visiting-my-brother-at-college-9

Ai Shinozaki

Subject: Visiting My Brother at College 9 It’s strange being back. There’s a peculiar disconnect. I’m like Dorothy waking from Oz, or a child stepping out of Narnia. Like for a time I was living a different life in a different world, but now I’ve stepped back into my own, and to everyone else I’ve only been gone for a weekend and nothing has changed, but they’re wrong. Everything has changed, and this world, it doesn’t fit right anymore. Home doesn’t quite feel like home anymore. Walking into school on Tuesday I have to remind myself that it really has only been a weekend. I still know these people, and they still know me, even if part of me has outgrown them. I have to remember that even if I feel like I’ve left high school behind, I still need to finish it or I’ll never make it to college for real. So I wave and I smile, I say “hi” to my friends and acquaintances and roll my eyes at the assholes. And when I get to my first class, AP Literature, I try to concentrate. I can’t help my mind drifting a little, though. The drive home yesterday was pretty quiet, Dad gave up on asking questions after about fifteen minutes of one word answers and let me stare out the window the rest of the way. Mom has apparently been on a surprise business trip since Saturday, so aside from my dog, Hazel, the house was empty when we got home. Hazel tried to tackle me in the doorway and forced me to go to the backyard and play fetch with her for a while, then Dad called us both in to dinner, which was as quiet as the drive. I was probably being a bit of an asshole, moping and picking at my food, and Dad didn’t deserve that, but I was feeling weird and anxious to be alone. It was a relief to be excused to my room. I collapsed into bed in my clothes, and fired off texts to both Toby and Reed, telling them I was home, that the weekend was great, and telling Reed I missed him already. Toby replied quickly, a series of emojis including a bicep curl, fireworks, and a kissy face. Reed didn’t respond before I fell asleep, but when I woke up this morning there was one message, “glad you’re home safe.” So now, sitting in class, that message is all I can think about. The teacher, Mr. Adams, a youngish guy with dirty blond hair I always thought was cute, is talking animatedly about the Beat Generation, but I’m fixated on Reed. “Glad you’re home safe”? That’s it? Is he freaking out again now that I’m gone, now that there’s real, physical distance? Is he trying to back out now? He promised me we had each other for life. I don’t know what I could text him to reassure myself, though. He didn’t do or say anything wrong, so I can’t really call him on it, he just didn’t say as much as I wanted him to. I can’t say “I miss you” again, when he ignored it the first time. Instead I try to put it out of my mind. It’s been one day, I’m not going to worry about this yet. I do a pretty good job not thinking about it for the next two classes. AP Chemistry is interesting, and I’m good at it, so it holds my attention. Biotechnology, on the other hand, is hard and boring, and I’m only taking it because Mom insisted, so I have to pay attention to avoid screwing up. It’s a relief to finish and head to lunch. At lunch I finally get to see my friends. After grabbing a sandwich from the cafeteria I head to join them at our usual table in the courtyard. We always eat outside when it’s not too cold or wet. There are three people waiting for me, and it’s nice to find that at least these three people still seem familiar and comfortable. Now, I mean, I have other friends. We all have other friends. But the core gang is me, Erica, Geoff, and Ben, and has been for years. Erica is the newest addition, starting to hang out with us Freshman year. She’s super cool, half-Japanese, short with black hair currently dyed blue on the fringe, and a killer fashion sense. She has mastered the art of thrifting, and I’ve rarely seen her wear the same outfit twice. Today she’s in a yellow jacket over a blue halter top, looking a bit like Jubilee from X-Men. She’s also probably the most popular of us, she gets along with everyone aside from a few assholes, but she hangs out with us because she’s a secret nerd. The Jubilee resemblance was probably intentional. She’s also Geoff’s girlfriend, but that just started last year. Geoff’s been friends with me and Ben since fourth grade, when his family moved here from California. In contrast to Erica, he’s really tall, like 6’3″, and half-Russian, half-Indian, giving him this gorgeously tanned skin, wavy dark hair, and hazel eyes. He’s got a build for