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    Dabeagle
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

House of Frost - 7. Chapter 7

 

To be in love is to touch the unknowable – Nicholas Frost

“I knew it!” Tess crowed. “You've been holding out on me!”

“Yeah, yeah,” Ty said with a grin. “Couldn't have you embarrassing me.”

“You think kissing Nick is going to stop her? Dumbass!” Jay said with a tired laugh. I was hearing the words but struggling to stay in the moment with them. I was lost in the memory of Ty's kiss, of his feelings washing through me as though there were a physical path between us allowing his emotions to flow like liquid into me.

I was confused and stressed – the low-level stress that came to me when I thought about the idea of bonding was grating in my skull, scratching my eyelids and trying to get out into the world. Instead, of course, it just banged around in my head faster and faster, louder and louder.

“Nick? Did you hear me?” Jay asked.

“Sorry?” I asked, opening my eyes.

That's okay! He doesn't need to repeat himself!” Ty said with a laugh.

Jay adopted a falsetto. “Oh my God, did you see the new guy? If he's straight I should just shoot myself now, because I'm practically drooling over-”

“Shut up! I did not say that!” Ty said with embarrassed laughter and took my hand. With his touch my stress melted, my confusion evaporated, and I felt at peace again. Even the idea that he was causing this to happen within me – which should have been stressful – wasn't. I wasn't able to be stressed with him.

Ty let my hand go, but the emotional roller coaster didn't seem ready to start back up again, yet. He moved before Al and said, “I'm really sorry for stealing your date.”

“He was never really mine,” Al said with a laugh. “But...I'm happy that you're happy.”

I suddenly felt bad that I'd come to the dance with Al and was now...attached to Ty. It didn't seem fair. I moved to stand beside Ty and said to Al, “I didn't plan this. I hope you're not upset with me, though I guess I understand if you are.”

Al smiled at me with what I might think of as a wise expression on their face. “Do you know how many scrubs Ty has dated? Do you have any idea how much I wanted him to find someone decent who would care for him? Trust me, Nick, this is not a bad thing from where I'm standing.”

“I...uh, oh. Okay then,” my words stumbling past my tongue.

An arm landed across my shoulders, and I looked to see Brad grinning at me. “You'll still tell me I'm hot if I need an ego boost. Right?”

Was I supposed to?

“Back off my man, Brad,” Ty said playfully.

“Well, I think Ty waited long enough to do this. Maybe he should have to wait some more and we can all come back to my house and-”

“Um, no? Yeah, how about no,” Ty said, moving to stand between Tess and myself. “He's mine, Tess. I just got him, I'm not sharing him yet.”

“Oh,” she cooed. “Someone's territorial.”

“No,” Ty said with a snort and took my hand again. “I just know you want us to come over so you can tell everyone all night how long you thought we'd be perfect for each other.”

I tilted my head to one side. “Tess, you did?”

She folded her hands demurely, though her expression was of giddy satisfaction. “Ty liked you from-”

“Okay! So I think I'm taking Nick with me. See you all tomorrow – or since it's Saturday and I'm not single, maybe not at all this weekend, huh? Buh-bye!” Ty said, cutting her off and dragging me gently from the room.

Ty brought me to his car and turned to face me, his face adopting a shy expression that was very endearing. “So, uh, listen. We...I mean we know each other, but...would you like to come to my house for a little while? Kind of talk and...?”

I didn't think I had the ability just then – or maybe ever – to deny him anything. “Of course,” I agreed. Nick drove us through the quiet streets, music playing. He hummed some parts and quietly sang others, but I was thinking of the kiss. Of the feeling in my chest. Of the fact that I was now bonded and of my grandmother talking about how emotions would emerge from me. If the emotions were anything like I felt being kissed by Ty...I had my work cut out for me.

