Neutral Territory Ch. 14byPS_Lopez©
I was really only dozing. I'd come home last night and gone right to sleep, but had gotten up a while ago to go to the bathroom before curling up under the covers again. When I felt the covers move and the bed shift, I just took it as part of the dream. Then an arm wrapped around my waist and pulled me up against a warm body.
Instead of trying to escape, I went very still, feeling a bit confused. The person who had me tugged the ear buds out of my ears and pulled my mp3 player into their grasp, then wrapped their arm around me again.
"Now we're going to talk," Silas said.
I tried to scramble free, but he grabbed my waist and jerked me back against his chest. I clutched at the edge of the bed, but he wouldn't be evaded and threw his leg over mine in addition.
"I'm angry at you." His voice was hard with either exertion or emotion and I couldn't tell. Either way, it made me go still.
"Why?" I'd done him a favor, no matter that I'd realized what I really wanted. He was supposed to be waking up in Drew's bed, not imprisoning me in mine.
"There are two things I don't like." He shifted behind me and his other arm pushed under my side to join the first around my waist. He jerked me closer, which removed my hands from the edge of the mattress and I whimpered.
"What did I do wrong?" I wondered if I could say or do something to correct it, make him see reason.
"The first is that you made an assumption about me, Geoff."
I squeezed my eyes shut. "What assumption was that?"
"You assumed you knew what was best for me. You don't. I know what's best for me, and Drew isn't it. You are."
"But I hate myself!"
"No, you don't. If you did, you wouldn't have made any progress at all. Hating being gay would have stopped you and you wouldn't have responded to my efforts, you wouldn't kiss me or hold my hand. You'd still be dating women."
"It's not like I had much choice in that," I snapped, trying to twist away, but he held me firmly.
"I've spoken with your grandmother. She told me she wouldn't have interfered if you'd decided you just couldn't face being gay."
I went still, staring at my nightstand. Silas had turned on the overhead light and our struggles had pulled the comforter down. I didn't really know what to think about what he'd said Grandma had said. I wasn't sure I would have gone back to dating women if I'd known Grandma wouldn't say anything about it. Dad had already pushed me onto the path of dealing with my sexuality when he threw me out, and I'd decided while huddled crying on the front lawn while Dad threw my clothes around me that I had to face it now, that there really wasn't any hiding from it any more.
Not that I still hadn't tried, but I'd had Silas there to remind me of it.
"I'm sorry." That was the only thing I could think of to say. "What's the other thing I did?"
"You made a big decision about my life without my input. The only reason why I ever go along with such decisions is because I think I can get something out of it, like coming over here with Sabriana, but all I got out of your decision to break up with me was bruised knuckles and the knowledge that I can be infuriated enough to sincerely threaten someone's life."
"Whose?" Was he about to threaten mine?
"Drew's. He deliberately hurt you in an effort to get me to date him."
"Did you punch him?"
"In the eye." Silas's hand rubbed my chest. "He won't be back at The Henhouse. Geoffrey, he didn't tell me everything he said to you, but he told me enough, and I want you to know that I don't think you're using me. You give me too much to be using me."
I shifted my right arm and found the fingers of his left hand wrapped around my waist. I slid my fingers between them, not really paying attention, just wanting to touch him in some way. "I don't see that I give you anything. He was right, all I do is take and drag you down."
"There you go making assumptions about me again."
"None of that. You give me a lot, and there's a lot I love about you, Geoff."
"Like what?" I asked.
He sighed and held me tighter for a moment. "Well, I love that you turn toward me when you want comfort. I love the way you stomp your feet when you're frustrated. I love that you let me hold you and that you kiss me and let me do things that push your limits. You give me your hand to hold whenever we sit down, unless we're reading." He wiggled his fingers, reminding me that I'd entwined my hand with his. "You give me your trust and your respect, Geoff. I love the way you go uncertain after we do something new and need to hole up and think about it. I guess I even kind of like all those negative thoughts that get in the way, because they've made you the person you are, and I really care about that person. I don't think I'd care half as much if you were any different. Yes, it frustrates me, but I wouldn't want you any other way."
He pulled away and I reacted by scooting closer to him. Instead of pushing me away, he chuckled and kissed the back of my neck. I felt his arms moving and then he held one of my ear buds out.