basketball, but he hates any school-organized activities, and prefers video games to any kind of sport. He just got lucky with genetics. And Ben… Ben is my oldest friend, and probably my first love. We met our first day of kindergarten and have been friends ever since. He has really light blond hair, and heterochromatic eyes, one teal like a tropical lagoon, one a more pure blue. Most people don’t even notice, the color’s not that different, but I’ve spent a lot of time looking. He also has an amazing body, so lean and strong, almost like Toby’s but a couple of inches taller and a little less defined. I knew I was gay because of Ben, when I realized that there was a reason why I liked looking at him in the locker room so much, and why I got excited when we’d sleep in the same bed at sleepovers. He was also the first person I came out to, back when we were thirteen, and I’ve always kind of hoped that he might want to “experiment” one day. I mean, he’s got a gay best friend, and he’s super shy with girls, or really anyone new, so I thought maybe, someday, he would be horny enough to try. I’ve even hinted, talking about straight guys I’ve slept with, or mentioning being horny at sleepovers. But no, Ben is painfully straight, so that’s probably never going to happen. Even Geoff hooked up with me once, before he started dating Erica, but Ben has never seemed even a little curious. It’s probably for the best, “experimenting” with him would most likely just leave me with a broken heart. “So,” Erica says from across the table as I’m settling into my seat next to Ben, “Get any college dick?” I laugh, and Ben blushes adorably, while Geoff rolls his eyes, saying, “Gross, that’s the first thing you ask?” “Well he’s been incommunicado all weekend, I want the dirt!” Erica protests. “Sorry, sorry,” I say, feeling a little guilty that I haven’t even looked at our group chat since before the trip. Other things were on my mind. “Umm, yeah, some.” “Really?” Ben asks, at the same time Erica shouts, “Yes! Give me details!” I freeze as I realize I can’t tell them everything, and it takes me a second to come up with what to say. “This guy Toby. One of Reed’s friends. We hooked up a couple times.” “I said details,” Erica says, “Is he hot? What’s he like? Where? When? How big is his dick?” “Oh my God, I am not telling you how big his dick is!” I yell, probably a little too loudly as a couple of people at nearby tables turn my way and laugh. “Is he on Insta? What’s his last name?” Erica asks. “Auclair,” I sigh, and spell it out for her. A few seconds later she’s grinning at me from her phone, “Ho-ly shit, he is stunning!” I can’t help but smile at that, because yeah, he is. “Uh, hey, boyfriend here, feeling a little neglected,” Geoff pouts. Erica continues tapping at her phone as she reaches out blindly with her left hand to pat Geoff on the shoulder, but misaims and just sort of pokes his face, “Shh, you know I love you, you don’t have to worry about any hot gay guys stealing me.” “Uh, actually, he’s bi,” I say, winking at Geoff. “Ooo,” Erica smiles wickedly. “Well, that might change things, except it looks like he’s totally into you.” She turns her phone to face me and waves it back and forth. “Huh? Give me that,” I say, snatching Erica’s phone across the table. Toby’s most recent post is a selfie I don’t remember him taking. It’s taken from a high angle, and he’s sitting on the floor in Janna and Jessica’s apartment smiling softly, with me curled up next to him, face half-buried in his cardigan, eyes closed, his arm wrapped around me. He’s tagged it with “Stating it for the record. BoyfriendDibs.” You can’t see that much of my face, but it’s enough that it’s obviously me. “Wow,” Ben says from next to me, “You only said you hooked up. Boyfriend dibs?” He sounds skeptical. “Okay, so yeah,” I say, biting the inside of my cheek as all three stare at me, “Like, maybe he said he’d like to keep seeing me, and that he had dibs on being my boyfriend if I end up there next year, but like, I’m not there now, and it was honestly just a couple of hook-ups, and like…” I pause, grimacing because I know it’s going to make them all think it’s a bigger deal than it is, “Three or four dates, maybe?” “Three or four dates. In one weekend,” Geoff says deadpan, raising his eyebrows at me. “Your first dates!” Ben exclaims, and when I turn to look at him he seems to be genuinely excited for me, smiling brightly, showing his teeth including the slightly crooked canine that just adds to his charm. “How were they? Is he nice?” “He’s really sweet,” I say slowly, “And I dunno, I guess they were good. I don’t have