When I had manipulated Jalem and we'd kissed, it was nothing like this. I had liked it, but his response was different – artificial – as I worked to align his chemistry with my desires. Ty's body had released chemicals into his system that overwhelmed my own. I almost felt that my own body reacted to the tide of his reaction to me – how had I not known he was harboring feelings like this toward me? Is this what love felt like? This tsunami of of chemicals that made one feel drunk? If this was love, how did anyone survive it? Even though I knew the chemicals involved, I truly felt as if I would never grasp the edges, the form or the true nature of love. It was unknowable, unquantifiable – and a force stronger than anything I knew of.

Perhaps even stronger than my grandmother.

Besides the radio, which Ty was humming to, the car ride was quiet. When we did stop for a a sign, traffic or a light he would look at me, and I found that I was already looking at him. It was still Ty Flexen, the boy I'd met my first day who had seemed bored by the world around him and who'd smoked a cigarette. I hadn't seen him do that since, but it didn't matter in the moment. Even though he was the same boy I'd known for a few months, he was no longer that person. The same and not.

As befits something unknowable, I found it hard to define why Ty was now different. He was and I could see he was, but I couldn't say why. He wasn't the only one that was different. I'm bonded. I'd once thought I'd bond to Jalem, before I'd manipulated him. After that I wasn't sure I'd ever bond – how could I trust that the bond was true? What if I had subconsciously and subtly manipulated the other person? Surely if I desired someone enough I could fool myself into thinking something was real?

Ty was real, however. I was overwhelmed with not just how different he was, but also myself. My blessing was thrumming through my veins, my muscles, my mind. I felt as though I could heal the world – at least of its health issues. Each time he stopped the car or glanced at me, my feeling of power only multiplied.

It occurred to me that I had no idea how bonding affected a magus. Would I always feel like this? How would I do anything else besides love him if I did? Like a cockroach crossing a floor, I thought of my assassin. How would I know if there were more? Could I keep Ty safe? I'd have to talk to my grandmother about this, and that was somewhat concerning, in the way being trampled by a bull elephant would be.

“Well...here we are.”

I glanced around us and took in the home he'd pulled up to. It was a mess. There were machine pieces in front of the house in the tall grass. Two vehicles that looked to be incomplete, one missing wheels. Shrubs had grown out of control in front of the home in a way that would probably make Abelard shudder.

“I know. Not exactly a palace,” Ty said quietly.

I glanced at him and smiled. “It could use some straightening.”

He sighed and looked past me. “It's one of the reasons I didn't go after you, you know.”

“No. I don't know. I'm...still surprised.”

He chuckled lightly. “It's embarrassing. We have – or my dad has – money, but he doesn't even try. The inside isn't much better. The neighbors hate living next to us. We've had people complain over the years – hurts their property values and stuff.”

I tilted my head. “Why would this concern you with respect to me?”

He chuckled again. “You must have gone to a fancy school to talk the way you do.”

Magi were traditionally behind the times, though I wasn't sure how to explain that to him. I would have to at some point, but how do you change a person's perception of reality?

“It was...comprehensive,” I said. “But you didn't answer my question.”

He cleared his throat. “I think I look pretty good. I'm a decent person. But I can't control things like my dad and what he does for a living or how he lets us live in a dump, basically.” He paused and glanced at me. “It's embarrassing. Then...there's you.”

I frowned. “I don't understand.”

“You're...perfect. You're gorgeous, you're good – look at how you treat Al, you did the right thing by Brad even if he wasn't actually your friend yet, you tried to tell me what was going on with Shawn...I mean, it's hard to measure up to that.”

I thought about what he'd said, trying to make sense of it. “So...if I understand you...you somehow felt we weren't equal?”

He cleared his throat. “Sort of, yeah.”

“You have strange logic.”

He frowned. “What do you mean?”

“Two people feeling something for each other shouldn't have anything to do with anything besides how they feel for each other. I understand you deciding I had characteristics you like, but in the end you were worried about your home – you haven't even seen mine, and you don’t know much about me. Yet...we feel the same way.”

