I glance over at him every few seconds while I’m driving. What is it about him? Maybe they fried more than my balls with that radiation. I wonder if I’ve lost my mind. We’re almost back at the loft when I realize that he never did eat breakfast. I consider the diner but showing up with him two days in a row might require more explanation that I’m ready for. I make a sharp left and head away from Liberty Avenue. The only indication that he’s noticed the change in our route is his white-knuckled hold on the door handle.
~~~166~~~ I don’t know where he’s taking me. He’s angry, and we’re not heading back towards the loft. I want to ask him but that’ll probably make him angrier. I wonder if he’s just going to kick me out of the car. He parks and I almost laugh at myself. He’s taking me to lunch. Once we’re seated he buries himself in the menu. I don’t blame him. I’d be tired of dealing with me too. We order and he leans back, lighting a cigarette and offering me one. I take it and we smoke in companionable silence, but something’s coming.
~~~167~~~ “If I found you a job, one that pays okay, then would you consider…?”
He shakes his head. “Brian, this is what I do. I’m actually well trained and good at it.”
“You train dogs, not people.”
“I’ll be fine.”
“Like you are now?”
“Fuck you. I am fine.”
I stare at him. He doesn’t turn away. He doesn’t blush. He doesn’t think he’s lying.
“Don’t start, Brian, please. I’m okay. I know what I’m doing. And things will be rough the first couple of months but then I’ll get some regulars…”
Our food comes. I table the discussion.
~~~168~~~ I can tell we’re not done, but the pasta smells good and I’m hungry. He barely touches his and I wonder again about his eating habits. Unlike him I know what is and isn’t my business so I don’t say anything.
“Can you help me run an errand?”
“I need a few things and I don’t have a car yet. I guess tomorrow I could spend the day on the bus going back and forth but…
He nods. “We’ll get you some groceries and stuff tomorrow before you move in.”
I smile. He really can be kind of sweet.
~~~169~~~ He’s wandering around the furniture warehouse and I try not to think about what his criteria are but his climbing under the bed and then pulling on the headboard to check its strength are too much. I walk away. What’s left to say?
He pulls me aside. “I know you probably want to pay me in cash but is there any way…?”
I nod I know what he’s asking. The money I promised him, is going to finance his continued career. He kisses me on the cheek and I pull him forward, kissing him more deeply. He walks away smiling.
~~~170~~~ He stands behind me while the salesman writes the order. “What about that big comfortable chair, and an easel?”
“I’ll get the stuff for my own room at the Goodwill or something. This room and the living room have to be perfect.”
He pulls me away from the desk. “Brian.”
“We’re picking out a chair, and a bed, for you. Just for you.”
“I can’t afford that.”
“Call it a bonus.”
He turns me around. “You need to pick this yourself. Find something you like.”
I shake my head.
“Treat yourself as well as you treat your clients.”
~~~171~~~ What I really want is for him to treat himself well and tell the clients to fuck off. He knows that but I’ll settle for him having a safe place inside his own home. The sofa he chose is elegant but not meant for relaxing. The bed is massive and solid, but there’s nothing soft or comfortable about any of it. He sits in a small chair and I shake my head, pointing to a monster of an overstuffed thing. He smiles when he sits down. That’s the one.
A full sized pillowtop mattress and a dresser complete his room.
~~~172~~~ I’m actually starting to get excited about this. I consider painting the walls to my room. I’ll never get the security deposit back anyway, not with the hooks I have to have installed in the walls and ceilings. He looks at me when I say that. It’s that alien thing again.
I lean against him. “Brian, just don’t think about it. It bothers you every time you do.”
He nods but I doubt that’s going to work. It’s okay. After tomorrow, we’re done and I can call a few of the clients I have left, start getting the word out.
~~~173~~~ I hate what he’s going to do. His nonchalance about it is worse. As if being tied up and mistreated is just part of his to do list. Do laundry, get beaten, buy milk. I’d really like to know more about Isaac. He seems happy and mentioning Isaac’s name always makes Justin’s smile disappear. By the time we’re back at the loft he’s as wired and excited as a kid his age should be. He flops down on the sofa and smiles. “Thank you, Brian”
I flinch. I don’t want to be considered an integral part of his career resurgence.
~~~174~~~ I see his frown and I stand up. I don’t want him to feel ripped off. I have to stand on my toes to kiss him, but I do, pulling his head down. It’s not something I’m used to doing but he doesn’t seem to mind. His hands are in my hair, and his mouth is covering mine. Isaac was good at kissing. He’s better. I miss it. Tricks don’t care about kissing. I move my hand to his waistband, unbuttoning it with ease. He’s hard and when I wrap my fingers around his cock he moans into my mouth.
