Reven hadn’t seen Mae for several days now. It just wasn’t her way, to miss school – he’d never known her to be away for long, not even when there was the chicken pox scare. He tried to walk past the school every day, preferably at the end of classes. Sometimes it was during break time, when he had to hide on the other side of the road, hidden in between the houses. He couldn’t allow himself to be seen – for all he knew, the school inspectors might still be on the lookout for him. It had been quite a scandal, so he’d heard – the young boy left alone in his apartment with his deceased father; the evidence of drugs, when the police finally broke in; the boy already absconded, before he could be taken into the proper care.
Fuck, he’d thought, listlessly. Bet it happens every day. Soon it’ll be last week’s news. Even so, he took care. Each day, he scoured the playground; searched under the trees. There was no sign of Mae.
But he saw Adam.
He tried to run away – he did! – but the other boy had dodged out of the school grounds and reached the other side of the road before Reven even considered his escape route. He stared at Adam in challenge - he refused to acknowledge the lurch in his belly at the sight of the familiar grey eyes; the tongue quickly moistening dry lips. Adam’s tie was slightly askew at his throat; his strong hands reached out to Reven, to stop him fleeing.
It all brought too much pain.
“Reven! Where have you been? They’re looking for you –“ Adam’s words tailed off. Of course they were! Of course Reven knew that! “Your father…”
Reven shrugged abruptly, and Adam’s hands fell back to his side. “He’s gone now. I’m not interested in him. Don’t tell anyone you saw me, right?”
Adam nodded, but his eyes still searched Reven’s face. “You look different.”
Bright boy. “I am.” Is that a problem?
It was as if Adam refused to be insulted; refused to be frozen out. Refused to be pushed away. “Are you -? Where are you staying? Are you managing OK?”
“Adam,” Reven sighed. It just wasn’t worth the argument, was it? What did Adam know about managing? He was just a kid himself, wasn’t he? “Where’s Mae? Is she all right?”
“She’s fine.” Adam’s reply was just a little too quick. His feet shifted with the familiar embarrassment; Reven thought he might run back to the school in a second.
“So why isn’t she at school?”
Adam’s eyes narrowed. “How do you know where she is or isn’t? Are you spying on her?”
Reven stepped forward and gripped the boy’s collar. He glared into Adam’s face, seeing the flicker of shock in his eyes. “I’m watching out for her, stupid!”
“So am I!” the older boy snapped back. “Just leave her to me!”
Reven let go of him, startled. But that’s how it was now, wasn’t it? He had no relationship with these people any more. He had no more call on their time. He’d taken himself out of their life – out of their range. Or had been taken. Either way, the connection had been severed.
Fuck, it hurt!
“You tell her –“
“What?” asked Adam.
There was the background noise of the kids yelling and laughing at play across the road. A couple of vans passed – the driver of a car hooted at someone he must have known, going into a shop. A dog barked, running in and out of a garden. Reven felt a nausea rising in his throat – a tightness in his chest that made it hard to breathe.
“Reven?” came Adam’s voice, insistent. “Can you hear me? What do you want to tell her?”
Reven didn’t even bother saying ‘nothing’. It was all so very obvious; so very inevitable.
Adam was looking at him – at the boy’s black hair, grown even longer, tied back at the nape of his neck. At his clothes – at the short vest; the new pants slung low on his hips; the smart boots. “You are coming back, aren’t you?”
Reven lifted his eyes to Adam’s, and wished to God he hadn’t. He didn’t want to look away; he didn’t want to leave that voice; that hopeful look.
I don’t want to be me! cried the voice inside him. I don’t want this to be happening!
Adam gripped his wrist, even as he turned to go. “Meet me tonight, Reven. I don’t know what you’re up to, or where you’re going, but I must talk to you.”
“No, I can’t –“
“It’s about Mae,” said Adam, abruptly. His eyes flashed triumph – he knew he played a trump card. Reven paused, and his body tensed. The older boy loosened his hold, and started to back away across the road, back into the school grounds. “Tonight, Reven!” he called, so low that only the black-haired boy would hear him. “The usual place!”
