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Dabeagle

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  1. Dabeagle

    Chapter 17

    I think there is also more readily available information, in the positive and negative, than there were in the 70s. You do the best with what you have,
  2. Dabeagle

    Chapter 22

    'Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.' - Oscar Wilde. Not a new idea, but a well said one.
  3. Dabeagle

    Chapter 17

    I think there are conversations that should be had, and some folks don't always agree with me. As someone with experience, Teo relayed what he knew to make his brother's experiences better than his own - to learn from his mistakes. At most it's character development between the two, which may be redundant, but I think it recurs enough later - and there are plenty of stories where a first time encounter goes so smoothly as to defy belief that education for reader or character is a good thing.
  4. Dabeagle

    Chapter 22

    There is a Sanitaria story entitled Never Fall in Love which centers on Garrett French, mentioned in the serial Candy & Kisses. Once I apply the edits it will debut on my Patreon page for the Sanitaria subscribers. A few weeks later it will appear on my site, and possibly here. The Panic! sequel is waiting for me to decide on a plot point, but it's about ten pages in or so I think. I've been watching some Star Trek and have been thinking heavily on picking up the Star Trek story I started about ten years ago. We'll see what holds my attention longest.
  5. I woke in the morning to Cole climbing from the bed. “Babe? Where you going?” I mumbled. “Bathroom,” he said and padded across the room. I felt muzzy and lay where I was, slowly becoming aware that I also needed the bathroom. It was frustrating because I thought I could go back to sleep if not for the increasing need to pee. The door opened and Cole climbed back into bed a moment later. “You have to go, babe?” I grunted. “I do.” I pulled him closer and molded myself to him. “Well, go then,” he said with a chuckle. “Want to stay with you,” I said while yawning. I did need to go, though. The need was getting worse. I was hit with cold air as he yanked the covers back from me. “Ah! Asshole! What are you doing?” “You're awake now,” he teased. “Go to the bathroom.” It was cold enough, or enough of a temperature change, that my skin was pebbling. “Asshole,” I muttered as I scuttled from the room and across the hall to the bathroom. After relieving myself I looked around for a glass and settled for cupping water with my hands for a quick drink. Must be dry air here. After drying my hands I popped back into our room and raced to get back under the covers. He chuckled at me. “Feel better?” “Jerk,” I muttered. “Warm me back up.” “Yes, sir,” he said with a smile in his voice. Then he was kissing me forcefully, more so than he ever had. It was interesting to have him taking the lead, and I went with it. He slipped one hand behind my head to tangle his fingers in my hair, and the other he pressed to my back. I grabbed him similarly, and then he rolled on top of me. I sort of liked Cole being a little more assertive this time. Last time I'd been on top of him, so I was thinking we might head the same direction we had last time, but with our roles reversed. I let my hand wander down to his butt and discovered he was naked. I smiled as we broke the kiss. “I feel set up.” “Is that what you feel?” he asked, grinding into me. I rolled over, pinning him, having to adjust because the bed was so narrow. We rolled back and forth a few times as we tried to stay pressed together and get my underwear off at the same time. It was a fantastic mess, so sexy, and I was fully awake and loving it. Cole flipped me back onto my back and settled on top of me with a satisfied expression. “I've missed you,” he said suddenly, his voice soft and his expression tender. “I missed you more,” I said quietly, reaching down to knead one of his cheeks. “I want to do something to you,” he said softly. Huh. I hadn't cleaned out. I mean, that's a requirement, I think. Plus I was thinking we should kind of talk and plan it out a little. I mean, I wanted to do him, too. Still, it was messing with my ideas of how things would go. Should I have brought the stuff Teo had given me? I'd decided not to, but maybe things were farther along than I realized. “Babe?” I looked at his face. “Yeah?” “Are you okay? You got this far away look on your face,” he said. “Yeah,” I said, smiling at him. “I just...Teo gave me this box of stuff and I was going to talk to you about it. Maybe talk about taking a big step. In the bedroom. I wasn't sure we were ready, but if you're headed that way right now...and what about your grandparents?” He blushed a little, and it pumped his pretty factor up to adorable levels. “You mean actual sex? You want to?” “I thought we should talk about it,” I said, my voice a mere whisper and I stroked the side of his face. “I don't think it's one of those spontaneous things. Not entirely.” “Okay,” he said just as softly. Reverential might be the right word to describe his tone. “We should talk, then. Not right now, though.” I frowned. “I thought you might be, you know, getting ready for that right now.” He grinned and shook his head. “Not yet. I mean, now I'm thinking about it, but I have a surprise for you.” “Oh?” He hummed in the affirmative and resumed kissing me. I went with it, because why wouldn't I? He moved to my earlobe, which was a little tickly and weird to hear his heavy breathing so close to my eardrum. He moved down my neck and I actually giggled, but that didn't last as he moved down to my nipples. That felt good, and I let out a little gasp of appreciation. Okay, maybe more than one. Before I even registered that he'd moved I felt the wet warmth of his mouth on my dick and I groaned more loudly. “Shhh!” he said, giggling as he did and placed a hand over my mouth. Then he resumed blowing me and I tried to bite back being vocal, but it felt so damn good! I spread my legs and he settled in more comfortably, though it didn't last long enough for him to become uncomfortable I don't think. I gasped his name and arched my back as he brought me past the edge. He coughed and then joked, “Were you trying to choke me?” “I'm sorry,” I said, breathless. “I got excited.” He kissed his way up my stomach and chest and then settled on top of me, gazing down. “Not such a big deal if you weren't so big.” I looked at him with a confused expression. He blushed. “When you came. You arched your back. I thought you were trying to get your dick into my throat or something.” I started to laugh. “No! You made me feel good. I wasn't doing any thinking at all!” I snorted and snickered and he giggled along with me. “Now it's my turn.” We wrestled a little as I got him on his back, covers down by the foot of the bed somewhere. I grabbed his dick in my hand and he was telling me I didn't have to, that he'd wanted to do it for me. “Cole,” I said sternly. “This isn't a favor or something. I want to suck your dick. I hope you like it. I hope I like it. Now lay back and let your boyfriend give you a blow job.” “You like telling me what to do?” he asked with a cocky little grin. I responded by keeping my gaze locked to his and taking his cock in my mouth. His squirming and gasping were very satisfying, but secondary. I pushed his legs apart and pulled down on his nuts as I bobbed on his hard length. I didn't think I'd have the same problem he had, since his dick was more slender and shorter than my own, but I was wrong. He didn't have to thrust for me to cough a little on all the spend. Not very sexy, but I just got my boyfriend off, and I kind of just wanted to go right on sucking him. “Stop, stop!” he said, wiggling under me and pulling on my shoulder. “What?” I asked. “Something wrong?” He pulled on my arm and I obliged by moving up his body. He said, “It's a little sensitive after coming,” he told me. His face was flushed and he was breathing hard, and right then was about the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen in my life. I was about to ask him if I'd done all right when there was a strangled curse from the doorway, and then the door closed quickly. “Aww, fuck. Seriously?” Cole groaned. I looked at the closed door and then back to him. “I think one of your grandparents just got a good view of my ass.” “Yeah, and of us naked in bed together – although seriously, what did they expect?” As it happens they kind of expected us to each use one of the beds. Personally I didn't think they were that stupid, but maybe they had hoped we'd at least try to fake not sleeping together. I had no shame about sex with Cole, though. I don't care who knows. Not only that – why were they opening his door like that? Got what they had coming to them, no pun intended. After breakfast we showered and headed outside for a walk in the woods. The day was unseasonably warm – up in the low sixties. Something about a pressure system moving through – it would probably snow tomorrow or something equally shitty – upstate New York weather is kind of bi-polar. We walked through the wooded area behind the house, picking up sticks and whacking them against trees for no real reason. I told him about Monique and the things she'd said. “You never dated before me, right?” he asked. “Nope,” I confirmed. “Good. After that conversation? All I'd be able to think about is some other guy with his hands on you. Make me all kinds of jealous.” “Jealous?” I asked and laughed as he wrapped me in his arms. “Yes, jealous!” He started kissing my neck and I giggled and tried to break away from him, but he was steadfast. “What do you have to be jealous about? ‘Jealous,’ says the guy with all the experience.” He leaned his back against a tree and pulled me in for a kiss. Leaning our foreheads together he said, “This is going to sound a little trite, but I know what loving someone feels like, now. Nothing was right with Haylee. She meant well, and I know she loves me in her way. Maybe if we'd been better as people...but no. This morning? I wanted to do that for you. I wasn't thinking about me wanting to try something or – nothing about me. I wanted to make you feel good.” “You succeeded. I liked sucking your dick. I see a lot of blowjobs in your future,” I said with a giggle, and he joined me. “I did, too,” he said quietly after a moment. “I wasn't sure I would. I mean, I kind of always thought blowjobs were meant to be enjoyed by the person getting one. You know?” “Yeah. Seems like that's how you hear about them, anyway,” I agreed. I took his hand and we wandered some more, talking about potential futures, the box Teo had given me, how much he liked seeing everyone yesterday and how much he liked having me fall asleep on him the night before. “I'm so sorry about that,” I told him. “I was so depressed without you. It was just a really hard week.” “Hey, hey, no,” he said, shaking my hand. “I loved being there with you. Stroking your hair, feeling you relax on me. Dude, I loved it.” I smiled at him in embarrassment. “Well, you do make a good body pillow. Smell nice, too.” I hesitated as a black thought crossed my mind. I decided to share it with him, though. “So. Um. You've commented a few times about my getting angry.” “Yeah. You never used to, that I saw,” he said. He looked at me with curiosity. “Why?” I sighed. “I never used to get that mad. Not until all this stuff came out about my parents. Since then, I get angry pretty easy,” I said. I looked him in the eye. “I've blacked out twice.” “When you say blacked out...?” “I mean I can't remember what happened, not all of it. Just a general idea. Once when I fought with my mother, and the other day with your grandfather at the school.” I frowned. “I'm not sure what to think about it.” He frowned lightly. “You've been on a worse roller-coaster than I have. Worse, you've watched everything I dealt with on top of it. Maybe...a counselor?” I frowned at him. “You think I need to go that far?” He shrugged. “I don't feel like you'd get angry like that at me, but I get the feeling this anger isn't really you.” I grunted. “I can get mad at you.” “No doubt we'll piss each other off sometimes,” he said with a grin. He ran his fingertips along my cheek. “Please? Will you think about it?” I let out a little sigh. “I'll go. I mean, I asked what you thought. I think...I have to do something.” He grinned, and we came upon a creek. There were some colorful stones out near the middle, and even though it wasn't really warm, Cole and I took our socks and shoes off, rolled up our cuffs and precariously made our way out into the fucking cold water to pick out a few of the neat looking rocks. I mean, by the time we got back out I could barely feel my toes. We tried to shake them off a bit, then put our socks and shoes back on before heading right back to the house. After warming up and listening to his grandparents tell us how dumb we were for sticking our bare feet into a creek in winter, we cuddled on the couch and watched TV with them. We played a game later in the afternoon. Cole had brought the copy of IT we'd been reading, so after dinner we curled up together and read the book until we were ready for bed. I never thought that much about penis sizes before. Mine is bigger than Cole's, and I'm not sure that's a good thing. His fits perfectly in my mouth, and I really, really like that. Plus, it's fun to make him wiggle after, when he's all sensitive! As much fun as the sex was, it was the part that comes after that was sweetest. Lying on each other, playing with each other's hair, making small kisses or caresses as we saw fit. It was something that said that after the months of awkwardly getting closer, now we were comfortable together. No honeymoon phase, no last minute jitters. Sunday we spent with his grandparents. We helped cook, played another board game with them, and talked to them about how long they'd been together and how they'd gotten through difficult times. “It wasn't easy,” his grandmother said. “Your grandfather wanted even more children. I said no!” She said it so forcefully that we both laughed hard. “Well,” he said, hugging his wife. “You boys certainly know how hard it is to keep your hands off someone you love.” “We're not all about that, though,” Cole said with a grin. “He listens to me. We share stuff – books, movies, talking about our future. Drew is thinking of being a nurse so he can help people.” “Nurses save lives,” his grandmother said. “I was one for many years. You have an opportunity to advocate for patients – sometimes you end up saving them because a doctor has so many things going that they miss something. Nurses are vital.” “You boys are good together,” his grandfather said. “I was a little surprised when you were dating that girl, Cole. I always had a feeling about you, that you would be just like your father.” Cole's brow creased. “Why did dad get married and have kids then?” “Oh, honey,” his grandmother said, patting his hand. “Times were different. We were given the worst possible advice by people we trusted that had an agenda. It broke our hearts to put your father through what we did, but we did it like a parent spanking a child – we thought it was for his own good. Girls could do some things boys couldn't, and your aunt was always strong-willed, so when she came out it was a small town scandal, but men liked the idea if not the reality of a lesbian. For your father...the poor judgments we made and the pressure around him was such that he pushed it down and tried to be who the thought the world wanted him to be instead of who he was.” “I'm happy for you, Cole. I'm reminded of something I read somewhere,” his grandfather said. “Be yourself; everyone else is taken.” “By the way,” his grandmother said. “I'm very glad you boys have shared interests and are working together. But it's okay if you're handsy with each other – you're young; it's kind of your thing.” She cackled at what was I'm sure mutual blushing. ~PCE~ The following week brought a return to normalcy in that I could see Cole every day, I had a normal work schedule, and I resumed caring about my education as the school calendar rushed toward the winter break. Cole's family home was farther away, and that created some issues with getting together, but I could live with it for now. I stole his football jersey to wear, and we frequently borrowed each other's clothes. The work to turn a garage into a living space wasn't all that long. It had started at the tail end of November – and with all the drama, Thanksgiving wasn't even a thing, really. Cole and I had our first fight the second week of December, and it was extra stupid because we had no control over the situation. I didn't want him to meet with his mother and grandfather because they were going to be dicks to him, but the judge was requiring it and was considering supervised visits for the mother. I wanted to go with him, because fuck those people hurting my baby. Not only was it not allowed, but he told me he could take care of himself, and I argued with him. We ended up yelling at each other. It was awful. Brax told me to relax, because sometimes it was good to have a good shout and get things out. No one can be calm and just talk stuff out all the time. He told me he'd had fights before in his relationships, but this was a first for me, and I suddenly felt like things were very fragile. We'd fought on Thursday and not spoken to each other a lot on Friday, the day he met with them in court. I wanted to know what happened and if he was okay, but I wasn't sure I'd be welcome to talk to him. Then he sent me a series of texts. So I guess I'll just sit here. Alone. Getting colder. All by myself. With no one to cuddle. I felt a wash of relief, laughed giddily, and replied with a huge smile on my face. Oh, shut up. I'll get a ride from Teo. Twenty minutes later I went into Cole's basement to find him on the couch with his arms toward me. I fell into them and squashed him to the couch, face buried in his chest. “I missed you, too,” he said with a chuckle. “I thought you were mad at me,” I told him. “I was. I don't stay mad at you,” he said with a confused tone. “Babe. Babe, look at me.” I rolled my head. “Smell good.” He grabbed the sides of my head and lifted my face up, stretching my skin back. I bugged my eyes out and flicked my tongue from between my lips to make him laugh and he did. It was awkward. “Were you thinking we were breaking up or something?” he asked, shaking his head. “I was worried,” I admitted. “We disagree sometimes, you know,” he said. “But I heard you. You said you wanted this to last. I'm not walking on you just because you're being overprotective.” I growled. “They wanted to kidnap you.” “We were in court!” he said, starting to laugh. “And your grandfather attacked the deputies last time. Not exactly reassuring,” I told him. He sighed and ran his fingers through my hair, forcing my head back again. “I didn't get it. I talked to my dad last night, and he kind of made me see your point of view. I'm sorry.” I lay my head on his chest and sighed. “I just love you and want you safe. But thank you.” I hesitated. “So what happened?” He placed a hand on my back and began to rub in small circles. “Total shit show. My grandfather starts lecturing me about what a man is and how my father was poisoning my mind. He told me I was unnatural and that it was all about choices and that I could choose to go live with my mother and get back on track.” “Fucking prick,” I muttered. “So first I told him being with my boyfriend was the most natural thing I'd ever felt, and then I told him that I was living with my father because he listened to me and recognized and accepted me for who I am.” “What did he say?” “My grandfather disowned me, then he walked out.” “I'm...I'm sorry, Cole,” I said, pitching my voice softly. He rubbed my back in response. “My mom...she was kind of mean, but she was crying, so it was hard to figure out how to feel. I don't like seeing her upset, not like that. She gets mad, okay I can handle that. Crying is harder. She kept trying to figure out what happened to me and said some mean shit about my dad. It wasn't a good scene.” “I'm sorry I wasn't there for you,” I said. He shrugged. “It wasn't allowed. My mom insisted it just be me and my dad, not you. I think you may be the only person she hates more than me right now. Apparently you turned me gay. That was her final conclusion.” “I have super powers? I can turn pretty boys gay?” I teased. “I'm not pretty! I'm manly!” he growled and tickled my sides. I laughed and wiggled around before trying to tickle him back. We ended up rolling off the couch and laughing on the floor. Eventually we settled in on the couch, watched a cartoon together, and talked about the future. We talked about the upcoming winter break and what each of us would like for Christmas. A week later my new room was done, and everyone helped me move. It felt very odd. I was too used to my own space and had grown comfortable not having anyone in the same building as me. That night Cole and I hung out in my new room. Alessia and Brax were out roller skating, Teo and Ashley had gone to Beyond Boarders for a gaming night. Cole and I snuggled and streamed the two IT movies and talked about how they compared with the book. Between movies we went out to the kitchen and made brownies from a mix for something to snack on. “How's things with the Petrakises?” he asked quietly. “Okay,” I said. “Neither of them are completely sure what to do with me. They know I'm here temporarily until college, anyway. So far it's okay, though. Just getting used to it.” As we headed back to my room he said, “So hey. My grandparents invited me to Florida for the winter break,” Cole said. “It's like seventy-eight and they live right near the beach.” “You're going away?” I asked, disappointment in my voice. He smiled and said, “They said I can bring a friend.” I widened my eyes. “You better not have asked Brax.” I grinned. “I can't wait to see you in a swimsuit all the time. No shirt at all, right? Shall we make that a rule right now? 'Cole cannot wear a shirt in Florida, or anything to bed?'” He looked back at me for a second. “I don't deserve you.” I acted contritely. “I know. I'm a mess.” He shook his head and gave me a half smile. “I mean relationships have kind of stunk for me. Left me feeling bad, fake. Like I was acting. You want me to be myself, and you're happy with who I am. What I look like. I didn't think being me would be enough.” I jerked my head back. “Cole. You think you're not enough?” “I don't. Not always. I can build up stupid things in my head, though. I feel better when we're together. My dad says it's because of the things from my mom and grandfather. All the shit we've been through lately. Now that it's calmer and I can just be with you....” He sighed. “Kind of makes me feel like shit and down on myself.” I stared at him. “You're the prettiest guy I ever saw,” I told him and he started to shift away from me, but I moved over and sat on him so I could look down on his face. “You don't seem to like when I say that.” He frowned. “Pretty is for girls.” I leaned forward. “That's some bullshit right there,” I said, trying and succeeding in making him smile a little. “That's your mom talking, but I think you're beautiful. I think you're pretty. I love the way your cheeks have a flush to them most of the time. I love how your nose turns up just a little at the end. I love the way your hair looks a little bronze-like when the light hits it just right. I love your bright eyes, and they are the fucking prettiest thing I've ever seen. “I like that you're not a muscle jock. I know you play football, but I'm glad you're not like those guys on the line. I like that your features are softer and more delicate, even if you're strong underneath that, because you're just as beautiful on the inside.” I smiled at him. “It's all that that makes me love you, Cole. I love that you're pretty.” “You make it sound good,” he said, but frowned a little. “But guys are supposed to-” “Let me stop you right there,” I said. “You're not 'supposed to' anything. You have nothing to prove to anyone, and you've already proven everything to me.” I leaned down and touched his nose with mine. “I want to give you things in life.” “Yeah? Like what?” he asked with a little smile on his face. “Like confidence. And blowjobs.” We broke down in giggles. He wrapped his arms around me. “So. Want to come to Florida with me for winter break?” “Don't be stupid. Of course I do,” I told him. “I want to be wherever you are. I didn't do so well the last time you left me alone for a week.” He grinned. “Should we talk about that box Teo gave you?” I tilted my head and looked down at him. He really was the prettiest guy I'd ever seen. Intelligent, fun to be with and we loved each other. Everything was so much better if Cole was involved, even the bad things were bearable. “Yeah. Let's talk about that box.” So we did talk about that box and all the advice Teo had given me. Cole asked if I'd used any of it and I was mortally embarrassed to tell him about the time I'd tried to pretend he was doing me. He was very curious about what it had felt like, and we ended up having a talk that was by turns funny and sexy. We talked about doing all kinds of things, both seriously and joking. “I'm going to point out your ass to people and say 'See that ass? I'm going to eat it,” I said to him and we both burst out laughing and ewwing a little. “That sounds so weird,” he said. “You'd do that to me?” “I'm going to do all the things to you,” I said with a grin. “All the things.” It couldn't all be about sex and being in love, of course. But doing homework became easier with Cole in my life, even if he wasn't sitting next to me. Living with Teo and Alessia had some advantages that I hadn't thought of, which I might not have thought of as advantages before. Like I couldn't isolate myself and brood when Cole and I had a little disagreement – and I hated that. Sometimes it felt like the world was ending. As the weeks passed, though, I began to realize that what Brax had said was true – it was normal to disagree sometimes. I didn't have to like it, but it didn't mean something was breaking. One benefit of Cole's grandfather disowning him was that his mother began to become less of a problem. Cole saw her a few nights a week, but he fought doing any overnights. He said he hoped she'd come to see him differently over time, because who he was included loving me and she needed to accept all of him. I was amazed how strongly he identified his life as being intertwined with mine, but I felt the same way. A few weeks later school let out and we made our trip to Florida. We shared a set of headphones and listened to music on the way down. I was kind of scared of the flight, to be honest, and every time the plane shook I thought I'd crap myself. His grandparents only had a two room condo so there was no debate about putting one of us in a guest room and whatever. They actually teased in front of us that maybe one of us should sleep on the couch. Kind of cool attitudes for an older generation. We spent our days hitting the beaches to swim and lie in the sun with our books. Sometimes we'd lie side-by-side and just talk, and then other times we were just content to be together whether it be on the beach, cooking with his grandparents or lounging with a movie. I loved going to the beach, helping each other with the sunscreen and running along the sand. The ocean water was cold, but we still went out in it every day. The water was shockingly salty – I mean, I knew it was, but to actually taste all that salt was amazing. I spent a goodly amount of my time just looking at Cole, who was sans shirt most of the time. He was getting the most delicious golden tan. We spent time lying on deck chairs talking about the future. Cole was actually thinking about doing something with movies and was excited to talk about it, and I was pleased to listen. He'd already started looking at schools that had film degrees of different types and a nursing program so we could go together. It made me insanely happy that he was planning his future to go with mine. We used the contents of the box a few times on that trip. It took a few tries for him to take me, just because I'm bigger than he is, I think. I know it wasn't a comfortable thing, not right away. It took a few days before he took me again, and we eventually got to a place where he was starting to feel some pleasure. My experience was a mix because he was naked and he felt so good, but seeing him grimace or the feel of him pushing me back with his hands made really enjoying it more difficult. The last time he took me, I spent a long, long time working him with my tongue – which is a new favorite thing of mine. I had no idea he could whimper. I can't describe how exciting it was to know I was making him make that little noise, and how sexy it was. That time...he took me with minimal issue and he swore it felt good. I know he felt perfect to me. I didn't have as much trouble, but I wasn't about to say so. It was just a fact that he wasn't as large as I was, comparatively – I'm not a mighty oak by any stretch. Still, it was a learning experience but having used the toy before gave me confidence he didn't yet have. At first I felt some pain, but I looked up at him – at everything I collectively think of as Cole – looking down on me and I relaxed. I relaxed and it was like it had been when I'd gotten used to the toy in the shower – he fit, and it was good. While he was recovering from taking me the first few times, I took him – and just like he fit perfectly in my mouth, I had a new place he fit perfectly. In fact, Cole fit perfectly in my life, even when we were both being imperfect. So I used to believe that everything broke over time – entropy. Sometimes things do break so they can change into something better – like dating to marriage, perhaps. Sometimes, I guess, something breaks so you both can find something better – like with Cole and Haylee. But sometimes you dodge all that and you have some luck, some love and some hard work and you get a perfect confluence of events, as Brax once said. I don't know if we'll make it to college or marriage. I do know I want this to last and I plan to stretch this confluence for every second I can with the prettiest boy I've ever seen.
  6. Dabeagle

