wow, so i started writing this, like ... over seven months ago and i'm finally just now finishing it. haha, i'm reaaally bad at time management when it comes to this kind of thing. anyway, this is just a silly little idea i had one time when i was talking to one of my friends. i kind of wish someone with a better grasp at writing wrote this, but it is what it is, right? :) i'm actually pretty satisfied with how the second half of this came out, despite it ending kind of abruptly.
disclaimer: just the norm.
warning: just some boy loving. meaning they kiss.
The pitter-patter of tiny feet could be heard all throughout the small house, once in a while being accompanied by a yell or two. This was the normal Saturday afternoon soundtrack in the Garcia home; the feet thumping across the second floor, the childish laughter and yells of play fighting, the crashes and thuds of their impromptu wrestling matches-everyone had grown accustomed to it. Most parents would be annoyed with the ruckus and ask the kids to take it outside or to just stop completely, but not Mrs. Garcia. She loved hearing her son and his best friend having such a good time. All the noise just meant that her boys were happy. As long as they weren't breaking anything, each other included, then she was perfectly fine with their high energy. They're two six-year-old boys; of course they're going to be loud and rough.
Ever since the Diamond family had moved into the house across the street, James and Carlos had been attached at the hip. It surprised the parents to see how quickly they had bonded, especially since they didn't really hit it off right away. What their parents would never know is that their little squabbling and fighting is what made them click. "I like him, Mamí," Carlos had said, grinning up at his mother as they were walking home, a tissue waded up to his nose to stop the bleeding from their fight. They were like brothers from the start and it really was adorable to see how close they had become in such a short amount of time.
"Shut up, James! I'm gonna put gum on your chair when you're not looking and see how you like it!"
James was over often enough that he had his own little plastic chair next to Carlos' for when they watch TV. He had a lot of his own stuff in the house, like a toothbrush and his own place mats for the dinner table. If they didn't know better, they'd say James lived with them.
"Psh, yeah right. My chair is icky Carlos germs proof, so the gum wouldn't even stick."
"…that doesn't make sense. That's stupid."
Mrs. Garcia shook her head as she heard the pitter-patter turn into the thumps and rolling of another wrestling match. She had never seen a rowdier pair of boys in her life, but she was okay with that.
For a certain amount of time, anyway. Then it got kind of annoying.
"Okay mijos, that's enough. Settle down before you break something," she yelled up at the boys. Almost immediately, she heard the noises stop, a chorus of "sorry momma" following soon after.
She smiled to herself as she heard them quickly apologized to each other in hushed voices. "Actually, James honey, your father called earlier. He said he wants you home now."
A frown immediately worked its way onto Carlos'. He quickly turned his head towards James who was wearing an equally heartbreaking frown. "I don't want you to go," he said quietly, pouting. They were having so much fun. Why did it have to be taken away?
"I don't want to go either." James slowly pushed himself up and dragged his body reluctantly over to his pile of clothes in the corner of Carlos' room. He didn't even have the motivation to put them away nicely. He just shoved them into his backpack, not even caring that it probably wouldn't zip all the way.
Carlos led James to the front door once he had all of his stuff together, still pouting and definitely not about to cry because boys don't cry. "I hate you for leaving," he mumbled, glaring at James as he headed out the door.
"Shut up, you baby. I'm coming back on Sunday, which is tomorrow."
It was like this every time James had to leave. Carlos would get so upset and would take it out on his friend. James was used to it by now. He knew that Carlos didn't mean any of it, he was just bummed out.
They shared a quick hug, James mumbling a quick, "I'll see you tomorrow," before Carlos could slam the door in his face, crawling over to the couch in a huff and curling into his mom's side. He felt a comforting hand stroke the top of his head, a light laugh coming from the hand's owner. She was used to seeing Carlos sad after James had to leave. It was cute, in a way.
"Oh papí, what's wrong?" Carlos buried his face into his mom's leg, sniffling a bit. There was an awkward silence, Carlos clearly ignoring the question.
"Carlos, you know James has his own family to go to," she said, still petting her son's head, playing with the short hairs there.
"But we're his family too," he replied, face still hiding in his mom's lap. His little fingers found their way to one of the frills on her skirt, rubbing the fabric between his fingers.
