tagNovels and NovellasBreaking Barriers Ch. 05

Breaking Barriers Ch. 05

byNicoKleimachs©

Editor's note: this story contains scenes of gay male sexual content.

5://Programming

---------------------------

"Is this your sister, or something?" Vale said, eyes flicking from the photo to Kip and back again.

"Or something," Kip said, and then mentally shook himself, steeling himself for whatever may come. "That's me. Or it was." As soon as the words left his mouth, he felt suddenly ill and quaky inside. Even more so, when he recognized the realization on Vale's face.

"Oh," he said slowly, looking at the back of the photograph. It was a different one than Kip had put away earlier, and he cursed himself for not checking under the edge of the bed. In this one, he wore a pastel sundress that his mother had insisted on for the picture, and he sat on the swing they had in the backyard. "Katherine?" Kip cringed.

"My deadname. I wish you hadn't seen that, but I was going to tell you that I'm transgender. It's why I invited you here tonight. I wanted to see if things were getting serious enough to disclose, but I'm afraid I may have waited too long. I hope you don't feel like you wasted your time, but I understand if you don't want to take things further." The flood of words poured out of him as he twisted the hem of his shirt, not quite meeting Vale's eyes. His heart hammered at his chest, and he knew he couldn't emotionally survive seeing Vale turn out like the others. Insulted, disappointed, angry, or hurt. He squeezed his eyes shut, willing the tears to trail back into their ducts. He was surprised to feel Vale's fingers along his chin, turning his face back towards him.

"Hey," Vale said, and Kip opened his eyes. "It's okay. I'm not going to flee out the door screaming. Let's just talk. This is all new for me, I have to admit, but I'll try to understand." He placed the photo on the nearby dresser and took a seat next to Kip on the bed, turning towards him. "So, is this like a male trapped in a female body sort of thing?"

"That's one of the best explanations I have," Kip said. "But I just like to think of it as my body. That's the only label it needs." Vale nodded.

"Well, this is a unique situation," Vale said. "How long have you known?"

"Ever since my first conscious thought."

"And you're gay?"

"I like men, and I identify as a man, so that makes me gay."

"Have you had a boyfriend before?" Vale asked, noticing how Kip looked away at that question. With a gentle prod, he brought him back.

"Here and there, only one real boyfriend in high school, but I was still forced to present as female at the time. After I came out, it didn't last long. I've seen a guy or two since, but I feel like I was more a curiosity they had to satiate, rather than an actual person. I've tried dating on apps and online, but it hasn't been going well," Kip said, struggling with meeting Vale's eyes, and Vale could feel the regret and shame seeping out of him.

Unable to help himself, Vale leaned forward and caught Kip off-guard, their lips meeting in a tentative, then passionate kiss. After a few heartbeats, Kip began to meet his fervor before they breathlessly pulled apart. Kip looked into Vale's eyes, searching for something...sincerity?

"It's been a while since I've experienced that," Kip said, catching his breath. A small smile flickered across his face. Maybe this would work out after all. Vale matched his smile, bringing their heads together. Could he dare hope?

"Listen, I like you more than I've liked any boy so far. I don't know what it is, but you pull at my heartstrings. And I can say this, you're definitely manly enough for me. I never thought less, and I don't think less of it now. However we have to adapt, I'm sure I'll be more than satisfied. I hope you will be too," Vale said, sealing his promise with a kiss. Kip couldn't remember feeling so light-headed, and he only hoped that it could last.

The sweet kiss turned into multiple grasps at each other as Vale's hands started to explore across Kip's chest, and up and down his sides. Kip moaned against Vale, separating just enough to look into his eyes and ask, "Are you sure you want to do this tonight? You know...since it may not be what you're expecting."

"I'm a fast learner," Vale said, quickly unbuttoning his shirt and revealing his defined chest and subtle hint of a six-pack. He shucked it onto the floor at the foot of the bed. "Plus, you're too hot. If I have to wait any longer, I might explode."

Kip's heart fluttered at being called hot, certainly not an every day occurrence. A part of him wanted to question it, but as Vale's hand went between his legs, he decided not to look a gift horse in the mouth. At Vale's surprise and gentle prodding, Kip couldn't help but laugh. "That's not me. I wear a packer, a fake, flaccid penis for day-wear." Vale quirked an eyebrow, and continued rubbing.

"Why?"

Kip shrugged. "It makes me feel better to have something there, and I guess the bulge looks better. Not that anyone ever looks to notice otherwise."

