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I've got myself perched up on a gate next to Skyler. We're watching the kids do some mutton bustin' while they get ready for the second round of bull riding. Both of us are just caked in mud and dirt. Brian's seeded in this round somewhere. Brynn's off in the stands with one of her girlfriends.
This June breeze feels good. The sun's starting to go down a little, so it's not so damned hot. Once you get used to the livestock smell, you can kinda smell corn-dogs and funnel cakes being cooked somewhere.
"I get to see my boy in a few weeks." Skyler smiles at me. His kid is one of those things he lives for. You can see the light in his grin.
"They comin' over this way?"
"His mother wants to go to Deadwood and gamble for the weekend, for her birthday. Figured since they were going to be so close, I'd just take him for the weekend."
"That's cool. What all you guys gonna do?"
"I think we're gonna do what ever he wants to do." He grins. "Maybe I'll teach him how to fish. He's gettin' about that age, I think he'd really like it."
"I haven't taken off and just gone fishin' since the last time I went with Mattie. Just before I graduated High School."
"You should come with us! Hell, maybe we'll get everyone together. Do a barbeque and hang out by the lake or something."
I nod. "I'd be up for that."
Brian's about thirty feet away from us, getting up on the side of his chute. He's riding first, by the looks of things.
'Now back to the bull riding. Behind chute one there on the east side of the ring we have Brian Goodwell gettin' ready for a go at Scaredy Cat. We're just waitin' for the pull in the ring, there. We'd just like to remind you that our sponsor tonight is Spearfish Dodge, who invites you to come in for a test drive. Tell 'em Randy sent you, and they'll leave you with a parting gift just for takin' one of their brand new trucks for a spin. We're also being sponsored by Smokeless Tobacco this evening...'
Skyler chuckles. "That's a nice name for a bull."
"I wouldn't judge 'em too quickly."
"Yeah, I know. Who knows if he'll even stay on." He knocks me in the ribs. "He should be takin' lessons from you."
"He does pretty well for himself." I smile.
There's a loud crack that echoes against the grand stands. I think Brian's ride just slammed it's hoof into the chute wall.
"Shit, that didn't sound good."
Skyler nods. "Guess we'll see."
I hear Brian yell for the pull. As the gateman is yanking the chute open, his bull bucks in the chute. Knocks Brian forward, and he smacks his head into one of the rails in front of him. Knocks him out cold. The bull turns and bucks out of the chute. Brian rolls off the side. The rank stops bucking and runs after one of the clowns.
I don't even think twice. I hop off the fence and start running toward Brian with Skyler on my heels. I kneel down next to him.
He's got a gash above his eye that's gushing blood, probably an inch and a half long. I can see part of his skull. He opens his eyes and blinks a few times. Tries to sit up.
"Upp. Lay back. You're fine." I put a hand on his chest to keep him down.
He looks back and forth between Skyler and I.
An official kneels down and holds Brian's head between his hands, to keep it stabilized. There're two officials standing at his feet.
"He must'a rung my fuckin' bell pretty good. I still hear ringing." He chuckles and closes his eyes. Swallows.
"You'll be fine, man. We'll get Brynn and we'll meet you at the hospital. You need anything?" I squeeze his shoulder.
"I'm gonna need an aspirin." He smiles.
A paramedic kneels down next to us and starts putting on a neck brace. Another paramedic runs up beside Skyler with a back board. Skyler steps back to let him through, looks at me. "I'm gonna go get Brynn. We'll meet you there." He runs off.
Brian grabs the back of my arm. "Hey, bro, will you ride with me to the hospital?" He's bleedin' bad.
I nod. "Yeah, man." It's just part of this life, gettin hurt. It could have been a hell of a lot worse. We've all seen worse.
They get him strapped to the back board. I get one of the corners to help carry him to the ambulance.
"Okay, lift on three." The lady paramedic looks around to make sure everyone's ready. "One, two, three. Easy. Easy!"
As we're running off the arena, Brian holds his arm up and gives a thumbs-up.
'A good sign, Brian Goodwell is giving us a thumbs up. Let's give him a hand.'
The audience cheers.
I sit up next to him in the back of the ambulance. Guess all they can really do is keep pressure on his gash. Keep an eye on him and make sure he's not gonna slip under or something.
He tries to sound like he's Hispanic. "How do I look?" He pouts his lips.
I can only laugh. Get knocked out by a bull and the guy still has a sense of humor. "Other than the new hole in your head, you look fine."
"Oooooh. My beautiful face!"
"I'm beginning to think that bull knocked you for a loop."
He chuckles. "Got one hell of a headache, that's for sure."
