Hello, again! Welcome to the sixth installment of Tory's Complication! Thanks again to reviewers.
Note: Words cannot describe how much I wish I were, but since I am not that awesome, I do not own Off*Beat; just Eric.
This chapter is mostly in Colin's POV.
Tory's Complication: Chapter 5
Tuesday morning. It doesn't sound very special, but that didn't stop the butterflies in Colin's stomach.
Colin sat up in his bed and noticed a few of his cats on his legs.
"I get to see Tory today," he whispered. A young tabby crawled onto his chest and peered into his eyes.
"I wonder how he feels about me wanting to be his first kiss."
The tabby tilted her head.
"No, he's never kissed anyone. At least not before Saturday…"
The tabby meowed.
"I think I do. I mean, there's no one else who can draw me in so well. It seems kind of poetic, huh? Me falling for a future scientist?"
The tabby stood up.
"Yes, it is time to get up."
Colin walked into the bathroom with a change of clothes.
Casual jeans. Again, not so special. Just right for a Tuesday, I suppose. It all feels so ordinary…
Green T-shirt. It's a nice color, but it doesn't compare to Tory's eyes. It's a green filled with curiosity, awkwardness, and… Tory. Not so ordinary Tory.
Colin stepped out onto the front stoop.
There he is.
Eric and Tory had just walked out of the complex. Tory's hair blew in the morning breeze. He was smiling at something Eric said.
That's MY smile! He only ever smiles at me like that! Doesn't he? Is Eric that special? Or am I not?
"Colin!" The boy ran over to him. Eric trailed behind with a smug, even knowing, glance.
"Morning, Tory. Good morning, Eric. Did you have a nice weekend?"
"Not too bad," Eric smirked as Tory blushed. "A certain redhead kept me up all night."
"Shut up! You're giving Colin the wrong idea!"
What is Eric to you, Tory?
"What about school? Did I miss anything important?" Colin's stomach was doing back flips as they arrived at the bus stop.
"I'll catch you up in Physics. Mandy gave me your math work, so you'll be fine there."
"Speaking of Mandy, she landed me, Tory, and herself in detention for a week. Well, five days really."
"Yeah, you were gone two days and pigs started flying."
I've seen pigs fly. It's overrated.
The bus ride seemed trivial in comparison. Eric did some reading. (It IS French! What a show off!) Colin and Tory discussed torque and trigonometry. Again, just a regular Tuesday.
Skipping to math class:
"Colin!" Mandy waved the raven over to his usual seat.
"Hey, Mandy," Colin mumbled.
"How was your weekend?" She then giggled. Stupid morning people!
"How close are Tory and Eric?"
"I don't know… I mean, it's only Eric's third day of school, so I haven't seen much, but they do seem kinda close, don't they? Then again Tory's not very social so maybe it just seems that way?"
"Eric's interesting though, isn't he? I mean, tall, dark, and handsome! You should see him in gym! We did basketball yesterday, and I swear he was the ace! He even got Tory to play a little! Well, he got him to stand there and pass the ball a bit at least."
"He got Tory to play? That's something."
Mandy cocked her head to the side as the teacher came in and began the lesson.
Five minutes later, a note slid onto his desk.
R U jealous?
Colin flushed as he wrote out his response.
Why would I be jealous of tall, dark, and handsome?
Cuz u r in luv wit him.
I don't know what you're talking about.
Come on! U 2 r perfect 4 2gether!
Colin blushed and looked away from the blonde for the rest of the period.
That, of course, did not stop Mandy.
Tory and Eric were already in the gym when Colin and Mandy arrived.
"Colin! You're actually here!" The redhead beamed as the bell rang.
"Yeah, but he totally he ignored me all the way here."
"One of those days, guys?" (Tory)
"She's been talking nonstop."
"Hm!" Mandy turned and stomped off toward Amy and Mira.
Eric and Tory laughed as Mandy turned and stuck her tongue out at Colin.
"So, Colin, you much of a basketball player?" Don't growl. It's just a question…
"Not really. I'll probably sit on the sidelines."
"Okay." Eric shrugged and turned toward the teacher as class started.
"Are you feeling okay?"
"Don't worry about me, Tory. I'm fine. I just don't like basketball."
"Oh," Tory sighed. "So, what did Mandy bug you about?"
