Heaven Next Door
Raylene says as how every time when I think on Bill, I get ants in my pants, an’ right now it sure feels like it. Cain’t help myself from walkin’ just around and around, but I’m tryin’ to do it real slow so as I don’t get to stinkin’ or nuthin’ and I’m still all sweet an’ nice for my guy. Seems like I cain’t help but I keep on thinkin’ of him that way - “my guy” - even though I know it’s dumb, an’ it ain’t true, and ain’t never gonna be, not for all of my wishin’. When I was showerin’, I wisht I’d had time to go to the mall and boost some of that green shower stuff what Bill uses so I can be smellin’ just the same as him but what with takin’ that long bus ride and then goin’ with mister Ray, I hadn’t, so I just showered real careful with all nice smellin’ soap what I had afore. I washed twice on every place I recalled him kissin’ or touchin’ me, ’cept I only washed my dickie the once: ain’t never gonna tell nobody about him pretendin’ as how he was a fag; just the thought of Bill gettin’ beat on same as Duke gives me this real scary feelin’ like I cain’t breathe and wanna cry real bad. Anyhow, like I said, I washed real careful on the back of my neck an’ my shoulders, on my chest, an’ of course my uhu.
That was still kinda achey from mister Ray’s cock rammin’ it, but I didn’t mind that none: I was feelin’ kinda weird from recallin’ him puttin’ his arms around me just like Bill done in the pod, and scairt maybe Bill would know somehow I’d been doin’ that private stuff with another guy. Fuckin’ and suckin’s just workin’; but touchin’, it sure ain’t.
Of course, just washin’ my uhu an’ thinkin’ on Bill was enough to send me plumb crazy. In the end I run out the shower to my room an’ used my rubber dickie.
I didn’t pretend about that new idea of Bill fuckin’ me girl-way-up, on account of I want to, a whole lot, but it’s scary an’ inside of me I get so I wanna cry real bad, too. Bein’ a cry-baby’d mess things up fer sure, so I just done like Raylene said and focused on just bein’ a hot hole for him to stick his dick in, and to always make like as how it hurts so he don’t think you’re a slut. I ain’t’fessed-up to her yet as how I figure I been a cock-tease, but I sure did work that into my pretendin’, havin’ Bill say as how he weren’t gonna stand fer that no more — rippin’ all my clothes off an’ holdin’ me real close an’ tight in his big arms while he fucked me all rough like he meant it for real.
I shoved that rubber dickie hard right up my ass, an’ in and out as rough as I could, stickin’ my butt up in the air and pretendin’ he was doin’ me like Duke and mister Ray, only Bill was holdin’ me close and growlin’ in my ear, sayin’ as how I was his boy and I weren’t gonna go with no other guys’ceptin’ he okayed it an’ I give him all of my earnin’s. Just thinkin’ on Bill fixin’ up my life thataway and bein’ my guy permanent like, got me all shivery-achey-horny, and with rubbin’ that hard rubber dickie over my inside-place, pretty soon I was rubbin’ my hard li’l fella against the mattress and whimperin’ Bill’s name while the sky-rockets gone off behind my eyes an’ my achin’ uhu strangled that dickie like half to death.
Well, I cleaned myself up, and then I put on the boring plaid shirt and knee pants what Raylene got for me. All bought an’ paid for, on account of she’s too heavy for boostin’ stuff right now: she gets folks watch her all the time and ask if she’s okay or need to sit down an’ shit like that an’ it’s really pissin’ her off. So I wore all boring stuff like seein’ Bill weren’t no big deal, but I did wear my nice new deck shoes though. Kinda scary — in the mirror I seen this ordinary kid, you know: smart, like he could do readin’ no trouble an’ learn stuff real fast, only his eyes was real scairt. I know Bill ain’t mean, an’ he wouldn’t learn me no Bad Words what I ain’t supposed to know; not a-purpose. I wondered how long I got afore Bill cottoned to me bein’ dumb and no-account.
I went downstairs and it was still only nine o’clock, so nobody was up. I picked up all the letters an’ put’em on the kitchen table. You sure get a lot, livin’ in a house — we didn’t get hardly a one when we was in the trailer. Some of’em are nice: with all pictures of stuff for the house or beach vacations, but most of’em are just letters with all red writing on.
I looked in the fridge hopin’ for breakfast, but Raylene had et all the cold carry-out in the night same as usual. Mom’s switched from Seven’n’ Seven to Bloody Marys though so I snuck some of her tomato juice, only I took my shirt’n’ pants off first so I wouldn’t spill nothin’ on’em. After I got dressed again, wern’t nothin’ to do’ceptin’ sit and watch the clock.
After about five fuckin’ years, it said nine-thirty, an’ I couldn’t stand it no more. So I let myself out the front and snuck over to Bill’s front garden. It was so nice just standin’ there with all them little clipped bushes and listenin’ to the birds singin’ and knowin’ soon I wasn’t just gonna see Bill, but spend the whole mornin’ with him! I got so excited I kinda skipped about jut like a li’l sissy fag, only then I seen as how I was messin’ his path made of little crunchy rocks all up, an’ I tried to smooth it all over again an’ make it nice.
