A Long Way to Go

or

Strong Glasses, Strong Affection

by Doreen F.

Lynn had a new boyfriend. His name was Chris and he was gorgeous. Most of her friends did not quite understand what she liked about him because what they saw was a pair of strong glasses. But Lynn had seen beyond that. First of all he was her brotherís best friend and she knew him much better and for a much longer time.

Her brother, Rick, was two years older and he and Chris had been friends like forever. So Lynn had practically known Chris for most part of her life. Now she was in her twenties and she and her room mate had been kicked out of their flat. The man who had rented it to them had needed his flat back immediately and since they could not afford a lawyer, they had to give in and leave.

Rick and Chris were living in a huge flat and Rick had offered Lynn to stay there for a while. The place was big enough for the three of them and he did not mind having to pay less money for it himself. Rickís girlfriend lived there most of the time as well. Lynn was really grateful and moved in right away. Her ex-room mate moved back to her parentsí home.

Most evenings now Rick, sometimes with his girlfriend, Chris and Lynn would be sitting together watching TV, playing games or simply talking. They had a great time together and there were hardly any arguments. During the months they were living together they learned to understand one another very well.

After a few months of living together Lynn needed to go to the bathroom urgently while Chris was taking a shower.

"Chris, Iím sorry to bother you, but I really have to pee. May I come in?"

"Just a second, alright, come in."

Chris was still under the shower. When Lynn flushed the toilet, he turned off the shower.

"Could you hand me the towel?"

"Yeah, sure." Lynn gave it to him and Chris dried himself while Lynn was washing her hands. Chris emerged from the shower cabin the towel tied around his waist. Lynn realised that he had a really muscular body. He looked different mainly because he was not wearing his glasses. Lynn could not remember ever seeing him without glasses apart from the very few moments when he had taken them off to clean them in the evenings. Chris smiled at her. Lynn smiled back then left. Chris went to the sink looking for his glasses fumbling around nervously.

"Uh, Lynn!"

"Yeah."

"Have you seen my glasses somewhere? I thought I had put them onto the sink, but they arenít there."

"No, I donít think Iíve seen them, but let me take a look."

Lynn went back only to see the glasses on top of Chrisí clothes.

"They are right here, on top of your clothes."

"Oh right, now I remember putting them there. Thanks."

"Youíre welcome I didnít know your eyes were that bad."

"Iím so blind itís really embarrassing." Chris put his glasses back on.

"Donít be too hard on yourself." Lynn smiled and went back to her room. She had not realized how bad Chrisí eyesight was. He had always done everything the other boys had; he had never let his eyes stop him from getting or doing anything. At least that was what she thought.

Chris, on the other hand, was feeling really embarrassed. Great, now Lynn knew how fucking blind he was. Four-eyes, a geek too blind for anything. Usually Chris did not mind wearing glasses. They were the only way for him to see clearly and had been part of him since he could remember. The only problem was that he had always had a crush on Lynn and now, he thought, that she knew how blind he was, he would never have the slightest chance.

Neither Lynn nor Chris talked about this incident. One evening Chris, Lynn, Rick and Rickís girlfriend were sitting in the living room watching TV. During the commercial Chris absent-mindedly took off his glasses putting them on the table rubbing his eyes. Rickís girlfriend took the glasses and put them on.

"Wow theses are strong, how can you see through them", she exclaimed.

"Well, I canít see much without them. Could I have them back?" Chris replied.

"Of course, hey Rick have you ever tried them? I want to see what you look like in glasses." She put the onto Rickís face.

"Oh honey, Iím glad you donít have glasses, youíre so much cuter without them. And actually Chris, youíre quite cute without glasses. What do you guys think? What does Rick you like?"

Lynn saw that Chris was getting extremely uncomfortable.

"Definitely not your style, Rick." Lynn said.

"Whatís your opinion Chris?" Rickís girlfriend asked.

"I uhÖ donít see that far. Can I have my glasses back now?" Chris said his voice slightly trembling.

"Oh my god, it must be terrible for you to have eyes like this. Can you even see the TV?"

Rick handed Chris back his glasses. He clutched them and put them on.

"Now I can, if you excuse me now", Chris answered before he got up and left.

Lynn felt sorry for him. Rickís girlfriend had gone too far. She hoped Rick would tell her. Lynn got up as well and followed Chris.

Chris had gone to his room. He had barely managed to hold back the tears and to control his anger. Rickís girlfriend had gone too far. She had exposed him in public, and in front of Lynn which was even worse. He felt humiliated. Why didnít Rick say anything? Couldnít he see him suffering? Probably not, he was in love and had only eyes for his girlfriend. There was a knock at his door. Chris wiped away tears and cleared his throat.

