Loving James Ch. 01byzolia_lily©
This is the first of a four part story about Alex and James. I hope to have the next three posted within the next few weeks!
Chapter 1- Wanting James
"Do you even think he likes me?" I asked Andrew glumly at his party. We were standing in the hall of his house, watching people dancing. James was in the middle of it all, making a total fool of himself and looking incredibly hot doing so. He was quite obviously not a dancer.
Andrew was one of James' close friends. They'd gone to primary school together and I'd been at high school with him, and we'd all started hanging out at uni. For them it had been something of a reunion. And I'd spent every moment trying to get them to like me enough to include me. At least, that's what it felt like.
They'd fallen out of contact at different high schools, and then once they got to uni it was like the fact that Andrew was a drama freak and James was an athlete didn't matter. I'd been at school with James, but we hadn't really been friends in any sense of the word, even if we'd been friendly enough. Our groups hadn't really mixed.
All the same, I'd known James was the one for as long as I'd known him. How could I not have known? He was a god amongst men. He was gorgeous and friendly, quiet and sweet. He was taller than me, muscled, had beautiful soulful eyes... I got half hard every time I saw him. I'd been in love with him for years, and he'd only come out just over a year and a half ago. And as far as I knew, he'd never had a boyfriend.
I badly wanted him to be mine, but he didn't seem to think of me as anything other than a friend.
Andrew sighed. "You're going to have to ask him."
"What," I said bitterly. "Because he's secretly in love with me, too? I'm a fucking geek, a twink who's just a target for the bi-curious and he's-"
"Take it easy," Andrew said, gripping my shoulder with a frown. I don't really know how he'd figured it out. I hadn't been able to deny it, though, and somehow it had almost brought us closer. Well, he seemed to think it did. All the advice he gave me... the prodding. Ugh. "If you need to know how he feels then you're going to have to do something. Ask him."
Yeah, right. As if I could. And run the very real risk of losing him as a friend too?
It was impossible. I was loud and obviously gay and I didn't give a damn who knew it. I said whatever popped into my head and I couldn't stop myself. The only exception was when it came to James. I shook my head in disgust. Hanging around with him and pretending I wasn't desperately in love with him- if that was all I could ever have, then I didn't want to ruin it.
"I'd rather not." I said sourly. "We all know how well that's worked for me in the past."
"You want him or not?" Andrew shot back. I did. I really did. It was getting worse, too. Coffee or lunch every few days wasn't enough. It had never been enough, but I'd managed to lie to myself for this long. "It's been a year and a half since he came out and you're still sitting back and just waiting for someone else to snap him up so you can moan about that too. Just man up and ask him out already." Ouch.
I didn't reply. I didn't like hard truths.
"God, you piss me off, sometimes." He growled.
No, I wasn't going to reply to that, either.
Finally, Andrew sighed. "We'll make it a dare." He said slowly.
"What?" I asked. Now he had my interest.
Andrew grinned at me, and turned back to look at James dancing like an idiot.
I couldn't hide a smile.
"Hey," Alex said, coming up to me.
"Hellooooo," I said, then laughed because I had never ever noticed what a funny word that was. And because he had red hair. Red hair was funny. And his was red red red. Spiky red. Did he know how funny it was? I put my arm around his shoulders so I could lean on him. The world was tilting slightly. Waaaay too much dancing; phew...
"What's up?" I asked.
"I've been playing truth or dare."
"Hey, fun!" I said. I hadn't played that for years! Not since primary school!
"Well," he said with a grin. "You're mine."
I grinned back at him. I didn't really know what he was talking about but he was smiling too and I was feeling really good. This was a great party!
"They're going to count to twenty, right?" he asked. Twenty? I wasn't sure what he meant, but I looked around and everyone was looking at us and laughing and talking. Weird. I didn't mind though. Just a little bit of alcohol and they could look all they liked.
How come I'd never tried this before? This was great! I was never this brave. I never danced.
"Ready?" Alex asked. Huh?
I looked at him, wondering what was going on.
Alex smiled at me and I felt his hand slide behind my head. I opened my mouth to ask him what he was doing when suddenly his lips were on mine and there was tongue. He was kissing me? I went to pull away but his hand on my head kept me close and our teeth clashed and then his tongue skimmed lightly along mine and my stomach dropped with longing and suddenly I was kissing him back, trying to taste him and get him closer and grabbing fistfuls of his shirt and I wanted to feel his soft skin but his clothes were in the way and he tasted so good and there had to be a way to get closer to him – and suddenly there was noise everywhere and Alex was pulling away, laughing, and people were around us.
