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Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck.
Alex slammed his fist against the mattress, causing Harry to jump.
Alex looked immediately apologetic, but the enormity of the situation soon hit him. He looked at Harry’s glistening eyes and quivering lip, then down Harry’s clothes piled on the floor.
“I think you need to go.”
Harry’s eyes were now threatening to overflow.
“You need to go. You can’t be here when she wakes up.”
Harry looked to the alarm clock next to Alex’s bed.
“It’s one o’clock in the morning!”
“I’ll get you an Uber.”
Alex stood up and pulled on his jeans, keeping his back to Harry all the while. Harry started to cry as Alex picked up his phone.
“Alex, don’t do this…”
Harry reached out and touched Alex’s arm, causing him to freeze. He looked down, keeping his eyes locked on Harry’s fingers as his shoulders started to shake.
Tears were now flowing down Alex’s cheeks, as well. Harry continued to stroke Alex’s arm as his own tears eased.
“Oh god. How could I let this happen?”
Harry sat up and began to stroke Alex’s back. They sat together, side by side, until Alex’s tears began to ease.
“I can still go home, if you want,” Harry said, after a few moments. He still had no idea how he’d explain it to his mother.
“No. Stay.” Alex reached out and put his hand on Harry’s arm. He squeezed it firmly, then slid his hand down and interlocked their fingers. “We’ll deal with this together.”
Harry smiled, as they continued to hold eye contact. For the first time, there was nothing sexual behind it.
“I should probably sleep in the spare room, though.”
Alex took Harry by the hand and led him to an adjacent bedroom. He set him up with pillows and blankets, then watched as Harry climbed into bed. An entirely different experience to just a few hours before.
“I’m next door if you need me, okay?”
Harry nodded, pulling the covers tight up around his chin.
Alex then leaned over and gently kissed on his lips, before placing another gentle kiss on his forehead.
“Are you gonna be okay in there?”
“I hope so.”
Alex leaned in for one final kiss, before turning the bedside lamp off.
He then walked out and closed the door, leaving Harry to stare into the darkness.
* * * * *
Harry rolled over, squinting as morning sunlight assaulted him through a crack in the blinds.
Next to the bed he found Alex, wearing nothing but jeans. He looked dog-tired, with hair sticking up and dark circles beneath his dull eyes, yet he was still the most lethally-attractive boy Harry had ever seen.
“How’d you sleep?”
“Not great.” Harry rubbed the sleep out of his eyes, as memories of the previous night hit him all at once. “How about you?”
Both boys sat in silence for a moment, unsure of what to say. Harry looked around the sparsely-furnished room, eyes lingering on his backpack in the corner.
He turned back on Alex.
“What time is it?”
“Just after seven.”
Harry sat up, suddenly piloted by urgency. He threw the covers off and reached for his jeans.
“Hey, there’s no rush.” Alex reached out and placed a hand on Harry’s arm, but Harry quickly shrugged it off.
“I need to go.”
Harry stood and pulled on his jeans, then began searching for his shoes.
“Harry…” Harry turned around and found Alex directly behind him. Close enough to feel Alex’s breath on his cheek. “Please stay, just for a bit.”
“I need to leave before your mum wakes up.”
Harry pushed past Alex and sat on the bed, preparing to tie his shoes.
“How are you getting home then?”
“What?! You live ages away.”
Harry shrugged. He clearly hadn’t thought beyond exiting the front door.
“At least let me order you an Uber.” Alex pulled out his phone and started typing.
“I don’t need—”
“You’re not walking.” Alex opened the Uber app and punched in his information. The phone soon dinged. “Five minutes.”
They sat together in silence for a moment, reality sinking in. Neither boy knew when they’d see each other next.
Eventually, Harry stood up and reached for his backpack. As he did, Alex stepped across and blocked the doorway.
“I need to go, Alex.”
“I know.” Alex stepped forward and placed a gentle kiss on Harry’s lips. “I just needed to do that.”
Harry tried to step around Alex again, but he continued to block the doorway.
“Alex, I need to…”
“Wait.” Alex grabbed and held Harry by the shoulders, trying to impart strength through his gaze alone. “I need to tell you something.”
Harry waited as Alex searched for the right words.
