“What happened, Joel?” His fingers continue stroking my hair…fingers identical to my own save for their callused texture. “Talk to me Joel.” He demands gently, I cry more though and am unable to answer him. I feel like dying now…letting a wave of darkness climb over me, letting it consume me. Anything is better then this…anything.
“Billy…” I sob again as the name escapes my chapped lips, “Left.” He pulls me closer now…closer because there’s nothing else he can do, he can’t bring Billy back, he can’t make him stay. I cry freely into his t-shirt aware that my tears are soaking through the thin material and making his chest wet. Aware that no amount of crying is going to bring Billy back…aware but not caring at all.
“Shhh Joel.” He kisses my head and intertwines his fingers with mine rubbing my palm assuredly with his fingers. “He’ll come back…” I want to ask him how he knows that, how he can be so sure of something like that…but I don’t I just let him hold me letting my thoughts drop away like dew crystals falling from the greenest of grass. Tony eventually returns, he stares at us from his place in the doorway, stares but says nothing or perhaps he does speak…but I hear no sound only the horrible wrenching of my own sobs. I want to take my hand and swipe away every memory now…every memory of him, like one might clean a slate, just erase Billy so maybe it wont hurt so bad. I feel Benji eventually slip out of my arms, he’s talking but his words sound far away as if there is a wall between him and me. I watch his mouth move, the way his brows knit in concern; he stands and walks over to Tony, Tony who is more then willing to pull him tightly to his chest murmuring words I can’t hear. I close my eyes wishing them away, wishing the moment away, when I do open them again its dark in the room, and I realize I must have fallen asleep. I stare at the shadows that play on the walls, shadows cast by the moon’s light pouring in from the windows, I urge them to devour me, fold their dark hands over me and consume me. I hear Benji…his voice identical to my own pours from the kitchen and then Tony’s laughter so full of fucking love I want to slit my throat and maybe his as well.
The kitchen door opens, automatically flooding the room with an amber glow, I close my eyes pretending to be asleep content to listen to the things they say when they are unaware I am listening.
I hear them move over to me and then the weight of Benji as he slips onto the couch and gently pulls me to him. “Joel…” He whispers the words into the silence as he strokes my arm softly to wake me. More then anything I want to say nothing at all…just let the world around me continue without me.
“I should go.” Tony mutters somberly, his solemn tone fitting perfectly with my current mood.
“Baby…” Benji practically whines the word, almost pleading as he says it as if the word has some other meaning conveyed only in his tone.
“Talk to him Benji…I’ll be back later though.” After those words leave Tony’s mouth I hear the familiar sound of lips meeting lips, but it lasts only a moment and then Tony is gone the click of the door my signal of his parting.
I hear Benji say my name again, this time it’s different though, it’s layered with love and as he says it his soft lips press down upon my cheek. “Joel.” He breathes my name into my ear his hot breathe scorching my earlobes. I shift slightly in his arms and slowly raise my eye lids playing the role of someone who has just woken up.
“Benji, what time is it?” I ask as sleepily as my poor acting abilities allow me to. He smiles softly as I ask the question, and his eyes slowly roam to his watch.
“8:00 PM, you’ve been sleeping all day. How are you feeling?”
“Fine.” I let the word fall apathetically from my lips knowing it’s a lie but not caring at all. Of course I could be honest; I could tell him it feels as though my heart has been torn from my chest and unceremoniously ripped apart right in front of me. I could tell him about the cold, the cold that seems to have snaked its way into me devouring the warmth, and all feeling within me. Or perhaps I could tell him about the dark cloud of nothingness that has suddenly clouded my mind, but ‘fine’ is all I say. Fine, and then I slide out of his grasp, pulling away from the only thing left to bring me comfort…Benji.
“Joel…” He sighs and stands reaching for my arm, “You’re not fine, come on, talk to me.” He begs the words, pleads them as if my staying and talking to him is imperative for him to continue functioning.
“It’s okay…I’m fine.” I say convincingly…well no not convincingly, were I convincing at all Benji’s eyes wouldn’t be filled with so much disbelief. I don’t know why I feel the need to pull away, to distant myself from him my own twin, the person who understands me better then anyone else.
“Please…talk to me?”
“Benji…” I slide from his arms and stand up preparing to move out of the room but his hand on my arm stops me. He stands up and lets his hand slowly slide off my arm, his eyes bore into me, I wish they could melt me…destroy me.
