Second Toughest in the Infants
By Kai Wailbone
Authors note: even though Chapter Four was intended to end where it did, there were several loose ends from Chapter Three that I did not feel were fully explained. Therefore, this is an extension to chapter four intended to either explain or foreshadow events that have or will take place. This section was actually never intended to be posted, as it mainly consists of scenes that were cut from the original fourth chapter that I re-wrote and revised, but due to the positive reaction to my `test group,' the vote stands to post it.
My thanks to everyone on my mailing list, without whom this section would never have seen the light of day.
THE DISCLAIMER FOR CHAPTER FOUR-B
Nobody's reading this by now, but... okay, if your underage where you live, flee! Flee! The story I'm telling you could very possibly intrigue you... but too bad, if you're too young, this is illegal.
Second, this isn't real. I don't know if any member of O-Town is gay. I don't know if ANY musician, actor, or celebrity that I might write about later is gay. Hell, I don't know if they're straight/bi/gay/or neutered. If you're old enough to read this, you're old enough to know what's real and what's not.
The title is from the Underworld album "Second Toughest in the Infants." The chapter headings are from lyrics or song titles.
p.s. -- i like e-mail and encouragement. email@example.com
Second Toughest in the Infants
Chapter Four -- Resonator (part 1.2)
handheld candle sugar boy"
"You did the right thing. I understand you're upset right now, but that will pass. Everything will be taken care of, okay? Now, because you're upset, and I know you are, you have every right to be... but what I want you to do for me, right now, though, is take a deep breath. Can you do that for me? Right now, just take a deep breath."
Erik took a deep breath, finally calm. A light breeze came up, tickling the skin of his bare arms as he looked over the balcony railing to the ground some eleven floors down. For a brief, childish moment he contemplated spitting.
It would be so easy...
"...so you don't need to worry about it," the voice on his cell phone continued.
Erik nodded, a totally useless act over the phone. "Okay," he replied. "And thanks."
"Hey, that's what I'm here for. And I'm glad you came to me about this."
"Sure." Erik paused. "So what do I do now?"
"Just act normal. No reason for you not to. Especially for the cameras we need to keep a level of calm, make everything look like nothing happened. I'm going to think about it for a while, I'll talk to Jay, and we'll see what we come up with, okay?"
"Great. If you ever need to talk about anything else, you can let me know."
"I will, thanks." Erik took another deep breath. "I guess I'll talk to ya' later."
"Sure thing, take care."
"Yeah. Later." Erik ended the call and looked back over the balcony to the ground. He felt tired and slightly out of breath, as if he'd run up a flight of stairs or something, but it was a good tired. He felt marginally better than he had when he first stormed out onto the balcony, in spite of the slight guilty nagging at the back of his conscience. But it was easily ignorable, his braim automatically rationalizing that he did the right thing.
Sliding the glass doors of the balcony opened, he put on his most unassuming look and walked into the hotel room.
Trevor was laying on his bed talking softly into the phone, while one of the camera crew stood in the corner, setting up her camera. When Trevor saw Erik come in, he started to get up.
"Yeah... look, I gotta go," he said into the phone. "I'll talk to ya' later? ...yeah, okay. See ya' in a couple weeks, then." Hanging up the phone, Trevor stood up and smiled slightly at Erik. "Hey."
"Hey," Erik said back. He wasn't fooled. He saw the nervousness in Trevor's eyes, and knew exactly what was on his mind.
"You know you're supposed to have your microphone on."
"You want to put it on now?"
Erik shrugged and took his mic out of his pocket, making a show of unwrapping the cord and clipping the small device onto his shirt. "Happy?"
"Yeah... so where're you going?" Trevor asked when he saw Erik get his jacket.
Trevor paused, but Erik offered no other information. "Want some company?"
"Nah, I'll be right back."
Erik knew that tone, slightly nagging and nauseatingly concerned, but he forced himself to smile his most innocent smile as he sensed the camera switch on somewhere behind him. "Yes, Trev?"
Trevor, too, saw the camera come on. Instantly his tone became more casual, though Erik could still hear a slight tremor in it. "Uh... I just thought we should to talk."
"About... you know, what's going on with Jacob."
