Solidão e Afeição

by Richie

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Joaquim lay in bed, sleepy but not tired, under thick heavy covers. The thermostat, as usual, was set ridiculously low, and the early summer rain drumming against the window made the boy feel very cozy in his soft warm bed.

It was Joaquim's favorite time of day—he loved the feeling of lying under the covers, wearing only a pair of shorts with no underwear, feeling totally free and enjoying his total privacy. In this privacy—my time, as he thought of it, time I can just spend with myself—he would touch himself all over, discovering as if for the first time the small body he'd been living in for ten years now. He ran his hands over his every inch of his skin, so smooth and warm and fair of complexion—it felt soft and silky beneath his slender fingers—and he noted with keen interest the ways it felt different in different places. The skin of his arms was somehow different from the skin of his chest, the skin of his calves felt taut compared to the skin of his thighs, the skin of his neck felt thin compared to the skin of his belly, the skin of his hands and knees was felt rough compared to the smooth tender skin of his underarms. He played with his hair—dark and soft and cut short, it fell in loose locks that curled at the ends, just so slightly—he tugged at it and curled it around his fingers and pulled it straight.

And the touching would always incite that peculiar stiffness—it felt so good to just let it point straight up and twitch and strain with no tight underwear to constrict it, only light silky shorts to caress it and let it breathe.

And sometimes, when he got that funny warm tingly feeling that ran all through his body, he would pull down his shorts and touch it—his greatest secret, his most very private thing—and he would feel its strength as it strained back against his palm, he would wrap his fingers around it and feel how weightless it seemed, and then he would squeeze it gently to feel its stiffness, he would measure it with his fingers and he would pull back the thick tight skin at the end just to see what it would do. It felt good to touch it—it felt wonderful, it felt like tension and pressure within his body disappearing, like a good backrub, only in a place far more deserving of his attention. But somehow he felt like something was missing—Joaquim felt that his cacete was calling him, begging him to—do something, to touch it, and... and what? What did it want him to do? And why, he wondered, does it want me to do it right now?

Joaquim thought about the boy he met that day: Eli had been so nice and friendly. Most of the kids here—especially the older kids—were either suspicious and reserved or outright mean once Joaquim opened his mouth. But Eli—he had been sweet and friendly and caring.

He had been shirtless, a light sheen of sweat glistening on his bare chest and arms. He moved smoothly and confidently, showing that he was very comfortable in his body, and very proud of it—it was a skinny boy's body, but one that was beginning to show the subtle developments of pubescence in his shoulders and chest and flat stomach. His shaggy golden blond hair glinted in the hot summer sun, and his skin was tawny from the time he spent outdoors. He wore narrow jeans slung low on his hips (his jutting hipbones formed the top of a telltale V) with no visible indication that he was wearing underwear. His green Pumas moved swiftly through the air as he expertly juggled a soccer ball with his feet and knees.

Joaquim had slowed as he passed the park, and at the last second decided to take a diversion through the grassy expanse. He parked his bike at the bike rack and meandered along the footpaths, trying to look like he was trying to find someone. Slowly and deliberately he circled the boy, watching as he fooled around with the soccer ball, lay down and stretched out in the grass, drank green tea out of a bottle, got back up to kick the ball some more.

Eventually he miscalculated the trajectory of his foot and the ball sailed off at an awkward angle—and as expertly as any goalkeeper for Real Madrid or Manchester United, Joaquim caught it in his hands and returned it to the boy, smiling. The boy smiled back as he raised his arm to wipe sweat out of his hairline.

"Are you playing soccer?" Joaquim had asked, pronouncing the words carefully, trying to flatten his accent as much as possible.

"I was," the boy panted. "but my friends went home. Now I'm just kinda killing time."

Eli was his name—Eli something, Joaquim couldn't remember. He was a worldly thirteen years old, and he was from Israel—but he had grown up here, Houston was his home. Joaquim had been here for two years, long enough to know the ropes, and he spoke the language fairly well—not as well as his native tongue, of course, but well enough, and with (he hoped) very little accent. Still, this language barrier was his greatest obstacle to truly fitting in, and despite his outgoing attitude Joaquim had few friends. But Eli had understood him.

"Zhwah-kee," he had said for the third or fourth time, pronouncing the last syllable nasally. Eli tried again and failed. "It's okay," Joaquim said, shaking his head a bit, "most people can't say that so zhwah-keem is okay."

"Zhwah-keem," Eli had repeated, smiling softly. "So tell me about Brazil."

It was the sort of thing that usually made Joaquim feel sad—the fact that nobody could pronounce his name reminded him more than anything that he was living in a foreign land. But the way Eli had said it—it sounded so nice coming from him.