"Chris, may I come in?" Lynn asked.

"Yeah, come on in."

"Are you okay?"

"Yeah, no big deal, but I didnít want to spend the rest of the night talking outside."

"I understand that. That wasnít nice of her."

"Itís okay, Iíll get over it."

"Are you sure?"

"Yeah, letís just forget about it." Chris managed a weak smile.

Lynn left saying good night and went to her room. She did not want to go back to her brotherís girlfriend. She had seen that Chris had been crying. He tried to appear strong, but he could not deceive her.

Inside his room Chris hoped he had convinced Lynn that he did not care that much about the events of the night. But for a very long time he had suspected that his glasses were putting girls off him. He had not had a girlfriend for a rather long time and his former girlfriend had all taken off his glasses while kissing and sex. May be he should try contact lenses again. Chris had tried them before and did not really tolerate them for a long time, but maybe it was worth the sacrifice. In the morning he would talk to Rick.

Lynn woke up because she heard the loud voices of her brother and Chris. They were having an argument about last night. She only heard parts like "why didnít you do anything"Ö "donít be stupid, it was just fun"Ö "over the edge"Ö "maybe, I should"Ö "thatís not funny for me"Ö "sorry, man, I just didnít realise"Ö "an apology"Ö "Iíll talk to her"Ö "made a complete fool of myself in the presence of"Ö "alright, Iím sorry, but please"Ö "okay, you know what"Ö "sheís not like that"Ö "you owe me"Ö "any tips"Ö "itís worth a try, but didnít you"Ö "yeah, but maybeÖ make an appointmentÖ see"

Lynn did not get all of what they were saying since she did not want to go eaves dropping. Instead she took a shower. She did not want to be part of the argument and they had talked in a more moderate tone towards the end.

When she came into the kitchen Rick and Chris were chatting as if nothing had happened.

"Morning guys, are you friends again?"

"Hi sis, yeah, everythingís settled."

"Good."

A week passed and nothing special happened. Rickís girlfriend apologised and the others did not talk about the incident again.

Chris made and appointment at the ophthalmologist to get contact lenses.

On Saturday Chris tried his new contact lenses. He had not trouble putting them in, but after a few minutes it felt slightly uncomfortable. Chris kept blinking and decided to give it a try. At the breakfast table Lynn was surprised not to see him in glasses.

"Where are your glasses?"

"I bought myself contact lenses."

"Oh, I see."

Lynn did notice that Chris was blinking quite a lot.

They had planned to go to the zoo and then to the movies that day. Rickís girlfriend also tagged along. She did not say anything at the beginning, but after some time she commented, "You look good today Chris." Chris nodded and that was it. Then she took Lynn aside and said, "Well, donít you think he looks so much better without these strong glasses?"

"Actually, I do think thatís up to him and I donít care that much about it as long as he is happy."

"If you say so, but I have noticed the way he looked at you."

"What would this be like?"

"Well, you know." Then she turned towards Rick again.

Lynn kept thinking about what she had just heard. Could it be that Chris had a crush on her? She had always thought he was quite cute, but she had always considered him as her brotherís best friend.

In the zoo they had a great time and at the movies as well. Afterwards they went to a pub close to their flat. There was a lot of smoke inside and the air was rather dry. Chris felt that he would not be able to tolerate the contacts much longer.

"I think I have to go", he told the others blinking more than before.

"Iíll go with you", Lynn said.

They left together and headed back to the flat.

"Are you having problems with your contact lenses?"

"Yeah, the air in the pub was so dry. I have to take them out."

When they reached the flat Chris headed for the bathroom. After some minutes he emerged wearing glasses again.

"Better?"

"Much better."

On the next day Chris tried the contact lenses again, but after a short while his eyes were really dry and he did not want to put in eye drops all the time. Would Lynn still like him like this?

Despite the discomfort Chris put in the contacts on Monday morning before breakfast. But during breakfast his eyes were getting red again and it did not feel comfortable. He headed for the bathroom. The door was closed. Lynn was inside.

"Lynn, Iím sorry to bother you, but may I come in?"

"Donít worry, come in!"

"Thanks, my contact lenses are killing me."

Lynn was having a shower so she could not see what Chris was doing. He removed his contacts and it was a relief to take them out, but then he remembered that he did not know where he had put his glasses. Where they in his room? He did not know. Chris could not see much at all, but he could not put in the contacts again.

Lynn turned off the water and realised that Chris was still there.

"Donít look!"

"Donít worry, I donít see that far."

"Are you okay?"

"Not really, I mean I took out the contacts, but I have no idea where I put my glasses."

