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  1. 109 points
    KENNEDY ~ CAPTAIN’S TABLE Kennedy fiddled with the gold cufflink on his left sleeve, and peered nervously towards the large doors to the room. Tonight’s event showcased another side of the gay community. Two nights ago, at the White Party, some of these people had been sexy Snow Queens or Marilyn Monroes, complete with platinum wigs and high heels. Others wore next to nothing; loincloths or Roman togas. Tonight, with most people dressing in either black tie or evening gown, his mother and father wouldn’t have looked out of place. Although, if you looked closer, dotted around the room, some guests had chosen alternatives; white, powder pink, or blue tuxes, some men in drag, dressed gloriously in stunning gowns. Kennedy would normally have enjoyed the splashes of non-conformity, but his mind remained elsewhere. Once again, he checked his watch, then brushed at an imaginary dust mark on his sleeve. “For goodness’ sake Kennedy, will you stop fidgeting—oh, fuckity-fuck,” said Pete, gazing over Kennedy’s left shoulder, his eyes going wide. Along with a lull in the weather, Pete had emerged from his cabin that evening. “What?” said Kennedy, spinning around, but seeing nothing through the crowd. “Fuck my old boot,” said Pete, his mouth hanging open. “Queer One scrubs up good.” And then Kennedy spied him—Kieran—with Laurie on his arm, and a sudden pride swelled in his chest like an inflating airbag. Kieran absolutely rocked the dress suit, a perfect fit with a black bow and dark red—burgundy—cummerbund. Not only that, but his hair had been trimmed and tamed with gel, and he moved with an easy confidence Kennedy had never noticed before. All heads turned as he passed, some clustering together to pass comment on this deliciously handsome male specimen. Prince Charming had arrived at the ball. Laurie stopped and looked around, before whispering something in Kieran’s ear. After finishing, she nodded towards Kennedy and Pete, before moving off. Kieran strolled over to join them, his expression unreadable. On his way, he plucked a flute of champagne from a waiter who smiled and then turned to give Kieran’s departing back a once-over. “Look at you, Mr Hottie,” said Pete, as Kieran arrived. “Licensed to kill.” “You look really good, Kieran,” said Kennedy, amazed at how shy he sounded. “These bloody shoes are killing me,” said Kieran, grimacing at his stylish black patent leather dress shoes. “Style comes at a price, kid,” said Pete, whose own dress suit had seen better days. “Where’s Laurie gone?” “To let the MC know Kennedy and Steph aren’t going to be dancing tonight.” “Yes, a shame she’s not better,” said Kennedy. “Still, maybe you and I could take a turn on the floor later? Once the contest is over?” “We’ll see,” said Kieran, his expression unreadable. Even though they’d managed to secure a table bordering the dance floor, their party size being depleted now had meant other passengers—complete strangers—joining them at their table. Kieran chose to sit away from Kennedy, between Laurie and a nice looking older man. Kennedy glanced Kieran’s way a couple of times, but he continued to engage the man in conversation— either that or he purposely ignored Kennedy. After a served meal of lobster bisque, choice of filet mignon, black cod or vegetarian pasta, followed by a selection of desserts, cheeses and coffee, the first of the dancers took to the floor. Two large bears, dressed in pink and blue tuxedos, danced the cha-cha. Although light on their feet, they came frighteningly close to Kennedy a couple of times, and at one point he thought they might crash into their table. Kennedy’s favourite came in the form of a mountain of a man, completely bald, dressed in a sleeveless, flowing dress, in sparkling electric blue, with one arm showcasing an inked sleeve tattoo. Energetically performing the Lindy-Hop, his lesbian friend, dressed in a bright red dress suit, looked like a character out of the Dick Tracy movie. They made an unlikely but mesmerising couple. Once applause died down after the final act, the announcer moved back to the microphone. “Ladies and gentlemen, a slight change to the programme. We were promised a final performance tonight, but due to one half of the couple being sick, tonight’s dance will instead be performed by Kennedy Grey and Kieran West.” Amid the sound of applause, Kennedy looked around shocked to find Kieran standing behind his chair, his hand held out palm upwards. “Come on, old man,” said Kieran, his voice and face stern. “Exactly the same as you practiced with Steph. Every step the same. Let me lead, and you follow. Are we cool?” Stunned, and unable to reply coherently, Kennedy allowed Kieran to take his hand and lead him away. Stood in the centre of the dance floor, with all eyes on them, Kieran adopted the same starting position Steph and he had agreed upon. As the music began—the staccato rhythm of El Tango de Roxanne—Kieran moved in perfect sync with Kennedy, their eyes glued to each other. Often, when dancing with Steph, she had been unable to maintain the fierce glare between them, usually dissolving into a fit of giggles. Kieran’s eyes never once left his and positively smouldered with sexual innuendo. Each time Kieran crushed their bodies together, at one point bending Kennedy’s body backwards while closely hovering over him, he inhaled Kieran’s unique body smell mixed with his gentle spiced aftershave lotion. At the end of the dance, with a final flourish, they ended frozen in place, their hands joined with each other’s above their heads, their hips joined at the groin, and foreheads pressed together. Around the room, the watching crowd erupted with loud cheers and applause. When Kennedy finally relaxed and peered over at their table, he noticed Laurie grinning broadly while fanning her face with her hand. Next up, the band changed gear into a gentle two-step allowing everyone to join. Kennedy had been about to head back to their table but Kieran pulled him into the dance. Within seconds the floor filled around them, with a few people—other gay couples—leaning in to congratulate the two of them on their performance. Kennedy shook his head, still stunned. “That was amazing. How the hell did you memorise those steps?” “Child’s play. Although, of course, the video helped. My cousin and I were West London under fifteen ballroom champions in our youth. Three years running. Unlike you, though, I loved dancing lessons. Still step out every now and then whenever she’s in town.” “Well, aren’t you full of surprises?” “You have no idea. There’s a lot about me you don’t know.” “Clearly. So does this mean I’m forgiven?” “For what?” said Kieran, a puzzled expression on his face. “For everything. Forcing the kiss on you. Not standing up for you in front of Patrick when he was being a royal prick. For making you smoke a cigarette.” “According to Joey, you did stand up for me. Only you did so after I’d left.” Kennedy snorted. He’d forgotten Joey came into the bar after Kieran had walked off and would have heard his heated exchange with Patrick. “And for the record. You didn’t force me to kiss you. Bribed, maybe. But nothing was forced on me. Besides, that must be the quickest monkey anyone’s ever made.” “I meant it, you know? I will honour that deal.” “Yeah, but I only really gave you about a hundred and fifty quid’s worth. How about the other three-fifty?” “You get that anyway. For having to put up with my shit.” Kennedy felt himself being twirled around until he faced the table where Richmond and Mike sat watching, probably bitching about them both. “Nah,” whispered Kieran in his ear. “Got a better idea.” In front of the whole room, Kieran brought their lips together but before they could connect, Kennedy placed his hands on Kieran’s chest, held him in place. “Kieran, you don’t have to do this. People will see us, will see you.” “Uh, that’s kind of the point. Plus, I need to test something out. So please indulge me for a minute or two.” Once again, Kieran moved forward and this time Kennedy closed his eyes, felt the full force of Kieran’s lips press against him. At first, the kiss felt tentative, a brush of lips as though exploring, but then Kieran’s tongue teased open his lips. Once their tongues collided, Kieran tilted his head, his hands weaving through Kennedy’s hair, pulling him forward. Deepening the kiss, their tongues danced their own private tango, while Kennedy pulled their bodies tightly together. When eventually they came up for air, Kennedy met the startled gaze of Kieran, his plump lips moist and reddened, his pupils dilated. “My God! I really like kissing you. What does that say about me?” “That you have good taste?” “Can we head back to the cabin?” said Kieran, ignoring the quip and instead plucking a playing card from his top pocket. “I’ve had this jack of spades burning a hole in my pocket for days now. And I think I’m finally ready to trade it in tonight.” “Huh? I don’t understand. Is that why you’re packing?” said Kennedy, confused. “But you know I can’t fly you out until the end of the cruise.” “I wasn’t packing. I was trying to find my bloody bow tie. And anyway, that’s not what I’m asking. I want to trade this baby in for its original purpose. I want to swap this for one of your famous, mind-numbing, Kennedy Grey blow jobs. Best in the northern hemisphere, according to my sources.” “Hang on, Kieran. Are you sure? You don’t have to do this.” “Fuck that. I’m the one getting the blow job, not you. You think you’re man enough?” After staring at him for a couple of seconds, Kennedy grabbed Kieran by the hand and dragged him off the dance floor back towards their cabin.
  2. 101 points
    KENNEDY ~ PATRICK The sudden loss of warmth from Kieran’s body with his departure, from having him pressed up against his back, took Kennedy by surprise. During the molten kiss—from a supposedly straight man, no less—something strange had happened inside, a simple truth had come to light, something that had been so obvious, so fundamental, that he had been blind to it all these years. “We need to talk,” came the voice of his ex-lover. Nine years, to be precise. He had spent nine years of his life with the man in front of him. Pretty much all of his thirties. And in all that time, they had never been in love. Not really, if they were both going to be honest. Maybe they loved each other, in a brotherly kind of way. Kennedy provided a financial security blanket while Patrick brought domesticity and continuity. But what they had was a partnership of convenience, nothing more. “Kennedy! Are you listening to me?” “Yes, Patrick,” he replied calmly, peering up at Patrick instead of looking through him. No doubt about it, his ex still looked good, a little heavier of frame perhaps, but still handsome and in good shape. Over Patrick’s shoulder, he noticed Joey rush into the room, but on seeing them together, move to one side of the room, not far away. “First of all, what’s with snogging the rent boy? Was that show just for me?” “Okay, enough, Patrick. Let’s put a few things straight, shall we?” “Straight? Fine. Let me start. In case you didn’t know, your boy’s got a girlfriend back in England.” “Yes, I know he had a girlfriend. Just like you and I had girlfriends back in college.” “You don’t get it, do you? Just like the last one, this little cocksucker moron’s taking you for a ride, too—” “No!” said Kennedy, standing and meeting Patrick’s gaze. “You do not get to slag off Kieran! Have a pop at me all you want, but leave Kieran alone. He’s been nothing short of heroic for standing by me and putting up with this whole stupid charade. Yes, Richmond told me in no uncertain terms what everyone thinks of me, but Kieran deserves none of it. Only one man on this ship has stood by my side and defended me through all of this, and that’s Kieran.” “Yeah, because you’re paying him to.” “Not true. I’m paying him to be a companion, not a defender. The lot of you managed to turn Ewan against me last year, and I was paying him, too. But unlike the rest of you evil queens, Kieran has a good heart. And he’s the first person who has ever got me. Understands why I do what I do, what I’ve achieved despite everything. Someone who sees the things I’ve accomplished without being jealous or judgmental.” “Like me, you mean?” “If we’re going for honesty, then, yes.” “Fucking unbelievable,” Patrick spat out, turning his head away. “Still reinventing history much? You always did put your work before us. Never put any time aside for me. You alone were the one responsible for ruining us.” “Takes two, Patrick. I admit I spent a lot of time getting one deal after another off the ground. I was single-handedly trying to salvage my uncle’s company from going under. You knew that. But you never gave me any encouragement or support. All you ever did was either whinge endlessly or nitpick everything I did, especially when I got home dog tired. Berating me for where I put my jacket, or if I slept the night on the sofa, or what channel I watched on the television. You made life in that house unbearable. And now Richmond tells me you thought I was cheating on you all that time, while I was away at weekends working my ass off. That is not only untrue, but monumentally unfair and, frankly, unforgivable. You know what? The day you stormed out, I felt as though I could finally breathe again.” Patrick stood unspeaking then, but a change occurred in him, his eyes glassy, clearly hurt. Kennedy didn’t want that. From the start, he had only wanted to clear the air, but not at the expense of hurting Patrick’s feelings. When he looked around, he noticed Joey had left, had probably heard enough. “It’s been five years, Pat. You need to let this go. For both our sakes.” Patrick unfolded his arms and thrusted his hands into his pockets. “Richmond told me you’ve barely left the cabin the whole cruise,“ said Kennedy, “Is that true?” Oddly enough, Patrick smiled at that comment. “Rich tends to over-exaggerate. Of course we’ve left the room for meals. But Joey can be very demanding in the bedroom.” Unexpectedly, Kennedy’s laughter finally broke the stalemate. “We’re never getting back together, are we?” asked Patrick, as though he already knew the answer. Kennedy smiled and shook his head very gently. “Joey’s nice, Pat. And he clearly adores you. You two suit each other.” “He’s young, and messy. And a bit of a scatter brain where finances are concerned.” “Which is why he needs someone like you.” ******* Kennedy passed only a handful of fellow passengers on his way back to the cabin, everyone else undoubtedly getting dressed up for the captain’s dinner that evening. When he reached the double doors, he took a deep breath before swiping his keycard. Things needed to be said—damage limitation—and he had let sleeping dogs lie with Patrick for far too long. Neither liked to apologise. Even so, trepidation unsettled his stomach now. He had meant what he said to Patrick, about Kieran being a decent guy. But Kennedy had forced that kiss on him and overstepped the very boundaries he had set. If Kieran was pissed off at him, he had every right to be. Inside the room, lights blazed but nobody appeared to be there. When he walked into the bedroom, Kieran’s case sat open on top of the bed. Why was he packing? They weren’t due in Hong Kong for four days. Had Kennedy succeeded in scaring him away? “Kieran?” he called out. No answer. For the next thirty minutes, after checking with his friends, he searched all the places on the boat Kieran had liked to hang out; the coffee shop, the bowling alley, the cinema. Eventually, he headed up onto the rain-glistened deck where the bad weather had finally cleared, to the relaxing spot along the sea rail with the row of chairs and sun loungers. “Kieran?” The familiar figure pressed up against the deck railing made no sign of acknowledgment. Perhaps a slight movement of the head or a stiffening of the body. Hard to tell by the dimness of twilight. There was most definitely an exhalation of smoke from a cigarette Kieran had been nursing. Just as Kennedy thought, the damage had been done, maybe too late to salvage anything—but he had to try. Taking a deep breath, he stepped forward and joined the ‘Hate Kennedy’ party. Stood there companionably for a while, following Kieran’s gaze out to sea, he gathered the right words to say. On the horizon, the last vestiges of the day’s light tinted the sky, shimmering an orange and purple melange across the tips of the waves. A couple of times Kennedy chanced a sidelong glance but Kieran kept his gaze trained on the ocean, taking an occasional puff from the cigarette. “Beautiful isn’t it? Did you know that twilight has three phases? Civil twilight is what we’re seeing now. Starts right after sunset, once the sun’s lost from view and drops to around six degrees below the horizon. The second is called nautical twilight, between six and twelve degrees, and the third is astronomical twilight, between twelve and eighteen. On a good day, like today, twilight is accompanied by a spectacular light show.” “So what’s dusk?” “Officially, dusk is the transition from the darkest phase of twilight, just before night kicks in.” “What is it about the human race that we have to categorise something as lovely and natural as sunset.” “Twilight.” “Sunset. Twilight. What-the-fuck ever.” “Back before television and the internet, people had a lot of time to kill. Man had to do something with all those spare hours. Apart from reading, writing, and masturbation.” A snort of laughter next to him lightened Kennedy’s mood. “What I asked of you earlier, in the club, was wrong. I panicked and I’m—I regret that. What I should have done was to grow some balls and deal with the situation on my own. A few years ago, actually. The way I’ve had to all my life. If I made you uncomfortable, that was unintentional.” “Are you apologising?” “I don’t apologise, remember? Look Kieran, we have another four days on the boat. I can’t do anything about that. But if you want, I can rearrange your flight so that you can fly back home from Hong Kong. I’ll still honour the deal. Make sure you get the full amount plus the additional money for the—umm—extra service I asked you to perform. You’ve been a trooper—I truly mean that—and you’ve put up with more shit than anyone else in your place would have done. More than I ever would have. And I respect you for that.” Kennedy fell silent then, hoping that Kieran would say something, anything. Nothing came. “And if you don’t want to come with me to the captain’s table dinner tonight, I’ll also understand—“ “Are you fucking kidding me?” said Kieran, turning to him and stubbing out the remains of the cigarette on the sea rail. “What kind of message would that send to the assholes you used to call friends? Fuck that, I’m coming. And I’m bringing my best game.” “Okay.” As a businessman, Kennedy had learned to deal with a fair amount of bravado. Kieran’s fierce tone and somewhat veiled threat made him a little nervous. “But I’ll be getting changed in Steph and Laurie’s cabin. Even though she’s still sick, Steph’s insisting on adjusting the length of my dress suit trousers and then pressing them. And Laurie’s going to give my hair a quick trim. So I’ll be coming with Laurie and I’ll see you there.” “Understood,” said Kennedy, disappointment filling his stomach like concrete. Part of his enjoyment over the evenings on the cruise had been in getting dressed for dinner together, at assessing each other’s choice of evening wear. “And will you be joining us for pre-dinner drinks?” “Might be a little late, but I’ll be there. Okay?” “Thank you. Are we good, then?” “We’re getting there, Kennedy. We’re getting there.”
  3. 99 points
    KIERAN ~ SAMUI SUNSET Even without the rainbow flags and pink feather boas streaming out of a couple of the coach windows, nobody on the street could have been in any doubt as to the orientation of the passengers inside—well, the majority of them. Kieran had never seen so much colourful spandex or leather harnesses, so much glitter and makeup, and so many tight vests, shorts, and half-naked muscled bodies in one place. Whether the local coach driver had been warned or not, he had no idea, but the man smiled broadly each time the holidaymakers boarded and re-boarded the bus. Two minutes away from the previous stop, and the crowd—most a little the worse for wear after discovering a gay-friendly bar selling cheap Singha beer—began a rousing chorus of Abba’s ‘Mamma Mia’. Three of them, dressed in boas as Meryl, Christine and Julie, even provided a coordinated dance show down the narrow aisle between the seats. Kieran enjoyed the coach entertainment almost as much as the trip itself. Almost, but not quite. Sitting in the luxury air-conditioned coach, he felt entranced by the stunning coastline of calm, aquamarine sea, the almost white sands bordered by lush green vegetation, his mind blown away by the natural beauty of Koh Samui. The next and final stop on their island tour would be the Big Buddha, viewed at sunset. Butterflies had set up shop in his stomach. If he was going to be honest with himself, he wished Kennedy had joined him, missed not having him there to share the experience. Twice in the past few days, he’d noticed Kennedy ogling him naked in the shower. Not that he minded. To be perfectly honest, he left the door to the bathroom open on purpose now, found the attention strangely flattering. But as usual Kennedy had work to finish, and wanted to give Kieran time on his own. Today, though, for once he wished Kennedy had come along. Steph had Laurie with her, and Pete had his dad. Leonard had brought Leighton, who turned out to be his gay nephew, his sister’s kid over from Rockdale, Texas. Kieran had grown to like Leonard on the short excursion—had even been asked to call him Len—glad he’d spent time to get to know him, especially as Leighton made no bones about voicing his aversion to being seen hanging with ‘y’all old folk.” Leonard sat next to Kieran right now, playing with his tablet computer, while Leighton sat with a younger crowd in another part of the bus. “Beautiful, isn’t it?” came Len’s voice. “Stunning. I could happily retire here.” “Got a few good years before that happens, buddy.” Next to him, Len chuckled, before cursing softly under his breath. Kieran turned and noticed him repeatedly brushing his finger across the display of the tablet computer. He’d been playing with the device, and intermittently huffing, ever since they’d boarded the bus after leaving the Thai silk market. “You okay there?” he asked. “I’m trying to get to the next page of this bloody site, but the damned thing keeps freezing. It’s driving me nuts.” “Can I take a look?” “Be my guest,” said Len, thrusting the device at Kieran. Kieran already knew Leonard had no problem accessing the internet, because his own wifi dongle made sure of that. But the site on the display—for what appeared to be antique furniture—had frozen. Kieran copied the URL, closed the browser down and tried again. This time the page opened to the main page of the site, and Kieran selected the one Leonard had been trying to reach. After a minute, he handed the device back. “Not your fault, Len. Looks to me as though that site was put together in the nineties. I realise they’re selling antiques but the home page shouldn’t have to work like one. Heavens, a twelve year old could build something better these days. Surprise they manage to sell anything at all.” When he turned to Len, the man had a grim smile on his face. “We don’t. At least not much.” “Oh, shit,” said Kieran, mortified. “Foot meet mouth. A bad habit of mine. I’m so sorry.” “No, no,” said Len. “You’re right, of course, and you’re honest. All my sites were built by the same developer a couple of decades ago, who subsequently disappeared off the face of the earth. Since then I’ve thrown money at simply trying to keep them up and running.” “Kennedy told me your businesses are doing really well.” “We’re making good money. But not as much as we could be.” “Well, if there’s anything I can help with, let me know. This is my area of expertise.” “Seriously? You could help with this?” “Absolutely. Tell you what, why don’t you give me the details of all your websites—including any backdoor passwords—and I’ll check them out while I’ve got some time free on the cruise. Then we’ll get together one afternoon, you can buy me a cocktail, and I’ll give you my recommendations.” “I can’t ask you to do that on your holiday.” “You’re didn’t. I’m offering. Plus, to be honest, this is the kind of thing I get a kick out of, much more than I do trying to find space to swim in that tiny tub on the boat they call a swimming pool.” “Chip—sorry—Leighton loves to hang around the pool. Says that’s where you find all the young hot guys with the ripped bodies.” “Does nothing for me.” “Me neither,” said Len, before his curious gaze turned to Kieran. “You wouldn’t look out of place there, though. Glad to see Kennedy’s made a good choice this year—for once. Can I ask you a question?” “Um, yes, I think.” Len laughed at that. “Do you work for Kennedy? As well as being together.” “What? No. Why would you ask that?” “It’s just, I heard you talking to Steph about his company, and you sounded really well informed. You were talking about the pros and cons of becoming a public listed company. And some of the steps involved in setting the wheels in motion. Just sounded as though you might already be working for him” “Well I’m definitely not working for him, but my degree course covered the steps businesses need to take in becoming publicly listed in the UK, so the information is fairly fresh in my head. Although my real interest is in e-commerce. Sorry if I come across as a smart aleck. That wasn’t my intention.” “Are you kidding. Kennedy’s last squeeze seemed more obsessed with Kylie Jenner and some show called Riverdale. So, did Kennedy give you his signature blow-job card?” said Leonard, his voice lowering, which, considering the noise on the coach was completely unnecessary. “His what?” “Black Jack. BJ. Did he give you the black jack card, yet?” Kieran threw himself back in his sat, unable to stop the loud laugh bursting from him. Even though they’d not heard Len’s comment, a couple of other passengers, turned their heads and grinned at Kieran’s reaction. In fairness, Kennedy did tell him the card usually held another meaning. “I take that as a yes. Don’t tell me you’ve used it already.” “No,” said Kieran, wiping at his eyes. “No, I haven’t used the card.” “You will, though. Kennedy gives mind boggling blow jobs.” “Oh, yes,” said Kieran, eyeing Len suspiciously. “And just how would you know that?” “No, no,” said Len, grinning. “Not me. God, Kennedy is not my type at all. But let’s just say, the boyfriend after Patrick, Ollie, the one he brought on the first two post-Patrick cruises was not particularly discreet. Demanded a minimum of four cards on the second cruise. And, if you’ll excuse the expression, he gave us all a blow-by-blow account, one evening at the bar.” Once again, Kieran laughed aloud. ***** When they pulled up in the temple carpark, the sun hung low in the sky illuminating everything in bright golden sunlight. Ten or so other tourist coaches parked there. Most of their busload seemed eager to climb the stairs to the golden Buddha and the panoramic lookout point beyond. Kieran excused himself from his small group, citing a headache caused by mild dehydration, and wandered off to buy a bottle of water, which was a ruse, of course, because he wanted to be alone. Returning to the heart of the temple, he stopped, swigged at his water, before taking in the view. Terracotta coloured tiles on the pavilions either side of the stairs up to the Buddha appeared freshly laid, as though only recently constructed. Even the three staircases leading up to the Buddha, two of white ceramic or marble each bordering another of deep burgundy, with gleaming golden handrails, appeared too clean, too pristine considering the large number of daily tourists that must climb them. Maybe he was being unfair, had visited too many sombre, musty churches in England, but the place felt less like a religious temple, and more like a custom-built tourist attraction. As he perched in a pavilion’s shade by one of the four cross-legged golden Buddha’s at the foot of the staircase, he watched the world go by, the words of the old fortune teller coming back to him. “You are on an island in Asia standing beneath a giant buddha. You are waiting to meet your destiny.” Fleetingly, he thought about climbing the steps to the statue, but then figured that everyone heading up there via the only staircase, had to pass him. Nearby, a Thai guide talked to a small group of English speaking tourists. “In Thai, this called Wat Phra Yai, mean Big Buddha temple. This real working temple, with real Buddhist monk worship here. Buddha statue is twelve meter tall. Here we are on small island named Koh Farn, connected to mainland Koh Samui by causeway. Either side of stairway is half human, half serpent cobra called Naga, which lead up to Buddha. Not many year ago, a Dhamma wheel representing the Buddha’s teachings to the path of enlightenment, was added to the image.” Kieran stared at the group of fifteen or so tourists, four of them girls, all pretty, all with partners; two good looking guys, clearly a couple. Nobody really stood out. Every now and again, small groups or couples moved past him, either to scale the staircase or descend from the top. No lightning bolts, no epiphanies, no swelling orchestral music. Half an hour passed like a life sentence and, very slowly, very gradually, a sinking feeling filled him. Until he finally saw the funny side. What the hell was he doing, he asked himself, standing there moping, because of a comment made to him as a kid by somebody’s grandmother pretending to be a fortune teller? At twenty-nine, he really ought to grow up and learn to let some things go. After finishing off his water, he dragged himself to his feet and decided to find the others. Blood red clouds illuminated the skies now, and, right on cue, Steph appeared before him. “Come on, you,” she said, grinning fondly, and slipping her arm into his. “Let’s get back to the ship. Kennedy’s probably missing us, and you most of all.” And, funnily enough, that throwaway remark lifted his spirits and put a smile back on his face.
  4. 97 points
    KIERAN ~ UNDERDECK CLUB Kieran took a hesitant step through the club’s main door—a circular aluminium frame designed like a ship’s portal—into the kaleidoscopic room. Mid-afternoon and The Underdeck Club had only a scattering of shadowy figures, most preferring fun elsewhere. Like the aftermath of an all-night party, nobody danced. Few moved even, and those that did, did so in slow motion. Most languished around tall bar tables or lounged against the club’s mirrored walls trying to perfect nonchalance or practiced boredom. Like bookends two silhouettes of similar height stood together leaning back on their elbows against the pink backlit long bar, legs crossed at the ankles, staring out at the empty dance floor. Light chill-out music oozed from the speakers, repetitive and hypnotic, ethereal synthesisers with an ever-present and underlying beat. Mirror balls rotated slowly, sending multi-coloured constellations onto every surface. Combined with the gentle rolling motion of the ship, Kieran felt like throwing up. Even in the gloom, he finally spotted Kennedy. Sat hunched forward on the bottom step where three shallow stairs dropped to the vinyl frosted dance floor, he held his head stiffly aloft, elbows on knees, hands pressed together in front of his mouth as though in silent prayer. Kieran could tell by the tense shoulders and the way he glared angrily out across the open space that his mood had not improved. Laurie had texted him about the argument after being tipped off by Joey, but she’d given him no details. A bottle of Heineken sat beside Kennedy. For a moment he thought he saw him talking to himself, but decided instead that he was chewing the inside of his mouth, a nervous habit Kieran had noticed a couple of times. He caught himself when a sudden wave of pity mixed with affection flooded him. Kennedy would hate both. A few single guys stood or sat nearby but none seemed interested. Or perhaps they also sensed his turmoil. Then again, maybe someone his age needed to make the first move. Kieran had no idea how the whole gay hook-up thing worked. But for a bloke in his early forties, Kennedy was definitely in good shape. Kieran thought about his Uncle Angelo, his father’s brother, at forty-nine. Couch potato boozer with bald head, saggy arse, swollen belly and multiple blancmange chins. Thank goodness he had his mother’s genes. Kennedy Grey was an inspiration, an aspiration even. For a second, he thought about turning around, heading back to the cabin and leaving the man to his pain. Any attempt at sympathy would be snubbed, that much he knew for sure. But whatever had been said in the cabin had taken its toll and to ignore the man now would be wrong. And after all, Kennedy had paid him for his companionship, so companionship he would get—whether he liked it or not. Kieran stopped on the top step to Kennedy’s right, waiting until he noticed him. “What do you want, Kieran?” muttered Kennedy, harshly, after quickly glancing around, grimacing and turning back again. “Thought you might like some company, old man.” “Well, I don’t,” he said, pushing a hand through his hair while glaring out across the half empty dance floor. “If I’m lucky I might get laid. And you looming over me will only cramp my style.” Kieran ignored him and perched himself down on the top step to Kennedy’s right. “Style? What style? You don’t have any.” “Fuck off, Kieran.” “No. Don’t think I will. You never know, I might get lucky myself.” “If it’s the blonde behind the bar with the red bow tie you’re ogling, then don’t waste your time. Belinda’s a lipstick lesbian, and you don’t have a vagina.” Kieran glanced over at the woman, currently wiping a glass and chatting to one of the spectres at the bar. A little old for Kieran, he could nevertheless appreciate her Scandinavian beauty. “She doesn’t know what she’s missing.” “Actually, she does. Before meeting her partner Janine, she was married to a man for six years. Got two kids.” Kieran mulled that over for a while before responding. “You ever been with a woman?” “Of course. College years. Even had a girlfriend for six months. Didn’t really float my boat. Obviously. Have you ever been with a guy?” “No!” Kieran went quiet then, remembering back to his high school days when he and his mate, Robbie Menden, had jerked each other off in Kieran’s bedroom. Admittedly they had been poring over Robbie’s older brother’s straight porn mag at the time, but Kieran still remembered the intense orgasm as though it was yesterday. They had purposefully avoided each other after that. But even though it had not been full-blown sex, no way was he going to share that little titbit with Kennedy. Nor the fact that, on the day Kennedy offered him the job, he had googled gay sex and started to get a hard-on when one guy gave the other a blow job. “Then it’s you who doesn’t know what he’s missing. I’m sure any one of these chaps would be up to giving a good looking bloke like you a good time.” “I’ll pass, thanks.” “Suit yourself. I, on the other hand, desperately need a shag.” For some unexplainable reason, that statement sent a quiver of anxiousness through Kieran. Maybe because he wondered if Kennedy would still want him around if he managed to shack up with someone. “What about Simple Simon—?“ “Simeon.” “I prefer my version. You do realise he fancies you, don’t you?” “Don’t be ridiculous.” “Oh, come on, Kennedy. You’re not blind and deaf. The way he can’t do enough for you, that loud fake laugh when you make a frankly not very funny wisecrack about something. The way he checks out your ass every chance he can get. And especially the way he looks at me.” “How does he look at you?” “Molten. As if he’d like to stab me in the throat with the butter knife, then throw my body over the sea rail. Because he wants to be the one sitting next to you. Why don’t you ring for him? I bet he’d be up for a shag.” “Not my type.” “So? Neither am I, as most of your friends have told me repeatedly. Despite me reaching down into the deepest darkest teachings from the one term of acting classes I took in high school. Honestly, it’s beginning to get on my tits, the way they keep casually dropping the fact into every conversation.” When Kieran looked over, Kennedy’s shoulders were shaking with laughter. “Sorry about that. But they know I have a type.” “You don’t say. So pardon me for not being an emaciated, dumb, blond elf and actually having an informed opinion about things.” Kennedy laughed again. “They’re right, though,” said Kennedy, gently shaking his head. “God, I really can be shallow at times.” “No argument from me.” “Fuck off.” “You want a drink? I’ll put it on the room.” “Cabin. Yeah, go on. If I’m not going to get laid, I might as well get drunk. Get me a Long Island Iced Tea.” “Done.” Kieran returned and sat down next to Kennedy before handing over his drink. When Kennedy saw the two rainbow coloured umbrellas sticking out of his tall glass, he huffed loudly and rolled his eyes, but a corner of his mouth lifted. “D’you want to talk about it? You and Patrick?” As soon as the words left Kieran’s mouth he regretted them, for instantly dampening Kennedy’s improved mood. He glared sidelong at Kieran before shaking his head and exhaling a long sigh. Kieran thought that meant he didn’t, but after a few moments Kennedy started talking softly. “I really didn’t know he was going to be here. Pete says they booked at the last minute. If I’d known, I probably wouldn’t have agreed to come.” “Why?” “Because it’s not worth the aggravation. And if you’d heard Richmond’s delightful comments, you’d know I’m the super villain in all of this. Took nine good years of his life. And then I went and ruined everything.” “You cheated on him?” “Of course not. Unless you call prioritising work over social life cheating.” “He broke up with you because you worked too hard?” “In his defence I did fuck up a lot. Often at the last minute. Dinner dates, birthday parties, Christmases, a number of holidays. But even though it was a nuisance, I assumed he was okay with that, thought he knew I had to work hard to make a success of the business. Meant we could also afford the luxury apartment, nice cars, dog, lifestyle. The bloody cruises, for Christ’s sake.” “I see.” “He broke up with me, you know? Not the other way round.” “You still have feelings for him?” Kennedy thought about that for a long moment before responding. “Yes, but not in the way you think. More like disappointment really. And sadness, I suppose. He’s still bitter at me, otherwise he wouldn’t be telling every new partner those unpleasant things. Don’t even know what he has to gain. You should have heard what Richmond said about me in their cabin. In front of everyone. Accused me of cheating on him, even when we were together, which is a barefaced lie. And he as good as called you my paid whore.” “Well I am, really. Without the sex. Shit, maybe we should get married.” Kieran warmed inside when Kennedy laughed aloud. Putting the straw to his lips, he sucked at the cocktail before becoming serious again. “Same sort of thing happened the last time we all met up. Leonard’s birthday party, I think it was. He had some new guy with him then, too. Ben or Bob. Remember this new guy holding court in the kitchen, going on very loudly in front of everyone about how I fuck with people’s lives. And how I would probably die alone and single—a sad, lonely old man, with no friends and nobody to take care of me.” “Boo-hoo.” “Exactly. I’d been standing outside, but barged in at that point and told them all that when that particular eventuality comes along, at least I’ll be able to afford the best drugs and hire a drop dead gorgeous gay male nurse to suck my cock and wipe my arse, or vice versa. While the lot of them will be left to dribble in their bibs and soil their incontinence pants in some filthy rundown NHS hospice--” “Kennedy,” Kieran interrupted. “Don’t want to pee in your iced tea, but Patrick just walked in.” “Where?” said Kennedy, sharply, his head darting up and peering around like a frightened ferret. “Ten o’clock. Side door.” “Shit. Sit in front of me.” “What?” “Sit in front of me. You’re supposed be my bloody boyfriend, remember?” Rather than sitting in front, Kieran perched himself behind Kennedy, squashed up against the man’s back, his knees either side. For a second Kennedy froze and then released an exasperated sigh, before shaking his head. Peering over Kennedy’s right shoulder, Kieran could see Patrick clearly across the room, trying to get accustomed to the dim lighting. Kieran had no doubt he had come looking for someone, and he probably knew who. “Quick,” Kennedy hissed over his shoulder. “Kiss me.” “What? I am not fucking kiss—“ “Five hundred. I’ll give you an extra five hundred pounds. Please!” “Shit. Turn your face to me, then.” Kennedy turned halfway, while Kieran craned forward and closed the distance between them, crushing their lips together. When Kieran first leaned in he had expected the man’s lips to be firmer, solid even, certainly not so soft and pliable. Before the thought had a chance to coalesce, Kennedy opened his lips and…whoa. Moist warmth filled his mouth as their tongues collided, Kieran tasting the sweet cola and sharp bite of spirits in Kennedy’s mouth. Part of his brain knew they were faking, but the sudden contact fired up his synapses, tingling his nerve endings, stoking his heart beat and reaching all the way down to his groin. Within seconds he was no longer pretending, but throwing himself into the kiss, hungry after days of zero physical contact, his body on sexual autopilot. When he tilted his head to take in more of Kennedy’s mouth, the man beneath him rumbled with pleasure, the most simple yet carnal of sounds which set Kieran’s blood hammering through his veins and his erection straining against his shorts, nudging Kennedy’s back. He barely heard the angry voice growing louder and repeating over and over, the same mantra that kept pace with the blood pounding through his brain: ken, ken, ken. “Ken! For fuck’s sake!” Kennedy pulled his face away and, for a split second, stared startled at Kieran before slowly turning his attention to the voice. “No idea what game you’re trying to play,” said Patrick, towering over them, his hands on his hips. “But you're not fooling anyone.” Kieran could see the anger in Patrick’s face but barely acknowledged the words coming out of the mouth. Thoughts of the kiss and the reaction of his body still shimmered through his slowing calming body, confusing the hell out of him. “We need to talk. But not in front of that,” said Patrick, nodding at Kieran. Finally his conscious mind and body began to come together, his annoyance sharpening to this man who had just reduced him to something inanimate. “You want me to stay?” Kieran whispered into Kennedy’s ear. Kennedy said nothing, continued to stare up at the man. “No, he wants you gone, you little prick. Go up on deck and play with the other children. Leave the grown-ups to talk grown-up things.” “Kennedy?” asked Kieran, a little louder. Still no reaction. “Don’t you know when to take a hint, kid? Just get the fuck away and leave us alone, will you?” “Kennedy!” barked Kieran, angry now, shaking Kennedy’s shoulder and startling him out of whatever reverie had taken him. “Go back to the cabin,” said Kennedy, his voice soft and odd. Then over his shoulder. “Please. I’ll come and join you soon.” When Kieran peered up, Patrick stood leaning back slightly with his arms folded, a smug smile of satisfaction on his face. Cold anger and embarrassment swept through Kieran as he struggled to his feet. Stood still a moment, staring at the top of Kennedy’s head, he had been about to fire back something caustic at Patrick. But what was the point? He’d been dismissed. Instead, he turned around and headed out the door without a backwards glance. Enough already.
