The phone rang once.
Quiet and monotonous. A dull double-beat through the tiny speaker pressing into my ear. Two-trills of digital noise lasting a fraction of a second each, but ominous and stirring enough to make my heart beat harder.
Harder and louder and heavier.
It rang again and my palms grew sweaty; the rigid grey plastic of my outdated Nokia turning slick and slippery. Tightening my grip on my mobile I rubbed my free hand against my joggers; blood pumping like a drum through the cartilage sandwiched between my head and the handset.
Three rings. I swapped hands and repeated the process. Four. My neck hurt.
It already ached. Strained and stretched by Mr Price as he'd pummelled his cock in and out of my throat and shot his hot, white, salty bolt into my stomach. My hands tied behind my back. My skull and mouth his personal property to use as he'd wished.
But the ache felt different. No longer was it a trophy or a reminder of our time together; the sounds of his grunts and moans; the smell like sea air in the back of my nostrils as he'd pulled out and I'd been able to breathe again. Now, and so suddenly, it was a memory of something gone wrong.
A literally painful reminder that, for a fleeting moment, I'd had him. The man of my dreams. A man who had done things to me I'd never even fantasised about. Who had talked to me like an adult and had treated me like one too, was gone. Lost to me for a reason I didn't know but could feel growing inside of my gut like tangled thorns.
Five rings. Six. Seven. Nothing. Nothing but the steady beat of an unanswered call in a void of almost silently sizzling white noise.
Where is he?
Then my thumping heart pounded. His voice. It boomed through the quiet. Strong and manly and confident. I took a quick breath. Composed myself. Opened my mouth to talk. Cool and calm. Composed.
But my jaw froze in the air. My excitement plummeted like a tonne of bricks, all the way down to my toes. In its place came a sickening dread.
"Hi you've reached Tim Price. Sorry I can't get to the phone right now. You know what to do."
Hanging up before the beep I threw my phone at my bed. It bounced off the springy top, hitting the wall by my window, before crashing noisily onto the floor.
I didn't move. Even if I'd thrown it hard enough to break I didn't care. Unwanted questions and more pressing problems were elbowing their way in and stomping around my mind.
Why is he ignoring me? Where is he? Who is he with? What is he doing?
My heart sank.
Has Adam got to him already?
Possible, but improbable. Why drop the bomb without all parties around to get damaged? And judging by the look of pure hatred Adam had shot me, climbing into his mum's car earlier that day, I doubted he would waste an opportunity to watch my face as he poured gasoline onto my relationship with Tim and lit a match.
Not that I was going to let him get anywhere near us, of course.
It was simpler, then. It must be. And there was nothing more simple than another person. Tim must have found someone else. Another twink to play with. Another boy to fuck.
Standing from my computer chair I took a deep breath to cool the flames of jealously licking at my chest and head. It didn't help. I took another and the flames grew, fanned by oxygen and uncertainty; my blood beginning to boil.
Striding across my room I picked up my phone. It was fine. No scratches or marks. No dents. But no messages or returned calls. No contact.
Slumping onto my bed I forced myself to ignore the crushing scenarios now rolling around my head like boulders. Pushed aside the flashbacks of my dream that morning. Of Tim and Adam and James without me. Instead I busied myself by considering my options.
It wasn't much of a distraction. I didn't have many.
I couldn't message him again. Not a chance. It would come across too desperate. Calling had been bad enough. But at least if he'd answered I could have pretended that I'd pocket-called him. Rang him by accident and then casually checked if we were still on for tomorrow. Laid and cemented and built on my blueprints of getting out of town. Away from Adam.
But he hadn't answered. And now he had two messages and a missed call from me on his phone. Anything more, like a voicemail, would cross into James territory.
And if that happened, I'd be no better than the needy little boys I couldn't stand.
So, other than turning up at his house and knocking on his front door like a madman, I had no choice but to wait it out. Wait out each agonising second. Try to channel the virtue I've always struggled with.
Fuck you, patience.
I checked the time on my phone. Almost ten at night. Dad's muffled shouts at his computer screen resounded through the walls and into my room. Then the house went quiet again. Turning to my window I opened the curtains and looked out.
Past the smeared glass and the dim reflection of my own face, the sky was a mixture of vivid greys: completely blanketed by thin cloud but illuminated by the bright white moon somewhere behind. Below the inverse, night-time carpet the yellow tinged street was lit by two dull street lamps spaced ten or so metres apart.
Something in the corner of my eye darted under one of the parked cars lining the closest pavement. Too large to be a rat. Too quick to be a dog.
A cat. Totally hidden if not for one of its two shadows poking up and out of its hiding place: the black silhouette of its pointed ears stretching out from behind the car and across the concrete like a Dali painting.
Go to his house.
