Notice: The following account depicts homosexual acts between consenting persons and is intended for mature readers only. Exercise your own judgment, in consultation with the appropriate laws and moral standards of your community, in deciding whether or not to read this work. While this story depicts significant events in the lives of certain individuals, readers are cautioned not to assume that their experiences are in any way representative of those of most homosexuals. Any connection between persons named herein and real persons, living or dead, is vigorously denied. Comments may be sent to email@example.com. This story may not be copied or distributed without the express written consent of the author. Copyright 2001 All Rights Reserved.
Chapter Eight. What Comes to a Head
Naked truths, unexpected discoveries.
I had no satisfying answers, try as I might. Outside of Paul, my life seemed without purpose, without meaning. Who am I? Nobody. What am I doing? Whatever Paul wants. Could I ever stop being what I am? Not even if my life depends on it.
Over the next couple of weeks, up through, I guess, about the middle of May, I saw Paul only at school, only in passing. Paul couldnt stop by my house after school because, as punishment for being late to practice, his coach required him to show up early from now on and run laps around the bases to prove his enthusiasm for the team. It seemed harsh at the timeand it was harsh, I guessbut now its kind of funny to imagine Paul running laps as the other guys showed up. It must have been at least a little embarrassing for Paul, even if no one ever knew the real reason he had been late. But mulling that reason over in his mind probably had something to do with the fact that he didnt call me, even in the evenings or on weekends, both times he didnt have practice. And when I did see Paul at school, he rarely made eye contact, and then only for a split second. Once we passed in the hall when no one either of us knew was around, and he didnt even say hello. I knew Paul had seen me, and he knew I saw him, but he refused to even glance in my direction as we passed, almost as if he was deliberately not looking at me. After that happened, I began to sense that something was bothering him.
Something new was bothering me, too. More accurately, someone new. I had been used to briefly seeing Paul with this or that girl in the halls, and I knew that on weekend nights he was often out on a date or something, but a few days later I began to see him with one particular girl, a new girlfriend and one of the most popular cheerleaders in the school. I really couldnt overstate this girls qualifications for being titled the schools most desired starlet. She was a sophomore, and Matt had simply gushed over her since she entered high school, as had most guys. I could see that she was a pretty girl, that she had the right parts arranged in the right way, but the way Matt talked about her, youd have thought an angel descended. Being a fag, I dont really know how to describe her in such a way that conveys the attention she commanded from nearly every guy in school, but she was definitely one of those girls who, when I was in the company of other guys, I had to pretend to be attracted to.
When Paul started dating her in the final weeks of the school year, he immediately ascended to the top of the otherwise rigid social scale. Being an attractive and accomplished athlete, he was already counted among the best. Dating the schools most desired cheerleader, who had been relentlessly courted by seniors no less, made him the envy of even these. The whole thing made me envious, too, but for different reasons. The first time I saw them together in the hallway outside the cafeteria, Pauls arm wrapped around her, pearly white teeth gleaming from both their faces, a gaggle of devoted friends arrayed in front of them, all laughter and adoration, they seemed to form a perfect tableau of the sort of untouchable beautiful people the social mores of our school encouraged us to emulate. I watched this little group step through the doors of the cafeteria with a mixture of jealousy, anger, shame, and horror, knowing that never, even in the most unimaginable of circumstances, would I share in the sort of eminence they enjoyedthe sort I hated, but couldnt help but concede was normal. After a few minutes, Paul noticed me standing some distance away, looking like Id been shot clean through and was only a moment away from falling in a slump to the floor, and Im convinced he recognized the hurt my eyes undoubtedly conveyed. He glanced at me only for a second or two, as if an invisible but impenetrable barrier lay between us, then shepherded his little group in through the doors.
If I tell you I didnt feel like eating for the next few days, I dont think it will come as a surprise. When I asked Matt, casually of course, about where Paul met his new girlfriend, he had plenty to say about it, more, in fact, than what I was ready to hear. We had been to see a new movie one Sunday nightOliver Stones The Doors, which I really likedand we were sitting in his car in front of his house, in the dark, drinking a few beers.
So, I saw Paul the other day in the hall. I guess now youll never get your chance with Kelly Aaronson. Matt had recently broken up with his girlfriendSarah, I think her name wasand was kind of half-heartedly looking around, but Id been hearing a lot from him about Kelly over the past few weeks.
Yeah, that lucky bastard. Kellys the hottest girl in school, if you ask me.
So youve mentioned. Lots of people say that, though.
Yeah, well, lots of people are right. I guess I never really had a chance, anyway. If shed decided to date a senior, I know I probably wouldnt have made the short list. Besides, were graduating and moving on soon. We got us some hot college babes to look forward to! Matt gave me a playful slap on my arm with the back of his hand, followed up by his award-winning smile. I attempted to respond in kind, trying to think of something to say, but Matt followed up with, Hey, man, three beers left. Drink up, or youll fall behind!
I quickly swallowed the last few gulps and accepted the fresh can Matt offered. He seemed not to realize that he was one up on me, that Id deliberately been holding back tonight. Normally a strict equalitarian, he cracked open another for himself and continued to drink. We sat in silence for a few minutes before I got the courage to continue.
So, how long has all that been going on?
All what been going on?
I swallowed the hard lump in my throat. Paul and Kelly.
Oh, fuck all that, Matt said in mock annoyance, but then he continued. I guess I should be happy about it, though. Theyve been together just a few weeks, I guess. No, wait. He asked her out on the twenty-sixth, I think. Yeah, cause that was her birthday or whateverI made a quick mental calculation and tried not to react: the twenty-sixth was two days before Paul was last with mebut the really funny thing about it is that he never would have done it if not for me. Can you beat that?
I mean that Pauls really shy around girls, despite what everyone thinks, and he came to me for advice about it. I dont think he would even have set his sights on Kelly if I hadnt put the idea in his mind.
I was amazed beyond belief and took several full swallows of my beer. Were talking about Paul, right, I mean, your brother, Paul? He dates girls all the time!
Yeah, but it never goes anywhere. They date a few weeks or so, and then they break up. I asked him what was the matter, he says it just never works out, I press him some, and he tells me he gets nervous. And would you believe Pauls never been beyond second base with a girl? He said that when things get serious, he always gets performance anxiety or whatever and cant go through with it. Can you believe it? Its crazy. He paused to take a drink. Anyway, hes worried it reflects badly on his manhood. I really laughed when he told me that.
What the fuck? I was nothing but silent now and looked at him with utter disbelief. Matt just revealed that a great many things Id assumed about my world and the people in it were totally wrong. He might as well have added that he thought Boy George was cool and his parents were Soviet spies. Have I been kidnapped by fucking aliens and been the subject of some evil experiment for the past year?
Dont look at me like that, its true! And dont you say anything about it, because Paul would kill me!
I... Im just really surprised, thats all, I stammered. I mean, you know, the way he acts and all. I drained the can in my hand.
