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"So ... you and Stedquest, huh?" Troy asked, shaking his head in disbelief.
Roman didn't know what to say so he just shrugged. Troy glanced over in the car's dimly lit interior in time to catch the barest hint of movement before saying, "No shit."
Roman suddenly felt uneasy for telling. Had he made a mistake? He hadn't been thinking clearly after leaving the pool house. He had been hurt and angry at Danny, and had ended up telling Troy Harrington everything that had happened on the car ride to his house. After keeping their relationship a secret for so long, Roman had needed to tell someone, anyone. And Troy had been there.
Roman thought about telling Troy what he had told Liam, but decided against it. When confronted at the party, Roman had falsely admitted to liking Troy, but he had only been pulling a name out of his ass. He'd had no idea about Liam and Troy's relationship, but one look at Liam's face after he'd said Troy's name reminded Roman that he had a gift for reading when people had history. And they definitely had history. Having been in a secret relationship for months himself, he definitely knew when there was an undercurrent.
"You can let me out here," Troy said as they approached a street corner.
"I can take you to your door," Roman said.
"That's okay. Right here will be fine," Troy tried again.
"I insist," Roman said without slowing down.
He thought he sounded a bit like his father, but he wasn't going to let Troy out in the middle of nowhere when there was no reason why he couldn't take him up to his door. Okay, so it wasn't the middle of nowhere, but still.
He heard Troy give a long-suffering sigh before saying, "Okay."
Roman silently wondered why Troy had asked him to let him out on some street. He hoped that Troy wouldn't get in trouble because he had insisted on driving him to his door. Troy had seemed very indecisive before eventually relenting and Roman felt very uneasy.
Troy finished giving him directions, instructing him to go down two more streets before finally reaching his house. When they arrived at his house, it was much smaller than Roman had anticipated. From what he could make out from the outside, it looked to be a modest, two-bedroom bungalow. It was vastly different from the sprawling three-story, seven-bedroom, five-bathroom mansion Liam called a home.
As they had pulled up to the driveway, Troy began fidgeting in his seat. Roman wasn't sure what to make of this. The closer they got to the house, the more restless Troy became and the more convinced Roman was that his insistence on driving Troy to his door was going to result in some trouble for the other boy. He was just about to turn and offer to escort the other boy inside and offer some explanations and excuses to his parents if necessary, when Troy spoke.
He seemed embarrassed as he awkwardly asked, "Would you like to come inside?"
Roman wasn't sure if it was an invitation or a plea. It had been asked with such timidity that he surprised himself when he said yes. He saw a look pass over Troy's face that he couldn't interpret. Was it relief or regret? They were both silent as they got out of the car and headed towards the house. The night was still and Roman could hear crickets in the background, filling up the silence. When the reached the front door, Troy pulled his key out of his pocket and let them in.
When they got inside, Roman took a cautious step into the room and stopped. There was nothing particularly threatening in the house's interior. Why then was Troy acting so nervous? He looked over at his host and noted that he was acting as if this was the first time he'd ever had anyone over at his house.
"So ... uh, this is it," Troy said, making and awkward hand gesture.
"It's nice," Roman responded for lack of anything better to say.
Another silence followed. They were both standing in his living room with Troy glancing around restlessly as if he wasn't sure what he was supposed to do. It was the oddest thing. It looked as though he was trying to figure out in his head what his next move should be.
After a minute he turned to Roman and said in a low voice, "We have to be quiet because my mom and my brother are both sleeping. He's eight." He grimaced before continuing, "My mom has an early shift at the hospital tomorrow morning and I don't want to wake her."
Roman was surprised to find out that Troy had a brother, but he said nothing of it. Instead he asked, "Is your mom a doctor?"
Troy shook his head, "She's a nurse."
Roman nodded and another uncomfortable silence ensued. After a while he couldn't take it any more and he suggested that they go to Troy's room so as not to wake up his family. Troy's face had taken on a pained expression before he had reluctantly admitted, "My brother's in there."
Roman didn't understand why Troy's little brother would be in his room, or how Troy would know without even checking, but he decided that it was none of his business. He was going to suggest that they go to his little brother's room instead, since it would be vacant, when it dawned on him that Troy was trying to tell him that he shared a room with his eight-year-old brother.
Troy glanced at Roman repeatedly to see how he would take the piece of information. Roman showed no outward reaction, and inwardly prided himself on being able to remain expressionless. Although the Harrington house was very small, it was still very clean and not at all shabby. But, he had already surmised that Troy didn't have a lot of money. And if he had to share a room with his little brother then Roman wouldn't make a big deal out of it.
