I remember the first time I ever laid eyes on John Ocala like it was yesterday. It was the day after we’d moved into our new house in Hollywood and I was sulking in my room. My parents had given up on trying to get me to come out after I snapped at Hadley and made him cry. I’d ignored them calling up to me after someone had knocked on the door and apparently they’d had enough of my attitude. Dad marched upstairs and told me to get downstairs and meet the neighbours. I sighed and slid off my bed, the sour expression not leaving my face as I trudged down the stairs behind him. I faked a polite hello as I was introduced to Mr and Mrs Ocala, not really understanding why I needed to meet them. After all, I was hardly gonna hang out with them, was I?
“John’s just in the kitchen getting a drink if you want to go say hi” Mom said to me, smiling.
John? Who the fuck was John and why was he in my kitchen? I shook my head, much to Mom’s disappointment, and turned to go make my way back upstairs when a kid about my age with floppy brown hair walked in. I stopped breathing as I ran my eyes over him. He was... He was... Fucking gorgeous. His eyes met mine and he smiled at me. My stomach pretty much did a back flip. I shuffled behind Dad, a blush spreading across my cheeks. It made the four adults laugh but John just kept watching me, a curious look on his face. I hid behind Dad even more, trying to get this ‘John’ to stop looking at me. It didn’t work. He peered round behind my Dad and I blushed even more.
“Come one, Cayden, don’t be shy” Mom said but I buried my head In Dad’s back.
It wasn’t that I was being shy, as such. It was the fact that in that split second I’d pictured me and John as old men in rocking chairs with rings on our fingers and grandchildren running around in the front yard. Which generally isn’t typical behaviour for a twelve year old boy. John opened his mouth to say something but clumsy little eight year old Hadley ran into him.
“Hi, I’m Hadley” he beamed.
“I’m John” the gorgeous one said.
“Will you play with me? Cayden’s being sulky”
“Am not” I said sulkily before hiding in Dad’s back again.
John laughed. “Sure, I’ll play with you” he smiled, taking Hadley’s hand.
Jealousy sparked in my stomach a the fact that my dorky little brother even had the nerve to touch someone as gorgeous as John. I scowled and strode over to them, pushing Hadley out of the way.
“Go play with someone your own age” I said grumpily and pulled John up to my room.
I flopped onto the bed, burying my head in the pillow. I was well aware of how much of a dick I just acted but I honestly couldn’t have cared less. Okay, that’s a huge lie. I cared. A lot.
“That was really mean” John said and I looked up at him.
“I know, but... I got jealous”
He cocked his head to one side. “Jealous? Why?”
“Because I like you” I blurted out without thinking.
“I like you too” he smiled.
I thanked everything that’s holy that he hadn’t realised what I meant and returned the smile.
“So... What do you do for fun around here?”
“There’s the park and the mall, but that’s about it. There’s some pretty good climbing trees and there used to be a rope swing til it broke”
“I don’t have any money” I said, kind of embarrassed.
John just smiled. “It’s okay. Mom says I’m not s’posed to go to the mall on my own anyway. We could go to the park, if you want?”
I nodded, more than happy to do whatever this boy wanted. I guess I really was in love from the moment I saw him.
He led me to the park, sitting down on one of the swings. I sat next to him, not exactly sensing the ‘fun’ in the park. Sure, we had a park back home but no one ever really went to it; you could have more fun out exploring. I watched John swing a little, pushing myself back and forth with my feet. He looked over at me, stopping himself with his feet.
“Are you okay?” he asked, concern marking his beautiful face.
“Yeah. This just doesn’t seem like much fun” I shrugged.
He thought about it for a second I practically saw the light bulb ping on above his head. “We could always wrestle. Mom says I’m not s’posed to, but she’s not here right now” he giggled.
I grinned, pouncing on him and knocking him backwards off his swing. He laughed and soon enough we’d wrestled our way into the middle of the park. I ended up pinning John down and, honestly, if I’d been capable of it and how known how great sex was at the tender age of twelve, I would’ve taken him then and there. But my young mine was too innocent for that. I did enjoy being so close to John, though.
“I win” I beamed and he laughed.