I thought I had a masterplan.
Watertight. Figured out. So simple and obvious I practically savoured its fool-proof flavour like a fine wine, finishing our champagne pizza lunch. Could almost taste the excitement bubbling on my tongue, knowing what this decision might bring to fruition, as Jason and Steve bid Richard and I goodbye.
Steve first, pulling me against his muscular chest, embracing me and kissing me long and deep with tongues but no words. Then Jason. He wrapped his arms around me from behind, around my waist, kissing my neck and whispering in my ear:
`Be a good boy and take your medicine. Better safe than sorry.'
Giggling, I pushed my arse into his groin, twisted my neck and kissed him on the lips. Told him he had nothing to worry about. Then, thanking me, they turned to Richard, kissed him on the lips, one after the other, and left.
As the front door clapped softly against its expensive frame descending a spell of silence, everything seemed so clear. I even went as far as silently congratulating myself, stood grinning at my lover in the hall of his vast, glamorous apartment.
The moment I got back to my student block, Harry and I were going to have a little chat. I would sit him down, look him in the eye and tell him we were over.
Over for obvious reasons. That I could barely stand to be around him and cheated on him incessantly. But for something more important. Something that, until now, I hadn't had much success with.
And no, I don't mean doing the right thing.
Truth was, while I didn't see how Harry would ever meet Richard, I'd learned my lesson the hard way when I was eighteen. Already knew that the world could be very small, and men love to talk as much as women. I couldn't deal with a repeat performance of that kind of shit show.
In my eyes, Harry was a ticking time bomb, primed to rip open a giant hole in Richard's, and in extension, his friends' perception of me. To stop my mind racing with potentially catastrophic scenarios, breaking it off now was the only thing I could do.
Plus, without Harry distracting me, I could concentrate on what mattered most: Daddy Dick.
I knew he was already falling madly and deeply in lust with me. Buying me clothes and offering watches. Taking me for meals and introducing me to his friends. Now all I needed to do was ramp it up. Step on the gas.
Get real dirty. Let him tie me up and slap me around some more. Spend as much time with his mates as possible. Introduce toys. Double fucking. Piss play. Things they'd only ever seen in porn. Let them film it. Play it in the background as they tried the next position. The new way to use my young, supple body, even if it hurt. I was going to take it. Take every thrust and slap and choking, degrading hand.
Whatever they want.
Because then, when the whole group adored me and couldn't get enough, Richard would have no choice but to bring me in. Make me his for good. Dote on me. Treat me like a prince. Move me into his apartment. Give me the home I've always wanted.
The life I deserve.
I couldn't wait. Even as Richard poured fresh champagnes, I pictured how I would do it. Saw myself sitting Harry down and spilling. No bullshit, no bollocks, just straight up. Explain how he was suffocating me and I needed space, skimming over the fact that, from my standpoint, we never began.
Obviously, he wasn't going to take it well. He was going to try and change my mind. Beg me not to break his heart, pathetically attempt to convince me he would back off. But we lived next door to each other divided by a wall thinner than Richard's cock. And we would continue to do so for the rest of term, which was four whole months. It would never happen. Not in a million years.
I would have to be firm, which I had no qualms about being. And while I wouldn't say I was looking forward to it, I was unphased. We were nineteen. Way too young to be in a serious relationship.
Everyone knows that.
But I still needed it to be believable, so it would be quick. Didn't want any lingering. No moping or whinging or prolonging. I needed him to think I'd spent the whole day thinking. Needed him to know we were over.
So, I stayed at Richard's longer. Helped him clean up as the pizza in our stomachs digested, the cocaine cleared from our systems, the champagne buzzed and my hole ached.
Besides, why ruin a good day, prematurely initiating the inevitable?
Why go back to budget student digs when I was relishing in the mind-blowing afternoon I'd had. Why start a sad, teary and no-doubt melodramatic conversation when I was reclined in luxury, chatting about how hot Richard's mates were, what they did to me and the best ways to combat the side effects I was probably going to get from the PEP I'd just taken with a fizzing gulp.
`Weed helps,' Richard said, massaging my shoulders from behind as the first in a course of twenty-eight, daily pills swilled into my stomach: me sat between his legs on a large cushion on the floor. `Have you tried it?'
Laughing, I said, `What do you think?'
`Stupid question wasn't it?' he said, chuckling at himself: his thick, hairy, muscular thighs either side of my arms gently jostling me.
`So stupid,' I said, arching my neck as far as I could, before looking up into his deep, brown eyes: his soft bulge behind his expensive jeans a pillow for my head.
`Want some?' he said, upside-down in my vision.
If my resolve to break up with Harry wasn't already steadfast, now it was diamond hard. In that moment, Richard became the sexiest man I'd ever met.
Leaving me in the living room, he told me he'd be right back. Less than twenty seconds later he'd lived up to his word, holding a small wooden box. Sitting on the sofa with his legs either side of me again, he opened it with a click of a fastener.
A cloud of pungent sweetness filled the air around us and a wave of happiness rolled through me.
This is the fucking life.
`For emergencies,' he said. `But I'm a terrible roller, so you'll have to excuse the-'
`Give it here,' I interrupted, holding my hand up, palm open. `You've worked hard enough today.'
