Ignoring Ethan was quite easy throughout the summer. Don't call, don't go to his house, don't go to their usual spots. Simple. Sure, Henry had almost nothing to do, but it was worth it. Anything to keep Ethan out of his mind.
Too bad NOTHING kept him from Henry's mind. All day, every day. He missed his teacher. He missed his friend. He missed his one-sided obsession. His smile, his teasing, his touch. Everything. Every time Henry saw anything that reminded him (and that was everything) he wanted to cry. He knew there would be no way for Ethan to love him, but for Ethan to dismiss their friendship after all this?! It was just... Just...
God he wanted to scream.
The bus was exactly two minutes late according to his watch. Good. With the seniors being in a different building, the later he was the better. Had Ethan been eating right? Probably not. He had probably spent all summer feasting on instant ramen and -- DAMN. He needed to stop.
Finally, the bus pulled to a halt at the corner. Clutching his hand within his ever favorite hoodie, he practically ran down the sidewalk, to the gym and out again. He didn't even pay attention to what class it was, or who the teacher was. He needed to get there. Now. He had made almost to the second building. Almost clear. But, almost wasn't good enough. As he rounded the corner, there he was, Ethan Michael Acker, looking dazed and confused. Henry froze. There were so many things he wanted to say - do. But, he couldn't. He just started walking.
"Henry!" Do not stop.
"Henry!" Nevermind how sorry his voice sounded.
"Yes, Mr. Acker?" Thank God there wasn't a soul around.
"Henry... I'm so sorry. I-"
"Whatever." He turned and kept walking. He had to.
"Henry. No. Stop!" Ethan reached out for the sleeve of his beloved student's jacket and didn't let go. "Come with me." He wasn't met with much argue.
They both knew that the third floor of the second building was rarely used for educational purposes. All of the classrooms were completely empty. No one went up there with pure intentions. Some to have sex, some to smoke, some to do worse. This early? It was particularly empty. Henry was dragged into a room, the door slammed shut behind him, on accident he assumed. Ethan's back remained to him for a while. He seemed very interested in the door knob.
There was silence, an eternity for the both of them.
"I'm sorry, Henry. I didn't mean to hurt you. You're still my friend. I still value and respect you. However, you are my student, and as long as that is a fact, we cannot hang out as regularly as before."
So like an English teacher, explaining everything matter of factually.
"What about the summer? Nothing was stopping us then."
Ethan turned to face him. "I thought I had scared you away. We were getting awfully... close."
"Tch. Why would I be afraid?" Henry was boiling. Scared him away? Ridiculous! If it were ever possible for him to hate Ethan, now would be the time. "If you didn't want to hang out with me, just say so! Nevermind that I've been obsessing over you all summer - hell, all year. I've wanted nothing but to be with you! What did I do to make you want to stop it?! Huh?! I've done nothing. Nothing but lo-" His hand instinctively went to his face. His cheeks turned red. No. Nonono. Not like this. He couldn't tell Ethan. Not now. No.
"Nothing, but what...?" The slender figure was now dangerously within Henry's personal bubble.
A strange combination of confusion, wanting and sadness was plastered on Ethan's face. "But, what?"
After almost four months of not seeing him, of being heartbroken, this had to happen now of all times. Henry finally started to cry. It wasn't complete sobbing, it wasn't even a regular cry. Just a few small tears, but it happened. "No."
"It'll make it worse."
"It can't possibly be worse, Henry."
The silence had to have lasted a full minute. The final bell rang. "We had better go, Ethan. We both have class."
"I don't have a first period. And, you and I both know that nothing important happens on the first day of Art I. Please say it."
A few more seconds passed. Henry took in a small breath. This was it. After all this time, there was no avoiding it. "... Nothing, but... Love you."
As soon as the words escaped into the air, Henry was wrapped in the bony and pale arms of his teacher. Ethan quickly planted his lips upon his student's. All those times they had laughed, felt happy, felt at peace. They were real. They were now. There was nothing but them, but this kiss. Electricity raced through them. Their skin tingled with every amount of pressure, even the air or their clothes. But, especially their touch.
Eventually, they broke apart. Who ended it first, neither knew, neither cared.
Henry blushingly said, "So, when did you..?"
"Remember the time we went out for karaoke? I thought to myself, 'If I could listen to this guy sing this happily every day of my life, I would absolutely love it.' That's when. And you?"
As if his face couldn't get any redder. "Since the first day I saw you..."
"So cute, Henry!" Ethan pinched his cheek, which was met with a slight swat. "Haha. Well, at any rate, you had better get to class. Go ahead to my house when school is over. We'll talk later." Faster than Henry could blink, Ethan had left.
Oh! Class! He ran to class. When inquired about his tardiness, he found a sticky-note on his jacket. He wondered, but didn't question it. The art teacher seemed satisfied (A+ students always got special treatment, after all).