tagGay MaleTenderness Ch. 02

Tenderness Ch. 02

byCruel2BKind©

*Just a quick warning, there is no sex in this chapter, and it's mostly for development. But good things will come for those who wait... ^_^

All Characters are 18+*


--------AARON--------

The first three days after the attack were definitely the worst. I had made a firm pact with myself to call it 'the attack' and not 'the rape', because whenever I heard, thought of, or used the word 'rape', I would get teary and sniffly and stupid.

I had been attacked on a Friday, and Daniel had asked me to go on a date on Monday. The three days in between were the worst. I insisted on going to work on Saturday and I regretted it. I was still in a lot of pain, counting the minutes until I could take that pill. I was weepy, and sometimes I would break out into sniffles when someone asked about my black eyes, or sometimes for no reason at all.

Mostly it was the little things, things they never show about the soap-opera rape victims. Like how I started bleeding after I went to the bathroom and had a small nervous breakdown over weather or not I should call the hospital. Like the pity in my friend Jesse's eyes, or how guilty she was over letting me go to the back with him. Like how much I cried when I was trying to help the police sketch artist make a portrait of Mr. Rapist. That's what the artist kept calling him, Mr. Rapist. At least she had been kind and sympathetic.

Mr. Rapist had worn a condom, but it had broken. They had found traces of semen in my anus, but not enough to do a DNA test. I didn't remember him putting on a condom, but they had found a scrap of white latex in there as well.

Here is another thing that never happens when someone gets raped on TV or in a novel. I contracted an STD. Mr. Rapist had Chlamydia. I went to the clinic and the doctor put me on antibiotics, Azithromycin, and another pill that I couldn't remember. The doctor told me that only one in four men who contracted Chlamydia even experienced the systems, and I hoped that Mr. Rapist didn't know he had it until his dick rotted off.

The best thing in those worst days was Daniel. We didn't have our first official date until Monday, but on Sunday I heard my doorbell ring in the middle of my millionth little breakdown of the day. I swore, wiped my eyes with a cold paper towel to make them look less red and went to the door. Percocet, the pain pills, took the pain away but they also made me a little loopy and weepy.

I looked through the little glass eye in the door and I saw him clearly for the first time. He looked nervous as hell, and was standing at the door wearing a dark green cotton shirt that was soft and clinging in all of the right places and blue jeans. The sleeves were rolled up to show his muscular forearms, and in one hand he held a laptop case and in the other he had a large paper bag with grease stains on the side.

I opened the door after frantically dabbing my eyes with the cold towel. Only after I had opened the door did I remember that I was only wearing baggy red plaid pajama pants and a loose t-shirt. My hair was a mess and my eyes were puffy with crying and lack of sleep. I must have looked like shit, but Daniel only flashed this beautiful shy smile.

Daniel was such a big guy, and he was so clumsy! When I answered the door he started tripping over his words trying to explain why he was here a day early.

"Hi Aaron! I know it's a day too soon, but there's a Thai restaurant that I always go to that's about a block away, and I was trying to call you but I think your cell phone is dead, not that I'm blaming you for your cell being dead, but I ordered some extra and I hope you like Thai and I was wondering..."

The babbling run-on sentence sort of faded off, and even with his naturally dark skin tone, his blush was very deep. He looked so shy and insecure, and in this big manly body, it was sort of cute.

"Hi to you too!" I giggled a little as he gave a bashful 'oops' smile. I was blasphemously grateful that my voice wasn't still wavering. "Please come in! Thanks for coming Daniel."

I opened the door and let him in. My apartment was very small, one bedroom, one bathroom, and a little kitchenette.. I didn't even have a table to eat at. I usually ate on my bed while watching the fifteen-inch TV.

"I know it's not much, I usually eat on the bed... Can I get you a drink? I got water, milk, mountain dew..."

That impromptu dinner date should have been awkward as hell, but we sat on my bed, nibbling Thai food and talking about his job and family, about the best modern horror movies, the flaws of time travel, favorite pop music, and heaven only knows what else. We talked about everything on that mattress, and we talked so long that I forgot about taking my pain pill on time, that's how much he distracted me.

He had come over at six, and he got up reluctantly to say he had to go home and feed his pets at about nine thirty. When I asked him what pets he had, he listed off an iguana, a cat, two corn snakes, a tortoise and an ancient sleepy husky named Noel.

