Take me back

First Kiss with Flowers01-2022, 1600 words

High school

Lunch was the best time of the day.

The morning was over, a respite between classes. Sol appreciated the break, away from lessons that made his head spin. No matter how hard he stared at the board, math never started to make sense.

Although, lately his grades were doing better. Not that he was suddenly good at school or liked it any more than he did. Chet just let him look at his homework, which helped because then Sol knew what the correct answers were. 

Chet was smart like that. 

But smart wasn’t the only thing he was. Chet was a lot of things, like funny and cute and Sol’s boyfriend. Sol still had trouble believing the last one. 

Chet did things like passing him notes during class, with Sol’s name scribbled around little hearts. He clung to Sol whenever they walked home together and hugged him extra tight every time his parents came home late. 

He also did things like grabbing his hand and pulling him out onto the field. So they could talk, just the two of them. 

Sitting on the grass, Sol smiled as he listened to Chet chatter about nothing in particular. 

“So he ran at me super mad, right? You could see the smoke coming out of his ears. Really, I’m not joking!” 

The way he talked was nice. Chet had a habit of moving his hands around, gesturing madly with every word. It was like he had too much energy, all the time. 

“I started running like crunch, crunch, crunch. Because we were on gravel, and then I got this idea. You know when you get an idea?” 

“No,” Sol said with a smile. “Tell me about it.” 

Chet beamed, looking proud of himself. “I bent down and picked up some rocks and turned around like don’t mess with me! I got rocks! I was gonna aim right for the eyes and guess what? He stopped immediately.” 

Amazing. Sol couldn’t imagine doing that. Instead of getting rocks, he’d probably lie down and let someone punch him a few times. When it came down to it, Sol was sure he’d be good at playing dead. 

Chet was so cool, not letting anyone beat him up like that. He picked fights and then got away with it, which wasn’t easy when he was an oddball. 

They both were. 

Sol leaned closer, resting his head on Chet’s shoulder. He’d be lying if he said he wasn’t a little bit worried. “Don’t talk to him next time. But if you do, throw rocks at him.” 

“Wow, ruthless,” Chet said and poked Sol in the side. Sol head-butted him in retaliation, but gently. “Don’t worry so much, Sol. I think we’re mutually avoiding each other. Like, if he saw me right now, he’d probably turn around and walk away. It’s just you, me, and a field full of flowers!”

“More like weeds,” Sol mumbled, still skeptical about the mutual avoidance thing. This wouldn’t be the first time someone took Chet by surprise.

“No, flowers.” 

Chet was giving him a stubborn look. It seemed he considered the previous topic over with and was ready to move on. Namely, about whether dandelions were flowers or weeds. 

But he was wrong. Dandelions were weeds. 

Sure, you could argue they were flowers based on some scientific explanation, although Sol hadn’t paid enough attention in biology to know. More likely, Chet felt bad for the plants no one liked so he was giving them a nice name. It was the outcast instinct. 

But feeling bad wasn’t enough. Sol thought back to the Fitzroy family garden, where not a single dandelion was allowed. Every summer, the familiar leaves would sprout and every summer, his parents would tell the gardener to weed them without mercy. 

“They’re weeds,” Sol said again, lifting his head from Chet’s shoulder. It was starting to get uncomfortable, his neck almost at a ninety-degree angle. Lately, he’d been getting taller while Chet remained at the same height. 

If it was anyone else, Sol knew Chet would argue again. He was stubborn like that and it was probably the reason he always got into fights. But with Sol, he was nice. He let him win their petty arguments every time. 

“Well, whatever,” Chet said and shrugged. He grabbed a handful from the ground and thrust them into Sol’s face, a clumsy bundle of dandelions. “They’re still pretty.” 

They were pretty. Bright yellow with long green stems, the dandelions did look nice. The only thing was, there were clumps of dirt and grass still stuck to them. 

Sol winced. But he also felt strangely warm inside. Chet was giving him a bouquet, the high school version of one. The fact that it was messily done only added to the charm, a sort of rough, earnest feeling. It was very Chettish. 

And if he had to admit, he did like dandelions. It was just his parents that didn’t. In a way, Sol could even relate. He wasn’t very good at anything and they couldn’t get rid of him either. 

