by Nix Winter
all rights reserved
The worst kind of lonely is wishing to reach out, to touch, not being able to cross some invisible line in one's own head.
The therapist stared quietly at Vincent. "Why can't you do this thing?"
Alex Vincent didn't want any more medications. He didn't want something that he couldn't explain. He wanted. He wanted something he couldn't explain. "Why should I do this thing?"
"Because it is truly what you wish to do," she said softly, the sound of her pen flowing over the paper almost louder than her words. "You know whom you wish to trust."
"I'll ruin him," Alex whispered, studying the bland white ceiling for all he was worth. "He's too valuable to me."
"Alex," his therapist said, changing the tone of their session, transgressing some boundary that he'd put in place between them long ago. "Alex, you went to Madrid and you nearly chose not to live. Now you are here, but you can't go home. Home is too dark and too familiar with grief. You are brave, Alex. Go to him and ask him to call you by your name. Ask him to go with you into this new place of understanding. As Aretha did in your last book, you want to make that journey on your own, do you not?"
"Ricky is an idiot." Vincent said coldly, but it felt as if he were trying to drown himself, crushing his own heart as he said it.
"We have agreed not to lie to each other. Do you really feel your lover is an idiot?"
"No." Vincent closed his eyes. "I'm going to have a panic attack right now though. We need to cut this session short."
His therapist nodded. "Are you going to do it then?"
The panic attack grabbed Vincent then, tingles up the back of his neck, breath that wouldn't come. He sat up, swung his legs over the edge of the couch and gripped it with both hands. If he wasn't careful, he'd forget how to breath all the way. "I can't live like this!"
"Do you want me to write you another prescription, Vincent?"
"No." He swallowed, closed his eyes and imagined that picture of them, of Ricky so full of life, bouncing like a maniac behind him, imagined Ricky's voice and words and he combed his hair back, great messy blond history. It was hair that he always wrote about, in his novels, people with beautiful hair and beautiful eyes, and beautiful tragic lives that always came out happy by 'The End'. He wasn't like that. Every day he woke up and it still hurt. What he'd done was like a vampire, sucking away any life he might have.
Then there was Ricky pouring life into him, like the sun pouring energy into some damn plant that had been locked in the closet. The sunlight was there. Life was there. He just had to open the god damn closet door!
"How do I open the door? You're so smart. How do I get out of the closet," he asked her, not expecting her to answer or have any idea what he was talking about.
She'd been his therapist for a long time though, and many other clients before Alex Vincent had come into her practice. "Forgive yourself, Vincent. Trust in at least one person."
"Forgive?" He looked up, only then realizing that he'd bowed his head. "Forgive? Alex is dead. Any man I might have been is dead."
"No, he's not. He comes to see me every week at just this time. Trust and forgiveness, Alex. Give someone your name."
It was bullshit and he knew it. And yet, he couldn't live like this. "That's it? That's all you've got to say after all the money I've paid you?"
She smiled, eyes too plain to be in a romance novel, and yet there was something in them that woke something in him, that cracked that door just a little. "Try it."
He stood up then, running thoughtful fingers over the stubble on his cheek. It had been two days since he'd been home. He hadn't even called Ricky, but he knew that his lover would be ecstatic to see him, would rush him and wrap him in his arms. Quite suddenly, he wanted that, wanted Ricky's embrace, his sunlight. "Next week," Vincent said.
Once in his car, Vincent pulled out his phone, dialed the number for Ricky's mobile phone with his thumb. It rang and rang and the light turned green and it rang on more. Each ring was like the light from the crack of the door getting smaller, dimmer. Finally he closed and threw it against the passenger door. Trust? What was trust? He brought his sunglasses forward and hit the gas.
Middle of the day, he hit the on ramp and sailed towards the coast. He didn't know where he wanted to go, or why. He wanted to just to not be here, not alone, not with lies. The panic attack was coming back and he wished it would just kill him, just, something.
Police lights slowed him though and he pulled over, running scenarios through his head. 'Popular Novelist Shot in Police Misunderstanding' 'Formerly Popular Novelist Arrested for Excessive Speeding Tickets.' When the police officer got to his window, he smiled at him and handed him his driver's license.
Then the phone started ringing.
"You can answer that, Mr. Vincent," the officer said, pleasantly smiling before continuing with his ticket.
He didn't want to answer it though. Still he leaned over and picked the thing up. He didn't want to police officer to think he was as upset as he was. 'Novelist Confined in Mental Hospital' was not going to be a headline any time soon. "Yes?"
"VINCENT! Where are you? Oh Vincent! I saw your number and I called right back! Penny had my phone and she didn't answer it! Vincent! Where are you? I miss you so much!"
Vincent held the phone away from his ear a bit as the police officer tried not to laugh. "Mr. Vincent, my wife reads your books and my son has posters with your partner all over his bed room. I have to give you the ticket, but I didn't write it for 102 mpg, only for 85. Would you please give me your autograph?"
"VINCENT? A hundred and two?!"
