SA Collins

Words and Errata

Words and Errata


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Updated: 23 June 2014 [subject to revisions]

Chapter 1

Hollow Boy



Have you ever stood at the top of a well when a fleeting thought that you’d later deny had happened at all, wandered across your mind of what it would be like to literally ‘fall down the well?’ I call it the garbage disposal moment. You know, you have the same sort of inclination to wonder what the hell it would feel like if you stuck your hand down the garbage disposal and then flicked the switch, just for the edification of it and only if you had an iron-clad guarantee that time would reverse itself and you could undo the damage.

No? 

Just me? 

Okay.

Back to the well - you’d be looking down it, wondering, if you’re like me that is, that if you were to fall, what would it feel like? There’d be the rush as adrenaline coursed through your system - warning you of horrible consequences that were surely to meet you once you collided with the bottom. A noteworthy reason not to proceed. No doubt, your survival instinct along with those keen sensibilities that sometimes fail me but you’ve obviously honed during your young years on this planet would kick in, fully admitting what a ridiculous thought it was to begin with. Then you’d steel yourself against such an absurdity. But you’d continue to gaze into the black abyss - possibly allowing yourself to think (because, though you pushed it away, it really hadn’t left you), if only for that singular moment, of what it would be like to find yourself in Alice’s shoes and tumble into its murky depths? To be lost to the darkness forever.

Then your curiosity would get the better of you. You’d no doubt ask yourself, why expend yourself over such a silly matter as knowledge? Instead, you’d be compelled to find a small stone, rock, or hell, maybe even a spare penny you didn’t realize you had in your pocket, and with or without a wish, drop it into said well if only to have it confirm that there truly was a bottom to this never-ending blackness before you. Just waiting for that small ping back to you that, yes, there was a bottom after all - just as you suspected. 

A matter of scientific knowledge over blind faith.

But what if you never heard anything back? Would you think, eschewing that sharply honed scientific mind you’d no doubt cultivated over time, it was some mystical bottomless pit? That it just grew darker and darker as it slipped further from your enlightened world? Would it bother you at all that you had no aural confirmation of what you knew had to be true? Or would you just believe it to be so, choosing instead to leave it to blind faith?

Trust versus Knowledge. Facts over Faith.

That’s my life in a nutshell. Try as I might, I keep flinging emotive pebbles, stones, pennies and whatever else is within reach in my life into this pit I have within me, just hoping that at some point something, anything really, will signal ‘I hear you; I know you’re there.’

As a teenager, I am sure that this comes as no surprise - the over analyzing to the point of ad nausium. It’s just what we do. It’s like we don’t think you understand so we reiterate it again just to see if we get the response we’re looking for. Just so we can ignore it anyway because hey, what do adults know anyway? I mean they only lived a long time on this planet before we came along. What could they possibly contribute? Right? Only I knew better. I did.

Just to be clear, I am not one of those angst-ridden teenagers who goes through life with a pained expression on my face, wearing the requisite Goth/EMO black, declaring to the world that life conspires against me, my parents don’t understand me (hell, I am one of those kids who has a fairly decent relationship with his parents, so all and all, they must be doing something right), and where my friends are just as lost as I am, in short: ‘WOE IS ME…’ 

I’ll stop with the clichés and just get on with it, shall I?

No, I am not saying all of that. I was just hoping you wouldn’t latch onto some clichéd prejudice that I had a difficult young adult life. I am not wallowing in some self-pity party where I am the only invited guest – ‘cause that would be well, just sad. I’m not that, I swear to you. By all accounts, I have it pretty damned good - hell, even I can see that. You wouldn’t be too hard pressed to find that out for yourself once you got to know me.

And that’s not to say I don’t feel cursory feelings like a spark of anger, remorse, angst (I am still a teenager after all) or a twinge of curiosity (when I can find the time or energy). I have those, same as the next guy. Here’s the subtle difference: they flee just as quickly as they arrive, with no lingering imprint upon me for their brief existence. They’re like small slippery fragments of emotion that have no prolonged significance or forbearance (yeah, for a teen I’m pretty good with the $25 words) upon my next course of action. I feel them and then they are lost to the same darkening abyss.

I live in a perpetual state of fleeting obtenebration. A drive to bring light to where none existed. You’ll need to remember I said that, otherwise some of my actions may alarm you down the road. All things considered, these actions should alarm me. That’s the scary part - but that, too, doesn’t linger long enough for me to concern myself with it. I tend to do some fairly rash things in search of those feelings that should take root and linger. You know, if they could sit down, put up their feet, and sit a spell. Shit like that. I may use $25 words from time to time, but I am also a teenager so I speak in two different dialects - Parental English (for use around adults) and what I call Twitter-speak (abbreviated speech of no more than 140 characters punctuated with liberal doses of profanity and pop-culture references for when I’m hanging with my own) - ya know, cut to the fucking chase sort of talk?