“I, uh, don’t regret what we did last night. She can take away my computer, my Xbox, whatever. I still don’t regret it.”
The boys leaned in for one more kiss, before Alex stepped back out of the doorway.
They walked in step to the front door and found the Uber coming up the driveway. Alex took Harry’s hand as they waited, squeezing it tightly.
“Text me when you get home, okay?”
Alex leaned in for one more kiss, then bundled Harry into the cab.
He watched the car drive away, wondering what would happen next.
* * * * *
“You’re home early.”
Harry walked into his house and found his mother sitting at the kitchen table, sipping black coffee and watching the breakfast news.
“What’d you do? Wet the bed?”
Harry shook his head and kept his eyes down, afraid he might burst into tears otherwise.
“Wait. Are you okay, Harry?”
“Did something happen?”
Jill watched as Harry exited the kitchen and walked down the hall to his bedroom. She set her coffee cup down and started following him.
“What’s wrong? Talk to me.”
Harry reached his bedroom doorway and turned to close the door.
“What’s wrong, Harry? Talk to me.”
Harry looked at his mother with pleading eyes.
“I… don’t wanna talk about it right now.”
“Have it your way, then.”
Jill let out a reluctant sigh, throwing her hands up in defeat. She turned and exited, as Harry closed and locked the door.
He then flopped onto his bed, fully-clothed, and buried his face in the pillow. Soon his shoulders began to heave, as the events of the past eight hours caught up with him.
He cried and cried into the pillow, crying until he could cry no more. Then, once the tears eventually ran dry, he rolled onto his side and fell into a fitful sleep.
Into an oblivion where reality could no longer hurt him.
* * * * *
Across town, Alex was dealing with his own nightmare.
He walked into the kitchen and found his mother at the counter, holding a glass of water and two headache pills.
“Oh look, you’re awake.”
“Don’t use that tone with me.”
Alex ignored his mother and grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge.
“Has your ‘friend’ gone home yet?”
“I don’t want him in my house again.”
Jennifer slammed her glass on the marble counter. By some miracle, it didn’t break.
“You’re forbidden from seeing him again.”
“Because I said so.”
Alex crossed his arms and puffed his chest out. “And how exactly were you planning to stop us? Come home from work on time? Stay home on weekends instead of getting drunk ‘for charity’?”
“We raised a hundred thousand dollars last night, thank you.”
“For who? The endangered polar bears of California?”
Jennifer clenched her jaw, clearly annoyed with being one-upped.
“This isn’t up for negotiation, Alex.”
“You’re right, it’s not.”
Alex started to walk away, but Jennifer’s next words stopped him in his tracks.
“I’m taking your phone away.”
“And your laptop, as well.”
“How am I supposed to do homework, then?”
“Use the school computers.”
Alex shook his head, anger rising to the surface.
“Is this a joke? Are you actually fucking serious?”
“I’m deadly serious, Alex. You’re forbidden from contacting that boy again.”
Red-hot anger flashed across Alex’s features. He barely managed to rein it in.
“Oh, and you’re forbidden from working with that photographer again,” Jennifer added, almost as an afterthought.
“What does he have to do with this?”
“He’s a bad influence on you.”
Alex was ready to fly off the handle again, when a peculiar thought occurred to him.
“Do you think I’m gay because of Christopher?”
Jennifer shook her head, releasing a bitter laugh.
“I don’t know. Maybe.” She screwed up her face, as if recalling a particularly unfunny joke. “It’s not exactly far-fetched, is it? Your grandmother even warned me about something like this. Leaving you alone with that man, allowing him to take half-naked photos of you…”
“What exactly are you suggesting here?”
“Nothing. I just—”
“You didn’t seem to care when our ‘gay’ photos ended up in a fashion magazine.”
Jennifer stared Alex down, but didn’t respond verbally. In that moment, Alex knew exactly where he’d got his stubborn streak from.
“Tell me, what’s this really about?” he continued, crossing his arms again. “Is it really because I’m gay? Or are you just angry that you can’t set me up with Genevieve Hall’s daughter anymore?”
“Don’t be ridiculous.”
“I’m serious. Why are you so angry about me and Harry?”
“I’m angry that you lied to me.”
“About what? At what point did I tell you that I liked girls?”
