Thunder grumbled in the distance. Gentry moved under the slanted roof of an empty building, sitting on the dry ground and peering forward listlessly. Zach cast him a lonely look, then wordlessly sat beside him. The rain pitter-pattered on the ground, starting to come down harder and flooding the school fountain. Silence hung over the weepy landscape like a fog.
“I said fuck off.”
“You can fuck off.”
“I don’t want to.”
“Then we’ll just sit like this.”
An uneasy silence followed, and Zach shivered into his wet clothes. If the other boy was going to be quiet, so was he. And here they were, mutely shivering, both keeping their proud and resolute silence, tired eyes watching the rain puddles merge and slowly cover the court. It was almost as if they were both liquid, falling together and melting into one.
“Are you trying to kill yourself again? Because cutting your wrists in a warm, comfortable room would be more humane.” stated Zach, wringing the water from his soaked clothing.
“I’m not killing myself.”
“Then why are you sitting here? Class is almost half over.”
“I like rain.”
“Yeah, who doesn’t. I like sunshine but I don’t miss class for it.”
“It’s my favorite weather.”
Zach peered at Gentry in curiosity, and a moment later looked away irritably as he replied, “Then I’ll stay with you until it’s over.”
“You’re the one who wants to sit in the rain.”
The silence that settled now was anything but awkward. It was comfortable, even meaningful. It was an elevated silence, like breezy clouds that rose high above the stormy conflicts and fights that had littered the past few months.
Zach shivered violently, and gasped in surprise when he felt Gentry sling an arm around his shoulders and pull him close. Despite the weather and his demeanor, he was warm to the touch. Zach felt himself relax into his strong arms, guiltily savoring every bit of stolen warmth.
“And you’re the one sitting with me, despite all the ‘nerve’ I have.” Said Gentry, in a soft voice that was uncharacteristically warm.
“Can I tell you a something, Zach?”
Zach glanced at him warily, then slowly, thoughtfully drawled, “Okay. Shoot.”
“In a few weeks, my dad will come here to work in the office. He’ll be in the room next to Miss Nasty’s. Avoid him.”
“Because. Just stay away from my parents, Zach.” He looked away, “stay away from his office. It’s on the far right side. If you don’t listen, I’ll make you.”
“How will you make me? If you’re afraid your parents will know you’re---”
“I don’t care about my parents.” Gentry growled, “Just stay away from them.”
The rain had stopped now, leaving behind a landscape that was both ravaged and new. The air smelled like soggy wood and felt like dewy new leaves against the skin. The sky shed its clouds to reveal a shade of blue so moist you could almost drink it and so wet that the birds flying through it seemed to swim. And here was Gentry, shivering wordlessly. It appeared as if he might cry, but there was something proud that didn’t let him. Instead, his eyes were averted towards the ground and his arms were tightly crossed to hide that he was shaking.
After stealing a few looks in his direction, Zach reached out and unfurled the redhead’s fist. Then, he intertwined his fingers with Gentry’s and pulled him into a soft embrace. The moment the redhead felt a pair of soft lips press against his, he arched his neck and leaned into the kiss. It was wet and smelled like rain, but it wasn’t cold at all.
He held onto that warm hand, held onto it as if it was the only thing that could save him from a gentle drowning. He kissed him as if he would never see him again, kissed him as if he depended on him for air, for warmth, for love.
But once bell rang, Gentry forced himself to pull away and get up onto his feet again. He knew it wouldn’t--- couldn’t--- last.
“Goodbye, Zach. Good luck in the competition. You’ll need it.”
“No,” Zach thought to himself with a twinge of sympathy, “You will.”