It doesn't take us long to get there. As they're unloading Brian, the driver holds a bottle toward me that looks like hand soap.
"What is it?"
"Hand sanitizer. You've got blood all over your hands."
I look at my hands. Sure enough, they're covered in blood. I turn and crumple. Take a few clumbsy steps toward a trash can and barf. I don't know why it didn't bother me before. Maybe I just didn't think about it.
The driver walks up beside me. "You okay?"
I hurl again. Try to nod. I stand up, try not to think about it.
"Why don't you come in and let me check you out. Help you get cleaned up."
He puts a hand around my shoulders and leads me in. Shows me to the bathroom. "I'm going to talk to one of the nurses. I'll be right back."
I walk in and start washing my hands. It's all over my sleeves, too. The red thins out, runs down the drain like ink. I dry-heave. That nasty, acidic taste at the back of my throat. I drop my head and throw up in the sink. It's yellow fluid.
I get the sudden urge to check in on Mattie. I'm worried sick about him. I need to be with him, but I feel like something happened to him. Something in my soul's just corroding me...
There's a knock at the door.
I look at my sleeves and heave again. I try to stare into my eyes through the mirror while I roll up my sleeves. "Just a minute." I lean down and put my head under the faucet so I can get some water in my mouth, rinse it out a little. I dry my hands on my jeans. Walk to the door and open it.
It's the paramedic. "You gonna be able to hold it in?" He guides me to a chair across the hall. Sits me down.
"I think I'm about over it."
He puts a blood pressure collar on my arm. Starts squeezin' the little bulb. "How's your stomach?"
"Like someone kicked me in the gut."
He puts the business end of a stethoscope on my arm. Feels my wrist and looks at his watch. Twists the knob on the bulb and lets the air out. "Think it might be a flu or something?"
"No. No. It's the blood. I tuned it out until you mentioned it."
"The sight of blood makes you sick?"
"Few years ago my best friend tried to kill himself. I saw the bathtub after he done it. Never been quite the same since." Makes me sick just thinking about it.
He nods. "Gotcha." He puts a finger under my chin. Holds a flashlight up with his other hand and shines it in my eyes. Moves it back and forth. "Well, your friend's going to be fine. Stitches and a concussion. They want to keep him over night for observation." He clicks the flashlight off and puts it in his front pocket. Slaps my knee and stands up. "As for you, everything seems normal. You think you need to see a doctor for any reason?"
"Okay." He holds a hand out for me. Helps me to my feet. "Don't feel dizzy or lightheaded?"
"Not really. A little weak, maybe."
"I think you should go to the cafeteria and try to eat some Jello or something light. Maybe one of those naked protein shakes they have. Just sip at it." He pulls one of his gloves off, then holds it in his other hand and pulls the other one over it. Throws it in the trash can just inside the bathroom.
"Where do I go?"
"I'll show you to the waiting room." He leads me to a set of double doors. "Around the corner. Immediate left. Okay?"
I nod. "Think his girlfriend's going to be able to come in and see him?"
"After they get done with the stitches. Have her check in with the front desk."
"Thanks, man." I walk through the doors.
Brynn springs up and almost tackles me. Throws her arms around my sides. She's shaking like a leaf. "Is he okay?"
I giggle. "Brynn, he's fine. Stitches and a concussion."
"Did you see him?"
"Not since they took him off the ambulance. I, uh, got a little sick. The paramedic wanted to check me out."
She stands back and blinks at me. She feels my cheek. "God, you're really pale."
"Blood really freaks me out. I was covered in it, and I didn't think nothin' about it until the paramedic said something." I squeeze her hand. "They said they'll let you see him when they're done sewing him up."
"Something's bothering you."
"I feel a little weak, that's all."
"You're worried about Matthew, aren't you?"
"It was the blood."
She squeezes my arm. "Why don't you go try to call him?"
"I'd rather make sure Brian's okay. I'll sit here and keep you company."
"I'm not going anywhere." She nods toward the door. "Go call him."
I sigh. Look over. I walk toward the entrance and stand outside. Fish my cellphone out of my pocket and dial Mattie's number.
"Hey. It's Matt. Leave me a message and I'll call you back."
# # #
There was this idea that 681 should be forced into retirement. He was off the circuit for a year, but somehow he ended up back in the chute. It started as a rematch show, like some boxing match you'd see in some fancy Vegas casino. The show sold out, bets were placed, the show went on.
The title rider didn't make it very far out of the chute before he was bucked off. They gave him a re-ride, but he only stayed on for five seconds.
# # #
Brynn drops me off at my truck a little past seven. I plug my phone into the charger because the battery died. I'm horrible at keeping the damn thing juiced up. I turn it on to see if I missed any calls from Mattie.