I am not the type of guy to hold grudges; not because I don’t recall adverse situations or actions by others, because I do. For me, they are just noted behaviors I have gleaned from those past experiences that will lead me to adjust how I deal with them in the future should I encounter them. 

Like, Jesus, that guy is an asshole so don’t talk to him again if you can help it - that sort of thing. 

But there is no pent up animosity or anxiety - only a learned tactical behavioral response. I get it, how Mr. Spock of me, right? Though I suspect that it might be the reason I am fairly popular and can move around in the upper societal cliques at school. I have a built in reason for the status, I suppose. But I’m known for rolling with the punches; I don’t make waves. I’m one of the good guys, I guess.

If you’d see me wandering around the town, you’d see a handsome enough looking guy. My girl says I’m hella hot. Some might even say I’m even a head turner. But heck, it’s just me I stare at in the mirror every damned day and I am way too close to have an objective opinion. So what the fuck would I have to say about it?

Let’s see, I’m also an avid lacrosse player (okay so my secret is out: I’m a Jock - withhold your prejudice here if you have any until you hear my story out), who has a cadre of friends (yes, I use words like cadre and forbearance, see earlier - and a point I’ll come to later), and an overall decent reputation in our small town of Shattered Falls, along the rugged Gold Coast of Northern California.

In my arsenal of good things, I’ve got one of, if not ‘the’ prettiest girlfriend to be found north of San Francisco. Due to great diligence and discipline I also have a great grade-point average that would get me pretty much into any university of my choice (see, I don’t even have the excuse that I struggle with my education).

In my spare time, hardy-har-har - cause I don’t really have much of that, I continue my private studies in music (proficient in piano, cello and guitar - bet you didn’t see the cello coming, didja?) and have been told by many who have heard me perform that I have a remarkable presence on stage and a warm and inviting voice. 

Now we’ve come to the one thing that has any real meaning for me: my music. Music is the one part of my life that makes me feel anything that remotely lingers after the performance. Yet, even those times when I perform for others is nothing more than an illusion I concoct to conjure what I think I want the audience to feel. See how I turn that away from me? I tend to do that a lot. Not because I want to, there just isn’t much inside that I can latch onto or offer.

No there, there.

In my performances, I act out the requisite emotions, and I am so good at it I’ve had a few people tear up openly on some of the songs I’ve played. But if they were to look closer, setting aside their own emotional tide welling up from the song, they might see it for the sham that it is. Those emotions I play out in my songs never quite reach my eyes. If you ignored what I was doing to you with my singing, you’d probably see me for the musical charlatan that I am. But you don’t, so my charade continues unabated. 

In fact, like others who have come before you, you might even work up the nerve to walk up to me afterward and tell me you liked what I did. I’d say thanks and to you it would look like I was humble in the glow of your compliment just as my parents reared me to be. All parts played to perfection, yet none of it having any meaning for me whatsoever. But I’d be sure you’d never know the difference. I’m that good at it. And it’s not that I am out to deceive you. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing I would want more than to feel something passing between us. I keep checking for it, but so far, nada, zilch, bupkes.

So appearances aside, you’d probably say, ‘that guy’s got it going on.’ Or some other colloquial hip slang that is suitable for your educational and social background. So what gives, right?


Bottom line: I am Hollow Boy. 


Like that well I spoke of earlier, I am a pit that goes on and on without end. Nothing resonates within me.

Yeah, I got the girlfriend (Kaitlyn or Kitty/Kit for short depending upon the mood or the moment) and we’re good there. I pay as much attention to her as I can (I have a rather busy life for a small town boy). I take her out, give her as much affection as she desires. But if I were truly honest with her, I’d have to tell her I really felt…nothing.

I was just going through the motions, doing what was expected of me, knowing what next step should be taken and I’d willingly step up to the plate. My smile in place, the sparkle in my expression, the attentiveness to whatever is before me. All scenery and props from my perspective that I willingly shed when the curtain came down each night as I climbed into bed.

I’d make a brilliant actor. I’ve been doing it my whole life, and it’s hard. Hard to keep up the appearance that all is okay, all is normal, when I know it isn’t. I just want to feel … ‘something’ (feel free to add a big ol’ pregnant pause and the air quotes on “something” for large dramatic effect, it’s what I’d do, even as clichéd as that sounds).

So no pity party here.

I just walk through life, doing what’s expected of me. Telling my girlfriend I love her, when I don’t really have anything to offer. I just look the part. The saddest part of this whole thing is that, even though I know what I have and how I say I appreciate it, some part of me would be just as accepting if she dumped me tomorrow and found someone else to make her happy. That’s the disconnect for me. I want to be jealous; I’d like to be worried. But I’m not.