    Chapter 21

    For the record, the 'hoor' scene was for laughs, not for commentary on her life. It was more of an offhand comment, and the joke was in the pronunciation. When I game at night we sometimes talk about non-game things, and one was Joe Pantoliano in the Sporanos who called a woman a 'hoor', that kind of inflection. It was more about saying it the funny way than seriously shaming Haylee.
  7. Friday was an exercise in frustration. I'd slept fitfully, thinking of seeing Cole and time not moving fast enough. My rear end felt weird from my experimenting the night before, school seemed like it would never end, and every time I saw Brax in the hallways he'd tease me about getting busy that night. Those were the consistent weird things. There were several odd spots throughout the day, though. First, in the morning Monique sat beside me and I raised an eyebrow at her. She and I hadn't really interacted since the whole 'do you like her shaggy-dog-as-a-sweater' thing. “You could have just said,” she told me quietly. “Do you know how stupid I felt after?” “Well, I mean, it was a nice sweater. Sort of,” I said, not sure where she was headed. “Sweater?” she asked, her nose wrinkling. “What are you talking about?” “Not what you're talking about, I guess. Can you be a little clearer?” I asked. She pressed her lips together, but didn't appear to be angry. “I liked you. You're still super cute, but I was trying to get with you. Couldn't you take mercy on a girl and tell her you wanted the D?” I let out a breath and smiled a little. “I didn't know that was what was going on, Monique. Flirting? Not really my strong suit. If you'd have asked, I probably would have told you the truth – that my mother didn't let me date.” She frowned. “And about you being gay?” I shrugged. “Either one works, I guess. Calling my house? You got me in a world of trouble, Monique.” “How?” she asked, sounding put upon. “My mom is a little nuts,” I said as plainly as I could. “She thought I was going to get every girl I spoke to pregnant and alone to raise a kid, just like my dad did to her. So when you called, she ended up beating me because she thought you and I were doing the nasty.” An astonished look settled on her face. “Are you for real?” I raised my hand up. “Swear. Honest, Monique, if I had realized I'd have said something.” She rolled her eyes. “So much for being subtle. Don't get me wrong, you're adorable and all, but that's a little much.” She gave me an appraising look. “So. Cole, huh?” I smiled. “Yeah.” “How he go from Haylee to you? I mean...not even the same body type, you know? She's got boobs for days,” she asked, smiling and settling in to chat. I shook my head and kept smiling. “I just thought he was pretty. And straight. But he worked his way over to me, and...I love him.” “Aww. I saw you two at the dance. Made a few girls all sweaty,” she said with a smile and pretending to fan herself. “You worry? I mean since he was with Haylee? Knocked her up and everything?” “Nah. We talked. I understand what was going on.” She leaned forward and rested her chin on her hand. The bell rang but she kept looking at me. “I'm jealous like that. I hate the idea of my man dropping his line in any other pond. And you're right, he's pretty – pretty enough to give other people ideas. I'd lock that one up if I were you.” We stood and I mentally rolled my eyes. I've never understood people that talk about locking others up. What she really means is watching someone so much you become the relationship version of a helicopter parent. I wanted to be around Cole all the time, and I was sure he wanted to spend most of his time with me. But we still had separate stuff to do. This...enforced separation was a different thing altogether. I had a free period and was thinking about heading to the computer lab to email Cole when the most unlikely person to block my path actually did. Haylee Johnstone. She looked at me uncertainly, as if she couldn't remember why she wanted to speak to me, my name, or hers for that matter. “Excuse me,” I grumbled as I made to go around her. “Why won't he talk to me?” she asked. “What? Who? Cole?” “Cole,” she affirmed. “I understood when we broke up. He told me he was in love with someone else, and I can understand that. I mean,” she laid her fingertips on her chest, hand spread, “I understand falling in and out of love. I probably did it twelve times when I was with Cole. You meet someone and for a little while love sets in, you know?” She waved her hands around. “People talk about how that's not true love and just lust, but it's not. If someone is nice to you and good looking too, that doesn't make it lust. You're loving that part that's nice. When you have tits like mine, boys are nice.” I blinked at her, not completely sure if there was anything in that statement I should respond to. Fortunately, I didn't need to say anything as she rambled on. “That was one thing I loved about Cole. He never pushed. He was a gentleman, and he could teach a lot of guys a thing or two about being a man. When he told me he was in love with someone else, it made total sense to me. I could see the signs – I've done that to him off and on myself. He told me all about you, after some poking, and I could see it was one of those, you know, long-term things. He'd been wanting to move on and be with you – and people change, don't they?” “Um. Yeah, I guess.” “I figure he's trying to spend every waking second with you, but this is silly. I haven't seen him in school. Why isn't he replying to my texts? We said we'd be friends,” she said, pouting a little. “Well, uh, you know things were rough for him at home. Right?” “Yeah.” She leaned in closer. “His mom is weird. She practically encouraged us to screw. I wasn't opposed, exactly,” she said with a smile and I felt a little jealous. Maybe Monique has a point. “But still, I think she'd have been real happy if I'd'a gotten pregnant. I mean, we had to hide that first one, you know? Still, when his dad left, Cole was real mad.” She paused as if she'd been unplugged. “Hey. You think he was jealous? Like 'cause he wanted you and now his dad was out with a man?” “I...don't know. But, um, he's not able to use his phone right now. He's with family. I am going to see him. I can give him a message if you like?” I asked, desperate to get away. Her gaze focused on me and she smiled. “Just tell him I miss him.” I nodded and was about to walk away when I just had to ask a question. “Um, Haylee?” She smiled brightly. “Yeah?” “Doesn't it bother you that he was with you – a girl – and wanted to be with me – a boy?” She rolled her eyes. “Why? That's stupid. Why does anyone fall in love with someone? He said you were sweet and generous and listened to him talk about things that interested him. Body parts don't matter if you love someone or not.” “Huh.” “Oh, I gotta go! Me and Carol are going to sneak out for a smoke and then watch the boys basketball team practice.” She paused. “I wish they wore shorter shorts like they did in the old times.” Then she smiled again and was gone. That's enough to throw anyone for a loop. Unfortunately all this talk about Cole boning her had left me feeling kind of jelly. It got me thinking about the nature of relationships. People liked to say someone was 'their girl/boy', but that implied ownership. In fact, anyone could freely give their affections to whomever they chose at any point – regardless of relationship. That was hard to swallow. The idea of Haylee with Cole...made my stomach sour. Worse, I could see it in my mind's eye. I could practically feel his discomfort at being with Haylee with his mother practically at his back. Made me a little bit of a basket case for a few hours. I wondered if I should go home and clean out to try and take that step with him tonight.... “Bruh,” Brax said as he dropped down beside me for lunch. “You look like you lost your dog instead of getting to see your boy. What's bugging you?” We were alone for the moment so I quietly said, “Haylee talked to me.” “Oh? How many IQ points did you lose?” “None,” I said. “I just...when you date someone, does it bother you to think about people they've been with before?” “Ah. She got in your head,” he said with a knowing look. “Reality is everyone has a past. Alessia knows I've been with other girls, but I'm choosing to be with her and she's choosing to be with me. You're the same, bruh. You're where Cole wants to be.” He paused. “Think of it like this. When you walk into the ice cream shop you may not know what you like. Someone, like your overbearing mother, might tell you that you should pick a certain flavor. And maybe you keep up with that flavor each time you go because it wasn't awful even if it was nothing special. Plus that person keeps insisting you like that one flavor and only that flavor.” He leaned toward me and smiled. “But you keep looking at some other flavor, dying to try it out. One day you leave that old flavor and take the things you learned – like that it's cold, melts fast, you like it better in a waffle cone versus sugar – experience in other words. And you take that new flavor and you find out your instincts were right. It's not at all like the old flavor.” I frowned a little. “But then all of them melt and all are cold.” He laughed. “You're taking the analogy too far, bruh. Look. He was with her, yeah. He was able to take that experience and what he didn't like about it and find someone who does give him what he needs. In my mind he's applying what he's learned to make a better choice. I mean, I told you about that girl I lost my v-card to, right? How we weren't really good together?” I nodded. “I still learned things. Valuable stuff. Don't stay in a relationship I'm not happy in. Define what actually makes me happy, 'cause sex is pretty good and all, but there's more to a person than that.” I smiled at him. “You're pretty smart for a jock, you know.” He raised a finger to his lips. “Shh. The linemen find out I'm acting smart they'll try and get my brain cell count down to match theirs.” I smiled and shook my head, then started to yawn. “Damn. I'm getting worn out worrying about Cole and what he did with Haylee. Plus, you know, everything else.” “Yeah,” he said as Alessia made her way toward us with some other friends. “Well, everyone makes mistakes. I wouldn't be happy to hear anyone talk about making time with Alessia, so I feel your pain there. You have to let that shit go and get him while the gettin's good, huh?” “What do you mean? Is this temporary? Did he say something to you?” I asked, getting worked up. “Did who say something?” Alessia asked, setting her tray down. Brax looked up at her. “Haylee was planting evil images of her and Cole going at it in our boy's head,” he said easily. “Bitch,” she said. She looked at me. “She had him and lost him. You have him – and more important, you're where he wants to be. Fuck that whore.” Brax snickered. “Hoor.” Alessia smiled him. “Hooor.” “Who we talking about?” someone else asked. “Haylee.” “Oh. Hoooooor.” Soon the table was doing it, and it made me laugh to hear them all. Brax and 'Less were right. Cole was mine because he chose to be, and I'd do well not to forget it. The day finally ended and I met Teo, Ashley and Alessia at his car. Brax was going to meet us at their house in an hour and a half or so for the ride over. We had to meet Cole's dad and then he'd guide us over. It was rankling me something fierce that he still wasn't forthcoming with information, but I was biting my tongue to achieve my goal of seeing Cole. I decided I was going to look my best, though, so I showered and shaved, brushed my teeth and seriously considered using that thing on my behind and decided against it. I didn't need to spread my legs to keep Cole, and I wasn't entirely sure I was ready for that. I mean I kind of was, but I wasn't sure so...besides. How long does that cleaning out last? What if we had soup for dinner? Or something that runs right through me, what then? Ugh. Maybe I'll take the stuff with me? What would Cole think if he saw it? Maybe he'd feel pressured? Maybe he's not ready, despite the things he's said about anytime, anywhere, any way I want him. He was probably being silly or in the heat of the moment. Right? Does he know how these things work? I wonder if I should tell him. How embarrassing would that conversation be? Or should it be embarrassing at all? I've seen his body, all of it. I mean, I haven't stared deeply into his butt, but I've seen it. Shouldn't that come with a certain level of...not comfort, but a lack of embarrassment? I wasn't sure we were there yet. Better to leave them at home and think about a talk first. By the time we got ready to leave my nerves were humming and I was getting tired. We met up at Cole's dad's apartment, and his dad put his arm around my shoulders as he addressed us. “So guys, an update. First, thank you for sticking behind my son through all this craziness. I know it's been difficult to handle from your end, and it hasn't been a picnic on mine or Cole's. I'm not sure who is looking forward to this visit more – you guys or him. Second, there was an emergency session of family court today. A couple of really, really important things happened. First is that Cole and Emily are in my custody full time.” “Yes!” I said, gripping my hand into a fist. “Is it impolite to ‘Hell, yeah’ that?” Brax asked with a crooked grin. “It's the best outcome for the short term,” he said. “Laurie is moving out of the house this weekend, so the kids can have their normal spaces back, and Keith can get his apartment back to the way he's used to it.” “You guys are welcome anytime. You're not as bad as I expected,” Keith said, trying to be nice. “Um, what about you guys, though?” I asked. “I mean, you're a couple.” Keith smiled at me. “Darling boy, we're probably going to sub-let the apartment eventually. It's going to be a huge adjustment, and not everyone is going to transition well.” “You mean Emily?” I asked. “She seemed all right with you. She just wanted her room was all.” Cole's dad winced. “Actually, it's Ginger. She's moving in with Laurie.” “Oh. Um. I'm sorry.” He nodded and then cleared his throat. “With that, there are also certain things said to both Laurie and her father. Cole will meet with them with the lawyers in the courthouse to prevent any funny business, but they still think they can influence him.” He hesitated and continued, “I'd like to believe that what happened Wednesday would never happen again. I can't be blind, though. Not when it comes down to the safety of my children.” He turned me and held me by my shoulders. “However, my kids also have to be able to live.” “Amen,” Brax said. Cole's dad raised an eyebrow at him, then resumed. “I have control over the cell accounts, so Cole gets his phone back tonight. He'll come home Sunday, once the house is a little settled. I'm going to have to ask you guys, though, to buddy up with him after school. He shouldn't leave with anyone, and if you guys see his mom or grandfather outside he should stay in the building. The school has been made aware of the expanded order of protection, and neither of them are allowed within one hundred feet of him for the time being.” “I won't let anyone near him,” I said. “Done,” Brax agreed. “Would they be that stupid?” Alessia asked. “I mean, the grandfather – he's in deep shit, isn't he?” “He is,” Cole's dad agreed. “I'm assuming Drew may be pressing charges, so he's got that and the arrest for hitting the deputy and resisting arrest, as well as causing a ruckus at the courthouse. Still,” he said, “I never expected either of them to go this route.” I walked over to Keith. “Thank you for keeping your word. I owe you. Big.” He smiled widely. “Darling boy, you owe no such thing. I wish I could have had what you do now. Enjoy every second.” With no more questions, we headed out in two cars. I was surprised to find that he was a few towns over in Endwell, which seemed kind of prophetic to me. We pulled up on a quiet street in front of a modest ranch-style home with a brick face and a small concrete front porch. Cole opened the front door and I could see right away he was freshly showered, the tips of his hair still damp in that way I loved. He ran down to the cars, and people were greeting him and clapping his shoulders, but they had to do that around my death grip on him – and his on me. It hurt to see him, which was odd. I thought I'd only feel relief, but instead the emotions were so sharp I was metaphysically bleeding over finally seeing him. I'm fucked up. We also had to go over the reason I looked a little beat up. That was fun. We went inside as a group and met his grandparents, who seemed like nice people. We chatted lightly with them. They said they'd been playing board games to help pass the time, and before you knew it Teo had organized a team Scrabble game. I sat beside Cole and leaned on him, feeling the exhaustion seep from my bones. For the first time in more than a week, I was whole again. Pizza arrived and I ate, which perked me up for a little bit, but then I started yawning and fighting to stay awake. Everyone left a little early, maybe eight, to go do their own 'couple' things and give us the same courtesy. Brax gave Cole a bone crushing hug and said something into his ear that left Cole smiling. Alessia also hugged him and he blushed hard at whatever she said. Teo just shook his hand and then they were all gone. “You look wiped out, babe,” Cole said to me. “Didn't sleep the best last night. Been a weird day,” I said to him. “Want to chill in my room? Watch a movie or something and go to bed early?” “I so do,” I told him. We brushed and said goodnight to his grandparents, and Cole carried my bag to his room. It had two single beds. He tossed my bag on the unused one and closed the door. I tossed my socks on the floor along with my shirt and laid out my jeans on the bed beside my bag for the next day. Cole copied me and turned to get the TV set up. I climbed into his bed, slipped under the covers and watched him. He got things set up and brought the remote over to the nightstand and then slipped in beside me. I put my head on his chest and breathed in his scent – sweet skin and warmth enough to live by. I snuggled in close and listened to his steady heartbeat. “So, long day?” I yawned. “Strange day. Haylee came to talk to me. Gave me a complex.” Shit, I hadn't planned on talking about that. “How's that?” he asked, sounding a little concerned. “She just brought up you guys having been intimate, and it put it in my head. I don't like to think about you with anyone else is all.” “Well, yeah, I hope not,” he said, sounding like he was teasing. “Why'd that come up?” “Eh. She was just asking after you because she wasn't getting replies to her texts. She misses you, I think.” “We agreed to be friends. Is that...will that bother you?” “Only if you're interested in her,” I said with a deep sigh. “As a friend, nothing more – never again.” “Okay,” I said in a sleepy voice. “Aww, babe, you feel so good snuggled in,” he said, and I could hear the smile in his voice. “I want to molest you, but I'm too tired,” I said and he chuckled. He stroked my hair and pulled my head a little tighter to his chest. “I missed you so much,” he said, running his fingers through my hair. “I hate my grandfather for what he did to you.” “I missed you too,” I replied and turned my head just enough to kiss his chest. “This has been hell, being away from you.” He stroked my hair and I started to drift a little, until I was pulled back by his voice. “We've been under so much stress. You're the only thing that makes it better. The only thing I look forward to to keep me going. It started me thinking – what are you planning for when you get out of high school?” “College,” I said. “Not sure what, yet. I was thinking nursing. I can help people.” “Oh yeah? Where do you go for that? I mean, community college, a four year?” “Depends on how far you want to go,” I said, on the verge of dozing off. “Takes four years or something to get your Registered Nurse's license.” He stroked my hair and then kissed the top of my head. “Okay if I come with you?” “Anything for you, babe,” I said and drifted into sleep with dreams dominated by Cole.