That was probably the most awkward moment of the night, when I got a sick fluttery stomach and wondered if I should kiss him. He solved my anxiety in a heartbeat as he leaned in and gave me a brief peck on the cheek. He looked thrilled.

--------DANIEL--------

Sometimes I wondered if something was wrong with me. Aaron Beck was a cute, sweet, sensitive little guy with the world's most beautiful smile. He liked bad SciFi movies, Lost, Nirvana, and Smashing Pumpkins. He even liked me, for some unfathomable reason. In ordinary circumstances, I would've loved every moment of it and hoped that it would last. But Aaron Beck had also been brutally beaten and raped, and that changed things.

I told Annabel and my brother Marcus about Aaron. I told my mother, and I told my friends at the editors office (the 'you need to lose weight' bitch excluded), and with one exception, they all thought that I was moving too fast, if not in the wrong for trying to date such a bruised guy in the first place.

The one exception, which surprised the hell out of me, was my boss at work. I hadn't even meant for her to hear, but she had overheard me talking with my coworkers and later on she called me into her office to 'ask me about a piece I was doing'.

My boss was Sharon Delesseps, a slender woman with greying blonde curls who always wore red, or at least fuchsia. Slender was a kind word to use on her, usually when she did something unpopular the common epithet attached to Delesseps was 'scrawny bitch'.

Her voice was crisp and brisk. "I heard you talking about some poor bastard who got raped. Don't try to interrupt Arceiro, I don't care that you're gay, I've known that for years and I don't care. I just wanted to put my input in on the situation."

She leaned forward while I stood and sweated uncomfortably in the coolness of her office, simultaneously hanging on her every word and wishing that I could be anywhere else but here.

"It's your say or not if you start dating the boy, but don't you dare try and get out of his life."

She glared at me. "If a word of this gets out of this office you will be fired so fast that they will hear the sonic boom in Chicago. Swear on it Arceiro!"

My mouth was dry. "None of this will leave the office, Ms. Delesseps."

"Good. When I was twenty years old I was going steady with the man that probably would have been my husband. I walked home from an old friends house at about five in the afternoon, and I was abducted and raped by a man in a blue sedan."

I couldn't get a word in edgewise, not of apology or shock or even a question.

"After he finished he threw me out of his car without stopping in front of my home. Henry never spoke to me again and I tried to kill myself twice because of the silence. No one wants to talk to a rape victim. They don't know how to sympathize and they are too afraid to get out of their comfortable little bubble even to stop some poor girl from slitting her wrists in the tub. Right now if you are talking to this boy, seeing him, being with him, don't stop. If things get too messy and you need to leave, make sure to clean up your mess and get this kid a therapist. Hell, get him one now. Get him a fucking cat for all I care. The kid needs a warm body to talk to, and make sure he has one whenever he needs it. What the hell are you still doing in here?"

"Thank you Ms. Delesseps."

---

It was her frank analysis/demand that made me stop at Aaron's apartment on Sunday, and I had a really good time. I had been afraid that all that was really holding us together was the circumstance of me bringing him into the hospital, and that in real life we would be total opposites.

I had still been holding onto this fear when he brought up how excited he was for the 'Firefly' Marathon on the SyFy channel this Wednesday. It would start at eight in the morning and end at eight in the evening, and it would include several episodes that had never been aired. Firefly was my favorite show ever.

We gushed like fangirls over how awesome the show was, and about how much we had loved watching it as teenagers. Then we talked about which characters we liked best. I liked Wash and Zoe, He liked Wash and Kaylee.

"But to be perfectly honest, even though he was a complete asshole, and just the comic relief in most of the episodes, I always had a huge crush on Jayne."

Right then and there, he looked so cute with his mussed hair, fawning over my favorite things and embarrassed about crushing on the biggest, hairiest guy in the series. I could have leaned in and kissed him, right on those perfect full lips that were still bruised from his brutal attack.

"What about you? Who did you like?" He looked genuinely curious.

"Simon, duh!"

I did a little hand-flop with a ridiculous little gay-voice thrown in.

Aaron laughed so hard that he nearly choked on his chicken curry.

