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  • Shadowgod - Almost Home
  • Shadowgod - Almost Home
  • Shadowgod - Almost Home
    Jason MH
  • Author
  • 3,582 Words
  • 1,187 Views
  • 4 Comments

The Choices We Make - 4. The Spark

"Boys, dinner!" Jayne Anne yelled up the stairs to the garage apartment where Brody and Jace spent so much of their time when they were at the house.

As she turned back to the kitchen, she caught a glimpse of the knowing smirk on her fifteen-year-old daughter's face before the expression vanished. Jayne Anne didn't know if Jenny knew about the boys, but Brody and his sister had always been close. If her mother's intuition was worth its name, she'd guess Jenny knew more than her parents did. Which didn't strike Jayne Anne as a bad thing. If Brody still didn't feel comfortable telling Ben and Jayne Anne about his relationship with Jace, they'd have to work harder to make sure he understood they loved him unconditionally. She hoped he'd eventually feel safe enough to talk to them.

Until then, at least he has his sister, she thought.

With the sound of a herd of stampeding elephants, Brody and Jace stormed through the upstairs door and pounded down the stairs, light pushes and ample laughter punctuating the journey from the garage apartment to the house proper. They swept into the kitchen with the grace of a tsunami.

"Boys," Ben mumbled, trying to make it a reprimand but failing as he choked back a snicker.

Jayne Anne could only roll her eyes and turn away lest they see the grin on her face. Maybe they needed to learn better manners, be a touch more behaved, but she couldn't really fault them for their loud, boisterous ways.

Just being boys...

"Hey, Dad."

"Hey, Ben."

He gave them a stern look that crumbled into a smile. "Next time at least try to act civilized in the house."

Both boys ducked their heads and nodded, though mostly they tried to hide their smiles.

Brody leaned over and bumped Jenny with his elbow. She rolled her eyes at him before smacking him playfully on the shoulder.

"You don't act older than me," she facetiously jibed.

"Thank goodness," Jace mumbled. Then he stuck his tongue out at Jenny, a childish gesture she readily returned.

Jayne Anne shook her head at the antics. At least they all got along.

She settled into her chair as Ben started filling his plate with roast beef. Jenny hoarded the green beans while Brody hogged the mashed potatoes.

"Salad?" Jayne Anne offered, holding the dish toward Jace. "It might be the only thing left once they get done."

He took the proffered bowl and smiled. "Thanks. At least you know guests come first."

"You haven't been a guest here for thirteen years, Mr. Langstrom," Ben mentioned, his tone playful.

"True, but I'm the best you have under the circumstances. It's wise to keep up the practice, right?"

Again Jayne Anne rolled her eyes and smiled.

Dinner passed with light chatter, friendly discussion, jokes, laughter, comfort. Occasionally Ben and Jayne Anne would give each other a knowing look when the boys weren't watching. It had to do with Brody and Jace and their attempts to act platonic when it was obvious they were so much more. The light touches, the looks, the eagerness to help, the willingness to ensure happiness even in the small things, like fetching another drink for each other or dishing up a second portion instead of just passing the bowl.

Ben wished both of them, Brody especially, would realize they had nothing to hide, no reason for a furtive relationship, at least in the Windham home. He couldn't guarantee no problems out in the big bad world, but he knew he loved his son and he loved Jace like another son and he had no problem with their relationship.

At first he did, sure, and he sulked and skulked and stormed about angrily with all manner of upset in his head and heart. That lasted about three days before he stopped and chastised himself. He hadn't been angry about his son being in love with another boy; he'd been angry because he wanted grandchildren and he felt disappointed in Brody for not thinking of that first.

How selfish he'd been. Which Jayne Anne pointed out when, after those three days, he went to her and brought up the subject, trying to sneak up on it in case she didn't know yet. But she knew. Of course she knew. She'd seen it years before in the way they acted, they way they looked at each other, they way they talked and touched, the affection and intimacy that went just a little bit beyond platonic yet worked hard not to go further.