He flopped back in his seat and put his hand out to cover one of mine. “Yeah. We do. I've been fighting it since...since about the first time I saw you. I figured you must have a high body count and were probably straight. I heard private school and figured you'd be a snob. I told myself so many things, but you weren't any of them. In a way you seem almost...innocent.”

Thinking of Jalem, I said, “I'm not. But I don't know a lot about...living away from home. So that's probably what you see.” I'd almost said 'living among normals', but I didn't know how to broach that with him. It seemed like something I needed to tell him and should tell him now, but the anxiety of knowing that I had no idea how he'd react was stopping me cold.

He squeezed my hand. “Come on in. I want to know everything about you.”

I wasn't sure that he did, but I wasn't going to say no – I wasn't sure I had that power anymore. We exited the car, and he took my hand as we walked to his front door. The entryway had a small area for hanging up coats and a rubber mat for shoes. There was a flight of stairs in the middle with rooms in darkness to either side. I followed him up the stairs, and we entered a room that was likely his bedroom. There was a small bed, a dresser and a small door I assumed led to a closet. The room was messy, but not as much as the outside of the house. I thought the rest of the home was likely a mess and why he hadn't shown any of it to me.

He slipped his coat off, tossed it on the back of a chair that turned slowly from the added weight, and sat on his bed to pull his shoes off.

“Come on. Get comfortable.”

I removed my coat and laid it atop his, then pushed my shoes off before crossing to him. He loosened his tie and pulled it over his head, tossing it to one side, and unbuttoned his shirt, revealing his white undershirt. I sat beside him as he tossed the dress shirt aside. He took the end of my tie in his hand and pulled on it, bringing me closer to him.

“I did tell you I was going to do this again.”

It shouldn't feel as good as it does. With Jalem I'd had to manipulate his chemistry the entire time, keeping him engaged and trying to balance my desire with his native chemical levels. I had spent most of the time that I should have been been lost in a kiss, in the feel and the emotion of the act...manipulating him. Trying to make him feel the way I did before I kissed him. I never really knew what it meant to be kissed before Ty did it. It was nothing like when I kissed Jalem.

Even if I had a fleeting thought of controlling his chemistry, I had no chance with Ty as his kiss changed me. My body reacted to him as though he were manipulating me. Our bodies worked in harmony, hearts joining each other in a synchronous rhythm. His hand moved up behind me and he began to stroke my neck with his thumb again and I shivered uncontrollably, unable to process all the feelings and emotions I was experiencing.

It wasn't enough, could never be enough. I pressed closer to him, and he responded in kind. How was it possible to find something – someone – that changed you so fundamentally that the idea of not kissing them was utterly ridiculous? Or was it that I wasn't changed...but I'm merely who I have always been, would always have been, when touched by him? Would the feeling of never being close enough, never being able to part from him, ever fade?

His scent. Lingering cologne, faint sweat and a hint of a soap. Beneath that...something sweet and gentle, like the softness of his skin. Yes. His scent was gentle and soft, like his skin. Good Hades, his skin. And I had only touched his lips and the side of his thumb – could I handle touching more? Even if I'd spontaneously combust, I wanted to find out.

He broke the kiss and then gave me one more brief, too brief, press of his lips to mine before leaning back.

“You are really, really good at that, Nick,” he said, his breath coming in gulps.

“You were doing it all,” I said, noting my breathing was irregular as well. He moved up onto his bed and lay on his side, beckoning me to join him. I lay down facing him, and we joined one hand together; keeping some form of touch felt vital.

“I want to know everything about you. I feel like I know the big things, the important things, but...where are you from? What's your favorite color? Food?”

I smiled at him, unsure if now was the time to say I was a magus or not. “I'd like to first let you know I've never killed anyone.” Thinking of Bernardice I amended, “Not on purpose.”

He giggled. “That's nice to know, but why are you saying that?”

I looked at him with some confusion. “You mentioned a body count.”

He convulsed with laughter, which drew him slightly closer to me. He grinned and said, “I meant how many people you've slept with. You really don't know much about slang, do you?”