He liked Troy, and could tell that the other boy was more than a little mortified at having to disclose his sleeping arrangements. So, after grabbing some sodas from the fridge, they both went back outside and settled themselves on the porch swing chair. Roman didn't complain. The weather was warm and he didn't mind being outdoors.
Troy wasn't anything like Roman had expected. He had heard about Troy Harrington's reputation at school and just assumed that anyone who could change boys like underwear just had to be a jerk. But he was pleasantly surprised to discover that Troy was actually very nice and easy to talk to. It had helped to tell someone about his relationship with Danny. But now he was experiencing second thoughts and wondering if maybe he had said too much too soon.
"Listen ... don't tell anyone okay?" Roman said, casting a worried glance in Troy's direction.
He didn't need to clarify; they both knew what he was talking about.
Troy held up his hands in an oath-like gesture, "Your secret is safe with me."
They were quiet for a few more moments before Roman said softly, "Yours too."
They sat together in amiable silence for a few more moments before they heard the screen door creak. They both glanced over in time to see a skinny eight-year-old kid wearing a pair of dark blue footy pajamas with red fire trucks on it emerge from the house. He didn't say anything; he just glanced at Troy and Roman with wide eyes, as if he wasn't sure what was going on.
That was probably because he wasn't sure what was going on. Roman could only sympathize with who he assumed was Troy's little brother. The little boy looked as though this was the first time he had ever seen Troy with any of his friends before. And from Troy's reaction earlier, Roman could only surmise that he had never brought anyone home with him before. It was easy to see that the kid was curious about the strange guy sitting on their porch late at night.
Roman continued to look at the little boy he had guessed to be Troy's little brother. He smiled at the kid who was rubbing some of the sleep from his eyes and asked, "What's your name?"
He watched the child's eyes widen for a moment, before he looked at Troy questioningly. Roman assumed that the kid was just shy, like most kids were around strangers, and he turned to Troy to ask him his brother name, but what he saw shocked him. He watched, stunned, as Troy repeated his question to the little kid, but he accompanied his words with several hand movements. It occurred to Roman that he was gesticulating as a form of communication.
That's when it struck Roman that the little boy wasn't shy, he was deaf. Troy Harrington's little brother was hearing impaired.
He turned back to the little kid in time to catch him gesture aggressively with his hands and then smile. Roman, still a little shaken at this unexpected discovery, smiled back and then looked at Troy to interpret.
"He says his name is Thomas. Tommy," Troy said. He was looking at Roman with worried eyes, trying to gage a reaction, but Roman was still too stunned to do little more than stare.
Troy waved his little brother over, and Tommy scurried up to the both of them and scooched onto his lap. Troy lifted him up and bounced him up and down on his knees, coaxing a silent laugh from Tommy.
Sitting together, they definitely looked like brothers, even though Troy was a huge, bulky athlete and nine years older than the kid in his lap. They had the same eyes and the same hair and Roman could definitely see the care in Troy's eyes when he looked at his brother.
"I didn't know you had a brother," Roman said, but what he really meant to say was `I didn't know you had a deaf brother'.
"He doesn't go to school in our district," Troy said, "he goes to a school for kids with special needs."
"Oh," Roman said because he didn't know what else to say.
There were a few more moments of silence before Roman said, "I should get going."
"Okay." Troy said, but he sounded resigned.
Roman got up to go, but was halted when Troy added, "Thanks for the ride."
"No problem," Roman said.
As he walked away from the two boys sitting on the swing chair he couldn't help feeling ... denuded somehow. He turned back in time to see Troy finish signing something to his brother, right before Tommy smiled and then waved enthusiastically at Roman. Roman waved back before getting into his car and pulling out of the driveway.
I sucked at communication. I really, really sucked. It took a while before I realized that, way too long in fact. And I didn't do it on my own. I had a little help from my friend Mary Jane. I tended to get chatty when I was high, and it was through this discourse under the influence of mind-altering substances that I realized that I think too much. And I analyze too much.
After seeing Troy leave with Roman, I was swamped with something I could only term as grief. Overwhelming, overpowering grief. It was so intense that my eyes twitched and I had almost lost control of my emotions right there. It was like having a pet suddenly die or losing your MP3 player. It was devastating. You knew that you had just lost something irreplaceable. I knew that I had just lost Troy.
So, instead of swimming with Scott like I had originally planned, I went back up to my room, pulled out the stuff from my drawer and rolled myself a big fat joint. Scott, being the good friend that he is, followed me back upstairs to see why I had changed my mind, and the two of us had ended up getting high together.
