Shane stood still in the icy winter breeze as he gazed across the white blanket which lay over the field like clouds on a rainy day.
The sun glimmered on the snow, crystallizing the miniscule pieces of ice piled together. For some reason, the cold was having no effect upon him; nor did anything for that matter. He was numb from his mind to his body. The memories flashed through his mind like an old film, graying at points and blackening around the edges.
. . .
It was a beautiful, autumn morning when he first met him. Shane was running his usual four miles when he slipped on the wet orange and red leaves on the sidewalk.
“****,” he hissed as he tried to pull himself to his feet. Before he could make it up, the scenery around him spun, blurring yellow, orange and red together. He fell onto his back side and closed his eyes to regain focus.
“Hey are you alright?” came a high toned male voice.
Shane opened his eyes to focus on the man before him. He nodded and shook his head “Yeah…I think so.” he began to try and stand again but was pushed gently back down.
“You should sit for a moment. You do not look so well,” the other guy said kindly to him.
Shane hated to feel vulnerable “I am fine,” he growled, glaring into the icy blue eyes of the stranger.
“If you say blood gushing from your forehead is fine then yes you are but I do not believe that is so,” the stranger said flatly “let me clean you up.” he pulled out a small emergency kit from his messenger bag which he held around his shoulder.
Shane watched him “do you always carry a medical kit around with you? What are you, some kind of doctor?” he questioned sarcastically.
The stranger smiled “No, I am not a doctor. Though my parents wish I were, I am more of the artsy type. And I carry a medical kit around because I am a very unlucky man.”
Shane gave a quick smile “What’s your name, anyways?” he asked.
“My name is Jackson Bringtell, you?”
“Um, it’s Shane Barltoff,” he replied.
“Well Shane, this is going to hurt for a moment,” Jackson said as he unwrapped three alcohol pads.
The smell hit Shane’s nose and he felt a burn for a moment but it was a sort of guilty pleasure of his. The smell of rubbing alcohol, nail polish remover and even gasoline. He felt some strange liking for those smells. He snorted “I’m not a child, I can handle a little rubbing alcohol.”
Jackson smiled his genuine, attractive smile as he moved his hand slowly to Shane’s forehead. Shane winced a bit as the alcohol absorbed into his slice on his forehead, leaving a stinging sensation. He relaxed after a moment. Jackson seemed to be very gentle; more gentle than his mother ever was when he came in with cut up knees after falling from his bike or skateboard as a kid.
Shane observed Jackson as he cleaned him up. He noticed that Jackson had beautiful, porcelain skin without a blemish to be seen. His facial features were very smooth and boyish yet mature at the same. His eyes were icy yet warm and held comfort. His lashes were very dark and thick, contrasting elegantly against his irises and skin.
His hair was jet black with a reddish glow in the sunlight and it dangled shaggily down to his cheeks. He had slight scruff over his perfect skin. When he smiled, it seemed to light his entire face, revealing perfect white teeth.
Shane was amazed to see a man with so many perfect qualities. No man paid that much attention to their skin, hair or teeth.
Without thinking, the words fell out of his mouth “Are you gay?” Shane questioned.
Jackson pulled his hand back and moved a few inches away. He took a deep breath and turned away, pulling out some ace wrap and bandages “Why are you wondering?” he asked in a new tone Shane could not pinpoint.
“Well, I guess it does not matter but I was just wondering,” Shane said awkwardly. He felt like such a jerk.
“Well then I refrain from answering your question,” Jackson said tonelessly. He finished bandaging Shane up and then put away his kit and stood.
Shane stared up at him. He was very tall and thin; he was wearing a button up blue and black plaid shirt with fitted black jeans and converse shoes. He wore a black messenger bag around his shoulder. He held his hand out to Shane.
Shane darted his eyes at the smooth hand with black nail polish. He knew then that Jackson had to be gay. Or at least be some kind of rock star or something. He grabbed the hand and was amazed at how smooth it was. It felt so strange and sort of electrical in his. He felt his body lifted swiftly until he was on his feet.
He quickly pulled his hand back and turned his eyes to Jackson. He seemed somewhat fragile and small. “Thank you, Jackson,” he said.
Jackson smiled that genuine light smile “No problem. I do not think you should do anymore running. You should relax a bit.”
Shane smiled back and nodded and before he could think, more words came out “Do you want to go out for some coffee? It is the least I can do.” he had no idea why he was asking another man out to coffee. Especially a man who he suspected to be gay. He would never imagine doing such a thing but there was something mysterious about this guy and he wanted to know more about him.
Jackson smiled warmly and nodded “sure, why not. I know the perfect place.”