"I know, but his blood family needs time with him too." Carlos whined in response. "Why you get so upset whenever he has to leave?"
"Because when he leaves, I'm alone!"
Carlos knit his eyebrows together at his own words, lowering his voice a bit before speaking again. "And I don't like being alone." He didn't mean to sound hurt or practically bark that out, but he couldn't help it. It really did feel like James was leaving him all alone, and that's just one thing Carlos couldn't handle. Of course, technically, he wasn't alone since he had his parents in the house too (but just his mom, usually. his father is a police officer, so he's gone a lot more than they would like.), but it wasn't the same. James was like his brother and his second half. It was weird to have him gone.
Mrs. Garcia decided to leave the subject alone after that. It was obvious that her son didn't want to talk about it. She stuck to watching whatever soap opera was on the T.V., gently rubbing Carlos' back to relax him. Back when he was a baby, she had discovered that petting the side of his face or rubbing soothing circles into his back was really the only way to calm the little boy down.
A few minutes passed before she felt a slight tug at her hand, looking down to see Carlos inspecting her ring finger. His eyebrows furrowed again as he rotated his mother's hand in his, curious. "Mama, why do you wear this ring? You never take it off." He shrugged and let go of her hand to turn over onto his back. His eyes stared up at Mrs. Garcia's soft face, the round orbs wide with curiosity. "I don't see what's so great about it."
"It's a special ring, even if it doesn't look like it," she started, twirling the ring around her fingers, eyes locked on the silver band. "Your father gave it to me when we got married."
"So, it's a ring that holds a promise." She turned herself to pick up her son, sitting him up so she could speak face to face with him. "We promised each other that we would be together forever," Mrs. Garcia began, looking back down at her ring, catching Carlos staring at it too. "We love each other so much that he gave me a ring that ties us together for the rest of our lives." The boy picked his head up and raised his eyebrow in question. "It's called 'getting married', mijo," she continued, curling her lips into a smile before lifting her hand to card her fingers through the shirt bristles of her son's hair. "Someday you'll find that special someone that you love so much, you will want to get married."
Carlos only nodded his head, choosing not to say anything more. Little did his mom know, his mind already had someone pegged as the person he wants to marry.
The very next day, Carlos was sure to break open the piggy bank he had hidden in his closet (he didn't want anyone knowing he had it and steal his money from him), retrieving two quarters from the mess and made his way to the grocery store that was very conveniently placed just two blocks away. It was the only place his parents would let him go by himself, because it was within the neighborhood and it was small enough that people would know if something bad were to happen to him. Of course, Carlos was sure to take his trusty hockey helmet with him, just in case. It made him feel safe; like there was nothing that could ever touch him or hurt him when he had it on.
The boy waltzed into the store, going straight to the toy dispensers, jamming his quarters into the slots and quickly grabbing the egg that popped out and racing back home before James could show up. The taller boy never confirmed what time he would return to the Latino's house, but Carlos wanted to make sure he was there first.
As soon as Carlos got home, he darted upstairs to his room and tossed his helmet on his bed. The small boy plopped himself next to his abandoned helmet, watching his pet hamster race around on its wheel. He sort of wished that James would just come over already. The waiting game was one game that Carlos absolutely did not like playing. It was boring and annoying and he just wanted everything to happen instantly. What made things worse was that time just seemed to drag on and on. He hated it when days went by slow. Carlos was a fast moving kid, he needed the world to keep up with him.
The minutes ticked away and eventually turned into hours, Carlos well into a nice afternoon nap before he felt a pressure on his back.
"Dude, wake up!" Carlos looked over his shoulder, his eyes still heavy with sleep, and saw James sitting Indian style on his back, looking less than pleased. "I've been here for, like, a whole two minutes and you didn't even say 'hi' to me."
"James! Get off me, you fatso," the Latino retaliated, completely ignoring what James had said and wiggled around enough to make his friend flop down on the bed with a frown. "Your butt is crushing me!"
"Wow, that was rude!"
"Whatever! It was rude for you to just sit your big butt on my back without warning me."
"You were sleeping while I'm over. That's rude."
"I wasn't sleeping! I was just thinking too hard and it hurt my brain so I was resting it."