much to compare to.” “Well, şişli travesti he sounds better than the redhead, anyway. He’d have to be,” Ben says firmly, and I roll my eyes. Ben never liked Ryan, he thought he was a jerk who just used me while keeping our relationship, whatever it was, a secret. Of course it hadn’t stayed a secret from these three for long, and I think a couple of Ryan’s friends must have known too, but Ben’s the only one who really cared, and he’s too nice to out anyone. Even now, he doesn’t refer to Ryan by name in public. “The redhead was fine,” I say, “He just wasn’t ready to be out.” “Well, doesn’t seem like that’s a problem with Toby,” Erica says. “I think he just came out pretty loudly with that picture, based on some of the comments. ‘Is that a guy’ asks some douche named Eric with like five question marks.” “Toby was never exactly in the closet,” I say, smiling thinking about it, “He goes for what he wants and doesn’t care what anyone thinks.” “Hot!” Erica grins. “Yeah,” I sigh. “But really, it’s nothing serious, so don’t make a big deal out of it. We’re definitely not dating.” “We’re just happy for you,” Ben says, nudging me. “I’m glad you had a good weekend, and he seems like a good guy. Though you could have at least checked in with us.” I nod, but don’t say anything, for the same reason I didn’t say anything while I was gone. Because I couldn’t possibly tell them what I was really feeling most of the weekend, or about the other college dick I got. Luckily they let the subject drop, and the rest of lunch passes with them talking about the epic gaming night they had on Saturday, and plans for the next weekend. After lunch Ben and I head to Government & Civics, the only class we share this semester. We’ve always been into different things academically, with Ben more into art and creative things, and now that we’re seniors that means we only have this one class together. Unfortunately it’s not one either of us is very interested in, just a requirement for seniors, but it’s nice to have at least one hour where we can sit together. We spend most of the class joking quietly with each other. After that I have Economics with Geoff and Erica. Erica’s there to learn how to make her first million by twenty-five, Geoff is there because Erica is. I’m there because… I don’t really know. I had an elective and my mom thought it would be a good idea. I guess my friends being there helps, even if Erica sits between me and Geoff and she’s totally focused on the class. She knows about the time we hooked up, because of course he went and told her, and she says it’s okay, she doesn’t mind, boys will be boys, but she does tend to position herself between us and avoid giving us time alone together now. I mean, it was two years ago, and he was a curious virgin, and he never came back for a repeat, but I guess I don’t blame her. I can tell she’s in love with him, and as much of a badass as she is, maybe even she can be a little insecure. My last class of the day is Drama, with Erica. I chose it because it felt like something a gay kid should do, like I should connect more with gay culture or something now that I’m out, and it’s an easy class at the end of the day, but knowing Toby is into this sort of thing makes me a little more interested. Just a little, since I don’t think I’m any good at acting, and I don’t have any talent for painting set pieces or making props. Today Erica and I pair up to organize costumes, which is great, mindless, unsupervised work backstage, which we totally slack off on. I take the opportunity to text Toby. Devin Buchanan: Saw your post on Instagram. Cute picture. Toby Auclair: Cute subject 🙂 Devin Buchanan: You sure you want to broadcast your dibs to the world? Toby Auclair: I have nothing to hide Devin Buchanan: But people are going to think we’re a couple or something Toby Auclair: Ok 😀 Devin Buchanan: But isn’t that going to make it hard for you to get with other people? Toby Auclair: Look, ill call you later, but I don’t care I’m smiling at my phone when Erica throws a frilly shirt over my head. When I pull it off she’s smirking at me and nods at my phone. “How’s the boyfriend?” “Like I said, he’s not my boyfriend.” “But he wants to be. He called dibs.” “He’s the one who suggested we keep it casual,” I say, although I leave out that I was kind of in the middle of a freakout at the time. “That post didn’t seem casual,” she shrugs. “Okay, one, he lives too far away, and two, he’s got so many options, there’s no way he wants a long distance relationship with me. Like, maybe next year, but not now.” “God, Dev,” she sighs, rolling her eyes. “I say this with