* * *
He’s not coming. Bill glanced at the kitchen clock and cursed himself for an idiot: it was still twenty minutes of ten. Twenty minutes before Shayne was even due - and boys his age didn’t live by the clock anyway. They did what they felt like, with no worries, and no cares; everything was a game to them. It was only adults — adult idiots — who forgot that.
He wished he’d been able to talk to Raylene for longer yesterday, but he’d known better than to step inside that house while Mary pretended to trim the bushes in their front yard, and Shayne’s big sister had been big in every sense of the word: hugely pregnant and enormously tired. She’d seemed nervous at first, but that had shifted to amusement as he’d clumsily apologized for worrying them about Shayne with all that foolish restaurant business. Apparently she’d given her little brother an earful for running off and spoiling his evening. He’d stumbled over his own complicated hot guilt at the whole business with Jay before managing to blurt out that he hadn’t realized her brother couldn’t read, and that he wanted to help.
He wanted, needed, to apologize to his little buddy, too: that restaurant had been the mother of all disasters. He should have seen Shayne’s attitude and acting out as the cry for help that it was, instead of getting pissed at the kid for behaving like he’d often wanted to in similar places, out with Jay and Mary. Then Shayne had ordered the fanciest stuff on the menu and he’d panicked; hurt, thinking the kid was giving him the finger, too, as well as knowing in his gut that his card would be declined. Well, as it turned out, that two-hundred dollar lobster had been the least of the charges. His rainy-day savings fund had contained enough to buy a little time, but it was now emptier than a politician’s pledge. He needed to start earning again, and soon, before the management of Chez Amis decided it had spent enough time being polite.
Bill consciously restrained himself from looking at the clock and took a swallow from the water glass, but it made no difference: even as he was putting it down again his mouth seemed as dry as ever. Unlike his palms, which were wet. Nineteen minutes to ten.
He’s just a boy, Bill told himself. You’re the adult here, so it’s time you started acting like one. He glanced out through the plate-glass patio door to where Mary was sitting at the little table, squinting slightly in the sunlight, her lips moving as she read aloud from her Bible. Usually she did her Bible reading in the small dining room she’d converted into the office for the prayer group: it was kind of her to let them use it for a school room.
Bill stood carefully, favoring his injured side. He’d go and check once again that everything was ready, he decided. He’d cleared the desk, moving Mary’s laptop right out of harm’s way, and they had pencils, coloring pens, lined and un-lined paper, and stories to read together. He hadn’t been too sure about those. The ones for beginning readers had seemed too “baby-ish”: tales about happy dogs: “See Spot run”; or vapid children: “Carla’s ice cream fell on the floor. Carla was sad. John gave his ice cream to Carla. Carla was happy.” He couldn’t see his smart little buddy putting up with much of that, so he’d he’d spent an enjoyable hour at the bookstore choosing some more engaging books: Dinosaurs, Knights, and Spacemen. All subjects to make a boy’s heart beat faster.
Bill paused in the study doorway, huffed into the palm of his hand, and sniffed it. He was not — absolutely not — going to touch the boy again, but they’d be working close together. Yes: perhaps his breath had a faint smell? He’d only eaten granola for breakfast, but better brush his teeth again. Besides it would pass the time. His wristwatch said he could take a leisurely sixteen minutes. Time enough even to choose a different shirt: this one he’d bought at the store just wasn’t him. He’d bought it because it was so different from the gaudy leisure shirts he usually wore. He’d teamed it with a pair of good jeans, wanting to look sober, reliable, professional: so that his little buddy could relax; but he felt a fraud.
The front door was closed, of course, but maybe he should leave it open? That would be more welcoming, he decided.
The already warm summer morning air flooded in as he opened the door. Bill felt a jolt through the whole of his body and a tightness in his chest as he registered the graceful, sunlit form on his front path. Shane’s head whipped round, turning to look over his shoulder back at Bill, stray blond curls caressing his face.
He was wearing a thin, short-sleeved summer shirt with a brown check, and the soft cotton brushed against skin sun-tinted the color of apricots. His knee length pants were the color of sweet, milky coffee, emphasizing the color of his shapely legs; dazzling white short socks molded his slender ankles and boyishly overlarge deck shoes with neon-green soles and laces added an endearing puppyish look.
Bill had been afraid his little buddy would arrive in impossibly distracting clothing like the hotpants and torn rock band tee-shirt he’d worn that never-to-be-forgotten day of the pod, radiating his sexiness in a way that even Mary couldn’t miss. He’d resigned himself to the torture of gazing at the boy’s silky, exposed skin, of watching the way his smooth little boy’s pits flexed and hollowed; the way his lean tummy folded when he leaned forward; the remembered shapes his hips, his ribs, his shoulderblades, elbows and knees made.
Now, standing here in that wholesome, “just visiting family” outfit Shayne looked even sexier. Especially when he smiled like that: the single shining glance from his dark eyes heartstopping in its brilliance before he looked down, his cheeks flushing. His adult front teeth, slightly oversize for his child’s mouth, gave him the cutest little kid-overbite, and his lips were so red they should taste of raspberries.