`You sweetheart,' he said handing me the box.
As I rolled, I felt him inhale and hold. Then exhale. Like he was trying to ask me a question but couldn't. By the time I'd grinded the weed, sprinkled out a thin line of tobacco along a long rolling paper, rolled a roach, placed it and layered the crumbled bud on top, he finally found the words.
`Oscar,' he said. `You're ok with what happened, right? You don't think anything ... seedy is going on?'
Finished rolling, I put the joint to my lips and lit it with a bright yellow plastic lighter from inside the box. Said, `What do you mean?'
`I mean, you're young and definitely less impressionable than most lads your age, but, since meeting me, you've taken a lot.'
`It's cool. Jason said you were all negative. And he's a doctor.'
`I'm not just talking about that.'
`Then what?' I said, blowing out a large cloud of grey before passing him the joint behind my back.
Taking it, I heard him pull a drag, hold it for two seconds, blow it out and say, `I just want to make sure you weren't looking for something, I don't know, less intense? And now you've got caught up in all of this and don't know how to tell me you want out.'
`Are you asking if I feel like I'm being taken advantage of?' I said, sitting up on my knees and turning to face him.
Albeit from the floor and between his legs.
`Yeah,' he said.
I wanted to laugh. Howl like a wolf to the moon. This guy had no idea. Had no inclination whatsoever that, when it came to manipulation, I was a fucking demon. But instead, I took the joint and smiled as sweetly as I could, leaned in and up and kissed him on the lips.
He paused, fatherly concern pulling at his face in ways that made frustration simmer.
I don't need to be looked after.
But I held it in. Didn't let it show. Controlled the groan and eye roll. Then he said, `What about this four-week course of antiretroviral medication you're suddenly on? You're fine with that too?'
I shrugged. Hadn't thought about the PEP since the morning Jason gave it to Richard. I'd agreed to take it simply as more of a reason to do the kind of things we'd just done. Pulled a few drags of the joint and pondered. Said nothing.
`I want to make sure you don't feel pressured.'
`Honestly,' I said, done thinking. `I'm grateful. It lets me live out my fantasies with peace of mind.'
Didn't even have to sell some sob story about a broken condom down at the clinic.
`But ... are they your fantasies?' he said.
`Yeah, of course,' I said.
A twinge of pain in my stomach. Like a cramp. It stopped.
`How do you know?' he said. `When I was your age I'd barely sucked a cock.'
Wow. Late starter.
`Look Richard, yeah, I'm a teenager,' I said taking one last drag and passing him the joint to finish. `But legally, I'm an adult. And you and your friends didn't do anything I wasn't expecting. I agreed to play bareback. I know the risks. I trust you guys.'
`You couldn't walk afterwards.'
Smirking, I said, 'You can't expect to get gangbanged for three hours and not get battered.'
`Good,' he said, planting his hands on my shoulders, kissing me on the cheek and squeezing. `Just want to make sure you're happy.'
And then my stomach flipped. I had no control. Just a deep, panicked feeling turning my insides and growing faster and faster like a seam to some deep vault had teared and its toxic contents were spilling out and pooling.
My stomach twisted harder as a recent memory resurfaced. One I didn't realise I'd so easily cast aside in the heat of the moment, no less than two hours earlier. Now it stuck like searing glue.
It had only lasted a minute. The final minute from the end. When my gut was overflowing with strangers' seed and my hole was burning so bad my legs wouldn't stay open without being forced.
The pain so intense that when I hadn't been choking on cock, my jaw clenched until my teeth hurt.
Waiting for him, whoever it was, to finish.
`You ok?' Richard said.
I finally shook it off. Buried it back down to where it belonged and resealed it. Silently berated myself for letting it slip. For feeling sorry for myself.
The pain is always worth it.
`Yeah, fine. Haven't smoked in a while,' I lied.
`Relax. Enjoy it.'
Then, Richard content he wasn't doing anything untoward with the teenage boy he'd taken a shine to, I cuddled up with him on the sofa. We chatted for half an hour. Mostly inane bollocks about his upcoming work week. A little about how his sister was annoying him again.
Me nodding and smiling and saying the right words when needed. More resolute than ever.
It wasn't until later, after Richard had dropped me off in his Aston Martin with a promise of dinner "very soon", and I'd climbed the steps of my apartment block, landing parties and rooms in full student swing, did I realise I'd got it wrong.
When my plan fell apart in a split-second. When every simple, concise element suddenly became a mess of tangled complication. When the easy way out I'd imagined became no longer viable and greed and temptation got the better of me.
When I knocked on Harry's door and the door opened, but Harry didn't answer.
In his place and topless, his blemish-free toned torso showing off the smoothest black skin, smiling wide and more handsome than I remembered, was Toby.
Toby, the guy from the department store who had served us when Richard took me shopping. Toby, the very same guy who had tried to warn me off Richard earlier that day. And Harry. Behind him on the bed. Topless too.
`What are you doing here?' I said, my heart in my throat.
The first in my Australian series of erotic tales, Oscar Down Under: Part One, is out now.
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