love, but you’re a fucking idiot.” “Huh?” “Don’t let this get to your head, but if he has you as an option, no way is he going to take any other,” she says matter-of-factly, and I’m flattered but also seriously disbelieving, because I have plenty of evidence to the contrary. “That’s ridiculous. I’m almost eighteen and I’ve never had a boyfriend, so clearly you’re wrong,” I point out. “Devin, you’re fucking gorgeous, it’s seriously unfair, like you’ve gotten more straight guys than I have, and you’re one of the nicest and most thoughtful people ever, I’ve never even heard you say you dislike someone,” she says. “I dislike people,” I mutter, blushing and fiddling with a velvet dress in my hands. I think it’s left over from a Twelfth Night production last year. “Maybe Ryan and some other guys have treated you like shit,” she continues, ignoring me, “but seriously, I know for a fact that you’re both Luke AND Liam’s sexception, even Geoff went for you, and this Toby guy is clearly into you enough to basically announce to the world that he’s not straight and wants to be your boyfriend.” “Luke and Liam?” I ask curiously, looking back up at her. Luke and Liam have been a couple for ages and therefore off-limits, but they’re both really cute, especially Luke, who has the most dazzling smile. “Yes, either of them,” Erica laughs. “But Toby is totally yours if you want him.” She pauses for a few seconds. “Do you? Want him?” “I don’t know. Yes? Maybe?” I frown. “Well, don’t take forever to figure it out,” she says. “Or whatever. It’s none of my business if you want to turn down an out, hot, available guy and find another closet case to cling to for months.” Damn, that hurts. Because honestly, the main reason I’m not sure about committing to anything with Toby is Reed. It’s not like with Ryan, Reed wouldn’t keep me a secret because he’s ashamed of me, or himself. What we have is a secret because it has to be. That doesn’t make it feel much better though. “Look, maybe Toby wants to sleep with me again, and maybe… other people… like to hook up with me too,” I grumble, “but that doesn’t mean Toby wants a relationship with me any more than fucking Luke, or Liam, or Ryan, or… or anyone okay?” She looks at me with sad eyes and I pretend to ignore her, until eventually she just sighs and gets back to sorting costumes. I don’t need sympathy, I’m just stating facts backed up by experience. I’m the guy other guys fuck, not the guy they date. The period ends without us making much progress, but I doubt anyone will care. The class is basically a free period. We walk together toward the front of the school to meet Ben and Geoff. We find them both waiting by the door, and Ben smiles at me and nudges me with his shoulder, falling in next to me as we start walking into the parking lot. “Gaming at my place?” Ben asks, looking at each of us. “I’ve got no homework today.” “Erica and I are going into the city,” Geoff says, shaking his head, as he splits off toward his car, hand-in-hand with Erica. “Maybe tomorrow.” “Dev?” I’m tempted. I have missed hanging out with these guys, especially Ben, but I feel exhausted, and just want to go home. “I should get home,” I sigh eventually, when we’ve reached Ben’s car and he’s standing there by the door waiting for an answer. “I have chem homework, and Toby’s supposed to call me.” Ben frowns, and brushes a pale lock of hair from his forehead in a nervous gesture I’m familiar with, but he nods. “Okay, cool. Tomorrow?” “Yeah,” I say, smiling. “I’d love to tomorrow.” “Cool,” he says, flashing his teeth in a quick smile. “See you then, then.” He gives a sort of half wave as he ducks into his car. I live close, and my friends know I prefer to walk, so they never offer me a ride. I kind of wish one of them had today, though. My house is just about ten minutes from the school, through the park, past the skeezy public toilets where I have luckily never been desperate enough to cruise, and a few blocks into the residential sprawl that makes up most of this town. When I get home I take off my shoes by the door, then find Mom sitting in the kitchen, drinking a cup of tea and reading some printed out documents. She looks tired. She usually does these days. She’s still pretty, with her golden blond hair and the blue eyes she gave to her children, her fine features and petite build, but there are bags under her eyes and some grey hairs dulling the gold. She looks up at me with a warm smile, though, and beckons me to sit. “Hey baby,” she says, her voice light, “Come here. I missed you.” beylikdüzü travesti When I sit down she reaches out and puts her hand on top of mine