Jum

[IN PROGRESS!!] Josh is an American teenager living in London after moving all over the States when he was younger, and determined to make it his home. Meet Michael, the British boy who will help him do so. (BL, some chapters feature explicit content.)

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28. Chapter 21 [1/2]

Chapter 21

In which Josh keeps worrying




I spent the entire evening trying to come down from my high. It was quite freaky, to be honest. I don't really remember what happened between the moment Michael left and Mom got home, but I certainly didn't catch up on my homework… And I had to spend the whole of dinnertime forcing myself not to think about what had happened because I knew my face would go crimson and I'd smile like an idiot for no apparent reason.

I could understand what Michael had tried to say when he'd talked about still being him, but not him. Because that was probably the only way I could have put it. It wasn't like I'd radically changed in the space of an afternoon, and yet something within me was very different. And there was… I don't know, so much peace. I needed to talk about it, I needed to try to put all that into words, but I couldn't bring myself to do it with Mom. It didn't seem right, which was weird, considering the fact that I talked to her about everything. It just wasn't working this time.

So after dinner, once I was back in my room — God, I couldn't look at my bed without feeling my cheeks heating up — I called Jez. The probability of him not being able to answer was high but I tried anyway. If I went straight to answer phone, I'd ask him to call me back whenever he was free, and maybe we could meet up one evening. I wanted to talk face to face, not on the phone.

The phone rang twice and then he answered. "Good evening, you."

"Hi, Jez. You busy?"

"Not just yet, but I am on my way to an appointment. I had to pick up, though, given how rare your calls are. I assume this isn't about arranging a booty call…?"

I felt my face flush almost instantly. "Of course not!"

"So this is a… friendly call."

"Yeah. A guy calling his best friend for a chat. Not that unusual, right?"

"I guess not, although it is for us."

"Yeah," I said with a frown. Something in the way he said it bothered me. "Look, if you don't think we can do this—"

"Josh, remember what I said last time? I think this is going to be good for us. Not like I've really ever had a proper friend… Anyway," he added after a short pause, "what are you calling me for, Mr Best Friend?"

"I was wondering if… if we could meet up one evening this week. If you've got time, that is. We could go out for something to eat, or just a few drinks."

"I don't have my planner with me right now but I know I'm fully booked this week. I'm almost sure I'm free next Monday night, though. Nothing scheduled so far so I can keep that evening free. We can have dinner if you want."

A whole week…? Dammit, I wanted to talk as soon as possible! Hmm, I guess it would have to do. 

"That'd be great. I'll let you chose the place, Mr Picky."

He ignored that last bit but I heard him chuckle anyway. "Will Michael be there as well?"

"Err, no."

"Anything wrong?"

"Oh no! Everything's…" 'perfect', I was about to say. "Everything's fine. It's just— It's a… school night, you know"

There was a pause, and I knew exactly what sort of face he was pulling.

"School night?"

"His parents are kinda… old-fashioned," I said with a sigh, wincing a little inside. "He has to be home before dinner every night unless he has their… permission."

"Oh wow… That kind of parents, huh?"

"Yeah…"

"For his sake, I hope they're not as bad as mine," he said low enough that I had to strain my ear a bit. "I don't suppose they know? About you?"

"No."

"Right. Just the two of us, then. I'll give you a call when I've chosen the restaurant and I'll book a table for… what, half seven, eight?"

"Yeah, sure, either sounds fine. Just let me know."

"See you in a week then?"

"Sure, see you!"

I hung up and let out a sigh. I'd really hoped we'd be able to meet up quickly. Oh well, not like I had a choice, huh? All I could do was bide my time until the following Monday.

I talked to Michael about it the following day, at lunchtime. And yes, before anyone asks, we did look and smile at each other like a couple of proper idiots when we first met up that morning. I hoped that sort of thing was going to stop quickly because I was seriously getting fed up with the giggling schoolgirl act. But Michael seemed… comfortable. Happy. And after what had happened while I was away, that was all I could ask for.

"I'm err… meeting with Jez next Monday. We've arranged to go out for dinner. Well, that means I'll eat and he'll pick at his food," I said halfway through lunch. "I wanted to see him to err… talk."

He looked up and gave me an interesting kind of smile. "Hmm, I think I might need to… talk to Claire as well soon."

