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They sat on the old bridge, the one on the forest path, overlooking the water. They watched it carry the rust from decaying cars abandoned upstream. The water hadn’t been safe to drink for years. It wasn’t good for much besides watching.
The sun was setting so Anthony was mostly alright. It helped that the hood of his sweatshirt was up and they faced away from the sun. Still his skin tingled in a way that was neither pleasant nor painful. It was one of the basic facts of his existence these days.
“You’re sure it’s ok to be out right now?” Brian asked, without looking over.
“Yeah, it’s fine. The sun is almost all the way down now. It doesn’t hurt.”
Brian hadn’t believed at first, who would? But then Anthony put his arm in direct sunlight and the welts began appearing immediately. His canines were longer and sharper than they had any right to be. Brian believed after that.
The old bridge was abandoned and no one ever came this far out of town. In fact the town itself was mostly empty. The automotive factory had been the lifeblood of the town and now that blood was flowing out. Brian’s dad thought it would last another generation before everyone was gone altogether. Brian didn’t know how to feel about that.
“What is like? How does it feel?” Brian asked, still not looking at his best friend.
“It feels like being hungry...all the time. It’s...you get used to it.”
“What?” Anthony asked.
“Are you hungry now?”
Anthony hesitated, then said, “yes.”
“You could...you know...if you wanted to.”
“I don’t know, Bri. I don’t...someone would notice. I don’t think...Wouldn’t your dad notice?”
Brian could feel Anthony staring at him, but he couldn’t turn around to face him. When they were twelve, Brian had tripped on his shoelaces and fell. He had broken his nose. There was blood everywhere. Anthony had just stared, too shocked by all the blood to come close, to help his best friend out of the dirt.
“No one will notice. I’ll tell them I was up here. That I got cut.”
Anthony came closer. Close enough that their legs were touching. Brian didn’t breathe. He didn’t dare.
“Are you sure?” Anthony asked. Whispered.
“Yes,” Brian answered.
Brian felt his best friend’s breath on his neck. It was warm and unsteady. There was something like excitement in it. Brian tried not to get hard, but it was inevitable. Just one more thing they wouldn’t talk about. Whatever Anthony needed to do it, whatever change came upon him, emotional or physical, eventually it came and he moved a bit closer. It was awkward, he tilted Brian’s neck to a weird angle and then he kissed his friend’s neck. It was soft. It was sweet and it made Brian’s stomach flutter: he’d imagined that kiss, but he didn’t think it would be like this. How could he?
Anthony bit him and it didn’t hurt like Brian thought it would. Just a sharpness and then a kind of pleasant warmth. He closed his eyes because it disgusted him a little to hear Anthony swallowing. It made him queasy. He focused on the feeling of those impossibly soft lips pressed up against his neck. His body went warm with the thought.
Anthony pulled away and Brian finally looked at him. It was darker now than before and he could just make out the dark trickle under Anthony’s lip. A moment later it was licked away.
“You taste amazing,” Anthony said. “Like a peach. You taste like peaches.”
They both laughed at that. It was so ridiculous that they had to laugh, but they laughed longer and harder than they might have at the flimsy humor of the statement alone. It was also a release of tension. Then the laughing wound down and there was quiet again.
“You’re in love with me. Aren’t you?” Anthony asked suddenly.
Brian thought about lying, but he didn’t in the end. “Could you taste it in my blood?”
“Does that make any sense, Bri? Seriously think about what you just asked me.”
“I don’t know how it works! Do I look like Van fucking Helsing?”
They both laughed again, but this time Anthony reached out before Brian knew what was happening and drew him into a kiss. The kiss was gentle, but there was some force behind it and it communicated something that didn’t need words. Later Brian would wonder if he was compelled somehow to do what he did and whether he could have done it of his own accord. He had known Anthony all his life, but his friend had become something different. Something he no longer knew how to confront.
The two of them struggled out of their clothes on the old bridge and kissed in the dark. Their hands searched and each found the other hard and willing. They jerked each other off and kissed like they couldn’t stop. The sound of the water ambling under them and the crickets sounding both nearby and far-away was the only soundtrack beside their breathing. Brian humped into Anthony’s hand, ignoring the fact that his hips scrapped against the metal bridge beneath him only covered by his hastily shed clothes. Anthony did the same, but his erection pulsed harder and was far warmer with the blood of two bodies coursing through it.
Brian came first into Anthony’s more experienced hand. It was quick orgasm, but the feeling was slow to recede. Brian’s body felt charged and energized like there was an electric field over his skin. Anthony’s orgasm was slow, it rolled up a storm cloud, growing greater and fuller as the moments went by. His cock unloaded all over his friend, dozens and dozens of shots that coated Brian’s naked stomach and dripped down onto his clothes.
They lay breathless afterward as the stars began to blink into existence. Everything was different, yet nothing had changed.