DARK PEARLS

 

 

Chapter Three

 

 

“So what do you want to be when you leave school?”  Adam’s voice was quiet in the darkness of the gym.  He was captain of the football team this year, and so he had access to the keys of the sports hall, for clearing up after his team.  Instead, he used them to find somewhere warm and safe to be, when he crept out of his home at night.

 

“Stupid question,” scoffed his companion.  The other boy was sitting beside him on the mats, his long slender legs crossed comfortably.  They were alone in the silence of the night, in the empty building.  There were a couple of cans of beer on the mat beside them – the wrappings from some takeout fries that Adam had bought for them.

 

They were both in jeans and tee shirts.  They were both in dangerous contravention of the school rules – and neither cared.

 

This wasn’t the first time they’d come here together.  After the day that Adam and he had their fight, there seemed to be a change in the older boy’s behaviour.  When Mae came to talk to Reven after school, sometimes Adam would join them, rather than taking the opportunity to meet up with his own classmates.  Reven was wary at first – he was embarrassed at the older boy seeing him struggle with reading.  And sometimes he just wanted to sit quietly and listen to Mae’s gentle, teasing voice.  On his own.  But once, when he was struggling with a particularly difficult word, Adam leant over the book and repeated it for him.  Carefully – encouragingly.

 

Mae had smiled.  Reven had shrugged.  And relaxed.

 

When Adam first suggested they meet up in the evening, Reven was even more wary.  But he needed to be out of the house – Dad had been awake and fractious, and Reven was afraid that Keone would be making one of his habitual visits.  He met Adam in the grounds of the school, shimmying over the fence like he’d done many times before; only to find that Adam had done the same thing himself.

 

They didn’t do much, just hung out together as teenaged boys so often do – they talked about school, and Mae, and the stupid rules, and where they could get hold of beer without trouble.  Adam had asked Reven to get him some, and he pushed a few bills into his hand.  Reven tried to stuff them back in Adam’s pocket, and there’d been half a fight over it.

 

“I don’t want hand-outs –“ Reven had hissed.  He had a hand round Adam’s wrist and he could feel the boy’s pulse in his veins.

 

“It’s just pocket money,” snapped Adam.  He slid his hand away from Reven’s grip, but he didn’t hit back. “You can get beer and smokes more easily than I can.  Get me some of them for next time, and we’ll call it quits.  Don’t fuck about with me, Reven!”  And then he’d had to go – and the matter was never really settled between them.

 

There had indeed been a next time.  Adam had showed Reven how he got into the sports hall, and they’d spent an hour or so in there, mucking about with the equipment, sharing a drink and a smoke.   And then there were several other times, just the same.  Adam often gave him money, under pretext of Reven getting things for them both - he wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer.  Sometimes it was books he gave him – things he needed for school.  There was a pair of shoes that looked really new, and Reven took them gladly because he’d just come through the sole of his pair for the third time.  Adam had offered Reven a joint once, but Reven had refused it rather abruptly.  Adam hadn’t brought any drugs into the hall with them again after that.

 

“I’m going to college,” said Adam, his voice quite proud in the silent room.  “Father has the money put aside.  I just need to get the grades.”

 

“You’ll get them.  What will you study?” asked Reven.  He liked to listen to Adam.  He had a clear, sure voice.  He always had so many opinions; he had such confident ideas.  He had everything that the world expected of a young man on the brink of a fine life.

 

Everything that eluded Reven.

 

“Medicine, I guess,” sighed Adam.  “Mother’s family were all doctors, the guys that is.  And Father has a couple of contacts in the church that can help me out – point me in the right direction.”

 

The social network.  He’s part of that already, thought Reven, though without jealousy of Adam.  In his own strange way, he was proud of Adam too.  Like he could watch success through him – like he could live another’s, more palatable life.

 

“Why did you say it was a stupid question?” Adam’s query was sharp in the quiet room.  He nudged at one of the cans with the toe of his trainers.  Reven had grown to recognise his ways – his restlessness when he was embarrassed or confused.

 

“I won’t be going to college, will I?”  Reven smiled, to take the bitterness out of the comment.  “I guess I might have wanted to, but it’s OK.  Plenty of other things to do in life.  Plenty of other ways to fame and fortune, right?”  Maybe we’ll pass on the street one day, he thought.  You might want to pass on the other side, though.