"I looked," Vale said, flashing a flirty smile as he stroked. Kip almost melted. He loved when guys played with it like they would any other guy's, but it wasn't something he could always be vocal about.

"I remember. You're an odd duck." Vale laughed at the comment.

"Well, if the odd duck gets you, I'm sure I'll cope." He pounced forward and dragged Kip further up the bed, engulfing him in another series of hot, passionate kisses. Yep, tastes just like a man, Vale thought as he explored the younger man's mouth. He poked his tongue in between his lips, and was pleased to find that Kip opened eagerly, meeting his tongue with his own. The two taut muscles wrestled together in the warm confines of their joined mouths while Vale started unbuttoning Kip's shirt. He was loosely straddling the pinned man, and he was pleased to see that lust was clouding his eyes.

He sat back and finished unbuttoning, opening the shirt and helping Kip lift his shoulders enough to take it off. He ran his hands and gaze over the pale, yet defined chest. Under each muscled pec, there was a thick scar running from the center to under his arm on each side. He traced each scar with his fingertips, and Kip threw his head back and moaned.

"God, I love that," Kip panted, and Vale wondered if he liked the acceptance he felt as Vale embraced his uniqueness, or if it physically felt good. He did it again, and Kip moaned, twitching slightly as he came to the end of one scar. He decided it might be a combination of emotional and physical sensations.

"You're beautiful," Vale said, rocking back on his heels and looking down at his new boyfriend's skinny frame. There wasn't a hint of sarcasm or malice in his tone; only reverence, and Kip had to fight back tears. Vale looked and saw the shine in his eyes. "I really mean it." Kip stifled a sob, and Vale swooped down to grasp him, pulling the boy to him, pressing their bare chests together as Kip scrambled to meet his embrace. He could feel the shuddering of sobs, but he let Kip work through him, rocking gently and comforting him.

"It's okay. I know how hard it was to be honest. If I were in your shoes, I'd be scared shitless too," Vale said, and Kip mumbled against him. "What?"

"It's not just that," Kip repeated. "It wasn't just tonight. I was just getting used to... some of those guys were so horrible. The things they said. I didn't think I would be lucky to find someone as understanding as you. I just hope that you're not in over your head."

Vale dipped his head and nipped at the sensitive skin on his neck, working his way back up for a kiss. Kip jerked away, his face reddening from the brief crying spell, and Vale could feel the heat. He leaned in again and kissed him insistently, showing him that he wouldn't be scared away.

"We can take it slow. We don't have to do everything tonight." He trailed some kisses up and down Kip's exquisite chest. "I'm quite fine with this, being able to hold you in my arms. It'll hold me over, but I'm willing to try this with you. I want more than I've been allowing myself to want. I want more than Kent is satisfied with - I want a boyfriend and a possibility of a future. I think you're the perfect man for it."

"You barely know me." Kip hated the logical part of himself right now.

"I'd like to get to know you, if you'll give me the chance." Vale put a finger to his lips and shushed Kip's protest, leaning in to kiss away the shadows of his doubts. Kip melted in his embrace, relaxing against the gentle, lazy kisses. When they finally parted, he met his eyes.

"Twist my arm, why don't you." Kip chuckled.

"It's too early to discuss BDSM," Vale quipped, and Kip guffawed and shoved him until they flipped over, placing Kip on top. The movement reminded Vale of a question.

"Are you a top, or a bottom?" he asked. At the startled look on Kip's face, he added, "...for science."

Kip cracked a small smile while he straddled him. "Technically, vers. Many men make the wrong assumption that I can't top. Some assembly required, but you can have any size you want." A devilish smile crept across his boyish face. "I have quite the collection." The look on Vale's face said it all, and the pulsing erection pressing into Kip's hip was a telling sign.

"Very intriguing. I look forward to it. I'm vers as well, though, so would you be into taking turns?" Vale asked, desire edging in his voice.

"Well, that sounds only polite," Kip agreed. He remained poised over Vale, lowering just enough to touch their bare chests together in their embrace, nose to nose, nuzzling each other softly. Vale tucked a dirty blond lock of Kip's behind his ear, feeling the emptiness of the absent hearing aid.

"So, can I go with you to your audiologist appointment?" Vale asked, his gaze soft.

"Sure," Kip said. "It's later this week. Are you sure you want to?"

"I think it's only appropriate that your boyfriend be there with you."

Kip's breath hitched. His voice wavered as it came out. "Boyfriend? Are you sure?"