He bent and picked up the slim white envelope. It was only a note.
It was lucky that he even found it, because he hadn’t been back to the apartment for a while. They’d cleared everything out and changed the locks – not that that stopped Reven. Life with Keone and his contacts had taught him a multitude of new skills – some of them more useful than others. He’d come back a couple of times, just to breathe the air of the place; just to keep some slim connection with the life he’d once had. It was all pointless, really – the empty rooms gave him no comfort at all. Comfort? There wasn’t any of that left hanging around for him, now.
The note was addressed to ‘Reven’ – maybe the caretakers didn’t realise that was his name; it wasn’t the name on his birth certificate, after all. It wasn’t the name on the school roll, either – nor on the police sheet. The envelope had been kicked to the side of the hallway and left to gather dust. Reven recognised Mae’s handwriting at once.
He slit it open and read it carefully – she’d expect that of him, even though she’d written it very clearly, and the words very simply.
Words that really weren’t very simple at all.
He read it again – twice. He wondered how long it had been on the floor here – at least for a few days, since he’d last visited. Shortly after he stopped going to school – shortly after he let Keone run his life for him. Protect him.
But it seemed that he wasn’t the one who needed the protection after all.
He sank slowly to the floor, his back pressed against the wall, his legs bent and hugged close to his chest. The tears came slowly and steadily, though the expression on his face never changed. It had been such a very short time, since he’d last seen her. But it didn’t take long to start learning a new way of life; a new defence – especially when you had no other choice. He was learning to keep his feelings better hidden – learning to turn a numb, uncaring face to the world.
But inside, he hurt as painfully as ever.
Adam was very late – Reven had almost believed he wasn’t coming. But he arrived an hour or so before midnight, panting heavily, eyes shining in the dark with panic.
“Reven! I couldn’t get away, Father has this curfew now –“
Reven shook his head, impatiently – he shrugged off Adam’s hand as he grabbed at his arm. His fingers were tightly clenched round the slip of a note, deep in his pocket. He was at Adam’s shoulder as he opened the door to the sports hall – he followed him in, his words already a hiss, a demand. “What’s up with Mae? Don’t fuck me about – tell me now!”
Adam sank down on to one of the benches. He was sweating slightly. His eyes flickered all over Reven’s body, but they settled on the other boy’s face; on his stern expression. “They’ve – taken her away. It’s for evaluation, they say – she has to see doctors. Psychiatrists. They say she needs help.”
“They? They? Who are they?” Mae was one of the few people he’d met in his life that he was damned sure didn’t need help like that!
“Father said so. Mother, too, though she disagreed at first. He persuaded her that Mae was disturbed – that she’d been unbalanced somehow by her time at school; that she’d fallen under bad influences. She’s an angel to them, Reven. She’s untouched. She’s innocence in person. They’re terribly shocked.”
Reven couldn’t understand any of it. “By what? What could she have possibly done -?”
Adam shifted uncomfortably on his seat. Reven stood in front of him, looming over him.
“They – say she stole money. For months, on and off. From home and Father’s office. There was equipment missing – petty cash. Then there was some of Mother’s jewellery…”
“But she wouldn’t do that!” Reven almost laughed aloud. Mae was the most honest person he knew. Everything she did or said was always transparent – always with complete integrity.
“No, of course not,” said Adam swiftly, in reply.
“But – what will they do to her?”
“Well, they’ll find out she didn’t do it, of course – and we’ll be able to bring her home. It’ll all be over soon, Reven, I’m sure. They can’t possible believe she would do such things. She’s just a kid. Why would she need to? What would she do with all this stuff? You see – it’ll all be over soon…”
Reven stared at him. Didn’t he hear himself? Didn’t he hear what he was saying?