 

Adam stared at him, his eyes glinting in the dim light.  “What would you do if you went?  What do you really want, Reven?”

 

It hurt to talk like this, but Reven did – because Adam asked it of him.  “I wanted to be an engineer, once.  I though I’d be good at it – I like to know how things work.  I understand how they fit together.  You don’t need to know about Shakespeare for that, do you?”  It was a feeble joke, and neither of them laughed.

 

They packed up shortly after that.  Adam helped him back up over the fence, and then climbed over himself.  As they stood together awkwardly on the path, Adam took Reven’s hand.  It was the first time he’d ever touched him like that.  “You’ll be OK?” he said, almost in a whisper.

 

Reven frowned.  “Of course I will.”  What was he going on about?  “I’ll probably see you at school tomorrow, right?”  Adam nodded.  He didn’t seem to want to say anything else, and so they made their respective ways home. 

 

It took a long time for Reven to get to sleep that night.

 

 

 

*

 

 

It had been a shit day at school, and now this!

 

“Dad, for fuck’s sake, why must he always be round here?”  Reven glared at the thin body perched on the edge of their folding dinner table.  “You don’t need that shit, y’know, you should try to get out a bit, get some air, see what’s outside this crappy apartment!“

 

“Ray, mind your tongue!” snapped the man in the chair.  He was dressed in shirt and casual pants, with hair combed and face washed, but there was an indefinable air of shabbiness about him, as if it were ingrained.  His hands gripped at the arms, marking the fabric with grubby fingertips – there was the tiniest drop of spittle at the edge of his mouth.  The creases in his pants were testament to the fact that he’d been in that chair for a damned long time.  His hair had been black once, now thin across the top of his head, and his eyes were dark like Reven’s, but there was precious little other similarity.  He looked far older than he probably actually was.

 

“I can have my friends round, can’t I?  For company?  For some moral support while I’m ill?”  He raised a hand, as if helpless in the face of teenage rebellion, and addressed the third person in the room.  “What can you do with them, Keone?  You give them all the best years, then they use language like that, and bully you when you’re at your most vulnerable –“

 

Keone smiled softly at the older man, though his eyes flickered constantly over Reven.  “He’s just young, sir.  He doesn’t understand the adult ways.  You should let me tell him some things some time – let me teach him how to behave properly out there in the world.”

 

“Like you know!” snarled Reven.  “Like your life in the sewer is some kinda role model for kids -!”

 

Considering how disabled his father seemed to be, the hand that struck him across the head was surprisingly fierce.  Reven bit through his tongue with the shock, and his ears rang.  “That’s enough!  You’ll be polite to Keone, or you’ll get out of here at once!  He’s a nice boy, Ray, not like you.  You give me hassle – you keep me hungry and poor, with everything you want, all the money that I never see.  Now Keone – he brings me gifts – looks after me.  He’s the real son in this house!”

 

Reven nearly hit back, clenching his hand into a tight fist as he fought the urge.  There were red dots buzzing across his vision.  “He pumps you full of shit, Dad, that’s what he does!”  Why the fuck don’t you see it?  Why the fuck don’t you see me?

 

His father’s eyes were glazed; Reven wondered if he even heard what he’d just said.  “He needs money, Ray.  You got money for him, Ray?”

 

“No Dad,” said Reven, through gritted teeth.  “There’s no money today.  You used it all.”  On his shit!  Half of him wanted to spit at Keone and his demands – the other half cringed in fear at what he might be required to do if they weren’t met.

 

“He says I owe him, Ray.”  His father was starting to whine.  It was a familiar pattern.  The tears would follow – then the need for a hit.  That was the danger time for Reven – when sometimes the only way to soothe Dad was to let him see the blood; to cut.  The better times were when the unconsciousness came sooner, rather than later.  “Ray, he’s already giving me the best price – he discounts it right down, just because it’s me.  But I must keep up the payments.”

 

Keone had moved close to Reven without him noticing.  He smelled the man before he saw him – felt his hand on his collar before he could move away.  “Let me talk to Ray, sir.  Let me see what we can work out.  I’m always happy to help friends out, right?  You’re like my family here.”  He leant over Reven’s father; Reven saw the envelope pressed into the old man’s hand – his pathetic snatch of it.  Then Keone propelled Reven in front of him into the kitchenette.

