Saturday, June 27, 2015

Charcoal Pt 15

Oops it took forever for me to post, and not too much plot but still fun right?



The meeting was a formality as far as Soul could tell.  Luckily he didn’t have to say much.  He stood and heard name after name after name.  He eventually gave up trying to remember them and instead focused on figuring out what to do about the twins. His meeting with them had been productive, or rather reassuring.  But now he didn’t know what to do.  He had to find a way to really talk to them.  Sylvia was happy with him at the moment, but it would only take a whisper of disobedience to completely ruin the little bit of progress he had made. 

When they left the hall Soul had only learned how deeply outnumbered they were.  Even assuming all of Scott’s siblings weren’t on Sylvia’s side there were still so many others that were.  They had met nearly fifty new people that evening- people that had traveled to see her- to help her.  Fighting wouldn’t work.  The only think that could work was hiding.  Soul had to find a way to speak with the twins.

Soul stared at the wall in the scarlet room.  Even after being here for so long he couldn’t think of it as his room, or even really as a bedroom.  It was so far from being comforting, even though he did sleep there it was always and uneasy sleep. 

“Whatcha thinking about?”  Scott seemed unnaturally cheerful for the situation, as he seemed a lot of the time.  His moods really didn’t seem logical.  But with Sylvia’s continued influence it made sense that Scott’s emotions would be off.  Though his unflagging optimism was, Soul supposed, remarkable in its own rate.  He had never been a happy person and compared to Scott his childhood had been filled with sunshine and daisies. 

“Have you always known the twins?”  It wasn’t what Soul had meant to say, but it might help him figure out when the lines had been drawn, help him figure out where they really fit into all of this.  Help him figure out what the factions really were.

“Umm forever I think.  I don’t remember meeting them.  I didn’t see them much when I was really little.  Just a few days here and there.  I always thought they were a little creepy to tell you the truth.”  Soul nodded.  From what he had seen from them here they really were disconcerting.  He found himself thinking of them as just ‘the Twins’ almost as if they had completely ceased to have personalities of their own.  And from what he had seen they were simply halves of the same whole.  Even if they were on his side now, or on a side that wasn’t Sylvia’s, Soul didn’t trust them completely.  How could he when they had spent so much time with him before and never mentioned how much trouble he was in?  And that their previous, very different, personalities were obviously a front.  No one here was really as they seemed.  Even Soul felt like he was changing. 

The next morning after breakfast Soul found himself again sitting at the table across from Scott, Scott began drawing at once, it was another portrait of Soul, this time it was Soul in the rose garden, just slowly waking up.  Soul frowned at the picture, he didn’t like how vulnerable he looked, and he didn’t like remembering what his life was like before, or what it could have been.  What he had imagined had nothing to do with what was happening and he really didn’t like the way things had turned out.  He sulked staring at his blank paper.  He didn’t feel like drawing.  He especially didn’t feel like drawing anything like he had the day before.  Though what had followed was the nicest thing since he had been here.  He let himself drift into his memories, slowly mixing with daydreams.   He was almost content for a few moments.  But then Sylvia swept into the room, he could feel her energy almost before she entered, it felt frantic, anxious.  Soul wondered if they were her feelings or the feelings she wanted him to feel.  Soul just felt irritated.  He didn’t want to be in the present.  He was rather enjoying his daydreams.

“Hello mother.”  Scott smiled beatifically at his mother and Soul was momentarily stunned.  Both at the beauty he kept trying to ignore in Scott, and surprised that he could bestow such a look on his mother even knowing what her intentions were, even after she had done to him for so many years.  There was a lot he didn’t understand about Scott, and his relationship with his mother was one of the biggest mysteries.  How he could love someone that was so obviously evil was unimaginable, and yet, somehow, Scott loved her.

“Soul, you did a fairly good job yesterday, but by this time you had begun.  You will really have to hurry up or I will be very upset.”  She didn’t acknowledge her son before she grabbed a book seemingly at random from a shelf behind him and left the room.   Scott looked upset, but quickly returned to his good humor, he didn’t speak but smiled down at his picture and began to hum as he continued to draw.  The tune was almost familiar to Soul; he looked down at his blank paper and let the sound wrap around him.  He focused again on Scott, and let the pencil move freely across the paper.

When Soul finished he could feel Scott’s breath ruffling his hair, he was right behind Soul, but his hands were on the back of Soul’s chair, not touching him.  It was the first thing Soul noticed.  In the past, in every one of their interactions Scott had taken any chance to touch Soul, and not he had a perfect reason to, a perfect position to and he wasn’t taking it. 

Soul turned his attention to his picture.  It was the two of them again, but the picture was much darker.  Soul way lying on his back, his eyes closed there were dark circled under his closed eyes.  He looked like he could be sleeping- or, more likely, dead.  Scott was kneeling beside him, his face wet with tears and his eyes staring.  They were in this library, Soul had drawn the table in the corner of the page, and opposite of it was a bookshelf.  But most of the page was blank, stark; the obvious subject was Scott’s anguish.  Soul shrugged.  He didn’t really care, why would he.  Plus it didn’t have to come true; who know it could be some obscure metaphor.  Scott didn’t really care about the picture.  It wasn’t a picture he wanted to look at, it wasn’t one he did want to look at.  Looking at it made Soul feel nothing.

“Don’t worry about it.  It is just a picture.”  Scott didn’t speak at Soul’s words.  Soul turned to look at him and even though Scott’s breath was even he was crying.  Soul sighed.  And stood.  Scott took a step away from him and kept crying.  Soul wanted to comfort him, but didn’t know how.  It was the first time Scott had stepped away from him, had avoided his touch.  Soul didn’t want to overstep his bounds but he wanted Scott to stop.  Soul was the one who got overwhelmed; he was the one that stepped away that needed comforting.  The change in dynamics was not something Soul liked and he wanted it to stop.

Scott reached the edge of the room, nudging a bookshelf before stopping.  Soul didn’t want to crowd him but he did want to do something.  He took Scott’s hand in his; it was cool, almost clammy.  He brought it up to his mouth and kissed the knuckles, the palm, and the fingers.  Then lost again, he just looked at it.  Soul had no experience with comforting people, it wasn’t anything he had ever expected to do and now he just felt inadequate.

Scott’s fingers were long and tapered, his nails trimmed carefully, and very short.  His skin was soft on the backs, almost silky but the undersides had calluses from painting, writing, and Soul would later find out sculpting.  His hands were beautiful.  He was beautiful and Soul didn’t want him to be sad.  Soul let the hand drop, reassured when it didn’t fall, but hovered for a moment, as if Scott was going to take Soul’s hand again.  Soul almost wished he had. 

When Soul looked up into Scott’s face he was glad to see a smile, even if it was framed by tears and just a ghost of what he has shown Sylvia before.

“I’m sorry,” Scott began softly “I don’t want to make you worry.”  Soul shrugged.  He wasn’t worried, not really.

“I just don’t want you to be sad.  I think I have decided that I don’t hate you.” 

“You think?”  Scott smiled again and this time it was more of the teasing smirk that Soul had hated when they had first met.  He welcomed it; it was infinitely better than the tears, or even the melancholy first smile.

“I think.”  Soul repeated.  He smiled at Scott, and thought of the last time he had really smiled at Scott, wondered when he had really smiled at anyone.  He couldn’t remember really but didn’t want to dwell.  He kissed Scott instead, standing just a bit on his toes to reach.  He meant for it to be a quick kiss, just a brush of his lips to Scott’s, and apology, a distraction.  But Scott caught Soul’s hand against his chest then wrapped his other hand around Soul’s back and deepened the kiss.  Soul could have pulled back but he didn’t want to.  Wrapped in Scott’s arms he felt comforted.  He could make Scott feel better and it was one of the best feelings he had experienced in a long time.   Soul deepened the kiss, ignoring the burn in his calves as he stayed on his toes.  He pushed Scott back into the bookshelf and rubbed his chest against Scott’s.  Scott caught his breath and pulled back for a moment.  Soul opened his eyes and let himself settle back on his heels.  He was about to pull away when Scott switched their positions.

