The Wall and Goat Ch. 07bysexuscumlupus©
Chapter 07: Maxie
The week without Jesse passed slowly. School was good, the way it always was; and though I was not asked I took work home for Jesse, passing worksheets through the wall, bringing them back for teachers who wondered why a boy excluded for fighting wanted to keep up so well. I read him the new poems we covered in English and we discussed 'Cover Version' at length, arguing over the religious symbolism of a god who was a bull and not a lamb. We ran every other day, jogging for miles which burned my lungs, made my legs ached, forced my heart to beat ever faster. I realised I would follow him anywhere when we ran, sprinting through the centre of town, two boys sweat soaked and drinking the air in the gloom.
Jesse told me of his days, the changing of the house during his time alone as he infected the whole building with his neatness. He painted his bedroom in a pale blue, a shade which I was sure would complement his eyes. His mother accepted our invitation to dinner and the date was set for Saturday week. He ate his meals standing up, excusing that he couldn't cook, but then baked brownies, muffins, cake to surprise his mum. He read the whole of 'Five Eleven Ninety Nine' an event neither of us remembered, we were too young, and beat out the poem on the wall, reading me his favourite stanzas. He liked the list of odd things brought for the fire; 'a pair of ladders, half a stable-door/a stump, one stilt, the best part of a boat/a sight-screen stolen from the cricket field, a hod, a garden bench, a wagon wheel'. I loved one line more than most when he read it in his soft-quiet voice, the one he only used through the wall. 'The act of keeping warm by burning clothes'.
I missed our walks to and from school.
Thursday, my last day without him, and Toman and Mina practically tied me up and dragged me down to Toast. We went straight from school, uniforms skewed, I swapped my chinos for jeans before we left, trading blazer and tie for black unravelling jumper over my shirt. We were greeted by Guy, Paul was making deliveries, and sat in our favourite corner table. I sipped my skinny hot chocolate with an odd trepidation while Toman piled his own high with marshmallows and cream.
"We miss you," was Mina's opening gambit, and I stared at her, surprised at her words if not her directness, "You've been all distant and morose this past week. You didn't even make fun of my idiot brother when he drooled after Laura Chang at lunch."
"I did not drool," Toman interjected.
"Whatever," Mina shrugged off her twin and her sharp dark eyes fixed on my own, "You've not been here Maxie. You're off somewhere else in your head."
I wanted to apologise, but I didn't know if I could. Not and mean it anyway. I was an awful person, ditching my oldest friends to be, if not with, then at least near my...my what? Nothing. To be near a boy I'd kissed, a boy who'd said he liked me. It was only then that I realised I didn't have any words to define my friendship with Jesse. I'd known him a few weeks, but I felt that I needed him in a way I'd never known before.
"I...I miss him."
"Jesse?" Toman's voice was shocked, "What on earth is going on with you two now? You hated him, then you were getting on, and then he broke Ian's nose."
"I sort of think I might...I dunno..."
"Oh spit it out Maxie." Mina was impatient.
"I don't know!" I set my mug on the table sharply, and the cutlery jumped and skittered, "I know I've been rubbish lately but I like him. And he needs me."
"We're your friends and we need you too."
I sank my head into my hands, my elbows on the table. I hated to disappoint my friends. Guilt sucked away at my excitement and I gritted my teeth against sobs and tears I didn't want.
"I know. I'm sorry." I took a deep breath, "I just know that I need him. We get on, we have lots in common."
"He hit you!" Mina looked shocked.
"He had his reasons. Any way I hit him back. We're even."
"Maxie..." Toman sighed, "We just don't want you getting hurt."
I looked across the table straight at Toman. He was my oldest friend, if only by a few minutes before his sister had come along. And he saw the look written in my face. Toman laid a hand on his twin's arm.
"Mina...I think Maxie needs us to cut him some slack."
We were thankfully interrupted at that point by a bark, and Nuka's fluffy head pushing under my arm to lick my face.