"I saw the look," she'd told her husband when he approached her about it.

"The look?" he'd asked.

"Probably six, seven years ago."

"Really?"

"Yes. They were sitting on the porch talking, they'd just arrived home from school, and I was standing in the kitchen. I heard voices and glanced out the window. When Jace turned away for a moment, Brody's face transformed. It's like he relaxed and the fire beneath came blazing to the surface."

"What kind of look?"

"One a mother recognizes in her children."

"Meaning what, baby doll?"

"It was love. Unadulterated, unflinching love, the kind of wildly tornadic love only teenagers have. It was beautiful to see."

"Didn't it bother you?"

"At first I suppose it did. I worried about his future, about hate and bigotry and intolerance. I worried about hardships he might face simply because of who he loved. Then I got over it."

"How?"

"By realizing it wasn't about me."

"But didn't you ever wonder about grandkids?"

"Is that why you've been pouting for the past few days?"

"I wasn't pouting."

"Oh, honey, you most certainly were. Walking around with your bottom lip jutting out is the only thing that could've made it more obvious."

"Hell, I'm sorry. I just... I just suppose, after considering the flurry of concerns like you mentioned, I got hung up on having little Windhams running around and how this might put a dent in that dream."

"Ever hear of adoption?"

"Of course I have. It's just... I don't know... I was hoping—"

"But it's not about us, Ben."

He'd paused then, staring at her. A slow grin spread across his face. "No, it's not about us, is it?"

"No. It's about our son finding happiness and loving someone who'll love him in return."

"Yeah, you're right. I was being silly, I guess."

"It comes with old age."

"Hey, you're not much younger."

"But I'm still not as old as you. That counts."

"You have to wonder," Ben had said, turning serious again.

"About what?"

"How it got started? How they crossed that line?"

"You mean how one of them figured out it might be worth the risk to say something about how they felt? How someone scrounged up enough courage to take a leap of faith?"

"Precisely."

"I wonder, too."

* * * * *

Five Years Prior

Thirty minutes after her parents had bid the pair goodnight and left on their weekly date night, Trish closed her door ostensibly to protect her younger sister from the quiet music and school-related conversation coming from her room. She and Brody had spent the evening working to finish a project for their French class. Another hour or so and they'd be done.

Brody lay with his feet stretched out, ankles crossed, his back against the headboard, a textbook open beside him and his laptop on his thighs. He typed in fits and starts, fingers flying over the keys until he paused to reference to the textbook or his notes, then back to typing.

Trish stood with her back to the closed door watching her boyfriend. Well, semi-boyfriend she supposed, or perhaps pseudo-boyfriend. They'd been dating for two years yet hadn't done more than a little touchy-feely, some toe-curling kissing, a smattering of hugs, and lots of hand holding. Sure, they were only in the eighth grade, but she seriously thought two years was plenty of time to kick the relationship up several notches.

Looking at Brody stretched out on the bed, she figured the time was right to force the issue. She had a feeling sex might just win him over to her way of thinking, might just help him put that silly infatuation with Jace behind him.

If she only knew it was far more than an infatuation.

Without making a sound, she unbuttoned her shirt and let it slide from her shoulders, revealing her young, pert breasts held in check by a lacy white bra. She approached the bed as she slipped out of her sandals and let her shorts fall to the floor, stepping out of them without missing a beat, leaving her in a pair of white panties that left very little to the imagination.

Trish reached the bed and picked up Brody's laptop, setting it on the nightstand as he looked at her in shock.

"Hey—" he began before his voice died on a quiet gasp.

She swung one leg over him and used it to push the textbook and notes aside, then she climbed onto his lap and straddled him, lacing her fingers together behind his neck, doing her best to look sultry and irresistible.

"What are... What are you doing?"

Trish leaned down and kissed him, a slow, sensuous kiss, thought not passionate or erotic. A promise of things to come.

"I've been thinking a lot about you, Brody. A lot about us."

He stared wide-eyed, hands at his sides.

