‘I wish I’d seen the signs,’ my sister once said. ‘I wish I’d seen them for what they were before he died, rather than recognise them once he was dead.’
Now, as I watched Alex stuff books into his rucksack, to the point of it bursting, something clicked in my mind. Some guy I didn’t know walked right into him, sending Alex crashing into his locker. The arsehole didn’t say sorry or even acknowledge Alex at all.
Alex closed his eyes for a few seconds, then he bent to heft that heavy rucksack on his back and lift the rest of his books. He clutched them to his chest. He closed his locker—but he put the padlock in his pocket.
The locker is empty.
He’s bringing all his books home with him.
Warning bells went off in my mind.
I hurried after him. Once he was outside and down the stairs, another guy walked into him.
Alex dropped his books.
The guy glared at Alex as if it had been his fault. ‘Oi, watch where you’re going!’
My gut boiled with the unfairness of it all, but my heart beat a mile a minute. The warning bells had left me in a panic.
Alex didn’t say anything, only bent down to pick up his books.
Now’s my shot.
I hurried over, bent to pick up the one closest to me, then grabbed another one before he could. He didn’t so much as look at me and I frowned briefly.
‘Here.’ I crouched down so I could hand the two books to him.
Now he looked up. His eyes were wet, a brilliant blue framed by black eyelashes. His eyelashes were as black as his hair. It was long enough on top to run my hands through, if I ever got the chance. I bet his hair was soft—it didn’t look as thick and coarse as mine.
‘Don’t feel bad.’ Though why shouldn’t he? Two different idiots had just walked into him. On purpose. ‘Arseholes like him aren’t worth it.’ Arseholes like them was what I should’ve said, considering. Alex couldn’t know I’d seen what had happened inside though.
He lowered his gaze to the books I still held out to him. As he took them, our fingers brushed. His skin was warm and soft, his fingers long and slender. He folded his arms over his load of books, clutching them tight.
Time to lighten the mood.
‘Looks like you’ve got a busy weekend ahead of you.’ I didn’t believe that for a second, but I couldn’t call him out on what I actually thought he planned on doing.
He almost lost his balance as he rose—not so surprising considering the weight he was carrying—but he managed to stay on his feet. I would’ve caught him if he hadn’t. Or tried to anyway.
I’d stood too, hadn’t wanted to sit in a crouch when there was no need for it.
He glanced up at me, eyes slightly narrowed, before he quickly bowed his head again.
‘Do you want to walk with me?’ I nodded towards the road. It was the only one leading out of the school area, so there was no doubt he had to head that way. ‘Or are you taking the bus?’ That would make this more difficult. I was playing it by ear. I had no idea what I was actually doing.
‘No, I—I’m walking.’ He nodded.
‘So… is that a yes?’ I headed towards the pavement. For a moment I was sure he wouldn’t follow—but he did. ‘I’m Andreas.’ Best to get the introduction out of the way. ‘Andreas Lister.’
‘Alex Eknes,’ he muttered. I knew his first name, but I hadn’t know his last.
Though not half as gorgeous as he was.
I studied him as we headed down the road. ‘What year are you in? What class?’ As if I didn’t know all this. It was the best way to get a conversation going, though.
‘Third year. I’m in Glenn’s class.’ He grimaced slightly. I couldn’t blame him. Glenn might be my best friend, but he could be a bit of a git.
‘You know Glenn?’ As if Glenn wants to be associated with him. It wasn’t a nice thought, but it was true.
Glenn did not like Alex, though I didn’t think he had a reason for it. Likely because of Alex’s—well, problems.
‘No, not really.’ He shrugged, and glanced at me briefly. ‘I know you’re friends, though. I’ve seen you together.’
I bet you have.
That was how I’d seen him too. Ever since last school year, from right before the summer holiday, I’d taken proper notice of Alex. Of how he didn’t have any friends, how he was either ignored or bullied by other people, how sad and dejected he always seemed.
And how good-looking he was.
‘So, where do you live?’ Better steer the conversation away from Glenn. It was definitely not a good topic of conversation in his current state of mind. I wanted to cheer him up, not remind him of the idiots that made his life harder than it had to be.
He mumbled an address.
‘That’s not too far from my place.’ Only about a ten-minute walk, to be exact.
It was only about a ten-minute walk from the school to home, too.
The closer we got, the more he slowed down.
I didn’t have to be a genius to figure out he dreaded going home.
‘Hey, want to come by my place for a bit?’ It hadn’t been a plan, exactly, but letting him go home laden with all those books… He might not be back come Monday. ‘We could play video games or just hang out. Whatever.’
He seemed surprised by my question.
No one’s likely ever asked him home before.
I’d certainly never seen him chat to anyone.
‘Uh, yeah. Sure.’
My steps felt lighter once he agreed, like a big weight was lifted off my shoulders. I reckoned that weight was nothing to the one he carried, though. Like the one Dad had carried. It had to be pretty heavy to lead to the outcome it had, and to lead Alex there as well.
I hadn’t saved Dad, I hadn’t so much as noticed any signs—back then or in hindsight—but Alex I could save.
He followed me, slow and hesitant, once we got into the house. It was a big house, three stories tall—or two and a half, considering the lowest was the basement.
‘My bedroom’s in the basement.’ So was my cousins, but no one seemed to be home, so I brought Alex straight down without needing to do introductions.
‘Let’s put those away.’ I took the books from his hands while he was busy looking around my room. I put them on my desk, perched them close to the edge, before I headed back to relieve him of his heavy rucksack as well. ‘What do you have in here? Bricks?’ I moved my arm up and down a couple times, feeling the weight.
Who knew our school books weighed this much? I’d never brought all of them home with me. If I was lucky, I managed to bring every one we had homework in—but to be honest, I forgot them more often than not.
‘Just my schoolbooks.’ His lips didn’t even twitch.
Not funny then.
But if the situation was like I suspected, it most certainly wasn’t.
Time for another strategy.
‘What do you want to play?’ I looked down at my collection of video games. It’d been a while since I’d played any of them now. I’d got out of the habit.
‘You can play whatever you want. I’ll just watch.’
‘What?’ I turned around to get a proper look at him—and he’d shuffled closer to me, so now we were standing close. ‘I’m not going to leave you to watch me play video games.’ No way. ‘Come on, let’s go find something to eat. I’m starving.’ It was a regular thing for me, to have a snack once I came home from school. Even though I ate at lunch, there was a considerable time between then and dinner.
He didn’t say anything, but he followed me out of my room and upstairs.
I was lost for words now too.
What more could I say? What could I try to brighten the mood with? Or his mood, anyway. He was the one who needed cheering up, considering he was planning—allegedly—something that was not cheery at all.
‘Pizza okay?’ We only had a pepperoni pizza in the freezer. We might’ve had others in the bigger freezer in the wash-room, but I couldn’t be arsed to go look. I liked the pepperoni one, anyway.
I couldn’t tell if he just went along with me or if he was actually hungry. I did turn the oven on, took the pizza out of the cardboard and plastic, and put it on a baking sheet.
‘Well, hello. Where’d you come from?’
I turned quickly to find my cousin, Ben, looking at Alex in interest.
Alex, if anything, seemed startled.
I did not like the look on Ben’s face. ‘Bugger off, Ben.’ The idiot. Alex was mine. He better keep his hands off. His eyes too.
Ben rolled said eyes. ‘You should’ve said he was your boyfriend. I wouldn’t have hit on him if I knew he was.’ With that delivered, he turned and left the kitchen as silently as he’d entered it.
‘I’m sorry about him.’ I wasn’t sure, but it felt like my cheeks had heated up.
Why’d Ben have to go around using the B-word? It wasn’t like Alex was my boyfriend, and even if he was… I’d never had one before.
Not a girlfriend either, but that wasn’t in the cards here.
‘Your brother?’ Alex wrapped his arms around his waist.
‘Cousin. We live with my uncle.’ Should I get into it? I’d said A, though, so better say B as well. ‘He’s lived with Thomas for practically his whole life, while my sisters and I have for the last few years.’