"You're too stupid to know how to think."
Carlos frowned at his friend's comment, slightly offended. He stared daggers into James, trying to rack his brain for comebacks only to find nothing and opted to kick him in the stomach instead. The kick wasn't hard enough to hurt, but it was enough to make the other uncomfortable. "You're a turd! I was going to give you something, y'know, but now I don't want to give it to you."
"What?" James sat up quickly, his interest properly piqued now. He bit his lip in anticipation, bouncing a little where he sat. "I'm sorry. You should totally give it to me now."
"No," Carlos replied, crossing his arms over his chest, feeling pleased with himself as he watched his friend's smile instantly form into a pout.
"...I'm just kidding," Carlos said with a hint of laughter after a quick pause for dramatic effect. They smiled at each other quickly before Carlos pulled out that egg hidden in his pocket. He popped it open and retrieved the little plastic ring from inside, holding it out to his friend. James stared at his outstretched hand, going a little crossed eyed at how close it was. Focusing was difficult, but he finally made out what was right in front of him, raising an eyebrow in question.
"A girly ring?" James deadpanned, not really sure how else to respond. Not that he wasn't grateful or anything, but he wasn't exactly expecting that. Honestly, he was half expecting candy or maybe a toy dinosaur or one of those sticky hands to slap Carlos' face with and eventually get it stuck onto the ceiling. What was he supposed to do with some tiny, girl ring?
"No, it's a special ring with a promise!" Carlos explained, frowning a bit. "I want you to marry me, James."
James tilted his head slightly, taking the ring and attempting to put it on. Sadly, the only finger it would fit on was his pinkie, but he was okay with that. He looked back up at Carlos, who was grinning like the idiot he was. "What does that mean?"
"I dunno. My mom said that people get married when they love each other and I love you, so why not?" James nodded slowly in response, taking it all in. "Plus, she said that it keeps them connected forever and you're my best friend and I don't ever want to stop being friends with you."
The chubby boy inspected the ring sitting on his pinkie finger, smiling a bit before looking back to his friend, rubbing the back of his head. "Well thanks, Carlos, but I don't have a ring for you."
"Don't worry about it! You don't have to get one right away," the Latino started, shaking his head and lifting himself off the bed, walking over to the hamster cage. He ran his finger down the bars and turned his head towards James with a grin on his face. "I'm just happy that you'll marry me back!" Popping open the door from the cage, Carlos reached in and grabbed the hamster from inside, petting it happily. It was sort of a habit that he would play with the small animal whenever something good happened or whenever he was really happy. He thought that maybe some of his happiness would transfer into his pet somehow so he could be happy too.
"Well, I love you too. Why wouldn't I marry you back?" The sandy haired boy shrugged as he made his way over to where Carlos and the hamster were. One of his hands reached out to pet the small rodent as he flashed a wide grin.
Carlos couldn't help but smile back at his friend. It wasn't often that he got to see James smile in that fashion; at least, not since one of his front teeth came out. Missing teeth were ugly, James thought, and would try his best not to smile around his other friends. But when he was with Carlos, nothing really mattered. At first, Carlos made fun of James for being all "gapped toothed", but it was all fun and games. Best friends are allowed to poke fun at each other in that mean sort of way. James didn't feel like he needed to be pretty or unbroken or anything like that around Carlos because he knew Carlos would accept him no matter what.
The Latino let out a soft laugh before returning his hamster to his cage. "You're really awesome, you know that?" he mused, facing James again.
James nodded, placing his hands on his hips and raised his chin with a grin. "I know. I'm James Diamond. I was born awesome." Just for emphasis, he flipped his wavy bangs that weren't quite in his eyes, pursing his lips just like the hair models he saw on T.V. His older, super cool cousin told him once that flipping your hair makes you look totally cool and attractive and whatever his cousin says goes.
But it's not like he was trying to look attractive. That would just be ridiculous. Why would he want to look attractive for Carlos?
"Wow, you're stupid."
They soon found themselves tossing and turning over each other, rolling around on the floor in another wrestling match. A few minutes passed before they decided to stop, both boys out of breath and suddenly so very hungry.
