|Is this the real life?
Is this just fantasy?
Caught in a landslide,
No escape from reality. '
I should have told him.
"You think I should wait before I eat?" asked Mark. "I'm real hungry, but I don't want to be throwing up later."
Ashton was strolling down the brilliantly lighted nighttime street with Mark. Around them, Bridgwater Carnival was in full swing. The scent of kabobs and fried foods drifted around them. Children and adults squealed and laughed everywhere as the rides whirled and twisted. It was three days since the two of them had spoken in the computer lab. Three days since Ashton had almost told Mark the truth.
I should have told him.
"Are you drunk again?" asked Mark.
That got Ashton's attention. "I've never been drunk in my life," he said.
"Then, stop acting so spaced. I asked you a question."
"What was it?"
"Maybe he's been smoking hash," Mark mused aloud to himself.
"I've only done that a couple of times."
"Really? How was it?"
They had started holding hands soon after they broke away from the main school group and it seemed like the most natural thing in the world--their fingers had brushed as they walked together and just been drawn together. Neither of them mentioned it, as if admitting to it would mean having to give it up. Occasionally, they got a puzzled look from a passer-by. A couple of young girls had pointed at them and giggled. But, for the most part, everyone was too busy enjoying the carnival to pay attention to them. They slipped through the crowd, not speaking much. Ashton just enjoyed the feeling of being close to Mark. It was warm for the first week of November, and the air seemed full of energy.
I should tell him now.
"You're doing it again," said Mark.
"Are you sure you're not a dopehead?"
It took a while for Ashton to realize Mark was just joking.
"What do you want to ride first?" Mark asked before Ashton could respond.
"I'm not big on rides," said Ashton. "I love this carnival and all, but it's things like the food and the lights that I'm here for. Rides tend to make me... nervous."
"Oh, come on, don't be a pansy. Let's go ride that one that looks like a demented combine flipping everyone upside down."
"I'd rather not."
Mark hugged him around his shoulders and said, "Don't worry. You're with me. It'll be fine."
It felt strange to have Mark take a protective role with him. Ashton had always tried to stake his position out as the strong one, in any relationship. If Nevin tried what Mark had just done, Ashton would punch him in the ribs and find a playful, yet unequivocal, method of humiliating him. With Mark, Ashton felt himself quite willing to be protected and be the vulnerable one.
He let Mark guide him to the mechanical torture device he had picked out. As they waited in line, Ashton thought about how he had all but revealed his feelings for Mark that afternoon in the computer lab. He had stopped short of saying the actual words though.
I should have told him then. I should tell him now.
"Mark..." he said.
"I want you to know..."
Tell him you love him.
"What?" asked Mark.
Tell him you LOVE him!
"I think you're pretty cool," said Ashton.
"Thanks," said Mark casually. "You're not too bad yourself." Mark had improved steadily after his father left, regaining more and more of the calm demeanour Ashton had previously associated with him. Tonight, he seemed to have recovered completely.
Maybe I can tell him when we go on the Ferris wheel. In many of the movies Ashton had come across, it was always the top of the Ferris wheel that guys chose to make their romantic declarations. It seemed like the perfect place--isolated and calm. However, as things turned out, when Ashton finally did blurt out, "I love you," it was while pinned to his seat by centrifugal force, clasping Mark's hand for dear life as he hurtled through a blurred world of swirling lights on a stomach-churning ride called The Scrambler.
Mark squeezed his hand back and said, "I love you too."
After that, nothing else mattered. Not the ball of cold panic as the ride threw him about in the air, not the looks of the other people on the ride who had heard their declarations and certainly not the implications of what they had just said to each other.
The rest of the night was one long high. They walked the streets of Bridgwater watching the floats, sharing food and rides and never letting go of each other. They stood together as the carnival climaxed with the Squibbing. All up and down the street, pyrotechnic towers of light sprang up one after the other. The hairs rose along Ashton's arms as he watched the spectacle and he entwined his fingers with Mark's.
At the inn, they had their room to themselves. There were supposed to have been four occupants, but Nevin and Freddie had backed out at the last minute, even though they had already paid their share. Ashton's body was tired, but his mind could not rest. While Mark used the bathroom, Ashton stared out the wide window at the lights, which were still blazing all over Bridgwater.
I wouldn't trade tonight for Heaven itself.
The Ferris wheel in the distance was done working for the night, but it was still lit up.
"It's beautiful, isn't it?" asked Mark, right behind him in the dark room.
Mark rested his chin on Ashton's shoulder and wrapped his arms around him. Immediately, Ashton's heart started thumping.
Are we ready for this?
What Ashton really meant was, 'Is Mark ready?'
I hope he knows what he's doing. This could really damage him if he ends up regretting it.
