well, after all that editing for that publication project, i was hit with a bit of a writing slump, and this was my solution. it's milder than my usual, with very, very little explictness to it, and none of my normal "kink" (laughs) it's also a bit long, which surprised me to begin with, as if i couldn't find the right stopping point until it stared at me from the computer screen. yeah, just like that, it was done! lol

beta'd by amindaya. a beta's work is never done! i heart my beta. yep!

saturday, 28 july, 2006. 2:34 am.


Never thought I'd hate the thought of a summer vacation, but as the end of the school year drew close, my despondency grew. I'm sixteen this year, and my dad forced me to get a job working for one of his friends or coworkers or some other damn thing.

Said I needed to get out and "get some exercise the way real men do."

What-the-fuck-ever, I don't see him mowing lawns, climbing roofs to clean gutters, and other such bullshit; he doesn't even pay the guys who come and do it for us. Mom pays them. I guess he does have my best interests in mind, overall, but I can't help but to feel bitter about it.

But that's not the only reason why my summer is going to suck ass.

Henry's going to stay with his great-aunt in Maine all summer, helping her run her small shop while she recovers from a really bad case of some illness…pneumonia, or something. Maine…that's half the country away! We'd planned to really hang out this summer, to spend whole days doing nothing but make out without worry of interruption. But that's ruined now. He's going away for three months and I'm going to be working my ass off during the hottest season of the year.

God, kill me now.

--- --- ---

Cicadas sang their songs in the trees all around us, the dry heat suffocating, even though I was only wearing a pair of cargo shorts and my sockless sneakers. Sweat cropped up along my temples and ran in trails down my glistening, pale back, doing nothing to help cool me off. Fingers crept up my spine, and while normally I'd shiver from the sensation, today I remained motionless under the assault.

"Trent, it won't be too bad."

Henry's voice was dubious, and I glanced at him, my morose glare clearly saying how much I buy into that bullshit; his face fell as he nodded, the corners of his mouth pulling slightly downwards.

"I'm gonna miss you."

My voice fell into the heat of our surroundings, making him look at me with damp eyes.

"Me too. Gonna miss yer sexy bod."

A smile pulled at the corner of my lips, and I allowed myself to cheer up a bit; I don't want to allow our last chance to be alone together be marred by crying! Thus, I pulled him over for a warm kiss, our lips brushing and then lingering, pressed together in a familiar intimacy.

I've been dating Henry off and on since the seventh grade, and we're going to be juniors next year. Guess it's safe to say that we're in love, although I doubt our families believe it, that our feelings could run so deep. If they did, perhaps they wouldn't be so nonchalant as to separate us without our consent.

Our families have been friends for ages, as we live on the same block, and my sister used to baby-sit us when we were younger. Perhaps it was only natural that we would start dating and eventually fall in love, obvious to everyone around us that we'd end up together. Leslie says that she knew we'd have "a thing" when we'd consistently share plates and cups with each other when we wouldn't so much as share a single cracker with anyone else.

Henry parted beneath the gentle questing of my tongue, his hand coming up to catch a slick grip of my naked shoulder; a shiver passed through him from the sweep of our tongues, and I let out a soft moan into the confines of his mouth. I don't even mind that he always eats pickles, that he always has that vinegar aftertaste in his mouth; it's always tasted good to me. Henry has always tasted good, ever since our first French kiss that didn't end with one or both of us becoming embarrassed and awkwardly pulling away as soon as it began.

There's something to be said about going through puberty with a boyfriend, our relationship deepening through our many fumbles and mistakes. We still haven't "done it" yet, but…eventually, I know we will. It's just that we decided we're too young for that. Not that we don't fool around, because hell, we're boys. We live to fool around.

As evidenced in the way I surrendered to his advances, lying back against the dry, stiff grass and hard dirt, uncaring of such annoyances as his body lowered on top of mine, my thighs spreading to allow his jean-clad pelvis to settle against mine. The nature of our kiss changed, growing sensual and rougher, even as his hips rocked down against mine, eliciting a harsh moan from my throat. He whimpered, his face dropping down to my sweaty neck as he ground our erections together with small circular motions, humping against me.

My eyes squeezed shut, and I managed to groan, "Henry, I wanna sixty."

"Fuck, yeah, sixty sounds good."

I snickered when he didn't make a move to get off me, and I gave him a poke in the ribs to remind him; "Ow! Damn it, alright already!"

