Loving Sam Lynch
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Any errors are mine, I apologize. I'll get this edited sometime. It's easier now, just to get out to you lovely boys and gals.
They spent the summer apart for the first time since they were five years old. Max stayed at his parent's house and met up with a few friends from high school—yes he'd actually had a few. He took it easy and whenever he missed Sam too much for his liking, he busied himself with a computer program he'd been working on.
Days stretched into weeks and weeks into an entire month. He wasn't a fussy person and didn't need a whole lot to keep him busy. He spent time with his parents and Renee, went swimming in Sam's pool next door, and did a bit of reading. Nothing exciting but he wasn't bored because he didn't need the mindless excitement like some other people his age. Things like partying and drinking held no appeal.
He was halfway across the country from Sam and it felt odd because it was so new, but he lived with it in ease like he did most things, not letting feelings overwhelm him. Long lazy hours beneath the sun felt nice. He'd always enjoyed the sun, especially after such a little amount of it in the winter. His skin didn't burn, but nor did it tan to his liking. Still, he liked being outdoors for the heck of it.
Sam meanwhile was off doing wild things with his wild friends. Partying too probably, although hopefully not drinking overmuch because he knew Max hated it. Most of all Max was finding that he could in fact live without Sam Lynch.
Sam thought so too...
When he was surrounded by people it was easy to believe that. Then, behind closed doors, by himself, it wasn't so easy and he wasn't sure he liked that. He was a twenty-two year old man for goodness sake. He always gave in first, lasting almost a week usually before calling Max up and speaking to him—if only to hear his voice and assure himself that he was alright.
In fact, he didn't realize how much he'd missed the damned guy until Max showed up at his place mid-august. He'd been lying in his sofa, listening to music one evening, when he'd opened his eyes and found Max peering down at him from above. His bright blue eyes were settled on him in a gentle way, just watching him. In that calm, neutral way he had. A small smile played at his lips.
He'd bolted immediately from the couch and sat up in surprise, the headphones slipping off his ears. "Max!" He'd exclaimed and then hugged him fiercely. Max had merely patted his back awkwardly. Really, you'd think that being gay would have meant he was a little more sensitive, Sam sometimes thought.
"I missed you too." Max said with amusement clearly evident in his voice.
He had missed him a lot Sam realized at that moment. "Right, you rarely called!" He said, releasing Max and allowing him to take a step back.
Max smiled stiffly. "I figured you'd be getting rowdy and living it up. I didn't want to disturb you."
Sam scoffed and sat, patting the spot beside him. "I hope that was a joke, Max."
Max smiled and relaxed a little. "I don't know." He shrugged, following up on the invitation and sitting down.
"Well, I'm glad you're back. I was a little bored and I wrote something I want you to check out." Sam said sheepishly. Max eased visibly; he adored Sam's written work. The guy was such a gifted writer.
"I'd like that."
"You hungry?" Sam stood. "Let's head out to that pizza parlour down the street."
Max watched Sam move with such blithe contentment. He figured he looked like a lazy cat. He couldn't help it, he just felt at ease. He'd been a little restless all summer but now it was okay.
He frowned when he saw the bottle of nail polish on the table across from him.
"Been busy, have you?" He asked with interest.
He never let jealousy control him because he never expected anything. Frankly, he knew the girls would never last, just like he knew one day a time would come where one of them would in fact last. He'd step over that stone when it hit him.
"Huh?" Sam turned, frowning, and then noticed the direction of his gaze. "Yeah, uh, Annabelle must have left that."
Max tensed. "Annabelle? What was she doing here?" He cocked his head to the side, watching Sam's high cheek bones suffuse with light color, his hands stopped moving as he put his things away on a table in the corner of the room.
"Well, uh, we got back together." He explained. "It just sort of happened."
Strange, Max mused, he'd gone back. He never went back once they were gone. He thought of Annabelle's long willowy figure. She was reed thin and her wispy long blond hair framed an angelic face. Not the type he'd have expected Sam to consider looking at twice. She was less shapely and womanly than most of Sam's girlfriends.
"You never mentioned anything." Max said curtly.
"I dunno." Sam shrugged and that was that.
Max shrugged too. "Whatever. Neither of us shared any details about summer relationships so I'm not surprised. You're not entirely at ease talking about things like that and I didn't care enough about him to volunteer."