Soul felt his back hit the books and grunted.  It was a bit harder than he would prefer but he was immediately distracted by Scott’s lips on his again.  Soul’s heels were firmly on the ground but Scott swooped down to his lips. Soul let his head be supported by the ancient leather-bound books.  Not caring if they were pushed back on the shelf.  He was absorbed in Scott’s touch his taste. Cinnamon and coffee.  Delicious and addicting and Soul didn’t want Scott to ever let him go. 

Scott’s hands trailed down Soul’s body almost tickling as they crept up under his shirt.  Soul didn’t want the kiss to stop but obediently put his hands over his head and let the silky material of the shirt pass across his face.  His skin felt hot and the soft breeze coming though the windows felt amazing.  Soul let his own hands tug at Scott’s shirt, luckily it buttoned.  Scott began unbuttoning it with one hand while the other stroked again, almost tickling up and down Soul’s now naked sides.  The feeling made Soul feel lightheaded, it made his heart pound.  He could feel himself swelling in his pants.  He felt trapped but in the best way possible in the cage of Scott’s arms. 

Soul looked for the feeling of desperation, of unnatural want, but didn’t find it.  He felt free in his desire.  He wanted Scott for Scott, for his tickling touches, for his tears, for his unflagging optimism.  Scott shrugged out of his shirt and Soul moaned into his mouth, the feeling of Scott’s naked chest on his was magnificent, he could feel the soft dusting of silky hair, the heat, the smooth skin and the beginnings of sweat.  Soul dug his fingers into Scott’s back, he wanted him closer, and he wanted to meld into one person. 

Scott slid his now free hand through Soul’s hair, and down his neck, his back, and over his pants, cupping his ass.  Soul moaned again and arched into Scott’s touch, apparently he could get closer, but even that was not enough.  He wanted to ask for more but couldn’t pull himself away from Scott’s kisses, he had to wait- and he burned. 

It was Scott that pulled away first and Soul chased his mouth almost desperate, almost ready to beg, but Scott had his hands on Soul’s pants, he was undoing the button, then sliding his hand into Soul’s briefs.  The second he felt Scott’s hand on him Soul began to shake.  He hadn’t imagined that something so simple could feel so good, so natural.  But first he wanted Scott as desperate as he was.  Soul gathered all the restraint he had and grabbed Scott’s hands.

Scott looked up- startled and almost fearful

“Too much?  I’ll-” Soul shook his head looking for the words to explain what he wanted.  But he wasn’t one for words, not really.  Soul pressed a kiss to Scott’s chest and shook his head.  His hands went to Scott’s belt and unbuckled it.  Soul undid the button and slid down the zipper as carefully as he could make himself.  He was short of breath he wanted to see Scott- all of him.  He wanted to make Scott fall apart; he wanted to show him that without all of this, maybe they could have been together, happily. 

Soul didn’t want to look, he didn’t want the anticipation to be over, but slowly he sunk to his knees pulling Scott’s pants with him.  There was nothing underneath but skin, smooth skin with just a few freckles.  Soul made himself wait, made himself breathe before he looked.  Scott smelled like soap, and even more like himself here and Soul decided he liked it, he liked Scott, and he liked everything about him but his mother. 

Banishing that thought Soul leaned in and opened his eyes again, and looked.  Scott’s penis curved up gently like it wanted to kiss his stomach, it was flushed and at the base trimmed gingery curls wrapped around his balls.  Soul blushed; he couldn’t believe he was here, in a library looking at his- looking as Scott’s- cock? Dick? DNA Cannon?  Soul giggled at the thought and kissed it, whatever he would call it, it was beautiful. 

The skin was so silky against his lips Soul wanted to feel more.  He wrapped a hand around it and one around himself, he pulled slightly and still it wasn’t enough, Soul placed another kiss at the tip and then licked the crystalline droplet that awaited him, it was salty, sweet, but also tasted like nothing, his impression was fleeting, he needed more. Soul stroked again then brought his other hand to Scott’s hip resting it against the grove of the muscle there.  He pushed his thumb into the depression and stroked.  Then again, and again, he was rewarded with another drop, he kissed it away again and again the sensation was too fleeting for Soul to be satisfied.  Soul was about to repeat the process, but he felt Scott’s hands slide through his hair.  Soul moaned and leaned into the feeling letting the head of Scott’s cock slide into his mouth as he hummed.  He couldn’t get enough of the taste, the smell, the feel of Scott.  Soul felt Scott’s hands dig deeper in his hair, felt Scott’s fingernails against his scalp, and couldn’t imagine anything better.  Scott’s hands drew Soul gently closer, nudged himself slowly farther into Soul’s mouth.  Soul didn’t want it to ever end, he wanted more, and so he took more he made himself swallow around Scott’s girth and the tightening of the hands in his hair and the deep guttural sounds he could feel more than hear made it any discomfort worth it. 

Soul looked up to see Scott’s face and it was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen.  He wished he could draw him like this, even get over his hatred of paints to immortalize this moment, Scott’s expression, forever.  His head was thrown back his eyes closed, mouth open just a touch, like he was waiting for a kiss, the blush riding just above his cheekbones emphasized how strong they were and his eyelashes were resting almost innocently above the flush.  Soul wished he could touch them, remembering their softness, but equally unwilling to let go. 

All too soon it was over, Scott looked down and their eyes met, and for one moment it was perfect, but Scott’s legs began to shake and Soul could feel him grow in his mouth, just barely that side of too much, but before he could really pull back he felt goose bumps run up Scott’s legs, his eyes closed and Soul’s mouth was filled with Scott’s essence.  Soul swallowed, then swallowed again, hiccupped and smiled.  He wanted to do it again but he settled back and sat on his heels and let his neck rest against the books. Scott let his knees bend and flopped onto the ground next to Soul.

“Well fuck.”  Scott said, and somehow is sounded like a prayer.

“Well said.”  Soul wanted to bask in the moment but he was aware of the ache beginning in his pelvis, in his balls, and it was rapidly worsening.  Scott’s still flushed beautiful face and soft sighing breaths weren’t helping.  Scott, ever empathetic noticed Soul’s discomfort and moved bonelessly to lie on his stomach between Soul’s knees, Scott pushed them slowly apart and pulled Soul’s feet out in front of him.

“Now its your turn.”  Scott pulled off Soul’s pants and began kissing down his chest, pausing at a nipple to nibble briefly.  Before Soul could appreciate the situation Scott was already moving, leaving kisses nibbles and licks down Soul’s chest and across his stomach.  Scott paused at Soul’s navel, sliding his tongue in a low circle before dipping inside and traveling on.  Soul had his hands firmly in Scott’s hair trying to pull him where Soul needed him most, and when Scott finally took Soul into his mouth Soul felt as if Scott was pulling on his heartstrings, he could feel it stutter and each beat rocked through his body, he could have watched it if he weren’t too busy watching Scott slowly, achingly take him deeper his tongue finding and exploiting each consecutively more sensitive spot.  When Soul thought he could take no more Scott pulled off with a pop and smiled.  Soul was torn in begging him to continue and relief that maybe Scott’s tormenting touches could last a few moments longer. 

Scott maintained eye contact as he slowly pushed Soul’s legs toward his chest, Soul was almost confused until Scott’s head dipped and he licked a slow wet stripe from the base of Soul’s tailbone, across his hole to the tip of his cock.  Soul’s eyes opened wider, he couldn’t have described the sensation or the quickly following feeling of cool breeze blowing against his exposed damp skin.  Then Soul blinked slowly, trying to process the sensations, and once he thought he might be able to breathe again Scott did it again, then again, then settled in, kissing Soul’s hole like it was his mouth, nipping, sucking, and delving deep as if he could taste Soul’s very essence.  Soul had no idea what sounds he was making, or how loudly he was making them and he didn’t care.  When Scott slipped a finger into him and took Soul’s cock in his hand, just gripping loosely Soul thought his heart was breaking.  He thought his eyes were open but his vision splintered as he came apart.  Time seemed to slow as Soul watched the lights and colors fade into a bright white sparkling mass.  Every muscle in his body locked, he threw his head back against the floor and the pain only added to the overwhelming sensations. 