“Reven – please.” Adam’s eyes were as bright as if he had a fever. “Can we – can I hold you Reven? Like before? I’ve – missed you…” His hand stroked at Reven’s arm – slipped possessively to his chest.
Reven put a hand on his shoulder, holding him away, and stared into his face. “Adam, you know you took all that stuff. The money – perhaps the jewellery, too. You can’t let Mae take the blame for it. You can’t!”
Adam laughed, very loudly and sharply. “They won’t blame her – I told you that, didn’t I? They won’t be able to find anything that points to her. They’ll think it was all a big mistake, and forget all about it.”
“Adam, listen to me!” Reven was very conscious of the other boy’s wide eyes – the way that his chest was heaving under his shallow breaths. Reven really didn’t want to, but he could feel his whole body stirring in response to him. It seemed to have been a long time now since he’d touched Adam – since he’d felt his heart hammering against his own; felt his damp mouth on his; felt his eager fingers down between his straining legs…
“Adam, what if she
confesses to it? Takes the blame?” Reven
heard the urgency in his tone; his throat was dangerously tight. Adam was staring at him like he spoke a
foreign language. “She knows all about
it, all about your stealing – she told me once.
And she knows how important it is that you’re protected from scandal and
harm. She’s been covering for you, with
your parents – trying to hide your trail.
Trying to reimburse the money you take – I don’t know what the hell else. She’ll do it, to protect you! She’ll do it…” His voice broke.
“She – never said anything.” Adam’s voice was very soft, but his eyes were hooded now. “She wouldn’t do something stupid like that. They wouldn’t believe her. Young kid like her…”
“Adam, they already do. Else why have they taken her from her home? Why do they think she needs help?” He felt the paper crackle in his pocket and he dragged out Mae’s note. This would convince Adam, wouldn’t it? “She wrote to me, Adam. Just after Dad – well, just after I left school. She said she understood why I wasn’t at classes at the moment – “ How? he thought, a little hysterically. How the fuck would Mae understand anything like that? “And that she missed me. But that she’d probably be away herself for a while, so she couldn’t have seen me anyway. And it was really important – “ She’d underlined it several times – “really important that I looked after you.“
Adam stared up at him now – any expression in his eyes had completely flattened out; they were pale grey but with nothing else there. “Me?”
“You have to put this right, Adam!” urged Reven. He dropped to his knees in front of the seated boy, and put his hands on his shoulders. He could feel the tension in Adam’s body like tight knots.
Reven searched for something more in his reply. “So what will you do? You should go to the police, perhaps, rather than your parents…”
“But I’ll be locked up instead, won’t I?” Adam’s voice was suddenly much clearer; a spark of fear flickered in his eyes and brought life back to them. “They’ll find out about everything I took - the drugs I bought – I’ll be taken away instead, won’t I?”
“Adam!” Reven felt a nausea rise up in him. “You can’t be thinking – but what about Mae? Are you such a coward?”
Adam’s eyes were hooded again, and he sank his head on to Reven’s arm, nuzzling up against it. “I’m trying not to be, Reven. Don’t give me this shit. It’s not your family, is it?”
Did he know how many times Reven had prayed that it was? How many times he’d begged to be allowed to stay close to them; both his dearest friend Mae, and the boy he dreamed about; the boy whose name he gasped out when he came? The injustice ripped at Reven’s insides like no knife ever had.
Adam was drawing him in closer – his hand was round Reven’s waist. He tugged Reven’s head towards his own, and breathed wet heat on to his bared neck. Reven felt the goose bumps rise up all along his spine – he felt his cock twitch with traitorous response. This was no time to be thinking of that, was it? “I brought this for you, Reven. The last time we met. Before we argued about it all, and you told me to fuck off home.” He pressed something into Reven’s palm – it was a man’s tie clip. Slim, gold in colour, and probably gold in quality. There was a small crest on the end of it – the shape of a bird, head raised to the skies.