No. I'd already decided, after he'd dropped me off home the other night and asked if there was anything else I should tell him, that I wasn't going to do anything like that anymore. No more stalking and spying. It was too risky. There was too much at stake. Too much to lose.
But ... I wouldn't knock on his door. I would watch. Stay invisible like my sly, four-legged friend down there. Keep quiet and keep an eye out for signs of Adam. Or James. Or another boy.
Or even nothing. Anything to confirm he wasn't home. That he was out and too busy to text me back. That everything was fine. That it was all in my head.
I looked at my bed. Told myself to forget about it. To go to sleep and wait until the morning. To calm the fuck down and sort myself out. But I couldn't. I couldn't quiet the voice in my head. My own voice. Cold and cruel and uncaring.
He's fucking someone else. You know he is. He never wanted you. He just wanted your body. That's all you're good for. Two holes to dump a load in and then toss aside like garbage. As if you thought he would ever want you. Nobody wants you. Not Tim. Not Adam. Not James. Not even your parents.
`Shut up!' I shouted, wrenching open my wardrobe doors.
Three minutes later I was ready. Dressed all in black. Black jeans, black t-shirt and a black sweater. Black trainers and black socks. Turning my phone onto silent I placed it back inside my pocket. Picked up my house keys from my desk.
But as my fingers wrapped around the cold metal of my bedroom door knob my leg vibrated. Twice, but quickly. A one-two buzz in rapid succession. A text.
Hey! Sorry for the radio silence, it's been a crazy day. Definitely still on for tomorrow and really like the idea of a hotel night. Naughty boy ;)
For a second I couldn't believe my eyes; my poisonous inner-monologue silenced. Then came relief. Fast and refreshing like a waterfall or a dam bursting; the weight of it all gushing and running and falling away.
It peeled off my shoulders and disappeared like it had never been there. All the crazy ideas and terrible reasons evaporated like steam, warming my cheeks and turning them red. All the pain and fear of losing him now silly and stupid.
Letting out the longest sigh of relief of my life I let myself fall backwards onto my bed. Beamed at the ceiling as I bounced and then sunk into my mattress and kicked off my trainers. I began to laugh. At the absurdity of it all. At how scared and angry and foolish I'd been.
At how a man had made me feel like this.
But he wasn't just any man. He was my man. Tim fucking Price. A man who couldn't wait to see me. Who did want me. Who cared about me. And I cared about him. I did.
For the first time since I was fourteen, since Mum had left, I actually cared about someone else. I could feel it, warm and comforting like a hot water bottle against my chest. In the release still rushing through my bones and muscles. In the ache in my neck.
It felt amazing.
Lifting my phone up and in front of my face to block out the glare of my bedroom light I unlocked it and opened my messages.
Hey! That's cool, no worries. And awesome, glad to hear it. What time should I come over? Or do you want to pick me up? :p
I hit send and within twenty seconds his reply buzzed into my hand. Eager. Quick. Just like usual.
Come to mine and we'll go from there. 6pm?
I can come earlier if you like?
Ok. How about 4pm?
Great. We're going to have so much fun at this hotel.
Oh yeah? What are you going to do to me?
I'll have to have a long, hard think about it.
Come on. Give me something.
Ok, right now, I see you face down. Your back arched. Your arse in the air. Your hole smooth and hairless.
Mmm I want you to eat me for hours. Get me nice and wet.
Yes boy. You're going to get the fucking of your life.
I want you to unload down my throat again.
You liked that?
I loved it. Can't stop thinking about it. No one's done that to me before. I'm rock hard just thinking about it.
So am I.
I wish I was with you now.
What are you doing?
Lying in bed. You?
Are you touching yourself?
No. I want to save myself for tomorrow.
Thank you, sir.
Good night, Oscar.
For a minute, I lay still, staring at the tiny pixelated letters of our conversation. Still laughing at myself in my head. Still surprised at how quickly I'd lost it. Lost my cool. My composure.
Almost lost my mind.
But he was worth it. I hadn't met anyone like Tim before. And I couldn't wait to get to know him properly. Learn all about him. All about his body. What turned him on and what drove him wild. How hard he could fuck me or how slow and deep and intense he could get. How he liked to cuddle. Big spoon or small spoon or both.
Maybe one day we could become boyfriends. Then even move in together. I could live with him in his place. Help him with his new life. Make a life together. Away from this disgusting house. Away from my worthless father and the memories of my gutless mother.
Rolling onto my side I reached over to my bedside table and put my phone on charge. Then I stood up and took off my clothes, dumping them in a crumpled black heap by my feet. Flicking off the light I climbed back into bed and under my duvet.
`It's going to work,' I whispered to myself in the darkness.
Then, less than a minute later, I was fast asleep.
To be continued ...
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Copyright Jack Ladd 2016
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