It felt like a lifetime had passed when Soul finally came back to himself, cuddled securely in Scott’s arms.  He felt dreamy, sated, and content. 

“You okay?”  Scott’s voice was soft, and Soul liked feeling it rumble through Scott’s chest against his cheek.  Soul nodded.  They lay there for a while longer, watching the light from the windows slowly retreat. 

When the sun had retreated far enough that the room was beginning to chill there was a knock on the frame of the open door.  It was the twins.

“Dinner is in just a few moments”
“We brought some clothes.”
“No time to bathe”
“Sylvia is pleased.”

Soul could feel his cheeks burning but he met the eyes of David, then Melissa.  He wouldn’t back down and with everyone else already dressing for dinner he might just have a chance to speak to them alone, to finally escape this house.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Charcoal pt 14

woo another chapter! I dont know how i let go of this, its so fun! Anyway as always comments are all welcome, I would love to hear from you.  I also super appologize for mistakes, I wrote this whole chapter on my ipad as my computer is sent away to get fixed.

Charcoal pt 14

Soul went back to his drawing and doodles some birds in the clouds, he knew Sylvia wasn’t going to be happy with him once she saw how inane his drawing was, but honestly Soul didn’t care, he had plans, ideas, and even possibly people to help him with them.  Maybe he could get home, maybe he could escape, and best of all he could find out some answers.

The day finished without incident.  Sylvia was civil through dinner and still didn’t mention the escape attempt.  The others were there too, looking worried, but no worse than any other day.  Soul could almost imagine that it had never happened.

Soul would be almost relaxed, armed, as he was, with his new plan.  But Scott was watching Soul constantly, probably aware that he had a plan.  Soul wondered how much he could share, how much he was willing to share.  He did feel a connection to Scott, but how much of it was an actually friendship and how much of it was constructed?  Though in the past  hours he had felt much more balanced toward Scott, he still couldn’t trust his feelings.  He wished the clarity he felt toward the other parts of his plan would expand to how he felt about Scott.

Dinner ended and Scott and Soul headed back to their room.  The red walls seemed oppressive and Soul wasted no time stripping of his formal dinner wear.  He sat on the bed and thought hard.  He would have liked to think longer but the feeling of Scott’s weight hitting the bed and then his arms closing around Soul’s shoulders shorted out his thoughts and made any sort of heavy duty reflection impossible.

Revulsion and attraction fought within Soul and made him feel nauseous.  He pulled himself free and began to pace around the room.  But his trains of thoughts had been throughly derailed.

“What  are you thinking about?”  Scott lazed on the bed and looked both delightfully edible and terrifying.

“You.”  Soul answered.  He hadn’t decided what he was going to share but he knew he had to start somewhere.  He decided that Scott deserved the truth, even if it wasn’t all of it.  He remembered the first time he had felt any calm before today- it had been when he started to share a few things with Scott. It had been the first hint that he had done something right, he wanted to continue with that.

“What do you mean.”  Scott had sat up a little at Soul’s word, but still looked like a throughly debauched lord or some manor.  And if Sylvia got her way he eventually would be.

Soul took a deep breath.

“I mean I am trying to decide what to tell you.  I know I need to tell you the truth.  But I don’t want to tell you all of it.”  Scott shrugged.

“I also want you to promise not to tell.”  Scott nodded and sat the rest of the way up, aware now that they weren’t just talking about their relationship.  There was something deeper going on, and Soul was willing to share.

“I promise not to tell.”

Soul took another deep breath.

“So we obviously didn’t get out.  I had a feeling that it wouldn’t work. And I began to think that maybe it wasn’t a good idea, then after when nothing happened I began to wonder if somehow Sylvia had something to do with it.”  Scott opened his mouth to talk but shut it again when Soul held up a hand. “I began to feel really nervous about doing anything.  I don’t know anything still.  I don’t know what anyone wants me to tell them or what to do but then I began thinking of all the people that know things.”

“My mother knew everything, and the twins, well they knew my mother, they lived across the street for years and no one ever bothered me.  They knew where my mother was this whole time.  They can't  be on her side- not entirely right?  And I need to see my mother.  Somehow she has stayed out of this for this long.  She must know how to help me.”  Scott nodded and leaned forward.

“That all makes sense, but my mother has her hands in a lot of people’s pockets.  Even more than you might guess.  Its really scary but you have to trust someone right?”  Scott sounded extremely sad and for a moment Soul felt bad.  He couldn’t imagine growing up in this place.  If he wasn’t so confused about his own feelings he might have wanted to be friends with Scott.  He hoped someday this would all be over and they would be able to start over.

Soul felt deflated.  He really wished he wasn’t a part of any of this.  He wished he had been born someone else.  Someone that had no special talents.  He wished he was stupid, he wished he couldn’t draw, he wished he had just given up at the beginning.  Right now he just wanted to sleep.  Planning could wait until the morning.

 After  they had both brushed their teeth and put on soft sleeping shorts they found in one of the dressers Scott walked around to what had become his side of the bed.  He picked up a pillow and started toward the living room.  A large part of Soul wanted to let him go.  He wanted to think, he wanted his own space.  But he realized and even larger part of him did want to trust.  He was so tired of feeling alone, of feeling trapped and confused.

“Come back.”  Soul slithered under the smooth covers and opened his arms.  Scott looked conflicted and almost as lost as Soul felt.

“Just to sleep, please?”  Slowly Scott started back toward the bed.  He faced the wall and stayed as far to the side as he could without falling off.  Soul felt awful- he didn’t want to push but he did kind of want to be held.  Just for now before he had to really decide what to do with Scott.  Soul  pushed down the artificial feelings that he could feel rising and pulled Scott’s arm across his waist.  He could feel Scott resisting, but when Soul threatened to keep sliding backward Scott was in serious danger of falling off the bed if he didn’t cuddle back.

Soul kept trying to push the feelings down and he fell asleep, but just before he succumbed to sleep he relaxed and all at once, the minute he stopped fighting, the good and the bad began to fade.


Soul had many many dreams that night, some of them were of his pictures, something that had never happened to him again, the images were usually restricted to his art, and other dreams that he almost woke from dreams where he thought he was dying dreams where he was with Scott.  Sometimes Scott would save him sometimes Scott was killing him and sometimes Scott was the monster Soul befriended.

When Soul woke he couldn’t remember his dreams, he was just still exhausted and edgy.  He woke wrapped in Scott’s arms, half on top of him with one of his legs between Scott’s.  Soul waited to see what mood Scott would be in when he woke.  Luckily when Scott opened his eyes they were clear, if a bit surprised to discover their position.

“Did you sleep well?”  Scott asked.  He had been dreaming of Soul waking him with a blowjob.  It was an excellent dream, but seeing Soul’s deep green eyes so close was almost better.  It reminded Scott of their meeting in the rose garden, of seeing Soul wake up in that slow way.  Scott resolved that one day he was going to wake up before Soul so he could watch it.  It had been his dream for years to wake up with Soul in his bed and now it was happening and it wasn’t anything like he had expected.

“I had a lot of dreams.”  Soul said in response.  Scott squeezed him and smiled.

“So did I”  But Soul’s face suggested their dreams had very different themes.

“What did you dream about?”  Soul scrunched up his face a bit at that and Scott thought it was beyond adorable, especially when he noticed Soul had the lightest sprinkle of freckles across his cheeks.  He realized that he hadn’t been able to look at the other man this closely before.  Especially not in such a clear state of mind.

“You kinda, I think.”  Soul answered.  Scott was only half listening to him.
“I dreamt of you too.”  Scott brushed a finger along Soul’s cheek “You have freckles.” Soul took the small bit of freedom to his advantage and slid out of Scott’s arms.  He headed to the the shower.  He needed to think.  He was sure that today Sylvia would be after him to draw something that was actually relevant.  He wouldn’t be able to give any excuses and he had to figure out  how to speak with the twins.  He had to make a plan before anything else happened.  And from all the talk it seemed like whatever was happening was just beginning to happen.

Soul pulled off his pajama pants as soon as he reached the bathroom.  He had left the door open so he could talk.