“Hey,” Bill said, and found his voice gruff with sudden affection. “You were going somewhere, little buddy?”
“Nuh-uh,” Shayne said. He stared down at the path and shuffled his feet. “I was just waitin’,” he mumbled. “You said ten o’clock, an’ it ain’t yet.”
Bill’s heart did a little hop-step as he saw Shayne brush his fluffy, sun-bleached curly bangs back out of his eyes. Sunlight glowed behind the boy’s hair like a bright crown, and the sweet air was full of flecks of slow-drifting gold.
* * *
Bill took me to a little room I ain’t seen afore. All full of books an’ pretty things in cupboards with glass doors. In the ordinary way I’d have looked a whole lot, but with Bill right there it was only him I wanted to look at, or just, you know: be there with. It were like wherever he stood I just knowed that’s where he was without no lookin’: I could feel him like a tinglin’ on my skin. My breathin’ went kinda funny like it does and my stupids come on so bad I could only kinda sneak looks at him from under my eyelashes. Seems like every time I seen him he gets better lookin’. I thought that white wedding suit was pretty neat, though I guess I only seen him before in all paint-smutched work stuff or those fuckin’ awful Aloha shirts. Now, though, he was wearin’ this plain, button-down blue shirt, just the exact color of his eyes.
He was sayin’ a whole lot of stuff about readin’ but I weren’t payin’ no nevermind. It weren’t I meant to be rude or nothin’, but I was lookin’ at his shirt. It was open at the neck, and just a little tuft of his chest hair was kinda peekin’ over, kinda golden and shiny. Part of me wanted to stroke that li’l tuft an’ kiss it an’ tuck it away all safe an’ neat. A whole lot more of me wanted to unbutton more of his shirt an’ rub my cheek against his chest and feel his heart beatin’ an’ listen to him all deep an’ rumbly as he was sayin’ stuff. There just weren’t a whole lot of me left over for listenin’ about readin’.
He pulled out a chair at the desk an’ patted my shoulder an’ I jumped like four feet. Felt like my heart was goin’ like a engine in a fire truck. Just him bein’ there so close had me all mixed up inside: kinda shiverin’ and sick-feelin’ on account of bein’ so happy. It was real lucky he wanted me to sit, on account of my knees just kinda folded all by theirselves.
Of course that meant I was lookin’ lower down - not at his shirt no more but these nice-cut jeans, and the even nicer bulge pushin’ out behind the fly! Bill’s so nice he could just click his fingers and any boy’d come a-runnin’, so I was real glad to see he was horny and had juice left for me. I was wishin’ I could just unzip his pants so I could see, and stroke it to make him feel nice, and maybe kiss his dick hello, just a little bit.
Only I didn’t want that, too. I wanted Bill to say, and to pull me in with them big strong hands, an’ I’d say “yes, Bill,” - only prob’ly kinda muffled around his dick — an’ I’d do all suckin’ and stuff just ’zackly like he wanted, feelin’ his big hands holdin’ my head as he fucked my mouth, an’ I’d be all warm an’ safe with him so close an’ tickly, smellin’ his nice shower-smell an’ as I’m swallowin’ his hard dick, tastin’ his hot jizz as it comes spurtin’ out an’ I’m givin’ him nice toungie, an’ then lickin’ it off and cleanin’ him up, right down to his furry balls where he smells all nice an’ you know: really like a guy, and he’d say I done him nicer’n any boy ever done him afore, ever ever ever.
* * *
Poor little kid, Bill thought. He must really have had some shitty times in school.
It was obvious the poor kid was here under orders. Right after that happy start Shayne had become nervous and subdued; avoiding his gaze and looking down at the carpet the whole time, as though he was trying to become invisible. The boy had moved softly past him in the hall in a heady drift of the sweet floral soap Bill remembered, obviously aware of exactly where Bill stood: graceful and wary as some forest creature.
Bill watched Shayne writing, copying out his ABC in round, careful script, bent low over the paper with the intensity of his concentration. Seated next to the boy, his chair pushed a little further back from the desk, it was all Bill could do not to stroke the smooth, cotton-clad curve of his little buddy’s back and murmur reassurance. The way Shayne had jumped before though, when Bill had touched his shoulder, had been warning enough. He didn’t want to mess this up: it could affect his little buddy’s whole future.
Nevertheless, Bill could feel the palms of his hands and his arms aching, and he allowed himself a pleasant daydream of Shayne sitting in his lap and leaning against him, relaxed and happy, his eyes sparkling as he said how he understood it now; fidgeting and asking if he could do it again - just one more page.
That fantasy merged seamlessly into the memory from the Pod of Shayne’s firm, warm body brushing against his own sensitive skin; the breathless remembered ache of enfolding that slender, taut little figure close against his own quic-beating heart. Sometimes he recalled Shayne giving a little sigh, a little movement as though the boy wanted to press even closer, but that was doubtless just his fantasy: of a part with the idiotitc desire for the boy to turn his head right now and say in his soft, pure voice that Bill was neat, or cool, or whatever the current phrase was that boys used to describe someone they liked and wanted to hang out with.