She began grinding her pelvis into his crotch, subtle movements meant to cause a wee bit of friction, a little something to whet his appetite.

"Trish..."

"Shh..." She placed a finger over his lips. "You can't tell me you haven't thought about it, Brody, about me like this, about us. I think it's time, don't you?"

"Time for what?" he asked, her finger causing his words to sound distorted.

"For us to take our relationship to the next level," she purred as she ran her hands down his chest, unbuttoning his shirt along the way. She pushed it open and slid her hands over his bare torso, enjoying the feel of peaks and valleys built with young muscle. Up they moved until they reached his chest. She immediately stroked his nipples, eliciting a shiver and small moan from him.

Oh yeah, she could work with that.

Trish reached down and took his hands, placing them on her bare hips as she gyrated more forcefully, putting more pressure on his groin.

"Trish, stop."

Right back to those sensitive pebbles on his chest. He groaned and his head fell back against the headboard, goosebumps breaking out across his chest, his nipples erect and responsive. She leaned forward and kissed him again, this time with tongue and passion and intent. Brody didn't reciprocate. Instead he moaned into her mouth, but it sounded less wanton and more guttural, like a grumble.

Her body jerked when he grabbed her wrists, wrenching her hands away from his body. Brody also bucked his hips slightly, causing her to shift down his legs, leaving her seated nearer his knees.

"What the fuck, Trish?" he asked, sounding perturbed and dismayed.

"Come on, baby—"

"Don't! You know I hate pet names."

"I know, Brody. I'm sorry. I just want to be with you."

He shook his head, scowled, then unceremoniously dumped her off his lap onto the bed as he surged to his feet.

"You're just going to throw it around like that, just offer it to anybody?"

She huffed as she moved to a kneeling position and faced him. "You're not just anybody, Brody."

"Losing your virginity's supposed to be special, Trish, not just an upgrade when you get tired of the status quo."

"I know, baby—"

"Stop that! I hate that shit!"

"I'm sorry."

"I want to wait and have sex when it's the right time with the right person—"

"Are you saying I'm not—"

"Not that you're the wrong person, Trish, but this is sure as fuck the wrong time and wrong reason."

"But—"

"I don't think I'm ready to take that step. I also don't think we're that close."

"Of course we are," she whined.

"No we're not, Trish. We've always been friends. This dating thing was new and different, but it's not what I want."

"Brody—"

"And I most certainly don't want to lose my virginity just for the sake of losing my virginity. I want it to mean something—"

"It would mean something." She sounded petulant but couldn't stop, couldn't change.

"Not like this. Not with you. I want it to be borne of love and a desire to take a relationship to the next level with a person I can spend the rest of my life with, which isn't you. I'm sorry, Trish, but this was never that kind of relationship. We should've never gotten involved like this."

Brody was buttoning his shirt hastily yet successfully. He began gathering his things, pushing everything into his backpack haphazardly.

"I'm sorry, Trish," he offered to her stunned silence, an endless gasp expressed in her features. "I'm not ready for that. I don't think I'll ever be ready for that with you. There's just no... no spark like that between us."

Brody reached the door and turned back to face her. She still knelt on the bed, mouth agape, eyes wide, aghast and appalled and... well, what looked like anger flowing just below the surface.

"I think we should go back to being friends and leave it at that."

Trish couldn't believe what was happening. She was so stunned she couldn't respond, couldn't think of anything to say. Mostly she wanted to scream and wail and pound her fists and stomp her feet.

She watched Brody slip out the door and disappear. And still she couldn't speak. But she could feel, and what she felt was a kind of rage she'd never felt before. Nobody had ever denied her what she wanted. Nobody. And she wanted Brody.

* * * * *

"Then you just walked out and left her there like that?"

Brody shrugged, his face dropping until his chin rested on his chest. "Am I an asshole?"

Jace shook his head, though he realized as he did it his best friend couldn't see it. "No, I'm not saying that at all. It's just..." He stared at Brody's profile, seeing the uncertainty in his expression despite the odd angle. "It's just that I didn't..."