James was the first one to talk. "You should tell your mom that we're marrying each other."
"Oh yeah! She's going to be so happy that I already found the person I want to marry," Carlos replied as he sprung up from the floor, his body suddenly full of energy all over again.
Together they ran downstairs and into the kitchen where Mrs. Garcia was cooking up a late lunch for "her boys", knowing that they'd be wanting to eat within a matter of minutes. Carlos made his way over to his mother and tugged on her skirt to get her attention.
"What, mijo, I'm busy right now," she sighed out, not looking up from what she was busy with.
"I'm going to marry James!" the small boy replied, beaming up at his mother as he tugged James closer. "Look, I gave him a ring and everything!"
Mrs. Garcia instantly looked down at the two boys grinning up at her. She took in the sight of the plastic ring wrapped around James' pinkie finger and the bright smiles that graced their tiny faces. It was more of a shock to her that Carlos would jump so quickly into something such as marriage than the fact that he had chosen his best friend to marry. Of course, she knew that both of them were too young to actually know what marriage is and if anything, it was just something they'll probably forget about within a week or two.
But she couldn't care less if they decided to actually get married. As long as her little boy was happy, then so was she.
"Oh, that's great, Carlitos!" Mrs. Garcia said, reaching down to pat the tan boy's head before going back to cooking. I'm proud of you boys. Now go sit down, lunch is almost ready."
James and Carlos smiled at each other before taking their respective places at the table.
Ten years passed since Carlos had "proposed" to James. Sometime between the age of seven and eight, James had outgrown the small plastic ring, obviously stopping him from wearing it. Carlos wouldn't admit it, but he was slightly upset that his best friend took off the ring. It was special to the tan boy, and knowing that James probably just threw it away like it was no big deal kind of hurt. Eventually, they had learned what marriage really was and unlike what his mother had originally thought, Carlos didn't change his mind.
A few more years passed and Carlos had discovered that he really liked James. Really liked him and wasn't ashamed to admit to himself that, yeah, he still wanted to marry the conceited boy. It was tough watching his best friend grow up and actually start to notice girls. Of course, Carlos noticed girls too, but his had his heart set on a certain brunette boy.
They were in L.A. now where the weather was hot and the girls were even hotter. By that time, Carlos had pretty much given up on his hopes of someday having his best friend to himself. James had made it pretty clear that he was interested in girls and not boys and especially not Carlos. But things were complicated because it always seemed like James was flirting with him, a sly glance here, a wink there, or a lingering touch every once in a while. It made the Latino frustrated and confused and he just wished James would stop playing games with his heart, because this game wasn't fun.
It was almost ironic in a way when James and Carlos had ended up sharing a room. No one was really surprised when it was suggested, considering they were so close to each other and it would've been weird if it was any other way. But Carlos wasn't sure he'd be able to handle being in the same room and practically the same bed (bunk beds were a must and carlos immediately called the top bunk) as the apple of his eye without going crazy in ten different ways. However, James seemed happy about it, and if James was happy, then so was Carlos.
One night, they found themselves lying in bed, not quite asleep but not really awake either. Both of them were too wound up from the excitement of the day. They had done their first music video, which was extremely well received, and Gustavo bought them a car. Granted, none of them could drive it without some kind of parental figure, but regardless, the car and the city was theirs. At least for the night.
"Hey James," Carlos whispered as he peeked his head over the side of the bed. "Are you awake?"
"Mmm," James hummed in response.
"Can I come down there?"
The taller boy yanked out his ear buds and turned over, flashing a small, toothy grin to the other boy. "Go ahead, buddy."
Excitedly, Carlos hopped down from his bunk and down onto James', shifting so his back rested against the wall. James copied his action, sitting side by side.
"How crazy was today, huh?" Carlos started. He turned to James, completely beaming at the memories of earlier that day. "I can't believe that Gustavo bought us a car!"
"Dude, I know! Logan needs to hurry up and get his license so we can drive that bad boy around."
"Or we can just get out permits so we can drive it around too. I don't want to rely on Logan all the time when I want to go somewhere."
James nodded in agreement. "Yeah, that kind of sucks, but how often do we go out anyway? We're always at the studio and we always have a ride when we do go there."