"Jacob can handle himself. I, on the other hand, am thirsty and need to get a soda." Erik put on his jacket. "Unless, of course, you think there's a problem?" He smiled sweetly.
Trevor gave Erik a frustrated look before shrugging. "We'll talk later, I guess."
"Yeah, I thought so," Erik muttered, just loud enough for Trevor to hear. With a mildly triumphant swagger, Erik walked out of the room.
"How'd he find out?"
"He's got connections, especially in Canada."
"Is he going to be trouble?"
"No... no, in fact, he agreed to help patch things up."
"Well, that's good."
"But you still seem worried."
"He almost pulled out on us, Marc."
"He was mad. He almost signed off the entire project."
"Yeah. He was upset at everything so I... I told him about my plan."
"About leaving Trans Con."
"Yeah... and he offered to help."
"No. No, absolutely not."
"Why not? Of all people he'd be willing to support us, which will count for a lot in the end..."
"I don't care. You remember what happened last time?"
"Yes... yes, I do. But still, he's not the kind of guy I want against us."
"We don't need someone who will burn all our bridges, either. It's scorched earth or nothing with his people, you know that."
"If it gets the job done..."
"No. And you need my help and support more than you need his."
"Oh, don't look at me like... alright, tell you what. Let's try it my way, first. If we need his help, we can always call on him. I just don't want to make this a bigger deal than it already is."
"So did you tell the guys yet?"
"No, not yet. This is still in the very early planning stages."
"True. Yeah, I guess it's best not to scare them so early. Did you at least tell them that Jeremy's coming to help in a couple weeks?"
"Think I should?"
"Well, is he definitely coming?"
"Actually... I don't know. He said he said he'd make no promises."
"I think he'll be mad for a while."
"Well, that's his problem. We have bigger problems of our own right now."
Ashley's mind felt like it was folding in on itself. Up until a couple of hours ago, kissing another guy was such an impossibility that to even think about imagining it would have made his brain hurt. Now... now it felt so natural. Not quite like kissing Shelli, or any other girl he'd been with, but at the same time, it wasn't this foul, disgusting thing he'd always subconsciously believed it to be.
What exactly it was, he couldn't say.
He pulled back and stood, his hands on Jacob's hips, staring into Jacob's eyes, searching for anything -- acceptance, condemnation, anything... but there was nothing. As if Jacob wasn't even there. As if he just kissed a doll or something.
A beautiful doll...
A thrill went through Ashley as he allowed himself to feel, for the first time in his life, attracted to another guy. It was so different, so exciting... he felt himself getting aroused, and it embarrassed him a bit. Stepping back, he wiped the saliva from his lips and laughed nervously.
"Say something," he said.
"I... what..." Jacob sounded disoriented, as if he was just waking up, and his eyes kept flicking from Ashley's face to the ground. "What are you doing?" he finally asked.
Ashley stared at Jacob for a moment, then giggled. What was he doing? "Didn't you like it?" he asked, eyeing Jacob suggestively.
"What? I mean... yeah, but... but..."
Ashley had to repress another laugh. Jacob looked so cute standing there, bewildered, looking for all the world as if no one had ever come on to him, or as if he'd never had sex before. That last thought thrilled Ashley slightly as he wondered if Jacob was a virgin. "Kinda sudden?" he asked.
"Hell, yeah..." Jacob reached up and automatically pushed one of his long dreads behind his ear.
Ashley mentally affirmed to himself that, if Jacob wasn't a virgin, he was a great actor. Edging ever so slightly closer, he said, "Yeah, I remembered how I was my first time with Shelli..." For a moment, bittersweet memories flooded back and he smiled. "I was so nervous... I wanted to, I really did, but I didn't know what to do. So she kissed me. Told me to be quiet, and kissed me. Things... sorta took off from there." Ashley shook his head, lost in memories. He remembered how Shelli had taken control that first time. He'd been seventeen, and in spite of how many Penthouse letters he'd read or porn videos he'd seen with his friends, he was totally unprepared to actually do it.
And now, he saw that same nervousness, that same apprehension that bordered on dread, playing out in Jacob's eyes.
"Wait, you..." Jacob stuttered.
Ashley took a small step forward, but moved slowly, as if approaching a nervous animal. Which, when he thought of it, he sort of was. "I remember, my first time, I wanted to, but I..." He thought back to how Shelli had reached out to comfort him, gently stroking his back in progressively slower, more sensual motions until he'd relaxed.