"Who knows with her? She talks so much it's amazing that you understand her at all."
"Colin, that's pretty harsh."
"Yeah, but I get the feeling that Mandy's not what's bugging you. You were like this on the bus, too. Did something happen at the presentation?"
"No." Captains were being picked as they spoke.
"Did I do something?"
"No." At least I hope not.
"What changed since Sunday morning?"
"That's what I should be asking you."
"Tory!" Mandy's voice shocked both boys. Apparently Mandy's a captain today.
Tory walked over and stood next to her. Eric was on the other team. Of course, Mandy picked Colin next.
Hooray for me…
And the game was on.
Tory did play a little, and Mandy spent half of the period trying to get Colin's head in the game.
"I'm not playing!"
"What are you so afraid of ?"
"Come on! How can you just sit on the sidelines?"
"Because I'm not good enough."
"…" Colin watched as Tory as he passed the ball to some tall kid. Said kid missed his shot, and the ball somehow got to the other hoop via Eric. Tory's face went from a tad upset when tall kid missed to proud of Eric. Mandy saw the twinge of pain on Colin's face as he watched this.
"We're not talking about basketball anymore, are we?"
"He's head over heels for you, Colin."
"What makes you say that?"
"When he's with you, he's different. He's a better, kinder person. His eyes light up. His features just seem to brighten. His voice is softer. You're the only person who can grab his attention. He has a special smile just for you, Colin."
"I thought so at first, but then this morning… He gave Eric my smile. Obviously, Eric overshadows me."
"I don't believe that."
"Hey! I may not be the brightest bulb in the bunch, but I'm not stupid. I know Tory use to think so, but he would have thought the same of Eric a year ago. The only thing that changed that was you. You opened Tory's eyes, Colin. He cares about other people now. Tory grew up in the past year, and you caused that by being his friend and first love."
"…" Whoa. Come to think of it. I don't really give Mandy a chance. She may be blonde, but she really does care about Tory. Maybe that extends to me…
Mandy looked back toward the game.
"Looks like we lost. Eric's one heck of an ace." She then looked back at Colin with a soft smile.
"Then why waste your time with me?"
"I just thought that you'd want to spend some time with him. I figured you could hog all of his attention."
"There's no need for that," said the once again unwelcome voice. "Tory's been sneaking peeks at Colin this whole time. He's really worried about you," Eric said as Tory joined them. "So, Mandy, too bad about that last shot."
"Maybe next time will be better," she chirped as she snuck a glance at Colin. "Oh! It's spaghetti Tuesday!"
"If you don't mind, Tory, I thought we'd go over our English project during lunch." (Eric)
"Tory won't eat with us today. Colin's back."
"Yeah, I'll catch you guys later," Tory said as the third and fourth wheel walked away. He turned to Colin. "The usual place?"
Tory and Colin went to their usual secluded corner and split Tory's lunch. Tory finished his first and dug back into tutor mode.
"So, did you understand Math today?"
"We just reviewed for a test. It's on Thursday," Colin added to answer Tory's next question.
"Do you need any help with that then?"
"Maybe later. After school? I'll wait up for you."
"Well, I have detention. Can the doctor wait that long?"
"I'm taking the bus anyway."
"Really? That's unusual."
"Well, the doctor's getting ready to leave again, so I'll be fine as long as I get home before dark."
"Are you going with him?"
"Not this time." Tory's eyes lit up. "Actually, he'll be gone for the rest of the week. I was kinda wondering if I could stay at your place."
"…" Tory's eyebrows had shot up, and he seemed to have frozen in place.
"I'll ask my mom when I get home," Tory whispered, "but I'd be glad to have you over." He blushed.
"You okay?" Wow. He's even redder than usual!
"Yeah, I'm fine," Tory said.
It's moments like these that make me wonder just how much I mean to him.
"What did you mean earlier? About something changing since Sunday?"
"What happened? Please, tell me." Those green eyes bored into Colin's.
"Then what's wrong?"
"…" Colin turned his head away. "How do you feel about what I said on Sunday?"
By this point, both boys have gone red.
Sadly, the bell interrupted.
Colin sighed and stood up.
"Guess we better go to Physics," he mumbled. Tory followed him out of the library.
"Colin?" Tory spoke up as they took their seats.
"It made me really happy."
Colin's head snapped toward Tory. His eyes widened at the sight of the smiling boy.