  8. I thanked him as I ran to my seat for my bag, then pushed past people streaming into the room. Mrs. Gillespie was in the computer lab, and she perused my hall pass carefully before letting me settle before a PC. I could have logged in with my laptop, but here I could have some privacy rather than focus on my class. My school email box was full of assignments, but I hadn't bothered to check my school laptop since the previous Wednesday. I scrolled until I found an email from him from Monday. I'm with my grandparents, and I'm safe. They rented a house through an agency. I don't know the address here, and I think they are convinced I'll tell you and you'd show up. Hurts, right? No trust **Winking Face** I hope to hear from you soon. I scrolled up to find messages from Tuesday and this morning. His emails kept asking me to reply, and increasingly he thought I was angry with him. I clicked on this morning. I guess you're mad at me. I wish you'd talk to me and at least say you're mad. I'm sorry. My dad thinks I have to be completely isolated to be safe, and I promised him. Please, please, please talk to me. I'm losing my mind thinking you don't want me around anymore. Please, even if you're mad enough to break up with me, please say something. I love you. I hit the 'reply' button. Why would I be mad at you? I've been lying in my bed since you left on Thursday, staring at my phone and waiting for you to make contact. I've been able to think about nothing but you. I didn't go to school Fri, Mon or Tue, so that's why I didn't reply. I figured you'd find a way to message me and I didn't want to be in class and miss it. I feel really stupid now. I love you, I miss you. How long does this have to go on for? I sat in my chair nervously. I opened some of the other emails from teachers giving assignments or other stuff, but I couldn't focus. A new mail from Thomas, Cole G. popped into my mail box. Holy shit. I am so relieved to see your message, you have no idea. I thought you might be mad because I wasn't trying to call or something – and I don't know your number. I saved it on my phone, but I never memorized it. You skipped three days of school just waiting to hear from me? I ❤️ you so much! My dad says the lawyers are still doing their thing – fucking taking their sweet time is what they're doing. I'm going to talk to him about us getting together this weekend. I need you. I let out a ragged breath. I covered my face with my hands and bit back a sob. He's okay. He wants to see me. He still loves me. God I'm so fragile. I thought he was, but I'm like spun sugar, just a little pressure and I crumble. I hit 'reply'. I'll go talk to your dad about seeing you right away. I talked to him last Sunday, but we kind of argued and he shut the door on me. If he says no, we need a plan. I'll come to you, but you need to help me narrow things down. Do you not know where you are? I love you so much and I have to see you. I sent it along and started to chew my thumb as I waited for him to reply. I didn't have to wait long. I'll work on figuring out where I am. I mean I kind of know, but I never drove myself here or mailed something so I'm not sure. I'm so relieved. I promised my dad not to try and make contact outside of this email through school, but when I didn't hear from you...I don't know. It was almost like you knew I agreed to avoid you and everyone else. I built it up in my head and I started to think I'd lost you. This is so stressful! Are you sure you're not mad at me? I pursed my lips and started typing. I usually make fun of Alessia for saying some of the things I'm going to say to you right now. You're the prettiest, sweetest, most perfect-for-me guy out there. There isn't anything I won't do to get back to you. I know how smart you are, I feel how much you love me, and I can't wait to show you how much I've missed you. I'll go see your dad tonight, since I figure he's at work right now. Maybe I'll be able to get Keith on my side. If he says no or fights me, then we need a plan B. Now I had to figure out what to do next. By the end of the school day I had a plan B, but I had to wait until the next day to speak to Cole about it. I had sent him an email with the idea, but I think he was only being allowed to use the laptop during the school day – which is stupid because he could have homework. The whole situation was stupid. I saw Teo, Alessia and Brax waiting by the front door. I approached them and we huddled up. “So. To his dad's?” Brax asked. “That's the first thing. He shut the door in my face Sunday, but Cole's been talking to him since then. Cole emailed me to say that the fight between his parents about the divorce has gotten pretty bad and her father is making things worse. But I have a backup plan,” I said with a pleased feeling, yet a grim expression. “Okay. Is there a chance of pissing off his dad?” Teo asked. “Yes.” “Okay, I'm in,” Alessia said. We all looked at her. “What? Come on! They can't even talk on the phone? Give me a break.” “Okay,” I said with a grin. “Backup plan is Cole should be able to access Google Maps from his laptop. That should give him a starting point as to where he is, and then I'll need a ride.” Teo opened his mouth and Brax held a finger up. “My friend, my ride.” “My brother,” Teo replied. “I got two friends in this, and I will flatten the tires on your car. Back up, bitch,” Brax said with a smile. There was some more friendly banter about who'd drive me, but as we walked to Teo's car I saw something from the corner of my eye that drew my attention. It was a truck, and I didn't know why something about it looked familiar – and then I did. Metal tube-style protectors for the headlights and grille. Behind the wheel was an old man with a red hat scanning the crowd of departing students. I turned toward the truck and made a bee line for it. “Drew?” Alessia asked in a confused tone. I got within about ten feet before Cole's grandfather realized I was heading for him. He scowled and opened his door. “Get back in there and drive away,” I snapped at him, waving a finger at him. He planted his feet and scowled at me. “Where is my grandson?” he demanded. “You hard of hearing? Turn up your hearing aid and get the fuck gone.” I planted my feet and crossed my arms while scowling at him. He narrowed his eyes. “You want to watch your tone and have some respect, sonny. I have no problem whipping you just as much as Cole needs his ass whupped.” I smiled slyly at the old bastard, my anger rising dangerously. “I'll be the only one touching his ass, thank you very much.” His face darkened and his upper lip twitched. “I won't have no more lip from you. Where is Cole?” I decided to egg him further. “Hopefully naked in my bed, waiting on me.” He took a step forward and then scowled as he glanced to my side. “Don't think for one second I won't beat every one of you within an inch of your lives.” I looked to my side and held an arm out to let Teo, Alessia and Brax know I had this. My anger was cresting, ready to explode, but I still had my hand on its leash – for now. “My dear siblings,” I said pretentiously. “I'd like you to meet Cole's grandfather – the crazy one. The hateful one. The one Cole doesn't want to see.” He moved into a bit of a fighting stance and I stepped forward. “Step up, punk. I'll beat your pansy ass into next week. Then you'll tell me where my grandson is.” I spit at his feet. “I love him. I won't ever tell you shit.” He moved quick for an older fellow, and he had training I didn't. I wish I could describe the fight to you. I wish I could tell you how he popped my jaw and I saw stars and how I fought back like a man possessed, but I can't. The truth was that I actually was a man possessed and for the second time in as a many weeks, I blacked out in a situation. I felt no pain until later. I felt nothing but the anger singing in my veins and finally – finally! – having a target for it. We were pulled apart at some point, both arrested by the school resource officer. There was a big fuss while my siblings told the officer all about the grandfather, that he was there to take his grandson – and the principal was aware, of course, of the reasons for Cole to be remotely learning. It only took a few phone calls for the old man to be hauled off in cuffs and a tow truck sent to get his crappy truck. “You all right?” Alessia asked. “Fine,” I said with a sniff. “Little blood under your nose,” Brax said. “That eye is going to black up some, I think.” Teo turned me and examined my face. “We should get something cold on that to help with the swelling.” “No. We stick with the plan,” I said. “Cold pack later. Cole's dad now.” “Dude. You're being kind of obsessive,” Teo said softly. I stared at him and tears formed in my eyes. “My world has been turned upside down the past four months. He makes it right. Of course I'm obsessed, Teo. Wouldn't you be?” He stared at me for a moment and then nodded slowly. “Yeah. I hear you. Well, let's get this going then.” We headed over toward the cars and I wheezed a bit. I had a suspicion I'd been hit in the ribs a few times in that fight but I wasn't going to worry about it right then. We piled into the two cars – Teo's and Brax's – and headed over to see Cole's dad. I was getting anxious as I thought about the discussion to come – what if his dad said no? What if he wouldn't listen? What if he argued? What if I got angry again? That gave me a moment of pause. Cole had said something about my temper recently, and I had to admit I was getting angrier than I ever had – not to mention blacking out twice. I rubbed my hands along the tops of my thighs, wondering if I was nearing some mental precipice. With a feeling approaching dread I thought that would be the cruelest fate of all – what if Cole wasn't even real? I mean the relationship. Had my mind snapped somewhere along the way and I didn't notice? We pulled up in front of the apartment building, and I spotted Keith at his front door looking at his mail. “Keith!” I said loudly as I approached. He turned and smiled, and then a look of concern settled on his face as he took me in. “Darling boy...what happened to you?” “Cole's grandfather was looking for him at school. He asked where he was, and I wouldn't tell him.” His expression hardened. “Come inside. Let's get some ice on that.” “Is Cole's dad home?” I asked. Keith looked behind me and said quietly, “I hope they're here with you.” I glanced behind me and then back to Keith. “Yeah. This is Brax, Cole's best friend, and my brother Teo and sister Alessia.” “Alessia? Gorgeous name, sweetheart,” he said, his tone unsure. She smiled brightly, “Thank you! I've never met anyone else with my name. My parents emigrated from Greece a few years before Teo and I were born.” We followed Keith inside and he went straight to the kitchen. “Morgan should be home soon. Want to tell me what happened, Darling?” He made up an ice pack for me and I explained about Cole's grandfather and how things played out. Keith shook his head. “What a fucking moron. First, he's probably going to go to jail. He's assaulted people all over the place. Secondly, Cole is going to hate him for what he's doing – and I don't think he's going to be very fond of his mother, either.” “Do you know where he is?” I asked. “Vaguely.” He studied me for a moment, then his gaze flicked over to the milling teens behind us in the living room. “Okay, my darlings, come gather 'round. Auntie Keith thinks we need a planning session.” Everyone filed in and took up spots around the table. Keith looked around at us and smiled a little bit. “What a motley crew you have, darling boy. So, here to convince Morgan to let you see Cole? Is that the thrust of your argument?” “Pretty much,” Brax confirmed. “Okay, well, it's been on his mind. But this,” he said, waving a finger toward me – and I presume my injuries, “is going to give him pause and make him feel he was correct. Now. Gramps may be taken care of at this stage, considering how many people he's assaulted, and I'd imagine the school will press charges because it happened there. So for the moment, let's set him aside and deal with Mommy Dearest.” “Will it make a difference to her that her dad's in jail? I mean in terms of backing off?” Teo asked. I shook my head. “Hard to say. So far she seems to be doing what her father would 'want', based on what I know of the guy.” “Right, but what about now? If she isn't being influenced by him because he's not there?” Alessia pressed. The front door opened and Cole's dad walked in. “What's going on here?” he asked, not entirely in a welcoming tone. That stirred my anger again. Fuck being nice about it. “I want to see my boyfriend,” I told him bluntly. “Drew – Jesus! What happened to you?” Everyone started talking at once and it took a little bit for all the details to come out. Cole's dad sat heavily on the couch as he processed all of this. Each of us was pegging him with a demand to speak to Cole and he finally raised his voice to tell us to let him think for a minute. He sighed and rubbed his face before picking up the landline and dialing out. “Hi. This is Morgan Thomas. May I please speak with Gage McNally? There's been a new development in my divorce case he needs to know about.” Keith had disappeared; now he came back in more comfortable clothes. He sat down beside Morgan and held his hand as he got his lawyer on the phone and began to explain what had transpired and asking how they could use that to their advantage. They were on the phone for about thirty minutes. From his side of the conversation we could tell they were going to file for full custody and the house. It probably wouldn't have worked before, but now things were different. His dad hung up and let out a bone-deep sigh. “Let me just get changed and lay down some ground rules.” He went to his room and I tried to be patient. I ended up going into Cole's room. I looked around for a second before I found one of his tee shirts tossed over the back of a chair. I picked it up and held it to my face. Satisfied it smelled like him, I stuffed it in my coat pocket. I looked around for another minute and then returned to the living room and sat with my family. Minutes later Mr. Thomas rejoined us. “Okay. I know it may seem to you like I was overreacting, but you don't know Mike Donaldson the way I do. He had his daughter young, so he's only about fifty. Strong as an ox, and stubborn as one, too. Something like what happened today was exactly why I wanted Cole where no one knew where he was.” I growled at him, “I didn't tell them anything.” “You had nothing to tell them,” he said softly. I pointed at my face. “Do I look like I even said he was somewhere they wouldn't find him?” I snapped. “I gave him nothing. If you don't let me see him, I'm going to go around you. I will find my boyfriend.” He narrowed his eyes. “I don't think you fully appreciate the idea that my son could be kidnapped and neither you nor I would see him again.” “As far as I'm concerned the only one kidnapping him right now is you, since no one can see or talk to him but you,” I replied. Voices erupted around me, and I stared at him while he tried to say whatever it was he wanted over Keith and my family. “Stop!” his dad said loudly holding his hands up. “Just stop, damn it!” He looked around at us for a second and then settled on me. “I could have handled this differently, but you keep being a prick and – as far as I'm concerned – exposing my son to danger, and I'll have him in Florida with my folks so fast it'll make your head spin.” I stood up. “I'll find him there, too. I will make it my life's-” “Okay!” Keith said standing up and getting between Cole's father and myself. He looked at Cole's dad and said, “You need to stop letting a teenage boy get under your skin. Of course he's rebellious – he's a teen and in love.” He turned toward me. “You had better understand that he is still Cole's father. Your negotiation tactics stink, darling boy, and if you don't temper your tongue I'm not going to be feeling much sympathy for you in short order.” He looked down at me as if over glasses. I seethed, but bit my tongue. He leaned forward. “Darling boy, I understand where you're coming from. But this isn't a case that's only about you and you're not the only one that loves him. Stop making threats and be reasonable.” “How?” I choked out. “Better,” Keith said and sat down primly beside Cole's dad. “Now. What did Gage think, honey?” Cole's dad took a breath and let it out slowly. “He thinks this should be enough to get full custody, or at least severely damage Laurie's case. We may be able to use it to back her off, or even drive her out completely.” He looked up at me and his eyes narrowed slightly. “He did suggest that we file a motion to get back into court on an emergency basis, which he will do in the morning. I'm going to call Laurie. He said Cole could stay put through the court date, but if we worked with the school and his friends, then it may be okay to bring him home.” “What do you need from us, Mr. Thomas?” Brax asked. Cole's dad glanced at Brax and then back to me. “I'll do whatever it takes.” I paused. “Mr. Thomas.” He pushed his tongue between his lips and considered me. “I think I believe you. So...for tonight, we can call him. If I can get things lined up, maybe you guys can visit on Friday night.” “Game night!” Teo said with excitement. “I'll bring Ash!” “What about the weekend?” I asked quietly. He tilted his head a little. “If you can refrain from pissing me off, then maybe I can talk to my folks about letting you stay for the weekend. I know it would make my son happy in a bad situation.” “Then I'll do anything you ask,” I told him seriously. ~PCE~ Thursday was filled with anticipation. Cole and I had talked the night before, and it almost hurt to hear his voice. I sent him a couple of emails throughout the day, but I felt more relaxed knowing I was going to see him. I started catching up on my work, and even Mr. Rockland noticed my improved attitude. “You do seem a bit worse for wear. Should I worry about the other guy?” he asked with a little smile. “Cops have him, sir,” I said with a little smile. “And Mr. Thomas?” “He's well and looking forward to my visit tomorrow night.” He smiled a bit wider. “Well done, Mr. Chambers. Well done.” Thursday night was a little frustrating. Mr. Thomas hadn't given me a number to call Cole, but he was hinting that one would come soon. I did some of my laundry and was digging through things to find the perfect thing to wear the following night and what to pack for a weekend of cuddling Cole enough to make up for the week-and-a-half we'd been separated. As I did I stumbled on the box Teo had given me. I picked each item out and examined it, recalling the conversation we'd had about their uses. The dildo was realistically penis shaped, pink, and tapered much like Cole himself. I thought for a few minutes and then took the bulbous item into the bathroom and filled it with warm water. I stripped down and awkwardly worked the proboscis up inside me and squeezed the bulb. Whoa. Weird. I wondered what to do next. I mean, yeah, the water had to come back out in order to clean things, but did I have to do anything else? I couldn't scrub out down there – the idea of putting a bottle scrubber up my butt was a bridge too far. Maybe I needed to...shake things up? It seemed like a good idea to me, so I started hopping up and down, feeling the water slosh inside me – or imagining I did. I got paranoid that it'd start to leak out of me and I squeezed my cheeks together and tried to hop some more to shake things loose. I felt like an idiot and belatedly thought I should have locked the doors. I finally sat down and let it all fall out of me. I took a quick shower in case I'd splashed things anywhere and then I wedged a chair under the bedroom doorknob before examining the other items. I looked at the label on the lube, which really wasn't that helpful. I checked out the box the dildo came in and it actually did have some useful directions. The end result was that Teo was right. This would take some practice, and pretending the dildo was Cole didn't help all that much as I fought to get the damn thing in me. It certainly didn't feel sexy and I wondered if I was getting some kind of a prank played on me. I pulled the thing around and put more lube on my fingers and tried to work them up a little inside me, then coated the dumb dildo again. Then I recalled what Teo had said about the shower being a good place to use it, so I crossed the hallway and climbed back in the tub. I wonder if the tub was best just because if you slopped lube all over, who cares? He was right, that shit ran like water. I settled the suction cup on the wall, turned and tried working it a bit. It took about ten minutes, I think, to work the whole thing in. It felt weird. I pulled forward a bit and it felt kind of like going to the bathroom. I settled back on it and tried again. I don't know. What would I do if it were Cole behind me? Well, if it was like porn, he'd probably be trying to set a land speed record for how fast he could get his dick in and out of me, so I'd need to brace or something. I reached up and grabbed the shower rod. I shifted on my feet and the end of the dildo moved inside me and touched something interesting. Huh. I wiggled a little and couldn't find it. I pulled forward and sank back, finding it an awkward movement. Could I not simulate having Cole behind me? What was the damn point then? I thought for a moment and shifted on my feet again, and that spot inside me resonated again. Oh. So I don't need to throw my body back and forth on this thing. Maybe more like...rocking my hips? I tried it and found the nice spot coming up with a pleasant sensation three or four times out of six. I picked up my pace and soon heard my own butt cheeks slapping against the tiled wall, and then it slipped and I stood still, unable to get the damn thing restuck on the wall without pulling it out of me and resetting it. I spent about twenty minutes experimenting, then I went and got Cole's shirt and pulled it over my face, letting it cover my nose. Then I settled back on that thing and used some of the lube up front. “Oh, fuck, Cole,” I said softly and imagined how that would make him respond. I rocked my hips and stroked myself, repeating the mantra as if I were encouraging Cole himself. It slipped off the wall twice more, but by then I knew how to get it seated quickly and get back to the good spot. With Cole's scent in my nose, pretending to have his dick in my ass and my hand a blur on my own dick, I released for the first time in more than a week. My knees struggled to support me, and as I slipped down and the toy popped off the wall audibly, making a weird noise as it thumped to the bottom of the tub, I felt like I had an idea of what it would feel like to have Cole fuck me. I thought I was up for that. Then the shower rod fell down.
  9. Dabeagle