"I remember she..."
She'd been so gentle with him, so slow and understanding. She'd allowed him to go at his own pace, to explore slowly when he wanted, or rush forward in excitement. But Jacob wasn't acting anything like he'd acted, making him unsure of where to go on from here. Reaching out hesitantly, he saw with surprise that his hand was shaking. Ever so gently, he brushed his fingers against the bare skin of Jacob's arm. It was so warm against his cool fingers, and he watched with curiosity and amusement as the hairs on Jacob's arm started to stand up. Looking up, he watched Jacob's face carefully for any reaction. Jacob only watched Ashley's hand, as if mesmerized, so Ashley did it again, opening his hand to gently caress Jacob's upper arm.
Ashley was just starting to put a little pressure into his caresses and move to almost casually stroking Jacob's chest when he finally got a reaction. Jacob, in a motion so sudden it seemed almost like an involuntary muscle spasm, reached up to grasp Ashley's wrist. The grip was positioned almost on his arm so it didn't hinder any movement, but it was still a heavy reminder of Jacob's state of mind.
But at the touch, a feeling like electricity surged through Ashley's body. It was suddenly hard to breathe and his arousal became undeniable, almost painful. Suddenly Jacob's nervousness was no longer top priority, and he leaned forward, sliding his hand behind Jacob and pulling him close. Pressing his body just close enough to satisfy his need for physical closeness but not, he hoped, close enough to scare Jacob, he whispered, "Jacob..." He wasn't sure what else to say. Something comforting, something smooth, something that would make it all okay... he was dimly aware that his erection was pressing against Jacob's leg, but wasn't sure if Jacob could feel it. Not that it mattered. Ashley's mind was a hundred miles away, seeing Shelli gently taking his hand, a hand that had tingled and shook, slowly putting it on her stomach, letting it move up under her shirt...
"Jacob, please... it's been so long..."
He kept rubbing Jacob's back, lost somewhere between his fantasy-memory and the present moment, and felt Jacob shiver slightly. Smiling to himself, Ashley knew that Jacob was hooked, something that was only further confirmed as Jacob whispered, "The bed..."
That was all it took. In those two words Jacob had given his permission and consent, and Ashley wasted no time. Taking Jacob by the hand, he led him to the closest of the single beds. His mind momentarily protested
(this is so gay)
but was quickly drowned out as Jacob reached out, almost roughly, to pull Ashley into a kiss. Ashley kissed back, no longer caring who it was he was kissing, and kept his eyes closed as he pushed his tongue hungrily into Jacob's warm
(Shelli's mouth had been so warm her lips so soft so sweet)
mouth. He felt arms reaching behind him, pulling him close, and he instinctively pulled closer, but found himself suddenly off balance. He found himself just barely able to control his fall, pulling Jacob's slightly smaller form
(Shelli had been smaller than me but she was the perfect size so cute so beautiful)
with him onto the bed.
The sound of giggling shook Ashley out of his trance-like euphoria, and he looked up to see Jacob looking at him nervously. Ashley hesitated for a moment, his fantasy temporarily shattered. Did he really want to do this? This was Jacob, not Shelli. Should he? Was it okay?
Ashley's arousal chose for him, and with a smile that he hoped wouldn't betray his nearly blind lust, he pulled Jacob close again for another kiss. He felt Jacob relax, leaning back against the bed, and Ashley took position over him, again pushing his tongue deep into Jacob's mouth, and this time he focused on the fact that this was Jacob under him. His mind raced, he'd never done this with another guy before...
Thinking back again to what Shelli had done to him, and what he'd hoped she would do... reaching down, he found and gripped Jacob's leg, moving quickly up the inside of his thigh. Jacob unconsciously spread his legs slightly and Ashley wasted no time. Through the thick cloth of Jacob's jeans he found the impression of Jacob's erection and squeezed it.
Instantly Jacob jerked under him, pulling back violently.
Ashley jerked his hand away pulled away as well. "What? What's wrong? Did I hurt you? Are you okay?" He searched Jacob's face in confusion for something that would indicate what he had done wrong.