The phone beeps. 8 Missed Calls. I flip the phone open. They're all from Rook.
SHIT. I have a date with him tonight. After I spent some time with Shadow over Thanksgiving, I was about to come home and call it good with Rook. I tried to think about what I was gonna say for about a month. Just kept workin' out with him, we went on like friends, like there wasn't anything special going on. There wasn't any sex involved from then to now. I figured if we could keep going like that, things'd be peachy.
Last weekend he asked if we could go out on a date. Not just hang out and get some dinner or something. A fuckin' date. Like he had some middle-school crush or something. I said yes, just to see where it'll take me. If it doesn't go well, I can always bail ship.
I hit the redial button.
He answers after the first ring. "Hey."
"I am so sorry. Brian was thrown off his bull in the chute and he cut his head open. Knocked him clean out. I was with Brynn at the hospital. She just dropped me off at the truck."
"Damn. Is he okay?"
"Stitches and a concussion. I think he'll be fine, if his girlfriend doesn't kill him, first. She was pretty pissed when she saw him. I didn't know she hated him bull riding so much."
"Glad he's not seriously hurt."
"He's gonna have a hell of a scar. Hey, I'm gonna run home and clean up. I'm still filthy from my ride. You okay with a late movie?"
"That's cool. I'll see you in a bit." He hangs up.
I start for home. I'm still kinda zonked out from everything that happened. I wish Mattie would answer his damn phone. At least quit disappearing on me. Just for my own piece of mind, I try to call him again. I get the voicemail. I don't know why, but I'm starting to get pissed at him. If he doesn't want to talk to me, he could tell me and stop ignoring me. I'd feel better about things if he did. I could stop banging my fuckin' head against the wall.
I pull into the parking lot. Leg it to my apartment and start stripping down right as soon as I'm through the door. Throw my dirty jeans into the hamper with the other shit that needs to be washed. Jump in the shower and foam up the loufa. Scrub the dirty right off of me. I look down over my body. Got a few little chest hairs that decided to grow in over the last few weeks, just sitting there between my pecks. I think they look stupid. I'm almost tempted to shave them off. The only other hair on my torso is my love trail. I like that just the way it is. I can't even grow a goatee, yet. If I try, it looks all splotchy and thin. I get one of those skeezy hick mustaches. I think I'd like a little hair on my chin.
If Dad's any indication of things to come, I won't grow up to look like a fuckin' yeti.
Shit, guess it's time to trim the hedge, too.
I get done with myself in the bathroom. Dry myself off and go to my bedroom naked. Mattie took me shopping when we went down to Denver. He helped me pick out a pair of jeans like he wears. I don't wear them often because they cost me seventy-fuckin'-dollars, but they look good when I do wear them. I don't look so much like a Wrangler bumpkin. I find a tight tee-shirt to go with it. Put on some boxer-briefs, some long socks. Get my nice brown boots on. Think I'm gonna try to fix my hair up instead of wearing a hat.
Takes me some fidgeting, but I get it to look pretty decent. Not bad. This green shirt really makes the green in my eyes pop. Almost looks like I'm wearing colored contact lenses or something.
I hoof it to Rooks apartment, since he's just three buildings over. Knock on his door.
He answers, looks me over top to bottom. "Now, who left this hot cowboy on my doorstep?"
"The FedEx guy. He's in the parking lot, if you wanna catch him."
"I might just have to inspect the package for damage." He grins.
"Let me grab my keys." He backtracks into his apartment, comes back out. We walk to my truck.
"Where are we going?"
"Let's get something to eat, first. Outback okay with you?"
"I could go for that." I unlock the door.
Rook hops in before I even get around the truck. We get off the campus before Rook speaks. "Think you could give me another chance?"
I look over at him, then back to the road. "With what?"
"Well, with us. I think you have a lot to offer."
I laugh. "I do? Like what?"
"You're different. I like that."
"Well, let's take it a step at a time and see where it goes."
I nod, shrug. "Maybe."
He sits quietly for a minute. "I got the painting done."
"The one of you."
"Wow. That took you a while."
"It's the biggest canvas I've painted. You can't rush art."
"Shit. I ain't art."
"I'll have to show you later."
I nod. "I'd like to see it." I take a right off the road and pull into the parking lot outside the Outback. We go in and get seated pretty quick. It's not very busy for a Friday night.
The waitress steps up to the table. "Hi, I'm Becca. I'll be taking care of you this evening. What can I start you off with to drink?"
Rook looks over and smiles. "Guinness for me."
She looks at me.
"Just a coke." I scratch the back of my hand. She reminds me a little of Brooke.
