a foolish arrangement

A Cure story by Twi, September 2000.
Rated R/NC-17 for homoerotic situations (Robert/Simon).

His eyes were like rain puddles the first time he sucked my cock. Slick. Dark. Dirty. The sort you'd try to avoid, not wanting to be muddied, but would end up stopping to stare into anyway, fascinated by the colours shifting in slow patterns across the surface, the wet oily rainbows reflecting a twisted version of your face. Sinking into his mouth was like falling into a puddle as well; like drowning in an inch of water. His tongue was moist, slightly cold. He'd just been drinking. So had I.

That was over a decade ago, of course. Things have changed, though not much. The reek of alcohol and cigarettes clings to his hair as I fist my hands in it, fingers tangling in the long loose curls in a way they couldn't back then, when his hair had been in close-cropped spikes, like every other young punk in the late seventies and early eighties, including myself. He shudders at the touch, sucking harder. He keeps his eyes closed. I keep mine open.

Finally I give in, trembling; he swallows silently, resting his cheek against my bare belly when he's done. We lie still for a while, me catching my breath, he just curled against me, eyes still closed, clothes still on but slightly undone, the demeanor of the scene painted by his inadvertent pose like that of a tainted schoolboy.

After a short while he pulls himself up, crawling up my body on hands and knees while he fumbles with his belt. He presses his mouth to my throat and his hair falls all around my face, encompassing like a dark, tangled veil. He touches me like a blind man feeling his way.

He presses himself between my legs, not entering, just touching, building friction. When I try to tilt his head up, to bring his mouth down to mine, he turns away. He avoids my hands, my eyes. His movements slow and then stop; he's still looking away from me, but I can feel the frustration rolling off him in waves as he rolls off of me, lying sprawled on his back beside me. After a minute of listening to the rough crash of his breath in the silence I get up, shuffling towards the kitchen on bare feet that rub over-sensitised across the carpet. I can feel the static electricity building as I walk.

Between the water flowing from the faucet and from the sky outside the window everything seems in downpour. There's a smell in the air like old stones and ozone, things waiting to strike. I fill up the cup that sits conveniently beside the sink and bring it to my lips, shivering at the iciness as it pours down my throat, that distinct flavour that very cold water, which is not supposed to taste like anything, has.

When I return he's at the window, smoking. He doesn't look up when I come in. He just stares out, at the grey sky, the gathered clouds, wreathed in smoke, the perfect picture of blue-tinged melancholy. Either one of us could have just as easily become actors. I come up behind him, leaning against his back, and he wordlessly offers the cigarette. I press my lips to where his have been and take a long drag, shivering a bit as I exhale. It's been years since I had a fag. In the English sense of the word, anyway. Heh. It's a bit sad, realising that he would have found that hilarious just a few months ago and anything but now.

I'm scared for him, to be brutally honest. He's so fragile these days that I keep feeling that to touch him would be to break him, the now-visible bones of his ribs snapping beneath the too-pale skin like the branches of a tree made of porcelain. The tour's coming up; the divorce in the works isn't yet even close to final, and the only thing keeping the whole mess out of the papers is a general lack of interest. I remember when I realised that I hadn't seen him eat a single thing in my presence in over a month. I still haven't, three weeks later.

He sways a bit, and I lay my cheek against his shoulder. There's a small mole on his upper back, in the faint shape of a heart, showing where the collar of his shirt is drooping down in back. It was one of the first things I really noticed about his body, all those years ago. The mark seems smaller, barely noticeable. I trace it with the edge of a finger, the cool smoothness of his skin tingling against mine, and he flinches.

He opens the window suddenly, letting the cold air rush in as he crushes the tip of cigarette against the outer sill, pitching out the butt when the flame is dead. The window is slammed shut again just as quickly, and he stays, still, for just a moment, his profile a dark outline against the dismal near-dusk skyscape. And then he steps away, bending to retrieve his earlier-discarded shoes, sitting on the edge of the bed to put them back on and getting up again.

"You're leaving?" I ask.

He shrugs. He's always going these days; he figures if he proves himself properly attentive he'll be allowed to continue seeing his children once all the papers and technicalities are through. He seeks to run from what he sees as his disgrace.

He does always come back, though. Always. Again and again, and it becomes so easy to forget that we aren't each other's after all, that things don't work the way they should, the way we hoped when we were young.

I follow him to the front door. "Don't be a stranger," I say. He stops and turns and stares for a moment, leaning against the frame, his eyes wide like a witness to a murder. Then he leaves without a word, walking out into the rain, no coat, no umbrella. I consider calling out to him for a moment, bringing him back into the warmth of the house. Instead I just watch, silent, as the shape of his body is slowly obscured by the falling rain, fading into the growing darkness.