I’ve spent a great deal of thought about what could have led me to become like this. It isn’t as if my world were somehow tortuous or filled with despair. Other than my emotional abyss, I don’t keep much from my parents. Hell, they even know that Kitty and I have been sexually intimate (the closest I could tell them that we’d been fucking). I am responsible, but I am a teenage boy with raging hormones so ‘it was bound to happen.’ We use condoms so hopefully, if we’re careful, we can have our fun and not be put into a difficult situation that neither of us needs right now. Neo-con Republicans and their aversion to the contraception crap be damned. So sayeth the liberal Collins family and we’re stickin’ to it.

So, you’re probably wondering: how did I come to this? Just get to the damned point already. Okay, jeez, give a guy a second to set it up.

From the earliest moment I can recall, I have been shrouded with silence. Cocooned. That’s not to say I am deaf, autistic or dealing with some sort of handicap, disease or malady — well, perhaps you could argue I was emotionally handicapped. There you’d have me, at this juncture in my life I’d have to concede that point, though it’s not for my lack of trying or wanting to either. I try, I really do. I reach deep within me but there’s always - nothing. A vast ocean of nothing (I try to refrain from those metaphors, but in this case, it’s apt).

From when I was a small boy — earliest I can recall is around when I was four running in the garden of my grandparents. Inside, though my eyes displayed nothing but wonder, there’d be nothing else going on - ‘he’s such a lovely boy… so full of life,’ they’d say to my parents. I’d look at them through hollow eyes and have no emotional attachment to my surroundings. I knew they were talking about me, but for me, even at that age there was a huge disconnect. They’d look down at my young cherub-shaped face (their words, not mine; the last thing an inbound senior boy in high school wants to be compared to — or have memory of — is to be equated with some bare-assed fat kid who if you crossed your eyes might be taken for a girl). Hmmm, that almost sounded like I had some angst going there, didn’t it?

Almost.

If I had to boil it down I would say my singular wish would not be money, or fame or even heath. No, for me, it would be simply this: that if I could just feel something, anything, for just one moment. To truly take it in and let it ring throughout my mind, body and soul to where I would lose sense of the tactile world around me. I’d want to swoon with that feeling, no matter what it was, let it wash over me, consume me, vibrate me until I’d be afraid I’d shatter into oblivion. That would be my wish.

I know, I know, ‘be careful what you wish for’ — I get the soap-opera-y swell of music behind that thought. Yet, I wouldn’t shrink at all from that singular hope. It’s what gets me up each morning. Will today be that day?

Heady words, right? I know. I tend to think like this; I’ll try to keep it in check for you. 

When I do think upon it, it’s not that my parents are some sort of jug-heads who would have to combine their IQs to reach cro-mag status. No, no worries there. Mom and Dad both hold doctorates: Mom in psychiatry with a thriving private practice (you’d be surprised how big-city-like problems exist in small towns) and Dad (an ex-pat Brit) in the physics department (specializing in Quantum Mechanics) at Sonoma State University (some two-plus hours’ drive southeast from our home). So I’m covered there, educationally speaking, that is. Both my parents are bright, supportive of me in every way possible and have, since the time I could form words, encouraged me to express myself as clearly as I can. Encyclopedias, dictionaries and thesauruses were my early friends. I always had a voice at the family table. Whatever ailed me I could bring to them. They were safe, my refuge from the empty storm that continually threatened to consume me. Whether or not they knew it, they filled the void with family busy-talk and warm sentiment. It was enough to get me through.

You’d think that from a home-life perspective I’d have it made, right? Then why do I feel as if they don’t know me at all? I know, I know (even I can hear my mother prattle on about it) — adolescence is built upon separation from their authoritative figures. We teens are obsessed with ditching the comforts of home life only to try our absolute best to squeeze ourselves into an acceptable category and be exactly the same as the other kids we surround ourselves with - separation and assimilation in one chaotic mess. None of it rationally justifiable: it is what it is. What the fuck ever.

My story is nothing new when it comes to school either. Battle lines are clear - one shall not mingle with one social clique and another if you wanted to keep your social status firmly in place (even if we aspire for upward social mobility) until you and your fellow classmates sigh a collective breath on graduation from high school that you finally made it - you’d survived. That’s all academia at that age is, really: survival.

But I’m not there yet. The summer vacation heading into my senior year had all the signs of being the best damned vacation on record for me. I’d hung out with my buddies and their girlfriends and had great times down at the beach with food, raging bonfires and brew (when we could get our hands on some). But all in all, we were fairly good kids just blowing our youthful days away having a great summer.

It’s not that I’m lonely. From what I’ve said so far it’s fairly clear that I am surrounded by people. No one seems to notice that I am drowning in a river of silence that I feel will overwhelm me at any moment. Drowning. Sometimes the noise of my friends is what keeps me grounded, keeps me going. No one sees it. Not even my girl. 

