Feeling Comfortable in My Own Skin

Big Changes

It’s my first week of college and I’m about to attend my first class.  While most of the other freshmen are excited about this new experience, I’m scared shitless.  I can’t help but think I’m in way over my head here.  You see, I’m coming from a small, backwoods high school where my graduating class consisted of 97 others, but now I have to blend into a major University setting with thousands of students.  Here, the number of people attending the lectures I’ll be in will be greater than the total number of students in my senior class, so this is a huge adjustment for me to make.

After I arrived on campus, I overheard some of the other students talking about the wide variety of classes and experiences they’d had in high school, but weren’t offered where I came from.  To say the least, this only helped to fuel my feelings of inadequacy and made me realize how totally unprepared I am to be here.  The classes I’d taken only covered the basic crap, because that’s all my school offered.  I’ve never had a chance to experience the frills these other students have enjoyed, such as a selection of AP courses, a wide range of electives or a choice of foreign languages.  Now, I have to perform against others who’ve come from schools with graduating classes larger than my entire high school population.  How am I supposed to compete with that?

I realize this line of thinking is only making me feel worse, so I’m attempting to put it out of my mind.  Instead of considering any of this further, I chose to just sit quietly in this huge lecture hall and wait for the class to begin.  As a distraction, I felt it might be wise to look around and see who else is in here and scope out the competition while I have the chance.  Who knows, I might even spot a potential study partner in the process.

Who the hell am I kidding?  Who’ll want to team up with me when I have so little to offer?  I guess it’s possible that I could hook up with some smart, nerdy kid that no one else speaks to, and if I’m really nice to him, then maybe he’ll agree to work with me before he realizes how little I have to offer.  All I have to do is swallow my pride and...

Wait, what the hell am I talking about?  I don’t have any pride left, at least not since I’ve come to realize how inadequately prepared I am.  I’m merely the proverbial water buffalo or zebra waiting for the lions and cheetahs to single me out of the herd to be devoured.

Since there is nothing else to do, I continued looking around the lecture hall.  I’m hoping that maybe I’ll spot someone I met at orientation or ran into downtown in one of the bars.  Yeah, I know I’m not old enough to drink, but I’ve got a great fake ID, so I’ve never had a problem getting into places and being served.  The reason for this is that I paid my older cousin, to whom I bear a very close resemblance, to claim his driver’s license had been lost.  When he got his new license, he gave me the old one and no one ever questions if it’s mine.  It helps that he’s short too, plus the fact that we have the same last name and very similar first names.  His is Paul and mine is Peter, so even if people know me, they just kind of figure they either screwed up my first name or conclude that I go by my middle name.  Damn, at least this has worked out great for me!

As I continue to look around, I spot a couple of others I recognize from having met them earlier, but I don’t think they’ll be much help to me either.  Sure, they seemed friendly enough, but I got the impression that they’re looking at college more or less as an opportunity or excuse to party, rather than as a place to gain knowledge.  I need someone who knows the score and can help me figure things out as well.  I’ve heard a lot of the other high schools even offer a psychology course as an elective, so students who were able to take it in high school will have a better idea about what we’ll be up against in this class.  Not only didn’t my high school offer psychology, I’m not convinced that anyone who went with me can even spell the word.

About this time, the professor walked in and made his way to the front of the lecture hall.  Even though teh room is quite large, everyone took note of his arrival and began to quiet down.  With an air of authority, he stepped behind the lectern, turned on the microphone and began to speak.

“Good morning.  My name is Dr. H. Anderson Swift and this is Psychology 101.  If you’ve suddenly realized this isn’t where you’re supposed to be, then please be kind enough to leave quietly now.  Otherwise, I will read off the names on my class list and you will respond by saying ‘here’ and raising your hand, so I can put a face with the name.  I do not wish to entertain any class clowns who prefer to gain attention by saying ‘yo,’ ‘yeah dude’ or any other clever response you might come up with.  You are here to learn, not to attempt to impress others, so if that is your only intention then just do me the favor of leaving now as well.  I pray you are all wise enough to heed my warning.

“Now that I have cleared this up, I will proceed with the roll call,” Dr. Swift stated.  “If I don’t call of your name, then please go directly to the registrar’s office after I finish calling the last of the names.  Adams, David..."

