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In Your Element Writing Contest 2022: CloudiiSunset's entry

Complicated Feelings

It was a warm and beautiful day at the park. There was a slight breeze that softened the heat of the sun and small clouds that decorated the sky. The park itself was decorated with the colors of the pride flags, such as the benches or light poles. Everyone there seemed to be having a good time, laughing with friends or sharing special moments with their partners.
Jamey was watching everyone while enjoying a picnic with his friends. He looked at them, who most of them were in relationships. He wondered what it was like. He didn’t know who or what he was attracted to, if he was. He never thought about it until he saw Aster and Percy together. He looked at them now, seeing how happy they were. He was almost jealous.
“You gonna eat those?” Jamey looked up to see Ryker, startled to find his mask was off for once. He was pointing at a bag of grapes beside Jamey.
“Wha- yeah I am!” Jamey said, snatching up the bag.
Ryker huffed, looking around the area to find any unwanted snacks. Jamey then barely noticed a small mole on his face next to slightly larger one. He was staring so intensely he didn’t notice Aster tossing him a bag of cookies. When the bag landed in his lap, he flinched so hard he accidentally hit Ai, who was sitting next to him. “I’m so sorry!” Jamey immediately apologized.
“No, no, you’re alright!” She reassured him, her short fur slightly puffed up from the shock.
“You good, dude? You look like you were watching something intense.” Aster said, sort of chuckling.
“Yeah, I’m fine, but you didn’t have to throw them at me.” Jamey said, picking up the bag.
“I didn’t throw them, I tossed them.” Aster argued.
“Well, you could’ve given a better warning.” Nova, across the blanket with Jadyn, said, sort of teasing. “Oh, whatever,” Aster rolled his eyes, grinning.
“Did you make these, Felicity?” Jamey asked, knowing how much she loved baking.
“Yup! Tell me what you think!” She smiled. “And let Ryker have a couple too, I don’t think he’s had any.”
Jamey saw that he was already patiently waiting to get his share. He grabbed a couple from the bag and gave it to Ryker. The bag eventually made its way back to Felicity as he munched on the cookies. Everyone was telling her how good they were, especially Autumn and Ash. The subject was soon changed to something else afterwards. Jamey didn’t know what they were talking about, so he ended up staring off into space, easily getting lost in his thoughts.
After some time, Jamey’s legs were itching to stretch and do stuff. His friends were so engaged in conversation it felt awkward to say anything, so he just got up quietly. Nova ended up noticing anyways, getting curious. “Where you going, Jamey?” He asked, which caused everyone to look up at him.
“Oh, I’m just gonna go walk around, I wanna stretch out my legs.” He said, sort of grinning to convince them that he would be fine.
“Alrighty then.” Nova responded.
“Don’t get lost!” Aster laughed as Jamey walked away.
He stuck to the sidewalk, looking around at everyone who was there. Looking at the couples there made him think about himself. Would he want to be with another man? He thought about Ash, Autumn, and Felicity, wondering what their relationship was like. He thought about Ai and wondered maybe he wasn’t attracted to anyone. He still had some desire to be with someone, though, but he wasn’t sure.
“Hey.” Jamey flinched a bit, realizing Ryker had approached him.
“Oh, hey, what are you doing here?” Jamey asked.
“They all sent me to go check on you. You were kind of quiet back there, you doing ok?” Ryker asked.
“Uh, yeah I’m fine, I’m just thinking about stuff.” Jamey said. They walked on quietly for a couple of seconds.
“You wanna talk about it?” Ryker asks.
Jamey was surprised by his behavior. Usually, they both acted tough with each other, always challenging the other. “Well, it’s kind of dumb..” Jamey started.
Ryker raised an eyebrow. “I don’t know who or what I’m attracted to, and it’s sort of frustrating. I like the idea of being with someone close, but I don’t know who.” Jamey explained, feeling shy telling him this.
“Well, that’s alright. There’s no rush in figuring out who you are.” Ryker responded.
Jamey thought for a moment. “Do you know who you’re attracted to?” He asked, realizing Ryker never seems to show interest in people.
He shrugged. “Eh, I just like who I like.”
“Do you like anyone right now?” Jamey asked out of pure curiosity.
“I don’t have to tell you.” Ryker huffed, looking away. “If you don’t need me with you anymore, I can head back if you want.” He said, changing the subject so Jamey wouldn’t keep asking for the answer.
“I mean, you can head back if you want.” Jamey responded.
Ryker seemed to think about it for a moment. “Ok then, I’ll leave you to your thoughts.”
Jamey watched him walk off for a moment before continuing one. He was soon beginning to notice something strange. Every couple he looked at he thought of Ryker. He couldn’t figure out why, but the German Shepard was stuck in his thoughts. He eventually found his way back to his friends, who were being given small flower bracelets Jadyn was making with nearby flowers. Jamey found Ryker, sitting down beside him. Jamey noticed Ryker glancing at him. There was a little warm feeling inside of him now. He soon found himself wishing they could’ve walked together for a bit longer.

(Extra: For pride month, characters used- https://toyhou.se/CloudiiSunset/characters/folder:2880919)