Shayne’s elbow, nut-brown and sheened with the faintest peach-fuzz of golden hairs, rested on the desk only two inches from Bill’s hand. Bill found he’d leaned closer; saw that Shayne had stopped writing. Don’t scare the kid! He told himself leaning back again, angry with himself, and upset too, that Shayne should be frightened of him.
It was bad enough when they’d first come into this little study: the scent of the boy’s soap and the sight of that crisp cotton brushing his beautiful skin had produced in him a sudden, aching hard-on. He’d used getting them both seated as a distraction, and he didn’t think Shayne had noticed.
“Is it okay, Bill?” Shayne said. “My writin’?”
“Yeah,” Bill said, and then aware of how gruff that had sounded, elaborated. “Your letters are really good,” he said. “A whole lot neater than mine, that’s for sure. How about a little reading?” He picked up the first booklet of “Spot goes out to play.”
“Hey,” Bill said, seeing his little buddy tense up — though perhaps that was more to do with him leaning closer to reach the book. Again he fought down the temptation to ruffle those bright curls, to stroke the smooth skin of Shayne’s neck, to pull the boy close against himself. Instead, he injected his voice with as much kindness as he could. “I’ll just read it to you, and you watch where my finger’s pointing, okay?”
A nod of that curly head. Not a word, not even a glance. “It’s not going to work!” Bill thought, unhappiness unfolding inside him. It was bizarre, what he was feeling since they’d fucked.
Fucking. A stupid word, or at least the way a lot of people used it. They talked about fucking, and it was like they were trying to describe a guy’s home by only talking about the layout of the darn plumbing!
He’d felt different towards Shayne after he’d held that sweat-slippery, burning hot little body close against himself and felt the length of his hard cock milked by that tight little back passage as he stroked his hands over Shayne’s lean little belly. Oh sure: before that, in his head he’d known this was a little kid, just like a thousand other kids he must have passed in his lifetime. Kids of whom he’d been tolerantly aware: mildly pissed if they’d been running and yelling when he was trying to concentrate; mildly concerned if they were playing too near traffic, or had somehow gotten on site, curious about mixers and building stuff and power tools the way boys are.
That was nothing like he’d felt for Shayne since that fuck; this was no sexless parental urge, but a driving need to care for and protect his little buddy. If it had been Shayne who’d climbed through that hole in the fence, and was poking at that rickety brick-pile he wouldn’t have just raidoed Jake to get site security; fuck no! He’d have been down that ladder and scooped his little buddy up and away out of danger, the hell with procedure and all the legal stuff they had to watch out for these days. Hell with all the pretty talk you were supposed to use, too: he’d have told Shayne loud and clear that if he did anything so dumb-ass stupid again, then a half-ton of bricks falling on him would have been the least of his problems.
Oh sure, no doubt Bill would’ve ended up sitting in that stuffy little site office getting both ears torn off, but not before Shayne was safe — and not just the right-that-minute safe of being under supervision, but the longer-term safe a boy needed. The security of knowing that he didn’t have to work out the whole of everything on his own because someone who already knew the score wasn’t about to let him screw up.
That was the really scary thing, Bill thought as he opened the book and tilted it so that Shayne could see. His little buddy had gone off the rails somehow, and no doubt to Shayne that time in the pod had just been a game, a bit of fun, but for himself it was like the sex had connected them so tightly together he’d somehow gotten another son. And just look at the mess he’d made of that the last time.
He cleared his throat and began to read, moving his finger along beneath each word as he did so.
* * *
He’s got the nicest hands. All big an’ square, an’ scrubbed real clean with the nails short-cut an’ kinda shiny. They’ve got kinda hard patches where he does hammerin’ and sawin’ and stuff: I recalled’em rubbin’ on me when we was together in the Pod. It’s kinda weird how it’s the guy with the roughest hands what uses’em the most gentlest on me.
Right now they’re holdin’ that stupid book just the same way: real gentle like he don’t wanna bust nothin’, an’ I sure wish it was me. He’s readin’ about this dumb ol’ dog but I don’t care. I could just sit like this an’ listen to his voice all day. Last time, when I was puttin’ his tools away, he had this little spot of yeller paint, right in the crease between his thumb and his hand; musta been from when he was workin’.’S funny wonderin’ if he scrubbed it off just today, or if it musta been there all through the restaurant an’ all. I gotta say somethin’ about that: Raylene said I gotta, only I’m real scairt, an’ I dunno how to start. I keep on wishin’ how as he’ll put his arm around me - all of my side what’s close to him kind of hurts with all the wantin’ it’s so bad, and my breathin’ ain’t workin’ right neither: feels like I cain’t breathe an’ I’m maybe gonna bust out cryin’ too.
I been studyin’ an’ I got it all worked out, like a speech? “Bill - I’m real sorry, about bein’ so dumb: not just now but in the restaurant and all, and I won’t never go runnin’ off no more, an’ I’ll keep my yap shut and not sass nobody or get you pissed, an’ I’ll kill orange bugs with hammers or what-all you like, if you’ll just look at me with that way you got what makes my insides all turn over. I won’t be no trouble, honest, an’ I’ll just kind of hang around an’ be like your spare for when you ain’t got no nicer kid to fuck.”