Vincent groaned, but in that groan, he found the door to the closet open, light filling his space. He found maybe not forgiveness, but a reason to value himself and a trust in his pink haired artist partner. He held up a finger to the police officer. "Ricky, take a week from work, go to the coast with me?"
"Yeah, sure Vincent, anything you want. Pick me up at ComicNow?" Confusion, but acceptance hung in Ricky's voice and whatever was with Ricky's phone, Vincent could hear Penny groaning about needed to finish twenty more pages in the back ground.
"I will be there. I want to talk to you, tell you everything," he said, still holding his finger up to the get the police officer to wait. Silently he added, to Ricky, 'I want to tell you my real name, because I trust you.'
After he closed the connection with Ricky, he gave the police officer two autographs and shoved the speeding ticket in the glove box with the other two. He'd pay them, soon even. Today though, he was going to pay for the sunlight with a little trust.
Depression leaves. The void it leaves comes is just as loud sometimes. Vincent watched the girl make his coffee, but his mind wasn't really following her. His thoughts ran through memories of Ricky.
He started with the first attraction he'd felt. In the park, the energy and excitement, the very life in Ricky had both drawn him and awoke life he'd thought long dead. That first insult had been directed both to the pink haired artist and the young writer that lingered in the shadows of his own heart. It hadn't been about Ricky having talent. In truth, he suspected if the brat had had no talent, that the moment would never have happened between them. That zap of attraction, protection, and insult would not have snapped between them if Ricky had been untalented.
The moment turned in his memory making more facets. He'd shown writing to someone in a park once. Idly, he picked up a coffee stir stick and pulled his sunglasses down over his eyes. That moment in the park with Ricky, that had been a new start.
Of course, it could have all faded away, gone back to the smothering misery he'd had before, if Ricky had not practically killed himself trying to climb up to his apartment building to get in to meet him. Vincent wondered if he'd ever have another rainy night and not think about Ricky, arms out, rain-wet hair in his face, standing below this balcony, screaming his name. That moment in the park though, it was the start of Vincent's darker remembering
How fast old defenses and pain flared, burned through his numb soul, and turned to ashes under the fire that was Ricky's love. Pain had been a constant companion, but Ricky had forced his way into that place in Vincent's heart, forced out the hurt, but not without a fight from the hurt.
Some woman, blond, nicely built smiled at him then, thought she recognized him maybe. He turned away, picking up a mint from the counter, held it up to the clerk and she nodded, that she'd charge him for it. Ricky liked mint kisses.
When he'd told Ricky that he didn't want him because of he sucked in bed, he'd thought it true at the time. Didn't sex just coil around the soul sometimes though? He rolled the mint on his tongue. Ricky made him want, desire, woke his body as well as his memories, made everything messy and too real, clumsy and as he pressed the mint to the top of his mouth, too sweet.
The therapist, his doctor, wanted him to give Ricky his real name, to move away from having his lover call him by the name of his first lover, of the man he'd killed and hated himself for killing for years. Standing in the coffee shop, he found it hard to imagine writing a character who would have his lover call him by the name of a long dead lover, the name of a rapist. How clear things could get in the light of Ricky's fire. Pink fire.
"Mr. Vincent," the girl said, stressing it as if it were the second time she'd said it.
"Yes?" He asked, handing her a couple of notes that paid the bill and then, "Thank you."
Across the street from the café, the afternoon sun was making the ComicsNow building look like it had a halo. Brilliant bronze glass reflected the day like a shroud of redirection, making it almost impossible to see the building directly. Vincent felt a kinship with the building.
The coffee tasted harsh on his tongue. The light reflecting off the windows of the ComicsNow building seemed harsh as well, and he let the rough rejection in it wash around him, reaching to hope and fragile trust instead. He was done with shoving both Ricky and his own heart away. Alex, it was just his name, just such a far distant memory of innocence. Coffee in hand, he pulled his sleeve back and looked at his watch. Half an hour until he could pick up Ricky without getting his lover in trouble, or at least not so much trouble.
Traffic seemed light so he crossed, long steps and a cocky mood, maybe from the sunlight now hitting the back of his neck. The automatic doors opened and he moved without hesitation into Ricky's and Marco's domain. Marco. The need to see his sister's lover took him quite by surprise. It wasn't much of a surprise to find Marco in the elevator when the doors opened.
"Alex," the blond said, a look of concern, anxity on his face, growing quickly into alarm and Alex opened his arms and took him into a hug. "Alex?"
"Marco," Alex said. "Thank you."
"Alex," Marco said, real concern in his voice now. "Is everything alright?"
"Yes," he answered in English, a language that had so many meanings layered on it for him. "Yes, everything is fine. I'm here to pick up Ricky. I'm taking him to the coast."
Marco leaned back a little, his hands taking hold of Alex's shoulders, eyes searching his face. "Where have you been? What's happened?"
Alex smiled, taking his sunglasses off. He wasn't ready to be as easy and open with Marco as the blond man might have liked, but he didn't feel like running either. "A little more time, Marco. Lunch when I get back?"
