PROJECT CERULEAN MX
by The Pecman
Chapter 6: Pleasure and Side-Effects
By the time Joey’s bike made the last turn onto Valley Verde Drive, then onto the cul-de-sac that led to his own house, he felt a little weary. Not so much from the three-mile trip from school; his physiological changes made up for that. The boy had a growing feeling of being alone. If Michael grew apart from him as the years went on, what kind of future would he have? It’s not like there’re that many other super-human mutants out there to pal around with, he thought.
He slowed down, then steered the bicycle to the left to avoid a swimming pool service truck parked two doors down. It was the same truck that had been there for several days, and there was a woman sitting inside who eyed him curiously as he passed by.
Joey raised an eyebrow. That’s weird, he thought. Maybe the Ritter family across the street was going to put in a swimming pool. But if they did, it was only going to be about four feet wide, given the postage-stamp size of their backyard. Not much of a pool.
Joey felt for the garage remote in his backpack and clicked the switch, pausing while the door slowly lifted. Both cars were gone. Guess Mom’s at the store, he mused, pulling the bike up and parking it on the far right side. Hope she remembered to stock up on more protein and chicken.
He walked by the weight set, a mass of gleaming chrome and steel in the dull light of the afternoon sun. The boy checked his watch — it was only 3:55, and Michael usually didn’t come by to work out until 5PM. He felt his right bicep and made a tentative squeeze, and the baseball-sized lump instantly swelled, the peak slightly higher than the last time he’d examined it several weeks earlier. Noble had been right. Despite their greater overall body mass from the Cerulean formula, the exercises helped chisel their features into better shape, giving them better definition and tone. “More like the ideal man,” Noble had said, “even greater than Michelangelo’s sculptures.”
Joey entered the house, not noticing that the door was unlocked, his mind momentarily distracted by art history. He’d read an entire website on the Italian Renaissance over the weekend, and had committed images, names, and facts on nearly every great work of art of the 1500s to memory, thanks to his new-found abilities. Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel... The Pieta... the statue of David. A great man, the boy thought as he trudged up the stairs that led to the bedrooms. And he was gay, just like me.
Suddenly, he stopped. Something was wrong. His hyper-senses detected a noise — someone breathing — in one of the upstairs rooms. Joey stared down the hallway. The sound was coming from inside his darkened room. He inched off the top step and crept closer to the doorway. A shadowy figure was inside, leaning back in a chair. The boy held his breath as he approached the room on tip-toe, his mind whirling. Maybe it was Michael, getting ready to surprise him. Or maybe it was Dr. Noble, with news of some new malady that was about to strike them.
At last, he shoved the door open with a loud ‘bang’ and flipped on the light.
“Whoa! Jesus, dude, you scared the crap out of me.”
He stared into the eyes of a short, shaggy-haired blond boy, who had been leaning back in his chair, listening to an iPod Nano, idly clicking on a Nintendo DS. It was Aaron, the boy he’d met earlier that day in school.
Joey frowned. “What are you doing here?”
Aaron looked at him quizzically, then grinned. “Sorry,” he said, snapping the earbuds out and dropping them in his pocket. “Didn’t hear you come in. Your mom let me in the house about ten minutes ago — she said you normally came home about 3:45.”
The boy gave him a suspicious look. “It would’ve been nice if you’d warned me.”
“Don’t you remember? At the end of science class, I said I’d come over later so we could do some homework.”
Joey’s mind did a quick rewind. The formula had slightly altered his brain to give him near-perfect recall of events, sounds, and images, but some of them were clouded with emotion and confusion. Noble had warned them of their need to concentrate, lest the distractions of life interfere with their abilities. “Your enemies are only as powerful as your distractions,” he had warned. “Pay attention, as if your very life depended on it. Someday it will.”
“Shit,” he said, apologetically. “Yeah... I remember now.”
Aaron grinned and his whole face lit up. He was dazzlingly handsome, considerably smaller than Joey, but nearly as tall, with a lithe body and delicate features.
“Sorry,” Joey said, dumping his schoolbooks onto a nearby chair, then sat on the corner of his desk. “We left it kinda vague. I thought you meant later on this week.”
“No — like later on today,” the boy said with a laugh.
Joey eyed him warily. “How’d you find out where I lived?”
Aaron shrugged, laid the Nintendo on the boy’s desk, then reached down and opened his science textbook. “I got the home team advantage. My mom’s the vice-principal. I took a peek at your school records.”
“You’re spying on me?”
Aaron giggled, his laugh almost musical. “Not exactly. I swear, all I looked at was your street address — nothing else.”
He leaned closer and Joey could smell his scent. It was a slight musky odor — a little sweat from the hot afternoon day, along with a trace of fragrance. Gotta be Tag cologne, he thought, his mind speeding through the various scents catalogued in his database-like mind. He felt a mild stirring. And he smells wonderful.
“Ah...” Joey said, clearing his throat. “Okay. Just wanted to make sure you weren’t... you know, a stalker or something.”
“Far from it. You got something to drink? I’m dyin’ for something cold.”
This time, it was Joey’s turn to smile. “And I’m totally starved. Let’s hit the kitchen, then dive into chapter 1.”
§ § § § §
By 5PM, they’d made it through all thirty questions at the end of the chapter, sitting together at the kitchen table, with several now-empty plates sitting off to the side.
“Whoa,” Aaron said, taking another sip of Diet Coke. “If I could just rip through homework like this every day, I’d ace this class for sure. It’s almost like you have the material already memorized!”
The muscular young teen grinned. For the last few years, it seems like all he did was study, eat, and go to school. Occasionally, he’d hung out with Michael, who was technically his best friend, but everyone else he knew beyond that was just an acquaintance, at best. It was cool to have a kid like Aaron in his house for a change.
“Not that that was ever a problem for you,” the boy continued, pushing his blond bangs out of his eyes. “I mean — you’ve been in National Honor Society for, what... two years? And you got straight A’s last semester.”
Joey nodded. “Yeah. But...” He stopped and gave Aaron another suspicious glance. “Hold up. Have you been going through my records at the school computer?”
“Hey, I made all-Honors three times myself. We’re both on the list.” The boy raised an eyebrow. “C’mon, chill. Are you always this paranoid with new people you meet?”
“No. I just... I don’t really know a lot of kids at school. I mean, I see ‘em in class and so on, but I kind of keep to myself.”