---

One thing that had always made dates awkward for several of my (straight) friends and my (straight) brother, was that there was such a limit of imagination. I listened to my brother complain that he really liked this girl at school, but he didn't have money to go to a restaurant, and there were no good movies playing. I think that a creative and well-thought out date by my brother's standards was going bowling.

All through growing up I heard about my brother and his straight friends fumbling through what seemed like the most boring dates ever. Except for the obvious, (i.e., them getting way more sex and acceptance then I ever would...), I never envied them one bit, and promised that if I was ever in charge, that I would try to make varied and interesting outings that would only be 'dates' in the sense that two people who cared for each other were hanging out together.

It went so well!

--------AARON--------

When five o' clock got closer and closer, I got nervous and panicky. I had no reason to be, and my rational mind kept telling me to calm the fuck down. First I got dressed in slacks and a button-down shirt, and then I remembered that he told me to wear something casual, but kind of nice, so I took off the slacks and I put on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, then I gave a frustrated cry and tore off those clothes because they were too sloppy, and I nearly had a little breakdown because I absolutely hated khakis and the way they looked on me.

In short, I was a frazzled little bundle of nerves because of my wardrobe. I had never felt as effeminate and stupid as I did now.

At about fifteen minutes to five, I found a choice of clothes that seemed the least offensive. The jeans were very dark and I liked the way they fit on me, not too tight, but form-fitting. On top I wore a clingy wine-colored sweater with a high neck that hid the remainder of the cruel bruises and bite marks on my neck.

I kept messing with my hair. Daniel had told me that he thought my ponytail was cute, so I kept it in and tried to arrange sexy little flyaways to frame my face. I had always liked the shape of my face, oval and slender.

I carefully and judiciously used cover-up around my eyes. I looked like a fist-fighting raccoon without it. Nothing could be done about red-purple-black nose, as it was too sensitive even for the makeup brush. I considered putting makeup on, but I didn't see the point. I was so swollen up and bruised that it seemed futile to try and make my face pretty.

I put little silver hoops in my ears, and sat on the edge of the bed, eight minutes left and waiting. Some alien had taken over my clock, and the green digital numbers were going abnormally slow. I tapped the clock nervously. I fidgeted, I cleaned my kitchenette, I tapped the alarm clock that was my only clock. I suddenly remembered that I would need to take my pills. I rummaged around in my junk drawer and found a little black cylinder. It was one of those tiny plastic containers that they used to hold rolls of developed film before digital cameras. I put my night-pills in there. The yellow lozenge of the pain pill, the pink and white plastic tablet filled with powder, and the white compressed-powder disc that I took for the Chlamydia. After a moments thought, I also put in a blue breath mint, just in case.

I looked down at the little assortment of various chemicals in pill form, and suddenly felt a wave of depression. I had a narcotic and two antibiotics next to a blue-speckled Altoid in hopes that I would be able to give Daniel a kiss, a real kiss. It seemed so incongruent, and so hopeless. Just so messy. I hated Mr. Rapist with every piece of me.

Just as the tears were welling up in the corners of my eyes, I heard a brisk knock on the door. The feeling in my chest was like my heart had grown wings and was trying to burst out. I ran to the door and opened it, wiping away tears and patches of flesh-colored makeup.

Daniel was standing there, looking just as nervous as I had been minutes before. He was wearing faded Levi's with copper rivets, a black shirt unbuttoned enough to show a white undershirt and a few curls of chest hair. His hands were shoved in his pockets and his coarse strait black hair was in a ponytail pulled back from his face. He smiled and from and instant he went from looking nervous and tough to looking sweet and a little shy.

I felt my breath catch in my throat. He didn't feel good about his body, but I felt warm and a little aroused by the way his broad shoulders strained the fabric, just a little. I liked the way those faded Levi's fit on him, front and back, and the sight of the shirtsleeves rolled up a little to see those muscular forearms made me gasp a little.

We stood there in the doorway for a moment, just checking each other out, and then we realized what we had been doing and burst out laughing.

"You look fantastic." I whispered, feeling inevitable heat rush up my neck into my cheeks and ducking my head, unable to look at him for a moment.

"Thanks Aaron, you don't look half bad yourself." He was kidding a little, but I could tell that he really meant it. Bruised face and all. "Wanna come out to the car? I have some fun stuff planned for tonight..."