Since it’s apparent I’ll have a long wait, since my last name begins with a W, I let my mind wander.  I began looking at the other guys in the class, to see if I could tell if any of them is gay.  Even though I’ve never done anything or ever been with another guy that way, I know I’d rather be with or admire a good-looking guy than a girl.  No one knows I’m gay, because I’ve never told anyone, but I’ve never had a girlfriend either.   I guess most people just figure I’m some kind of a geek or loser and that’s the reason I’m not interested in having a relationship.

I’ve always done fairly well in school, grade-wise, and I’m also pretty quiet.  Since I don’t say much, it also means I don’t draw a great deal of attention to myself, but that’s the way I like it.  I’ve never wanted people to know very much about me and it’s not only because I’m gay.  There are other issues I wish to avoid as well, such as my family life.  Since my home life isn’t so great, I’ve always tended to remain aloof with everyone else and have never invited anyone to my house.  Every time someone I know shows up there, regardless of the reason, my family usually manages to find a way to embarrass me.  Therefore, I find it’s best to avoid putting myself in those situations. 

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t come from a family of serial killers, drug dealers or inbred rednecks, but it’s just that my parents tend to do things that embarrass me.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not some high and mighty snob, nor am I some kind of a freak.  I’m not ugly and I don’t have a deformity or anything of that nature, so people don’t go out of their way to avoid me either.  Yeah, okay, I’ll admit I’m on the small side and not some macho jock.  I’m only 5 feet 3 inches (1.63 m) tall and look younger than I am, but I still managed to have quite a few friends throughout high school.

Unlike most people, my friends and I only hung out at school and we basically just talked about our classes and what was going on in our academic lives.  Although my friends would occasionally talk about what was happening in their personal lives, I never did.  In fact, whenever they asked me questions about anything of that nature, I would tend to respond with a joke about being part of the ‘Addams Family.’  I guess I actually took comfort in the fact that most of them didn't know very much about me.

Anyway, I suddenly decided it was time to tune back in to what was going on in class and see where Dr. Swift was with roll call.

"Parker, Amanda," he said next, and some blond bimbo answered.

"Here," she responded sweetly.

"Perry, Aiden," Dr. Swift called after that.

"Here, sir," this sweet, melodic voice called out, so I looked over to see who had answered.

When I did, I noticed this gorgeous stud sitting two rows in front of me and several seats to my right.  There was an empty seat on either side of him, so he obviously didn’t have any friends taking this class with him.  Well, not yet, but gorgeous guys like him always end up with all the friends they want.

Damn, I’ve got to admit he’s really handsome, so much so that I’m not able to take my eyes off of him.  From what I can see, everything about him seems to be, well – you know, perfect.  His face, his hair and even his skin!  I can’t see anything wrong with him.  There are no obvious flaws anywhere, well at least not that I can spot from where I’m sitting.  Suddenly, I can’t wait to see his eyes and check out his smile, because I’m a sucker for beautiful eyes and a sexy smile.  I even began to wonder if there’s a chance I might be able to get to know him.

Wait!  Who am I kidding?  How would I ever get close to a guy like that?  Even if I got up the courage to speak to him, it’s likely he won’t respond.  Even if he does, he’ll probably forget who I am the minute the other ‘beautiful’ people start hanging around him.  I guess it doesn’t really matter though, because he’s probably super straight and by next class he’ll be surrounded by all the sexy co-eds I’ve noticed in this class.  After thinking about that, I decided I should listen in again and see where Dr. Swift was with the roll call. 

"Tyler, Samantha," Dr. Swift said.

"Here," one of the cheerleader types answered.

"Vargas, Russell," the professor called out next. 

"Here," a rather pudgy redhead replied. 

"Wallace, Peter," Dr. Swift called next. 

"Here, sir," I squeaked out, because my voice is kind of high pitched. 

After hearing my response, Dr. Swift looked up and glared at me.  I guess he was probably checking to make sure a guy had just answered and not some girl covering for her boyfriend.  How embarrassing?

After Dr. Swift finished calling out the last few names, he added one final comment. 

“If I didn’t call your name, then I suggest you head over to the registrar’s office now,” he advised.  “If any of you may also be having second thoughts about remaining in this class, then please see me after I’ve finished.  I hope you don’t think I’m trying to force any of you out, but the computer scheduler has placed far more students in this section than it was supposed to have.  Therefore, if you have any doubts about being here then please let me know."