  5. 96 points
    KIERAN ~ HIJACKED Kieran recognised Patrick immediately from the online photograph he’d seen of Kennedy and another man at a social function. Both dark-haired, Kennedy always appeared well turned out, with wisps of grey at the temples of his well groomed cut, chiselled features, and those stunning deep Atlantic blue eyes, whereas Patrick’s hair sat in tight curls on his head like a helmet, and his almost black eyes burned into Kieran like accusations. Three other men stood with him, a younger one who appeared a little uncomfortable and two others standing unsmiling behind Patrick like personal bodyguards. Perhaps they were. But what the hell was Patrick doing on the cruise? And more importantly, why would he want to gatecrash this party? Unless he was invited or here to make trouble? Kieran could feel the blood had drained from his face. How was he supposed to deal with this? “It’s okay,” came Kennedy’s voice, as he approached the door, stopped next to him and placed a hand on his shoulder. “Let them in. They’re friends too, and—even if unexpected—more than welcome.” Kieran could hear an immediate change in the tone of Kennedy’s voice, a cold businesslike formality. That alone irked Kieran, who had noticed that before this intrusion, Kennedy—the real Kennedy—had finally surfaced, had started to relax, laugh, and enjoy himself. Patrick and Kennedy shook hands like heads of state, the stern gaze between them unfathomable. Kieran wanted to intervene, to say something, but no words came. “You know Richmond and Mike,” said Patrick, indicating the henchmen dwarfing him, and then turned to the nice looking guy, a few years younger than Kieran. Something in his discomfort told Kieran he’d also been an unwitting bystander in the decision to invade the party. “This is Joey. He’s accompanying me this year.” “And this is Kieran, my plus one,” said Kennedy. “Everyone else here you know. Oh, except for Leonard’s—uh—friend, Leighton. Come in and make yourselves at home.” Kieran’s twinge of pleasure at the label ‘plus one’ was short lived. On their way in, only Joey made an effort to smile and shake hands with him. The other three ignored him, one of them actually brushed into him. Without a word, Kennedy escorted the four new guests over to the bar, leaving Kieran standing alone. He looked around for Steph and Laurie, but they were nowhere to be seen. Finally, Pete came to his rescue and dragged him over to where his rosy-cheeked father sipped on a large glass of wine. Considering they were father and son, they could not have looked more different; chubby Pete with his wild chestnut hair exploding from his pear-shaped head, Eric, carefully groomed with a full head of straight white hair and matching handlebar moustache. The perfect double act. “Don’t worry, Kieran. None of this has anything to do with you. I asked Patrick if he wanted to join us this year, wanted me to book him a cabin, and he categorically declined, after what happened last year. As did Richmond and Mike, which was no biggie. They’re like the three musketeers, joined at the codpiece. And now they even have a fourth, their very own d'Artagnan, the young handsome hero. Although I’ve no idea who he’s supposed to be here with.” “Patrick. Accompanying him.” “Whatever that means. You know, even after they split, both Kennedy and Patrick used to come on the cruises—separately, of course. Until last year. Did Kennedy tell you what happened?” “No, he didn’t mention anything.” “So a word of warning. Don’t get sucked into being sweet-talked by Richmond and Mike—I call them Rich and Poor, by the way, because Mike's last name is Porter—unless you want Kennedy to throw a wobbly. Last year, they had a three-way with Kennedy’s then boyfriend, Ewan. Caused one hell of a scene, I can tell you. Honestly, I still believe Patrick put them up to it, to get back at Kennedy. So, you know, just watch yourself around them.” “Trust me, Pete, that is not going to be a problem.” “Yeah,” said Pete, assessing Kieran. “I believe you. Can’t quite make you out yet. You are so not like his usual vacuous twink type. Is our man over there finally moving on?” When Kieran joined Pete’s gaze, peering at Kennedy over at the bar. Kieran’s heart wrenched a little to see his discomfort, even though he appeared to be putting on a brave face. The moment Leonard and Leighton joined them, they noticed Steph and Laurie descending the staircase from the bedroom mezzanine level. They’d clearly been having a sneak peek around the cabin. Steph’s face was a picture when she noticed the group at the bar. Frozen mid staircase, with Laurie almost bumping into her back, her mouth dropped open. Looking over at Pete, she mouthed the words ‘what the fuck’ which even had Kieran grinning. But troopers to the last, they descended and went straight over to the new guests, liberally providing theatrical hellos, hugs and kisses. “What do you make of Leonard’s friend, Leighton?” said Kieran, absently. “He’s probably a relative or something.” “Really? But he’s young and quite good looking.” “Not Leonard’s type, dear. Leonard’s into daddies” “He’s—what?” “Yes, I know. The man’s forty-four. But his late partner was twenty years older. Passed away fifteen years ago. We all just assumed it was one of those things; they met young, connected, stayed together. Until the first time I brought dad along on the cruise four years ago, and Leonard tried to jump his bones.” “No!” said Kieran, stifling a laugh. “Flattered,” slurred Eric. “But I’m afraid I like bouncy boobies and moist beavers.” “Christ, Dad!” chastised Pete, looking disgusted. “Gross, or what?” After Pete offered to refill his drink, Kieran made a point of circumventing Patrick and his minders, and escaped to the safety of the outside balcony. Only now, as he stood there, did he realise the ship had left the port and headed to the open seas. After ten minutes, standing at the sea rail, he sensed someone come and join him, and turned to see Joey standing there. More than likely, he too wanted to get away from the tension in the room. After nodding a welcome, they chatted about each other. Interestingly, they both lived south of the Thames river in different towns in London. Joey worked for the NHS, doing his foundation training on the way to becoming a doctor. Kieran found him entirely genuine and explained candidly about his own work-study situation before asking how Joey knew Patrick. “We met a couple of months back, at a bar round the back of Charing Cross. This holiday is totally last minute. Richmond and Mike booked a two bedroom suite and friends of theirs dropped out. Sorry about coming along today but they insisted. How long have you known Kennedy?” “About the same time.” “He seems okay. But from the way Richmond describes him, you’d think he was a mass murderer.” Interesting, thought Kieran. Richmond, not Patrick, is bad-mouthing Kennedy. “You know Patrick and Kennedy used to be an item?” said Kieran. “Every bloody day we’re together. Feels like I’m competing with the ghost of Kennedy Grey. And I can’t compete, of course. I’m two years into my postgraduate training and scraping by. But I really like Patrick. I just can’t give him the material things Kennedy could. Not right now, anyway. And on top of that, Patrick has a lot of baggage.” “How do you mean?” Before he answers, he turns and gives Kieran his full attention. “Tell me about you and Kennedy, first of all. What is it you like about him?” “A lot of things. He’s smart, works bloody hard, treats people he loves really well and, if you want my honest opinion, deep down he has a good heart.” “You really like him?” Kieran stared out to sea and mulled over the question, but the answer came instantly. “Someone else recently asked me the same question. And I’ll tell you the same thing I said to him. I admire Kennedy. I think he’s an inspiration.” “Wow, man. You’ve got it almost as bad as me,” said Joey, smiling and following Kieran’s gaze out to sea. “Patrick had issues with Kennedy and his family. Said they all looked down on him. Made him sleep in a separate bedroom in their house when he visited. Complained that Kennedy cared more about his work than being in a relationship.” “Kennedy certainly works hard, that much I know. You don’t become successful in this day and age without putting the hours in. I’m sure you know all about that if you’re working to becoming a doctor.” Peripherally, Kieran noticed Joey slowly nodding. “Did they make you sleep in a different bedroom? His parents?” “Yeah, they did. Loved it. My own ensuite bathroom and a huge bed.” “But you’re sleeping together here?” Kieran paused for a moment, wondering how to answer that question truthfully. “Yep. You win some, you lose some.” Joey laughed at that, before asking. “Which estate agency did you work for?” “Landreal Properties, based in Croydon.” “Shut the fuck up!” said Joey, aghast. “Then you must know my sister. She’s still the Surrey regional manager, Chloe Drinkwater?” Kieran froze. He knew Chloe well, she had been the one pushing to keep him when voices from the top began to let a whole raft of salespeople go. The trouble was, Chloe also knew his ex-girlfriend Jennifer, got on really well with her. Chloe and her husband had been out for drinks and dinner with Kieran and Jennifer three or four times. What the hell should he say to Joey? Right then, the balcony door slid open. Laurie poked her head out and rolled her eyes. “Sorry to interrupt, but we’ve all been summoned. Patrick has something he wants to say.” Back inside, everyone either sat on sofas or stood awkwardly, looking towards the bar where a slightly uncomfortable Patrick stood at the bar counter, about to give a speech, obsessively rubbing his left forearm. “Look, we didn’t want to hijack your welcome celebration. But sometimes one needs to take the bull by the horns. So I just have a few words I want to say and then we’ll bugger off to dinner. We’re here on the cruise last minute, so I’m sorry you weren’t forewarned. I’m also truly sorry last year’s holiday didn’t end well, but this is a big boat, with a hell of a lot of people, and we can easily lose ourselves amongst the sea of other holidaymakers. At the end of the day, true friendship can withstand a few knocks, don’t you think?” Kieran thought the words sounded heartfelt, but when he peered at Kennedy he noticed him glaring sadly at the floor. A couple of people around the room murmured their agreement, while others simply nodded. “And if anyone’s interested, we’re having our own afternoon drinks party. On the eighth day at sea, after Vietnam. A small gathering before the captain’s table banquet in the evening. Our cabin’s a little cosier than this one, but you’re all very welcome to join.” “A toast,” said Pete, who had stood the whole time with his arms crossed, but now raised his flute of champagne. “Here’s to having fun and adventures on the high seas.” “Hear, hear,” said Eric, his father, topping his glass with red wine and taking a gulp. Maybe Kieran imagined the reaction, but everyone appeared to join in half-heartedly. Straight afterwards, Patrick and his friends filed out of the cabin, Joey smiling a farewell at Kieran. Hopefully he had forgotten his earlier question. Almost as soon as the door closed, the room breathed a collective sigh of relief. “What the fuck just happened?” said Pete, almost the same time as Steph took over. “Oh my God, Kennedy,” she said, turning on Kennedy. “I totally forgot to mention. There’s a ballroom dance competition the night of the captain’s table. I’ve already entered us.” Kieran noticed that Kennedy’s mind had been elsewhere, but she now had his full attention. “Shiply Ballroom. And people, me and sex god Kennedy here are going to wow everyone with our signature tango to the latin version of Roxanne—El Tango de Roxanne. Not exactly the same dance but the same song as the Moulin Rouge movie version. So we’ll need you there to support.” “Yeah, I don’t think so,” said Kennedy. “You dance?” asked Kieran, incredulous. “Darling,” said Pete. “These two have moves you would not believe. They’ve been dancing since college. Kennedy, you have to say yes. Just to fuck Patrick off.” “You do,” said Laurie, who initially appeared unsure, but kept nodding her head. “That bastard needs to be shown that you’re still fun to be around.” Kieran could not imagine Kennedy dancing to anything, let alone ballroom. But maybe the man he had come to like had hidden depths. “Let’s at least have a practice run,” said Steph. “Find an empty space and go through the moves. What do you say?” ****** That night, after Kennedy had finished in the bathroom, Kieran took his turn to get ready for bed. If he’d felt any apprehension about sharing the huge bed with Kennedy, everything melted away when he saw Kennedy sitting up in bed, arms folded, glaring dejected into space. “Look at us,” said Kieran, as he slipped beneath the covers, trying to make light off the situation. “In bed together with absolutely no intention of having sex. We ought to be married.” Kennedy had no reaction, still lost in thought staring at the foot of the bed. “Sorry, I’m talking nonsense. Nervous, I guess. It’s the first time I’ve shared a bed with a guy.” Finally, Kieran got a response, a soft snort from Kennedy. “I told you I’d be a gentleman.” “I know, I know. Sorry. Are you okay?” Kennedy turned his head to Kieran and attempted a smile. “Go to sleep, Kieran.” Kieran snuggled beneath the quilt, his head on the pillow, staring at the ceiling. Kennedy had been right, he barely noticed him moving on his side of the bed as he did the same. “So—er—what happened? With you and Patrick?” “We’re not going there.” “Okay then, but tell me if I’m fucking up here? Give me something I can work with.” Kennedy sighed loudly. “You're not doing anything wrong. In fact, I’m really glad you’re here. There are just things between Patrick and I that are unresolved. And I think I’m going to have to grow a pair and put that right. Something I’m not looking forward to.” “I see,” said Kieran, even though he didn’t. “You want to know something I’m looking forward to?” “What’s that?” said Kennedy, sounding a little guarded. “Seeing your moves on the dance floor.” Finally Kennedy chuckled next to him. “Goodnight, Kieran.” “Night, Ned.”
  6. 94 points
    KIERAN ~ WORK IN PROGRESS While Laurie stood behind him, snipping at his hair, a wildfire of thoughts and feelings swept through Kieran. After brushing his teeth twice, he could still taste tobacco, something he hated. Steph, who had improved remarkably—colour having returned to her cheeks—plied him with breath mints, which helped. But the anger and confusion unsettled him most of all. Ask any of his friends or family, and they would tell you Kieran West doesn’t do angry. Calm and even-tempered, his mother and teachers had called him. Cold and unemotional, had been Jennifer’s spin. So why had Kennedy’s dismissal lit such an angry fire in him? Jennifer had dismissed him from her home and her life, and he had accepted without question, had almost welcomed the chance to escape. Kennedy’s rejection had ripped a hole in him. “Are you okay, Kieran?” asked Laurie, once again. Standing in front of him. “I’m fine, I just…” began Kieran, but decided not to elucidate. He’d told them both what happened in The Underdeck Club—an abridged version—and Kennedy’s later attempt at an apology. “Patrick’s a prick,” said Laurie, snipping at a lock. “Always has been, always will be. Don’t take anything he said to heart, he’s not worth the effort.” She was right. If he ought to be angry with anyone, that person should be Patrick, not Kennedy. But Joey had turned up at the girl’s cabin earlier after texting to find out where Kieran was, and explained what had happened after he’d left, and especially how Kennedy had defended him to Patrick. And just like that, his anger had turned to confusion. And the one thing that should right now be confusing the hell out of him—the kiss—seemed to be the only thing that made sense. Nothing about that embrace felt wrong. He’d kissed a man and he’d liked it, he thought, almost humming along to the words of the Katy Perry cover. He’d kissed a number of girls, some passionately, but as far as he could remember, nothing—nothing—had compared to that explosive lip lock with Kennedy. Fuck. The mere visualisation of Kennedy’s lips and mouth brought a salacious smile to his face. He’d almost been tempted to text Cole and ask whether the reaction between two men kissing was normal. “What’s with you tonight?” said Laurie, stopping and placing her hands on her hips. “One minute you’re grimacing like a grizzly, the next you’re smirking like a smurf.” “Very poetic,” grinned Kieran. “Leave him be, Laurie,” said Steph, watching from the ironing board where she carefully pressed his suit trousers. On their wardrobe, his white shirt, and jacket already hung there, waiting to be worn. “He’s had enough drama for one day.” Right then, there came a knock at the cabin door. Laurie turned to look at Steph, who merely shrugged. Being the nearest to the door, Steph went to answer. After a few moments, her tone began to sound irritated, and when she came into the room, the anger showed clearly on her face. “It’s Richmond.” “What does that bastard want?” said Laurie, before Kieran could voice the same thing. “He wants to talk to Kieran. Privately. Said I’m not letting him in here. Do you want me to tell him to piss off, Kieran? I will, if you say so.” Interesting, thought Kieran. Why does he want to speak to me? And why alone? “Give me just a second,” he said, getting up, the towel still around his shoulders to show he meant his words. “Let me get this out of the way.” Richmond stood in the corridor, ill at ease, but brought his attention to Kieran as soon as he appeared. “Look, I’m not here to make trouble,” he said, holding his palms up in front. “I just have one thing to say. A lot of us think Kennedy and Patrick belong together, that they always have. But ultimately, if that’s going to happen, it’s between the two of them. I don’t know what kind of hold you think you have over Kennedy, but whatever it is, you should know that as soon as this holiday is done, you’ll be history. That is not meant to unkind, nor a reflection on who you are as a person, but simply his style and the way it is. In case you begin to think of him as anything more than a holiday fling.” “Do you even like him? Kennedy?” “I used to. When he made my friend happy.” “Which was rarely, as far as I can tell.” A dour Richmond nodded then, not agreeing, but assessing Kieran. “You’re certainly not like the others. But don’t be deceived. You’re still disposable.” “We’ll see,” said Kieran, deciding not to rise to any bait. “Thanks for the—err—advice. See you at dinner.” Richmond frowned and shook his head—Kieran had no idea what he expected, an argument perhaps—before turning and heading back along the corridor. When Kieran backed into the apartment and closed the door, Steph and Laurie waited frozen to the spot, wanting to know everything. After giving a brief lowdown, both of them punctuating his summary with words such as ‘prick’ and ‘asshole’ and other suitable expletives, they got back to the business at hand. “You know, I ought to be paying you two, for doing all this for me,” he said, sat back down again. Steph had clambered from her sick bed to iron his clothes, Laurie to get him looking fresh, and the both of them to help him dress in the kind of attire he’d never worn before. Not only that, but time away from Kennedy in their caring company had been good for him, giving him time to assess himself. “Maybe I can buy you a meal when we reach Okinawa tomorrow afternoon.” “Ugh,” said Steph, placing the iron back in the holder. “Not sure I’ll be ready for solids for a few more days.” “Although there might be something else you could help us with—” began Laurie. “Later, dear,” said Steph, cutting her off with a short glance. “In which case, do me a favour by joining me on the excursion,” said Laurie. “They’re going to be visiting Shuri Castle—something I’ve always wanted to see, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. So you can be my companion.” Kieran liked that idea. Kennedy hadn’t done any of the excursions, so most probably wouldn’t want to step off the boat at Okinawa. “Of course. But we’d be really doing each other a favour. I’ll still like to buy you both a meal when Steph feels better.” “Then let’s save it for Hong Kong,” said Laurie, brushing something from his ear. “Maybe you can treat us to dim sum.” “Deal,” said Kieran, even though he had no idea what that was. “Are you going to be joining us tonight, Steph?” “Sorry, doll. Not tonight. Even the thought of food makes me want to barf.” “Plan B, then?” “Plan B,” said Steph, with a smile. “Right, Mr West. I think you’re about ready,” said Laurie, after finally raking a comb through his locks and then removing the towel from around his shoulders. “Go to the bathroom mirror and take a look.” “Should I shave?” he said, feeling the slight roughness around his chin. Usually he shaved once every three days, especially when not working. But wondered if clean shaven should be the order of the evening. “I don’t think so,” said Steph, and Laurie agreed. “But let’s wait until you’ve showered and then tried on the suit before we decide. Go and check your hair first.” Unlike Kennedy, the girls had a humble living area and their bathroom was a little cramped, with every surface holding some kind of cosmetic product or device. Jennifer’s bathroom had been the same. At first, seeing his hair shorter made him grimace. But then, Laurie had left enough stylish twists and tufts to make his hair appear less conformed. Yes, he thought, maybe he could get used to this style. Locking the bathroom door and undressing, he climbed into their shower and let the warm waters drench him, cleaning himself with the girls’ vast selection of products. Dried and back in the room, Laurie had already changed into her outfit, a stylish, lilac pants suit deftly showing off her weight loss. Earlier on, he’d observed Steph applying Laurie’s make-up, complete with purple blended eye shadow and deep purple lipstick. Now Steph applied the finishing touches as well as fixing Laurie’s hair. “Don’t just stand there ogling. Get dressed,” said Laurie, pointing at the wardrobe. “You and I are supposed to be meeting the men for drinks in fifteen minutes.” Kieran set to work, sitting on the edge of their bed, removing his track bottoms and pulling on the trousers. Next came the wing tip shirt which, fortunately, was fitted and tucked nicely beneath the waistband. By the time he got to the bowtie and cummerbund. Steph had finished and came over to help. Finally he shucked into the jacket, before squeezing into the tight shiny black shoes. After brushing something from his shoulder then pinning in place a pink rose buttonhole, Steph got him to back up a few steps, so that she and Laurie could survey their handiwork. Like proud mothers, they smiled and nodded, before looking at each other and pecking each other on the lips. “Heavens above, Mary Shelley,” said Steph, her arms around Laurie’s waist, carefully studying Kieran from head to toe. “What kind of beautiful monster have we created?”
  7. 94 points
    KENNEDY ~ KENNEDY’S ASSASSINATION On the morning of their ninth day at sea, the day after leaving Hanoi, Vietnam, the weather took a turn for the worse. Torrential rain lashed the deck as the ship skirted a typhoon. Colossal cruise ships such as the Diamond Princess had decent stabilisers, but still the constant rolling motion of the ship had a number of passengers holed up in their cabins. Steph and Leonard went to ground for another reason. They’d both made a point of sampling street food on each of their trips ashore. In Hanoi, however, both had come down with mild cases of food poisoning, according to the ship’s doctor, who had prescribed loperamide to help reduce bouts of diarrhoea and oral rehydration sachets to mix with water and keep them hydrated. Apart from that, both were advised to drink plenty of room temperature water, take plenty of bed rest, and stay confined to their cabins. Kennedy sat at lunch with only Kieran and Laurie. Pete, who suffered from seasickness, had also barricaded himself in his cabin. Eric, his father, had stayed to keep him company. “Are we going to bail?” asked Laurie, who had stepped out from their cabin for half an hour to grab some lunch. They had been chatting about Patrick’s cocktail party. “I really need to look after Steph.” Laurie had been with them in Hanoi, and would usually have sampled the street fare, but her strict diet meant abstaining—lucky for her. Kieran had declined the excursion, had stayed onboard to keep Kennedy company. Kennedy sighed. Not only had they all been invited to the drinks party in the early afternoon, but this was the evening of the exclusive captain’s table event, where he and Steph were supposed to strut their stuff across the dance floor. Now everything had gone to pot. “We can still go to Patrick’s,” said Kieran, leaning into Kennedy. “If you want.” Something had crystallised in Kieran since Koh Samui. Kennedy felt the change, but assumed he’d had high expectations of the island and, perhaps, had been disappointed. When Kennedy questioned him, he said nothing. Whatever the reason, he’d been really calm and had stayed close to Kennedy ever since. “Shame, I was really looking forward to the dinner and dance. You don’t think Steph might feel better by tonight?” He’d watched the video Kieran had recorded a number of times, memorising the steps. Now their moment in the spotlight had been snatched away. “I think it’s doubtful, Kennedy,” said Laurie, worry creasing her brow. “She can barely get out of bed, except for the occasional rush to the ‘loo—” “I know, I know. Sod’s law,“ he said, before checking his watch. “In which case, one of us ought to make an effort to attend the cocktail party. We did get a gentle reminder, after all.” Patrick, who had been pretty much invisible the whole cruise, had sent Joey to Steph and Laurie’s cabin the day before they arrived in Ho Chi Minh—the port before Hanoi—to remind them about the get-together. “Kieran,” said Kennedy, his hand on the younger man’s shoulder. “Would you mind if I do this on my own? Might give me a chance to get Patrick alone and clear the air.” A brief frown flickered across Kieran’s face, replaced quickly by a sad smile. But Laurie answered before Kieran had a chance. “Why do you feel you have any air to clear? I don’t, and neither does Steph,” she said, her quiet anger sounding so much like her partner’s. “He’s the one that caused the pollution. How about you get him to do some apologising? Fucking free-loader.” “Okay, Laurie,” said Kennedy, a little surprised. Of the two, Laurie usually let Steph take the lead. “Play nicely. I wasn’t talking about apologising for anything—apologising is not something I do. But we do need to have words. Besides, my question was for Kieran.” He turned and watch Kieran mull over the words a moment, before answering. “As long as you’re sure,” he said, with a gentle smile that tugged at Kennedy’s heart. “Do what you need to, Kennedy. But I’m also happy to come with you, to stand by your side in case you need me.” And there it was again. Simple words of support. Nobody in his life offered him that, not even the staff to whom he paid significant wages, not even the partner of nine years who now hated his guts. And until recently, not even his own parents. But really, he needed to get Patrick alone and have the talk. What better opportunity? “In which case,” said Laurie, her annoyance completely out of character. “If it’s okay with you, Kieran, I’ll go with him. Maybe just for half an hour. They know me, so they won’t start anything. But you’re not going alone, Kennedy. Fuck that. You’re not throwing yourself to those fucking wolves. Anyone picks on you, I’ll sit on them.” Kieran laughed aloud beside him. Something in his posture changed too, a slight relaxation. Odd really. Was he in favour of Laurie joining Kennedy to the party? “Okay. Then let’s head there now,” said Kennedy, standing to make his point. “I know it’s bit early, but let’s get this over with now. But please, let’s keep things civil, Laurie.” “Fine,” said Laurie, rising too. One single word and she sounded anything but fine. “Let me quickly text Steph. Make sure she knows what’s happening.” Kennedy felt bad about leaving Kieran behind. Like a trooper, he smiled and said he’d go back to the cabin to catch up on emails and messages, maybe read a little. Laurie led the way, into the elevator, down a couple of floors, until they emerged into a long corridor. Halfway down, they stopped outside the door to Patrick’s cabin, which stood open. Four steps inside the living space of the two bedroom cabin—a narrow area with a dining table against one wall, a three seater sofa, and a small bar—and Kennedy realised how grateful he felt to have Laurie by his side. Looking at her face, she also tensed at the drop in temperature at their arrival, metaphorically speaking. Instantly, the truth hit home from the expressions on the familiar faces of Mike and Richmond. Clearly, neither had expected them to turn up. Fortunately, the four other faces in the cabin were unknown and, apart from a quick once over, paid them no heed. Patrick and his new partner did not appear to be in the cabin. But Richmond and Mike stood together at the bar like judge and jury. Kennedy approached them with Laurie steadfastly by his side, both adopting their game faces. “You guys are early,” said Mike, pleasantly enough. “Yes, sorry. Thought we’d get here before the masses arrived,” said Laurie, trying hard to mask her sarcasm. “You enjoying the cruise?” “So far, so good,” said Richmond, sombrely, the older of the two. Until Kennedy’s split with Patrick, Kennedy had always respected Richmond, had always found his common sense refreshing, his business observations insightful. “Where are the others?” “Disaster. Steph and Leonard have food poisoning—” began Laurie. “And let me guess,” said Mike. “Pete’s got a bout of seasickness?” “Bingo. His dad’s taking care of him.” “They do have seasick pills on the boat,” said Richmond. “He won’t take them, Rich,” said Mike. “Says they make him nauseous.” Strange really, thought Kennedy, that these people, friends, used to be in each other’s pockets. Now, because of one simple act—him and Patrick splitting—sides had been taken. Over glasses of wine, they chatted amiably mainly with Mike, reliving old holidays and laughing together. Kennedy had just started to relax when Laurie’s phone beeped. Her face dropped when she peered down at the display, a simple message from Steph, requesting her help. After thanking Mike and Richmond, and a quick apologetic and guarded nod to Kennedy, she excused herself. In her absence, Kennedy continued chatting until he peered around the room once more. “Where’s Patrick?” asked Kennedy. “I was hoping to have a chat with him.” Something in Richmond’s eyes hardened then. “As I said, you’re early. Joey persuaded him to get a massage before the main party. Tension relief. They went together,” replied Richmond. “They’ll be back any minute. Lay off him though, Kennedy, will you?” “Rich,” said Mike, softly, touching his partner’s arm. “Let it go.” “What you mean?” said Kennedy, frowning. “You know exactly what I mean,” said Richmond. “Look, we need to talk, that’s all. The two of us.” Richmond folded his arms, a grimace transforming his face. “What you need to do is leave him the fuck alone. Everyone sees what you’re doing. Hard not to. Still flaunting your pretty boys in front your friends year after year. How do you think that makes Patrick feel? I’ll tell you how. He’s now second guessing himself, about whether you were doing the same thing when you were together—” Kennedy felt heat rising in his face. Is that really what people—what Patrick—thought of him? “That’s unfair. I never once—” “Maybe not, but try convincing him of that. You froze him out. How often did you guys have sex the last six months you were together?” What the fuck? Had Patrick told his friends about that last, dreadful, year they’d spent together? Peripherally, he noticed the room had gone still and quiet around him. “That’s private—” “I’ll tell you how often. Not once. And now he’s fucking torturing himself, because he believes you were getting your kicks elsewhere, because unlike him, you could afford to buy as many tricks as your dick desired. All those times you were away on working weekends, or business trips. What little piece of ass did you have along with you—bought and paid for—to fill your bed?” Richmond’s voice resonated throughout the cabin. Blood had drained from Kennedy’s face, he could feel the transformation. “I did nothing of the sort,” said Kennedy, regaining some control. “Whoever’s spreading those lies needs to check their facts.” “So are you denying the fact that you pay these rent boys to come away with you on vacation?” “They’re not rent boys. And that’s nobody’s business—” “Oh, come on, Kennedy. People talk. Ewan told us all about your arrangement last year. So no doubt this year’s plaything is on your payroll. Can you really blame Patrick for hating you? You fucked him up royally.” Everyone’s eyes were on them then, boring into him, relishing every accusation coming out of Richmond’s mouth. By now, Mike had turned away, neither able to listen not defend. “I did nothing of the sort—” “You treated him like a piece of shit when you were together. Did you even know he was seeing a counsellor for depression when you dumped him? No, because you never bothered to ask, never gave a shit, would rather turn a blind eye if it didn’t concern you. Even on this trip, he’s barely left the cabin, because he’s worried about bumping into you parading this year’s top model. You are a sad, pathetic excuse for a man, Kennedy Grey.” Patrick’s exit from their relationship had taken Kennedy by surprise. Had he not been paying attention? Why had none of his so-called friends told him? Apart from Steph and Laurie, did they all feel this way about him? “I don’t fucking need this,” said Kennedy, slamming his glass down on the bar and heading for the exit. As he ripped the door open wide, Patrick and Joey stood there, a look of genuine shock on both their faces. “Yeah, go on,” called Richmond, from somewhere behind. “Run away. It’s what you do best.” Kennedy didn’t stop, but pushed past them. Enough of this shit, he thought. I need a fucking drink.
  8. 93 points
    KENNEDY ~ FLASH DANCE Kennedy woke late the next morning to an empty bed. After using the bathroom, he descended the stairs into the main living area. Only then did he notice the curtain billowing softly into the room. Out on the sun drenched terrace, Kieran sat at a beautifully arranged breakfast table, complete with pristine white tablecloth and laden with a mouth-watering assortment of breakfast victuals; basket of Danish pastries and croissants, jug of fresh orange juice, fruit bowl, rack of golden toast, and two plates covered by silver domes. In sunglasses and white bathrobe, his feet crossed at the ankles up on the chair seat, a knee on either armrest, Kieran sat texting on his smartphone. “Morning dear,” he said, looking up and grinning. “You looked so peaceful, I didn’t have the heart to wake you. Hope you don’t mind I’ve started breakfast without you. Simeon brought you a double espresso—just now, so it’s still hot—said to ring if you needed anything else. And I mean, anything Mr Grey needs.” As he moved around the table to take a seat opposite, Kennedy’s face tugged into a smile at Kieran’s impression of Simeon. The night before, after the party had finished, they’d all headed to the restaurant, but Kennedy’s appetite had evaporated, thanks to Patrick’s stellar performance. Steph’s suggestion that they end the evening with a couple of potent cocktails at the bar on deck had worked to soften his mood and help him sleep. “What’s my laptop doing here?” he said, noticing his computer sitting on his placemat. “I put it there,” said Kieran. “Is that okay? I noticed how you always checked emails first thing in the morning at breakfast at your parents' place. So I saved you the effort of fetching it.” “Thank you, but you didn’t need to.” Kieran shrugged nonchalantly before reaching for his coffee cup. To be honest, Kennedy appreciated the gesture, liked the fact that Kieran had noticed his habit of keeping abreast of things first thing in the morning. “Steph’s managed to blag a member of the cruise staff to let you two use one of the nightclubs this afternoon to practice your routine. Between two and three. They don’t open to the rest of the passengers until four-thirty, so they can let you use the space for an hour. Shall I tell her yay or nay?” “You’re texting Steph?” “We organised a chat group last night. Pete, Steph, Laurie and me. Shall I add you?” “No, thank you.” “How about this afternoon?” Kennedy’s mood hadn’t improved overnight, but he needed to lighten up around his friends, otherwise he was going to bring them all down. “What the hell. Tell her, yes.” “Excellent. This I cannot wait to see.” “You’re not going to be there.” “The hell I’m not. I want to see everything you’ve got, Kennedy Grey.” “We’re sharing a bed now. I’d be careful how you phrase things like that around me.” This time Kieran tilted his head back and laughed into the morning. Kennedy chuckled along with him. Pouring coffee for himself, he realised how lucky he was to have chosen Kieran. Already he felt better. “Can I say,” said Kieran, grinning playfully. “And please don’t take this the wrong way—but, at a stretch, I could imagine you having interests outside work; squash, chess, tennis, swimming, art collecting—big game hunting, maybe. But ballroom dancing?” Once again, Kennedy found himself smiling. Funny how Kieran had correctly nailed him as being someone who enjoyed individual as opposed to team sports. Steph, who also grew to love ballroom dancing as a kid, had been astonished about him being able to dance when they’d first met up at college. “Mum and dad. Every Saturday morning for two years, my sister and I were dragged off to dance lessons. I think he thought I’d follow in his footsteps later in life, you know, diplomacy. And because he—they—had to attend a number of formal occasions and social functions throughout the year, being able to do the basics, like the waltz, quickstep, foxtrot, tango, went with the territory. At first I hated it—I’d have been eight at the time stuck in a hall with a bunch of soppy girls—but there’s a discipline to dancing, a strategy to the dance, and even within that strict control, there’s a feeling of freedom, of letting go.” Kennedy had been staring out to sea, the rim of the coffee cup held against his lip. When he turned his head, Kieran had an odd look on his face, something Kennedy hadn't seen before. “Hidden depths?” “Hey, I’m not saying I’m any good. But Steph and I usually move well together, and if things go wrong, we’re pretty good at faking it.” He noticed Kieran’s face drop then. “Shit. Talking of faking it, I need to confess to something. Yesterday, when I spoke to Joey, Patrick’s boyfriend, I was probably a little more candid about myself than I ought to have been. And you know the old expression ‘small world? Turns out it is. I know his sister, who also knows Jennifer, my ex-girlfriend.” “I don’t see the problem.” “If he talks to her about me, he’ll find out I’m not really gay.” “Are you and Jennifer still together?” “Of course not. Not for three months. I told you already.” “Then what you are now is anything you want to be. And, more importantly, nobody’s business but your own.” While Kieran mulled over his words, he pulled the silver dome off the plate to reveal scrambled egg and smoked salmon on toasted muffins. After taking a spoonful, he flipped up the top of his laptop and booted up the machine. “What are you planning to do today?” “I thought I’d explore. Steph and Laurie are swinging by at ten. How about you?” Kennedy peered down at his desktop and noticed a few emails had arrived in his private account. When he opened to his inbox, he noticed one from Tim with a couple of attachments. “Working. Just this morning. How about I meet you guys for lunch?” “Sounds like a plan. And then we can all head straight to your rehearsal.” ***** Despite Steph’s size—since he’d first met her she’d always hovered around size twenty-six and been proud of the fact—she was amazingly light on her feet. Truth be told, she was the better dancer of the two. Their routine included both of them wearing dinner suits, Steph in white, Kennedy in black. Steph would take the lead, traditionally the man’s role. Typical of her, since the last time they’d danced this particular tango, she’d changed a couple of the moves, to keep things fresh. Over the following hour, they began by walking through the steps, practising and re-practising the new ones, until Kennedy felt comfortable. Of course, their first full run with the music was a train wreck. Every now and again, he glanced over to where Kieran and Laurie sat at a lounge table, observing them, and chatting amiably together. Kieran had also agreed to video them on his phone to keep as a reminder of the steps, in case they had no further opportunity to rehearse. When they managed to run through three times in succession without stopping or making a mistake, they agreed to call it a day, and went over to join Laurie and Kieran. As they approached, the pair burst into applause, Kieran grinning broadly at Kennedy. “Are you are full of surprises or what, Kennedy Grey? That was frigging awesome.” When Kennedy threw himself down, Kieran put his arm around Kennedy’s shoulders, pulled his head towards him and kissed him on top. Not only did Kennedy feel a warm twinge of pleasure at the praise and the contact, but his cock also began to sit up and take notice. He knew why. That morning, as they’d both taken turns to use the bathroom, Kieran had left the door open, and Kennedy had glanced at his naked figure getting into the shower cubicle. Like a good gentleman, at first he had turned away, but then he could not help stealing a peek at Kieran’s body. Beautiful, long, lean but not skinny, he had light skin with very little hair except for the dark patch of pubic hair around a generously sized cock. All morning, with Kieran gone, the image kept floating into his head and interrupting his work. Only the message from Tim, and another from Karl, managed to keep his mind fixed in place. Karl wrote that the meeting date was still the same, but that they would need to use a local hotel, because their conference room had suffered water damage from the offices above. Kennedy smiled to himself. Sloan either knew or suspected Kennedy had installed his own security devices around the room, knew his boss would be able to watch and hear everything going on. Another piece moved. Tim had managed to find reams of information on Milletto, and had included something he liked to call an ‘FYEO’ file—For Your Eyes Only—which always drew Kennedy’s attention, and where the crucial information would sit. Milletto’s file had nothing much he didn’t already know, except that, at fifty-eight, Milletto was essentially in his prime as a businessman, had pretty much done the same for Cold Steel as Kennedy had for Grey Havens. Why then would he want to sell? Even though he would remain in an advisory capacity—part of the deal—he would essentially hold no power, have no share of the pie. Of course, Tim must have known Kennedy would look at the attachments in sequence, because as soon as he typed in his private password to open the FYEO file, the truth jumped out at him. Very clever, Sloan. Very clever.
  9. 89 points
    The last week and a half have been amazing, I’ve had to pinch myself to make sure it’s real. Being with Ember is so much better in real life than I imagined it would be in my head. He’s sexy as hell, I can’t keep my eyes off him. Watching him muck around and play with his niece while we waited for the boy's race made my stomach flutter. I would love to do this all again with him, the picket fence, 2.5 kids, the works. That’s how it should have been in the first place, not that I’d give up Katie or Novy, they make me want to do it again. I wonder how they would react if it ever came about that Ember and I had kids together. I’m sure they’d be fine with it, probably. Maybe shocked at first but I’m sure they’d love to have younger siblings. Little Ember and my Ember, – oh jesus, where did that come from – were having a thumb war, he kept cheating, and the little one kept calling him out. Ember’s feign of innocence was over the top and dramatic, but hilarious. Novy and AJ were watching with one eye while they mentally prepared for the race. Little Ember leaned in whispering to her Uncle. “Oh!” Ember stood up taking his niece’s hand. “We're off to powder our nose,” he said in a hoity toity accent as he strode past me. His hand reached for mine, giving it a quick squeeze as he went. I smiled at the gesture, it was affectionate and thoughtful. I’m so crazy for him. What the hell am I doing? I shook my head to stop the sappy thoughts out of my head. It’s like I’m a damn lovesick teenager. “You boys ready?” I asked, moving closer to them. They’d already competed in their heats earlier finishing well enough to make it to the final. We were waiting for the final race. I think I was more nervous than the boys were. There’s a lot riding on this for Novy he needed the points for the invitational at the in October. “Yeah…” Novy answered, his posture changed suddenly with a big grin splitting his face. “Mum!” My son went quickly to his mother, I turned to see them exchanging hugs and smiles. It made me happy to see them like that. Gordon was with Linda, my ex-wife, Novy’s mum. Gordon was my best friend until I came out. Not that he’s homophobic, but he was mad at me for the situation. I get it, I’m mad at me too but what’s done is done. I don’t ever regret having Katie and Novy, maybe the way it all came about wasn’t the best, but, I’ve got two beautiful kids and at least Linda and I can make a better life for ourselves this way. “You came,” Novy said excitedly, “hi Uncle Gordon.” “Hi Novy,” Gordon smiled genuinely. “Of course we came,” Linda said, “I wanted to see you race.” She looked good. Happy. Linda’s smile was genuine, she even looked younger; I think. “Come meet AJ, my friend from school, we ride together.” Novy was bouncing around excitedly. Gordon walked closer to our pit but didn’t follow Linda. “How’ve you been?” I asked him out of politeness, although I’m sure he could tell. When it came to Linda and Gordon as a couple I vowed never to let Novy see how pissed off it made me that they were together. Well I flip-flop on the matter, sometimes I’m happy Linda has someone to love her they way she should, the way she deserved. But did it really have to be Gordon? That part kind of pisses me off and makes me uncomfortable. Sometimes I ponder if there was something going on between them when we were together. It’s a ridiculous notion and not who Linda is, probably not Gordon either if I’m being honest. Subconsciously I wish it was so, that way I wouldn’t have to feel like the demise of our family was all my doing. He looked at his feet for a quick second then to Linda. “Good.” He answered but his eyes darting anywhere but me. “How’s Linda doing?” I asked leaning in closer dropping my voice so only he could hear me. Gordon shot a look at me, then he glanced at Linda and back at me. “She’s fine, no than–” “Hey, everything okay?” Ember asked as he returned. NO! His eyes flicked between me and Gordon. Ember stood next to me, his shoulder brushed mine, he cocked his head at me raising his eyebrow. This entire encounter is killing me on the inside. I would have been fine if it were just Linda alone, by herself. I didn’t know how to react, this is the first time I’d seen her since we parted. I certainly didn’t expect the first time I saw her would be with Gordon in tow. “This is Gordon, my roommate from Uni.” I told Ember but didn’t bother with further introductions. I don’t think I would have got the words out. Plus I didn’t think this was the time or place for Linda or Gordon to work out this was Novy’s namesake. Ember reached out his hand shaking Gordon’s, “Ember, Brady’s talked about you.” I saw Gordon wince at the strength of Ember’s handshake. That’s my man. When Ember released from the handshake he put his forearm on my shoulder, leaning a little closer to me. It wasn’t overtly a display of affection so much as it was staking a claim, anyone passing by would have just thought we were mates. I could see by the way Gordon looked at us he knew differently. “Ember, huh? That’s an unusual name,” Gordon said smugly. “It’s short for November,” Ember smirked, “but you already know that, don’t ya Gordy.” That knocked the smug look off his face. The call for the boy's race came over the loudspeaker. Just in the nick of time too. “Okay, boys let’s do this.” Ember clapped his hands together, turning toward the boys, Linda and his niece. “Ember sweetie can you stay with Brady while I walk with the boys to the start/finish please?” She looked at her uncle defiantly, “Uncle Brady,” she stated her hands on her hips. Ember chuckled while my face grew a lovely shade of pink. “Sorry, stay with Uncle Brady.” He corrected his former statement trying not to laugh. The young girl happily skipped over to me, putting her arms out to be picked up. My heart just melted as I picked her up. “Mr. McCain, this is my Mum, Linda.” Novy introduced his mother to Ember. He plastered a charming smile on his face, a far cry from the expression he wore not two minutes ago when he was introduced to Gordon. “Nice to finally meet you,” Ember doled out the charm. He shook her hand a lot gentler than Gordon’s – thank god. Not that I thought he would do anything otherwise, but I was still worried. It’s not like we really know who each other is at this stage, and we never really did I suppose. We loved and hated each other from afar. He hated, I pined to be able to love every inch of him inside and out. “Enjoy the race, wait until you see these two together. They are quite the team.” Ember smiled charmingly once again. “Okay fella’s let’s do this.” Ember and the boys rolled away with the bikes as the rest of us watched, calling out ‘Good Luck’ to their backs. At least Linda waited until the boys had left before she said anything. “Huh? So that’s November. I see you finally got what you’ve always wanted.” Hearing that was like a stab to the heart. Her tone wasn’t cold or malicious, just matter of fact. But it still hurt like hell. I hate being reminded of what I’d done, to her, to us, to our family. I’d only told Novy where his name came from, it was part of the conversation we’d had on the move. After our car had died on the side of the road and had to wait for the road side assistance and then the tow truck. My son had me cornered and he knew it; the questions came, so I’d answered them honestly. Novy obviously told his mum, but I would never ask him to keep a secret from her. I watched as Linda and Gordon walked off to find a place to watch Novy ride. His hand at the small of her back as they dawdled along, chatting with each other as they went. My insides were tied in knots, I didn’t know what to think or feel. I blew out a breath to try and let it all go, none of it was something I had control over. No point stewing on it. “Are you okay Uncle Brady?” asked the princess in my arms. “I’m good.” I plastered a smile on my face and tapped her gently on the nose with my finger. “Are you ready to watch your brother race?” Ember nodded, “And Novy.” “That’s right, how could I forget. And Novy.” I put Ember gently on her feet so we could walk to the stands, she slid her hand in mine walking right beside me. God, I was done in by this little girl. She reminded me of my Katie at the same age. They’re so sweet and innocent, they make your heart melt, soar, and break all at the same time. And they are just so damn cute. “Uncle Brady, do you think I would be allowed to ride like AJ when I get older?” “I’m not really sure sweetheart, have you asked your mum and dad?” “Yeah,” she said defeated, “Daddy said it’s too dangerous and he didn’t want me to get hurt. He said AJ was a knuckle head and too stupid to get hurt.” A laugh popped out of me. That’s exactly what I probably would have said to Katie if she had ever asked me if she could race like Novy. One kid is hard enough to watch do this sport, I don’t think my nerves could handle two of them. I’m not that much of an asshole that I would have stopped my daughter if she really wanted to ride motorbikes. But anyone who has a daughter vows to keep her safe forever and never let them get hurt and grow up strong and independent. Daughters help knock the hard edges off us men. When a son is born, you say the same thing, but you want more than anything for them to grow up to be a better man than you. It would sound sexist if I voiced my thought to anyone. People forget about human nature and how our natural instincts can sometimes take over from rational thought. Plus, there is a difference between telling your child “no” because they might get hurt and telling them “no” because they’re a girl. Nobody wants their child to get hurt, – ever. Little Ember and I found a seat in the stands, she pointed out Linda and Gordon standing across the other side of the track. As I looked their direction I felt movement beside me, Ember had sat down. He leaned in and quietly spoke in my ear. “Are you okay?” I turned to him with rueful smile, “Yeah, I’ll be fine.” His hand slid over to mine on the bench and quickly squeezed showing me I had his support. That simple touch gave me so much comfort, the pick me up I needed to deal with the situation at hand. Ember removed his hand from mine as the race started. The riders took off in a spray of dirt, they bunched together for the first turn. “Breathe,” Ember said out the side of his mouth. I didn’t even realise I had been holding my breath, I exhaled with a puff of air looking down to see my knuckles were almost white from the grip at which I was clinging to the bench. This was the first time I was nervous for Novy to do well, I wanted nothing more for him while his mother was watching. It had never really been an issue before, but with the uncertainty I was feeling with Linda and Gordon there, I wanted my boy to win to prove some kind of point. As if his winning would show them how well he’s doing living with me. How well we were doing together. The truth is Novy wasn’t just doing well, he was thriving with the move, faring a lot better than I had been. Although things seem to be falling into place for me too. Ember’s change of heart where it concerned me had a lot to do with it. I knew we had a long way to go yet, but it all seemed to be full steam ahead. He no longer ran hot and cold with me, there were no games or guessing. I’m not sure he had fully forgiven me yet for my past, but he seemed happy to open up to me and let it all go without punishing me any further. I’ve never been more grateful for anything in my life. My love for him grew more every moment we spent together. Not that I’d tell him that. Don’t get me wrong I would shout my love for him from the mountain tops, but there is no way he was ready to hear it. “And 386, Novy Douglass takes the lead, in turn 15. Unbelievable folks, where did this kid come from. He’s having the ride of his life today… He’s on fire.” The announcement brought me back to the present in time for me to see Novy fly over the tabletop, legs in the air, his bike to the side. My breath caught in my throat, but he nailed the landing bringing us to our feet, the crowd screamed accolades and applause. He had a full two second lead on the pack with another kid between him and AJ in third. With one lap to go the entire world washed away including the man next to me, all I could focus on was Novy and the ride of his life. God that kid makes me proud. I watched willing with all my power for him to keep it together and finish the race. Over the rolls, moguls and around the corners he went like lightening. I’ve never seen Novy ride so aggressively, it was amazing to watch. He made it look so easy. As he came around the last turn he braked hard and paused as he looked for the pack, in a panic I grabbed Ember’s forearm. He reached across his body with his other hand squeezing my shoulder. “Breathe man,” is all Ember said, his eyes like mine glued to the action. Novy took off again before the pack caught him, his pause may have been a nano-second but it felt like a minute as the pack gained ground. Novy jumped the tabletop where the start finish was, his feet above him in a handstand from the handle grips. Fuck me! Again, he stuck the landing, his fist pumped the air as he slowed around the track. The kid in second place fist bumped him as he went past, and I assume said something congratulatory. Then came AJ who leaned over with a quick side hug and stayed beside him as they rode off the track, while they thumped on each other’s shoulders. I grabbed Ember picking her up, as the three of us head to the scrutineering area. Our feet couldn’t take us quick enough. We waited for the boys to come out once their bikes were checked. “I can’t believe he won, he never goes for it like he did tonight. Man, he was something else,” I said to Ember grinning from ear-to-ear. “I know right? And not only just, he killed it. Him and AJ really bring out the best in each other.” He grinned back at me. “You know what this means?” “Novy has the points for the invitational in October,” I said proudly. “Yup,” Ember answered just as proudly. “It’s because of the great mechanics they’ve got.” “Shut up!” I laughed heartily. Linda and Gordon arrived just before the boys came out to us. Thankfully that meant I didn’t have to engage with them to much, because they are here for Novy. The second Gordon was near, Ember stepped in beside me. “What did you think of the race?” Ember asked Gordon. I don’t know who Ember thinks he’s fooling, but I heard the possessive edge in his voice. “Yeah surprisingly, Novy did really well.” Ember shot Gordon a look that would have had most people heading for the funeral directors. Geez Gordon if you’re going to have who’s dick’s is bigger than who’s contest. Dude you’re gonna lose. Ember’s got this by miles. Plus, after that back handed compliment I should kick you in yours anyway. Asshole! “Hey congratulations,” I shouted as I grabbed Novy around the neck pulling him to my chest. Luckily Ember was there to catch Novy’s bike. “Where did all that come from, the new moves and everything? Buddy you killed it tonight I’m so proud of you.” Ember was doing much of the same with AJ, but it included little Ember. “AJ and I have been practicing, he’s showed me some stuff and we’ve gotten some off of YouTube.” My son’s face was red and sweaty, he was panting like he needed water. His Mum handed him a fresh bottle and one to AJ. Novy hugged her then Gordon which made me scrunch my nose in irritation. Ember nudged me and smiled. “Good ride AJ, you two did great out there,” I said turning my attention to AJ. “You are a powerful team together.” “Thanks Mr. Douglass.” AJ beamed, both boys wearing grins and those smiles were going nowhere soon. The young kid who came in second walked by waving to AJ and Novy prompting our move toward the pit. Ember gave Novy his bike then picked up his niece because the area was full of moving bikes and people. He walked beside AJ while Novy was with his Mum and Gordon. Ember turned his head smirking from in front of me. “Come on Sparky, get a move on.” I hung my head in shame, I can’t believe Justin and Basher told him. A couple of days ago I managed to give myself a little electrical charge… well more of a shock. It made me yelp like a wounded puppy, giving the two men something to laugh about and have since been calling me Sparky. They promised they wouldn’t tell Ember. “Lying rat bastards,” I thought with a grin. Basher said my eyes lit up like light globes. When I caught up to Ember and AJ he nudged me with his shoulder chuckling away. “Oh, shut up. It was one time,” I groused, “I can’t believe they told you.” That only made Ember laugh harder. God, I love that laugh. “Hey, Uncle Ember, do you think we could take a look at my bike sometime this week?” AJ asked frowning. “Sure buddy, why what’s up?” “I don’t know, our bikes are identical and I couldn’t get anywhere near Novy, I struggled to block Ryan and failed. Luckily, Novy, was miles ahead of the pack. No one could catch him which is grouse.” AJ smiled, his voice elated. “I don’t know if it was the bike or I was having a bad day. If Novy gets in front I need to be able to block other riders from getting to him. He does the same for me. We’re a team.” “We’ll leave your bikes at the garage when we get back. Come by when you finish school and we’ll take a look.” Ember promised AJ. “Thanks.” AJ smiled moving at a quicker pace to catch up with Novy. My phone vibrated in my pocket, when I checked it was message from my daughter cancelling our catch-up with an excuse that she had stuff to do at the last minute. “What’s up?” Ember asked with brow furrowed. “Katie just cancelled on me.” I looked at him confused. “Somethings not right. I need to talk to Linda. There’s something going on and they’re not telling me.” “Go, do your thing. I got this. I’ll get the boys packed up and ready to go.”