"If you'll have me."

Kip buried his face against Vale's warm chest, curling his arms around him. Vale held him as he shook, with a mixture of relief, excitement, and terror. Kip just hoped that Vale wouldn't come to regret him. He didn't think he could recover.

* * *

It was some hours later when Kip awoke, now laying on his side with Vale's arm lazily draped across him. He snuggled backwards into his grasp, feeling the subtle rise and fall of Vale's chest. Kip felt the intermittent, soft snoring and smiled to himself. Their first sleepover, and it was everything he wanted. He didn't even mind that things had cooled off from their passionate tumble - it was natural. Also, he figured he might have something to look forward to that night.

He relaxed in his arms and went back to sleep, this time until morning light streamed through the window. Luckily, they both had the day off, even if Vale had said he should do some work at home. Kip woke up slowly, easing himself out of a dream, and he rolled over, being greeted with Vale's sleeping face. He took a moment to admire the perfect features on the sun-kissed skin. Unlike when he was awake and his animated self, his face was serene and peaceful. Kip kissed him softly on the lips, and Vale's eyelids fluttered open.

"Morning, boyfriend," Vale said, smiling and stretching on his back. Kip cuddled up to him and draped an arm and leg over him, and Vale brought one arm around the smaller man.

"Morning, boyfriend," Kip mirrored sleepily, tucking a yawn against Vale's side. "What do you want to do today?"

"Hmm..." Vale mumbled against him. "How about a cruise, or we could go backpacking through Europe." Kip seemed to consider it for a moment as Vale held him close.

"Nah, I don't have any good hiking shorts right now, and my scuba gear is on back order," he finally said, and Vale guffawed.

"Let's just go to the Aquarium then. It's close enough," Vale said, giving his smaller boyfriend a quick kiss. They both reluctantly tumbled out of bed and headed to the shower, with Kip pausing at the doorway.

"Oh, um," Kip said as Vale turned from the bathroom doorway to look at him. "You can shower first."

Vale's eyes traveled up and down his boyfriend's shirtless body, his pajama bottoms twisted around his hips. "If that's what makes you comfortable, but I wouldn't mind saving on the water if you wanted to join me."

"You know that's a myth, right? That doesn't actually - " Kip's statement was cut off by Vale's deep, and passionate kiss. The smaller man melted in his arms, only breaking the kiss on the edge of losing his breath. "Okay, next time."

After each was showered in turn and breakfast was taken care of, they hit the streets to head towards the aquarium. Kip had to add half a stride to keep up with Vale, who was holding back his pace. Seeing his long form covered in the black jeans, t-shirt, and dressy hoodie had Kip's mind wandering to what could have happened if he had accepted the shower offer. Just the fantasy of Vale roving his soapy hands over his body sent tingles to the base of his spine. At least he didn't have to worry about public erections, but the signs of his arousal would be longer-lasting damnable evidence. If they got far enough for Vale to discover them that night. Vale's smile as he turned to talk to him brought him out of his reverie.

"Sorry?" Kip said, performing half a jog to catch up. Vale turned more toward him in his stride.

"Sorry, I guess I wasn't facing you enough. I'm just used to walking fast, but not necessarily as far as you. I asked if you were used to getting around without a car."

"Oh, yeah. One of the perks about living in town. I don't care to use my car too much, so that's why she's usually parked in my unit's parking spot." When Vale quirked an eyebrow, he added, "What?"

"You believe that all cars are 'she'? That's such an old man thing." Vale chuckled, and Kip shrugged.

"She's such an old lady car, though. Her name is Madam Mauve." He elbowed Vale playfully when he rolled his eyes. "She gets me from A to B. Most times."

The banter trailed off as they reached the front entrance of the grand aquarium. Kip glanced at the overwhelmingly content look melting over Vale's face as they peered up at the cartoony overhang depicting the various dolphins, whales, and other marine life awaiting them inside. Vale swung his messenger bag full of art supplies forward to squeeze through the rotating doors as they twirled, and Kip followed closely behind. The doors opened up to a large lobby where Vale bought their tickets, not even humoring the protest that Kip would pay for himself. As they walked the halls, Kip eyed the art bag.

"I didn't really realize you brought that," Kip said. "It kind of just blends in. I don't remember seeing you without it, now that I think about it."

Vale chuckled. "Yeah, I usually have a minimum of a small sketchbook, pencil, and kneaded eraser on me. You don't mind, do you?" he asked, searching the younger man's face for any clues, but it remained serene and honest.