“A loner,” Aaron said thoughtfully. “The tough, super-strong teenage loner with the intellectual capacity of a computer!” He laughed. “That sounds like a superhero movie concept to me.”
“Hardly,” Joey said with a snort. “Trust me — I can’t fly or shoot webs or anything. I’m just... I’m just a guy.”
The boy reached out and caressed Joey’s massive arm. “With a body like that? C’mon, dude — you’re totally hot. Even if nobody else at school notices, trust me: I noticed.”
Joey’s face reddened. “I just exercised over the summer and ate all the right stuff. Nothing special,” he said, turning away.
Aaron’s fingers ran down the bulging arm, then down and across to the boy’s massive chest, gently kneading the firm flesh beneath the shirt. “And you pumped a lot of iron, right?”
Joey gulped. “Yeah,” he said, his voice in a hoarse whisper. He felt his groin throb in response.
“I can tell. You like this?” the boy said quietly, gently exploring his arms and shoulders.
The muscular teen hesitated, then nodded.
Aaron reached out with the other hand and felt the raw musculature of the teen’s chest. “Man,” he said, almost reverentially. “You’re really big.” He looked up into Joey’s eyes. “Big everywhere. I caught a glimpse this morning, back in the restroom.”
Joey winced. So he did see me, he thought. Dr. Noble’s gonna kill me. He began to breathe a little heavier.
“Listen,” Aaron said quickly. “Don’t punch me or anything, but I kinda picked up a gay vibe off you back in the cafeteria at lunch. I had a boyfriend last year, but he and his folks moved to Barstow over the summer. You wanna... I dunno — do some stuff?”
Despite his effort, Joey’s sweatpants were bulging out, almost comically, protruding almost a foot from his lap.
Aaron looked down and giggled. “I’m gonna take that for a yes,” he said, smiling shyly.
“We really don’t have...”
“Just a quickie,” the smaller teen said, pulling him out of the chair and towards the stairs. “Just for fun. I need to get off, too.”
Breathlessly, the two boys scrambled up the steps, then skidded through the doorway, slamming the door behind them. In seconds, their clothes were off and they were kissing.
“Mmmmmph,” Joey said. In the dozens of times he’d had sex with Michael over the summer, most of those had been quick, furtive encounters — just two young guys desperately trying to get their rocks off. Michael had kissed him maybe a half-dozen times... but never like this.
“God,” Aaron whispered, his flesh covered with a slippery patina of sweat, his thin arms passionately exploring the muscular teen’s body. “You’re even bigger than I thought you’d be. You’re always kinda... covered up at school.”
Joey nodded, then leaned down and kissed Aaron’s neck. “Yeah. I was kind of a fat slob last year. I still weigh almost the same, but now—”
“—now you’re a total hunk,” the boy interrupted. “You’re completely ripped.” His hand slipped below Joey’s thick, rounded pecs and down the flesh to his lower abs, then encircled his throbbing erection, which was almost hot to the touch. “And fucking huge.”
Joey moaned. He hadn’t had an orgasm since 10AM. Even with the control formula, he had to climax at least four times a day — and that was down from the seven or eight he’d initially needed after the transformation. Noble said it was something to do with our excessive testosterone levels, he thought dizzily, feeling the electric waves of pleasure tingle down his cock as the boy began to stroke him.
The boy kneeled in front of him. “Lie back and let me take care of you,” he said huskily.
Joey leaned back on his elbows. The boy lightly ran his fingertips down the ridges of taut abdominal muscles down his stomach, letting his thumb stray among the faint hairs growing below his bellybutton. Aaron leaned forward, placing his erection alongside Joey’s; it was like comparing a compact car to a truck, dwarfing his by a good six inches.
“Jesus,” he whispered. “I thought mine was pretty big, but yours is... almost impossible.” He hefted it and let it balance in one hand. “This thing must weigh a pound — maybe two.”
The muscular teen was almost in a frenzy. “Please,” he whispered. “I’ve really gotta...”
Aaron crawled forward and lay on top of Joey’s massive body, then began to rock back and forth, their erections rubbing together. Joey reached out and gripped the boy’s tight, rounded ass, and began to moan. Their movements became faster as they instinctively moved as one, the pace of their breathing blending together, beat for beat. Aaron leaned forward and forced their mouths together, inhaling Joey’s tongue, his breath warm on his lips and chin.
Joey moaned again. “Oh, god,” he moaned. His right hand moved up the boy’s back, which was now slippery with sweat, then moved up to the neck, letting his fingers intertwine through long strands of Aaron’s thick blond hair. The boy’s mouth tasted wet and sweet, a mixture of cinnamon and the Diet Coke they’d shared just a few minutes earlier.
Their sweat was flowing freely now. This time, Aaron moaned, more like an animal growl, the boy pumping his hips faster. Their erections thrust together, rubbing against their abdomens, the perspiration providing a perfect lubricant. The blond boy’s bangs fell onto Joey’s face as he kissed him deeper, even more passionately than before.
At last, Joey felt the volcano begin deep in his groin, rumbling through his body like an impending explosion. He cried out, his toes curling with the sensation, his hips thrusting spasmodically. At the same time, Aaron whimpered, then let out a short cry as he erupted. They came together in a delirium of pleasure — once, twice, three times... on and on, as the bed gently rocked back and forth. A sticky wetness splattered onto the grooves of Joey’s chest and stomach, the remnants trickling down his sides and onto the white sheets. At last, their convulsions began to subside, their chests heaving together. Aaron rolled off to the side and let out a long sigh, struggling to catch his breath.
“God,” panted Joey, his vision momentarily blurred. “That was...”
“...at least a 7.9 on the Richter scale,” finished Aaron. “Totally great.” He leaned over, then maneuvered his arm across the muscular boy’s chest, narrowly avoiding a sticky puddle in the crevice between his pecs, then nuzzled Joey’s shoulder with his nose. “Earth Science was never this much fun before.”
“What?” Joey said, still a little dazed.
“Homework. You remember — downstairs, ten minutes ago?”
The boy laughed. “Sorry. I almost forgot.”
Aaron grinned, then let his right hand explore Joey’s body. “Jesus,” he said, sucking in his breath. “I saw a guy on the Summer Olympics a year ago who had a body like yours. But he was like 17 or 18. You’re... what, three years younger, right?”