  10. 80 points
    Chapter 26 --Declan— They sat for a while cooling down and resting before they tackled the last of the yard chores. As he hefted a bag of mulch with ease, Declan couldn't help but flex his muscles a little more as Bailey watched him. The bags were more cumbersome for Bailey only because his arms were smaller and the bags were bulky. They plopped them down around the flower bed before grabbing a hoe and rake to help spread the mulch. Afterwards, Bailey grabbed the hose to water the flowerbed while Declan grabbed the weed-whacker and cleaned up the errant weeds around where the mulch bags had been. He couldn't do much about the dead patch of grass left behind. However, he did regard the multitude of bugs and worms that had taken up residence under the bags with a wary eye. After he'd returned all the tools to the shed, he waited for Bailey to finish the watering the front beds. He scratched at his leg, just knowing one of those damn bugs had bitten him. "Hey," Bailey called over to him. "You know you have a spider on your shorts, right?" "What?!" Declan squeaked out at a lot higher pitch than he'd expected, but hell! A spider! He started slapping wildly at his shorts. "Hey! I got it, okay?" Bailey called out helpfully—an instant before Declan felt a blast of water smack him in the back. "What the—!" Declan jumped at the shot of cold water; even though he was hot and sweaty enough for it to feel good, the shock of it left him sputtering. He spun to find Bailey bent over laughing his ass off, the spray momentarily aimed at the ground. "You little—" Declan growled through his own amusement as he started forward. Bailey must have caught the look in Declan's eyes because his own widened in fear. The tiny smirk was all Declan saw before Bailey brought the hose nozzle back up and pummeled him with another blast of water as he started backing up. After a moment of sputtering at the onslaught, Declan narrowed his eyes and stalked towards Bailey, who nearly tripped as he tried to back away even faster. Yeah, that wasn't going to help the little shit, Declan thought as he tracked his prey. Declan's longer legs were eating up the distance faster than Bailey could back away. And Bailey seemed to suddenly realize that the blasting water wasn't slowing Declan down either. Declan had nearly cornered his quarry when Bailey suddenly dropped the hose and shot away from him. Declan took up the chase, racing after him around the side of the house. Declan thought for sure he had Bailey at the fence, knowing Bailey would have to stop to open the gate to the backyard. Until Bailey simply vaulted over it. Declan smacked into the gate nearly at a full run. Cursing, he struggled to open the gate, practically yanking it off its hinges as he threw it open. By the time he rounded into the backyard, Bailey was nowhere to be seen. Until he heard laughter from the back porch. Declan glared through the water dripping off his hair at Bailey standing just inside the screen door. Bailey just gave him a big, cheesy grin and held up a towel. "Still need a shower?" Declan stalked up the steps. "Wanna help me with that?" he taunted. Bailey rolled his eyes at the awful joke as he shoved open the screen door to hold out the towel. "You wish." "Maybe." He shrugged as he reached for the towel. "But this will have to do." Instantly, his hand snapped around Bailey's wrist, yanking him out the door before Declan pinned the smaller body against the wall with his own soaking wet one. Bailey squawked, flailing and laughing as he tried to shove Declan away. He failed, of course, as Declan's mass was no match for his futile efforts. Declan just grinned wildly, making sure as much of the cold water as possible was seeping into Bailey's clothes as well. "Thought you'd get away with blasting me with a hose, huh?" "Fine, fine, fine, stop!" Bailey huffed out through chuckles. "You win." Bailey slowed his squirming, apparently realizing he wasn't going to get anywhere and was already soaked through. Declan glanced down, his body waking up to just how close Bailey was, and how that lean little body had been wriggling against him. Fuck. Bailey dropped his head back against the wall as Declan glanced down, ready to back away, but froze. Bailey's tongue darted out over his lower lip, his head tilting just a bit. An offering, if Declan was willing to take it. Declan lowered his head, tentatively licking a stripe across those inviting lips, waiting for any sign of rejection. As much as he wanted to devour Bailey, he held back. Knowing Bailey's history, Declan wanted Bailey to know he could choose to back away, that he could trust Declan. He never wanted Bailey to feel pressured or trapped. His breath left in harsh relief when Bailey lifted a fraction more to meet his kiss. It was as sweet and agonizingly intense as before. Declan's hands dropped from the wall and snaked just under Bailey's T-shirt, his rough fingers sliding up Bailey smooth, muscular back. The synapses in his brain were firing so rapidly at the sensations of Bailey's hot mouth against his and the soft skin under his finger tips that it took Declan's brain a moment to catch up to the fact that Bailey's calloused palms were slipping up his own ribs. "Oh shit," he gasped out, nearly crushing Bailey against the side of the house as his knees almost gave out. Bailey's head buried in his neck, his teeth scraping Declan's collarbone. "We—we n-need t-to stop... Your mom..." Declan gritted out brokenly. Bailey's fingers tightened on his sides for a moment before he nodded against Declan's chest. "Yeah, yeah. You're right." Declan's heart thumped happily at the rough, gravelly sound of Bailey's voice. At least, Bailey was as agonized as he was. Declan backed away, leaving Bailey slumped against the wall while he scooped up the forgotten towel. Bailey watched him toweling off for several moments, those silvery eyes nearly fully blown black. "Yeah, um, right. So. Still need a shower?" Declan smirked. "Oh, hell yeah." A nice cold one. **** As much as Bailey had already soaked him with the hose, Declan had still opted for the shower, of course. If he was staying for dinner with Bailey's mom, he didn't want to smell like this. After drying off sufficiently enough to walk into the house, leaving his soaked shoes on the back porch, Declan had grabbed his change of clothes as Bailey showed him to the hall bathroom. Since he was already soaked, it made more sense for him to shower first rather than risk dripping on the floor or furniture. While he'd showered many times in locker rooms and his own dorm room suite where other guys had showered, this felt different. Knowing Bailey was the only one who used this bathroom, who showered naked in here every day, had Declan groaning in frustration. "Hey." Declan nearly hit his head on the shower spigot when Bailey's voice suddenly floated into the bathroom. "Yeah?" he managed to croak out. "I just put a plastic bag inside the door for your wet clothes. I'm, uh, sorry about that, man." Declan could hear the tiniest hint of amusement behind the apology. "No you're not," Declan accused, scrubbing Bailey's minty shampoo through his short scruffy hair. A small snigger floated into the small room. "Okay, so maybe not totally sorry, but I am sorry all your clothes are wet. And your shoes." Declan grunted. Yeah, the shoes were a little more of an issue, but he had a full change of clothes and deodorant with him. "I'll survive. Maybe they'll dry out some before I head home. Your mom won't care if I'm barefoot, will she?" "No, of course not. She might yell at me for how your shoes got wet, though. Extra towels and other stuff are under the sink if you need anything." Declan was about to ask 'like what other stuff?' but he heard the click of the door as it reclosed. He finished soaping up and rinsing what little dirt was left on him after his spritz in the front yard. Just imagining Bailey's lithe body as he'd so smoothly vaulted over that fence had him grinning to himself again. How many others had seen Bailey so playful like that? Declan was guessing he was one of the few based on what he'd heard from other classmates talking. From all he knew before, Bailey was pretty much antisocial, except with his teammates, quiet and unassuming. Of course, Declan now knew it was because he'd still been grieving his father's death, not because he was an aloof, pretentious asshole as Declan had thought weeks ago. Declan peeked around the shower curtain to be sure the door was fully closed before he reached down to grab a clean, dry towel. After stepping fully out of the tub, he leaned down to peek in the cabinet to see what the 'other stuff' was? Lube? Condoms? He thought humorously. He was disappointed to see just a few still-wrapped toothbrushes, a couple new deodorants, some body powder, a set of disposable razors—although what Bailey was shaving was a mystery to Declan—a box with first aid items in it, and ace bandages. Declan remembered seeing Bailey's bloody, ripped hand that day after their infamous push-up contest. Guess that was a hazard of gymnastics. He quickly dressed, using his own deodorant, but he did make use of one of the toothbrushes. Couldn't hurt, right? After hanging up his towels on the hooks and gathering up his wet clothes in the plastic bag, he shoved the whole bag into his backpack, figuring he'd take care of it later when he got back to the dorm. Bailey was sitting at his desk, flipping through a gymnastics magazine when Declan returned. Bailey jumped up with a smile. "All fresh and clean now?" Declan couldn't help a little teasing. "Yeah. What do you think?" Then he leaned in to kiss Bailey thoroughly, knowing he'd taste the hint of mint on his lips. For a second, Bailey froze but then he relaxed and even chased Declan's lips as he pulled away. "Oh, yeah, definitely fresh." Bailey stepped hesitantly back towards the door, obviously debating staying and continuing what they'd started or taking the shower. The shower won out. "Oh, hey, hand me your wet clothes. I'll throw them in with this load here, so you don't have to carry them back wet and worry about them." Declan's lips lifted in a sly smirk as he pulled out the wet bag of clothes. "You want my clothes to mingle with yours, huh?" Bailey just rolled his eyes and grabbed the bag along with his hamper. As it happened, the washer and dryer were one door over from the bathroom in a nice little laundry room. Bailey dumped everything in and set it to run. Declan hovered, feeling both awkward and a little excited to be spending time like this with Bailey. It was easy, to be with him, to just relax and be themselves, no pretense. "Okay, I'm gonna shower real quick. You can read or listen to music or something." Bailey waved his hand toward his bedroom. "Just no looking under the bed." Of course, that piqued Declan's interest, so he immediately dropped to the floor as soon as he returned to Bailey's room to see what Bailey stored under there. He pulled out a pile of magazines, getting excited, until he realized they were gymnastics magazines—Inside Gymnastics, USA Gymnastics, International Gymnast Magazine. Figured. Although... Declan flipped through a couple of them, ogling a couple of the ripped male gymnasts. But he quickly put them aside to search for something more risqué. The only other stuff under there, though, were shoes, maybe a pair of winter boots, and a pile of science fiction books. He cursed under his breath, shaking his head. Bailey had known he'd have to look, and therefore, known he'd find boring-ass shit. Bastard. Teasing him like that. Maybe he should storm in the bathroom and— And what? Bailey would be— Well, shit. That wasn't helping. Bailey soaping up, using the same soap he'd just used. Yeah, okay, he needed to get a grip, focus on something else. Declan flopped back on Bailey's bed picking up the book from the nightstand and flipping through it. A flicker of déjà vu rolled over him as he remembered picking up the same book just a few days ago... and something... something... He searched his memory, sitting up slightly as he glanced around. Something... falling. "Hmmm." He frowned as he looked where the book had been and down the edge of the nightstand. Nothing. Well, there was a small screwdriver on the floor for some reason, but Declan knew that didn't have to do with what he'd seen. It had been smaller. Not a bookmark, though it had fallen when he'd picked up the book... And anyway, it seemed Bailey was one of those who turned down the corners of the pages. A coin, maybe? It had been gray... or silver... He looked again, but nothing was there now, except the small screwdriver, and he didn't remember seeing that before. Whatever it was that had triggered his memory, it was steadfastly eluding him now. And, fuck, if it didn't somehow seem important... He put the book beside him, checking out the rest of the nightstand, willing something to jog his memory. Another gymnastics magazine. A couple of pens, some dull pencils, a highlighter, a pencil sharpener. He must do some of his homework sitting on his bed. A few coins. A power bar wrapper. How many of those things did Bailey eat anyway? Declan shook his head, frustrated he couldn't remember. "Had to have been a dime or something," he muttered to himself, even as he still doubted his thoughts. Declan picked up one of the pencils and the sharpener, needing something to fiddle with, and the pencils were an easy target. Besides, how the hell did Bailey write with them so dull anyway? Declan couldn't stand writing with anything but a sharp tip on his pencils. He turned the pencil in the sharpener, watching for the crisp curl of shavings to appear in the plastic receptacle. Except, as he turned the pencil in the sharpener, nothing was happening. No shavings falling into the plastic catcher. He frowned and popped open the sharpener. No blade. The screw was there that should have been holding the blade in, but... no blade? Odd. He went to put the pieces of the sharpener down, but stopped suddenly, glancing back down at the floor. The screw driver. Had Bailey taken apart the pencil sharpener? Why? Boredom? To see how it worked? To— Declan frowned. Pieces, slivers of memories, started to slot together. The silver thing that had fallen to the floor. Declan closed his eyes, trying to remember that moment. A thin piece of... something shiny... metallic... Could it have been the blade from a pencil sharpener? If so, why? What had Bailey needed to cut so badly he'd have to take the blade out of a pencil sharpener. Especially when he already had a box cutter available. If he had needed to cut some cardboard or someth— Realization smacked him in the teeth. Oh God. No. No. No, it couldn't— Bailey wouldn't— Bailey wouldn't be... cutting, would he? But Declan's mind's eye darted through his memories. The straight 'scratch' on Bailey's chest. The feel of something under his fingers this morning on Bailey's hip. And hadn't he seen Bailey rubbing at that spot a few times over the last few days? Hell, he knew well enough himself that healing cuts could be itchy as hell. And, yeah, yeah, what he'd felt under his fingertips could have been a scabbed over cut or scar. Jesus. Fuck. Declan had even questioned why Bailey would be carrying a box cutter in his backpack. Bailey's answer hadn't made a whole lot of sense then, but Declan had accepted it. If Bailey was cutting, then the presence of the box cutter in his backpack took on a whole new meaning. God, was he cutting at school too? Declan rubbed his hands over his head, his heart pounding in his chest as he shot to his feet, pacing in a circle. No. No. This couldn't be right. He had to be overreacting. There had to be a reason... But fleeting memories assaulted Declan's mind. And they gutted him. Because he knew with sickening dread that it could be true. But why? Was he stressed over school? Was he upset by the bullying? What would make Bailey resort to physically hurting himself like that? Declan's eyes darted around the room, thankful to still hear the rush of water from the shower. He knew Bailey would be back any time now. But what could Declan say? "Hey, dude, I know you're cutting yourself up. You should stop that, you know..." So f-ing lame sounding. And why? What had driven Bailey to it? How long had it been happening? Declan vaguely remembered the time he'd followed Bailey home after Chris had beaten him up—when Bailey's mom had yelled at him. She'd seemed pretty strict, but it could have just been a bad night. She didn't seem that way now; at least, not what Declan saw lately. His eyes shifted around the room, hoping an answer would jump out at him, but knowing it probably wouldn't be that easy. All the damn medals and trophies, certificates of achievement—all indicated high achievement, was he stressed and pushing himself too hard? Was his mom pushing him too hard, and he couldn't cope? The piles of books, running gear, power bars, gymnastics gear—an overachiever definitely. He hadn't seen any bottles of pills, so that was a good sign. Maybe Bailey was cutting as a way to relieve stress. Was that something that could make someone harm themselves like that? Declan scraped his fingers through his hair in frustration as his eyes whipped around the room. Why? Why? Why? It seemed like it should be more than just the stress of needing to excel. Then his eyes lit on the answer. Or a part of the answer, anyway. Declan reached over and picked up the framed picture of Bailey and his dad. Bailey looked so much like the man, just a lot smaller. The delighted, loving look on Bailey's father's face was undeniable. It wasn't just needing to excel. It was the need to make his dead father proud, along with the gut-wrenching loss of the only man in Bailey's life who understood him. Shit. Two months, almost three now. Bailey had been suffering silently. And then having to deal with Chris and Eric's shit on top of it. Declan's fist clenched. How many times? How many times had Bailey felt so overwhelmed, so lost that he'd resorted to cutting? Declan couldn't remember any obvious cuts except the one on Bailey's chest, and he'd been the only one to have seen that. But now he was wondering what he'd missed. Had there been others? On his arms or wrists—oh, god, his wrists, what if he cut too deep, got an artery or something...? He sucked in a sharp breath to calm himself. No. There hadn't been cuts on his arms or anything like that. Someone would have noticed—Justin, Coach Richards, anyone else on his team at least. Bailey wouldn't have been able to hide that. So maybe it wasn't what he thought, could he be wrong? He turned to the nightstand again, eyes critically searching for the evil piece of metal. Not finding it, he dropped to the floor, feeling around the carpet next to the bed and nightstand. Still nothing. He closed his eyes, trying to stave off his panic and worry. Maybe he was overreacting... He opened his eyes, staring at the side of the bed. The line between the mattress and box spring. His breath hitched as a thought struck him. And even while he prayed he was wrong, when he reached his hand under the mattress, he wasn't surprised to feel something small move against his hand. Lifting the edge of the mattress, the gleaming blade sat there waiting for its next slice into Bailey's skin. Declan sat back on his heels, clutching the sliver of metal in his hand lightly. Closing his eyes and breathing, praying he'd know what to do, what to say when Bailey— "I told you not to look under my bed," Bailey quipped with a laugh from behind him. Declan closed his eyes, taking a deep breath, while still trying to frantically figure out what to do. He moved to sit on the edge of Bailey's bed, noting Bailey's tank top and athletic shorts sitting low on his hips. Bailey was still toweling dry his hair. And Declan couldn't help searching Bailey's exposed skin for tell-tale marks. Bailey finally tossed the towel to the laundry pile, grinning down at Declan. Declan forced a smile as he looked up. "Yeah, you warned me. Nothing but gym magazines and sci-fi books." He crooked his finger at Bailey to get him to come closer. "You had me hoping to find a stash of porn or something." Bailey laughed as he stepped into Declan's space, shoving playfully at his shoulder. "Ha! See, made you look!" Declan reached out, grabbing Bailey's right hip and running his thumb slowly over the hipbone, dipping below the waistband. "You made me look, all right." While the move was slow, sensuous even, Declan was able to feel, and, as the waistband slipped lower, see several white scar lines, one of which was still pink and healing. "Fuck," Declan breathed out as his fears were confirmed. He abruptly wrapped his arms around Bailey's waist, drawing him closer and burying his face against Bailey's belly. Bailey tensed for a moment, but Declan felt Bailey's hands stroking over his head soothingly. "Declan? What's going on? Are you okay?" He shook his head. "What's wrong? What happened?" Bailey asked anxiously. Declan sat back, Bailey's hands moving to his shoulders. Declan slowly took Bailey's hands one at a time, flipping them over and rubbing his thumb against the blessedly smooth, unmarred skin of his wrists. He had a moment of relief, knowing Bailey hadn't been cutting the delicate skin on his arm where he could nick an artery or something. Of course, if he had, everyone would have seen what was happening with Bailey long before now. Justin, the coach, the rest of the gymnastics team, maybe even his mom. Someone would have noticed, wouldn't they? But Bailey had very strategically cut where no one was likely to see. "No, Bailey, I'm worried... About you." "Me?" Bailey jerked back, a frown creasing his brow. "What—what are you talking about? I'm fine." "I know you're not. Hell, I knew you weren't fine before, but now..." Declan gripped Bailey's hand, wanting to ground him, hold him, give him something else for those hands to do but hurt himself. "We've talked about some of it, and I'm so glad you trusted me to tell me everything you did with Mason and your old school, and Chris, and your dad..." Declan looked up, but Bailey wouldn't meet his gaze, was trying to pull away from him. Declan kept a hold on Bailey's wrist, not letting him draw away and hide. He slowly opened his other hand, revealing the slim blade he'd found. "I just didn't realize until now, just how 'not fine' you were." "Shit, Declan, that's just from a—" "A pencil sharpener, I know. I found it under your mattress. You know looking for porn and all," he tried to lighten the mood slightly with a joke. It worked enough to get Bailey to snort a laugh. "It's not what you think. I'm not... I don't want to... kill myself or anything." Declan dropped the blade on the nightstand. "I didn't think that. Not for long anyway. But these—" He reached forward, lowering the edge of Bailey's shorts, revealing the scars he'd seen. He ran his fingers reverently over them. "These tell me you're hurting yourself." Declan leaned forward, drawing Bailey closer, and gently kissed the scars on Bailey's hip. Bailey hissed in a breath, emotions choking him as Declan continued to caress his damaged skin. "Please tell me why. Please tell me why so I can understand." Declan knew his voice was verging on pleading, on begging, demanding, even. But he couldn't help it. "Please. I want to help; I need to help. I hate to know you have been hurting so badly that you need to do this to yourself." Bailey wrenched out of his grip. "Fuck you, Declan! You know nothing of my life! What it's been like! So you don't get to come in here and think you can wave a wand, say a few words, and make it all better." Declan rose, unfazed by the explosive anger. Hell, he'd pretty much expected it. "If I thought like that, I take this—" He held up the blade. "And the one in your backpack, and throw them away." Bailey's nostrils flared as he crossed his arms, taking on a defensive stance. Declan knew it wasn't going to be easy, but he wasn't sure how much of the battle would be won here. Declan carefully took Bailey's hand and gingerly laid the blade he was sure had drawn Bailey's blood in his palm. "But I think we both know throwing these away won't do any good." Bailey lifted a curious brow, obviously not expecting that response. It did serve to calm Bailey slightly as he waited to see what Declan was up to. Declan's lips pulled together into a tight, resigned smile. He shrugged. "What am I going to do? Tear apart your room for other pencil sharpeners that you might take apart? Take all the razors out of your bathroom? Hmmm, and scissors, have to get rid of those. Good luck cutting with those little round-end preschool safety ones. Oh, wait, I'd have to take all the knives from your kitchen too. I'm sure your mom would love that." He ended his sarcastic tirade with a roll of his eyes, causing Bailey to bark out a laugh. Bailey's shoulders dropped, and he sighed heavily. He dragged himself over to the bed and plopped down, staring at his lap, where his hands cupped the offensive piece of metal. "I-I can't," Bailey whispered after several minutes. Declan moved cautiously to sit beside Bailey, suddenly looking so fragile and tiny. At least Bailey hadn't demanded that he leave. So maybe this was a good thing. A start. "You can't what?" "I can't... stop..." Bailey slowly admitted, his hands trembling as he stared at the blade. "I can't tell anyone because no one understands. I miss him so fucking much, and it doesn't matter how much I 'talk about my feelings' to anyone," he said, using air quotes, "because they just don't fucking get it!" Bailey had started to clench his hands, and Declan quickly plucked the blade from Bailey's palm before he could rip open his hand. As Declan laid it on the nightstand, Bailey stared blankly at his hands. "I need to honor him, to remember him, to make him proud. Everyone thinks we should just move on, forget about him, and go on with our lives. No one cares to remember him but me and it hurts so fucking bad in here—" Bailey beat a fist against his chest, still trying to pull away from Declan, but Declan wouldn't let him go, wouldn't let him run anymore. "It hurts so bad, missing him, needing him, wanting to be the best for him... and IT is the only thing that helps!" "It? The cutting?" Declan hated the tortured look on Bailey's face, the tears, the anguish... "Yes! It helps me. It calms me, gives me..." Bailey's body and voice were strained, and Declan could visually see how Bailey's grief was consuming him. "I-I need to feel something other than—than this... this—" Bailey clutched at his heart, unable to find the words. "Other than what? Misery... pain... guilt... anger... failure?" Declan watched Bailey's face morph from bitter suffering to confusion at Declan's understanding. Bailey nodded slowly, drooping forward to his knees as if all his energy had suddenly evaporated. Declan slipped off the edge of the bed to catch Bailey's slowly crumpling form. For several long moments, Bailey clung to Declan, soft sobs dampening Declan's shirt. "Why the blade, Bailey?" Declan whispered against the top of Bailey's ebony hair. "I couldn't really talk to Ms. Tardin—I mean, what if she told the coach and he benched me or something? And mom... well, she was hurting as well. I couldn't burden her more with my... my problems too. And she wanted me to... to be the best... I think she thinks that's what I need, encouragement to... make my dad proud... But sometimes I felt like I was failing at everything—school, gymnastics, being a good son... And now she seems a little better. Maybe she's talked to Daniel, maybe she just wants to forget... I don't know, but she seems a little happier—and while that sometimes pisses me off—I can't make her worse by telling her anything... The-the cutting... helped. The physical pain drowns out all the other pain—of missing him, of not being good enough. It helped me feel something other than... hopelessness." "Let me help you feel, Bailey," Declan said softly, gently cupping the sides of Bailey's face. "Feel me." Bailey froze, and they stared at each other for several minutes. Tears slipped down Bailey's blotchy cheeks. Declan gripped Bailey's shoulders, shaking him slightly, and forcing him to meet his eyes. "I'm not letting you go through this alone. I'll be there for you, if you let me. Please..." Bailey's pale eyes blinked more tears, and Declan had to glance away momentarily to keep himself from falling apart at Bailey's obvious misery. He sniffed, clearing his throat before he continued. "Yeah, I think you need some help, more than the school's counselor, a real therapist. Don't make a face at me like that, I'll even go with you if you want." "Dec—" Bailey tried to interrupt, turning his head away, but Declan wouldn't let him. "But right now, I want you to look at me. Look at me." Bailey raised his eyes to meet Declan's "Right now, I want you to feel me." Declan dropped his hands from Bailey's shoulders and grabbed his hands. "When you need It, reach for me. When you can't deal, don't reach for that blade. Don't reach for physical pain to drown out your thoughts. Let me help you feel something else. Call me. Text me. Find me. I'll be there. If you really need something physical, we'll go for a run. Beat up some punching bags. Swim some laps. Hold onto me instead of that blade. Okay?" Bailey looked at him askance, not sure what to make of the offer. "It has been better the last week or so... since we've been talking. I haven't felt as much of a need for it." A crooked smile lifted his lips. "I like you, Declan. And... and maybe because of that... you've already made me feel like things aren't so horrible lately." Declan grinned, grabbing the sides of Bailey's head again and pressing their foreheads together. "I like you, too. A lot. How about instead of reaching for that piece of metal, you reach for me?" Bailey nodded, sniffing back the last of his tears. "Yeah, yeah. I can try." "Hell, even Justin or the rest of your teammates, Micah and Logan would be there too, probably even Evan once he gets to know you... You don't have to tell them everything, but maybe opening up to them a little would help." Declan sighed, his thumb stroking along Bailey's wrist again. "I hate to think of you cutting this beautiful skin. What if you cut too deep or—" Bailey dropped his hand over Declan's, stopping his worried rubbing. "I've never cut on my arms or wrists, so it's not like I'm going to cut a vein and bleed out, okay? I promise. I'm not suicidal. My wrists and arms are always too visible, which is why I stuck to my hip, my thigh a couple times—easier to hide under shorts and pants. Plus, doing gymnastics with even a paper cut on my arm is painful. No thank you!" Declan laughed and they fell into each other's arms, embracing for several minutes. "Boys! I'm back from the store. Daniel's here too. We're about to start cooking, probably be ready in about half an hour. Is Declan staying for dinner?" They sat back; Bailey staring at Declan. "Yeah, he's staying. We'll be down in a minute. We were going to watch a movie." "Okay, sounds good." They dragged themselves off the floor. Bailey picked up the blade, showing it to Declan. "You sure you don't want to take it with you? Make sure I can't use it?" Declan plucked it out of Bailey's hand and laid it back on the nightstand. "Nope. You need it for your pencil sharpener, otherwise you'll have dull pencils." Bailey cocked his head, surprised. Declan shrugged. "I could take every blade and razor I find in here, but what good would that do? Me taking them won't stop you, if you really want to do it. You'll just get more. You have to decide to give 'em up; I can't do that for you. I'm just hoping, you'll choose me instead." Bailey leaned forward, a small smile on his face. "You are a lot more fun, Jar-Jar." Declan's mouth dropped open in mock outrage. "Jar-Jar Binks! I think not! More like the wise Qui-Gon Jinn." "Hell, why not claim Yoda status?" Bailey shot back, heading towards the door. "Not so wise as that one, I am." "Smartass."
  11. 66 points
    “That was… Kohen, I….” Captain stumbled over his words as he stared at me. “Felt good.” I nuzzled his thigh, then sighed. “But you have to go. And you want me to stay here, with the guards, where it’s safe.” I hated that. I wanted to be with him, now that I wasn’t afraid that my mind was going to be taken from me. He cupped my head, running his hand over my skull and then running his thumb along my cheekbone. “Yes. I don’t know exactly what these people were planning, even if Lakshou did run his mouth with you. For someone who managed to disguise his intentions for so long, he got damn cocky. But I don’t know if that was just because of you, or if there’s more to this than we know. Until then, I would have you stay safe. Not because I don’t trust you, but because I don’t trust them.” “I know. I’ll stay here. But when we get to the planets, you won’t be able to keep me locked away from everything.” Captain echoed my earlier sigh. “I know. But hopefully we’ll have had some more information and more time to plan.” It was actual hard to watch him walk away as I sat on the bed. Exhausted by the surges of adrenaline paired with the physical and emotional release, I dropped onto the bunk with a sigh. The bed was as soft as ever, and my eyelids had rapidly gained weights that dragged them down. I stripped and crawled under the covers, burrowing into the softness and safety I’d only ever felt here. A hand on my leg startled me awake, and I kicked out, then rolled away. “Ow! Shit.” “Deke. What are you doing in here?” I sat up. “Waking you up. Captain Querry wanted me to get you.” Deke rubbed his wrist. “You have wicked aim. Your eyes weren’t even open.” He wriggled his fingers. “Don’t touch me while I’m sleeping.” “Noted. Are you going to get up? We don’t have a lot of time.” “Wait outside.” Once I’d gained the right to privacy, I found I liked it. Needed it. There was only one person I could tolerate seeing me vulnerable, especially if I had the choice. “Sure.” Deke shook his head, mumbling under his breath. Of course, I could hear him, but I chose to ignore his grumbles. He shouldn’t have touched me; now he knew better. I’d pulled the kick—mostly. I really needed to go back to my quarters. I hated pulling on dirty clothing, so I didn’t. I grabbed some of Captain’s off-duty clothes, not caring who saw me in them. With the way gossip moved around the ship, most of the crew probably knew exactly what was going on between us anyway. “What’s going on?” I asked as I followed Deke off the bridge crew quarter deck. “Probably best to wait to ask questions until we’re somewhere more secure.” Deke looked grim now that he wasn’t whining. Crew members were everywhere. Deke and I both had to shift sideways to accommodate the bulk of two Scimniocs who were so busy bowing to each other, they’d blocked almost all of the corridor. We had to hop over their third leg which was propped out sideways. At least I thought it was a leg. Deke acted like it was all commonplace as he moved among the crew, not stopping as they acknowledged him or asked him questions, just firing responses back and keeping Kohen moving. They finally reached the bridge level. It was much quieter there, and the crew there all moved with silent purpose. Until Deke got to a door. He put his palm on the scanner and waited while it did a full scan, which also meant DNA. Captain was inside with several of his crew, including Kekillill and a few others I hadn’t met in person. “Got him, Querry.” Deke gestured for me to go in. “Now I have shit to do, including seeing Aparoe’s assistant for my wrist.” “It’s fine.” I rolled my eyes. “Thank you,” Captain said. The door slid shut behind me. “What happened to his wrist? Did something happen on the way to my quarters or the way back?” He stood. “Are you okay?” I went right up to him, unable to stay away even though every crew member in the room was watching us and I should be discreet. “He touched me while I was sleeping. I kicked him. He’s fine, just being a big baby.” Captain scowled. “He touched you?” His voice lowered dangerously. “Just my leg. It startled me, and I was already kicking out before I realized it was him, so I couldn’t fully stop. I managed not to break his arm, but he’ll have a bruise. He’s fine.” “As long as you’re okay.” Captain put his hand on my back and nudged me to the seat next to his. “We have new developments. And some plans to make.” “What new developments?” “The ship’s crew has proven… difficult. Most of them are either deliberately kept ignorant of those in charge or their loyalty is ensured in very specific ways. But we have Freska Derkat, and she has gotten their ship to sing. Access codes, communications, waypoints where the ship has docked, everything. It’ll take some time for the crew to sift through it all, but I trust that we’ll have an accurate picture soon of the true conspirators with the Brox Consortium. “We’re going to take them down.” He looked around the table and then took a deep breath. “Then retire.” “What?” Kekillill’s eyes widened. “But you just got command of this ship. This crew. You’re the best captain we’ve had.” Captain shook his head. “This isn’t what I wanted. And I’m tired of dancing to politician’s schemes.” “I’m with you,” a woman said. She was the one who’d first commed me on the vid. “Hopefully on our old ship.” "That's the plan."
  12. 64 points
    There was a void between the group even I could feel. Original crew and new. One eyed the other, not quite trusting, but needing each other to run the larger ship and get to port safely. Or as safe as we were all going to be. Because Captain was right. Their ship couldn’t help but tell Freska everything. If I wasn’t sure there wasn’t an AI yet developed, despite all attempts over the years to create the independently-learning computer brains in robot bodies, I’d think it was the first of its kind. Almost before she finished it was spitting out information, sharing files, vids, and even the log history. “I think we have it.” Deke stood behind two crew members who were feverishly working on the vid screens in front of them. He had his arm cradled against his chest but it wasn’t even wrapped. “What?” “There.” Deke stalked over to a vid screen on the wall and pressed his hand against it, turning it on. He tapped two buttons and the planet on the screen rotated until a large, sprawling cube expanded into millions of tiny cubes. A city. “This is our first destination.” Captain’s hands clenched. “That’s Councilman Breck Mejer Frijul Major’s seat. Are you sure he’s part of the conspiracy?” “You doubt me?” Freska asked. “No, no.” Captain was quick to reassure her. I didn’t blame him. What she could do with technology…. “Deke said first,” I said. “How many are we actually up against?” I had the vision of half the Central cities and districts being in on it and against us, with all their planets and military resources allied against us with Brox. “I sent him two. I’m sorry, Captain Querry.” Her aggressive, cocky tone was completely gone and in its place was a true sorrow. Just two. That was good. Way better than I feared. But why was she sorry? The crew member brought up the second location, and Deke stiffened at the same time Captain surged to his feet. “No.” His objection was implacable, his refusal absolute. “There’s no way.” “What? What is it?” I moved to stand beside him, but there was so much tension running through Captain’s body that I didn’t dare touch his clenched fists. “We got roped into this business because one of the people asking was Captain Querry’s cousin.” Deke spoke slowly, watching Captain as he spoke. “He’s our contact in Intelligence. Freska’s ship has pinpointed multiple communications coming from his office and his residence.” “You think she’s wrong?” I asked. Silence fell over the entire room, like everyone held their breath. Captain’s shoulders were rigid, and he looked at me. I tilted my head, trying to decipher what he was thinking and feeling. I couldn’t quite do it. But then his shoulders sagged, and his hands opened. I put my hand on his arm, then ran it down and squeezed his hand. He grabbed mine and didn’t let go. “No. She’s not wrong. It would make sense. It’d have to be someone in Intelligence; they’ve sent us on too many easy missions where everything has gone exactly right. They knew all our moves, all Central Command’s moves. Working with Frijul, they’d have access to the ear of almost everyone who travels to planet. Almost all trade, all travel, goes through his district.” The grip on my hand was so tight, my knuckles were white. I was strong enough to take it, and anything else he needed to support him. “What are we going to do?” “That depends.” Captain took a deep breath. “Our guests were supposed to escort us back. If our counterattack remained undetected, we have the element of surprise. My contacts are ready; I reached back far, into our early days. Military escorts will rendezvous with us, in stealth mode, now that we know our targets. We’re going to hit them both, hard, and take down this conspiracy.” Deke grinned. “I’m all for hard.” Someone groaned, and Deke made a rude gesture. Kekillill scoffed. “Can you grow up? Captain Querry, I’m unsure of how you expect to be able to land at Intelligence when all air traffic is closed to that location except by express permission; your cousin won’t just allow you to land when he knows you or your soldier allies have figured out what’s going on when you don’t go to Frujil’s ‘port with the escort.” “We will go to Frijul’s port with the escort. And to Intelligence. Two of the ships are matches to these vessels, and if Freska will agree to ask them to change their names and location pings, we can split the crew between the ships and strike in a coordinated attack.” Kekillil stood, placing both hands behind her back. “I would be honored to lead one ship, sir.” Deke snorted. Captain shot him a look, and he subsided. “This ship is mine by writ, and I cannot gainsay that without Command’s express permission in certain situations, and I have already given command of the other ship to Freska. She answers to her, and her alone. You will simply have to remain under my command a bit longer, I’m afraid.” Kekillill nodded abruptly. “Yes, sir.” She sat. “Once we get there, what happens?” That’s what I wanted to know. “Then we take Elliard and Frijul into custody. We find any others involved in this little scam when the vermin scuttle from the light we’ll shine on filthy collaboration. And, with any luck, it’ll all be rooted out in just a few days.” Even I knew that was highly unlikely, and a few weeks was probably be pushing our luck. Months if we weren’t lucky. “Then we’re free? Brox has no hold on us? We can just disappear?” That sounded… amazing. I never thought I’d want to hide from the world, after being in that cell, but if Captain was there with me? I was in.