"No, I'm fine, just..." Jacob smiled as his voice cracked a little, and he took a deep breath before continuing. "Just... not so hard." Reaching down, he took Ashley's hand into his own and laid it on his stomach. "After all, it's my first time."
Ashley managed to smile back, but his eyes were fixed on his hand. Jacob's actions had been so similar to Shelli's, as she guided him into his clumsy and, at times, embarrassing first experience at foreplay. It took all his mental powers to remember that this was Jacob, not Shelli. Licking his lips he fingered Jacob's belt, then up the smooth skin of his stomach. It was almost automatic to be reaching for a girl's breasts... even though he quickly found that there weren't any. Because this was Jacob.
Jacob's chest wasn't as well muscled as Trevor's or even his own, but it was soft to the touch and, if he closed his eyes, almost feminine...
"Ash... here, let me do you..."
Ashley looked up, startled, wondering if Jacob knew what was going through his head. But no, Jacob was just impatient, and took Ashley's hand out of his shirt. Ashley was still a little dazed, trying to come back to reality to react, when he saw Jacob taking off his shirt. A shiver went up his spine as a feeling akin to hunger rose up inside as he watched Jacob's slender frame stretch and flex...
Then Jacob looked up and blushed slightly. Tugging at Ashley's shirt, he said, "Now you."
There wasn't even a hint of hesitation as Ashley sat up and pulled his shirt over his head. But before he could clear it over his face he felt arms grab his own arms at the elbows, incapacitating him. It wasn't entirely restrictive, and if he really wanted to, he could get free... but he heard Jacob giggle softly, and he had to smile.
"Jacob?" Ashley laughed slightly. "Jake, what're you doing?"
There was only silence. Ashley felt a thrill of nervousness, suddenly aware that this was Jacob... and Jacob was gay. For just a split second, a terrifying thought
crossed his mind, and he started to pull his arms free...
but then there was the soft heat of Jacob's breath on his cheek... then down to his neck. Ashley shivered as Jacob breathed against the sensitive skin at the base of his neck and collarbone, then down his chest. Nervousness at his blindness was replaced quickly by renewed arousal, and he leaned back to get more comfortable as he sensed Jacob at his stomach...
With a swiftness that mildly surprised Ashley, Jacob gripped and undid the button of his pants and slid the zipper down. His arms now free, Ashley pulled his shirt the rest of the way off and propped himself up on his elbows.
"Jake, what the hell was..."
Then Jacob's face was next to his. "Shhh..." Jacob whispered and kissed him.
Ashley tensed for a moment, feeling for a moment a remnant of his nervousness around Jacob... then he realized how ridiculous he was being. Worried about Jacob coming on to him? Taking advantage of his sexually? Well, what were they doing, anyway?
Relaxing, he lay back on the bed, letting Jacob stroke his chest, stomach... then under the elastic of his boxer briefs and...
It was Ashley's turn to jerk, bucking his hips in an effort to get away from the cold fingers prying at his most sensitive parts. Without thinking he instinctively bit down, but because Jacob was still kissing him his jaws closed on Jacob's lower lip, and in the moment before Jacob pulled back he tasted blood.
An apology was on his lips as Jacob stared at him, but one look told him that Jacob was beyond caring. Jacob licked his lips slowly, but his eyes never left his hand, which was still under Ashley's underwear and ever so slowly warming up, so Ashley could just stand it.
Then it hit him. Jacob was... Jacobs' hand...
Excitement was pounding in Ashley's ears, and he barely registered that Jacob's voice was strained and hoarse. Immediately he lifted his hips up and let Jacob pull his pants and underwear down to his ankles. He felt a slight chill as he was exposed, and felt the familiar uncertainty he always did when being seen naked in front of another guy, worried about the automatic sizing up all guys seemed to do, added to the uncertainty of what Jacob, who was gay, would think of it...
Once again, one glance was all it took to assure him it was okay. Jacob wasn't even looking up at his face anymore. All of his attention was now focused between Ashley's legs, with an expression that told Ashley he wasn't disappointed in the least.
Ashley leaned back and tried to relax. His mind was battling with itself, between the half that was going crazy with anticipation, and the other half that couldn't get over the fact that he was naked in front of another guy, another guy who was gay, who would probably want to touch him... closing his eyes he forced himself to take a deep breath, to calm down, to relax.
