The Dark Side of the Moon
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As a matter of fact, he seems to be enjoying himself and he laughs a lot but never at me, usually at himself. It’s pretty obvious that he’s trying to be nice cause there’s nothing about him that’s lame. Then he tucks the ball under his arm again and says, “You don’t recognize me do ya? I mean everybody says I look just like my brother.”
This time I look at him hard. “You do look really familiar but I’m just not sure. Who’s your brother?”
There’s a glint in his eyes, almost a challenge. “Mark Daniels.”
He nodded yes and said, “Detective.”
“He’s your brother?” Despite that fact that they totally looked like brothers I thought of the detective as an adult and was having trouble getting my brain around the idea that a kid my age was his brother.
He seemed to be able to read my mind and he laughed. “He’s a lot older. I guess I was kind of an afterthought.” I must have had a weird look on my face because he started to look concerned.
“I asked him, Robbie! I asked him if he knew anything about you. It’s not like he goes around talking about that shit.”
I couldn’t figure out why he’d care or why he’d want to know unless he wanted shit he could tell other people but then that didn’t make sense either. “How come you asked him?” The sounds in the gym were still overwhelming but somehow now, with the exception of screeching sounds from shoes, they seemed to be fading into the background.
He said softly, “We have study hall together…last period….you and me.”
He laughed. “You never look up you know. You walk into a room and you’re always looking down.” He turned to watch another group of guys practicing, then said, “I always wondered about that…why you never looked up.”
“When I look up somebody’s usually giving me a hard time.”
He started bouncing the ball and staring at the floor. “That sucks. And what happened…with those guys…it’s terrible. I mean I can’t imagine. You musta been really scared. This whole last week musta been pretty much unreal, like living on the fucking moon or something.”
There was softness in his eyes now and it was really getting to me. It almost seemed like he was coming on to me but then I knew that I had to be wrong about that cause there was just no fucking way that was gonna happen.
I said, “More like the dark side of the moon.”
He gave me a crooked smile. “Yeah…I can see that. But you’re back now…I mean you survived it…and no matter how fucked up it was you got thru it and you’re safe now.”
That so didn’t feel true but how do you explain that without sounding like a freak but then it turned out that I didn’t have to.
His voice became softer, so soft that I could barely hear it above the rubber slapping on wood sounds of the other kids. “You don’t feel safe yet do ya?”
I stared at the floor and shook my head. “No.” And then I said something that I thought I’d never tell a stranger. “I feel sooo scared, like I’m never gonna be safe again, ya know, like this horrible shit is out there and it’s just around the next corner and it’s not a case of if it’s gonna get me, just when.”
He glanced down at the floor and then rubbed his eyes and seemed to think. I could almost see his brain editing what he was about to say. Finally he sighed and said, “You gonna sit with me in study hall next period?” He grinned. “I’ll save you a seat but you’re gonna have to actually look up to find me.”
I beat him to study hall. Actually I pretty much beat everyone and I sat near the front and against the wall in my usual spot. After a minute Dean walked in, smiled at me and walked over to Mr. Devlin who was in charge of the study hall and talked to him. Then he came over and grabbed my arm.
“C’mon, remember, we gotta go to the library.”
I had no clue as to what he was talking about and it even occurred to me that maybe he got me confused with somebody else. Self-confidence isn’t my strong point but obedience is and I let him drag me outta my chair and towards the door.
Once we were out in the hall I pulled back so that I could talk to him but also because I was beginning to get dizzy. “What are you doing? We can’t just go!”
He draped his arm over my shoulder and his voice definitely sounded like a little kid who had pulled a fast one. “We didn’t just go. I cleared it with Devlin. We got a research project.”
“What kinda project?”
He grinned. “I figure it’s gonna be a real project getting to know you.”
Suddenly I began to wonder if he really knew that I was gay. I didn’t remember ever telling that to Detective Daniels or really to anyone other than my brothers. What if he actually thought I was straight? What if when he found out he went running to all the other jocks and told them? What if they all cornered me and beat the shit outta me? But the worst one thought was, what if he laughs at me? That’s the one that I didn’t think that I could take.