Reven whimpered with misery. “I can’t take it, Adam – of course I can’t! Not after all this –“ It had to be stolen, didn’t it? Just like everything else –
“No,” gasped Adam in reply. His mouth was pressing damply at Reven’s neck now; sliding up to seek his mouth. “You don’t understand. It’s mine, Reven. Not his. He always said it would be mine. He hates it, but I’ve always liked it, even as a kid. He laughed – he laughed at me, and said if I were that fond of it, I could have it for my own one day!”
“One day…” Reven echoed.
“That’s now!” said Adam, fiercely. “Right? I want you to have it. I want to give that to you! It’s special! Don’t refuse me, Reven. Please!“ His mouth found Reven’s and the black-haired boy sank into the touch. He’d forgotten the taste – the pleasure of Adams hot, eager kisses! The clip was forgotten – the letter was forgotten. Reven toppled forward on his knees and fell against Adam’s torso. The older boy held him tightly – his hands came up under Reven’s vest, pushing it up and over his head. He tugged at the top of Reven’s jeans, looking for entry.
Reven felt his body unlocking itself for him; he felt his mind unravelling.
Adam’s voice was very hoarse now. His hands were stroking at Reven’s back, running down the channel of his spine, down into the tops of his jeans. Reven could feel his fingers brushing against the crease of his ass; he arched very slightly into Adam, his tongue thrusting more enthusiastically into the older boy’s mouth. This was real, wasn’t it? This should be all he cared about…
“Tonight, Reven. I want to do it! You know? I’ve wanted to for ages – but I wasn’t sure how you felt about it. But – I’ve read magazines. Some boys left them in the dumpster at the back of the store…” He pressed his head against Reven, hiding his eyes. Reven could feel the heat from his cheeks – could see the deep flush up his neck. “That’s what I want, Reven. I want you.”
Reven’s heart hammered so hard that he could imagine it pressing the ribs out of his chest. “Adam, I don’t think – I mean, you could have Kitty – any of the girls. We’re just messing around here –“
But you’re not, hissed his mind, as much a traitor as his body. You want him that way too! Don’t you?
Adam was shaking his head. His hands were at the front of Reven’s jeans now, pushing the material apart impatiently, sliding his hands down to the soft curls and the rapidly swelling flesh between the other boy’s legs. “No, it’s more than that. I don’t care what you think, I just had to say it – that’s what I want! If you don’t, tell me. I’d never want to hurt you. But if you feel the same about me…”
“Shit, Adam,” Reven panted. “Please – yes –“
“You’re the only one who understands, Reven,” groaned Adam. He pulled back just far enough to get a grip on Reven’s jeans and to tug them to the boy’s knees, pooling them on the mat at their feet. “Who has time for me. You’re different –“
Reven tensed, suddenly.
“Reven,” murmured Adam, his mouth speaking softly into Reven’s neck. “That’s good Reven, OK?” His mouth slid to Reven’s chest – he began to lap at the sharp nub of a nipple on the pale skin. He eased Reven down on to the mat, pulling the jeans completely off his ankles, and then moving down himself to lean over him. Reven watched as the older boy wriggled out of his shirt – as he kicked his legs out of his own jeans. Adam’s eyes were feral – bright in the way that a flame has in its last brightness before extinction. His mouth smiled at Reven. His cock was high and fierce against his belly; Reven could see the beads of pre-cum glinting in the night’s darkness.
“I missed you, Reven. I miss you every day you’re not here. I can’t stop thinking about you.” His hands were at Reven’s legs, moving them apart. He wriggled on his knees to be between them; his hands gripped at the bony parts of Reven’s knees, holding them there. He looked down at the black-haired boy, spread out underneath him. Reven’s cock bounced in frustration against his thigh. The younger boy felt a soft, whimpering sound escape him.
Why did you stop? What are you waiting for? Reven nearly wept for the anticipation.
“You’re too young, Reven. I – I’ll hurt you.”
“No,” said Reven, and his voice sounded very high and strange in the high-ceilinged room. “I’m not. I’m good.”