"And how are my favourite teenagers today?" Paul's voice wrapped me in warmth and I dug my fingers into Nuka's thick fur, "Oh Maxie, what's wrong?" While Toman and Mina liked Paul well enough, found him fun and interesting, they had never understood Maxie's deeper friendship with the older man.
"I think we were sort of interrogating him," Toman admitted.
"Is this about Jesse?"
"Well if you like the boy you oughta say something."
I stood up, scraping my chair.
"Look, I haven't told him yet. I'm certainly not going to tell you. I have to go, he'll be waiting for me."
There was a note in the hole when I got back. More lyrics.
The night will try to tempt you, but the day will come.
I tapped on the wall, fell back on the bed, mentally exhausted by my friends. On the other side I heard Jesse's bed springs creak as he came across from his desk. Music turned down low and I felt his shadow move about. He tapped back.
"Hey. How was school?"
"Fine, boring, not bad. I missed you." I tapped again, beating out the line he had sent me. "I managed to infect you with my music then?"
"We need to talk."
I frowned, those words never started anything good.
"No." Two taps, "I don't want to look at you when I say this. I'll lose my nerve."
"OK." I rolled over onto my front and pressed my shoulder against the wall, running my short blunt fingernails down the paint so that he would hear me, "Go ahead."
"So I was thinking that I'd quite like to see where this goes. If this friendship thing is maybe more than that. Cause I'm not sure if I'm gay or what or anything but I know that I can't stop thinking about you." A deep breath, a pause so long I started trying to formulate words, "And I think you're really pretty. Shit, I mean cute, or...ah crap. I'm screaming this up aren't I?"
I tapped the wall twice, hardly able to breathe through silent laughter.
"Maxie!" Jesse's voice was so close I knew he was looking through the hole in the wall, "Stop laughing at me! It took me all day to say that."
"S-sorry." I panted, trying to catch my breath properly, "I-I can't believe you think I'm pretty. Have you looked in a mirror lately?" I smiled into my pillow, "Run?"
"No. Let's save it. I'll be at school tomorrow and then we're having dinner at yours remember?"
"Now I'm going to have to fucking tidy my room aren't I?"
"You bet. See you in the morning?"
One knock for yes.
I hadn't jerked off in bed since I'd drilled the hole into Jesse's room. It felt weird somehow, knowing he was there, that if he was awake he would hear. And Jesse seemed to be having less bad dreams, though I still woke whenever he rolled and hit the wall. For such a tidy guy his unconscious was certainly messy and rebellious. That night I went for a long shower. I did all the usual, hair washed, skin scratched and shaved, and leant back against the cold tile wall, letting the stream of hot droplets bounce off my chest and abdomen.
My nipples were a much darker brown than my skin, sort of chocolate, and I stroked that hand that had been injured across them, releasing tingles of pleasure that chased each other up and down my spine. I had no chest hair, but a thin trail wound its way from navel downwards and I let my fingers follow that, down to where the water splashed against my thickening cock. I cupped my balls, rolling them in my fingers as the sac tightened and my breath hitched. Familiar but nonetheless exciting as all hell I arched my back, taking my weight on my shoulders, and wrapped thumb and forefinger around the base of my erection. Proportional to the rest of me, my member was a shade darker than the rest of my skin, curving very faintly to the left and I hissed through my teeth, wrapping my hand around the head to spread water and slippery pre cum along my length.
Jesse moved around in my mind. Lying on his back in bed, hands beckoning, pulling me down to sear over his hot body. Jesse saying my name through the wall, raking his fingers over plaster board and skin. Jesse's voice saying my name, the whisper soft and tender, a voice that was just for me. The vision started to change as I sped up and I half imagined the head of his cock at my entrance, moving a finger around to stimulate my virgin hole. Jesse's voice was wet and warm in my ear, the heat of him whispering behind me, repeating my name, mixing it with poetry. To send his silver son/down on a thread of light/Maxie, my Maxie/His hide was snod and bruff/his coat was suede and soft/ Maxie/ and chamois to the touch/Oh Maxie/His horns were carved in oak/Maxie/Or, where they beached, they blent/Maxie/beneath a type of tree/that tree was evergreen.