Joey nodded, a little embarrassed. “Actually, I’m 13. I’ll be 14 in two months.”
The boy rolled his eyes. “Jesus! You’re a year younger than me.” He looked down. “And this piece of meat down here,” he said, using his fingertips to explore the softening cock below, “it’s like... like some kind of...”
Joey scowled. “Just say it. I’m a freak.”
Aaron’s face fell. “No. That’s not what I was gonna say. You’re almost like a god. You’re awesome.” He let go of the thick shaft and it flopped across the boy’s muscular leg, hanging over the edge. “Listen, Joey. I used to see you in the halls, last year. I remember you — you hang out all the time with that cute guy. What’s his name — Mike Spears?”
“Yeah, Michael, the football player. I saw him this morning in 3rd period phys ed. Your bodies are almost identical now.” Aaron grinned slyly. “I swear, a half-dozen guys popped boners in the shower when they saw him naked. Including me.”
“I don’t doubt it.”
“You two guys are totally hot. But you don’t seem to be the type,” he said, using his fingers to curiously explore circles around one of Joey’s nipples. “I mean, I got the idea you were more like me: you know, the sensitive, introspective, intellectual type. Not into sports — well, except maybe indoor sports.” He nuzzled Joey’s chest and gently tongued the nipple into hardness.
“Whoa,” Joey said, feeling his cock stir again. “Don’t tell me you want to go again!”
Aaron leaned forward and kissed Joey’s ear, then nibbled his earlobe. “I’m insatiable,” he whispered.
Joey started to respond, then heard a door slam downstairs.
“Joey?” called a familiar voice. “I’m home! I have some of that new boneless chicken, if you want to eat now.”
“Shit,” he muttered.
“You don’t look boneless to me,” said Aaron, playfully tugging at the thickening erection that started rising just above the boy’s muscular thighs.
“Don’t start anything you can’t finish,” warned Joey, then laughed, in spite of himself, as they both hopped off the bed. “Maybe tomorrow, okay?”
“Anytime. That’s the best afternoon I’ve had in, like... ever.”
They hurriedly wiped themselves off with one of Joey’s old T-shirts, then slipped on their clothes.
“Joey?” called a voice coming up the stairs. His bedroom door pushed open, and Mrs. Hartford looked in and smiled. “I can have chicken ready in ten minutes. Oh — hello.”
“Hi,” the now fully-clothed boy said, leaning back on the bed, a textbook casually perched in his lap. “I’m Aaron. Me and Joey are in AP Science in 5th period together.”
“Aaron Butler,” the boy said, hopping up and extending his hand. “My mom’s the assistant principal over at Arroyo Grande.”
“Oh, yes,” the woman said. “I met her at a PTA meeting in the spring. My, that must be uncomfortable for you, having a parent as part of the school staff.”
Aaron laughed. “Yeah. Sorta like being the preacher’s son: you’re either a saint or a sinner. And you can guess which one I am.” He turned to Joey and comically wiggled both eyebrows.
Joey let out a guffaw.
Mrs. Hartford joined in the laughter. “Well,” she said, smiling, “We’re glad to have you here, Aaron. Would you like to stay for dinner?”
“Sorry,” the boy said, picking up his backpack. “I gotta get home. See ya tomorrow, Joey. I’ll look for you in 2nd period English in the morning, if that’s okay.”
“Sure,” Joey said.
“See ya!” Aaron called, racing out the door and down the steps. They heard the front door open and then slam in the distance.
His mother turned to him. “You want to eat after your workout?”
Joey was still staring off into space. Something was wrong here, he thought. But I can’t put my finger on it.
“Joseph — are you listening? Is Michael coming over soon for your workout this afternoon?”
“What? Oh... I don’t know. He said...”
Suddenly, his phone chirped. As if on cue, it was a text from Michael.
Sorry dude — got tied up.
Meet U at 8 @ Noble’s, K? C U then.
Joey rolled his eyes, then texted back Whatever. “Doesn’t look like it. I can eat now, if that’s okay.”
Mrs. Hartford looked at her son. “Is something wrong, Joey? You look... a little confused.”
“I’m just a little tired. Some food would help.”
“Coming up. I’ll call you when it’s ready.”
She left, and he sat down at his desk, pulling up his usual email accounts and websites, but he still felt restless. After a few moments, it finally hit him.
Wait, he thought. Aaron said that Mom had let him in the house. But she acted like she had no idea who he was!
That made no sense. Either Aaron was lying, or his mother had forgotten — which was impossible. Or else...
“Or possibly it wasn’t your mother at all,” said Dr. Noble on his webcam, a minute later. “Remember what Sherlock Holmes said: when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, is most likely true.”
“But who else would be here?”
“I haven’t the foggiest. Tell me, Joey: is your room exactly as it was? Has anything changed?”
Joey looked around. It looked the same as always: six rows of books, neatly arranged on a shelf to the side. His desk, a little disorganized, with a recent-vintage iMac and keyboard. His iPod stereo speakers sat next to his bed. He compared it to a mental image of the room from the day before; it was a near-perfect match, except for a pair of socks on the floor.
“Not that I can see.”
“Let’s discuss this later. I have some work to do. You and Michael should meet me at 8PM for your injection.”
“Alright. Listen, Dr. Noble... I need to tell you something.”
“What is it?” the man said, momentarily panicked. “You aren’t experiencing any side-effects, are you?”
“What? No, no. It’s just that... I met somebody today.”
“No. I don’t think so. Just a kid from school. We’re friends.”
Joey bit his lower lip. “Special friends.”
“Ah. I see,” Noble replied. “Well, you shouldn’t experience any complications like the clothing salesman from two weeks ago,” he said. “Your saliva, perspiration and other emissions are practically back to normal. But you can’t risk exposing your blood to anyone. The results could be catastrophic.”
“No,” the boy quickly replied. “No blood. And we’re just fooling around — safe sex. Nothing... involved.”
“Keep it that way. Listen, I don’t trust this line. Let’s talk later.”
The connection went dead.
Joey clicked off the phone and leaned back in his chair. “But maybe I need to get involved,” he said to himself. Michael was definitely interested in girls. To him, Joey was just a quick way to get off — that much hadn’t changed, even since their transformation. They’d each used the other, just a means to an end. “Friends with benefits,” as Michael had put it.