“Scott?’  Soul should have guessed that Scott would not answer from the bedroom but he was still surprised when Scott’s head appeared in the bathroom door.

“Yeah?”  Scott answered but he again wasn’t really listening.  He was busy looking at Soul’s naked back and naked- everything else.  Even without being influenced unduly by the bond Soul was indescribably beautiful, and when he turned Scott could see that he blushed all the way down to his toes.

Soul immediately tried to cover himself.  He knew Scott had seen it, everything, but not like this, not clearheaded, and not with such a good vantage point. They stood for a moment looking at each other, Soul felt frozen.  He had felt like prey so many times in this house but this time he almost enjoyed it.  He felt like he wouldn’t mind being chased.  But after a few moments of being trapped in Scott’s butterscotch smooth eyes Soul’s rational mind took over.  He had called Scott for a reason, and the reason was not to ogle his naked body.  Soul wrapped a towel around himself and tried to gather his slowly scattering thoughts.  It felt a bit like herding cats but he managed.  He cleared his throat and began again.

“Um, so before when I told you everything I know.”  Scott nodded.  “And you promised that you wouldn’t share.  Can you do that again?”  Scott nodded, Soul waited.

“Okay I promise I won’t tell whatever you are about to tell me.”  Soul realized that this wasn’t as reliable of a method as he had imagined.  He didn’t know when Scott began and ended his understanding of not telling.  But remembering their discussion Soul decided to just trust and try.  The twins had said for him to trust his feelings, to trust them.  And what other choice did he have.

"You have to help me find a way to talk to the twins alone.  No Sylvia, no you, no anyone but us.”  Scott looked a bit hurt that he wasn’t to be included but nodded.

“There should be a way for that to happen. I’ll think about it.”  Soul nodded, then looked significantly to the door.  Scott laughed, but left the bathroom and closed the door behind him.


After breakfast Scott and Soul found themselves back in the library with new sheets of paper and the same sets of pencils.  Soul stared at the blank expanse in front of him.  He knew that he needed to do something real, but he also couldn’t draw the forest.  He needed something in the middle.  He thought of the first time he had drawn with Scott, in Professor White’s office.  He could draw Scott, he could draw the poppies.  He could draw anything that was peripheral.  He knew the forest was what they were after but if he really could See, if stood to reason that he could see things other than the forest, he just had to see something else.

“Scott, I want to draw you- will you help?”
“How?” Soul shrugged, he didn’t know how, but that wasn’t his job.

“Do whatever you did in Professor Whites office.”  Soul missed Scott’s blush, but he leaned into Scott’s hands when the other man stood behind him and ran his fingers through Soul’s hair.

“All I did was trust you could do it.  I knew you could then and I know you can now.”

Soul looked at the page in front of him, then picked up a charcoal pencil.  He started in the middle- with Scott’s long, soft, featherlike eyelashes.


The image was beautiful.  Soul looked at it from a distance, as usual he didn’t feel anything toward the picture.  He tried to look at it objectively but when he really looked he couldn't stop the creeping blush.  He had drawn Scott yes, but Soul was also in the picture.  He could recognize himself even if all you could see was his back, and even if his hair was even longer than it was now.  Scott's  eyelashes were lying against his cheeks, his eyes closed, his head was tilted back and his mouth slightly open, with just a hint of tongue showing.  He was holding Soul on his lap, Soul’s head on his shoulder looking away, hidden by his hair and they- well they were naked and they were having sex.  And from the look of it it was good.

Soul really wanted to flip over the piece of paper, to burn it, to somehow unsee what he had seen or rather Seen.  There was nothing ambiguous or allegorical to that picture.  Soul bit his lip and turned to look at Scott who after a while had simply sat across from him holding his hand and making doodles of his own.  Soul hoped that Scott would still be looking at his own piece of paper but he had no such luck. The second Soul had stopped his steady shading Scott had put down his own pencil.  He was looking at Soul’s drawing with half a smirk on his face.  Soul was glad that he wasn’t looking at Soul’s face, he could feel the burning in his cheeks.

“I like what you see.”  Scott laughed and Soul yanked his hand away.  He was embarrassed and didn’t want to be laughed at.  He stood as if to walk away, but when he turned to the door somehow Scott was there in front of him.  Scott caught him before he could scurry around and held Soul  by his hips.  But this time his touch was gentle, firm and Soul didn’t think he was going to let go, but it was, in its way, a comforting touch.

“I'm  not laughing at you, I’m laughing because I’m happy.”  Soul still didn’t look up.  He had only barely believed that he could predict or See anything, he felt like yes maybe his pictures had meaning but only peripherally.  This, what he had just done felt very intensely like a premonition.  He wished he knew when it was or how it would happen.  He felt out of control and like there was nothing he could do to change events.  The weight of his ‘gift’ felt like it was crushing him, another straw added to his load.  Soul just wanted to cry.  He wanted to run away, he wanted to be held, he wanted to know the answers to every one of his questions but he didn’t know where to begin.

“Hey-“  Scott tilted soul’s face up to meet his eyes.  Don’t worry about it okay?”  Soul felt like he did was drowning in Scott’s eyes.  He reached one hand up to touch the eyelashes he felt so drawn to.  This small part of Scott was safe, this small part of him didn’t have to do with everything else.  For the first time Soul kissed another human being.  He wasn’t being kissed, he took action.  He reached his other hand around Scott’s neck, he buried his hands in Scott’s soft hair, realizing for the first time he hadn’t really touched it before, looked into his eyes, and kissed him.

Scott’s lips were smooth, warm, and he tasted like coffee.  Soul hadn’t thought of what he would do once he had started the kiss, but for once thinking didn’t get in his way, he just did what felt right.

Scott let Soul kiss him for as long as he could, but when Soul pulled back slightly to sigh against Scott’s lips he couldn’t help himself anymore.  He wrapped his hands around Soul’s waist and lifted him, Soul’s legs snaked around Scott’s waist just like he had imagined so many times, and clung on with a strength Scott didn’t expect.  When he could breathe again Soul gripped Scott’s hair tighter and kissed him deeper, he wanted to taste every inch of him, starting with his mouth.  If he could climb inside him and explore from the inside he would have done that, but for now it was enough to sweep his tongue though every bit of Scott he could reach.  Soul didn’t realize that he was undulating against Scott’s body, but Scott noticed, he couldn’t imagine anything hotter than Soul pleasuring himself against Scott, the muscles on Soul’s back strained as he flexed against Scott, trying to feel as much as he could.

If he could think of anything other than Scott’s mouth he would have felt the delicious burning in his muscles and deeper, he would have felt the blood rush to his penis, he would have felt the burning in the bowl of his pelvis, felt the need to be filled, to be possessed, to be completely powerless in the face of pleasure, but instead the only thought that was in his mind was getting his tongue as deep as he could, tasting every inch that he could.

Scott flinched at the sharp sound of Soul’s head hitting the wall he had backed them into, but Soul made no indication he had felt anything.  With the added support of the wall Scott was able to pull back a bit to breathe, he was able to snake his hand into the back of Soul’s black pants, as tight as they were they were meant to sit low and Scott was just able to grab a handful of Soul’s ass in one hand.  Barely satisfied with one handful, but unwilling to put Soul down Scott kissed his way down Soul’s neck, finding the fading marks he had left before, strangely proud they still were visible, Scott found a perfect spot, just below Soul’s ear, that made Soul moan deep in his throat and slam his head back into the wall,  Scott began to worry the area with his lips and tongue, gratified at the sharp gasps and moans that he had imagined slipping from Soul’s lips for years.  Finally he heard them, finally he had Soul in his arms.

Soul felt consumed, but clear, there was no sign of unnatural feeling, the only desperation he felt was his own.  He wanted to get closer to Scott, but there was no urge to go further, he would be happy here forever.  Wherever it came from Soul loved it.  If this was his glimpse into the future he didn’t mind going there.  Scott’s mouth on his neck felt like heaven and Soul couldn’t keep the sounds from pouring from his mouth, he knew vaguely he would be embarrassed later but now all he could do was hold on for dear life and hope the moment would never end.