She smiles at Rook. "Can I see an ID?"
Rook fishes out his wallet and hands her his license.
She takes it, squints, then hands it back. "I'll be right back, guys."
"A Guiness? Never figured you much for the beer type." I grin.
"Gotta have a nice dark beer with a steak. It's the only reason I ever come here, anyway. Get a little shrimp skewer with it. Nothing closer to heaven on earth. One of the simple things make life worth it."
I laugh. It's a different side to him. He might just be all right.
He smiles. "What?"
I look around. "Huh?"
"You've got this funny grin on your face."
"Just thinkin' bout some things."
"I don't think I'm gonna tell you."
"'Cuz I don't wanna." I stick my tongue out at him.
Out of nowhere, this chick sits down and slides in next to Rook. Hugs him. He looks about as surprised as I am. She's about our age, maybe a little younger.
"My god, Rob! It's so good to see you!"
I can't wait to see the look on her face when she realises it's not who she thinks it is.
There's something with Rook, though. He looks a little worried.
The girl sits back. "I never thought I'd just run into you like this! Your parrents totally freaked out when you left. Do they know you're here?"
He shakes his head. Looks down at the table, and a little to the side toward her. It's like he's looking at her through the corner of his eye. "I'd rather they didn't." He looks up at me. He can probably hear my thoughts right now, that my head is about to explode. "Jen, this is my friend Lem."
She nods at me. "It's nice to meet you." She squeezes Rook's bicep. "Did you know your parents called the cops? They were so mad when they came back and told them you were fine. They asked where you were, but the cops said you didn't want to be found." She puts her hands in her lap. "Your arms are huge. I almost didn't think it was you."
"The cops can't really do anything about it. I was eighteen when they tracked me down. I didn't want other people running my life anymore."
"Oh." She sounds a little disappointed. "Hang on, let me tell my mom I'm going to be a bit." She gets up and walks off.
I lean forward on my elbows. Chew on my bottom lip for a second. "Uh, what the hell was that about?"
He tears a packet of sugar open and dumps it on the table. Starts drawing in the sugar with his finger. "Hey, you have skeletons in your closet, I've got some in mine."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"You try growing up under an abusive Mormon father. In front of everyone in the church, he was perfect. He could do no wrong. I was shit, and he wouldn't let me forget it. Everyone in the family was expected to take it. I was the only one who wouldn't."
I see Jen walking back over. She sits back down next to Rook. Kind of traps him against the wall.
Rook talks soft. "Hi."
"My mom wants you to come over and say hi."
He hisses quietly. "I guess she's going to tell my parents you guys ran into me, isn't she?"
"There isn't anything wrong with that. It's not to late to fix things up."
"You know nothing of what my life was, Jen."
"Everyone knew you had a really good life. Your family was perfect. You know how many guys wanted to be in your shoes?"
"Life was perfect? Was it? Well, where the hell was I?"
The waitress comes back. Sets the beer in front of him. Black abyss, inch of froth, a little dripping down the side of the glass. "I'll be right back to get your order."
Jen stares at the beer. "Are... are you going to drink that?"
He nods. "Jen, I'm not some LDS slave." He sounds a little irritated.
"God's watching you."
"Well, was he watching every time my dad raised a hand to me, or did he turn his back like everyone else?"
"It's a sin to lie."
He laughs. "If there's a party in hell, I'm sure I've made the guest list a long time ago." Says it smooth as water off a duck's back. He takes a long chug off his beer.
She looks stung. "I don't mean to be nosey, Rob, but what about everything you left behind? Doesn't it bother you could lose your family, or the support of the church?"
He slams his glass down on the table. Talks low. "You think I really care about them or the fucking church? It's a cult, Jen. All of it." He takes a sip. "Get out while you still have your sanity."
"I can't believe I just heard that come out of your mouth." She shakes her head.
He folds his hands on the table. "Can you let me out? I need to use the restroom."
"You're not mad at me, are you?"
"I could say I expected better from you, but for some reason, I think you'd say the same thing. I need to pee."
She slides off the bench and lets him out. Sits back down and looks up at him. "I want to catch up, if it's okay. I don't know how much longer I'm going to be in Spearfish."
He shrugs. "Give me a minute." He walks toward the back of the restaurant.
I totally feel like a fly on the wall right now. This is a strange feeling. I don't think I've ever really seen Rook this pissed off. Or Rob. Whoever he is. I'm thinking his license is a fake. Makes me wonder what else I don't know about him. Where the fuck do I find these people?
She's looking across the table at me, now.
I really don't know what to say.
"So, where do you know Rob from?"
I lean back, scratch my head. "I know Rook from school."