"He asked if you'd be coming. And you're welcome to, if you want," I added, realising just as the words came out that I didn't actually want him there. I mean, no, it's not that I didn't want him there, per se, but I knew that I wouldn't be as free to talk if it weren't just Jez and me.

"I… don't think I can," he said right away, so I didn't press the issue.

"So you're… OK with it?"

"With you meeting up with Jez?"

"Yeah."

"Of course I am. Wait, were you… checking with me whether you could or not?"

"Well I just… I just wanted you to know. Didn't want to make it seem that I was doing it behind your back or anything."

He let out a small laugh. "You don't need to do that. We're not joined at the hip, you know. You have your own life here in London when I go home."

"Yeah but—"

"And I don't have a problem with Jez anymore. We cleared all of that up last time, didn't we?"

"I guess."

I don't know, that seemed kinda weird to me. After the fuss last time, I guess I was expecting him to be a bit more reluctant. Or something. But that would be the same thing as me being reluctant about him spending time with Claire, and that just wouldn't be right. I guess we'd indeed cleared it up, like he'd said. So I changed subjects and carried on with my lunch.

When he came home that afternoon, he didn't ask for a repeat of the previous day, like I'd half-feared he would. Don't get me wrong, I still felt that the experience had been positive, but I needed to fully get my head around it before it possibly happened again. I noticed that he seemed… I don't know, clingier than usual, though. We didn't do anything, we just had tea and snacks, enjoyed each other's company and cuddled on the sofa with the TV on while still pretending to be doing homework. And it was lovely and all, but I could still feel that underlying tension in him. I tried to ask, I tried so many times, but the words never came out right so I always ended up awkwardly moving on to another subject. Besides, he did look happy, and I couldn't find it in me to ruin it.

We settled back into our university routine and Wednesday, Thursday and Friday morning went by in a bit of a blur. After the last lesson on Friday, we had lunch at home, did some homework and then spent some time in the Music Room. I played a few of his favourites tunes from my repertoire and he sat next to me the way he always did, with his back turned to the piano, shoulder lightly resting against mine. When the petting and kissing that usually followed me playing for him got a bit too much for me to keep my focus, we moved to my room.

We'd only just hit the mattress that flashes of the previous time came back to me all at once and I found myself suddenly hit by a crashing wave of desire. And when I remembered his blissed out expression afterwards, once he'd come down from our high a bit, I knew what I had to do.

After taking my jumper and T-shirt off and throwing them on the floor, I lay on him and whispered in his ear: "You're going to make love to me again."

The reaction was immediate. "What?"

"Do I really need to repeat myself?"

"No, I heard you. But—"

"Didn't you like it?"

"Of course I did, but I—"

"You don't want to do it again?"

"Don't be stupid!"

"Then there's no problem," I said with a smile before planting a quick peck on his lips and pushing myself off him so I could undress fully.

"Josh, don't—"

"You talk too much," I said with a chuckle, remembering a similar conversation right before our very first time, but with the roles reversed. I think he remembered as well because he smiled and shut up after that.

The next few minutes were spent kissing, undressing and grinding, and I briefly wondered if I would ever stop feeling that jolt of electricity coursing through my entire body whenever I first felt his skin against mine. And of course I hoped that would never be the case, because it was one of my favourite feelings in the world.

Just like the previous time, I stayed in control to start with, and I'm rather proud to say that it did seem a little easier. Since it was obvious that, despite any thought I had on the matter, I'd have to practice the whole riding thing a bit before I was truly comfortable with it, I straddled him only long enough for me to get used to having him inside. My previous reaction to having him on top of me had been bad, to say the least — and I wondered whether I'd ever be able to try other positions, but I guessed we'd see when or if the time came — so I think he was even more careful this time around. I felt a lot more aware and didn't seem to need so many reminders that it was him, but that didn't stop him from kissing me everywhere he could reach and occasionally whispering sweet encouragements anyway. And I'd be a liar if I said I didn't enjoy it.

He also appeared more in control of himself, which allowed us to try to take it a little slower for once. And what do you know, with so much less freaking out — because I can't pretend there wasn't any at all — I was still decently aroused! At one point, he pushed himself off me a little, causing the angle to change and holyshitwhat

"Are you OK?" he asked immediately, going completely still.

I couldn't stop myself from laughing. "Fuck yeah I'm OK!"

"What—"

"Just do that again. Please."