Joaquim thought of this wonderful boy now as he touched himself. He touched his little brown nipples, the most tender and sensitive skin of all—he remembered the way Eli's nipples looked on his narrow but subtly toned chest—and he wondered why they got stiff and pointed when he played with them... just like his cacete, he realized, and wondered what the connection could possibly be.

He had no idea what it all meant. He knew that he liked Eli very much. And he knew that now, thinking about him, he was filled with a warm fuzzy feeling that he had never felt before—but it felt wonderful. He wanted to spend lots of time with him—to spend hours listening to that mellifluous voice and that wonderful laugh—to gaze at his skin, smooth and bronze and devoid of even a single hair—to inhale his rich and invigorating scent, that of a boy on the first stepping-stone of adolescence—even to touch him—and these thoughts made the strange tingling feeling in his stomach stronger than ever. His boyhood called to him more loudly than ever—begging him to—What is it, what do you want me to do?!

He turned on his bedside lamp and peeked under the covers, as if looking at it could offer some clue. He made a fist around it and squeezed—yes, that felt nice—and as he did he pulled gently downward. He watched as the tiny pucker of skin at the end seemed to turn itself inside out before stretching open to reveal the very tip of the hidden purple part. With his fingertip he touched the little pink slit—where the pee comes out, he thought—and he felt a cool rush as its sensitive nerves were satisfied. Could that be it?

He pulled further downward, and felt the skin tighten around the head the more it revealed—massaging it, almost—and oh yes! It felt amazing—that was exactly what it needed! He took his hand away and watched as the skin rolled back up the head, concealing it and then pushing up to form that tiny pucker at the very tip. He repeated the motion—squeeze, pull—yes! Wonderful! It felt like all his worries and anxieties and physical tension were rushing out through the straining organ in his hand.

Very slowly and carefully he did this over and over—squeeze, pull, squeeze, pull—and quickly he learned it was easier and it seemed to make more sense when he didn't take his hand off it—now down, up, down, up.

Slowly he did it, and gingerly, with astonishment for the feeling it filled him with—waves of giggly euphoria rippling through his whole body, making him feel lighter than air—he did it with awe and respect for the power of it all, for what these three inches of flesh and muscle and skin could make him feel. His cacete was an antenna, broadcasting these lovely wonderful relaxing feelings down to him—it felt like the exact center of him, around which hips and torso and arms and legs and hands and feet and head revolved—the center of Planet Joaquim. He breathed deeply of the cold air and let these magical feelings transport him to a place beyond space and time, a place without anxiety or worry or sadness or loneliness—and in this place Eli was with him.

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And now the dying throes of autumn had subsided, and like a phoenix from the ashes came the cool and the grey of winter. The melancholy of the naked tangled trees belied the light and life radiating from the yard in front of the small Victorian—in the crisp air Joaquim felt like he was floating. "Really?" he said. "You mean it?"

Eli nodded. "Really."

"Even though I'm only ten?"

Eli shook his head. "Age doesn't matter. Tyler taught me that." He was fourteen as of a month ago, though he looked younger in more ways than one—his physique was one of budding adolescence, but his legs were graced with only the finest lightly colored hairs, curling slightly just above his ankles—his voice was still boyish, but now had a certain dryness about it, a certain warm woodiness that suggested it would not be long before it cracked for the first time—his shoulders seemed somehow broader, his hands were wider and his feet had already outgrown the green Pumas he had worn the first day he met the dark-eyed Brazilian boy in the park.

Joaquim looked down at the grass and then back up at Eli. He said: "Well... you're my best friend, too, Eli."

Eli smiled. "Yeah, I know. I just figured you'd like to hear it."

Joaquim took him by surprise when he leapt on him, wrapping his arms around his chest in a tight hug. Eli slowly slipped his arms around Joaquim's shoulders and returned the hug, realizing how perfectly right it felt to hold the boy in his arms. It had been six months now since Ian had been abruptly excised from his life—he remembered the very moment when Mrs. Harken had come into the bedroom and shrieked when she found a sweaty tangle of arms and legs, and moments later Eli was being shoved out the front door, forbidden to ever speak to his lover again. Six long months—he was now aching for release, and even the warmth of this innocent hug sent his hormones raging.

The boy slipped away from him, and Eli caught himself thinking—oh, c'mon—couldn't that have lasted just a couple more hours?

Joaquim's mother emerged from within the house, wearing a white jacket from somewhere like American Eagle, holding a cup of coffee in one hand and a cigarette in the other. She smiled at Eli, and he called hi miss Oliveira. Irene was tall and blond, looking much younger than her thirty-two years, and the structure of her gorgeous face matched her son's to a T—but the boy had taken his father's dark hair and eyes, his fair complexion. She said: "How are you doing Eli, how are your parents?" and, without waiting for an answer, she asked Joaquim a question in Portuguese—what a beautiful language, Eli thought, somewhere between Spanish and French, and it reminded him of caramel—smooth and sweet and rich and creamy—and oh, coming from Joaquim it was so silky and sensuous.

