure?"
"Umm...well..." Kevin rubbed the back of his neck. "There's one way to test it, but I'm not so sure I'd like to do that in public, you know?"
Ben laughed. "Still worried about your rep, Kevin?" Kevin shrugged.
"It's just a bit awkward, okay? I ain't gonna lie, it'll be weird. But it's the only way to see if it was a fluke or not..."
"If what was a fluke?" Ben asked.
"...that I enjoyed you kissing me," Kevin said softly. "Look, can we go out in the alley or something? This is just..."
But Ben had hopped up from his side of the booth and was now sitting beside Kevin, blocking his route of escape. "Oh no. If you want to try this, and really want to be with me, then you have to be okay with public displays of affection."
Kevin crossed his arms. "And if I say no?"
"Then we just stay friends, I guess."
Kevin sighed. "You know, between you and your cousin, one of you two is gonna drive me crazy."
"Yeah, I know," Ben said cheerfully. He seized that opportunity to give Kevin a very quick peck on the lips. "How'd that feel?"
Kevin smiled at him. "Guess Gwen was right..." He admitted. "I could get used to that. Even in public. But it might take me a while, okay? I'm not saying we can't be together yet, just that...just that it's gonna be weird for a while and it's gonna take me a while to adjust."
Ben nodded. "That's fine with me." A sudden thought seemed to hit him, and he dug around frantically in his pocket before pulling out his cell phone. "There's one thing I have to take care of before we can be together."
"Oh yeah? What's that?"
"...I completely forgot that Julie and I never officially broke up," Ben explained. "I still have to call her to make sure it's completely called off.
Kevin laughed. "I think she knows."
"Well, it's only fair to make it official," Ben grumbled, starting to dial the phone.
Kevin seized it from him and set it in his own pocket. "You can call her later. It's rude to call your exgirlfriend while you're on a date."
"Is this a date?" Ben asked. "I thought it was going to take you a while to adjust?"
"It will," Kevin admitted. "But dating's step one. Hugging in public's step two, then kissing...then other things."
"Oh," Ben said simply. "So, when are you going to be ready to announce this to everyone? Even like...the dealers you trade with?"
Kevin frowned. "I have no idea. Just give me some time, all right, Ben?"
"Yeah..." Ben agreed, "I think I can live with that."