There goes that darn bell!
Tory put a finger to his lips as the teacher began the lesson. It was a four person lab, and Tory was assigned as the group leader. Colin was in charge of measuring the utensils. Tory took down explicit notes and checked everyone's work.
I love it when he's like this. He's in his element. It's beautiful. That concentration and focus just makes him seem so grown up.
Tory grinned at Colin as the group summed up its results.
Kinda reminds me of when he stalked me. At the time, I was the unsolved mystery. I wonder if that's how he still sees me. Am I still an enigma to him?
The bell rang once again and the boys headed to English. Tory blushed the whole way there.
I'm just happy that he's happy! Maybe I do stand a chance!
That was when Colin realized that Eric was in their class. Worse yet, sitting right behind him.
"So, how was your lunch date?"
"I could ask you the same," Tory retorted with another blush.
Are they lunch dates? I never really thought about it. Lunch has just kinda become special that way. Colin looked at the redhead to his left.
As the lesson start, Colin noticed that Tory and Eric seemed to exchange a few glances. When Tory faced forward, he even heard Eric chuckle.
Anyway, back to the lesson.
I've already started this by myself, but…
"Tory, do you have a partner?"
"Er… Actually, I do. Since you weren't here, the teacher put me with Eric," Tory mumbled.
"Oh… Okay, well, I guess I'll just finish by myself." It's just one project, right?
The class split into groups (and Colin). Tory and Eric discussed their project in explicit detail. Seriously, this is extremely detailed. That's why Tory and I make a great team. He explains everything in detail and I simplify it. It's a perfect balance. Then again, Eric actually works at Tory's level.
By the time the class ended, Colin was once again depressed.
But at least we'll get to spend time together later.
"Are you okay waiting up for me?" Tory asked as they left to meet up with Mandy.
"It's only half an hour. I'll be fine," Colin replied as the blonde came into sight.
"Okay," Tory whispered as he went into the detention room.
"You two are so adorable!" Mandy squeaked.
"Watch the squeals, Mandy. Five days is enough for me," Eric smirked as he passed through.
"Speaking of tall, dark, and handsome," Mandy whispered.
"Mandy," Colin said. There was a slight paused as she tilted her head. "Do you think Tory needs someone to challenge him or balance him?"
"That's really up to Tory. He's the genius, after all." Mandy smiled and left Colin in the hallway.
Left alone, Colin went to his locker. There was not much inside since his attendance is periodic at best, but he did use it at least. He picked up his math book.
How did Tory get so kind? I mean, the only reason he started tutoring in the first place was to find out about me and Gaia. Now, he offers just because he cares.
At least I hope so…
That's when Colin noticed it. It was the only personal item in the locker. But it's not mine.
It was one of Tory's journals.
Should I read it?
Tory ruffled through his bag.
"That's weird," he whispered. "My journal's not in here."
"You're still doing those?" Eric inquired.
"Yeah, but most of it's about Colin nowadays." He dug deeper to no luck.
"Does Lover-boy know about this?"
"Kinda. He knows I observed him in the past," when I wanted to know about Gaia, "but he doesn't know that I still do."
"So you don't want him to see it?"
"Not yet. I want to tell him how I feel in person."
"Tory, you big romantic fool, you."
Colin's POV again
Colin looked up at the clock.
Only ten more minutes…
Colin looked back down. This can't be the one he had last year. That one was almost full last I saw.
This could answer the questions I don't have the courage to ask myself, but… What does that tell Tory? That he can't trust me? That I still don't trust him? Then again… I never told him what Gaia is. What if he already thinks that I don't trust him?
Colin heard the door click open before he saw Tory, Mandy, and Eric step out. Tory looked worried.
Maybe he's looking for it.
Colin stood as Tory got to him and held out the journal. Tory's eyes lit up, but darkened after a moment.
"You're not mad?" Tory looked almost green as he took his book back.
"I didn't read it. Was there something in there to get mad about?"
"No, just that I'm still keeping a journal at all. You were pretty upset last time."
Colin looked over to make sure Mandy and Eric were out of earshot.
"I don't think you're stalking me anymore, so whatever you write in there probably won't have me beating you up anytime soon."
Tory grinned and nodded.
The bus was packed.
"It looks like there's a couple of seats in the back. We could probably squeeze in there," Eric said as he waded through the aisle.