“Mother says- oops”  The soft voice somehow cut through the dizzy wanting, and Soul found himself suddenly feet away from Scott, his pants were somehow half unzipped and he was sure his lips were swollen and a flush graced his cheeks.  Soul ran a hand through his hair sure it was beyond hope, and still all he wanted to do is laugh.  Scott however had been immediately torn from his living dream, his sister’s voice was like ice water and his mothers name like the electric chair.

“Oh no, she’ll be so mad I interrupted.”  Josie looked so afraid for a moment Soul was afraid she would pass out.

“Don’t worry, you aren’t stopping anything.  See we still have all our clothes on.”  He smiled at her hoping she could tell he wasn’t upset, that his good mood wasn’t driving by whatever Talents were floating around.  It was just him, and just Scott.

“Um, okay, she wants to see you.  Both of you.”  Josie turned slowly and leaned against the door frame for a minute before leaving the room.

“Is she going to be okay?” Soul asked.  Scott shrugged,
“Only time will tell.”

After straightening their clothes the boys steeled themselves to see Sylvia.  Soul was about to ask where they were supposed to meet her when she came sweeping into the room, her outfit was a dark red floor length gown and she had laurel leaves woven into her elaborate hairstyle.  She looked like a witch.

“I hope you have made some progress, because your day is far from over.  The others have come and you need to be dressed.”  The sickly sweet demeanor was back and Soul could feel it in the air like a cloying perfume.  Scott held Soul’s drawing out to her, a slight blush crossing his face.  She held the paper like it was a gift bestowed to her by her most beloved friend, she cradled it to her chest after looking at it.

“Oh my lovely Soul, I knew you would come through, I knew you could do it.  I just can’t wait for the day when this takes place, for when my son will finally fall into his place, and you can See what we all need you to see.”  She smiled and Soul's  impression of something oppressive trying to force its way through his pores got stronger, and in a flash of insight he knew what Sylvia’s Talent was.


It could have been a subtle Talent but it was Sylvia.  As she was sweeping them out of the library and upstairs to ‘prepare themselves to be truly met’ Soul thought.  She could influence mood.   That’s how she got everyone to do what they wanted, that’s why the house was so oppressive, that was why it was all so vague.  Soul wondered if she knew what her Talent was, or if she just knew that she always got her way.  She had wanted him to forgive Scott and he had, she had wanted him to want Scott and he had, she had wanted him to feel frightened, and he had been.  But once his decisions were made they were set and a mood wouldn’t change it.  Filing the information for later consideration Soul began his second shower of the day and prepared to meet The Others.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Charcoal pt. 13

I can finish things!! Or at least I want to, four years later, the next chapter of Charcoal.  As always it is barely edited and a little short.  Any feedback is welcome <3 <3

Cannibalism really wasn’t what Soul wanted, but he still didn’t trust Scott enough for anything else, and the others looked so expectant.  Plus he couldn’t just stay here, the morning had told him that if Sylvia got her way Soul wouldn’t be thinking much ever again. 

As it turned out, they didn’t get far enough for the bond, temporary or not, to be enacted.  Right before leaving for a more private, and Soul assumed, romantic, location the door opened.  Outside the twins waited.

“Hello friends, we thought there weren’t going to be any more meetings until tomorrow.”  Soul was terrified, but somewhere deep inside he was relieved, he knew Josie would have been able to make it and somehow Nova would find a way to blame him, and honestly he didn’t think he could lead, how could he when he had no idea what was going on.  He had no idea who was his friend, or where Sylvia’s reach ended.  Stuck here all he had to do was stay away from Scott and keep hold of his own thoughts. 

They were lead back to their rooms, Josie was crying softly.  But she probably needed rest more than anything.  She really should have been trying to run away, the stress in this house was more than she needed but more would probably kill her and her baby.

Back in the scarlet room Scott flopped onto the bed.   Soul paced.  He was so blind to what was happening, he wanted to trust Scott, to believe that he didn’t want to hurt him but he was so pushy and trust came to Soul slowly.  He didn’t know what he felt and wouldn’t ever be able to know how he really felt, with whatever his mother had done to him, with whatever Sylvia was continuing to do to him.  And even Scott couldn’t know how he felt about Soul.  The only reason he proclaimed to love him, and proclaimed he couldn’t control himself was because of what his mother had done.  Neither of them had chosen this by themselves, and yet, they would never be free of each other.

“What are you thinking about?”  Soul turned to look at Scott as he spoke, and Soul began to laugh.

“What do you think I am thinking about?” 

Scott looked too relaxed for the situation.  He had kicked off his shoes and had folded his t-shirt next to him.  Soul considered if the escape attempt, as short lived as it was, had to do with a larger plan, were they trying to lure him into a false sense of camaraderie.  Were they all on the same side?  Maybe they were all really good actors; even Josie could be in on it.  She had seemed really sick, but maybe she was still trying to do anything to get her parents approval.  Maybe someone had done something to him when he was recovering from Nova’s punch. 
He was so in the dark anything could be possible.  Really the only person he could trust was Sylvia- trust her to be awful and do whatever she could to figure out whatever his drawings meant.
Soul wished he could just trust Scott; he wished that he could just give up and not care who won.  With so little knowledge he couldn’t even decide he didn’t care.  Even Josie's story, assuming that it was true, and that she was really trying to be helpful didn’t make any sense.  He kind of knew the story of the allegory of the cave.  But how it related to this he had no idea.  If Scott was the light and he was drawing the shadows, what he drew still wouldn’t be the truth, it would be indecipherable.  And if Scott were the light then they would have to ask him and be hurt to figure it out anyway.  Plus they would know what he was drawing.  The shadows were the easy part.  But then his mother, what had she done?  Chain them so the shadows made even less sense? Obscure them even more? 

“What am I thinking?”  Soul began “I am thinking that no matter what I do something bad will happen.  I am thinking that everything anyone has told me has just made me feel more lost.  I am thinking that I would do anything to get out of here, but I don’t know how or what I would do if I did escape.  I am wondering if everything wouldn’t just be better if I was dead.”

Before he said it Soul didn’t even know that he had considered if being dead wouldn’t be better.  He had never explicitly thought in his life, but now that he had it in the front of his mind why not?  Everyone just wanted to use him.  He didn’t have any real friends; even the twins had been a ploy.  And if he were dead no one would be able to use him for evil.  He laughed at the thought evil.  He hadn’t considered seriously that people or acts or anything could be truly evil until the past month.  And here he was considering killing himself to stay away from it.
Scott looked stricken, but the more Soul thought, the better idea it seemed, it felt like the only original idea he had had in a long while, the only idea he could trust was really his.  Everyone else wanted him for something, needed something from him, but this, the ultimate self centered act.  No matter what came after Soul could be sure it would be his.
“Soul you can’t” the anguish on Scott’s face was almost satisfying to Soul, he didn’t know if he hated the other boy, he probably didn’t but still in this moment where he was so sure of his next act he felt secure.  Scott would be the first person that wouldn’t be able to hold onto him, the first person that wouldn’t be able to use him, the first person that would have to let him go.

“What about me, what about your mother what about…” Soul ignored him.  It was his decision to make and no one could stop him, not really.  His mother would be sad, but if anything they had said about her were true, she would be proud. Proud that he too would do anything to stay away from these people.  But then he had another thought.  His mother had escaped from this; she had hidden herself and him for years and years.  Well the twins knew but they hadn’t bothered them until Soul left.  His mother could help him.  Why hadn’t he thought of her until now? 
“I can if I want.”  It was a childish response to something so huge, but Soul had to think, really think.  How could he get away from here himself? How could he get home without drawing them to his mother, there were so many impossible obstacles but he could do it.  And if he couldn’t he had the ultimate plan b.  But how would he do it.  It would have to be fast, resolute, something that he couldn’t come back from. 

Calmer that he had something concrete to work on, a thought that he was sure was unchanged, Soul felt a weight lift from his shoulders. 
He slipped off he pants and shirt.  They had been for traveling, for fighting and running and would be useless for sleep.  Being skin to skin with Scott wasn’t really what he wanted.  But let Scott think he was comforted, that he was diverted from suicide.  Let him think they were planning together.