Still, he laughed and pulled off me, plucking at the fastening of his jean shorts while I untied my own, leaving them undone while Henry scrambled around and lay on his side beside me; I rolled onto my side as well, my eyes drawn to the bit of his lower belly showing from where his shirt rode up and exposed the undone fastening of his shorts. The white and blue band of his underwear was already visible, and I reached out and touched the warm fabric, loving the way his abdomen twitched from the touch; even as I touched him, he was touching me, fingers quicker than mine in pushing a hand into underwear to grab what most boys value most about themselves.

Not wanting him to get the lead, I hurriedly shoved his shorts and underwear clear enough to gain access to his erection, his moan low as he found mine and quickly lowered his mouth around it. I shuddered with pleasure, my eyes closing even as I slid that familiar cock into my mouth, completing our sixty-nine.

I don't remember which one of us first called this a simple "sixty," but the term stuck. We don't do this often, but often enough. Usually, we prefer to concentrate upon making one or the other feel good rather than both of us at once, but this is the closest we get to making love, lying on our sides and pleasuring each other.

"Oh, Trent, I'm already close…."

His shaky moan was addictive, and I pulled off just enough to huskily state, "I know, stud; gimme it!"

The slightly dirtiness of the phrase pushed him over, gasping around my erection as I allowed him to come in my mouth, feeling my own orgasm tingling in the base of my dick even though he paused in suction as he was carried away. Once slightly recovered, he quickly resumed, harder and faster than before, and moaned when my hips bucked forward just enough to signal my orgasm mere seconds before it happened, my mind whirling as I shuddered once again.

Afterwards, we lay on our backs in the same side-by-side position, staring up at the sky with squinting eyes and feeling moroseness setting back in.

"You'll write me, won't you, Trenton?"

My hand blindly reached for his, clasping fingers onto his wrist and giving it a firm little shake; "'Course."

"Good."

--- --- ---

I went to the airport with his parents, allowing them to fawn over him a bit in the way he was uncomfortable with, before his eyes sought out mine as it came time for his departure.

Stepping forward, I enveloped him into a tight hug, squeezing just as tight as he was squeezing me, both of us sure that to let go would mean a lifetime before seeing each other again.

"I love you, Trent."

"Love you too. I'll miss you every god damned day."

Our low murmurs were audible only to ourselves, and we pulled back and held each other's gaze for a brief moment before he threw caution aside to brush a sweet kiss to my lips, pulling away with shining eyes full of regret at having to leave.

I had to swallow the lump in my throat as we mumbled our good-byes, his family all hugging him tight before he walked off and disappeared from view before he even got to the lines waiting to get through the security checkpoints. I was already missing him something fierce, but I held together, my eyes dry as I rode home in the back of his parent's car.

--- --- ---

Dear Henry,

Really sucks having you gone. Got nothing to do but sit around and wait until Monday, so I sit around and play video games until I want to die of boredom. Funny though, I do this all the time, but it's no fun when you're not around. Guess you had a good flight, your dad told me you called but had to keep it short to keep down the costs. Wish you could call me, I already miss your voice. Stupid and sappy of me, huh? Maybe.

Well, I'll keep this letter and write more after my first day on the job. Really gonna bite ass, I just know it. But at least I'm making money, seven bucks an hour! Maybe I can start saving up for my own car. Wouldn't that rock? Anyway, just had to talk to you, even if it's only on paper.

Love you.

Trent

--- --- ---

I had to get up at five-thirty Monday morning, having to be ready by the time one of the guys I'm going to work with came by around six-thirty. I met John before, and he seemed ok, even if he talked a lot about nothing in particular.

My parents were just getting up for work when the red truck pulled up out front, and I gave a hasty good-bye to my Mom before hurrying out the door, wearing a light blue t-shirt with the company logo on it, as well as some sturdy blue jeans and new work boots. My dark blonde hair was hid beneath a tattered navy and white cap, the one I got when I was playing baseball at school my freshmen year; I dropped the sport because the coach never used a fair batting lineup, and he rode the worse players a lot harder than he should have. Not that he had to ride me any, I was decent, but I just couldn't play under the man, not for a jerk like him.

"Al'ight, boy?"

The thirty-something year old man was far too cheerful for this early in the morning, but I nodded even as I buckled myself in.