His brows drew together in a frown, but he didn’t say anything else. He didn’t say anything for a long time.
Neither did I.
It was hard coming up with subjects, especially ones that wouldn’t follow along the path of our last one.
Once the pizza was done, cut up and put on a plate, I led him back down to my bedroom.
I put the plates on the table, sat down on one side of the sofa, and grabbed the remote. We better have some background noise, lest this be too awkward. I didn’t want him to be uncomfortable. Having the telly on would be better. Wouldn’t it?
I put two slices on each plate. ‘A bunch of us are going out tonight. Would you like to come with?’ If he did, it meant I would see him later too. Better chance of him not doing anything stupid. If I kept him close, he wouldn’t go do what I was pretty sure he’d been planning on doing.
‘Who’s a bunch of us?’ I could tell he dreaded the answer. Bloody Glenn.
‘Just the lads, a couple of girls. It’s great fun. Always is.’ Maybe not for him, not with Glenn around, but I’d do my very best to make it an enjoyable night for him. Well… an enjoyable party. If he was interested in more, I would definitely make sure he had a good night as well. And a good morning, and a good day—I shut that thought process off before it went to my dick. ‘I’d like it if you came.’
He gazed at me for a moment, then muttered, ‘Okay.’
Me: Need 2 talk 2 u.
I held my phone in my palm, staring at the screen once I’d sent the message. It didn’t take it long to light up again with an answering text.
Kristina: I’m having a latte while I wait for Jo to finish work. Come down here?
Downtown it was then.
I should get ready to go to the before-party at Glenn’s house. I’d invited Alex to join me there too, but he’d declined. I understood. So if he wasn’t coming there, it wasn’t that important for me to be there either. Especially not now, as I felt a chat with my older sister was more in order.
It took me around fifteen minutes to walk downtown.
Jo, our cousin, worked at a brasserie-slash-restaurant-slash-bar. As far as I’d known, he was mostly a bartender, but perhaps he did some serving too, considering he was quitting too early for the bar rush to start.
Kristina sat at a table next to the window. She had, as she’d said, a latte in front of her. She stirred it lazily as she stared out at the harbour.
We had the same dirty-blond hair, except hers was long and currently curly. She’d done that with a curling iron; all three of us siblings had been given straight hair from both Mum and Dad’s side of the family.
‘Hey.’ The chair screeched a bit on the floor as I pulled it out.
‘Hi.’ She watched me as I sat down, head titling to the side a bit. ‘It sounds serious. Your text.’
‘Well, yeah.’ It was. It was very serious. ‘I need your—’ I searched for the words that wouldn’t come. ‘Advice, I suppose.’
Her finely plucked eyebrows rose. ‘Advice? On what?’
Yes, what indeed.
I’d never asked Kristina for advice before. I didn’t need her advice when it came to anything in my life; football or girls.
Now, though, I did need to pick her brain. I hoped it wouldn’t open the wounds fresh again. After all, she was the one who’d found Dad.
‘You once said you wished you’d seen the signs beforehand. With Dad, I mean.’ I bent forwards, arms resting on the table. ‘That you only recognised them for what they were after he was dead.’
She blinked, clearly surprised at the subject, then looked down. ‘They were there. Now, thinking back, there was a lot of them. I just didn’t see them… or if I did, I didn’t interpret them for what they were.’ She lifted her head again, eyes a bit glassy as she focused on me. ‘Why do you want to talk about Dad?’
‘I don’t.’ Not at all. Dad was dead and buried, the aftereffects dealt with a long time ago. ‘It’s just that—’ I wasn’t good at talking about my feelings or getting in deep like this. Kristina and I didn’t have the kind of relationship where we shared intimate details. ‘There’s this guy.’
Her eyebrows rose again.
‘He’s got no friends. Glenn’s an arse to him. They’re in the same class, and Glenn says he cuts himself.’ I made cutting motions with my index finger over my forearm. Kristina stared at it. ‘He always looks sad. And today… today he emptied out his locker. Brought all his books with him and the padlock too. He left his locker empty and open.’
‘Well, that doesn’t sound good.’ Kristina’s gaze flickered across the table in thought. ‘You let him leave? Just like that?’
‘Of course I didn’t.’ Now I sat back and crossed my arms over my chest. ‘I went over to talk to him. When some inconsiderate arsehole walked into him so he lost all his books, I went over to help. We walked home together. I brought him home with me.’
Kristina nodded. She twisted her hands together. ‘And where’s he now?’
‘He went home. He said he’d come out with us tonight. Well, with me. I’m the only one who’s ever spoken to him—probably the only one who’s ever asked him out.’ I was nervous now; my palms were sweaty. ‘You think it was wrong to let him go home? It’s hours yet until we head to the club.’
She shrugged. ‘Don’t know, do I? Still, I think it was good, what you did. Even if it ends badly for him, you tried your best.’
I swear my heart skipped a beat at that. Pretty sure I turned paler too.
Her eyes narrowed. ‘You like this guy?’
‘I do, yeah.’ I nodded to emphasise it. ‘He seems—nice. I can’t imagine why everyone else either ignores him or bullies him.’
Now her brows drew together in a frown. ‘Have you? Bullied him?’
‘No.’ How could she even think that? I’d never been that guy. I never would be that guy. ‘Glenn has, though. Never around me, but I’ve spotted it from afar a couple of times.’ I should’ve spoken to him, got him to leave Alex alone.
I rubbed my hands together, rested them on the table again, and gripped the opposite wrists.
‘Glenn can be a bit of an arse.’
‘You noticed, huh?’ I smiled tightly. Still, he was my best friend, and he didn’t have an easy life growing up with a psycho brother.
‘But back to this guy.’ She made a spinning motion with her hand, as if to signal going back in time. ‘When you say you like him—do you mean you like him?’
Now that question was loud and clear. ‘Yeah.’ I wasn’t ashamed of it, or of who I was. I’d just never had a reason to tell anyone before now.
‘So you’re gay?’ She seemed more curious than anything. Then again, she was dating our own cousin, so it wasn’t like she was in a position to judge anyone else.
‘Hardly.’ I snorted, thinking back to all—well, not that many, but enough—encounters with girls. I remembered each and every one clearly, as well as the girls’ names. I wasn’t one of those guys who fucked for pleasure’s sake and didn’t bother with anything once it was over. ‘Bi.’
‘Too bad.’ Kristina grinned teasingly now. ‘My bi brother doesn’t have the same ring to it as my gay brother.’
It was my turn to do some eyebrow-raising. ‘Is that how you’re going to refer to me from now on?’
‘Maybe.’ She shrugged.
‘Anyway, I got to go. Need to get to the before-party.’ The chair scraped against the floor as I pushed away from the table.
She gazed up at me. ‘I’m proud of you. For what you did for this guy. I hope it works out, for him, and for you: for both of you.’
‘Yeah.’ My chest rose and fell as I drew in a deep breath. ‘I just hope he shows up. That he hasn’t done anything—’ I was going to say stupid, but the word caught in my throat.
Was it really stupid? If he didn’t have anything to live for… It was brave, if he did do it, but I hoped he didn’t.
What wasn’t brave was doing it when you had kids depending on you—that should be something to live for. Or doing the deed somewhere your kids were bound to walk in and find you.
I couldn’t even imagine what it must’ve been like for Kristina. It was bad enough for me; I’d been taken out of class and told about it. She’d actually seen him hanging from the end of that rope.
I had a chance there. I’d give him something to live for. If he was open to it.
I hope he is.
My knee kept jerking nervously. I continuously glanced towards the door—the only one leading into the club—but there was still no sign of him. The club was packed. He could be here somewhere, but I’d made sure we’d occupied space close to the door so I couldn’t avoid spotting him.
‘Hey, Andreas.’ A hand dragged over my shoulders and neck.
‘Hi, Susanne.’ I’d been with her a few weeks ago. We’d both been in understanding that it had been a one-time thing. I hoped she hadn’t changed her mind about that.
She dropped down on the sofa next to me and smiled at both Glenn and Peter. Glenn sat between us, and his gaze now landed on Susanne too.