"Blah, I just want a chance to drive it. You think Mrs. Knight would get super mad if I went out and drove it without a permit…?"
"Not as much as the cops would. They'd probably throw you in juvie."
Carlos frowned at the thought. He wouldn't be able to handle juvenile hall. It would be scary and dirty and bad people go to juvie, not Carlos. "On second thought, driving is stupid. Who wants to drive, anyway?"
The room filled with their quiet and nervous laughs, morphing into a thick silence between them. Neither of them really knew what to say next, if anything at all. A few minutes passed and Carlos could see James' head bobbing every few seconds, obviously trying to fight off the sleep that finally tried to get to him. The sight was undeniably cute and Carlos almost felt bad for keeping his best friend from his beauty sleep.
Ignoring the nagging feeling in the back of his head, the Latino carried on with that he originally wanted to talk to James about. "Hey James," he started quietly, turning his body towards the taller friend, an uncharacteristic wave of freight washing over him. "Do you remember that time when we were little and I gave you that plastic ring and – wow, this is super embarrassing – a-and I asked you to marry me?" A small, unsure chuckle was added at the end with hopes that James wouldn't catch on to how nervous he really was about bringing up that subject.
James' head lolled towards the fidgeting teen with a lazy closed lip smile. "Yeah, I remember. You called me fatso." They chuckled again at the memory, Carlos suddenly even more nervous than he was before. "Why? What made you think of that all of the sudden?"
"I dunno. I guess I've kind of always wondered what you did with that stupid little ring." Which wasn't completely untrue, but that's not exactly why he brought up the subject. "I wouldn't be surprised if you threw it away."
Before he had time to blink, James, suddenly full of life and energy again, reached under the bed and pulled out a sock. Long fingers tugged out a small string from inside of the cloth, a small, plastic ring hanging from the make-shift necklace. Carlos' mouth dropped to an 'o' shape as James held it out to him for inspection.
"I never threw it away," he said so softly, sounding almost hurt that Carlos would even accuse him of something like that. "Why would I throw away something you gave me? You're kind of my best friend in the whole world."
The tan boy was at a loss for words. He honestly thought that James was done with the ring, had completely forgotten about the jank proposal. If he was one to give in to tears, Carlos would probably be flooding the room. Just knowing that his best friend really was one of the most awesome people in the world and held onto the toy was enough to make his heart burst at the seams.
"I only stopped wearing it because my fingers got to big," James chuckled, putting the ring back to its fabric case, returning it to the depths of under his bed. "So I just carry it around with me everywhere I go. I actually wore it the day we went to that audition, you just didn't notice."
Carlos shook his head in disbelief, a small trace of a smile on his face. "James…"
"I wanted to wait until a little later to tell you this," James said with that smile still on his face, "but I really like you, Carlos." A hand blindly searched for the smaller boy's, finally finding it and gently taking it in his own, running a thumb along the sun-kissed skin of Carlos' fingers. "And this is going to sound totally girly and not like me at all and stuff, but I would definitely like to marry you for real someday."
It was like Carlos' world turned completely upside down, more so than it already had and he wasn't really sure how to react. He was happy and surprised and a little skeptical and more all in one sitting; it was a little hard to handle. Never had he been hit with so many emotions at once before.
After what seemed like an eternity of happy, unsure chuckles and heavy sighs, Carlos looked up at James, a new light in his eyes and said, "Wow James, you sound so corny right now." James pouted and Carlos laughed even lighter than before. "But I really don't even know what to say right now…"
"You don't have to say anything," James bounced back, squeezing their hands together.
So he didn't. They sat there in a comfortable silence, hand still linked together as the moonlight crept between the blinds and dance across their beaming faces. As the minutes ticked away, Carlos found himself scooting just a little bit closer to James, their knees bumping, and unashamedly stared at his best friend – or boyfriend, because he's not really sure what they're considered now – who had the back of his head resting against the wall, eyes closed and most likely giving into sleep.
"So," the Latino started, still staring, "when do we mouth kiss?" He meant it as a joke, but not really. Kissing would be nice, but the last thing he wanted to do was rush into things.