Alex waited for a response, but Jennifer simply stared him down again.
“Fuck it, I’m done talking.” Alex threw his hands up and turned for the door.
“Bring me your phone and laptop. You have five minutes.”
“No. But you’re still forbidden from seeing that boy again.”
“Yeah, right. Like you get any say in that.”
“Excuse me, I’m your mother.”
“And what a fucking great job you’re doing of it.”
Jennifer watched as Alex exited the kitchen. She reached for her painkillers again, downing them in one quick mouthful.
She suspected this was one headache that wouldn’t be going away, though.
* * * * *
“Harry, are you awake?”
It was late afternoon when Harry was awoken by a knock at the door. He rolled over and considered pretending to be asleep still, but eventually decided to face the music.
“Yeah, I’m awake.”
Harry climbed out of bed and unlocked the bedroom door, allowing Jill to enter the room. She looked at his tear-stained pillow, the rumpled state of his clothes, then into her son’s still-bloodshot eyes.
“How are you feeling?”
Jill waited for Harry to elaborate. He didn’t.
“Did you want to talk about what happened earlier?”
“Not really.” Harry shook his head to emphasize the point.
“I can’t help you if you won’t talk to me.”
“It’s fine. Just… leave it.”
Jill looked at Harry’s tear-stained pillow case again. Her next words would need to be chosen very carefully.
“Did something happen with you and Alex last night?”
Harry’s answer was way too quick. Way too emphatic. Jill wasn’t the slightest bit fooled.
“Then why were you so upset this morning?”
“It was nothing.”
Jill watched as Harry wiped his nose with his sleeve. Still not fooled.
“Okay. Once you’re ready to talk about ‘nothing’, let me know. Okay?”
Jill grabbed a dirty cup off Harry’s bedside table, then walked towards the door.
She looked back one more time, but Harry had already turned to reach for his phone.
If her suspicions were correct, she was in for a rough few days ahead.
* * * * *
“Put your phone down, Harry.”
Jill chastised Harry from across the dinner table as he slipped his phone back into his pocket. He picked up another fork-full of spaghetti, trying to summon enough appetite for Jill to not ask any questions.
“Do you have any homework left to do tonight?”
“Are you sure?”
Harry reached for his pocket again, thinking he’d felt his phone vibrate, but the look on Jill’s face made him think better of it.
Jill watched as Harry picked at his meal for the next thirty seconds, barely touching a dish he’d usually devour at warp speed. She knew it was time to confirm her suspicions.
“So you and Alex have been growing close lately…”
Harry froze. A deer caught in headlights.
“How do you mean?”
“Talking on the phone, spending time at his house…”
The look on Jill’s face confirmed she most definitely *knew*.
“If you’d like to invite Alex over, I’d love to properly meet him.”
Jill offered Harry a soft smile, then turned attention back to her own meal. She knew she wouldn’t get another word out of Harry as he sat there dumbfounded.
Fuck, just how obvious have we been?
He offered Jill a thin smile, then lifted another fork-full of spaghetti to his mouth.
They ate the rest of their meal in comfortable silence.
* * * * *
“I’m going to bed. Goodnight.”
Jill poked her head through Harry’s open door, finding him playing a game on his phone.
Harry looked up briefly and smiled, before turning attention back to the game.
He played Minecraft for a few more minutes, before yawning and closing the app. He then checked his phone messages one more time.
Where is he? I hope he’s okay.
He finally stripped down and climbed beneath the covers, with his thoughts turning to the previous night’s encounter. Picturing Alex’s glistening body, he reached a hand into his boxer-briefs and took a firm grip of the hardness that awaited him there.
After a few strokes though, he realized he needed more visual stimulation.
Grabbing his phone off the nightstand, he opened up Instagram and typed in Alex’s handle.
‘No results found’.
The search result stopped both his heart and his hand dead.
He checked the spelling, then his ‘Following’ list for good measure. No matter where he looked, he couldn’t find Alex’s profile.
Shit, he’s deleted his Instagram.
Harry put his phone down, as any and all intimate thoughts abandoned him.
Instead, he spent the rest of the night starting at his bedroom ceiling, wondering if he’d ever hear from Alex again.
Thanks for reading the fifth chapter of Model Behaviour. Bit more of an emotional one, this time around.