“You done it before, then?” Adam looked at him, cautiously - hopefully. “I – I’m not sure – I brought stuff that might do – I don’t know… I thought you said you hadn’t – didn’t –“
“Hush,” said Reven, like he had once before. It wasn’t for Adam to worry about these things. “Don’t ask. Please, Adam… please do it. I want you to.”
Adam reached back to his jeans, pulling things out of his pocket. A packet of condoms – a slim bottle of something lubricating. “I guess –,” he coughed, halfway between a gasp and a laugh. “I guess that’s not so scary, then…”
Reven stretched back as Adam’s fingers slid between his legs, cool and slick now. He gasped as one slid very tentatively into his ass, then two – he tried not to cry out with the strange feeling; with the sudden sting of stretching muscles beyond their previous experience. His vest was crumpled in a heap beside him, his torso bare and fully open to Adam’s gaze. He’d usually been careful to keep his shirt on, in all their other times…
“Reven!” Adam drew in a sharp breath. “Your body – there are scars all over it! How -? I mean – I don’t understand it. Did you - do it to yourself?”
Reven looked up at the older boy’s wide eyes and his heart missed a beat. He just wanted Adam to continue fingering him – just wanted that most intimate touch. He didn’t want it to stop – he didn’t want Adam to be scared of anything…
“Maybe,” he whispered. “Don’t look. It’s not anything to do with you. I’m good.” He reached a hand down and gripped Adam’s wrist. “That’s enough – I’ll be fine. Do it, Adam. I want you inside me – please!”
He lay back again and stretched his own legs wider, tugging his knees up towards his chest. He heard Adam’s breath shorten – heard his nervous moan. There was some fumbling as Adam rolled on the condom – Reven wanted to help him, but he knew the boy would want to do it for himself. Then Adam shuffled forward on his knees again, and put his hands to Reven’s thighs. His cock nudged hungrily at Reven’s entrance; it was thick and very engorged.
“Slowly…” gasped Reven. “Let me get used to it, OK?“
Adam nodded and pushed at him - pushed gently, and then more firmly, until he burst the head of his cock through the entrance. Reven bucked underneath him – reached up and gripped at his shoulder. The curses tumbled through his head – he bit his lip to keep them hidden.
“Is it – OK? Reven?” Adam was gasping now – the excitement was almost unbearable for him. He wanted to move, and move more enthusiastically. He wanted to thrust into Reven – he wanted the friction and the tight caress, and he wanted it now…
Reven groaned. He clutched at the older boy – he gazed into the dilated pupils; he reached to touch out at the dark hair, to tangle his hands into it, as he rocked against him. He tightened his legs around Adam’s hips and he moaned into his ear. “It’s good, Adam – it’s perfect! Harder, now – I want to come, Adam – I want to come with you!”
The older boy gasped – he pulled out a way, and then thrust back in. He started to build a rhythm.
Reven heard the boy grunting into his neck – felt the tension in Adam’s body as the climax raced along the older boy’s veins, impossible to control at such a time, for such a young man, for such a thrill! Reven’s own cock was rubbed between them, rolled between their bellies, and he knew he’d come soon, too.
“Fuck me, Adam,” he whispered, jerked back and forth under his lover, clinging to him and to everything he thought he once had. “It’s good – you’re good – fuck, I’m coming –“
Fuck me! echoed his mind, thrumming with the shock and the pain and the ecstasy, all mixed up in love and torment, and a young mind that couldn’t know anything better than this. It’s all I’ve ever wanted!
They lay, panting gently, tangled in each other arms. Adam’s eyes were still extraordinarily bright, glinting in the dim light; Reven was listening to every single beat of the other boy’s heart, following the rhythm like a familiar and much-loved song.
“Adam – the drugs –“
“I won’t do anything any more, Reven, I promise. It’s just the guy – I just have to see him straight. Then I can tell him to get lost; I won’t be connected with anything like that any more.”