‘Bit crowded here, isn’t it?’ She flicked her head so she got her long hair out of her face. She was beautiful, she’d been good in bed, but she wasn’t someone I wanted to take anything further with. No girl had ever been that.
Alex on the other hand…
My gaze travelled to the door again. People were trickling into the club in groups, but still no Alex.
If he didn’t… What would I do then? Could I go to his house? Go there and hope he’d just opted out of the club, instead of opting out of life?
‘You waiting for someone?’ Susanne looked towards the door too.
‘Yeah.’ I muttered it, low enough for Glenn to miss it, since she was sitting a bit closer to me than he was.
‘Me too.’ She sipped from her glass. The liquid was see-through, so she could be having a drink, or simply water.
A group of girls entered now, and Susanne’s hand shot into the air to wave at them. They waved back, motioning for her to come join them.
‘Nice to see you again.’ She gave a nod to me, then rose and disappeared.
When I turned, Glenn was staring at me. ‘I thought she was a one-off.’
‘Really?’ He didn’t believe me. ‘Why’d she come over then?’
‘Because I’m actually nice to the girls I’ve been with.’ Glenn was the kind of guy I didn’t want to be. Even if it was only a one-time shag, I didn’t want to be rude. I wanted to be able to meet up again without it being awkward. I wanted to know their names.
Glenn though, he didn’t care about them, only about himself.
He rolled his eyes, then froze. His gaze locked on someone, taking them in.
He’s set his eyes on another girl.
He elbowed my side. ‘The fuck he doing here?’
I turned. It wasn’t a girl—already obvious from Glenn’s use of a male pronoun. It was Alex.
I smiled, my body feeling lighter at once with relief.
Now it was my hand shooting up, waving him over like Susanne’s girlfriends had motioned to her.
Alex, who’d stopped halfway to us, now moved forward again.
‘Lads, this is Alex.’ I scooted in closer to Glenn to give him space to sit next to me. He sat slowly, not looking at anyone. ‘Alex, you already know Glenn.’ I motioned vaguely to him. ‘And this is Peter.’
Alex looked up, gave them both tiny nods of acknowledgement, then bowed his head.
Glenn leant into me. ‘What the fuck’s he doing here?’ He said it close to my ear, but I saw Alex tense a bit at my side.
‘I invited him.’ I didn’t want Glenn to make Alex feel worse than he already did. Better to let him be and turn my focus on Alex instead. ‘I’m glad you came,’ I leant over to shout in his ear. ‘Do you want something to drink? I’ll buy you a beer, if you want?’
He nodded. I quickly headed to the bar, wanting to use as little time as possible so Glenn didn’t get much of a chance to harass him.
The bartenders worked in a frenzy, and once I managed to catch the attention of one, I ordered two beers. He made them up, I paid, and then headed back.
Sarah had arrived while I’d been stuck at the bar. She perched on Peter’s lap, one arm around his shoulder. He had a hand around her trim waist.
I handed off one beer to Alex, who muttered a thank you.
‘Any time.’ I grinned at him, wedging myself between him and Glenn again. I even turned my back on Glenn, which I knew would infuriate him, but I didn’t want him to talk bad about Alex when Alex was right there. I leant in close to him. ‘That’s Sarah.’ I motioned to her. ‘She’s his girlfriend.’ Which didn’t really need explaining, considering their position, but best to get it out there.
Alex didn’t say anything, just sipped his beer.
I was lost for words too. What was I supposed to say to him now? Especially in front of my friends? They had no idea what I’d stopped.
Or what I thought I’d stopped, anyway. He was here now, safe for the night.
His Adam’s apple kept on bobbing as he swallowed. The glass was emptying quickly.
I jumped up to get him another one.
His eyes got a bit wide when I came back with it. ‘Thank you.’
I bit my lip. Why was I so nervous now? I could small-talk. Right?
Except Glenn kept talking to me, drawing my attention away Alex.
He’s doing it on purpose.
I didn’t pay attention to what he was saying, or the conversation with Peter and Sarah. My mind was filled with Alex, who silently drank his beer at my side.
‘I’m going to the toilet.’ He put his empty glass down and rose.
I looked after him.
I was making him even more miserable, wasn’t I?
‘Can I have a chat with you?’ Glenn was on his feet and he pulled on my arm.
‘What?’ He pulled some more. ‘Yeah, yeah. Calm down.’ I stood and shook his hand off me.
‘Outside.’ He motioned to the door. ‘I don’t want to have to shout at you.’
I glanced towards the toilets, but I couldn’t actually see them. I couldn’t see Alex. ‘Yeah, okay. But we better be quick.’ What if he came back and I wasn’t there? What if he left and I didn’t get to stop him?
I followed Glenn outside and to the edge of the building. He went around, so no one could see us if they came out the door.
If Alex came out he wouldn’t see me. He’d go home. And I’d asked him out, but not chatted with him, and—
‘What are you thinking?’
‘What do you mean?’ I wasn’t going to make it easy for him. If he had something to say, he better say it.
‘You know what I mean.’
I crossed my arms over my chest. ‘I really don’t.’
His eyes narrowed. ‘You have no idea what you’re doing.’
If only he knew. ‘Drop it.’ I wasn’t going to tell him my suspicions. Even if it would mellow him out, it wasn’t my demons to share.
Besides, I didn’t think it would make him nicer towards Alex.
He stepped back, fists clenching. I didn’t think he’d hit me, but he did seem like he wanted to hit something. Or someone. He was about to explode.
I stood there, leaning against the wall, waiting for it. Sometimes that was all I could do.
‘What the fuck, Andreas?’ There it came, the yelling. ‘Why’d you go and invite him? Do you know anything about him?’
‘Stop being such an arse.’ I had to be calm, or this would escalate. I couldn’t let it. ‘I know he’s a nice guy. He’s sad and alone and he just needs a friend. I happen to like his company.’ There. I hoped that was enough.
‘When have you even been in his company?’ Apparently not. ‘He’s just been here less than an hour.’
‘I spent hours after school with him, if you have to know.’ I needed him to calm the fuck down so I could leave him and go find Alex. He didn’t seem like he was calming down anytime soon though.
‘You have no fucking clue what you’re getting yourself into. You know he cuts himself, right?’ Glenn made a slashing motion over his wrist. ‘I’ve seen him. Big, ugly scars all over his arms and chest and legs. It’s disgusting.’
No, it wasn’t. It was a sign that something was seriously wrong. That he needed help.
And yet Glenn was too much of an arsehole to see it. Instead he made Alex’s life miserable.
‘I don’t care about that, Glenn.’ I really didn’t, and I was annoyed he could even think I would. ‘I want to get to know him, and you can’t stop me.’
He snorted, disbelieving. ‘Then do whatever the fuck you want. Go home and shag him, for all I care. I hear he likes getting fucked up the arse.’ He strode right around the corner again, leaving me to stare at a dark alley.
I followed quickly, wanted to end the argument on my terms, but instead I came face to face with Alex.
He glanced up at my voice. His eyes were glassy.
Tears. He heard it. All of it. Or most of it.
Whatever he had heard, it was bad. It had hurt him. The last thing I wanted was for him to be hurt again.
‘Did you hear that?’ Better get the subject up and going right away.
He only nodded.
‘Let’s get out of here.’ I grabbed his arms, which he’d wrapped around himself, and pulled them away from his body. They fell to his sides. I took one hand in mine and dragged him off, away from the club. ‘He had no right to say that about you.’ I met his startled glance. It was likely startled because of my actions, not my words.
‘It was the truth.’ It came out in a whisper.
‘Doesn’t matter.’ It didn’t. Not one bit. ‘He still shouldn’t have said what he did.’ I squeezed his hand now, then readjusted my grip so I could tangle our fingers together. His skin was soft and warm. ‘He was being an arse. He can be quite an arsehole sometimes, but I swear he can be nice, too.’ Not very often, but sometimes miracles happened.
‘I have to take your word on that, because I’ve never seen evidence of it.’
I bet you haven’t.