But Aaron was... different, somehow. Joey thought of the boy’s delicate features, his dazzling smile. He must spend an hour each morning getting his hair to look like that, he thought. Like a male model, or something. Was it possible to fall in love that fast, with someone he just met?
He let out a sigh, then smiled. “Maybe a little bit,” he said softly.
§ § § § §
“There,” said the doctor, withdrawing the needle and wiping off Joey’s firm, muscular ass with an alcohol swab. “You’re good for another week.”
There was a thump outside of the trailer as a bicycle bumped against the corrugated metal wall. The door quickly opened and Michael jogged in, breathlessly.
“Sorry,” the teen said, stepping inside and closing the door behind him. “I got a little involved.”
Joey rolled his eyes. “Charlotte,” he muttered.
“I trust you used precautions,” the doctor said, filling up a new hypodermic syringe with serum — Control 17, according to the label. “Bend over.”
“Yeah, sure,” Michael said, as he bent over and pulled down his jeans and waited for the inevitable pinch.
Joey turned away, a little nervous about seeing his friend’s extremely muscular back and buttocks. I wonder if I look that good now, he thought. Aaron said I did, but I’ve never really compared our bodies that closely.
“I gotta use two Magnum XL’s as it is,” Michael complained, flinching slightly as the needle entered his flesh. “And a lotta lube. Otherwise they break.”
“And when did you figure this out?” Joey asked.
The other boy’s face reddened momentarily. “Uh, a couple hours ago.”
“Oh, great,” the other boy snapped. “So when you were supposed to be working out with me, you were—”
“—workin' out with Charlotte in my bedroom,” finished Michael. “So who the hell are you supposed to be? My mother?”
Joey fumed but didn’t respond. I’m just as guilty as he is, he mused, reflecting on his late-afternoon romp with Aaron.
“Now, now, boys,” the doctor said, tossing the spent syringes into a medical waste bag. “You need to get along, especially given your condition.” He gave Joey a look. “You haven’t encountered any mood swings lately, have you? Momentary flashes of sudden, uncontrollable rage? Depression? Blackouts?”
The boy shook his head. “No. I’m okay.”
“How did things go for your first day back at school? Anyone notice your new appearance?”
They both nodded. “You could say that. Joey got into a fight.”
The scientist shook his head. “Don’t tell me you hit anyone!”
“Far from it. Some jerk broke my nose and knocked two teeth out.”
Noble carefully examined the boy’s mouth, poking around on the right side. “Yes,” he said, partly to himself. “Canine and first bicuspid, almost completely regrown. Their color is imperceptibly lighter than the others, but otherwise normal. And your nose is exactly as it was.” He turned to the boy. “I trust it didn’t hurt too much.”
Joey shrugged. “Actually it did, for a minute or so. I don’t think the guy even realized how hard he hit me.”
“Some, but I cleaned it off.”
The man leaned closer, concerned. “As I asked you earlier: did any of your blood get on anyone?”
“I dunno. I mean, it all happened in a blur...”
“Think, Joey!” Noble insisted. “Did your blood get on anyone else? Even a drop?”
The boy considered this. “No — not really. I mean... maybe on Billy’s hand. But I can’t say for sure.” Suddenly, he remembered something. “Here’s a tooth,” he said, pulling a chip of bone out of his pocket and handing it to the doctor. “I found it on the sidewalk in front of the school as I was going home.”
“Hmmmph. Too little dried blood on it to matter,” the scientist said, examining it under a magnifying glass. “I’ll hold onto this, if you don’t mind.”
“Yeah. Like the Tooth Fairy’s gonna visit anytime soon,” Michael said with a smirk.
The man leaned back, momentarily lost in thought. “I didn’t anticipate having to be concerned about this so soon. Both of you should keep an eye out for this Billy character for the next few days. If he was directly exposed to Joey’s blood, there could be... unanticipated complications.”
“Complications?” asked Michael. “The guy’s already about six-foot, 200 pounds. Don’t tell me he could get bigger.”
Noble grew silent, then stood up and glared at him. “One of our Ultra soldiers from the 1980s stood more than eight feet tall and was over 400 pounds of solid muscle. It took eleven men to subdue him.”
Both boys were wide-eyed. “All from... exposure to blood?”
The scientist shook his head. “It’s highly unlikely this could occur. The necessary combination of factors to cause this kind of massive growth are nearly impossible. Just promise me you’ll avoid any more fighting.” He affectionately squeezed Joey’s shoulder. “Stay out of harm’s way. Don’t let these bullies make contact with you, if you can.”
“Easy for you to say,” Joey muttered. “I bet I could knock his fucking head off.”
“The problem is... you quite literally can,” Noble said quietly. “But that would be terribly difficult to explain to your schoolmates, as well as the Henderson police department or the Las Vegas FBI.” He pushed a table to the side, clearing off a space in the living room, then motioned for the boys to join him. “I want you to observe something. Michael, I want you to throw a punch at Joey.”
The boy seemed shocked. “No! I mean — he’s my bud. C’mon, doc!”
“Joey!” the man barked. “Pay close attention to what Michael does.” He turned to the other boy. “Just do it.”
Michael assumed a boxer’s pose, then his right arm shot out in a blur. Almost instantly, Joey’s head leaned back, the fist missing his chin by a fraction of an inch.
“Again,” commanded Noble.
This time, Michael tried a one-two combination. Completely by instinct, Joey stepped aside, the fist barely glancing at his abdomen, while the other hand whistled by his head.
“Bravo,” the scientist said, applauding. “You see, Joey, if you don’t let yourself become distracted, your speed and agility alone can protect you.”
“It’s like...” Joey said wondrously, catching his breath, “it’s like I saw his fist move in slow-motion.”
“Exactly,” the scientist agreed. “If the bullies can’t actually make contact with you, you won’t be injured. No injuries, no blood; no blood, no possibility of... side-effects.”
The boys stared at him, both slightly winded from the brief exertion. “Si-side effects?” Joey asked.
The man waved them off. “We’ll save that for another time. So far, most of those problems appear to be negligible. Let’s hope they stay that way.”
Michael grinned. “Good to know.” He idly scratched his forearm.
Noble stopped him. “You’re itching?”
“Yeah. Must be a mosquito in here.”