Once he finished saying this, he proceeded to explain what we’d be doing in this class.  He also passed out his ‘Curriculum/Study Guide,’ which listed the chapters and other resources we are required to read before each class session, when the exams will be given and when our term paper is due.  Damn, I was hoping this course wouldn’t require us to write a freaking paper.

The study guide also stated which textbooks we’ll need to purchase and listed the articles Dr. Swift had set aside for us to check out in the library.  Once he’d finished going over all of this, Dr. Swift dismissed the class early, but not before reminding us to make certain that we finished the required reading before attending the next class session.

I took my time getting my things together, because I hoped to get a better look at that guy I noticed earlier.  I figured I might be able to get to see his smile or catch a good look at his eyes when he passes by.  Damn, what’s his name again?  Oh yeah, Aiden Perry.  I can’t believe I almost forget it already.  Wait.  He’s getting up and walking this way.  Oh, I can’t look directly at him, because then he’ll know.  Instead, I’ll try to act causally and catch a glimpse of him as he approached. 

When he was almost to me, I glanced up and he saw me looking at him.  He even smiled and nodded his head slightly, to acknowledge me.  That was nice of him and he does have a really cute smile, but I was too nervous to notice his eyes.  Damn!  I’m sort of mad at myself for not paying attention to them, but it’s too late now.  As I was getting up to leave, I heard Dr. Swift's voice rang out again.

"Mr. Perry, would you mind staying back for a seond?" he asked. 

Aiden quickly nodded his consent and turned around and started walking toward the front of the room.  Dr. Swift went back to speaking with a couple of the other students, who were possibly looking to get removed from his class list.  As Aiden passed by me again, he didn’t exactly look in my direction, but he did turn his head enough that I was able to get a fairly good look at him.  This time, I made certain I didn’t waste the opportunity and immediately noticed he had the most beautiful azure blue eyes I think I've ever seen. 

Aiden had to wait a few minutes for Dr. Swift to finish with those ahead of him, so he stood quietly off to the side and waited.  I kept pretending to mess around with my belongings so I could discretely admire him, and then I heard Dr. Swift begin to address Aiden. 

“Mr. Perry, I’ve heard rumors from my colleagues that you are related to the brilliant psychologist, Oliver Perry.  Is this true?"

I think Aiden blushed after hearing this, but I was too far away to actually be able to tell. 

"Yes, he's my dad," I heard Aiden reply. 

"Then I'll be expecting big things from you." Dr. Swift told him in return.

Aiden then gave another slight nod, before he turned around to leave.  At this point I noticed there was another student who had been waiting behind him and thought he might possibly be waiting for Aiden, but it turned out this wasn’t the case.  He was waiting to speak with Dr. Swift instead.

Even though Aiden was now free to leave, he didn’t seem to be in a hurry to do so.  Instead, he stopped and placed his backpack down, so he could dig through it for something.   I was going to wait for him to leave first, but since he was now doing something else, I decided this was my opportunity to get out of there before he did.  I quickly picked up my books and made a hasty retreat to the back of the lecture hall.  When I got there, I pushed the door open to make my escape, but to my chagrin the panic bar caught on the books I was carrying and caused me to drop them. 

I was completely embarrassed when this happened and hoped Aiden hadn’t seen what I’d done.  I figured if he had he would think I was a total spaz, so I glanced up to see if he was coming.  When I spotted him, Aiden was still looking in his backpack, but that’s when something else caught my attention.   Just then, Dr. Swift raised his voice slightly and it became very apparent that something had irritated him.  When I looked to see whom he was speaking to, I noticed he was directing his comments to the student I’d noticed waiting behind Aiden.

“I’m sorry, but that’s just the way it is,” Dr. Swift said rather forcefully.  “I apologize if it upsets you, but this section is already overenrolled.  Someone in the registrar’s office made a major mistake in setting the computer parameters and this resulted in a significant increase in the size of this class.  I’m trying to resolve this issue with them now, but what this means is that I’m looking to eliminate a large number of students from this section, not add more.  I know you probably don’t agree with this approach, but it’s a matter of being able to do my best for the students I have in this class.  I’m afraid this also means that you’ll have to see the registrar and ask him to place me in another class.  I'm sorry, but that's just the way it is."

