In such moments, there is so much unsaid. I'm not sure if these things want to be said, if there's any need to throw them out there, have them hanging in the air like the teasels from a dandelion on a warm breeze. The whole bunk moves as he shifts, rolls, I can hear him punching his pillow into a more comfortable position, except it's not more comfy, is it? Can't rest easy, can you?
Well, fuck, Chris, neither can I.
That kiss, that New Year's gift, it was fire, it was whiskey, it was voodoo, a snap of the fingers and I was drunk and high and ready to pass out and DAMN I don't know where he found the strength to step back. He put one hand on my cheek and he smiled so sweetly and he said,
'I'm not gonna push you. I want to do it right this time.'
And then he kissed me again, briefly but not dismissively, just a tender touch first to my lips, then to my forehead.
'Get some rest, Toby.'
So the moment I was finally ready to drop my drawers, he decided to discover chivalry. And sucker that I am, I accepted the gesture.
That was dumb.
It's been so difficult, loving him, denying him, wanting him, wanting to hurt him, all these months, and lately it seems like he's been hurting himself on my behalf. Yeah, I've been hard on him, in part to sublimate my own confusion. I don't think it's much of a stretch to justify my behaviour. So tonight, what?
What am I supposed to do? It's the nicest, most loving thing he's ever done for me. And I hate it.
There's a part of me that still wants to break his nose... with a bus, preferably. Being all pals with Schillinger at lunch today, I had to resist that urge, to just... I don't know, beat him to death with a folding chair. That would've felt fairly nice. Satisfactory.
But then within hours he was beating HIMSELF up pretty good. I never thought I'd see Christopher Keller do tortured, and I certainly never thought I'd find it so frankly... compelling. When I got back to the pod he was listening to music, looked almost like he'd been crying, but I wasn't sure. I wasn't about to ask.
He's trying not to disturb me as he wriggles and adjusts, but it's the same principle as trying to open your M&Ms; quietly in a theatre. The more slowly he moves, the more the bunk rocks. I can't help it; I sigh, and cover my eyes with my hands.
At that sound he stops dead, and there's a strained silence, filled with everything he's been thinking of, that I've been thinking of, and the air becomes so thick that I feel like I'm gonna stop breathing. I didn't want to talk about this, I'm done talking, I just wanted...
I wanted it bad.
'Toby?' His voice is so low, it's like a puff of smoke. 'Toby, are you still awake?'
'Yeah,' I say back. 'Wide awake.'
'Is... something wrong?'
If I laugh the way I want to right now, he will be really hurt for no reason. At this point, that thought stops me, has me biting my tongue. Christ, haven't we fucked each other up enough to call it even, at this point?? Isn't that what this is about? Even. The page won't ever be CLEAN, but we can turn it, right, start off on the same line. Aren't I done torturing him, pushing, needling? He's been ripping himself in half for my benefit for the last three months, yeah, it's what I wanted, but shit... but I've been ripping MYSELF in half, too. Love and hate are sides of the same coin.
'No. Not really.'
He shifts again then. 'What? Did I...? I mean...'
'No, you didn't do anything wrong.'
He's very quiet again then, doesn't move for a long time, I can't even hear him breathing. It starts to worry me after a moment, it's not like him to be so still, so silent.
'Yeah?' It's also not like him to sound so uncertain.
'Yeah.' He inhales deeply. 'No. I don't know.'
I smile into the darkness. I'd be a fucking liar if I said it wasn't an ego boost to know he's so tangled up over me. 'Which is it?'
Another long pause.
'No,' he says, very quietly.
My body is moving before my brain acknowledges the decision, I'm landing lightly on the floor, and there's just enough light to see that he's shaking a little bit, that he looks a little desperate, like he's clinging to the last shred of his self-control. I pull my shirt off over my head, so we're matched now, in just our shorts. Seek out his eyes, the dark promise there.
I don't have to ask. He just scootches, makes room, lifts the blanket for me to slide in beside him, into his arms. Our lips brush, then he puts his head down, forehead on my shoulder, and his arms flex around me.
'Okay now?' I say in his ear.
He nods into my neck, mumbles something.
'I said, is this what you really want?'
Now is not the time for teasing, but fuck, I can't stop myself. 'What's so damn monumental about a little snuggling?'
The gamble pays off; I feel his mouth curving against my neck. 'I don't want to push you,' he says, repeating from earlier. 'Just want to make it right.'
I have nothing to say to that, my answer is twisting my hips against his, letting him feel that I am far from being pushed, here. I can feel his cock throbbing against mine, and it's like a fever spike, I feel suddenly 200 degrees warmer.
I'm done with pros and cons and calculated risk and probable cause and this perpetual river of self-doubt. I don't doubt my body's response to him. I don't doubt my love for him. Those are the things that are real, and in such moments, that do not need to be spoken aloud.
Chris moves his mouth over mine; I instinctively part my lips, kiss back with the same languid grace. For a long while this is very good, it's catching up, it's taking time to learn each other. Our hands drift idly over each other, soft skin, firm muscle, hard... hard. I grind my hips into his again, and he breaks our kiss with a soft 'Uh' sound.
'Hey,' I whisper. 'All right?'
No top, no bottom, just equal, side by side. This is good. He recaptures my mouth, hands start gently roving again, we're sort of slowly rocking into each other. Then he returns the favour, thrusts hard against me, and it's my turn to suck in my breath with surprised arousal.
'Toby,' he says against my lips, and he makes my name a sigh.
'Yeah. I do, please.' Who needs nouns and verbs? We've got to be communicating psychically, at least in part, cos there's not a complete sentence in sight.
'So you want...'
'Let it go,' I sigh, 'it's really okay.' To seal the bargain I kiss him hard, say I love you into his mouth.
He smiles at me, looks black and blue in the dark. 'You want this.' It's a statement now. Affirmation.
I smile back, give his lower lip a little bite. 'Yeah. I want it bad.'
con't in Paradoxos