I did as Tony told me. I was to cold and too tired to argue at this point. More than glad to be in a hot shower soon. I closed the wooden door behind me and moments later I heard a loud thud. Half of me wanted to go check, see what happened. If anything was wrong with Tony. But the other half longed for the hot shower. Tony would manage. I slipped out of my soaking wet clothes and shoes and turned on the shower. Within seconds scalding hot water engulfed me and it took all I had not to moan in pleasure. What had I been thinking. I should've just driven back with Sheri. I knew it would rain like this, instead like the socially awkward guy I was, I walked. Thank god for Tony. Sweet Tony. He took care of me when I couldn't even take care of myself. I wondered why he always went the extra mile to help me out, but I supposed it was just in his nature. Always helping others. Even with the tapes, he had been so devoted to honoring Hannah's wish. And then in the end opting to help out her parents as well, even if it meant defying his promise to Hannah. When he hugged me I felt so relieved, and when he handed me his jacket I couldn't stop smiling like an idiot. I was almost afraid to admit it to myself, but I knew I had way more than just friendship feelings towards Tony. How else could I explain my heart doing somersaults whenever I was near. And how I only slept well when he was close.
'Clay? You okay? I put some clothes just outside the door.'
'Thanks. I'm good. I'll be out in a sec.'
'Take your time.'
I stuck my head fully under the shower head and basked in the warmth before reaching out for some soap. As soon as I opened the dark green bottle I knew this was Tony's. It smelled just like him. Musky, warm. Delicious. I stopped myself right there. No. I can't go do this. I can't. I won't destroy the only friendship I had left. There was too much at stake. And what if it would be just like with Hannah. That I had it all for a moment and then utterly and hopelessly destroyed it. Killed it. Killed her. Literally. I felt tears well up but blinked them away. This wasn't the time and place. Suddenly I desperately felt the need to be close to Tony. I quickly rinsed off the remaining soap and got out of the shower. A few minutes later I was dressed in the warm and dry clothes Tony had left for me. I identified the shirt as one of Tony's favorite. A deep burgundy sweater with sleeves to the elbow. It always looked great on him, and it must be such a disappointment on me. With slightly pink cheeks I slipped into the pair of underwear that was next on the small bundle of clothes. The last piece of clothing was a pair of joggers I didn't recognize, but it must be one of his as well. I left the bathroom in a hurry, not bothering to look at my expression in the mirror, knowing full well it would make me even more unhappy.
The only light came from Tony's room. The door slightly ajar and soft music floating from within. I opened the door. Seeing Tony sit at the desk, next to an impressive stereo. The music was soft and sweet, quite unlike what he usually played in the car. I coughed awkwardly.
'Thanks for letting me borrow the clothes.'
Tony whirled around in his chair and faced me. His eyes first searching my face and then traveling down my body agonizingly slowly. I shifted on my feet, unsure of what to do.
'This shirt looks better on you. You should keep it.'
'No I couldn't possibly. Besides it looks great on you. I always love when you wear this shirt.'
Had I overstepped my boundaries? I watched the boy in front of me anxiously but his eyes glistened and a faint smile played on his lips.
'Have you eaten yet? I'm sure you haven't. I'll make you something. You need to get warm.'
'Oh no. I wouldn't...'
Tony got out of the chair and all but dragged me down to the kitchen, pushing me to sit on one of the chairs at the tiny dining table while he bustled around. I watched him, again. His hair had gotten slightly disheveled from the rain and his shirt was still only half dry. He hadn't bothered to change it. As he reached up to get something from the upper cabinet I could see a hint of his stomach peeking out from out of his shirt. Damn. I didn't know he had muscles like that.
'Enjoying the show?'
'Calm down, Clay. Just making a joke.'
I smiled, desperately trying to hide how fast my heart was beating and how shocked I was that he had called me out. I was looking. Ogling more like it. I couldn't help it. Thoughts I never knew I had, or I buried unconsciously were coming up and I hardly knew what to do with it. This friendship was too important to ruin. He was one of the few people I had left I could really depend on.
'Hey Clay. You okay? I honestly was just making a joke. I'm sorry.'
'No, no don't be. I'm sorry.'
'I don't mind you looking, though.'
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