He went on as we walked to the car, I just liked to watch him. His talking about the evening gave me an excuse to keep looking at his beautiful body, and wonderful face.

---

I loved just being around Daniel. I would have agreed to hang out with him anywhere, jury duty in the middle of the night, slumming at a McDonalds, anywhere. But the evening that he had planned out was really fun.

He told me about how boring dates had been for his brother, so he tried to be creative. The first place we stopped at, was a bowling ally called Heroes. We didn't go there for the bowling, we went for the Lazer Tag.

We went up against a team of eight steely-eyed teenage boys with us, four steely-eyed teenage girls, a boy scout troop leader with a heavy gut and a nasally voice, and a ten-year-old girl with a cast on her ankle.

We kicked their asses.

The troop leader was always getting shot, and trying to be the general and give out nasally orders, but the teenage girls were dead serious, and as effective as Marines. The girl with the ankle cast was a natural sniper, hiding in a corner and picking off the boys over and over again while they didn't know who was shooting them.

Me and Daniel bumbled around, shooting, shouting lines from old war movies and laughing hard enough to bust a lung. We probably got shot more, because they could always hear us laughing, but we went back to back, and when one of our suits powered down the other covered them while they ducked down to avoid fire.

You lost ten points for every shot fired and gained five hundred for everyone shot and lost four hundred for everyone on your own team shot. At the end of the game we had beaten them by about ten thousand to eight thousand.

We went out of the game, exhausted and giggling. We had both stripped down to our undershirts, his a beater and mine a white t-shirt and both were kind of sweaty. We went to the bathroom to cool off with damp paper towels before putting our outer shirts back on. We ate at the little diner inside the bowling ally.

I couldn't take my eyes off of him while he wiped himself off. The fistful of wet towels in his hand sopped up gleaming tracks of sweat on his bronze skin, and left the skin clean and gleaming faintly. I had the sudden urge to lean in and smell him, but I blushed at the impulse and didn't act on it. I just kept my eye on him as he bathed, and enjoyed the warmth of his shy glances.

I had never been on a date so openly. My one boyfriend, Bryce, he had been terrified of being seen in public. I had felt a little hurt at the time, but later, I found out that he and a former boyfriend had been badly beaten by a policeman when they had held hands while walking.

I had to be inconspicuous with Daniel too. It seemed to be one of the unspoken rules of being gay, even of being openly gay. We talked and giggled, but we didn't really dare hold hands or flirt overtly. We still got a few strange looks, and a few of the girls on our team had known, if not the boys. We had a more subtle way of flirting. It must have been obvious to anyone who knew what they were looking for, but we did things in little secret ways.

He passed me the large Sprite we were sharing, and our fingers touched. We always looked in each others eyes. I licked a bit of ketchup off of my thumb and touched my thumb to his fingertip when I passed back the drink. The meal, at a bowling ally, eating fries and chicken strips and mozzarella sticks and a greasy fish sandwich, was more sensual then any meal I had eaten with Bryce in public or private.

---

I guess I was being too harsh with Bryce though, we're all human. Bryce had been raised in a family that was not just Christian, but Mormon. On the outside he was a happy gay atheist, but just under the surface he was still a scared closeted boy who was terrified to be seen with a boyfriend where potential bashers could see.

What some would call his flaws, that's what attracted me to him. I was shy and terrified of sex. I wanted to have it, yes, but I always tensed up and sometimes freaked out whenever Bryce got too close. It was like a sexual form of claustrophobia. I thought that since he had been raised in such an unforgiving family and had been deep in the closet for so long, that he would be forgiving if I was painfully slow and frightened when it came to actual physical contact.

I had been right, but only for a while. We had both underestimated how bad I was. Technically we had been dating for a few months, but our pitiful attempts to get me to relax lasted three weeks.

I had no problem kissing, and I spent several hours kissing during those weeks. Endless sweet kisses and shushes and muffled whimpers. Endless cautious gropings that were swiftly withdrawn, endless cold showers and muffled sobs. He tried to do it methodically at first, get me used to taking off my clothes in front of him. He would take off his shirt, I would take off mine, he would strip out of his pants, I would nervously kick out of mine. He would strip out of his underwear and I would begin to hyperventilate and have a silent panic attack.

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