He watched as Joaquim bent down to pick up the soccer ball, a white waistband peeking out from under the edge of his olive green jacket. "C'mon," Eli said, "I'll race you to the park!"

Joaquim lay in bed that night, cozy and warm under his heavy blankets, smiling to himself and just looking up at the ceiling.

Eli, he thought with delight, Eli! My official best friend!

He could hear his mother's voice downstairs: "Oh, yes. It's wonderful, I think... he's finally making friends that he can keep around, not just school-and-playground friends."

He heard his dad say something—he had always spoken much more softly than Irene.

"Oh, absolutely," she said. "I agree completely—he needs older friends to look out for him. This boy is wonderful—very nice, very polite and friendly... What? Yeah, his name's Eli... Yeah, I know. He just turned fourteen but he doesn't mind that Joaquim is so much younger than him. I think it's very sweet."

Joaquim let his thoughts wander back to Eli, and he tuned out his parents' conversation—until he heard a shrill cry that could only be his mother's—"What?! What?! No, you listen to me Sergio—"

Joaquim's heart sank and he immediately felt the tears burning his eyes. No! Not now, not again! Please, God, make them stop fighting! Why can't they just be happy together, he wondered—and he started to cry, his despair overwhelming him, as he listened to the fighting downstairs.

"Filho da puta," she screamed, "you son of a bitch! How can you do this to our family? I thought we were past this—"

The low hum of his dad's voice, and—

"Shut up," Irene yelled, "just shut the fuck up! Every time you tell me you're sorry, every time you promise me it will never happen again. No, you be quiet, Sergio! You calm down!"

Joaquim trembled, tears rolling silently down his face, as he heard his father's voice getting louder.

"Who is she?" Irene demanded. "Who is this biscate, what is the whore's name? No—no, shut the fuck up and tell me her name. No, I don't give a shit. No! Who is she? I'll cut her tits off, I swear I'll—What?! I am not drunk! How dare you! How dare you call me a drunk, how dare you do this to our family! Think of our son! Think of what you're doing to Joaquim! No, Sergio! Shut the fuck up! Oh, you cheating bastard!"

Joaquim covered his ears, but it was no use—he could still hear it. He turned over onto his stomach and let go, sobbing hysterically into his pillow.

"Fuck you," his mother's voice screamed, sounding hoarse now. "No. No. I just told you no. Oh, fuck you, Sergio, I'm out of here—I'm leaving—I have to get out of this godforsaken house—I need a fucking drink... No. Give me the goddamn keys. I am not drunk! Give me the fucking keys! Yeah, yeah, whatever. No, Sergio... No, fuck you. I don't give a shit. Filho da puta."

Joaquim jumped as he heard the front door slam, and then the roar and screech of his mother's BMW tearing off into the night.

He got out of bed and silently tiptoed down the stairs, still choking on the occasional sob. In the living room, Sergio was sitting on the couch with his eyes closed, head tilted back. His black-rimmed glasses were in one hand and the other was rubbing his forehead.

Joaquim squeaked: "Papá?"

Sergio looked at his son. His eyes were red and his voice sounded choked: "Joaquim... baby, you should be in bed."

Joaquim ignored him. "What happened?"

"I've made a mistake," he said, averting his eyes. "I've made a huge mistake."

"Where's mamãe?"

"She went to stay with Inês and Roberto. Do you remember them? They're from Rio de Janeiro, too, and they live in River Oaks."

Joaquim curled up on the couch in a little ball and looked up at his father. "Is she coming back?"

"She might be gone for a few days this time. But she'll be back. She always comes back..."

The boy started to cry again, and Sergio rubbed his son's bare back. "Don't cry, meu filho. It's not your fault."

Joaquim wailed: "Why do you guys always fight?"

Sergio shook his head and choked a bit. "I don't... You wouldn't understand, Joaquim. But you have to know that we both love you very much."

"Do you love each other?"

Sergio's lips grew tight. "I don't really know anymore, baby." He massaged Joaquim's shoulders until the boy's sobs faded away, and then he said: "Do you want a glass of tea?"

Joaquim nodded. They moved to the kitchen and sat across the table from each other, sipping at their tea, never saying a word. And when it was done Sergio followed the boy up the stairs and tucked him back into bed.

Joaquim lay still in the darkness, feeling empty and worn-out and desperately alone, and he was filled with conflicting emotions. I want Eli, he thought. I need Eli.