 

“You hear him, sweet ass?” the dealer hissed.  “All he wants is his stuff!  He wants you out of here, right?”

 

“That’s never gonna happen,” said Reven, the note of despair in his voice.  I’m never gonna get out of here… not alive, anyway.

 

“You know what I can offer,” wheedled Keone.  I can get you out of here, and you know it.  And there’ll be good money there for you, too.  Freedom.  No more whining kids; angry teachers.”

 

“Whoring?” Reven hissed back.  “Letting sick guys cut me and play with me?”

 

“It’s a living,” said Keone, a smile creeping over his face.  “The first time is always the worst – then it gets a hell of a lot easier if you relax, don’t let it get to you.  You think you got any other choice, boy?  You think you can be part of that other life – like for your little girlfriend and her jock brother?”

 

Reven felt suddenly cold.  “What do you know about them?  You keep the fuck away from them!”

 

“Hush, boy,” laughed Keone.  They could hear the snoring in the lounge from his father, sated for the time being.  Reven tried to hide the open hurt in his face, but he was just too tired to act the part anymore.

 

“Why do you think he does it to you, sweet ass?” came Keone’s insidious murmur.  “The cuts?  The pain?”  His hands were stroking gently at Reven’s neck.  The boy didn’t even have the energy to push him away.

 

I wish I fucking knew, thought Reven.  “Screw you,” he said aloud, though half-heartedly.

 

“He does it because he loves you,” came the man’s foetid words.  “And he wants to touch you.  But he can’t – so he touches you in a very different way.  But just as intimately.”

 

Reven wanted to sob.

 

Keone’s hands travelled on down his arms, up and along his sides.  “They suit you, the cuts.  Such a pale lovely child you are.  Quite beautiful.  You can make money from it, Reven.  So much money.  It’s a freedom of sorts.  Let me show you…”

 

Reven finally wrenched himself away, but he only fell forward, hands on the filthy counter.  He heard Keone’s soft chuckle behind him.  He knew he was beaten.

 

“I’ll come for you tomorrow night, Ray.  I have a friend who’d like to watch you for a while.  Just for an hour or so.  Nothing more.  But he’ll pay for it. ”

 

He moved away, as if to leave.  Reven dragged up some saliva in his dangerously dry mouth and hissed out, “And that’ll settle the money for Dad, right?”

 

Keone paused.  He raised an eyebrow, as if impressed at Reven’s shrewdness.  “Sure.  Whatever.  We’ll talk percentages then.”

 

“And it’s Reven.”

 

“Huh?”

 

“My name.  Not Ray.  It’s Reven.  Don’t forget it.”

 

 

 

 

*

 

 

 

 

Reven had kept away from school for a week.  It had been a week when he’d learned to despise himself; to despise mankind.  He’d dragged himself up each morning, and seen to Dad like any hospital nurse would.  When the old man slept, so did he; or he sat in a corner, twisting thoughts in his mind like string around his finger.  He’d tried to hide from Keone whenever he called, but he’d rarely managed it.  The man had his strange laugh, and his sick requests, and a raft of weird, midnight clients who had somehow learned Reven’s name.  Reven had a pocket full of bills, and a stomach full of bile.  He struggled to understand what was happening to him.  He rather doubted he would – not yet, anyway.

 

He had a hell of a lot more growing up to do first.

 

But he didn’t want to keep away; not for ever.  Did he?  He took to hanging round the school at night, when he’d finished with Keone.  And finally there was the night he saw another shadow there – one he recognised.  Now he faced Adam outside the school hall, both of them drawn there for their own reasons.  The air was still and cool outside; there was the occasional rustle of a squirrel in amongst the trees.

 

“Been a while, Reven.”

 

“Yeah.  Busy.  You know.”

 

He stared at the older boy with something like greed; he was ashamed to realise how much he’d missed him.  He didn’t think it was for the help with the homework – but he was afraid to admit to anything else.

 

Adam opened the locks with practised ease and let them in.

 

They talked and told jokes, and Adam passed Reven some new comics that Mae had found for him.  But there was an unusual atmosphere about tonight; neither of them seemed as much at ease as before.

 

It seemed inevitable, with hindsight, but Reven watched as if in a dream when Adam’s hand settled on his thigh.  Neither of them spoke.  Adam moved his hand further up towards Reven’s groin, in a soft, stroking movement.  Reven felt his eyelids grow heavy with desire; he drew in a deep, slow breath.

