"When did you lose your virginity?"
"First blowjob when I was 8. The first-time actual sex was 12." Bryce is trying not to smirk while he says that.
"Wow... with who?"
"Blowjob was from Monty. Sex was with Amber Henderson."
"Amber Henderson? That girl who was sent to boarding school a couple of years ago?"
"That's the one." They both laugh.
"What do you masturbate to?"
"Either gay porn or pictures of certain people."
"Honestly, Tony Padilla. His hair is amazing!" It is silent for a second before they both begin laughing. "And more recently I've been looking at pictures of... you..."
"You're blushing a little." Clay is holding back a smile.
"Well, next question. Have you ever been in love?"
"Have you ever really liked someone before?"
"Not including me?"
"Who was she?"
"He. And his name was Michael."
"Tell me about him."
"We were very close friends throughout elementary and middle school. It was always Justin, Michael and I. We were always hanging out together. We did everything together.
But Michael and I were closer in ways Justin and I weren't. We talked a lot. And we talked about some very deep things. We told each other secrets we had never shared with anyone.
We never had any secrets... that is beside my big crush on him. I thought the world of him. I knew I trusted him more than anyone else. I knew I could spend the rest of my life talking to him.
" Bryce gets silent.
"Then what happened? Where is he now?"
"I believe he lives in Virginia now."
"When we got to middle school I was ready to finally lose my virginity. I couldn't wait anymore. But I didn't want it to happen with Monty. I wanted it to be meaningful.
So one night, Michael was staying over at my house."
"Yeah..." Bryce runs his hands through his hair. "We were sitting in my bed watching a movie when I leaned over and kissed him. I thought he would respond differently than he did.
He pushed me back, jumped out of the bed and immediately left. I tried texting and calling him, but he had already blocked my number.
By Monday when I arrived at school, Justin told me that Michael and his family had moved to Texas."
"What? How'd that happen?"
"His dad had apparently gotten a job offer weeks before, but Michael had begged his parents to not move, so they pushed it back. And I guess...
I guess that night Michael went home and said he was ready to move. 'Cause they did. When I went to his house after school that day it was cleaned out."
"Wow..." Clay doesn't know what to say. "I'm sorry." It's the only thing he could think of.
"It's fine. I moved on. I'm better for it."
"Why do you do that?"
"Pretend like it doesn't matter? Like things don't hurt you?"
"Remember, you told me you would tell me the complete truth."
"Fine. It hurt. It hurt a lot. I really liked Michael and I thought he did too. When he left like that I told myself I would never feel that way again. So I had sex with Amber Henderson.
It was meaningless and actually quite boring. Is that what you wanted to hear? Did you really want to hear about my dysfunctional life?"
"Yes. Yes, I did." Clay reaches over and grabs Bryce's hand. "How about we continue this another time?"
"It's fine. If you don't want to talk to me again just tell me straight up." Bryce stands up, moving his hand away.
"No. I mean that maybe we should meet up once I'm out of the hospital, and talk some more. Maybe someplace more private."
"Oh..." Bryce feels embarrassed.
"Yeah Bryce Walker, you're not going to get rid of me that easily." They both laugh. "Now head out, visiting hour ends soon."
"Fine." Bryce grabs a napkin off the table and pulls a pen from his pocket, then writes his number down. "But text me if you get bored."