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The doorbell rang early in the evening, and there was Joaquim, bundled up in warm winter clothes. He had obviously been crying, and Eli pulled him inside—"What's wrong, Joaquim? They're fighting again, aren't they?"

The boy nodded and swallowed hard.

"Oh, sweetie..." he pulled Joaquim into a sensuous embrace, and he heard the boy sniffle against his chest.

"I just—I just—I want them to love each other," the boy choked through the tight lump in his throat.

"It's okay," Eli said softly, "it's not your fault."

Sniff. "I know."

"You wanna go lay down for a while?"

Sniff. "Uh-huh."

Joaquim pulled off his scarf and coat and left them in a heap on the floor, and they traipsed up to Eli's room and lay down on the wide, soft bed. Eli lay on his side next to the boy, one leg across his and one arm across his chest, nuzzling his dark hair—beneath his lips and nose it felt so soft and smelled so sweet. He murmured: "It's okay to cry."

Joaquim broke down. He let out his fear and frustration and despair as Eli rubbed his chest through his shirt and held him close—and cautiously he began to kiss the boy's hair. The catharsis and the intimacy made Eli's heart swell, and he knew then that he loved the boy.

He was certain that Joaquim felt something for him, too, some kind of attraction or fascination or admiration—he recalled how the boy's wide eyes took him in every time he took off his shirt, he recalled how close he would cuddle under the blanket as they reclined to watch a late-night movie. He was young, yes—but it wasn't impossible, he knew from experience. He felt it for the first time aged nine—five years ago, came the dizzying realization—he loved Tyler then, as he did now—truly and deeply.

Joaquim, meanwhile, felt himself turning, drawing into Eli, wrapping his arms around the older boy and nuzzling his chest. His tears had dried up, and he now felt more wonderful than ever—that bright happy feeling, at the same time as that warm fuzzy feeling—he felt so very warm and loved and cherished and completely safe.

Eli pulled the boy's small body close as he tenderly kissed Joaquim's forehead, then his nose, one cheek and then the other, and then—his head tilted, his lips parted slightly, reaching for Eli's, and then they met—it was warm, slow, tender, loose—and Joaquim felt a surge of emotion in his heart, he felt euphoric, lighter than air, he felt like he and Eli had suddenly turned to beams of brilliant light and were fusing, becoming one—his lips tingled with ecstasy, and as soon as Eli pulled away Joaquim leaned forward—as if to say no, please don't stop—and Eli was happy to oblige.

Joaquim felt the stiffness in his cacete—no, his dick, that's the word Eli used—and it strained so hard that it ached, pushing through his jeans into the crotch of Eli's, but he didn't care—this moment was so close and intimate, he didn't care that he was revealing this secret—he trusted Eli so completely—

He felt Eli's tongue slipping between his lips, and somehow, instinctively, he knew to let it in, to let it worm around and explore his mouth, and when it touched Joaquim's tongue he knew to let it, to touch back, and their tongues swirled and massaged each other as the boys held each other tight, erections pushing against each other through layers of thick denim.

Eli and Joaquim lay there for hours, kissing tenderly and passionately, holding each other close and exploring each other's bodies—shirts were eventually slipped off so that they could feel the incomparable sensation of warm skin against warm skin, and all the while aching boyhoods pressed together—but Eli did not touch Joaquim's, directly or through his clothes, nor did he coax him to touch his—he knew the boy was swirling in a dizzy world of new emotions and sensations, and he didn't want to overload him.

Joaquim's lips and tongue grew very tired from this workout, so he just lay there motionless and allowed Eli's lovely lips to kiss his hair and face and neck, and that's how he fell asleep.

In the morning, Joaquim awoke and the first thing he felt was the beautiful warmth, and only then did he smell the intoxicating smell of the boy who he now knew loved him. He was startled to find that sometime in the night Eli's jeans had come off, they now dangled half off the bed, and through thin boxers Eli's nighttime erection dug into the younger boy's crotch.

Mine is hard too, Joaquim realized. His jeans were twisted and they felt terribly uncomfortable, so he thought—well, why not?—and he kicked them off, as gently as he could as to not wake Eli.

Yes, that felt much better—he could feel the heat and the strength of Eli's strong legs, and he caressed Eli's ankles with his toes, marveling at the feel of the scratchy hairs tickling him.

He was aware of Eli's erection—so much longer and thicker than his own, and so very hot.

Eli awoke then, and before he even opened his eyes he greeted Joaquim with a tender kiss, and he hummed at this wonderful feeling. He pushed his hips against the boy, slowly humping him, such was his teenage morning lust. He pushed his boxers down, and heard Joaquim gasp—he nearly did himself when his head touched the incredible warm silky skin just above the waistband of Joaquim's briefs. He felt the boy's hair against his chest.