  13. 53 points
    The day after Cody’s birthday party did not start as Trick had planned at all. First of all, he overslept terribly, waking up at eleven with a headache that just wouldn’t quit. He knew he was a terrible drinker so he only had a few beers last night, but that was obviously enough for his lightweight body to succumb to the effects of alcohol. Plus, all the skating and excitement from last night obviously took their toll on the poor guy, tiring him out. Brad wasn’t in a much better condition, although he woke up earlier and already had his coffee and aspirin. He was now functional enough to be able to make them a quick breakfast, which he had just started to do when Trick raised his head up from the pillow. “Rise and shine,” Brad said sarcastically, unable to hide his smirk as he prepared an omelet with bacon. “Had too much fun last night?” “Way too much,” Trick muttered. “There’s some aspirin and a glass of water on the nightstand, thought you’d need it.” “Ughhh, thanks. You’re the best,” Trick said as he got up and tried to adjust to daylight. He popped a pill in his mouth and downed it with a full glass of water. “Yet you’re still leaving me,” Brad teased. “Tsk, tsk, tsk… See if Cody will make you breakfast this good!” “Make this hangover go away and I’ll never leave you,” Trick whined. After quickly washing up, he returned to the room and sat down at the dining table opposite of his best friend. As they nearly inhaled their food, they felt their strength returning. “So, you guys are really doing this?” “Yeah, why? You think it’s too soon?” “No, I’m kinda surprised you didn’t do it sooner, to be honest. I think you guys are great together,” Brad was honest. He was very glad his best friend had finally found happiness he deserved and got over all the problems from the past. “Thanks, Brad, you’re the best, I mean it,” Trick smiled appreciatively at him. “Ditto, man,” Brad grinned at him. “So, when are you going apartment hunting?” “Umm, we haven’t decided yet. I’m going over to his place to meet him now and then we’ll talk. Are you gonna find a new roommate, or stay alone so you can have Cathy over anytime you want?” Trick winked at Brad. “Pretty sure someone’s gonna snatch your bed as soon as you’re gone,” Brad chuckled. “You know there are always students waiting for rooms.” After the breakfast and a quick clean-up of dishes, which Trick insisted he do since Brad did the cooking, Trick headed out and caught a city bus to Cody’s house. Being winter and all, he didn’t really feel like walking for so long. Having received a text from Trick telling him that he was close, Cody put on his jacket and eagerly waited for him on the street outside his parents’ house. He grinned when he saw the familiar black-haired boy with glasses approaching rapidly. “Hey, baby!” “Hey! Happy birthday,” Trick said, kissing Cody on the lips. “It’s today, right?” “Thanks! I thought you’d forgotten!” Cody teased and took him by the hand, noticing that the guy seemed agitated. “You look nervous.” “Well…” Trick looked up to meet Cody’s eyes. “Can you blame me? I mean, we need to talk to your folks about our plans.” “Oh, baby, you don’t have to worry about it,” Cody laughed. “They’ve been joking for months how they’re gonna turn my room into an entertainment room once I move to live with you. I’m sure they’ll support us.” “God, I hope so!” Trick exclaimed as they entered the house. As soon as they told Cody’s parents about their plans, there were congratulations and hugs all around, and even a few tears of joy were shed. “Finally, you’re gonna get your entertainment room!” Cody’s mom told her husband, elbowing him jokingly. “Well, it was about time!” he replied, showing his teeth through his bushy beard. “We’re happy for you, boys! If you need any help with finding a place, moving your stuff or anything, we’re here.” “Thanks, Mr. Henderson,” Trick said gratefully. While the talk with Cody’s parents went without a hitch, the talk with Cody was less successful. As soon as they were alone and started discussing their moving-in plans, Trick realized that his boyfriend’s plans didn’t actually match his own. While he suggested finding an apartment in an upscale neighborhood with new, modern buildings, Cody quickly shut that idea down, much to Trick’s surprise. “Trick, that area is too expensive, I think we should go for something more affordable,” Cody said as they sat at his computer and looked at apartment ads online. “But I make enough money from the app, it’s not too expensive,” Trick replied, confused. He didn’t understand why Cody was so worried about the budget. “I know you do, but I don’t,” Cody explained. His own job at the park didn’t really pay that much, and while he appreciated Trick’s offer, he didn’t want to feel like his boyfriend is paying for everything. “Baby, did you think I was gonna let you pay for all of it? If we’re really gonna do this, I want us to contribute equally, or as close as possible.” Trick just blinked and after a few seconds finally realized what Cody was saying. He felt so stupid! How did he not think about that before? If it was the other way around, no way would he want Cody to pay for his rent, food, utilities and everything else. “Shit, you’re right… I’m sorry, babe. I didn’t think of it that way,” he said, taking Cody’s hands and kissing each of them gently. “You’re so right, I was just… stupid.” “Hey, it’s ok, no harm done,” Cody smiled. “It’s just that… Well, this was supposed to be my birthday gift to you, so I wanted to pay for it.” “Just asking me to move in with you was enough. It was the best gift you could’ve given me.” “I love you,” Trick said and gave him a quick peck on the lips. “But I still wanna get you something. You’re not wiggling out of this one,” he put his arms around Cody, preventing him from moving away. “Ok, ok!” Cody laughed. “If you really wanna get me something, how about you buy me the new Xbox One X for our new place?” “Hmm, I like the way you think!” Trick grinned, thinking of all the games they could play together. “I know you do,” Cody gave him a smile. “Ok, back to our search, let’s expand it. What about this neighborhood, it’s nice and close to college?” he said as he clicked on another link, opening a new page of ads. They spent the better part of that afternoon looking for apartments online and discussing their moving plans. They would definitely have to wait until the holiday season was over, but it couldn’t hurt to start looking in advance and see what they actually want and can afford. Eventually, sitting so close together and constantly rubbing their legs and arms against each other got the better of them, so they closed the browser and moved to the bed to take care of their growing erections. Taking Cody by the hand, Trick laid down on his boyfriend’s bed and pulled him on top of him. “Is the door locked?” he whispered, his lips an inch from Cody’s. “Yeah,” Cody replied, loving the feel of Trick’s warm breath on his lips. He lowered his head, pressing their lips together in a hungry kiss. -- (One Year Later) Dressed in winter coats, wrapped in thick wool scarves and with warm hats on their heads, Trick and Cody were walking down the street, carrying shopping bags filled with items for their upcoming Christmas party. It would be their first Christmas in their own apartment, as well as their second anniversary, making it a very special day in their lives. This year, they decided not to go to their respective parents’ homes, but instead organize their own Christmas celebration and invite their closest friends over. Since February, they have been living in a lovely one-bedroom apartment on the third floor of an old, but well-kept apartment building in an area that was close to college, as well as to Prescott Park, where Cody was still working. A few months ago, Trick had decided to quit his part-time job in the music store and focus on app development, which was working out really well for him. “I hope we didn’t forget anything,” Trick said, mentally going through the list of all the things they planned to buy for tomorrow’s party. Cody and he had decided to prepare all the food, Theo and Zoe said they would bring dessert, while Brad and Cathy took it upon themselves to bring refreshments. “I don’t think so, we checked everything off the list,” Cody said. “Unless we forgot to put something on the list in the first place.” “We’ve got turkey, chicken meat, eggplant, tomatoes, potatoes, olive oil, cheese…” Trick started going through the list and then remembered something. “We just need to buy fresh bread tomorrow.” “Yeah, I’ll get it in the morning,” Cody replied. Lost in their thoughts and plans for the party, they almost didn’t notice when the clouds above them started spilling little snowflakes all around them. “Look! We’re gonna have a white Christmas,” Trick’s mouth spread into a grin as he looked up into the sky. “Fucking finally!” Cody exclaimed, excited for the holidays ahead. As they slowly walked hand in hand, heading to their apartment and watching the snow fall, they noticed a familiar figure across the street. Once the guy saw them, he stopped for a moment, gave them a nod and waved. Stunned to do anything else, they also stopped and waved back. He gave them an awkward smile and continued on his way. “What the hell was that? Did Mason just wave at us?” Trick asked, trying to make sense of it. “Yeah, I saw it too. I wonder what’s up with him,” Cody said as they continued walking. The last time they saw him, they weren’t exactly on good terms. “No clue. Maybe we’re not on his ‘to kill’ list anymore.” “Weird… Gonna have to ask Anders about it, maybe one of his buddies knows something.” “Yeah, but you’re gonna have to wait till he comes back,” Trick reminded him. “Oh, yeah,” Cody nodded. He almost forgot that Anders wasn’t there – a few months ago, he got invited by some of his relatives from Sweden to visit them for the holidays, which he and Blaine readily accepted. Anders was excited to go back to his homeland as he hadn’t visited it once since he moved to America with his parents, while Blaine just wanted to spend the holidays with his boyfriend and didn’t mind the location as long as they were together. Therefore, the two guys decided they’d be spending Christmas and New Year’s in Anders’ home country. In fact, they would be absent for a whole month. “It sucks that they won’t be with us tomorrow, but I’m sure they’re having fun in Sweden even without us,” Trick chuckled. “Oh, I don’t doubt that one bit!” Cody laughed. The doorbell rang around seven that evening and Cody got up to open the door, letting the guests in. Theo, Zoe, Brad and Cathy all filed in, their cheeks rosy from the cold and their winter hats and scarves covered in snow. By the time they all greeted Cody and took of their jackets, Trick appeared from the kitchen to welcome them. They quickly made themselves comfortable and found their way to the living room, having been in the guys’ apartment hundreds of times already. The group was still seeing each other regularly at college, with the exception of Theo, who had graduated and stopped working in Prescott Park with Cody. He was now working in a successful local landscaping company. After Trick moved out of the dorms, Brad got a new roommate, Diego – a foreign exchange student from Brazil. He was friendly, but didn’t really hang around with them a lot, much to the chagrin of Zoe, as Diego was pretty much the perfect example of a Latino hunk. “We’re so glad you could all make it!” Trick exclaimed. “Wouldn’t miss it for the world!” Zoe said, sitting next to Theo and leaning against him affectionately. “Although I know I’ll never hear the end of it from my mom, she was expecting me to come home for Christmas,” she chuckled. “As did our folks,” Cody joined in. “But we’ll visit them tomorrow.” “I love what you guys did with the place,” Cathy said, looking around the room and admiring the decorations. A medium-sized, beautifully decorated Christmas tree was placed by the window, adorned with red and gold ornaments and yellow sparkling lights, topped off with a gold star. Curtains were covered with strings of white lights that had long, narrow tubes, and when turned on looked as if tiny droplets of light were slowly falling like rain. A Christmas-themed centerpiece was on the table, with pine cones, red globes and a red candle in the middle. Of course, as the guys’ favorite piece of decoration – mistletoe was hanging from the chandelier in the center of the living room. “What ‘we’ did?” Cody rolled his eyes. “You know it was all him,” he smiled, pointing at Trick. “Well, I asked and you said you’d leave it up to me,” Trick replied, putting his hands up in defense. “I know, and I’m not complaining. I love it! I just don’t wanna take credit for your work.” “Well, it looks great, Trick,” Cathy repeated. “Thanks,” he replied with some pride in his voice. As all four guests sat down at the dining table, with their hosts standing nearby, Cody spoke, holding a hand on the small of Trick’s back. “Besides Christmas and our second anniversary, we have one more thing to celebrate tonight,” he said, met by curious looks of their four friends. “Trick’s app just reached two million downloads, and I think that’s a big cause for celebration, right?” “Yaasss!” Zoe shouted and everyone started clapping, making Trick blush. “Congrats, man, that’s awesome,” Theo said. “Thanks! And thank you everyone for coming, we really appreciate it,” Trick replied as Cody and he sat down and joined the others for dinner. “And by the way, he…” Cody said without thinking, as he heard Zoe chatting with Trick about the app. “Well, never mind, Trick is gonna kill me if I say a word,” he grinned and looked at his boyfriend. “Ok, tell them, I know you’re dying to!” Trick rolled his eyes at him and pursed his lips. Cody almost jumped from his chair, excited like a kid in a candy store. “You guys won’t believe it, but he’s started receiving fan mail!” “Who? Trick?” Brad asked, looking suspiciously at Cody and then at his best friend. “Yep!” Cody nodded. “People who use the app, they’re sending him fan mail – e-mails, Facebook messages, even gift packages in the mail!” “Seriously?!” Zoe asked in a loud, high-pitched voice. “You’re a celebrity!” Trick burst out laughing as Cody put his arm around his shoulders, bringing him closer. “Let’s not get carried away,” Trick said. “But we did get a lot of stuff, it’s crazy,” he admitted. “Just the other day, someone sent him a jumbo-sized pack of condoms,” Cody added. “And you probably spent half of it already,” Brad deadpanned, causing everyone to burst into laughter. As the playful banter continued, the meals were served and everyone quickly dug in, chewing and filling the room with the clatter of cutlery. The dinner was a delightful affair for everyone, filled with ‘mmms’ and ‘ahhhs’, laughter and loud conversation. “This is fucking delicious,” Brad said without waiting to swallow the piece of chicken he had in his mouth. “And you say you two made all of this?” he asked, still not entirely convinced of Trick and Cody’s cooking skills. “Of course,” Cody said, pretending to be offended. “We’ve been cooking all the time since we moved in here.” “Well, then, hats off to you,” Brad replied, nodding. After the dessert – a cake with three types of chocolate – was served and vanished from their plates in record time, everyone moved to the living room, where they spent the rest of the night playing games, opening their presents early and enjoying a playlist made by Cody. At one point, they even got a Skype call from Anders and Blaine, wishing them Merry Christmas and saying how sorry they were that they weren’t there. It wasn’t until way past midnight that the guests were finally too tired to keep their eyes open. Even though Trick and Cody assured them they could make room for all of them to sleep over if they wanted, they didn’t want to impose, and so they called their Ubers and went their way. Finally alone, Trick and Cody found themselves under the mistletoe, their arms wrapped around each other, gazing into each other’s eyes. “Alone, at last.” Trick pulled Cody in for a kiss. Their lips melted together as their passion grew, as if they hadn’t kissed each other for months. “Merry Christmas, baby,” Cody said, looking lovingly into Trick’s misty eyes. “Merry Christmas, my love.” Another quick peck on the lips ensued. “And happy two million downloads,” Cody smiled. “My big celebrity guy!” “Thanks,” Trick chuckled. “And most importantly, happy anniversary. You make me so happy, baby. I love you more and more each day, I hope you know that,” Cody said, his face just an inch from Trick’s. He cherished that closeness, never wanting to be apart from him. Trick nodded and put his hands gently at Cody’s shoulders. “Happy anniversary, babe. You are so perfect and I can’t imagine being without you. I love you so much. I’m the happiest guy in the world, all because of you,” Trick whispered, wanting Cody to know just how happy he makes him every single day. Their lips found each other once again, hungry to taste the other person. “Are you tired?” Cody asked with a tinge of naughty in his voice as they finally broke the kiss, their foreheads still touching. “For what?” Trick smirked, his pants already struggling to contain his fully hard cock. “You know what.” Slowly, Cody felt Trick’s hand moving from his chest down onto his abs and finally stopping at his crotch, groping his erection. “You mean this?” Trick asked. “Never!” “Me neither!” Cody shouted and in one sudden movement picked Trick up in his arms as if he was made of paper, carrying him to their bedroom, grinning from ear to ear. Slamming the door behind them with his leg and dropping Trick on the bed, Cody got on top of him, their lips smashing against each other in a wild, hungry kiss. They both knew what was about to happen and they couldn’t wait to start. “Now, where’s that jumbo pack?” Cody asked, ready to give the man of his dreams a night he would never forget. ~ THE END ~
  14. 50 points
    Sitting in a grand, ornate hall with huge, intricate chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and illuminating the stage with yellow light, Cody was enjoying one of his favorite pieces of classical music, Mozart’s “Turkish March”. The audience was sitting in chairs that were arranged in a semi-circle, mirroring the semi-circular stage in front of them. Cody estimated that there had to be at least five hundred people in attendance, which was impressive for a small local venue, especially having in mind that all the seats were filled. From time to time, he would start gazing at a random musician and think how he could never play an instrument in front of a crowd – he’d be too nervous about fucking up and embarrassing himself in front of everyone. This made him chuckle silently, squeezing Trick’s hand in his own. Zoe was sitting on the other side of Trick, nudging him lightly with her elbow and pointing at a hunky violin player that stood near the center of the stage. Trick just smirked at her and nodded. Even though she had a boyfriend, Zoe couldn’t help but notice other hot guys, more as a joke than anything else, especially when she was with Trick. Theo was sitting next to Zoe, completing the group of four friends who came to the concert at the invitation of Blaine and Anders. After a short interlude and rearrangement of musicians on the stage, the next piece was ready to be played – it was Francis Poulenc’s “Sonata for Flute and Piano”. This time, Anders and Blaine were center stage, all eyes on them. Not only did they sound amazing, but they also looked super elegant, a stark contrast from their usual casual clothes. Anders was wearing a light grey shirt, dark grey pants and a vest of the same color, while Blaine opted for black pants and suit, along with a white shirt. Their four friends listened intently the entire time, amazed at how well they played together, complementing each other perfectly. They couldn’t help but gain new-found appreciation and respect for the two musicians after seeing them in action. An hour and a half later, the entire concert was over and the audience slowly filed out of the grand hall. After about ten minutes, Cody, Trick, Zoe and Theo finally managed to find their way out of the building and into the cold winter air. They moved to the side, but remained near the entrance, waiting for their two friends to show up. With a warm, affectionate hug, Anders and Blaine congratulated each other on the successful concert and went to the dressing room along with other musicians, to change into their everyday clothes. They weren’t used to dressing up, but they didn’t mind doing it occasionally, whenever they had a show. After changing into their casual clothes and winter jackets and returning Blaine’s flute to its case, the two guys headed out to find their friends. “Hey, thanks for waiting for us,” Anders said as he saw the four friends standing outside. “So, did you guys enjoy it?” Blaine asked, grinning and holding a hand on his blond boyfriend’s back. “It was amazing,” Cody said and Trick immediately nodded in agreement. “You guys were really good,” Theo agreed. “Did that take a lot of practice?” “Yeah, kinda,” Blaine said. “And I was really nervous at first.” “Me too, but once you start playing, you get into it and the nerves just disappear,” Anders said. “And you guys looked hot! I’ve never seen you dressed so smart,” Zoe complimented them. “But that violin player, oh my!” She winked at Theo. “I know, right, he is so fine,” Trick added, teasing Cody and making him roll his eyes. “Well, when you’re right, you’re right,” Blaine said, agreeing with their assessment. Just at that moment, the guy in question walked out and Anders quickly pulled him over. “Marcus, hey, come and meet my friends, they’re all thirsting over you! Even my boyfriend!” The violin player, with the build of a quarterback, stopped next to Anders and blushed. He suddenly felt all eyes on him. “Hey guys! Did you enjoy the show?” he greeted the group of friends. “Yep, everyone was great,” Cody said. After a few more minutes of chatting, Marcus left and the group of six decided to go to a nearby bar for drinks to celebrate the successful concert. Just as the waitress served them their drinks and turned to go, Anders quickly stopped her. “Excuse me, just one more thing. Could you take a picture of us, please?” He asked, handing her his phone. “Sure,” she smiled and turned on the camera, as the friends all posed around the table and smiled. The waitress snapped a few photos of the group and gave the phone back to Anders. “Here you go.” “Thanks a lot,” Anders said and moved closer to Blaine to show him the photos. “So, you guys ready for Saturday?” Zoe asked, completely forgetting that Cody’s birthday party was supposed to be a surprise. “What’s on Saturday?” Cody asked as Trick shot a death glare at Zoe. At that moment, Theo “accidentally” spilled his drink on Zoe, making her yelp and almost jump out of her chair. “Fuck, my shirt!” she whined, looking at her ruined outfit. “I’m so sorry, babe,” Theo apologized and Zoe went to the bathroom to clean up. “We have a rehearsal on Saturday for our next big concert,” Anders quickly added, drawing Cody’s attention and hoping he’d believe the white lie. Trick looked over to Theo and mouthed ‘thank you’, while the tall guy just winked and smiled. “That’ll teach her to ogle other guys in front of me,” he thought, pleased with his quick thinking. -- It was still early morning when Trick woke up; the sun wasn’t even out properly, but he just couldn’t sleep anymore. He hoisted himself up in his bed and took his cell phone to see what time it is – quarter past six. “Ugh, so freaking early,” he thought, annoyed that he woke up before the alarm. Placing his pillow up against the wall, he leaned his back against it and started playing Meteorfall, a new mobile game he was mildly obsessed with. He didn’t want to get up just yet so he wouldn’t wake Brad up. Besides, he needed some time to think about everything that’s been going on in his life, and this was as good time as any since he had nothing better to do. As he absentmindedly tapped on the screen and played the game, he thought about how his life had changed since he started college. Not only did he move to a new city, had a bunch of new friends, but also had a promising career ahead of him. His first app was an unexpected success, downloaded almost 800,000 times so far. That was insane for him to even think about! Of course, the app was free to download, but the ads in it brought him a large income month after month. He never thought he’d be making that kind of money while still in college, and was even considering quitting his part-time job in the music store to focus solely on app development. He already had an idea of making a premium version of MusicMatcher, which would have a small monthly subscription fee, but also some additional features and no ads. However, all of this paled in comparison to the most unexpected change that occurred in his life in the last year and a half – the fact that he had a boyfriend, and not just any guy, but Cody. The guy he had thought he would hate for the rest of his life was now a part of his life, a part of him. He couldn’t imagine living without him, and he knew Cody felt the same. This relationship meant so much to him, not just because of the love they shared, but also because it helped him feel good in his skin again. Now, nearly a year since they started dating, Trick was about to do something bold. A few years ago he never would’ve dreamed of something like that, but now it seemed completely natural. Although Brad reassured him everything would be fine and Cody would love it, Trick couldn’t help feeling a bit nervous, but mostly excited. He could hardly wait for Saturday, to finally tell Cody and see his reaction. -- When big day finally arrived, Trick was high-strung the entire morning. Luckily, he worked the first shift at the music store that day, which helped him get his mind off of the rapidly approaching party. He tried his best to be polite and patient with all the customers, but in reality he wished he could just kick them all out and close for the day. Since it was Saturday, he finished earlier than usual, and as soon as the second-shift guy came in to take over, Trick was off to his dorm room to eat and make the final preparations. “Well, there we go. Monica just texted to confirm she’s coming, so that’s everyone,” Trick said as he and Brad were sitting at their kitchen table, having lunch. “Who the hell is Monica?” Brad asked, mouth full of casserole. “One of Cody’s friends from college. I invited a few of them that I know Cody hangs out with the most.” “Oh, cool. I’ll pick up Cathy and then we’ll come together to the party.” “Ok. Nine o’clock, don’t be late,” Trick said, pointing his fork at his best friend. After finishing his lunch, he went out to meet Cody, wanting to spend some time alone with him before taking him to the ice rink. It was December, almost two weeks until Christmas and their first anniversary – the day Cody and Trick decided to be boyfriends. For this reason, Trick thought about waiting for Christmas Eve to give Cody his special present, but in the end he decided he couldn’t wait that long. Cody’s birthday was just as good of an occasion. “So, I know your birthday is tomorrow, but I wanted to give you your present early,” Trick smiled as he walked along Cody. They were wandering aimlessly through the city center – or at least Cody thought so. In fact, Trick was leading him to the great venue where the ice skating rink was located. All the guests were supposed to arrive at nine, so Trick was deliberately walking slowly, wanting to give them time to gather so that he and Cody would arrive last. “Well I’m not gonna complain about getting presents, especially from you,” Cody grinned. “So, when do I get it?” “You’ll just have to wait a bit more. I thought I’d take you skating first, we haven’t done that in almost a year.” “Oh, sweet! I hope you aren’t too rusty, babe.” “I’m not letting you go, so if I fall, you fall,” Trick smirked. “Well, here we are,” he announced with anticipation in his voice as they arrived at the venue. He grabbed Cody by the hand and went in, the door automatically opening in front of them. As they passed the lobby and the hallway, entering the skating hall hand in hand, Cody’s eyes grew wide with surprise, quickly replaced by a big smile as he saw dozens of balloons and a big sign that read “Happy birthday!” A big group of his friends appeared and almost screamed ‘happy birthday’ at him, making him laugh out loud. Not knowing what to do, he hugged Trick since he was the closest person to him, and Trick squeezed him tight, whispering in his ear. “Happy birthday, baby,” Trick pulled back and kissed his boyfriend on the lips. “Thank you!” Cody replied, smiling and feeling his eyes getting watery. “Thank you so much, guys! I didn’t expect this at all,” he turned to everyone and thanked them. The group consisted of Anders and Blaine, Theo and Zoe, Brad and Cathy, Cody’s sister Angela, as well as his best friends from college – Monica, Trevor and Mickey. One by one, they all wished Cody happy birthday and told him how happy they were to come. Seeing the look on Cody’s face, Trick knew he didn’t make a mistake for organizing the party and was beyond thankful that everyone was able to come. Even though he was officially a guest, Anders was in charge of making sure that everyone behaves and is safe – as per his boss’ orders. That meant that they couldn’t get shitfaced drunk and then get on ice skates. The last thing anyone needed was for someone to break an arm or leg. After some ice skating in pairs, and moderate amounts of alcohol, snacks and soft drinks, everyone was in a great mood. Pop hits were blaring on speakers, and Anders and Blaine were thankful that they didn’t have to provide music this time. They could just enjoy and sing along instead of being in the spotlight and focusing on playing. About two hours later, when more or less everyone’s legs were hurting from skating, the group decided it was time for Cody to open his presents. He was overwhelmed and didn’t know where to begin, but Trick told him to leave his present for the end. “Ok, then, let’s start with my sis,” Cody said, taking Angela’s gift and unwrapping it. It was a nice, dark red shirt he saw a few weeks ago when he was out shopping with her. “Oh, you remembered! Thanks, sis,” he said, hugging Angela. “You’re welcome,” she smiled, happy that he liked the gift. “Ok, next up, Theo and Zoe,” Cody said, taking the box that he was sure Zoe wrapped and opening it, revealing a shiny new wireless headset. “You guys, thank you, this is too much!” he exclaimed. “We’re glad you like it, man,” Theo said, standing next to his girlfriend. Next up was a box from Brad and Cathy, which contained several new multiplayer PC games. “Something for you and Trick to play together,” Brad said, nodding at Cody and Trick. “Yes, I love them! Thanks, you two,” Cody grinned as he examined each game and then handing them over to Trick to check them out. Grabbing the next package, he saw the names Anders and Blaine written on it. “Ok, let’s see what’s insi… Oh my God!” Cody shouted and burst out laughing. “Oh no, you didn’t!” “What, let me see?!” Trick asked curiously, trying to take the package from Cody’s hands. Seeing the contents, he burst into laughter as well. “You guys are insane!” The box contained a sexy board game “Naked Fun Times – Gay Edition”, which was like a mix of Monopoly and Truth or Dare, but themed around gay sex. “What? Do you guys have that game already?” Anders asked, pretending to be clueless. “Yeah, sure, you perv!” Cody replied. “Don’t act like you’re not gonna play it first chance you get,” Blaine teased. “Well…” Cody shrugged and winked at his boyfriend. Finally, he took the package from his college friends. It was the smallest box of all, so he was especially curious about what could be hiding inside. As he opened it, he saw two tickets – one for him and one for Trick – for the upcoming baseball game, Rays vs. Yankees. “We know you’re a big baseball fan, not sure about Trick, but you can make a nice road trip out of it,” Mickey said. “Wow, this is amazing, thank you guys so much!” Cody said, almost left speechless after all the amazing and fun things he received. “What do you say, you going with me?” he asked Trick. “Of course, it’s gonna be fun, we’ve never travelled anywhere just the two of us,” Trick replied instantly, feeling excited about the prospect of the two of them going away at least for a day or two. “So, I still haven’t seen your present,” Cody said, turning to Trick. “What, you mean organizing this fabulous party wasn’t enough?” Trick asked, putting a hand on his chest as if he was in shock. “Come on, spit it out,” Cody smirked. “Ok, you’ll get it now, but let’s get outside, I wanna give it to you in private.” Trick stood up and took Cody by the hand, taking him outside the arena and into the lobby. He fished out a small box from his pocket and handed it to Cody, looking at him nervously and expectantly. Cody held it carefully, as if it contained nitroglycerin, and slowly opened it. As he took of the lid, he saw the box contained two identical circular keychain pendants, each showing a galaxy with stars. “Wow, they’re beautiful,” Cody said, staring at them. “I’m glad you like them,” Trick smiled. “They glow in the dark, by the way.” Cody looked up and kissed his boyfriend on the lips. “That’s just one part of your gift, though.” “Oh? And the other?” Cody asked. “Well, the other part are the keys that will go on these keychains. The keys to our new apartment,” Trick said, anxious for Cody’s reaction. “What?” Cody asked, trying to put everything together. He wasn’t sure if he actually understood what Trick was saying. “That is, if you want it – I’d like for us to move in together,” Trick offered a shy smile and suddenly felt arms wrapped tight around him. “What?! Are you serious? Of course, I’d love that!” Cody shouted, hugging his boyfriend, before pulling back and looking him in the eyes again. “Are you sure about this?” “Yeah, a hundred percent! I mean, I don’t have the keys here, I haven’t actually found a place yet. I wanted us to look for the perfect place together,” Trick replied. “I’d love that,” Cody said, giving Trick another kiss, this time gentle and soft. “Thank you, baby, for everything. This has been the best birthday ever.” He squeezed Trick even tighter and placed his head on his boyfriend’s shoulder, whispering softly in his ear. “You’re amazing, I love you so much.” “Love you too, baby.”
  15. 47 points
    “Alex, I can’t share a bed with you anymore. It’s not fair to me. I like you. You know that, right? What I mean is, I’m attracted to you and it’s too much of a temptation for me. I know you wanna fool around. I think that’s pretty obvious now, but I can’t. I don’t wanna hurt Nathan. He’s my boyfriend… I love him.” There was a knock on the bathroom door. “Robbie, are you okay in there?” It was Nicola and I opened it quickly making her jump. “Who were you talking to?” “Myself, if that’s okay with you.” She shook her head as I studied my face in the mirror. ‘Now all I have to do is say those words to Alex without hurting his feelings. Should be easy… Not’. “Talking to it isn’t gonna make a difference,” she said. “You’ll need plastic surgery for that.” I looked at her curiously. “What are you talking about?” “Your face!” She laughed. “Oh, and mom told me to tell you, if you want breakfast you need to be upstairs, like, ten minutes ago!” “Yeah, thanks.” Fortunately, I had already decided to skip my usual bowl of cereal to concentrate on my appearance. I had been up for hours trying to make myself look the best I could for my first day back to school. I decided to stick to cool colours, settling for a pair of dark jeans with a sky blue Ralph Loren t-shirt specially bought for the occasion. I thought I looked quite smart until Nicola pointed to a splodge of toothpaste on the front of my new shirt just over my navel. “SHIT! How did that get there?” I tried wiping it off with a flannel but all I did was smear it. “Give it to me.” Nicola grabbed the flannel, wet it under the tap, and then attacked my shirt with it. “What are you doing? You're just making it worse.” “Keep still!” “No, get off me!” I pushed her away and surveyed the damage. There was a milky wet patch dead centre that wasn’t going to come off without being washed. Nicola laughed, covering her mouth with her hand. “Oh my God. You are not going to school like that. It looks like a giant cum stain.” “Don’t be so disgusting.” I pulled a face at her and then tried wiping it with a dry towel but it was pointless. Earlier, I had followed Sue around the house pleading with her to iron it for me but now it was back to the drawing board. “I need to change.” ‘Yes, you do.” Nicola pushed me in the direction of the bedroom. “Now hurry or we’ll be late?” I dragged the soiled top over my head and marched to the bedroom where Tom was standing in just a pair of boxers. “What happened to you?” “Nicola ruined my shirt and now I’ve got nothing to wear,” I threw it on the bed and began searching my depleted clothes drawer for a suitable replacement. I was wasting my time, I didn’t have a plan B. Alex had been supplementing his limited wardrobe with some of my clothes, leaving me with a poor selection on an important day. “Ew, it looks like spunk!” said Tom as he examined my Ralph Loren. “I don’t think Nicola did this.” “It’s toothpaste,” I said hurling my last t-shirt in the air. “Now I’m fucked.” “What’s wrong with that one?” “It’s white! I’m not walking into school wearing white. It’ll look like I’m surrendering.” “Your spunk stains won’t show.” “It’s not spunk, it’s toothpaste.” “Ha, what did I tell you?” said Nicola. Then she laughed as Tom jumped back into bed to cover himself with the sheet. It was quite comical. There wasn’t much point being shy around my sister. Nicola had seen more skin than a deckchair attendant at a nudist beach. Like Daniel, I was used to her seeing me in my underwear now and rarely bothered covering more than the essentials. “You can borrow one of mine, I suppose,” said Tom pointing to a pile of freshly laundered clothes sitting on Daniel’s chair. “If you don’t mind.” “Wait,” said Nicola. “I’ll choose. You’ll probably pick something totally lame and dorky.” I was happy to hand over responsibility to her. It was a relief; I would never have been able to make a decision that late in the day. “Here, put this on, dick.” “I’d rather put it on my back, Nicola. But orange? Don’t you think it looks a bit gay?” Nicola was becoming impatient. “You're dating Nathan and you're worried that a t-shirt might make you look gay?” She pushed it into my chest. “Put it on. QUICKLY!” I pulled it over my head and she combed my hair with her fingers before looking me up and down and passing me fit to grace her company. She didn’t have much choice. The bus was at the top of the hill and Sue was shouting at us to get a move on. “It fits you quite well,” said Tom and he was right. It got me thinking. “What else have you got that might fit me?” She frowned. “Keep out of my wardrobe, Robbie. I mean it.” I held my hands up pleading innocence as she growled her warning. “You could never pull it off anyway. Come on, let’s go.” “Good luck,” said Tom. “He doesn’t need luck, he’s got me,” said Nicola as she bundled me out the door. “And Tom, lose the boxers. Briefs look nicer except on Robbie but that’s because he has no penis.” “Very funny.” She pushed me in the back to get a move on as we passed a still sprawled out Alex. Luke had taken my place in bed next to him and they were both asleep. “Looks like someone else will have to get lover boy dressed this morning.” “That’s not funny either and stop pushing me!” “Well, hurry up then or we’ll miss the bus.” “I’m walking as fast as I can. You don’t want me to run up the stairs, do you? Not after what happened to me.” “You are such a baby.” “Remember what I told you,” said Sue as she held the front door open for us and kissed me on the cheek. “I won't,” I said. “Why aren’t you wearing the t-shirt you made me iron?” “He got excited and made a mess on it, Mom.” Nicola thought it was quite funny but I would have to do better in the future. I had been up for over two hours and still had to run to make the bus. It was a stressful start to a topsy-turvy day. * * * After all the hype and worry; walking back into school was an anti-climax. Contrary to my dream earlier, there was no angry mob waiting to beat me to within an inch of my life for being gay. Neither was there a line of bare-chested, well-oiled, teenage boys from the football team, throwing petals at my feet and escorting me to my first lesson. Rory, was a nice if somewhat scrawny substitute though and I spotted his golden mop the moment Nicola pushed me off the bus. He was waiting just outside the main entrance, determined to be the first one to welcome me back. I thought it was a cool thing to do. Sometimes it was difficult not to love this boy. This was usually the point where Nicola, Daniel, and I would part company and head off in different directions. “Hope it goes well, Robbie.” Daniel gave me a quick hug before walking off to meet his friends and I was hoping for the same from Nicola but my sister had other ideas. She had been suffocating me from the moment we boarded the bus, forcing me to sit with the cool kids at the back. It wasn’t my natural position and now, to my horror, she insisted on walking me to my homeroom with Naomi riding shotgun. While I appreciated Nicola’s concern, I got the feeling this wasn’t done entirely out of brotherly love. A gay sibling, even an adopted one, would make a cool accessory and an improvement on the embarrassing dork from the previous year. We stopped several times to say hello to people she knew but it was just a fad. I would be afforded special treatment but only until the novelty wore off. Then I would be on my own. No one expected me to arrive at my homeroom in a girl sandwich but any doubts about my popularity were quickly dispersed when I was reunited with my classmates. For most, it was the first time they had seen me since my accident and I was bombarded with the usual questions. Did I die? Do I know who did it? Was it true Miss Pringle gave me the kiss of life? I couldn’t see which sick bastard asked the last question, but the thought turned my stomach and reminded me that I needed to see her about my change of name. There wasn’t enough time to talk to everyone but I got a few pats on the back, a couple of man hugs and even some girly kisses on the cheek. It made me laugh. I hardly talked to half of these kids before, yet now they were hanging on my every word, like disciples. It was all very relaxed and chummy and I responded by hugging Rory who eventually managed to squirm his way out of my clutches. “You only saw me like two days ago,” he said but that had nothing to do with it. “You can go now,” I said to Nicola. “I can find my way from here to here and I’m pretty sure I won't get beaten up.” “I wouldn’t bank on it,” she said threateningly. “Except by you, of course.” I left her in the corridor talking to Fran but her continued presence was annoying. “Don’t forget you're a Taylor now,” she called after me but I already had it covered and waved her away as I walked into the classroom. Mrs Reigor was sporting a rare smile. “Does your mother want to talk to me, Robbie?” “My mother?” I turned to her and smirked. “Oh, my mother. Yeah, I think so.” Rory and David looked confused. “Wait here, this is gonna be funny.” “I’m not his mom!” said Nicola. “I’m his sister!” Her voice was louder than everyone else’s combined and I laughed along with most of my classmates as she stormed off in a huff. My myopic, scatter-brained teacher scowled at me when she returned. “I thought you said she was your mother.” “She is, Mrs Reigor. But she doesn’t like admitting it.” “Somehow that doesn’t surprise me.” “She was very young when I was born. I think she’s in the Guinness Book of Records somewhere.” “Yes, Robbie. No doubt.” “She’s had a lot of surgery too.” “Thank you, Robbie. Welcome back. I missed your stupid remarks when you weren’t here. Apparently, you have a new name as well.” “Yes.” “Well, do you mind sharing it with us.” It got her some laughs but there was a touch of déjà vu as I joined her at the front of the class to spell out my new name. “Is there anything else that we should know about, while you’re here.” If I didn’t know better, I would have sworn she said that to embarrass me but it was most likely just a poor choice of words. When I looked up, I had the attention of the entire class. Like they were expecting me to make a speech. I was certain most of them knew anyway but I felt the sudden urge to make the most of this opportunity and get it out in the open. ‘Maybe it’ll stop them from asking me later and having to repeat the same answers two dozen times’. Mrs Reigor looked concerned. “You can go back and sit down now,” she said but I stayed put, searching the faces of those I knew well. Rory was worried, Fran curious, David looked expectant. “Is there something wrong, Robbie?” “I’m fine. But there is something I wanna say—to everyone.” “Go on then, what is it? We haven’t got all day.” When I glanced at Rory, he had his eyes shut but it was too late. “I’m gay!” My words were followed by a brief silence and a terrible regret. I panicked, trying to justify my announcement. “I just wanted to make sure everyone knew because no one has said anything to me yet, and maybe now they won’t need to. Anyway, that’s it really.” As I walked back to my desk, Fran started clapping me. She was quickly joined by David and Rory and then by a few of the others. By the time I sat down, I’m certain the whole class was clapping including Mrs Reigor who looked bewildered before quietening everyone down. At first, she seemed unsure of what to say and a little flustered but not for long. “Thank you for that information, Robbie. Your sexual preference shouldn’t make any difference in class. However, I’m sure everyone appreciates your openness and courage.” Several of the students agreed, offering words of encouragement but by then, I was begging for the national anthem. Although it wasn’t planned, I thought it was a good thing to do, even if just for my benefit. I wanted things to be open now although I wouldn’t have wanted to do it in front of the whole school. It turned out, most of the kids in my homeroom already knew anyway but it wasn’t about that. At the end of my first lesson, Mrs Reigor asked me to stay back for a minute. “Robbie, I hope you didn’t think I was pressuring you into revealing something that was personal. When I asked if you had anything to share with us, I wasn’t talking about your private life. I wasn’t even aware of it.” “It’s okay, I didn’t say it because of what you said. I just felt like I should say something because no one else has.” “Maybe they don’t need to mention it. It’s a big thing for you, Robbie but it may not be for everyone else. Anyway, you’re here to learn. I don’t care what your sexual preferences are, so let’s try and keep those things out of school shall we?” “Yes, I understand. Can I go now?” “One more thing. A bit of advice for you. You don’t need to justify who you are to anyone. We’ve moved on since those days. Think of it as a gift rather than a burden and be proud of who you are. History is full of great people who were gay.” “Thank you, Mrs Reigor. I’ll remember what you said” I left her classroom in a cold sweat, surprised by my teacher’s remarks, particularly the last bit. Up until then, she never gave the impression of being particularly in tune with anything I said. Her words that day, though, would stay with me forever. The message was clear. Think positively and don’t allow it to interfere with schoolwork but it was easier said than done. After my little speech, I got a lot of attention from my classmates. Unsurprisingly, most of them were female and I sat between two of them in my next lesson. I was beginning to understand that being gay opened doors to areas that were previously out of bounds when I was considered straight. I was invited to hang out with them at lunchtime, which I politely refused and they wanted me to go to the mall with them after school. ‘To check out the hot-looking boys, no doubt’. “You can bring your boyfriend,” said one. “Do you have a boyfriend?” asked the other girl. “Duh, of course, he does, dummy. It’s Rory, isn’t it? They’re always together. I should’ve known you were gay.” It was school gossip at its worst and wildly inaccurate. “Rory’s not gay,” I insisted, but they didn’t believe me. * * * Obviously, not everyone was overjoyed with the prospect of another gay boy among their ranks. There were a few disparaging looks, particularly in the corridors between classes but generally, the haters seemed to be keeping a low profile. I didn’t receive a single slur or anti-gay comment until lunchtime. Nathan was already sitting with Ginny at their usual table when I entered the cafeteria and joined the end of the line-up behind two guys from Nicola’s year. One of them did a quick double take when he saw me and began whispering to his friend. They were blatantly talking about me but I wasn’t interested and looked the other way. When I noticed one of them staring at me though, I asked him if anything was wrong. He replied in a ridiculously exaggerated gay lisp. “Did you say something, sweetie?” It wasn’t funny but his friend chuckled and that was all the encouragement he needed. “Don’t laugh,” he said to his friend. “I’m trying to be nice to the guy. Mr teacher said we gotta be nice to gay people.” Then he turned to me. “My buddy thinks that you’re cute.” “No, I don’t.” I stared at him but he didn’t deserve an answer. “He wants to know if you’ll suck his dick.” “Shut up! I didn’t say that.” His friend was embarrassed and smiled meekly at me but the mouthy guy wouldn’t leave it. Then he offered me his hand to shake. “Hey, no hard feelings, huh. I’m not homophobic or anything. I like gay people. Really I do.” I looked at his hand and then at his face. He was smiling. “Hey, what’s wrong buddy? I’m trying to be nice here.” Against my better judgement, I sighed and went to shake his hand only for him to pull away at the last second, making me look stupid. “Sorry, I don’t wanna catch anything.” They both fell about laughing. “Whatever.” I shrugged it off, remembering what Sue told me about being easily provoked. They were assholes but not worth getting annoyed over. I wasn’t expecting to make it through the day without at least some derogatory remarks and these goons provided me with another useful indicator. I saw it as a timely reminder to keep my guard up but he wasn’t finished with me. After putting what I wanted onto my tray, I tried to walk around them but the mouthy one moved across to block my path. “What are doing fag boy. Are you trying to touch me or something?” “No, I’m trying to get past.” “Trying to touch my ass more like. Stay away from me. Go play with your freaky boyfriend over there.” He pointed across the cafeteria in the general direction of Nathan. Up until then, I had done well up to stay calm, but it always riled me whenever someone mentioned my boyfriend. I was very protective of Nathan, even though he didn’t need me to be. “Go fuck yourself!” Those words, once again, just seem to come out of my mouth on their own, taking him and me by surprise. He was taller than me and made himself as large as possible as he stared me in the eye daring me to repeat myself. I didn’t and he was able to claim a disputable if temporary victory. “You got a big mouth, but no balls, fag boy!” he said but our little fracas hadn’t gone unnoticed and his words were overheard by the wrong person. The teacher’s face was strangely familiar. He seemed to appear out of nowhere, his lanky frame towering menacingly over the two boys in front of me. The mouthy one was dispatched without haste to the principal’s office. It was the fag boy comment which sealed his fate. The first evidence of Mr Andrews’ new no-tolerance approach to homophobic bullying. He had promised a crackdown in his earlier address to the school during homeroom and said the same thing to me at my party. The school were implementing new rules designed to reassure parents and salvage their reputation, following the incident which led to my hospitalization. After paying for my food, the teacher pulled me aside to ask me what was said but I didn’t want to make a fuss. I didn’t think it would be a good idea to start squealing on people on the first day back. It was a reputation I was keen to avoid, for obvious reasons and this is what I told him. He understood my position and focused instead on my recovery. “You're looking a lot better than you did when I last saw you,” he said and patted me on the shoulder. He wasn’t one of my regular teachers but it felt as if I knew him quite well. He was more than just a someone who I had seen at the school. He smiled and walked off just as Nicola arrived to see what was going on. “It’s nothing,” I said. “But that guy—?” “Mr Symonds, you mean? Do you remember him? He was the one who helped you on the stairs.” The moment she said it, I remembered. “Of course, but not until now.” He was the first teacher on the scene. He cleared my airways to stop me from choking on my own blood and put me in the recovery position. His prompt actions may well have saved my life. The sudden recollection of those frantic few minutes of my life was the first memory I had of the actual accident since waking from my coma. It sent a chill up my spine and made me feel queasy. “Are you okay?” Nicola looked concerned and sat me down at the first available seat where I was joined by a worried Rory anxious to know what happened. “It’s okay, honestly. I’m fine. That guy was just being stupid. I’ll explain later.” When I looked across the cafeteria, the word must have reached Nathan because he was standing looking around for me. I waved to him and grabbed my tray. Then turned to Nicola. “Thanks, Mom. I’ll see you after school. Come on Rory, let’s go sit with Nathan and Ginny.” I was sure if I had turned around, I would have seen steam coming from her ears. “You’ll be sorry you said that!” She was probably right but it didn’t stop us from laughing. I probably wasn’t doing Rory any favours. A lot of people were already convinced he was playing for the boy’s team and up until a few weeks ago, he even had me fooled. Sitting at the soon to be labelled gay table, would probably confirm it as far as the tongue waggers were concerned, but it didn’t seem to bother him. It made me laugh, for a straight boy, Rory always looked and acted incredibly gay. There were times when I got the impression he actually liked it and even encouraged it. Nathan had the beating of just about everybody when it came to femininity including most of the girls and for the first day of the new semester, my boyfriend had gone the whole nine yards. “Are you wearing make-up?” “Only a little,” he said. “Around the eyes. Do you like it?” It looked more than a little to me and I was caught between being honest and having him sulk for an hour or lying and encouraging him to do it every day. I decided to avoid the question altogether but he wouldn’t allow me. “If I’m embarrassing you, then just tell me.” “Nah, don’t change anything. I love you as you are.” “Ah, that’s so sweet. Did you hear that, Ginny?” “Yes, and I’m gonna be sick.” “How’s your day been so far?” said Rory. It was unusual for him to speak but Nathan’s reply was even more unexpected. “I’ve had a couple of nasty remarks,” he said. “But nothing serious. It doesn’t bother me.” Nathan’s sexuality may have been old news but now he had a boyfriend he was back on the radar and fair game. The multi-coloured nail varnish, rainbow bracelets, and make-up, probably didn’t help. “What about you, baby?” He put his hand on my thigh and leaned over to kiss me on the cheek. Times were changing, we were in the middle of the busy cafeteria, and more than a few eyes were on us. “Great up until a few minutes ago.” Then I explained about the two boys in the line. One of them was sitting just a few tables away after narrowly escaping the wrath of Mr Symonds, and I pointed him out. “I know that guy,” said Ginny. “He’s in my homeroom. I actually went on a date with him, last year. “That’s disgusting,” said Nathan and we all looked at him. “What?” Ginny shrugged and continued with her story. “Well, I dumped him after that. He kept asking me if I would suck his dick.” “Did you?” asked Nathan. Ginny threw him a look. “What do you think?” Nathan wasn’t the only one stumped by that question. I think even Rory was in two minds until she made it clear and put us out of our misery. “Of course I didn’t, stupid.” I did my best to placate her with a bare-faced lie. “We never doubted you, Ginny.” Just before the end of lunch, we were interrupted by a girl from Nathan’s homeroom. She sat down between Rory and Ginny as my boyfriend introduced her. Stacy wasn’t the smartest pickle in the jar, but she had a pretty face and an inquisitive nature. “Is it true about you two?” “Yes,” said Nathan. “We’re missionaries from Nova Scotia.” “I know, but you look really cute together. I’m so happy for you.” Poor Rory looked gobsmacked and I nearly fell off my chair as I tried to keep from laughing. Nathan was quick to play on her mistake, leaning into Rory and putting his arm around him. “It’s not me,” said Rory pushing Nathan away. “That’s his boyfriend over there.” He pointed to me but Stacy still took some persuading. I rested my case as far as Rory was concerned. It was an easy mistake to make. It proved to be an eventful day but in-between all of that I actually managed to get some work done and make a reasonable start to the new semester. The icing on the cake though, came as I walked to my final lesson of the day. I was approached in the corridor by a kid who I recognised from grade ten. He introduced himself as Eddie and gently pulled me to one side. “I share some classes with Nathan,” he said and then stopped as if he wasn’t sure of what to say next. “Nice to meet you, Eddie. I have to go.” “No, wait. I just wanted to say, what you did was really cool. Coming out I mean. You know… It’s probably not easy. But you must feel a lot better?” It started to make sense. I got the feeling this kid had more than a passing interest in the process and smiled. “I see. Look, if you want, we can talk tomorrow lunchtime. I’m no expert but I know people who will be able to give you advice.” His looked a little nervous but thanked me anyway, saying he would think about it. Then, before I could walk away, he handed me a scrunched up note. “I know you have a boyfriend but here’s my number if you guys ever. Well, if you ever don’t have a boyfriend anymore. You might wanna call me or something. You know, to go out or something.” I smiled and thanked him before he got all nervous and ran off to make his class. ‘A boy just asked me out on a date’. Nathan was right; there were a lot of closeted gay boys in Cobourg, and now I was out they started showing themselves to me. It made me laugh but I was also quite chuffed by Eddie’s offer. He may not have been the best looking guy in the world but it didn’t matter he was a boy who asked me out and no one had ever done that before. If I didn’t have Nathan, I probably would have accepted his offer. Despite the urge to brag about it, I decided to keep it quiet, especially from Nathan. I didn’t want him to embarrass Eddie in any way. It was the least I could do for my sweet admirer, and I also kept his number.