~~~175~~~ I work the hem of his shirt, tugging at it. His hands leave my cock just long enough for me to pull it over his head. Fuck. I forgot. He sees my expression and shrugs. “They’re mostly gone.” He reaches for my cock again. I step away. He moves forward. “Brian, please. I want you. Don’t you want me?”
I do. I shouldn’t. I push him back towards the bedroom, taking his clothes off slowly. Kissing every red spot I can find. Soothing my fingers over the pale skin, much of it showing almost no sign of the previous damage.
~~~176~~~ He’s so careful with me. I want to tell him there’s no need to be, but he’ll just back away completely. He’s kissing my body, spreading my thighs and ghosting his fingers over what I know must be a red line that hasn’t faded completely. His lips are on me next. Sucking my balls. He presses on my hip a little and I roll over. He spreads me apart and his tongue is probing and wet. I bite the pillow but he pulls back. “I want to hear you.”
I don’t have to fake it for him. I moan loudly.
~~~177~~~ I don’t think he’s faking it. I taste him and let his own pre-come work as lube while I jerk him off. He’s not moving at all. His body is trembling. “Justin.”
His head is pressed into the pillow. He moves it a little so he can see me. “You can move.”
He blushes. I don’t think he knows he was trying to stay still. When I go back to rimming him he presses his ass into my face. I wonder if he can feel me smile while my tongue is inside him. He’s about to come. I can tell.
~~~178~~~ It’s a good thing tonight’s our last night. All the habits Isaac and I worked so hard for me to break, and he wants them. He wants me to moan, and squirm and he doesn’t want to control it. It feels so good, and almost unnatural to be this free. To focus on my own orgasm instead of what he wants. Not to have to feign pleasure or pain. I come and he flips me over, kissing me. He wipes his hand off on the sheet. I blush and he nibbles my lip, his fingers in my hair. “You’re beautiful.”
~~~179~~~ I pull back, because he’s crying. “Hey.”
He shakes his head. Looking away. Silently asking me to ignore it. The fuck I will. “Justin.”
He sits up and slides his body down mine until he’s sucking on the head of my cock. Trying to distract me. I fucking hate that. I pull away. “Justin.”
He’s on his back running a hand through his hair. “Sorry.”
“I know… it’s hard to hear anything nice. I’m sorry it made you cry.”
“I’m okay now.”
He seems to be better. "Then ride me again. I love watching you like that."
~~~180~~~ I wonder if it’s about my control or his stamina. I don’t think his surgery was that long ago… not based on the number of bandages in the bathroom. It doesn’t matter. I love riding him. He hands me the condom. I’m about to press him into me when he stops me. “Lube.” He looks at me and the question in his eyes is clear. I shake my head. He really doesn’t want the answer. I guess he understands because he coats his own fingers, carefully stretching me until I’m so ready I’ll beg, without him even telling me to.
~~~181~~~ He’s so ready to let himself be hurt, even when it’s clear he doesn’t need to. I press my finger against his prostate, watching him gasp, feeling him open to me. When he’s more than ready I lean back and he guides me inside him. He presses down, taking all of me into him in one quick move. I reach for his hand and he takes mine. We stay like that while he rides me. He’s so fucking beautiful. How the hell can anyone prefer hurting him to seeing him like this? He throws his head back gasps, and comes.
~~~182~~~ I come before he does. He sees the fear I guess because he strokes my thigh and arches into me a little. My body shudders from the over stimulation. I clench my ass around the base of his cock and he makes a face that almost looks like pain but spreads his hands over my thighs, wordlessly telling me to stay like that. I do and watch as his body reacts to his orgasm. His nipples getting even harder, his stomach muscles tensing. His legs, bent behind me for support straighten. His grip on my thighs is tight and reassuring.
~~~183~~~ I pull him against my chest. Wrapping my arms carefully around him. He tucks his head in the crook of my neck. As I soften and fall out of him he sighs. “That was really great.” I smile. “Coming from a professional, that means a lot.” He swats at my chest lightly and closes his eyes. “I wish guys like you paid better.”
I want to argue that I’m paying him pretty well but I know what he means. “Have you considered taking on more clients, safe one?” Did I just say that?
He shakes his head against my shoulder.
~~~184~~~ He’s never going to understand what I do. He strokes the hair on the back of my neck. “Why not?” I take a deep breath and try again. “None of them are safe. Like this, I’ll get hurt, emotionally, and that’s harder to heal. I have a high tolerance for pain, and I’ve spent years being trained. I’m not giving that up to be a run of the mill escort. And this way, I have two or three days a week that are all mine.”