Colin and Tory slid in first and Eric took the aisle seat.
"It's a good thing you two are so small," Eric chuckled as Tory glared through a brilliant blush.
As the bus got going, Colin couldn't help but notice how close they were to each other.
"You two look pretty cozy. Tory's practically on Colin's lap, and neither of you seem to mind."
"Shut up, Eric," Tory mumbled. "So, Colin, we're going over your math today, right?"
"Right. Something about triangles."
"Ah, I don't envy you," Eric chimed in. "Triangles really suck."
You're telling me.
"What are you talking about? You aced trig."
"Well, triangles are so weird. You have the basics, but then it gets complicated. Take the Pythagorean Theorem. It's poly-science, but we use constantly in trig. Kinda like a love triangle. It takes two to love, like a line, but then a third point is introduced and the rules change. One point is jealous, one takes it all in stride, and the last is caught in between the two."
If looks could kill, Eric would be dead. Dead. Dead.
"Plus, sometimes it's not really even a triangle! You spend a ton of time only to realize that a2 + b2 does not equal c2. It just won't check out in the end."
"Must have a lot of superfluous factors that need to be eliminated."
"What?" I'm lost.
"One of the variables cancels out," Tory explained. "There really is no problem. That person's just over thinking it."
Eric smirked and looked away when the bus hit a speed bump. Tory ended up actually on Colin's lap.
"S-Sorry, Colin," Tory whispered.
Tory face was only a couple inches from his at this point. Colin could see every freckle from this distance.
"Sorry to interrupt, but it's out stop."
As the boys stood to leave, Colin released a breath he had not known was being held and followed the taller boys.
The study session was a lot like the first one. Colin worked on some practice problems while Tory and Eric worked on their English project.
This would have been fine if Eric was not touching Tory.
A hand on the shoulder! Hands grazing and legs brushing! How close do you really need to be for Pete's sake!
Just when Colin thought that he had had enough, the phone rang. Tory left to answer it.
"What's your relationship with Tory, Eric?" I have to know.
Eric smirked as he said, "Friends."
"…" I still don't like him.
"Why do you ask?"
Tory came back and held the phone out to Eric.
Eric took the phone for a bit. "Okay. See ya in a bit." He handed the phone back to Tory. "Paul needs me to go to the store. I'll see you guys tomorrow."
And with that, Tory and Colin were alone at last.
"Where's your mom?" Colin asked as he finished his practice problems.
"Working late," Tory answered as he looked over Colin's work.
The next hour was spent in tutor mode.
"Thus, the answer would result from multiplying these two fractions."
"So, it's three?"
"That's right," Tory replied. "Looks like you're ready for anything that teacher throws your way."
"Thanks." Colin packed up his school supplies. "Looks like we have another hour before dark."
"…" Say something!
"So… About what I said on Sunday…"
"It made me really happy, Colin," Tory repeated as he looked straight into the raven's eyes. "I… I've been wanting to tell you how I feel for awhile now. You know that I was originally obsessed with you, but it's more than that. I… I like you, Colin. I like you as more than as a friend."
"Tory," Colin whispered.
Of course, Mary Blake just had to walk in at that moment.
"Hey, Mom. You're home early." Tory stood and made his way over to his mother.
"I forgot my purse." She picked up said object. "Hello, Colin."
"Hello." Colin followed Tory's lead.
"Oh, Mom, Colin's guardian is going away for the rest of the week, and Colin needs a place to stay."
Mary grinned. "Yes, Colin, you can stay here. Is he leaving tonight?"
"No, tomorrow morning."
"Well, then I will see you tomorrow."
Mary left the boys in silence.
"It's almost dark," Colin whispered.
"Colin," Tory said as the raven gathered his things. "I want to be your first kiss, too."
"And I like you, too," Colin said as they stood closer to each other. "Will you be my boyfriend?"
And they sealed it with a kiss.
Later that night:
Colin was in his bed with the tabby curled up on his stomach.
If this is ordinary, then Tuesday just may be my favorite day of the week.
Sorry for the LONG delay. I hope this was worth the wait!
Thanks for reading! Reviews are appreciated and encouraged!
Coming up: Mandy refines fangirlism, Paul and Mary get air time again, the gang goes out, and the boys get another shot at that kiss.