Brody's head came up and he met Jace's gaze. "Didn't what?" he inquired, his voice soft and quiet.

"I didn't think anything could make you walk away from her."

"Why not?"

"You two seemed... close, I guess."

"Everybody in The Squad is close."

"Everybody in The Squad doesn't swap spit with everybody else in The Squad."

"Oh. That's true." Again Brody's head dropped as his voice weakened to a meek shadow of its normal self.

"She likes you."

"Yeah. So?"

"I thought you liked her."

"I thought I did, too."

Jace's head cocked slightly as he stared at Brody. "Meaning what?"

"Meaning I don't know," he replied with a shrug before turning back to his best friend. "Meaning... meaning I thought I did, but I realized I didn't but by then I was stuck, or felt stuck, or thought I should continue dating her because everybody expected it, or whatever." He shrugged again, though by that point he didn't know why or what to say or... or really why he couldn't just tell Jace the truth.

The boys gazed at each other, neither speaking and neither moving, both sitting on Brody's bed, backs against the headboard. They'd been watching television, waiting for dinner, and Brody regaled his best friend with the tale of terror from the previous night. Okay, tale of terror sounded harsher than it was, but it was close. He felt like Trish might've raped him if he hadn't left when he did.

He'd thought about having sex with her. The thought neither terrified him nor titillated him. It just was, a thought that lacked compelling merit while having more than a few demerits, an idea that might someday become reality if he ever got his mind and heart off his best friend. Because in the end, it was always Jace Brody thought of when it came to sexual fantasies.

Not that he only thought of Jace sexually. Far from it, in fact. Ever since he'd realized he had feelings for Jace that went beyond platonic, Brody had investigated and examined those feelings so he'd better understand them. What he realized was that he'd fallen in love with his best friend a few years ago, maybe in the fifth or sixth grade, though he hadn't realized what it was he felt or what it meant or why he felt it.

But it came down to having these constant thoughts of growing old with Jace, sharing a home and a life with Jace, always going to Jace to share the good news and get support through the bad news, talking to Jace about the weather and sports and current headlines and what to plant in the garden this year and where to go on vacation next year and... Well, his thoughts about Jace tended toward the mundane, the pedestrian, the quotidian ups and downs of life with a partner.

Then, when Trish first asked him out on a date in the library that day two years ago, Brody finally had his first sexual thought about Jace. He'd stared at him and considered what it would be like to sit in a dark movie theater holding his hand while they watched a movie, then maybe kissing him afterward when he said goodnight. He'd kissed Trish that night, a simple little peck, but when he arrived home he thought of kissing Jace and it was no simple little peck his mind conjured, which resulted in an even more passionate kiss for Trish several months later which made Brody think of even more passionate things to do with Jace. It ended up being a feedback loop, with each iteration leading to thoughts of Jace that had gone completely pornographic.

Brody's feelings for Jace had intensified by orders of magnitude, thoughts of suburban bliss rapidly becoming thoughts of sexual escapades punctuated by suburban bliss. Or vice versa. Or whatever.

"What are you thinking?"

Jace's whisper hit Brody like an electric shock. He'd become so lost in his friend's emerald gaze, those eyes filling him with thoughts of what he felt and what he wanted and why he was too damned chicken to say anything—he feared losing his friend—that he'd nearly forgotten where he was and that he wasn't alone.

But coming back to reality merely brought him back to those eyes, that gaze, the nearness of Jace's body settled right against his, the gentle caress of his breath against Brody's face, the faint taste of the air coming from Jace that made Brody want more.

Before he knew what he was doing, he leaned toward Jace, a very slow movement, his eyes leaping up and down from eyes to lips and back again. He felt drawn forward, drawn toward fate, drawn toward destiny.

When his gaze locked on Jace's, he saw his friend's eyes widen a bit, his pupils dilate, and he became aware of Jace's breathing, which had shallowed and accelerated and sounded somewhat ragged and rushed.