“Which you need so you can heal.”
“Everyone needs a couple days off a week.”
~~~185~~~ I have so many things I want to say but I start with the one sort of flashing in neon. “Years?”
“You’ve spent years training. You’re only seventeen.”
“I’d be over the hill as an Olympic gymnast by now.”
“And as a pedophile’s wet dream?”
“How old were you when you met Isaac?”
“I lived with him for two and a half years.”
I officially hate Isaac. “You were fourteen?”
“Something like that.” He stands up. “I’m showering now.”
“We’re not done.”
“Brian, this is none of your business.”
He’s right, but I still want to know.
~~~184~~~ He comes in and helps me take the bandages off my back. “You could do so much better.”
“Than this.” He runs his fingers over the exposed lines that are dotted with scabs. For the most part I’m healed.
“Better? By letting any asshole with a hundred bucks come down my throat? Or should I just bend over and let them plow my tight little ass? Is that somehow less offensive to your delicate sensibilities?”
He looks a little green. “I just meant that…”
“I know what you meant Brian, but I’m not you.”
He smirks. “Few are.”
~~~185~~~ “Very few. Most people don’t have the luxury of getting sick and taking six months off of work to deal with it, and not bothering to fucking tell anyone!”
What the fuck? I take a step back… “You don’t…”
“I’m not blind, Brian. I know why you picked me up. To make sure you were back in working order. I heard the message on your machine. Cynthia? She’s excited that you’re coming back. It’s been sooo long. Oh, and she hopes you got a good start on the book you’re writing.”
I’m going to be sick. “Get the fuck out.”
~~~186~~~ He really does look sick. I don’t care. “Truth hurts, huh, Brian.”
Well, here’s the truth. I do what I do and I have my reasons. You have people who care about you. Debbie, Michael, Cynthia, but you did what you did, and I guess you had your reasons. So if you could just respect my decision then we’ll be just fine.”
He’s really pale. He staggers backwards 'til he’s sitting on the bed, his head in his hands. “No one was supposed to know.”
Fuck. I went too far. “Brian.”
He tries to stand but crumples to the floor.
~~~187~~~ His voice sounds far away. I try to stand up but my knees don’t seem able to support me. When I open my eyes he’s leaning over me. He looks scared. I try to sit up. He tries to help but I push him away. “Justin, leave.”
“Brian, are you okay?”
“Get out of here.”
He ignores me and once I’m standing pulls me back onto the bed. “You’re still sick.”
I shake my head. “I’m fine.”
“Yeah, people pass out like that all the time.”
“How did you…”
“Relax. I’m sure no one else does. I’m a professional, remember?”
~~~188~~~ “A professional snoop?”
I laugh and nod, lying next to him, mostly so he doesn’t try to get up. “It’s my job to figure out what they want, stuff they won’t even tell me, or Isaac over the phone.”
“I’m okay now.”
I rest my head on his chest. “Clearly. You know, you yell at me for not taking care of myself and I have yet to see you really eat.”
“Food is not my friend.”
“Did you have chemo, or just radiation?”
He wants to ask more. I can tell. “My mom died of cancer.”
~~~189~~~ Mommy issues. That explains a lot. “How old were you?”
“Around ten. But she’d been sick since I was young, like seven.”
“Ten is pretty young.”
“Yeah, I guess, but old enough to remember. I doubt my sister remembers anything. She was only three.”
“Yeah, she couldn’t get the cancer treated right away, because she was pregnant. By the time they got to it… well, it was a long fight and she lost.”
“Yeah. We got through it.”
He didn’t. What he’s doing now clearly shows that he’s not even close to over it. I don’t argue.
~~~190~~~ We just lie her quietly for a while. Both lost in thought. My head resting on his chest. His heart beating in my ear. It’s nice. It’s one of the things I miss about my early days with Isaac; back before he was hyper vigilant about training… when I was still allowed some affection. By the time I was sixteen he told me I was too old to need shit like that. He was right. I still wanted it, but I didn’t need it. His hand is cupping the back of my head, just sort of petting me. It’s weird.
~~~191~~~ I missed fucking. But I think I missed this too. Not from tricks… but touching people, in general. I was so afraid that they’d figure it out I cut myself off from everyone. I didn’t want to get near Michael, Debbie, Lindsay or Gus. I spent a lot of time alone. His being here is nice. I wonder if his mother was afraid of letting him get too close. Is that why he was susceptible to someone like Isaac? Is that why he doesn’t know how to accept affection?
But he’s accepting it now. Maybe he’s not a lost cause.