Where had they come from? And why were they cheering? I leant on Alex more heavily and he was speaking to Andrew while I grinned at him and then we were somewhere else, dimmer and quieter and he was smiling at me.
"Been kissed before?" Alex asked quietly.
"Noooo." I drew the word out for emphasis. I grinned. I'd finally been kissed. And it had only taken 19 years.
"Sorry." Alex said. "If I'd known it was your first kiss I'd have done better."
"Better how?" I asked. Kissing was awesome! And he wanted better?
Alex took a deep breath. "Like this." he said and leant in to kiss me again. I met him- this was great!- but he pulled away, laughing. "Take it easy, you jerk." He said. "Start slow, ok? Less tongue or you're going to choke me." I nodded. I could do that. I would do anything for more kisses.
We kissed more slowly. He tasted so good, felt so warm. His tongue was doing all sorts of awesome things... I was feeling more and more aroused and more and more sleepy. It was a really, really good feeling.
Alex's hand slid down my shirt and hit the waist of my jeans. I moaned and my knees went weak as his hand cupped me through my jeans. No one had touched me there before...
I reached for him, but he was pulling away.
"Want to do that to you." I mumbled. I sounded weird.
"Trust me," Alex murmured, kissing my cheeks. "You are doing that to me." I didn't know what he meant because my hands were nowhere near his dick but he grinned and pulled away again. "Wait here for me. Then I promise we'll keep going." he said. "Don't move. I'll be one minute."
"Bathroom." He grimaced.
"No, no, noooo." I tried to catch him, clung to him. I didn't want him to leave me for a second, not one, not a single one.
Alex giggled. "Babe," he murmured. "I have to piss, while I'd really like to see you naked and have you see me naked, Andrew's bathroom in the middle of his party is not the right time. Wait here, alright? I'll be back soon."
" 'K." I agreed glumly. He'd called me 'babe'. That was weird. But good weird. I was all warm and fuzzy.
Alex vanished and I looked around. We were in a small room on our own. Where had the party gone? I wandered towards the doorway and down the hall.
Ah. Here was the party.
"You lose Alex?" Someone asked, laughing. I nodded and they passed me a shot. Mmm. Shot was sticky and sweet. More?
Ah yes. More. Mmmm.
People laughing and talking. Couldn't quite make out the words.
There was Andrew! "Hi Andrew!" I said, grinning. Andrew looked worried.
"Where's Alex?" he asked.
Alex? Where was Alex? I looked around hastily. The room moved. Whoops!
"Whoa, there," Andrew said, grabbing my shoulder. Mm- there was beer on the table. Beer was good. I reached for it. Oh- beer moved.
"Josh!" I said happily. He was holding the beer very tightly. His beer. That was ok. Josh was nice. Oops- feet were so big! Arm around his shoulder. Ah yes- much easier to stand.
"Hey have you-" I knew that voice!
"Alex!" I said happily. I liked Alex. He was funny. He had funny hair, too.
"Oh." He said. Why wasn't he happy?
"How much has he had to drink?" Josh asked. Oh, someone had had too much to drink, but who?
" I don't know." Alex said slowly. They turned to look at me.
Oh. Me? "Oh." I said, waved my hand. Casual was good. Act casual. Josh had to duck. Not so good. "Um...." That was a veeeery good question.
"I'll get some water." Andrew said. "Or coffee."
Had Andrew always been there? All my friends were. All my favourite guys. Gays. Ha ha! I laughed. How come I'd never noticed how funny I was?
"On second thoughts," Andrew said as I giggled. "Maybe you should take him home."
"I don't think he can stand up." Josh said. He let go of me and the world dipped. Wheee! Someone caught me and I clung to them. That was fun!
"If he can't stand up then I won't be able to get him home." Alex groused.
"I'll help." Andrew said. "Can we take him to yours?"
"Yeah. I suppose that's the best idea."
The air was cold. I shuddered and moaned. People laughed.
"Ummm." I didn't feel so good. Sleepy. Sick.
"You're ok." Alex said gently.
"Alex." I managed with a smile. I liked Alex. And he was being so nice...
There was laughter. Hm. Andrew?
Alex's hallway. Stairs. They were tricky. Parents' rooms.
Alex's soft, soft, bed....
I woke up to the sound of my floorboards creaking.