"Uh, yeah." Sam agreed and then frowned. "How come you didn't say anything about...what's his name?"
"Gary Lockport," Max said neutrally, walking to the kitchen to get a glass of water. Sam followed him. "I could ask you the same thing, but I just explained didn't I?"
"Still..." Sam's brow was creased. "The entire summer?" He queried, slightly surprised. He didn't like the sound of this; didn't like not knowing about this Gary Lockport.
Max swallowed, closing his eyes at the freshness of it. He hadn't realized he was so parched. "It was convenient." Then, because it was so good, he downed the glass in one big swallow, wiping the back of his mouth with his hand.
Sam paused, watching the movement with amusement. Max was so faultless and contained all the time, he always felt odd being allowed to glimpse these moments in his life. They were so personal.
Sam rolled his eyes, letting his thoughts die down. He was slightly relieved. Nothing had come of it as usual, which meant that he wouldn't have to deal with another leering, creepy guy that didn't deserve his Max. "Jeez, you're such a robot. When'd you get to be so pessimistic anyway?"
Max laughed, setting the glass down with a distinct thud. "I think that's a rather poorly timed question. We'd better be off." He walked to the door.
"No, really..." Sam said, curious. He followed him nonetheless, grabbing his keys off the hook on the wall.
"I grew up." Max said, holding the door open for him.
Sam didn't walk through it.
"Okay, you're insane. While you `grew up' I was right there with you and I can't remember anything so earth-shattering happening that would lead to this cynicism." Sam said it all in one breath.
Max swallowed, feeling uncomfortable. He smiled outwardly though and said in a voice laced with false amusement—for Sam's benefit--, "That, my friend, is exactly the point."
Sam merely looked confused and kept questioning him all the way to the restaurant. Max dealt with it as he normally would. He dodged, blocked, and hedged. He knew Sam would forget all about it in the morning, thinking he'd been joking. It was easy, far too easy, because he was so used to doing it.
Eventually, Sam dropped it and they enjoyed a nice evening sharing a pizza. They both had immense appetites and by the time they stopped talking long enough to realize it had finished, it was late.
They headed home on a quieter note. The streets were silent, although buzzing with the gentle hum of car motors and the footsteps of lone walkers. They walked with no apparent purpose, their minds tuned and relaying the events of the night over in their heads. Neither said a word aloud.
Sam had a smile on his face and he raised his face up to the sky, taking a deep breath of the fresh air that somehow felt sweeter than it had the day before. They both felt a change in the atmosphere, but neither could detect the source of it.
Sam felt a distinct happiness and relief, but at the same time he sensed a feeling of foreboding.
Max was happy to be near Sam again. It made his heart feel free, made him feel like smiling, but still the unease beginning to creep up on him wouldn't fade. The shell he'd built for himself years ago felt a lot safer than the world outside of it. He felt it calling. It too could feel the rising apprehension.
That night was one he'd carry for the remainder of the summer, because as Max found out within the next several days, Annabelle wasn't going anywhere. Somewhere along the way—while he'd been screwing Gary Lockport back home—she'd situated herself within Sam's heart. From what he could see, that is.
So the moment had come, Max thought one night as he drove himself from Sam's place, that he'd have to test his strength. Life without Sam wasn't life though. Because of that knowledge, the pain was worth it. He was used to it really. Although he understood why people drank themselves to death now...
He'd never touched a drop of the stuff in his life and wasn't about to start, so he took his frustrations out another way: He drove himself straight to Jim Campbell's place who welcomed him with open arms and fucked the very words out of him, although he couldn't fuck Sam out of his mind. Sam never really left, you see.
Jim was a tall, well built guy who was great in bed, if a little bit freaky sometimes. Max didn't much care about anything that went on in Jim's mind. The sex was worth it. He'd even tied Jim up a few times because Jim was kinky like that. Though Max never relinquished control and let himself be tied up. Jim's handsome face usually screwed up when he didn't like something and anytime Max said, `no', to something, Jim's face usually screwed up. He didn't like that word.
Occasionally, Something about Jim gave him a weird feeling but he ignored it. He rarely ever thought about the guy when he was out of sight.
Out of sight, Out of mind was how Max liked to put it.