‘I’m sorry.’ I’d asked him out so he could have some fun, and instead it had turned into a real shitty time. Not even turned into, to be honest, it had been from the start. ‘I asked you out because I thought it would be fun. Ended up being the opposite, didn’t it? It was a disaster.’
His head was bowed, so I couldn’t see his expression. ‘I wouldn’t say disaster. But it wasn’t fun either—no.’ He stared at our tangled fingers, that much I could make out from the way his head was tilted.
‘Glenn was right about the last thing he said, too, right?’ Maybe I shouldn’t pry into that, it was private, but I wanted to get all the cards on the table.
‘About you? Being gay?’
‘Oh.’ He let out a breath. ‘Yeah.’
I dropped his hand and instead draped my arm over his shoulders. I drew him in closer to me. ‘Good.’ I’d never pulled a guy before, not even got close, but this… this felt right.
‘A-Are you?’ The question came out in a higher pitch than his voice usually was.
‘Gay for you.’ I grinned at him, teasing. ‘Nah, not gay, no. I’m bi. I like girls. But I like you, too.’ I’d found other guys attractive too, but they’d either been my teammates or someone else at school I didn’t even know the name of. I’d never been as close to a guy—in an intimate kind of way like I felt this was—before.
He stared up at me. ‘You realise that everything Glenn said is true? About the cuts and the scars. And how disgusting it all looks.’
I met his gaze, unblinking, as I wanted to show him I was being sincere. ‘And I meant what I said. That I don’t care about any of that.’ I rubbed his neck. Soft hairs tickled my fingertips, and some loose curls fell over the back of my hand. His hair was so soft.
His gaze was still on me. His lips were parted slightly. I wanted to kiss them, to feel the pressure of them against my own. I bet he’d feel so good.
I better wait till I had him back in my room though. Starting something here, in the middle of town, was not wise. I wanted him—and if I took a first taste I wasn’t sure I could stop myself from tasting the rest of him.
He didn’t deserve a wank out in the open where anyone could come upon us.
He deserved a bed and all the pleasure I could give him. All he wanted to take.
I’d let him have all of me, if that’s what he wanted. I wanted to make him feel good, to forget about whatever he had planned. I wanted him to stay alive, and not just because I didn’t want anyone to die—but because I fancied him. Had for a while.
Now I had my chance. I’d talked to him, had him at my house, had him here with me now, pressed up against me… but I wanted so much more.
If he wanted to… we’d have so much more.
His lips were soft.
The minute I had him in my room I pushed him up against the door and kissed him. Maybe I shouldn’t have been so forward, considering what I suspected about him. I also wasn’t one for talking about my feelings.
But I wanted him.
And he wanted me too.
He lifted his arms so I could get his shirt off. His skin was pale, the little I could see of it anyway, considering I hadn’t stopped kissing him yet.
His skin was warm too, and I dragged my hands over his stomach, up his chest, tweaked his nipples with my fingers. There were some bumps on his skin—presumably scars, but I was too busy kissing him to check. It wasn’t like I was going to make a big deal out of them, anyway.
He wasn’t moving, though he was pliant in my arms.
Is this something he actually want?
Maybe he needed something else. But what? All I could think about that would definitely cheer him up was sex. Sex was good. Sex was amazing. Sex was fun.
His hands slipped under my jumper, his palms pressing against my skin.
Now we’re talking.
His hands ran up my side and around to my chest, where he felt over my sparse chest-hair and my nipples.
I groaned when he rolled my nipples between his fingers. So good. He felt good, what he was doing felt good. This was all good.
He unbuttoned my jeans next, pushing them down my thighs. He cupped my already hard cock through the fabric of my boxer briefs, then swiftly pulled the boxers down too. My cock slapped against my stomach.
Oh yeah. Here we go.
His hand wrapped around me, stroking oh-so-slowly.
I’d definitely done the right thing. He was here with me, alive and well and warm and willing.
My eyes opened when he broke the kiss.
We stared at each other for a few seconds before he fell to his knees.
My breath caught in my throat as his mouth was on level with the head of my dick.
Oh fuck, he’s going to—
I braced my arms against the door, unable to look away from him.
He glanced up briefly, as if asking permission—which he definitely did not need. I did, however, let one hand fall to tangle in his hair. Not to push him, but to simply leave it there, loving the feel of his soft hair against my palm, sliding through my fingers.
His mouth on me was hot. He sucked my foreskin, then pulled it down so he could suck the head into his mouth. His tongue ran around the sensitive underside and it nearly undid me.
His hand stroked what he couldn’t suck. No one could ever take all of me in—not to be bragging about it, but I was a bit bigger than most other blokes I ever saw in the showers.
Alex did this so much better than any girl I’d been with, though. Maybe because he had one himself, and knew exactly what would give the most pleasure.
His eyes had closed. He sucked with a fervour that told me loud and clear he was enjoying himself. Not as much as me, I reckoned, but he seemed to be enjoying himself quite a lot.
Fuck, he’s good.
If he kept it up I’d come before we even got to the bed.
As if he’d read my mind, he pulled back.
I couldn’t get my eyes to open—when had they closed?—because I could still feel him on me, the hot mouth I’d been enveloped in, the saliva I’d been coated in.
‘Lube.’ That was him. ‘I hope you’ve got lube.’
Now that brought my attention. My eyes snapped open. ‘Yeah. Of course.’ This was so much better than I’d hoped. I’d been looking forward to blowjobs, but never imagined we’d get to the actual shagging this quickly.
The lube was in my nightstand drawer. When I’d located it and turned back, he was naked and sitting on the bed. He had his legs tucked under him, gaze on me.
My gaze, on the other hand, fell. He was pale, yes, and I could see scars. Some on his front, but almost all of them were on his arms. It looked horrible… but maybe that was how he’ survived? I wasn’t going to dwell on those scars. Not now. Now was about making him feel good.
His cock was hard. It stood ready, pointing upwards from a small nest of black hair.
‘Want the same treatment from me first?’ I’d never sucked cock before, and though it looked a bit daunting, the thought excited me. Sucking dick was part of having a male lover, exactly like eating pussy was part of being with a female one.
He shook his head, however. ‘No, just—Let’s just get to it.’
I wasn’t sure he said that because he wanted to get to the fucking, or because he thought I wanted to get to the fucking. This was his night, though, his show. I’d do whatever he said.
Once I’d got out of all my clothes, I walked up behind him. With a gentle push from me, he sunk onto the bed on his stomach.
His backside was magnificent. No scars there, just pale skin. I stroked from his neck, down his back, over his arse. I’d get to fuck that arse. I’d never done it before, not even with girls. None of those I’d been with had ever hinted at wanting to go anal. Here there was no other hole to use.
I felt giddy like a virgin, like it was my first time having sex with anyone.
I cupped my palms over his arsecheeks and parted them. A pink, puckered hole met me. It looked inviting. He moaned loudly when I leant down and ran the tip of my tongue over it.
Rimming. I’d seen it in porn, seen how the person getting rimmed loved the feel of it. Alex sure seemed to, judging by his moans. Just hearing how much he enjoyed it made me feel good about it. It was definitely worth it.
He buried his face in my pillow. Presumably to dull the sounds he was making. I heard them—and I loved them. I loved knowing that I was giving him so much pleasure just from the simple act of licking him down there.
The lube was in reach and I flicked the top open to squirt some over my fingers. His body jerked a bit once my slick finger ran over him and he gripped the pillow tighter.
He was so tight. The hole almost didn’t want to let my finger in, but once it did it sucked me in to the knuckle.
I hadn’t thought it would be so different from a vagina, but it sure was. Good difference.
He was relaxed, lying there all pliant with his head still buried in the pillow.
Time to move on.
I squirted some more lube onto my hand, coated myself up, and lined up.
He was tight. So fucking tight. A muffled gasp was all I heard from him, but it didn’t sound like it was a pained one. Good. Because I didn’t want to stop. This was new, this was amazing—he was amazing. Why’d I even waited so long to talk to him? Why hadn’t I done it before it was almost too late?
‘Are you okay?’ I was all in now, and bent down to ask my question close to his ear. ‘I know I’m big and that it’s hard to take.’ Not that I had an ego, but I heard it every time. A blessing and a curse.