James. I went cold all over.
Was he leaving?
I lay very still and listened to him. My heart was pounding. What would I do if he left? Pretend I was still asleep? Go after him?
The relief I felt when he only went into the bathroom left me feeling weak.
He came back to bed.
The bed shifted beneath me as he climbed back in. I heard him sigh. The sound sent shivered down my skin. It was a contented sound, one I wanted to hear again and again and again.
I lay there for a few moments, letting my imagination run wild. I wanted to open my eyes and find him watching me, smiling, waiting for me to wake up so he could kiss me good morning.
I mean, ideally he wouldn't have fallen asleep so quick last night. We would've made out at the party some more, and then we'd have come back here... but he didn't handle alcohol very well.
But that didn't matter now. He was really here.
I opened my eyes, a smile ready on my lips.
James was lying on his front, his head underneath a pillow. Ah.
" 'Wake?" I muttered softly. I wanted to reach out and stroke the line of his spine. I didn't.
"Mm," was all I got in response. I watched him. He was going to look up any minute now. He was going to look up and smile and kiss me. He was going to pull me into his arms and tell me I promised him that we'd keep going last night and I was going to pretend that I didn't remember that bit. And we'd both smile because we knew it wasn't true and-
"My heat hurts," James mumbled. I smiled. He was so cute when he was hung over and pitiful.
"Christ, you really are a lightweight."
"Fuck off." He mumbled. "I never drink." I waited quietly, my heart sinking only slightly. I waited for him to say something else. Then I imagined we'd get to the kissing part. "Did- did we kiss last night?"
I couldn't read his tone and I couldn't see his face, but all the same I was worried. He had to remember. Didn't he? Maybe he really didn't- had he been that drunk by then?
"Um. Yeah." I answered cautiously. I didn't want to sound happy about it if he was going to regret it. But I didn't want to sound like it was a mistake if there was the slightest possibility he might ever kiss me again. I sounded hesitant, even to myself.
There was a silence, then a deep rumbling chuckle.
He was laughing?
I stopped breathing. No. No, he couldn't be.
His chuckle got bigger. He was definitely laughing now, his head still under that pillow, or he'd have been able to see the hurt on my face. I wasn't hiding it. I couldn't.
He was laughing. This was so far from my dreams that I couldn't even scrape up a smile. This was a nightmare. Every hope I'd harboured had been dashed. Every possibility of him loving me was gone.
I felt hollow. I felt sick. My heart was being cut to pieces with every sound of mirth that escaped him. It wasn't that he didn't remember, and it wasn't that he thought things were going too fast, or even that he just wanted to be friends. He thought it was funny.
Was it that ridiculous? I wanted to ask him if I was so undesirable that he didn't think anyone might want to kiss me? Was it that unbelievable?
Apparently it was. Apparently it was laughable. Completely inconceivable.
I didn't care if it was. James was my friend. I was in love with him and he was laughing at the very possibility that anyone might want me.
He wasn't supposed to laugh. And he was laughing as if I were a freak.
The fucking bastard.
I rolled onto my front and buried my face in my pillow. I held my breath to combat the tightness in my throat and squeezed my eyes shut.
This wasn't happening. It couldn't be.
James stopped laughing. Finally. I was in agony.
"Alex?" he asked. "You ok?"
"Don't feel too good." I replied. Which was as close to the truth as he was ever going to get. I made my way off the bed and rubbed my eyes.
"Going to have a shower." I muttered and left him there without turning to face him. I was red and if he saw me then I was going to completely break down...
I scrubbed the smell of sweat and beer and smoke off my skin and out of my hair, turned my face up under the water and fought to get back in control. I couldn't cry in front of him. I couldn't.
James was sitting on the end of my bed when I came out, dressed still. I pulled on some jeans and a shirt and quickly ran fingers through my hair.
"I want to go back to Andrew's." I lied. It was somewhere to go. Somewhere other than here. "Help clean up."
James nodded. "I've got an appointment." He said. "I'll go back to college first so I can shower and change." I nodded and we headed out.
Neither of us said much. I bet James was suffering from his hangover.
At the corner where James was turning he stopped and put his hand on my arm.
"Alex," he said. My heart leapt into my mouth. "Thanks for letting me crash at your place."
"Yeah." I answered glumly. "Anytime you're too pissed to get home. That's what I'm here for. See you later."
I marched onwards to Andrew's, forgetting that I hadn't exactly intended to go there anyway. I was furious. Somehow it had become his fault that this hadn't worked out.
