Elliot was so close Eugene could feel the other boy's breath tickling his face and if he leaned forward - just a little - he would be able to taste it too. Eugene very much wanted to do that and he thought Elliot might want him to do it too.
Elliot was so beautiful sitting there in his brightly coloured hat that when Eugene looked into his silver eyes it felt like he was being greeted by starlight and in that moment he knew it would be rude NOT to kiss his friend.
But Eugene had felt the same way the day he kissed Jack McVeigh on the park bench and he'd come out of that with a bruised jaw when Jack decided to prove that he was not the sort of boy who asked other boys to kiss him. Afterwards Leo had said it was important to always ask first and kiss later, but he also stressed that Eugene should probably learn how to throw a good punch. Even now, months later, he had not mastered the art of punching nor could he trust himself to speak, to ask, if he might bridge the gap between them. So he hesitated.
He thought of the first time they had kissed, and how confusing, and warm, and wonderful it had been; and how often he had wanted to replicate it since. It had not been like that with Norah but, Elliot was not Norah, Eugene's stomach always always soared when he was around. He was not Jack either - Elliot would never hurt Eugene.
Eugene felt his mind begin to settle as his sense of safety began to rebuild and he dispelled Leo's words of caution. With their exit, Eugene was finally ready to answer Elliot’s question, and he did so in one swift and decisive action, closing the chasm between them to steal a long desired kiss.