"Yes, of course," Marco said in that soft voice of his and Alex wondered what kind of art Marco was making these days.
"I have things to say to you, but when I come back."
"Yes, yes, of course. It is so nice to see you so changed." Marco tilted his head and smiled.
Such beautiful eyes, Alex thought, if the world had been different. "When I come back, Marco."
He blinked again. "When you come back. Take Ricky then." He said, as if rather bemused by the change in his friend, confused by it almost, as if the void left by Alex's departed misery left him without really knowing what to do as well. "Things have changed?"
Alex shrugged, but there was that bit of smile at the edge of his lips as he took his sunglasses all the way off. If he said something about pink fire to the Marco, his friend would think him mad perhaps. "When I come back."
Marco turned and watched Alex get in the elevator and Alex watched him as the doors closed.
Somehow he thought it was the happily ever after now, at least in this moment. Stories never went far enough. They never showed what to do after the horror, after the tears. People were just supposed to know how to live, how to breath, how to take the ones they loved in their arms. Nervous now for some reasons he didn't take time to explain to himself, he straightened his hair in the chrome of the elevator.
This time when the elevator doors opened it was Ricky that launched through them. "VINCENT! Vincent! I'm so happy to see you!"
He had no time to see what his singer wore or anything else before the ball of pink fire, of vital life energy had him pressed back against the elevator wall, arms around his neck, lips to lips. Ricky's tongue slipped into his mouth, his fingers into his hair. The doors closed behind him and blindly Alex reached for the emergency stop button. Maybe he couldn't wait till they go the coast.
The trip to the coast was silent. Ricky got more anxious as they went. He loved Vincent. Loved him with all his being, but he was always feeling on the edge of losing him. It upset his stomach, worrying about what it was that Vincent had wanted to tell him.
"Can't you tell me now," he asked, an almost whiny tone in his voice.
"No." Vincent said it coldly, watching the road, trying not to think about how he was going to explain to Ricky what he needed to. It would be so simple. Call me Alex. My name is Alex. It just involved crossing over to trusting Ricky, to showing him his real face, his heart. Being the impeccable prince, writer extraordinaire, cold hearted bastard, well, that, that was just so much easier than being Alex. "Be quite, Ricky."
"I wish we were still in the elevator," Ricky pouted, sticking his arm out the window to catch the air as they went around the corner. Vincent was driving too fast, but that wasn't anything unusual.
"It would be nice if it were always easy and sweaty," Vincent said, kicking himself for the sting in his words.
Ricky looked down at his bare knees, rubbed the edge of one shoe against the other and thought about the pages of manga he wasn't getting done. "Why did you bring me, if I just irritate you, uh? It's been like this for the last couple of months. Stop being mean, uh? If you're building up to tell me something I don't wanna hear, just do it. Don't make me wait. It'll only make it hurt more."
One hand on the wheel, Vincent ran his other hand through blond hair. This had been so much easier in his plans, even hugging Marco had been easier. "I don't understand why this has got to be so hard. Ricky, I don't want to hurt you."
Sighing, Ricky lay the seat back and stared at the sky. "Like you didn't mean to be driving a 102? Vincent, I love you."
"I know you do," Vincent said, turning off the main road, heading towards the ComicsNow beach house.
Suddenly it felt more relaxed off the main road, on the rougher gravel road, just the two of them. Or maybe it was that Ricky had said he loved him, yet again. "I love you too, my brat."
"You do?" Ricky sat up, tripping the lever on the seat so quickly that the seat almost smacked him into the dashboard. "Say it again, Vincent! Tell me you love me again!"
Vincent looked at him out of the corner of his eyes, but pulled the car up beside the beach house and cut the lights. There in the dark they sat, Ricky vibrating in his seat, Vincent shivering deep inside so that it didn't show. "I love you, brat."
"Vincent!" Ricky said, launching himself across the small foreign car. Vincent opened the door and let Ricky almost sail right out the door, but at the very last moment he caught his floating lover and pulled him close, holding him like a bride in his arms as he stepped out of the car, Ricky's arms around his neck. "Say it again, Vincent!"
"Don't call me that and be quiet, Ricky, just for another moment, please."
"Sure," Ricky said, leaning back a little, so blue eyes could look into brown eyes, "You sure you'd okay?"
"I saw the therapist today." Vincent set Ricky down on his feet and walked away as he drew the key from his jacket pocket.
"So you're okay, right? You don't have to take any more medications, right?" Ricky followed along hands shoved in the pocket of his shorts. He wanted the sexual tension back that they'd had in the elevator. He wanted anything but this drain on his feelings. Without warning, Vincent rounding on him, leaving the door unopened and caught him by the shirt, pulling him close, until they were nose to nose.
"My name is Alex. That's my first name. Don't call me Vincent anymore. You're too important to me. My name is Alex."
Ricky tilted his head just a little, their eyes still locked. "Alex," he whispered, leaning closer. Lips to lips, familiar lips, and yet completely brand new. His breath fluttered in his throat, his chest and he rose up on the balls of his feet, one arm going around Alex's back. "Alex. I love you, Alex."
