Chapter one

Wake and Bake

Terry rolls onto his back. I'm sore from his fingers already and he lets out a deep breath in the dark. I swallow hard.

"I'm just not ready," I say by way of apologizing, but I won't say I'm sorry.

"Whatever," Terry grunts. Whatever. I still sucked him off, felt him swell in my mouth, and tasted the proof of whatever this is that we have together.

I get out of bed, out of the room and down the hall, shutting myself up in the bathroom. Sitting on the closed lid of the toilet seat, I jerk myself off, boxer briefs bunched up around my ankles. In the small room, my breath is too loud, bouncing around my head, and when I come the floral wallpaper across from me blurs into shapes of peacocks and men with mustaches.

It's still blurred when I wipe myself clean with too-soft toilet paper and I realize I'm crying. It's 3 AM and I'm crying after masturbating in Terry's bathroom.

Somehow, it feels like this was all inevitable, like I couldn't have been anywhere else tonight but right here.

Wiping my eyes dry, I pull my underwear back up, wash my hands, and head back into Terry's room.

Crying. It's stupid; I know it is.

Terry's asleep when I get back to his room, or maybe he's just faking it, still and silent and not rolling over to throw and arm around my side like he sometimes does.

I consider pulling on my shirt and jeans, wrinkled on the floor beside the bed, finding my keys, and heading home. But the idea of sleeping alone is worse than sleeping untouched with Terry's back a wall between us, so I slide under his blankets once more.

My eyelashes are still wet, clumped together in narrowing points. I pull at them, untangling them and drying them between my thumb and forefinger.

"Good night," I whisper when all evidence of my tears is gone except for a stubborn lump in my throat. My ears ache, straining in case Terry murmurs anything back, but I fall asleep without hearing anything but his deep breathing and frogs outside the window.

We wake a little before ten, me first, restless until Terry groans and rolls over and stares at me as if he's surprised I'm still here and doesn't remember letting me inside in the first place.

Silently, he reaches toward me and I find my body tense, my breath hitch, waiting for him to give me a good morning kiss despite groggy sleep breath, or for him to push my hair back from my eyes, but he barely even grazes my shoulder, picking up his cell from the nightstand behind me.

I listen to the stiff click of his fingers pushing in keys until he glances up at me over the phone. His eyes are what my mom would call mean eyes, like my grandpa's, and right now they're brighter than moments before. I wonder if he's texting someone else he fucks when I'm not available – when he wants someone who will put out all the way.

"That was Luke," he says like he can read my suspicions suspended between us. "His latest harvest is ready to sell."

I picture Luke standing in the dining room of his rundown farmhouse, yawning smoke and scratching his chest before piles of green.

Terry's still staring at me and again I have that fleeting idea he's going to kiss me. He sighs.

"Hey... Eli, are you doing anything?"

"I'm just…lying here, I guess."

"Today. Are you doing anything today? If you're not…how'd you like to give me a ride to Luke's? I'm low on gas and I'll give you a bowl's worth of shit to take home or something." He's propped up on one elbow like guys from the cover of the romance novels my mom read all the time when she was laid off from the sugar beet factory when I was little, but he's less shaped. Less pretty. I used to like that about him but right now it disappoints me. "How about it?"

I've been to Luke's twice before, once with Terry to pick up some dope, like today, and for a New Year's Eve party last year, and each time I've regretted going.

But Terry's leaning forward to place almost pleading kisses on my lips, really this time, and I close my eyes so I can roll them without him noticing. I know what he does. I know how he tries to manipulate me.

I still say yes.

When we get up and get dressed, fifteen minutes later, we dress without looking at each other, backs turned, suddenly modest outside of the comfort of the bed, modest despite the mutual hand jobs that brought us to release just moments ago.

I laugh softly while I'm buckling my belt and he glances over his shoulder at me, eyebrow raised.


Shaking my head, I don't know what to tell him. "Just felt like laughing."

He doesn't press me for more information, just gives me a gentle push toward the bedroom door, and we leave the house without another word to each other.

Luke lives nearby, just a few blocks away. It's hot in my car, the sun soaking into the black interior, but the air outside is cool. Terry cranks up the AC and drums his fingers against the plastic armrest before I can roll down the windows.

The inside of the car is just becoming icy cold when I pull into the long curve of Luke's driveway. A cat dashes in front of me. I tap the brakes even though it's already disappeared across the yard. I glance at Terry. He's staring forward at the house, but I can still see the look on his face that he has whenever I do something he finds some sort of ridiculous.

Luke's car is pulled up next to the house Beside it is another car, his roommate's maybe, a guy I went to high school with and only ever spoke to in PE our junior year.

I park the car and Terry slides out, pausing with the door cracked open and his tall frame stooped so he can peer in at me.

"You coming?"

"I'll wait." I fidget it with the radio.

"I don't know how long I'll be."

It's hot. I can tell already I'm going to be too hot and bored too soon. Letting out a sigh, I twist my keys back toward me and pull them from the ignition. When I leave the car and follow Terry across the muddy driveway to the side door of the farmhouse, I clutch onto the keys as if they'll make my stomach stop swimming. They only put indents in palms.

End chapter one.

I haven't written anything in so long, guys. MAKE ME KEEP GOING WITH THIS. D: I hate not writing, mannn.

Anyway. Chapters will get longer and less angsty the further along this goes. Thanks for reading! Happy June!