The doctor raised up the boy’s muscular arm and peered closely at the skin. “Hmmm. You appear to have broken out in a slight rash. There’s some raised welts here, very small but noticeable. I want you to keep an eye on that, and let me know immediately if it gets any worse.”
He walked the boys outside through the door, then down the steps to the sandy path below.
“But it’s just a rash,” Michael protested, hopping onto his bicycle. “I’ve had these before. No big deal.”
“I thought we were immune to everything,” Joey commented, rolling up alongside him. “‘Practically invulnerable,’ right?”
“Under most circumstances,” the doctor replied. “Unless... you have been keeping up your workouts, haven’t you?”
“Yes or no?”
Michael looked down, a little guiltily. “I guess I skipped today.”
“Don’t do that,” the man warned. “The control formula can only do so much. Without regular workouts, the cellular hyperplasia in your bodies could morph into something... most unpleasant.”
“I thought you said the workouts would just give us more definition — and keep the muscles stimulated,” Joey said, straightening out the sleeve on his bulging bicep.
“Yes. But without continued daily stress on the muscles...” Noble shook his head. “Just take my word for it. It’s necessary.”
“Gotta run,” Michael called, his Haymaker mountain bike bouncing over a pothole, then gathering speed as he disappeared into the darkness. “See you guys!”
“Hey, wait up!” cried Joey.
The man held his hand out to stop him. “Keep an eye out for Michael,” he said quietly. “Make sure he sticks with your workout regimen. I expect you two may outgrow the weights in your garage before too much longer. You may want to start working out at school, or perhaps in a real gymnasium.”
The boy winced. “The head phys ed coach at school hates me. And most of the guys who use the weights after school are thugs, like Billy the Bull. He’s the one who punched me this morning.”
“Then perhaps a public gym membership is in order. I’ll look into it for you.”
“And let me know if you develop a rash like Michael.” He stared thoughtfully down the dirt road, then back to the boy. “You’re the sensible one, Joey. He’s very brash. You need to look out for him.”
Joey nodded. “Right. I’ll text you if there’s anything going on.”
Noble watched until the bicycle bounced along the sandy path and onto the paved road that lead to American Pacific Drive, then wearily walked back inside the trailer, closed the door, and sat down in front of his laptop computer. He opened an email window and begin to type.
Have additional sample ready for pickup. First bicupsid, some dried blood. Send messenger in the next hour. Test subject #1 may have dermatitis herpetiformis; will investigate in the next 48 hours.
He clicked the send button, then leaned back, massaged the bridge of his nose and closed his eyes.
§ § § § §
Much to Joey’s relief, Michael was back the next morning at his house for their 7:30AM bike ride to school, as usual.
“C’mon, dude,” he called. “We gotta get goin’.”
Joey shrugged. “The later we hit homeroom, the less chance I have of running into Billy again on the way,” he observed. “I’m in no rush.”
“Yeah? Well, I’d kinda like to hang out with... well, you know.”
“What? You going to try to hump Charlotte in the hall closet?”
Michael grinned slyly. “Oh, you’re just jealous.”
Joey slipped on his backpack and hopped on his bike. “Fuck you, Michael.”
“I think you already did that.”
“Besides,” Joey continued nonchalantly, “I don’t really care. I’m seeing somebody myself.”
“Like who?” the boy said, as they began to roll down the driveway. “Like your right hand?”
“No. I met somebody yesterday.”
“What’s her name?”
“His name’s Aaron. He’s like the hottest guy I ever saw.”
Michael nodded. “Oh, yeah – that blond kid. I saw him in the crowd at the fight yesterday morning.” He shrugged. “I guess he’s cute... if you go for that kinda male model thing.”
“What? Hot? Perfect hair? Dazzling smile? Great personality?”
“Like I don’t have all that?”
Joey sighed, then steered his bicycle up on the sidewalk. “It’s not the same,” he said.
They pulled up at a traffic light and skidded to a stop.
“Hey, listen,” Michael said, giving his shoulder a light punch. “It’s okay. Look, if you like him, it’s no big deal.” He grinned. “But we’re still best friends, right? You and me?”
Joey looked up and couldn’t help but smile. “Yeah. C’mon — race you to Arroyo Boulevard.”
§ § § § §
By third period, Michael’s itch seemed to have become a little worse. That’s odd, he thought. Yesterday, it was just on my forearm. Now, it’s crawling up to my shoulder. He made a mental note to get some Neosporin ointment on the way home from school.
Meanwhile, in the B-wing of Arroyo Grande Middle School, Joey had a more urgent problem.
Whoa, he thought, watching a strikingly handsome 9th grader cross his path. That guy is at least a 10. His groin immediately throbbed in response. He checked his watch. Two minutes to American History. I can be late.
Joey walked quickly down the hallway, strategically holding his notebook over his bulging groin, which was becoming almost painful. He ducked into a nearby restroom, which was luckily deserted. He darted into an open stall, slammed the door shut and locked it, then dropped his pants. His erection sprang free, almost aching with need.
“Gotta get this over with quick,” he muttered. He leaned back and began caressing his stiff cock. In the distance, the bell rang. “Shit,” he said in a half-whisper, panting as he felt the approaching orgasm rise up from his groin. His large, pendulous testicles began to quickly tighten, and his strokes became a blur.
In his mind’s eye, he saw Aaron’s face — kissing him, slipping his tongue deep into his mouth. He remembered the boy’s taste, his smell. He remembered the sensation of burying his face deep in the boy’s thick, luxurious blond hair, inhaling the fragrance of a fresh orchard. Beautiful, he thought, his heart pounding with the memory of their warm skin sliding together, slick with sweat.
Suddenly, he saw the face of Michael — his best friend for the past decade, now just as muscular as he was. Michael was angry, punching his body, covering him with bruises, then began to savagely rape him, forcing his enormous cock into him from behind.
“No,” he said in a low voice, then whimpered as his hips thrust uncontrollably, over and over again, splattering the formica stall door with a steady stream of semen. He felt a little dizzy, then sat back on the toilet and caught his breath as the last few drops dribbled down his hands. No, he thought. Michael would never hurt me. Besides, his friend had told him earlier he was glad he found somebody. Somebody to love.