Reven’s eyes flickered with pain. “Who is it, Adam?”
Adam grimaced. “Some guy called Keone. He knows all the kids round here, you know. Supplies the older ones. Some of us, too. He’s always been very decent to me.”
Reven concentrated very hard on keeping his voice steady. “I’ll sort that out for you. D’you hear me? He won’t bother you again – he won’t approach you again.” No-one will know you even dealt with him in the first place, he thought, fiercely. He owes me that, doesn’t he? Not that it would ever be a matter of Keone’s debt – it would only depend on what Reven might offer him in return for his silence. “But you must sort it out about Mae.”
Adam tensed against him – but his sigh was both resigned and relaxed. “I know. I’ll sort it out tomorrow, Reven. I promise I will. I’m just –“
Adam laughed, harshly. “Sure. Yeah, I am. You tell anyone, and I’ll –“
“Shut the fuck up,” growled Reven. “Of course I won’t. But Mae mustn’t take the blame for this – she mustn’t suffer anything.”
“Shit, I said I’d sort it, didn’t I?” Adam’s voice sounded petulant in the still air of the room. “It’s just… all the plans I had – all the future they have planned for me…”
“Perhaps they’ll take that into account,” said Reven, tentatively. “No-one wants you to suffer, either. Your Dad will see that – he’ll sort something out too, so that you can all be a family together again, and it’ll all be forgotten.”
“Perhaps,” said Adam. He sounded no more sure of that than Reven did. In fact, there seemed to be a sob in his voice that was threatening to spill over into tears. “You just don’t know my Father like I do. There’ll be nothing short of divine retribution for this – nothing short of God’s own beating. I – don’t know what else, either. I don’t know what else he might do, if he’s really angry.” Reven heard the boy’s thoughts as if he spoke them aloud. My life will never be good again. My life will be a living hell…
Reven held the other boy to him, suddenly; roughly. His own body felt cold with dread – all his words seemed like sand in his mouth. This was all too much for them – all too much for them to sort out! It was so heavy on all their shoulders – it was so deep around their legs, that they’d fall and be dragged under. What could they do to make it all right? What could he, Reven, do?
“And you’ll stay away from the shit in future -?”
“You go on and on about the fucking drugs… I said I would, right?” Adam laughed suddenly, and his mouth came teasingly to Reven’s neck, suckling gently at the pulse there. His breath hitched with remembered passion. “That was so good, Reven, wasn’t it? So fucking good… I never realised how it would be. We’re so good together… so if you’re so worried about my habits, you can keep an eye on me now, right? Reven?”
“Yeah, sure,” murmured Reven. He could feel Adam’s breath slowing, exhausted from the fucking and the drama of the night. The boy would nap soon.
“I’ll keep an eye on you, Adam. Of course I will.”
Reven wasn’t sure what woke him, but he knew he was sleeping less deeply nowadays. Seemed he always had to keep one ear awake at all times, to check out where he was – who he was with – what he’d be called on to do next.
He woke swiftly, but didn’t move until he’d established his situation – he’d learned recently that that was the best way. He could feel the soft breathing beside him – could feel the warm skin of another boy. The memory flooded over him suddenly, like a waterfall.
He sighed involuntarily. It had been such a good dream! But it wasn’t ever gonna be anything else. Boys in his position didn’t get joy like that very often.
He wasn’t bitter; not much. That’s just the way it was, and it was easier to give in to it. He would be a giver from now on; Keone was teaching him that. He could offer many things, and one of them was himself.
He was very quiet about scooping up his bag and stuff. He didn’t have much stuff nowadays, of course. No books; no pencils or school blazer. Adam never stirred, curled up on the mat. Perhaps he would in a while, when his body registered the dropping temperature in the hall, no longer sheltered by Reven’s warmth beside him. Reven hoped it would be in time for him to get back home before he was discovered missing.
He slipped out quickly, while the clouds hugged the dim light of the moon. He didn’t look back.
Epilogue to follow…