I hurriedly glance in Aiden’s direction again, to see if he was coming, but I noticed he focusing on what was going on too.  He might have originally thought Dr. Swift was talking to him, but even after he discovered that wasn’t the case he continued to monitor what was going on.  Regardless of this temporary distraction, I was certain he would be heading my way again quite soon, and since I didn’t want him to see the results of my uncoordinated move, I began scurrying around to pick up the things I’d dropped.  I was nearly done retrieving the last of these items and still hopeful I’d be able to get away before Aiden reached my location, when I was suddenly, and unceremoniously, shoved to one side.

“Out of the way, shrimp,” I heard a voice hiss, as an arm pushed me aside and caused my head to slam into the wall.  The contact left me slightly dazed and made me drop everything again.

As soon as I was able, I glanced up to see if it had been Aiden who had just done this to me, but quickly noticed it was the other guy I’d seen waiting behind him.  He must have been so upset with Dr. Swift’s refusal to allow him to stay in this class that he rushed past Aiden and got to back of the lecture hall first.  I was still considering this fact when another voice snapped my attention back to the present.

“Hey, asshole,” I heard another voice say.  “Try picking on someone a little closer to your own size.

This time when I looked up, I saw Aiden was speaking to the person who had pushed me into the wall.  After hearing this challenge, the other guy spun around quickly, so he could

confront whomever was calling him out. 

"And who's going to make me?" the guy snarled back. 

"I guess that would be me," Aiden replied.

"Well, let's see you do it then," the big oaf responded.

He then began to move in Aiden’s direction, so Aiden dropped his backpack onto the floor and immediately crouched in one of those martial arts’ fighting stances.  When the guy got close enough, he reached out to push Aiden, but Aiden easily knocked the guy’s arm to the side.  The aggressor seemed a bit surprised by this, and maybe even slightly embarrassed when it happened, seeing several others had stopped and were watching what was taking place.

In an attempt to prove his superiority, the other guy took a swing at Aiden, but Aiden blocked that too, but he didn’t stop there.  In a blur of movement, Aiden followed up by smashing his fist into the guys’ chest and twisting it a little as he did so.  The bully was not only temporarily halted by this move, but he was also obviously hurting.  Since he had been more or less neutralized, Aiden turned and offered to help me get up.  However, just as he started to bend down to assist me, I notice the other guy had recovered from Aiden’s blow and was moving toward us again.

Aiden must have read the panic and fear on my face, because he reacted             quickly and spun around to defend himself.  Noting our nemesis was coming at him again, Aiden hit him with three or four quick punches to the body and then grabbed him by the throat, around the Adam's apple.

"If I were you, I'd stop now," Aiden told him, "but I'll continue, if you haven't had enough."

I’m not sure if the guy wanted to say something, but he ended up just staring at Aiden.  This was most likely due to the fact that Aiden’s grasp made it impossible for him to respond.  After a few seconds of this standoff, Aiden finally released his grip and gave the guy a little backward shove as he let him go.  After glaring at Aiden a little longer, the bully reluctantly turned around and started to walk away.  I think even he realized he was no match for Aiden, and he certainly wasn’t about to redeem his reputation by continuing to push the issue.  After Aiden watched him walk a few yards in the other direction, he turned around and came back to help me again. 

"Hey, are you all right?" he asked, sounding concerned.

"Uh, yeah, I guess so," I mumbled.

"Here, let me help you up," Aiden offered as he reached out his hand to pull me to my feet.

I took it and immediately noticed that it was both soft and warm.  After I was up, Aiden glanced over his shoulder to make certain the scumbag wasn’t coming at us again and then he bent over and began to help me pick up my things.

“I think that’s everything,” he told me, as he handed me the last item, “but check it over to make sure nothing is missing."

"Thank you," I muttered, somewhat coherently. 

After doing that, I stood speechless for another second or two before I said anything else.

"You know, you didn't have to do that," I mumbled. 

"Someone had to put the jerk in his place," Aiden responded, "so I just volunteered."

“Yeah, and you were amazing,” I gushed, before realizing what I’d just said.  “I appreciate your help, but when you’re my size you kind of get used to the bigger guys knocking you around."

“Well, you shouldn’t have to put up with that crap and you won’t whenever I’m around,” Aiden stated, forcefully.

I could only smile in return. 

"Are you ok then?" Aiden asked, concerned. 