Yeah, most people would be, too, but its mostly what people think is true rather than whats actually true that counts, you knowyeah, thats one thing I know for sure, Mattbut Pauls been worried that hell get a bad rep if he doesnt find somebody to stick it out long term with. Kelly was ready for that, too. I mean, I kind of had the inside scoop on Kelly, cause I know her sister Laura. So we talked, and I put it in her head that Paul and Kelly would be a good idea. She agreedyou want to split this last beer?and it only took us a week or so to prep them and arrange an opportunity for them to get to know each other. So far its worked out great. I just hope it lasts, but I think it will this time. Kellys a really nice girl, and youd have to be a total fag not to want her for yourself. Matt slurped the foam from the top of the can he opened and took a short swallow before handing it to me.
I chugged down a few ounces in quick succession. Matts words, though somewhat slurred, pierced me like an ice pick. The wound they left is that deep, sucking chest one called heartache. But heartkill would be more accurate. I forced myself to spit out a response. Geez, I thought you and Paul didnt get along, and now youre telling me youve been playing matchmaker for him.
Hey, we may not always see eye to eye, but were still brothers, you know. There are some things we still talk about, and besides, his attitude has improved a lot this year. I may not know about everything he does, but I know all about his love life. And no matter what, if he needs me, Im there to help.
Matt the champion. His goodness would be my undoing. I could just see it all now. Because of him, Paul would end up leaving me forever. Nothing made Matt happier, it seemed, than having a project by which he felt he was doing good. Why, after all, had he been a friend to me all these years? Certainly not for my sharp wit and charismatic good humor. And now he had a new project to work on, one which, for once, his support had been invited. Hed be sure to see it carried through, no matter what it took, to his own satisfactionand the benefit, approval, and undying thanks of all parties involved, of course. Now when I looked at Matt, my ever-loyal best friend, I felt not the limitless guilt to which Id grown accustomed, but an invincible cloud of doom.
The wheels in Matts head continued to turn. I knew some perfect plan was brewing in that alcohol-clogged brain of his.
Ive got an idea, he said, turning in his seat to address me face to face. In his somewhat drunken state, the normal dictates of decorum went on suspension, and he put one hand on my shoulder and the otherat first I thought he was reaching for the beer we were supposed to be sharingon my wrist. Oh god, here it comes, I thought. Its our senior year, you know, and we need to go out with a bang. And Id feel it personally remiss of me if I didnt do something to help you get through first base. Laura just happens to be single, and I know this friend of hers, you know, Tracy Lockman, who I know youd like a lot. Well round up a few other couples, including Paul and Kelly, and go to the Prom together! What do you think? Itll be great! Youll love it! Matt had an annoying habit of sometimes answering his own questions when he got excited. But what could I say? Fate held me in its iron claws and was going to crush me like a bug. It seemed the drama of my life was going to play out like some kind of twisted Greek tragedy, so I might as well surrender myself to the grinding wheels of necessity.
Yeah, sure. That sounds great. I gulped down the last remaining ounces from the can in my hand, and felt far more sober than I wanted to.
The Senior Prom at our school was always held on the last weekend before graduation weekend, something Ive come to find out is unusual among American high schools. Officially, it was known as the BSHS Spring Formal (yes, we went to BS High) and though it was always in mid-June, it was technically still during spring. Anyone could go, but among the students it was known as the Senior Prom, and its theme, music, and featured activities were considered to be under the exclusive control of that class. Compared to the intellectual focus of a graduation ceremony and the moral focus of a baccalaureate service, which in my town still retained all the religious overtones such things typically lack nowadays, the American senior prom is supposed to be the culmination and proving ground of all our long years of training in the wholesome ways of heterosexuality. Ours reinforced the idea with a Moonlight Moments theme, and had this picture of a couple kissing under the night sky, full moon and all, on all the promotional posters. The prom is something at which your attendance, though not mandated, is certainly expected, and I dreaded it with loathing. Going to the prom was a role I simply wouldnt be able to play. I had no idea what Id be expected to do or say, so I expected to expose myself as an interloper, like some hapless Actaeon stumbling into Dianas bath. Surely here, it seemed, I would be torn apart once and for all, if not necessarily by a pack of hunting hounds, then by something just as powerful: the dogged social scrutiny of my peers. Even worse, I expected it would happen in front of Matt, the actual if unacknowledged conscience of the graduating class, and Paul, the boy I still loved with every fiber of my being.
As it turned out, my exposure didnt happened in quite such a public way, but it did inevitably happen, and certain events surrounding the prom had a significant role in that. If you want to read further, let me be clear about something: things get much worse before they get better. Life is sometimes like that, is it not? What follows here and in the next few chapters is painful to remember and difficult to write about. I dont know but that it might be just as tricky to read.
Well, dear friend, you have read the long prelude to my demise. See now the principal acts of this stage show unfold before you. Since I already know how this bit plays out, Im just going to duck out into the lobby of our little theatre and get some Raisinettes and a Coke. Maybe take a piss and step out under the marquee to get some air. Dont worry, though, Ill be back by the end. Ah, I see the lights have dimmed and the curtain is going up. So begins The Forbidden Fruit, a Deracination in Three Acts.Oh, and if you should decide you want your ticket refunded, dont come to me. Take it up with the Management.
CHARACTERS (in order of appearance):
MATT, leader of the group, aged eighteen
PAUL, his devastatingly handsome and strikingly mature brother, aged sixteen
The FAGGOT, friend of Matt, erstwhile secret lover of Paul, presumed by most to be someone nice, aged seventeen
LAURA, Matts date, friendly and outgoing, aged eighteen
KELLY, her sister, Pauls eagerly affectionate date, reputed to be stunningly attractive, recently aged sixteen
TRACY, friend of Laura, reluctantly set up with someone nice, aged seventeen
MARK, friend of Matt, darkly brooding, something of an Anglophile, appealingly muscular and impeccably dressed, aged eighteen
Other roles filled as needed: ONLOOKERS and COUPLES of various sorts
The main ballroom of a sixties-era, functionally upscale hotel in a large town somewhere in the American West, the sort of tacky establishment that over-starches the linens in guest rooms and smells of varying degrees of scented dank and chlorinated water, depending on how close one is to the indoor pool. The B S High School Spring Formal is in progress. The ballroom is cavernous and boxy, of about the same square footage as a large gymnasium, and carpeted in a red diamond pattern. A tasteless assortment of artificial ferns and palms flank the outer walls. At one end, opposite the main entrance, is a temporary stage on which a tolerably decent local band plays rock and roll hits from the eighties and very early nineties. In front of the stage is a temporary pressed wood dance floor, flanked on three sides by standard round flattops and padded chairs. The tables are covered in white cloths. On either side of the room are a buffet of greasy fried foods and a series of closely chaperoned punch bowls. The atmosphere is raucous and the music loud. Several hundred teenagers are engaged in dancing, shouting, laughing, or in many cases, making out, and all are dressed in formal attire of widely divergent taste, style, and disarray. The room is completely dark except for the jarring combination of an enormous disco ball over the dance floor, strobe and mood lights surrounding the stage, and electric candles on each of the tables. Action begins in medias res at one of the tables occupied by Matt and Paul in the center of the room.
MATT: (In mock complaint) The girls are gonna take forever in the bathroom, but I guess it gives us a few minutes to compare notes. So, tell me how its going with Kelly. Laura told me earlier about how shes so (teasingly) in love with you.
PAUL: (Awkwardly enthusiastic and a little embarrassed) Yeah, she is pretty nice. It could definitely go somewhere. (His enthusiasm wanes at a new thought, which appears to leave him preoccupied.) I just wish things were better all around.