"Put this in."
I did so. It tugged a bit, so I held it in place, and Silas pressed against me. His left arm slid under me again and I turned my head enough to see that he held my mp3 player. The cord to the other ear bud went to his ear.
"What are you doing?"
"Hush, just wait."
I sighed and entwined my hand with his again, turning my head to face my nightstand.
"Okay, this is how I feel whenever you leave me," he said.
"Every Time You Go Away" began to play. Silas sang along with it, voice soft. He played a few more songs like that, then spoke again.
"This is how I feel whenever we're apart."
This time he chose "Dreaming With A Broken Heart." He changed the pronouns and I heard the sadness in his voice as he sang along. He found a few other songs that expressed how he felt and I listened to him sing along with them with the same sadness, trying to do what I was sure he wanted and accept what he was telling me.
"This is how I feel about you regardless of what's going on between us."
For this one he chose happy love songs, like "You Make Me Feel Like Dancing." I laughed at that one because I couldn't see how I could really make him feel that way, and he held me closer.
After a while, I pulled my hand free and took the ear bud out of my ear. Silas let me wiggle around to face him and I looked at him. He smiled, wrapping the cord around my mp3 player. He tucked the lot under my pillow and caressed my cheek.
"You get the message?"
I nodded. "Yeah."
"Did you really want to break up with me?" He didn't sound like he thought I had.
I shook my head. "Not really. I just thought . . ." I shrugged.
Silas nodded. "I know." He grinned. "I didn't think you'd have put up with my whiny ass when I was sick if you hadn't really cared."
I laughed and pushed his shoulder. He chuckled, but it faded quickly and he went still.
"I'm very sorry for everything I've done to hurt you," he said. "I realized when I was chewing Drew out that I was a bit of a hypocrite."
"You've never hurt me on purpose." I snuggled against him. "I'm kind of glad you punched Drew. I don't think I could have myself."
Silas chuckled. "You're welcome. I'm also sorry I didn't come sooner, but work got in the way."
"My boss had a breakdown while the owner was on vacation and I ended up picking up the slack because the other two didn't want to. I was pulling fourteen hour days between doing my regular job, handling Shanika's stuff, and visiting her to get advice on how to to do things. I barely had enough time to come home and sleep before I had to be up for work again. Lara, the owner, has given me a bonus for handling things and told me that when my vacation time comes I'm to take two weeks instead just the one I'm supposed to have. She's going to train me to do Shan's job so that she's not the only one stuck with it. Kind of share duties."
"You sure you want to do that?" I asked.
"I'll still work with clients and show houses, I just won't be able to do it as much. Lara said I really impressed her with how I handled things and that she's been hoping I'd be willing to take extra responsibility. It'll mean a raise in my pay. I'll just spend more time in the office than I do now."
Silas chuckled. "Thanks."
I wiggled closer and he slid his leg over mine again. He wrapped his arm around me, and I held his left hand in both of mine.
"Where are you at right now?" he asked.
"Getting used to the fact you really want to be with me. I don't really feel guilty. The negative thoughts are there, but they aren't strong, just kind of hovering in the background. You?"
"I want to kiss you."
I wiggled closer, flattening his hand against my chest and pressed my lips to his. Silas moaned a little and his right hand slid up to my head. He shifted, breaking the kiss for a moment, so that he could prop himself up on his left arm. I pulled his head down almost before he got situated and kissed him again.
This one didn't seem to end. I kept my eyes closed, but pulled Silas onto me as I shifted to my back. He didn't object, just obeyed my tugs and nudges until he rested upon me. The negative thoughts rose, but I ignored them and wrapped my legs around Silas's. His left hand slid up my side and I pushed my hands under his shirt, causing the back to ride up.
Silas raised his head after a few minutes and I opened my eyes. "Where are you now?"
I slid my hands to his sides and pushed his shirt up. "I want more. The thoughts aren't really butting in. I want to take advantage of this."
"What more do you want?"
I glanced away, then met his gaze again. "Sex."
"Let's get tested first."
He shook his head. "None of that." His vehemence made me go silent. "This is my way of giving you time to think about it. To test things within yourself. I want you to be clear on things and I'm not sure you are right now."