Then Jacob's fingers found him. Ashley couldn't stop himself from shivering at the touch of a hand between his legs, something he hadn't felt in... he tried not to think of how long. Swallowing, he heard his throat click audibly. Jacob's hand was still a little cold, but instead of shocking him it was pleasantly exciting as his fingers wrapped around the sensitive flesh. His whole body shook again, and he thought he might have made a small sound deep in his throat. Yet through this onslaught of sensations he still felt deeply unsatisfied. Because Jacob wasn't moving, he was just... touching him. And barely touching him at that.
Swallowing again, Ashley made another sound, but it was so quiet as to be almost sub-vocal. He wanted to tell Jacob to start jerking, to suck on it, to do something, he just couldn't sit here and do nothing... but Jacob didn't seem to be in any hurry, and Ashley was unable to speak. He thought for sure he would burst soon from just the anticipation. It had been so long since the last time with Shelli, and now he had to put up with some innocent little gay virgin who was afraid to do anything...
Then Jacob's fingers started to move, traveling slowly up, and Ashley found himself arching his back, trying to increase the contact, but Jacob kept his grip tantalizingly light as his hand traveled back down. Ever so slowly, in these timid, hesitant exploratory motions, Jacob's hand moved to a gradual rhythm of strokes. Ashley clutched at the bed sheets as he felt his excitement building, and had to make a conscious effort to breath. Not that Jacob's actions were anything special -- Ashley was just so close to climax right now that he was virtually consumed with carnal desire. A distant part of his mind was aware of Jacob leaning his head against his stomach, the dread-locked hair feeling like frayed burlap against his skin, but he was beyond caring.
Suddenly Jacob stopped. Ashley half-opened his eyes, lifting his head to see what was wrong, but couldn't see over Jacob's head.
"Nuh..." Ashley had to think for a moment, but wasn't sure what to say. "D... don't... stop..." he managed to gasp out between breaths.
Jacob started stroking again, and Ashley lay back down. He was again lost in fantasy, almost unaware of what was happening to him. He remembered Shelli jerking him off for the first time, how he had barely lasted a minute, but how gentle she'd been. He remembered how she'd let him caress her, even though he could hardly keep his eyes opened, so intense were the feelings. His mind careened past his first experiences quickly as his excitement built, and he was remembering the first time she'd taken him into her mouth, how it had felt... at that moment he became vaguely aware of a warm slickness added to the friction of feelings and he wondered if Jacob had spit on his hand or if he'd put his mouth on...
The image of his penis disappearing into Jacob's mouth leapt to his mind.
Then the memory of Shelli, smiling at him as she opened wide and...
And then he was there.
Tears pricked behind his eyes, only the energy of his orgasm keeping his feelings in check. But it didn't keep the image of her face
from his mind, as if it were permanently burned behind his eyes
(I love you so much, oh, Shelli, Shelli...)
and it was suddenly right it was suddenly okay and
"Oh, Shelli... I love you..."
Erik's eyes flew opened, his body jerking itself out of sleep.
The room was dark around him, the only light coming between the vertical blinds in front of him. Trevor's slow, soft breathing was just barely audible from the other bed behind him. Nothing else stirred.
But still, Erik's heart was beating quickly, his dream quickly dissipating, as all dreams do upon waking, but the feelings were still there.
Anger. Betrayal. Guilt.
What have I done?
He tried closing his eyes but all he could see were the faces, the tears, the shocked expressions on the faces of the people who trusted him the most... it seemed that now, tonight, no amount of rationalization would be able to save him from his fears.
Swinging himself out of bed, he padded in his boxers to the bathroom, closing the door carefully behind him before turning on the light.
The sudden brightness blinded him for a moment before his eyes adjusted. Blinking, he turned to the mirror and studied his face.
It looked surprisingly normal. He didn't look pale, drawn, or overly stressed, as he thought he should. In fact, if he didn't look very carefully into his eyes, which were unmistakably tired, he would swear nothing was wrong at all.
Except there was.
Erik resisted the urge to splash water on his face, settling instead for rubbing it vigorously with his hands and running his fingers through his hair. Tentatively, as if doing so might cause physical pain, he thought back to what he'd done.
The phone call.