She blinks at me. "Rook?"
I shrug. "That's what his drivers license says."
"So, I take it you knew him from a previous life?"
"We used to go to the same church. I was girlfriend's best friend before he flew the coop. There were all those rumors after he disappeared. People saying he went funny. I never really believed them until now."
She sighs. Sounds kind of cold when she tells me, like it's somehow my fault. "Yeah. When he was seventeen, he ran away. Nobody heard anything from him for several months. His parents had the police looking for him. From what I know they got into this pretty big fight because they were worried he was turning his back to the church. It's all he used to live for."
I chuckle. "I'm sorry for bein' skeptical, but it's hard for me to see him as a church mouse."
"He's not the same as he used to be. I think it was people like you that changed him."
"Heh. What, bull riders? I don't see him riding any livestock, sweet-pea."
"The bible says it's a sin. It says gay people like you are an abomination."
"What the hell gives you the idea I'm gay? Do you all go around accusing people of being queers?"
She smiles. It's almost rude. Slides out of the booth and gets ready to walk off. "I don't have to justify myself to you."
And she's gone.
I'll be glad when Rook gets back. I just want to get the hell out of here.
# # #
I waited for Rook at the restaurant last night. Sat there like a dip-shit for almost an hour.
He up and fuckin' left me. Just walked out. Didn't bother to tell me he was going. Didn't call my phone. Not a damn thing. I had dinner alone, payed the bill, and tried to call him when I left. No answer. I checked the bathroom, asked around to see if anyone saw him. One of the waitresses said he left.
I was so mad, I just went home and went to bed.
My clock alarm's been going for ten minutes, now. I figured if I ignored it, it would go fuck itself and shut itself off. I reckon I'll go over to Rook's and see if I can get an answer out of him. He better have a really good fuckin' explanation...
I jump in the shower. Jerk it, rinse, lather, repeat. Throw on some clothes and wander out the door. Walk over toward his apartment. I knock on the door pretty hard. Takes a few minutes for his roommate to answer. He just kind of stares at me.
He shakes his head. "Rook packed his shit and took off last night. Said he wasn't coming back."
"I think you're full of shit."
He shakes his head. "You can look in his room, if you want. All that's there is his mattress and a painting. Don't know what to tell you, man."
I walk past him, toward Rooks room. True enough, his stuff is gone.
The painting's leaning against the wall, back side facing out. There's a note taped to it that only says For Lem.
I turn it over and look at the front. It's a decent painting. He was being diplomatic - painted my dick bigger than it really is. You can't really tell it's me, unless you know me really well. I can't be seen with something like this. I set it up against the wall again.
"You going to take that?"
I turn around, face his roommate. "I don't even know what I would do with it." I walk past him, toward the front door. "I might come back for it later. I gotta think about a few things."
# # #
Mattie doesn't pick up his phone. Damn. I haven't heard a peep from him in almost four months, and I'm beginning to wonder what he's keeping from me. Rook's little stunt isn't setting that well with me, either. I'm beginning to wonder if it's me. If people just can't stand to be around me. Hell, I can't stand myself sometimes.
I figure I'll check online. See if maybe he left his AIM on. I could always send him an email and beg him to call me. I don't know which way's up anymore. Hurts when someone just up and takes off on you like that.
Takes my computer a few seconds to switch on. I click on the little AOL icon and wait for it. Nobody I know online except for Jarrod. I think he just leaves his computer on all the time.
A message window pops up.
I sit back and think. BullRiderLem: who is this?
BullRiderLem: i didn't no u had my aol
InvertLineSky88: Brynn gve it to me.
InvertLineSky88: what you doing 2day?
BullRiderLem: should probably study for finals. nothing rite now.
InvertLineSky88: i should too. heh.
BullRiderLem: i dont feel like doing shit today
There's a long delay. I don't know why, but I open the internet browser. Pull up Google. Rook Corvus. Search. The top link is for an online dictionary. Most of this shit's on birds.
A gregarious Eurasian crow with black plumage and a bare face... Rook did have a few crow paintings around his house.
It all comes to me at once. That little shit!
AOL starts flashing in my program bar at the bottom. I click on it.
InvertLineSky88: you should let me suck your dick.
I lean forward. Squint at the screen. BullRiderLem: uh----pardon?
InvertLineSky88: want me to come over?
This isn't his brand of humor.
BullRiderLem: very funny. are you drunk?
InvertLineSky88: no. :) i'll do it. you should let me.
BullRiderLem: who the fuck is this?
InvertLineSky88: i told you, its skyler
BullRiderLem: seriously, stop yanking my chain.
InvertLineSky88: want me to yank your chain?