Though at times I think she suspects something is off. I have caught her spying on me from time to time, her head cocked to one side as if she’s trying to see me in a different light. But no one, not my parents, not my friends, not the townspeople I brush shoulders with on a daily basis can see how I am just treading silence. Just trying to keep my head above it all.

I give great face (head out of the gutter, now). I found I can slip out of just about any situation; words are my weapon of choice. My tongue and my wit have cleared many a troubling fence in my days. Not that I try to get into trouble. I do my level best to stay cool with my buds but draw the line at outright stupidity. Well, most of the time - I am a hormone saturated male, after all.

Throughout all of this there is one exception to my empty existence: my best friend, a man like the brother I didn’t have, Thorn. He was my light. My ever-present right arm. No matter what was churning around in this whacked-out brain of mine, he was there to set me right, to put me back on track. He was my rock; he was my go-to. It was something he took with all seriousness from the time we met as children in school. He was simply there, and never left. Thorn was a God to me - and I mean that literally, god with a very, VERY capital G. I worshipped him (and I am not stretching the concept in the least), and he relished me (something he found a way to remind me of each and every day). We were inseparable. Even Kit had to find her place with me along side Thorn. It wasn’t an easy fit, nor did she really understand my bond with the big guy, but she knew that was a line that could not be crossed — ever. So she chose to embrace it wherever she could. This was something girls, or women for that matter, never got. When guys made friends it was a bond that really couldn’t be broken very easily. Those bonds would often last a lifetime. It’s what men come to rely upon in times of war. A warrior is enriched by the men that he trusts surround him and back him up.

For me, whatever Thorn said, I did. Simple as that, without question or pause. He’d never steer me wrong. Ever. But it’s not like it was oppressive or anything. Quite the contrary, I felt free around him. He took care of the little stuff I’d trip up on. He kept my head clear, my body trained and conditioned, my heart in a good place. I loved him very, very much. I’ve told him as much over the years. He knew it. We only spoke of it when we were alone. Often on my enormous bed, lying side by side on the ultra-white Eider down comforter so we looked like we were suspended in a cloud, staring up at the ceiling with him usually chucking a lacrosse ball into the air followed by my mother’s admonishment from downstairs whenever he’d hit the ceiling by accident. He’d apologize to her and then turn to me with a wicked grin and then we’d laugh no matter how many times it had happened over the years.

 

 


 

 

I looked around at the same rugged Northern California beach where we always congregated, framed along our backsides by tall redwoods that came to an abrupt stop just before the narrow strip of rocky sand that serves as our summer social spot of choice. It’s August 29th, my 18th birthday, which marks my friends’ social calendar as the close of another great summer - any reason for a party, right? It’s what we kids live for, as our folks would say.

Kit is being particularly attentive, as she has for my past two birthdays she’s been my girl. She’d made sure I am never without a beer, soda or something to drink (I think there were a couple of water bottles in the mix at some point), some food within reach, and the press of her agile, ballet-trained dancer body draped around my muscular frame. We’re the star teen couple. If our town rated enough to have one of those society magazines like Marin, San Francisco or Napa, I am sure we’d have graced the cover at least twice. I had to admit, we looked good together. But I’d have been more curious whether all my wit, charm and masculine poise would have faded in the steely gaze of the camera lens. Would it see the lie? Would the hollowness, the deafening silence show?

As if right on cue, Kitty’s best friend, Arlene snapped a pic of the two of us snuggled up on the back of my RAV4. She smiled brilliantly at Kitty and flashed the picture from her smartphone of that contemplative moment of my life. Evidently the camera may have caught it, but I’d once again successfully slipped right past Arlene’s and Kitty’s judgement.

I disentangled myself from Kitty, who pouted a bit at our separation, and begged off that I needed to take a leak.

“Want some help with that, birthday boy?” She said with her right index finger pointed suggestively at the corner of her mouth.

I glanced at Thorn, who just raised his eyebrows suggestively with a shit-eating smirk painted across his face that he tried to hide, unsuccessfully, behind a mouthful of potato salad. This was accompanied by some giggles from Arlene who Thorn had been trying to seduce for the better part of the party.

“Uh,” I stammered, completely caught off guard by Kitty’s publicly broadcasted suggestion - that was new territory for the both of us. Something we hadn’t even discussed, let alone tried. I thought, ‘way to go Baz’ - you’re such a smooth one - so much for your stud status. I can be such the dork.

Thorn swooped in for the save, “Bastian, I’ll go with. My bladder’s ‘bout ready to burst as well.” It seemed to have worked as Kitty just shrugged her shoulders and proceeded to polish off the last of my Carlsberg.

Thorn and I moved past my RAV and into the forest that lay just beyond.

“You and Kitty have been getting pretty tight lately.”

“Yeah, she’s great and all…”

“Dude, really? Man, if I had that I’d be all over her. Tap, tap, tap! Just call me Tappy McTapster, bro every damn day. Dayum!” He said as he paused to thrust his hips in the throes of a make-believe good fuck. I knew him better than that, he would never think of moving on it, so I smiled at his backhanded compliment.