"I can see your purple piece," Joaquim whispered.

"My head," Eli murmured, "it's called a head."

"How come?"

"The skin was cut off when I was a baby," he said.

Joaquim winced. "Didn't it hurt?"

"I don't know, I was a baby. I don't remember it."

"But why would they do that?"

Eli humped Joaquim's crotch once, depositing a dark, spreading spot of precum on the boy's strained white briefs. "For my people it's a spiritual thing. I don't really know why, to be honest... I guess you still have yours, huh."


"I've never seen one that was uncut before."

Joaquim took a while to realize what Eli was saying—but when he did, he did not hesitate to take down his own underwear, at last exposing himself fully to the warm boy he loved so much.

Eli whispered: "It's beautiful."

Joaquim smiled awkwardly, and blushed—he was delighted, thrilled, ecstatic, but he was unsure how to respond to this strange compliment. Eli reached over and took Joaquim's penis between his thumb and forefinger—the boy jumped in surprise, and Eli released it.

"No, it's okay," Joaquim said, "I liked it."

Eli touched it again, and Joaquim sighed and rolled onto his back. The older boy rubbed the concealed head in small circles with two fingers. He pulled down and watched as the skin rolled back to reveal the shining purple tip.

Joaquim took the organ away from him and pulled—the skin seemed to stretch open—and when it was halfway down the head Eli saw him wince slightly.

"Hey, relax," Eli said, "don't force it."

"No, it's okay," Joaquim breathed, "I can do it."

"Does it hurt?"

"No. It's just... tight. It needs to stretch. Then it will go down easily." He did so, manipulating himself slowly until finally the skin slid back over the ridge of his little purple head. He sped up a just bit now, and Eli watched, captivated, as the foreskin rolled back to completely reveal the head and then up to completely conceal it.

As Joaquim fondled himself, Eli ran his hands over every inch of the naked boy's warm silky skin, and when his explorations culminated in a gentle squeeze of the boy's scrotum he slipped his fingers up to take over the pleasuring of that beautiful little penis.

Joaquim laced his fingers behind his head and lay sighing and groaning at Eli's ministrations. This was the most absolutely wonderful thing he had ever experienced, in as many ways as he could think of. And he felt that something was different now, he felt a strange but wonderful euphoric pleasure building deep in his groin—very subtle at first, hardly noticeable, but as the minutes passed it grew stronger and more wonderful, and he was aware that he was beginning to make involuntary little squeaks and coos—God, it just felt so good.

Eli leaned over to kiss him, slipping the boy his tongue, and with every stroke Joaquim's buttocks flexed, pushing his straining cock up into Eli's hand. He knew, somehow, what the feelings meant—they were getting stronger now, so very strong, he could hardly contain himself from going completely spasmodic, and he knew that something huge was about to happen -

"Unngghhhh!" Joaquim moaned loudly with the rush and the thrill of his first orgasm, and Eli silenced him with a passionate kiss—Joaquim was too stunned to kiss back at first, but as the aftershocks and the warm sleepy euphoria set in, Joaquim regained muscle control and pushed his mouth so hard into Eli's it almost hurt.

Eli gave him five minutes to rest, and in that time Joaquim felt all the light of the universe as everything clicked into place. Yes, yes, oh God yes! That was everything he'd ever wanted—that contact, that motion, that indescribable feeling, the most intense feeling he'd ever experienced—that was what his dick had wanted him to do, that's what it wanted, that was everything he'd ever needed! Oh, how he loved Eli for introducing him to this most incredible and spiritual sensation—he kissed him again—yes, he was sure of it now, he loved him, he loved him with all of his heart!

Eli whispered: "You wanna do me now?"

Joaquim nodded through half-closed eyes. Eli sat up on his thighs, and the little boy was awestruck to examine the big teenage dick before him, with its exposed head—four and a half inches and a little more, with a small tuft of soft, sandy-colored hairs that Joaquim twisted and tugged and played with. When his hand wrapped around Eli's dick—his thumb could just barely touch his index finger—the bigger boy groaned and a heavy drop of something clear and thick fell to Joaquim's crotch. Eli smeared the stuff on the boy's balls—oh, that was incredible—and Joaquim began to masturbate the boy he loved.

Eli knew he wouldn't last long—he was pent up, ready to explode from the moment he woke up—and he shuddered and groaned as he fired an explosive load of his thick translucent white essence onto his ten year old lover—the first shot barely dribbled, but the second really shot, tracing a glistening white line from the boy's crotch to his left nipple—and the rest oozed out, covering Joaquim's hairless crotch.