“Yes, I’m fine and thanks for everything,” I replied, and then Aiden turned to retrieve his backpack, before continuing on his way.

My head was still spinning with thoughts of this wonderful hunk as I watched him walk away.  My knight in shining armor had just rescued me from the fire-breathing dragon.  I was both impressed and honored that he had jumped to my defense.  I was also aware that none of this would have happened if Dr. Swift hadn’t called him back to ask that question, but this caused another thought to suddenly cross my mind.  This psychology course is going to be hard enough to deal with without having Aiden in there to distract me.  How will I be able to keep from staring in his direction the whole time or constantly thinking about him?  Having him in the same class is really going to be difficult, so I’m going to have to come up with a way to block thoughts of him from my mind.  It’s either that or I’m going to fail this course for sure.

'He's not gay, so put him out of your mind,' I began saying to myself. 

I hoped doing this would be enough to snap me out of the obsessive compulsion I was starting to develop concerning this Adonis.  Damn, life is sooooo unfair.  It presents me with the man of my dreams, yet I doubt I’ll have a snowball’s chance in hell of ever getting close to him.

After attending my biology class and the lab that followed it, I went back to my room in the residence hall.  My roommate was already there, but I certainly didn’t have to worry about being attracted to him.  He definitely isn’t my type.  He is much taller than me, overweight, verbally challenged and possibly hairy enough to star in a werewolf movie without any makeup.  I certainly don’t have to worry about getting an erection when I’m around him and thus accidentally revealing my secret.

He sort of grunted a greeting as I walked in, so I responded by saying hi.  I then set my books on my desk and sat down on my bed.  I was mentally going over everything that had happened earlier, while at the same time considering what I should do next when my stomach growled.  Oh, yeah.  I guess I’d better think about getting something to eat.  I looked at my watch and discovered it was a few minutes after 6:00, so I decided to go to the dining hall next and then come back to the room to study.

I informed my roommate about what I was planning to do, just so he’d know, and was surprised when he told me he’d already eaten.  I’m not sure if he thought I was inviting him to go with me, but that wasn’t my intention.  Anyway, I said goodbye to him and then headed out to eat.  When I got to the dining hall, I looked to see what they were serving, but none of the specials sounded good.  Since those items didn’t appeal to me, I decided to just have a couple of slices of pizza.  What else?  I’m in college now, so pizza will become a staple.  Won't it?"

Once I got my food, I went out to find an empty table.  This wasn’t very difficult, since the place was fairly empty, so I set my tray on one of the tables and sat down to eat.

"Hey, how are you feeling?" I heard a voice say. 

When I looked up, I discovered Aiden was standing next to me.

"I'm ok.  He didn't hurt me.  Well, only my dignity," I answered.

“By the way, I think I forgot to introduce myself earlier.  I’m Aiden Perry,” he announced, while reaching out his hand to shake.  "Mind if I sit here and join you?"

"Ummm, no," I stammered, as I shook his hand weakly. 

Aiden then placed his food and drink on the table, before sitting in the chair across from me.  He then looked in my direction expectantly, but I had no idea why. 

"You do have a name, don't you?" Aiden teased. 

"Oh, duh.  Sorry about that," I answered.  "I'm Peter Wallace."

"Nice to meet you, Peter," Aiden said. 

“Oh, yeah.  Nice to formally meet you too, Aiden,” I replied.  “Sorry you got caught up in that mess earlier."

“Don’t think anything about it,” he replied.  “I just have a thing about bullies and creeps who go around abusing others.  I used to have to put up with that sort of crap too, until my father enrolled me in a martial arts class.  I worked my way up to black belt, so now I can take care of just about anyone and no longer worry about how big they are."

“Well, thanks again for earlier, but I don’t think the guy was going to do anything else after he pushed me into the wall," I stated.

“Possibly not, but I made sure he learned a lesson about acting like an asshole,” Aiden said with a grin.  “You know, if you don’t mind I’d kind of like to get to know you better.  I haven’t made any friends since coming here, so I was thinking you could be my first."

I was temporarily dumbfounded by his unexpected offer, but I eventually regained my composure and responded.

“Ummm, ok.  I’d, uh, like that too.  I, ummm, haven’t made, uh, any friends either,” I stammered.

What's going on here and why the hell am I talking like some Neanderthal?

“Great!” Aiden agreed.  “I’m sure we’ll both benefit from having a friend.  I’m a long way from home.  How about you?"