He obliged, hesitantly at first and then slowly growing more confident when the smile that threatened to split my face didn't fade.

Good God! The pain was still very much present, but at the same time there was something I'd never experienced before. And I'm not being overdramatic here; I swear I would have remembered that feeling. I didn't think I could come just from that, but my hand automatically reached down and started pumping frantically. He kept going, doing his best to keep a steady rhythm, and there was no way I was going to last — it was so completely different from the previous time! I released into my fist and over my stomach with a grunt and Michael gave a slightly choked cry before thrusting a few more times and following suit.

Holy shit, that was how it was supposed to be, wasn't it?

I lay there panting for a while, grinning like an idiot and unable to utter a word. Shit, Brendan had really been lousy and I felt so… thankful that Michael was rescuing me from all that.

He threw the condom away and handed me some tissues before lying on his back next to me, shoulder resting again mine, and once my mind got clearer again I knew what I had to do. He was helping me, he was saving me, so it was my turn to do something for him — even though he might not want to.

"Hey," I said without even looking in his direction.

"Hmm?"

"Are we ever going to talk about what happened when I was away? It's been almost two w—"

"There's nothing to talk about."

I sighed and looked at him. "Michael…"

"What? I mean it. You're back, we're together again, we keep having these… amazing experiences," he said with a smile that made my heart swell. "Everything's fine again."

"Yeah but back then—"

"Please."

"See," I said, propping myself up and turning towards him properly, "that's exactly what I'm talking about!"

"I… I can't."

"Come on."

"I already told you everything anyway," he said with a loud sigh. "I was simply upset at my father and uncle."

"That's not all there is to it and you know it. I just want you to talk to m—"

"I don't want to talk because I don't know what to do about it!" he said, raising his voice a bit and throwing his arms over his face to hide from me.

His voice already sounded broken and I suddenly felt very guilty. It was cruel of me to do this, I knew, but at the same time…

"I can't take it anymore," he carried on. "It was bad enough when it was just about hiding my… preferences, and even then I couldn't imagine how I'd ever tell them. But now…"

"The first step is often the hardest," I said quietly.

He let out what almost sounded like a sob and I had to fight hard with myself not to reach out. Not just yet.

"I can't— I just can't imagine telling my dad. He'll be— I don't want to see that look on his face…"

"How do you know it'll be that bad? I mean, he wouldn't throw you out of the house like Jez's dad did, right?"

"I don't know… I don't think so, but I don't think I could—" He paused and let out anothervery shaky sigh. "I couldn't bear being treated like the black sheep of the family… even more than I already am. I just don't know—"

At that point he broke down, and so did my resolve to keep going until we'd actually achieved something.

"I'm sorry," I said, forcing his arms away, kissing his face and wiping his tears. "Don't think about it. I'm sorry…"

 

*


Well I might have told him not to think about it, but, of course, I couldn't stop either. So when Monday evening rolled in, I was more than happy to make my way to Baker Street to meet Jez. He'd booked a table at Pizza Express for half seven so I left home at ten past and went on foot — we'd been ridiculously lucky when Dad had landed an apartment in Portland Place.

When I got there, he was already waiting for me, finishing his cigarette a little ways away from the front door.

"Hey there."

"Hey you," he replied, throwing his arms around my neck and giving me a peck on the lips.

"Jez…"

"Come on, humour me. I'll never get to do anything else with you again so you can allow me that, right?"

"Guess so. At least you're not wearing black lipstick today, thank you for that. And hey, by the way, you didn't have to choose a restaurant around here. I could have jumped on the Tube and met your halfway, you know."

"Oh come on, darling," he said, linking arms with me and pulling me towards the front door, "it's a school night; I have to make sure you don't get home too late!"

I know he meant it as a joke, but I felt my gut twisting a bit. I did my best to hide it, though, and I gave him a playful pinch to distract myself. The waiter took us to our table and we quickly browsed the menu before making our choices. I couldn't go to Pizza Express and not eat their dough balls with garlic butter, so I went for that as well as my favourite type of pizza. Jez, being the sparrow that he was, ordered the type of pizza where they take out the middle of the dough and fill it with salad. It's really designed for people who want lighter options — although, if you really do try to watch what you eat, just don't eat at an Italian place — but Jez never ate the salad. It just meant he didn't have as much dough to go through.