MATT: (Surprised) Paul, whats the matter? Youre having a good time, right?
PAUL: (Looking through the crowd in the direction of the FAGGOT, who is at the punch table with three glasses) Yeah, Im fine. I was just wondering if he is. The way he looks, youd think we were at a funeral. He said hardly anything at dinner.
MATT: Hes all right. I think hes just nervous about Tracy and all. I think shes a nice girl, and Im hoping hell get a little action. Thats why I picked her, anyway. She got him to talk and open up some on the way here.
PAUL: Yeah, I know. I just dont think hes cut out for this sort of thing, you know. I just hope you know what youre doing.
MATT: Itll be fine. He doesnt need to talk to her now, just dance with her.
PAUL: Heres hoping. Ill bet the girls are talking about him right now, too.
MATT: Probably. (Thoughtfully) Sometimes I just cant figure out whats wrong, but at other times he seems okay. Its always up and down with him, and I dont know why.
PAUL: (After a silence) Well, here he comes, so...
(The FAGGOT approaches, carrying three large glasses in his hands. He looks as though shadowed in a cloud of doom, and his eyes have the distant vacancy of what could be either the resignation of a convict facing impending execution, or advanced intoxication. Weaving through the crowd, he makes eye contact with the two brothers, quickly glancing from one to the other, and surmises theyve been talking about him. Upon reaching the table, he hands over their punch and, still standing, as if to mock the awkward silence with which they greet him, pulls a small bottle of whiskey, half full, from the pocket of his tuxedo, and in full view of everyone, empties the contents into his own glass.
MATT: (Angry, but with surprise and good humor) What the fuck are you doing? Sit down before someone sees you! Youll get us all thrown out of here, you idiot!
FAGGOT: (To himself, somewhat slurred) Whatever... who the fuck gives a damn what they do anymore.
MATT: Give me that. (He reaches for the FAGGOTs bottle and glass, who makes a half-hearted attempt to hang on to them.) I didnt realize how drunk you are. (He hides the bottle in his own jacket pocket.)
(To PAUL) Give me your glass. (Taking PAULs glass, he proceeds to equally distribute the vodka in the FAGGOTs glass between his own and PAULs, both of which contain red punch. The FAGGOTs glass now empty, he stands.)
(To the FAGGOT) Im cutting you off, partner. You and Mr. Daniels know each other a little too well tonight.
(To PAUL) Keep him away from ours while I go refill his... and see if hes got any more on him. Fuck, I hope he doesnt pass out on us before hes even had a chance.
PAUL: (To MATT) Yeah, okay.
(PAUL and the FAGGOT suffer a long silence between them while MATT makes his way toward the punch line. After an increasingly uncomfortable period, during which he seems to become even more attractive than he already is, PAUL speaks.) Do you have any more on you?
FAGGOT: Fuck you.
FAGGOT: You heard me, asshole. Fuck you.
PAUL: (Challenging him) Whats your problem? I didnt do anything to you.
FAGGOT: (Accusingly) Its not what you did, its what you didnt do that pisses me off. What you wouldnt do, I should say.
(ONLOOKERS at a nearby table overhear only snippets of the conversation, but sense its tone easily. A female voice is heard: Whats wrong with them? To which a male one responds: Oh, hes just drunk, I think, and Pauls trying to calm him down. Come on, lets catch this next dance.)
PAUL: (After waiting for the ONLOOKERS to depart) What the fucks the matter with you? (He leans in and reaches out a hand. Whispers) What do you mean what I wouldnt do?
FAGGOT: (Looking away, deeply hurt by something) Dont touch me, Paul. (Bitterly angry, but not wanting to discuss what is really on his mind) You said youd call, but you never did.
PAUL: (Confusedly) What? What are you talking about?
FAGGOT: (Self-righteously) The last time we saw each other, which has been like seven weeks ago or something. Dont tell me you dont remember, cause I was fucking there, so I know you know what Im talking about!
PAUL: (Thinks for a few seconds, then remembers) Youre pissed about that? Come on, you know things have been going on, that I couldnt come by after school anymore.
FAGGOT: (His voice rising) Yes, I do know things have been going on! I know all about things going on! (Tears break down his cheeks, then quietly, as if painful to admit) I could smell the perfume... Youre supposed to be making love to me, not trying to fuck her. (He gestures to an empty chair next to PAUL.)
PAUL: (Defensively) What? You dont now anything about that!
FAGGOT: (Loudly) Yes I do! Youre a virgin, Paul! Youre just trying to get yourself laid quick so you can tell yourself you are what you want to be! And arent what you know you are! (He wipes tears from his face. After a pause, he is quieter, and trying hard to make sense.) Well, I dont have that luxury, Paul. I am what I am! You said so yourself, so I thought you understood that. I thought you accepted it, but maybe its that you wanted to take advantage of it, until it started to feel too good and you were thinking about it too much. Well its all I think about. Youre all I think about. As much as I hate you right now, I love you, and Im in love with you. I know its not what you want, but youve got it anyway!
(They sit in silence for a minute or two, PAUL staring ahead with a shocked, almost frightened, look on his face. The FAGGOT continues to wipe away tears, but looks downward in shame and fear. He alternately wipes his eyes and cradles his head. When he seems to have calmed down a bit, he reaches out for PAULs glass and, unchallenged, drains its contents. There are no more words between them. Appearing suddenly through a break in the noisy crowd, MATT appears holding two glasses in his hands.)
MATT: (To both) Whats going on here? Somebody told me you were having some kind of argument or something.
(He looks at PAUL, who gestures with a sideways nod of his head toward the FAGGOT, who sees neither of them. MATT evinces a knowing look, nods, and speaks to the FAGGOT.) Here, take these. I want you to drink them both.
FAGGOT: (Defeated) All right. (He drinks.)
(MATT, still standing between the two, looks up and sees the approach of LAURA, KELLY, and TRACY. They have returned from the restroom and appear to be a little tipsy, but they are enjoying themselves.)
MATT: Come on you two, its time for the fun now, and (to the FAGGOT) that includes dancing. We brought these ladies out to show them a good time, and thats what were going to do. Paul, stop looking like youve wet your pants. (To the FAGGOT again) And you, buddy, are gonna do all right. This isnt as scary as you make it seem, so just relax. (Trying to encourage him) Youre doing fine, and I think Tracy kind of likes you, so just act like youre having a good time.
FAGGOT: (Looking at PAUL) Yeah, okay. Ill dance with her. (With biting sarcasm) And maybe later I can fuck her, too, just to prove what a man I am.
LAURA: (Approaching) Hey, boys, you ready to do a little dancing (she puts her arm around MATTs waist) and shake that sexy thang?
MATT: (Still taken aback by the FAGGOTs last remark) Uh... Yeah, of course! Lets do it. (A little apprehensively) Guys?
(KELLY approaches PAUL and sits on his lap, clouding them both in the wretched scent of lavender. TRACY stands by the FAGGOT, who doesnt acknowledge her.)
KELLY: Hey, sexy.
PAUL: (Glancing toward the FAGGOT, but addressing the girl) Hey, baby.