He was sturdy, his hand looking to be as big as my head, and I would wet myself if I ever found myself in any kind of physical competition with the man. Still, he wasn't threatening at all, his blue eyes seemingly honest and good-humored. He also likes to chew gum; I could smell the wintergreen as soon as I got in the truck.

"You ever done much yard work, boy?"

"No, sir, not really."

He smiled, glancing at me; "Well, a big lad like you should be alright. You just make sure you keep on drinking water, you hear? Don't need you passin' out from dehydration."

I nodded, and he copied the motion; my manners pleased him, that much I could tell.

---

We met up with two other guys at the first house of the day, where they briefly discussed everything on the list for this one and then got busy unloading the equipment trailers on both trucks. I was told what to do and given a saw and a heavy pair of gloves, shown to the fallen tree that needed to have all its lesser branches cut down and removed before someone could come in with a chainsaw and cut it into pieces.

Before eight, I was soaked with sweat, having finished the branches and, was now carting off the large and heavy sections of tree being cut by one of the older men. He made wielding the chainsaw look easy as he braced his foot against the trunk while cutting the tree into manageable chunks.

John kept making me drink water, and I got to where I remembered to take a drink every fifteen or twenty minutes.

After the tree, I was shown how to run the large lawn mower, given a test run that proved just how much I suck at keeping straight lines. The others laughed good-naturedly at my attempts, the one named Vinny even going so far as to slap my back as he chuckled.

When that house was done, we packed everything up and set off for the next place, a business this time. I had to use a weed-whacker, getting the grass along the many curves of the curb, as well as following around the various trees. The sun was even hotter, the air in my lungs clogged with the heavy acidic smell and taste of dry grass clippings, dust, exhaust, and all-around unbearable heat.

It was nearly one by the time we finished with that place, and we stopped to eat our lunches. I listened to the three men as they talked and joked with each other, their ease and familiarity clear. Not that they excluded me from their conversations, but I was more comfortable just sitting there and eating, and I'm sure they picked up on that.

The rest of the day had me toiling in the sun and hauling heavy shit back and forth.

By the time John dropped me off at my house at four, it was all I could do to drag myself up the front walk and let myself into the house. Leslie had friends over, college girls who smiled at me before turning away again; I barely paid them any attention as I walked through the house to my bedroom, where I heavily sat on the edge of my bed and peeled off my boots and socks. I felt overheated and nauseous, dirty and sore all over.

Forcing myself back upright, I grabbed a change of clothes and my towel, shuffling down the hall and into the bathroom, where I ensconced myself into a scalding shower that had me feeling both better and worse. I had a headache by the time I was back in my room, wearing loose basketball-style shorts and a tank top. Flopping onto my bed, I was asleep within minutes.

--- --- ---

Dear Henry,

Work was HELL. It was hot and tedious, I was stuck carting tree logs and using equipment that could chop my leg off quicker than I could blink. I worked with three other guys, John, Vinny, and Brad, I think. I dunno, I didn't really hear Brad's name too much, it could be Steve or something, for all I can remember.

Dude, I came home so sick, I took a shower and went to bed, not even getting up until ten to eat something and go back to bed. Well, I'm in bed and writing to you, I guess that's the same thing. Man, you can't believe how hot it was today, I so dread getting up early tomorrow morning again. Doesn't even matter if you're here or not, I don't think I'd be able to see you anyway. Still miss ya though. Guess I'll dream about you before going back to sleep. LoL Wonder if you've been dreaming of me too. Bet you have, you beast!

I'm bushed out. Guess I'll go back to sleep now.

Still love you.

Trent

--- --- ---

By Friday, I didn't feel quite as awful when coming home, although I still took a shower and a nap. One good thing about doing this kind of work is that sometimes, we finish early. Friday, I was dropped off just a little after one in the afternoon with the reminder that John would be picking me back up bright and early Monday morning.

After my shower and during the light snack of a peanut butter sandwich once I woke up from my hour-long sleep, I idly checked the mailbox, pulling out a thick stack of mail and bringing it back inside to sort out. Flipping through, I found a thick envelope with my name on it, easily recognizing the messy handwriting of Henry.