Soul woke feeling the calm from the night before.  He felt Scott pressed close to his back and felt his arms tight around him.  Soul stayed still.  He didn’t know what had provoked Scott the morning before but even that didn’t faze him.  He knew what to do to please Sylvia.  He knew what he had to do to please Scott, and for his plan to work he had to seem as pliable and agreeable as possible.  He could use anything to make sure his plan worked and even Scott’s guilt could be useful.  But still a plan a was preferable, Soul wanted to take no chances of falling out of himself, of getting lost in kisses or anything else.  And despite himself a blush burned across his cheeks.
Apparently this small change was enough to wake Scott.  One of his arms loosened from around Soul’s waist and he brushed a hand across Soul’s burning cheek.

“Are you feeling okay?”  Scott’s voice was both sleepy and concerned, but clear, nothing like the morning before.  Relieved, but a bit sorry he wouldn’t be able to use guilt to cover his scheming Soul turned in Scott’s arms.  He kissed Scott on the nose and snuggled into him.  Whether or not Soul trusted him feeling arms securely around him was a nice feeling, and once the day truly began Soul had a feeling the nice feelings would be few and far between.


Soul expected breakfast to be one of the worst experiences yet, but somehow Sylvia didn’t seem phased by the escape attempt.  She didn’t even mention it.  She smiled almost genuinely at Scott and Soul as the entered the dining room.  Maybe it was because they were holding hands, or maybe it was because her plan was working. 

The meal was mostly in silence, leaving everyone to scheme on their own, and Soul was sure that that was what was happening.  Everyone was there, the twins and siblings, everyone who had entered the room before.  Only Josie was absent.  Soul felt bad for suspecting her, and realized that even if she was somehow in on the scheme he didn’t blame her.  She truly seemed terrified, and to feel, really feel, the resentment everyone felt toward her must be unimaginably painful.

After the dishes were cleared Scott lead Soul to the library again, this time the both sat at one of the large oak tables.  Their places were set with expensive sets of graphite pencils and charcoal, and huge pieces of watercolor paper.  Instead of truly trying to draw like he did yesterday Soul picked up a fine pencil immediately and began to draw a tree.  It was, of course, awful.  But he was drawing and when Sylvia stuck her head in the room and saw a pencil in his hand she smiled.  Soul smiled too, maybe his plan would work. 
As he filled in his tree and added some grass underneath he considered what he was up against and what the information he had was.  He wished he could draw a diagram to help himself figure it out.  Or talk it over with someone, but he didn’t need the nausea his mother had given him to tell him both of those options were horrible ideas.
Soul tried to remember things from his childhood, hints that might help him figure out his mother’s side of things, or what the twins had to do with everything.  His pencil froze on the paper.  The twins- they had seen his pictures any number of times, had nightmares about them, and had spoken with his mother many times.  Maybe, they were, double agents.  Soul scoffed to himself at his lack of terminology.  But the idea remained.  Telling them things had never hurt.  And honestly they had never hurt him until they left him for college; thought that apparently hadn’t happened either.  There was an enormous chance that he was wrong, but Soul had to know.  He had to find some way to ask them without Sylvia finding out, or realizing what he was doing.  And even harder he had to get a minute away from Scott who was watching him like a baby watches her mother from another’s arms.  Without guilt Soul didn’t know how to shake him.  Even a trip to the bathroom would most likely require an escort.

Soul had an idea, another crystal clear spring of an idea; it was so obvious he would have been suspicious of it.  But he had found his stride; maybe he would survive this world after all.
After finishing a final bunny that looked like a second graded had drawn it, soul stood up.  He had been thinking of the dirtiest stories he had ever read, told, or watched and was sufficiently flushed.  He unwound his hand from Scott’s.  When Scott looked up from his own doodles his lips twitched up slightly.  Soul met his eyes with his own, knowing his pupils were blown and that he gaze would be more intense than usual, something he guessed Scott really wouldn’t be able to take.  He was right.  With a few murmured words of needing to “walk it off” “breathe” and “take a moment” he was free.
Again as his clarity had granted him he knew that he would find the twins if he went somewhere he wasn’t supposed to be.  He found his way to the perpendicular hallways with all the locked doors.  After trying some of the still locked doors the twins walked around the corner.
Soul decided to jump right into it.
“You have both seen everything I drew before college, you knew and know my mother.  Why can I talk to you with no pain.”  The twins looked at each other and in that uncanny way they had communicated what their next sentence would be.  Michelle nodded softly and then David began to speak
“We can’t talk here, but you are onto something.  Think harder”
“You always were a smart one.  When you feel something know that you are right.”
“You can talk to us, you have always been able to talk to us.”
“But not here”
“Never here” Michelle reached into her pocket and brought out a photo, it was the three of them when they were very little. 
“Its for you” they both spoke.  It almost looked like David had tears in his eyes.  But then with a quick look over Soul’s shoulder the mask of coldness smoothly folded over their features. 
“You should get back to work.”  Soul tucked the picture into his pocket and just that moment, just as Michelle finished speaking Sylvia came around the corner, an exhausted looking Josie at her side.

“That is wonderful advice Soul, go.”  And Soul went.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Left Left...Right?

Wow finally I WROTE SOMETHING.  It is, of course, in a barely edited form but it's there.  I meant to write something super short and fluffy, but it was fun and well, slightly less short than I intended, and might be one part of a few.  I do however fully intend to go back to some other projects that have been neglected for literally years.  Anyway here it is:

Left Left... Right?

Matthew flipped through tinder on his phone as he half listened to the episode of Archer on his laptop.  Neither were activities that he particularly enjoyed, but he was bored and lonely and when his friends weren’t off with each other or having sex with their newest fling they informed him of the wonders of both.  He wasn’t convinced.
As he flipped though the guys that either attended his college or worked in the tiny town he was not impressed.  On the occasion he did swipe someone right they didn’t like him back and behold- no match.  When he very occasionally got the glorious indication that he had a new match either it was a mistake or the guy immediately said something stupid, beyond rude, or both.  A moment before he was going to give up he saw a familiar face, but one he didn’t expect to see here, in everyone’s profile picture, on the school’s website maybe, but on tinder, set to gay?  Tentatively after checking which direction was which, just in case his hours of swiping had somehow all been wrong Matthew swiped right.  He held his breath for a split second waiting for the screen to darken, for this boring lonely night to turn into some sort of crazy romance.  But the moment passed, and on he went to another unknown guy who looked twice the age he claimed to be with a cigarette handing out from between crooked teeth. 
Sighing Matthew threw his phone off the side of his bed and curled under the covers, he tried for a few moments to watch the show but he just couldn’t do it.  Shutting his computer and sliding it to the edge of his lofted bed he said a short silent prayer for it to not fall off and faced the wall.  He closed his eyes and willed himself to sleep, and just as it did every night, it took hours until the thoughts buzzing around in his head finally faded into the dark static of sleep.

Matthew woke early, earlier than he ever wanted to on a Saturday.  He would have probably just fallen immediately back to sleep, but without his phone he didn’t know what time it was.  Once he had climbed down from bed he had to pee, and when he had peed he was hungry, and once he was hungry he figured he might as well shower and start his day. 
After his semblance of a morning routine Matthew found himself settling into an armchair in the library.  The library was strange with no one around.  He didn’t have too much homework so on went the headphones and the Netflix, somehow it felt more productive in the library, he would even watch a documentary.  Funny how learning was so fun when it had nothing to do with any of his classes. 

Ping Matthew almost missed the small sound, but the small vibration that passed through the chair invoked an almost pavlovian response, it was his phone and he must check it. 
The small red flame icon sent a pang of resentment through him.  Who had he accidentally swiped for now, who was drunk, who was playing a trick on him now.  Swearing he was going to delete the app Matthew aggressively tapped the tinder icon with his middle finger.
James? The mystery man from the night before, the macho rugby player that had most likely slept with all the women in the school.  There were of course the rumors about the women’s rugby team, but the men’s team? All bros to the highest power, their mating call of no homo could be heard from buildings away when there was a party. There was no way he was gay, and yet...  Appearing the night before could have been anything, a drunken dare, a mistaken switch of settings, but at 8am on a Saturday morning, it could only mean one thing- he was playing tricks.  Sighing again Matthew turned back to learning about the dangers of fast food, glad that he had eaten a boiled egg and toast for breakfast.