(She takes his head in her hands and kisses him full on the lips. It is a long kiss, full of the overworked passion of a nubile girl. The FAGGOT, disgusted, watches with gritted teeth.)
FAGGOT: (Standing and taking TRACY by the hand) You ready for this?
(The FAGGOT, stinking of drink, pulls her close, her waist to his, and wraps his arms around her. Surprised by his embrace, she tries to speak, but he pulls her even closer and forces a sloppy kiss in the middle of her face. The others look on with unbelieving surprise and shock. TRACY, most stunned of all, pulls back from the FAGGOT, but he continues to hold her next to him.)
TRACY: Good god, what have you been drinking?
FAGGOT: You should ask him (gestures to PAUL). But believe me, you really dont want to know. Come on.
(He takes her forcibly by the wrist and drags her through the crowd to the dance floor, leaving the others behind. They watch awkwardly, then all turn to look at PAUL, who watches a few seconds longer before turning to meet their gaze. He knows but cannot speak.)
MARK: (Approaching through the crowd, drunk) Hey, lads, hows it going? (Looking at MATT, then PAUL) Wow, whats with the long faces? (Receiving no answer, his hand fumbles in his jacket pocket.) Say, Im all smoked out. Chance either one of you has a fag?
The same evening, four hours later. The principal group, accompanied by five or six other COUPLES, have retreated to the Lockman residence. Tracys parents, who are inexplicably wealthy, are conveniently out of town. The house is large and sprawling, perched on a low ridge overlooking more neighborhoods below. The interior is adorned with the predictable accoutrements of a highly successful suburban lifestyle. Those present freely move about the various areas of the house. All are still dressed in formal attire, but sweaty and tired. The boys have removed their jackets, bowties, and cummerbunds, and unbuttoned the tops of their shirts. The girls feign the same radiance they possessed earlier in the evening, but all are somewhat intoxicated and their hair is starting to come undone. Action begins shortly after the group have arrived. They gather in the living room, seating themselves around a large coffee table adorned with highball glasses, rum, ice, two large bottles of Coke, and a large pitcher of water.
FAGGOT: (Drunk and to no one in particular) Im going out to get some air.
(He retrieves a glass of ice and Coke, without rum, and steps through a pair of glass doors into the darkness of a porch beyond. He closes the doors behind himself. MATT watches the FAGGOT depart.)
MATT: So, Tracy, you having a good time?
TRACY: Yeah, I guess so, but hes a little weird. Somebody owes me for this, you know.
MATT: Look, Im sorry he got a little too drunk, but hey, who isnt? I guess I could have kept a closer eye on him, though.
LAURA: (While mixing drinks) Well, youre not his keeper, Matt. At least, you shouldnt be.
KELLY: Whats the deal with him, anyway? It seems like he doesnt get out much.
MATT: Look, hes my friend, since we were little, and you shouldnt be so harsh. His parents are divorced, and his mom works a lot, so I keep an eye on him.
LAURA: I didnt know that. What happened to his dad?
MATT: Its not really important. All that matters is that its a good thing he isnt around anymore.
PAUL: Come on, you people act like theres something wrong with him, and there isnt. So he isnt the most outgoing person you know. So what. Hes a nice guy once you get to know him, so just give him a chance.
MATT: Thank you, Paul. Thats just what I was trying to get at. Anyway, lets pass out those drinks. Im getting thirsty.
(The group breaks out into small conversations, and various COUPLES arrange themselves about the house, engaged in various activitiestalking, playing pool, listening to music, dancing, and the like. MATT follows TRACY over to a large stereo CD player, over which hangs a family portrait.)
MATT: These your folks, then?
TRACY: Yeah. (With emphasis) And their baby. (She selects a CD and sets the stereo to random play. Tracks from New Orders Substance album come on, beginning with Perfect Kiss.) I guess I was about three or four then.
MATT: You were a cute kid.
MATT: Still are.
TRACY: Well, arent you a gentleman.
MATT: Yeah, I try. So anyway, except for the one right after we showed up at prom, has he kissed you yet?
TRACY: I knew you had a reason for coming over here. So what do you want?
MATT: Nothing. I just want to know how things are going, you know. (Jokingly) If Im going to owe you for this evening, I just want to know how much.
TRACY: (Laughs.) Things have been fine, really. Dinner was nice, the flowers were nice. He didnt grope me while we danced. And except for the little incident, he doesnt act like he expects me to put out.
MATT: (Smiling) Yeah, Im sorry about that...
TRACY: (Laughing) Shame on you!
MATT: No, really, I mean the incident. It wasnt exactly a perfect kiss, was it. He and Paul were having some kind of argument, and I guess he just got carried away. You know how guys are when we get together, trying to act all macho and stuff.
TRACY: (With mock exasperation) Tell me about it. (Seriously) But thats just it, you know, he doesnt act all macho. I think hes really sensitive and just has a hard time letting it out.
MATT: There you go, now you know him like I do. Once you give him your trust, hell give you his. You just have to get to know him a little, thats all.
TRACY: Well, what little I know is not all that bad. And he is kind of cute.
TRACY: Yeah. You should tell him to smile more. Ive seen it, like, only twice, but he has the most beautiful smile. And those eyes, theyre the darkest blue Ive ever seen, so mysterious and vulnerable at the same time. Makes a girl wonder whats behind them.
MATT: (Teasingly) Hmm, I think we may have something here. Am I to understand that love blooms? Answer softly, now. Cupid awaits!
TRACY: (Laughs) You know, Matt, though youre trying to set me up, you might just charm me yourself instead. Its a good thing that Laura found you first.
MATT: (Smiling) Yeah, well, speaking of that, Id better not leave her alone too long. (He looks around the room.) Oh god, there she is speaking to Mark. Who knows what secrets hes spilling.
TRACY: Got a few skeletons in your closet, do you?
MATT: (Joking again) Why, what did you hear? Those are strictly Halloween props, and the cops never proved anything. Conclusively, anyway!
TRACY: (Laughs again) All right, go. Ill be fine.
MATT: Yeah, okay. Dont worry, Ill go find your lost Romeo and tell him to keep you company.
(MATT waves at LAURA and mouths something to her, motioning toward the glass doors. She gives him an understanding nod and continues to talk with MARK. He steps out onto the porch and finds the FAGGOT, alone, sitting on a wooden bench.)
MATT: Hey, buddy. Whats up?
FAGGOT: (Staring ahead) Just getting some air.
MATT: So you said. (Pause) Ive been talking with Tracy.
MATT: You passed. She likes you.
FAGGOT: (Sarcastically) Wonderful.
MATT: Whats up with you, man? You could at least try to work with me here instead of being so sullen all the time.
FAGGOT: (Looks up, suddenly angry) Im not your goddamn charity project, Matt! Why cant you leave me the fuck alone for once in my life?
MATT: (Stunned) Well, fuck me for giving a damn about my friends! Maybe I should just cut you adrift and let you sink on your own!
FAGGOT: Oh, and youre so sure thats what would happen, are you? I dont need your help, and I sure as hell dont need your patronizing!
(They are silent for a few minutes, while the FAGGOT continues to brood and MATT takes a few deep breaths to check his anger.)
MATT: Whats going on between you and Paul?
(The FAGGOT opens his mouth to speak, but MATT cuts him off.)
