Beyond Like (BoyxBoy)

A boy struggles to admit his affections for another boy.


1. Beyond Like

Quinton was obsessed with paper.

     He loved writing on it with an eloquent cadence of language that could whisk people away from reality. He loved molding it into all sorts of creative forms that ranged from a wide spectrum of masterful origami. He loved cutting it to design snowflakes and other unique and creative patterns. There were some downfalls to paper, (for example, its flimsy substance could easily shrivel up from the aftermath of water, its frail and thin texture was prone to rips, and it had the ability to trigger accidental cuts that stung) but he still loved everything about it nonetheless.

     With his favorite pair of scissors in hand, Quinton snipped out a neat heart from ruby red construction paper. His scissors never failed to deliver the job well with their blunt and clean blades. 

     Content with his simple work, he cast the paper heart to the side for later and whipped out another sheet of paper, this one a bubblegum pink. His nimble fingers worked through a memorized sequence of creases and bends, all of which had been performed on the pink paper in a swift matter of a few minutes. After finishing with his delicate work, he took a long moment to process what he had just created. 

     A pink paper butterfly rested on his school desk. A red heart with a light fold running down the middle accompanied it. Fancy cursive handwriting was scribbled on the paper heart. It read: 

     To Dimitri Mellowbell,

     Every time I sense your presence, my nerves undergo a complete shutdown. Every time you flash a smile, my face boils and my stomach clenches. Every time you spare a glance in my direction, I am struck with a tingling sensation that makes me giddy and anxious all at once. This feeling could only mean one thing:

     I think I might like you. 

     ~ Sincerely, your Secret Admirer

     He cheeks flared up with heat after rereading the note he had jotted down. He might have overdone it, he had a flair for prose that gushed out squeal-inducing romance. He was really going to do it.

     Quinton was going to confess his feelings for Dimitri Mellowbell.

     Sort of.

     Dimitri wouldn't know who confessed to him due to Quinton's identity as a secret admirer. Quinton also applied extra effort into turning his surprise as feminine as possible in order to give Dimitri the wrong idea. Dimitri could definitely assume that the bright colors and fancy cursive were from a girl, not Quinton.

     After all, there was a massive chance that Dimitri wouldn't like Quinton, an individual that Dimitri might deem as nothing more than a close acquaintance. Quinton, a reserved person who would rather sit alone in the back to toy around with paper and do nothing else. Quinton, a plain-looking skinny boy without curves or silky hair or charms or special talents.

     The reality of this high possibility, a possibility that had been taunting his mind during the two and a half years that he had harbored secret affections for Dimitri, sunk in Quinton's stomach like a sack of stones, knocking his pride down with a punch from despair.

     Quinton tucked the pink butterfly inside of the paper heart note before slipping both inside of his folder. This had been a waste of time.


"Hey Quinton," a smooth and light voice, soft with casualty, greeted.

     Quinton snapped out from his daydreaming daze upon hearing the voice that stuck out from the buzzes of conversations in the cafeteria. It was an all-familiar and mellow voice that he would savor listening to. It was Dimitri. 

     "Uh, hey," Quinton said, failing to feign a nonchalance that matched Dimitri's cool and collected attitude. His gaze searched for the boy, whose lanky figure loomed over him while standing. He quickly jerked upright in his chair, his back hitting the solid support, realization dawning upon him. The chair legs scraped against the white tiles in rigid motion and produced an unpleasant grate to his ears. "Do you need something?"

     "Yeah," Dimitri said. "Can I ask you for a favor?"

     Quinton nodded, his eyes still lingering onto him, staring with curious intensity. He quickly redirected his gaze elsewhere, shifting it onto the table. "Sure." 

     "Can I borrow your scissors? I need them for a project that I'm going to be working on with Aria."

     "Oh, okay. No problem." Quinton zipped open his backpack, fished through the crowded and disheveled interiors, and offered his favorite pair of scissors to Dimitri. 

     "Thanks." Dimitri admired the scissors in his hand. "I'll give them back to you tomorrow. Sound cool?" 

     "Sure." Quinton mustered the will to flash a timid smile. "Good luck on that project of yours."

     Dimitri paused, monumental surprise flickering in his amber eyes. He returned the smile with one of his own. Dimples carved his tanned cheeks. "Thanks-" 

     "Heeey, Dimitri!" A chipper and honey-coated voice sang out, lilting with a sugary tune. Aria Anderson, a notorious fashionista diva, approached the mentioned boy from behind, a perfectly manicured hand shaking his shoulder. Her waist-length hair flew behind her in golden blonde waves that shimmered with a healthy glow underneath fluorescent lights. A sparkly shirt labeled as 'TOO CUTE FOR YOU' and a floral-patterned skirt alongside a pair of thick red heels was what she flaunted off today. Her admirable style never failed to impress.

     "Hey," Dimitri greeted with his chilled demeanor. 

     "We need to head out now," Aria urged. "Mr. Rhinestone is offering a makeup for that science test we flunked last week."