Eli sighed as his climax came to an end, and he leaned down for a sensual kiss before lowering himself to lick the boy clean. Joaquim groaned and ran his fingers through Eli's hair when his hot, wet tongue bathed his tight hairless scrotum, licked all around the base of his still-hard dick, eating every drop of his own cum.

He swallowed and returned to kiss his lover again—this time a wet open-mouth kiss—and Joaquim was struck by a peculiar taste seeping into his mouth, salty and slightly sweet—he had no way of knowing that Eli had done that intentionally, he knew the boy would soon come to know and love that taste... just like Ian had, just like he had.

Eli sprawled out on his back with a satisfied sigh, and Joaquim leaned over to kiss his chest and lick his nipples and tug at the thin patch of soft colorless hairs under his arm. Eli hummed and ruffled the boy's hair—"Come on," he said, "let's go get some breakfast."

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Joaquim, eleven years old as of last Friday, felt conflicted and torn. He looked blankly at the open textbook in front of him, he fiddled with the pencil in his hand. There was the sound of papers rustling. A kid coughed, another sniffled.

He literally felt like he was being pulled to pieces. His house was falling apart. His mother had not returned for two weeks—and when she did, she did not speak to her husband. He had the entire conversation by himself as she stomped around the bedroom, throwing crumpled clothes into a suitcase, never saying a word. All the while, Joaquim leaned against the doorframe and watched.

"You don't have to do this," Sergio was saying. "Irene, I love you, and I honestly am sorry. I really do hate myself for what happened. I broke it off with her. We aren't even speaking anymore... I mean, outside of professional contact. I swear to you I will be faithful."

Irene sat on the suitcase and zipped it up, avoiding her husband's eyes. In her hand was a blue envelope.

She lugged the suitcase off the bed, and it hit the hardwood with a dull thud. Sergio tried to help her, but she shoved him, hard—hurt, stunned, he just stood there with his back against the wall and watched her strain to pull the case towards the door.

She knelt down, stroked Joaquim's hair, and kissed his forehead. "I'm going away for a little while," she said. "But I love you and I will be back soon." She kissed him again, shot her husband a quick glance and shook her head slowly, and there was the thump-thump-thump of the suitcase hitting each stair.

Still, Sergio leaned against the wall, rubbing his forehead and looking at the floor.

And then she was in a taxi and on a one-way flight to Rio de Janeiro.

Sergio cried a lot after that. He did it at night, when he thought the boy couldn't hear him. But he could, and Joaquim cried too. She had left before—but never like this. She had been in Brazil for a month now. She called every week or so and had a lengthy conversation with Joaquim. Sometimes she even exchanged a few words with Sergio. But every time Joaquim asked her when she was coming back, she dodged the question and changed the subject. Would she ever come back, he wondered, would their family ever be together again?


The boy flailed, and his chair scraped loudly against the tile as it lurched backwards.

Mrs. Thomas had a stern look, and every kid in the class was staring at him. "Joaquim, are you paying attention?"

"Yes, I'm sorry," he said, his face red.


"I'm sorry, I don't..."

She crossed her arms and shot him a laser look. "Mr. Oliveira, if you're not going to pay attention during my class then perhaps you should consider whether it's really worth your time even coming at all. This is very important material—consider your priorities, Joaquim. Now come and do problem number four on the board."

Slowly he stood up, and there was a rush as the blood drained from his head. He traipsed towards the chalkboard, and the only sound was scraping chalk as he wrote:

4)   351 ÷ 13

Slowly and carefully he worked through the arithmetic—he wrote the number 27 and drew a box around it, and then he looked up at Mrs. Thomas, whose arms were still crossed. She nodded sternly: "Correct. You may be seated."

He collapsed into his chair and fought back the urge to cry. It's okay, he thought, I have Eli. Eli keeps me warm and safe and happy. But as much as he loved the teenager—and he truly did—he could not convince himself that he would fill the gaping hole left by the collapse of his family. He asked to be excused to go to the bathroom. Mrs. Thomas sighed and begrudgingly allowed him to go.

Joaquim relieved himself in the urinal, and then he sat down in an open stall with his head in his hands. He wanted to cry, but the tears refused to come. He thought: maybe I've blown my crying fuse.

"Hey kid," came a quiet voice. Joaquim looked up and saw a brown-haired boy who he recognized as one of the bad kids from Mrs. Ivanovich's class. He was twelve—the oldest kid in the school—because he had been held back. "You wanna see something cool?"

Joaquim nodded.

"Come on." The boy led him out of the bathroom, out the side door of the school, and across the schoolyard. The winter air was crisp and dry, and with the warmth of the sun came the promise that spring was right around the corner. Joaquim knew that Mrs. Thomas would now be wondering where he was, but he didn't care. He didn't care because she didn't care, and neither did anyone else. Nobody cared about him... except for Eli. He would die if it weren't for Eli.