Alex stood on the back porch, watching the waves roll in. The sky was blue, the beach white and the ocean endless. Alex Vincent felt American, felt like he belonged in this picture. Behind him, in their beach house, he could hear Ricky's muffled singing. Alex didn't even have to turn around to see him to know that he was dancing in the kitchen, headphones on, shorts mostly dusted free of sand and no shirt at all. The singing was muffled because Ricky was trying to sing without making any sound and he couldn't hear himself. The music was so loud in those headphones that Alex could hear it all the way out on the porch. Ricky fit into this picture of Alex's life too.
The tide was slipping away, pulling at the wet sand each time it fell back. Alex had expected it to hurt more, this letting go of Vincent, of the shell he'd protected himself with. When he'd torn the photo, dropped it into the ocean that day at the airport a kind of pain had swelled in him, taking the pain that ate his stomach away and banding his heart until his whole body ached. Surviving can break the heart.
Here he was. Ricky loved him. "Hey Brat!"
Pink hair and violet eyes peeked out the open door. "Vin..," he paused, "Alex?"
"So you can hear under those things. I don't know how you manage it. You're going to damage your hearing." Alex turned, leaning against the railing, ocean breeze picked up his hair. "Come here?"
Ricky shoved his headphones off and stepped out on the porch. He was waiting for the other shoe to drop. It showed in the tension in those slender shoulders, the way his feet took an almost defensive posture.
"It's my fault," Alex said, tilting his head, taking in all of Ricky, from the sun burn started on his shoulders and nose to the way his knee had started a very slight nervous twitch. "It's my fault you're nervous now. It was because I had to be Vincent and no one can really have Vincent, no one could love him."
"But I love you, Vi... Alex. I love you, Alex." Ricky said, looking if anything a little tenser now.
Alex Vincent had never backed down from anything. He hammered his plots until they worked, he forced smiles and faced people who despised him because he didn't live the straight fairy tale everyone seemed to want for him. He'd survived that hurt. He'd faced the grief he felt over the real Vincent, the really dead one, once he'd made the decision to live. "I know you do, Ricky. I love you too."
"Alex!" Ricky nearly screamed before
Alex found himself wrapped in blue eyed comic artist. "Say it again, Alex!"
"I love you," Alex repeated as he scooped his lover up in his arms. One arm under his knees, the other hugging Ricky close, "I want to put lotion on your shoulders. You're going to burn as pink as your hair."
"Is it going to be lemon flavored lotion," Ricky asked, nuzzling Alex's shoulder. Lemon, in the manga, graphic novel world, meant sex scene.
"Not really." Alex said as he set Ricky down on the bathroom counter and opened the medicine cabinet. "I just wanted to talk, about, uh, why I'm such an asshole sometimes."
"It doesn't matter, does it? I mean, just be nice from now on." Ricky smiled, but it only lasted a moment before it twitched away. "Alex, it feels weird to call you that, but if you wanna talk, we can talk about whatever you need to. I'll listen."
"Vincent's dead, I stabbed him." Alex said, feeling that band tighten around his heart again. Outside on the porch, he'd felt so good, so much like he belonged. Now, now he wondered if he could trust Ricky at all. The world wasn't fair, giving him a lover he loved with all his being, but maybe couldn't trust. "And then I couldn't let him die, even though, he was already dead. He was my lover."
"Why? Alex, why did you stab him?" Ricky asked. His voice had lost that summer at the beach lightness, had lost some element of frivolous Ricky.
There it was. The Big Thing Between Them. They'd been dancing around it, from the day Ricky had showed up in the park that night, from the screaming for him outside his apartment. It was between them, this history of Alex's. Not that Ricky didn't have his own history, his own share of bruises that Alex could feel responsible for too.
Bottle of lotion in on hand, hip against Ricky's knee, Alex laid his head on Ricky's shoulder. Ricky wrapped an arm around Alex's back, and they both looked at each other in the mirror because they couldn't look at each other directly.
To be raped is to be told in a language so deep that the soul understands even if the mind doesn't, to be told that you are less than worthless, that your pain brings another pleasure. Ricky brought his fingers up and combed them through Alex's hair.
It was a hole in both their souls. A hole too large to cross, as they stared at each other. Tears came easily to Ricky, as if blue could slide right down his cheek.
"Alex," he said the name slowly, as Alex's fingers came up to touch the tears on Ricky's cheek. "We were talking about trust earlier, and you said I should call you by your real name. You gave me your name, I'll show you my heart, my whole soul, every thing I am."
"You always do, Ricky," Alex said, bringing his fingers back to his mouth and licking the tears away. "I know what that bastard did to you."
"How do you know," Ricky asked, his voice gone deadly thin. "The photos?"
"Never developed. No one will ever see them," Alex promised. "I know, because I see myself in you. I see it in the way you wince in your sleep. In the way you freeze when we make love. I see it in the way you struggle to write. Now listen to me, please."
"Okay," Ricky squeaked, his knees drawing together even as he held tighter to Alex.