Yeah right. Might as well wish for the moon an’ stars too - an’ anyhow I get real freaked, thinkin’ about me sayin’ as how I’ll do stuff if he’ll do stuff. That ain’t right: it’s the guy what does the sayin’. Anyhow’tain’t so neither: Bill can do just whatever he likes with me an’ it’s fine an’ dandy. Only if he don’t wanna do it with me no more I’m gonna miss him cruel bad.
I don’t wanna say, only I got to, an’ I got to right now: ain’t got but this one chance afore he sees how I’m so dumb with this readin’ and all, and then he ain’t gonna do this no more. I’m just real scairt. I’m gonna mess up and he won’t like me no more, not ever.
I can hear in his voice as how he’s gonna say somethin’ bad, what I don’t wanna hear, so afore he can say “fuck off you dumb little shit-ass,” and to quit botherin’ him and not to come around no more I say real quick:
“Bill, I, I’m real sorry an’ I’m gonna make it up to ya, honest -” My throat’s hurtin’ and I can hear my voice gone kinda croaky an’ I cain’t look at him. He’s leanin’ close an’ I can just feel all the warm comin’ off of him, an’ his breath kind of tickles. I try to hold onto my thinkin’, but I just keep hearing him sayin’ in the pod, real kind, as how he don’t wanna hurt me none, and the feelin’ back then of bein’ all safe with him all big an’ warm around me with them nice big muscles and my uhu kinda achin’ with his nice big dick fillin’ my butt right up, an’ me feelin’ all of that hard guy-ness just right the way deep inside. I’m tryin’ not to think about that but I’m recallin’ how even mister Ray treatin’ me rough an’ like a proper fag it ain’t so good, and with Duke it ain’t even a fourth part as nice as with Bill.
All that time this mornin’ I spent tellin’ myself real strict about Bill I might as well of been whistlin’ Dixie. Okay, maybe my uhu did kind of guess it weren’t gonna get stretched none today but in my heart I sure had some dumb kinda hope of somethin’. But right now I’m so cold and achey-lonely I wish I’d of gone worked the burger lot. Oftentimes a guy what’s just nutted, he says stuff what’s real nice to hear — so long as you don’t go believin’ nuthin’, of course. Just listen and swaller.
I think he’s said somethin’ but I ain’t gonna listen, just keep talkin’ afore he says to shut my yap:
“I got you a surprise — my friend Lee, he’s real smart an’ he said — an’ you’re gonna like it a whole lot only we gotta do it tomorrow, see?” I got this lump in my middle and it’s hurtin’ real bad — what if he’s gotta work? I never even thought he’s maybe gotta work! Or he just got plans!
“What was that?”
Just some stupid li’l kid mouthin’ off. “Dunno.” He’s all warm, right there behind of my shoulder, and all of my side and my back kinda hurts from wantin’ him to touch me so bad, an’ he ain’t. He ain’t. It’s like the rememberin’ of his big strong hands on me’s gettin’ louder and louder, only it’s my body what’s rememberin’, on account of it’s figured out he ain’t touchin’ me, and he ain’t gonna be touchin’ me, not no more, an’ all my skin hurts, an’ back of my throat too, an’ I’m squeezin’ my eyes tight shut. I dunno how Raylene does it, just waitin’ and hurtin’ when they don’t care no more.
“Shayne? What is it? Don’t be scared, son.”
Just like a spike in my heart, him sayin’ that. I kind of tried to gasp, an’ breathe in, and kinda swallow, too, all at once — and then it all just kind of exploded out an’ I was cryin’ like a stupid little fag.
* * *
The story was simple enough, but Shayne wasn’t happy, he could tell. The little guy was listening, he’d bet his ass on it, but he wasn’t looking at the book, just looking at his knees. There was a curl of gold hair Bill wanted to touch. It snaked down from the crown of Shayne’s head and then curled softly to the left, baring the nape of his slender neck, brushing the child’s sweet skin, as he longed to do. Bill had no idea why it was just that one strand he wanted to touch — hell, he didn’t want to touch it, he wanted to move that shining spiral softly aside from Shayne’s neck, and kiss the pale, unbronzed skin there, nuzzling the little vee of golden hairs as he breathed in floral soap and Shayne’s own remembered particular scent, and murmur that it was going to be okay, they’d take it slow, reading was nothing to be scared of.
Darn. He’d leaned in too close again. Trying to ignore the swollen tightness in his pants, Bill forced himself to lean back, and cleared his throat.
He got no further. Shayne heaved in a shuddering sigh and began to apologize, saying he’d do some sort of make-up; the pain and outright fear in the little boy’s voice cut Bill like a knife. He found he was leaning too close again, and had to look away at the desktop, fixing his gaze on the bright scatter of coloring pens, checking yes: both palms still pressed against his own thighs; not touching his little buddy. He was at the limit of his endurance; Bill felt a cosmic certainty that the slightest contact would escalate beyond control and he’d end up balls-deep in the kid’s ass again, shuddering and shooting his juice into the tight, slick confines of a rubber while his little buddy whimpered against him. Shayne didn’t need that. What kid did?