When we got to the library he dragged me over to a corner table and pushed me gently down into a seat. “Stay there!” He smiled and said softly, “Don’t wander away.” He walked down one of the aisles and came back with an armful of books and put a few in front of me. “Open one up so that we look legitimate.”
I said, “So we were illegitimate before?”
He grinned. “You’re not gonna be difficult are ya?”
Then in a classic case of me talking before thinking I said, “It depends on what you wanna do to me.”
He stretched his legs out under the table and brushed them against mine. “I’m not telling you that yet. Don’t wanna scare ya.” He looked for a minute like he wished he hadn’t said that and a small red blotch appeared on each of his cheeks.
There was something about him that just disarmed me. I never would have felt this comfortable with anyone else. It was almost like we were best friends or something but in fact, of course, we had just met.
“That’s okay, I’m pretty brave.” Then I laughed, shook my head and said, “That is such a total lie, I’m not brave at all.”
He was leafing thru one of the books and biting nervously on the inside of his mouth. He sat up quickly and said, “You gotta see this!” He jumped up and came over to my side of the table and knelt down next to me. The right side of his body was pressed to the left side of mine and his hands were holding the book out while he pointed at it but while I was expecting a picture of some kind there was only really small text.
The heat from his body was almost scorching and it felt like my body temperature was gaining about twenty degrees a second and there was this electric charge coming off of him.
He pointed at the page and said dramatically looking towards the Librarian, “Isn’t that cool?”
I turned my head towards him and I had to pull back a little to keep my lips from brushing his cheek. “The words?” I admit, I am a little slow.
He smiled and pointed again, “No this great picture!” He moved his arm against my side and the friction made me almost gasp.
I whispered nervously, “There is no picture!”
He turned his head so that his breath was hot and sweet against my cheek and stared at me for a moment, then whispered back, “There must be a thousand words there, it’s gotta be a picture.”
His voice was filled with big brotherly concern and his right hand went to the back of my neck. “You okay?”
I smiled and said, “You bet!” Then I laughed idiotically.
He grinned. “What’s so funny?”
I shook my head. “I dunno. It was just better than I thought it would be.” His fingers massaged the back of my neck for a moment and then he turned to the front.
He laughed. “I had a hunch that it might be. Well, shit, it coulda hardly been worse. I mean you were pretty much thinking the end of the world.”
I looked over at him at his strong face. “Nobody said anything! I think maybe a couple a guys were thinking it but nobody said anything!”
He sighed. “And I don’t think they will. But, Robbie, it’s just the first day. The thing is that if it happens ya gotta just blow it off.” He was shaking his head slowly. “Then tell me and I’ll take care of it.”
Chase was in the kitchen leaning against the counter when we got there. He grabbed my arm and pulled me over next to him. He was grinning.
“Looks like you survived.”
I laughed, actually laughed. “It was okay, Chase! Nobody did nothin!” Jimmy walked over and ruffled my hair.
At that moment Connor came in the back door and stopped for a second and looked at us. He didn’t smile or yell or anything, it was almost like we weren’t there. Finally Chase said, “Hey, Connor!” Jimmy let go of me and walked to the sink and Connor turned and walked up the stairs to the second floor. As soon as he was out of sight I realized that I had been holding my breath.
Chase said softly, “He’s getting better.”
Jimmy snorted and said sarcastically, “Right!”
Suddenly I knew that I had to try and talk to him because there was no way that he’d ever be the first.
Connor was sprawled shirtless and flat on his back on his bed with his head barely against the headboard, his skin still had the glow of a late summer tan. His legs were splayed out and the mass of his cock and balls was pressing up obscenely against the denim of his jeans. He was totally at rest but the power in that body was evident, like a leopard resting under a tree. Everything about his posture said that he didn’t give a fuck and I knew for sure that he didn’t, it also said, “Don’t fuck with me!”
He stared at me for a moment and then said almost softly, “Just fucking go!” Then he rolled over onto his side and shut me out.