Ping buzz.  Again Matthew’s phone was in his hands before he could even parse that the sound had happened.  He glanced at the screen and again there was that little red flame.  New message from James.  And here it began, the laughing the teasing, haha I always knew you thirsted after my body, and the like.  But that would at least James knew who he was, maybe it was worth checking, and then, then he would delete the app. 
You’re up early, would you want to grab some coffee
There was no way that a message that normal could come from tinder.  But not answering would be rude wouldn’t it, he had to just answer, he could say anything, he typed fast, out of annoyance not eagerness he told himself.
Sure, when?
Matthew intended to just go back to his show and wait for the inevitable no response, but a bit of movement caught his eye, a response, immediately?
Whenever, now?
Okay see you in the commons in 10
Matthew sent his message before he could chicken out, but getting his act together enough to pack up his back and head to the student center was a bit harder, he actually arrived 15 minutes later, sure that even if James had been willing to meet him there was no chance that he would still be there.  More people would be waking up, more people would see them together, coffee or not it people would notice, something James couldn’t want.  But there he was, sitting at one of the small tables, a small white cup in hand playing something on his phone, or possibly trolling other sad boys.  Wondering where this cynicism was coming from, James hadn’t done anything… yet... Matthew went to meet him.

“Hey I worried you weren’t going to come.  I just got something already I hope that’s okay.” Matthew nodded and dropped his bag at the other tall stool.  He went to get his own coffee, or rather tea.  He didn’t fancy getting coffee tummy at such a possibly pivotal moment. 
“I didn’t know you knew who I was.”  Matthew wasn’t shy, not even with people he found attractive, at least not usually, but the possibility of being pranked wouldn’t leave him, even though with every passing moment it seemed less and less likely.
“Well I don’t really,” James laughed “but I've seen you around, and you seem cool, thought why not say hi.” 
Maybe he was just looking to be friends, friends were good.
“You really must be confused if you thought I was cool. “  Matthew, happy that he now knew what was going on slid onto the stool, wishing he was slightly taller, then he wouldn’t have to wiggle so unceremoniously onto the small metal seat.
“Well you can stay on the slack line for more than two seconds, that’s pretty cool to me, and you paint? Are you an arts major?” James leaned forward his big green eyes were so intent, it was like he really was interested in Matthew, but the fact he knew his hobbies was, well, interesting.
“Not a major, but I dabble, I’m actually doing bio, I don’t know why, and it’s killing me a little.  I like learning how we work though, if only I could get past all the classes about the small things, I don’t really need to know exactly how amphibians can live in the liminal zone between the water and land, I want to know about people- or at least mammals.”  Matthew realized he was leaning forward himself.  He gulped his tea and sat backward.  Maybe if he could shut up about himself for a minute he could find out something about James, figure out why one of the most popular, and attractive guys would want to meet him.
“Other than being a rugby star, how do you spend your time?”
“Doing this and that, other than parties I kind of stick to myself.  I was really shy when I was younger, I don’t think I quite grew out of it, not without a few drinks at least.” James smiled but looked slightly down, he didn’t look like the arrogant character Matthew had imagined him to be, he was like a regular person his comment about being shy could almost be true. 

As the next hour passed Matthew slowly relaxed and began to see James as a person and not like the archetype he had assigned to him.  It was nice to have a new friend.  Plus James wouldn’t be so concerned with sleeping with all the people Matthew was interested in.  Maybe it would be nice to have a straight friend. 
“What are you doing the rest of the weekend?” snapped back into the conversation Matthew considered James’ question.  What was he doing this weekend.  His lab for one, but other than that, staring at various screens and being bored.  Now wanting to seem too boring Matthew frowned, how could he phrase.  James saved him by speaking again.
“I don’t want to intrude of course, and feel free to say no, but I wondered if you wanted to come to the rugby party tonight, at Tony’s apartment.  It would be nice to have someone there who can actually hold a conversation.” A party invitation.  Something Matthew would have to consider when he was over the surprise.  It wasn’t that Matthew didn’t go to parties, he just was never invited, his friends just ‘heard something was going on’ and then they went. 
“I'll think about it.”
“Cool, I hope to see you there.”  And then it was over, the weirdest morning Matthew had had in a while.  Well it wasn’t that weird, and that made it even stranger.  A regular guy hanging out drinking coffee with him, just chatting, and then the invitation.  Maybe it was just a formality, something to say to end the conversation. Whatever it was it made bio lab seem even less interesting than it had before.  But, with the goal of finishing before the party would start Matthew actually finished it in one afternoon.  But as evening fell he had a large decision to make, followed by several small ones.  First should he go to the party, that was already half decided he couldn’t not go, even if he hadn’t been invited someone was bound to show up or call him begging him to show up, and he admitted, he wanted to talk to James more.  Even if the party wasn’t the best place to chat he would at least have a reason to reach out again. 
Flopping onto his bed Matthew considered the next question, if he was going to go, what was he going to wear?  After trying on an embarrassing number of similar t-shirt and jeans outfits, he decided on a soft blue t-shirt he had had for an embarrassingly long time and equally old but buttery soft jeans.  They might have been a little too tight, but they were the most comfortable thing he owned short of pjs, and he wanted to be comfortable in such a new environment.  Ready Matthew checked his phone.  It was only 9:30, way too early to even consider going out.  Growling to himself Matthew opened his computer again and turned on a pregaming playlist.  He never went to pregames, but a shot or two while he waited wouldn’t hurt.  Well shots would hurt so he mixed himself a quick drink and danced around his room with it, picking up bits of clothing and throwing them into the closet.  By the time it was time to go his room was cleaner than it had been in months and he was a drink away from a buzz.  Making sure he had his keys, wallet, and id, Matthew headed out the door.  He was about halfway to the apartment when his phone lit up, a friend request, James.  Matthew of course accepted, and before he could go more than ten more steps there was the familiar ping and buzz.
Hey are you coming the message, in the comforting blue of facebook this time made Matthew hurry a bit more.  If James had the time to message him he must not be drowning in girls and therefore might be available to talk to, even at the party.

Matthew heard the party before he had even reached the complex the apartment it was in.  He thanked his foresight to live on campus, even if it was less cool than living in an apartment the parties were significantly quieter, and for someone that didn’t tend to stay out too late, that was a blessing.

The door was open and Matthew walked right in, the rooms were packed so he pulled out his phone, the ultimate transitional comfort object. While he had it in his hand he figured he might as well message James back.
Here the simplest of messages.
Most of the faces were familiar, but not people that he particularly wanted to speak with. He wandered looking for a drink, and worrying that he should have brought his own.  Everyone seemed to have a bottle of beer, and there seemed to be none sitting out.  Maybe he should have left earlier.  The more drunk the others were, the more he needed to be drunk to deal with them.
“Matthew!”  James appeared out of the kitchen with two bottles in his hands.  “You came I’m so glad.  As you can see most of these guys are already useless.”  And looking around Matthew could see that the majority of the guests were definitely past the point of polite conversation.  James slung an arm around Matthew’s shoulders and handed him a bottle. 
“Cider, I hope you don’t mind, I keep my own stash here, beats PBR any day.”  Surprised but grateful Matthew took a drink. 
After finding a quietish couch to chat the two men fell easily into a conversation, about homework, about missing home, about parties and the cheap beer they always had.  After making their way through a few ciders each there was no way that Matthew could go another second without breaking the seal. 
“Where’s the bathroom?”  Feeling a bit less stable than he would like to admit Matthew found the room dirtier than he would like and relieved himself.  After washing his hands and avoiding touching the knob as much as possible he went to find James again.  Though the he hadn’t expressed a desire to speak with anyone else Matthew was worried James might have disappeared into the thick of the party, leaving Matthew with no one to talk to.  His fears were realized when he returned to the couch and there were two people he had never seen before passionately going through the bases fast enough any major league player would have been proud. 
Considering just walking back to his room Matthew turned.  As he squeezed through the throngs he thought he heard his name being called.  Sure it was a coincidence or a hallucination Matthew continued through the door and outside.