“Yeah, it’s all good. Believe me, I know how lucky I am. Kitty’s all into me. I get it. And I appreciate it, I really do. It’s just…”

“Just what, bro?” He looked at me scantly and cocked an eyebrow, and leaned in so we were within a breath from each other - he was always crowding my personal space, like it was ours to share. “You know what your problem is? You think too damned much.” He pulled me in for a headlock and rapped his knuckles on my noggin, then released me and laughed, moving on.

“Oh, thanks Sherlock, like that’s a revelation.”

He turned to face me, walking backward with his arms wide open to indicate the world was ours. Well, at least this little spot on this world we called home. “No, really, just enjoy the shit, bro. This is our time. We’re gonna be seniors. Granted we’re not on the Varsity football team but Lacrosse has come up in status. We’re equal. No, wait, ya know what? We’re better.” 

That made me smile. Thorn always knew how to get my spirits back up - just bring up the game, the team and our status in school. He was right, this was our year. And yet, the silence remained. The smile as always, hollow, never quite reaching my eyes. I watched him and saw a small change in his countenance - worry. It was very brief, fleeting. No doubt he thought he’d slipped it by me unnoticed. With Thorn I noticed everything.

We parted a bit as we cleared a couple of large redwoods to empty ourselves. He called to me from his side of the enormous trunk.

“Fuck, I don’t know how twisted this shit is or not, but I swear sometimes a good piss is almost like an orgasm.”

“Yeah, you’re right.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah,” I zipped up at the same time he did, and he came around to where I was, “You are twisted.”

He dipped his head slightly down so he was looking at me from under the line of his brow, he rewarded me with an arched eyebrow and a devilish chuckle and a slight curving of his lips before he started to jog back to the party. I started to give chase when something to my right caught my eye. It was brief and fleeting and I almost missed it.

A deer?

A coyote?

A mountain lion, perhaps?

With the forest along our backsides any of those were possible. Yet, as I turned and took a few steps in that direction I realized that it couldn’t be any of those things. The trees, though clustered in a small fairy ring, were simply too far apart. I would have seen some remnant of the animal as it slinked away from me. But it hadn’t. It was still there, watching me. I couldn’t see it, but I felt it just the same, evidenced by the hairs on the back of my neck still pricked to attention.

I let Thorn slip away to the party. I wanted to know what was shrouded in the thick of that fairy ring of redwoods. I stopped, placing my hands on my hips not knowing whether to look into it further or head back to the party.

“Baz!” Kitty called from the front of my RAV. 

I turned my head to face her, my body still poised to pursue my watcher amongst the trees. “Yeah?”

“C’mon, Arlene broke out the cupcakes. Everybody wants to wish you a happy birthday.”

She started to walk toward me and I knew it was best to keep her where she was. Not that I thought we’d be in any real danger but I wasn’t quite sure what I was dealing with. Best to keep her from whatever it was though.

I turned and lightly sprinted back to her. 

“What’s wrong? Something out there?” She glanced over my shoulder as I led her away from it.

“Don’t know… thought I saw something, but I guess not.” I slipped an arm over her shoulder as she leaned into me placing a heartfelt kiss upon my cheek, her arm sliding around my narrow waist. Every now and then, I marveled at how easily we fit into each other. When she pressed into me I had one of those moments. Snug, comfortable, though the hollowness remained. Cursing to myself that I should feel something more from all of this.

As we walked around the front of my car to where my friends had gathered, I chanced a glance back to the woods, and I could have sworn I saw a man standing there, in dark clothes, shrouded in the shadows, and then - between blinks - he was gone. I checked once more as I cleared the backside of my car - no one was there.

We’d kept the party going for the better part of the evening. The requisite bonfire and mayhem of guys and girls paired off and the good times continued in smaller intimate pockets. Another round of pee breaks near the tree line again, followed with that same prickling of the skin as if I were being watched. Not threatened, just observed. Maybe whoever it was had a piss fetish? I smirked at that. Hope he got his thrill then. 

At about 11pm I said I was packing it in. By then most of the party had broken up, the pairs having moved off to quieter places to have at it. I smiled as I spied Kitty all slumped in the front seat of my RAV, dead to the world. 

No fun time tonight, but I already knew that. She had an important rehearsal in the morning for an audition she had been working toward her whole life. I knew that. It just sucked like hell that it fell on the day after my birthday. No birthday squeeze in my future tonight, despite the suggestive show Kitty had put on. Hey, I’m a guy after all - even if I didn’t feel a whole lot about us, I still liked to get off.

“Man, she’s out.” Thorn said looking over my shoulder at Kitty curled up in my Redhawks LAX hoodie. I should feel some pang of love. I knew I should. Yet, just silence.