I laugh my ass off. BullRiderLem: what the fuck got into you?
InvertLineSky88: nothing yet. let me come over
BullRiderLem: you know you don't have to ask to come over
BullRiderLem: but bring whatever it is you are smoking!!1
InvertLineSky88: only thing i wanta smoke is your pole
BullRiderLem: skyler, dude, quit farting around and come over.
InvertLineSky88 signed off. 3:45:15 PM.
I wonder what the hell got into that kid. Something's up. I just know I'm going to be the butt of one of his and Brian's pranks. I bet Brian got bored, since Brynn ordered him to stay on the couch and rest.
What if that was Taylor? Shit, he could come over here with a gun or something. There's a warm feeling, like trouble, all over my body. I pick up my phone and call Skyler. If it wasn't Skyler, then he could come over and help me deal with whoever it was.
He picks up. "What, can't wait five minutes? I'm almost there."
"It was you..."
He laughs. "Yeah... you should trust me."
"I was just thinkin' it could have been Taylor or someone tryin' to pull some shit on me or something."
"Are... are you feeling okay? Sure you're safe to drive and everything?"
"I told you I'm not drunk."
"Could've fooled me." There's a knock on the door. I look through the peep-hole.
It's him with his phone up to his ear.
"You asshole. You're playin' a joke on me."
"Open the door. These're heavy."
I hang up and pull the door open.
He puts a twelve pack in my arms, walks in. "They're all in there, if you don't believe me."
"Dude, if you wanted to hang out, you didn't have to put on a show. How the hell did you get here so fast?"
He laughs. "I have AOL Messenger on my phone. It dinged at me when you came on. I was already on my way over. Help yourself to those." He nods at the beer carton.
"You want one, too?"
"Yeah." He smiles.
I rip open the carton and take two bottles out. Hand him a bottle and sit down on the other side of the couch. Enough room between us you could park a bus. I open the cap and take a swig.
We stare at each other for a minute.
I giggle. "What?"
"So?" He grins. Blushes.
"You gonna let me?"
I feel my dick jump. I need to adjust myself because it's starting to hurt, but I don't want to do it in front of Skyler. I figure he's still messin' around with me. I'm just waiting for the punchline. "Dude, stop jokin' around."
"I ain't jokin'. You should let me suck your dick."
We stare at each other for a while longer. This is so fuckin' weird, it's unbelievable. He takes a sip of his beer.
I take a sip of mine.
"Told you, you should trust me."
"I'm about to call Brynn, 'cuz I think someone hit you in the head with something heavy."
He laughs. "Why don't you beleive me?"
"Because this isn't like you." I try to smile.
"You don't think I'd do it, do you?"
I shake my head. "Quite frankly, no."
He nods back over his shoulder. "Stand up. Come over here."
I look at my feet, curl my toes into the carpet. Just think about this for a minute. With everything going on, it just beats the fox that much more. As Grandma would say, I'm flummoxed. I'm not nervous. Confused? Yeah, a little. I'm still waiting for the joke.
I sigh. Stand up and walk across the living room. Walk back to the couch and stand a little in front of him. "Seriously, what's the joke? You wouldn't suck cock."
"And you wouldn't just whip it out." He kind of nudges me on with his eyes.
I remember an old joke Jason used to play on Mattie, just for the shock value of showing Mattie his balls. Maybe I could one up Skyler, before he even pulls his prank. "By the way, you get those CD's?"
He looks at me funny. "Um, what CD's?"
"See deez nuts?!" I pull down the front of my pants and lift up the front of my underwear so my balls fall out.
He busts up laughing. Before I can fix myself, he reaches over and grabs me by the underwear band. Tries to pull me forward, and I almost end up falling on him. He leans forward and just takes one of my balls in his mouth. Starts sucking it.
"Shit. You weren't joking." I feel strange, now. This is just awkward. "Okay, okay. Wait a minute here."
He looks up at me.
I fix myself up right quick. Sit down next to him.
"What? I thought that's what you wanted."
I try not to chuckle. "Skyler, just because I've done it don't mean that's all I do. I'm... well... shit Skyler. This is just fuckin' weird."
"You have a kid. You ain't ever done anything that would even make me think you'd do something like this."
"You ever heard you ain't supposed to judge a book by it's cover?"
"Yeah, but this is just random."
"What, don't you think I'm sexy?"
"Well, not to put too fine a point on it, yeah. But..."
"I'll take it."
I sigh. "Skyler, you sure about this?"
"You know how long it took me to say that?"
"Well," I chuckle, "you could have taken me to dinner and a movie first."
It's the first time I think I've seen him blush.
"I just never saw this side of you."