The cool air was a relief.  Matthew hadn’t realized how hot it had been outside, but the crisp autumn air felt amazing.  Matthew looked at the clear sky and was amazed by the few starts that were bright enough to shine through the light pollution.  He laughed and spun.  He was a happy drunk, and even if James had disappeared he had still had more fun at this party than all the other parties he had gone to this semester, and even better he might have found a new friend.  Maybe he wouldn’t need to cling to the fringes of the other groups he had been hanging with.  Maybe he wouldn’t have to always be the designated driver to get invited out maybe-
“Matthew!”  He turned, sure this time his name was being called. 
“You left! I couldn’t find you!”  It was James; the other man had an almost wild look in his eyes.  I wanted to-” James was holding Matthew’s arms, gently, but firmly “-I wanted to say goodbye, or I didn’t want you to go.”
“I just thought you wanted to talk to someone else, its fine, I should probably sleep soon anyway.”  Matthew smiled and gently pulled himself out of James’ grip. 
“Wanna walk somewhere?  It was too loud in there anyway.”  If Matthew didn’t know better he would guess that James was making reasons to spend more time with him.  Well it was fine with him. 

They walked in silence for a while toward campus.  It was such a beautiful night Matthew couldn’t stop smiling, a new friend, the crisp night, the leaves just beginning to turn, he felt ridiculous but it was rare he felt so carefree.
Something brushed his hand softly, Matthew ignored it, but then a moment later it happened again, and then again, and finally with a soft puff of air from beside him James clasped his hand.  Matthew turned to look at the other man but his eyes were resolutely forward.  Matthew squeezed the hand in his and gently wove his fingers through James’.  He was just tipsy enough to not worry about what it might mean, he was trapped in the peace of the night and thinking wouldn’t bother him until later.  When they came to the peony garden there was a choice, Matthew could either go to his dorm the long way, across campus following the multitude of paths that lead in nonsensical directions or they could take the shortcut through the woods.  Matthew paused for a moment but James led the way toward the short cut.  It was darker under the cover of the trees but it was lovely with glimpses of the moon, Matthew could almost imagine that he could hear the creek though it was still too far away to hear.
When they were fully in the trees James paused.
“I’ve wanted to do this all day.”
“Walk?” Matthew asked.  James didn’t answer he just used his free hand to cup Matthew’s cheek and pressed a gentle kiss to his lips.  James pulled away slowly and didn’t let go of Matthew’s face.
“I didn’t realize you are as tall as me.”  Matthew hadn’t noticed either, he had thought James was taller, but he was just- bigger.  Storing the information away for another time Matthew leaned his head into James’ palm and put his free hand on James’ hip.  Overtaken by an unknown force Matthew began to hum, a simple tune from somewhere he couldn’t remember.  They swayed in the quiet darkness, and for a moment everything was perfect just like that, two almost strangers just standing in the dark.  But soon Matthew wanted another kiss.  He leaned in and this time it wasn’t so brief, not so innocent. 
James’ lips were soft, but just a tiny bit chapped, his mouth was apple-y with just a hint of yeast from their earlier ciders, and when Matthew slipped a hand under his shirt his skin was smooth and cool, the gentle contours of his muscles were interesting, and Matthew wanted to explore them sometime he wasn’t so occupied learning what made him lean further into his kisses.  Matthew untangled his hand from James’ wanting to feel more of him.  With his left hand already exploring James’ torso and back his other went straight for the other man’s ass, it was firm, as muscled as the rest of him, perfect.  Gasping James used his now free hand to return the favor pulling Matthew closer to him, so close there was no breath between their bodies and Matthew could feel James begin to get hard against him.  It was intoxicating to have such an impact on such a beautiful man; just knowing what he was doing had such an effect made Matthew aware of the growing tightness in his own jeans.  Matthew knew it was probably weird but he didn’t want to close his eyes, he kissed James with his eyes wide open.  The other man’s eyes were closed, his dark lashes stark against his cheekbones even in the near perfect dark, and Matthew imagined that he could see a hint of a blush across those same prominent bones.  When James pulled a hair’s breath away to pull a full breath through his kiss swollen lips Matthew realized that his own head was swimming, whether it was from lack of breath or the absurdity of the kiss he didn’t know, but he knew is added something to the moment, the dark, the heat, the off balance feeling he felt down to his bones.  He had always liked guys, always been comfortable in that knowledge, he had come out in middle school but here he was amazed that a guy, that kissing a guy could be so- awesome.
“Wow” James whispered the word with his eyes still closed.  With a few more inches between their faces Matthew could really appreciate the beauty of James’ face, the gently curving lines of his jaw, his cheekbones, and the shadows they cast even more dramatic in the dappled moonlight that filtered in through the trees.  Slowly he opened his eyes and met Matthew’s, and as a chilly wind rustles through the leaves Matthew remembered who this beautiful man was, and as much as he didn’t want to bother, and wanted to go back to kissing him he had one question that had to be answered.
“Don’t you like girls?”  James looked confused for a moment, still trapped in the previous moment, but when he caught up his laugh echoed through the trees.
“I do! I just like guys too.  It doesn’t have to be one or the other you know.”  Matthew thought about that for a second. For someone that was well versed in queer theory he could have guessed that, but for some reason he was skeptical. 
“I’ve seen that face before.”  James’ smile was fading.  “I know it seems odd but really its no big deal…”  Matthew already felt a bit silly and didn’t know what to say to save face so he just pulled James closer again, the distance between their bodies had slowly grown just as the distance between their faces had.  Feeling the firm warmth of James’ body again chased any thoughts or doubts.

They must have spent hours in the woods together, kissing, talking and walking aimlessly. It took hours to walk the distance to the dorm, a walk that usually took only a few minutes, but those hours were worth every shiver and goosebump they got from the dropping temperature and the intensity of their connection.

Sunday was a difficult day for Matthew, he was so tired after being too keyed up to sleep until the sun rose.  He had finished most of his homework in his marathon Saturday afternoon but he still had enough to make the Sunday evening panic as horrible as it usually was.  And yet he had hope he was going to the library to study with James, though the location suggested it was really to study Matthew didn’t mind, he honestly enjoyed James’ company. 

Armed with laptop and a bio textbook he had no intention of reading Matthew headed to the library.  When he found the area James had told him to look he was less than happy.  Instead of finding just James he found James, three other rugby guys and, of course, a few of the women that always seemed to be around him.  Trying to keep the huff of annoyance inaudible Matthew flopped into a chair at the side of the room and opened his computer.  If he wasn’t going to get to talk to James he might as well get some work done for the rest of the week.
It took almost ten minutes for James to even realize Matthew was there.  He waved from the middle of the group.  He looked like he might say something but a small, well-manicured hand on his arm had him turning away immediately.  Huffing again Matthew turned back to his work.

You are so far away its like you aren’t even here L the message appeared in a small chat box at the bottom of Matthew’s computer.  He had no idea where it had come from but there was of course a picture of James playing rugby.
It's just imessage.  Easier to look like you are doing work if it is on the computer yeah? James must have seen the confused look cross Matthew’s face.  Matthew knew what imessage was of course; it just hadn’t been on his computer before now, he didn’t know how James had initiated it.  Curious but resolute he still he didn’t answer, unwilling to give up his annoyance just yet.
Econ is the literal worst.  I thought I would have more time to chat but these dummies refuse to do anything without collaboration.  And if Matthew really listened he did hear that the chatter was mostly about something vaguely business sounding.  Still, that girl didn’t have to hang all over James like that.  Matthew wasn’t possessive, and really he had no claim to James but really, it was unseemly.  Still he supposed it wasn’t James’ fault.

Cool, I didn’t know it worked on the computer.  Almost instantly James looked up and smiled into Matthew’s eyes.  Matthew’s anger dissipated and that made him a bit angry, a smile wasn’t supposed to have that much power, he should be influenced so easily, and yet, he felt his mouth pulling up into a smile as he began his next message.