on the table. “Hey Mom, I missed you too,” I say. “How was your trip?” She waves a hand dismissively. “Oh, the usual nonsense, and you know I hate Boston,” she says, grinning at me. “I want to know about your trip. Your dad says you have a very handsome new suitor. Toby?” “Ugh, seriously, I just did this all day with Erica and the guys,” I groan. But did she say Dad said Toby is “very handsome”? Well, it’s true, I guess. “Oh come on, we always gossip about boys,” she pouts. “And it’s so good to hear you’ve found a nice one, finally. That ‘friend’ of yours last year was no good for you.” “Mom, it’s nothing serious,” I say. “I mean, he’s sweet and cute, but he’s two years older than me and he doesn’t live here.” “When I did my semester abroad in Austria, your dad wrote to me every week, and he came to surprise me in Vienna on Christmas,” she says. “That was when I knew he was the one. Distance doesn’t matter.” “God, Mom, I just met him on Friday, he’s not my one true love.” I roll my eyes. “Well, you never know,” she says, sipping her tea. “Anyway, what did you think of the school? Their chemistry program isn’t the best, but they have done some excellent biochemistry and biotechnology research in the last few years, and seniors can do internships instead of a thesis, so you can get your foot in the door at one of the big companies.” I sigh. I’m not sure this topic is any better. Mom is a junior executive at a small pharmaceutical company, and ever since I showed any promise or enjoyment in chemistry she has been convinced that I would go into pharmaceuticals too, making the next generation of medicines. And like, I get that that’s important, and I guess I wouldn’t exactly be unhappy doing it, but it’s never been my dream. I don’t know if I’ve ever really had a dream for my future, but I feel like whatever I do it should make me feel something more than dull acceptance. “I like the school,” I say carefully. “And I like the city. I haven’t made a decision, but I think I want to go there next year.” Her smile brightens. “But… I don’t know if I want to do biochem. Or biotech.” “Okay,” she says, looking a little confused. “Pure chemistry is great too, it leaves you open for lots of different specializations once you’re in the lab.” “No, Mom,” I sigh again. “I don’t know if I want to do science. I might do history instead.” “History?” She asks, confused. “What would you do with that? You know, you can try a double major, it will be more work but it would keep your options open, and if you want to drop one later, you can.” I don’t want to have this discussion right now. There’s no point. So I just nod and say, “I’ll think about it. I’ve got some homework to do.” I stand and bend down to give her a kiss on the cheek, then head toward my room. My room’s on the first floor, next to Reed’s old room, in our own little hallway with a bathroom at the back of the house, near the back door. The first floor also holds the kitchen, dining room, and living room, while my parents’ bedroom is on the second floor, along with a guest bedroom and dad’s office. There’s also a finished basement, which is mostly one big room, a combination den, rec room, and gym. I’ve never really noticed before, but walking into my room now, well-lit by the afternoon sun, it seems so big, empty, and sterile. It’s about the size of Reed’s whole dorm room, but it only has to hold my double bed, desk, dresser, and two bookshelves. I’ve never really liked the look of posters, so I don’t have hot guys or bands or movies plastered on the dark blue walls, just a couple of paintings my parents have bought me, and some photos from trips with family and friends. After being away, it doesn’t seem to have much personality, and it’s definitely missing something. Or someone. I flop down onto my bed on my back, legs dangling off the side. All day people have been asking about Toby, and I haven’t been able to share with anyone the best parts of the weekend. There’s no one to gush to about how amazing Reed is, how beautiful he is, how good he can make me feel. And Reed… he’s hardly acknowledged me since I got back. It’s almost like I imagined the whole thing, like I hit my head and I really have just been in Kansas the whole time. I pull out my phone and stare at it, thinking about texting him again. Or calling him. But I don’t know what I would say. Suddenly the phone is buzzing, and my heart leaps for a moment, imagining that my thoughts have summoned Reed, but it sinks quickly as I see it’s just Toby. God, that’s not good. I shouldn’t be sad to see Toby calling, no matter what I had been hoping for. I rub the bridge