‘I’m fine.’ His voice shook the tiniest bit. It was also muffled by the pillow. ‘You can move.’
I nuzzled his curls, enjoying the soft feel of them against my face.
He couldn’t keep back his moans once I got started for real. It certainly boosted my enjoyment to know I made him feel good. That was all I wanted, for him not to feel like shit anymore. I wasn’t sure it would last beyond this encounter, but I’d sure do my very best to try make it so.
It didn’t take him long to come. It didn’t take me long either. I kept thrusting through it, my eyes closing as the pleasure rode me. When I was all done and pulled out of him, he collapsed onto the bed.
I left the bed to turn off the lights, then fell down next to him.
When he started moving, I turned my head on the pillow. I frowned, but he couldn’t see that in the dark. ‘Where are you going?’
‘Home.’ There was a rising inflection at the end, making it sound almost like a question.
‘What the hell for?’ I reached out to put my hand on his back, to push him down. ‘Go to sleep, Alex.’
He lay down, all hesitant, and turned over on his side.
I wiggled around to get the sheets out from under me, then scooted in close to him and put it on top of both of us. I didn’t move away from him either, just lay there with my chest pressed up against his back. My arm wrapped around his waist and I put my head against the back of his neck. I even kissed the thin skin softly.
He didn’t say anything. Didn’t move. But he wasn’t tense either, so I hoped he didn’t mind. That he liked it.
I sure did.
An arse moving against my hard cock brought me into awareness.
Alex’s warm body was pressed up against me and my arm was wrapped around him.
I moved my hand down—without opening my eyes because I was damn comfortable like this—to stroke his dick, which was also hard and ready. ‘You awake?’ His shoulder was warm as I kissed his shoulder.
‘Yeah.’ He did sound tired, like he’d just woken up, but a content kind of tired. From his wriggling arse earlier, I knew he was up to more than cuddling though.
I bucked my hips forward and my cock slid in-between his cheeks, rubbing over his hole. ‘Are you up for that again so soon? Aren’t you sore?’
Please don’t be sore.
I wanted to be inside him again, to feel him around me, sucking me in.
‘It’s okay.’ There was need there. He wanted to feel me inside him too.
I opened my eyes so I could track down the lube. Once I had it, I quickly squirted out a good amount to smear over that puckered hole. Two of my fingers slid in right away with just the tiniest bit of resistance. So hot, so tight, so ready.
I didn’t want him on his stomach again. We’d done that. I didn’t even want to do it on our sides like this, though it was tempting. No, I wanted him on his back so I could see his face while I fucked him.
‘What are you doing?’ He sounded horrified as I turned him around. His arms instantly came up to shield his chest. Not that it mattered, his arms were a lot worse than his chest.
‘I want to see you this time.’ I didn’t mind the scars. I needed to make sure he knew that.
Once I’d pushed his thighs apart, I lowered myself down in-between them. I slid my arms down, hooking them under his knees, then pushed his feet up on my shoulders.
As I bent forward, he was bent nearly in half. His eyes focused on me. Those gorgeous green eyes.
I glanced down to make sure my dick was positioned right, then thrust inside.
His chest hitched in a breath. My dick dove in and drew almost all the way out; repeat, repeat, repeat. It was amazing to watch, how I could fit into that little hole, how it could adapt to something a lot bigger than what it was meant for. So hot. So erotic.
So fucking good!
I kissed him. Our faces were close, so I only had to lean down a little.
He returned the kiss immediately, though I got the feeling he was a bit startled by it. Maybe he didn’t kiss much.
A hand around his cock would distract him nicely. I stroked the silky, hard shaft in time with my own thrusts. He liked it, a lot. He clung to me like I was his lifeline. His kiss changed too—as if he had even more to give now than he’d had earlier. More lips, more tongue, more teeth, more saliva.
His body tensed as he came.
I fucked him through it, not breaking the kiss. I wished I could see his face when he came, see how he looked, but the kiss was amazing. Definitely worth it.
I didn’t want to come inside him this time. I wanted to see him with my spunk all over him.
‘Mmm, yeah.’ His feet still rested against my shoulders as I pulled out and took myself in hand.
His gaze was on me, on a certain part of me, and his lips parted ever so slightly.
He’s fucking gorgeous.
Seeing that dazed look was all I needed to finish. I came over his stomach, my white spunk making his pale skin seem a bit more tan.
Fucking gorgeous all right.
I touched his legs, ran my hands up them. The hair—not that he had much, considerable less than I did—tickled my palms. It couldn’t be comfortable for him to stay in this position for very long, especially if he wasn’t used to it, so I slowly lowered his feet to either side of me.
‘Take a shower with me.’ We needed it. Sweat from the night before, and now new sweat and come. I couldn’t go up and face my family smelling of sweat and semen. Of sex. I was relaxed about a lot of things, but there was a limit. Also, Ben would have a field day with it and I’d never hear the end of it.
‘Wha—No, that’s okay. I’ll just go home and shower there.’ He glanced to the edge of the bed, towards where our clothes must be scattered. He didn’t look particularly keen on the idea.
‘Now that would take all the fun out of it, wouldn’t it?’ I did not want him to go home. Home was not a good place for him to be. ‘I have a fully-functioning shower right across the hall. Come on.’ Better to keep him here with me. As long as he wanted to be, anyway. I didn’t want to keep him against his will, but I could tell he didn’t actually want to go home.
I took his arm and pulled him up into a sitting position.
He came willingly.
Good, since at least I’m not forcing him to stay against his will.
It seemed he thought he was here against my will, which was absolute bollocks. I was going to show him just how much I wanted him. Again.
I wasted no time getting under the hot water, but he stood a good distance away from the glass doors with his arms crossed in front of his chest. Why was he so unsure? I said I wanted him here, but still he was all awkward.
When I nodded for him to come join me, however, he did without hesitation.
Now that’s more like it.
Once he was inside, I closed the door. The hot water fogged up, enveloping us in the corner of the room.
Once again he was uncomfortable. His back was to me now, presumably so I couldn’t see any of his scars. ‘You shouldn’t be so ashamed of how you look.’ I slid my hands over his shoulder, then over them and down his chest. He shuddered. ‘I mean it when I say I don’t care. I can’t say I understand it, but you must have your reasons.’ Bad reasons, probably. Bad at home, as far as I’d gathered from us walking home together. ‘But I think you’re fucking gorgeous, Alex, and a few scars aren’t going to take away from that.’
He half-turned, frowning.
I grinned. He should stop worrying. If I didn’t care how he looked, why should he worry?
I pushed him gently up against the wall.
His lips parted under mine as I kissed him, a bit harder than I’d meant to but that was what he did to me. I lost my control.
‘Mmm, you’re so fucking gorgeous. I can’t stop touching you.’ I pushed his wet hair out of his face and placed another lingering kiss on those parted lips.
I got the shampoo next. This wasn’t all about the sex, after all, so I better show him I was serious about the washing up. It wasn’t just another ploy to get him naked with me. Though it might be. A ploy to keep him around, anyway. I did not want him to go home.
My hair wasn’t that long, so I only squeezed out a small amount of shampoo to apply to it.
He watched me as I did so.
Then, as I bent under the spray to wash it off, his gaze followed the foam running down my body, and his focus eventually fixated on my dick.
‘Aren’t you going to wash up?’ I didn’t mind him looking at my dick at all, but we were having a washing up moment here. I squeezed more shampoo out and put my hands in his hair, massaging it in until it foamed. Some managed to slip my attention and run into his eyes. Fuck.
But he… he laughed as he reached up to wipe it away. Now that was stunning.
‘You should laugh more often.’
His face heated the tiniest bit and he turned away to rinse the shampoo out under the spray.
He didn’t say anything, so I stayed quiet too.
We washed up, exchanging places under the spray as we did so.
When he was under it for the last time, after soaping up his whole body, I pressed up against his back. His shoulder was slippery from the water as I kissed it.
His head tilted to the side to rest against mine.
That was a good sign.
I wrapped my arms around his torso and hugged him close.