    Chapter 19

    Sorry guys, busy evening - I'll have to post tomorrow when I get home from work.
  10. Dabeagle

    Chapter 19

    Sometime tonight
  11. Dabeagle

    Chapter 19

    Wonderful things - except you needed an address to send it to and do kids even know stamps exist?
  12. I woke to the sound of the television to find Emily sitting on the carpet with a bowl of cereal and watching the TV. “Oh no, Ms. Thing,” Keith said while wagging his finger. “You get that bowl back to the table.” “You're not my dad,” she said as she petulantly stayed in place. “I'll be your mommy dearest soon enough, sweetheart. Now move it,” Keith said and Emily huffed as she got up and carried her bowl to the table. Keith saw me awake and rolled his eyes before going back to the kitchen. I adjusted my gaze to look at Cole, but he slept on. A small line of drool ran from the corner of his mouth. I still found him beautiful, and my heart ached for him anew. I picked up my phone from the side table and saw we had plenty of time to get ready. I ran my fingers through his hair as he slept. I enjoyed watching him slowly surface from his slumber, his mouth moving as he smacked his lips a little and then those hazel eyes opening and shining like new coins. He sighed. “You're here,” he said. “I'm here,” I confirmed. He moved a hand to the side of my face and closed his eyes for a moment. When he opened them again he stroked my cheek and sighed. “I have to pee. Did I sleep all night?” “Yeah. You conked out before nine,” I said. “I'm sorry. I was wiped out,” he said with a grimace. “You needed the rest. Go to the bathroom. I'll meet you in the kitchen.” “Okay, babe,” he said quietly. I waited a full minute before he rolled out of bed and headed up the short hallway. I climbed from the bed and slipped my jeans on before entering the kitchen – Emily didn't need to be exposed to boys besides her brother in their underwear just yet. “I'm making eggs Brodeur,” Keith said. “Hungry?” “I think so,” I said and sat down at the table. “What are eggs Brodeur?” “Well, it's my last name so when I make eggs, they’re my recipe,” he said with a little smile. “Just a little conceit, darling boy. How is Cole?” “He looks tired. Did his dad sleep?” “Fitfully,” he said with a frown. “I told him to call in today. He should let Cole stay home, too.” He glanced at the clock on the stove. “I have to get myself moving soon, though.” “Can I help with the cooking?” He smiled widely. “Come here, darling boy. Let me show you how to make magic on the range.” His eggs weren't anything crazy, and even with my limited skills I caught on quickly. He patted my shoulder and ran off to get ready for work. I probably made too much food, but Cole's appetite was back and he was cheering up his sister, so I could see some resilience in him. His dad wandered out and kissed both his kids on their heads, poured a cup of coffee and sat down. “Okay, I'm going to take mine to go,” Keith said and scooped up two slices of bread and stuffed some eggs between them. He looked at Cole's dad. “Morgan, stay home, please? Let his boyfriend take care of him for a day.” “Oh. Well.” “Have to run, see you tonight!” Keith said, placing a light kiss on his lips and then waving at us all before zipping to the door. “Guy has too much energy,” Cole said with a grin. “You're telling me,” his dad said with a yawn. “Miss Emily, are we ready to go to school?” “It's too early,” she said petulantly. “But are you ready?” her dad asked. “Too early,” she repeated. He started to tease her and she giggled before he helped her from the table and sent her to go finish getting ready to go. He stood and looked at us. “I'm staying home today. If you guys want to take a mental health day, it's fine with me,” he said, then headed over to finish getting dressed and take his daughter to school. “Want me to stay?” I asked. He raised an eyebrow. “Do you want to leave?” I frowned. “No.” “Then what are we talking about?” I narrowed my eyes at him. “Are you being saucy with me?” He narrowed his eyes back and leaned forward, so I copied him. Soon we were about an inch apart, giving each other slit-eyed stares that wouldn't have intimidated anyone. “Uh. What are you guys doing?” his dad asked, reentering the room. “I'm going to win,” Cole said. “Not a chance,” I scoffed. “Okay then, taking Emily to school. Be back in about an hour,” he said and headed out the door. We kept up the staring contest, which wasn't really a staring contest because we'd both blinked several times, and then he licked the tip of my nose and crowed victory. We put stuff in the sink, but figured we'd get to cleaning stuff later. “So, you look better today,” I said. “I was just tired yesterday. Stressed.” He shrugged. “It's a lot of shit,” I said. He frowned. “Well, I can handle it. I mean, I'm glad you were here yesterday, but it's not like I'm a baby or anything.” I frowned back at him. “I didn't say you were. You're my boyfriend, though, and I want to take care of you. Protect you.” “Drew, I can take care of myself,” he said, sounding irritated. “I'm not an emotional cripple or anything.” “I didn't say you were,” I growled. “But the fact is – okay, look, truth?” I glared at him and he nodded dubiously. “In the last few months we've gone from not really knowing each other to you being the center of my life. Most important, best thing I have going on. When I say I want to protect you it's not because I think you're weak – it's because I love you and I want to be there for you.” He rubbed his face. “I'm sorry. I'm sorry! I guess I'm...first you punch Joe, then you stand between me and my grandfather and mom, then you're comforting me all night like I can't handle life and....” I narrowed my eyes at him. “Cole, if you just rolled with everything I'd worry more. I've been stressed pretty hard a few times in the past few months with the way my life has changed. I think I almost had a panic attack a few weeks ago. Sometimes it just feels like it's all caving in on me.” He frowned. “A panic attack? Why didn't you call me?” I pointed at him. “You see? I'm trying to do the same for you. So stop with the manly bullshit and remember I love you and that's my only motivation here. No judgment.” He crossed his arms. “Why. Didn't. You. Call. Me?” I sighed and pinched the bridge of my nose. “I was feeling overwhelmed and stuck in my head. Brax stopped by, kind of broke me out of my loop. I called you and came over here for the first time.” I looked at him. “I got a little balance and I came to you. I was still worrying about falling so hard for you and not wanting this to be some short experiment or rebound on your part.” He let out a little grunt. “Still.” Then he sighed. “Okay, I see your point. Maybe I'm being...a little sensitive.” “You know what's really annoying though?” I asked him. He raised an eyebrow in response. “You're standing there in a tee shirt and underwear looking fine as fuck without showering or even combing your hair. Not only that, all you want to do is argue with me.” He laughed at me and I grinned. “Seriously. I'm arguing with a handicap. I had all this,” I said, waving a hand up and down to indicate his body, “as a distraction.” “So wait, I'm confused. Did you want to win the argument or have me take my clothes off?” he asked. I blinked. “Both? Can I have both? Cole!” He rolled his eyes and started walking to his room. I chased after him and he ran and I tackled him onto his bed where we wrestled a little, ticking and laughing. We hugged and settled in together for a minute. “So,” he said, his voice sounding playful. “How long have you thought I was cute? Huh?” I leaned back and laughed. “What? Where did that come from?” “You thought I forgot!” he said triumphantly. “But Alessia made a joke about telling me how long you thought I was, what was it? Stupid cute?” I snorted. “When I said that she was talking about Haylee and why she'd stay with you if you were the jerk I thought you were back then,” I said. He frowned and I grinned, deflating his little ego balloon. “You should be telling me you always thought I was cute, Drew. C'mon. How long?” he said, recovering and starting to tease. I narrowed my eyes. “At least a few years I've thought you were cute, but not special. Now, cute and special. Special like I'm going to buy you a hockey helmet to wear in public.” “Oh!” he groaned. “Really? You want to do me like that?” “Well, what about you? How long have you liked me?” “For like a year and a half,” he said without hesitation. “We were in gym class last year and our lockers were across the hall from each other, and I used to check you out when we changed out for class.” My jaw dropped and he laughed, having gotten one on me. “Well, when I went to the locker room to talk to coach about my grade and you were just standing there by Brax in your underwear? I totally checked you out.” He grinned. “Perv.” I growled and we kissed a little. He let out a yawn eventually and I copied him, realizing I hadn't slept that well the night before from worry for him. Or more honestly from anger at the situation. We slipped under the covers and dozed away the rest of the morning, and then we got up and showered before going to lunch with his dad. We talked a little bit about his grandparents, who were coming up from Florida. “So, Nana and Pop will be here tonight, so I'll have to go to the airport to get them. Your mother was released this morning so Emily will be back home,” his dad said, filling us in. “Not really home,” Cole grumbled. “Well, it is for Emily. She doesn't understand, and worse mostly gets her information from mom.” “So...what's going to happen, then?” Cole asked. There was a nervous edge to his voice and I looked at his father. I was afraid of what he'd say – adults can't predict the future any more than we can. I stopped looking to them for answers at some point. “Well, it's hard to say. When parents divorce the woman nearly always wins custody of the children. Obviously with you, that's different. Emily is younger, and female. She could benefit from a female role-model, but I don't know how much your mother's recent actions will play into the judge's decision making.” “Grandpa Mike seems like he's completely lost it. I mean he was gruff, and could be a jerk, but it seems like he's completely over the edge now,” Cole commented. His dad sighed. “I won't get into all the history and the why of anything. Today he's fossilized in his thinking, although I'm pretty shocked he fought with police.” He put his hands together, interlocking his fingers. “Cole, your grandpa Mike has me worried. His behavior is erratic, he basically tried to kidnap you with your mother at the apartment, then he attacks policemen...the lawyer filed for a restraining order against him, but depending on how far gone he is, I'm not confident he'll obey it.” We all took a moment to look around the table at each other. “Okay. Well, I will be with him at school,” I said. “Teo has a car, so we can make sure he gets to and from school.” His dad smiled softly at me. “I appreciate that. I don't think that's a good idea, Drew.” Cole sighed. “Yeah. It just puts you in danger,” he said glumly. “Well, what am I supposed to do? I can't just not see you.” I paused and looked at them both. “It makes sense that he has people around him to prevent a situation. I mean, is this guy even out of jail yet?” “Bailed out,” his father confirmed. “He'll have to appear in court. In the meantime, he's free and angry – I have no doubt of that.” “Okay so like I said, the more people around to help defend him, the better,” I said. “What other option is there?” Cole asked his dad. “Well, there aren't a lot of options. Keith and I are talking about moving, but a legal address for legal things is something of a requirement – and there will be legalities until Emily is eighteen at least. The main thing is the short term, to get through whatever this rage is your grandfather has going on.” He covered his mouth for a moment and then said, “I think you should stay with Nana and Pop for a little while.” “In Florida?” Cole said, alarmed. “What? No!” I said immediately afterward. His dad held his hands out. “Hang on, hang on.” He waited a beat to ensure we weren't speaking and then said, “You can't leave the state. That would complicate the custody process, and I'm reasonably sure I'm on the way to full custody with you. Nana and Pop have found a rental a few towns over, and you can safely stay there. We're arranging with the school to have you take your classes remotely due to the seriousness of this temporary threat.” I looked at Cole. “I'll go with you. I'm living in an empty house as it is.” “I don't think that's a good idea, either,” his dad said and we both looked at him. “Look. I appreciate how you guys feel about each other and I'm not casting any aspersions. You guys have been through a lot and stuck together, leaned on each other and that's fantastic. The problem is we're dealing with a couple of things – first is there’s no threat to you; the school isn't going to change their policies because you want to be a comfort. Secondly, my parents are taking on caring for a grandchild, and it's not fair to ask them to be responsible for you as well. Third...you guys won't be able to talk for a bit.” “What?” we demanded, nearly in unison. “Guys!” he said a bit louder and holding placating hands out. “Look. Your mom and I were the owners of the cell account for the family, okay? Not sure if you noticed your cell missing, but I turned it off and took the battery out because your mom turned on the GPS on it this morning. You can't have the phone right now.” “Can't I get a new one? What about a pay as you go?” “Maybe, but it's not the first priority. Your safety is because...son, if grandpa Mike takes you I have no idea what happens next. There are stories of people fleeing the country with their kids or moving somewhere and just changing their names. Your mother and grandfather are completely set against who you are, and who I am. They didn't used to be so bad, but the last few years there have been a lot of people echoing things that they want to hear, and they got closer and more involved with those people. I have no idea how far they will go.” Cole looked at me and back to his father. “But I want to be with Drew.” His father pressed his lips together, rolling them inward and took a long breath. His eyes were damp. “I know you do, Cole. Right now, though, you have to be safe, first.” Anger rose up in me. Righteous, white hot. At the red-hatted grandpa Mike. At Laurie, Cole's mother. At the kind of people who want things their way, who interfere in other people's lives and relationships. I hated the way Cole's dad was trying to look sympathetic while telling me he was stashing Cole somewhere I couldn't see or speak to him. It changed nothing – this situation was taking Cole away from me. “No,” I said, and I could feel the acid in my tone. “I don't care if I have to repeat the grade, I won't let you take him from me. Not now. Not after everything – just no.” His look of sympathy didn't waver. “Drew, as much as I respect that you guys are a couple – and a good one – I'm his father and he's still my child. I have to do this for his safety and my sanity.” “What about my sanity? You expect me to let him disappear and just sit here and smile about it?” I demanded. “No,” he said in a sympathetic tone. “I don't expect you to smile. None of us are. I don't feel any better about it, because I can't see him either. I'm still laying things out, but I can't even call my parents with my own phone, because my wife can access my call logs. It's all happening very quickly, and we'll have to make some short-term sacrifices.” I got up and walked around the table toward Cole, who nearly jumped from his seat and into my arms. Tears filled my eyes, hot and bitter and I made no effort to hold them back. “Don't cry,” he said softly into my ear, but his breath was ragged as he also began to cry. My anger crested and faltered and a well of sadness swallowed my anger, my righteousness, and threatened to drown me with my own tears. I hadn't had Cole nearly long enough. I know everything breaks, everything created has to be broken, but I had wanted so badly to believe in Brax and the way he thinks – that our relationship could be like a house that needed maintenance and not demolition. This felt so final, and the thought plunged me further into despair and I clutched at him harder. For his part, Cole was crushing me. I wanted it. I felt the pain anchoring me, the shortness of breath a reminder that we hadn't yet parted and my sorrow hadn't yet killed me. Yes, it may seem dramatic on the outside, but to me...Cole really was the center of my life and the happiest thing I had. “I'll find a way to contact you,” he said in my ear. I pulled back, tears coming down my face. “You have to be safe. I can't take it if you're not safe, Cole.” He stroked the side of my face and we were a spectacle in the middle of the diner. We went to wait in the car while his dad finished up in the diner, and all we could do was to sit in the back seat and hold each other, stroke each other's hair and promise to be strong even though we were at our weakest. “I love you,” I told him. “Think about that every day. I love you and I want you back. I want you safe.” He held me and said, “This is such bullshit. I finally have you and someone wants to ruin it. I'll find a way. I can't be without you, not completely.” He sniffled. “This hurts so much.” To those not going through it, I'm sure we looked like overly-dramatic teenagers who needed to get a grip and realize that life goes on. Fuck those people. I'd have other losses in my life, but not this one – not him. I needed him. We went back to the apartment so I could get my things. I picked up my bag and put my old clothes inside and turned to face Cole, who was standing behind me with his shirt off. “Take off your shirt,” he said. I looked at him in confusion as I reached for the hem of my shirt. “Now? With the door open and your dad in the living room?” He gave me a half smile. “Trade. Your shirt smells like you.” I understood, finally, and pulled my shirt off and swapped with him. His scent filled my nose as I pulled the shirt on and I smiled at him. “Great idea.” “I have those sometimes,” he said quietly. We stayed together until it was time for them to head to the airport, and they dropped me at my house. Cole and I kissed desperately, and not enough, before it was over and he was gone. My heart ached as if we had been separated for weeks and not just a few minutes. I skipped dinner with the Petrakises, even though I had to tell Teo and Alessia what had happened. I was despondent, and the next few days I skipped both work and school. A hollow area opened up behind my eyes and in my chest, and the longer I went without hearing from Cole, the more I missed him. Somewhere I realized this wasn't healthy, but I couldn't bring myself to care. I wanted to languish in bed, but Teo roused me out to help with cleaning out the garage so the contractor could start converting it into my bedroom. I didn't really care about it, but I supposed it was better than moping – or so Teo and Alessia told me. I considered walking to the apartment where Keith and Cole's dad lived, but I wasn't sure I'd be civil, and that would undermine my goal of speaking to Cole. I thought it was bullshit to hide him away. I'd rather fight his grandfather and mother head on. Sunday was especially irritating, as Brax, Teo and Alessia came over to try and cheer me up or perform some kind of intervention; instead it only reminded me of Cole's absence. I had been afraid of him being a short term thing, of him only experimenting with me and not committing. I'd given my whole heart and held nothing back for myself. As a tactical move, falling in love ranks right down there with too-long supply lines, disease outbreaks and not letting the camp follower whores raise morale. Cole was my Waterloo. “I don't understand something,” Brax said Sunday night, though I didn't really process it. “How come he couldn't get him a pay-as-you-go phone? I mean, it would be off their network so his whack-a-mole mom couldn't see. What's up with that?” Teo grunted. “My guess?” he said quietly. “He loves his son so much he didn't think he could stop himself from calling him and giving away how he was doing it. He needed time to get a new number, and maybe wasn't even thinking about that yet.” Teo looked up at us. “Maybe talking to him now, after he's had time to think, would be a good idea?” I decided he was right and walked over to talk to Cole's dad. He told me things were pretty bad with him and his soon-to-be ex and her father, and he didn't want to risk Cole. Complete isolation was his current thinking, but he'd be glad to pass a message to Cole when he was able to. I argued with him, and he dug in. The argument got heated and he slammed the door in my face. I didn't go to school Monday or Tuesday. Mr. Petrakis came over to try and strong-arm me into moving, but it's hard to fight someone that won't fight back. Alessia came over Tuesday after school and sat on the edge of my bed. She started stroking my forehead and letting her fingernails trace through my hair and along my scalp. It was the first thing I had found soothing in days and it troubled me. I felt guilty for taking some kind of pleasure when I still didn't have Cole. “I'm worried about you,” she said quietly. I swallowed, but made no other reply. “For as long as I can remember it's been me and my brothers against the world. Remember when we used to build a wall of snow and have snow fights with everyone in the neighborhood?” she asked. I let out a deep breath. “We'd make a pile of snow and just bury people if they got too close. Remember?” I glanced at her from the side of my eye, but she was looking toward my window and running her fingers through my hair in a ceaseless rhythm. “It was different, then. We were always together. We rode the same bus to school. You were at our house so much it was like having another brother.” She paused and looked down at me. “Which wasn't always a good thing. My God! Teo could be such an asshole!” I snorted and she smiled down at me. “I never knew you could love someone so much, Drew. I know you've always had our backs, and us yours. But it was always kind of a given. No big deal. It was just one of those facts like the sun will be out the next day.” I turned my head and looked up at her. “But you've changed a lot since school started. The shit with your mom. Then the shit with our dad. The continuing shit with our dad. At what someone might think would be the worst possible time for you to focus, this random guy that we've known of for years but never really knew comes in and takes your heart away. Now you don't know who you are without him.” In a scratchy voice I said, “I love him.” “I know. I know you do,” she said with a sad smile. “This can't go on, though. The world is still happening out there. Christmas is coming. The house is going to be put up for sale and that garage is already starting to look like it won't be a garage much longer. Then this house will be sold and you'll be under my thumb – I mean roof – full time.” She leaned down and kissed my forehead. “I know you're hurting. I know you miss him. We all miss him for you – though Brax is admittedly getting a double dose for losing you and Cole at the same time. But Drew...you have to get up. You have to eat and most of all, you have to shower. You smell. Worse, you need to find a way to see Cole and this isn't going to get it done.” “He said he'd contact me,” I said quietly. “I just don't know why he hasn't.” “You can't get any answers lying here. Go clean up. Come over and have dinner. Maybe we can form a plan.” I teared up and wiped my eyes. “Okay.” I dragged myself to the shower and once the spray hit me I started to feel better, but I again felt guilty for feeling better. Shouldn't I feel terrible without him close? Accessible? I wasn't sure. I washed thoroughly and cleaned my hair twice. After toweling off I went to my room to dress, but Alessia was still sitting in my room, tapping away on her phone. “Reporting success to Brax?” I asked quietly. “He can't wait to see you at school tomorrow,” she said. I grunted and slipped underwear on under my towel, then finished getting dressed. After finger combing my hair I followed her over to her house and Teo gave me a hug that nearly moved me to tears. Then Mrs. Petrakis did, and I did cry. Jesus, I'm such a weakling. Mr. Petrakis clapped me on the shoulder, and we had dinner. Teo and Alessia dragged me up to his room and we sat down on the floor. “Okay. We need a plan to find Cole,” Alessia said. “Where do we start?” “His father. You think?” Teo asked me. I sighed. “I can ask him. I think he believes Cole is safest in complete isolation, so it might be a dead end. At least that's what he said to me Sunday. We argued about it, got loud, and he slammed the door in my face. So maybe I won't talk to him.” We talked some more, but it was largely pointless. All it did was frustrate me and make me feel helpless. The next morning Brax met us in the parking lot and gave me a bone-breaking hug. “Lemme go. Nerd,” I said to him, smiling. “We have a plan yet?” he asked as he let me go, but slung his arm across my shoulders. “I vote we take out the adults so Cole's safe. Any takers?” “Sounds good to me,” I said with a sigh. He patted my back and we broke up to head to class. “Mr. Chambers.” I glanced up at Mr. Rockwell. “Come up here, would you?” I stood and walked to the front of the class just as the bell rang. Everyone was busy bailing out of the classroom as I stood next to my favorite teacher by his desk. “You've been missing quite a bit. I looked at your record and this is an unprecedented amount of time for you to miss. Is everything all right, Drew?” His face was filled with concern and I felt guilty for making him worry. “Some things at home,” I said quietly. “Can I call someone for you? I have friends in DCFS.” He looked at me steadily. “No, sir, it's not that kind of problem. See...my boyfriend's family is going through a bad breakup, and there's a fear that his mother might try to kidnap him, so his father has him somewhere and I don't have any contact with him.” “I see,” he said quietly. “You know, Mr. Chambers, teachers aren't supposed to have favorite students. It's silly because we're only human. The idea of course is that we don't treat a student favorably compared to the rest,” he said, taking out a book of hall passes and starting to write on it. “But you are one of my all time favorite students, Drew,” he said handing me a pass. Emotions began to rise up inside me. “Thank you, sir.” “Mr. Thomas isn't as much my favorite. Trouble at home can certainly make one do odd things in class. He's a good boy, though.” He looked up at me. “He's been doing his homework online. He has responded to his school email.” I stared at him. He smiled. “I think you'll find the computer lab empty this period. Scoot, Drewbie-doobie-doo.”
  13. Dabeagle