And that, of course, had led to me becoming a pitiful lovesick loser and spilling my guts. I no longer cared if I sounded pathetic or not. I still had feelings for Troy. I always had and I always would. And I knew that I had lost him. Assuming I had ever even `had' him to begin with.
He had left the party with Roman. Roman Harris-fucking-Warrick. The irony was almost too much for me. Troy, with his legendary rep, had likely already moved on to his next conquest. And considering that Roman had admitted to me that he had a thing for Troy ... I didn't even want to contemplate what they might be doing at this moment. So I did the next best thing: I bitched. I bitched my fucking heart out.
I told Scott everything without meaning to. I told him about how Troy had been my first and the fact that he was my only. I think it was the drugs talking, but I went into such excruciating detail about my first sexual experience that Scott had to eventually ask me to cease my descriptions.
So I moved on to examining my exceedingly dysfunctional relationship with Troy.
"Why are things so fucked up between us?" I asked for the tenth time to no one in particular, although it was only Scott and I in the room.
"Dunno, man. Dunno," he mumbled in between taking a hit.
"I can't figure out why I can't just talk to him. Is it ego? Fear? Both?" I continued. There's nothing quite like the pseudo self-reflection that drug-induced euphoria can inspire.
"Things between us are just always so ... fucked," I said.
I could tell that Scott was neither impressed nor interested in my amateur psychoanalyst routine. It didn't matter though, because now that I had finally opened up about my relationship with Troy, I wasn't ready to shut up. Scott was the only person I had told, he was the only one who knew and I was happy because it meant that I could finally talk to another person about what was going on.
Plus Scott was too doped up to be judgmental or critical of my behavior. For the moment, it just felt nice to have someone listen, although at the moment I had my doubts as to whether or not he could actually hear me or if he had just zoned out.
He proved to me that he was, in fact, listening when he asked, "Why didn't you just call him?"
The question came so unexpectedly that all I could do was ask, "Huh?"
Scott speech was so slow it was almost slurred, but he managed to say, "You said that you waited and waited for him to call like he promised, but he didn't. So, why didn't you just call him?"
I had absolutely no answer to that. Why hadn't I just called him? It was such a simple suggestion, but it made me feel so stupid.
Now that the question had been asked, it couldn't be ignored. Why hadn't I just called him? Why hadn't I just called him? The thought had never even crossed my mind. In all the months that I had been waiting for him to call me, I had never considered just calling him myself.
And that was when I had another one of my belated epiphanies. The reason I hadn't called Troy was because I had been insecure and afraid. I had lacked the confidence to go after and pursue what I really wanted. And I was doing it again. I was going to let Troy get away.
I looked over at Scott, whose eyelids were beginning to droop. I had an idea and I wanted to tell him, but I knew he would be too fucked up to hear anything that I told him anyway. It would just have to wait, but I was already getting excited.
I hate when things are uncomfortable or awkward, and they were both when I saw Troy at school on Monday. Finding him in the halls had been harder than usual and when I had finally hunted him down he didn't look too happy to see me. In fact, he turned and started walking the other way, but it was too late because I had already spotted him.
I knew we had to talk and I wanted to get it over with sooner rather than later. But I pretty much had to chase Troy down and restrain him to make him talk to me. I called out his name and he pretended not to hear me and kept walking, so I took off in a sprint after him and when I finally caught up I had to grab his arm.
"Dude, what's up?" I asked panting.
"What do you want?" Troy asked without preamble. I pulled back a little at the hostility in his tone.
"Umm ... you left the party before I had a chance to talk to you. I needed to ask you something."
"What is it?" Troy continued in the same tone.
I started to lose my nerve. Troy wasn't even looking at me, and was instead focused on some point over my left shoulder. His entire manner was detached and I wasn't sure what to make of it. I suddenly felt the urge to ask him if he had slept with Roman, but I didn't.
"I, uh ... I was hoping that you could help me," I said with considerably less confidence.
"With what?" Troy said. I was starting to get irritated with his clipped tones.
Besides, why was he angry? Wasn't I the one that was supposed to be pissed? He'd left the party with Roman; it didn't take a genius to figure out what that meant. And yet he was acting as though I'd done something wrong.
"Well ... the thing is ..." I started to stammer.
"Look," Troy cut in, "Whatever it is, I don't have time for it. I need to get to class."
"No!" I said a little louder than I intended when he started to turn away. "I want ... I want you to teach me about sex," I finally blurted out.