"I thought, just now, when you asked me about lemon lotion, if I trusted you or not. I thought maybe I had a choice, but I don't. I trust you more than any one I've ever known and if I can't show you my whole heart and soul then I'll never show them to anyone."
Ricky blinked, bits of information finally catching up to one another. "That's why you stabbed him. Because he raped you?" Color drained from Ricky's cheeks as he said that and Alex reached up to touch his face again, caress his cheek.
"I didn't plan it. He raped me and he had a knife," Alex said, eyes closing, then opening back as if the dark were too present. His words sounded to him like something on a late night talk show, something cheesy and unbelievable. "I got the knife away from him. Just one of those stupid kitchen knives. I Marco covered it up. I came back to Seattle."
"Alex," Ricky said one hand holding Alex's hand to his face.
"Do you know how I learned that I wasn't," Alex couldn't say it, couldn't say or find a word that meant dangerous, worthless, vile, diseased.
"How?" Ricky asked, like he wanted to know the answer too.
Alex pulled back and took Ricky's chin between his fingers, looking directly into his eyes. "Because when you were raped, I loved you just as I had. What he did to you did not change how valuable you are to me, how precious and innocent and creative you are… I love you just exactly the same. So I began to understand that what happened to me didn't ruin me either. Can you really love me, knowing I was raped by my first lover and that I stabbed him to death? Really look me in the eyes and love me?"
"Alex," Ricky started, laying a finger over Alex's lips. "I thought a part of me died that night. Just stopped. I didn't know how anyone could hate me that much, that I had to have done something real bad, and at first I thought it was because I loved you so much and that it was wrong for me to, to love you, cuz you were a guy. Marco said it was my fault that you went away and I should have," Ricky stopped talking eyes dropping until Alex's finger lifted his chin.
"Did you think about dying?"
Ricky grimaced his nose wrinkling, "No. I mean, I thought I ought to consider that. It would have honorable. But mostly I just kept thinking I'd be okay if you were near me. I'm bad and greedy."
"So am I," Alex said sliding his thumb over Ricky's lips. "I have no right to desire you, to want the pleasures of life. From the moment I met you in the park, the safe numbness I'd been hiding in has faded. Now I either trust you and I learn to live, or I shut down, and I'm lying to myself if I try to believe I have any other options. I love you and that love pulls trust out of me like some happily ever after in one of my books. Don't be angry at yourself for what happened in the garage anymore, Ricky. It wasn't your fault and it doesn't change how beautiful you are to me, how precious. Do you trust me?"
A silence settled between them, with Ricky reaching to touch Alex's face, trace the track of tears he hadn't cried. "Alex," Ricky whispered, "I do trust you and if you say it didn't make me ugly or bad, I believe you. It's not just how my heart got hurt by what happened. It's that it hurt. It tore and I screamed and it hurt." Fresh tears burned down his face and from Alex's eyes as well. "You have to trust me that it's not about you, when I pull away, or when I freeze. It's not about you, because I want your touch, I live for it. I trust you and I crave you."
Alex found his smile again, just a small smile, he reached up and brushed his fingers trough Ricky's hair. "It's this living thing, makes me feel alive when I think about you. I did something auto-erotic once while reading your comics."
Ricky blushed, then laughed, chin to his chest, giggling.
"Come here, let's go watch the sun set," Alex said, pulling Ricky from the counter as the smaller singer wrapped his legs around Alex's waist, his arms around his neck. As Alex carried him back out to the porch, Ricky's head on his shoulder, he promised, "I'll kill anyone who hurts you again."
"No," Ricky said, rubbing his cheek against Alex's, "Just trust me. I can heal from anything, as long as you still think I'm wonderful."
The sun was golden, red, the beautiful Pacific sun over the ocean as Alex sat down on the porch steps. To compliment Ricky so openly, was to say that maybe he wasn't stupid, maybe he was right about Alex being worth being loved. That made him take a couple of slow breaths. "I will always think you're wonderful, brat, my wild little pink haired lover. I will trust you like the Earth trusts the sun, and I'll orbit around you forever."
"Hey," Ricky sat up, then shyly, almost as if he was kissing Alex for the first time, "You be the sun, I'll be the Earth. Cuz you're all golden and I got an Earthy mind."
"Dirty mind," Alex corrected, "Very dirty."
"Whatever," Ricky said, slipping off Alex's lap to sit beside him, holding his hand as they watched the sun slip into twilight. "What if I always flinch, when we have sex?"
"I'll love you and trust you if we never have sex again and I'll be happy so long as we wake up next to each other and you smile at me." He squeezed Ricky's hand slightly, avoiding his lover's searching look.
"If we never have sex again, we'll wear out my collection of your books."
Laughing, Alex teased, "I thought you used Gackt CDs."
"Hey! I have your books on CD. That works good." Ricky laid his head against Alex's shoulder. Alex laid his head against Ricky's head. "Alex."
"Thank you for trusting me."