MATT: Look, I know you were arguing and Im going to find out from one of you sooner or later, so you might as well tell me now. Youre my best friend, and hes my brother. This isnt something you can keep from me.
FAGGOT: (Straightforwardly) Theres nothing, okay? Really. (As if speaking to himself) Thats it: nothing.
(Another long silence. MATT sits next to the FAGGOT.)
MATT: Okay, we dont have to talk about it now. Look, Im sorry for upsetting you. I just wish youd tell me whats wrong. I only want to help you.
FAGGOT: Thats just it, Matt. Why is there always something wrong with me according to you? No matter what I do, no matter how hard I try, Im never good enough for the Clements brothers. I can never measure up to the standards you and Paul set.
MATT: Thats not true, and I dont accept it for a minute. If it were up to me, I wouldnt change a thing of who you are.
FAGGOT: Dont be so sure.
MATT: (Continuing) No, its true. And its not like were in competition, here.
FAGGOT: (His voice rising) Yeah, because I always lose. I always have, and Im always going to. Why dont you just face the facts, Matt. Youre betting on a lame horse thats one lap away from being put down. Dont you see? The race is over, finished. You and people like you, youre the winners because the race was set up with you in mind. But me, I was thrown down into a race Im not equipped to run, so it was over for me before it even started. (Looking away) I dont even know why I try anymore.
MATT: Come here, man.
(MATT puts an arm around the FAGGOTs shoulders, pulling him close and hugging him tightly. It is an unexpected, awkward gesture. The FAGGOTs first impulse is to resist, but he crumples into MATTs embrace, burying his face in MATTs warm, muscled shoulder, and starts to cry.)
FAGGOT: (Haltingly) I just cant do it anymore.
MATT: Shhh, its going to be all right. (Pause) Everythings going to be all right.
(The two remain this way for several minutes, undisturbed, amazingly, by the partygoers within. The FAGGOT eventually stops crying. They hear muffled sounds of music [Shellshock] and occasional laughter. After a time, the door opens and LAURA appears. MATT waves her back inside.)
FAGGOT: (Sitting up and wiping tears from his face) I guess you should go back in.
MATT: Shell be all right.
FAGGOT: No, you should go. Im okay, now, really. I feel better. I just needed to get it out, I guess.
MATT: You sure?
FAGGOT: Yeah. Just give me a few more minutes to pull myself together, and Ill come back in, too. (Cracks an embarrassed smile) Im starting to feel sober, too, so Im going to have to come back sooner or later.
MATT: (Laughs) All right, buddy.
FAGGOT: (Pause) Matt?
FAGGOT: Thanks. Youre a good friend. Im sorry I dont always see that.
MATT: (Smiling warmly) Yeah, well, youre not so bad yourself. (Jokingly) But try not to let it go to your head, okay?
(MATT goes back inside, leaving the FAGGOT alone. He gets up and walks along the length of the porch, which appears to wrap around the corner of the house. Muffled sounds of partygoers and music [True Faith] continue to emanate from inside. The air is warm, and the night sky is brilliant with color. He looks up contemplating its sidereal inscrutability, and, inevitably, his thoughts turn to his own freakishness. But this time, instead of self-loathing, he feels a rising anger, directed at his unkind Creator, who, like some universal Dr. Frankenstein, seems to hold no compassion for the flawed specimen of his work. His mind wanders further, as it does on almost a daily basis, to suicide and the one thing, a vague hope in his beloved, that prevents him from such a course. He continues to walk around the porch, unexpectedly curious to see where it goes, and comes upon an open window. He hears voices inside.)
KELLY: Its okay, the doors locked. Dont worry, well be alone for a few minutes.
PAUL: Oh god, that feels so good.
(His interest piqued, the FAGGOT silently sidles up to the window and surreptitiously peers inside. The room, a master bedroom, is moderately well lit, and the porch dark, so he is not in too much danger of being seen. Inside, PAUL and KELLY are arranged across a bed. He is on his back, and, kneeling over him, the top of her dress pulled down, she gives him access to her breasts, which he kneads vigorously in his hands. His trousers are unbuttoned and unzipped, and his erect penis, which she caresses lovingly with both hands, treating it to long, slow, aching strokes, juts upward in front of her hips. The FAGGOT, moved to revulsion by this scene of horror, is unable to look away, is unable to conquer the mysterious compulsion to gaze upon what, for him, is certain to bring so much misery. He stands full in front of the window now, but remains unnoticed by the occupants inside.)
KELLY: (Breathing heavily) Oh, baby, its so big. I love to feel it in my hands, so strong and powerful. (Moaning) Tell me what you want, oh, tell me.
PAUL: (Moaning) Oh, Kelly, it feels so good. (Pause) I think youll make me come if you keep that up. Oh, yes!
(The continue in the same manner for nearly a minute, the FAGGOT observing. What he sees is disgusting. KELLY finds her dress restraining and slips it off, while PAUL removes his shirt and trousers. They return to the bed, kissing and fondling one another, and, using his hand, PAUL brings KELLY to orgasm. She moans loudly, and, with renewed energy, continues her romantic behavior toward PAUL, kissing his body, rubbing his chest and legs, and, finally, fellating him to orgasm. He lies on his back, hands behind his head, which is thrown back and to the left, facing the outside window. He grunts with his climax, a familiar sound and a familiar look of pleasure on his face, mixed with an expression of concentration, but his eyes remain closed so he does not see the FAGGOT.)
KELLY: (Looking up and swallowing) How was that...
PAUL: (Moaning) Oh god...
KELLY: ...for our first time?
(She smiles at PAUL with a recognizable look of accomplishment.)
PAUL: (Watching her) It was... well, definitely unexpected! It was great!
(They settle into an afterglow, gently caressing one another with delicate fingers and gentle kisses.)
KELLY: I wish my family wasnt going away for the summer... Im going to miss you while were gone.
PAUL: Me, too. Where are you going exactly?
KELLY: Europe, somewhere. Its all Lauras graduation present. I think were spending most of the time in Italy at this place my parents rented, but well go other places, too, I guess.
(She is about to continue but catches something out of the corner of her eye. She perceives that someone is standing at the window and screams.)
PAUL: (Startled) What the fuck! (Turns to look.)
(On being detected, the FAGGOT panics and hurries back around the porch toward the glass doors leading inside. Near the doors, he meets MARK standing at the rail smoking a cigarette.)
MARK: (Drunk) Hey, mate, I didnt know you were out here. Whats up?
FAGGOT: (Continuing inside) Im not your mate, asshole.
MARK: (Heavily slurred) Aw, fuck you, you fucking faggot...
(The party inside is in full swing. The FAGGOT enters the house apparently unnoticed and, still in a panic, makes his way toward a darkened hallway. PAUL, dressed, emerges from a hallway on the opposite side, his face red with anger and his clothes in disarray. He makes his way past the others toward the glass doors and exits. MATT observes his passing, notes his agitation, and follows. As MATT opens the door to exit, PAULs shouting voice is faintly heard: Did you enjoy watching that, you fucking asshole! The door closes.)
FAGGOT: (To himself) Oh fuck, oh fuck...