    Chapter 18

    Jake is still eating very little and we're not sure why. Beside that he seems to be doing well. Since the operation was on his gut, it may be that he's just not all that hungry so we are continuing to monitor him. Thanks for asking!
  14. A little while later I put the stuff away he'd gifted me, and we headed over to his house for dinner. There was some lively chat between my siblings and me about the dance, how some people had looked and gossip provided by Alessia. “I heard someone beat Joe Fimmer's ass,” she said, giving me some side eye. “What? You didn't say anything!” Teo said, staring at me. I frowned. “I was alone with him, who else would possibly know?” “You just confirmed it!” Alessia said triumphantly. “I figured someone got him because he's got a proper black eye now, and Cole posted this stupid cartoon of a guy flexing and said not to mess with his baby. Guess his baby beat someone's ass for him.” I rolled my eyes. “Cole needed to have hit him harder. You can't just embarrass a guy or he'll come for you. Right, Teo? Back me up.” “Truth,” he said. “It's like in sports. If you get up on someone and try to cruise instead of keeping the hammer down, you let them back in and then they come back. If someone steps to you, you have to hammer them back down.” “No fighting,” his father said absently. “I want you both to go through some of the things in the garage this week. Anything we don't need – ffft! In the garbage.” “If we needed anything out there it would be in the house,” his wife said quietly. “Most of it is junk.” Then they began debating about some of the specific items that were in the garage and how needed they were. It was boring. I hung out with Alessia and Teo after in the front room. We talked about our dates the night before, some details about how things had gone afterward and just kind of shared things with each other. “So, I want to ask,” Alessia said. “Did you always like Cole? 'Cause I remember you saying he was cute as.” “Well, I mean, I always thought he was pretty. I also thought he was a jerk, so I didn't really think about him a lot. After you told me some stuff that was going on at home for him, I kind of cut him some slack – even though it didn't matter; we didn't know each other then, really.” I shrugged and smiled at her. “So he came after you, then?” she asked. I nodded. “Yup. He totally faked needing help with science to spend time with me.” “That's disgustingly awesome,” she said with a grunt. “So he wanted you and had to figure out how to make you see that?” “I suppose. Wasn't that hard.” “And you!” Alessia said, turning on Teo who looked up from his phone in surprise. “What?” “How long has Ashley been beating his nerd meat about you?” “Hmm,” he said, appearing to think about that. “He said he was talking to a guy in the GSA about wanting to find a date to the ball, but that there weren't that many out guys. I think he said it was Eric, because Eric had been talking about his boyfriend coming to the dance and he goes to a different school. So Eric told him about me being out and that he didn't think I was dating anyone, so Ashley started stalking me on all my social media crap. I guess he liked what he saw.” “Mmm. Stalking sounds sexy until it's not. You keeping this one?” she asked. He grinned. “Yeah. He's probably the best guy I've ever dated. Have you looked at that bubble butt on him?” “Hell, yes,” Alessia said and laughed, rocking back and forth. I grinned at her. “I just can't believe you're dating someone a year behind you. It was always years ahead of you.” “Eh. He's my kind of nerd,” Teo said with a smile. He looked at me. “Speaking of someone's type, your boy is perfect for you.” “Yeah, he kind of is,” I said. “He posted about ten minutes ago,” Teo said, turning his phone toward me. “Him and his dad down at Quigley's. It's nice he's got a solid relationship with his dad.” “He is a pretty nice guy,” I agreed. “Seems like he genuinely cares about his kids. He and Cole have a set day, usually, to hang out and I guess they hadn't been able to do that for a while, so they were going tonight.” “Weird. Parent night on a Saturday? Usually that's going to be hanging out with boyfriends and girlfriends, right?” she asked. “Well, I guess he traded to get me permission to stay over last night,” I admitted. “Wow,” Teo said. “Permission to have sex with his son. He must really like you!” I laughed. “Yeah. His dad said something to me about respecting each other and I figured he knew things would happen. I didn't realize it was sort of planned out, though.” “I think Cole's been planning to get in your pants for a while,” Alessia said and mimed giving a blow job. “Hey, you're the one who had a dick in their mouth last night,” I said, not sure why I'd admit I hadn't. I wanted to. “Yeah. It was some good dick, too,” Alessia said quietly, looking to see if her parents overheard. “He's not afraid to make a girl happy, either.” “Stop,” I said, giggling a little. “Yeah,” Teo said. “Neither of us wants to hear about our sister's vajayjay. But feel free to talk about his dick.” “It's pretty nice, if I do say so myself,” she said smugly. I just laughed at her. We hung out until Cole called me, and I said my good-nights before devoting the rest of my evening to talking to him. “So my dad says we have family court on Tuesday,” he said. “Oh yeah?” “Yup. That was part of what he wanted to talk about. He's looking to get full custody of me. We're meeting with a lawyer on Monday, who is also his divorce lawyer. Right now they need a legal separation to establish custody – and my dad says the lawyer told him I can choose where I want to live because of my age.” I let out a sigh of relief. “That's great. Reminds me, though, how about Keith last night, huh? He ran right out there.” “Holy shit, right?” Cole replied and chuckled. “My grandfather thought he was going to intimidate him, and Keith was like, naw, bitch!” He laughed aloud and I joined him. “Keith seriously likes you, though.” “Yeah. Don't know why.” “Probably not for the same reasons I like you,” he said. “Probably,” I agreed. “But I think he's getting used to you, too.” “Yeah. I'm getting used to his mannerisms and stuff. It's just weird – no, new. It's new. Something to get used to,” he said. “You think your mom will try to force visitation or something?” I heard him sigh. “I'm not sure. I feel kind of weird about that. I mean, I didn't have a bad relationship with my mom, but it feels like it's all different now.” “Cole...from what you said it didn't really sound like your relationship with your mom was good,” I said quietly. “No, no,” he insisted. “I mean, yeah, I don't like how she thinks about some stuff, but she was still there for me. She went to my games, wanted me to do well, got me the workout stuff I have in the basement at home. She was all about...um. Damn.” I waited. “What is it, Babe?” He sniffled a little. “It's just...I told you how she grew up. She told me about it. What men were supposed to be like. What makes a real man. She said I had to be strong, even if I wasn't. I had to do sports, even if I didn't feel like it. She said I had to date the right girls, and she thought Haylee was right.” I wanted to distract him a bit. “I wonder why she thought Haylee was so right for you.” He sniffled again. Very quietly he said, “She used to make fun of me after games. Tell me every mistake I made. For awhile I thought it was like a joke. Some weird motivation. But when I got pissed and told her to stop making jokes about me after I'd had a fumble in a game and everyone was on me about it, she told me I...that I was the joke.” My anger rose up in me so fast it was blinding. “She fucking did what?” “Stop,” he said softly, his voice breaking. “Please stop.” “Stop what?” I snapped. “I can't believe – fuck, yes I can.” I sighed. I was boiling inside, but I also wanted him to finish draining this puss of a woman from his mind. “What did she say about Haylee?” “It's...you're just going to get mad. How about-” “Cole,” I said impatiently and then let out a slow breath to try and master my anger. “Baby. What did she say?” He was quiet for a moment and all I heard was his periodic sniffle. Eventually, though, he said, “She was really happy when I...she had told me if I needed condoms to come to her. Dad had, too. So when I asked for them, all of a sudden she loved Haylee. It was like she saw her as making me normal – straight.” I closed my eyes. “That fucking....” “I don't like you being angry,” he said sadly. “You seem like you're mad a lot.” “That's because I am,” I admitted. “Right now it's because someone hurt you. Look, Cole,” I said hesitating as to how to word my next sentence, but then just blurting things out. “You're real. What I feel for you is so real it hurts. I hate the idea of someone telling you you're less than. Three months ago you were just this pretty boy that I didn't really know, and now you're the middle of my fucking existence and anyone that wants to tell you that you aren't the most beautiful, sexy, kind, funny, most important person makes me want to do dangerous things to them.” He was quiet for a moment and then he said, “Wow. I...my God. I can't...I don't even know how to reply except I love you. I've wanted to be able to talk to you for like a year, and I just couldn't handle it. I worry about how mad you get, though. Promise me you won't do something stupid?” “Uh, when?” “When what?” “Like, is there a specific time I'm not supposed to do something stupid?” “Yeah. When you're mad. Call me instead. I'm afraid you're going to hurt someone at some point. You don't need that, Drew.” I sighed and flopped back on the bed. We slowly moved to lighter topics and my head began to droop and I would snap up to try and hear anything he'd said. I began to mumble and he finally said, “It's two-thirty. Go to bed.” “Yeah, I'm falling asleep,” I said and yawned to punctuate it. “I'd sleep better if you were here.” “I love you,” he said quietly. “I love you back,” I told him. We should have hung up there, but I ended up falling asleep with him telling me to hang up. ~PCE~ Sunday was lost since it was a work day. It was fairly busy and I was actually able to focus on something besides the weirdness in my life and not obsess about wanting to be with Cole. When I was walking home I was texting with him and he said he'd just done a workout. Yeah? Send me a selfie of you post-workout. Lemme see the new muscles 🙂 I walked nearly a block before the phone buzzed. I looked down to see the requested selfie – he was wearing sweatpants riding low, shirtless, flexing and smiling. I need some water. I added an eggplant and water splashing emojis. He put emojis for smiling and blushing. We chatted a little, but then he said his dad needed him and he was gone. I got home, showered and finished my laundry before getting to the last of my homework. I needed to talk to Cole about his future plans so I could make sure they kept us together. I must have been tired, because I fell asleep before I was done with my work. The week was kind of up and down. Monday Cole was with his dad and concerned about anything the lawyer had said. I questioned Cole that night, worried myself that something may have changed, but all was as it had been: the lawyer was confident things would work out the way they hoped. Monday I also had to work, and Cole told me that his mother got into a fight with his father about visitation and custody. She intended to try to make sure Cole never saw his dad again. Needless to say, it stoked all my fear and anger afresh. I had another late night with my homework, but that was because I was spending so much time thinking about Cole I wasn't focused like I should be. Tuesday I helped the Petrakises start to organize the garage. It was packed with crap, but there was some fun had, and I needed the distraction since Cole had gone to the hearing with his parents and it was kind of an all day thing. Teo and Alessia were over-the-top silly, and it only got better when Brax arrived. They were sort-of trying on old clothes, taking pictures and gossiping. “So,” Brax said, glancing at me and winking as Alessia looked at him in curiosity. “My old girlfriend reached out from my old hometown today. Said she made a mistake to let me go. Was wondering if I'd ever come home to visit and if we could Netflix and chill.” “What did you tell that skank, who I'll have to bury somewhere out of the way?” Alessia asked sweetly. “Who, babe! Ease up on the homicide,” Brax said with a grin, pulling her to his side. “I didn't say yes.” “If you had, you'd be buried next to the skank,” Teo said with a chuckle. “Damn, tough crowd,” Brax said, grinning at me. “I don't know why you're grinning at me, Brax. I don't think cheating's funny,” I said to him and then closed my eyes. “Sorry. That was stupid.” “Bruh,” Brax said, pushing my shoulder. “Ease up.” “No. I shouldn't have said that,” I snapped and looked at him. “I don't know how you can joke about it, but I'm not you. It wasn't my parents, so I have no right to open my mouth.” He smiled at me crookedly. “Bruh. Bruh! That's why we're friends! I was only trying to tease my girl – you didn't offend me. Come on, now,” he said and put his fist out. “Come on. I got bigger shoulders than that.” I looked at him and my anger simmered down a bit, and I half-heartedly bumped his fist. “How, though? How can you do that after your parents divorced because your dad cheated and Cole's parents are splitting up and my own father...I don't understand.” He gave me that same crooked smile. “Matters who's saying it and what for, Drew. You'd never say something to hurt me or mine. My dad is a dick! I can say it. I love him, still. I hate what he did to my mom. We don't get on, but I don't hate him – not completely. It's complicated. Alessia knows I'm not going to cheat on her no more than she'd cheat on me.” “Yeah. Better chance of Cole getting pregnant,” Alessia said with a snicker. She looked up at Brax. “You keep making jokes like that and it may cost you.” “Oh?” he asked, raising an eyebrow. She reached down and cupped him. “Two eggs, one squeeze. Mine, Braxton. Mine.” He put his hands up. “Yours, baby girl, all yours!” he said, pretending fright. It was kind of funny. “Drew was saying something yesterday that was kind of funny,” Teo said to his sister. “He pointed out that all of Dad's kids like dick.” She giggled. “Yeah, but not all of us like the same dick.” For some reason we all looked at Brax and his eyes went wide. Lifting his hands up in surrender he said, “Damn, guys! I know what a wishbone feels like now!” That got us laughing pretty hard. “I was just telling him how Teo has checked him out,” I said to Alessia. “Duh. He's dating my sister.” Teo paused. “Also wears sweatpants a lot. Figured the boy was showing off.” “Not that I'm trying to change the subject, but you know Cole's in the same boat as y'all,” Brax said. I thought for a second. “Right, him and his – well, I don't know. Emily is a little young and I don't know anything about Ginger except she seems to be on her mother's side of things.” “Ginger's a copy of her momma,” Brax said. “I don't know Emily that much. But her, if it goes like you guys....” “You mean Emily and Ginger are going to like you in sweatpants, too?” Teo asked, putting a mock confused tone in his voice. “Imma stop now,” Brax said with a grin. Cole showed up around eight and he looked worn out. I didn't ask right away what had happened, just wrapped him up and tried to hide him from the world. Of course, he was surrounded by family with us there, so I guess that was okay. We went inside to order some pizza – Mr. Petrakis had left money on the counter. The Mrs and he had gone out for marriage counseling with their priest. Sitting around the table Cole ran his fingers through his hair several times as he recounted how the waiting beforehand was so stressful. How his mother and grandfather were there and talking at him like he had no choices and making threats against his father. It got bad enough that the lawyer got them a room by themselves to wait. The courtroom had been a joke. First the judge didn't like that Cole didn't want to see his mother and gave him a lecture on how ungrateful teenagers were and how you only get one mother. Cole said he felt belittled and browbeaten and started to get afraid that he'd be sent to live with his mother – and then what? Then the arrest of his mother was presented. The judge realized he'd made a mistake and went full-on the other way to lecture his mother about her responsibilities, and then things got worse. The grandfather interrupted the judge, yelled over him, started going on about a disgrace to the family line and how it was against nature. It got bad enough that the bailiff was called, and the grandfather resisted and then punched the bailiff. Two deputies came running, and the grandfather threw his red hat at one as he charged the other. They subdued him and dragged him off for processing. The judge was furious. In the end he asked Cole what he wanted, and he said he wanted to live with his dad. The judge stared at the mother and said it was so ordered, and then the fight started over the separation agreement; the mother didn't want the father to see their youngest daughter due to his boyfriend. On the heels of that – constantly referring to her estranged husband's 'deviant lifestyle' – she tried to re-litigate the judge's decision on Cole. More fireworks as the judge and the mother argued, and then the mother got dragged off for contempt. Cole was worn out emotionally. I could see how fragile he was, and I wasn't going to leave him alone. I wanted to keep him at my house, but I had a feeling his father wasn't going to let his son out of his sight for very long. “Where is your dad now?” I asked when he was done with the horrific tale. He rubbed his face with one hand. “He went to get Emily. She's going to stay at the apartment for tonight because my mother is...is in...jail again.” My heart couldn't take it. Anger welled up and I had nowhere to aim it. I grabbed him and held him tightly with the desperate thought to fuse us so I could be a protective layer for him against the world. My arms were only matched by his own, and then he was crying and my anger knew no bounds. Stress churned my stomach to acid, my head began to pound and my muscles were trembling with the desire to take it out on someone – anyone. Cole let out a small wail and I pulled his face tightly to my chest as his hands clutched desperately at my back. I buried my face in his hair, kissing the silken strands and willing some of my anger to strengthen him. I'm not sure what happened next. I wish I were making that up, but there is a gap in my memory. The next thing I remember is Cole looking up at me, fragile and beautiful with his red-rimmed eyes and puffy face. “Will you?” he asked, and I had a sense it wasn't the first time he'd asked me something. “Will I what?” I asked, hating that I was suddenly out of the loop. “Come to my dad's? Stay with me tonight?” “Of course. I'm not leaving you,” I said firmly. “I'll run over and get your bag and some stuff for tomorrow,” Teo said. I nodded and he departed; I continued to maintain contact with Cole. “I need a Kleenex, babe,” Cole said. “I'll get the box,” Alessia said and she headed out of the room quickly. Just as fast she was back and then Teo was back and then the pizza showed up, all one after the other. Brax just sat beside us, one arm around Cole's shoulder. “Eat,” I told Cole. “I'm not really hungry,” he said quietly. I looked him in the eye. “One slice? Please try?” He let his gaze drop. “Okay.” I sat on the same chair with him and shoved three slices in me while he barely finished the slice in front of him. His dad arrived shortly after and it was clear he was going to say no about me sleeping over, but I think Cole's beaten look made him reconsider. So we went back to the apartment. Keith had made food, so I convinced Cole to eat a little more, even though he wasn't hungry. He went to shower and I made up the pullout bed while Cole's dad got Emily ready for bed. Cole joined me, and he reminded me of finely spun crystal – fragile, yet gloriously beautiful. I got him in bed and then read to him from IT while he snuggled closely to me. His father came back into the room and I put the book down, Cole's steady breathing telling me he was out. “Thank you,” he whispered. “He's mine. I have to take care of him,” I said, not accepting his thanks. He looked like he didn't like that answer, but I didn't care. I did add in a less-challenging tone, “I love him.” He sat on the corner of the bed, so as not to disturb Cole. “This kind of drama can't go on forever. It's not sustainable, but at the same time I had expected Laurie to see some sense. I think her father is driving a lot of her attitudes right now.” “What about her mom? Or your parents?” “Her mom passed a few years after she was born. Her father dated a lot but never remarried. My parents are in Florida, but they should be here by the end of the week. I'm going to want Cole to spend some time with them so he's not here, where Laurie knows to find him. Not until she gets some sense.” “He wants me with him,” I said protectively. He sighed. “I know, Drew. We had a good talk Saturday and he made a very mature case for where he is with you right now. Even though it's my instinct, even as a grown man, to get help from supportive family members like my parents, I know what you mean to him. We'll figure something out.” “Do you have siblings?” He smiled wanly. “Six. I was born fifth. Unfortunately my siblings are all fairly successful and don't live close by. They also have families of their own, for the most part. Number four, Elise, is gay also – but she came out in her early twenties.” “Cole said your parents...weren't good about you coming out.” He sighed deeply. “They were a nightmare when I was a teenager struggling with my sexuality, but they were strangely accepting of my sister. They’ve grown far beyond their roots. They thought they were doing the right thing, because an actual doctor told them to do what they did to me. That isn't them anymore, or I'd never let them near him.” I grunted lightly. “I won't let anything happen to him,” I said determinedly. He sighed. “I said the same thing. I can't protect him from everything. No kid should have to hear the things he did from his own family today. I bit my tongue so the judge wouldn't see me in the same light he was seeing Laurie.” He smiled wanly at me. “Protect him from what you can, and when you can't – do what you're doing now. He needs this support.” He turned out the light even though it was early and I lay awake in the semi-darkness holding Cole lightly and placing the occasional kiss on his cheek, his forehead, the tip of his nose. “I'm going to get you through this, Cole,” I whispered to him. “I love you. You're worth everything in the world to me.”
  15. Dabeagle

    Chapter 17

    He's doing pretty well, thanks. He is still eating lightly, but otherwise he's being himself - which is to say a butthead 🙄
  16. Dabeagle

    Chapter 17

    I love Small World!
  17. Dabeagle

    Chapter 17

    This may be an issue with some more than others, maybe to do with diet, age and level of activity. The sudden smell can kill the mood for sure. This is more about precaution, and certainly he can choose to forego it. The same can be said with the condom in a monogamous relationship - there are still bacteria and the chance of getting something in there that will cause an infection, so some will choose to use a condom regardless. It's about making informed choices.
  18. Dabeagle

    Chapter 17

    I'm not sure how practical that would be. He'll be leaving for college in a year or so and they'd have to carry tehe mortgage for who knows how long, and we don't know what homes or their prices look like inthe area they live in.
  19. Dabeagle