I stuffed the last of my sandwich in my mouth before tearing into the envelope, pulling out five sheets filled with his scrawled writing. A grin lit my sandwich-bulged face as I hurried upstairs to my room, swallowing before settling in on my bed as I picked up the first sheet and began to read:

Trent,

Got your letter, can't believe it came so fast! You'd think it'd take longer, what with us being so far apart and all, but whatever. Guess it's a good thing for us, huh?

Work sounds rough, man! Reading about you getting so sweaty was hot though, I'll give ya that. I got chubbed and everything! And I was reading it in Aunt Nan's sitting room while she was watchin' some soap opera. I think she might have noticed the way my face lit up and I had to get up and go to the bathroom! Sexy, sexy beast, indeed. You asked if I'm dreaming about you? Every day, babe, every god damned day. I wake up and wish I could just go down the street and slip into bed with you like I did some Saturdays, or that we could ride bikes over to the river and go skinny dipping like we'd planned. Before I go to sleep, I think about that last day we had together, and I explode thinking of you! Because you're a fucking sexy beast, lol. You can't change one bit while I'm gone, you hear? I'll trounce ya if you do.

I grinned at that, and skipped through some of his prattling…he always talked too much!

It's not so bad here, for me. The shop isn't so big, and I just have to do stuff like sweep up and stock the shelves, clean the displays and crap like that. Aunt Nan usually runs the register in the mornings, and I'll take over in the afternoon, after I've finished up my various chores. The people who come in are usually pretty nice, for being tourists. It's so funny though, because they ask me crap, thinking I'm a local boy, and I'll have to tell them I don't know where it is they want directions to, or which restaurant is the best or whatever the hell they're always asking me. LoL There's not much for teenagers to do around here but hang out with each other out in the sticks or something. I've met a few people; this one in particular, Gary. He's like, twenty, but he treats me like I'm just as old as he is. Don't worry though, he's got this girlfriend. Besides, you know nobody is as hot as you! He's not so much, anyways; really thin and bony, and he smokes. I hate smokers, but he's a good guy despite all that.

I met this girl here too, Tina. Well, she came onto me like she thought I was just gonna want to tumble her in the sack the first day we lay eyes on each other, but when I told her I weren't interested in girls, she became really cool. She's shown me around town and introduced me to some people, and she makes me laugh. I do wonder if she really thought I'd have sex with her like that. Maybe she was joking. I don't know, she's hard to figure out.

I shook my head at all of his rambles, but had to grin anyway. He was always a talker, and he never had trouble writing shit for school, not like me. Sometimes, it's hard for me to string five sentences together to make a paragraph, and he'll have two pages done lickity split. But he doesn't mind my short letters, because he knows how hard it is for me sometimes. Besides, it must be nice to have so much free time to write five pages! Even if they're front-side only.

The last paragraph made my grin soften:

Really do miss you, Trent. Miss you so much that sometimes, I'll stop and just want to cry. Stupid, huh? It's only been, what, four or five days? But it feels like a lifetime already. That's how much I love you, man. As I sit here and write all this shit down, I wonder why I keep carping back on this like some stupid girl, but I mean it, Trent. I really do. And it reminds me just how stupid I was for breaking up with you that last time, when I got mad about all that stupid shit. Next time I'm an ass, please, PLEASE kick me in the nuts or something! Just, you know, not too hard. Lol!

Love you.

Henry

Placing the sheets back in order and setting them down at my side, I put my hands behind my head and stared up at the ceiling, my face oddly blank despite the turmoil going on in my head.

He had to bring that up again, didn't he? We broke up some four months ago for nearly a month and a half, because he got mad at me. And it was my fault, really, because I'm the one who kept putting him down without really meaning to, without meaning it. I'd just been stupid, calling him names and laughing when he'd get angry at me for it. Never really thought he'd get so mad as to dump me, but he did, and he stayed mad for a long time. Henry can hold a grudge, I'll grant you that! In his letter, he called himself an ass for that time, but he'd had the perfect right to be that way. Hell, thinking back to the way I'd acted, I'm surprised he even accepted my Valentine's Day letter of apology. Especially as all it had said was that I was a retard and that I really missed him, so much that I was sure my heart would explode if he was still too angry to have anything to do with me anymore.

But he'd been miserable without me too, so he showed up at my house just after dinner and about pinned me to the wall as he kissed me in front of my sister and parents. Leslie still teases us about it, but neither of us minds too much.

God, I miss him something fierce.