I banged on his door and had time to get impatient and bang again before he opened it.
He blinked at me. "Some of us didn't get to bed as early as you did, Alex." He said acidly, rubbing his eyes.
I stared at him, assaulted again by the actual image of James sprawled across my bed, totally insensate with alcohol, juxtaposed with my fantasy images of us in bed this morning.
I breathed deeply. What was I doing here, really? Why had I come?
"Alex?" Andrew asked. I swallowed hard past the lump in my throat. "Where's James? What-"
"He went home." I snapped. "Right after he asked if we kissed last night and then just about killed himself laughing."
"Oh." Andrew said, suddenly looking so sympathetic I wanted to scream. I turned and marched down his path. I had to get out of there. "Alex- Alex, wait!" Andrew called and ran after me in last night's t shirt and his underwear. Stupid skinny pale legged bastard. "Come in." he said. I shook my head, but he steered me inside anyway.
He sat me on the couch in the middle of the lounge room, which still reeked like stale beer and old smoke.
"Tell me what happened." He demanded.
"I already did." I snapped. "And it's pretty hard to imagine it going any worse."
"He could have clocked you one." Andrew said. I hated him so much, right then I nearly clocked him one. "What do you mean, he laughed? What happened?"
"I told you. We woke up and he asked if we kissed last night and I said yes. And then he laughed like it was the funniest thing he'd ever heard in his whole entire life. As if it was funny that it happened, like it never would have happened if he'd been sober, like it was totally unthinkable because no one would ever want to kiss me, not unless they were totally drunk and-"
"Stop." Andrew said loudly. "That's crap and you know it!"
"Do I? I always attract the freaks and the cheaters and the bi-curious and that's it, so there's obviously something to it because otherwise he wouldn't have-"
"Alex, stop," Andrew said more wearily.
"NO." I said, jumping up. "This is your fault." I said, conveniently ignoring the hand I'd played in this. "Your great scheme and you've ruined everything. And now I am officially the most pathetic guy in the whole world. I hope you're happy." I finished venomously and left, slamming the door behind me.
Yeah. Melodramatic or what?
Guilt burned in my gut but I needed to be angry at someone and right now it was Andrew.
I hoped he understood.
I went home and ignored my mum when she tried to talk to me. She muttered something about a hangover to her sister Sal and I ignored that too and went upstairs.
I lay on my bed where James had and pulled his pillow over my head and breathed in deeply. I wanted to be able to smell him, to inhale him. I couldn't. I could only smell the stale smells of smoke and alcohol.
I fought the tears for a long time, but in the end, the tears won.
By dinnertime Sal had figured out that it wasn't a hangover.
She knocked on my door and found me still hugging that damn pillow when she came in.
"You alright, Alex?" she asked, peering around the door. I didn't reply, but somehow I couldn't stop myself from shaking slightly. All I wanted was to cry and cry until the pain in my heart went away.
She came in. "Alex?" she asked. I said nothing. I was biting my fist, silently shaking with the effort of suppressing my sobs. She sat down on the other side of my bed, put her hand on my back, and I couldn't hold it in any longer. I gasped for breath and sobbed aloud. "Alex." She said sadly and moved around. She perched next to me and stroked my hair off my forehead. She didn't try and get me to talk, she didn't tell me everything was ok. She just sat with me and tucked the covers over me and let me cry myself out.
When I finally stopped I was still hiccupping slightly.
" You wanna talk?" she offered. I liked Sal. She was so solid. So reliable.
"Ok." She said, and laid down next to me. I hugged my pillow more tightly.
"You know James?" I finally said on a breath. My body was still shaking.
"Yeah." She answered.
"I- I love him." I gasped out. "I love him, and he... he doesn't..."
"Oh, kiddo," Sal said sadly and rubbed my shoulders. I tried to breathe normally again, but every breath hurt. My throat hurt and my eyes burned and my heart... my heart was in little tiny pieces... "You want to tell me about it?"
I didn't and I did all at once. "Andrew- Andrew dared me to k-kiss him. At the party. So I did. But he kissed me back." I sucked air into my protesting lungs and forced myself to go on with the story. "So we kept kissing. It was... m-mutual. And he had too much to drink, so we came here. And he passed out. But this morning, he didn't remember. And he asked me if we kissed... and I said yes and he laughed... he laughed like it was the funniest thing ever..." I squeezed my eyes shut and pressed my face back into the pillow.