 

“What do you want, Adam?”

 

“I don’t know.”  The older boy laughed, nervously, but he didn’t move his hand away.  “I just wanted to do that.  To you.  I’ve wanted to do it for quite a while now.  Every time we come here – when we talk, and joke, and mess about.  I like it.  I like you, Reven.”  He glanced across suddenly, suspicious of Reven’s ridicule.  “Did you hate it?”

 

“No.”  I want you to do it again. 

 

“I thought… well, when you weren’t around for a while, Mae got worried.  Well – guess I did, too.  Shit, Reven, I thought we wouldn’t do this any more, and I felt…” His words trailed off.

 

“Adam, I’m just not sure you know what you’re doing.”

 

There was a sound of annoyance from the other boy. “Don’t fucking try and tell me that, Reven!  I’m still a couple of years above you, you know.”

 

Reven grinned, relieved to hear the voice he knew well; the teasing.  “I’ll say what I like!  You try pushing your weight around, and you’ll be sorry, right?”

 

Adam grinned back, his teeth shining white in the dim light.  Then, to Reven’s shock, his hand snaked out, curling round the back of Reven’s neck, and he pulled the boy’s head to his.  Reven had a second in which to open his mouth to protest – to cry out softly – and then Adam’s mouth came down on to his.  Hot, hard lips; fierce fingertips in the skin of his neck, pressing him ever closer.  The older boy tasted of fear and excitement and the distant sharpness of cheap beer.  Smoke, from an earlier cigarette.  Something else that Reven didn’t want to recognise.

 

He opened his mouth eagerly.  Adam’s tongue thrust into him, clumsy and fast, licking in and out of the crevices, devouring him.  Reven clutched at the other boy’s arms, dragging himself in closer, tilting his head so that he could press all the more deeply into the kissing.

 

He could feel Adam’s body tensing against him, could feel his legs sliding nearer, wrapping over Reven’s.  When Reven felt himself being pushed back on to the mat, he wasn’t surprised.  Adam’s body followed his, covering him, pressing down on top of him greedily.  The kissing was hungry, and he could hear Adam’s harsh breath in his ears; the soft moans excited him unbearably.  He wanted to lie back and offer everything he had to this boy; he wanted to be absorbed by him; consumed by him!  He knew he had a fierce, solid erection, tenting up his jeans.  He was sure that Adam must be able to feel it, and he wriggled a little closer, trying to press against Adam’s leg in return, searching for friction.

 

He groaned aloud.

 

Adam’s head raised up for a minute, his lips leaving Reven’s numb.  He stared down at the younger boy, eyes searching his face.  There was the tiniest thread of saliva shining between their panting mouths.  Reven desperately wanted to reach up and lick it back into his mouth.

 

“Was that like kissing Kitty?” he said, breathlessly.

 

Adam’s eyes flashed angrily for a second – then they cleared, and he laughed, very breathlessly.  “Nothing like it!  Shit, nothing like it at all!”

 

“Good!” smiled Reven.  “Fucking good!”

 

“I want –“ Adam’s voice was just a whisper, but Reven reached up to tug his head back down.  He wanted it too!

 

He thought he heard Adam gasp, and then they were lying clasped together on the mat, kissing again, and Reven was running his hand down Adam’s back, trying to reach the hem of his shirt, to tug it out, to touch him, like he’d always wanted.  Adam’s hand came down between his legs and rubbed at him.  It was tentative; it was awkward.  The jeans material was harsh on his flesh, and his over-sensitive cock was tangling up in his briefs.  But as Reven arched up into the touch and moaned his approval, Adam’s confidence grew.  The creak of Reven’s zip was loud in the silent hall, as the other boy fumbled to pull it down.  His fingers slipped and he cursed – Reven nearly laughed aloud, but it was painful too, and he ached, he ached for Adam to hold him –

 

“Do it!” he moaned.  “Let me out – rub it, take hold of it – please –

 

Adam gave a strangled sort of noise in his throat, and then he had his cool fingers round Reven’s hot cock, and he was dragging it out of the briefs.  Reven yelped – his whole body tingled, and his back came up off the ground as he keened against Adam.  The other boy began to rub gently, his fist cradling the shaft, his fingertips grazing over the damp tip, his breath catching in his chest.