  16. 46 points
    Chapter 10 - No More Sloffee “Halp!!” I shouted as I tried to catch Jack as he bounced uncontrollably in his human form around Walker’s office….I, of course, failed miserably. How the hell was a sloth supposed to catch a coked-up rabbit literally bouncing off the walls? “HALP!!!” I shouted louder as Jack got dangerously close to the large plate glass window behind the desk. The door to the office opened and Terry, the older badger from the bar came in, “What the fuck is all the yellin— HOLY SHIT!” His eyes bugged out of his head as he watched Jack crash into furniture and knock everything and anything down. “Help… ME!” I said as I tried to catch Jacks foot but was about 60 seconds to slow my hand still hovering in the air after he’d already bounced off again. “What the hell is wrong with him?” Terry asked as he tried to corner the coked up rabbit but wasn’t fast enough. “He… d-drank… s-sloffee.” I stuttered out, wish I could add (he was being an asshole and got what he deserves drinking my sloffee and being a prick) but of course, that would have taken way too long to say. Terry frowned as he tried to grab Jack’s leg falling on the carpet floor when he missed. “Coffee did this?” I shook my head, I was on top of the desk at this point trying to reach in one direction hoping maybe Jack would run into my stretched out hand (wishful thinking I know). “No...SLOFFEE...S-Sloth...C-Coffffeee.” I said louder my stutter getting worse. If I kept it up I’d be talking to Walker telepathically for a long time. Terry blanched, even as he tried to grab Jack’s ankle in mid-air, it didn’t work, the rabbit jumped even faster as he bound around the room in a complete frenzy. “The cocaine coffee!” He barked with shock. Yeah, how had that little detail slipped from my mind? Thankfully it was Jack who’d drunk it and not Walker, I liked my mate a lot more than the jackass jumping off the walls currently. Fuck it, I give up to let him bounce it out of his system or have a heart attack it wasn’t like I even liked the asshole. He’d been nothing but mean on every occasion since I’d met him and let's be honest no one poured my coke coffee down his throat. I watched as Jack chittered wildly before slamming into Terry sending him falling into the tv. “Terry……..watch……..” Yeah, that was way too late, damn sloth reflexes. I was just about to go over to Terry when Jack slammed into me knocking me off Walker’s desk and into the massive glass window behind it. The sound of shattering glass is universal, something that you can pick up even when you have slow reflexes. So when I slammed into the window and heard the undeniable sound of fracturing glass give way under my weight I knew I was in trouble. The world tilted and I was falling backwards in what felt like the slowest moment of my entire life. “Oh fucking biscuits, I’m falling out a broken window,” that was the thought running faster than lightning through my head, but like always my body was slow on the uptake as I fell back into emptiness behind me. Without warning I was pulled back into the room by my shirt and slammed into a familiar hard chest, his arms locking around me to keep me steady. Walker’s hot breathes puffed against my cheek bringing some reality to the situation. I’d almost fallen out of a window...because of a rabbit….on cocaine. “Are you alright?” Walker growled, his instincts close to the surface as he pressed his nose to my throat and inhaled my scent, no doubt looking for the smell of blood or panic on me. There was definitely panic, “I-I...ffff-feelll,” my words came out a stuttered mess as I tried to get my mind to stop racing faster than my physical capacities. “Easy little one,” he licked my throat, soothing me with his wolf kisses. I took in a very slow...very very slow...deep breathe and let it out just as slowly until my mind wasn’t a scattered mess of thoughts in my head. Once my mind was under control I took a good look at Walker’s office and Jack who was lying unconscious on the floor by the desk next to Terry. To say the room was wrecked would be like saying sloths weren’t really that slow...so to put it in the best terms the room looked like it had exploded. The overhead ceiling light that hung precariously chose that moment to fall with a loud clatter not far away.I looked up into my wolfs glowing gold eyes and smiled tentatively, “so the rabbit stole my sloffee and well...I guess cocaine doesn’t mix with rabbits.” “Did you say Cocaine?” Walker’s eyes widened and then he frowned deeply as be looked down at my stomach for some unknown reason and then at the wrecked office. He narrowed his eyes at me, “no more sloffee.” Yeah, that was probably fair. Jack had to go to the hospital and get an IV drip and a sedative, (the poor evil creature) if you haven’t noticed I don’t really have sympathy for him. Terry went with him because he had some wounds that might need stitches and someone needed to take Jake home when he settled down. I’d refused to go to the hospital. Walker had, of course, insisted on a major level but I’d been firm about not going. You couldn’t make a sloth do what a sloth didn’t want to do. Hospitals were the worst for sloths, the doctors and nurses had a protocol to follow that made them do everything extra slow all the way down to inserting needles very, very, very, slowly not to shock the sloth system. For me, it was like a form of torture. You ever watch someone slowly put a needle into your arm over the span of a minute? It’s not fun and I don’t recommend trying it. I did decide to hang out on a potted tree for the next few hours down on the empty club room. It had great big branches and was a tropical species of some sort that made me feel a little better after the whole ordeal. How had I ended up here in the last few days? My family was majorly pissed off at me, and by he number of missed phone calls and unread texts, I wasn’t doing much to make them any less angry. I’d lost my job, which I wasn’t sure I was upset about but I wasn’t happy about it either. Then there was Walker. My wolf mate who had somehow came into my life and now was taking it over. There was so much I had to fear when it came to him. What if this couldn’t work out? He had a she-wolf mate that he was trying to get pregnant for fuck sake! How could I compete with that? I was a sloth, not a beautiful female wolf with big chest lard, and I couldn’t make him any babies that was for sure. “Little one, are you feeling better?” Walker asked from the base of the tree, his golden eyes shining up through the tree branches from below. I meeped, a universal sloth noise for contentedness. Ever so slowly I moved down closer to him wanting to be nearer to the one person who was becoming my whole world. How was it even possible to feel this much for someone I’d just met? Walker was patient as I climbed down, not rushing me as I made my way down the branches one at a time till I was nose to nose with him my long claws grasping the branch as I looked into his eyes upside down. My wolf smiled, baring his teeth in a devastatingly handsome display. “Hey baby, come down here,” he said, reaching up to thread his fingers through my soft coat. Who was I to resist? Letting one of my claws unhook from the branch I slowly transferred myself from the tree to my man's wide shoulders. He took me into his arms with little effort, scratching my back in just the right way. “The club is going to open in the next few minutes. Do you want to shift? Jack won’t be able to work tonight so I figured you might be able to help me cover him?” “He’s ok?” I asked out of common courtesy and I didn’t want the mean rabbit dead, just for him to leave me and my wolf alone. Since he worked here it didn’t seem that was going to happen anytime soon. “Yeah, he’s fine, just really groggy and doesn’t remember anything that happened before coming up into the office.” Walker shook his head with an irritated sigh. “He’s been a pain for a while, I’ll have to talk to him before he comes back to work.” “What exactly does Jack do here?” Please say a waiter or bartender, I thought to myself. “He’s the club manager, that’s why I’d love your help tonight,” he pushed his nose into my coat and took in my scent that was even stronger in this form. “You smell so good, Larry.” Oh, joy the evil rabbit was the manager around here. How was I going to avoid the man if he was always here? Maybe I could ask Walker if I could work at another one of the business, the one with no sloths or evil rabbits. “I better shift before he starts licking me in sloth form.” I thought as I shifted in his arms letting him hold me up as I turned back. Walker didn’t say anything as I shifted but when I was finished I was naked in his arms my legs around his waist and my arms around his neck as he held me up by my naked ass. “Hi…” I said out loud a slow smile curling my lips. Yeah, I was totally a sucker for him. “Hmmm so sexy,” He pressed his nose along my jaw marking me with his scent as he nipped my skin gently. “You’re right I would have started licking you, I can’t resist,” he rumbled. As much as I wanted to stay there with him grabbing my naked ass and scent marking me till I came on his chest, the club was about to open and I wanted to get some clothes on before every animal in the city saw my naked ass. “I want to help you tonight,” I thought even as I mewled lightly rubbing myself against his shirt as he started sucking on my neck. “Good then let’s—” “Hey, boss.” I looked over Walker's shoulder to see the gorilla that maned the front door when I came to the club the first night. He was big, bigger than I remembered, and had dark skin that matched his dark eyes. Even as big as he was he seemed to defer to Walker in a way that said he respected my mate, it just reminded me how much I needed to still learn about him. Walker grumbled but set me down on my feet and turned to face the other man while keeping me behind him. Oh was he keeping my naked butt hidden? “What is it Tengo?” Walker’s tone was polite but brusque and lined with a dominance he hadn’t ever directed towards me. Was this an alpha thing? Or was this a boss thing? The gorilla pointed over his shoulder, “The crowds huge tonight, should I start letting them in?” “Go ahead, me and Larry were just headed upstairs to get him some clothes,” Walker said with a tilt of his lips that meant he was lying. Tengo nodded and turned to go back to the door when Walker spoke again, “Tengo, did you see any of my pack members outside?” Pack members? I looked between the two men confused. I knew there was more to that question, but I didn’t understand pack dynamic or really anything about wolves besides that they were apparently allergic to cake and their penises knotted when they had sex. God, that was depressing that that was all I knew. “No, boss. I didn’t see any of them, you want me to tell you if any of them come in?” He nodded. “Yes, keep an eye out for Raina,” was all he said before he turned around and scooped me up into his massive arms and walked me upstairs to his office. I squealed out in surprise when I saw the office. It looked untouched. NOTHING was out of place, even the window was fixed. “H-hhooww…” I said out loud my eyes saucers in my head as I stared at the pristine surfaces. Walker chuckled. “I’m a wolf, Larry, I’ve torn this place up way worse than Jack ever could. A crew came in and fixed it while you were sleeping.” “How long was I asleep? Is it still Wednesday?” How long had I been hanging on that tree? “Yes little one it’s still Wednesday,” he nipped my ear before setting me down in a new leather chair. It was new no doubt about it, the smell of fresh new leather puffed out of the cushion as my ass sank into it. I was starting to get the impression that my mate was rich, and not in the ‘I have some money to buy a boat’ but more like ‘I have money to buy the boat company’. “They put this all back together in an afternoon?” How was that physically possible? Walker nodded as he handed me some fresh clothes. Wait, where had these come from they weren’t mine. I looked at the cotton shirt that said ‘not slow enough for you to catch’ and the pair of denim jeans that felt like butter on my fingertips. Walker saw my confusion and bared his teeth in a wolfish grin, “You’re other clothes got ripped so I had someone pick up new ones for you, I thought you’d like the shirt.” I looked at it again, yeah I loved it, all of it. How did he know what I’d like already? “I do love it, thank you for getting me new clothes.” Walker hummed happily dipping his head to press his nose along my jaw before kissing my cheek. “Get dressed and I’ll show you around the club while it’s open.” The club was booming. It was just like I remembered it but with more people. How was it possible to be this crowded this early in the night? People were already out on the dance floor grinding as they held their drinks up, laughing and playing along with each others antics. I craved to be like them, to dance and move to the beat and talk like everyone else. “What’s wrong little one? Don’t like the music?” Walker asked as he pressed up behind me at the base of the stairs. I shook my head, slowly of fucking course. “No, I love it. I just envy them, the way they move in time to the beat, just being able to move.” Ugh, I was being so dramatic what was wrong with me? I didn’t usually obsess over being a sloth, but watching these beautiful people writhe on the dance floor like sensual creatures I wondered how I could ever compete. How could I ever keep Walker surrounded by this every day? “Maybe they’re not listening to the right song,” he rumbled low against my ear. The right song? What did that even mean? “What? I—” “Stay here, I’ll be right back,” he said before giving my cheek a soft kiss and walking quickly through the dancing crowd out of sight. I had no idea what he was up to but I swear if he put on any sloth rap I would die of embarrassment… right after I killed him. Imagine listening to a song for twenty minutes that only had five words in it and the same metronome that just kept repeating over and over again, that was sloth rap. Scratch that, I wouldn’t kill Walker I’d force him to listen to that shit on repeat until his ears bled. Paul had loved that stuff when we were teenagers, one year he’d play the whole Slothacious C album on repeat (which was about 9 hours of the same beats on repeat and about five lyrics per song). That had been the longest year of my life. That was the difference between me and my brother, he did almost anything to become more engulfed in sloth culture, while I fought not to drown in the overwhelming slow death of it all. As I watched the moving bodies on the massive dance floor, pumping in time to the fast beat I wonder why I even bothered, I’d never been able to keep up no matter how fast my mind was. “Holy shit, you’re the sloth,” a familiar voice rose over the music making my shoulder hunch instinctively. Not him, why did it have to be him? He’d been so drunk even if I had run into him I hadn’t thought he’d remember me. I turned around, taking my time as I did it so that I could think of something to say to the asshole behind me. “What…. do…… you…. want?” I asked the hawk who’d laughed at me so cruelly the last time I’d been at the club. Beck narrowed his eyes at me, the brown muddied and nothing as striking at my mates. Nothing about the hawk down to his sharp downturned nose was as attractive as Walker, and yet only a week ago I would have thought myself lucky to have his attention. “You’re an ungrateful little shit. I came to be nice and ask you if you wanted a drink. I was going to overlook the fact you are a sloth.” An ugly smirk crossed over his narrow fast, “I’ve done some research about sloths, you guys have some amazing dick sucking skills apparently.” He leaned forward his booze heavy breath ghosting across my face and wafting into my nose. I gagged a little at the strong stench of old food and a lot of alcohol mixing together. God he smelt worse than a sloth who’d sat on a tree growing moss for months, and what the fuck did he just say about my dick sucking abilities? “I…. wouldn’t…… suck…… ...your…… dick….. ..to….. ….save…. ...my…. Life,” I said tensely. “You piece of sloth shit, do you know who I am?” He squawked like the irritating bird he was. “I bet you know who I am,” Walker growled from behind Beck, his massive hand already locked over the smaller hawks shoulder squeezing tight enough that I swear I heard bones creak. Beck gasped his face going deathly pale as my mate dug his hand into the sensitive pressure point between neck and shoulder, incapacitating him. “A-alpha, l-let me go...h-hurts,” Beck squawked and tried to wiggle away from the pain but it only causes my mate to clamp down harder. “I’m not a forgiving man, Mr. Altmore,” Walker growled, his yellow eyes dripping with a maliciousness I hadn’t known he was capable of. “If you happen to run into my mate again, you will treat him with the same respect you would give a predator like myself, and if you don’t,” He squeezed even tighter on the hawks shoulder causing Beck to cry in gasping sobs. “You won’t be flying anytime soon, do you understand?” Beck nodded emphatically, shaking his head wildly up and down until my mate let him go. Gasping in relief the hawk clutched his wounded shoulder staring up at my alpha as he walked around to stand at my side. “Get out of my club, poultry before I eat you,” he growled, baring half-formed fangs. Beck didn’t wait a second longer before he was rushing through the crowd, pushing people out of his way as he ran towards the main exit. “Wow, I didn’t know birds could run that fast…” I thought watching the man practically fly with his feet out the door. “Are you alright?” Walker pressed his face into my throat inhaling my scent. I didn’t understand wolves, but I had the impression that he was checking my scent looking for signs of fear or pain. “I’m alright,” I smiled not able to hold the giddy joy building up inside my chest. He’d stood up for me, no one had ever done that for me before. It was common for predators to have prejudices towards prey and vice versa but for sloths, there was so much more prejudice than just that. “Thanks, for standing up for me,” Walker stiffened, a soft growl rolling out of him before he licked possessively at my throat, marking me again. “You’re my mate, I will do anything to protect you.” I sighed exposing my throat to him, loving whenever he nipped or licked the sensitive area. The idea that I had someone who would protect me no matter what, that he would protect me no matter what made my knees wobble dangerously. How was I lucky enough to get this man? Walker hummed his arm wrapping around my waist like he knew my legs were weak, of course, he knew, always lurking in my head. “Dance with me, little one,” he asked leading me towards the crowd of people. “I can’t dance Walker, that would require moving—” in time to the beat, was what I didn’t add. Being a sloth dancing was more like zen meditation or yoga, it wasn’t like we could go fast enough to keep up with most songs. Suddenly, the loud beat of the club suddenly changed and the music turned to a different song, something much slower with an intense base. “Dance with me, mate,” he asked again this time picking me up. I wrapped around him as he walked up onto the dance floor where the dancing had changed to a slow seductive rhythm. People moved in time to the beat, grinding and swaying in the most salacious displays. My heart sped up as Walker set me down slowly letting me slide down his body till my feet it the ground and I was standing in the middle of the crowd the songs slow intense beat calling to me in a way I hadn’t expected. He turned me around my back against his front bending till his mouth was pressed against my ear. “Dance for me, little one,” Walker said yellow eyes shining. So I did. Copying the others I swayed my hips in time with the music I moved against him, teasing him with the gentle movement of my hips. Walkers hands drifted over my body as I let the music settle into my body taking over a primitive part of my brain I didn't know was hidden inside of me. There I was a sensual creature, able to seduce my mate while the beat lead my body. Slowly with our bodies pressed close I shimmied down and then back up his erection pressing into my lower back when I came back up. Without warning, he turned me to face him, in time to the sudden sharp note in the song. I didn’t stop dancing, I slide my hands down his body in time with the sensual beat until I reach his buckle only to reverse my hands back up his chest, teasing. My hips swayed back and forth, liquid and slow as my hands traveled up his chest and I wrapped my arm around his neck and pulled myself up his body with little effort. It was good being a sloth sometimes. Walkers eyes burned bright gold as I wrapped my legs around his waist the final beat of the song ending as I stared down into his lust filled eyes. “Wow,” was all I could think as my pounding heart started to remind me where I was. Looking around I noticed that the entire club was watching us, everyone's eyes wide after they’d watched a sloth and the wolf dance. “I didn’t know I could do that.” Walker laughed as the fast beat pounding club music came back on and everyone started to dance again. He walked me off the dance floor my legs still wrapped around his waist as he took me to a table off the dance floor before setting me down on my feet. “You are capable of so much more than you think, mate, and I plan on showing you.” I swallowed, the excitement building up inside of me unexplainable. Maybe he was right, maybe I was capable of so much more than I gave myself credit for. Maybe...I just needed my wolf to show me the way.
  17. 45 points
    Chapter 9 - Slothie goodness I squealed as Walker swiped his tongue over my hole over and over until I didn’t think I could take it anymore. “Please! More! Please, please,” I begged incoherently, tossing my head back and forth. He’d been teasing me for over an hour, sucking and licking every inch of my body till I thought I’d die. I was so hot and my ass was so wet I felt it dripping. “Why is it doing that?” I thought as I mewled uncontrollably into the pillows. Walker growled as he licked over my leaking hole again before coming up for air. “You’re so wet for me, little one,” he groaned and spread my cheeks with his hands exposing me so he could get a better view. “How had I gone from being a virgin to having my ass licked in only two days?” “You’re in heat, baby,” Walker said as he hovered over my back the heat and weight of him pressing warmly against my naked skin. I cooed like the sex-crazed sloth I was, wiggling my ass as I begged him to fuck me. “Please….. …..fuck….. ……...me!” I slurred out slowly. Walker growled deep in his chest as lined his cock up with my hole and pushing in so slowly I thought I was going to actually die. The stretch and slight burn made my dick jerk against my belly. “Don’t stop please Walker don’t stop,” I begged in my head while I cooed and cried as loud as I possibly could. My wolf whined above me as he pushed all the way inside of me pressing against that magic spot that made my body convulse around him. My mating screams filled the room as he began to pound into me with force, his hands gripping onto my hips as he moved. “Scream for me little one,” Walker rumbled above me as he grabbed my dick jacking me in time with his thrusts. “Morrreee,” I thought as I tried to make my body move faster. This was what heaven felt like, I had no doubt. Nothing on earth could ever compare to him filling me up and— “OH!” I gasped as he pressed against the spot inside of me again making my hole tighten around him. eeeeehhhed loudly, hoping even in my heated state that the bitch she-wolf could hear my mating cries. It was like last time, but so much better. I knew what I wanted now and my body knew what was waiting at the end of his massive cock. “That’s it mate, strangle my dick,” Walker growled deep in his chest as he started to push the swelling base of his cock through my tight entrance. It was too much pleasure I thought my mind might actually explode from so much input. I mewled loudly, clawing at the bedsheets like it was the only thing keeping me from dying as he pressed the huge knot inside slowly. “Pleaasssee more, no less, all of it, I can’t,” I thought randomly as I wiggled my hips to help the large swell through my drenched taint. “Mine, you’re mine. Want to breed you,” Walker said his voice drunk with mindless pleasure as he circled his hips coaxing himself inside until finally— “YAASSS” I screamed as he locked himself inside me my body pulsing around his knot as I saw stars at the edge of my vision. My cock pulsed, my mind greyed and for some reason, I thought about ice cream and hot tubs and all my favorite things in the world combined into one amazing sensation. I couldn’t help myself as I shoved back against him, feeling the hot spill of his seed inside of me as he came. “Mine, mine,” He chanted as he rocked in sharp short thrusts trying to force himself deeper. After a few hazy moments of thrusting and moaning Walker rolled us over so we were on our sides, his knot still locking us together. His lips trailed over the back of my neck as he moaned contentedly behind me. My brain was liquid in my head sloshing around like melted jello. “What’s wrong with me? Why do I get so crazy?” I thought, shivering as I thought about the orgasm I’d just had and the dick still filling me up as I lay there. “Bet that cow didn’t get to feel this way,” God I was being a spiteful shit today, but I didn’t care. Walker chuckled behind me, burying his nose against my throat as he licked a possessive path over the main vein in my throat. It was erotic to have such a strong predator taste an area that was so vulnerable for me, “Do it again,” I thought. My wolf compiled and he licked my vein again making me shiver dramatically. “Like that don’t you little one?” He asked pure amusement in his voice, “To answer your earlier question, I think you go into heat. At least it smells like heat,” he rumbled and thrust his hips moving his knot, “ it tastes like your in heat.” Heat? Was that even physically possible? I’m male— I looked down at my semi-hard dick to make sure I wasn’t in some twilight zone and yed I was a male. “Only females go into heat, I’m not a girl…” I didn’t add the ‘you did notice that right?’ because I figured he’d sucked on my dick enough to notice I had one. “No you’re not a girl Larry,” He skimmed his hand over my belly and down to my sensitive groin. “You might be an omega though.” No that wasn’t right, that wasn’t how it worked with sloths, there wasn’t any alphas, betas, or omegas. I remembered the birds and the bees conversation when I was younger well enough and nowhere in that explanation had it said anything about male sloths self-lubricating. I would have remembered something like that. “There aren’t any omega sloths,” I thought. Walker smirked his gold eyes shining, “There aren’t any wolves mated to any sloths either, but here we are, Slothie.” Guess he had a point, but I was still skeptical. What exactly was an omega? There was a lot of questions hanging in the air, and with all the shit going on I’d forgotten about the reason why’d I’d come here in the first place. I was unemployed, I’d have to find another job. The warmth in my chest dwindled to a small ember as I thought about the daunting task of finding another job. I was not looking forward to the interview process again. “I lost my job,” I looked at him, “That’s why I came here, and why I was so upset before I found fat-chest in your bed.” His brow knitted together, “Why did you lose your job?” “Because I pissed off an affluent sloth prick by telling him you fucked me and I liked it,” I couldn’t help the blush that bloomed over my cheeks when I thought about what I’d said to Craig. I did not in anyway regret telling the ass off, but it was slightly embarrassing in retrospect. I should have been more crass, if I was going to be embarrassing I should have been flat out dirty about it. My wolf growled as he licked possessively across the base of my throat. It was becoming obvious that he really had a thing for licking me anywhere and everywhere. “This is because of yesterday in the restaurant,” Walker rumbled out. “That bastard doesn’t know who he’s pissed off.” He muttered. “It’s fine, I didn’t like the job that much anyways. Although I might have gone out in a spectacular video of wolf knots and penises.” “Looking at knots now baby? All you have to do is ask, you can see mine anytime you want.” He chuckled as he nipped my jaw. “I wanted to know more about wolves and accidentally froze my computer…. This doesn’t sound good no matter how I put it so I’m just not going to go any further.” There was no way anyone would believe the luck I had when it came to today. “About work, why don’t you come work at the club until you find the job that you want?” He skimmed a strong hand over my ass to pull me closer. “That way I can be closer to you while we are bre— bonding.” Work at the club? “You’d want me to?” I thought timidly. I thought about all the other times I’d attempted to work at a non-sloth job and it hadn’t turned out well. The window cleaning job alone was a horror story. It had taken me almost a month to clean one floor of windows on a 24 story building. “I’m not very fast...at anything.” Walker grinned, baring his beautiful white smile. “I’ll find you something that you’ll love.” I scowled, narrowing my eyes at him. “That better not mean me sitting on your dick all day…” Wow, I was getting bold, but truly I’d scratch him if that was his idea. I might be slow getting around but I wasn’t useless. “Baby, I’d love that, but I know you’d probably scratch my eyes out.” He laughed while petting my side. “I’ll find a job, but for now—” He pounced on me and I squealed with joy. “It looks so different during the day,” I said to Walker as we walked into the club. Granted I was skating on my wheelies because it was the only way I could keep up with him. My wolf snorted out a laugh, “I’m surprised you remember it after passing out that night.” “I wasn’t that drunk” Yeah, that was a lie, I was absolutely plastered that night. It had been my first time drinking and after that shit head (what was his name?) has insulted me I’d been ready to drown in as much alcohol as physically possible. Yawning I tried skating a little faster to keep up with Walker, who no doubt was shortening his stride so I could keep up. “I really need some sloffee,” I said wishing I had brought some with me from home. Walker stopped in his tracks and looked at me with a questioning tilt of his gorgeous head. “Sloffee?” I nodded as enthusiastically as my sloth reflexes will allow. “It’s sloth version of coffee, you should try it, it’s the best thing you will ever taste.” “I’ll have one of the staff go get you some,” he said as he nuzzled my cheek affectionately. God, I loved it when he did stuff like that. I think it was possible I was becoming addicted to his possessive, lovable, licks and rubs like they were crack. “Come on, my slothie, let me show you my office.” He picks me up without any warning and I wrap my legs around his waist as he carried me up the flight of stairs off the far wall that led up to the office above. His office like his house had large windows that let in as much light as possible. There was a large distressed wooden desk with papers on it right in front of the large window, bookshelves went from floor to ceiling on almost every available wall except for where there was a TV mounted in the center of one of the book cases. The office was handsome, and warm in a way I hadn’t expected, as if my wolf spent a lot of time here. Walker walked me over to one of the leather chairs in front of his desk and sat me down gently before licking my throat in what I was starting to realize was his version of a kiss. Wolves were interesting. He rumbled deeply before walking around his desk and sitting in the larger leather chair on the other side. “How many businesses do you own?” I know he had a few after his comment at the speed dating event the other day, but I was curious to find out more about my new mate. “Twenty-five including this one, most of them are run by my pack members, or by various associates. A couple restaurants, three night clubs, a hotel, carwash, it’s a lot of different things,” he said as he lifted a paper and read something with a frown. It was obviously handwritten and causing him some sort of upset because I could feel the curl in my gut that somehow I knew wasn’t my own. “Walker?” I asked slowly out loud, not thinking. He looked up and smiled but it was more tense. “I have to go talk to someone really quick. I’ll be right back, little one.” He got up from his leather chair and walked around to lean down and kiss me gently. His lips skated across mine, pulling a small cry for more that I couldn’t hold in. What was wrong with me? My body craved him more every time he touched me to the point I would actually want to have a job just sitting on his cock. Walker laughed against my lips before he pulled back. “Don’t tempt me baby. I’d probably take you up on that job offer. I’ll be right back and I’ll make sure Terry brings you up some of that sloth coffee.” He nuzzled my cheek on last time, no doubt scent marking me as much as scent marking himself before he walked out of his office leaving me alone. Had that been about the she wolf? I looked across the desk to where the letter was still sitting on the top, calling out to me like an evil siren— Read me Larry, come break the bond of trust in only two days, come readdddd mmmeeeee. I shook my head. No, I trusted Walker. He hadn’t had the opportunity to tell me about Raina, that was it. My stomach clenched and I took a second to swallow back the sudden bile climbing up my throat. Ughhh I’d had way to many mangos and sex this morning because I was starting to taste sperm and mangos coming back up. Yeah, I definitely had to lay off the wolf dick in the mornings for a while, I was becoming addicted. Cradling my stomach for a solid fifteen minutes I let the nausea pass as I thought about anything and everything that would settle my poor sloth belly. Usually I’d shift and hang upside down to help but there wasn’t a single good hanging branch in this office. I’d have to ask Walker if we could put maybe one nice potted tree for sloth naps. My belly had just eased up when there was a knock on the door, “C—” I wasn’t able to get the words about before the door was already being pushed open and a familiar and very unwelcome rabbit face came into view carrying a cup of coffee. “Good Morning, Wa— What the fuck are you doing here?” Jack chittered angrily, his crystal blue eyes narrowing on me. Note to self, scratch my mate somewhere very deliberate the next time I see him for leaving me with this jackass. “Hello…… ………...Jack……… ……..ass.” I stretched that one out on purpose, he’d have to endure my sloth talk. Jack stomped his foot irritably, which was so rabbit like it made me snicker slightly. “I asked you what the fuck you’re doing here,” he said again this time with more venom. “Waiting…….. ……….for………. ………..my…….. ………...coffee……… ……..thanks…….. …….for…….. ……..bringing………… ……….it.” I said with a smug smirk as I looked at the cup of familiar brew in his hand. It was Slothbucks, so I knew it was a sloffee and the evil little twink had just brought it to me without knowing. Jacks face darkened with a new kind of anger and indignation that hinted he was about to start an all out war. I could say with absolute certainty I could handle the irritable rabbit. Bring it on thumper. “You know I think I’ll drink this, I’m thirsty after all and I was told to bring it to Walker not you.” He lifted the cup up to his lips to take the first sip, as he did I got the distinct feeling that I forgot something about sloffee, something that was very important… Jack took a deep drink from the beverage before pulling the cup away and smirking triumphantly. “You really should give up, it’s not like Walker wants you, you’re just some kind of distraction he’s found that he wants to fuck for a few nights before he goes back to fucking that bitch Raina and all the other willing twinks in the club. He’ll throw you aside and leave you wondering why you ever thought you were good enough for anyone as amazing as the last alpha wolf. You’re nothing but a slowsloth who can’tevengofastenough tokeepupwithnormalpeople.Youjustwishyouwerenormalandbeautifullikeme.” The first half of what he said was all distinguishable and I was starting to feel the burn of self doubt and humiliation until his words started to run together he was talking so fast. Were his eyes getting rounder and was he starting to shake? It was then just as the rabbit started jumping up and down uncontrollably chittering madly as he bounced around Walker's office knocking shit off the walls that I remembered why other animals didn’t have sloth coffee. It had cocaine in it. Completely harmless to sloths….not so harmless to well….let’s say a rabbit.