A grin that could put the Cheshire Cat's to shame found its way onto James' face as he turned to look at Carlos. "Oh, you already want a little lip action? I guess no one can resist all of this," he said, doing the ridiculous hand motions, but not quite putting his heart into it. It's just not as effective when he can't stop smiling to do his Blue Steel face and only one hand free.
"Please, you're so full of yourself," Carlos shot back. He instinctively leaned in ever so slightly, eyes dancing with excitement.
"But that's why you like me." James found himself unable to resist the pull Carlos' body seemed to have on him as he slowly leaned in as well.
"You're jumping to conclusions. I never said I like you too."
"You don't have to say it. It's written all over your face. Plus I can read you like a book."
Carlos laughed. "Am I really that obvious?"
"Oh yeah." They were closer now, way closer than before. So close that Carlos could feel James' breath ghosting over his own lips and it sent a shiver up and down his spine. "And you've always been terrible at keeping secrets."
"Just shut up and kiss me, you jerk."
And just like that, their lips met for the first time. It was way overdue, in Carlos' opinion, but it didn't even matter anymore because it's always better late than never. The kiss was everything that he had expected it to be; soft, but James' lips were still firm against his, moving slowly and carefully and it just seemed to perfect, because it was. It was clear that James was pushing every emotion he had into the simple kiss, trying to convey everything he had ever wanted to do without trying to worm his tongue into Carlos' mouth like he had with so many girls before him and Carlos' heart rate jumped to impossible speeds.
"Y'know," Carlos started as he pulled away from the kiss, taking in a deep and calming breath. "I was kinda expecting you to sweep me off my feet and kiss the life out of me like some kind of Disney prince."
"Well, I don't know about the sweeping you off your feet thing, because I'm really comfortable right now and don't want to get up, but I can still kiss the life out of you." James wiggled his eyebrows and winked in a suggestive manner before adding, "if you want me to, anyway," because he didn't want to seem like a dirty pervert.
"By all means," the smaller boy retorted, pursing his lips in a crooked smirk. "Kiss me dead."
James took that as an incentive to push Carlos into his pillow, laying a hand on his chest to pin him down and hovering dangerously close to his face. "You're mine tonight, Carlitos." His voice was low and sedated, sounding so foreign to both their ears that Carlos almost didn't recognize it as being James'. But they were kissing again before Carlos had time to think, his arm snaking its way around the broad shoulders above him to pull their bodies closer.
Somehow thirty minutes had passed when the two finally broke apart, James' body plopping down on the mattress next to Carlos', both of them fighting hard to catch their breath. They never really did sleep, but neither seemed to mind, which was surprising since Carlos adored sleep and turned into what they called the "Carlos Monster" when he didn't get enough of it. But he two boys were more than content with just laying next to each other, their pinkie fingers linked under the covers of the bed and just marveling at what a day it had been, soaking in each other's happiness.
"I think we have the day off today," James said suddenly, his voice low and a little raspy from not using it. "We should go and pick out some rings." He turned to gauge the other's reaction, being able to see clearly now that the morning sun replaced the moonlight, flooding the room with a light blue color.
"Like engagement rings?" Carlos looked up at James with round, curious eyes. "Aren't we a little too young for that…?"
The taller boy huffed playfully. "That didn't stop you from proposing to me when we were six."
Carlos laughed, really laughed and it was like music to James' ears. "Shut up, I didn't know what I was doing, okay," he said, his words mixing in with the laughter as he pushed his face into James' chest, turning so they were pressed together. "I think we should wait before we take any big steps."
Wait? James didn't want to wait. Not really. He had been waiting for eight years, which is a really long time and he was more than certain that Carlos was the one he wanted to share the rest of his life with. There was nothing to wait on.
But if Carlos wanted to wait, then James would gladly suck it up and do just that, because he's willing to do anything as long as Carlos is happy.
"You're right," James said after a few minutes. Carlos had fallen asleep, his face still buried into James' chest, soft snores emitting from the small figure. "I'll wait, because you're worth it." He attempted to press a kiss to Carlos' head only to realize that it was an odd angle and where the other's head was lying made it impossible for James' face to reach. So he opted for wrapping an arm around the sleeping boy, pulling him impossibly closer as he let out a sigh, finally ready to give into sleep.
"I love you, Carlos."