Taking them from Chet’s fist, Sol twisted the stems between his fingers. “I guess,” he said softly. 

“Aren’t they yellow and bright? I can’t think of anything else that’s this yellow.” Chet was already collecting more, grabbing fistfuls of grass and yanking dandelions out as hard as he could. 

All the dirt flying around... Chet really was the active type. 

“Here! More of them!” 

For the second time, a fistful of dandelions was suddenly thrust at his face. Chet was looking at him stubbornly, the tips of his ears pink. 

“I like them,” Chet said with force. “And I like you too so I’m going to put them in your hair!” 

Sol blinked. 

Then he felt his cheeks getting red. 

“But that’s a lot,” he said slowly because there must’ve been at least five. Maybe ten. Fifteen dandelions? How was he going to put them on, just stabbing the stems into Sol’s hair? Was that even going to work? They were going to fall off the moment he stood up. 

Sol was definitely overthinking. 

“I’m a dedicated boyfriend, that’s why. Now tilt your head.” Chet waved the dandelions in his face for emphasis. 

Sol did. He felt stems poking at him, then Chet threading them through his hair. His hands were clumsy, sometimes pulling on his hair by accident. But he was gentle and every dandelion he put in place felt snug. 

When he was done, Chet gave Sol a wide grin. “There, I got them all on!” he said. “It looks good, very pretty. You’ll have to take my word for it though, because I don’t have a mirror.” 

Pretty. That was such a word to say. Gingerly, Sol reached up to touch the dandelions. They were in a cluster above his ear, the entire handful on one side. It threw his head off-balance, heavier on one side than the other, but that was a small price to pay for Chet’s smile. 

It was a nice moment, Sol thought. One that seemed to last forever and felt impossibly special, like he’d remember even when he was old. The way Chet was looking at him made him feel cherished. 

Chet liked the flowers. He also liked Sol. He liked Sol enough to put the flowers he liked in his hair and that was a lot.  

Their first kiss happened when neither of them expected it. It happened after talking about rocks and arguing about dandelions. It happened in the sweetest way possible, when Sol had flowers in his hair and Chet was smiling warm like the sun. 

In other words, it was wonderful. 

Sol had never kissed anyone before. Chet hadn’t either, so it was an awkward, fumbling kiss that didn’t land right. But when Chet’s lips met his, softer and sweeter than he ever expected, Sol felt brighter than any dandelion. 

So this was what a kiss was like. 

“Sol!” Chet was saying, eyes wide and cheeks dusted pink. “You kissed me.” 

There was a wild look on his face, grinning from ear to ear. He looked giddy, like he’d just gotten off a rollercoaster. 

Sol thought he might’ve looked like that too. “I did,” he said softly, amazed by what he’d done. “I was… I was feeling a lot.”

They stared at each other in awe, a blush forming on both their cheeks. Sol felt like his heart was on fire. Something warm and embarrassing was glowing within him, spreading through his entire body and making him weak. 

It was like summer had happened all at once. 

Shyly, bashfully, he raised a hand to tuck his hair behind his ear. As he did, one of the flowers fell off. 

“Oh,” he said in surprise. 

Chet chuckled nervously. “Whoops, guess I made that one too loose. The rest are fine though!”

Another dandelion fell off.

“I’m sorry, Sol!” Now Chet looked flustered, like he was about to cry. 

“No, it’s okay!” Sol hurried to say. “You can just put it back on.” 

“Don’t move this time,” Chet mumbled, as if Sol wasn’t great at staying still. He picked up the dandelion from the grass and gently put it back in his hair. “There.” 

Chet was avoiding his eyes but Sol smiled anyway. “Thanks,” he said. 

“Don’t mention it.” And then, pouting - “Do you wanna do it again?” 

It took Sol a second to get what he meant and then he nodded, head moving so fast he thought he’d strain something. 

This time, it was Chet who moved in, gripping Sol’s arms as he tilted his head up. Sol closed his eyes and felt the same nice softness again, blooming like the dandelions in his hair. 

Until the bell rang and they had to go back to class, Sol was going to bask in the feeling.