Thorn clapped a hand on my shoulder snapping me out of my quietude, Arlene tugging at his right elbow, evidently Thorn’s charms had paid off in snagging Arlene. “Bro, thanks for the birthday. It’s always the best part of summer.”

I laughed, “Ain’t that supposed to be my line?”

He smirked. “Yeah, but your b-day is placed just right to wrap up our summer. It’s like we all get the gift right along with ya. Later, bro.” We bumped fists and he brought an arm up around my shoulder for a quick man hug, our bromance secure for another summer, just as it had been for the last 15 years we’d known each other. Arlene just rolled her eyes.

“He’s all yours, Arlene.” I said passing him back to her.

“I swear, you two should just get it over with and get married.” She said sarcastically eyeing the both of us. “You both are so in love.”

Thorn raised an eyebrow, and smirked wickedly, secure in his own sexuality that he could let that one slide and play along - though a shimmer of something else played upon his eyes - as if seeing me in a new light, “Yeah, you think?”

She wasn’t giving up either.

“Oh, yeah. That bromance thing is wicked hot, big boy.” She leaned in and gave him a big wet kiss to seal the deal on her secret fantasy.

Thorn pulled back wide-eyed. “You wish, sweetheart. ‘Sides, Baz would be hella sore from the banging I’d give him. He couldn’t take it.”

“Shiiiiit, you wish, Thorndog.” I goaded him. For a moment I could have sworn I saw that something flicker across his eyes. Fleeting as the small pang it caused within me.

“Oh, you’d so be the chick,” He threw back at me before sending me a quick jab to the ribs that I instinctively dodged. 

I shook my head in disbelief and smiled widely, “Whatever, you two. Get a room, will ya? We’re outta here before it gets way too weird.”

“Happy birthday, Baz,” Arlene leaned over and gave me a quick peck on the cheek, before whispering in my ear. “It really would get me hot to see the both of you going at it, ya know.”

I pulled back quickly like I’d been stung and she just giggled darkly and tugged Thorn along with her back to his Tesla. He just shrugged as if to ask ‘what could he do?’

 

 


 

 

Twenty minutes later I had slipped Kitty in my arms out from the RAV and up to her front door. She stirred as I reached it and I signaled I was going to set her down on her feet. She nodded sleepily that she understood and the moment her feet touched upon the porch yawned widely thoroughly surprised by its sudden arrival. She did her best to stifle it with a small smile covered by her hand. 

“Wow, that came from out of nowhere.”

“Yeah, well, you’ve got a big day tomorrow. Should I come by in the morning to pick you up?”

“Nah, I got this. The whole situation is completely nerve wracking and while I know I have your support, if you were there it would probably just be a distraction I didn’t need clouding my mind. I need to focus.”

“But it’s just a rehearsal. I could sit in the lobby or whatever. I don’t mind, sweetheart, really.”

She kissed me briefly, her lips soft and full. “Thanks, but I should just do this and get it over with. Call you when I get back in the afternoon?”

“Sure thing.” I turned to go, then stopped - doing my duty as a thankful boyfriend, “Thanks again for getting everyone together.”

“Of course. You know I can’t let my best guy wallow all alone on his birthday. It’s a national holiday in my book.” She stole a look up to the ceiling of her porch mulling it over, before nodding her head quickly and returning her gaze to me, “Yup, right up there with Christmas and Halloween.”

“Halloween isn’t a national holiday, sweetheart. Not really.”

“It is to you. I know how much you love it. So what’s important to you is important to me.” I pulled her to me with my arms around her waist and hers about my shoulders.

“How’d I get to be so lucky?”

“Damned straight you’re lucky. And don’t you forget it, too.” She poked at my chest to emphasize her point.

I smiled. A quick poll inside, yup, still hollow — check.

“You better go. I need some real sleep. Not squashed in the front seat of your car sleep, either, but honest to goodness sprawled all over the damned place sleep.”

“Okay.”

I kissed her quickly and as I started to part from her she grabbed me fiercely and the kiss blossomed further. In a few seconds it had heated up, then she put the skids to it. “Night…” leaving a peck on the tip of my nose.

“‘Kay.”

I turned to finally leave and she surprised me by swatting my ass. I spun on the spot as she smirked and said pointing a finger in my face, “You tell Thorn, your ass over my dead body!” Then in a swirl of hair, she was gone. She flicked the light off, leaving me in the dark on her front porch fully gobsmacked; knowing full well she had a shit-eating grin on her face as she climbed the stairs to her room. I shook my head and laughed at the planning that had to go into that small joke at my expense. Within seconds, before my foot left the last stair from her porch, that too was gone. My face blank as always whenever I was alone with my spiraling thoughts.

