*All characters are 18 years of age*
"Hey, guys, let's go to IHOP!"
Laughter broke out in the small room at the poor imitation of Landon's voice.
"Yeah, guys! We can get some man-cakes!"
I smiled, looking down at him sleeping on the bed. "Aw, he's like a little angel..."
It was three in the morning, on a Sunday. The five of us; Landon, Chris, Chase, Josh and I, were spread across the beds in our hotel room. Lesbian porn was playing on the TV, but nobody was really watching it anymore. Half-drained Monster cans and forgotten cups of over-sweetened coffee were strewn everywhere, and some indistinguishable German heavy metal track was playing. Josh and Chase laid on the floor, watching something base on a laptop. Landon was asleep on the bed, while Chris and I laid on either side of him. We were close, the three of us. We'd always been close. "Like brothers," Chris said once, "Except Anna's a lesbian."
Landon shifted violently in his sleep, driving his knee into my already broken ribs. Again, laughter, as I gasped in pain while Chris and I dutifully moved him back to the middle of the bed.
"Stupid fuckin' kid..." Chris sighed, chuckling.
I shook my head, laying my head back down on Landon's shoulder and looking over at Chris. "You are so mean to him..."
"He deserves it, the little bitch."
I shifted onto my side and placed my hand on Landon's chest, feeling it rise and fall slowly as he breathed. He looked so peaceful when he slept.
"Don't do that, man, he's gonna get a boner."
"Dude, did you see him masturbating earlier?"
"He is such a fuckin' weirdo..."
"He's a dick-bag." (Our neologistic insult of the day.)
On cue, we all chorused, "Dick-bag!!"
"That kid talks so big, and so much... God, he pisses me off."
I listened but I didn't contribute. Instead, I allowed my thoughts to drift back a few hours, to our day at Disneyland. Landon and I had fucked three times in the course of the day. Once on Pirates of the Caribbean, once on Indiana Jones, and then the grand finale in the Haunted Mansion. Intense, blistering orgasm had coursed through our bodies just as we passed the six talking heads in the graveyard. They'll never look anything but voyeuristic.
Of course, Chris, Josh and Chase didn't't know that.
They had no idea that Landon and I had been fucking each other since I took his virginity December.
At the football games our marching band played.
Backstage during our wind ensemble's concerts.
On the plane ride down to L.A. Oh yes, we joined the Mile-High club.
Landon and I had even fucked the previous night, in that very bed while Chris, Josh and Chase were innocently sleeping the night away.
And they thought he was still a virgin.
He shifted in his sleep again, and his arm fell over the side of the bed. I gently lifted it up again, tucking it back under the sheets.
I felt eyes and looked up. Chris was watching.
"You guys have something together, don't you?" he asked softly. His eyes begged for my honesty.
I glanced over my shoulder, then looked down at Landon, sleeping, and traced his features with my eyes. "Yes."
He nodded. "I saw you two on Haunted Mansion."
Somehow, that didn't shock me.
"What are you gonna do about Katie? They're almost together now."
I shrugged, looking away again. "I don't care about Katie. It's not like he's mine or anything."
But that was a lie.
I turned back to Landon. He was mine. And he was beautiful. I traced my finger along his cheek and jaw, holding back and holding back. He sighed and rested his cheek on my palm. I wanted to lay down with him, touch him. I wanted the world to see how much I loved him.
He only loved me while he was either sleeping or intoxicated. But I accepted it, and I took what I could get.
"This is weird, to see you two like this. I literally never would have guessed..."
"We do a good job hiding it."
We were silent for a long time.
"He tries so hard to... Fit in," Chris said after a while. "To do what everyone is doing, right in that moment."
I nodded. "He tries too hard. If he'd just be himself..."
"Hey, Linkin," (his nickname) Chris whispered in his ear, "Why do you fake it?"
"I wanna go to IHOP..." he mumbled.
"We're not gonna go to fuckin' IHOP again."
"We can go to IHOP after you wake up," I whispered to him, kissing him on the forehead. He smiled softly and laid his cheek back down on my hand.
"Whoa, what the fuck??" Chase laughed uncomfortably from across the room. "Did she just kiss him??"
I rolled over. "Why would I ever do that?"
He shrugged and turned around again, the incident already forgotten.
Chris' voice dropped to a low, intense whisper. "Is there attachment?"
I thought for a long time, and then nodded slowly.
"Attachment can make or break these things, Mikey." My nickname.
We were silent a long time.
"Which one of you?"
"Both, I think. Him, definitely."
Again, I thought.
I shook my head affirmatively.