A small sigh escaped him. I thought it was a happy one. Or a content one, anyway, I didn’t think he had the ability to be happy right now.
I’ll show him. I will.
‘Do you have anywhere to be today?’ I asked once we were back in my room. I dropped the towel, which I’d been wearing around my waist, on my bed.
‘Want to spend the day together?’ I pulled on a pair of boxers without looking at him. I didn’t want to pressure him into anything, and if he did want to say no, it might be easier if I wasn’t staring.
‘Oh, um, sure.’ He sounded surprised.
I sighed to myself, then turned with a grin to throw a pair of my joggers at him.
Once again he was surprised as he caught them.
‘Lots better to lounge around in that jeans, don’t you think?’ I threw a thin, long-sleeved jumper at him next. Myself, I donned a tight tee, but I figured he wanted to hide those scars.
His focus was on me, down south. He cleared his throat, then quickly pulled on the clothes, head bowed. My clothes were big on him, but the joggers sat well on his hips, so there was no danger of them falling down.
I wanted him to be comfortable.
‘First on the agenda is breakfast.’ He likely wasn’t going to be comfortable with that, what with my whole family likely being up there.
But he didn’t say anything as he trailed after me upstairs and into the kitchen.
‘About time you showed your face,’ Ben said, glancing at us.
I ignored that. ‘Guys, this is Alex.’ I motioned to him. ‘Alex, this is my family. You’ve met Ben already, and that’s my uncle, Thomas.’ I didn’t really need to point him out, considering he was the only guy left who Alex didn’t know. ‘This is Kristina, my older sister, and Maria, my younger sister.’ Kristina was slightly taller and had the same darker shade of blonde as me, while Maria’s hair was lighter. And straight, whereas Kristina’s was curly for some reason.
‘Hey, Alex.’ Kristina smiled welcomingly at him. Maria did as well.
My family was just fucking great. No one asked any awkward question, to him nor me. They just accepted the fact he was there.
‘Hey.’ Alex didn’t look at all comfortable.
Time to make him feel comfortable. ‘Sit.’ I motioned to the chair opposite Ben and Alex hesitantly took a seat. ‘Is there anything left of that for us?’ I asked Kristina and Maria, nodding to the omelette they were frying.
‘Make your own omelette.’ Kristina rolled her eyes and swatted playfully at me.
‘There’s more than enough. But you’re making it yourself.’ Maria handed me the bowl of whipped eggs.
‘What’s in here?’ I asked, peering down into it.
‘Besides egg, there’s leek, ham, and shallots.’ Kristina finished their omelette.
‘Sweet.’ I took the frying pan from her. With some more oil sizzling in it, I added the rest of the mixture in the bowl.
‘So were you out late last night?’ Kristina asked quietly as she grabbed cutlery. ‘I didn’t hear you come in.’
‘No, we weren’t that late.’ Glenn had seen to that. He’d ruined Alex’s night.
Or maybe I had long before that by not talking to him. Damn Glenn and his shitty attitude. Alex was kind, and sad… how could anyone be so cruel to him? It wasn’t fair. But then life rarely was, was it?
I wasn’t going to be cruel to him, though. I was going to show him how kind people could be. Show him how much I wanted him around, how much I’d mind if he did end it all. Show him he didn’t have to be ashamed of his scars.
And last but not least, show him how much I wanted a relationship with him.
It was weird: that feeling. It was definitely what I wanted. I’d never had it before, but a relationship with Alex… it felt right.
‘So that was him, huh?’
I swivelled around on my desk chair to find Kristina leaning against my bedroom doorway.
‘Sweet lad. Didn’t say much.’
‘I think he’s shy.’ I stretched my arms, locked them at the back of my neck, and grinned at her. ‘I think I’ve made an impression. He seemed more upbeat when he left than what he’s been before.’
‘That’s good.’ She cleared her throat, expression growing serious. ‘For real, though… What if he doesn’t show up at school tomorrow?’
I’d had that thought too.
Then I’d decided to give Alex the benefit of the doubt.
‘I hope he will. What could I’ve done anyway? He wanted to leave. He’s been here two nights now. I can’t force him to stay.’
‘Of course not. I just worry…’ She bit her lip. ‘I don’t want you to experience what I did.’
If Alex did do what I was afraid of, I didn’t think he’d do it by hanging himself in a garage for me to find. His family—hopefully—would have found him long before I knew anything.
If he did anything..
‘I hope I won’t.’
‘I hope so too.’ She seemed downcast.
‘You all right?’ We weren’t in the habit of talking about our feelings, but if she was upset, I worried. She was my sister, after all.
‘Yeah.’ She nodded quickly. ‘This whole thing… it just makes me remember a lot of what happened back then. I keep wondering if I could’ve done something different. If I’d seen the signs, you know.’
‘I don’t think you could have. You were only fourteen, after all.’ A fourteen year old wasn’t supposed to look for those signs in their parents. ‘He’s the one who let us down. Even though mum died, years before him, he still had us. If we weren’t enough to live for, then…’ I shrugged, my sentence fading out into nothingness.
I’d dealt with these feelings before. Grief therapy or whatever they’d called it. All three of us had been in it for a while. Me for shorter than the two of them. Kristina had stayed longer. Maybe she was still in therapy, for all I knew.
‘Yeah, yeah, people keep saying so. Still… I can’t help it, you know.’ She pushed away from the doorway and took a step back. ‘Anyway, I’m heading out to meet Jo for dinner. See you later.’
I swivelled back around so I could put my elbows on my desk. I worried about the next day and whether I’d see Alex at school or not.
He better be there.
I buried my head in my hands, afraid I shouldn’t have let him leave at all.
Alex was at school, rucksack and arms loaded with all the books he’d taken home with him on Friday.
I wanted to head over to him, but the bell rang and everyone crowded to their respective classrooms.
Oh well. Later.
As long as I knew he was at school, it was all okay. He was safe, alive, hopefully looking forward to see meagain.
I didn’t see him again until the bell rang for lunch. I spotted him the instant I stepped into the hallway. He was at his locker, forehead resting against the metal, gaze downcast.
I did an internal fist punch as I navigated through the crowd of students over to him. I slid my hand up his back, soft, teasing.
He shuddered. Turned around. A small smile split his lips.
Now that’s something.
‘Hey.’ I smiled back, a bit wider than he was smiling at me, but then again, the fact he was smiling at all was good. ‘Want to have lunch with me?’
He only nodded, walking at my side as I led the way outside. I headed towards our usual table, where Glenn, Peter, and Sarah were already seated.
Glenn turned away once he caught sight of Alex and I sighed.
‘Hey, you.’ Sarah grinned.
‘Nice of you to join us.’
‘Oh come on, we’re not late. The bell just rang.’ I seated myself between Glenn and Alex.
Glenn didn’t say a word, not even to me. He studiously continued to ignore Alex, who got more downcast by the second.
After a while, I went from annoyed to downright angry.
‘Glenn. Come here for a bit.’ I motioned sharply to him as I stood.
He rolled his eyes, but he followed.
When I was sure we were out of earshot from the table, I rounded on him. ‘What is the matter with you?’
‘What’s the matter with you?’ He threw back at me. ‘Since when do you befriend the school’s freak?’
My blood boiled. ‘Don’t call him that. Don’t you dare.’ You have no idea, you narrow-minded, unsympathetic git. ‘You have no idea.’
His eyes narrowed. ‘No idea about what?’
‘No idea about him.’ I made a sharp motion towards our table without actually looking that way, because I wanted to keep my focus on Glenn and his reactions. ‘You don’t know what he’s like. You don’t know him.’
‘And you do? From one party?’ He full-out glared at me now.
‘It was more than that bloody party. I’ve been spending the entire weekend with him.’ That threw him, I could tell. Not in a good way, though.
‘You do whatever the fuck you want.’ He threw his hands out as he started backing away. ‘I don’t have to like him. I don’t like him.’
‘You can at least be civil.’ Why was he so against Alex? Alex had never done anything to antagonise him. Glenn had just singled him out for some reason or another. ‘How would you feel if someone acted the way you do to you?’