Joey quickly cleaned up, removing any trace of his brief escapade from the wall, then arranged his softening cock back into his sweat pants. He tossed the tissue down the drain, then hit the flush valve and exited. The boy gave himself a quick once-over in the bathroom mirror. “Close enough,” he said to himself, pushing the bulge a little further down. Almost back to normal, he thought.
Suddenly, the bathroom door burst open. It was Coach Rambert, wearing a blue nylon jacket, a whistle perched around his neck. He stepped up to the urinal, then gave him a glance.
“You — Hartford. You’re late for 2nd period. Get your ass to class, kid.”
Joey nodded meekly and darted out into the hall, letting the door slam behind him.
Peculiar boy, the Coach mused. Another modern kid who won’t live up to his potential. Something terribly wrong with that one...
§ § § § §
Much to Joey’s relief, the rest of the school day was uneventful. Aaron walked faster to keep up with him in the hallway, almost like an adoring puppy. Michael found this amusing at lunch.
“So,” he said quietly in Joey’s ear, after Aaron got up to get dessert. “I see you’ve got your own little personal butt-boy.”
“Shut up, douche,” he snapped, with more than a trace of real anger.
“Sorry, sorry,” Michael said, raising his hands in mock defeat. “Jesus, Joey — I didn’t realize you were... you know, serious about him.”
The boy let out a sigh. “I don’t know. Look... all I know is, Aaron’s hot, we get along, and we’re friends.” He gave Michael a curious look. “What’s with your face?”
“It looks a little puffy today. You allergic to any of this stuff?” he asked, gesturing to the enormous spread of food on the boy’s tray.
“Naw,” Michael said, grabbing two brownies and cramming them into his mouth. “Mmmph, schnorckle, mmm-schack,” he said.
Joey rolled his eyes. “In English.”
The boy chewed some more, then swallowed. “Sorry. No — no allergies, except maybe to poison ivy.” He stopped and scratched at his arm. “This thing is gettin’ worse. Look — these red bumps are going right up my shoulder. Burns like shit, too. But it’s only on the right arm so far.”
Joey examined his friend’s left arm. It seemed a little softer and lumpier than he remembered, not as well-muscled and defined as before. Probably just the bad lighting in the cafeteria, he thought.
“Yeah,” he said with a nod. “You should probably see Dr. Noble right after school.”
Michael grabbed a can of Coke — his third during lunch — and took a long swig. “That guy is such an a-hole. He thinks we’re just some kind of experiment, not people.”
“He does not,” Joey snapped. “He’s trying to keep us alive. Otherwise, we’ve only got maybe five years.”
“Five years for what?” said Aaron, as he sat next to Joey, sliding his lunch tray along the table.
Both boys looked up at him, momentarily startled. “Uh... I guess we’ll both be in college by then,” Michael said, mumbling.
“Actually, in four years,” Joey added quickly. “And to tell you the truth, I’m going to try to get on the accelerated program — maybe even start when I’m 17, if I can keep my grades up and get a good enough score on my SATs and ACTs.”
“He’s the brains of this outfit,” added Michael, then bent his arm to emphasize his bicep. “And I’m the muscle.” He grinned ear to ear.
Aaron chuckled. “Seems to me Joey might have you beat there.”
Michael’s face fell. “What? No way.”
“Hold your arms out,” Aaron said to the two of them. “Side by side.”
The two muscular teens did so. Much to Joey’s surprise, it was clear that Michael’s left arm was a little smaller than his — not by much, but noticeably less-defined, with fewer striations and a noticeable loss of sinews and thickness.
“That’s... that’s impossible,” Michael sputtered. “We were identical over the weekend.”
“He’s right,” Joey admitted. “If anything, I think his chest has always been a little better than mine. I might have him beat on abs, but only barely.”
Aaron eyed Michael from top to bottom. “You’re looking a little saggy, if you ask me. Maybe putting on a little extra body fat.”
“Am not! I benched 315 on Sunday. Ten reps, strict form, too.”
Aaron grinned and slipped his arm around Joey’s shoulder. “Maybe so. But I think the bookworm here might just beat the all-star jock,” he said.
“Fat chance of that,” snarled Michael, getting up to his feet. “I’m outta here.” He leaned over to Aaron. “And you can kiss the darkest part of my tight white ass.”
“Dude!” called Joey, as his friend darted through the crowd. “C’mon — Aaron was just kidding!”
“Let him go,” the smaller boy soothed, as Michael stormed away. “Look, I told you: you’re totally hot. You don’t need him.”
“He’s still my friend. We’re in this together.”
“In what together?” Aaron asked suspiciously.
Joey hesitated. “Nothing. We’ve just known each other since pre-school. Our moms are best friends. We’re like automatically BFFs, you know?”
The smaller boy shrugged. “BFJ, if you ask me. Michael’s a big fucking jerk. I mean, let’s face it: how much do you two really have in common?”
The muscular teen thought for a moment, then chewed another mouthful of meatloaf. “Well... we both like science-fiction movies. We’ve seen Avatar like 20 times.”
“Yeah,” Aaron said, stabbing a piece of cake with his fork. “Crippled little guy becomes huge, ripped alien. Who’s gonna believe that? It’s like a cartoon.”
“And we ride our bikes around all over town. In fact, Michael taught me how to ride.”
“Sounds like fun. But does Michael know what goes on in your head, like what you read? I saw all those Stephen King books on your shelf. He’s great, huh?”
Joey nodded. Aaron held out a white plastic device.
“I’ve got 35 Stephen King novels on my Kindle here.” He leaned closer to Joey. “And I saw your iTunes library. They’re like 75% identical to mine. Plus we’re both on the honor roll.” He grinned slyly. “You and I have a lot more in common, if you ask me.”
Joey frowned. “This isn’t a contest, Aaron,” he said. “Look, I only just met you.”
Aaron tiptoed his right hand down the boy’s muscular left arm, then intertwined their fingers together under the table.
“Yeah,” he said in a low voice. “But I really like you, and a lot more than the way Michael does.”
Joey managed a small smile. “Yeah. Me, too.”
In the distance, the warning bell sounded.
“We gotta split,” Joey said, stuffing the last few bites into his mouth. “You got that email I sent you last night?”
Aaron nodded as both boys emptied their trays into the trash. “Yeah — thanks for the help. Old man Cooper’s a killer on geology. Your notes definitely helped.”