It was all there between them. It had to be for this moment. Ricky turned in the hall way that lead to the bedroom. Alex paused. If memories could be photos, sit on the desk, this the one he'd want. Ricky smiling so brightly, a smile that took up half his face. Shirt off, shoulders sunburned, just loose gray shorts and sandy feet, Ricky backed down the hall, hair shaking as he laughed. "Alex! Make love to me!"
Ricky had the most beautiful voice. Along with the happy, very much alive man who was his lover, today, Alex could see, as if it were a superimposed image, the battered and emotionally desperate boy screaming in the rain. They didn't have to be separate. The one did not represent the death of the other.
Alex closed the distance between them, planted his hands on the doorframe, leaning just enough that golden eyes could look right into violet. Ricky's giggle was so clean, so true to him, so deep into him, that Alex felt as if Ricky's laughter could ripple across his own soul, could reach to the boy he'd been so many years ago, so lost and hurt. Lips brushing against Ricky's ear as he spoke, kissing softly, even with his words, "How do you do it, reach so fucking deeply into me, make me into the boy I was once?"
Ricky's fingers slipped under the untucked edges of Alex's shirt, moving over pale skin, skin and body that time had passed over in some breath holding way. "Alex? I'm just me, just who I am. Do you want me to be different? I could try. I could take up writing travel journals, or something."
Hoarse, voice low and razed by emotion, "No. I want you just as you are, brat," he growled as he lifted Ricky from his feet with one hand. One arm around Ricky's waist, he held him close, carried him. "Whatever you are for the world, be yourself for me. I need you," Alex planted one knee on the bed and laid Ricky back on it, arm still under him, pinning him with his body. "I need you, Ricky. I need you as if I'll never find my way back into the light without you."
"Alex," Ricky purred, no more the innocent youth, the man just out of home, but wiser in ways than his lover, less weathered by time though, and the word, three sounds strung together like pink pearls, a spoken kiss, "Alex, I want you."
Alex lifted him with that one arm under him, drew him further up into the bed. They made love; five or six times a week, if one of them wasn't out signing books or too tired. There were so many ways to touch and pleasure a lover. There was one particular thing they had not done since Ricky had come screaming in the rain and Alex had found the bruises on his lover's body. Then they'd coupled, joined, even though Ricky cried in pain and held on for dear life, and Alex had died inside to do it. Nine months later, they had not crossed that line again.
Ricky had offered, begged, seduced, and Alex had distracted, refused, firmly offered other ways to share pleasure. At first it had been Ricky's fear that if he didn't, couldn't give that to Alex that he'd lose Alex's love. Then it had been a fear that Alex thought he was broken defiled, disgusting somehow. Nine months was too small a time to come so far forward, but this day had been special. Alex kissed Ricky's lips, sucked the lower one in between his teeth, licking at it as the smaller man purred, moaned, and wiggled out of his shorts.
Alex had moved onto Ricky's throat as a Ricky moved on to unbuttoning his shirt, getting still more innocent than skilled fingers over skin that Alex thought had turned to marble over the years. "No, I don't want that."
Ricky groaned and lifted his head to kiss, work over Alex's ear. "Okay, what do you want?"
"You take me."
Stillness. Ricky fell back to the bed, and Alex pulled his arm out from under Ricky, one hand resting to either side of Ricky's head. Now that was something they'd never done. "Alex?"
"You heard me," Vincent Alex said, lowering himself so they lay chest to chest. "Do you want to?"
Ricky bit his lip, hooking one leg around Alex's knee, as his fingertips reached up to slide across Alex's blond eyelashes. "You're crying."
"I'm scared." Alex said, the most vulnerable moment of his adult life.
"We don't have to. I'm ready, really, for you to take me though."
Alex drew a slow breath, and one teardrop fell on to Ricky's cheek, rolled down into pink hair. "No, I'm ready and I've waited longer. I'll talk you through it."
"Okay, Alex," Ricky said, knowing that Alex would be able to feel his erection through his pants. "You talk me through it."
"No one has," Alex said, leaving unspoken the scary part, "Not since Madrid."
"I like it when you touch me with your tongue," Ricky suggested, offering.
"Want to start with that," Alex asked.
Ricky nodded. "Want to wash a little and I'll light some candles & warm up the oil?"
Alex nodded and rolled off the bed. "Shower too. You've got sea salt everywhere."
"You're so mean!" Ricky teased, now on his hands and knees.
Shirt open, Alex needed two steps to close back to Ricky and catch his chin between his fingers, to kiss him firmly, controlling. "That mean enough for you?"
Ricky melted, lay on his back, arms hanging over the edge of the bed, head too, as he watched Alex walk towards the bathroom. "Damn, how am I supposed to think, let alone shower after a kiss like that? I could just lay here and float for hours!" If it had been anime, lavender hearts would have floated over Ricky's head, he would have poured off the bed into a boneless pool of Ricky in pink and glitter.
"You'll find a way, if you want to get laid. Use the shower outside. I'm using the one here." Alex said, shutting the door, his voice too tender to really be angry.