Okay, so I admitted to myself that that could have been done with a little more finesse, but it was almost worth it to see the look on Troy's face. His eyes widened in shock and his mouth felt slightly open. He looked at me like he had never seen before in his life, or like I had just grown a tail or both.
Finally, he seemed to snap out of his surprised stupor and leaned down to furiously whisper, "What did you just say?"
I was glad to have finally gotten a reaction out of him that wasn't full of disdain. I started to relax. Maybe this would work out after all.
"I want you to teach me about sex," I calmly repeated my response.
Troy looked at me again like he expected me to burst into flames or something. I guess I couldn't blame him for being surprised. If I hadn't spent all weekend coming up with my plan I would have been blindsided by my request too. Especially considering the way things had ended the night of the party.
I had no idea what Troy was thinking as he continued to regard me with such intense scrutiny. I didn't know if he would agree to my request or not, but my entire plan depended on his accord.
After what felt like an eternity, Troy finally asked, "Why?"
I had been expecting this question, but I hadn't been expecting him to ask it the way he had. In such a heartfelt manner, as though a great deal depended on my response.
I carefully launched into my rehearsed response, "Well, for one thing, you're really good at it. I can attest to that."
Troy scowled at my lame attempt at humor so I quickly rushed on with my answer.
"Another thing is that I've already been with you, so it's easier than finding someone else. We've already done it so there's less pressure. You see ... you see there's this guy and I really want to impress him, so I was hoping that you could show me everything you know so that I could learn."
It was a somewhat roundabout version of the truth. So what if the guy I wanted to impress was actually Troy? He didn't need to know that yet. Somewhere during my explanation, Troy's face fell into a deep frown. I wasn't sure what it was that I had said to upset him. I was worried that he would say "no". I watched as a tick worked its way into his jaw, and realized that he was clenching his teeth.
"Listen I know that it's a lot to ask, so take as long as you want to think it over - "
"I'll do it," Troy cut me off.
He fairly spat the words and I wasn't sure that I had heard him right at first.
"Excuse me?" I asked.
"I said, I'll do it," he repeated.
I stared at him, not entirely sure how to react. He had said yes, but he hadn't sounded very happy about it.
"Umm, oh ... okay," I replied.
"When do you want to do this?" he asked, he had gone back to glancing around the halls and was no longer looking me in the eyes.
"Well, I was hoping we could start today after school, but if that's not a good time for you -"
"It's fine," he interrupted. "I'll see you then."
And with that he turned and walked off, leaving me staring after him. I wasn't really sure what to make of his behavior, but the important thing was that he had said yes. I couldn't help it, I jumped up, pumping my fist and giving a silent "whoop". Troy had said yes!
I was so excited, I had no idea how I was going to get through the rest of the day. I was already late for my first class so I turned and started jogging down the hall. When I got to class the teacher yelled at me for being tardy, but I couldn't bring myself to feel bad. I couldn't keep the smile off my face either. I wanted it to be three o'clock already.
Monday's always sucked, but now it was over. Besides, this Monday hadn't been so bad. After deciding that I liked Troy so much that I'd take whatever I could get, I had gone on and put my plan into action. Relying on Troy's master sex skills and his apparent penchant for, well, sex, I was able to manipulate him into seeing me after school AND having sex with me. It was a start.
I walked up to Troy just in time for him to slam his locker shut. I smiled, but he didn't. He still didn't look any happier to see me. Great. I'd been hoping his mood might have improved by now. This next part was going to be awkward but I wanted to get it out of the way before we began.
"Hi," I smiled.
He didn't say anything so I continued, "Umm ... so this morning we forgot to talk about, you know, some sort of payment."
"Don't worry about it," Troy said dismissively.
"But -" I began.
Troy cleared his throat before refusing again, "I don't want any money to do this."
"But I have to give you something in exchange for you ... helping me."
Troy just shook his head. He seemed annoyed at my offer.
"How about when you think of something you want, you let me know?" I suggested.
Troy barely nodded before he started walking towards the exit, leaving me to follow.
We didn't say anything to each other as we walked to my house. Troy didn't look like he wanted to engage in conversation and I didn't know what to say, so we both remained quiet.
When we got to the house, I offered Troy a refreshment, but he refused so we went straight to my room. When we got there I locked the door before facing Troy. He wasted no time getting started.
"I want you to take off your clothes."
Okay, so I knew what we were there to do, but I hadn't expected us to start right away. No talking, no nothing. Troy was all business from the get go.
I didn't particularly want to get naked, but the look on Troy's face was no nonsense. Still I hesitated.