(Still panicked, the FAGGOT makes his way down the hall, searching for a quiet place to be alone. He picks a door at random and enters. It is a girls bedroom, predictably adorned. TRACY sits at a small vanity, touching up her lipstick in the mirror. She hears the FAGGOT enter and turns to face him.)
TRACY: Ill be out in a sec, just...
FAGGOT: (Embarrassed) Oh, Im sorry, I didnt mean to...
TRACY: Oh, its you. Ive been wondering where youve been. (Knowingly) Did Matt tell you to come in here? (She rises, walks over to the bed, and sits.) Come over here, handsome, and let me thank you properly for a nice evening. (She pats the bed.)
FAGGOT: (Horrified) Oh god, when will it end?
(He drops into a kneeling position, clutching his abdomen. His breathing is heavy and labored. Suddenly, he crunches forward, vomits profusely, then passes out.)
PAULs bedroom, late afternoon a few days following the foregoing. PAUL sits at a desk deep in thought and seems always about to reach for the telephone sitting in front of him. Something prevents him, however. Frustrated, he stands, paces the floor a few times, picks up dirty laundry, organizes some books left out, anything to keep himself busy. Eventually, he picks up the phone and begins to dial, but he is interrupted by a knock at the door.
(The door opens.)
MARK: Hey, man, sorry to bother you. The front door was unlocked and nobody answered. Is, uh, Matt around?
PAUL: (Curtly) Yeah, he should be home in a minute. You can wait for him in the living room if you want. The TVs down there, so make yourself comfortable.
MARK: Yeah, sure. Thanks. (He begins to leave.)
PAUL: Say, uh, Mark?
PAUL: Look, Im sorry about the other night. I didnt realize...
MARK: Its okay. Matt explained the whole thing. Honestly, it wasnt me. I had no idea what you were talking about, you know, though I was kinda drunk, so I dont remember much. But really, it wasnt me.
PAUL: Yeah, I know. Like you said, Matt figured it all out. Anyway, he should be home soon.
MARK: Cool. Catch you later, then.
PAUL: Yeah, okay.
(MARK leaves. PAUL resumes his pacing, looking out the window a few times. After a few minutes he returns to the phone, but is again interrupted by a knock at the door.)
PAUL: (to himself) Fuck. (He walks over to the door and jerks it open.) Yeah? Oh, its you.
FAGGOT: I, uh, got your message.
PAUL: Yeah. Yeah, good. I was afraid you werent going to come. I was just about to call you again and tell you maybe you shouldnt right now, because Matts due home any minute. (Pause) Uh, come in.
(The FAGGOT enters. He is somewhat sloppily dressed, and his general appearance is unkempt, like that of someone suffering from chronic stress. He dumbly moves to the middle of the room, but sits when PAUL gestures toward the bed. PAUL sits in the desk chair nearby, so as to speak to him face to face, but the FAGGOT is unable to meet his gaze.)
FAGGOT: I always come when you call. You know that.
PAUL: Well, this time I thought you might not want to.
FAGGOT: I didnt. (Pause) I guess you figured out it was me.
PAUL: Well, Matt did.
FAGGOT: Im really sorry about it. The truth is, it just happened. I wasnt intentionally spying or anything. Its just that I happened to be there when you came in the room, and I... I dont know, I just couldnt turn away. Im sorry, I really am.
PAUL: Its okay now. Im not mad about it anymore, not since I figured out it was you. At the time, I just panicked, and when I went outside, Mark was there and I thought it was him. Why did you run inside and hide?
FAGGOT: I was afraid youd be angrywhich you were.
PAUL: Not anymore, though, really. Still, I wish you hadnt seen it. I mean, would you want someone to watch when were together?
FAGGOT: No, of course not.
PAUL: Still, if it had to happen, Im glad it wasnt Mark. That guy gives me a bad vibe sometimes.
FAGGOT: Me, too. (Pause) So, that was your first time?
FAGGOT: (Looking up now) With a girl, I mean.
PAUL: Yeah, I guess that little cats out of the bag. Yes, it was. She really surprised me. I didnt think shed do it.
FAGGOT: How was it? (Pause) No, dont tell me. Ive intruded enough already, and I dont think I really want to know more than what I already do, anyway. Can I ask something else, though?
FAGGOT: Why? I mean, youve dated, like, half a dozen girls or so. Nothing ever happened with them?
PAUL: What can I say? I guess I always just ended things at first or second base, before they got too serious. (Quietly) You were the first, you know, to go all the way.
FAGGOT: I wish you hadnt lied to me.
PAUL: Me, too. It was wrong of me, and Im sorry.
FAGGOT: Why did you do it?
PAUL: I dont know. I guess I... I just couldnt admit that... I dont know. I just wanted to pretend that things were normal, even if they werent. I was lying about it to myself, and I guess that meant lying to everyone else, too. Including you.
FAGGOT: (Breathing deeply and suddenly eager to change the subject) God, what a horrible night.
PAUL: Yeah, I guess its fair to say that. You wont be seeing much of Tracy anymore, I can tell you.
FAGGOT: (Laughs a little) Yeah, well, Im just glad I didnt puke on her.
PAUL: Me, too. I dont think Matt would have ever forgiven you.
FAGGOT: Its going to be hard enough his forgiving me now.
PAUL: No, hes all right. At least, he will be.
FAGGOT: Hes still angry?
FAGGOT: What did he tell Mark?
PAUL: I dont know, exactly, but things are straightened out between him and me.
FAGGOT: Matt figures out everything, eventually. (Pause) I guess hell know about us soon enough.
PAUL: I hope not. Why do you say that?
FAGGOT: Because hes Matt. Sooner or later, hell put the pieces of the puzzle together and know everything.
PAUL: Well, hes not trying to solve any particular puzzle here. Hes got no reason to look for one.
FAGGOT: Yeah, I guess so. I hope so, anyway. Id like to stay friends with at least one of you.
PAUL: What do you mean?
FAGGOT: Well, isnt that why Im here, so you can finally end things with me? Isnt this where its going to end?
PAUL: No. I mean, I dont know. I just wanted to talk, thats all.
FAGGOT: (Long pause) Well, here I am.
PAUL: (Laughs) Yeah, well now that youre here, I dont really know what to say.
FAGGOT: Just say what you feel...
PAUL: I guess I...
FAGGOT: I mean, thats all Ive ever wanted, you know, just to know how you feel.
PAUL: What do you mean?
FAGGOT: I want to know what you think, you know? What you really think. About us. About me. Ive told you what I think, but I dont know how you feel.
PAUL: (Long pause) This is so hard. Ive never done this before or felt this, this whatever it is, before, so I dont really know how to put words to it, you know? (Another pause) Its like Im living in two separate worlds, and I dont know how to put them together...
FAGGOT: (Quietly) Welcome to hell.
PAUL: I guess what Im trying to say is...
FAGGOT: (Interrupting him) Are you gay, Paul?
PAUL: (Surprised) What?
FAGGOT: Are you gay?
PAUL: I... I... I dont know.
FAGGOT: (Matter-of-factly) You cant not know. You either are or you arent.
PAUL: I dont know that thats true. I mean, theres you and me, and then theres Kelly and me...
FAGGOT: Which just started.
PAUL: Yes, which just started, but is there nonetheless. I cant deny that I have some feelings for her.
FAGGOT: I dont understand.