They pushed their way out into the crowded hallway. “You really meant what you said back there?” Joey asked.
The smaller boy grinned. “Yeah. I really like you.”
“No, no — I mean about Michael’s body.”
“Definitely. He’s looking... I dunno, kinda pudgy today. I bet if you both stripped off and stood side by side, you’d see it immediately.”
Joey smiled. “Oh, I bet you’d like that — an Aaron sandwich, huh?”
“Hey, a guy can dream, right?”
Joey laughed out loud. It felt good to laugh, especially to see Aaron’s face light up.
“So you wanna... I dunno, get together after school?” the boy said a little lustfully, as they made their way into the science classroom in C wing and over to their seats. “Maybe more homework?”
“Maybe. But me and Michael have to keep up our workouts. Doctor’s orders.”
“Doctor? Doctor who?”
Joey stiffened. “It’s just a private joke. We’re just on this weightlifting program, you know... bulking up. Staying big.” And trying to avoid any Cerulean side-effects, he thought with a growing sense of dread. Whatever those might be.
§ § § § §
By 3PM, Joey was thoroughly pissed off. He’d managed to be late to his phys ed class, only this time, the assistant coach penalized him by making him run the track for the entire period — yet again. In the middle of his run, his cellphone went off. It was a text from Michael.
Got football practice starting 2day. No workout until 6P tonight at the earliest. Sorry -- C ya. –M
Asshole, he thought, flipping the phone shut. Another workout day shot. Maybe we can change it to 6AM. Like Michael, Joey was wide awake 24 hours a day, no longer having any need to sleep. He had been using the period from 4AM to 6AM to meditate, using the texts Noble had bought them. It wasn’t exactly sleep, but it was... restful, at least mentally. The feeling was similar to the bliss he felt after a particularly hard workout, when the endorphins were released into his bloodstream. Even Michael had agreed it was almost a kind of high.
He glanced over at the back of the gym building, where the rest of the boys were beginning to push their way back inside, their T-shirts damp with sweat.
“The hell with it,” he muttered to himself. The more they got used to seeing his body the way it is now, the better off he’d be. Maybe they’d just ignore him after another week or two.
Joey pushed his way in through the crowd, reached his locker, then yanked his shirt over his head, tossed it into his gym bag, and turned around. Three other boys stood nearby, all gaping in disbelief.
“Fuck, dude,” said the tall boy on the left, staring at Joey’s bulging arms and chest. “You’re like... totally ripped.”
“You did that over the summer?” asked the middle boy. “How?”
“Clean living,” Joey quipped. “Just say no.” He then turned around and pulled off his shorts and jock in one quick motion. He whipped the towel around his waist and pushed through the throng of half-naked boys and made his way to the showers. Thick clouds of steam billowed out, shrouding the area in a dense white mist. Good, he thought. At least that’ll make it harder for anybody to see my dick.
Joey stopped between two other boys at adjacent positions on the far side of the group stall and fired up the faucet. He hung his towel on a nearby hook and let the hot jets pelt over his aching shoulders, wrapping his body like a warm, soothing blanket. His traps and delts were seriously sore from the previous night’s workout, where he had added another half hour of shoulder exercises. Formula or not, he could still feel pain. Joey grabbed a handful of soap from the dispenser and lathered up his body, finally relaxing in the heat.
Well, he thought, if I can’t see Michael this afternoon, maybe I can text Aaron and at least have him come by the house. He grinned, remembering the make-out session they’d had the day before. Aaron might have been a little short, but his body was tight and wiry — far from the scrawny kid he initially seemed to be. And his cock was definitely big. Alright, not nearly as big as my oversized monster, but still very respectable for a 14-year-old.
Joey idly soaped up his chest, momentarily gripping the tough mound of muscle, letting his hand dart under his sweating armpits, feeling the small boyish tuft of hair. He instinctively flexed and felt his bicep peak. Definitely more definition there than two weeks ago, he mused. His cock instinctively throbbed in response. His mind flashed back to Aaron, who had practically worshipped his body the day before. He thought of the young boy’s fingers, gently exploring his massive body, tracing the striations and veins that spider-webbed out from his chest, then to the ribbed abs below. In his mind’s eye, Aaron leaned forward and sucked greedily on his tongue, then passionately kissed him. Before he knew it, he was fully hard.
God, Joey thought, his mind in a panic. Now I definitely can’t turn around.
“Whoa!” yelled out a voice. “Look at this! Jensen is totally boned!”
“Am not, dick head!”
Joey froze. What’s going on here?
“Sure, Dennis,” the first voice said. “Like your cock is always that stiff. Homo!”
The boy in the stall next to him moaned. “Shit,” he murmured.
Joey turned to see the young Hispanic teen next to him, almost in a stupor, his erection sticking out at a sharp angle, throbbing upwards towards the showerhead.
The muscular teen slowly turned his head, his heart pounding furiously, hoping to catch a surreptitious glimpse of the others. At last, six other boys on the far left were in full view. All of them were suddenly frozen, dazed — and each sporting a serious erection. Some man-sized, some boyish... pink, brown, pale, or black, all in various states of maturity, but each one as stiff as iron, hard as rock. Their mouths were open, their eyes glazed over, seemingly stupefied.
Joey felt a surge. It’s me, he thought, with growing realization. It’s like we’re all plugged into the same electric circuit. He turned back and looked down, watching the rivulets of water dance among his pectorals and abs, trickling down to his own erect cock that stood out below. He let out a small moan, and the other boys moaned as well, their voices echoing against the tile walls.
Better get this over with before more people show up to the party, the muscular teen thought, his mind racing. He summoned up all of his concentration. The blood began to pound in his veins, then he felt his arms momentarily inflate as he flexed, feeling the sheer power of his muscularity, the strength flowing from his broad shoulders all the way down to his thick calves. The shower splashed on the head of his cock, causing it to momentarily bounce and throb.
Now, Joey thought, feeling the pressure boil from his groin. This is it!
His back automatically arched and he felt an enormous surge of pleasure rocket out from his groin. As if on cue, he heard moans all around him as his shaft erupted, sending a huge white stream rocketing up and splattering onto the wall. “Mmmph!” he groaned out loud, as he felt a wave of release. Several more jets spurted out, splashing amongst the warm water, then swirling to the floor and into the grain.