Before we knew it, we were standing in the flurry of the airport, next to the baggage-claim carousel. 11:23 pm and we still had to drive ourselves home.
A lot needed to be said, I thought. But I knew neither of us had the words just yet. "So... Goodbye, I guess."
He nodded, looking away across the crowd and eventually extended a hand in my direction. I took it, and his warmth spread through me.
"Its been nice working with you, sir," he said.
I smiled, despite myself. "That's it? Just a handshake?"
He smiled then too, and pulled me into his arms. I buried my face in his chest and closed my eyes, letting myself just melt into his body.
It was over too soon.
Smiling down at me, he ran his fingers once through my hair.
"Be good to yourself, okay? Stay out of trouble."
As I walked away, the reality of the whole thing really sank in. We were home again. Back in the old SL, UT. This wasn't California anymore, where everything seemed to happen in a good dream. This was real life. We had school tomorrow, we had Wind Ensemble, and rehearsal. And in that moment when I was faced with reality again, I began to question whether anything had even changed at all.
Landon and I were still fucking. And it still meant nothing.
"I think we love each other," he said, without looking me in the eye.
Six months later. He and I were sitting alone in the last practice room at school, the one we usually used to fuck. We had both been invited to perform as solo artists with the Utah Wind Ensemble, and we were supposed o be practicing, but we were burnt out. Chris, Chase and Josh were gone, and not a day went by when the two of us didn't miss them like the world.
"You think we love each other?" I looked at him a little incredulously, "Who ever said I loved you?"
He appeared slightly hurt. "Not romantically. Like... In an endearing kind of way."
"Yeah. That's the word. Endearing. Like... We're friends I guess, but... We care about each other enough to have sex all the time, and..." his voice faded and he looked away again, busying himself with his euphonium mouthpiece.
"Well, if anyone ever messed with you, I'd rip them apart. Endearing."
I glowed, grateful he wasn't looking at me.
"Really?" I kept my tone level.
"Yeah..." He looked up, "We used to hate each other, didn't we?"
"But we still had sex."
Again, I nodded.
"Why did we do that?"
"I don't know. But I know I hated you. I spent 90% of our Disney tour wishing you were dead."
"But we had sex a lot on that trip."
There was a long silence.
"We've come a long way from then, I think..." He looked up, after an awkward pause. "Anyway..."
I smiled. "Anyway..."
"They have free condoms in there," I said as I got in the car and shut the door, "You might want to check that out."
"No way," he said as we drove away from the South Jordan Planned Parenthood clinic, "Who does that?"
"Smart people who don't want to knock up their lesbian fuck budd--"
"No, I mean, who just walks in there and grabs a handful of free condoms, like, 'Oh, I need some of these, thanks guys!!' That's so embarrassing."
I took the Planned Parenthood pillbox out of my pocket and started to open it. "You need to get them somehow, Linkin, this way is just cheap. Plus they have glow-in-the-dark ones in there."
He began to glance my direction, watching what I was doing with an expression of surreptitious fascination. "I have condoms, I just never remember to bring them when I see you."
"Yet you invariably remember to bring the water bong..."
"Plus they're too small for me!" he spoke past me.
I gave him a look as I punched the pills out of their little foil packages. "Don't flatter yourself."
"No, I'm serious. They are. It hurts."
"Oh, I believe you," I chuckled. The size of Landon's member was an object of some reverence and colloquial lore in our social circle, although I was the only one lucky enough to have ever experienced it firsthand. "Was this yours?" I asked, motioning to a half-empty can of root beer in the cup holder.
"Yeah. You can drink it."
"Thanks. Hey, here's to your health," I toasted, before swallowing both pills in one gulp of warm, flat syrup.
"Whew!" he sighed, grinning, and wrapped an arm around my shoulders. "We make a good team, huh?"
"Yeah." I smiled just as wide, "Damn good team."
He kissed my forehead.
"Lets not do that again, okay Linkin?"
"Yeah..." he sounded tired, "Okay."
Once again, the two of us had outsmarted biology. Our third accidental teen pregnancy crisis had been averted. What an unstoppable duo.
When he pulled into my driveway and I made to open the door, he put a hand on mine. Our eyes met.
"Hey..." his voice faded and he looked unsure of himself.
"It's been real-"
He smiled a little. "And it's been fun-"
"But it hasn't been real fun." We both chuckled.
"Hey, I love you," he said.
I laughed at his boldness, expecting a smile in return. "Well then, I love you too, I guess. Or did we decide 'endear' was the word?"
He shook his head. "Don't make it stupid. Just say, 'I love you.'"
There was a moment of breathless silence as I stared at him in disbelief.
"I love you, Anna."
"I love you too."