Disclaimer: I do not own anything.
"Zane, are you sure about this?" Riley always seemed unsure of himself, but tonight it was as if his entire being was fighting against itself. Riley Stavros, the young man who towered over his football team, the jock the whole school knew as fearless…was shaking.
"Riley, don't be afraid. I'm right here." Zane whispered. How long had it been since they last held each other in their arms? Riley was always out practicing for football season and each evening he came to Zane's home with sweat dripping against shirt. When the night rolled over the grassy plains Zane would grab Riley's hand and sneak out into the street.
"Where are we going?" Riley asked, but Zane only answered with that same smile that melted Riley's heart.
The two shuffled in the night. Zane felt Riley's fear, the uneasiness that forced his boyfriend to shield himself behind a mask of false durability. No one would ever know of the warm nights under the stars, and how Riley shook when they watched horror films. No one would know of the fear in Riley's eyes when he awoke screaming in the night because of some dream he refused to share with anyone, and no one would know how cold Riley's became when Zane held him in his arms, or how frail his voice became it was soaked in fear.
"Are we there yet?" Riley asked. The two boys had been walking in the dark for what seemed like hours.
"What? The big football star is afraid of a little walk?"
Riley squeezed Zane's hand and smiled. Jesus…it was that same smile that could wash away any sadness. That one smile meant more to Zane than anything.
"Riley, I haven't seen you look like that since," Zane paused, "since you first kissed me."
Riley's smile grew wider, and then his cheeks changed to a rose hue. "Y-you still remember that?"
Neither of them could forget the LGBT mixer. For one moment in time Riley let himself be free, he forgot his mask of football practices and locker room jokes. He left behind the Riley he was supposed to be and embraced the man that he was. For once he seemed like the world wasn't on top of him.
"You're a really good dancer Riley."
"Stop bringing that up."
They both stopped.
Zane leaned in closer and whispered, "We're here."
Riley's eyes darted from the broken streetlamps that bore no light, and the trees overhead and finally rested on a small stone fountain in the middle of the park.
Zane grabbed Riley's hand and led him to the fountain.
"Look closer Riley." Zane bent over and moved his fingers through the water. "This fountain is where I like to come to whenever I feel stressed or whatever."
Riley blinked and then stared at Zane's face. A strange calm had taken over Zane's body, a contentment that shook Riley down to his soul. The reflection of the water bounced against Zane's eyes and then slowly faded as the boy returned to Riley's side.
"I never thought you got stressed out Zane."
Zane smiled, the joy returning to his face. "You're not the only one with secrets ya' know."
"You've been worrying about something. I mean lately you've been working even harder at your football training and those dreams you've been having."
"Zane its noth-"
Zane placed his finger, wet from the fountain's bounty, onto his lover's lips.
"I just want to know you're alright. You can talk to me Riley, whenever and about whatever you want." Zane leaned in and kissed Riley's cheek. "I'm right here."
How long had it been since Zane met Riley in the forest where he used to go running? How long had it been since they shared a coffee or held each other on Riley's couch when his parents weren't home? When was the last time they shared a coffee while watching the rise above the Degrassi High School?
"Zane…I love you so much." Riley's body began to shake.
"I know," Zane whispered. "I love you too."
Riley wrapped his arms around Zane's waist and smiled. The fountain beneath rippled against the night air, the trees above looked onward as the two boys melted into each other's embrace, and slowly began to sway in the moon's light.