The shower outside was cold, nothing more than a way to rinse sand off before going inside and Ricky hopped from foot too foot, making little howling noises as he was being careful to wash every place. There were some parts of his body that never got used to cold water!
When he let himself back into the kitchen, he found a thick fluffy pink towel waiting for him. Slowly, drying off and chasing goosebumps, he went back to the bedroom.
Alex had beat him back and now lay in the center of the bed, on the sheet with the rest of the covers folded and laid over the back of the computer chair. A candle burned on either nightstand. The small candle was warming the oil in their special little warmer thing. Alex lay in the middle of the bed, a fact that Ricky need to think about again, to get his mind around that he was going to penetrate his lover for the first time.
Blond hair on black satin sheets, pale legs bent, spread wide, casting shadows over the golden hair around Alex's soft cock. "Oh, Alex, if you know," Ricky said, crawling onto the bed, on his hands and knees, leaving little drips of cold water. "If you don't want to."
"Ricky, I want to." It was said in a growling enforcer voice, the one Alex got when he'd made up his mind to finish a story at three in the morning after being up trying for days. Which only made the doubt in his next words more painful for Ricky to hear, "Unless you don't want to. Do you want me?"
Ricky knew that doubt, fear, and he soothed as best as he could by blowing on the inside of Alex's thigh, down towards those shadowy blond curls around Alex's privates. "I want to, but you're going to talk me through it, right? I wouldn't do a thing until you tell me."
"Touch my hair, there, you know my pubic hair," Alex said, sounding younger and less sure of himself than Ricky had ever heard him. "With your fingers."
Kneeling between Alex's bent knees, Ricky let his fingers brush the top of Alex's pubic hair, as soft as he'd brushed his wet eyelashes. "Like this?"
"Yes, but deeper, really touch, but don't touch my penis." Alex grabbed a pillow and propped himself up more, fingers nervously combing into his damp blond hair.
Ricky buried his fingers then, separated damp wet pubic hair, and combed it up. "It's very soft. It's so pretty, blond pubic hair. I wish mine was pink."
"Yeah? No dying that. Think about getting bleach on your balls," Alex laughed, imagining a screaming, howling Ricky, yelling, "My balls, my balls!"
"What are you imagining?" Ricky asked, curling blond pubic hair around his finger.
"You don't want to know, just don't bleach your pubs" Alex said, smiling adoringly at Ricky.
"Wouldn't have to bleach yours to make them pink. Can I kiss them?"
"Yes, kiss, but don't touch me," Alex let his words fade off, expecting Ricky to understand. "You can dye me pink there, next time you're going to some convention and you'll be gone a week."
Pubs held between his lips, Ricky looked up, eyes wide with surprise, imagining his worst fear, Alex with a female fan, the woman's eyes bugging out as she screams, 'You're pink down there!' Laughter caught him making him spit out hair, except for one that got on his tongue.
"What?" Alex snarled.
"I'll tell you if you tell me," Ricky offered, words mumbled as he chased one blond hair around in his mouth.
"Maybe later," Alex dodged, "When you're done chasing my hair, stick your tongue up me."
The sheer naughty vulgarity of it made Ricky's cock twitch, his belly tighten and he forgot about the hair, was back on his knees, fingers parting Alex's cheeks as the blond shifted, offering himself.
The skin wasn't like Ricky had expected. It was soft, smooth, folded over and gathered, tasting like Alex, like Alex's cheek or the back of Alex's neck, only his tongue slipped easily inside his lover. It was warmer inside and tasted like soap, slightly bitter, like Alex's weird French soap. Ricky didn't pull away though, because he was afraid Alex would think it was because of Alex, not the soap, so Ricky just closed his eyes, his forehead resting against Alex's soft scrotum, and thrust his tongue deep into the man he loved more than he could ever put into any story.
Alex's fingers caressed his hair, oblivious to any dark roots that might be there, caressing right into Ricky's heart and soul. "Oh, that does feel good," Alex said, comfortable. "Stop now."
Ricky pulled back, licking, once at Alex's ass, before Alex tensed and Ricky realized he hadn't been told it was okay to do that. "Sorry."
"Is okay," Alex said, but Ricky could hear the tension. He waited, doing nothing, just waiting.
"Sit up and put oil on yourself," Alex instructed, holding the warmed ceramic bowl of oil on his bare belly. "I want to watch you stroke yourself."
"Okay," Ricky said, dipping his fingers right into the oil, which dripped over Alex's belly, weighed down a few blond hairs. It made Ricky moan as he trailed oily fingers down his own cock. He wasn't as big as Alex and that had given him issues for a while, but in the end, like he didn't care if Alex wrote for books that appealed to people who wanted to compare it to the Iliad or for him and his comics. Anything Alex wrote was good. What mattered was the total amount of cock between them not who had the most, and that logic he'd never shared with his brilliant writer lover.
The oil and his slow movements up and down his own cock drove out all thought as he rubbed, thumb rubbing at the sensitive spot where his head made a little V.