The boy led him to the steep grassy embankment of the bayou at the edge of the school property. He pointed twenty feet down to the water: "Look."

It was a dead dog—a big German Shepherd. It had obviously been dead for a while—its fur was matted and falling away in pieces. It was twisted around in an unnatural position, with its head against the ground and its front legs sticking straight up, its back legs resting on the ground in the same direction as its head. Joaquim could see pink guts and stark white bone. Flies swarmed around it, crows swooped down to peck at it.

"Pretty cool, huh?" the kid said.

Joaquim just looked at it, totally unaffected. "How did he die?"

"I don't know." The boy lay back on the steep embankment, and Joaquim did the same. "Man, I can't wait for winter break. I'm going crazy, I gotta get out of this shithole." He pulled something out of his pocket—a crumpled pack of cigarettes. He took one out and lit it, he blew the smoke in Joaquim's direction. The smell was comforting—it reminded him of his mother. He felt a lump in his throat.

The boy held the cigarette out to him. Joaquim felt a flash of fear—but then he thought: you know what, fuck it, who even gives a shit? And he took the cigarette, brought it to his lips with trembling fingers, and took a puff. He made a face—"No," the boy said, "you have to inhale." So he tried again—he pulled on the cigarette like it was a straw, and then took a sharp breath to suck the smoke into his lungs. He held it for a few seconds and then released, coughing hard—he watched as a thin grey cloud floated out of his mouth and nose. He tried again—the motions were more natural now, and he only coughed once.

The boy laughed as he took the cigarette. He unzipped his jeans, fished out his penis and began to lazily masturbate as the younger boy looked on.

Joaquim's head was spinning and his mouth was dry. His fingers felt very tingly—almost like they were asleep—and he thought: this feels good.

He knew he should have been intimidated by the situation, but he just didn't care. The nicotine buzz felt very relaxing, and the idea of breaking the rules made him feel excited and dirty. He watched as the boy jerked himself—his dick wasn't as big as Eli's, and Joaquim couldn't see whether or not it had any hairs, but it was certainly bigger than his own, and like Eli's the purple head was exposed. The boy passed him the cigarette, and Joaquim took another drag.

He reached down to undo his pants—he took in a breath of air when his boyhood was exposed to the crisp winter air. He fumbled with his tingling fingers to stimulate himself, and only a few seconds later the boy came gasping—he examined the thick clear stuff on his fingers, and then he rubbed it in Joaquim's hair.

Joaquim didn't care. He just lay in the grass and masturbated while the older boy did up his pants and took the cigarette—spent, he flicked it like a wad of paper and watched it sail down to the bayou.

The boy left without a word, and Joaquim just kept jerking himself. He kept going until he came, and then he went back into the school. Mrs. Thomas was furious—Joaquim where have you been—oh my god have you been smoking?!—and the next thing he knew he was suspended for a week.

"Was your dad angry?" Eli asked that night as they cuddled under the covers.

"He tried to get angry," Joaquim said, rubbing Eli's chest, "but the best he could manage was sad. He cried a little and that made me feel really bad about what I did."

"What about the other kid?"

"I don't know." He had opted not to tell Eli about the mutual masturbation. "Please don't be mad at me."

"I'm not mad, I just... I just don't understand. Why would you do that?"

"I don't know."

"Well what were you thinking when you did it?"

"I guess... I was just so mad about everything. I wanted to do something bad because I was angry that nobody cares about me anymore."

"Joaquim, how can you say that? I care about you, more than anything in the world."

"I know you do, and I love you, Eli, but... I mean my mom didn't even come home for my birthday, and my dad just mopes around the house being sad all the time. You're the only one who even notices me anymore."

Eli pulled him in for a tender kiss. He said: "Just remember that even if everyone else ignores you and everyone else forgets you, I'll always notice you and I'll always love you. Okay?"


"And no more smoking for you."

"I know," Joaquim grinned. "Can we play with our dicks now?"

Eli groaned in mock exasperation: "Well I guess if we really have to then I suppose I could deal with it." The boy giggled, and then Eli rolled him onto his back with a deep kiss, and began to kiss his way down the boy's body—he kissed everything he could reach: chin, neck, collarbone, all down his chest, briefly sucking each nipple, then down his belly.

Joaquim shivered. "What are you doing?"

"Tonight," Eli said between kisses, "I'm gonna show you something new."

Joaquim was exhilarated. What could it be? What could possibly be better than Eli's magic fingers?

There was the incredible sensation that he'd felt so many times before—Eli licking his balls, all around his smooth crotch. But this time was different—oh, wonderfully different—because this time Eli's tongue slid all the way up his dick—with two fingers he pulled the boy's foreskin back, and Joaquim cried out his ecstasy when Eli's tongue began to massage his incredibly sensitive head.