  18. 44 points
    Troy bounced off happily towards the bathroom, carrying the two items, and giving me a great view of his butt as he did. Somehow, although I suppose it wasn't really that difficult, he knew I was watching him so he gave me a little wiggle as he reached the door, which drew the inevitable response from me. He appeared to be really excited about the two items Tom had given him, but while I though the enema was a great idea, I was much less sure about the dildo. Troy and I never watched gay porn – or any sort of porn come to that – we were too busy doing our own thing. As far as we were concerned what we did wasn't porn anyway, but a combination of showing our love for each other and fun. However, thinking back to the few porn vids I'd watched in the past, I could only recall a dildo being used by an individual as opposed to a pair. Consequently in my mind it was something with which to pleasure oneself although I could see there was nothing to prevent it being used by a pair. Perhaps there could be fun and pleasure to be had from using it and I'd soon get to find out what Troy thought of it. But I'd just had this little dream I suppose, of us working up to the moment when we did fully make love, and a dildo hadn't featured in that. Troy had rimmed and fingered me the other week and I'd got a lot of pleasure from that and no discomfort. I was well aware that his dick was a different proposition to one of his fingers, being both longer and thicker. My scenario over the next few weeks had been for him to do the same but using two and then perhaps, three fingers. In that way I'd be a little looser and it should be less painful come the time for his dick. At the same time there was a sort of paradox because I wanted to feel him inside me so much that I'd been telling myself I didn't care if it did hurt. When I'd made love to him in the old house, he'd told me it had only hurt a little at the start but the pleasure was well worth it. So, as I'd experienced pain in my life surely I could happily accept a little in order to be joined with the boy I loved? My thoughts were interrupted as the bathroom door opened and Troy emerged. I'd thought he looked happy when he went in there, now he seemed overjoyed as he bounded across the carpet towards me. There was a big grin on his face and his eyes were bright – clear evidence that Troy was in the mood for fun. “Hey, Adam these things are great. The enema's dead easy to use and gets you real clean in next to no time! It's so much better than the alternative. And I've primed 'Dicky' for use.” He came and sat beside me on the bed. “Can't wait to know how it feels, but I know it won't be anything like you.” he said as he wrapped his arm round my shoulder and pulled me towards him for a kiss that lasted for quite some time and by the end of which he'd dropped 'Dicky' and we were lying rather than sitting on the bed. When we came up for air I remembered something I wanted to ask him. “You calling this toy 'Dicky' reminds me, why did Tom call you Trojan earlier?” Troy laughed. “That goes back to when I was little, probably about five or six maybe. I used to love him carrying me around on his shoulders and I'd call him my horse and ask for a ride, so he started calling me Trojan.” “Aah...as in Trojan Horse.” “Trust you to know that Adam! It took me years before I realized the connection, but then you're a geek!” That called for some serious tickling and wrestling which actually got both of us quite excited and during which Troy removed my boxer briefs to leave us both naked. “So how we gonna do this?” Troy asked. “Have we got any lube?” “That's something we need to get. Could use some baby oil I guess?” “Could do perhaps. I've got another idea though. You kneel on the bed and let me have 'Dicky'. What did you fill him with – just water?” Troy nodded and moved to kneel in the middle of the bed. I came round behind him and asked him to set his legs apart which not only gave me better access to his hole, but also a chance to try something. I started off by trickling some saliva into his crack and working it around with my tongue. I had to admit although any smell when I'd done it before had hardly been noticeable, now he just smelled clean, so my tongue was enjoying its exploration while Troy was also enjoying the feelings I was giving him by the noises I could hear him making. Once he was nicely moist I brought my forefinger into play, first rubbing in little circles before slowly entering him. As Tom had said, 'Dicky' wasn't that big and Troy had taken mine, so it shouldn't be a problem for him. I lubed it up with my saliva and then, very gently and slowly, inserted the head. Troy grunted as I did so and I asked him if he was alright or wanted me to stop. He told me it was uncomfortable just at the start, but was now alright. I began to ease 'Dicky' slowly forward and back. Troy was making little noises of pleasure. I rolled onto my back and could see his dick pulsing in time with 'Dicky'. Leaving him in place I slid underneath Troy until I could get his dick in my mouth. It was already leaking pre-cum and as I started to suck on it the amount increased. “Adam, you know I love it when you talk dirty, but when you come up with ideas like this....fuck! It's amazing – I so love you.” I wasn't sure I could reach back far enough, but after sucking on his dick for a couple of minutes I could tell he was about to shoot, so I tried and managed to hit the button. “Aaargh!” Troy exclaimed as his dick fired shot after shot of his cum into my mouth, almost causing me to gag due, I think, to a combination of the volume and the unusual position I was in. Finally he stopped pulsing. There was a pause while we both stayed where we were until Troy moved to lie on his side. “Come here and kiss me, Adam. I want some of that” I moved and we shared. “I want you to know Adam, that was the best - next to actually having you inside me – and where you came up with the idea to blow me as 'Dicky' shot I dunno, but it was something else. Jeeze, you're the best.” After that we cuddled for a while before cleaning up and then going to bed properly. ------- Tom was staying for Friday and Saturday before driving back on Sunday. He was going to spend most of Friday hanging out with some of his old school and college buddies, but before he left after breakfast he asked if we had any plans for the evening. We told him we didn't and he said to check if Carlos was free and if he was to tell him we'd pick him up around half past seven in the evening. He wouldn't tell us what he had in mind so we had to spend the whole day wondering. When we called Carlos he had to check with his mom, but she quickly agreed that he could come with us. Boy – did he sound excited and of course wanted to know what we were going to do. As I told his mom when he passed the phone over to her, I had no idea but I was sure Tom wasn't going to take us anywhere we shouldn't go. It was 'Black Friday' and I suppose we should have been out hitting the shops for bargains. But Troy was trying hard to save money for his car and I felt I'd spent a lot on clothes recently, so we decided to avoid temptation and stay home. As it happened it wasn't a very nice day feeling rather cold outside and with some fairly heavy showers, so we spent most of it in the bedroom playing games and watching movies, broken by the occasional visit downstairs to graze. It was nice just to spend some quiet time together and although there was quite a bit of kissing and cuddling, 'Dicky' wasn't introduced. I guess that was probably because although we'd jerk each other off or do blow jobs during the day, anything beyond that always seemed to be left for the evening. When Tom returned from his day out with his old friends he came into our bedroom. Troy took the opportunity to thank him again for his presents and let him know they both worked extremely well. Tom laughed, but asked to be spared the details! Then he surprised both of us by saying that he'd had an idea for something we could all do tomorrow to sort of mark his last day with us. “What's that?” asked Troy. “I'd thought we could all go to the theme park and spend the day there.” “But its fifty miles away.” I said. “So, I've got a car and it'll only take about an hour to get there. If we set off about eight......” “What – I've gotta get up at seven on a Saturday?” Troy responded laughing. “I see my little bro hasn't changed, Adam. He always was the lazy one.” “I'm joking Tom. We usually get up quite early on Saturday. Adam's changed a lot of things about me – haven't you?” I nodded and was about to respond , but Tom beat me to it. “Yeah, replaced your old bad habits with new ones.” That did it; we both launched ourselves at him and another wrestling match on the bed ensued. I wasn't really aware until then, but Tom was very ticklish. After a couple of minutes he exclaimed, “If you two don't stop this assault right now, I'm withdrawing my offer.” That worked and we both sat there like two naughty little fifth graders, until we looked at each other, started laughing and went back on the attack for a further few seconds. “There's one condition though – apart from no more tickling this weekend.” “What's that?” Troy asked. “Call your little friend Carlos and ask him if he wants to tag along. I have the feeling he doesn't have much fun in his life and a day there will do wonders for him.” “That's a great idea, Tom, “ I said, “but Carlos and his family don't have much money so I doubt he could afford to go.” “You call him and then let me speak to his mom. I'll pay for his ticket as my way of saying thanks for what he did for you two, but you two punks can pay for your own!” And that was what happened, I called him and asked to speak to his mom on the basis that I wanted to thank her personally for the cake, but then explained what was on offer. She couldn't believe it and wanted to speak with Tom who confirmed the plan. I think she started to cry before she handed the phone back to Carlos and when Tom told him what was going to happen tomorrow, I could hear his cry of excitement and disbelief. Mind you, I was excited myself as I'd never been to a theme park. Yeah, tomorrow was gonna be fun! With that decided we went downstairs for something to eat, which was really a case of clearing up some of the leftovers from the Thanksgiving meal in terms of the turkey. But Mrs C had made some fresh salads and roasted some potatoes with garlic and rosemary to go with it. We all tucked in and afterwards went into the family room and just visited for a while until it was time to head out for the bowling. Ten pin bowling was yet another activity I'd not done before, but in that I wasn't alone as neither had Carlos. Troy had played a few times, but it turned out that Tom was an expert as he and Christine played every week with another couple. At first I was totally useless, which was no surprise as me and ball games had always been strangers. Thus my first few attempts either succeeded in being gutter balls or knocking down just a couple of pins. After a few goes, and with some tips from Tom, I began to get the idea. We ended up playing three games and during the third I achieved my first strike, leading to some high fiving – much to the amusement of the people playing in the next lanes. Carlos got the hang of it quicker than me and for a small person he was really powering the ball down the lane before we finished. It occurred to me while we were playing that a ten pin evening could be a good social event for our GSA and when I suggested it both Carlos and Troy were all in favor. It seemed we had found something that would make a good group event. I did feel one or two twinges in my stomach while we were playing, but I put that down to the unaccustomed activity and lifting those balls – although with the weight training I'd been doing at school that ought not to have been a problem. After we'd finished our last game we went to a little Mexican place Carlos recommended and had a good late evening snack. -------------- We weren't very late getting home because of the need to be up early the next morning. For the same reason playing with our new toys wasn't suggested and Troy and I were quite happy, once we'd had a quick shower, to just cuddle together in bed. I guess I'd been asleep for a few hours when I started to feel a pain in my stomach again, but whereas before it had been a dull pain and more or less in the centre of my stomach, now it had moved a bit down and to the right and was also more noticeable. I began to feel sick and had to get out of bed to throw up in the john. I guessed something in the Mexican food I'd eaten had disagreed with me, but as Troy and I had eaten the same it was odd that he hadn't been affected. I went back to sleep for a while, but then had to get up to be sick again. Next thing I knew it was light, but I was all hot and sweaty. My alarm sounded, but I didn't want to get up. Troy stirred and then said, “Jeeze, Adam you're like a furnace.” before rolling over to face me and as he touched me, exclaimed, “You're all wet and sweaty. Are you alright?” “Think something I ate last night disagreed with me.” “You're not right, I'm getting mom.” I protested that he shouldn't, especially as I was naked, but I couldn't stop him and in a couple of minutes he returned with Mrs C. She pulled the covers down a bit to look at me, asked me a few questions, before telling me she'd be back shortly. When she returned it was with a hastily dressed Tom. “Adam, I know you're naked under there,” he said, “but I want to push the covers down and touch your stomach. Okay?” I grunted agreement; he pushed the covers down and then I could feel one of his fingers in my navel, another in my groin and a third pressing exactly where it hurt. He turned his head to look at Mrs C. “Mc Burney's Point. I'm pretty sure he's got appendicitis just as I had, what, ten years ago. It's just a question of whether you take him to the doctor or straight to the hospital.” “Troy, help Adam get dressed. Shorts, a t-shirt and a hoodie should do for now. I'll go and call the doctor and see what he says.” Troy helped me out of bed and into the bathroom where he quickly ran a cold flannel over me, before helping me get dressed. Within ten minutes he and I were in the car and Mrs C was driving us to see the family doctor. It wasn't a long drive and when we arrived we were ushered in to see the doctor almost immediately – me and Mrs C that is, Troy was left kicking his heels in the waiting room. The doctor asked about my symptoms and after I'd told him what I'd been experiencing, asked me to take down my shorts. Mrs C looked away while I did and he then did the same thing Tom had done earlier, producing the same result. But he pressed a little harder I guessed as I groaned when the touched that point. After telling me to pull my shorts back up, he turned to Mrs C and told her he was confident I had appendicitis. He suggested that she should drive me straight to the ER as they'd probably want to operate immediately because I had apparently had the symptoms for several days and he was concerned it might rupture. Now I was starting to panic a bit. I read somewhere about people dying from a burst appendix and I didn't want to die, not so soon after falling in love with Troy. I'd also never been in a hospital before, other than as a visitor, so I was panicking a little because of that also. As we were driving to the hospital, Troy suddenly burst out, “I bet it's because of the fuckin' punch, fuckin' Jason hit you with.” “Troy!! There's no need for that sort of language. But what's all this about a punch and who is Jason for goodness sake.” He explained to his mom what had happened to me the previous Saturday evening. To say she was unhappy was an understatement, but I wasn't sure if she was more unhappy that I'd been punched or because I hadn't said anything about it. She started having a bit of a go at me on that score until Troy risked incurring her wrath again by pointing out that I was sick. “We can talk to the surgeon about that when we see him, but the cause isn't that important now, I agree. We just need to get you back to normal. I don't like having had both my boys in the hospital in quick succession.” “Oh jeeze!” I exclaimed. “What's the matter, Adam. Is it hurting worse?” Troy asked. “No, I just realized I'm gonna miss going to the theme park today. Hope you and Carlos enjoy it and take lots of pics so I can see what I've missed.” “Asshole! I ain't going without you. I'm staying right here beside you. They'll have to push me off the gurney when they wheel you in for your operation.” “But you should go. You can't do anything except sit around in the hospital and being there would keep your mind occupied.” “You mean to say he's actually got a mind to be occupied?” said Mrs C, “Mom! That's not fair!” It wasn't and we all knew that, but it lightened the mood. When we arrived at the hospital there were lots of questions to be answered and forms to be filled in. I did wonder if an operation might have to be authorised by my ma as Mrs C was only fostering me, but the point didn't seem to arise – at least not while I was listening. After that had been done I was taken into a room, curtains drawn round my bed and a couple of young doctors came and asked me some questions and poked and prodded me around. I did ask one of them if he thought it could have been brought on by a punch, but he gave a sort of uncommitted answer. When they'd finished I was told I'd be transferred to another room and that the surgeon who'd be operating on me would come and see me soon. So that was it, I was going to have an operation – another new experience, but very different to the one I'd been looking forward to enjoying today. Soon after I'd arrived in this room Troy appeared. He said his mom had gone home to fetch some things I'd need for while I was here. I asked him to be sure to call Carlos and explain to him what was happening as I knew he was going to be very disappointed. Troy told me he already had and added that somehow we'd find a way of making it up to him – perhas as the park would close for the winter soon, we'd try and go next Spring. It wasn't long before Mrs C came back with a little case containing bits and pieces for my stay, plus my cell. After that the surgeon arrived. He assured me it was a routine operation and that he was going to do it via laparoscopy which would mean that I shouldn't need to stay in the hospital for more than a couple of days and I wouldn't be let with much of a scar. It would also mean that my recovery back to normal would be quicker and that I ought to be able to go back to school within a couple of weeks. Once upon a time I'd have been overjoyed to hear that, but now....... Mrs C asked him abut the punch and he asked me to show him where it had landed. When I pointed to the spot he said he thought it was unlikely to have been the cause and it was almost certainly just a coincidence, but he couldn't one hundred per cent rule out a connection. Yet again something had occurred in my life for which I'd seemingly never know the real reason. That made me think of Mike who I presumed was still here in the hospital. Hopefully our paths wouldn't cross as although I was in no condition to do anything to him now or for the next couple of days, by the time I was fit enough to leave I just might be able to. The surgeon left and we just sat and talked for a while. Mrs C and Troy were trying to keep me cheerful and my mind occupied. She'd even brought along one of her puzzle books and we had some fun with some of those. I'd no idea how long it was before they came to take me down to the OR. Both Troy and Mrs C kissed me and told me they'd be here waiting for me when I came round after the operation. I told them I couldn't wait to see them again. As they took me down I could taste Troy's kiss in my mouth; I could feel Mrs C's on my cheek and smell her perfume. Everything was going to be alright I told myself, my appendix wasn't going to beat me! After all I didn't need it, unlike I needed Troy and his parents and his brother and my friends. +++++++++++
  19. 42 points
    When I opened my eyes early on Sunday morning it was to a surprise – Troy was up! Well, he was often up in one sense of the word, come to that we both were with our morning woods, but to find him up in the sense of being out of bed was a revelation. He'd already given me a kiss which was what had woken me and now he leaned in again from where he was standing on my side of the bed to give me another. My eyes focussed on his face, his smile and his sparkling eyes. He often had those, but not first thing in the morning. What was going on? “Come on sleepyhead, time you were outa bed.” “What's up with you dickhead? You hate getting up early, especially on a Sunday.” He chuckled. “Yeah, but we gotta clean the room – remember?” Well, I hadn't really forgotten we'd left a note to say we would, but neither had I thought about it in the few seconds since he'd woken me. Now he decided to throw the bedclothes off me and started trying to tickle me. Luckily I wasn't very ticklish, but as he leaned across me it gave me the chance to grab him and pull him onto the bed. One thing quickly led to another and within a few seconds our dicks were grinding together as he lay on top of me. “I'm gonna have to resort to underhand tactics,” he said as he slid down the bed. Next thing I knew he was licking the head of my dick and then down and up the sides, all the time playing with my balls. It wasn't long before I came, but as happened last night I felt a pain in my stomach just before I shot my load. Troy didn't notice as he was too busy taking my essence as my dick pulsed in his mouth. Once I'd finished he moved back up the bed to share what I'd given him in a long kiss. Boy, this was some way to be woken up! We lay for a while with our arms around each other, exchanging kisses at frequent intervals before Troy remembered what had started all this. “C'mon Adam – get up,” quickly adding with a laugh, “outa bed I mean.” “Okay, so we gotta clean the room, but you're not usually that keen on doing chores?” “True dat, but I've got another driving lesson this morning, so unless you want to do the cleaning all by yourself, you'd better get up now.” He laughed as he said that and turned and dashed into the bathroom before I could get hold of him again. I quickly followed and joined him pissing into the john, before having cleaned our teeth we went into the shower. There we went through our usual ritual of washing each other all over, during which, having first made sure mine was against the tiled shower wall, I pinched his butt a few times, producing little squeaks and squeals from him. The rat appeared to enjoy it, judging by the way his dick was reacting. So I pushed him a few inches away to give me enough room to drop down onto my knees in order to suck him. A bj in the shower was always good! He offered to return the favor, but I told him I'd save it for later so we got out and dried off. While we were getting dressed I took the opportunity to have a look at myself in the mirror. I could see a bruise close to my navel and it did hurt a little when I pressed on it, but the pain I'd felt on those couple of occasions seemed to have come from slightly lower and to the right. As it was only very occasional I decided to ignore it. Once we'd got dressed, both in shorts, wearing boxer briefs rather than commando, and t-shirts, we went downstairs. Of course even though we were very early by our standards Mr & Mrs C were already in the kitchen. He was having his breakfast while she was drinking a cup of coffee. “Morning, early birds! To what do we owe this unexpected pleasure?” she asked. “It's gonna take us hours to clean up the family room, so I told Adam we needed to get started before you got on our case.” I was about to say the room wasn't anything like that bad, when Mrs C laughed. “Try pulling the other one, Troy! I looked when I came down so I know it's not a mess and I'm quite happy to deal with it.” “No, mom. It was my birthday, you two have done a lot already, so we'll do the cleaning.” “Something doesn't quite compute there son.” Mr C stated. Troy looked blank, but I started to smile, knowing where his father was going. “My birthday, so we'll do the cleaning?” “Oh yeah, well.....I sorta knew Adam would help.” Troy quickly recovered his stride, adding, “He's gonna want me to take him to and from school once I pass my test, so he's gotta be nice to me!” He was laughing as he finished, but I managed to punch him on the arm. After that Mrs C asked us what we wanted for breakfast. I settled for scrambled eggs and toast while Troy added bacon to this order. When we finished and cleared the table we set to on the family room. It really wasn't at all bad and was mainly a case of collecting up plates and glasses to take to the dishwasher, cleaning a few surfaces and going over the room with the vacuum. I think we'd done everything within not more than half an hour, so we went back upstairs until the time came for Troy to go for his lesson. It felt strange being around the house without Troy. That had only happened when he'd been in hospital after being attacked by Mike and the other three but I knew today he was only going to be gone for an hour or so. Mr C had left to play a round of golf with Marvin so I went back downstairs and found Mrs C in the garden. I offered to help and she set me to do some weeding, although in all honesty I wasn't sure which were weeds and which were plants, but I tried to err on the safe side. I did feel a couple of twinges while I was bending over doing that job, but put it down to indigestion after breakfast. Soon after Troy got back from his lesson it started to rain, so we spent the rest of the day playing games and watching movies. All too soon the weekend was over, the only good thing being that we could snuggle up together after we'd showed our love for each other in our usual way. --------- On Monday morning I made a grand performance out of putting on those silk briefs. Boy they did feel good to wear! Troy had to have a feel of my butt and my dick in them before I pulled on my blue skinnies. This was one of those occasions when I was glad I didn't have a foreskin as I managed to survive him doing that without leaking any pre-cum. We didn't see Drew or Nate until lunch, but when they joined us Nate said he'd spoken to his father and he'd be happy for us to show the movie there. That was good news, so it was then a matter of picking a date. This week was out because of Thanksgiving and we didn't want to leave it to close to Christmas as no doubt people would be involved in other things. So we decided on the Friday of next week which we thought would allow us to get the news out. We had phone and email details for all members so notifying them wasn't a big problem. We agreed to limit the number to a maximum of forty and instead of charging for tickets we'd ask for donations on the night. Hannah and Madison said they'd talk to some of the girls about making food, but Troy suggested we should use some of the takings to also buy popcorn and snacks. I volunteered myself to see if the store manager would let me have a quantity of soft drinks on sale or return again, which we could sell. By the end of the lunch break it appeared to all be under control. I reckoned I'd been hard at school nearly all day because I was wearing those briefs. Every time I had to walk anywhere I made sure I was carrying some books strategically placed in front of me to try and hide the evidence. The silk briefs sure felt good to wear, but they came with a price! Still, I had the knowledge from what he'd whispered to me while at lunch, that they were having a similar effect on Troy. When we got home after school, Troy could hardly wait to eat his usual snack before telling me we had lots of homework to do so we needed to get up to his bedroom to do it. I don't think by the look she gave us that his mom believed him. As usual once we got in the bedroom it was time to strip down to our briefs, but Troy told me I was to leave my blue skinnies on. It soon became evident he wanted to take them off for me – but not quickly. I was informed that I couldn't cum - or else – as he went to work. The sight of Troy walking around in his American Eagle red boxer briefs in which his dick was clearly outlined was arousing, even more so when he contrived to lower the waistband so the head of it, proud of its foreskin, peeked over the top. I had to stand there while he rubbed all over my dick through the denim before starting to unbutton and slowly unzip me. That though simply allowed him to rub me through the silk briefs which had me groaning until he inserted his hand inside and I could enjoy the direct touch of his fingers on my dick. I even produced a little pre-cum which Troy wiped off with his finger and then licked. He also spent some time stroking my butt which was very sensuous. Finally, he took pity and lowered the briefs to the point at which my dick popped free standing erect at its maximum length and anxious for relief. That came when Troy dropped to his knees and commenced kissing and licking. After all that had gone before it was but a couple of minutes before he was swallowing my essence. I did get my revenge, sort of, as I made him wait for an hour before I attended to him. Other than that things were pretty much as normal at school that week, but I did eventually decide on Tuesday evening to write a short note to Kyle. Hi Kyle, Hope you're doing alright and maybe feeling better than when we saw you. I know it can't be easy for you in there. I wanted to ask you a question. Have you told anyone else what you told Troy and I when we visited you? There's a reason for that question, because we haven't, but it seems someone else knows – or could just be jumping to conclusions. Are they keeping up with your schooling there? Adam. I showed it to Troy who initially grunted after he'd read it. “I guess you're trying to find out if he told Jason. Not sure it makes any difference whether he did or not. You're not going soft on him are you, Adam?” “No I'm not!” I exclaimed. “He attacked you and deserves to be punished for that as well as kidnapping the pair of us. I don't think he was the instigator of either of those though, but was mainly doing it to keep Mike happy. So, I guess I feel a little sorry for him, especially as he is locked up while Mike is in a hospital bed.” “Okay, I can sorta see that.” “The reason I'm asking him the question is because if he didn't tell Jason, then what he said about Jason making him give blow jobs, must be true. Jason isn't bright enough to simply invent such a story.” “Makes sense, Adam – but I still don't think it changes much.” “Probably not, especially to you, but it would just make me a bit more sympathetic to him.” Troy considered that for a minute before finally saying, “Suppose I can see that.” We ended the conversation there. I had to admit I was a little worried as the last thing I wanted to do was upset Troy, but I guess I had a sort of inbuilt instinct to try and see the good in people. Although there wasn't any evident good to be seen in Kyle I did think he might have turned out different had it not been for what happened to him when he was younger. I did promise myself I wasn't going to get involved with Kyle – he wasn't worth it and nor did he mean anything to me – unlike Troy. ---------- When we came out of school on Wednesday afternoon we got a surprise. We were both looking for Mrs C with either the pick up or the SUV, but couldn't see her in the parking lot, which was very unusual as she always made a point of being on time. Then this guy got out of a red Mazda 3 and looked in our direction. I thought I recognized him, but wasn't sure, so I elbowed Troy and asked him if he knew. “Wow – that's Tom!” he exclaimed and a big smile lit up his face before he charged across the car park towards him, leaving me trailing in his wake. When he reached him, he almost knocked him over as he embraced him. Luckily Tom was built to withstand such onslaughts being almost six foot six inches tall and weighing about 170 pounds. I knew he had dark hair, which was now cut quite short and he was casually dressed in jeans and a sports shirt. By the time I'd walked over to them Troy had just about disentangled himself from Tom. “You gonna introduce me to your boyfriend, Trojan, or keep him all to yourself?” “You ain't having him, that's fer sure. Anyway, you ain't into boys. Where's Christine anyway? Oh, Adam – this big lump is my brother Tom – as if you didn't know.” “Hi, Adam. Glad to finally meet you.” Tom stepped forward and pulled me into a hug, which felt good and stopped me from standing there with my hand out. “Glad to meet you too Tom, but as Adam said, where's Christine?” “Afraid she was pressured into spending Thanksgiving with her folks, so you've only got me. Do you two want to go anywhere or shall we head home?” “Florida would be nice, but I don't think mom would be too pleased, so we'd best head home. Nice wheels, when did you get this?” Troy asked. “Had this little baby for about three months now. How's your driving going?” “Only just started, but I'm hoping to take my test next month.” “And what about you, Adam?” “I'm not sixteen until January, so I've not started yet.” “No point standing here talking. Get in and let's get home.” So we did and once we'd got there we sat in the kitchen talking while we snacked until Mrs C told us to clear off as she had things to do. The three of us went up to Troy's room. Naturally we had no homework to do today, so now needn't think of school again until Monday. When we got into his bedroom, Troy whispered to me that the usual rules didn't apply. Troy's idea of a whisper though was not the same as most people's so Tom heard and of course wanted to know what he was talking about which led to Troy having to explain how our 'rule' of boxer briefs only in the bedroom had come about. He laughed and said that if we wanted to carry on as usual he had no objection but he wasn't going to join in. That was just the sort of 'dare' that Troy loved, so having kicked off his sneakers, off came his hoodie and polo shirt, before he started to remove his blue skinnies. Well, I didn't have any real choice at that point, so I had to follow him. As it happened today we both were wearing grey CK boxer briefs. “You've definitely grown a bit in the last couple of years.” said Tom with a laugh. “Help me, Adam.” Troy called out as he launched himself at Tom who was sitting on the edge of the bed. I joined in and soon the three of us were rolling around on the bed trying to pin Tom down. We weren't winning until Troy grabbed a pillow and turned it into a pillow fight where our superior numbers ensured victory. Troy went off into the bathroom declaring that he needed a shower. I did think of joining him as I normally would, but somehow it didn't feel right to do so having only just met Tom, so I decided to stay in the bedroom. We were both lying side by sideon the bed, having replaced the pillows where they were supposed to be. “I know we've only just met Adam, but I can see you two have something special. Troy was lost for a while after his original problems with Daubney. He was fairly sure he was gay, but he wasn't then at the point where he wanted to fully commit -or at least not with him. That experience knocked him back and he went through a phase of doubting himself and became very unhappy. You've put the sparkle back in him. I'm happy for both of you.” “Thanks,Tom. I know I've been very lucky – finding Troy and then being taken in by his parents. My life is totally different to what it was a few months ago – and yes I love him.” “So why are you lying here talking to me instead of being in there showering with him?” Tom laughed and shoved me as he finished the sentence. I needed no farther prompting and headed for the bathroom. “Didn't think you were coming,” said Troy, who was towelling himself, as I entered. “I didn't like to with Tom in the room, but he just pointed out my stupidity, so now I've come.” Troy reached out and pulled down my briefs. “You haven't yet, but you soon will,” he said as he took hold of my dick and led me into the shower. ---------- Mrs C had decided to prepare a light and easy meal for the evening, so we had a lasagne with various salads. After that we moved to the family room. Troy wanted to play Monopoly but was outvoted and we ended up playing Trivial Pursuit. Like so many things in recent months, I'd never played it, but found it was good fun - perhaps because I did better than Troy. It was good to get some revenge for all the times he beat me at computer and x-box games. When we finished everyone decided we'd have an early night - something I never objected to these days. Before we settled down Troy and I engaged in our favorite number, enlivened with a little gentle fingering. After that it was cuddle time. ---------- We were up fairly early the next morning and both offered our assistance to Mrs C with anything that needed doing. Mind you as Gran was there we didn't have much to do as she and Mrs C appeared to have everything under control. Indeed by late morning it was suggested that I call Carlos and see if he was ready to be picked up. When he confirmed he was Tom volunteered to collect him and I went along to guide him, plus which Carlos had never met Tom. The short drive a me a chance to get to know Tom a little better and I could see why he and Troy had got on so well as he really did look on Troy (or Trojan as he often called him) as a little brother. Carlos was ready when we arrived and his mother had made one of her trés leche cakes for him to bring to the dinner. No matter what else might be on the table I was definitely going to have a piece of that! When we got back to the house someone suggested we should have a game of basketball outside. We split into two teams, Troy and I against Tom and Carlos. My basketball skills were very limited and Carlos had hardly ever played, probably because he was of less than average height. So I guess with Tom being so tall and Troy quite good, the sides sort of evened up. It wasn't that serious a game anyway, but we had some fun and I guess worked up an appetite, although that is something us teen boys seem never to have a problem with. While we were playing I did feel a pain in my stomach on a few occasions, but usually when I was jumping with the ball. I put those down to bruising from the punch Jason had landed on Saturday evening. After we'd finished our game we took Carlos up to our bedroom so we could all freshen up in the bathroom. I knew he would be amazed in the same way as I'd been when I first saw Troy's bedroom, especially as his home was in a poorer quarter than where I'd lived. I wasn't wrong as his eyes almost popped out of his head when he entered. After we'd cleaned up and started to head back downstairs, Carlos was in the lead. I suspect he may have felt uncomfortable with all the luxury that was on display. As he went to open the bedroom door he saw what was hanging from the hook there. “My, that is a big belt.” “Yeah it was Adam's father's.” Troy answered, before I could say anything. “Aieee... is that the one....” “Yes, it is. So you can see why Troy and I were very glad you got the police there so quickly.” “I am more glad too now I have seen it. My papa spank me sometimes when I have been bad, but he never use belt on me.” “Yeah, well, we sorta decided to keep it there for a while as a reminder of things past. Stupid I guess, but....” “It ain't stupid, it's history,” Troy said. “Oh, hang on, history's stupid isn't it?” “And so are you, Troy Connelly. Let's get downstairs, my tummy is rumbling.” ------- Thanksgiving had always been celebrated in my house. We'd had a turkey with various trimmings, vegetables and pumpkin pie to follow - very traditional I guess. Mrs C had followed tradition but, with Gran's assistance, what we were presented with was a veritable feast. There as an apple salad to start which was followed by roast turkey which came with two stuffings – chestnut and sage was one and cornbread the other – plus gravy. As for the vegetables there was mashed potatoes, carmelised sprouts, a sweet potato casserole, green beans and creamed spinach; plus cornbread rolls. After a suitable delay to allow those to filter down there was either pumpkin pie or pecan pie – or both! The creamed spinach was Gran's speciality dish. I'd never eaten spinach so this was another new experience for me - and one I definitely enjoyed. Troy refused to eat it though, which I gather was a tradition! By the time we'd eaten our fill everyone agreed that we would save the trés leche cake until later when we might be able to do it justice. Once the meal had been eaten we boys cleared the table and washed up what wouldn't go in the dishwasher. After that we joined the rest in the family room where, inevitably, there was a football game on TV. I wasn't much interested in the game but spent the afternoon cuddled up on the settee with Troy. Some kisses were exchanged and hands roamed underneath shirts, but not shorts. We actually managed to do a good job of not noticeably arousing each other; that could and would happen later! Eventually the day drew to a close, but not before everyone had eaten some of that delicious cake. Tom volunteered to drive Carlos home. He'd definitely enjoyed his time with us and was very profuse with his thanks to us and Troy's parents for inviting him and to Mrs C and Gran for the food. After he'd gone I said to Troy that we should make a point of inviting him over again after Troy could drive. Carlos was a nice kid who didn't appear to have much of a home life or many friends and I felt sorry for him, especially with having to look after his little sisters and with his mother's problems. Troy and I went upstairs and immediately we were in his bedroom stripped down to our boxer briefs. We were lying on the bed making up for lost time with some serious kissing and cuddling when there was a knock on the door. We disengaged and Troy called for whoever it was to come in. We were both a little surprised to see it was Tom as usually it was his mom who knocked. I saw that Tom had a little package in his hand as he walked over to the bed and perched on the edge. “Sorry to disturb you, but I've got a little something you might enjoy.” “It's the wrong shape for a porno dvd.” Troy shot back. Tom laughed. “You can look on this as an extra birthday present if you like. I bought them, but then decided not to send them until I'd met Adam.” “Why?” Troy asked. Tom hesitated before answering. “Because after what happened to my little brother before I wanted to be sure that this was serious and you weren't going to get hurt again.” Troy went to say something but Tom cut him off. “I saw almost immediately I met the pair of you outside the school that my doubts were misplaced and yours is a real relationship that has solid foundations, and I think will only grow with time.” “Too right bro.” Troy responded, drawing me to him and letting our tongues meet and greet. “So, I don't know how far you've gone with your relationship, but these may be useful at some point.” He handed the package to Troy who started to open it and then stopped. “We told mom we weren't going to make full love to each other here until we're both sixteen, so that's not far off. We can hardly wait until that day comes, but we will. Other than that, anything goes as we work towards it.” Tom laughed again. “In that case, I think you'll appreciate the contents.” Troy opened the package to reveal two inner boxes. When those were opened the first was found to contain a small enema kit and the other a dildo. We were both surprised, perhaps shocked was a better word. “Freakin' heck!” Troy exclaimed. “Where did you get these?” “You can get anything on line these days.” Tom responded, “Just make sure you keep them clean, have fun – and if you ever tell mom I gave you them.......you're dead!” Troy and I both chuckled at his last words. “Holy cow!” Troy exclaimed as he unwrapped the dildo, “this things got balls!” Indeed it had and due to the coloring it looked very natural. “Yes, it has,” Tom replied, “ and there's a piss slit at the top so you can put liquid in it and when you squeeze the balls, it shoots!” “Fuck me!” I exclaimed. “Not until you're sixteen Adam, but I can see 'Dicky' here having his way with you before then. Yes?” said Troy. “Um – not sure about that. It's thicker than your finger.” “I did get a small size for length and girth, so you should be alright – but I don't want to know any more. This really isn't my scene, so I'm going to leave to two to play.” “Thanks, Tom. I think we're gonna have fun.” Troy said as Tom left the room. As soon as he'd gone Troy wanted to know which of us was going to be first. I could see the enema was a great idea, but I was less sure about the dildo. I'd experienced Troy fingering me and that was great, but in my mind what came after that was going to be Troy's dick not some inanimate plastic object that sort of resembled it. Plus which I was feeling a little uncomfortable in my stomach, which I guessed must be due to all I had eaten during the day. I knew I shouldn't have had that second slice of pecan pie! “Let's have a shower and get them ready. I think I'm gonna let you be first.” “Yeah – this is gonna be fun. Come on, move!” Troy said as he got off the bed carrying the box and headed towards the bathroom. +++++++++
  20. 39 points
    I awoke the next morning in a spare bedroom at Aunt Janice’s house. I vaguely remember her leading me into the house and helping me to bed. I was exhausted. The events of the day had finally caught up to me. I nestled myself further into the bed. I lay there for several minutes, and then the aroma of breakfast swept over me. Aunt Janice is a great cook. She doesn’t have company often, so when she does she goes all out to provide a delicious meal. I crawled lazily out of bed and put on my clothes that I had been wearing the day before. My face reddened remembering that my aunt had helped me out of my clothes the night before. When I walked into the kitchen, I came to an abrupt stop. My mother was sitting at the table drinking a cup of coffee. I started to turn around, but Aunt Janice motioned for me to come and sit down beside her. My mother turned around and looked at me. “There’s my favorite nephew,” my aunt said jokingly. “I’m your only nephew,” I replied with a smile. I quickly looked over at my mother and saw her studying me. I wondered what was going on in her mind. She got up, went to the refrigerator, and poured me a glass of milk. She put it down in front of me and then returned to her chair. She still hadn’t said anything to me. “Mark’s going to help me in the garden today. Aren’t you?” She looked over at me and raised an eyebrow. I could tell she was trying to break the silence. “Yeah, sure. I’d be happy to,” I told her. “Mark’s going home with me,” my mother stated firmly. “I think I’d rather stay here.” I looked over at Aunt Janice for her approval. She shrugged her shoulders. “You’re going home with me. That’s where you belong.” She stared me in the eyes. “I don’t think so,” I remarked timidly. “And why not?” she asked. “Because I’m gay, and you hate me.” I felt tears begin to well up in my eyes. “Oh, Baby.” She held out her arms, and I rushed into them. We held each other and cried. I realized that my mother didn’t hate me. I guess Aunt Janice was right when she said she just needed time. I looked over at my aunt and saw her wiping tears away. I walked over and hugged her. “Thank you,” I whispered in her ear as she squeezed me tighter. We spent the next hour eating one of Aunt Janice’s delicious meals. She had prepared western omelets, home fries, grits and strawberry pancakes with maple syrup. When I finished eating, I could hardly move. I was given the chore of cleaning the table and putting the dishes in the dishwasher. My mother and Aunt Janice went outside and sat on the porch swing. I could hear them talking. “You know Mark’s a great son,” remarked Aunt Janice. “I know,” my mother sighed. “But I just want him to be happy. There’s so much stigma in our society towards gay people. You of all people should know that.” “But that was years ago.” My aunt tried to reassure my mother. “Things have changed. People’s attitudes have changed. Gay kids today have it much better than I did at their age. “Mark is what he is. You can’t change that,” continued Aunt Janice. “You have to accept him and show him you still love him. If you don’t, you are going to lose him. Remember, I ran away from home when I was seventeen because Daddy couldn’t accept a lesbian daughter.” I was stunned. This was the first time I had been aware of any of this. I didn’t even know until yesterday that Aunt Janice was like me. I was always told she was just an old maid. “He can stay with me if you have a problem with it. I don’t want to see him hurt,” she told my mother. I wiped away tears that were beginning to fall down my cheeks. My mother responded, “You know I love him. I’m just afraid of what the future may hold for him.” I could hear her sniffling, so I knew she was crying as well. “He’s a strong boy. I’m sure he can face anything that comes his way,” replied Aunt Janice. “That is, if he knows he has his mother’s love to help him.” I looked out the window and saw my mother and aunt embracing one another. Overcome with emotion, I walked out onto the porch and sat between them on the swing. They both threw their arms around me and held me tightly. I knew then that I was going to be all right. We spent the rest of the morning working in Aunt Janice’s flower garden. I was shown how to use pruning shears, and I enjoyed myself. Gardening is a very relaxing activity. I was doing well until I got to the rose bushes. I pricked my fingers several times on the thorns. My aunt threatened to wash my mouth out with soap if I didn’t stop cussing every time I was pricked. We stopped around noon, and my aunt prepared another fabulous meal. I wasn’t really fond of corned beef, but her reuben sandwiches are delicious. She served them with pickles a neighbor had given her last fall. After another rest on the back porch, we walked down the street to get some ice cream. For once, I didn’t care if I felt like a child again. I walked in the middle and held both their hands. It was a great day. We left my aunt’s house around 4:00. I gave her a hug and squeezed her tightly. I didn’t have to tell her I loved her because she already knew. She told me that anytime I needed to talk, she would be available. I assured her I would. We drove home in silence. It didn’t bother me because I felt comfortable with my mother. The truth was out, and I didn’t have anything to hide anymore. For the first time in a couple of years, I felt a calmness surrounding me. I had never had a problem being gay, but I constantly worried how my mother would react if she ever found out. She now knew, and she had accepted me. What’s even crazier, I discovered I had an aunt that was just like me! When I walked in the house, Amy was in the living room watching television. She looked up and sneered when she saw me. She was getting ready to say something, but Mom walked in behind me. I gave her a smug smile. I was happy that I was no longer at the mercy of my blackmailing sister. If only there was some way I could get even with her. I would love to give her a taste of her own medicine. The next week went by as usual. I was busy mowing yards for my regular customers. During the summer, I did about 20 lawns. Of course, I figured I had lost one- Mr. Olsteen’s. I rode my bike by his house last week and saw Scott working in the yard. He stood and watched me ride my bike past. I thought he was going to say something, but he didn’t. He looked like he expected me to ride up and talk to him. Fat chance that will ever happen again. I don’t care how cute he is. On the following Wednesday, I got a really upsetting call. An acquaintance at school, Richard Randolph, called me that morning. I have known him in school since about the third grade. He lives in the same neighborhood as me, but we have never hung out. No one else was home when I answered the phone. “Hello?” I asked. I looked at the caller ID and didn’t recognize the number. Not many people call me, so I figured it was someone wanting my mother. “Is this Mark?” The strange voice asked. “Yes. Who’s this?” I was curious since no one had my number. “This is Richard Randolph. You know me?” I hesitated before I answered. Richard is a cute guy. He is quiet in class, but I watched him at the mall and at the pool with his friends, and he liked to clown around a lot. I was confused why he was calling me. “Hi, Richard. Yeah, I know who you are. What do you want?” I asked. “Yeah, well… um…um… I was talking to Scott the other day.” My heart jumped into my mouth. I knew what he wanted. Scott had told him I was a fag. “I was kinda wondering if you’d like to…um… come over to my house for a while?” Shit. Word was getting out that I was a cocksucker. He probably wanted me to go over to his house and give him a blowjob. “What do you want, Richard?” I said rather angrily. “Well, Mark... um… I’m… um... sitting here at my computer looking at some porn and I’ve got a really… Um… hard boner. Scott told me… Um… that… Um…you like to suck cock… and um… I thought you might come over and like help me out.” He was stammering out his words nervously. I could also hear someone giggling in the background. I was pretty sure it was Scott. “Put your head between your legs and suck your own cock, Mother Fucker!” I slammed the phone down. I was shaking with anger. Shit. I was now the neighborhood fag. Scott must be going around telling everyone that I offered to suck his dick. Now all the horny teens within a ten-mile radius will be thinking I’m willing to do the same to them. Shit. Shit. Shit. I may be gay, but after this incident, I don’t think I am going pursue anything right now. I am only fifteen. I can surely wait. I have never really thought about actually having sex. I daydreamed about it a lot, and I jack off thinking about it, but it is nothing I am actively looking for. Scott took me by surprise. He is extremely cute and has a nice dick. In a moment of weakness, I accepted. What normal gay boy wouldn’t have been charmed by someone as cute as him? I should have been more careful. I have given this a lot of thought. I still can’t figure out why he did what he did. All morning he seemed to be coming on to me. I should have known that a hot guy like him would never be interested in someone like me. He played me along until I took the bait. I really thought he was gay. He still might be. His uncle told me to stay away from him because he has a lot of problems. Maybe that is one of them. However, if he is gay, why did he turn on me? It just didn’t make any sense. Now he was going around the neighborhood telling everyone. I know it will do no good to talk to him. That will probably make matters worse. I just hope that this will all go away at the end of the summer when he goes back home- wherever that is. He never did tell me why he was staying with his aunt and uncle in the first place. All he said was that he is from Arizona and attends a boarding school there. Something must be going on at home for his parents to get rid of him all summer. However, I am worried about Richard’s phone call. We are in the same grade at school. I have three more years to go. If word gets around I’m gay, the next few years could be hell. At least I don’t have to worry about losing any friends over this because I don’t have many to begin with. Another week went by before anything else happened. I was on my way to work in the Stevenson’s yard. I had to ride my bike past the Olsteen’s again. When I was about a half block from their house, I saw Scott shooting a basketball in the driveway. He turned and saw me coming. I watched as he went into the garage. I thought he was going in to avoid seeing me. When I got closer, I noticed him standing beside the garage wall out of sight except for me. When I started to pass his house, he dropped his shorts, pulled out his erect cock, and began stroking it. He looked at me and smiled. Then he pointed to his cock, inviting me to it. I looked away and began pedaling rapidly down the street. When I was a safe distance away, I turned and looked back. He was standing in the driveway watching me ride away. He had a disappointed look on his face. I don’t know a lot about psychology, but I think he has some problems. I figure that he must be some disturbed kid. One minute he gets mad at me because I want to suck his cock. Now, he gets upset because I won’t. One thing I’m sure of though. I’m going to stay the hell away from him. He may be about one of the cutest guys I’ve ever seen, but he’s crazy! After mowing the Stevenson’s yard, I had to pass by Scott’s again. He was standing out front with Bobby. They appeared to be arguing, and Bobby was crying. Scott pushed him, and he fell to the ground. I was going to stop and help him out, but I didn’t want to get involved. Whatever argument they were having wasn’t really any of my business. It’s just that Bobby is so much smaller than Scott. It wasn’t a fair fight. I pedaled a little slower as I went by, hoping to hear what they were arguing about. I heard Scott yell ‘fag’ and ‘cocksucker’ a couple of times. I really felt sorry for Bobby. He was curled up in a ball and crying. He looked so small on the ground. I think he thought Scott was going to hit him. Perhaps he has in the past. I don’t know what’s going on with them. Bobby is such a small, skinny kid. He keeps to himself and never socializes with anyone. I don’t know how he got involved with Scott. One thing I am sure of, he is treating him the same way he had treats me. When I passed by, Scott looked over and gave me smug look. It was like he was almost daring me to do something. I rode on and stopped at the corner. I looked back and saw Bobby slowly get to his feet. Scott pushed him again, this time into the bushes. He then walked into the house as Bobby brushed himself off and headed my way. I biked a little further up the street so I would be out of view of Scott’s house. I waited for Bobby to come walking by. He approached, and he was still crying. He was wiping tears away on the sleeve of his white shirt. He looked so lost. I wanted to start crying myself just looking at him. He saw me sitting on my bike and started to cross the street. “Bobby! Wait up!” I got off the bike and walked it over to him. “What do you want, Mark?” he asked tearfully. “You want me to suck your dick, too?” “No,” I replied sadly. “I just thought you looked like you needed a friend.” “I don’t have any friends,” he remarked as he continued walking down the sidewalk. “What happened between you and Scott?” I asked. He turned and looked at me. “You mean you haven’t heard?” he asked angrily. “Everyone else in the neighborhood knows.” “He’s telling everyone you’re gay, right?” “Something like that,” he responded sadly. “He’s doing the same thing to me. He didn’t say anything to you?” I asked. He looked at me and shook his head. “Really?” he sounded surprised. “Yeah, really,” I replied. “He’s a crazy son of a bitch.” “You got that right.” Bobby looked at me and smiled. We continued to walk down the street quietly. Neither of us knew what to say. We seemed to share a common bond; but how do you tell someone you hardly know why someone else is calling you a fag? I guess he was thinking the same thing. “Where are you going now?” I asked suddenly. I don’t know why, but I wanted to spend some time with him. I think we both needed someone right now. “Home, I guess,” he answered sadly. “Nothing else to do.” “Let’s go to the mall and get some ice cream.” I looked at him and gave him a pleading look. He looked at me and laughed. “Why?” he asked skeptically. “Why not?” I responded, giving him another pleading look. He laughed again. “Sure, okay,” he replied after giving it some thought. “But I’ll warn you. I’m not the best of company. Most people find me boring.” “All right then, bore me.” He looked at me wide-eyed. I didn’t realize what that sounded like until I said it. He started laughing when he saw me begin to blush. “Not on the first date,” he laughed. Then he turned and began walking down the sidewalk. I watched him for a minute then ran to catch up with him. He may be boring, but he has a sense of humor. It took us about twenty minutes to reach the mall. It is the only attraction in our town, other than the swimming pool. It is also a teen hangout. There isn’t a lot to do here other than shop. It does have a pretty nice theater complex. It has six screens, so we don’t have to watch the same movie all the time. We walked through the mall to Ben and Jerry’s. The ice cream is expensive, but it’s worth the cost. They have the second-best ice cream. The best is the ice cream parlor down the street from my aunt. We got some strange looks from other students who went to our school. They had never seen Bobby with anyone before. I have some friends, and I do eat lunch with a group I’ve known for several years. We don’t hang together after school, but at least I don’t have to each lunch by myself like Bobby usually does. We walked to the counter and ordered. I got two scoops of Chunky Monkey, and Bobby ordered Cherry Garcia. Bobby reached in his pocket to pay, but I insisted on buying. I had just gotten $25 for mowing a yard, so it really didn’t bother me. I was glad Bobby had joined me. We took a seat at a table near the window where we could watch people as they walked by. We didn’t say much at first, mostly just small talk. However, I watched his eyes as boys would walk by. He would look them over carefully. One really cute guy walked by holding a girl’s hand, and he started sexually licking his cone. I don’t think he even realized it. He noticed me watching and blushed. If you stripped aside all first impressions, Bobby is cute. At first glance, he looks like the stereotypical nerd. I think a lot has to do with the way he dresses. However, he has a very handsome face. His features are beautiful. He has soft brown eyes and little puffy lips. His nose is small and slightly upturned. He has light brown hair that sort of flows down the side of his face. He has a habit of brushing it aside all the time. He isn’t feminine looking, but his small body makes him appear to be. He seemed to become uncomfortable after I noticed him watching boys walk past the window. We had been getting along pretty well, but now he just ate his ice cream and looked down at the table. “8,” I said. He looked up and wondered what I was talking about. Then he followed my eyes and saw a rather cute boy walking alone past the window. “Naw. 7 ½,” he replied as he smiled shyly at me. Just then a rather unattractive boy walked by. “2,” he remarked. “You gotta be kidding,” I exclaimed. “He’s definitely a 1.” We both began to laugh. We spent the next half hour rating guys that went by. We did agree on one extremely good-looking boy. We both shouted ‘10’ at the same time.