FAGGOT: I mean, why her? Why is she any different from the others?
PAUL: I dont know. She just is.
FAGGOT: But what has she got that I dont?
PAUL: Well, shes a girl for one. Theyre not all that bad, you know.
FAGGOT: You forget who youre talking to. Im a faggot, Paul. Women are like alien creatures to me. I just dont understand the appeal.
PAUL: I wish you wouldnt use that word.
FAGGOT: Oh. (Pause) Why? What other word is there? Its not like what I am is ever going to be accepted. Its not like Im ever going to be normal.
PAUL: Its an ugly word. You shouldnt say it.
FAGGOT: You just dont want to hear it, but there it is. I mean, youre probably the only person Ill ever meet that tolerates what I am, but even some small part of you, deep down, sees me as a worthless piece of shit.
PAUL: Thats not true.
FAGGOT: Yes it is, Paul. Its what weve always been taught to believe, so thats what all of us, even me, think about it. Its just too bad for me that I happen to be one.
PAUL: Youre not a worthless piece of shit. This town is just full of closed-minded assholes.
FAGGOT: Yeah, well if thats the case, then why dont you ask Matt what he thinks about fags.
PAUL: Okay, so Matts not very open-minded on the subject, either. But once you get out of here, youll see that things are different elsewhere.
PAUL: What do you mean maybe? Of course they are!
FAGGOT: (Disbelieving and eager to change the subject again) So you have feelings for her? For Kelly?
PAUL: Yes. I do. I know you dont want to hear that, but I have to be honest with you.
FAGGOT: I just dont understand it.
PAUL: Look, I dont know whats going to happen between me and her, but (trying to be encouraging) I cant deny that I have feelings for you, too.
FAGGOT: Dont make fun of me, Paul. Please.
PAUL: Im not. I promise.
FAGGOT: I cant handle it right now, especially from you.
PAUL: Im not making fun of you. I swear to God Im not!
FAGGOT: (Tears forming in his eyes) You have feelings for me?
PAUL: Well, yes.
FAGGOT: More than just sexual?
PAUL: Well, yes. More than just sexual. (Pause) There, I said it.
FAGGOT: (Crying now) Please dont fuck with me, Paul!
PAUL: Im not, I swear! I have feelings for you, and I realize that Ill never figure things out unless I admit that. Thats the reason Ive been so withdrawn from you in the past several weeks. My feelings for you were growing so much, but I didnt want to admit it. So I tried to ignore it or lie about it. It hurts me now to see how much Ive fucked this up! Im ashamed by how Ive handled things almost to the point that I wish Id never made you do it, because then I wouldnt have caused you so much pain.
FAGGOT: What do you mean? Do what?
PAUL: You know, the first time. In Matts room. I mean, I pretty much forced myself on you, made you do it. I knew after what happened earlier that I could, but I realize now it wasnt right. It wasnt the right thing to do, you know? The right way to go about it, I mean. I wanted to do it, but I just ended up hurting you, you know, and I never wanted to do that.
FAGGOT: (Speaking through tears and sniffles) I dont see how it could have been any different. Believe me, I wanted to blow you, more than anything, but its not like I could have asked you. Or like you would have understood. Please dont feel bad. I dont blame you for the way it came out. Besides, what happened between us would never have been if not for a mix of accident and your taking the initiative.
PAUL: Yeah, I know what you mean. Still, in a perfect world, it would have helped.
FAGGOT: My asking you?
PAUL: Because then to me this whole thing would have been less about my using you and more about... I dont know... about sharing something with you.
FAGGOT: (Quietly) Love?
PAUL: (Pause) Yeah, maybemaybe (then, as if testing the word) love...
FAGGOT: (Wiping tears from his cheeks) Oh god...
PAUL: Whats wrong?
FAGGOT: Its killing me. Oh god, its killing me, Paul!
PAUL: What is? What do you mean?
FAGGOT: (Sobbing and with difficulty) Being in love with you! Its too much. Its too hard. You think you live in two separate worlds. I feel like Im in two separate universes, one where theres just you and me, and another where theres this echo of something that never really existed. First theres desire and then theres fear, and Im trapped between the two, unable to move, unable to breathe. Im paralyzed, you know? I cant live in this horrible place, and I feel like Im slowly dying, each day a little bit more!
PAUL: (Rising) Oh man, Im so sorry. I didnt know!
(PAUL stands and climbs onto the bed next to the FAGGOT. Arranging a pillow against the headboard, he leans back and beckons the FAGGOT to come to him. PAUL wraps his arms and legs around him, holding him tightly and gently kissing the top of his head. For several minutes, the FAGGOT buries his face in the warm, thick muscles of PAULs chest, soaking his shirt with tears. The pent-up emotions of the past several weeks drain out of his battered heart, and he feels accepted once again. Wrapped in the solid bulk of PAULs body, so close once more to the rich smell of him, the FAGGOT feels safe, protected, at home.)
FAGGOT: (Almost finished crying, but still wiping away tears) I love you, Paul. As much as you dont want it... dont want me to... I do. I love you more than anyone else in the whole world.
PAUL: I never said I didnt want it. I never said that.
FAGGOT: (Quietly) I know, but I can tell you feel that way anyway. And I dont blame you for it. I mean, I understand. I dont expect you to sacrifice everything else in your life just for me. Im not worth it.
PAUL: (Tears forming in his eyes) Please dont say that! Please, dont. This is hard enough as it is!
(He draws the FAGGOT even closer, pulling him tighter and tighter into his body. Tears roll down his cheeks as he kisses the FAGGOTs forehead. The FAGGOT begins to kiss PAULs chest, then his neck, and then, shifting his weight so as to better face him, his lips. Their embrace is intense, passionate, as though a means of saying what words cannot. As never before in the same way, an inarticulate understanding passes between them.)
FAGGOT: (Aware of a new sensation, he moves his hand down to feel between PAULs legs.) Are you hard?
PAUL: (Smiling sheepishly through his tears) Im sorry, its just, well, the feel of you, the smell of you. It does things to me. I cant help it.
FAGGOT: (Melting) Kiss me, Paul.
(They continue to kiss, while the FAGGOT rubs PAULs erection through his pants.)
FAGGOT: Can I... can I suck on you?
PAUL: (Moaning and nodding consent) Ohhh... yes...
(PAUL rolls his head back, eyes closed. The FAGGOT unzips PAULs pants, pulls his erection through the open fly of his boxers, and proceeds to fellate him, slowly and tenderly. PAUL encourages him with his hands, caressing his head, running his fingers through his hair. PAUL tastes as good as, even better than, he ever has before. The FAGGOTs mouth feels warm and wet, as good as, even better than, it ever has before. The combined wetness of saliva and precum mingle between cock and mouth, and the FAGGOT swallows it all. The combined concentration of master and servant, dominant and submissive, fuses hearts and minds in perfect happiness, contentment, and mutual adoration. The only sounds are those of gentle slurping and the soft moans of desire.)
PAUL: (With labored breaths) Oh, man, you feel so good! You know... there was... always you. Even now... theres you... the thought of you! (The FAGGOT moans in satisfaction and sucks with heightened vigor.) Oh god... Im about to come! Im about to... Look at me! Let me look in your eyes! I want to... see... oh...