I chuckled. “I really don't.” I hesitated, afraid my being a magus was about to come out and anxious about how he'd take that news. “What important things do you think you know about me?”

“Oh, you know,” he said softly, his thumb again moving on my skin, just my hand rather than my neck. “You're fine as fuck. Excellent kisser. Good person, the way you treat Al as evidence. Good friend by the way you've fit in with my – our – friends.” He bit his lower lip, and I strangled a groan. “That you like me back.”

“I do like you back,” I said softly.

“Now that I've said what I know about you, what do you know about me?”

I thought for a moment. I'd once thought of bonding with Jalem, that he was where my journey for partnership and intimacy ended. As if I could shape or mold someone to my specifications. Not only was that false, but now I could see so clearly that anyone who'd ever caught my eyes, it was merely in a superficial way. “That you're not my number one – you're my only one.”

He pressed his face into my chest and groaned, making my chest vibrate. Leaning back he said, “That was good, but not what I meant.”

“Hm,” I said, pretending to think, as a cover for actually thinking. “You're a very good friend. I've seen how you have tried to be one of Jay's better angels. I've seen you smoke, which I disapprove of.”

“I did it because of you,” he said with a deep sigh. “You walked into my classroom and I was like...god damn. And then we ended up in the bathroom, and if I didn't smoke right then, I was going to smoke you,” he said, poking my chest with his finger.

“That doesn't make any sense,” I replied. “If you had cigarettes to smoke, you were a smoker.”

“I was,” he said, sounding slightly exasperated. “I quit over the summer. Jay was on my ass about it. I found the pack in my book bag, leftover from last year. I was just...” he chuckled, “desperate for something to do besides stare at you like a big old weirdo or make stupid small talk...so I smoked a stale cigarette.”

I paused for a moment. “You make bad choices.”

He laughed and hit me. “Well, I thought you'd waste your time going after Brad after you told him how you hung out with him because he has his shirt off so much.”

I shook my head. “I was just being honest with him. He's attractive, I'm not saying he isn't, and he may be nice to have in your bed with no clothes, but-”

“Hey!”

“What?”

“I do not want to hear you thinking about my – our – friend naked. If any guy is naked in bed with you....”

I turned to look at him and was treated to his fully flushed face. “There will never be anyone else,” I told him. “I'll be here for the rest of my life.”

He paused. “Don't you mean the rest of mine?”

“No. I'd die first to avoid being without you.”

He chuckled. “Nice. Little committed, considering I was just dating another guy this morning, aren't you?”

“You said he was a distraction for you.”

“Oh. You heard that, huh?” he said and rolled to his back, letting out a strange laugh that seemed crossed with a sigh. “Well, he wasn't really distracting me that much. I was tunnel-visioning on him pretty hard to avoid looking at you, who I couldn't have. Or I thought I couldn't.” He rolled to his side and propped his head up with his hand. “You know, I almost asked you out when we went for iced coffee?”

“You did? What stopped you?”

“The fact I was telling you other guys were pinging my phone and you didn't seem to care.”

I thought about that for a moment. “Well. It's different now. If others try to take you from me...I may develop a body count.”

He burst out laughing. “You can't go around killing people for thinking they have a shot with me.”

I looked at him seriously. “Are you sure?”

We spent the next few minutes exchanging details – minor ones really, but still interesting enough to us in this state. Then he partially rolled onto me and we spent a few minutes doing what I can only think of as transcendent kissing. I was seized again by the idea that he wasn't close enough, that I couldn't inhale enough of him or taste enough. I pulled on him and he lay fully atop me, and still it felt like my appetite only grew, indeed, that it could know no bounds.

Once I was sure I'd pass out from lack of oxygen, though I wasn't going to stop the kiss, he pulled back and laid his head on my shoulder, bringing his hand up and stroking the side of my neck with his thumb in a sign of affection that was beginning to feel normal for him. It was odd that small act seemed so vital – how had I gone on before having it?