I sighed, trying to push him away. He didn't budge.
"Listen to me, Geoff." He cupped the side of my head, turning it to face him. "I know you'll probably regret it regardless, but I want to make sure you've really thought about this first. You haven't really taken the time to prepare yourself."
I glanced up at him, then nodded. "I suppose you're right."
Silas kissed me and I responded. At least he was giving me this much. He ended the kiss and pecked the corner of my lips.
"So what do you want to do now? Lay in bed and cuddle and talk, or get up and join your grandmother?"
I wrapped my arms around him. "Stay here. Hey, how'd you get in anyway?"
"Your grandmother let me in." He smiled. "She knew you weren't happy."
I sighed and nodded. Silas extricated himself from my embraces and settled beside me. When he pulled me up against his chest, I let him. He released me and passed me one of my mp3 player's ear buds, then embraced me again. I snuggled back against him and sighed, closing my eyes. He held me for the next couple hours, and I realized he was right. I'd probably have a bit of a breakdown regardless, but I did need time to think about it, if only so I could decide what I wanted.
We reached the park and Geoffrey tugged us onto the left fork of the path, so I went with him. He'd shown up at a quarter to nine with his coat on, preempting our usual two hours of reading. I'd let him choose our destination because I'd rather enjoyed his decision to lead the way, so I hadn't protested his insistent tugs. He sighed as we settled into our stroll.
The park was mostly deserted, which was understandable. It was a snowy day. Last night had brought an ice storm and a snow had followed before sunrise, but someone had been out to clear the sidewalk that meandered around the park. Our shoes crunched ice melt.
"Where are you at today?" I asked.
"About the same as yesterday in general terms." He took his left hand out of its pocket and held up a rolled-up envelope.
I accepted it, releasing his right hand. He left his hand in my pocket and we halted while I unrolled the envelope and pulled its contents free. The return address was that of the city health clinic we'd gone to for our tests. This had probably arrived a few days ago, the same day mine had, but Geoffrey had apparently needed some time to get used to whatever thoughts it had inspired. He bowed his head and slid the sole of one foot back and forth on the snow melt while I unfolded the letter.
There wasn't much written on the page. Just his results, which were negative for venereal disease. I folded the letter back up and returned it to its envelope and passed it back to Geoffrey. He wrapped it in his fist and tucked that fist back into its pocket. I returned my hands to their pockets and grasped his right hand once more. When he started walking again, I followed suit.
"How are you on that?" I was half afraid of pushing him.
He sighed. "Mixed. What were your results?"
"Negative on everything. I'll show you when we get back."
He shook his head. "You don't have to. I trust you."
I nodded. That reminded me of the day he'd come to me. I looked around.
"It's up to you."
He nodded. "I know. I appreciate it. You were right. I don't know how bonkers I'll go afterward, but I did need time to think about it. I-I know what I want at least."
"What do you want?"
"I-I want you, um, on top." He pulled his left hand from its pocket and moved it as if pulling his explanation closer. "You know. In me."
I glanced at him. He'd blushed a little and he gazed at the cement path. I squeezed his hand.
"Okay. I have some toys that will help with that."
Geoffrey nodded. "Okay. Can we do it at your place? The thought of doing it where Grandma can hear . . ." he shuddered.
I chuckled. "You're not afraid of Sabriana knowing?"
He shook his head and looked up at me. "She's our age, you know? Just Grandma's old and I don't really want to figure out a way to feel comfortable about it. It seems anathema to have sex at Grandma's because I'm gay. But your sister's cool with it, and she's our age, and--you won't be uncomfortable, will you?"
I shook my head. "No. Won't be the first time I've had a guest."
He looked ahead. "Okay. That makes me feel better about it."
I nodded. "Okay."
I would have given him what he wanted even if I'd been uncomfortable with Sabriana's presence. His comfort with this situation was more important than my potential embarrassment was.
"When do you want to do it?"
He sighed and scuffed the sole of his shoe on the ground. The ice melt scraped against the cement. "I need more time."
He looked at me, smiled for a moment, then halted. I did so as well and he turned to face me, pulling his hand out of mine. I embraced him, holding him close with my cheek on his head. His hands tucked up under my coat's waistband and he held me tight for a few minutes.