"Iíll help you find them as soon as Iím at least partly dressed, all right?"

"Thatíd be nice."

Lynn put on her underwear and looked around. She could not see the glasses in the bathroom.

"Do you have any idea where your glasses might be? Because I donít think theyíre here."

"Maybe I took them back to my room."

"Letís have a look then, shall we?"

"Okay." Chris stumbled out of the door touching the walls to find the way. Lynn took his hand and held it tightly. Chris squeezed hers and there was a slight smile on his face.

They went to Chris room, but the glasses were nowhere to be seen.

"Do you have any spare pair?"

"Back home I do, but I donít think I have. Well, my sunglasses are in my drawer."

Lynn opened the drawer and found them. Whatís more, inside the drawer were some photos of her. She could not believe it. Quickly she closed the drawer and handed Chris his sunglasses.

"At least my visionís sharp, although itís quite dark! Thanks Lynn."

"Well, weíd better find your real glasses, though. You canít walk around in sunglasses all day."

"I think, now I remember, where I put them. I put them into my backpack in order to have them with my during the day in case there was something with my contacts."

They opened his backpack and found his glasses. Chris put them on and sighed in relief. He gave Lynn a hug.

"Iím so glad we found them. Thanks for your help. Iíd never have found them aloneÖwell, I guess, it would have taken hours." Chris blushed slightly.

"Your welcome, Iím glad I was there to help you." Lynn smiled at him. She thought that Chris was actually a really handsome guy. Then she realised that she was still wearing nothing but her underwear.

"Well, Iíd better get dressed now that you have your glasses back."

"Oh, of course. Shall I take off my glasses until youíre dressed?"

"Donít worry."

Chris was really glad that Lynn had helped him. How could he have been so stupid and forget where he had put his glasses? He had exposed himself to Lynn. She could not possible like him as blind as he was, could she? Rick said she would not. Did he know her that well?

Chris returned to his unfinished breakfast. Lynn came all dressed up only minutes later. She looked stunning. They ate in silent for most of the time. Lynn got up because she had to leave for work. She gave Chris a peck on the cheek and felt that she had butterflies in her stomach. Could it be? Chris? Her brotherís best friend, her room mate? She did not have much time to think about it that day since she had a lot of work to do.

Chris, however, thought back to the hug and the peck on the cheek. He had not felt anything like that for a very long time, if ever. Lynn was very special. She did not seem to be turned off by his glasses. They had known each other since they were kids. Chris had always liked Lynn a lot, but he had never had the courage to tell her about his feelings. Would he have it now? He hoped so, but he wanted to talk to Rick first.

Rick had known about Chrisís crush for quite some time and had tried to give him some advice, which so far had not been very helpful.

Now he asked Rick to sort of ask Lynn what she thought about Chris without being too obvious.

In the evening they did not see each other before midnight since Lynn went out with some colleagues after work and Chris played tennis with one of his buddies. Chris had been playing tennis with contact lenses, but they had not been comfortable at all, even though he was using eye drops to make his eyes feel better. He had not wanted to admit it to his friends, but back home, he thought, he would not think twice about taking them out; but not before having his glasses right next to him.

When Chris came back home, Rick and Rickís girlfriend were watching TV. Chris joined them and remained in contacts since he did not feel comfortable wearing glasses in Rickís girlfriendís company.

Lynn came home about ten minutes after Chris and immediately noticed the discomfort he was in while wearing contact lenses. She knew that he would not be in contacts if it was not for Rickís girlfriend. She said hello pecking Chrisís cheeks whispering, "Meet me in the kitchen."

Lynn was waiting for Chris looking slightly concerned. When he came she said, "You may be fooling them, but I sure as hell can see that your eyes need a break."

"Yeah, I know. Well, I came home only minutes before you and decided to join them for a little while. I donít like her to see me in glasses. I still havenít forgiven her; not completely anyway. But I guess, Iíll better take out my contacts now."

"And donít forget where you put you glasses, okay?"

Lynn joined the others in the living room while Chris went to the bathroom.

Chris knew that Lynn was right and it felt so good to remove the contacts and put on his glasses. He took off his glasses and looked at himself in the mirror. His blurry reflection was looking back at him. Damn it, I canít possibly go without them, he thought to himself.

When Chris returned to the living room, the others were laughing about something on TV. Lynn smiled at him and motioned for him to sit down next to her. Rickís girlfriend stayed quiet. They did not stay up much longer. Rickís girlfriend left because she had to get up early in the morning on the next day. The others went to bed.

In the morning Rick and Lynn had breakfast before Chris got up.

"So whatís going on with you and Chris? Is there anything I should know?"