Ashton turned to Mark and their cheeks brushed. They rubbed noses and Mark growled, "Mmmhn."
The sound seemed to flick a switch in Ashton's gut and the next thing he knew his lips were against Mark's. Tasting. Pressing. Yearning.
His temples throbbed with painful need and he held on to Mark's neck for dear life as their lips attacked each other again and again in a frenzy of lust.
There was no time for words--only groans and sharp explosions of breath. Ashton's senses were screaming from his closeness to Mark. He could detect every molecule of earthy, boyish, scent; feel every millimetre of silky skin; heat rose from their bodies like flames.
There was no speaking. No thinking. All they needed to know was that they had each other. Shirts were shed. Pants were tossed. Naked, they fell to the bed and melted into each other. Mark took the lead. With Ashton on his back, he licked down his chest, making Ashton 'Oooh' with pleasure.
Why did we wait so long? We should have done this ages ago!
Mark's lips on his nipples made him shiver. Mark's lips on his stomach tickled him into gasps. Mark's lips on his thighs sent spasms through his spine.
Ashton tightened his grip on Mark's hair as the boy reached for his stiff shaft. Mark began working on it with licks, then kisses, before he took the end in his mouth.
A flood of warmth rushed over Ashton.
Mark reached between Ashton's butt cheeks as he sucked, teasing the pucker there. Tension and looseness pulsed through Ashton's body in alternating waves. Then his stomach tightened and he felt the approach of climax.
So did Mark. The boy let go of Ashton and came back up to kiss him. Again, no words were needed. Ashton nuzzled Mark under his chin, then kissed lightly down his neck. He turned Mark onto his back. Everything about the body below Ashton spoke of beauty. The nipples under his finger were just the right smoothness and size. They stiffened with just the right pertness as he licked them one after the other. Now it was Mark's hands gripping his hair tight as Ashton gave pleasure to his newfound lover.
But how could he call it giving when the feel of Mark's naked flesh under them sent thrills up Ashton's fingers? When the taste of that same skin was a treat for Ashton's tongue? No, there was no end to how much Mark was giving just by being with him. A sense of privilege entered Ashton's mind and he gratefully strove to repay the other boy. With an eager hand he took Mark's warm cock in hand, massaging it as he kissed down the boy's body to the base of the hard rod. His other hand stroked down the soft curve of Mark's back and over the firm tenderness of his buttocks. Ashton was fascinated with the feel of those globes and cupped them in both hands as he took Mark's dickhead into his mouth.
Immediately Mark shuddered under him. For a long while there was nothing in Ashton's thoughts but the penis running along his lips and the taste of Mark on the tip of his busy tongue.
The allure of Mark's bottom was too much, however. Ashton licked his way down to the small opening hidden between the buttcheeks.
He probed it then licked it. He used a finger to help explore it.
"Nnnnnghmmmmgh," he heard from Mark.
With widening circles, he worked his fingertip inside. Too fast: he heard a gasp of pain from Mark.
"Sorry," Ashton said.
"You have anything to make it easier?"
Without a word, Ashton dove into his overnight bag and came up with a tube of hand cream.
Things proceeded quickly from there. Soon, he was easily sliding two fingers in and out while Mark moaned in pleasure. Ashton was ready. It felt like his cock would explode, he was so hard. He set himself over Mark, the other boy's legs spread to accommodate him. Somewhere in his mind was a sense of how much anticipation and disappointment had gone into this moment. The front of his brain was a storm, however, gusting with desire. He leaned down and kissed Mark while he guided his dick to the waiting rosebud.
Just as the tip made contact, Ashton broke his kiss long enough to say, "I love you, Mark." He did not wait for a response. He simply leaned back down to Mark's smiling face and kissed him hard.
It was time. Ashton eased himself forward. The cream made things far too slippery, though, and the first few attempts... missed.
Just as it seemed he would pop a blood vessel with frustration, they meshed perfectly and Ashton was inside the most beautiful, the sexiest, boy on the planet. The shaft slipped completely in with ease and Ashton rested against Mark, their bodies touching from head to toe. Ashton was lost in this moment of pure perfect union.
The handle of the room door turned and then the door opened.
"Hey, Lunkhead, you forgot your-" It was Upton. Simmons was right behind him.
"Upton!" yelled Ashton in annoyance. He wondered how much the other boys could make out in the semi-dark.
Quite a bit it seemed, to judge from their hangjaw expressions.
"Upton, close the door!"
Upton recovered. A grin spread over his face and he said, "Hold that pose, Ash. Simmons, go get my camera."
"Get out, you useless, annoying, git!"
The two boys at the door broke into wild laughing, but closed the door. Ashton ran over and locked it.
"I'm sorry, Mark," he said. "I should have-"
Mark was still on the bed, a serious look on his face.