of my nose for a moment and take a deep breath before answering. “Hey,” I say. “Um… What’s up?” “Hey,” Toby replies softly. “I wanted to talk.” “Okay… What about?” He pauses and I hear him let out a breath before he asks, “Do you like me?” “Huh?” I mean, of course I do, obviously I do, but why is he asking? Haven’t I told him that I do? “Sorry, nevermind. It’s nothing.” He says quickly. “How was your day? How is it being home?” I’m still confused, but whatever. “Weird. Everyone asked about you, and they all think I have this super hot new college boyfriend.” I snicker. “What’s so funny about that?” Toby asks. “Are you saying I’m not super hot?” “No,” I laugh. “They’re definitely right about that part.” “Okay,” He says and pauses. “I’m gonna come down this weekend.” “Uh,” I say. This conversation is turning out just as weird as the rest of my day. “Okay.” “Yeah.” He says. “Can I come see you on Saturday night? My mom and little sister will be pissed if I’m nearby and don’t stay with them at least one night, but I want to see you too.” “I thought you were coming next weekend?” “I changed my mind. So?” “Yeah,” I say. “Sure. I’m sure you can stay the night Saturday if you want.” “I’d love to,” he says, and I swear I can hear him grinning. We’re both silent for a few seconds. “Okay,” I say. “Okay,” he replies. “Yeah, I’ll see you then. I… bye, Dev.” “Bye, Toby,” I say with a nervous chuckle. That was weird. But nice? I think? I mean, Toby wants to come see me. Really soon. So that’s good. And it’s something I want too. I twist over onto my side, pulling my feet up onto the bed, and stare at the blank screen of the phone again. Just a few days, and I’ll have a warm body next to me again. I drift off for an hour or so, then haul myself out of bed to do homework. I mostly finish by the time Dad calls me to dinner, and I sit mostly quietly through the meal while Mom tells Dad about her trip, and Dad talks about one of his clients, and neither pays much attention to me. I can’t really blame them since Mom is gone so often and Dad tends to work odd hours. They both probably see me more than each other. I do mention Toby visiting though, and they seem happy and excited about it. “That’s great,” Dad says, “I’ll make something special for dinner.” “Okay,” I say, “But he’s vegetarian.” “Shoot,” Mom exclaims, and at first I think it’s a response to Toby not eating meat, which would be weird, “I’m supposed to go back to Boston on Saturday. Gav, you’ll have to give me a full report on Monday.” Dad laughs and agrees, and I roll my eyes, and the conversation moves on to vegetarianism, and how we all ought to eat more vegetarian meals, because it’s really a much more environmentally conscious way of eating, which is an odd thing to say when there’s a piece of pork chop on the end of your fork, but whatever. As long as they don’t take away my meat I don’t care if they want to go on a little vegetarian kick. After dinner I finish my homework, play a game for a little while, and then lay in bed staring at Reed’s contact information. I send him a single message, “Reed?” and then watch the blank screen until I fall asleep. The next day passes much the same. My weekend with Toby is old news now, though Erica gives me an “I told you so” look when I mention him coming down on Saturday. Geoff and Ben are mainly concerned with whether it will interfere with our hanging out that day, and I say no, but I’m really not sure yet. Mostly it’s just a boring, ordinary school day. A boring, ordinary day in which Reed doesn’t acknowledge me at all. The afternoon is spent in Ben’s bedroom playing a co-op hack-and-slash game. We’ve been playing this sort of game together since we were kids with an old copy of Gauntlet Dark Legacy, mindlessly slaying hordes of monsters while competing to gather the most loot. It’s nice, relaxing fun, even if Ben tends to take his shirt off when he gets home, and his warm presence at my side on the bed, or that expanse of smooth bare skin when he lays down on the floor, can be distracting. My crush may be hopeless, but there are still few places I’d rather be than hanging out with Ben in his room. I spend another night doing homework, texting occasionally with Toby, eating dinner with my parents, and staring at my phone or at pictures of Reed on my wall. There’s a framed picture that Mom took, of Reed holding me by the fire in Alta, which I look at for a long time. I fall asleep istanbul travesti again thinking of Reed. I don’t hear from him until Thursday afternoon. I’m propped up in bed with my laptop, browsing through some webcomics, when my phone buzzes with a text. “I