Guiltily Bill jerked his attention back to the matter in hand. “What was that, Shayne?”
“I, I’m real sorry an’ I won’t do that no more, Bill! I’ll be good, honest I will, only we gotta do it tomorrow, see? On account of my friend. So you will, wont’cha? Pleeease?”
What? Oh god! Bill shuddered, feeling his guilt and lechery on him like sweat, but all he could manage was a strangled, “Huh?”
“Please Bill! You don’t have to do nuffin’ what you don’t want,” Shayne gulped audibly and wiped one eye with the back of his small hand, “oh-only I gotta make it right an’ say sorry, please Bill, Raylene says I gotta!”
Bewildered, Bill leaned closer. “What? Don’t be scared, son — tell me what’s-”
But Shayne gave a choking wail and hunched down in his chair. It was too much for Bill; he slid off his chair onto his knees and put his arm around the sobbing boy.
“Hey-” he said, but got no further. Shayne turned and flung both skinny arms around his neck, burrowing in close, breathing in gasping little sobs, the sudden weight pushing Bill off balance so that he sat down on his rump, his back bumping against the desk, which shifted and rattled pens down onto the carpet, but he didn’t have time to think about that as Shayne pressed tighter still against him. Bill was certain he could feel the panicked flutter of the boy’s heart behind his ribs.
“Hey there, easy,” Bill murmured into the soft, warm curlicues of the boy’s ear, pressed so tight against his face. “It’s okay son, we’ll work it out; don’t be scared.” Shayne’s hair felt both soft and rough against his face, and he wanted to burrow his head deeper and snuff up the sweet, floral scent with its subtle hint of musk, but the strangling grip of those two small arms around his neck like a terrified swimmer in deep water told him this was not the time for self indulgence. He sat on the floor with his legs spread, one knee bent, leaning against the desk, and stroked the boy’s back slowly and firmly, with his forearms as much as his hands.
He meant it as comfort, for all that Shayne’s lovely, well-knit body had him aching and hard. Instinctively Bill knew that Shayne wanted, needed to feel strength; that now was a time for speaking, not listening. Sensitivity would be misunderstood as hesitation, or weakness. His boy needed to be shown his place; a safe, strong place of refuge from whatever soul-shriveling fear pursued him. Bill did his best to use his hands to tell Shayne that he was safe, and appreciated, and cared for, but the longer and closer the contact, the more it went beyond mere caring; translated into a kind of worship.
Even as he marvelled at the delicate structure his hands explored: delicate skin and fragile, flexing ribs; the small, blunt plates of shoulder blades and the rounded nubs of his spine from the crown of his head to the crease of his little ass, Bill made sure to stroke the boy firmly and hold him close, building a picture of safety in his mind that he hoped somehow his hands could explain. He imagined them safe in bed, the comforter pulled up to their shoulders, skin to warm, smooth skin, himself curled around his little friend, his own big, hard body a fortress against monsters the boy shouldn’t have to face alone. Gradually he felt the desperate grip of those small arms around his neck loosen.
Shayne knelt astride his leg, pressing his head and chest close in to Bill’s neck. Bill felt him shiver; heard him croon a half-sigh as Bill tried to make his own body a single caress, enfolding the boy in comfort and safety. Shayne shifted his narrow hips, as though inviting Bill to stroke his butt, and when he did, stroking the firm curves, he then pressed all of his body as close as he could get. The hard lump of a little dick poked Bill in the short ribs. Shayne let out a shuddering sigh.
“I was scairt you didn’t want to no more,” he whispered, his breath tickling, still half-muffled against Bill’s neck. “I’m real sorry I been a-teasin’; I didn’t mean to, honest. I know it ain’t right an’ I ain’t gonna do it no more.” Bill felt Shayne take one arm away from his neck, although his little buddy still pressed his body as close as he possibly could; felt an insistent pressure on his raised knee, and lowered it flat, as Shayne seemed to want.
At once Shayne shifted so that he was kneeling astride Bill’s lap, a knee either side of his waist. His slender arms went back around Bill’s neck and he sat down, chest to chest. Bill bit back a gasp as he felt his trousered erection massaged by Shayne’s little buns as the boy wriggled on his lap. Shayne sighed, a soft, warm gust that Bill felt tickle the base of his throat. “You gonna fuck me now, Bill? Sorry I ain’t brung no lube, but I don’t mind you’re so big, honest. It’s kind of a nice hurt.” He wriggled again.
“Shh,” Bill said, upset at the very suggestion of Shayne hurt, let alone by him, in an act of love. But whatever he should do or not, now was not the time to talk about it; there could never be a worse time to suggest that any part of what Shayne so eagerly offered could be unwanted — as, of course, it wasn’t. He temporized: “We can’t, not here.” It almost wasn’t a lie. Seeking forgiveness, though he wasn’t sure for quite which misdeed, Bill lifted aside the the shining gold tangle of Shayne’s hair, and brushed his lips across the boy’s unveiled temple.