    Chapter 17

    He was just a kid. One of the two guys was working today so after I got my drink I mentioned it to him and asked that they be more aware in the future because it can make a big difference to some people. I don't like to knock down these guys unless it's really just outrageous.
  20. “Be right back,” he said and went to shower. I watched him go, then with a sigh I turned toward his bookshelf. I scanned the titles until I found IT and took it down from the shelf. It was a large book and I turned to the inside of the dust cover to read the teaser. I was distracted, though. The anger I'd felt when his grandfather and mother had been there was bubbling just beneath the surface. I'd drawn on it for strength then, and it had felt good, right and justified. Now, I looked at it and wondered if that were entirely true. The anger had power. I had hurt Joe Fimmer – not that he didn't have it coming, but I was never like that before. In the moment, I hadn't cared that I'd hurt him. I'd deliberately set him up and threatened him afterward. My anger was rooted in my mother's long, poor history with me, the revelations of my parentage, and finally having something precious of my own and the stress of people not wanting to let it be. But the anger was also a bit scary. I wasn't in control when anger was behind the wheel. I wasn't thinking ahead or considering consequences. Right now that seemed okay. It was aimed at the right people, I thought. But what about later? What about whatever my mother had? Would this be how it started? Mindless anger? Was I going to lose control over it over time, or was I only fooling myself into thinking I had any control? A light knock on the open door drew my attention. Cole's dad was in the doorway. “Hi, Drew. I'm sorry you had to see that,” he said with an embarrassed look. “My family is worse,” I said with a little smile. “I'm just worried for Cole.” He nodded and ran a hand over his face. “We have court this week – I met with a lawyer this past Wednesday – and Laurie isn't happy.” He sighed. “Look, I know you and Cole have gotten real close. I'm not an idiot, I know what teenagers get up to. I'm not saying I approve, but I'm asking you guys be careful and respect each other. This is a really emotionally charged time. Can you do that?” My face felt so hot. “Yes.” I paused and then said, “I think I'm falling in love with him. Have fallen.” “Well, he'll be relieved to hear you feel the same way he does. Oops! Maybe I wasn't supposed to say that!” He grinned. And said goodnight. Cole came back to the room maybe fifteen minutes later. He had on his underwear and a tee shirt. His hair was still damp, in that way that turned me on so much. He looked so freshly scrubbed and adorable. Nervous, but appealing in a way that made my heart beat faster and forced me to adjust myself. “You found the book,” he said with a smile. “Yep. I just need to brush,” I said. “Okay, I just did. Want to read when you get back?” “No,” I said. I waited for his expression to take on a hint of disappointment and then I said, “But if you take off your shirt and lie next to me, I'll read with you.” The ends of his eyes crinkled and he smiled a bit. “Only if you do the same.” “Deal,” I said quietly. I exited the room and brushed my teeth. I debated jerking off before I left the bathroom because I had a raging boner at this point, but hell with it. We were going to make out, he was going to know I had one anyway. I finger combed my hair and headed back into the room. Cole was on top of the blanket, legs crossed at the ankle with the book beside him. Wow. I mean, I was tingling all over. I closed the door behind me and pulled off my shirt, tossing it atop my bag. Then I slipped out of my jeans, conscious that he was watching my every move. After setting my socks aside I climbed onto the bed with him, the book the only thing between us. “You're pointing at me,” he said with a smile, blushing. With a glance to confirm his state I said, “You started it.” “So, um....” He placed his hand on the book cover and I reached out, lifting it up and placing it behind me. Then I scooted over to him, rolling on top of him, pressing my erection into him and feeling his press against me. “I want to finish the kiss from my house,” I said huskily. “Any time, any way you want me – I'm yours, babe,” he said softly. As I drifted to sleep I made a mental note to tell Alessia that Cole had also been a good boy, and definitely deserving of some love. ~PCE~ I came awake slowly and was momentarily confused as to where I was. I turned my head and took in Cole's face, smiling gently as he looked down at me with his head propped up on his hand. “What're you doing?” I mumbled. “Watching you sleep,” he said softly. “Freak,” I mumbled and smiled at him. He settled in beside me, the heat of his body warming me in ways blankets couldn't. “I was thinking I should terrorize Brax by telling him I got some last night, since he did that about Alessia,” he said in a matter-of-fact tone. I groaned. “Is this going to be a competition, now?” “If he gets to talk, I do too, right? It's like the bro code.” I grunted. “I have to pee.” “Me too. You go first.” I grunted again and climbed from bed. I crossed the hallway quickly, did my business and then washed my face and brushed my teeth before stealing back across the hallway. I had on my underwear, but I still didn't want to be caught outside the bedroom like that. I closed the door behind me and Cole was lying on his side, smiling at me. “What?” I asked. “Just enjoying the show. Rawr.” He giggled. “Nerd,” I said, smiling. “Go.” He slid from beneath the covers and I admired his lithe form. I made no effort to hide the fact I was checking him out. He gave me a knowing smile and left the room. I sighed. He was so pretty. 'Less didn't think so. Not sure Cole registered to Teo other than that I was happy with him. I'd discovered the night before that he had a hard time growing body hair, and it felt amazing. I could feel muscles, smooth skin and very fine, soft, short hair along his body. It was fine enough that you almost couldn't feel it at all. Fuck. I was rock hard again. After last night, I knew I could do something about it – with him. He came back into the room and seemed a little surprised to find me standing where he'd left me. I held a hand out, and he closed the door behind him before reaching out to me. I turned him and pushed lightly against his chest to send him sitting back down on the bed. Then I straddled him and leaned in to kiss him. Last night hadn't been fast, really. But now it was morning and someone might come to check on us, to invite us to breakfast or something equally boring compared to what I was doing right now. I had to be quick and quiet. With a sense of urgency I pushed him back with my body so that he was lying flat, his lower legs dangling from the edge of the bed. I slid backward and placed my hands on his hips. “I want to see.” He stared at me with a hazy expression. “Whatever you want,” he croaked. I pulled on his underwear, dragging it over his erection and down his legs before tossing them aside. His dick was smaller than mine – more slender. The head was smaller and tapered which may have been a turn off to some people, I guess. Stupid people would be my opinion. He lifted one leg to plant his foot on the edge of the bed, and his balls lifted – they were drawn close to the base of his dick – and I saw the swell of his cheeks beneath them. “Are you going to...?” I tore my eyes from his dick with great effort. “What?” He was flushed, and it made him look so damn good. I didn't know how anyone could look at him and not be mesmerized – my siblings must be damaged. “Will you take yours off?” he asked, his voice laced with desire. “Do you want me to?” He swallowed. “Yes,” he whispered. I reached down and shoved my underwear down, bending enough to remove them and toss them away. He stared at my erection and I stood still, letting him have the same moment I was savoring with him. I might have stayed like that forever, but the urge to touch him became overwhelming. I put my knee on the bed on the inside of his foot and leaned forward. He pushed down with his foot, bringing his other leg up on to the bed and I moved between his legs and pressed our bodies together, grinding on him slightly. “Anything I want?” I asked breathlessly. He pushed up against me. “Yes. Anything.” “You like this?” I demanded, my voice a hoarse whisper. His legs pressed to my sides, thighs slick against my skin. “Yes,” he whined. I reached down, grabbing his hips and working my hands underneath to grab at his butt. He pushed up against me and my hands slid down further and I grabbed him, filling both my hands – and I was flying. I pulled him against me, rubbing and thrusting in mindless ecstasy. I say mindless because I was too busy trying to feel everything, to absorb him. I wanted to melt together and be a single entity where I didn't have to think about us being separated, about ill mothers and philandering fathers, divorcing parents and grandfathers who tried to steal him from me. He was beneath me, warm, soft and hard all in one. I pulled him tightly against me as I ground into him. He was whispering things – crazy things. I could have him. He'd go first. Anything for me. Please, don't stop. Stop? I don't think I could have with a gun pointed at me. I thrust forward against him, our bodies sliding with slick friction. I was harder than I'd ever been, aching and ready to burst. “Uhhhh.” He groaned, low and enticing. He shuddered under me, and hot fluid splashed against my erection and stomach. With the extra lubrication I redoubled my efforts, straining to melt us together. Soon after I let out a hiss, ejecting the results of my passion for him. I groaned lightly, covering his mouth with mine and he reached behind me, cupping my behind and pulling me against him to grind our cooling spend into each other – mixing it as if we had actually been one creature that had produced a massive orgasm. We lay like that, chests heaving and sliding against each other. He was planting small kisses beside my ear and whispering things so sweet it was painful to hear them. His fevered whispers ranged from repeating how I could have him anytime, anywhere I wanted to how good I felt and how much he loved me. He went on about how hot I was to him and my thoughts spun as my body trembled from the delight of his skin on mine. How had I arrived here? How could I keep him? When could we do that again? ~PCE~ We spent the better part of the day lying in bed and reading IT. It wasn't as difficult as one might think. It had the added benefit of being cuddled as we read. We only stopped reading a half dozen times to kiss or press against each other in a display of our desire to be close; we read nine chapters. “Hey, guys,” his dad said, standing in the open doorway. Cole stretched beside me. “Hey, Dad.” “Are you guys reading the same book at the same time?” he asked, sounding amused. “Yep,” Cole said. “Kids,” his dad said with affection. “Listen, come have a sandwich – Keith whipped up some lunch – and then you and I are supposed to go for a haircut and to Quigley's.” “Oh,” Cole said with a note of disappointment. “I forgot about that.” “I know. Hanging out with dear old dad isn't as much fun as new boyfriend and all, but we have an agreement. Right?” His dad looked at him expectantly. “Right,” he said. His dad nodded and turned his gaze to me. “We can drop you home after lunch, Drew.” “Okay, thanks,” I replied. After his dad walked away I turned toward Cole. “What agreement?” “What what?” Cole asked, playing dumb. “I will pinch you,” I threatened. He smiled crookedly. “As you know, things have been pretty up and down. Dad wants to make sure he and I are talking and are on the same page with stuff. Plus, he and I always used to have a hang out day – but we haven't for a while. Different schedules, needing to see all us kids when he wasn't living there – kind of a mess. We like going to Quigley's for an iced latté and to talk.” “So...your agreement is to hang out with your dad?” I asked, thinking it sounded like an awkward way to term things. “It sounds more like a trade was made.” “Well,” he said, dragging the word out and smiling. “I may have negotiated to have my boyfriend sleep over after the ball.” I stared at him. No wonder his dad had said something to me last night. Anyone with an ounce of sense had to know something was going to happen last night, or that it was highly probable. I probably should talk about that, but it seemed weird. So instead I said, “You said ball. I've seen yours. I like them.” His crooked smile grew a bit wider. “I wish you could stay again tonight.” I studied his face for a moment. “I do too. But we have time. I want us to last, remember?” He took on an innocent look. “You only lasted a minute more than I did.” It took me a second to follow him and I gave him a playful frown. “You wait until I get you alone again.” He grinned fully and I smiled at him and we broke down giggling. “What are you doing tonight?” “Probably having dinner next door,” I said. “Have to catch up with Alessia and Teo.” “He probably wants to brag about bagging Ashley,” he said mischievously. “I guess I should brag about bagging you, then,” I said, rolling into him and kissing him lightly. “I hope so. I know I'm fucking bragging,” he said and chuckled at my expression. “What?” “Bad, Cole,” I said, not thinking of anything else. “After dinner I guess I'll have to wait for you to call. I have to do laundry. I work tomorrow.” We were called out to the kitchen and joined Keith and Cole's dad for lunch. Keith had made what he called Dagwood sandwiches – and they were huge. He told us about some old comic strip that used to be in newspapers that had a guy named Dagwood who made these huge sandwiches. Who names their kid Dagwood? After I got dropped at home, I went and started my laundry before getting in the shower to wash off that morning's exertions. It was tough not to relive that morning in my mind, and I didn't even fight it. I wasn't a rebound. He loved me, and I loved him. My only real worry was how to make it all last. There was literally no adult I could ask who knew how to make things last. My mother: no. The Petrakises: only if you wanted to be miserable. I didn't even know Brax's mom, but he was only here due to his father cheating. Cole's parents: oh hell no. Teo had serial dated, and I suspected had done way more than date, though I'd never thought about it any more than to get off. Even then I hadn't pictured his boyfriends or whatever. How in the hell would I make this work without even having a clue how to have a relationship? Suddenly I felt cold and twitched under the warm water, thinking of losing Cole somehow. We already had external threats – his mother and grandfather. There were some people at school like Joe Fimmer. The one thing I could control was me, and I had no clue how to handle that. It didn't help that my thinking was impeded by thinking of his body and how he'd felt. The control he handed me. How needed I felt. I really loved what we did together, but I also enjoyed the other things – reading, the horror movies, dressing up and going to the ball. I wanted to count stars with him, debate ideas, stand together against all obstacles and get him into bed frequently. All of this and more was within my grasp; how do I keep it all from slipping through my fingers? The water began to cool and I shut off the shower. After toweling dry I dressed in sweats and a tee, electing to forego socks. My room always stayed warm, even if the rest of the house was decidedly cooler – no idea why. I sat on my bed, back to the headboard, and spent maybe thirty minutes of fruitless brooding about how to keep Cole with me when I heard the back door close, meaning a Petrakis had just come over. “Drew?” Teo. “Upstairs,” I called. He took the stairs two at a time and entered my room with a small box in hand. He stopped in the doorway and smiled at me crookedly. “You're sitting down. Can Cole?” Perplexed I asked, “Why wouldn't he?” He raised an eyebrow. “Okay, guess that didn't happen. Allie owes me five bucks.” “What are you-” And then the penny dropped. “You guys bet on if we'd have sex?” “It was late, we got bored.” He shrugged and looked completely not sorry. “How bored do you have to be to focus on my sex life?” I asked with a snort. “Well, we'd already covered ours,” he said with a smile and sat on the opposite end of the bed from me, placing the small box before him. “Wait. You guys had sex? Last night? I thought Ashley had to take the limo back?” I asked. He wiggled his eyebrows and tilted his head from side to side. “Haven't you ever snuck out?” “Snuck out where?” I asked. “So sheltered,” he said and snickered. “We all knew that. You snuck out?” I asked. “So did he,” he said, spreading the blame. “Folded down the back seat of my hatchback and we had us some sexy times.” I goggled at him. “You barely know the guy!” “Eh,” he said with a wave of his hand. “Let me tell you something, Drew, old son, old sock, little brother of mine.” “It's like a year, Teo. I'm not six,” I said, unimpressed. He chuckled, ran his fingers over the cardboard box and looked up at me. “I started dating when I was fifteen. I found out people thought I looked a little older 'cause of my body hair, so I could pass for eighteen, or people could talk themselves into it. The only guy I knew in our school that was out was Eric Keeler – you know him, right?” “Um.” I thought for a moment. “Oh, right. Brown hair, green eyes, about five ten? He dated a few guys from the GSA. I heard he was dating someone from another school, now.” “That's the guy. Alessia liked him more than I did, looks wise, but he was a pretty nice guy. Still, the GSA wasn't my thing – and I actually don't know why. Just...no interest. But one afternoon I went over to the community college with my dad to deliver something he'd fixed, and I saw a sign for their version of a GSA. I got curious and I decided to show up. Met a few guys. Faked my way into a few dates and...lost my virginity.” I raised my eyebrows. “At fifteen? To a college guy?” He waved away my expression. “Sixteen. He was only eighteen himself. I checked out the club for SUNY Binghamton, and caught the eye of a professor. I thought he was hot, even thought I was in love. He didn't ask a lot of questions and I ignored the ring on his finger,” he said, looking away after a moment. “None of that lasted. I slowly began to realize they liked my outside and maybe my personality on the surface, but none of them knew me. Not me like you know me.” “I've known you forever.” “Yeah,” he agreed. “Still – what do you know about Cole?” I shrugged. “Horror fan, both books and movies. Likes video games and some sports. Good relationship with his dad.” I smiled wickedly. “He's fucking hot.” “I bet you can pick out his favorite book?” “Books,” I corrected. “So?” “That's important shit, Drew. I like sex as much as the next person, but that only lasts so long. You can have sex, and afterward you kind of go do your own thing – or you actually make a relationship with someone and have sex with them, and go back to having a relationship. Like, sex can be this little thing that exists on its own, but I think it's better when it's part of a whole.” I frowned lightly. “You regret your hook ups?” “Eh. Regret is a little strong. I liked the sex. I felt good, most of the time. To a point I felt a little disposable. Part of that was my fault – only one guy found out I was sixteen and he freaked the fuck out. Screamed how I could get him thrown in jail, get the fuck out, Jesus, Mary and Joseph'ed me and would have splashed holy water on me, maybe.” I frowned a little harder. “Well, I guess he's right. I mean, I always thought you liked older guys. Don't you?” “Initially, I thought that, too. Then I kissed you, and that didn't work out that great. But I liked that you got me. Knew things I liked and that I could hang out with you and share secrets and have a relationship. It got me thinking really hard that maybe I was looking at things the wrong way.” I grunted. It had never occurred to me that I could teach anyone something. Not that I'd been trying. I guess I was an example of a sort. “Anyway, Ashley bops up all flushed from being embarrassed and asks me to the ball. I was like, aww. No one blushes for me. He's being so sweet. So I said sure. And he flipped and wanted to make plans, so we agreed to meet up later. Then we talked and I was genuinely surprised that he was interesting – my kind of interesting.” “A nerd.” “Exactly. Video games, board games, card games – Ash is into it. He went with me to Beyond Boarders for their Saturday morning card game frenzy.” I raised an eyebrow, not having known that. “So you guys...I mean, you got a real relationship going?” “Most real I've ever had, Drew. I'm loving it.” “Huh,” I said. “That's awesome. You guys look good together.” He smiled indulgently at me. “You and Cole look like you're made for each other. It makes me happy to see how he looks at you.” I tilted my head and tried to think of the times Cole and I have looked at each other. “How does he look at me?” He leaned forward. “It's when you aren't looking. It's like the only thing in the room that matters is you.” “Huh.” “So, I saw you come home alone, and I have been gathering a survival kit for you to help you out,” he said proudly and with a glint of humor in his eye. He patted the box and I looked at it suspiciously. I rubbed my face. “You know, I was just thinking about how I have no one to ask about how to try and make this thing with Cole last. You've dated so much I figured, you know.” “That I could show you how to fuck one up, but not make it last?” he asked and laughed at my expression. “I get it, I do. But my mistakes can be a help to you. Besides, some things aren't mistakes – it's knowledge that I'm going to pass on to you.” He reached into the box and pulled out a package of condoms, a plastic bottle which I assumed was lube, something with a bulbous end and a rubbery proboscis, and then a box that had the picture of a dick on it. A dildo? He bought me a sex toy? Suddenly I wanted to derail this. Change the subject. Sex! No, not sex. Well, not Teo and Ashley sex. Alessia! “Um, so Alessia and Brax,” I said. He rolled his eyes. “They went down on each other. She. Won't. Shut. Up. About it. She's been asking me advice for sucking on a D, but I guess girlfriend wasn't thinking ole Brax was going to reciprocate. I'm telling you, Drew, the guy is taking good care of her.” I was momentarily stunned. “I. She. Uh, I don't.” I stared at him for a second. “I don't think I want to hear about Brax's tongue and her vajayjay.” “Want to hear about her tongue and his dick? I have details. Nauseatingly-” “No. No I do not!” I said firmly. “Is it the vajayjay that has you spooked or the fact that it's your sister?” “Little of both, I think,” I said, wondering how I'd gotten here and how to get back out. “Um, you and Ashley?” He grinned widely. “He's got a nice body. Not real athletic, but you can feel he's a male. Healthy male. He lost his virginity last night.” “Um, you blew him. Didn't that count?” “Eh, depends on your definition. Not that it matters. Straight men think a woman who hasn't had another man is somehow pure so he can imprint on her by taking that first memory. It's a bullshit power thing. I'll admit, I feel pretty good having been his first.” He paused. “But to my mind, there is a big difference between oral and anal. Cherry popping is kind of a penetration thing.” I covered my face for a moment and then looked up at him. “So...he's special?” His expression softened. “When we met up he'd brought a card deck with him. We talked as I drove us out to the old asylum – you know the place?” I nodded. “You showed me the pictures once. Used to be the Binghamton State hospital. Fucking gorgeous inside.” “That's the place,” he said excitedly. “So I parked around behind the building where some trees are growing wild since they don't keep the grounds up, and got busy with my boy.” I grinned at him. “Is this where we brag about our conquests last night?” He smiled and pointed at me. “I want to hear every bit, but it brings me to this stuff,” he said, drawing my attention back to his sexual care package. “Now look. I know I made wise about you sitting and stuff – but did you guys go for it all?” I shook my head, blushing a little, yet excited to share my passion for Cole. “We jerked each other off last night. Lights were out, and it felt amazing. His body feels so good. Then, this morning, we kind of...I don't know, humped? He was telling me I could have him any way I wanted him, anytime, anywhere. It was...overwhelming, in a way.” “Ah. Nice, you've discovered the joy of frottage.” “What? What does that mean?” “You get naked, hop on each other and create some friction,” he said, grinning. “Like you said, kind of hump each other until things reach their natural end.” I blushed but smiled and nodded. “Yeah, that. Frottage, huh?” “Yep. So I'm glad this stuff didn't arrive too late, especially if Cole is already talking bottoming.” I looked at him blankly. “Bottoming? I mean, he was underneath me this morning,” I said uncertainly, heat flaring in my face. “Nope, nope,” he said. “I forget sometimes that your mom let you have no internet and shit. In a way that's good, not so much porn either.” I flushed. “Not because I didn't want to see.” “Eh, mixed bag. Little unrealistic, even if it can be hot because it skips out of the less sexy parts of sex.” I was confused. “How can parts of sex be unsexy?” “Okay, let me back up,” he said with a smile. “As your big brother, I will answer everything you ask truthfully – I know this box might have you thinking this is a joke of some kind, but I'm dead serious. So first, a bottom is the person getting fucked. A top is the person doing the fucking.” “Oh. Um, right. I think I knew that. I guess I just didn't, you know, put it together with what Cole and I were – holy shit.” My eyes were wide as I looked at Teo. “He wants me to fuck him.” “Well,” he said, dragging the word out. “How about we go with he's open to the idea. If he's watched porn, he may have some...unrealistic expectations.” I shook my head. “Like what?” “Well, like this. Take your fingers,” he said and help up his left hand. “Make a fist like this. Now look at the end by your thumb. Pretend that's an asshole. Now with your other hand, push your finger in that pretend asshole.” Dubious, I obeyed. “Okay, not so tough, right? But let's not forget, the old leather cheerio there is a muscle that we don't flex unless we're letting things out. So hold your fingers in a fist, but tight like you're gonna punch someone, and then try your finger again. Frowning, I tried again, but of course made very little progress. “That's what sex with a guy is like?” “Crude example, but sort of,” he said. “So there are a few things that are super important for someone who is going to bottom. The first thing is to be clean. This guy here,” he said as he picked up the bulbous item, “is a big help. You fill it with warm water, squirt it up there and let it wash things out.” I cleared my throat. “Um.” “Trust me – smell of crap and someone getting it on their dick is a huge turn off for most people. I don't know about you, but I don't want to have sex with the people turned on by poop.” “Oh,” I said in understanding. “They sell enemas in the store,” he said, “but they are filled with saline. It's okay for that once in a while thing, but saline is bad for repeated use because it can cause problems for your intestine, okay? You can read up on all this yourself, but for now trust me that I'm telling you the truth even if it sounds kind of weird.” “Oh, no! I trust you. I mean, this is a weird conversation, but...yeah.” He leaned forward. “Sex shouldn't be embarrassing. Most of us do it, and there are an awful lot who want to do it all the time. Never be embarrassed to talk sex with me.” He gave me a pointed look and I nodded quickly. “I got you this one because it's the same one I have, and it works really well. Next thing is lube,” he said and placed the bulb back on the bed and picked up the bottle. “Stuff that you can wash off with water is great. You'll have to try out different things, but I like this one. It's a little watery, so be careful or you'll have it everywhere. Remember how your finger couldn't get into your fist?” I nodded. “Well, some lube and some patience are your best friends. Use plenty of lube and work the muscles of his hole – or yours. See, if you flex your arm, your brain knows how to work that muscle. With your butt it's the same thing, except you don't flex that one. You have to teach yourself how to relax that muscle. Go slow, use a finger, then two.” He paused. “I'm assuming you know all about condoms?” “Health class,” I said with a nod, not feeling quite as embarrassed. “But if it's guys...I mean, he can't get pregnant.” “Right. But you guys can still get STDs – I mean, if you're only having sex with each other not so much, but there is also if someone isn't so clean, you can get stuff in your dick and get an infection. Never happened to me or with my partners, but it's a thing. Your choice.” “Okay,” I said. “Um, why the dildo?” “Easy. You should know what it feels like. If you work that thing into you, then you'll understand what Cole is going to deal with the first time he takes you. You want to have him, right? But you want him to feel good and not be miserable, right?” “Of course,” I said quickly. “I could hurt him?” “Drew,” he said with a shake of his head. “Think of that finger and your fist. Forcing in. Now think about how your dick is way more sensitive than your hand, and how it'd be similar for your hole, not to mention your insides.” “Oh. I didn't think of that.” “That's why I'm here. So you take this dildo and this lube and you educate yourself. I'd suggest the shower. This guy has a suction cup so you can try different heights. Work on relaxing your hole, so you get some idea what Cole will go through. Different angles hit different parts.” I frowned lightly. “So this...you and Ashley....” “Yep. I cleaned out and took his dick. When we talk about changing roles, I have to teach him, too.” He smiled widely. “When I tap that sweet bubble butt, I'm going to want him to want to take my dick again, not hate it so much he runs back to the closet.” We laughed and I felt kind of giddy at the open discussion of something that I hadn't realized I was so ignorant about. “So let me ask you this,” I said as my laughter tapered away. “Muscles take a little time to learn this right? Do I want to jump right to that?” “Um, I wouldn't, no,” he said. “I've bottomed before so I knew what to do, how to relax. But if you – hey, have you guys gone down on each other?” “No. On my to-do list,” I said with a grin. Then, unable to stop, “He's so fucking pretty. His dick is, too.” He chuckled and I laughed from nerves. “Okay, well, use a finger on him when you do. Wiggle that finger until you find a little nub up there. That's the prostate and he should like you rubbing that a lot. A whole lot. He'll probably pre-cum a lot then, too.” “Uh. Okay,” I said, feeling hot and wondering when I'd have a chance to apply some of this knowledge and the idea was pretty exciting. “So...things are looking good for you and Ashley? He's what you want?” He tilted his head to one side and gave me a lopsided grin. “After we were done, after we cuddled up a bit you know what we did? Played a card game. We literally went from fucking to gaming. He's a fucking keeper, Drew. Best guy I've ever been involved with, bar none.” I nodded and smiled at him. “I'm glad for you, Teo. You seem happy.” “So changing the subject – unless you had anything else?” he asked. “Um, no. Thanks. Really.” He smiled widely. “My pleasure. So, you and Dad really had it out yesterday.” I frowned. “It was a dick move on his part. It was bad enough to walk in and find him rifling through stuff like someone didn't live here, but I walked in with Cole. We were making out pretty hard and I was feeling like things were going to be headed to the next level when I realized I had company.” “Oh,” he said, dragging the word. “It wasn't just surprising you in the house, but he cock blocked you. I totally get it. I mean, I got it last night – not Ashley, I mean I understood,” he said and grinned. “Yeah, yeah, you got some nerd dick, I got it,” I said with a smile and a roll of my eyes. It felt kind of weird to speak of it so casually, but also refreshing. “It was good nerd dick, too,” he said and winked comically. “But I mean Dad was completely unwilling to see where he could be anything but completely right. Things are fucked up right now, Drew. Could be for a while – maybe even the rest of the time we're in town before college and well after. I found out they are having a pretty big shed put in our back yard next week, and next weekend we'll have to clean out that old one-car garage that we never use for a car.” “Yeah. Making it into my room,” I said a little morosely. “Oh, baby brother, I am about to make your year,” he said with a huge grin. I looked at him with curiosity and waited. “There is a side door on the garage. One to the outside. It's perfect for sneaking boyfriends in.” I started to open my mouth and then pushed my tongue against my teeth. “I can see the advantage.” He grinned. “Anyway, plan to get your boy toy to help move shit next weekend. I already asked Ash and I'm pretty sure Brax will be there, too.” I chuckled. “Brax has caught you checking him out a few times,” I said, thinking of my conversation with him at work a few nights before. “Not like I try to hide it. He's good looking, Alessia says he's got a satisfactory package,” he replied. “Is it weird I'm both curious and don't want to know about his dick?” I asked, giggling at my nervous feeling. “Nah. Everyone is a little curious, and even if they don't think they are, most of them would probably look at someone naked just because it's not an everyday thing, you know? Novelty. If Brax whipped it out we'd all stare, maybe grade it and move on with our day.” He paused. “Maybe take a photo for posterity and times when we're single. Actually, no. Allie would be way too amused to have someone pining over her boyfriend's cock.” We laughed at the absurdity of the whole thing.
  21. Dabeagle