need to see you,” it says. My heart is racing, and I respond, “video chat?” A few minutes later his face appears on my laptop screen. I’m angry that I haven’t heard from him until now, I’m scared that he doesn’t want me anymore, but his slow smile melts my heart a little. “Hey,” I say. He looks a little disheveled, his hair sticking up a bit, and his eyelids are drooping, but still he’s so beautiful, and I wish I were there to smooth his hair and kiss him until he’s wide awake. “Hey,” he says softly back. He doesn’t say anything else for a few seconds, just stares at me through the screen. “You’re so beautiful,” he says after a moment, echoing my own thoughts. My lip quivers. “I haven’t heard from you,” I mutter. He wipes a hand down his face and looks back at me with a sad smile. “It’s hard, you not being here,” he says. “As soon as you were gone, it kind of felt like this weekend wasn’t real. I… Well, I sort of wanted to pretend it wasn’t.” I grit my teeth and scowl at him. “You weren’t supposed to do that anymore. We were supposed to be in this together.” “I know,” he sighs. “I’m sorry. It’s just… it would be easier if it wasn’t real. For both of us. If we just went back to normal now.” “I don’t want easy,” I practically yell, before I remember my dad is upstairs. I lower my voice. “I don’t want normal. I want you, Reed. I thought you wanted me too.” “I do,” he says, “I’m sorry. I’m not trying to make excuses, just to explain. I do want you. So fucking bad it hurts, and I can hardly sleep anymore without you in my bed.” I keep pouting but he’s looking at me with such a sad sincerity now that it’s hard to keep it up. “I’ve missed you,” I say. “It’s been really hard, everyone asking about my weekend and not being able to tell anyone the truth, and then not even having you…” “I miss you too,” he says. “It’s crazy, we’ve been apart a lot longer before, but God I miss you…” He lowers his voice to a whisper. “I miss your face, and your lips, and your beautiful body… and your ass…” I finally crack a smile as my dick starts to harden under my laptop. “I miss your cock,” I whisper and he grins. “Just my cock?” He teases. “All of you,” I say. “But especially your cock.” “Want to say ‘hi’ to him?” He asks with a wink. Before I can answer he’s pushed his chair back so I can see him from the knees up, and he half stands for a moment to push his shorts down. His cock, already hard, slaps up against his t-shirt, and he grabs it and gives it a few lazy strokes. “Fuck,” I mutter. It looks so good. Thicker and juicier on camera than I remember it in person, and his balls look heavy and full. I can just make out a drop of precum forming at the tip. I want to taste him so badly. “My cock has been missing your ass, want to reintroduce them?” Reed whispers huskily. I just nod and hop off of my bed, setting the laptop down for a second to quickly strip naked. It’s awkward to position things right, but I lay the laptop near the foot of my bed and get on my knees and elbows, pointing my ass back toward the screen and try to twist my head around. “Oh god,” he groans, pumping his cock slowly, slicking it with his own juices. “Wanna fuck you so badly. Was with Jess last night, but it doesn’t compare, I missed your ass.” “Don’t,” I growl, flipping over. “Don’t mention her now.” “Sorry,” he says, still stroking. “I’m so horny. Please show me…” I lean back, propped up against some pillows, and pull the laptop between my spread legs. I’m hard as a rock by now, and I stroke myself for the camera. To punish him, maybe, or just to remind him who I am. I don’t know. “Fuck, that’s hot too,” Reed whispers. “I want to feel you so bad right now. Wanna make you cum while I fuck you.” I spread my legs wide and lift them a little, so he can see my hole while I stroke myself. I use one hand to lightly stroke my perineum and tease my hole for him. “I wish you were inside me,” I whisper. “I want you inside me all the time.” “Finger yourself,” he says, licking his lips and staring intensely. “Fuck yourself on your fingers and pretend it’s me.” “I have a better idea,” I grin. I lean over and open the drawer on my bedside table, grabbing my lube and my dildo. It’s only about six inches, nothing crazy, of flesh-colored silicone with balls at the base. I lay back and hold it up where Reed can see, bringing the tip to my lips and licking it slowly. “Think I should use this?” “Oh my God,” Reed groans. “Yes. Fuck yourself for me.” I pop the cap on the lube and quickly apply it to the dildo, then spread some on my hole, pushing some in with one finger. I bring the dildo to my entrance and slowly apply