That morning I woke uncharacteristically early, only to come to consciousness with the same voice as had wove through my dreams all night. Jesse.
"Picked for a prize for the fair of his face/but kicked to the foot from the head of the stairs,/buckled and belted and leathered and laced.
"Spared from a stunt in the mouth of a lion/but dabbed on the foot with a soldering iron,/stabbed in the palm with- oh you're up."
"Morning," I sat up, then peered through the hole, "What time is it? Are we late?"
"No. It's only seven." Jesse turned the page, still reading silently, "You were talking in your sleep."
"I don't." I had never heard Jesse's voice so calm and relaxed. So certain. "Why are you reading' A week and a Fortnight'? It's so violent."
"It flows well," Jesse explained, "It's a bit like iambic pentameter without being all stuck up. Anyway I thought you'd be a bit freaked out if I read 'I Say I Say I Say'."
"Too bloody right."
"I still like it."
"Alright. Meet you out front?"
"I'll be waiting."
"And why so smiling this morning Küçük?" Grandmother sat at the table, a traditional breakfast of new bread, dark thick olive oil, fat beef tomatoes, green and black olives and crumbly white feta spread before her.
"Gunaydin Babaanne," I kissed grandmother's cheek, and went to the kitchen for honey comb and fruit juice, "I slept really well."
"Indeed. And is that all there is to it? I don't remember seeing your face so bright lately."
"Jesse is coming back to school today."
"And coming to dinner tonight too. You're mother has gone to fetch the lamb."
"What?" I filled my plate and mouth with food as I roamed across the table. Feta, olive oil, bread. Tomatoes and honey on a fork. More bread. Honey comb cut from the sticky block and eaten with fingers, "She does realise that there will only be five of us. She better not buy a whole one."
"Küçük," grandmother scolded him, "So this Jesse is making you so happy in the morning?"
I paused. I had never officially come out to my family, Babaanne seemed to have just divined the information from the ground. It had never been an issue between us. But now there was an actual boy... I answered her using her own cryptic phrase.
"He's a good looking goat." I smiled, shrugged, "Gotta go, school."
"You be back early to help with the dinner. You know what Kizi-annesi is like when she's stressed. The whole house will want doing."
Grandmother cleared up the breakfast things while I pulled on my uniform and brushed my hair. I decided on a soft slick of eyeliner, just a hint that looked subtle on my Turkish complexion, then straightened my tie.
"You look so handsome little one."
"Thanks," I paused, one hand on the door, "Don't tell him OK? He is all skittish like a horse."
Jesse was waiting just outside the garden gate looking absolutely pristine. His uniform bright and pressed and his golden hair much tidier than my own. I wondered if he just came up looking like polished pink marble naturally, or if he spent even longer in the shower than I did. His smile was brighter than the sun.
"Morning." I replied crisply, and then we both giggled.
As we turned to walk to school I felt his fingers touch my own. Touch then gone, then touch again. I curled my hand around his, lingering on the contact, keeping him with me. He gripped my fingers back, then we both let go.
"What now?" I asked him.
"Registration, English, art; lunch, I wanna meet your friends; then PE and I'm going to have to apologise to Ian probably."
"I meant, what now about us? Pretty much everyone at school knows about me, I don't hide who I am. What about you, us, this?" I stopped, realising I'd gotten ahead of myself, "There is an 'us' isn't there?"
"Yes." Jesse's voice was only slightly hesitant when he answered, "But I don't know what to call it. And I don't really feel like trying to explain it to anyone who isn't you just yet."
"Alright," I touched his hand again and found his fingers automatically locked with my own, "So none of this in school yeah?" I tugged at our joined hands.
We made it through registration by some sheer force of will I didn't know I had. The desire to watch Jesse's every move was almost overpowering. Jesse's foot lay alongside mine, his thigh and calf nearly brushing my own, a not-touch so warm I thought it might blister my skin through my clothes. English was both easier and harder, because Jesse sat a table across from me and I hated it with him being so far away; but we couldn't touch each other, couldn't easily and non-obviously look at each other too much. Sir invited me to read the latest of the poems to the class, so I stood, walked to the front and said things directly to Jesse I never thought I'd get to say:
"Of all the public places, dear/to make a scene, I've chosen here./Of all the doorways in the world/ to choose to sleep, I've chosen yours."