We started the conversation by playing catch-up, talking about what we'd been up to since that day in Selfridges — although, just as Michael had pointed out, I ended up doing most of the talking. I talked about my stay at my grandparents but I didn't mention Michael's troubles. The waiter brought our drinks and the conversation remained quite light until I'd started eating my dough balls.

"So, what is it you really wanted to talk about?" he suddenly said, grabbing one of the dough balls and spreading a generous amount of garlic butter on it.

"Oh come on, don't do that! Get your own dough balls!"

"You know I can't eat a starter and a main course. Besides, they taste much nicer if they're from your plate," he added, grabbing another one.

"But you know I love those!"

"Which is why I'm only eating two," he replied, wiping his fingers on his serviette. "Now come on, tell me. What's the real reason behind this meal?"

"Can't a guy just have a nice evening out with his best friend?"

"Like I've said many times, I believe I know you better than that."

I sighed and put my knife and fork down. I wasn't sure where to start.

"Do you… remember what we talked about last time? In Selfridges?"

He picked up his glass of wine, had a sip — making it look so elegant you'd have thought he was a prince or something — and gave a small shrug. "We talked about a lot of things."

"What… you and I talked about… when Michael left for a while?"

"OK," he simply said, leaning over a little.

"You know what I mean."

"I believe I do. I also believe it would be good for you to say it yourself."

I let out a small whine, but the look in his eyes told me he wasn't going to give in.

"Come on, otherwise I'm taking the rest of your dough balls away."

I closed my eyes briefly and chuckled. "OK… Err, last week, last Monday in fact, Michael and I hadn't seen each other for almost two weeks and err… We'd clearly missed each other and… We had sex," I added, my voice getting increasingly quieter so only he could hear me. "And he— Well I… I asked him to… to take me."

He blinked a few times and then struggled not to smile. "Take you? I've never heard you say that in the… what… nearly three years I've known you. What's wrong with the old F word?"

It was my turn to blink. "First of all, stop trying to get me to swear in public. And second…" I lowered my voice again. "It's not… fucking. It's… God it's so much more than that."

"The old making love?" he asked, giving me a look I couldn't understand before looking to the side. "I wouldn't know anything about it…"

Well, damn, he was talking about himself! "Have you really never been… with anyone you… cared about like that?" I asked, getting sidetracked.

"Never," he immediately replied, straightening up in his chair. "I can't allow myself that sort of thing. Anyway, don't make this about me; we're talking about you here. How did it go?"

I felt my cheeks burning. "It was pretty bad. But he was wonderful, and I made it. I did freak out, but not the screaming-my-head-off-and-pushing-him-away kind of freaking out, you know? And when we did it again last Fri—"

"What?"

I couldn't stop the goofiest smile from stretching my lips. "Yeah, we did, and it was much better. I mean, I don't think I'm a closeted bottom or anything like that," I added, lowering my voice again, "but I feel that I'm finally free from Brendan, you know? I can do it, and I never thought I would say this but… it can feel pretty good."

He gave me a big smile — he looked gorgeous when he smiled; it was a shame he didn't do it more often — and even reached out to pat my hand. "Michael seems even better for you than I thought."

"He is," I said, grabbing one of the remaining dough balls, which by then had gone a bit cold. "I know it sounds cheesy as hell, but it kind of feels as if he's saved me."

That look in his eyes that I couldn't understand briefly came back, but before long it was gone and he was smiling at me again. "I'm glad you found someone like him."

"Yeah well, not as glad as me…"

"That being said, can you please stop wishing he were here right now? Honestly, even though it's nice to see you so in love, you're making me feel… very insignificant right now."

"Sorry, I don't— I'm not wishing he were here. I'm… kinda glad he isn't, actually."

"Are you sure everything's OK?"

"Yeah, it's just— I'm… I'm worried about him…" I admitted, shoulders slumping.

Whereas I'd struggled with my words before, this time they just flowed out of me without any trouble, and I told Jez about everything that had been keeping me worried for the past few weeks. Oh God, I totally verbally vomited all over him… Thankfully, he didn't seem to mind and patiently listened to me until I'd said it all and felt better for it. I hadn't solved anything but at least I'd been able to talk about it properly and I felt that was already a step in the right direction.

So… yeah, Jez had now become my Agony Aunt.

I went to bed with a slightly lighter heart that night, and slept better than I had since that fateful phone call a couple of weeks before.

 

*

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