    Chapter 16

    Sorry guys - the kid at Dunkin gave me a regular coffee yesterday rather than my decaf, and I was up until 5am. Then we had to run out because we're thinking about putting in an above ground pool for the boys this summer and had to stop by mom's, so this is the first I've seen of the site today. I'll get to formatting for you, such loyal readers 😄
  22. Dabeagle

    Chapter 15

    The garage may not be described as such, but ti's attached to the house.
  23. We parted lips, and my hand was forced to withdraw a bit, but Cole was smiling at me and shaking his head. “Damn, Babe. Where'd that come from?” “It's Teo's fault,” I told him, heat flaming through my face. That had felt so awesome! The rush of making the decision, the feel of his skin, and the glint in his eye from my being so bold. “I have to thank him later, then,” he said with a grin. Then, maybe as a metaphor for life, the music changed. Our moment was broken, and we exited the dance floor to cool down. “Want something to drink?” Cole asked. “Please,” I said and sat down at our table. Alessia dropped in beside me. “I saw that! What did it feel like?” Brax waltzed up behind her, his tongue pushing against his cheek and a knowing smile on his face. “Really?” I asked, laughing. “You guys weren't occupied enough so you had to watch us?” “You grabbed his butt!” Alessia stated. I looked at Brax. “Brax, will you please let her feel your butt? I think she's jealous.” He obligingly turned and pushed his butt out in her direction and was rewarded with her slapping it. Cole came back with our drinks. “What's up?” he asked as he handed me a glass of punch. “They saw me grab your butt,” I said and sipped. Alessia looked over at Cole, who grinned at her. “It felt good, too,” he said and sipped his drink. We joked a little but I was surprised with how I wasn't freaking about being so bold with him. Teo had been right, in a sense. There was a time for your head to guide things, and a time for your emotions. I was pretty sure when my dick took over the thinking I could be in for some trouble, but I'd deal with that when it came. Pun not intended. Cole plopped down beside me. “When we get done, can you stay over? We can play some video games and then watch IT. Both parts are up for streaming.” I thought for a second. “As long as I can shower before we go over – just to wash the sweat off.” I glanced at him. “You will need one, too.” “I know,” he said, pulling on the front of his shirt to fan his chest. “Have you read IT?” “No. I've only read what you loaned me,” I reminded him. “Shit. Maybe we'll watch something else, then. Hey,” he said with a grin. “Want to read it together?” “You have two copies?” I asked. “No.” I raised an eyebrow and chuckled. “Yeah, okay.” Haylee was at the dance, but she seemed wrapped up in Naveen – enough not to notice Cole and me. I saw Joe Fimmer giving Cole the stink eye, but that was all. He didn't even have a bruised nose or anything so Cole couldn't have hit him that hard. I did think about that for a bit, and began to worry that it wouldn't end there. What if Cole had hit him just enough to embarrass him? Now he was pissed and looking for payback. “I'm going to the bathroom,” I said to Cole and made my way around the edge of the gym. I saw Joe and he glared at me, so I tilted my head, indicating he should come out into the hallway. He narrowed his eyes and followed me out the door. I walked past the bathrooms and turned the corner, waiting about four feet from the end of the corridor. I could hear Joe's shoes on the stone floor, and moments later he stood before me. “What do you want?” he asked, tilting his chin up in defiance. “Just to warn you to back off. Cole doesn't need your shit,” I said, trying to keep my voice calm. A cocky smile settled on his face. “That little bitch is going to-” I didn't swing wide like the movies, but rather a straight shot at his face. He started to dodge, but was surprised that the 'weird' kid was taking a pop at him, I guess. He wasn't fast enough and I did more damage to his nose than Cole had. Way more. He gave a cry, throttled by him holding his nose and no doubt his eyes were watering and a stinging sensation was spreading across his sinuses. Teo had kneed me in the face once when we were wrestling and gave me a bloody nose, so I think I knew what he was feeling. This had to be definitive, though. I kicked him in the nuts and as he crumpled I put my knee on his chest. Breathing hard and still feeling wildly nervous I said, “I did warn you. Next time I'll take a few of your teeth as a souvenir.” I walked away shaking, nerves stretched thin – but fuck Joe. I went to the bathroom, washed my hands and face and took a few deep breaths. “Dude. What happened to you?” I turned just as Joe walked in. He looked at me and I locked gazes with him. I approached him and for a moment I thought he'd want a rematch on even terms – but no. He stepped aside. It's true what Alessia said, 'Bullies are only strong until you show them how weak they are.' I walked back to the dance on unsteady legs, body thrumming with adrenaline, and returned to my table. They were animatedly chatting and I reached out and took Cole's hand. He turned and smiled at me to recognize what I'd done, and then went back to arguing with Teo about some video game thing. A table full of nerds arguing games is kind of cute and helped to steady my galloping heart. At the end of the night we rode back in the limousine, tired but pleased with the evening. When we arrived at the Petrakises’ house, we all thanked Ashley for the ride and exited, giving him and Teo time for an extended good night. “We were thinking of going over for a shake or something. You guys want to come with?” Brax asked. Cole glanced at me and then back to Brax. “We made plans to hang at my dad's. Thanks, though. Have fun, kids,” he said with a grin. “He will,” Alessia said and they departed in Brax's car. We went to my house and I don't know what it was. Maybe it had been building all evening, maybe it was leftover energy from the fight or maybe it was just finally having Cole to myself or a mix of all that. I shoved him up against the wall and pressed tightly to him, smiling devilishly – or hoping I looked that way. “Oh, hey,” he said with a smile. “Hey,” I said softly and leaned forward. He flipped me, though, before we our lips could meet and now my back was against the wall and his hands were to either side of me. “Gotcha.” I gave him a sly look and pulled him forward by his hips. I leaned forward and he grinned while leaning back. “Cole!” I whined. His grin grew wider and he leaned forward, pressing our lips together. We must have stood there for several minutes like that. My whole world was the way his mouth felt on mine, his tongue twisting with mine, his body pressed to mine and the light from the living room that shouldn't have been on. I started and Cole backed up. “What?” he asked, out of breath. “What's wrong?” I frowned and slipped past him to find Mr. Petrakis asleep on my couch with a paper scattered all around him. Frowning harder I walked farther into the room and called out to him. He blinked and looked around with a stunned expression. “Oh. I must have – oh! Damn, this couch!” he said, reaching around to his lower back. “You're back! How was the dance?” “Fine. What are you doing?” I demanded. He blinked and frowned. “Don't talk to me like that. I was looking for legal papers for the house, your birth certificate and medical records. We will need them all.” “Do you think maybe you could do that, I don't know, when I'm here too? Instead I come home to find someone rifling through the papers in my house?” “Hey!” he snapped. “I own this house! I have paid the mortgage the entire time you have lived here! Don't you tell me when I can come and go!” he said, his voice gaining volume and indignation. “Yeah?” I asked, stepping closer. “Fine. You want to go through everything while I'm gone like a fucking thief? You go ahead, big man. I'll just get my clothes and go.” “Go? Go where?” he roared. “You must learn to accept the world around you! This is not some fairy tale! I must sell this house! I must have the papers! I should not have to explain myself to you!” The front door banged open. “Drew?” Teo called out. He entered the living room and skidded to a stop. “I heard yelling. What's going on?” “Nothing,” I said venomously. “I was just leaving.” I turned on my heel and stalked upstairs to pack a bag for the night. I'd worry about tomorrow tomorrow. “Dad? What the hell?” Teo demanded. “Don't you start too!” he hollered back. Cole followed me upstairs and stood at the door while I angrily gathered clothes. “Is there anything I can do?” he asked quietly. I sighed, stopping my angry scramble. Running my hands over my face I said, “I don't think so. It's just getting clothes for tonight and...and then I'll worry about the rest later.” He touched me hesitantly and I turned into him quickly, pressing my cheek to his fiercely. “Okay,”' he said softly. “Just asking 'cause that anger came out of nowhere.” I barked a laugh. “Joe Fimmer wouldn't think so.” “What?” he asked, chuckling. “Nothing. I'm sorry. Watching me losing my shit on him probably wasn't on your agenda tonight.” He rubbed my back. “Nah, Babe. We've had a rough few weeks. I'm here for you.” I sighed deeply, relieved I hadn't put him on edge too. It was true, too. He was here for me. “Can I make a suggestion?” he asked. I grunted an assent. “Teo is ripping him a new one right now. How about you get the shower you wanted, because maybe things will be a little different when you get out. Huh?” He had a point. Plus he lived in an apartment, so if I were to able to shower there, he probably wouldn't because they had smaller water tanks. I sighed. “Okay.” I stepped back and he looked at me with an unmistakable fondness. “You should hate him, too,” I said as I turned and grabbed underwear. “I'm not a fan, but I'm wondering where you're headed with that?” “He interrupted whatever I started in the hallway,” I said, teasing him. “Oh, he's a fucker for that, no doubt,” he said with a laugh. I leaned in and whispered in his ear. “Who knows where I'd have stopped?” I was walking backward out of the doorway, looking at his stunned face before he held his arms out and said, “I'm here anytime, any way you want me. You say the word!” I giggled a little and headed to the shower. I really just needed to rinse the sweat off so I wasn't in there very long. I toweled dry and pulled my clean underwear on before crossing back into my room. “I just need to grab a few things,” I said to Cole, then noticed Teo was waiting as well. “You have condoms and lube or shall I run home and get you some?” Teo teased. “Hah,” I said with a snort. “Where's Ashley?” “Limo had to get back to the garage,” Teo said with a rueful smile. “I'll see him tomorrow, though.” “Nice. You guys looked good together,” I told him as I pulled on a shirt and fresh jeans. “So, my dad,” he said haltingly. “He's kind of losing his shit. He's getting it from all sides these days. I honestly think he came over here to get some peace, because the tension next door is high.” I frowned. “Did something happen?” He shrugged. “He said something to Mom that set her off – and I mean off, 'cause she's still steamed. I'm guessing he tucked his tail and ran.” “He was going through records,” I said, growling. “Pissed me off that he just starts going through things.” “I get that. I don't think he does, but whatever,” Teo said. “He's gone home. You'll bring your ass back here, right? Don't make me hunt you down, or worse, I'll tell 'Liss you're thinking of running away. That girl will find you anywhere.” I sighed. “I said it without thinking. He just pissed me off. Ruined a moment.” Teo looked exaggeratedly between Cole and me. “A moment, huh? Cole? You set with the protection and lubrication?” “Um.” “Call me,” Teo said making his hand into a phone. Cole grinned crookedly. “I already owe you a thank you. Made my boyfriend get grabby on the dance floor.” “Me? I mean, of course I did. Um, what did I do?” Teo asked with a grin. “Never mind,” I said breezily. “You have a healthy enough ego as it is.” I hefted my pack pack and looked at Cole. “I'm ready.” We filed out of the house, Teo heading for home, and I sat in the passenger seat of Cole's car – his dad's, actually. He pointed the car towards his dad's place and then he said, “So. What did you mean about Joe Fimmer?” “Huh?” “In your room. I was talking about how you got angry out of nowhere, and you said Joe Fimmer wouldn't think so. What did you mean?” “Oh,” I said and looked out the window. “Drew....” I sighed. “He was giving you the hairy eye all night. When you hit him, it didn't do enough damage – just surprised and embarrassed him. He was planning to get even.” “And you know this how?” “No raccoon eyes, no swollen nose, no bruising on his face.” I held up a finger for each point. “The way he was staring at you told me he was building up his courage to get you at your weakest. So I told him to stay away from you. He told me how he was going to get even, and I punched him like he should be punched.” “You hit him?” Cole said, sounding surprised and impressed. “Then I kicked him in the balls while he was whining about his nose and told him I'd knock out some of his teeth next time.” Cole chuckled. “Who knew you were such a bad ass?” I looked down and reached for his hand. “My boyfriend. No one gets to fuck with you but me.” He chuckled again. “And Alessia and Teo and Brax, I guess,” he said. “They're family. Can't stop siblings from picking. Besides, I'm reasonably sure none of them would let anyone touch you, either,” I said in a reasonable tone while stroking the back of his hand with my thumb. “Jeez. Didn't know I needed such protection,” he said with a snicker. “You're too pretty to risk,” I said with a dramatic sigh. “Yeah, that's it,” he said and I imagined I could hear his eyes rolling. We drove the rest of the way with only the radio, turned low, and the sound of the tires rolling over the street. He turned into the apartment complex, and as we turned into the lot for his dad's building we saw a large pickup truck with its lights on parked in the road near Cole's apartment. “What the hell?” Cole said under his breath as he navigated the car into a parking space. As we exited the car, we heard raised voices. “Morgan, this isn't him. This is you and what happens when a boy sees his dad run off with another man,” said a female voice, sneering on the final word. “Oh, fuck,” Cole muttered as we walked toward the commotion. I saw his mother with her arms crossed standing about ten feet away from Cole's dad. Another man was with Cole's mom. He had on a red hat, tee shirt and suspenders, with a pack of cigarettes in his front pocket. His pants looked like the dark work pants mechanics wore, and as we drew closer I saw some tattoos on his forearms. “Morg,” the man said in a gravelly tone. “You're in the wrong here. This ain't got nothing to do with bibles or anything like that. Men and women, makes biological, natural sense. Now, you've made your bed, but Cole is impressionable and what boy doesn't want to please his father? You're doing him wrong with this. See some sense, now.” “You both can express those concerns in court,” Cole's dad said to them. “Until then he stays here, because he doesn't feel safe with you, Laurie.” “Yeah. I'm not going anywhere,” Cole said as we approached the group. The man turned toward us, and I could see he was older. I wasn't sure who he was, yet, or why he thought he had a say. “Cole Grant, you get your ass in this truck – right now!” his mother said, raising her voice and pointing behind her at a large truck with four doors and some kind of tube-steel grating protecting the lights and grille. “No.” Oh. Was that me? “You have no part in this, young man,” the older fellow said. “Now Cole, you mind your mother and get in the truck, boy.” “Like my boyfriend said: No.” Cole crossed his arms and I moved to stand beside him. Ended up a little in front of him. Oops. “Boy, you're going to have a meeting with a switch from my back yard if you backtalk anymore. No grandson of mine is going to be a cocksucker. Now you move your ass before I get pissed,” he said. Wow, so that was the grandfather. My temperature rose. The anger – the fury – I'd only so recently drained away came rushing back. I've never been one that was quick to anger, but it seemed I had no problem getting angry any more. I moved further in front of Cole and was getting ready to lace into this fucker who didn't look like he was old enough to be a grandfather and could probably kick my ass. It didn't matter, I was riding on a wave of righteous fury. I opened my mouth, and Keith cut me off. “Take your red hat, shove it up your ass, take this bitch with you, and ride your hillbilly pickup truck ass out of here before I show you just how in the wrong you are,” Keith snapped, striding from his front door and getting about three feet away from Cole's mom and grandfather. “Go inside, you goddamn faggot,” Cole's mother sneered. “You've got no say about anyone's children.” “Sissy, go back to your cookin' or sewing or whatever it is you do. I'll rack you from one end of this parking lot to the other,” the grandfather growled. “No goddamn sissy-boy is hanging onto my grandson. Fucking pervert.” “You aren't touching him,” Keith snarled. “And you're right – I'm as sissy as they come.” He moved forward, unintimidated by the two. “But all it took was one pissed off drag queen and we had a riot down at the Stonewall. I have no shame in saying I'll claw your fucking eyes out.” The grandfather frowned. Someone hollered out their window to shut the fuck up before they called the police. As it happens, it was too late for the threat, because a cruiser pulled into the lot and turned on its flashers. The next hour was filled with the cops talking to everyone involved and finally sending Cole's mom and grandfather on their way with a warning that without a court order Cole could legally be with his father – and that they would be wise to refrain from any other visits of this nature before court, because it could be used against them. We finally got inside and I was struggling to let the anger slide away. I had to say something to Keith. He hadn't even been happy Cole was here. If he'd stayed inside, perhaps Cole would have gone for some stupid reason, like trying to keep the peace. I don't know. He does dumb things sometimes, like not punching assholes hard enough. Cole and his father were talking in quiet tones so I followed Keith to the back of the kitchen, where he was getting ready to go out to smoke. “Thank you,” I said. He turned with a look of mild surprise, then smiled. “A girl has to keep her promises. Besides, he's not so bad.” “No. He's not so bad,” I agreed. “Was it fun? A dance? Did he dance with you?” Keith asked, a trace of hopefulness in his voice. I smiled at him. “He danced with me. We slow danced and, um, I grabbed his butt.” “You didn't!” he gasped with pleasure. “Right there in front of the whole school? And what did he do?” “Finished kissing me, first,” I said with a grin. “Then he wanted to know what that was for. Seemed pretty happy.” “Aww. Darling boy, that warms my heart. Go. Be with your boy. Us old ladies need a smoke,” he said with a little smile. I nodded and thanked him again before going to rejoin Cole. We put our shoes by the door and I carried my bag to his room. I dropped my bag beside his closet door, turned and found him watching me from about a foot away. He regarded me with a serious expression. “I think you like me,” he said calmly, no trace of teasing in his tone. I swallowed, feeling like this was a big moment for us. “You're not wrong. Why do you say that?” Solemnly he said, “Twice tonight you stepped in to protect me.” I cleared my throat. “Well. I wasn't sure your mother would give you back to me. Seemed like a risk I wasn't willing to take.” I hesitated, nerves bunching up in my guts. “And I think it's more than like.” He bit his lower lip for the briefest moment and then opened his arms to me. I sank into him gratefully and held him closely. “It's been a hard few months,” he said quietly. “My parents – my dad coming out. Me fighting with myself. Haylee. Now it looks like there's going to be war in my family.” He let out a breath. “But you're so worth it.” “You're right, it has been a hard few months. I'm happy where I am, though,” I replied quietly. “I love you, Cole.” He tightened his arms. “God, I love you too, Babe.” The waves of emotion were huge and threatened to topple me. I held onto the the center of my world, and he held onto me as well. Together we were anchoring one to the other. It was a bond that couldn't hold forever – everything breaks. But this one, I had a feeling, could be renewed indefinitely whenever one of us felt as if life threatened to make us drift away. “I'm going to shower,” he said tiredly. “Yay,” I said, leaning back and grinning at him. “What?” he asked with a smile. “It's just something I like,” I told him as I let him go. He pulled his shirt off and I stopped talking to admire his chest. “What is it you like?” he asked, stepping closer and grinning like a fool, the awkwardness of exposing our hearts passing. “Not telling,” I said, rubbing a hand over his pecs. “You'll use it against me.” “Aww, come on, Baby,” he said quietly. I ignored him, entranced with his smooth skin. “Hmm. Feels good,” he said softly. “Yeah. It does,” I agreed, my voice as if I were in a trance. I let my hand run up his chest, past his shoulder and to the back of his neck, where I pulled him forward. I wanted to finish the kiss we'd had interrupted, and this time I could let my hands roam the skin of his back as I did. He leaned back, a happy grin on his face.
  24. Dabeagle