He turned just in time to see the boy behind him moan and fall to the floor. Within seconds, every other teen in the shower collapsed to their knees, groaning with the intensified pleasure of the shared orgasmic experience. Several cried out at once, then fainted dead away, collapsing on the wet tile floor. After a few moments, the shower was silent except for the steady spray of water.
Joey leaned on the wall, hanging on to the showerhead for support. “God,” he murmured, as his erection dwindled and began to soften. At last, after a few seconds, his vision cleared. To his left, one of the boys murmured and tried to struggle up to his feet. Uh-oh, he thought. Better get out of here.
He quickly shut off the faucet, then wrapped his towel around his waist and stepped back on the path to the shower entrance, deftly stepping over two boys as their eyelids fluttered.
“Wha?” one of them asked dizzily. “Was that... was that an earthquake?”
“Gentlemen!” called out the coach from down the hall. “C’mon, we don’t have all day! Dry off and get out of here. That was the final school bell. Ten minutes till the busses leave.”
“Shit,” moaned another boy. “Is this jizz on my leg?”
Joey nimbly tiptoed away, not turning back as the other boys behind him slowly rose to their feet, leaning on the tile walls and each other for support. Several other teens coming into the shower stared at the eleven naked boys sprawled on the floor and cursed at them, assuming they were playing some kind of practical joke.
As he reached his locker, he checked his cellphone. No messages yet. He quickly texted Noble’s preset.
Just ran into a side-effect. Must see you at once. —J
The answer came back almost instantly.
Don’t panic. Wait for me. I’ll pick you up on the south side of the school in five minutes. –N.
As Joey dressed, he scrupulously avoided eye contact with any of the other boys. As he grabbed his gym bag and notebook, he scurried out. Two of the red-faced stragglers were whispering nearby.
“What was that shit?” the first boy said, rubbing the side of his head, as if awakening from an embarrassing dream.
“I dunno. I just came in about :30 seconds — for no reason.”
“You shut up! You did, too, you fag!”
Joey ignored them, kept his eyes on the ground, and scurried out to the hallway. As he exited the gymnasium area and entered D wing, he began to jog down the corridor.
Jesus, he thought, his mind reeling. I just made twelve other guys have a simultaneous orgasm.
§ § § § §
“Most unusual,” said Noble, deftly steering his blue 1994 Toyota Camry around a pothole on South Gibson Road. “I’ve heard of phenomena like this before, but I can assure you this is entirely unexpected.”
Joey glared at the man. “Doctor — we’ve got a real problem if a dozen guys in the shower were somehow affected by me getting a little bit horny... without me even touching them.”
“Yes,” the man mused. “Almost like a living circuit, somehow connected directly to your libido.” He raised an eyebrow at the boy. “I think your rapid muscular growth, coupled with the increased activity in your brain, has resulted in a side-effect that actually radiates outside your body.”
“You said that would only happen if they came in contact with my blood.”
Noble let out a sigh, then scratched the scraggly 3-day growth on his chin. “All of our research was tied to soldiers, mature men in their early 20s. One was 19, but he died three weeks into the experiment. But I can assure you none of the 1980s test subjects experienced anything like this.” He made an exasperated gesture.
“Yeah,” Joey said, shaking his head with disbelief. “Spontaneous combustion — well, more like eruption.”
“Exactly. It must be tied somehow to your genetically altered adolescent state. That, combined with your elevated testosterone levels, must have altered the limbic system of your brain, just where it meets the brain stem and spinal chord.” The scientist allowed himself a bemused smile. “People think their sexual organs are where pleasure emanates... but it’s actually the limbic system, a set of nerve endings smaller than the size of your thumb. Or, more precisely, the nucleus accumbens. In this case, the big head influences the little head — contrary to popular opinion.”
Joey nodded. “I’ll read up on that later on tonight. Maybe I can figure out why my brain is different from everybody else’s.”
Noble turned the car on the street that led towards the Hartford’s house on Sterling Meadow Street. “The real question is,” the doctor said thoughtfully, “why would it happen today, more than three months after you boys were first exposed to the Cerulean formula?”
He pulled the car up to Joey’s driveway and stopped. “I still have your latest blood sample from yesterday,” he continued. “I think we need to perform some additional tests and determine how to mute this part of your brain. A direct injection might solve the problem, permanently paralyzing just that specific area.”
The boy shuddered as realization set in. “No way,” he said sharply. “Not if it means killing the circuit breaker on my orgasm switch.” He thought for a moment. “I have a better solution.”
Noble raised an eyebrow. “And what would that be?”
“I’m just going to have to learn to control myself more, especially when I’m around anybody who’s... well, naked.”
“You really think you can do that?”
“I’d rather do that then have you stick a needle in the back of my head.”
The scientist considered this. “Alright,” he said at last. “We’ll try your idea for the next couple of days. But at the first sign of trouble, you must contact me at once. For all we know, your mental abilities could be growing. The next thing you know, the entire school could erupt in an uncontrolled frenzy of...” He stopped himself, then stared at the boy.
“I get it, I get it.” Joey opened the door, then ran to the trunk to pull out his bicycle. Noble assisted him, setting the tires down on the pavement.
“Listen, Joey,” the scientist began. “This growing power of yours... you know, there might actually be potential using it as a weapon. For example, if you were surrounded by a group of enemy soldiers—”
Suddenly, the boy’s phone played an electronic melody.
“Hold it,” Joey said, holding up a hand as he checked the cell display. “It’s from Michael. He’s still at football practice.” There was a moment’s pause. “Yo! Dude, we still on for six?” The smile abruptly fell from the boy’s face. “Mrs. Spears!” He sucked in his breath with shock. “You had to take him where? Jesus, no!”
“What?” cried the doctor. “Tell me — what’s happened?”
“We’ll meet you there in ten minutes,” Joey said crisply, then snapped the phone shut and turned to the doctor. “Michael just collapsed on the football field at practice. They had to rush him to the hospital.” He fought back tears. “Dr. Noble, his mother was almost hysterical! She said he had some kind of skin problem... that he was turning into some kind of blob, like his bones were dissolving! They think it might be the Ebola virus!”
“My dear god,” the scientist said, shaking his head with dismay. “It’s happening all over again.”
Feedback to the author is welcomed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New chapters will be posted first to Awesomedude, and then to other sites, including Nifty and others.