 

“Is it right – what should I – shit, Reven –“

 

“It’s fantastic,” groaned Reven.  “Harder – hell, I won’t break –“

 

Adam tried to laugh – it came out more like a sob.  Reven thrust gently up with his hips, rolling himself within Adam’s fingers.  His hand reached out again and grasped at the boy’s neck.  He rocked himself against the hard warmth of Adam’s torso, teasing at the erect nipples that pressed out from underneath his smartly pressed school shirt.

 

And then Adam’s fingers slowed, and he all but stopped his caress.

 

Reven groaned with frustration.  He was worried that Adam had second thoughts – that he’d been horrified by what he was doing, after all.  Shit…” he gasped, trying desperately to calm his racing heart; trying to cool the aching throb in his groin.  “I mean, that’s OK – if you want to stop –“

 

“No…” came the hesitant reply.  “But you said once – asked me – if I wanted to try -“

 

Reven stared across at him, pupils dilated with passion.  Adam had a hand on his own groin, squeezing himself.  His eyes flickered to Reven’s mouth and stayed there.  He licked at lips that were very dry. 

 

“Yes,” whispered Reven, with something like reverence.  “Of course.  Let me do it.”  He wriggled on the mat so that he pulled himself further down, down until his face was at the level of Adam’s hips, only a few inches away from the other boy’s groin.  His fingers slid the zip of his pants down – he tugged the flaps of denim to the side, and dipped his head in against the thin jersey material of the other boy’s briefs.  He smelled so good! He smelled of talc, and cotton, and hot, swelling flesh, and Reven had never smelled anything so intoxicating. 

 

His hands stroked at Adam’s cock, hard and hot under the material, damp from his excitement leaking out of the tip.  Reven slipped out his tongue and swiped it gently across the swelled head. 

 

Adam moaned, loudly.  “Oh God…

 

Reven’s eyes lit up with delight.  He wriggled the material away from the shaft, his tongue following the path of the flesh as it was exposed.  He licked at the straining skin; he nipped his lips along the edge and back up to the top.  Then he opened his mouth wide, and he went down on him.

 

Adam groaned aloud.  Jesus God - Reven, my God, it’s – “

 

Reven rolled his tongue up and down the shaft.  The taste was astonishing, it was exhilarating!  He could smell Adam’s soap, close up amongst the hairs at the base of his cock.  He pushed impatiently at Adam’s jeans and briefs, trying to get them further down his legs, trying to expose more of his bare flesh.  The older boy was shuddering under Reven’s touch now – his cock was swelling, and pre-cum was dribbling down the side, down into Reven’s mouth.

 

“Adam,” Reven whispered, partly to be able to speak the boy’s name in such a way, at such a time, a time that he’d only ever dreamed of.  Partly because he wanted to taste how it felt, reverberating around Adam’s cock as he sucked and lathered it with his tongue.

 

“It’s – good, Reven –“

 

“It’s fucking good,” smiled Reven.  Adam’s climax was close – he could feel it filling his mouth, the tang of it swamping his taste buds.  He sneaked a hand down to his own groin, fisting round his own aching shaft, starting to jerk along it, matching the rhythm of his mouth.

 

Adam gripped at his hair, trying both to anchor himself and to push Reven down on to him. “I’m coming, Reven!  Shit - I - think of you – in the night.  I jerk off to you – I just never thought –“

 

“Hush,” said Reven, and in his voice the word was both soothing and stimulating.  Adam gasped a couple of times, and then his hips thrust fiercely against Reven’s chin and the cum spilled eagerly out of him, spattering Reven’s lips and dribbling down to his neck.  Reven clutched with one hand at Adam’s hips, keeping him close as the older boy shuddered, and the waves of his orgasm calmed down.  With his other hand, Reven rubbed himself vigorously until he felt his own climax approaching.  His fingers gripped into Adam’s flesh almost painfully as his body spasmed on the mat, and the soft, thick white seed spat out of him, spraying its sticky trail on to the padded fabric.

 

They lay panting for a moment.  Adam had his jeans in a pool round his ankles, with his knees spread wide, hands still clasping Reven’s hair.  Reven lay still, resting his spinning head on Adam’s naked thigh.

 

“Wow,” said Adam, his voice very shaky.

 

“Yes,” gasped Reven.

 

“Truly fucking good!” whispered Adam.  Reven looked up from between his outstretched legs, and their eyes locked.

 

They grinned.