"Don't worry about them," said Ashton. "They're jackasses, but they won't make a big deal out of this."
Mark said nothing.
"You alright?" Ashton asked.
"Yeah," said Mark. "It's just that until they broke in here I wasn't sure this was all really happening." Mark looked Ashton in the eye. "This is really real."
Ashton got on the bed cautiously. "You want to stop?"
An 'are you crazy?' look came over Mark's face. "God, no!" he said.
With a whoop, Ashton kissed Mark and, just like that, all the wildness was back. They pounced on each other and Ashton kissed Mark again and again. This time it was Mark who said, "I love you," as they joined together.
As he slid into Mark again and again with a gentle zeal, Ashton noted everything about the beautiful face below him: The way the dark hair spilled across the forehead; The bright blue eyes, appearing and disappearing as Mark closed his eyes with each thrust; The smile which spoke of a peaceful, rested, mind. Ashton had found an angel at last.
They enjoyed each other's movements and touches, hands never in one place for long--as if trying to capture as much of one another before eternity ran out. When orgasm signaled its approach with a surge of electricity in his groin, Ashton shortened his movements, trying to stay in control. It was a lost cause. Climax blasted through him, forcing his eyes shut. Mark stayed in his vision, though. Images of Mark laughing, with the brilliantly lit city behind him; of Mark in tears after the debate; of his slim, swift, body leaping across the emerald grass at cricket practice.
With wild, bucking, motions, Ashton let himself go, stiffening over and over as he released his joy and love into Mark until there was nothing left of himself, it seemed. He came to rest against Mark's shoulder and wrapped his arms around the boy.
Ashton lay there in bliss. His body felt relaxed and fulfilled. He breathed in Mark's warmth and scent.
He always smells so good!
Ashton nuzzled Mark's ear. As his senses returned, he suddenly became aware of Mark's hardness pressed against his hip.
With one hand, he reached for Mark's cock, caressing it. With the other, he searched blindly for the hand cream.
"Looking for this?" asked Mark, holding up the jar.
"Well, it'd probably hurt if I let you do me dry," said Ashton sarcastically.
After dipping into the jar, Ashton slathered the slick cream all over Mark's shaft. Mark took some as well and reached for Ashton's hole. Ashton lay back in the bed and let Mark take over. First there was the cool, quick, sensation of fingers slipping past his entrance. His body relaxed quickly, anticipation rising inside.
Mark kissed his stomach and moved gradually up to Ashton's neck with small, wet, pecks. When he was in place, Mark guided himself into Ashton. Ashton gripped Mark's arms tight as there was a flash of pain and then a long, lingering, sensation of being opened.
Mark's pelvis against his butt told him that they were as much a part of each other as was possible. Ashton held him there, soaking in the sensation as he shifted about under Mark. His movements got Mark eager to get going, however, and soon the boy above him was giving Ashton a sound fucking. His pace was brisk and the thrusts were deep. Still holding Mark's arms, Ashton clung to his lover. He tried to contribute in some measure, by tightening his ass, but he had no control there. He had water for muscles, his body helpless against the sensations of penetration, withdrawal, and thrusting.
Mark's breathing grew erratic. So did his motion. As he became more vigorous, it seemed like he was reaching new depths in Ashton. With a series of wild thrusts Mark came inside him, the two of them rocking against each other.
Both of them spent, they lay with Mark draped over Ashton. Even exhausted, though, it seemed like they could not get enough of each other. Mark's fingertips stroked Ashton's sides. For the first time that night, Ashton thought about the scars there, but not for long. They were irrelevant. They were not him. All that mattered was Mark. Mark loved him. No matter what, Mark was his.
"We could run naked up and down the hall, if you want."
Nevin was bored and Freddie was suggesting things they could do.
"Strange as it may sound," said Nevin, "I've actually done that before."
"Ashton once tricked me into..."
Freddie looked up when Nevin stopped speaking.
Then, Nevin said, "It's funny how so many of the best stories of my life start with, 'Ashton'."
"Yeah, he an amazing bloke. You're lucky to have him as your boyfriend."
"He's not my boyfriend, Freddie."
"I told you already not to-"
There were three slices of pizza left in the box on the table between them. Nevin doubted they could eat more, but it was only just past midnight.
"You mean it?" asked Freddie.
Freddie looked at him skeptically.
"You ever heard the term 'fuck buddies'?" Nevin asked.
"No, but I think I can guess what it means."
"Then you know exactly how things are with me and Ashton."
"Oh," said Freddie. "Well, whatever it is, you're lucky to have him. He's splendid. It's been tops the way he's looking out for me. I only wish..."
"You wish what?"
Freddie looked around the lounge as if making sure they were alone.