That day had been particularly exhausting. He headed home and took a long cold shower, relaying the events of the evening to himself. It had just been him and Sam like usual, but Annabelle had shown up unexpectedly. She'd let herself in with her own key. Another step forward for the couple, Max thought.
They'd then proceeded to make dinner and he'd watched them as they moved with entire ease in the other's company. Annabelle surveyed him with compassionate, understanding eyes and Max merely stared back, knowing what she saw. A shell of a man. Cold and blond, possessing a perfect exterior with eyes that were entirely too shrewd, belying the innocence that his features portrayed.
Her compassion made it neither worse nor better because he didn't let himself really feel. He imagined what a catastrophe that would be if he sat down and let the reality of his life drop down on him.
So while Annabelle and Max made more headway, he gave more head, fucked often and with several guys he knew. He was always safe and physical release came easily. He supposed that made him feel a bit better: that somehow he could manage to get it up without Sam. He was thankful that he didn't allow himself to think of him sexually, because then he'd break entirely.
Nothing would be his and everything would belong to Sam.
Sex was the one thing he could indulge in with mindless abandon. He supposed it was rather like his version of drinking himself to death but didn't like to linger on this aspect of his mind because it meant evaluating himself and he knew he wasn't entirely alright up there.
Sam had noticed something off of course. He wasn't entirely blind and he was his best friend after all. Max grinned and asked him if his relationship with Annabelle was making him go all gooey, sensitive and soft when Sam enquired.
"Fuck you!" Sam had exclaimed, although his eyes glinted with mirth. It made him happy because his Sam was happy—with all the life shining in those grey eyes. He was ignorant of the ugliness in Max's world and instead passed warmth to everyone he knew. While he himself was sterile, cold and so very ugly.
When school started, he had less time to see Sam. His computer engineering program was very demanding and Sam was busy with school and the girlfriend who was making no moves to run. His new room-mate was some jerk that rarely came in, so everything was alright.
A few weeks into the semester Max met Xander Davenport, an engineering student. He'd stolen Xander's spot in the library knowingly.
Xander came up to him and asked very kindly if he'd like to remove himself. Max feigned ignorance and adjusted his headphones, working away at a calculus problem. He figured if he ignored him long enough, the guy would leave. People around them were turning in their seats at the source of this hissing.
Slightly amused at the audacity of the guy, he turned, expecting a small rugrat—judging from the wildcat behavior and hissing—but found himself staring into a pair of very green, very angry eyes. They were paired with decidedly shocking auburn hair and milky creamy skin.
The guy was clearly frustrated at that point and decided physical interference was necessary because he simply took hold of Max's headphones and said with an unguardedly angry whisper, "Do you mind moving? There are no other spots available and I was here first before you moved my things and placed them on the ground."
"I'm fine right here." Max said silkily, checking the red-head out. Nice.
"Can you stop ogling me and get up?" The guy rolled his eyes, causing Max to chuckle. He was a candid sort. Other people turned to stare and a hum of noise began to build in the normally silent atmosphere. The girl to his left sighed with evident frustration and he knew she was cursing him to hell.
"I'm Max Newman." He said, leaning back in his chair.
"Oh please, you've got to be kidding me. I'm not giving you my number after this."
Max grinned even wider. "I don't want your number...hmm you look like a Bill so I'll call you Bill."
"My name is not Bill." He said through gritted teeth. "It's Xander." And then he'd realized what he'd said but it was too late.
"Uh-huh." Max didn't look up again. He grabbed his things. "I'll leave now. Enjoy your spot and have a nice life." He mock saluted and walked out of the room, not expecting to see the red-headed fire-cracker again.
To his surprise, they bumped into one another the very next week while walking along the campus. Xander stopped in his tracks and walked over. "You!" He stated. "You left behind your pen. Here I have it somewhere. Hold this." He shoved his bag into Max's arms and dug through a case furiously, coming up with a black pen.
Then he grinned and Max noticed what a wonderful mouth he had. "While you're at it, you left this piece of paper behind too." He passed both items to him, grinning lasciviously.
After he walked off with a slight swagger, Max dumbly stared down at his hands and opened the piece of paper.
It was his name and phone number. Max shook his head and smiled.