    Chapter 15

    I'll start formatting.
  25. I got home Friday afternoon and needed to relax before even thinking about getting ready for the dance. Cole was beyond excited, even though he'd gotten into a fight that morning about his new relationship status. Unfortunately, it wasn't to be, as Mrs. Petrakis called out from downstairs. I thought about hiding, but she knew I was there – Teo had driven me home. “Coming down,” I said, not wanting her in my room for some reason. “Ah, Andrew,” she said and waved me to a seat in the living room. I sat and waited as she settled herself across from me. “Things have been a little bit crazy, eh?” she asked, a rueful smile on her face. “Yeah. Pretty weird few months,” I agreed. I hoped she wasn't going to dump a bunch of crap on me. I didn't need a second round of that near-anxiety attack I had before. She placed her hands together between her knees. “It is past time we spoke,” she said quietly. “There are things that should be said between us.” “Okay,” I said quietly. “Teo was a difficult birth,” she said, heading in a direction I hadn't expected. “I had struggled to become pregnant, and then when I did it was very, very difficult. I thought we lost him more than once. It was stressful for both myself and Theódoros. I had to spend a great deal of time in bed.” She rubbed one hand over the other in a washing motion. “I couldn't work, and my company didn't have a paid leave program or any job protections. Theódoros was running his electronic repair store. He had three offices, so he was very busy with work. I went into labor early and Teo was born prematurely.” “I had no idea,” I said quietly. “And why should you?” she asked. “Children aren't told these things. We protect them from the things we can, and knowing they were almost never born is a scary thing.” She paused and took a breath. “The doctor said I wouldn't conceive again. But then a few months after Teo was born, I was pregnant again.” She chewed her upper lip. “We were raised to believe that children are a gift from God. My husband and I do not believe in abortion, even when the pregnancy threatened my life. I was sent to bed rest immediately, and although the pregnancy went much better than expected, my husband expected the worst.” My expression hardened. “He cheated on you while you were on bed rest and pregnant with Alessia? While you were taking care of his son?” I demanded. She looked up at me in surprise. “Yes,” she said in a small voice. “Why do you sound so angry? This was to your benefit.” Tears tried to form in my eyes, but I blinked them away. “I was born to an abusive mother who thinks I'm going to get any girl I see pregnant and leave her to raise her child alone. I have a father who has been my next-door neighbor my whole life. I know he's done some things to help. I know he feels some responsibility. But the betrayal – how can you even look at me?” She smiled wanly. “For many years, I could not. I can see Theódoros in you. I can see how you and Teo are so much alike, and yet your mother's influence is there, too.” She sighed. “Andrew, the issue of infidelity is between Theódoros and myself, now. Nothing will change that. Yes, you have your own things to deal with, but it's over now. You are here. My children adore you, and I think you love them back.” She rubbed her hands again and softly said, “Your mother is not well. We have spoken to the doctors because we are concerned for your future – for the childhood you have left. “I know you are nearing adulthood at a frightening speed. Soon the world will say you are an adult and give you the chance to go die somewhere on a piece of dirt no one knows the name of. Soon your choices – your mistakes – may come to define you in ways you never expected. Theódoros did not intend to cause pain. He saw a second pregnancy as the likely death of his wife and second child. He consoled himself not by drinking or losing himself in his work, but by losing himself in the arms of another.” She sighed. “You were conceived in love, Andrew. You have done no wrong to me. Your mother...she will not be coming home.” I looked at her steadily. “What happened to her?” “I didn't understand everything. The doctor said she had a break. It was made worse by her not taking her medications. Now she faces a very long road to being healthy, but the doctor feels she does not want to be healthy right now. So she will stay in the hospital until she can take care of herself, but the doctor said that may never happen.” Something inside me crumpled. There had been an invisible weight in the air, the weight of things unknown and things that were going to affect me, but I hadn't known exactly how. Part of that was answered. Without my mother, this house was going to go away. I had no way to pay for it. Which meant I'd have to rely on the charity of others. Most likely the Petrakises. “In light of this, we think it's best that you move in with us,” she said quietly, but firmly. “This house...it's time for it to have new people. It's time for you to be under the same roof with your siblings, at least for a time.” I looked at her steadily, masking my tumbling emotions. “What about us?” She blinked a couple of times. “We owe each other nothing – no apologies, no apprehensions and no reason not to start knowing each other better. The Father has made clear to me, and I finally understand, that punishing you will not change anything. I can finally accept in my heart that you aren't the responsible party, and being upset with you will not change what my husband did.” She paused and inclined her head. “I am not saying it won't be without its trials. I am only human, and I have blamed you and your mother for a long time.” I didn't want to talk about this anymore, so I switched subjects. “You talk a lot about God. Not believing in abortions, kids being gifts and stuff. You mentioned Mr. Petrakis had to atone before God. How is it you are okay with Teo and me being gay?” She looked surprised for a moment. “Because God made you that way, and he is perfect. In his wisdom he sent you both to the world to teach them that God can make a man any way he chooses and that he is still a man. Everyone is a child of God.” I grunted. “I'm not really a big believer.” “That is okay. Teo and Alessia struggle to reconcile the faith I have shared with them with the world around them – and their own feelings. Every journey has portions we must walk alone, and some we may have help and wisdom from others.” I nodded slowly, not sure what the point of my question had really been. “So...is there a plan?” “Yes,” she said gently. “Theódoros is the legal owner of this house, through his business. He is having a shed built behind our home-” “Wait! I'm going to live in a shed in the backyard?” I asked, jaw unhinging. For the first time in my memory I heard her laugh. “No, Andrew! The garage has things that must be stored. We will remodel the garage into your room, but we have to move the things in the garage out first!” She covered her mouth to hide her laughter. I couldn't help but join her. “Sorry!” I said. “It was just the way you said it.” She shook her head and her laughter died off. “This will start right away, but will take some time to finish. Maybe three to four weeks. When that is done, you will come live with us and this house will be sold. A boy shouldn't live on his own. You need a family – you need your family and you've been deprived.” She paused. “My children are good people. I want to get a chance to know the wonderful person they say you are for myself.” ~PCE~ “There are times, Drew, when we sacrifice substance for style,” Teo told me. “Now take off the winter coat, and let me see what I have to work with.” “I don't want to freeze,” I muttered as I followed his instruction. I tossed my coat on his bed and he rummaged through his closet. “I had this great slim fit coat I bought a few years ago, and I'm not slim enough for it anymore – but I bet you'd look great in it,” he said. “Here it is.” He pulled a light wool coat from his closet with four pockets on the front. The coat was light gray with a black satin-like lining. He shook it out and turned it toward me. “Come on, try it.” I turned around and he helped slip the coat on, then turned me toward the mirror on the back of his door – the one I'd nearly seen all his goods in from beneath his bed so long ago. I tugged the sides of the coat forward and shifted my shoulders. “It looks nice,” I said. “More, you look fantastic. Cole won't be able to keep his eyes off of you,” Teo said with a grin. I raised an eyebrow and reassessed my appearance. “You think so?” “You look...dapper. Debonair. And when the coat comes off, the way your ass looks in those khakis – mmm, mm.” I turned toward him in surprise. “What?” he said with a grin. “We inherited nice butts. I figure we got that from Dad,” he said with a snicker. I turned back toward the mirror. “I think it's kind of funny that all of his kids like dick.” Teo laughed aloud behind me and I smiled. “That's awesome! I should tell him that sometime.” I sighed and slipped the coat off. “I don't think I can do this.” “Can't do what? You're wearing that coat. You look amazing in it, better than I did,” Teo said firmly. I sighed. “I can't...dance.” He frowned. “It's a high school dance, Drew. Nobody knows how to dance. Besides, it's not like any of this is coordinated. You don't need to know the steps – you just have fun.” He leaned forward. “Except on the slow dances. Then it's about how much you can get away with without a proctor catching you.” I chuckled. “I don't know. I don't want to let Cole down or get embarrassed.” I looked up at Teo. “He's so excited, it's really cute.” Teo adjusted my lapels and brushed them free of imaginary dust. “You guys are adorable together. Enjoy tonight.” I took a deep breath and then looked back in the mirror. Don't worry so much, he already likes you. “Drew, zip me?” Alessia called from across the hallway. I left Teo to finish getting ready and headed to her room, where she stood before her own mirror, make-up done to perfection. I stepped up behind her and grabbed her zipper, slowing moving it up her back. I looked over her shoulder and met her eyes in the mirror. “You look beautiful, Allie,” I told her, resting a hand on her shoulder. She smiled. “I hope Brax agrees with you.” I smiled back at her. “He already does. Looking forward to the dance?” She got a wistful look. “Looking forward to hanging out with everyone. So much more special with you and Brax there.” “Think Brax will clean up nice?” I asked. She reached up and placed her hand over mine. She smiled. “He's pretty good, isn't he?” “I think he's pretty great, honestly.” I hesitated then said, “Good enough for you.” She raised an eyebrow and smiled wider. “Good enough for me? He passes the Drew test?” She turned from the mirror and we faced each other. “Yeah. I think the guy loves you, Allie.” Her lips quivered. “Yeah. I think the feeling is mutual.” I smiled widely at her. “But look at you! Damn. Brax might swing your way, tonight!” she teased. “Yeah. I just want to keep Cole's attention,” I said. “You need anything else?” “No. I just need my shoes and purse. See you downstairs?” “Yep,” I said, departing to wait with butterflies in my stomach. Would it really be as easy as Teo thought? Or would Cole end up laughing at me, or would we not be spending time together because he'd be dancing and I'd be at a table drinking Kool-Aid or something? It was kind of silly how much I wanted to spend time with him. It didn't really matter what we were doing. Thursday before I went to work we just read our books while snuggling on the couch. Cole seemed to like cuddling me as much as I liked being cuddled. That was another thing. I didn't know I liked being cuddled. It was a little embarrassing how much I craved it, but maybe I was making up for lost opportunities. So we watched movies, TV shows, read books, listened to music and sometimes just talked while cuddling. I missed him when we weren't together. I have it so bad.... The elder Petrakises made approving noises over each of us and took some pictures. Brax arrived shortly before Cole, and then there were more pictures. Brax was looking fine with his bright white shirt, black bow tie, dark mustard khakis and polished black shoes. Cole, though...fine wasn't enough of a word. He wore a black button up with a copper colored bow tie that made his hazel eyes pop like they were polished pennies. Black slacks and black suede shoes finished his outfit. He had a black wool coat, very similar to the light gray one I was wearing. I glanced at Teo. I don't remember him wearing any light gray wool coats before.... Then Ashley showed up. I don't know what his deal was, but Teo's description of him being extra rang true when he showed up in a limo. I mean. How extra can you be? He invited us all to see the inside, but I didn't care that much. Teo was appropriately impressed that Ashley was going so far to make it a special night. Maybe he had high hopes for another blowjob? If so those hopes were dashed, or postponed, when Teo said there was enough room for everyone. Since we were going out to dinner before the dance it made plenty of sense. At first I wasn't thrilled with the idea. I wanted Cole to myself, but then I looked around the room at my friends – my family – and maybe that was one category instead of two. Seeing Alessia smile and blush as Brax smiled gently at her was worth going – they really looked happy together. It made me happy. I guess it was sort of like that old saying about a rising tide raising all ships. “So. You look nice,” Cole said. I turned to him and raised an eyebrow. “And you look stunning. I love your tie and how it makes your eyes stand out like searchlights. Do you have any idea how pretty you are?” His eyes went wide and he laughed. “Whoa! Compliment overload!” Feeling silly I tried to play it cool and shrugged. “I calls 'em like I sees 'em.” “Well, I had to work hard to keep up with you.” He leaned in and whispered, “You look so fucking hot right now.” I shivered. Ashley was what one would call a dishwater blonde, I think. Pale to the point of being white, almost. He looked like someone who wasn't athletic, but perhaps didn't eat too many sweets either. He'd dressed in a white shirt, black bow tie with a black blazer and pants. His shoes were the mirror shine kind of shoes you see with dress military uniforms. He was definitely making the most of taking Teo out tonight, and Teo looked like he was enjoying the effort. I reached out to take Ashley's hand. “Thanks for the ride out tonight. Teo tells me you’re his kind of nerd.” Ashley blushed really, really hard. “Um, yeah. We like some of the same things, I guess.” He wasn't my kind of cute, but he looked nice with Teo – and more importantly, I thought Teo looked kind of happy with him. How strange that he was doing a one-eighty and seeing someone younger than he was rather than aiming for a guy a little older. I guess who you are may just be more important than what you look like – even if both were important to whoever was dealing with you. “We look coordinated, somehow,” I said to Cole. “Yeah. Weird, huh?” he said with a grin. I wasn't going to ask. Obviously Teo – and possibly Alessia – were trying to help. Well, that was just fine. We climbed into the limo and were taken across town to the Fratelli Esposito Italian restaurant, which I'd never been to but had heard Teo talk about glowingly. He'd been taken on a date there once – by a professor I think. How did a guy that old end up with a high school senior? Wait, he wasn't a senior then, was he? It must be all the hair. Teo has to shave twice a day it seems, and he still has a 'five o'clock shadow.' I glanced over at him. He's more sneaky than I ever gave him credit for. The restaurant had fluted columns outside the ornate overhang and gold lettering in script on the glass. Once inside we were led to a large round table where we paired off. Then Alessia started to be an instigator. “Joe Fimmer got a bloody nose today,” she said, glancing around the table. “So?” Teo asked. “And who is he?” “He's a guy with a big mouth, and now a bloody nose,” Brax said with a grin and a glance at Cole. I looked at Cole. “Is that who you got in a fight with today?” “You knew?” “Honey, the county knows,” Alessia said. She frowned, yet smiled which looked kind of creepy. “Joe Fimmer. If you look him up in the dictionary his face would be next to the word 'Vomitrocious.'” She looked around at us. It was an interesting word, but I could only figure part of the meaning at first. “Does it have something to do with being so disgusting you vomit?” I asked. “I was going to guess that,” Cole said. “It means something so terrible it makes a tiny bubble of vomit come up to the back of your throat.” “You're gross!” Teo said with a laugh. “You're gross!” she countered. “Classy, 'Less. Big word score in Scrabble, but totally gross for where we are,” I said. I leaned over to Cole. “That would make an awesome book title.” “We should totally become a writing team,” he agreed. “What would you write?” Ashley asked. I guess we were louder than we realized. “It would have to be super gory,” Cole enthused. “The goal would be to make the reader actually feel vomitrocious.” “That's my new favorite word,” Brax said and started to laugh. Our waitress dropped two baskets of bread and olive oil on the table and took our drink orders. We started to look at the menus, but Cole having been fighting was kind of on my mind and it made me curious. I figured Joe had said something about Cole dating me, but what could have been bad enough that Cole lost his cool? He hadn't struck me as the violent type. “So what did Joe Fimmer say?” I asked. “I'm glad someone asked – I'm dying to know!” Ashley said. “Just running his mouth,” Cole said, looking at his menu. I frowned. “Did he call you something? One of those famous and popular insults?” “No. He was just being an asshole,” Cole said, not looking at me. I frowned, wondering why he was being evasive. “Joe was being loud in the locker room for gym,” Brax said quietly. I glanced at him and back to Cole, who was still behind his menu. “He said some minor shit, but Cole shrugged the slug off. Then he claims he told Cole not to be a faggot and tap Haylee last year.” “See? Vomitrocious,” Alessia said firmly. I looked at Cole. “Why would you punch him for that?” He folded the menu and laid it on his plate. “It's no big deal. It was my own fault.” “I don't think so,” Brax said. Cole looked up at Brax, who jerked his chin away from Cole and toward me, indicating to Cole he should tell me – I think. Cole sighed. “He said if I were going to fag off, I should have picked someone who wasn't so fucking weird.” I paused, annoyed but not angry. “That wasn't even that bad. Wait,” I said, putting a hand to my forehead. “He called you names and you let it go, but he says something stupid about me and you punched him?” Cole looked at me with an abashed expression, yet smiling. “Duh.” “My boy!” Brax said in a silly, booming yet hollow voice and held his fist out. Cole bumped it with his fist and the handshake of stupidity was complete. “Okay, first, I can kick Joe's ass if I need to,” I said. “You weren't there,” Cole replied. “Well, you don't need to get in trouble for me,” I told him. He grinned cockily. “Too late.” I frowned. “What did you do?” “I punched him – but look! He was being stupid, I was wanting to punch him anyway, but then he went after you and everyone laughed – so I punched his nose.” “But, Cole-” “Do we know what we'd like to order?” the waitress asked, appearing from thin air. “Joe Fimmer's balls on a plate, flambe,” Alessia growled. I looked at her and pointed. “No. He's probably learned his lesson.” She stared at me. “Do you know who the first one was to put that you guys fucked on Cole's post when you fell asleep on him? Which was adorable, by the way. Nice shot, Cole!” “Okay, I'll just give you all a few more minu-” “Guys! I'm hungry! Do you know what you want to eat?” Teo asked. Then he turned to the waitress. “I'm going to go with the lobster ravioli.” We pulled up menus and started placing orders. What do you do with a boy who won't put up with someone saying anything about you that's – admittedly stupid – but even slightly defamatory? I don't want the cute dumb ass getting in trouble or hurt. Once we were done and the waitress had made her escape, the conversation continued. “Can I just say, before this goes farther, I loved that picture,” Ashley said with a shy smile. “That was relationship goals right there.” “I had a great subject for my photography skills to exploit,” Cole said smugly. I rolled my eyes. “No more fighting, you,” I told him, poking his chest. “But,” Ashley continued as if we hadn't spoken, “there was a couple of guys who were real jerks on that thread. I don't know if you guys are doing it, but if that was going to be joked about, it should be your friends – not rando jerks on some app.” “Well, the world is full of assholes,” I said. “I've met a lot of them.” “Well, I have a way to get even with Joe, at least.” Ashley looked as if he were surprised he'd spoken. “Oh?” This from several people. “Yep. We cut his face from some picture – he probably has some online – and then we put it into some bestiality video or something and post it anonymously.” I know I was staring at him slack-jawed. I have no idea what anyone else was doing. “That is both genius and a real nuclear option,” Teo said. “I love it, but let's keep that in our pocket for now, okay?” Ashley blushed under Teo's gaze and Teo smiled, and looked away. The conversation turned and the fight, along with Joe Fimmer, were lost for a time. The meal was good and I had a great time feeling very independent – adult-like – even though everything had been paid for by others. I had some cash, my last check, and I used a big chunk to make sure the waitress got a good tip. It made me feel good to do that. Waitresses probably see a group of kids and think 'plenty of work, crappy tip', but she'd also been a good waitress. We walked out front and I took Cole's hand. It was still a new thing for me, but Cole acted as if we'd been holding hands in public for years. The dance was okay. The DJ looked bored and his playlist reflected that. Kids from school were all dressed up, and it was really weird to see people who normally walked around in sweats and looking like they just rolled out of bed do their best to imitate a GQ model or like something from Elle. My anxiety came crashing back when Cole pulled me out to dance with him, but I guess I did all right. We sort of group-danced and I was able to relax. It took no time at all under that kind of movement for dress shirts everywhere to become untucked. The lights went down a bit and a mirror ball splashed tiny dots of light around the room. I moved close to Cole and wrapped my arms around him for a slow dance. We had our heads on each other's shoulders, cheek to cheek and he was whispering things I could barely hear – complimenting me, telling me how happy he was – all very storybook and Hollywood. I spotted Teo dancing with Ashley, and I recalled our conversation in his room earlier that night. “You don't need to know the steps – you just have fun,” he'd said. “Except on the slow dances. Then it's about how much you can get away with without a proctor catching you.” A streak of excitement ran through me. I moved a hand down Cole's side to his hip. I was starting to sweat. I mean, I had been hot from the dancing and both Cole and I had put our ties in our coats and unbuttoned our shirts a bit, but this...this was different. I'd be crossing a line. And then I thought – why just cross it? Leap across that line. I moved my hand up from his hip, slipping it under his shirt so my palm was on the skin of his side. I looked around quickly, but I figured if I was fast I'd get away with it. I moved forward, placing my lips on Cole's and he responded immediately, and then I obliterated that line. I slipped my hand behind him and down the back of his pants, catching a little on the waistband of his underwear, and gripped his bare cheek in my hand. That's right, Cole. I can surprise you, and make you jump – and wow. Your butt feels so freaking awesome. His jump made us stumble a little, but I held onto that butt cheek.
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