--- --- ---

A week turned into a month, and I was well into a routine of working in the sun five days a week. Or maybe it was just that I got my first pay check and nearly had a wet dream over it, right then and there! My dad took me down to the bank and we set up an account for me, setting up automatic deposit so that Rick, my head boss, could just send my check to the bank and save me the trouble of having to go into the office to pick it up.

Mine and Henry's letters back and forth were still regular, about one a week or so, and his were usually four to six pages while mine were two if I worked at it. Not that he seemed to care, he was enthusiastic in his replies.

It got to where I nearly knew as much about the town and its people as he did, just from his letters. He told me of when that guy, Gary, was caught by his girlfriend while cheating with a married woman, and when Tina broke her ankle falling from a tree trying to rescue her cat.

I loved reading his letters, and I kept telling him so.

--- --- ---

By the end of July, I started to realize that my shirts were all getting tight in the chest while growing looser around my gut.

The day I realized this, I stood before the bathroom mirror without a shirt on, contemplative before I held up my arm and flexed, my eyes widening to see the size of my guns! Excited, I left the bathroom and ran to my sister's room, where she answered my hurried knock with a raised eyebrow.

"Les, lookit this!"

I flexed, and a smile played at her lips; "Wow."

"Yeah, feel it! Go on!"

Still amused, she reached out and squeezed my bicep, her smirk widening before she teased, "Tsk, would ya feel all that flub?"

"Hey! It's muscle. Jesus, you bitch, be nice for once!" My heated words were belied by the huge grin on my face, especially as she laughed and gave a short nod.

"Well, ok, you are getting buff, little bro. Guess Hen-roo is going to pounce you when he gets back, huh?"

"Don't call him that. But…I guess he will. Sexy, huh?"

Her eyes rolled; "Don't push it, bub."

I just grinned and let her shut the door in my face, rushing back to my bedroom with the intention of telling Henry about my beefing up. But then I had the notion not to tell him, to surprise him when he gets back; the thought had me grinning all sorts of crazy.

And maybe I had new material to jack off to that night, thinking of his face when he sees my arms for the first time.

--- --- ---

"Boy, lookit them guns you got packing!"

It was our lunch break, and Vinny startled me with the sudden declaration, causing me to look up from where I'd been drifting along in my own thoughts. All three guys looked at me, really looked, and then broke out in broad grins at the way I flushed with pride and nodded.

"Yeah! Almost makes this job worth it."

They cracked up at my smartass remark, slapping thighs and knees in their mirth. John reached over and wrapped a big hand around my upper arm, squeezing just hard enough to get some idea to the amount of muscle before he let go with a low whistle.

"Whew! Your girlfriend'll be mighty hot over them puppies, that's for sure! You show 'em to her yet?"

His question was more of a tease than anything, because I've never talked of dating anyone, but I lost my head while under the heady praise.

"I ain't told Henry 'bout it yet, but just wait 'til he gets back from Maine! Won't be able to keep his hands off me!"

They all stared at me and I turned a brilliant red, mortified by the heavy silence that grew heavier as the moments passed. Toying with my half-eaten tomato sandwich, I was ashamed to feel heat prick at my eyes, my shoulders slumping just the tiniest bit.

A large hand gently rested upon the back of my neck, John's amused voice saying, "Wondered why a young pup like you didn't even notice that stacked red-head giving you 'the eye.'"

Jerking, I looked at him with wide eyes; "What red head?"

That drew a low laugh from the three men, and after scrutinizing them enough to know that things were still all right with them, I allowed a tiny smile to pull at my face.

--- --- ---

Henry,

God, I'm a retard! Working with the guys today, I actually let slip about you! The way they stared at me like I was some bug, I was for sure one or all of them was gonna pound me into the dirt for being a homo, but they just laughed instead, like it was the funniest thing. John told me some redhead chick with big boobs had stared at me but I never noticed, so me being gay wasn't so much a surprise, I guess.

But man, I'm an idiot, huh?

Still miss ya something awful, man.

Trent.

--- --- ---

Trent,

Man, bet those guys were surprised, huh? Things are picking up around here, so I can't write as much anymore.

Henry.

--- --- ---

The short note I got the first week in August baffled me; I thought for sure he'd get a real kick out of my goof, enough to send at least a page's worth of telling me about how stupid I was. Not to mention how he's supposed to come back in three weeks, not long at all in comparison to the time he's already been gone. Guess things really are busy up there, if two lines were all he could manage.