"Hell, Rick, I donít know. I have always liked him, heís great and heís a friend of mine, but, I mean, I have never realised what a cute guy he is. More than just your best friend, but I donít know what he feels about me."

"Heís quite intrigued by you, I mean, he has a major crush for you; he has fancied you ever since that day when the three of us fought against Mannyís gang and you scared the shit out of them. Maybe even longer, I donít know."

"Wow, I didnít know that!"

"Yeah, well the problem is that he has always been so self-conscious about his glasses when it comes to girls. Heís had some bad experience, you know."

"Thatís why heís still mad at Ruth, isnít he."

"Yeah, she found out his weaknessÖ and she overdid it a little."

"He doesnít even want her to see him in glasses."

"I know. He thought he had to try contact lenses again to attract your attention. He thought you might like him more, if he wasnít wearing glasses."

"But I have always liked him. Heís smart, heís sensitive, heís handsome, heísÖ Chris."

"I just wanted to tell you that he likes you an awful lot and he wanted to know your feelings towards him, so may I tell him that you like him?"

"Yes, but maybe I should tell him myself!"

Lynn and Rick made a plan.

The next few days nothing extraordinary happened. Chris did not wear his contact lenses anymore since he felt that his eyes needed a rest. Rick told Chris that Lynn may be attracted to him, but that was it. Chris was really excited about that, but did not know how to react.

On Saturday neither Lynn nor Rick were there when Chris woke up. This was rather strange since usually they would sleep in.

On the table in the kitchen there was a note saying:

Good morning Chris!

I hope you slept well.

For further instructions watch TV.

He looked surprised. What was this all about? So he got dressed and then went to the TV. There was a video tape. He put it in and watched it. "Dear viewer, you have been elected to participate in our new reality game. Please buy yourself a pack of Marlboro and wait until you receive further instructions."

Chris had no idea what that was all about? What else could he do, but buy the cigarettes. There was a small shop opposite the house. The clerk nodded at him and when Chris ordered the cigarettes he offered a smile. Chris left the shop and opened the pack. Instead of cigarettes it contained another written message. "Go to the city centre and take a look inside the big fountain."

Thatís weird, Chris thought, but still he was curious and continued. At the fountain he did not see anything. Maybe that was a joke after all and soon thereíd be someone saying, "Congratulations for being such a fool." Chris waited and looked around for several minutes. An old woman approached him and said, "Things are not what they seem to be, take a look at the dog." There was a dog wading through the fountain and right then Chris saw something on the fountainís floor. He reached inside the fountain and grabbed a small pack.

The pack was empty. Great! What Am I supposed to do now? Chris thought. Suddenly someone grabbed his mobile. Chris ran after the thief coming closer with each step. He had nearly reached the thief until suddenly he stumbled and fell onto the floor. His glasses got knocked off. Cursing Chris tried to find his glasses. He found them after some minutes of sheer panic. They were unharmed. To his surprise he also found his mobile lying a few metres away. The thief must have lost it. On the display there was a message saying. "Sorry about that! Go to the place you used to play when you were a kid." This game was not funny anymore and his left ankle hurt. Where did they want him to go? Who were they?

Chris cleaned his jeans and sat down on a near bench thinking about the last message. He realised that they must be watching him. Then a thought struck him. Could they mean the old forest next to his home? Since he was still curious Chris went to the forest. As ids they had built a house in the tree and played games. He, Rick and Lynn had played together and had fought with other gangs. Lynn had been so strong and she had taught Manny a lesson, oh yeah.

There was no one near the forest, but Chris decided to go in anyway. He knew the way by heart. Back then he had not been wearing glasses all the time and had mesmerized the way so he could play without glasses so he would not lose them.

There was some sort of light in where their tree house used to be. He climbed up to the tree and to his surprise Lynn was sitting there looking adorable. She smiled at him.

"Iím glad you made it. Rick should be there soon. He was to supervise the whole plan. I hope you enjoyed the game."

"Most of it, until I fell and lost my glasses."

"Rick told me about it. This wasnít part of the game. Iím really sorry. But since you made it, Iím here to tell you that you won and special prize."

"Give it to me. Iíve had enough surprises for today."

"Okay, but you have to take off your glasses."

"Oh, come on, thatís not fair."

"Do you want the prize or not? Besides, you should know that I would never harm your glasses on purpose."

"Alright, I trust you."

Lynn took the glasses and held them in her right hand. Then she moved very close to Chrisí face until she new he could see her even without glasses. Then she put the glasses onto his face and kissed him.

There was a cheering while they were kissing. Rick had come and was watching them. "The two of you got together at last. It was about time!"

They turned around and smiled at him.

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