A brief knock at the door had both young men whipping their heads in that direction. Just in time for Jayne Anne to push it open a bit.

"Dinner's ready," she told them.

"Be right there," Brody said. Or thought he said. It sounded less like words and more like letters written with smoke, light and airy and insubstantial.

"Are you boys okay?" she asked, eyes narrowing. Jayne Anne was very much aware of the slight flush in their cheeks, the stunned expressions that reminded her of shock rather than surprise.

"Yeah," Jace replied, his voice only a little more substantive than Brody's had been.

"Okay." She sounded unsure, or maybe confused, or perhaps it was just curious. "Well, dinner's ready. Come on before it gets cold."

They watched her turn and head down the hall. Then they looked at each other. Then they stood and followed her to the dining room.

Though neither said a word before sitting down to eat, both of them separately pondered that moment, that profound interaction that held no sounds save breathing yet held as much emotion as the works of Shakespeare. They'd both felt it, they'd both felt that... that something... that spark. Unfortunately, Jace didn't understand it well enough to know how to respond to it.

Brody, on the other hand, knew precisely what'd happened. Maybe it was his experience with Trish or maybe it was those formative years he'd gone through leukemia treatment and learned so much from educated adults when he should have been playing in sandboxes instead, but not matter where the understanding came from, he knew what that moment was and what it meant. That was a spark to ignite a fire to set ablaze the smoldering feelings that he now knew were reciprocated. He just had to figure out what to do with that knowledge.

No matter what he decided, he wouldn't let the night slip by without taking action. He'd waited long enough. It was time to start living the dream.

Thanks for your readership and support!

Copyright © 2019 Jason MH; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments

Trish is a real piece of work. It looks as though pretty much everyone was aware of the mutual attraction between Brody & Jace before they were and the fact Trish herself was aware of it yet tried to get between them anyway is twisted. I mean it was made clear Trish realized it early on and then goes on to try to seduce Brody with the hopes it'll cause him to lose interest in Jace though in a way she only sped up the inevitable. I can hardly believe that in the present day she's conspiring to out them in the hopes Brody will go back to her possibly in an attempt to appear straight and I desperately hope it doesn't work as unlikely as it may seem as a person's fears can drive them to do the unexpected. Brody's family is ok with him being gay/bi/whatever but he's not aware of this so I hope he doesn't try to hide the fact he's gay/bi by distancing himself from Jace if rumors were to spread that they're gay due to Trish's manipulations. Hopefully if they get outed his family will by then have made it clear they're ok with it and hopefully Jace's family will be as well as we have yet to know how they'd react. Thinking back on the previous chapter while I assume Lynette doesn't want to cause undue friction between the group when Trish has yet to do anything per say yet considering she suspects that Trish is scheming to break them up I hope she doesn't stay quiet when she shouldn't. I'm not certain that with no hard proof that she should say anything at this exact moment but surely Lynette won't stay silent if Trish starts acting suspiciously as I'd hate to see Lynette's silence help contribute to the drama on the horizon. At least we know that even if they're outed their friends all accept them and while Brody doesn't yet know it his family does as well so thankfully they'll have support of people closest to them though Jace's family is still an unknown variable. I can't wait to see what happens next and I hope Trish gets all she deserves. 😏

Edited by NimirRaj
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Wow! I’m really loving this! Trish wants what she wants and everything else be damned!  Thank you!

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I just finished chapters one through four in one sitting. What great characters! Their story and their supporting cast are terrific! I like the pacing, the vocabulary (quotidian!?), the dialogue, and the way the story moved between present and past. Your writing makes Brody, Jace, and their friends and family feel real. I really like them (well maybe Trish not so much) and can't wait to see what's next. Thank you.

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Excellent chapter! The relationship between the boys is deepening and Trish being the self centered individual that she is will bring disaster down onto everyone in the squad. She’s trouble and will not stop until she gets what she wants or destroys the relationship between the boys out of spite. I’m definitely looking forward to the next chapter! 😃❤️

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