Glenn waved that away as he turned back to the table.
I did too, gaze already searching for black hair, but not finding it. I stopped.
Alex was gone.
‘Where is he?’ I looked around. He couldn’t have got far.
‘He left.’ Sarah gazed up at me. ‘Don’t know where he was going.’
Same bloody thing as Friday. I hadn’t paid him enough attention. I’d been too annoyed by Glenn.
That was Glenn.
‘Shove it.’ I glowered, but sunk down on the bench. I’d find him later. He had to be around somewhere. The school grounds were big though, so going looking for him now… I could go around in circles.
The bell would ring soon. I’d find him then.
Except I didn’t.
I strained to look over the heads of everyone, to catch sight of him, but no. No one were at his locker, either. I didn’t get a chance to look in on Glenn’s classroom, since that was further down the hallway than mine, but I sure hoped he was there.
I finished before Glenn, so I headed home. I lay on my sofa and toyed with my phone, watching the minutes tick by as I waited.
I craned my neck back to see an up-side-down Ben in my doorway. ‘Yeah?’
‘Met your boyfriend today. At lunch.’ He strode inside, over to the sofa. I pulled my knees up so he’d have space to sit, and he all but fell down.
‘Was he doing all right?’ He had my attention now.
Ben gave me a look. The kind of duh look he did so well. ‘What do you think? No.’
‘Where’d he go once the bell rang?’
Not home. He better not have gone home.
‘To class.’ Now he looked at me as if I was the one overreacting.
Of course I was. I was scared. He couldn’t know what I was scared of though, unless Alex had told him, which… was unlikely.
‘Do you know he cuts himself?’
‘Well, of course you do.’ He grinned wickedly.
My eyes narrowed.
‘You heard us this weekend, didn’t you?’ He must have, to have that kind of smug grin on his face.
‘Hard not to. You were going at it quite voraciously.’
Where’d he even learn that word? He wasn’t known for having the most complicated vocabulary, being dyslexic and all. Then again, he was also a musician and song-writer, so he did work hard on his language and writing.
‘Well, can you blame me?’ Now it was my turn to grin. I couldn’t help it.
He snorted. ‘That went fast.’
‘What went fast?’
‘You’re in luuuuv.’ He laughed.
I only stared at him. It was a bit quick for love, but I was sure taken with Alex. He was handsome, kind, sweet. He was having a hard time, yes, but that didn’t matter. I’d help him, I’d be there for him. Whatever he needed to get through his days, I’d do it.
‘So why’ve you been home all weekend to listen in, anyway?’ Now that was a poignant question. ‘Tired of Tarjei?’ The guy he was fucking. Had been fucking for years, as far as I knew.
He gave me a dirty look. He never did like me mentioning Tarjei out loud. ‘No. But Nik’s been staying with him this weekend, for some brother bonding time or some shit. I don’t know.’
Nik was his best friend. Biggest gay stereotype I’d ever seen.
Tarjei was his older brother. Bisexual, considering he was in a relationship with Kristina’s best friend a while ago. Yet he still fucked Ben.
In secret, because Ben didn’t want Nik to know. It was a messed up situation.
A messed up situation I kept well away from.
Except goading Ben with my knowledge from time to time.
‘So back to Alex.’ He moved his hand as if waving the subject of Tarjei away. I didn’t know why he was ashamed of it, Tarjei was a decent guy, but there you had Ben. ‘What are you going to do? You better apologise for being a twat. He was really upset.’
‘I wasn’t being a twat.’ Definitely not.
I wasn’t, was I?
A bit negligent, perhaps, what with not quite knowing what to say to him….
‘Well, Glenn was, anyway. Still. You should do something. You befriended him. You had lots of sex with him.’
‘I am going to do something.’ I still held my phone. The time had gone by a bit faster than planned, since Alex would already be home by now. ‘We exchanged numbers, as you do in these modern times.’
I clicked into my contact to find Alex’s name, then opened a new message.
Me: Want 2 go 2 the cinema with me? My treat!
It was the only thing I could think about to do outside our house. That he would enjoy doing, anyway. I didn’t think he’d enjoy a game of football much. Not that he wasn’t fit—well, he was a bit skinny, to be honest.
I stared at the screen once it was sent, hoping he had his phone at hand so he’d answer right away.
Me: Meet me at the playground at the end of ur street in 15?
Alex: Yeah, okay.
He wasn’t talkative during text either, but then I had only asked yes or no questions.
Fifteen minutes… That wasn’t much time.
I jumped off the sofa.
‘Who lit a fire under your arse?’ Ben stretched lazily.
‘I’m meeting Alex.’ Did I need to change? It was only the cinema. It wasn’t like we’d be sitting in a nice restaurant making awkward small talk.
‘About time.’ He stood too. ‘What’re you doing?’
‘Going to the cinema.’ I’d change my shirt. I’d been wearing it all day, after all.
‘Right gentleman you are, all of a sudden.’ He headed past me towards the door.
I didn’t know about gentleman. ‘I like him.’ That was true. So true. I already liked him a lot.
Ben stopped and turned halfway to gaze at me. I couldn’t read his expression. ‘That’s good.’ Then he was gone. I heard his bedroom door shut.
I had no idea what his issues were. He’d been shagging the same guy for years, yet it was still a secret. I’d only known Alex a weekend and I wanted everyone to know we were together.
Then again, people were different.
Ben and I were different.
I still couldn’t believe why he’d want to keep it a secret, though. But it was his life. It was none of my business.
My business at the moment was to get my arse in gear. I’d been the one giving myself fifteen minutes, and I didn’t have much time left. I didn’t want him to wait, after all.
He wiped his palms on the front of his jeans, his smile all shy and awkward. I wasn’t in the habit of calling anyone adorable, but right now he was.
I started walking, heading towards town, and he followed at my side.
‘Where did you go today?’ I better get the conversation started, because I didn’t think he would. ‘I came back to the table and you were gone.’
He wrapped his arms around his middle—I caught the movements at the corner of my eye.
‘You were arguing with your best friend over me. I didn’t—I didn’t want that.’ His voice shook slightly.
‘Glenn’s an arse.’ Since he was honest, I was as well. I didn’t even feel bad saying that about my best friend—it was true, after all. ‘We argue all the time because he can’t filter himself, or because he’s being rude to people. We always make up, though. We parted as friends. There’s no bad blood between us. He just needs to get over himself and I told him so.’
He better start acting a bit better around Alex, because if I had my way, Alex wouldn’t be going anywhere anytime soon.
He only nodded, but I could tell he still worried.
‘Hey.’ I bumped his shoulder with mine, wanting to get his attention over to something else. ‘Really. There’s no bad blood between me and Glenn.’ He seemed to need some reassuring. ‘He’s just a stuck-up arse at times, but he can be nice. I know you don’t believe it, because he seems to have singled you out for some silly reason.’
‘He said it himself.’ He bent over a bit, arms still wrapped around his middle. ‘Because of my scars and the fact I’m gay.’
‘Don’t take it to heart.’ What did it matter that Glenn didn’t like his scars? That Glenn minded he was gay? I didn’t mind his scars. I definitely liked him gay. ‘Leave him to stew. He’ll get over it eventually.’
He didn’t seem so sure.
‘I’m not going to let him bully me into not seeing you again.’ I bumped his shoulder again. ‘I’m my own person. I can make my own decisions. And I want to get to know you, Alex.’
His eyes now seemed to get a bit watery.
I kindly turned my attention away so he could get his emotions back under control. It was good, though, that he did have it in him to get emotional.
‘So I forgot to check out what films they’re showing.’ That was a blunder. I should’ve considered it, but my invitation to the cinema had been entirely impulsive. ‘I hope they’re showing something.’
They were. An action film I’d wanted to watch back when I’d first seen the trailer.
The fact Alex was sitting next to me, however, was a major distraction.
Once the lights switched off, I took his hand, tangling our fingers.
I’d only waited for the lights to turn off so as not to embarrass him—I wasn’t sure he was okay with public displays of affection, after all.
As for me, I didn’t mind.