"Have you ever thought about fucking me," Alex asked, fascinated by Ricky's fingers. "I like your dark hair. God, you're beautiful."
Ricky moaned, fingers all the way around himself, stroking slowly to his dark hair, then back up.
Crying again he sat up, caught Ricky by surprise, hand at the back of his head, as he drew him into a kiss, busted his lip on Ricky's teeth and got blood in their mouths, but refused to let go the kiss. Lip already swelling by the time he let Ricky go; he sniffed back tears. "Okay, put a finger inside me, a finger that you touched yourself with."
Ricky didn't argue or point out that Alex's lip was swelling, just leaned over and slipped a pointer finger into him, circling outside at the first, then pressing and sliding easily into the heat, the soft flesh that closed around him. His eyes went wide. "You're so hot inside!"
"So are you, hotter than any woman I ever did."
"Ouch," Ricky said, head lowering a little, until Alex caught his chin and lifted his eyes back up.
"I love you. I love you, Ricky and I will never make love to anyone else as long as you want me."
"I'll always want you." Ricky said, his lips lifting in a smile. "I busted your lip."
With a slight lisp, Alex whispers. "I know now put your cock in me."
"Put a pillow under your ass?"
"You too short little boy?"
"You're such an asshole, Alex!" Ricky said grabbing a pillow and smacked him with it, before shoving the pillow under Alex's now oily bottom. "Don't you want two fingers, scissors, you know, like you do to me?"
Alex said, eyes twinkling with laughter. "You're not as big as I am."
Ricky grimaced, inching forward on his knees, cock bouncing until Alex caught it and aimed it down. The first hit was right between the back of Alex's scrotum and his entrance and it was hard. They both looked at each other, Ricky feeling small and worried, and still hard enough that he could bite something. Alex was soft still, but he touched Ricky's cheek. "I'm never going to let you drive."
"I," Ricky said, then stressed the next couple words, "am not the one with a glove box full of speeding tickets!"
"Oh," Alex leaned back, relaxed, "you know about those?"
Ricky rolled his eyes. "I paid them," he said, voice very low, but the head of his cock was now pressing at that puckery oiled skin, circling as his finger had. "So many nerves at the tip! Did they just get there?"
"No, brat," Alex snarled, somewhat pissed that Ricky had paid his speeding tickets, "You've just had your brain in your ass not your cock! Ahhh!"
Ricky had slipped inside the ring of muscle. "Relax, Alex, like you told me, breath, relax."
"Did I say that?" Alex hissed, rolling his hips a little, reaching out to take a handful of Ricky's pink hair. "What else did I say?"
After that brief pause, Ricky pushed farther in, Alex's flesh closing in around him, hot and slick and, "How talk now..." buried all the way in, he closed his eyes and tried not to just cum, right there and then! "I think you said I should stop whining cuz it didn't hurt that badly."
"I said that? I'm an asshole." Alex tugged on Ricky's hair, pulling him closer.
"It does start feeling better, Alex, want me to stop?"
"You must love me a lot," Alex said, his other fingers caressing over Ricky's face the way a blind man might to memorize a face.
"No, you said that too, 'do you want me to stop'" Ricky said as he kissed Alex's fingers.
"It doesn't really hurt, not like I remember it did. Move, aim forward like I do to you."
"Aim? Fuck, Alex, I can't think that much!" Ricky said, and he felt himself rolled, so he was on his back and Alex was straddling him. "Owww, don't bend it!"
"If I break it, I'll buy it," Alex teased, slowly starting to stroke Ricky with himself, controlling it so that he was the one fucking almost and Ricky was his sweet little uke lover, writhing below him on the black satin. "You're beautiful."
"Aahhhhhhhh!" Ricky groaned, losing his pearls into Alex.
Alex held him, arms around him, holding Ricky's sweating face against his chest as the younger man seemed to pump, and twitch for way longer than he usually did. "Sweet god! Alex! Oh god, every time it backs off, you're still there, around me, oh man!"
"Ricky, you make me feel clean," Alex said, kissing pink hair, even though he could see the very tiny dark roots from this angle, and he knew that was a stupid cliché, but he felt that way, he did. He felt like he'd cleaned himself inside and out today, run pink Ricky through himself like Ricky brand soul floss. "No, you make me all brand new and yet still myself."
Shaking, Ricky reached up to touch Alex's back with one hand then the other, "But you haven't cum yet."
"Damn teenager, is that all you think about?" Alex said, not sounding like he was teasing, though Ricky knew he was. Then they were lying there, and Ricky reached to touch Alex's cock, which had never gotten hard.
"I just wanted something else right now." Alex said, getting up to grab the covers. "I'll take you later, hard, and make you cum again, but let's sleep a little first."
Satisfied, half asleep anyway, Ricky fell into sleep wrapped in Alex's arms. Alex's tears soaked into Ricky's hair, but they were happy tears, tears of freedom and renewal. "I trust you," he whispered, believing it now, as if he could believe in unicorns. "I really trust you."
Ricky didn't hear him, but Alex knew his little comic artist lover knew it anyways, and probably always had.