Or, more accurately, the phone calls.
Would it all blow up in his face? He was already starting to regret what he'd done... but that couldn't be helped now. And really, he didn't do anything really wrong, did he? If he didn't do it, it would have happened anyway... he just made it happen sooner. Besides, it was better to deal with these things quickly and get them out of the way.
But his conscience wasn't satisfied. He knew that he often did things in the heat of emotions, things he often wished he hadn't done, and always knew that his impulsiveness would get him into trouble one day.
Could this be that day?
He cringed inwardly at the thought, but knew that he could do nothing about it. Not now, anyway. Maybe later, he could try to soften the blow... yeah, that was it. What was that phrase he'd seen on Oprah, once? Damage control. Yeah, that's what he'd do. Damage control. Try to lessen the impact. It was the least he could do.
Not satisfied, but at least a little better, Erik glanced at himself once more in the mirror, then turned off the light and went back to bed.
"Jacob, you fiend! Do you have any idea what time it is? It's two in the morning! I've been waiting two hours for you to call me back!"
"Hmmm... uh... Jeremy?"
"Did I wake you up?" Jeremy relaxed a bit. "Sorry, I was just a bit stressed. And Ben was worried about you. So where'd you go?"
"Mmm... Jeremy... you want to talk to Jacob?"
"Jacob? Yes... wait, who is this?"
"Ashley? Ashley?" Jeremy turned to glance at Ben. "Did Jacob leave his phone in your room or something?"
"Mmmph... jus' a sec'." There was the sound of rustling bed sheets, then, in the background, the sound of sleep-muddled voices. After a moment a groggy voice came on to the phone.
"Yeah, is this Jacob?"
"Jer... oh... whazzup?"
"Um... you said you'd call back."
"I take it you fell asleep?"
"In Ashley's room?"
"Hmmm? Oh... no... somethin' came up, Ashley crashed here."
"Yeah... right. Okay, listen, call me back when you're more rested and awake and stuff, okay?"
Jeremy sighed. "Be good, okay?"
"Never mind. Just... call me later, okay?"
Ben watched Jeremy with barely restrained impatience. Jeremy saw this and smiled thinly, shaking his head.
"No," Jeremy said.
"Yeah, I know."
"Just that something came up."
"Does he know?"
Ben was quiet for a moment. Then, with a sly smile. "So you comin' to bed?"
Jeremy didn't move for a moment, the phone still held in his hands, a contemplative frown on his face. "I think we're being set up."
Ben sighed, this time not disguising his impatience at all. "Set up? For what?"
"I'm not sure. But all this... after Jacob came to see me, things have been... I mean, a perfect opportunity to come out to the group? And Jay asking me to come by the video shoot... the powers that be are manipulating the pawns."
"No, I mean the public relations and marketing powers." Jeremy allowed himself a smile as he kicked off his boots. "Anyway, it's late, and I'm tired. I think I'll go right to bed."
"Oh, you think so?"
"Just try it and find out."
Jeremy laughed as Ben pulled him onto the bed, pausing just long enough to hit the light switch.
Jacob put his cell phone down on the night stand and tucked his arms back under the covers. Ashley's back was turned to him, but if he shifted slightly he could press his own bare back against the warmth of Ashley's skin. The sound of slow, steady breathing told him that Ashley had gone back to sleep.
Jacob had been careful not to wake him, turning off the lights and undressing quietly in the dark, but hadn't been able to resist sliding under the covers in the same bed. Even as the logical, rational part of his mind screamed that what happened meant nothing to Ashley, it meant something to him, and it meant a lot to him to be able to sleep in the same bed, even if it was only for one night.
So, shifting slightly, he pressed his back against Ashley's, pulled the covers around him more firmly, and closed his eyes.
On his other side, Ashley's eyes opened and his breathing paused for a moment. Then, when Jacob was still, Ashley closed his eyes again and drifted back to sleep.
Okay, I hope you enjoyed this little faux-chapter. I just wanted to get SOMETHING out by the thirteenth, the day that -- check it out -- `Making the Band' is starting again! So tune in... I think it's ABC or MTV or whatever. It's really a cool show... addicting. The only reality TV show I watch, so it's got the official Kai-approval. ;-) -- Kai Wailbone firstname.lastname@example.org