I was going to be understanding. I wasn't going to let on how much that hurt me.

--- --- ---

In the three weeks before his due arrival back home, I received one letter, about half a page's worth of cursory notes about things up there, with next to none of his usual inner reflections. In and of itself, that letter hurt worse than the previous one, causing me to skip dinner two nights in a row before I was able to brush it off and return to an even kilter.

He's busy, he kept saying so. And from what he wrote, I don't blame him. I guess his Aunt Nan was doing renovations on her shop or repairs or something, because he kept mentioning having to fix things and work around construction.

I wrote back my usual length of letter, making sure my hurt didn't influence my words in any way. The last thing he needs to think is that I'm angry at him, or something.

--- --- ---

Thursdays, we work on municipal buildings, so we were working at the post office sometime just after noon. I had eventually proven myself capable of wielding the large lawn mower, my rows finally nice and neat enough for them to let me have at it without someone standing there watching over me.

It was hot, and I was covered in sweat and dust and grass clippings, goggles over my eyes for protection against flying debris. This was the last thing that needed to be done before we were through for the day, and I didn't want to take any longer than I had to; it'd be great to get home before two to take a shower and a nice long nap before dinner. The thought of the egg salad sandwich waiting for me in the cooler in the back of John's truck had my stomach growling something fierce, and I happened to glance back to see what the guys were doing while waiting for me to finish.

I frowned, thinking that for a minute, I had seen Henry standing in the shade of a tree; my view was cut off as I turned for the next row, and I had to wait until on the next pass to glance over there again, my heart thudding dully to see that he was there.

Desperate, I glanced at how much I had left, then at Henry, and then at the guys who were standing around waiting on me to finish. And I made the hard choice to finish up, making sure my lines were nice and even although my mind was constantly in the shade of that tree, my thoughts wrapped around my boyfriend with a physical clarity that struck true pain in my chest.

And maybe it helped a bit that I wanted him to see me working, to see me all sweaty, like he once mentioned was a nice fantasy for him.

As soon as I finished my last pass, I cut the engine and hopped from the machine, craning my neck towards that tree…only to start upon seeing that he was already walking towards me.

Pushing the goggles up onto my forehead, I frowned at seeing his jerky movements, the obvious storm cloud on his face, freezing me into place until he was just close enough…agonizingly close.

"Henry, what are you…I thought you were coming home Saturday."

My voice was weak, paling as his temper worsened; I backed up when he stepped forward, unprepared for him to start shouting at me.

"You bastard! I get here early and you fucking ignore me! You saw me, and you didn't do jack shit about it!"

"Henry, I'm at work, I can't just--"

"SHUT UP!

"I knew something was up when your letters suddenly became so…so fucking cold, you don't say nothing anymore, like you've got some big secret you can't stand to tell me, and when I sent back that…you didn't even ask me what was wrong you acted like nothing was different! And now, you don't even…."

My shoulders slumped, my voice small; "You could tell I was hiding something?"

Shocked into momentary silence, he stared at me with wounded eyes, eyes totally different from the ones he looked at me with that day he left. Could three months change things so quickly, could it really tear us apart?

"Oh god…."

His voice was thick, tearing at my heart enough that I reacted without thinking, pulling him into my embrace, brushing a soothing kiss against the corner of his mouth. But he stiffened up and pushed me away, face alive with cold fury as he growled, "Go fuck yourself."

Stunned, I could only stand there and watch him storm all the way over to a parked car, yanking open the driver's door before he slid in and peeled away from the curb. And once he was gone, I stood there and felt stark pain well up inside, not understanding anything at all anymore.

After a few long moments, I swallowed the fiery lump in my throat, shrugging my shoulders as if physically lessening the burden of heart break. My eyes were sandpaper dry when I turned them back to the machine, seeing the way the guys looked away from me. Trying to give me privacy.

Never thought middle-aged men would be sensitive enough to give a shit about my feelings.

Nobody said a word as we packed everything up, and when John held out a chilled egg salad sandwich, I stared at it for a moment before shaking my head, giving a mumble, "Not hungry."

"Now, boy, you know you're gonna pass out if you don't eat somethin.'"

Knowing it to be true, I took the sandwich into limp fingers, hauling myself up to sit on the edge of the truck as I methodically ate, not tasting a bite of it as I stared off into the distance.