  21. 37 points
    I don’t know what I was thinking. Why did I have to stand there and look at Scott’s cock? Why did I have to tell him I wanted to suck it? I’ve never done anything like that before. It was just he was so cute, and he acted like he liked me. Now, I know he was just playing me. I rushed from Mr. Olsteen’s house without even getting paid. He hollered out to me as I raced down his driveway- something about getting ice cream. I don’t think ice cream was on my mind at that moment. I was worried what Scott would do next. Fortunately, he is new to the neighborhood, and I hope he hasn’t met any of my friends. However, I’m sure he will before summer ends. Will he tell them about me? The house was empty when I entered. My mother was working at the restaurant today. She always works long hours on Saturday. Amy was babysitting the Donovan’s child. She probably wouldn’t be home until after 6:00. I looked at the clock. It was a little after noon. I lay down and looked up at the ceiling. I went back over everything in my mind. Where had I gone wrong? Since Scott first saw me, he flirted with me. He laughed when he knew I was awed by his appearance when we first met. He noticed me adjusting my dick when I was looking up his shorts. It didn’t seem to bother him at all. We’d been laughing and joking like we had known each other for a long time. It was his idea that we use the bathroom together. He’s the one who pulled out this dick and started playing with it. All I did was watch. But why in the world did I have to tell him I wanted to suck him? Damn! I think he had been setting me up all morning. He probably hated gay people, and he suspected I was gay. He figured he play along and then-wham- embarrass me. If that was his goal, he succeeded. Now. I am scared what he will do next. Someone like him always tries to do more. I’ve watched bullies pick on kids at school for years. They are like piranha. Once they smell blood, they go in for the kill. I lay there for about a half hour when I heard the front door bell ring. My heart stopped. I was afraid it was Scott. I wasn’t going to answer it, but it kept ringing. Whoever it was, wasn’t going to leave. I got up and went down the hallway to the door. I crept over to the window and pulled back the drapes and looked out. It was Mr. Olsteen. I looked closer to see if Scott was with him. He seemed to be by himself. I didn’t know what he wanted. He kept ringing that damned bell. I finally walked over to the door and opened it. “Here’s your money, Mark,” he said angrily, shoving crumbled up money into my hand. “Don’t go near Scott again,” he warned. “He told me you made a pass at him.” “Mr. Olsteen, it wasn’t…” I started to tell him what happened, but he sharply cut me off. “I don’t care what happened. Just stay away from him. He’s already been through enough!” he shouted. “Tell your mother to call me when she gets home.” He turned and stormed off down the sidewalk. I slammed the door, and my body dropped to the floor. I sat there with my head in my hands. I didn’t know what to do. This morning I was so glad that summer was here. I was really going to enjoy it before I turned sixteen. Next year, I would probably be working all summer. Now, my summer is ruined. My life is over. Once Mr. Olsteen tells my mother what had happened, my life will never be the same. I wanted to cry, but my fear was too overwhelming for tears. I went to my room and began packing a gym bag. I was going to run away. That way I wouldn’t have to face my mother and my sister. Amy would be glad. She would love to watch as my world collapse around me. If I were on fire, she’d probably pour gasoline on me. I can’t even imagine what my mother will do. We have never talked about sex or gay people. I once heard her click her tongue when we were in the mall and two gay men were walking in front of us with their arms around each other. She didn’t say anything, but she pushed me in another direction so we wouldn’t follow them anymore. Half way through packing I decided that I couldn’t run away. I had no money, and I didn’t have anywhere to go. I don’t know how to fight, so what will I do if someone on the street picks a fight with me? I won’t be able to defend myself. I thought about running away to my mother’s sister, Aunt Janice. She is a few years older than my mother. I heard my mother call her an old maid once. I learned later that she had never married. I have visited her a few times, and she always seems friendly. I’m sure she would take me in if I asked. The only problem is, I don’t really know where she lives. I know she lives only a few miles away, but I’m not sure where. I went into my mother’s room and found her number in my mother’s address book. I wrote it down and stuffed it in my pocket. “Just in case.” I said to myself. According to her address, she only lives about fifteen miles from us. I unpacked and then lay down across my bed. I fell asleep for about an hour when the phone suddenly woke me up. I was afraid to answer it. I thought it might be Mr. Olsteen trying to call my mother. The phone continued to ring about every fifteen minutes. I got up once and checked the caller ID. It was the Olsteen’s number. I was doomed! Amy came home around 6:15. She was complaining because the little girl she had been babysitting was acting wild all day. She had a lot of trouble getting her to settle down. The girl kept crying because she said she didn’t like my sister. I laughed silently when she told me that. Smart kid, I thought. The girl also refused to take a nap. She finally fell asleep just minutes before the Donovan’s returned. They thought my sister was a wonderful babysitter and even asked if she would be available next weekend. I was sitting in the living room watching television. I really didn’t know what was on. I had been sitting staring absentmindedly at the screen for an hour. I heard the phone ring and jumped up to answer it before my sister did. Too late; I heard her talking from my mother’s room. “Yes, Mr. Olsteen. I’ll have her call you when she gets home,” I heard her say politely. “What did you do today?” she asked as she came walking into the living room. “Mr. Olsteen sounded mad. I thought you got along with him?” “Please don’t tell Mom he called,” I begged. She immediately saw the panic in my face and jumped at the opportunity. “It’ll cost you,” she responded with a smug look. “This must be really good.” “How much?” I knew she was enjoying this. “Twenty bucks.” She held out her hand. I removed the crumpled bills Mr. Olsteen had given me and handed her a twenty. “Remember, don’t tell.” She grinned at me. “Yeah, sure thing.” She turned and headed for her bedroom. I was still sitting on the couch watching a baseball game when my mother came through the door. “Hi, Honey,” she said. I waved at her. “How was your day?” “Alright,” I responded. “Mom!” I heard my sister shout from her room. “Mr. Olsteen wants you to call him. He says it’s about Mark, and it’s important.” My first thought was to go into the kitchen and pull out the largest butcher knife I could find. Then go into my sister’s bedroom and slice her into tiny pieces. After all, spending the rest of my life in prison would be worth it. However, my mother’s voice brought me back to the horrible situation I was about to face. “What’s he want, Mark?” she asked me. Just then the phone rang. She walked over and answered it. “Hello, Mr. Olsteen.” I didn’t even wait around to hear the rest of the conversation. I knew I would hear all about it soon. On the way to my room I stopped by my sister’s and looked in. She was sitting at her computer. “I hate you,” I said angrily. She looked at me and smiled. She then gave me the finger. I slammed her door and went into my bedroom, lay across the bed and waited for my future to come to an end. Several minutes later, my mother appeared at my door. She had tears falling down her cheeks. “We’ll discuss this later. I’m too upset right now.” She walked across the hall and slammed her bedroom. I could hear her crying. I don’t think I’ve ever been so ashamed of myself. I had hurt her. How could I ever explain this to her? I saw the look in her eyes. She hates me. Tears began to form in my eyes faster than I could wipe them away with my sleeve. I pulled back the covers and climbed under, pulling them over my head. I just wanted this to go away. I wanted to turn back the clock 12 hours. But I knew I couldn’t. I will have to live with the consequences of my actions. I fell for a pretty face, and now I have to pay. The tears were still falling as I cried myself to sleep. I awoke the next morning to the smell of bacon. I could hear my mother in the kitchen. I knew she was still upset because she only cooks breakfast for us when she is mad about something that happened at work the day before. Usually, we eat cold cereal and toast. I got dressed and walked cautiously down the hall. I knew I would have to face her sooner or later. There was no use in putting it off. I walked into the kitchen. She was sitting at the table drinking a cup of coffee and reading the newspaper. She didn’t even look up when I entered and sat down across from her. Her eyes were still red from crying all night. The thought of getting up and running away crossed my mind again. “Good morning, Mom.” She didn’t say anything to me. She got up, walked over to the refrigerator and poured me a glass of orange juice. She came back and put it before me then continued reading the newspaper. We sat in awkward silence for several minutes. My sister walked into the kitchen and hit me on the back of my head. “Fag,” she hissed as she took her seat beside me. Before I knew what had happened, my mother jumped up from her seat, came around and yanked my sister to her feet. “As long as I’m alive, don’t you ever let me hear you call your brother that again!” She started shaking her, and Amy began to cry. She shouted and pointed toward the door, “Go to your room. You’re grounded for a week.” We sat again in awkward silence. She got up and walked over to the oven, then returned with a plate of bacon, eggs and toast and put it before me. She didn’t fix anything for herself. She returned to her seat and continued reading the paper while I picked at my food. She put the paper down and briefly looked over at me. She started to say something but stopped. I could see tears in her eyes. She walked over to the oven and prepared another plate. She left the kitchen and headed to Amy’s room. She closed the door, and I could hear them arguing. I sat quietly pushing my food around on my plate. I got up and headed out the back door. I got on my bike and took off down the road. I rode past the Olsteen’s house and saw Scott talking to Bobby Owens. Bobby lived across the street from me. We have known each other since we were little, but we have never been friends. That sounds strange. To know someone your own age and never really talk to them. We have spoken on the school bus, but it was never a very long conversation. Bobby is a lot like me. I guess that’s why we never became friends. We are both shy and uncomfortable around people. He is considered the school nerd and a computer expert. He once read a story about how Bill Gates had been a computer whiz in high school, so he was modeling his life after him. I don’t think he’ll be worth billions of dollars someday, though. He’d be cute if he would dress better. He always wears a white shirt and black pants to school. What makes it worse is he always wears white socks with black shoes. The kids tease him endlessly. It never really seems to bother him. He just ignores their comments. He always has an attitude that he is better than them, and they could not get him to stoop to their level of immaturity. I think that bothers them more than anything else. Scott pointed me out when I rode by. Bobby looked over and waved timidly. I just looked at them and rode on. I knew he was probably telling him about his gay neighbor. At least I don’t have to worry about Bobby. He has no friends that I know of, so he won’t be telling anyone. I just wondered if Scott knew that. I rode on not knowing where to go. Where does a gay boy ride his bike when he’s just been outed by a complete stranger? I didn’t want to go to the mall or a park. I didn’t feel like being around people. Suddenly, I remembered my Aunt Janice. I reached in my pocket and pulled out her address. She only lives fifteen miles away. I could be there in about an hour. I rode my bike out of town and headed for the next city. Fortunately, they were back roads with very little traffic on a Sunday. It took me fifty minutes to reach her town. I stopped in the small downtown area and looked around. Things looked familiar because I had been here many times over the years. It was just that all the streets looked the same. Most of the homes were large with a lot of shade trees lining the road. I rode around for a few minutes until I noticed something very familiar- an ice cream parlor. I could remember my mother and aunt walking Amy and me about a half block down the street to get ice cream. I looked down the street and saw Aunt Janice working in her yard. I rode my bike towards her house. She was digging weeds out of a flower bed. She had on bib overalls and a straw hat. It was exactly as I always remembered her. She looked up and saw me coming down the street. She stood and walked over to the street smiling. “Mark? What brings you here? Where’s your mother?” she asked me with a worried looked. “Hi, Aunt Janice. Can’t I visit my favorite aunt?” I replied jokingly. “I’m your only aunt,” she laughed. “Come in the house, and I’ll get you a glass of lemonade.” I love her lemonade. It isn’t from a package. She squeezes real lemons to make it. It is delicious. I rested my bike beside the house and then followed her into the kitchen. She poured two large glasses of lemonade and handed me one. I took a sip and smiled at her. She smiled back and ruffled my hair. I followed her onto the back porch. She pointed to the porch swing, and we both sat down. We sat there quietly sipping our drink without speaking. Finally, she broke the silence. “You want to tell me why you’re here?” she asked. “Does Rita know you’re here?” “No, Ma’am,” I replied politely. We continued swinging in silence. “Want to tell me what’s wrong?” she asked softly. “No, Ma’am,” I said again. Just then the phone rang, and she excused herself. I sat on the swing and enjoyed the beautiful view of her backyard. She has a green thumb, and the yard shows that. It is a kaleidoscope of color. She returned after about fifteen minutes and took the seat beside me. She had two fresh glasses of lemonade. We swung for several more minutes in silence. She kept looking over at me. I knew she wanted to talk, but she didn’t know what to say to me. I hadn’t exactly given her the opportunity. “She still loves you.” she said, taking me by surprise. “What?” I looked over at her. “Your mother loves you.” She put her arm around me and pulled me into her side. I put my head on her shoulder and began to cry. “She just wasn’t prepared for this. You have to give her some time.” I nodded my head. She didn’t say anything else for a long time. She continued to let me cry while she gently stroked my hair. “She hates me,” I was finally able to speak. “She wouldn’t even talk to me this morning.” “I told you she doesn’t hate you. Why don’t you tell me what happened?” I spent the next few minutes telling her what had happened with Scott. It was very embarrassing, but it felt good to be able to able to talk to someone about it. I even told her how my mother had reacted to Amy’s comment this morning. She listened carefully and held my hand the entire time I related the story. “He sounds like a nasty little boy,” she responded angrily. “Nasty, but cute,” I replied as my face reddened. She smiled at my embarrassment. “What am I going to do?” Tears began to well up again in my eyes. “I don’t want to be gay.” “You’re not the only one in our family who is gay, Mark.” I started to ask her who else, but then it dawned on me. My mouth fell open, and she started laughing. “You?” I asked surprisingly. She nodded her head. “But you live alone.” “I didn’t always,” she said as tears formed in her eyes. She looked out onto the yard and I could tell she was remembering her past. “What happened?” I asked. I wasn’t sure she really wanted to tell me. “It was long before you were born. I was deeply in love. Mary and I bought this house together. She loved flowers. I’ve continued to grow them even today.” “Where’s Mary now?” I didn’t like the way this story was going. “She died in a car accident, four years after we moved in here. A drunk driver ran a red light.” She started to cry. I held her hand and rubbed it gently. I didn’t know what to say. “I wanted to die. I didn’t feel like living after that. Your mother saved my life.” A surprised look came on my face. “She moved in here for a while and stayed with me. She hadn’t married your father yet.” She got up and disappeared into the kitchen. She emerged minutes later with two more glasses of lemonade. “She helped me through the hard times. I cried constantly. She was afraid I was going to kill myself. I probably would have if she hadn’t been here. After a few months I began to get better. I was able to face the fact that Mary was dead. I’ve never been with another woman since then.” We sat quietly for several minutes before she spoke again. “You know why I make lemonade?” I looked at her and shook my head. “Mary had a saying. It wasn’t easy back then being gay, especially for women. When things got really bad, she would say, ‘When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.’ We’d always laugh and pour us a cold glass.” She looked at me and smiled. “You’ll be alright, Mark.” She ran her hand through my hair. “Just make a lot of lemonade.” I rested my head on her shoulder and soon fell asleep.
  22. 36 points
    They started in the attic and Drew was absolutely blown away by the massive room. Dormer windows and enormous skylights let in a lot of light and the room was airy and bright, with white walls, where there weren’t mirrors, and blond wood flooring. “I don’t often come up here. It’s the boys’ sanctuary.” Ben led the way along the wall, past the dance space, which bizzarely contained two poles. “Do they do pole dancing?” “Do they do it? They own it. I’ve never seen anyone better. When they’re doing it together it’s like one person has split in half and is still moving like one body. They can bend themselves in knots and talk about sexy. Fuck. But don’t worry, for all my joking, it’s strictly hands off. That doesn’t mean I can’t look though, eh?” “Can’t say I see the appeal. They’re just kids.” “And how old are you? Forty?” Drew laughed. “Hardly.” “Seriously though. You can’t be more than twenty-six, twenty-seven, and the twins will be eighteen next month. Hence the family gathering. It’s only a couple of years.” “I’m twenty-four.” Ben pursed his lips and nodded, pausing to regard Drew more critically than he had yet done. “Young to be out of the forces. Either a dishonourable discharge or invalided out. You’re not the type for a DD so I’m guessing injury. You don’t look broken though.” Drew almost laughed out loud. “Some scars show up easier than others.” Ben narrowed his eyes. “Well, you’ll need to be on your toes around here, so any problems will show up soon enough.” “There won’t be any problems. I guarantee it.” Ben nodded and chuckled. “We’ll see. This is the gym.” He moved on to the other half of the attic. The gym was just as light and airy and the equipment it contained seemed barely used. “We’re free to use the stuff whenever we like. I tend to come in early most days and work out for half an hour or so. You won’t find anything like this in any gym we can afford the membership of.” “You’re not kidding.” Drew’s muscles twitched at the thought of using the beautiful gym equipment. “I’d be afraid of dirtying it. Is everything in this bloody house white?” “Pretty much. Let’s go down.” At the far end of the attic was another set of stairs. It was much narrower and darker than the other, and fully enclosed, with a door on each landing. Something like this should have smelled musty, but, like the rest of the house, it simply smelled of polish. “The servants’ stairs.” “Servants? How many servants do they have?” Ben snorted. “Butler, two cooks, couple of maids. Hardly servants though. These stairs were built for a time when upstairs and downstairs didn’t meet. The attic used to be servant living quarters. These days, both sets of stairs are used by pretty much everyone. Whichever is more convenient. Although Aria hates these stairs. He’s a bit claustrophobic. Hates small, dark places.” “I’ll bear that in mind. What kind of security do these stairs have?” All the doors are individually alarmed, deadlocked and open with keypads. They lead to the kitchen and there’s always someone there during the day. At night the whole house locks up like fort knox. There would be more security on the stairs, but the boys like to sneak down to the kitchen in the wee hours.” “Good to know.” “Not your problem. You won’t be here most of the time.” Ben stopped at the third landing down and slid a card through a reader. “Alicia will have cards for you tonight probably.” “This is the studio floor, right?” “Yes. None of them are being used at the moment, so it’s as good a time as any to show you around.” Like everywhere else in the house the studios were impressive. The first was the kind of sound booth he was used to, but the other two were very much designed for and around Aria. The first was like a film set with a bank of cameras set to face two different areas, one a massive dressing table with a brightly lit mirror, and the second a set up that looked like a hairdressing salon, or maybe a make up artist’s chair or something. Every square inch of the room not taken up by the sets was crowded with rails of clothes, stacked boxes, and shelves. The third studio was much smaller and cosier, set up like someone’s living room, somewhat bohemian given the starkness of the rest of the house. In front of the “set” was a long desk behind which the cameras sat, between, around and above a bank of monitors attached to two high-end laptops and a spacey looking desktop with three keyboards. “Well, at least he seems to take all this stuff seriously,” Drew said. “Are you serious? “This stuff” is what he lives for. He makes a good living at it. Not that he has to work, of course. He’s got more money than he’s ever going to spend so he doesn’t exactly need a job, but he loves it all. Wait until you see him dressed up.” “I got a taste of that this afternoon.” “So Amara told me. But he was dressed as his brother then. Wait until you see him dressed like himself.” “I’ll look forward to that.” They next stopped on the ground floor where Ben showed him around the offices and reception rooms, then they descended to the bottom floor where the kitchens and staff rooms were. Ben introduced him to the cook, Emma Parsons, a rather unexpectedly attractive woman in her late thirties, early forties, explaining that there was another cook, a French man named Bernard who usually came in during the evenings. “He does all the fancy stuff,” Emma said, with a grin. Here’s always bits of it lying around, so help yourself. Aria likes the chocolates so there are rarely many of them left. If you want something that sticks to your ribs though, come to me and I’ll see you alright.” “I’ll remember that,” Drew said, warming to Emma immediately. “The boys have a small kitchen on their floor for snacks and such,” Ben cut in, lounging against the counter nibbling some kind of pastry, “but neither of them has the time or interest to cook meals. Most of the staff eat together down here, but the twins have their own dining room. It’s up to you where you eat. I guess it depends on how much you piss Amara off because you won’t want to be eating up there if you don’t know whether your food has been laced with laxatives.” “He wouldn’t.” “He has. Laxatives, super-hot chillies, pepper, blue dye.” Drew hadn’t though his heart could sink any lower. He’d been wrong. Emma smacked Ben across the head with a tea towel. “Don’t you start,” he said gravely. “There’s nothing wrong with them boys if you’d just leave them alone. They have enough shit off their mother, they don’t need no more from you.” “I wasn’t lying,” Ben said, looking just a like a cat does when it accidentally falls off the sofa and feigns an “I meant to do that,” attitude. He brushed crumbs off his sleeve. “Amara’s done all that and more.” “It’s his way of coping with shit, right. So don’t give him none. Anyway, he’s growing up and he don’t do so much of all that anymore.” “Oh no? What about Phill?” “Phill was fine until you put your two ha’porth in. Telling him they both needed a strong hand.” She huffed and shook her head. “You’d be best keeping your nose out of other people’s business and attend to your own.” She flapped her cloth at Ben again and he shuffled away. “It’s not wrong,” he grumbled. “Maybe is and maybe isn’t but Phill was a professional and would have been quite able to work things out for himself if you hadn’t helped.” “That’s it. I tried to help. I tried to warn him, to set him right. I didn’t make him act like a dick to Amara, just like I didn’t make Amara put blue dye in his coffee.” “Hang on a sec,” Drew cut in. “Phill, is he the one I took over from? The one Mrs Graice ruined?” Emma’s head shot up and she narrowed her eyes at Ben. “She did what?” “Well she wasn’t going to let him get away with it was she? He threatened Amara.” “Threatened to put him over his knee, which frankly wouldn’t have done him any harm.” “He still threatened violence to her precious princess.” “Princess?” “Oh, you’ll find out.” Ben grinned and took another pastry. Emma slapped his hand away. Drew’s mind boggled but he drew it back on point. “Do you think he’s any threat to the boys? I mean he has at least some cause to believe he was treated badly.” “Phill? Nah, he was a sweetheart,” Emma said glaring at Ben. “And I’d have told the old cow that if she’d asked. Don’t you go listening to this one,” she directed at Drew. “Those boys are sweet angels and you’ll not get me to say no different. If you just give them a chance, treat them right and open up a bit you’ll see. They’re desperate for a bit of attention they are, that’s all.” Ben snorted spraying crumbs. “Attention? You think they lack attention? Seriously?” Emma hummed and turned back to the stove to take out another batch of pastries. As she turned she caught Drew’s eye and gave him a curt nod. “There’s different kinds of attention,” she said. Drew knew what she meant. Drew didn’t see either Aria or Amara again before he left, with instructions to return by five. He went straight to the bar frequented by his work colleagues and other veterans as well as local police. It was as familiar as his worn jeans and the smell of sweat and polish wrapped around him like a lover’s arms as soon as he walked through the door. He checked their usual table was free, which it was, then went straight to the bar and ordered two pints of coke. Neither he, nor Jeff would drink during the day, especially when he had duty later. Jeff arrived as he was sliding into his seat. “How did it go?” Drew glared at him. “If I had anywhere else to go you wouldn’t see my arse for dust.” “You have plenty of other places to go, but the company’s much better here.” Jeff grinned at him, his face boyish despite being ten years older than Drew. “Only if you’re a masochist,” he said taking a long drink. “You’re lucky I am.” “Yeah and my arse is a lemon. You’re too soft to be a masochist, always have been. One flick of the whip and you’d be running with your tail between your legs.” “Since when were you into whips?” Jeff chuckled but didn’t answer. They fell into a companionable silence while Drew looked around. The same old faces looked back. They all seemed tired, with a weariness that came from more than just lack of sleep. Maybe this gig wouldn’t be so bad after all. He was twenty-four for God’s sake. A few parties might do him the world of good. He snorted into his glass. Yeah, right. “What are you laughing about? Not that I’m complaining. I haven’t heard much of that from you lately.” Drew frowned. He wasn’t ready to go there yet. “I was just thinking a few good parties might do me good, then realized how stupid that was.” Jeff didn’t laugh as he’d expected, he simply regarded Drew thoughtfully for a moment, then nodded. “You’re right. It would.” “Come on. You know me, Jeff. I’m hardly a party guy.” “No, but you’re young, Kid. You grew up way too fast. Maybe it’s time to let your hair down a bit.” Drew ran his hand over his growing-out crew cut. “I don’t know if I’ve got it in me anymore. This all seems so…shallow.” “Now you listen to me. Me and you are soldiers, through and through, but you’re different. You’ve seen a lot, done a lot, but you’re more than that. You need more than that. Well, this is it. This is what we fought for, so that people like this can lead shallow lives. And there’s meaning in that, boy. Life is a gift and we don’t get to dictate how it’s spent, but we do fight for the right to choose how it’s spent, not to have it dictated to us by others.” Drew snorted. “Right. So, it isn’t dictated to us now?” Jeff nodded. “Too much, but not as much as it would be if we just gave up and stopped fighting. You’ve done your part, kid. You fought for the freedom to choose, now you get to choose, so do I and so do those two boys. We make different choices, but we all have the same right to make them. A posh house in Kensington, a terrace in the valleys, don’t make no difference. It’s the heart, boy. That’s what’s important. That’s what we do. That’s what we fight for. And if some fat, rich bastard spits in our eye, that’s his right, just like it’s ours to punch him in the nose.” “Yeah, if we want to end up in prison.” “Ah, that’s consequences and that’s different.” Drew chuckled. “How did we get here from going to parties?” “By overthinking, boy. Just like you always do.” After lunch, Drew said goodbye to Jeff, then went shopping. He’d been given a budget to get some new clothes. He’d scoffed at the time but was glad of it now. There was, of course, no way he could afford the kind of clothes Aria and Amara wore, but at least he could make an attempt to get the look right. Not that he gave a damn about fitting in, but he had to at least try not to draw too much attention to himself. Let the big boys wear their uniforms and make their presence known, his kind of security required him to blend in, and he wasn’t going to do that in anything he had in his wardrobe. He had a feeling that, in order to fit in, he’d have to step way out of his comfort zone. Sure enough, when he confided in one of the dressers at the fanciest store he, or rather the firm, could afford, he found himself thrust into changing rooms with armfuls of clothes he would never have glanced at. By the time he’d finished and staggered into his flat, clutching bags, the contents of which scared him, he was bone tired, but had no time for a nap. After taking a long, hot shower, he spent half an hour trying to get his hair to look like the photograph on the bottle the salesperson had assured him was the thing for modern fashionable styles. As far as Drew could tell it was a complete mess and he gave up in disgust, running his fingers through the overlong locks in a futile attempt to tame it. He didn’t want to don his new outfit until the last possible moment, so he used the rest of the time to do some research he should really have done before the job started. He looked up Aria, watched some you tube videos, read some tweets, subscribed to Aria’s blog, and found out how to achieve the hairstyle he’d been struggling with which, following Aria’s tips, fell into place with just a few flicks and twists. If he cared at all about fashion and appearance, he might have been impressed by the videos. Aria clearly had a talent for teaching. Everything was clear and made logical sense. His voice was like honey over chocolate and his movements smooth and precise. Maybe this you tube stuff wasn’t so stupid after all. He knew enough to realize the twenty-minute-long videos could not be as effortless as they appeared, and neither could the immaculate face Aria always presented. He thought about the face Aria had shown him – makeup free, the skin glowing and porcelain fine. He didn’t need kohl to make his pale blue eyes pop and he didn’t need foundation to smooth away blemishes as there were none. All in all, Drew had to conclude, he preferred the natural look. Aria and Amara were natural beauties and had no need of cosmetic enhancement. That didn’t mean Drew didn’t appreciate their hard work in maintaining their facades. Finally, Drew couldn’t put off dressing any longer. He squeezed, tugged and squirmed himself into a pair of leather trousers that hung too low on his hips to be comfortable. They constantly felt as if they were sliding down. He’d drawn the line at mesh or see through tops and had settled for a burgundy and black brocade waistcoat over a black t-shirt that ended two inches above the waistband of his trousers. He regretted his choices immediately and was half inclined to change, but he had nothing else remotely suitable, so he pulled on a long coat, hoping that he could at least keep it on at the concert, then grabbed his keys and wallet and headed for the door. Too late, he wondered where the hell he was going to keep them when the coat came off. No way was he going to get them into his pocket. With a low moan, he headed back inside and changed his coat for a light linen jacket he could keep on all night. When he got back to the Graice house, he parked his battered car around the corner and strolled up to the front door. He debated whether to knock or use the key Alicia had given him. Not feeling comfortable with just walking in, he knocked. The butler, known only as Mason – Drew had no idea if that was first or last name – answered and frowned down his nose at Drew. “Good evening, Sir. Did Miss Montgomery not give you a key?” “Yes, she did but….” “It would be of assistance if you used it, Sir.” “I…er, yeah, okay. Sorry.” Mason nodded and Drew scurried past, heading for the stairs. The living room was empty, so he took time to explore. He was surprised to find that the book cases held more than just hair and makeup studies or fashion manuals. The complete works of Terry Pratchett particularly surprised him. They had a bookcase all their own, tucked into a corner. It was decorated with maps under lacquer. When he looked closer he confirmed they were maps of locations from Discworld. Picking one of the books at random, Drew had the surprise of his life to find it personally signed “To Aria, who almost made me change my opinion of elves”. Another said “To my little Aria, who could teach Granny a thing or two about headology”. And so it went on. Every book had a little quip. As a Pratchett fan himself, although he was far from a complete set, Drew recognized and understood the references to the work it prefaced. It was clear the author knew Aria and had a fondness for him. Drew wandered into the kitchen and made coffee, then he sat on the sofa and pondered. Terry Pratchett was the last person he would have thought to endorse someone like Aria Graice. Become fond of, even. What did this mean? Anything? Could it be that there was more to Aria than Drew gave him credit for? Or did he just have a good publicity team. Drew stretched and settled back on the ridiculously comfortable white leather sofa. The smell of leather had never really appealed to him, but there was something about it when mixed with cologne and sweat, that he couldn’t deny. He couldn’t understand how the boys dared surround themselves with so much white. He could so clearly remember his mother bemoaning on more than one occasion that it was impossible to have nice things with boys around, because boys could spin dirt and sticky fingers out of nowhere. He smiled at the recollection. Their house had always been full of sticky fingers, in the honest sense of the words. It was mainly the fault of the shelves of home made jam in the larder. Part of the popularity of himself and his siblings amongst their schoolmates and children of the village generally, lay firmly in the neat rows of brightly coloured jars, each neatly labelled and waiting to be spread on thick bread straight out of the oven. Drew sighed. What was it about this place that made him think about home so much? It wasn’t as if there was anything physical to remind him. His mother wouldn’t even have lived in a place like this in her dreams. It would have been her worse nightmare. He could just picture her in his mind’s eye, standing in the middle of the room with her hands on her hips. “Cold it is, all that white. Wouldn’t be so bad if there was some colour around. Not blue, that’s cold too. Nice earthy colours, and bit of comfort. Squashy pillows, that’s what kids like. Make a house a home, they do. No, I couldn’t be doing with something like this. Get some warm rugs and plenty of cushions. And put some proper curtains on the windows.” Drew grinned. He was definitely going to call tomorrow. “What are you smiling at?” Drew jumped, for some reason feeling guilty. He carefully placed his coffee cup on the glass table, sending a prayer of thanks into the ethers that he hadn’t spilled any. He got hurriedly to his feet and smoothed down his trousers, not that there was enough spare material to wrinkle. Aria was not five feet away, his head tilted slightly as he regarded Drew. He had a little smile on his lips that on his brother would have been mocking but on him wasn’t so sure. How the hell had he got so close without Drew noticing? He’d have to watch that. What kind of security guard would he be if he couldn’t clock someone walking across an open room? Shock gave way to even greater shock when he realized what Aria was wearing. His pale blond hair was loose around his shoulders, dead straight and so shiny it almost looked wet until he moved his head and it rippled and whispered. A glittery headband disappeared into it, just behind his ears. It sported a very different pair of ears that perched on top of his head. Kitten ears? Immaculate make up, of course, turned his face into that of a china doll, and Drew hardly dared glance lower, as Aria was wearing a cream lace sheath dress that ended at mid-thigh. It didn’t hide much of the lacy panties and stocking tops. Shockingly high heels on knee-high, cream leather boots still brought him nowhere close to Drew’s height. He smiled up with wide, innocent eyes that danced with mischief. “Do you like?” “It’s… different.” “Everything I wear is different, darling. Why on earth would I wear something that was the same? Who would pay to see me in that? Turn around.” He made a spinning motion with his finger and for a moment Drew had no idea what he meant, then, cheeks burning he turned a slow pirouette. “Very nice. Love the trousers. You’ve got a great arse so you may as well show it off. I don’t like the coat, though. Lose it.” “I…. I don’t have anything to put my keys and wallet in.” Aria laughed. “You don’t need those, honey. You won’t be driving anywhere and what are you going to buy. When you’re with me, everything’s free. Drop the coat and let’s get going. I have to meet some people in the bar before the show starts.” Aria held out his hand, as Drew draped his jacket over the back of the sofa. He wondered briefly if his wallet would be safe, then shook himself. As if. Aria flapped his hand and Drew tilted his head. Clearly, he was supposed to know what that meant. Aria sighed, took a few steps toward him and slid his hand under Drew’s arm. “There,” he said, smiling up at Drew. “Now I feel safe.” Drew didn’t. Drew didn’t feel safe at all. There was something about that small, delicate hand and the heat radiating from the body pressed close to his side that struck Drew as very dangerous indeed.
  23. 36 points
    KENNEDY ~ MEET AND GREET By the time they had both unpacked, washed and dressed, with Kieran getting Kennedy’s opinion on a stylish ensemble of floral shirt comprising faded pinks, oranges and blues, together with white chino pants and tan deck shoes—a look Kieran totally rocked, the cruise staff had already arrived to set up for the drinks party. Kennedy wore a simple linen combination, comfortable, of white shirt untucked over fawn pants and open toed brown leather sandals. His friends would expect no less. When he descended the circular stairs to the main floor, he noticed Kieran helping the two staff lay out finger foods and arrange glasses. “Kieran, you’re on vacation. Leave the professionals to do their job.” “I want to be useful.” And just then, Kennedy realised the truth. Kieran was nervous as all hell about meeting his friends. Wanted to impress and make sure everything went well. Once again, an overwhelming affection hit Kennedy, that Kieran was trying because of him. Before he could say anything, there came a knock at the door. Being the nearest, Kennedy went to answer. “Are we too early?” asked Steph, her head poking through the open door. “As always,” said Kennedy, pulling her into the room and into a hug. “I bet you could hear the Cosmopolitan shaker all the way from your cabin, couldn’t you? Come on in.” If Steph appeared a little tired, Laurie looked positively haggard. Not that he would tell her as much. Plus-sized and proud, they rarely dressed down and while blonde Steph wore a deep scarlet pants suit and gold accessories, Laurie had black jeans and a black silk blouse decorated with tiny red and gold Koi carp. “Before you say anything, we may not be looking our best right now—despite half an hour of emergency make-up. Flew in last night, so we’re both more than a little pooped. Might not last the night.” “Jet lag’s a bitch,” added Kieran, coming to Kennedy’s side. “I found that out the hard way. Loving that blouse, by the way.” “And who might you be?” said Steph, casting a quick quizzical glance at Kennedy, before returning her full attention to Kieran. “I’m Kieran,” he replied, throwing an arm around Kennedy’s shoulders. Kennedy grinned and looked away, not wanting them to see how much he liked the gesture. “So you’re this year’s plus one, huh?” “I am indeed,” said Kieran, detaching himself from Kennedy. “And you’re without a drink. What can I get you?” “Okay,” said Laurie, stepping into the cabin. “You’re now officially my new best friend. Steph’ll have a long, tall vodka tonic with fresh lime. I’ll have soda water with ice and lemon.” “Soda water?” said Kennedy, as Kieran headed off. “Since when?” “Since ten weeks ago,” said Steph, grinning sheepishly at Kennedy. “Oh my God, are you—?” asked Kennedy, waiting. “I sure am,” said Laurie. “Ten weeks on Jenny Craig and I’ve already lost twenty pounds.” “What he was going to ask, darling, was if you’re pregnant.” “I was not—” lied Kennedy. “Oh, pur-lease. One miracle at a time, darling man.” When Kieran returned to the laughing trio with their drinks, he joined in the conversation and clearly enjoyed their open banter. Maybe because they were a lot like Kieran himself. Listening out for the door, Kennedy almost missed Steph’s comment. “You should be honoured. You’re not his usual type,” said Steph, absently. “Most of the others looked like sticks of candy floss. With the kind of sparkling conversation you’d expect from inanimate fairground objects.” “Steph!” said Laurie, aghast but laughing. “What? It’s true.” “I am standing right here, ladies,” added Kennedy, even though he was used to ribbing from his friends. When another knock came at the door, Kennedy went to answer. To Kennedy’s surprise, not only had the piano player arrived with an armful of of sheet music, but Pete and Eric were accompanied by Leonard and another young man. The whole gang had arrived—plus one. “Permission to come aboard, sir?” asked Leonard, grinning, after Pete and Eric had moved inside. Leonard had always possessed an appealing smile. He looked good today, too, in jeans and striped yellow and maroon rugby shirt, his greying goatee highlighting dimples as he smiled. “Always more than welcome,” said Kennedy, his eyes drawn to the good looking young man by Leonard’s side. Probably in his twenties—around Kieran’s age—he appeared uncomfortable, hands punched deep into his jeans pockets. Had Leonard decided to bring his own hired help? “And who’s might this be?” “Kennedy, let me introduce you to Chip—” At that, the gaze swung in Leonard’s direction, a disgusted expression settling there. “Told you not to call me that,” he said, angrily, before turning his attention to Kennedy. From those few words of response, Kennedy could tell he was from North America. No doubt Leonard would explain more later. “You all can call me Leighton. Do you got any beer?” “Yes, I’m sure we have. Check with the waiter over there. Leonard, there’s a bottle of Krug on ice, why don’t you go help him out,” said Kennedy. As he turned, he noticed that Pete had cornered Kieran—Pete tended to interrogate rather than question—and decided to help out. “What about him, the nice old guy, Eric?” he heard Kieran ask. “What do you call him?” “Him I call dad.” “Huh? Why dad?” “Because he’s my father.” “Your father’s gay?” “Not in the slightest. But he’s been joining us ever since mum died. And because we sometimes share these cruises with the bottle blue brigade, he normally gets more action that the lot of us put together. Oh shite, is he starting on the red wine already. Here, hold this a moment.” Kieran took hold of Pete’s champagne glass and turned to smile at Kennedy. “How are you doing?” “Learning a lot about the group. Hope you don’t mind, but I’ve asked the pianist to play some oldies; Katy Perry, Snow Patrol, Coldplay, that kind of thing.” Golden oldies, thought Kennedy, then what the hell does that make me? Only then did he realise the pianist was playing a soft version of Katy’s ‘I Kissed A Girl.’ “Pete’s quite the character, isn’t he?” continued Kieran, either missing or ignoring Kennedy’s expression. “Has names for everyone. Steph and Laurie are the ‘Weather Girls’, Leonard he calls Doris because, apparently, Leonard’s last name is Day—” “What does he call me?” “You really want to know?” “Go on. I can handle it.” “He calls you Mr Happy, because he says you rarely are,” said Kieran. “And in your defence—yes, I know I’m not fighting any more battles for you—I said he might need to reevaluate that by the end of the holiday.” “By the end of which, no doubt, he’ll have rechristened you, too—” “Oh, he already has. I’m to be known as Queer One instead of Kieran. Ouch. So my cover should be good for a few more days.” Kennedy’s smiled slipped for a moment then. Being among so many gay people might well prove to be uncomfortable for Kieran, and he didn’t deserve that. “Look, Kieran, if you get hassled or find you can’t take the smack talk—” “Hey, Kennedy, I’m good. Okay? And honestly, I have a really good feeling about this cruise. Please don’t ruin it for yourself by worrying about me. Believe me, I can hold my own.” Kennedy held his gaze then, started to smile and say something inappropriate, but Kieran beat him to the punchline. “Don’t even, Ned. You know what I mean.” Part way through the evening, after Kennedy made sure everyone had a glass of something, he got all seven of them to sit together on the sofa arrangement. “Okay people,” he announced, after asking the piano player to stop his rendition of Coldplay’s ‘Yellow’. “We need to talk about who’s doing what. Usual score.” “I am not doing Japan,” said Eric, Pete’s dad. “Steph?” asked Kennedy, wanting to step away from the front. “Can you take over?” Over the next twenty minutes, Steph arranged who would be attending which shore excursion. Oddly enough, Kieran had been really keen to go to the Buddhist temple in Samui, something that held no interest at all for Kennedy, and he declined. Fortunately, Steph, Laurie—who wanted to do everything—and Leonard and his partner opted in. Kennedy wasn’t sure how he felt about that, but let the thought go. Part way through the evening—they had only meant to have pre-dinner drinks and snacks before the welcome dinner, but his friends got along so well together—Kennedy stood back and observed with a feeling of happiness and pride. Kieran stood laughing with Pete and Eric, the two toughest nuts to crack in their whole group of friends. A warm wave of happiness flooded him, having all of his friends together, getting along. Not that he didn’t value the visit to his family, but friends were different; no hidden agendas, no expectations, pure fun and enjoyment. While Kennedy chatted with Pete and Leonard—his eye constantly drawn to Kieran working the room like a professional—he noticed Kieran had detached himself from the group and had opened the main door. “Who is it?” called Kennedy, laughing over Pete’s shoulder, to where Kieran stood. When he turned, something about the ashen expression stoppered Kennedy's laughter. “What is it, Kieran? Who’s there?” “It’s me, Kennedy,” came a loud voice from outside the door, one he knew only too well. “So is this pet monkey of yours going to let us in or not?” Patrick.