I don’t know what I expected but his words hit me like a slap and in dismay I started to turn and go but then he sighed in a heavy, dramatic, Connor way and mumbled into his bedding, “Why’d ya do it, Robbie? How could ya do that to me?”
I was absolutely confused. It was as if he was talking about something that I knew nothing about but I automatically started to apologize. “I’m sorry, Connor, I………” Then I began to realize that he couldn’t be talking about the rape because even Connor couldn’t figure that I was to blame for that.
He tucked his left arm under the side of his head. His voice was getting louder but still sounded…well, sad. “Why’d ya go to him? You know he fucking hates me. Why didn’t you come to me?” Oh my God! Chase was right!
I started to talk but it was like my throat was closing up and I had to clear it. Finally I said, “You mean Jimmy?”
He was speaking into his arm. “Who the fuck else are we talking about?” I thought, “Gee, Connor, maybe we’re fucking talking about you!” But I wouldn’t dare say that to him, not after everything else.
“Connor, he doesn’t hate you, nobody hates you and I didn’t go to him, not really, he was just there, same as you. Then he came to the hospital.”
He glared at me. “I went to the hospital too! You didn’t wanna see me!”
I was still standing by the door totally unsure of what I was supposed to do. “I was really nuts, Connor. It had been a really bad day.” How could he not have understood that? Yet I completely admired him. Connor never second-guessed himself and he never felt responsible when other people were having a bad day and if you didn’t like him you could just go fuck yourself. He was everything that I wasn’t.
He lifted his hand and let it drop. “Whatever.”
“Really, Connor, I know that he doesn’t hate you and I thought you hated me cause of me telling the cops about Jeff.” He lifted his head and looked like he was about to say something but I needed to tell him about Jeff. “I told the cops that I didn’t think Jeff and his friend were as much to blame as the other guy. I told him cause I don’t think they should be punished like the mean guy.”
He sighed and leaned back. His voice was almost a drawl. “He called me. They let him go home. Their still gonna nail his ass but nothing bad. He even figures he’ll be able to come back to school.”
It was what I wanted, sort of, but a shiver still went thru me at the thought of those guys being back at school. Even to me my voice sounded like it was coming from a four year old. “He’s gonna be back?”
He laughed. “Don’t sweat it! He said that the cops told him that he can’t go anywhere near you. He can’t even talk about what happened or they throw him in the slammer.” He laughed again. “Plus I told him that if he even thought about you I’d cut his balls off. So relax, Robbie, you’re bullet proof.”
He rolled back over onto his back and sighed. “What about you, Robbie, you hate me?”
That question surprised me. “No, Connor. You scared me…but mostly I just miss you.”
He grinned and held out his hand. “Comere, ya little freak.”
I could feel the tears beginning to run down my cheeks even before I got to the bed. Connor grabbed my hand and pulled me down roughly onto his bed with my back against his chest.
His face was buried in my hair and his arms were wrapped tightly around me and it felt great. For a long time he didn’t say anything but then he was mumbling into my hair. “So you’re really queer?”
I really didn’t think I could speak so I just nodded.
“There’s a lotta that goin around.”
I swallowed and wiped my nose with the back of my hand because I had to ask this, I had to know. “Do ya think I’m a horrible person, Connor? You were so mad at me.”
I could feel his lips moving against the back of my head. “I was pissed at everybody, Robbie. But I guess mostly I was wondering how it could be that one of my best friends could be queer and I didn’t know it. It was a fucked up day.”
I hadn’t thought about that. Jeff pretty much had to be gay or something like it.
He said, “So I suppose now you’re gonna be staring at my cock all the time, huh?”
I knew that there was only one answer to that. “You are pretty hot.”
He laughed. “That’s true and I guess it’s cool. Looking is okay.”
I could feel my body beginning to relax in the safety of Connor’s arms, my cheek was pressed to the muscle in his upper arm and his warm breath was on the back of my neck. I wondered what it’d feel like to be doing this with Dean if he’d make me feel this safe. I was pretty sure that he would.