pressure, gasping when the head slips in. “Oh fuck, Reed,” I moan. “Don’t stop,” he orders, though he’s stopped stroking and is just gripping the base of his shaft with one hand, while squeezing his balls with the other. His head is a wet, angry purple I want to wrap my lips around. “Take it all. Take all of me.” I do as he asks, gradually filling myself up with the whole dildo, while biting my lip and staring into Reed’s eyes through the screen. He starts pumping himself again as I slide the fake cock partway out and back in again. I try to imagine it’s him, his cock filling me up, even though I know he feels so much better. It’s not as good, but it’s something, and at least, in a way, he’s here with me. “Take off your shirt,” I pant. “I want to see all of you.” Reed laughs and quickly pulls the t-shirt off, revealing his flat belly and strong pecs, the nipples I want in my mouth nearly as much as his dick. I use my left hand to keep fucking the silicone cock in and out, angling it to brush my prostate, and bring my right up to my own chest, to pinch my left nipple. I picture Reed’s teeth as I dig my fingernails in. “Mm, fuck me hard,” I whimper. “So hard, babe,” Reed moans back, his hand flying on his cock now. “Wanna fuck you all night.” I want that too, want the real him here, pounding into me, but even with just a length of silicone and my wrist I know I’m not going to last long. I reach to squeeze my cock to try to hold off but even that touch pushes me over the edge and I cry out, shooting all over my chest, one shot hitting my face. I lick my lips, tasting my own cum, and smile at Reed. He closes his eyes and groans out, “Dev,” as he hits his own peak, white ropes painting his tensed belly. He opens his eyes as he comes down and we both just stare at each other for a moment, breathing deeply. I want to lick the cum from him and then curl up on his lap. “Hey kid, are yo–” Dad bursts in through my door, knocking as he enters, and freezes. His eyes are wide and they zero in on my ass, the dildo still buried inside me. I fucking panic, and scramble up, the dildo slipping out of me onto the floor with a splat as I cover my crotch with both hands and yell, “Get out!” “Sorry, sorry, shit,” Dad yells, covering his eyes and backing out of the door and pulling it shut. I’m mortified. I collapse back onto the bed with my eyes closed, and it takes me a minute to gather myself enough to notice my laptop still open, and Reed’s face filling the screen talking to me. “Dev, are you okay? What happened?” He asks, looking concerned. “Fuck,” I groan, rolling over to face the screen. “I’m okay. Dad walked in on me.” “Shit,” Reed says, trying and failing to hide a smirk. “That’s embarrassing.” “At least he didn’t see you,” I sigh. “I think. The screen wasn’t facing the door.” “Yeah…” Reed says. “I should go. But…” He pauses for a long moment, chewing his lip. “Thanks, Dev. And I’m sorry about the past few days. I love you.” “I love you too,” I say. Reed’s face disappears with a quiet beep, and I’m left alone in a big, empty room, covered in cooling jizz, wondering how I’m ever going to look at my dad again. —– Phew. Okay guys, sorry this one took so long. The holidays were crazy, which was part of the problem, but I’ve also had quite a bit of writer’s block and some particular issues with this chapter. What I originally planned for chapter 9 is now two chapters, and the second part (chapter 10) will hopefully not take too long to get out now that I’ve figured out where things are going. It’s a lot harder to write now that Devin’s home, and there’s more day-to-day life to deal with. The present tense style also isn’t well suited to quickly moving through multiple days, so I hope this doesn’t feel too rushed, too lacking in description, etc. There is a draft of this chapter where Ben plays a much bigger part, but I thought that would overcomplicate things, and I think it’s best if he just remains a straight crush. If you disagree let me know, but I think Devin has enough on his plate with Reed and Toby for now. There is also a version where things move much faster with Devin and his dad, which I also thought would be a bad idea. Something might develop there, but don’t expect any sex for at least two chapters, if at all. Anyway, with any luck the wait for chapter 10 and 11 won’t be very long, as I have a fairly solid idea of their outlines. And as always, please let me know what you think, good or bad. It’s always great to get feedback, and I appreciate hearing from fans. It’s honestly the best encouragement to keep writing.

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