Does Henry love me any more?

We were never really friends while growing up, despite hanging out a lot, being as we live on the same block and Les used to baby sit the two of us and his other siblings. But in school, we had all our own friends, we did our own thing.

But somewhere, we gravitated together and stuck. I'm so in love with him that I can't process anything when he's mad at me, when I've fucked something up and made him angry. I don't even really know when it began, but if this is the end….

No.

He told me in his letter, that if he were to act like an ass again, I'm to kick him in the balls. Well, hell, right about now sounds good to me.

It wasn't until I was alone with John in his truck that he finally gave me the impression of needing to talk, his words hesitating even though I glanced over and waited.

"Boy…."

"That was Henry."

He nodded at the curt response, never taking his eyes from the road even though he looked down a side street longer than one normally would when they're driving.

After a few moments of silence, he finally asked, "That 'friend' o' yers, right?"

"Supposed to be, yeah."

"…Thought he was out o' state somewhere."

"Used to be. Not anymore, apparently."

He paused, then said, "Looked pretty mad, 'ad a pair of lungs on him, that one."

I snorted, crossing my arms over my chest; "He was fucking pissed, but it's nothing compared to what I'm going to do to him when I get home."

He looked at me then, eyes scanning my face a moment before he turned back to the road. "Huh. And what'll ya do, boy?"

My face darkened; "Kick him in the balls."

Laughing, John pulled onto my street, his eyes dancing when he finally pulled up in front of my house and caught my gaze. "Don't do nothin' you'll regret."

I didn't say anything, but he seemed to understand, grinning slightly as I let myself out and stood on the front lawn a moment before resolutely turning and walking down the street. I only absently noted when John pulled away in the opposite direction, leaving me alone to stew in my returning anger.

There hasn't been a need for me to knock on their front door in years, and thus I didn't pause once as I crossed the porch and opened the door, stepping inside and encountering two of Henry's younger siblings as they watched television in the front living room.

"He's home?"

Of course he is, that car he'd peeled away in was parked just out front.

But Jackson gave a languid point at the ceiling, meaning that Henry was up in his room. Neither of the two boys seemed all too concerned at seeing me there, used to the sight of me coming in only to head right up the stairs to visit their brother.

I gave a nod in thanks and turned from the room and onto the stairs, my steps quiet and deliberate, my mouth settling into a firm line as my anger poked at my dignity, at my wounded pride. He'd chewed me out in front of the guys I work with, spurned me in broad daylight. He hurt and embarrassed me.

His door was shut, and I didn't even bother knocking before I let myself inside, shutting the door behind me with a tense 'snick,' the sound of which caused him to start in surprise. He jerked from where he'd been lying on his bed, his face buried amongst his pillows and rumbled bed covers. When he saw me, his overly-bright eyes widened and his mouth worked, cheeks growing pale before abruptly flushing with color.

"You have five minutes before I kick you in the balls."

My dark threat made his face flush even more, whether from anger or embarrassment I wasn't sure, because his jaw tightened and then quivered, his eyes downcast as his shoulders hunched up. I want to say that it didn't affect me, but I'd be lying. Still made me mad, though.

Fine, my turn.

"What the hell was all that shit today, Henry?! You don't tell me you're coming home, don't tell me shit! You just blow up and embarrass me with the guys at work, and I haven't even done anything to you! How could I, I've been here dying for you to come home?!"

The quivering of his jaw was blown away by anger when he jerked his head up to glare at me, eyes dark and glittering as he finally pushed from the bed, his fists clenched tightly at his sides.

"Oh sure, dying. Which one is it? Which one are you sweet on, or perving over, or…or fucking? Which one is your secret, can't even tell me in a fucking letter, don't even notice the way I…."

As soon as his accusation began, I saw red, my jaw clenched so tight I felt an ache in my fillings, and once he trailed off, I stalked over and hit him in the gut hard enough to make him give a genuine cry of shocked pain as he doubled over and flinched backwards.

"Five minutes are up."

Holding his stomach, he looked up with welling eyes made worse by the radiating anger he saw on my face.

My hands reached out and latched onto his shoulders, drawing him upright and holding him into place to make sure he couldn't get away from me. Fear was plain all over his face and body, but that didn't stop him from glancing at the appendages holding onto his shoulders, his eyes widening as he turned his face for a better look, awe replacing fear.