(They quickly shift position so as to accommodate PAULs request. The FAGGOT holds only the first few inches of PAULs penis in his mouth, but is able to gaze intently into his eyes while PAUL thrusts his hips.)
PAUL: (Loudly) Oh yes, yes, yes! Im... Im coming! (Shouting now) Im com... uhng ... oh... (Fighting to keep his eyes open) Oh, Elliot! I love you-ooo!
(The sound of his name combined with the feel of hot semen spurting onto his tongue causes ELLIOT to climax as well. Smoldering with the stored-up tension of the past several weeks, his body shudders uncontrollably at his release, as though liberated for the very first time. He manages to force PAULs throbbing manhood deep into his mouth, while drinking his precious seed.
There has never been for either of them, in their experience of love and sex, so spectacular a fruition. By ELLIOTs finally asking for PAULs assent to worship him, and PAULs finally bestowing on ELLIOT not just his body but his heart as well, each performs for the other a service out of the ordinary, culminating in a fulfillment of purpose, a giving of happiness few may ever know or understand. They come to terms, briefly, with who and what they are to each other. They bear the seed of new life, anticipated for so many months, planted in an instant of perfection and, after so much mishandling and suffering, now budding, finally, with profound tenderness and fragility, as something new is cultivated between them, something unlikely, improbable, and some would even say impossible, but delightful and blooming nonetheless.
But after what seems like only a minute or so, perhaps as little as thirty seconds, there is a thunderous knock at the door. Both look up in a panic.)
PAUL: (Breathing heavily) Oh, fuck! (Shouting) Just a second!
(The door opens.)
MATT: Paul? (Looking inside, he is visibly traumatized by the scene before him.) Elliot? What the fuck is going on in here?
Well, there you have it, the whole freaking mess just as it happened. It does make for rather ridiculous drama in parts, but since I was able to negotiate with the producers to consult in the writing of the script, I can say its pretty faithfully rendered. I guess one important thing that did get left out is that Mark was standing in the hall right behind Matt, so he saw what was going on in Pauls room, too. Another thing regarding Mark thats probably important to know is that a few weeks before all this, hed accused me of being gay -- in a manner similar to the night of my birthday party the previous summer -- and Matt had once again forced him to back down. But now, there they were, Mark and Matt, standing in the doorway with Paul and me arranged in rather telling positions on his bed, his cock shiny and glistening and my chin streaked with a thin line of cum. The seconds passed as we all looked at one another across a truly impassable divide. Eventually, Matt backed away and slowly closed the door, saying to Mark as he did so, You were right. I didnt want to believe it, but, Jesus, you were right...
I guess all that really matters is that in that moment, the two worlds I had been living inthe two worlds I found out Paul had been living in, toocollided with cataclysmic results, like matter and antimatter coming together. I felt sure that Matts finally learning the truth meant the end of it all. The end of me and Matt, the end of me and Paul. And probably the end of Matt and Paul, who I recently learned had been getting along so well over the past few months. As Ive explained before, to a guy like Matt, what Paul and I had done was simply unforgivable. It was a perversion against God, nature, and the norms of decent society. There was no way hed turn a blind eye to any of this.
I felt horrible about it, naturally, but I felt worse for Paul. He seemed to have the most to lose. I at least had a means of escape, and that, in fact, was all that was left to me now. I would graduate in a few days and leave for college in a couple of months. My days in this town, this state, were already numbered, and the only thing I had to do was get through them alive. But Paul, poor Paul, had another year before he graduated. His life would be hell. Unimaginable hell, and I felt responsible for it. First hed have to face his brother, then his parents, then his classmates, then people who knew him in the community at large. Life as he knew it was over, and what lay beyond was dark and ominous.
But maybe I am jumping the gun a little bit. I am only describing what came to me in the first few hours after Matts discovery. After he left Paul and me, who knows where he went or what he did. But I could be reasonably sure that he wasnt on the phone spreading the newsPaul was, after all, still his brother. The real wildcard was Mark. What would he do? And if he had something sinister in mind, would Matt be willing, or able, to stop him? Well, maybe I should just describe first what did happen on that fateful day. While the previous events felt then and still feel like I was merely acting out some part in a play, what follows next is even now as real to me as the hands Im using to type it out.
After Matt closes the door, I, of course, do nothing but panic, utterly useless in a crisis situation. Paul tries to calm me a bit, but hes a little panicked himself. After pacing the floor a few times and trying to sort things out in his head, he turns to me and says, Elliot, youd probably better go home. That would be the safest thing right now. I need to go find Matt and figure out whats going on.
Paul, Im so sorry! I grab his arm and hold it tightly. Tell him it was my fault, that I made you do it. Tell him anything, just so you protect yourself!
Paul takes me in his arms and looks directly into my eyes. No, I wont do that. I cant. Elliot, I dont know whats going to happen, but whatever it is, just know one thing: I meant what I said. I love you.
I love you, too, Paul.
Paul kisses me and hugs me as the tears continue to stream down my face. Then he takes me firmly by the hand and says, Come on. Ill walk you across the street. Weve got to hurry. As we leave his house for mine, things seem eerily quiet. Matt and Mark, it seems, have left. When we part, I see in Pauls face a look of dread and fear Ive never seen before.
After a few hours, alone and without a clue as to what is going on, I walk back over to Matt and Pauls house, against my better judgment. I guess the not knowing seems worse than whatever will meet me if I venture out in search of Matt and Paul. I am absolutely terrified of what I will find. Knocking on their front door is either the stupidest or the most courageous thing Ive ever done, Im not sure which. How many thousands of times have I done this before in the years we grew up together? Who would think that this would be the last? As the door opens, I guess I realize it is neither courage nor stupidity that makes me act. I have reached the absolute rock bottom, and having nothing else to lose, I have nothing else to gamble. Whatever motivates me now is simply the necessity of fate, of facing up to events, come what may, that I am powerless to prevent.
Matt answers the door. The rage in his eyes when he looks at me is more than I can bear. After experiencing it internally for so long, I finally see the hatred I knew he would feel for me well up inside of him and burst out into an open fury. And to this day, I cant imagine a look more terrible. Part of me fears for my life. But the rest of me just surrenders to whatever is about to come. My gut reaction is to reach out for the one thing that makes me feel safe.
Wheres Paul? I ask, looking past Matt into the house, and trying to get around him. I want to see Paul!
Not surprisingly, Matts gut reaction is to stop the thing that so threatens his world. He clenches his fist and punches me, hard, across the jaw. He puts his shoulder into it, so the next thing I know, my line of sight swirls around and then up into the blue sky as my head and body crash to the ground. I hear the thud of my skull hitting the cement walk, and though the pain is there, I cant respond to it. I am so paralyzed with fear that I dont know what is happening. I feel like a prisoner trapped in my own body.
But somehow I am able to look up, into Matts face. The rage, the sting of my betrayal, is still there in his eyes, and a line of tears runs down each of his cheeks. And then, much worse than hitting me, he screams the words that make me want to die. I hear in his voice a strange mix of contempt and disbelief, such as Ive never heard before or since.
Youre a goddamn faggot, Elliot! A fucking cocksucker! Dont you ever, ever come here again!
Look for Chapter Nine. Confessions.
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