"Yeah, about 500 miles," I answered.

"That's pretty far," Aiden agreed.  "Do you mind if I hand out with you for a while then?"

Suddenly, my mouth wouldn’t work and I was unable to answer.  I guess Aiden must have seen this as a potential problem. 

"Hey, if it's a big deal then I'll just forget about it, but..." I cut him off. 

"No, it's not a problem at all!" I stated quite forcefully.  "In fact, I'd like that very much."

“Awesome,” Aiden responded.  “It’s just that when you didn’t answer, I thought it might not be what you wanted."

"No, that's not it at all," I answered, "but..."

I stopped speaking again, because I wasn’t sure if I wanted to tell him the rest of what I was thinking.

"But what?" Aiden pressed.

When I looked at his face, it sincerely appeared as if he wanted to know what I was going to say.

“Well, it’s just that I can’t understand why anyone like you would want to be friends with the guy you had to save earlier," I explained.

"Why not?  Is there something wrong with that?" Aiden asked, looking slightly offended. 

“Well, no.  It’s not a problem for me.  It’s just that you’re good-looking, obviously intelligent and come from a good family, as I kind of overheard in psych class, and you can also take care of yourself, so why would you want to hang with someone who lets people push him around.

There, I've said it!  Now, he'll probably realize I am right and simply get up and leave.

“So that’s supposed to mean we can’t be friends?” Aiden countered.  “I just thought you might want to have someone to hang out with, because I know I would.  I mean you seem like a nice guy and I don’t see you as being any less deserving of being my friend than anyone else, so I was really hoping you’d accept my offer.  So how about it?  Are you willing to hang out with me once in a while?"

“Uh, yeah.  Sure!” I replied, more eagerly than maybe I should have.  “At least when I’m with you I won't have to worry about getting knocked on my ass again.

“No, you won’t and I’m looking forward to getting to know you better too,” Aiden responded, while flashing me that killer grin of his.  “What other classes are you taking and who do you have?"

I quickly rattled off the list of other courses and professors I had.  It turned out that we have the same professor for English Composition too, although we're in different sections.

"Maybe we could study together sometimes," Aiden suggested.  "What do you think?"

“Yeah, that would be great,” I agreed.  “I know I’m going to need lots of help in psychology, because that's all new to me.

“Hey, I think I’ll be able to help you with that, because I’ve learned a lot from my father,” Aiden acknowledged.  "He's a psychologist too."

"Yeah, I know.  I heard Dr. Swift say that when he asked if you were related," I explained. 

"Right.  I forgot about that," Aiden agreed.  "So what residence hall are you in?"

"Bower," I told him. 

“Well, we’re not in the same one, but you can come over and study with me whenever you want,” Aiden offered.  “My roommate showed up at the beginning of the semester and then moved to another dorm the next day.  I guess he didn’t want to share with me or something,"  Aiden chuckled. 

“I don’t understand that,” I answered.  “I certainly wouldn’t mind sharing a room with you.  My roommate is one step above the missing link on the evolutionary chart and that might be giving him more credit than he deserves."

Aiden laughed at my analogy. 

“Maybe we could fix it so you can move in with me then.  Would you like that?” Aiden offered.

Yeah, sure," I told him. "That would be really great."

At the same time I was thinking, ‘Hell, yes.  I’d love the chance to be in with you and possibly get to see you naked.'

“Super!  Let me see what I can do to work it out then, because that will make it a lot easier for us to study together” Aiden offered.  “The housing people have been pretty good about everything since the other guy moved out, so I think I can convince them to let us do this."

I held my breath.  Could this be true?  Would I really be able to share a room with this hunk of perfection?  I certainly don’t understand why he wants me to move in with him, but I’m definitely not going to waste such a fantastic opportunity by questioning it further.  I quickly gave him all my information so he’d have it to give to the housing people, and then he told me he'd let me know what they said.

When we finished eating, Aiden offered to walk me back to my dorm.  Is that sweet or what?  I think I nearly floated across campus as we made our way there, but then I came crashing down from that high when it came time to say good-bye to him.  I did, however, get a brief reprieve from my morose mood as I watched him walk away.  That’s because my heart nearly stopped beating when I noticed his cute butt jiggling as he started off in the other direction and realized we might be in the same tiny room together very, very soon.