  24. 34 points
    As I sat back down at the fire, Lucas looked at me with a reassuring look. “You okay, Jamie?” “I will be, Lucas, I will be. But now, not so much.” I just stared into the fire and slid down my chair for a bit, the hum of conversation around me fading into silence as my thoughts took over. It had been hard to tell Sam all of that, but it was something I needed to do. I was sure that we would always be close, if not together – which I do want - but also was not going to ask Sam to wait. It’s not right, too, and fuck, now, I couldn’t - not after Josh. Okay, I’m not a guy that has double standards. I do, though, just tend to fuck up a lot - love that self-destruct relationship button. So, if Sam is keen to do something when I get back, okay; if not, I’ll have to settle for very close friends - on the same level as Gav, Dave and Adam, I hope. It’s my mess - I have to live with the consequences. Movement to my side bought me out of my inner world as Lucas passed me a can of soda. I smiled and mouthed ‘thanks’. Lucas was looking at me with his concerned face on - I’m guessing he knew I was deep in self-torment and filled with doubts after the call from home. Sipping the opened can, I slid deeper into the chair, looking up at the darkened sky. “Lucas. The sky looks amazing, like black ink, with diamonds scattered all over, you reckon?” Lucas nodded. “It’s beautiful out here. Hey, how are you doing buddy?” Lucas could read me like a book and I knew my emotions were on display now. I couldn’t help it - it was overwhelming. I looked at Lucas, forming the words in my throat. “Um…I” “Hey Jamie,” one of the guys across from me, Mike, called out. The two of us looked over towards Mike. “We're all heading up to the observatory in a little bit. Y’all are welcome to ride up with us if you like. Our camper is all set, so we don’t have to pack up like you guys. Y’a can catch a lift with us.” I turned to Lucas, opening my mouth and was about to correct Mike about the brother thing. Lucas gently shook his head for a second mouthing ‘it’s okay - let it go.’ People just assume that we’re brothers - I guess the family resemblance is strong enough to confuse most. “We’d love that, Mike. Thanks’.” Lucas smiled back at him. ..o0o.. Rolling around in my camping swag, I could hear Lucas’ gentle snoring beside me. I unzipped the side a little, looking out. It was a beautiful clear morning. Just after sunrise, the morning star was still visible. I just lay there for an hour and watched the sunrise, taking in the beauty of another day, determined that I needed to get my life in order. After an hour spent saying goodbye to our new friends, it was time to head off to the Hoover Dam and Las Vegas for the night. We headed out along the highway towards the Hoover Dam. While the countryside is more like Western or South Australia, not around my parts, but still that familiar semi-arid look, it was comforting. “Hey, Lucas!” I Iooked over to see what my navigator was up-to - he’d been quiet for a while and he was napping. I shook my head. ‘That guy could sleep on a wire fence, I swear.’ We’d only been on the road for a little bit, but the warmth of the truck and gentle rocking had put him off to sleep. I laughed a little and settled back into driving. ‘I think I like the lower states - they remind me of home.’ I knew he was asleep, and I was talking to myself, but what the hell. As I stared out the windshield taking in the panorama that was unfolding all-round me, I settled back to enjoy the scenery for the next three hours. I slipped my earbuds in and cranked up my playlist. The music flowed through me, ok, and I started to sing along too. You know that feeling you get when the sun is gently shining on you, the scenery all around is interesting, almost inviting. This truck was making the miles just melt away. I looked over at sleeping beauty. Luckily my singing wasn’t too loud, bad, but not loud. He wasn’t waking anytime soon. ..o0o.. “Oi, sleeping beauty - we’re here.” A groggy, sleepy Lucas started to stir. “Where are we, Jamie?” “Shit, really - you don’t recognise this place - really?” Lucas slid upright in the seat, looking out the windshield, “Oh Fuck! Hoover Dam!” “Dammmmm… you’re a clever one there, buddy.” My pun about Damn-dam was lost on him. I laughed at my joke anyway. We made our way after asking around for directions to the start point of the tour through the Power Plant. Then I was off to enjoy the mid-afternoon heat of the valley on a canoe ride along part of the river, then stooping it off with a cooldown swim in Lake Mead late in the day. The heat was really starting to kick in. Fuck, it was hot well into triple digits!! After cooling off a bit in the water, I looked across the shoreline a bit. “Hey Lucas, look… those guys skiing. Reckon we could find out if there is any space on the hire boat?” “Shit yeah! Can’t have a day out at the lake without a ski - that’s a mistake we’re never going to come back from. Let's wander over and have a look-see.” As we made our way over to where the boat was launching from. I heard the unmistakable Aussie accent drifting over every now and then. I smiled and nodded to Lucas in the direction of the guys on the beach. Lucas walked over and spoke to the driver of the boat while I made my hellos to the people on the bank. Lucas came jogging back up to me. “Jamie, the driver said they were about to pack it up for the day. These guys are all skied out. We can go now if we want - they’re pretty cool about it. Let’s go!” “Yes, fantastic!” I hurriedly said my goodbyes and headed down to the boat. “Do they have spare gear? Want me to run back up to the truck and grab our wetsuits, Lucas?” I was like a kid all excited and wanted to get this boat on the water. “You packed our wetsuits?” Lucas shot me a confused but happy look, “Damn Jamie, that’s a good move!” he exclaimed, pulling me into a side hug. As I arrived at the boat, Lucas made all the introductions. The driver and spotter wanted to know if we’d done much skiing before. Winking at each other slyly, we both said we were novices. “Can we ski two-up, you-know, for support?” “Sure, no problems guys. Just tell us if you’ve had enough or if the speed is good, okay?” Pete our driver asked, giving us the run through on how to start in the water, hand signals etc. Once we were pulled up and skiing along, there was a long glassy smooth patch of water coming up Lucas spotted. “Jamie, wanna have a barefoot, buddy?” “Sure,” I laughed. “The guys on the boat are not going to know what hit them. How about you head out a bit of the wake and signal me when you’re ready, Lucas, then we can step off at the same time.” “You’re on.” Lucas flashed a broad smile. I don’t think he’s had much of a chance to ski for a while. Every opportunity we get, he’s so up for it. So, after a flurry of hand signals to the boat driver, who was reluctant to speed up at first, we finally reached the speed needed to step off. These guys were good operators and could see when we signaled up past what would be normal fast skiing, plus starting to crouch down, they got that we weren’t what we’d pretended to be. Pete and his offsider were enjoying the show we put on for all. The guys in the boat knew we’d played them, and were laughing it up too. It was a fantastic way to round out the day. Pete, who was originally from the Gold Coast – Queensland, and his girlfriend that ran the tour boat and ski school, were from Las Vegas, so we planned to catch them a little later that night at one of the casinos. The only downside was when we got back from a few ski runs: the guys on the beach had some ice-cold beers out and wanted to play. I thought it might be a good idea to sit this one out and just head in to Las Vegas, get set up and go for some dinner tomorrow night. Lucas was pissed - he wanted to play, but was okay with it eventually, kinda. All the way back in the truck it was the same line repeated in various ways: Lucas reminded me that I was going to have to make it up along our trip, because our first night in Las Vegas would be quiet with a few beers and dinner – “Really, Jamie, is that the best we can do?” Lucas wanted to paint the place red on our first night in Las Vegas. ..o0o.. Finally pulling into our apartment in Las Vegas for the night, we were both like little kids still over excited about our day out at the Dam and Lake Meade. And as for the quiet night, okay, we made up for it the next two though - they weren’t so quiet. I’ve never been to so many Casinos and bars in my life. It was awesome, and yes, no social fails either! Lucas, although, did well - very well - with his new friend, Jessica, heading home somewhere between Casino number three or four. I had the job of picking him up from Jessica’s place the following morning after packing our stuff up and checking out. He managed to get out of that lightly. I wasn’t pissed with Lucas leaving me with all the work that morning: it was a fun night. I’d had a few offers but kindly turned them down, so if I’d wanted to play up, I had the opportunity to. Arriving to collect my very hungover cousin the next day, I did the right thing and came bearing coffee and pastry. “Morning, Lucas. Here…” and stuck the coffee at him. “Shhh, don’t be so loud, you ass!” Someone looked like death warmed up, I smirked. “Nice way to say ‘hi’ Lucas,” I grinned at him, and got a ‘fuck off, Jamie’ mouthed at me as Lucas said his goodbyes and promised to call Jessica, before quickly scrambling into the quiet of the truck and off down the highway. “Guess I’m driving for a bit, Lucas?” “Please. I’m going to just pass out here and die for a while. See you in the white light.” “Hmm, big night, huh?” Lucas just looked at me with that half-asleep smile. “It was a great night,” and blew me a kiss. ..o0o.. Two coffee stops, four play lists, seven slaps to Lucas’ face with no result while he was passed out, and almost four and three quarter hours later, we pulled into Phoenix, AZ. It was time for Lucas to wake up. Gentle slaps to the face were not doing it, plus, he’d wriggled across the seat some and was leaning the other way, so his face was out of easy striking range. ‘Hmm, I guess I could be an adult and just gradually call his name in ever increasing volume, but where’s the fun in that?’ Pulling an ‘oops’ face, I reflected, ’Seriously Jamie, if people ever find out that you’re having the odd conversation with yourself, might finally get you committed.’ Ah-ha, I know exactly what do to: I reached over, aiming for his nipple. Yep! A quick pinch and I retracted my hand at light speed. “Oh, and sleeping beauty finally wakes.” “Ah, where are we, Jamie?” Lucas slowly stretched to life, rubbing the sleep from his eyes and his strongly sore nipple. “Tucson, AZ!” I said with a hint of a smile, on both counts. “WHAT?” Lucas sat up like someone stuck a cracker up his butt. “I thought we were stopping in Phoenix. What the fuck Jamie?” “Nah, I’m only play ’n with ya. We’re in Phoenix.” I playfully slapped him on the arm as we slowed, looking for the apartment block. “Come on - move your butt so we can check into the apartment quickly. I’ve had enough of driving to last me for the day. The sooner we get done, we can walk down to ‘Wet ‘n’ Wild’. It’s only a 20 minute walk, bud, I’m sure.” “Frick’n awesome! I could do with a swim!” he exclaimed, as Sleeping Beauty paused for a moment, looking outside the truck. “Wow, it looks hot out! What’s the temp, Jamie?” “Yeah, it’s a bit warm - the temp has been on a steady rise since 10am leaving Las Vegas. It's now a summery 110F out.” I raised my own eyebrows at that - it seemed so much hotter saying it, after watching the outside temp rise steadily, plus the public heat weather warnings popping up too. “I know I’m from Australia, but yeah, that’s getting there in the hot stakes, buddy.” “Sweet Jeez, can we just drive please to the theme park? I’m gonna melt walking in that heat in my condition.” Lucas turned on the sympathy face. “Okay, for fuck's sake. Let’s unload at the apartment then head on over. I think we can call the whole ‘you owe-me-I-owe-you’ bullshit square now Lucas, okay?” “Alright, but you’re taking advantage of my condition, though,” he pouted with a disgruntled look on his face. “Your self-inflicted condition, of drinking too much booze and going home with Jessica, you mean?” “Yeah, that’s the one,” he chuckled, with an eat-shit grin on his face. “So, what’s Ryan gonna think of you hooking up with someone?” No sooner had I said that, I just bit down on my lip - idiot-Jamie-idiot, Jeez! Lucas shot me a ‘you-can’t-be-serious’ look, but didn’t go on with it, “Okay, so my new all grown up Jamie still has a few kinks to work out, I guess. Sorry, Lucas - that was uncalled for.” I said looking down at the floor somewhere. “All good, you idiot.” That got me a backhanded slap on my chest and a quick pinch of my nipple “Ouch!” He must have remembered that, bugger! I thought I got away with it, ha-ha. “Look, there it is!” Lucas pointed thirty yards along the roadway. “Yeah, that’s the apartment complex. Great.” I steered the truck into the carpark, switching it off. We had our stuff out of the truck and in the room in record time. In under an hour we’d unpacked, showered and changed into our swim gear - also threw a change of clothes in the truck for afterward, just in case we wanted to head straight out. We must have looked a treat: we both looked like tightrope walkers on an imaginary line across to the truck. My well-learned trick childhood trick during long hot Australian summers of walking barefoot on the painted lines and spotting in the shadows across the carpark like land bridges came in handy. “Hey Jamie, remember when we were kids, we’d pretend that the hot spots of the pavement were filled with alligators and the shadows and lines were islands or docks, we had to jump between without getting –“ “Eaten!” we said in unison. So, after navigating the carpark alligators, I climbed into my truck. “Oh fuck!” I said louder than intended. You could almost hear the sizzle of my ass and back of my legs burning on the hot seats of the truck. Yes, I left the side windows down so the truck didn’t reach over temp, but forgot about the seats heating up. Idiot! Lucas laughed and shook his head at me, “Obviously if you’d listened to Josh some, instead of trying to jump on him, you would have learned about the remote start feature of your truck, Jamie, and the climate control kicking in to cool the cab before we get in.” “Smartass,” I said under my breath, lifting my legs up and down, “I’ve gotta grab a towel to sit on, I can’t sit on these seats. Fuck it!” After spreading a towel on the seat and refraining from punching Lucas who was taking great delight in laughing at me, we headed off towards Wet-n-Wild. “Hey Lucas, what do you think? An awesome way to spend the afternoon and sunset buddy?” In no time at all, we pulled up at the water park and repeated the carpark dance again. “Gotta find my Havaianas. Where the hell did we lose them, Lucas? You lost yours too, yeah?” “Fuck knows how we do this sometimes, Jamie.” We both laughed as we arrived at the ticket booth. The look on the cashier’s face was priceless. I shook my head. “Yeah, gotta give it to you Jamie. I was all for just staying in our room for the afternoon and emerging in the cool of night, but this is awesome, running back and forth from pool to slide and back again. When we grow up and have kids of our own, we’ll have to make sure there is a water park nearby.” “Ha-ha, and we’re in the same hemisphere too, would be a help,” I said, grinning at Lucas, while floating around in the pool inflatable, waiting for tonight’s movie to start up. “Wow - look at the skyline - it’s changed to a beautiful pallet of color, red, pink and orange,” I marvelled as the sun was slipping down below the horizon. “Hey, Jamie.” “Yeah,” I floated over to where Lucas was. “Do you want to have kids one day?” The look full of expectation on Lucas’ face was cute. “Yeah course I do, but it would be wrong for us to, you know, being closely related and all.” The look of confusion on Lucas’ face morphed into a smile. “I didn’t know what the hell you were talking about at first, plus you’d be the one pregnant - not me, Jamie.” I laughed,” Imagine the cash we could make, right! We’d be rich! But seriously, I want to start a family in the future before that idiot Mason does. Would be good, but I’m not going to rush it. I’ll admit that I’m not mature enough to parent at the moment, but find the right guy, and I’d be set.” “Guess I’ll have to find a nice girl to settle down with or-” “Or surrogate, you know.” Lucas was looking a little unsure of himself, “If your or my partner was unable to have children, you know. I‘m not trying to be a dick or anything, just, you know, say’n.” “Chill buddy, I get it. I don’t think they allow surrogacy in OZ, so I’d have to do it here or adopt. But I have thought about it, you’d be ok here in the States.” “You’d make a great dad one day, Jamie. Your kids would never be bored, that’s for sure.” Lucas laughed. “Can you imagine, if we both had kids that were close in age like us two. Oh my god, the trouble that they could get up too... like us all over again.” I slapped Lucas on the shoulder and smiled. His flotation chair spun around, so I had to wait a rotation to continue. “Yeah, that would be funny. My kids could visit their Aussie cousins and swap holidays between the US and Australia.” I grabbed Lucas’ floating chair it was driving me nuts turning around. “But they’d have to school here, you guys spell color and tire the weirdest way,” Lucas smirked. “Piss off. You Americans mangle the English language.” I replied with an indignant look on my face. “Right, and the Spence family down under is such a well-spoken lot too. You don’t realize how differently y’all speak to Gav and the rest. It’s like American, the vernacular with an Aussie accent, just plain weird.” Lucas teased, poking his tongue out. ..o0o.. It was like a tidal wave had just swept over the pool as a sea of kids surged in to get ready for the movies to start. “Too many kids now, Lucas. I think they must be shutting some of the rides and getting everyone here for the movies to start. Wanna go and get changed?” I didn’t even wait for the words to fully leave his lips. “Lets. Leg it.” Seems my Australian-eez had rubbed off on Lucas more than he thought. We made a beeline for our locker and the changerooms, only to be greeted by a horde of children and parents trying to organise them. It was like an annual cat roundup - kids going everywhere. I couldn’t help but laugh. “Hey Lucas, let’s just grab our stuff and wrap towels around us and get cleaned up back that the apartment?” And with that, we made our way out the gate, back to the truck. This time I used the remote start on the truck and opened the windows, so we didn’t almost vaporize when we first opened the truck up. It hadn’t taken much to let the heat escape the cabin, plus running the climate control on flat out with the windows down for a few moments to air it out had us on our way quickly. “See, I was listening to Josh, smartass Lucas.” I still think I’ll have burn imprints on my legs for a few weeks from earlier though. “Lucas,” I yelled out as I walked into the bathroom of our apartment, turning to face him and smiled, “you’re in charge of the entertainment tonight, okay? Sports bar to start with, then I wanna see some entertainment.” I was stripping off my trunks and waiting for him to get his ass out of the shower. “Roger-wilco, boss!” Lucas faked a salute in my direction as he walked past, which made me laugh. Not every day you get a salute from a naked guy walking out of the shower - always the joker. Lucas managed the night like a pro - google is a wonderful search tool. We started off at a local gay-friendly sports bar, then a short cab ride to another club. A few more beers and were out the door heading somewhere else - it was becoming a blur. “Oh hey, Lucas I’ve managed to pick up an extra. This is Steve, from Texas … Galveston, Texas,” he told me several times as I tried to remember the words to that song, poorly. I’ve made it clear that I wasn’t in the market to hook up. I just wanted a good night out - so does Steve, apparently. I swept my arm down in front of Steve, rolling my hand as well. “Plus, he’s a good guy, Lucas: he laughed at my shit impersonation of that Glen Campbell song too.” Lucas just shook his head and directed us to the waiting cab. Our last stop was a club that had a drag show. By this time, the hours of driving, drinking and not eating a lot were taking their toll on me. “Lucas, my ability to make a good choice is fading.” I was starting to feel a little unsteady on my feet. Oh god, no more mistakes Jamie, for fuck sake. “Come on Jamie, we’ve only just got here.” Lucas whined. “Nah, we’ve been here for three drinks, and my face feels all funny, numb-funny.” I was counting drinks because telling time via my watch was way-way too complicated by now. “It matches the look of it, just relax and slow down a bit, let me get you some crisps - that will help.” Lucas was quietly yelling in my ear over the music, which was pretty good, I must say. “Come on, let’s go get some food in you and then dance. That will fire you up, my little dance bunny.” We weaved our way to the bar. Aaron, the bartender, was cute as he smiled at me for the millionth time tonight. Lucas asked for some crisps or crackers for me. Aaron nodded and came back with a small packet of Ruffles, which I inhaled, almost. “Come on, let’s dance. You should be good now, super-Aussie” Lucas yelled into my ear as he pulled me away from the bar and Aaron. “Oh wait!” I pulled away from Lucas, and went back to the bar, motioning for Aaron to come over. What a smile - wow, that guy must pick-up all the time, jeez. “Aaron, give me your arm.” He looked back at me puzzled. “I promise I won’t do anything to hurt you. Trust me, I’m a fireman,” I implored, as I placed both of my hands over my chest and pulled the best innocent look I could muster. Aaron laughed. “Okay, but, really… are you a fireman?” “Promise I am,” I turned towards Lucas’ direction. “Lucas, what do I do as a job, honestly?” “You want me to be honest?” “Yes, please.” I rolled my eyes at him. “You’re a fireman, well, an officer really.” Lucas replied looking at Aaron, “I can show you a pic on my cell if you want.” Lucas waved his phone at Aaron. “Okay Fireman, don’t do anything dumb.” Aaron replied. When he stuck his arm out, I pulled my permanent marker from my back pocket and wrote Jamie with a smiley face and my cell number on his forearm. “So, you don’t forget me.” Lucas grabbed my hand and started to pull me away. I held my free hand up in the universal cell phone symbol, mouthing “Call me.” In seconds, we were in a mass of dancing bodies - guys, and girls, straight and gay all on the dance floor. We were having a good time when ‘Galveston Steve’ reappeared, all handsy and smiles it was like a dancing octopus was attacking me, feeling me up. Christ! “I’m going over here for a second,” Lucas yelled out to me, heading in the direction of some girls we’d said “hi,” to earlier. Great he’s leaving me with handsy Steve. The music was pretty good, a huge mix of genres, and Steve was starting to grow on me a bit. He was a nice guy, a little shorter than me - not by much though - sandy blonde hair, hazel eyes and a nice tan happening, plus I’d been able to get him to relax with the octo-hands. He did say he was into working outside mostly - I couldn’t remember what - I leaned in to ask him again what he did when ‘Despacito’ came on. I just went insane - love that song to dance to. And I don’t care what people say about Justin, he’s an idiot, but wow, voice, body and, okay, his cock looked pretty good in those paparazzi photos. To my absolute surprise, Steve could dance, I mean he can really_ dance. Within seconds and a few exchanged looks between us, we broke into some Latino dances with a bit of bump and grind. By the end of the extended mix they played, I was up for it. “Steve, let’s head back to my place or yours I don’t care.” We moved off the dance floor over to the side somewhere. Busted. Lucas had spotted me. “Jamie,” a voice called to me, which I ignored. Steve and I were tucked away in our little spot off the side of the dance floor, out of everyone’s way. The next moment I felt a pair of hands separating Steve and me. Yep, Lucas. “What the fuck, Lucas?” I was having fun, I complained. “I know, little miss slutty locks.” “I’m not a miss, and I’m not slutty!” I shot Lucas my best ‘leave me alone - I’m having fun’ look. “I might be-maybe a little happy and horny, but not slutty.” Lucas wasn’t having any of it. “Jamie, say goodnight to Steve.” “Oh, no fair,” I replied. But the boss had spoken and we were going, and Steve wasn’t coming with us, by the looks of it. “Wait, hold up a second,” I asked Lucas. With cheeky smile loaded, I slipped out my trusty black permanent marker for the second time tonight and quickly wrote on Steve’s arm. ‘It was fun-Jamie, smiley face,’ with Lucas’ cell number. I think it was - jeez, Lucas is going to be pissed as if he finds out. But then again, I’ve had a few, right. It could have been my license number, come to think of it. ..o0o.. The next day came too soon. We were showered and packed again, heading out the door before 10am. “Wow, this drive to El Paso was going to be a killer. Maybe I should do a ‘Lucas’ and sleep for most of the way.” My comments were ignored. Knowing that almost seven hours driving is too much for one person - yes you can physically do it, but your fatigue levels rise dramatically as does your reaction times slow accordingly. So we decided to split the drive up into two-hour shifts, which rolled on without much incident. A few gas stations to stop along the way, some junk food bought and watching the countryside flatten out and look a whole load dryer, but by the time we rolled into El Paso, the sun was setting with the long shadows being cast onto the roads around us. We pulled up outside our apartment. It was an older building with sweeping upper balconies that had been extensively renovated. To be honest, it would look out of place in New Orleans, or provincial New South Wales – AU “My god, Jamie, I need some Mexican food!” He looked like a lion about to go on the prowl. “A great place to have a few beers, some burritos and watch the sun set… might be a plan. What do you reckon, Lucas?” I replied, as I pointed to the upper veranda. Lucas nodded excitedly. “Fuck Jamie, that was a long drive - Phoenix to El Paso via Tucson, AZ. 6 ½ hrs.” “Yeah, the trip meter says 432 miles.” We need to check into our Airbnb - shower, food and a cold beer in that order.” Lucas lifted his arm and sniffed at this pit, then leaned over towards me. “Whoa – we’re both on the nose.” At that we both burst into laughter, saying in unison ‘Oh-my-god ‘ just the way Steph did when we were kids coming in all sweaty and smelly. Miss my family. It’s nice just being with Lucas, but I miss them a bit. “Jamie?” “Yeah, Lucas.” I answered as he came walking into the bathroom wearing a pair of my clean boxer briefs. “Food is here. They stopped and grabbed us some cold beer too, for a small tip. Oh, and I need to do some laundry. Thank god they’ve got an onsite laundry room.” Lucas looked down at his junk for a second. “Sorry - I stole a pair of your shorts - ran out.” I waved my hand at him dismissively. “All good. I ran out of socks the other day so have been raiding yours,” I smiled back. Lucas just looked to the ceiling and shook his head. “Come on, the food’s getting cold and beer warm, plus put some pants on, if I wanna see a cock…” Lucas looked down and pulled open his, well mine really, boxer briefs. “Hello there,” he said to his cock, and looked at me. “See, don’t need to look at yours, and mine is bigger.” “I laughed at him. I call bullshit. We measured them up when were…” “We were drunk at your asshole brother’s twenty-first birthday. Yeah-yeah - same size - I remember, but mine is prettier.” “What, prettier, look I like cock as much as the next bi-guy, but they’re not pretty, Lucas - nice to play with and well,” I started to blush for some reason, I wasn’t going to finish that sentence in the event… I’m not going to gross-out my cousin that much. “Oh, remember when we got Mason to join in the measure up?” “How the hell could I forge -, you calling my brother ‘mini-me’ all night. Guess it's could have been worse, if we'd stuck with little-man. I thought he was going to kill us both.” “Look, Jamie,” Lucas held his cell up. I recognized my brother’s number. The name - it was stored under… ‘Mini-me.’ We both burst out laughing at the stupidity of what did to Mason that night… well… and for weeks after. Settling back to watch the last of the sunlight slip below the horizon, we clinked our bottles together, took a long cold chug of beer, then dropped on our burritos like a pair of drop bears.
  25. 34 points
    What a great feeling! School’s out for the summer! This is the first morning I’ve been able to stay in bed late in weeks. However, the damn sun is coming through the window, and I just can’t go back to sleep. I should have taken my sister’s room when we moved in here six years ago. Her window is on the west side of the house. Mine is on the east. I always get the morning sun. I might as well get up anyways. My mom is making me work this summer. Not a real job, though. I do yard work for my neighbors. They’ve been relying on me for about three years. I’ve been doing this since I was twelve. Now I’m fifteen, and I’m still doing it. I don’t mind. It puts money in my pocket. My mother gives my sister and me an allowance, but it’s never enough. Mom laughs and tells us to get used it. We’ll never have enough money the rest of our lives. She says you work hard all your life and never have anything to show for it. She’s a good example. She’s a receptionist in a dentist’s office during the day. At night, she waits tables at a restaurant. It’s a pretty classy place, so she makes good money in tips. She makes my sister and I work too. My sister, Amy, is thirteen, and she baby sits for our neighbors. Since most of them are working families, she’s usually at someone’s house. I get jealous because most weeks she makes more money than me. My work depends on the season. I mow yards in the summer, rake leaves in the fall and shovel snow in the winter. I hardly make any money in the winter because we’ve gone the past two years with very little snow. I can’t wait until I turn sixteen next year, so I can get a real job. Mom already said I can. I’ve managed to save a little money for a car. I’m having a hard time convincing her to let me get one, though. Every time I ask her about it, her usual response is, “We’ll see.” My experience tells me that usually means, ‘No.’ “Mark! Get out of bed!” my mother yelled from the kitchen. I wouldn’t have been able to sleep late if I wanted. I jumped out of bed and ran to the bathroom. Nature called. “Mark!” she yelled a little louder. “I’m up, Mom!” I opened the door and shouted down the hall. I tried to piss, and realized I was up in more ways than one. It was a little difficult because all guys know you can’t piss with a morning woody. After standing at the toilet for a few seconds, I was finally able to get a decent flow going. “You’re going to go blind, you know!” my sister shouted as she banged on the door. “Stop playing with yourself and get out. I need in there.” I don’t know where she has learned about all this stuff. She’s only thirteen, but she’s already a slut. My mother would kill her if she ever saw her making out with a boy on the couch when she’s at work. I’ve walked in on her and a boyfriend several times. I don’t think she’s actually gone all the way yet, but I once saw her jacking off her boyfriend, Josh, last month. They didn’t know I was watching from the hallway. I was rapidly rubbing myself when she made him cum all over his stomach. I shot a load in my pants. I had to take a second shower for the day. I had made a mess all over myself. I would tell on her. She is my sister, and I feel an obligation to protect her, but I can’t. She would tell Mom on me. Last year she came bursting in my room late one night and caught me masturbating at my computer desk. It wasn’t the fact I was jacking off. All guys do that. It was what I was looking at on my computer. I had found a really neat website with young boys. There was this particular blonde that I had fallen in love with. I used to jack off and pretend he was in the room with me, and I am sucking his cock. I was really into it and was about to cum when Amy threw open my door and stormed in. She was mad because I had taken one of her cd’s without asking. Anyways, she walked in just as I was shooting all over my stomach. There was absolutely nothing I could do. She stood there and looked wide-eyed at me, and then she looked at the picture on the computer monitor. I was busted. “I’m going to tell Mom!” she screamed and headed out the bedroom door. Thankfully, my mother was at work and wouldn’t be home for several more hours. After cleaning myself off, I went to her bedroom door and knocked. I needed to talk to her. “Go away, fag!” she shouted. “I need to talk to you. Please?” I shouted back, still pounding on her door. After another minute, the door slowly opened. She walked back to her bed and sat down. I hesitantly sat beside her. What do you say to your sister when she just discovered you are gay? I was her big brother, and she had always looked up to me. “Amy, listen,” I begged. “You’re a queer,” she spat out angrily. I could see the hatred in her eyes. “Kids at school don’t like queers.” What did she know? She was twelve then. All she had ever heard was what other kids had said about gay people. “I’m your brother. Do you hate me?” She looked at me and studied me for a minute. Then I saw her eyes soften. “No, Mark. I could never hate you,” she told me. “Good. Cause you’re my sis. I wouldn’t want you to hate me.” I was glad she was beginning to accept me. It could have made my life hell if she didn’t. Besides, I had to convince her not to tell Mom. “Any one butt fucked you yet?” I started to choke. I hadn’t expected her to ask me that. “Why would you say that?” I asked astonished. “That’s what the boys say at school. Fags like to get it in the butt.” She sounded like she was an expert on gay sex. “No, Amy. I haven’t done anything with anyone. What you saw me doing is all I have ever done,” I bashfully admitted to her. “And the next time you come in my room, knock first,” I said harshly. “Next time, lock your door,” she retaliated with a laugh. “Besides, you got a small weinie. I didn’t see much.” She started laughing while I turned a beet red. We talked for the next half hour. She asked me a lot of stupid questions. Most of them I couldn’t answer because I had never been with a guy. I had read a few stories on the internet and had jacked off to some pictures, but that was all. I also found out that night that I have a very evil sister. She blackmailed me! She threatened to tell my mother that I am gay unless I gave her $5 a week. So, for the past two years, I’ve been paying her to stay quiet. I’m going to get even with her though. Now that I know she isn’t Mom’s perfect little angel, I’m going to videotape her the next time she gives her boyfriend a hand job. If I’m lucky, I may be able to catch her doing more. I’m not sure which would make my mother madder- me being gay or my sister being a slut. Talk about your dysfunctional family! I left the bathroom and went back into my bedroom to dress. I posed in front of my full-sized mirror. I saw a gangly kid, quickly changing from boyhood to manhood. I took off my underwear and looked at myself naked. I looked over to make sure that my door is locked. I didn’t want Amy barging in on me again. I’m not much to look at. I know I’m not one of the good-looking guys that all the girls giggle at when they walk by. No one will ever get lost in my pale blue eyes or swoon because of my sexy voice. I’ve gone through puberty, so I don’t have to worry about my voice cracking when I speak any more. I am ordinary. What do you call the male version of a Plain Jane? Plain John? That would be me. I am 5’8” tall and weigh about 135. I’m not graced with a tight six pack stomach. My hair is slightly curly and a mousy brown color. I wish I was one of those blonde surfer boys all the girls follow around. I have a light dusting of hair on my legs. I keep hoping I’ll develop some hair on my stomach that would travel down to my cock. I think that’s really sexy on a guy. I have the same curly, brown hair surrounding my cock. I wish I could say I was hung like a horse, but a pony would be more accurate. It serves my purpose; but if I ever meet a guy who wants to take me to bed, I hope he isn’t disappointed. I look in the mirror and wonder if I was another guy, would I be interested in me? Probably not. In high school looks is everything. Most kids usually don’t even know I’m around. Even teachers have trouble remembering my name. I’m not the smart kid that all teachers are glad to have in class. At the same time, I’m not the troublemaker they dread. I fall in that middle group- the forgotten group. I’ve seen teachers that I’ve had a few years ago, and they can’t even remember my name. You would think after I sat in their class for a year, they’d remember who I was. I guess you could say that I’m just your average fifteen-year old boy. You know the kind- the ones you pass by and don’t even notice when you walk through the mall on Saturday afternoon. Girls don’t giggle when they see me. Guys don’t give me a second glance; most of the time they don’t give me a first glance. I’m not complaining. I’m just stating a fact. I’m happy with myself. I learned a long time ago that I won’t fit into the ‘in’ crowd. It doesn’t bother me. Sometimes I watch the drama that the ‘beautiful’ people go through day after day, and I’m glad I was born an average person. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not some ugly Quasimodo. I learned about him in my literature class last year. I’m not some hunchback who sickens people with my hideous looks. “Mark! Breakfast is ready.” I heard my mother shout down the hallway, causing me to jump. I took one last look at myself before I put on my clothes- blue bikini underwear, shorts and a tee shirt. After putting on my shoes and socks, I ruffled my hair into place. No use spending hours looking good when no one will notice anyways. On the way out of my room I ran into my sister. “Watch out, fag!” she muttered as pushed me against the wall. “Whore!” I replied. I can’t wait until we grow up so we can quit playing these childish games. Maybe then she’ll call me by my name. “Good morning, Honey,” my mother sang cheerfully as she tried to kiss me on my cheek. I moved away just in time. I’m fifteen years old. I don’t need my mother kissing me like I’m some child. “Did you remember you have to clean out Mr. Olsteen’s garage this morning?” she asked me as she placed a bowl of cereal in front of me. “No, Mom. I didn’t forget. I’m not a moron. Give me some credit.” I replied angrily. She treats me like a child sometimes. I’m fifteen. I’ll be sixteen in a few months. She acts like I’m six. “Yeah. You better get out and make some money,” my sister said as she entered the kitchen. “You owe someone.” I looked over at her and then at my mother. “Who, Mark?” she asked. “No one. Amy’s just messing with me. Right Amy?” I looked over at my sister with pleading eyes. She held up ten fingers. She wanted $10 this week. I was screwed. I nodded my head. She gave me a snide smile. I couldn’t wait to get even with her. Once I got my proof, she was going to pay dearly. “Are you babysitting the Donovon’s child today?” mother asked Amy. “Yes, Mom. I have to be there in fifteen minutes. Can you drop me off on your way to work?” she asked. My sister can be so gross sometimes. She was intentionally eating with her mouth full and showing me its contents. I pushed some of my food out of my mouth and acted like I was going to spit it at her. “Mom! Mark’s being nasty!” she shouted. “Stop it Mark!” my mother hollered. She always takes my sister’s side. It wouldn’t do any good to say anything. She wouldn’t believe me anyways. Amy looked over at me and grinned. I stuck out my tongue and crossed my eyes. She started giggling. “Grow up, Mark,” my mother admonished me after noticing the face I made at Amy. I just sighed. Sometimes I wish I was an only child. My life would be so much simpler. “I heard his nephew is staying with him and Emily this summer. Have you met him yet?” mother asked. This was news to me. Mr. Olsteen didn’t mention it the last time I mowed his yard. If he had his nephew to help him, then why did he need me? “No, Mom. This is the first I’ve heard about it. I guess I’ll meet him this morning,” I told her. “Maybe he’ll let you suck his dick,” my sister whispered in my ear. I swear to God I’m going to kill her before she reaches eighteen. “Shut up, Amy,” I whispered back. She gave me a nasty smirk. “You’d better be careful, or I’m going to want five more dollars,” she warned me. “Someday I’m going to tell Mom myself. That way I won’t have to give you any more money,” I told her. “You don’t have the balls,” she smiled back. “Watch me,” I warned her. “Mom! Mark has something he wants to tell you.” She looked over at me and smiled. I started choking on my milk. “What is it, Honey?” she asked with interest. “Nothing, Mom,” I replied, trying to catch my breath. “Amy’s being a jerk again.” My face was beginning to turn red. “I told you. You don’t have the balls.” She had won this battle. She knew I couldn’t come out to my mother, and she was enjoying watching me squirm at the table. “I gotta go.” I grabbed my ball cap and headed out the door. “See you around noon.” “Have fun,” my sister said as she sucked on her middle finger. I noticed that my mother’s back was to us, so I gave her the finger and walked out of the kitchen. Mr. Olsteen’s home was on the next block. We live in an area of homes that was built in the 1960’s. Most are three-bedroom brick homes. The yards aren’t very large, so it doesn’t take me long to mow them. Some have carports, but most have one car garages. Mr. Olsteen had bought a new car, and he wanted to clean out his garage, so he could park it there. The garage door was open when I walked up the driveway. I entered and looked around. At first, I didn’t see anyone. Then I noticed a pair of tanned legs standing on a ladder in the corner. The person was looking into an attic area above the garage. I stood and looked at the image before me. He must be Mr. Olsteen’s nephew. From the back, he looked to be about my age. He was tall and muscular. He was wearing a pair of shorts that showed off his strong legs. He looked like he might be a runner. He had on a white wife beater, and his long blonde hair flowed down to cover his neck. He was standing tip-toed on the ladder trying to reach something. “Uncle Roger. Can you help me?” He sounded sexy. I loved the sound of his voice. “He’s not here. I’ll help,” I said as I approached the ladder. Without looking down, he reached into the attic, pulled out a small box and handed it to me. He then came down off the ladder and faced me. “Thanks. I’m Scott.” He extended his hand for me to shake. I stood before him staring into his dark brown eyes. He was Cute, with a capital C. He broke my stare when he waved his hand at me. I took it and shook it. His grip was firm. I gripped his tightly, so he wouldn’t think I was some kind of wimp. “And you are?” he asked with a grin. “Um, I’m, um, Mark.” I couldn’t even remember my own name. This boy had completely taken my breath away. I couldn’t ever remember acting this way around anyone before. He probably thought I was some kind of an idiot. With his looks, though, I’m sure he was used to girls reacting to him this way. I’m not so sure he had experienced it from another guy. “Good. I see you’ve met my nephew, Scott,” Mr. Olsteen said as he emerged from the kitchen door leading to the garage. “He’s spending the summer here.” “Yeah. I’ve met Um Mark.” He smiled at me and started laughing. I began to blush. Mr. Olsteen saved me when he walked over and picked up a box. “One of you boys climb that ladder and jump into the attic. The other stand on it and hand boxes up to the other as I bring them over. It shouldn’t take us long to get this place cleaned out,” he said. Scott climbed the ladder as I stood beneath watching him. I could see up his loose shorts. He was wearing white briefs. It was probably my wild imagination, but it looked like he had a nice cock and balls tucked away inside. I felt my own cock begin to harden. This is great. All I need to do is pop a boner while I’m standing on the lower rung of the ladder. It would be poking Mr. Olsteen right in the eyes! I quickly adjusted myself before anyone could notice. I looked up and saw Scott watching me. He gave me a broad smile. All I could do was look away and blush. We worked for the next hour cleaning out the garage. Anything worth saving was handed up to Scott to stow away in the attic. Trash was put alongside the garage. Mr. Olsteen was going to call and have someone haul it away. When we were done, there was enough room for him to park his new car. He stood back and beamed at the clean garage. “I think this deserves some ice cream. Go wash up boys, and I’ll take you to Ben and Jerry’s for a treat.” I followed Scott into the house and down the hallway to the bathroom. Once there, I stopped outside the door. “You go ahead. I’ll wait until you’re through,” I told him. “That’s alright. We can both wash up together. I go to school at an all-boys academy. I’m used to it.” He pushed me gently into the small bathroom. I felt uncomfortable being in such a tight space with someone as cute as Scott. He’d appeared to have been flirting with me all morning. This was something I wasn’t accustomed to. I didn’t know how I would react if he tried something. My heart was pounding out of my chest, and I was having trouble catching my breath. “You alright.” He could see how nervous I was. “Yeah. I’m okay,” I replied nervously. Just then, he walked over to the toilet, unzipped his pants and pulled out a very nice cock and began pissing. I looked down and couldn’t remove my eyes. I had seen a lot of dicks on the internet, but this was the first one I had seen up close since gym class two years ago. He looked over at me and smiled. He finished and shook it several times. It began to harden in his hand. He watched my reaction the entire time. “Like what you see?” he asked me while stroking his cock to a full erection. It was a nice six inches long and thick. I just stood there and watched him rub it. “Well do you?” he asked a little more forcefully. “Yes.” I nodded my head, still watching him slowing stroke his cock. “You want to suck it?” he asked lustily. I still didn’t answer. I couldn’t believe I was in the bathroom with a cute guy and he was asking me to suck his dick. “Do you?” he again asked forcefully, bringing me out of my trance. “Yes.” I looked into his face and gave him a sheepish smile. “Just what I thought. You’re a fucking fag!” he spat as he put his cock back into his pants and zipped them up. He gave me a scornful look and hurried out of the bathroom.
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