I sat in my car in her driveway for a couple of minutes, playing over the day in my head. It was great having everyone around. It dulled the silence. It provided distraction. Now, I contemplated its absence. Without warning I began to vibrate from head to toe as if I suddenly had the shivers, though I knew it wasn’t from the cold. I struggled to push it down, to calm my body, to just hold on. Breathing first, I forced myself to control that. It was the same pattern, breathing, clear my thoughts, soothe my body into stillness. Within a few seconds of a perfected checklist I always resorted to whenever this happened, I had it contained.

I started up the car and in less than ten mindless minutes I was back in my own bedroom. My parents had already taken me out to dinner the night before and knew I was a good enough kid that I was back home well before my unspoken curfew of midnight.

 

 


 

 

Within minutes of reaching my bedroom door I had stripped and was in the shower with the hottest water I could stand running over my body. My muscles relaxed, well all of them except for one - which to be honest, wasn’t really a muscle. Though it flexed and begged for attention as usual; who was I to complain? 

I tugged on it a bit, admiring its length and decently wide girth. I was content in the equipment I’d been given. Prodigious enough to crave but not ‘Holy-fuck-run-for-your-life-from-the-gargantuan-monster-cock-from-hell.’ I smiled at that thought while I continued to work myself up. I pumped a couple times on the soap dispenser, a rich musky woodsy smell perfuming the room - the same body shampoo that Thorn used. He’d bought me a crap load of it for my last birthday and I still had half a case to go. It was a scent I was familiar with, a man’s type of scent, outdoorsy. I’d lathered up very quickly, giving a good tug upon my cock which increased my wicked thoughts. Lust in hand I immediately found my thoughts moved to the time a few days back when I’d last had sex with Kitty. The curve of her body against mine, the way my muscles moved against hers - hardened lacrosse jock against limber ballet dancer, bodies entwined. The soft delicate touch of her skin. The fullness of her lips, the soft shape of her breasts. The warmth as she wrapped her legs around me while I slipped into her. The teasing torture of my prick. My cock was throbbing in my hand, the sensation achingly good. That voice purring softly in my head…

“‘Sides, Baz would be hella sore from the banging I’d give him. He couldn’t take it.” 

I shook from that intruding thought. Where the fuck did that come from? As if my traitorous cock was working against me, the ache in it only intensified. I felt something stirring. Felt. A small ping. But I’d felt it. Thorn? Why would I think of Thorn? I pushed it out of my mind and tried to refocus my lustful thoughts on Kitty. I continued to stroke myself fully, base to tip. Each tug sent shivers down my body in wave after wave, pre-cum oozing from the head in a steady stream. Her hair, her breath against my face.

“It really would get me hot to see the both of you going at it, ya know…”

Images of Thorn’s ass as he walked in front of me back at the party, the curve of it as he took each step swarmed my thoughts. Had I been taking notice and not realizing it? My cock throbbed harder. In my mind’s eye I saw him, he turned around, pacing backward looking straight at me, his arms open. Perhaps seeing it for what it truly was: he was welcoming me into an embrace.

“You are twisted…” 

Only I hadn’t thought that, I’d said it out loud meaning it more for me than him. Murmuring it into the shower before I’d had the sense to take it back. His devilish look burnishing into my mind, searing that wicked grin and pointed stare into me. 

“Thorn…” I murmured lustfully into the shower stall.

I shuddered violently as I came before I’d realized it. The force of it shook me and I actually sank to my knees in the stall from the overwhelming orgasm. Pain inching up my thighs from the shocking contact my knees made with the dark slate mixing with the radiating warmth as each spurt of jizz splattered like opalescent paint splotches the shower floor only to course their way with the water down the drain. Brilliantly luminescent, almost glowing with a pearly sheen. I panted after it was over though my hand slowly kept stroking, never really letting it slip into becoming flaccid.

“Thorn…” I whispered, clenching my eyes shut. His face, his eyes, the curve of his lips, his breath on my skin. My eyes clinched again and I shook again, another round of cum shot from me. I came, twice from the same thought? It took me a while to realize I was crying from the intensity of it all, the water from the shower confusing me as it pelted my face, bringing my long auburn strands in front of me like a curtain, obscuring my vision that was already blurred by tears.

“Sebastian…” his voice, so soft, so inviting.

I opened my eyes and found Thorn fully naked, his broad stance there before me. His strong beautiful feet giving way to flared shapely calves to his knees, his wide thighs, his rather impressive cock arched out though hanging slightly from the weight of it all and readily complimented by bull-sized balls hanging low. My gaze moved higher to his narrow waist giving way to his expansive chest with near half-dollar sized nips that I wanted nothing more than to bite, lick and suckle upon. 

What. The. FUCK?

We were built quite alike, hell, we worked out together, concentrating on each body element. We were physically identical save for the differences of three inches in height. I’d seen all of this before - in the showers of course. But none of it stirred within me like it just had. Like it was now.