"I keep myself in check." He leans back, sips his beer.
"I tried once or twice back in high school. This guy I used to know." He smiles. "Then I messed around with my ex. Couldn't keep my dick to myself and I ended up with a kid and a child support payment."
"Why didn't you ever say anything?"
"Where would I even start?"
"Does anyone else know?"
He shakes his head. "Nope. Like to keep it that way."
We sit in quiet for a minute.
"So," he wiggles his eyebrows, "want me to suck you off?"
I throw my head back and laugh. We sit and stare at each other a little more. He's not far from a smile. There's something I find a little funny about this. I think of something to say...
"You're blushing." He grins.
I laugh again. "Show me yours. I might just show you mine."
He laughs. "Maybe later." He grabs at the front of my pants. Gets them undone before I can even blink. We keep staring each other in the eye while he rubs me through my underwear. "Can I?"
I blink at him. "I aint sayin' yes, I ain't sayin' no." I'm rock hard.
He leans over and puts his face in my lap. I can feel him kissing it through my underwear. Puts his hand through the leg hole and rubs my nuts.
This feeling... it reminds me of those times Mattie and I'd do this back in high school with Ronnie in the next room over. A complete fucking rush.
He pulls down the front of my undies. Licks from my nuts all the way to the head. Puts the head in his mouth and sucks it like he's trying to get a chrome shine.
God, I wish I'd known about him before I knew Rook.
He goes down on me. All the way down. I must be half way down his neck, the way he's going. Doesn't even choke. Just goes up and down slowly. I'd almost forgotten how much I like this. How good it feels. Those warm, wet lips. His tongue's a thief.
He's all the way down on me when I decide to cop a feel of my own. He kind of stops, stays down on me for a second, then goes back to business. I just squeeze the bulge. I could stand it, a taste of Skyler. I've thought about him before. A few times. In the shower, hosing the walls with my seed. In bed. On the couch. Never did I think he'd be here sucking me off.
I try to put my hand down the front of his jeans. He kind of scoots his hips away from me, keeps sucking. I get the front of his fly, get it unbuttoned an reach for it again. He gets up on the couch and lies on his belly, cock still in his mouth. I go around the back of the couch and try to get it under him, he just kind of rolls away. Try for the other side, but he just does the same thing. Is this what they mean by hard to get or what?
He lifts his head off me. "Donnn't." It's more of a whimper than anything. A tease. He just goes back to sucking me off. He goes for a few seconds and puts one of his knees out to the side of him for leverage. Opens him up a little. I try to grab him, but he collapses on my hand.
He stops, looks up at my eyes. "Because." He jerks me slowly.
"But I wanna!"
He purrs, smiles at me with this cheshire grin. "Nooooo." He playfully bites my dick.
"Why not? I want to return the favor." I wink at him.
"Nothin' special down there."
"You're full'a shit."
I try to get at it again. He just keeps shifting, blocking. I start ticking his sides.
"Son of a bitch!" He tackles me over. We both take a trip over the side of the couch and start wrestling around on the carpet. He keeps trying to pin me down, but he doesn't realize I've got a lot more arm strength than he does. He squeezes his legs around my sides pretty hard.
Takes me some work, but I get ahold both his wrists with one hand. Try my damnedest to keep him put. Reach my hand right down and grab him square in the junk.
He smiles, squirms. "No. Don't do that!"
I guffaw. "Bull fuckin' shit you are!"
"I'm hung like a sprung gerbil."
I look up at him, in his eyes. Try to be serious for a second. "Think I care about something like that?"
He blushes deep red.
I move my hand to his underwear band. He grabs my wrist. "It's embarrassing."
His smile fades a bit. He sighs, lightens his grip a little. He's not the tallest guy in the world. I wouldn't expect him to be hung like a Tijuana donkey or something. His eyes are sweet, pleading. Small or not, thank God for his good looks.
I pull the front of his undies down. His dick springs out and stands straight up. He's a little smaller than Rook, but not by much. A little thinner, maybe, but just as long. It's not as small as he makes it out to be. He's got some nice, big nuts, though.
I grip it and tug a few times. "Stand up."
He looks at me like he's confused.
I just nod him on.
When he stands up, I pull his pants and everything down. Get on my knees and start licking his balls. They're a little sweaty. Sweet but strong, like a hot summer day. He smells and tastes like a man. Oh, God!
He moans, bends his knees a little like he's gonna buckle.
I kiss the side of his cock. Catch a hint of piss. He smells like Jeff in a lot of ways, but his cologne's different. So's his taste. He rolls his hips, starts face-fucking me.