It was like nothing he could have imagined. A hundred percent pure pleasure—Eli's mouth was so hot and wet, his lips tight as they slid up and down, his tongue swirling all around Joaquim's aching boyhood.

Joaquim strained and spasmed and writhed and arched his back and bucked his hips and hugged Eli's head, and all the while he gasped and moaned and breathed hard.

The feelings came on so quickly this time, they came on so hard and so deep and so bright and intense—and the orgasm was so strong that Joaquim's whole body shuddered violently for its entire duration, his toes curled and his fingernails dug into his palms, and his whole body curled itself around Eli's head.

Eli came up and Joaquim continued to pant loudly, moaning, almost whining, and his small body twitched as the aftershocks tore through him. His body felt so limp and heavy and totally free from all tension and discomfort, his dick felt cool as the air came into contact with its slick wet flesh. His eyelids were so heavy he couldn't keep them open.

Eli said: "You wanna do me?"

"Um... maybe next time."

"It's okay. No rush... you don't have to do it until you're ready."

Joaquim took Eli's cock into his hand and started to jerk him, slow and loose and smeared with precum—just the way Eli liked it—and the motion produced wet sucking noises. Eli sighed and groaned his approval, caressing Joaquim's small body and absently fondling his still-hard boyhood.

Eli came shuddering, and then he took Joaquim's hand and brought it to his face to lick the boy's fingers clean. When he was done he started to scoop up the mess to eat it. He said: "D'you want some?"

"Just a little," Joaquim said, grinning. "I like how it tastes." He bent over and licked a gob off Eli's belly, savoring the strange flavor before swallowing.

Eli ruffled the boy's hair and caressed the boy's face from his ear to his chin, and he said: "You're so wonderful."

Joaquim smiled. "And you're awesome."

Eli put his hands on the boy's narrow shoulders and pulled him down on top of him, and he held him tight as they drifted off to a deep peaceful sleep.

Eli woke up to the exquisite pleasure of Joaquim slowly licking his morning erection. He sighed: "Oh, sweetie..." and he played with the boy's hair.

Joaquim said: "Can I do you now?"

"Absolutely," Eli replied. "Do me all you want."

Joaquim opened his mouth wide and took in as much of Eli's thick cock as he could—he got about halfway down before he stopped, and Eli groaned at the incredible feeling—Joaquim's mouth was so small and hot and tight and wet. The boy carefully kept his teeth out of the way and used his tongue generously, slowly sliding his lips up to the ridge of the head and then down as far as he could go, and then back up again.

Eli caressed the boy the whole while, enjoying the silky warm feeling of his skin, considering the slim contours of his narrow shoulders and neck and his taut little chest—and oh, Joaquim sucked him beautifully.

Joaquim came up and swallowed a big gob of saliva and precum. "I can't go anymore," he panted, "my mouth is too tired."

"It's okay," Eli said. "Just kinda... put your lips around the head and jerk it."

Joaquim did—this was much easier. He licked up every bead of precum that oozed out of Eli's slit.

"I'm gonna come soon," Eli said, "so if you don't want it in your mouth then come up when I pull your hair."

"It's okay," Joaquim said as precum dribbled down his chin. "You can make it go in my mouth if you want."

Eli sighed and pushed the boy's head down, groaning as it once again engulfed him. Joaquim let his hand go and started to suck again, and Eli writhed and curled as he reached a blindingly intense climax—Joaquim sucked down every drop.

And when Eli opened his eyes Joaquim was grinning up at him, his lips still connected to his cock by a glistening strand of saliva. Eli pounced on him, delving his tongue deep into the boy's throat—he tasted his own cum—and when he came up he groaned: "Oh my God you're so amazing Joaquim!"

Joaquim moaned and smacked Eli's butt—in retaliation Eli pinched his nipple and then dug his fingers into the boy's armpits—Joaquim howled with laughter as he flailed and fought and begged for mercy: "Stop! Stop! I'm gonna pee!"

So Eli relented—he got up and allowed him to leap for the bathroom. He lay back and smiled, stroking his belly as he listened to the boy pee.

Eli's eyes fluttered open when he felt Joaquim crawl back into the bed. Immediately—instinctively—he put an arm around the small warm body that cuddled up next to him—the boy just felt so wonderfully right in his arms.

He said: "I'd really like to meet Tyler some day. He sounds wonderful."

"You will," Eli promised. "I'm sorry you missed him at Christmas, but spring break isn't far away."

"That would be nice," Joaquim hummed. "We'll have so much fun together."

"We sure will," Eli sighed, feeling wonderfully alive as he gazed deep into Joaquim's dark eyes. "We sure will."

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