I was deaf to the analysis of the poem, as the class dissected religious intent, sarcasm, mimicry and the voice of someone from the streets and rhyming patterns, I stared at Jesse. I hadn't gotten past the first four lines, at least in my head. As Sir turned to the board to begin the task Jesse turned to miss and mouthed the last line of the poem.
"I'm on my knees. I beg of you."
I have no idea how I hid my erection from the rest of the class for the rest of the lesson.
We walked to art together and I felt Jesse watching me as I pulled off my shirt and tie in one. I had never felt self-conscious about my moments of semi-nudity in the art rooms. Now I blushed as I pulled of my shirt, feeling Jesse's gaze skidding up and down the ridges of my torso. I picked up my painting shirt, turned to him and the full force of his gaze hit me like a proverbial slap in the face. I wanted desperately to touch him, but then I knew that all self-control would be gone and I would kiss him here in the middle of school. I got dressed.
We sketched to music, things inspired by snippets of songs played for us on an old creaky stereo. Genesis, Bach, deep south country that made me skin tingle; indie stuff I didn't recognise, Our Ride Out to the Rectory, Swallow Me, Happy Kid; rock that I knew, Guns 'n' Roses, Metallica, ACDC; instrumental versions of Disney songs and a whole host of soundtracks.
Music was good, it was distracting, but not so half as distracting as Jesse. Just the way he held his graphite, the sound of rough paper that sounded like the wall, words in songs I wanted to whisper to him, phrases and notes that sounded good for the two of us. By the end of lesson I had finished maybe three good sketches, so much more paper lying discarded at my feet. Jesse had charcoal smudged on his jaw, echoing the long faded bruise where I had hit him.
"That's nice," the words were out of my mouth before I could stop them and Jesse looked at me, glanced about, and reached across to touch my arm. A sly looked crossed his face.
"You have oil pastel on your nose." And then he giggled.
Lunch we queued up to get food and I was glad for the jostle and rush that allowed us to bump together, touching with no one noticing. I had not generally been one for embarrassing unwanted erections in school but apparently my hormones were going to start swinging into play every time I touched Jesse. Or even thought about touching Jesse.
Mina and Toman were waiting at a table for us. For me. Mina was surprised to see Jesse trailing me, but Toman wasn't.
"Hi Jesse," he half stood to greet Jesse as my taller friend sat down, "I'm Toman, this is Mina, my sister."
"I know, Maxie's told me all about you."
I held my breath, watching Mina as we sat down. Be nice, I pleaded silently.
"So Jesse," Mina's voice was diluted acid, "You going to join the boxing club?" Her tone was jovial enough, and I breathed a sigh of relief as the conversation drifted easily into music and sports, through favourite teachers and how different our school was from Jesse's last. He said he liked the elements of Work and Play, through moving from one to the other during the day was annoying.
I relaxed, easy conversation making light of the band of tension wound around my heart. Jesse's leg rested against mine, I kept my hands firmly on the elements of my lunch, chicken salad, juice and water, to keep myself from reaching across for his hand. When Mina turned to give Toman her tray to take back I turned to him and breathed in his ear.
"They know, please can we tell them. Something at least."
"What was that?" Mina fixed me then Jesse with her hard stare.
"Nothing," Jesse shifted his leg against my own, "Just that Maxie and I are really good friends."
Mina arched one perfect eyebrow.
"Really. Good. Friends?" she repeated.
"Yeah," I smiled, "But don't tell anyone OK?"
"You have my word."
I turned to Jesse. Excitement beat in my chest like the flapping of a bird in a too small cage. His eyes shone bright; sun on snow-capped glaciers, and I could tell that he felt something the same. The buzzing through my nerves felt like...a beginning.