All of those thoughts flashed in an instant before I came to the crashing realization that Thorn was, at this moment in time, naked, in my shower, as if I’d called to him and he’d answered. In a violent scramble I pushed myself away, slipping against the slate shower stall (How was that even possible? - That’s why my parents bought it - to prevent slipping) as I tried to shy away from his invasion. By the time I’d reached the stone bench, my hair completely obscuring my vision with my back pressed firmly against the lukewarm stone, I brushed the strands of hair across my face and he was gone. Had I imagined it all? My chest was heaving as if I had run a marathon. He was here; he was. I knew it. I was sure if it. I didn’t imagine it.

Did I?

I scrambled to finish cleaning up as quickly as I could. I couldn’t remember ever showering that fast. I scrubbed hard and furious, leaving my skin rosy by my cleansing assault. Just before I was ready to exit I flipped the faucet to brutally cold water. I audibly gasped, shortness of breath as I struggled with the sudden shift in temperature, closing my eyes to the icy pummelization needling my skin. I shivered violently. 

“…Bastian. I’m here.” Thorn’s voice, his breath against the skin of my neck, his lips softly upon my ear. The heat from him, his massive chest surrounding my back, bringing me such comforting warmth, his hands slipping along my waist heading to my crotch. The press of him against my ass, zeroing in on my hole, shielding me from the cold. I shuddered and whipped around again pulling my long locks from my face.

Nothing.

I turned the water off and pounced on the glass door pushing it aside, retrieved a towel and wiped vigorously to dry myself, giving only a cursory swipe at my cock and balls (best not to concentrate on that part of myself right now − I’d done enough damage). I ran a brush quickly through my hair, squeezed as much water from it in the towel and then hung it up on the heated towel rack to dry. A single penetrating thought pushed to the fore from all the others - stalling any further progress toward bed:

Gay?

With lightening speed my mind raced around the locker room and throughout the school, perusing the guys I didn’t know very well but saw on a daily basis, to see if they excited me. There were definitely a few hot looking guys, I could admit that. Thorn being at the apex. His confidence, laced with wicked humor is what made him shine - well that, and his rockin’ bod. He knew it, but never went so far as to rub your face in it. It was, in a word, sexy. I idolized that in him. It was something I tried like hell to emulate. 

But how did it wrack my body with such a powerful orgasm? Why now? And why didn’t I ever see that coming? I marveled how my mind turned it back around to Thorn, as if drawn there with a will of its own. Curious, I went to my desk and fired up the laptop and logged in. I did a couple of searches online to find some gay porn sites to put the gay theory to the test. I wanted to find out not only if I really was into guys more than I realized and if so, what type of sex appealed to me. Within minutes, thanks to the power of Google I found a few sites out there - Fraternity X had sparked my interest because they were ASU college boys who posted videos shot at a nameless frat house where they did each other in an inebriated state, fucking each other’s brains out - often ending up with some guy in the house being gang-banged (as opposed to some chick they could get drunk and do the same) by his brothers. Or it was some pledge who was dying to get into the frat and had to serve as the boys bitch for the night to do so. Obviously they’d gotten around the whole legal entanglement of a girl coming to her senses and claiming rape and filing charges. With guys, especially at a frat, I could see how silence and tolerance for how the house ran would definitely quash any such action from a pledge or member of the frat house. Pretty ingenious, really. This whole thought process only served to confuse me more as I found myself studying the legalities of the business aspect of the site rather than tossing all those thoughts out the fucking window and just taking in the porn. The guys were only slightly older than myself so one thing I figured out was that yeah, I had a desire to watch guys fuck. Even if it took the plying of alcohol to get them to do so. The alcohol only lifted any inhibitions to fuck other guys. The sex was nasty in your face pure rutting male. I had to admit I got turned on by it a bit more than I thought I would. It was actually kind of hot having one guy service a group of brothers.

Enough, I couldn’t deal with this as easily as I thought I could. I pushed it all aside and clamped down on it - hard. Within moments it was completely gone. It’s funny how so many thoughts can race through your head within the blink of an eye. I needed to unplug, and fast.

Bed.

I flipped the laptop closed and moved quickly to bathroom to flick off the light and sprinted like mad to the comfort of my California King-sized bed. I practically dove into the milk white pool of Eider down comfort. My one true cloud like indulgence, my safe spot. I wrapped the thick comforter and bedding around myself like a puffy cocoon, nestling in for much needed sleep. Within seconds of my head hitting the pillow I was out. The last sensation I would recall was the sound of rainfall that began to percolate on the roof above my room.



General Disclaimer
- As I write Fictional Literature with a decidedly queer perspective, I want to make it abundantly clear that I have used imagery of male models that I feel help me convey the vision I have in my head and in my works, but in NO WAY does it imply, construe or insinuate the nature of the male model's proclivities or personal orientation. They are intended merely as a representation as near to I can come to visually describe the men in my works. All copyrights apply to their original content owners (where applicable). I make no such claim.