Basking is a word usually associated with sunshine, but I think it was proper to say I basked in his affection for a time. It didn't stop me from constantly checking my system and comparing it to his, and my impression of synchronicity was being backed up by fact. The longer we lay together, the more alike in our emotions we became, the more alike in our chemistry we became. In many ways this was similar to the effects I'd described to our friends about the effect of addiction versus the effects of religion on the body.

One can claim, with some degree of truth, that emotions like love are nothing more than chemical reactions. Creating them from pure will in another person's body is more difficult than it may seem, but the important part is that chemical reactions are real. You don't have to go any farther dropping certain candies into soda to see a reaction firsthand. It doesn't make it any less real.

Part of my mistake with Jalem, beyond trying to force him to love me, was that I had no idea what those chemical reactions – in balance – looked like. To see them be so self-sustaining as I watched them in Ty's body was both professionally fascinating and personally overwhelming.

I heard a door close, sounding much like the door we'd come into the home through. Ty stirred slightly, adjusting his resting place on my chest slightly.

“So...my body count sounds higher than yours,” he said quietly. “But I want you to know I'm a one person guy. Now that we're here...you're it, at your speed.”

“What do you mean?” I asked quietly, listening to the sound of heavy boots dropping to the floor downstairs.

“I mean I've been watching you for two months, and you're who I want, so I'm not going to push anything. If you have less experience, then I want to move at your pace.”

I heard heavy steps ascending the stairs.

“I'm still not sure what you mean.”

He groaned and snuggled closer. “I mean intimacy. Sex.”

“Oh,” I said, suddenly forgetting the footsteps in the hallway and remembering I had the person I was bonded to pressed to me in his bed. We were clothed, true, and we'd done no more than kiss – and that had seemed like it was the ultimate thing to have happened to me. Yet...there was the possibility of more. Was I able to resist that? Should I? Considering how I was awash in the feeling that I wasn't getting enough at any point of Ty, what would it be like should we do...that? Was it survivable?

Did I care?

There was a single rap on the door, and it opened to reveal a heavyset man with a large gut. “Ty have you seen my – oh shit.”

“Dad!” Ty groaned. “Really?”

“Hey, my house!” the guy, his father, snapped. “And who is this? What happened to the skinny one?”

“Shawn got dumped,” Ty said. “This is Nick Frost, my boyfriend.”

The man froze for a split second. “Frost?”

“Yeah, Nick Frost. He's new this year,” Ty said.

The man eyed me and rubbed his jaw before turning without a word and letting the door drift toward its closed position.

“That was weird,” Ty said. “He usually doesn't care who I date. You saw he didn't even remember Shawn's name.”

Through my Ty-induced haze my mind was beginning to wonder about his father's reaction, which did seem odd. Ty got up and crossed the room to close the door. As he did, his phone rang. He detoured to the chair where he'd thrown his jacket and retrieved his phone.

“Jay? What's...oh my God. Okay, I'll head over. No...well, yeah but...Jesus, you're a pain in the ass! I'll be there if I want to!” A moment later he put the phone down and ran a hand through his hair.

“What's wrong”

He turned toward me and shook his head. “Jay collapsed at home. They're taking him to the hospital. I want to go, but they said they won't let me into the emergency room – and they're right. I know they're right, but it feels wrong to be here when he's there.”

“Why won't they let you in?'

“Because you have to be a parent or relation, and his dad will be with him. I could sit in the waiting room, though. Tess and Brad will be there,” he said, looking down.

“Let's go, then,” I said.

He looked up at me. “It could take all night. I'm just worried about Jay...I mean, it'd be better if you were with me, but you-”

“I said let's go,” I replied gently, sliding off his bed. “You're upset. I want to help. It's not complicated.”

He shook his head and gave me a small smile. “What you get is what you see?”

“I haven't shown you everything, yet,” I replied. His eyes widened; I wasn't sure why.


 
Copyright © 2022 Dabeagle; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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Well if Ty’s Dad has ties to the home world perhaps Ty has some mage in him. 
Great chapter again. 

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