     Dimitri turned to Quinton. "I gotta go to class now. I'll see you around." And with that, he turned, the back of his gray jacket faced out, and left. Aria followed him, but not before waving to Quinton. The echoing clacks of her heels stalked behind her as she departed with Dimitri. 

     Fuzzy tingles coiled within Quinton, flooding his face with warmth. His nerves had melted upon witnessing the smile, Dimitri's smile.

     He was sick with love and he hated it. It was a feeling that he couldn't eradicate or smother out with distance and force, no matter how far the extent of his determination to was.


The next day, when his last class period was taking place, Quinton considered tossing his creation away from yesterday, the butterfly and mortifying heart-shaped confession note, into a bin of waste. 

     He wanted to throw it all out in the trash.

     It was useless. Completely and utterly useless. Negativity had been sprouting in his mind and tainting his thoughts black, nourished by shattered confidence and fear. He couldn't do it. 

     He crumbled the paper heart he had devoted his time for, smushing it together to form a wrinkled and crumbled up mess, a ruined outcome from something that had once been beautiful and emotional. Deep down, it hurt to be doing this, but it would hurt more not to.

     A tap on the shoulder stopped him. 

     "What are you doing?" Dimitri asked, leaning forward in his seat.

     Quinton stiffened with tensed realization. He had been so engaged with his bubbling cauldron of stormy thoughts, the fact that Dimitri now sat behind him in study hall due to a new seating arrangement vanished from his mind. He hadn't even noticed that Dimitri was behind him since he was so adapted to assuming that he sat in the far opposite corner. Slowly, he cast the ruined heart away and swerved his head to the side. 

     "Nothing," he blurted quickly, struggling to choke out the one word. 

     Dimitri frowned. "That doesn't look like nothing to me." 

     Before Quinton could rack his brain for a response, the bell rang as a savior of convenience. He abruptly shot up from his seat, snatched up his backpack, and left without looking back or bidding a courteous goodbye. 

     The inside of his chest swelled and squirmed with apprehension throughout his brisk leave.


Quinton was confused. 

     Confused and blank. 

     There had been something fluffy lodged in his backpack. Something foreign and fluffy and stuffy. He had stopped near some lockers at the end of a hallway to inspect the item.

     It was a pillow. It was the smallest pastel blue pillow he had ever seen, around the size of a stuffed animal. The stuffing in it filled the pillow with a fat mass. While pondering its origins and how it had magically transported in his backpack, a voice disrupted his questioning thoughts. 

     "Do you like it?" Dimitri asked, his presence suddenly evident, leaning against the lockers across from him. "I made it for you."

     Quinton blinked, startled by this. He glanced back and forth between the boy and the pillow. "Uh, oh, thanks." He didn't know what else to say.

     "Flip it to the back."

     Quinton did. On the other side, crooked sewn letters were stitched together in pink. They spelled out something that made time froze: 

     I kinda like you.

    Quinton was speechless. 

     "So I found out about that paper heart that you crumpled up," Dimitri said, tucking both hands inside his pockets. "I read through it and coincidentally found out you might be feeling the same way that I feel. It's uh, sorry, the pillow case that I made is supposed to be something creative and new, though it's sorta ugly-" 

     "I don't think it's ugly," Quinton blurted, his voice soft and genuine. A smile spread out across his face. "I don't think it's ugly at all." 

     Dimitri paused, eyes wide and lips parted in surprise. After a moment, he pulled something out from his backpack pocket. Quinton's scissors. 

     "Here," he offered, handing the scissors to Quinton. 

     Quinton took them and stashed them back inside of his backpack.

     "I used them to make the pillow case," Dimitri said. "Aria helped me with sewing the words on. And honestly, those words are a lie. I don't like you." He paused, stretching out a note of suspense that Quinton clung onto with heartbreak and deflated hope. "I don't like you," he repeated, his words gentle and clear. His eyes cast down to the floor as he said his next words. "I really like you. There's a difference."

     Quinton's face was set aflame with a mad red. His insides exploded with joy. "This," he said, pausing, "this is the project that you've been working on all along."

     "Yeah." Dimitri awkwardly stepped forward. "It was a really important project, one that I had thought would go nowhere." He froze for a second, hesitating. "So, uh, can I kiss you?"

     The question left Quinton stunned. 

     Rather than providing a verbal response, Quinton did something else. He moved closer, wrapped an arm around Dimitri's shoulders, and initiated that kiss. Their lips touched, both warm and soft and filled to the brim with sparks-inducing excitement and a passion that oozed with both of their reciprocated feelings mingling together. 

     When their lips slowly broke apart for the need of air, Quinton smiled, his entire face feeling like it was on fire. "Does that answer your question?"

     Dimples dotted Dimitri's cheeks as his mouth quirked up with a smile of his own. "Yeah. Yeah it does."

     And from that day on, and every day after that, Quinton would sleep content with the pillow that Dimitri had made for him. Because with every moment that he spent with Dimitri, whether special or not, he had grown to discover something more. He didn't like Dimitri. 

     He loved him.

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