I’d never come out as bisexual, but now I had Alex I saw no reason to keep it a secret. I wanted to be open. I wasn’t embarrassed about it in the least.
He didn’t deserve that, either.
I leant over to his seat, placing my lips next to his ear. ‘I like you, Alex. I hope you don’t mind.’
Honesty’s a good thing.
Considering he hadn’t once displayed any sort of sign to the contrary, I thought it safe to say he didn’t mind.
‘I don’t,’ he whispered. ‘Not at all.’
‘Good.’ Definitely good. More than good. I put my lips to the soft skin under his earlobe, and he tilted his head to accommodate me.
I put my hand—the one not still entwined with his—on his thigh, inching upwards slowly as I sucked his skin between my lips.
He was a bit stiff, but his breathing had amped up.
Other parts of him were stiff too.
I squeezed his crotch, feeling his half-hard dick hiding inside the jeans.
I sensed that soft gasp escaped him involuntarily. I liked that I made him lose control like that.
Like it a lot.
I pulled back, grinning at him as he opened his eyes to peer at me.
‘I’m sorry.’ I wasn’t. Not really. ‘I really wanted to see this film. But you’re just too tempting.’ He sure was—all I wanted was to dive back in to taste more of his skin, to knead his dick into full hardness. ‘We can continue this later, right?’ Preferably in bed. It was always better in a bed.
He nodded quickly. He also squeezed my hand softly, which was definitely a good sign.
I turned back to the screen, but through the whole film I was aware of his attention being solely on me. He didn’t seem to pay any attention to the film at all, and it was damn hard for me to continue doing so.
I missed a lot of it since I couldn’t stop thinking about him, and us, and what we’d do once we got back in my room.
‘Wanna stop by BK? Get some food?’ I was starving. I’d left the house before dinner had even been started.
He nodded again, but didn’t say anything, so we headed there in silence.
He bought a chicken baguette.
‘Don’t you like burgers?’
‘I do, just… not the burgers here. No offence.’ He looked all sheepish.
‘None taken.’ I leant back, my full attention still on him. ‘Everyone’s got different tastes.’
‘Obviously.’ Now he seemed startled, as if he hadn’t meant to say that.
‘What do you mean?’
His cheeks flushed red. ‘Me. Umm, like, you seem to like me for some reason, so… different tastes.’
No confidence whatsoever.
Though why should he have? He was ignored, picked on, rumours spread…
I took his hands in mine and squeezed. His palms were a bit moist. It didn’t matter. I smiled.
Once our food was called I said, ‘I’ll get it.’
When I was gathering straws and packets of ketchup and salt, someone came up behind me.
‘Hey, man!’ Peter clapped me on the shoulder, while Glenn murmured his own greeting.
‘Hey.’ It was nice to see them, but this wasn’t the time for them. All my focus was going to be on Alex—and they’d just have to understand that. ‘I’ll catch you later. Don’t want the food to get cold.’
‘See you.’ Peter didn’t seem put off as he lifted his hand in a wave.
Glenn, on the other hand, only glowered at me. He must’ve seen Alex already and figured I was here with him. It didn’t matter. Like, at all.
Alex’s head had been bowed, but when I put our trays down, he finally lifted it. He dug into his food, and I sat down to do the same to mine.
‘Don’t you want to sit with your friends?’ He glanced up at me.
‘Nope.’ Not at all. ‘I’d rather sit here with you.’
That brought a small smile.
‘You’re gorgeous when you smile.’ Should I be calling another guy gorgeous? Was that something that was ever done? ‘I mean, I think you are in general, but when you smile… you light up.’ Either I was giving more compliments, or I was digging myself a bigger hole.
With girls, it was normal to think of the ones you fancied as gorgeous. But a guy? Well… This was all new to me, after all, so if there was some unwritten rule about what descriptive words to use or not, I still hadn’t learned about it.
He only blushed.
A chuckle escaped me, because adorable. If that was allowed to use for a guy, as well.
‘I know it’s only been a few days, but I really do like you, Alex. I can’t wait to get to know you better.’
For a second he looked like a deer caught in headlights, then his face flushed more and he bowed his head to hide it from me.
I saw the small smile, though. It wasn’t my imagination.
It was a great feeling—to know he felt the same as I did. That I wasn’t pushing on where I wasn’t wanted. That knowing me kept him, and all his books, at school. If he started bringing them all home again, I’d worry, but for now, I had a feeling things would work out all right.
His skin was warm, soft in some places, rough in others. His body was hard yet pliant under mine. It allowed me in with just the tiniest resistance, sucking me into tight warmth. It was all-consuming.
Small sounds managed to escape him even though he had his head buried in my pillow. He might prefer to be silent, but the fact that what we were doing made him unable to be quiet was a boost.
Maybe it was a sign he was letting loose a bit? He certainly wasn’t as tightly wound as he’d been back on Friday.
I parted his arse-cheeks so I could watch myself slide all the way in, then almost all the way out.
Damn, that’s hot.
He was tight—and I was big—but a lot of lube made it go smoothly.
His hands clenched in the sheets. I’d already learned what that sign meant.
He came first. His sounds were muffled in the pillow, but the wet spot underneath him was evidence enough.
I upped the speed of my thrusts and soon came too.
He collapsed onto his side once I pulled out, and I lay down close to him so I could rest my head against his neck and wrap an arm around him.
He was warm, relaxed, sated. Exactly like he was supposed to be. He wasn’t supposed to be sad and suicidal. Not while I was around.
‘I want to be a policeman.’ I needed to talk, to get the subject over to something that didn’t involve me having to think about him killing himself. ‘When school’s over, I’m doing the compulsory service in the army, then I’m going to go to the Police Academy.’
‘Army, huh? They won’t even want to touch me.’ He didn’t sound particularly sad about that part. The army wasn’t for everyone, though, so it was understandable.
‘Yeah, I know.’ His scars were rough under my fingertips.
‘They’re not going to want someone who does this to themselves. They’re not going to want someone who’s already broken.’ Now he started to sound sad.
‘If you’re broken, you can be fixed.’ I kissed his shoulder. ‘Do you want to go to the army?’
‘No.’ That came quick. It was something he was sure of.
‘What do you want to do then?’ A valid question. Not that I should start thinking that far ahead, but… well, I suppose I could hope we were still together by then.
‘I don’t know.’
‘Well, you have lots of time to decide. Months still until you have to apply to schools.’
‘Yeah.’ He didn’t sound so sure. Maybe he hadn’t thought about the future, what with planning on not having one, and all. ‘Have you always known you wanted to be a policeman?’ Now he was the one changing the subject. I was glad he asked questions, it meant he was interested.
‘Yeah, I guess. I went through the normal phases—fireman, astronaut, prince—but police was what struck.’ Oh, the joy of childhood innocence.
I hugged him closer.
He relaxed against me.
‘I should leave,’ he muttered after a while.
‘Why? You can just stay here.’
‘You want me to stay the night?’ I swear there was an unasked again at the end.
‘Yeah. Don’t you want to stay?’ He had to stay. Laying like this, cuddling, was good. We were so connected. How could he possibly want to pass this up by going home? He didn’t like his home. Better to stay with me.
If he absolutely had to leave, then sure, but if he didn’t, I’d do anything to make him stay.
‘I do.’ It came out in a whisper. I almost missed it. ‘I do want to stay.’
‘Good.’ I kissed his shoulder again.
He tensed up, and for a minute I was afraid I’d done something wrong, but then he turned slightly in my arms. Our faces were close—and he leant in to kiss me.
That’s the first time he’s taken the initiative.
That was a damn good sign.
When I’d had my eyes on him at school… when I’d only gone over to talk to him and hope to avoid tragedy… I hadn’t expected it to end quite like this.
I was glad it had. I was glad he was my boyfriend now.
He was far from my first sexual partner, but he was my first ever relationship. I was his first relationship too; we were both each other’s firsts… it was wonderful.
I wasn’t going to let him go. It wasn’t just about keeping him alive, now. It was about keeping him with me, exactly like this, for the foreseeable future.
I hoped I’d manage it.
Right now, with him warm and sated against me, I had no doubt I would.