"If I tell you something, can you promise not to tell anyone?"
"Sure," said Nevin.
"I mean, not even Ashton."
"When I was with Sheehan," said Freddie, "he acted like he didn't care what my feelings were. As far as he was concerned I was just there to make him feel good. He was ordering me to do things to him and making me feel like some kind of servant and the whole time I was thinking, 'This is so wrong,' but there was a part of me that... liked it."
Nevin said nothing. He just kept a sympathetic look on his face.
Freddie said, "There was a kinda thrill to being, I don't know... possessed, by somebody older and stronger. By a man. It's hard to explain why. I mean-"
"You don't have to justify it," said Nevin. "My Uncle Robin always says that feelings aren't right or wrong, they're just feelings. You don't need to explain yourself as long as you don't hurt anyone."
"Well, I don't feel that way about what happened now."
"No. When I remember what it was like, I keep thinking that it was awful to feel so powerless and so weak. I don't want to feel that way again."
"Feeling weak is not the same as being weak."
"Well, I hate it!"
"Calm down, will you?"
"Sorry." Freddie looked about again to make sure no one else was around. He said, "Ashton has a plan for Sheehan and I know that it's the right thing to do, only it means that I'd have to get close to Sheehan again and I don't know if I can stand that."
Nevin put a light hand on Freddie's shoulder. "You're not that person anymore. You know better now. You know how it all works. He can't make you feel that way again. And as long as this is Ashton's plan, you won't have to take on anything you can't handle."
Though they fell asleep soon after making love, Mark and Ashton did not slumber through the night. Twice more, they awoke and inflamed each other with lust and love until they enjoyed the feel of the other bursting into orgasm inside them.
When Ashton opened his eyes next morning, Mark was sitting at the side of the bed, looking down at him with a thoughtful, admiring, gaze. The blinds were parted and the early dawn was nibbling at the mauve sky.
Ashton remembered how their lovemaking the night before had been so fluent and natural, like they had been designed for each other, instinctively knowing what the other wanted--knowing just where to touch and stroke and bite. He reached for Mark's side and stroked him. Mark surprised him by taking his hand and kissing his palm.
"Ashton..." Mark said.
"We can't do this again. Last night-"
Ashton slapped the bed. "I knew it. I knew it!"
"What's wrong?" asked Mark.
"I swore I wasn't going to do this--never going to get mixed up with a guy who had baggage. I never wanted us to end up doing something you'd regret. Now for the rest of your life you're going to blame me for-"
"I don't regret it," said Mark.
Mark brushed Ashton's hair back with his fingers. "No."
"Then, why can't we continue?"
"Because it would be wrong."
"What was last night then? You giving in to your base desires?"
Mark smiled--that smile of assurance and quiet satisfaction that Ashton had come to adore. "Last night was a bit of pure sweetness," he told Ashton. The sunlight was like a halo around Mark's head. Ashton held his hand against his cheek.
"You think you'll be satisfied with just one bite of the apple?" asked Ashton.
"You know me well enough by now. What do you think?"
"I think you'd deny yourself anything in the name of God."
"My life is God's, it's true," said Mark. "But, last night, I needed to have something for my self. I needed to know just once what was on the other side."
"If you're giving it up then I suppose I wasn't that great."
"Oh, you were fantastic," said Mark. "I was pretty worried when we finally went to sleep. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to let go of you this morning."
"But you will?"
"When I woke up and saw you next to me, I felt like I finally understood life. You're wonderful, but I'm not afraid of giving you up. Heaven is waiting at the end of the road and God's love with it."
"God doesn't have my cock."
Mark laughed. "No. But he's got something better."
"Ten-inch, vibrating dildo?" Ashton asked.
Mark didn't laugh this time. "Last night was a sin," he said. "I won't candy-coat it to spare your feelings. But..."
"What're you really trying to say here?"
"That this one time with you is enough, because it will be with me always."
Mark made to kiss him, but Ashton stopped him.
"Well this isn't quite going to work for me," Ashton said. "What's it going to be like for the two of us now? I don't think I can just go back to pretending we're nothing more than friends."
"What's the alternative?"
"Well, I don't know! You should have thought that through before you decided to commit your 'one time only' sin. As you keep telling me, everything's got consequences."
"If you want to stop seeing me, I'll understand."
"It's that easy for you, is it?"
"No," said Mark. "That would hurt like the dickens. But I don't want you to go through anything uncomfortable."
"You mean like having that greatest night of my life only to get dumped first thing the next morning?"
"I'm sorry if you can't see it, but what I did was give you as much of myself as I possibly could. You're not telling me that you wish I hadn't, are you?"
Ashton considered it. "No. I guess not." He pulled Mark to him and their naked bodies slid together as they held each other close in silence.