A week passed but he didn't call Xander. He couldn't make himself do it. Anyone else he had sex with he never gave a crap about. The red-head made him smile and he didn't want to hurt that vitality, didn't want to stain the beauty of him by allowing him to get involved with a person like himself. So he threw the piece of paper out and decided to stay away.
He told himself he was too busy with school and didn't have time to deal with a ferociously vibrant person like Xander Davenport. It made him focus even harder on work and he made very little time to play.
Sam convinced him to come over later that week. He reluctantly agreed because he didn't want to hurt Sam's feelings, so he slipped on a blue button up with his black jeans before getting in his car and driving over.
Annabelle wasn't over and Sam, although his usual warm self, was reacting differently to him. It was entirely his fault of course—not his beautiful Sam's—who was probably wondering what on earth was wrong with his best friend.
Sam was loud and funny as was customary but he wore the trademark scowl—usually reserved for moments of over-protectiveness for Max. Or for when Max didn't pay him enough attention.
By the time they'd settled down, Max had managed to remove the scowl and they chatted like there was no friction. Max simply listened, watching Sam's expressive face while he talked.
"I haven't seen you in ages, man." Sam said gruffly later while they ate. A football game played in the background and Max occasionally feigned interest in the TV-screen. "What have you been up to?"
"Absolutely nothing." Max said honestly, feeling no need to share his sexual overtures with Sam because they weren't even backed up by some sort of ribbon-wrapped mock-up of a relationship anymore. "Lots of work to do." He explained.
Sam nodded wholeheartedly. "I hear you, but still...It's unusual, you going so long without a boyfriend for me to punch. I haven't even met anyone you've dated since..." He trailed off, going through his memory.
Max laughed. "I can't even remember their names so don't bother."
Sam smiled ruefully. "You're right. I won't."
"I guess you really are maturing. You haven't beaten anyone up on my behalf in a long time." Max joked.
Sam only scowled. "It's because you're being sneaky lately." He was slightly hurt by the fact but he didn't say anything.
"Annabelle busy tonight?" Max asked quietly while taking a sip of his soda.
"Oh, yeah she's out with a few friends, why?"
"Just wondering." Max shrugged a shoulder. "Just unusual she isn't here."
Sam tensed a bit. "Look, you're cool with her, right?"
Max forced himself to adopt a carless manner. "Yeah, why wouldn't I be?"
"I'm just wondering, you know. Things have been a bit...different between us for some time now and I just wanted to hear from you that you're cool with her." Sam explained.
"I see." Max said pensively. "Would it matter if I wasn't?" He asked softly, not looking at Sam.
Sam paused. "Yes, yes it would matter."
"If I said I hated her?"
Sam looked at him curiously. "Do you?"
"No, but what if?"
"I don't know what you want me to say."
"You're saying it would matter, but those are just words. If I told you I didn't like you seeing her, it's not like you'd stop." Max said lightly.
"What is this all of a sudden?" Sam asked, his brow furrowed. He was getting a bit anxious about his Max.
"Nothing at all." Max said, staring ahead.
"Well, just so you know, I would stop seeing her if it mattered that much to you."
Max looked up in surprise, not saying anything but staring into the bottomless grey eyes that were as familiar as his own. He felt his heart lurch because he would like nothing better than to stare into those eyes for eternity.
Something passed between them at that moment and for the first time Sam witnessed vulnerability in Max that had him speechless. He saw something dark that had never been in those ice blue eyes before. "You don't know what you're saying," Max finally replied.
"Max, you're my best friend; I would do anything for you." Sam said in a low, soft voice, looking right into his eyes. He reached out and gripped his arm, forcing Max to look at him.
"Do you love her?" Max asked, breaking the hold of his gaze
Sam released a breath, took a swig of beer and answered, "Yeah, man."
Max nodded. "I could tell. I'm happy for you." He really was.
It's not like it was a surprise. There was just something different about knowing something and then hearing it spoken aloud. It was like suspecting you had cancer but then having it confirmed by a doctor. You couldn't ignore it anymore because it refused to hide itself. You knew it was killing you bit by bit but it was something you had to accept.
"Well, I better get going." Max stood and stretched. Sam followed his movements and he left quietly through the front door, his mind already shutting down.
"Hope to see you soon." He heard Sam call after him but he didn't turn to respond. He already had his cell-phone out.
He hoped it wasn't too late to pay a visit to Jim.
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