"Why is it so difficult for you to show me your body?" Troy asked and he sounded frustrated.
That surprised me and I started to deny it, but Troy cut me off, saying, "Take off your clothes. Now."
This time there was an edge of steel in his voice and I felt a brief moment of fear.
I had always been insecure about my looks. As the least attractive guy in my circle of friends, I wasn't as confident about my body as the others were about theirs.
Troy's voice broke into my thoughts, "If you're not willing to do what it takes then you're wasting both your time and mine."
I could tell that Troy is getting angry. It was like he wanted me to quit, but I wasn't going to do that.
"I want to learn," I heard myself say.
"Why are you doing this when you so obviously don't want to?" Troy asked as though I hadn't spoken.
"I want to learn," I repeated
"Bullshit," he said.
I had to remind myself why I was doing this. It was for Troy. Maybe if I got really good at sex he wouldn't feel the need to sleep with other boys. Maybe then I would be enough for him.
I gritted my teeth, "I'll do whatever you tell me."
Troy didn't miss a beat. "Get on your hands and knees."
There was no doubt in my mind that he could tell from my face that I didn't want to, but slowly got on my hands and knees.
"Now crawl," Troy commanded.
This hadn't been what I'd had in mind when I concocted this crazy plan, but now that I was here I couldn't back down. I regarded Troy's words as a challenge and I was definitely up for the challenge.
I started crawling towards him. I saw his eyes widen in surprise. The little fucker hadn't thought I'd actually do it. I felt a moment's triumph having proven him wrong.
I stopped crawling when I was right in front of him and looked up at his face.
"On your knees," he said the words and I instantly obeyed. I still didn't know where this game was going, but I was going to wait and see.
"Raise your arms," Troy instructed and I did. He reached down and grabbed the hem of my shirt, pulling it off over my head, leaving my chest bare.
I kept my arms up like he told me, even after he had removed my shirt, and he nodded in approval before saying, "Undo your pants."
It was then that the first crack in my resolve appeared. I wavered for barest second before complying. When I finished, Troy told me to get back on my hands. I did as he instructed and then watched his feet until he came to stand behind me. I heard, rather than saw, him get on his knees.
The next thing I knew, I felt a pair of hands on my waist pulling both my pants and my underwear down. I fought down the feeling of panic I felt knowing that once he had my clothes off he would be staring at my naked ass.
Troy said nothing as he exposed me to his gaze. He pulled my pants down letting them pool around my knees. I felt my cheeks heat having to remain in my position while he had a clear view of my asshole.
There was a moment's silence and then I felt something warm and wet brush my hole. I couldn't help it; I started and leaned away from whatever it was.
"Get back here," I heard Troy say sharply, and I did as I was told.
Troy finger returned to my hole and he pushed it in to the first knuckle.
I winced and clenched my muscles against the intrusion. Troy continued pressing his finger forward until he reached the second knuckle then he stopped. He wiggled his finger around for a while before asking, "So you're going to let me touch you? And do whatever I want?"
"No, fucker," I said between clenched teeth "I didn't say you could do whatever you want. I asked you to teach me."
"But how else am I supposed to teach you unless I show you?" Troy asked in a deliberately mocking tone.
I gritted my teeth harder. I fought against my annoyance, against the pleasure I was feeling from Troy's fondling. I felt embarrassed being on my hands and knees, essentially naked with Troy fully clothed and his finger up my ass.
Troy began twisting his finger, just a little, and I couldn't stop myself from rocking back on the digit stuck inside me.
"You like that don't you?" Troy asked in the same mocking voice. "That's right. Fuck yourself back on my finger."
Against my will I felt myself becoming more turned on at his words. I squeezed his finger in reaction and I heard Troy laugh behind me. Then, suddenly, it stopped. Troy pulled his finger from my ass and I let my head hang.
But before I could relax, I felt Troy's fingers return to my asshole, but this time they were coated in a slick substance and slid easily over the hole. Instead of penetrating me, they brushed over the winking opening, teasing me.
I wiggled this way and that trying to get him to slip inside but he eluded me, until I finally said, "Come on."
Suddenly Troy stopped and removed his finger entirely. I let out a pitiful whimper-like sound before Troy said, "You're not allowed to speak unless I say you can."
I nodded and then I heard him getting up behind me.
"I'll be right back, don't move while I'm gone."
And with that he unlocked the door and left. Leaving me as I was in the middle of my bedroom, on my hands and knees. I wondered where he was going, when he would be back. Whether he would be back at all.