"Yeah?" He nuzzled the side of his head against my chest.
I sighed. "I love you."
His embrace tightened a moment. "I kind of figured as much when you talked to me when we got back together again."
I nodded. I hadn't intended to say things exactly as I had, but now I was glad I had.
"I don't know where I am with that," he said. "That's part of what's held me back the past couple weeks. I'm still getting used to how you feel about me along with the sex thing. I haven't managed to work far enough through it to determine how I feel about you exactly."
I smiled a little. "I don't need a response right away. I'm used to you thinking things through now, I think. I just wanted to tell you."
"Thanks--is it right to thank you for caring so much? It kind of reassures me."
I pulled him closer, sighing. "I'm glad. I don't want you to feel pressured or pushed into this, Geoff. I want you to take as long as you need."
"Okay." He wiggled a little, but didn't pull away. "Thanks for that. It's taking longer to get through this shit than I thought it would. You know, it's odd, but I get more upset out of the idea that I should, um, do you than the way I actually want it."
I swayed us a little. "Maybe it's because it's an active role. If you have to put more effort into it, it freaks you out. With me penetrating you, you get to remain passive, so maybe it's not triggering any anxiety."
"Performance anxiety, you mean?"
I nodded, smiling a little. "Yeah."
"Maybe it's a little bit of that. Part of it may also kind of be that I always a little wished I was in my girlfriends' places with regards to sex and relationships. Not exactly passive, but I kind of hated having to take the more active role, even when they initiated it. I always had a hard time getting to the point where I could have intercourse with my girlfriends. They all thought I was impotent and suggested things like Viagra."
I stifled a chuckle, but Geoffrey snorted a little.
"Could you actually do it with the girlfriends you had?" he asked.
I nodded. "Yeah, but it wasn't the most enjoyable sex. I had orgasms, but I always felt like something was missing. It wasn't me having sex with them, but some automaton, and I felt disengaged, and I worried that I wasn't pleasing them. I get some of the same with men--the pleasing them thing--but not nearly to the levels I always did with girls."
Geoffrey's arms tightened around me. I held him a little tighter as well and closed my eyes. We remained where we were for a while, not speaking. When Geoffrey pulled away and turned to face the way we'd come, I grasped his left hand and kissed the back of it before tucking it in my pocket with my hand. His fingers grasped mine tightly, and we walked slowly.
It was enough.
Did other couples make appointments for sex? I wanted to believe some did, but I couldn't be sure. And I wasn't going to go around asking people, either. I knocked on Silas's door and clutched at the strap to my duffel. The plan was for me to stay the night. I wasn't sure I would; the negative thoughts had already started.
The door opened and Silas smiled at me. I looked around after stepping in and saw Sabriana on the sofa. Silas glanced at my duffel and an expression of surprise appeared on his face, but it quickly departed.
As he shut the door, he waved at the hall. "Just go put it in my bedroom."
I nodded and hurried to his room. There, I set the duffel by the door and looked around. His bed was made, the closet door open, the lamp on the nearest side of his bed on. I knew I should go back out to the living room, but I couldn't convince myself to, so I instead forced myself to strip to my undershirt and briefs and crawled into Silas's bed, taking the side furthest from the door.
I curled up and pulled the covers over my head and stared into the darkness I'd created. Silas didn't leave me alone long. I heard the floor in front of the door creak and a few moments later the covers tugged and the bed shifted. Silas pulled me against his chest, then felt my ear.
"I left it upstairs." I'd decided I wouldn't use it to block out any part of this.
I nodded. "Yeah."
"You sure you want to do this now?" Silas's hand rubbed my stomach and chest.
I uncurled a little, pressing my legs against his. His warmth, the presence of his body behind mine, lent comfort despite my thoughts. It was this feeling that had convinced me that I should do this, have sex with Silas.
"Yeah. I figure the thoughts aren't going to stop until after I do this and see the world doesn't explode."
Silas chuckled. "I love you."
He'd said it at least once a day the past week, and it was another thing that gave me comfort. It was like a promise that he'd be patient with me. It was a promise that he wouldn't leave me, and that he'd do his best to understand.