“Oh. But you want to? Really truly?” Shayne shifted, and Bill looked down into a serious, honey-dark gaze. Caught by the naked, anxious trust in the boy’s eyes, this time he couldn’t lie.
“Sure, I want to,” he said. “And you’ve got to stop wriggling like that or I’ll mess my pants.”
Shayne froze. “Sorry! I’ll sit real still, Bill: I promise. You can do what-all you like an’ I’ll shut my yap an’ not piss you off no more. But we’re cool for tomorrow, yeah? With Lee?”
“Who?” Bill said, suddenly nervous.
“My friend!” Shayne said. “I told you. We’re goin’ on a outin’: like you done for me,’cept it’s in the daytime. So I cain’t tell you where we’re goin’ on account of it’s a surprise an’ I’m payin’.”
“Oh.” Bill laughed, and stroked Shayne’s hair, feeling foolish and relieved as the lurid images of under-age sex orgies faded. Really, imagining Shayne was offering a threesome with his schoolfriend! He was getting to be as bad as one of those obsessive old maids. “Sure, I’m up for that.”
Shayne didn’t just smile; he glowed.
He stroked Shayne’s back for a little longer, and then, once he was sure his little buddy was feeling relaxed and happy, suggested they do a little more reading.
“Only not quite like before,” he said, as they disentangled themselves and stood up. “Got something to show you.”
He crossed to the stack of pamplet boxes and fetched Mary’s laptop. “Come sit here,” he said, sitting down at the desk and patting his knee. He’d barely popped the catch and was folding the screen up when Shayne ducked under his arm and then hesitated.
“I cain’t sit on your lap?” he pleaded, his brown eyes huge and irresistible. “I can suck you first, if you’re gonna mess your pants. Please, Bill! I’ll do you ever so nice — right down to your balls an’ back up again, real special like in Freddie MacBee’s.”
“Just sit here,” Bill said, spreading his legs and patting his thigh. “I told you: we can’t, not here.”
Shayne perched where Bill indicated, and after a moment’s pause leaned back against his stomach and chest, seeming oddly hesitant at first. Bill pretended not to notice the way Shayne was watching him out of the corner of his eye, just curled one arm around the boy’s waist and pulled him close, which had the effect of pressing his aching, hard cock against Shayne’s hip, but that didn’t seem to worry him; rather the reverse. The laptop chimed, its screen lighting up, and Bill clicked on an icon. A blank page opened, and then a cute little animated dragon faded into the bottom right corner. It uncurled, yawning, and then perched little half-moon eyeglasses on its snout. A lined notepad and a thick, stubby pencil materialized in its paws.
“Watch this,” Bill said. “Dragon: begin typing.” He leaned closer to the screen and said: “My buddy likes reading. He is a smart little guy. His name is Shayne.” He pointed at the flashing cursor as the words appeared on the screen. “See?” he murmured into Shayne’s ear. “Cool, huh?”
Shayne looked at him, worry creasing his brows. “You said I’m smart?”
“Sure, you are. You just get scared, that’s all.”
Shane shrugged and looked down, picking at the hem of his shorts. “Uhuh.”
“Hey.” Bill stroked the silky brown skin of the boy’s smooth, bare knee. “It’s okay. That’s why I’m showing you this. Pretty soon we’ll have machines for reading and writing, so you don’t have to worry. We can go as slow as you like. Go on - you have a try. Say something to Dragon.”
Shayne looked wary, and glanced at the door. Lowered his voice. “He’s a dragon?”
“Sure. He’ll write down whatever you say, so you don’t have to. Try it.”
Shayne still looked dubious, but obediently leaned towards the built-in microphone. “Hello, Dragon,” he said.
“There you are!” Bill said. “That’s really good. I’ll play it back.” He positioned the cursor and hit play.
“Hello Dragon,” it said. Mary had evidently picked a female voice for playback; it didn’t sound too different from Shayne’s light voice.
“Go on,” Bill said, flipping it back to transcribe. “Talk to Dragon some more. Use easy words, okay?” He laughed as the words he’d just spoken printed themselves on screen. “See? Your turn, little buddy.”
Shayne reached out and ran his finger over the last two words. “I’m your buddy?” he said. “For real?” He jumped as the words he’d just said appeared.
“Sure,” Bill said seriously. He reached out and spoke slowly, pointing to each word as it appeared. “You’re my special buddy.” He glanced aside at Shayne; found him staring at the screen, pink-cheeked and bright-eyed.
“And now Dragon knows?” Shayne said. “He knows I’m your special buddy? And it’s okay?”
“Sure. Dragon: save file as shayne-is-my-special-buddy. Now he can’t forget,” Bill said. “He knows forever.”
* * *
’S kind of weird, the way I’m feelin’ right now, as I’m walkin’ back to home. Like when I’m suckin’ a guy, or he’s fuckin’ me, only now it’s goin on after, too. I guess I shouldn’t be so surprised; of course Bill’s gonna be better at that nice touchin’ than any other guy, just like he’s better at everything.