"Not at all. I think it's cool. Are you going to be drawing while we're here?" Kip asked.

"It's always a possibility. I didn't want you to think I was ignoring you or anything, though," Vale said.

"Nah," Kip said, a small smile quirking at the ends of his mouth. "It's chill. I would love to watch and see your process."

"Well, put on the pressure, why don't you." The two men laughed and pushed each other lazily among the exhibits, with Vale watching the fish scatter among the imported coral reefs as Kip read the information on the podium, sharing intermittent facts as they moseyed along. The atmosphere kept a playful tone between the two, sometimes racing towards the next discovery, trying to edge each other out of the way. There wasn't too much of a crowd, but where the pockets of people gathered, they slowed like chagrined children and hurried past, just to continue around the next corner.

Breathing hard from the horseplay, the duo settled on a marble bench in front of a larger exhibit. Kip smiled as he caught his breath, catching Vale's eye as he pushed his hair out of his eyes. Vale tucked one leg up on the bench and hoisted up his messenger bag and pulled out his supplies, spreading them over his lap. He quickly flipped to a new page, but Kip caught some of the graphite and charcoal drawings as they passed - an aged, remorseful looking man, a derelict farmhouse, and an old Labrador sniffing among a junkyard flew by on the pages.

"Those were nice," Kip said, and Vale's face reddened a bit as he kneaded his eraser.

"Oh, thanks," he said. "Not my best work, but those were mostly done on the fly."

"You must have a sharp eye for observation."

"It's just like people-watching, but with an upgrade."

"Ah. I was never really like that. I was too withdrawn."

Vale smiled. "I got that about you. It adds to your boyish charm." He glanced around at the people milling about, but none of them were particularly close or looking their way, so he leaned in and gave Kip a quick kiss on the lips. "I'm glad I get the see the rare inner side of you, the one that you hide away."

Kip pulled back when the kiss ended, a dazed look on his face. "Oh, you're welcome. I didn't realize I did that, though."

They fell into an easy silence as Vale smiled and turned towards the exhibit. The expansive glass panel showed a deep aquarium inside with mostly larger marine mammals twisting throughout the colorful environment. Vale looked up expectantly, peering into the shadows as an oval form came into view. When Kip realized what it was, he gasped.

"There she is, the old girl," Vale said lovingly as a large, moss green sea turtle drifted into view. She twisted and tilted her shell at them as she swam past, turning to come back around and hover lazily in front of them. Vale saluted and began sketching in broad, vague strokes. Kip watched as the lines began to take form in her graceful shape. She drifted around in front them, twisting and twirling in her own sort of dance. Kip glanced between them both, capturing her fluid movements, and Vale's graphite rendition of them across the page. He did several poses, some showing her shell, and others focusing on her wrinkled face. Some were merely quick form sketches, and some he put more thoughtful details into. In one, he worked on her eyes until they sparkled with the same wizened life that Kip saw through the glass.

"That's amazing," Kip said as his eyes trailed along the different thumbnail sketches covering almost every bare inch of the page. Vale kneaded his eraser into a flat surface to pick up a layer of graphite that had been laid too dark, and then twisted the eraser into a point to taper one of the lines in a crevice.

"Thank you," Vale said quietly as he made some finishing touches and then closed the sketchbook. Kip looked at his cell and was surprised that so much time had passed.

"Can you believe it's been almost an hour since we sat down?" Kip asked as Vale put away his supplies and they both stood.

"Oh, that's nothing," Vale said as they walked down the halls that looped back to the entrance, one hand on Kip's shoulder to guide him back into the sunlit lobby. "I can get lost in my drawings for weeks if I'm not careful."

"I don't doubt it. I feel the same way when I'm wired into coding," Kip said, and Vale nodded.

"I think it's true for any creative endeavor." He shook his head. "I still don't know how you can manage to code, though. That's intense."

Kip shrugged. "It's just a language of logic at the end of the day. I'm more amazed by what you do." Vale jostled him.

"It's just a language of composition, at the end of the day." Vale smirked, and Kip nudged him playfully as they headed out to the streets. They both looked up at the bright afternoon sun in the clear sky and closed their eyes, soaking in the fine day. Vale put his arm around Kip's shoulders as people passed on the streets, and Kip lamented that he still had layers of clothes between him and the warm touch. He turned and tucked his chin against Vale's chest, who raised his hand to pet around the nape of the smaller boy's neck. He kissed his temple among his dirty blond locks and murmured against his ear.

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