I keep sucking, work my pants off. Kick them off to the side. I lay back, guide him around so we're ready for a sixty-nine. Doesn't take much to get him where I want him.
He's got his knees around my ears. Works me like he's makin' up for lost time.
I might just surprise him yet. Put my hands around the back of his legs. Pretty smooth ass from where I'm sittin'. I pull apart a little at his thighs, below his butt. I think better of ot. He's not filthy or anything, but he could stand a little cleaning. Normal wear and tear. I'd still fuck him, though.
Mattie being a clean freak was a luxury. I wouldn't have thought twice about throwing my face in there, if this were him. Guess Skyler's a normal guy. Maybe we could take a shower together and I could scrub him up good. I'm good with this, for now.
My jaw starts getting sore after a few minutes, but he's workin' me quicker, breathing harder. Guess he's getting close. I've been trying my hardest to hold it in. My nuts are practically in my throat, now. I start moaning, to let him know I'm close.
He lets out this loud moan and shoots off in my mouth. It's throbbing like a jackhammer. Squirting down my throat. It's enough to make me go.
I have to swallow a lot. Throb after throb, this ain't stoppin'. I haven't ever seen a person cum as much as he is right now.
Finally, it sputters out. I feel him spitting mine out on my belly. He's not even sucking me any more. He's just got this look on his face. Looks down over his shoulder. "Could have warned me."
"I thought that's what you wanted."
He stands up. Looks me over. "Let me get you a paper towel or something." He goes into the kitchen and comes back out with the roll. Squats down and cleans me up. Puts the first napkin down on the floor and tears of another one. He looks over at my face and blushes.
I pull him over on top of me again and kiss him.
He jerks his head back, looks a little panicked.
"I, um... no kissing. It don't feel right."
He puts his head down on my chest and hugs my sides. Just lies there and breathes.
Takes him a minute. "I don't know. I swore to myself I'd never do this again."
"You feel guilty?"
"There's nothing wrong with it once in a while. I can keep us a secret."
He mumbles. "Maybe."
I think for a second. "Wanna take a shower together?"
He shrugs. Looks up at me. Rests his chin on my sternum. "Okay." He smiles at me, wiggles his eyebrows.
I smile. He don't know what he just got himself into, and I don't plan on letting him go home without getting a chance to ride him around the bedroom first.
# # #
Things are pretty quiet for the start of Summer. Well, considering Skyler comes over to hang out every chance he gets. He still has to live with appearances; he calls it puttin' in his time with Brian. I don't even think he tells Brian that we've been hanging out so much this last week.
I ran out of condoms a few days ago.
When Skyler called to see if I wanted to do something, I asked him if he'd go to the pharmacy and get some. Told me he'd be right over with a fresh box of finger cots. Probably didn't help that I called his dick a cute little thing when we were joking around. It might not be big, but the guy can go like a fuckin' rabbit. I still haven't been able to talk him into letting me do him, though. Every time I do, it seems like he's a little closer to saying yes.
I'm trying to figure out how to tell my Dad and Momma something. And Mattie, too. I know Jason'd kick my ass if he was anywhere in the United States, and he probably will. I've been rehearsing it in the mirror. Think I'm going to start with Chase, see what she thinks. At least she'll keep quiet.
Mom, Dad, I'm dropping out of school for a while. I'm gonna come back and finish. It's not forever. I was thinking about some things, and I think I could really make it on the pro bull circuit. I want to try it until the end of the season and see how I do. If I don't do well, then I can come back for spring term and finish. It'd just be for the first part of the year. Momma always said maybe I should take a gap year.
I lean back and think about it. Look at the blinking line in Microsoft Word, read back over my little speech. Mom's gonna be the hard sell. I've already got a riding permit. I'm doing my first series ride in two weeks. I've already made up my mind. Most of my shit's packed and ready to be put in storage. If it goes well with Momma, I could probably just take it home and stash it there.
My email beeps at me. Probably some asshat trying to sell me Viagra.
I sigh, click on the email.
Things are okay here. Hope you are too. Been really busy with work and school. I'm working two jobs starting next week, and I won't really have a chance to take any time off for the summer. Maybe you could get down here sometime? There's this nightclub here that I think you would like. There are lots of people like us there. Two guys can kiss, or hold hands and nobody cares. Let me know if you're coming through. I want to see you.
I miss you.
Something doesn't feel right about it. I guess I should probably try calling him instead of emailing him back. No surprise, he doesn't pick up. I'll deal with him later. I got to wrap this up quick because Skyler's coming over later.
I dial home. Put the phone up to my ear and sigh. I just hope Chase picks up first.
Please let me know what you think of the story. Send critiques to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject "Lem.". Thanks for reading!