Sitting there doin’ readin’ with Bill not touchin’ me, and me thinkin’ as how he was gonna tell me to fuck off was like one of the real bad times. And then, after, with him all big an’ nice, and not just doin’ nice touchin’ but sayin’ as how he really likes me an’ he’s gonna fuck me, a whole lot only later, it was just the best! I know I gotta be careful, but even if he’s like Lee an’ gives out nice touchin’ just for free I know I gotta watch out an’ not be greedy. I’m thinkin’ on it kinda like a bank? Bill’s gimme some nice touchin’, but I’m figurin’ it for like a loan against me doin’ nice stuff for him later, only of course I ain’t gonna skip out or nothin’. Anyhow I like doin’ nice stuff that way: I’m gonna pay him back real good with lotsa interest!
I gotta say I got some bad wishin’ in me — wishin’ I ain’t fixed up for Bill to go with Lee, but I ain’t gonna let that wishin’ mess me up: I know how sharing stuff’s real important. Anyhow, as well as him bein’ real nice to me, I know Lee’s hurtin’ in his heart, just like when I was real little an’ Mom was singin’ in the Pussycat bar. She said her head an’ her heart was all messed up and then she reboundeded, she said, an’ took up with Pop. Don’t want Lee takin’ that kind of bad deal and now I know Bill likes me an’ wants to fuck me some more I ain’t so scared he’s gonna dump me for Lee, even if he is real smart an’ sexy an’ cool.
Got me a lot more stuff to think on too, not just when Mary showed up with some food: she brung milk for me an’ coffee for Bill, an’ little sandwiches all cut up — the peanut butter an’ jelly ones were real nice, but the cheese ones weren’t real Cheez Wiz, but kinda stinky, and with all green leaves and stuff in, like a burger. Bill had those; I felt mean, but he said he liked’em! We shared the little cold smoky franks though, even though they was dry an’ chewy and kinda lumpy. Bill said they was imported all the way from Italy, in Europe. I guess them wops had been kinda tryin’ for like our pepperoni, but they ain’t scoped out about makin’ sausage so good yet.
But when Dragon Lady Mary come in, Bill’s dick, what I could feel all big an’ hard against my butt, it went down: zeouurrrp, just like a blown-up rubber when you let go the neck. Kind of nice to know he ain’t wantin’ to do it with her too. I ain’t sure whether it’d be easier sharin’ Bill with her than with Lee; part of me’s thinkin’ yes, and part of me kind of not. I guess I’m gonna have to study on that: it’s gonna happen someday, what with Bill not bein’ a fag like me ’n’ Lee.
Anyhow Bill said to her sorry for usin’ her computer an’ how he was showin’ me it could do writin’; made sense then as why there was a baby dragon doin’ it, too. She didn’t look pissed or nothin’ but Bill acted like she was. I had to get off of his lap while he put it away, and Mary said was I bein’ good and studyin’ my letters so I could read the Good Book? I didn’t know what to say: she was talkin’ about the same kind of stuff like Pop does when he fixes on me, afore he starts talkin’ real crazy an’ I try not to listen to all the stuff about everlastin’ burnin’ and devils cuttin’ you all into little bits and you get all spit on your face from where he’s yellin’. I was just startin’ to feel all sick and scary-cold and think about curlin’ up into a ball so he can’t grab nothin’, though since my arm got broke that time mostly Mom or Duke or Raylene’ll say somethin’ to distract him so I can scat. I dunno. It’s real scary when he gets like that, but the rest of the time when he looks through me like I ain’t there, well that hurts too, only kind of different.
But Bill just said I was doin’ fine, in that real deep voice of his what gives me all tingles, and when I looked over he was smilin’ at me, and he said I was a grade-A student for effort, an’ my heart felt like it was shootin’ about inside of me like a pinball, an’ I just know I went real red. He come back and sat hisself down where I was sittin’ afore I got onto his lap, between me an’ Dragon Lady Mary. Suddenly it was like back in the Pod, where he said he didn’t want to hurt me? Only now he was sayin’ as how he weren’t gonna let nobody else do it, neither. Right then I was so happy I said to Dragon lady right out how he was real good. Musta been grinnin’ like a fool, too.
After we’d et, I was still happy and hummin’ — only thing what could of made me more happier would of been Bill on top of me all big an’ hairy squeezin’ that big dick of his in and out of my backdoor. But he’d promised he was gonna, so I could wait. Reckon he saw I weren’t fit to try no more readin’ though; he got these other picture books an’ although we sat side by side on different chairs they was pulled together real close an’ he let me sit close, with his arm kinda curled around me so we could both look at the book while he done the readin’. The first one was just about some old lizards, but the other one had about Knights in, and one page was about how these Knight guys learned boys just like Bill was learnin’ me. There was even a picture of one of them Squires kneelin’ down and holdin’ up a sword for his guy, who was all dressed in that shinin’ harmer, and lookin’ at the size of the shiny lump I reckon that Squire was a real lucky boy. I come over all funny inside from seein’ how Bill ’n’ me would of been in olden times, in history.