"Holy shit, Trent, you're ripped!"

Without seeming to remember that we were having an argument, his hand came up and fondled my bicep, and I let out a soft groan, closing my eyes as I dueled with raging emotions.

"That's no fair to do to me when I'm fucking pissed at you, Henry."

The fingers on my arm froze and jerked away, and my eyes reopened, blinking in momentary confusion at the disquieted expression on his face.

I sighed; "I wanted to surprise you, but I guess that was probably the most retarded idea I ever had. You know me…can't keep a fucking secret for the life of me."

Realization dawned on his face, quickly followed by both helpless anger and remorse.

"Then…you weren't…."

"Henry, how long has it been since you left?"

"…I don't know, something like two months and a couple weeks?"

I nodded, finding his gaze and holding it; "Yeah, sounds about right."

When I pulled him flush against me, he didn't put up a fight, relieved as our mouths touched and then melded together, heated even before lips parted and tongues flashed. Having him there—kissing him—settled the heavy weight on my chest, lightening my heart into desperation brought on by our time apart.

"Eww, you feel grimy."

His words were tempered by their lustful murmuring against the corner of my mouth, a low hum coming from his throat as he pulled back only to lean in and swipe the flat of his tongue against my neck, making me laugh and squirm.

"I've been working."

"…Can smell it, Trent. Hell, I can taste it."

A shiver rose up from the low whisper, but I collected myself enough to ask, "Can I use your shower?"

He laughed, pulling away; "I suppose. If I can sit on the toilet and talk to you while you do."

"Kinky beast."

His grin quirked on one side, his eyes flashing before he paused at the way I drew a sudden breath and held it, my gaze abruptly serious. That smile had caught me by surprise, a deep ache inside as it forced me to realize that I'd missed it.

"Trent?"

I swallowed in response, exhaling the held breath. "I don't…."

His brow pulled together in question, puzzled as he stepped a bit closer, holding my gaze; I drilled through him with my eyes before suddenly glancing away, that seeming to be the only way to get my mouth to cooperate with my brain.

"We ain't friends, Hen, not even best friends, not like I am with Brent and you with Michael."

I looked back at his eyes, but he just waited for me to continue. "But if I had to choose between Brent or you, you'd win. Hell, if my family said, right now, that I hafta give you up…Henry, you'd win. You'd win."

That smile crooked again; "Babe, you're just about as wrong as anything, but that's ok. Michael's my best friend, I guess, but you're more, you know me without needing all the excess bullshit, right? If anyone said, 'Choose your best friend or that boyfriend you got,' I'd be like, 'They're the same guy.' …And if they said, 'Choose him or your family,' I'd have to say 'He already is.'"

A hand found my wrist, fingers dry and overly-hot against my skin; "There'd be no choice."

I let out a small laugh; "I'm not that good with words. …But, I love you, Henry."

He grinned with flushing cheeks; "You're plenty good—you know the right ones. Now c'mon, you still need a shower."

"Ass."

--- --- ---

The sound of cicadas came through from where his bedroom window was propped up a good three or four inches, the high buzzing spelling out summertime heat as a warm breeze came in with the noise. From the golden hue of the sunlight streaming into the room, I judged it to be just past six, meaning that I'd slept for about two hours after wearily lying down after the much-needed shower.

The closer noise of a turning page captured my attention, my eyes moving to see that Henry was half-propped against the wall at the head of his bed, a cheap horror novel in one hand as his eyes rapidly scanned the page. Knowing how absorbed he can be while reading, I remained quiet, moving only slightly and not enough to garner his visual attention.

Even still, a hand absently drifted out towards mine, and I took it with a slight smile, curling our fingers together as I directed my attention back towards the window, listening to the cicadas and watching the sunlight flit against leaves and glass.

We're only sixteen.


A/N: my newest musical obsession is Against Me! especially their song, Burn. that, and Todd Snider, and his song, Ballad of the Kingsmen both of which were heavily played during writing this, as well as plain white t's, maroon 5, and barenaked ladies.

perhaps this more mellow choice of music is what inspired a mellow writing?

oh, and i've watched a new movie, Defying Gravity. sorta cheezy (the drama/fight/action) scenes were horribly scripted, but the overall story was cute and worth it, so it wasn't the worst gay movie i've ever seen. lol just thought i'd toss the title out for those of you thirsting to watch anything man-on-man.