“Joel…please.” He begs as he steps toward me his arm reaching out and his rough fingers brushing against my jaw. I shudder at his touch, his other arm snakes around my waist and he pulls me towards him. “Don’t push me away…” He breaths the words onto my lips as his mouth inches closer to my own. I relax in his arms knowing suddenly this is what I am supposed to do, I’m supposed to let Benji comfort me, let him fix everything. I feel his hot breath on my lips and then his wet tongue as it slips across my lips before sliding into my mouth. He tastes like everything forbidden, everything wrong and I love it…I love him. As the kiss ends he slowly pulls away and lets his eyes stare once again into mine and a sad smile crawling across his pierced lips.
”I’m sorry…” He mumbles.
I want to tell him not to be sorry…no…not to be sorry because right now I need him; I need him to hold me to tell me I’m special because otherwise I just might break. “No…” I whisper and lean in letting my lips brush with his almost teasingly, “No Benji…it’s fine.” I let our lips meet and this time it’s my tongue that seeks entrance into his mouth. We kiss; his hands roam my back and slowly slide up my shirt. I imagine he’s Billy, it’s wrong, perhaps its more wrong then the fact that I am kissing him, my twin but somehow it makes the pain less. Besides this is what brothers are for…comforting.
“Joel…” He moans my name into my mouth and pulls me onto the couch. Even as his tongue curls around mine massaging my own, even as his fingers trail down my chest…all I can think about is Billy. Billy with the black hair and painted eyes, perfect Billy.
“Billy…” I gasp the name as Benji’s hand slips into my boxers firmly gripping my cock. His reaction is instant, his hand immediately recoils as if it was burned, slowly he slips off the couch and away from me. He sighs; his brown eyes stare at me, brown eyes now full of disappointment.
“…Just a substitute.” He whispers sadly while shaking his head, “That’s all I am.” He’s hurt, I’ve hurt him.
“Benji…no.” I say quickly but even I can hear the falseness in my own tone. He attempts a smile, a slow sad smile that does nothing to light up his face. “It’s okay Joel…I have Tony anyway.” He shrugs then as if he can shake the moment off, pretend it never happened. I don’t know what to say I look at him and there are a million thoughts swarming my mind but I cant say anything. Part of me wants to yank him back down to the couch, yank his clothes off and cover him in feathery kisses but another part of me just wants Billy…a part of me can think about nothing but Billy. For a moment I wonder where he is, who he is with, is he safe, does he miss me, they’re foolish thoughts I know, foolish because he probably doesn’t give a damn about me and I’m just wasting my time thinking about him at all.
“I’m going to take a shower.” I look up at Benji again and nod slowly and watch his retreating back and then I’m alone, no Billy, no Benji, not even fucking Tony to talk to.
I stand up and walk toward the window, outside the sky is black…black, cold and wet. It’s horribly dreary just like my mood. I wonder if the night is as lonely as I am at the moment, I watch as slow steady rain drops begin to fall, they remind me of tears. I wonder if anyone cares when the sky is sad…
I sit down on the windowsill and gently lean my head against the cold window, I listen to the rain as it falls against the ground; I realize it has its own rhythm, its own cheerless song. It’s beautiful really, the way the droplets dance upon car windows and puddles, they make me think of ballerinas cold ballerinas dancing their death march. A chill coils around me and I shudder and wrap my arms around me determined to gain heat by the action. I stand and walk towards my room, pulling from my closet a warm hoodie I bury myself in the warm article of clothing and then I stealthily sneak out of the house. As soon as I step outside the door the cold rain hits upon me like daggers, cold icy daggers. I however ignore the cold and the rain and continue down my driveway fully aware that I have no destination what so ever, my only real intent being to walk until my legs go numb and the feeling in my body disappears. Wind lashes at my face practically burning me with its smooth invisible edges, the concrete at my feet is full of puddles which nosily splash up onto my dickies as I walk.
This is where I deserve to be, in the cold, in the rain, wet and alone.
Fog engulfs the path in front of me and blindly I continue to walk, by now my clothes are drenched and my fingers are all but frozen. I’m so busy with my thoughts on the coldness and my own alones that I don’t realize the car that pulls up beside me. I stare at the car in confusion not knowing whether to keep walking or confront the driver. As I stare in bewilderment the passenger window rolls down and a voice emerges from the car.
A voice I thought I would never hear again.
Billy…he’s all I can think about now as I slowly inch closer to the car and reach my numb hand to the passenger door handle. I can’t comprehend why he is here, or why he would even stop for me. I can just imagine how I look right now, clothes wet, eyes bloodshot from all my earlier crying. I almost want to wish him away, afraid that his seeing me like this might make him realize the true extent of my ugliness.
“Joel…” He says my name again reminding me all over again how perfect his voice is. “Come on.” Obediently I pull the door open, instantly the light goes on in the car and I am able to see him. I freeze instantly, suddenly capable of doing nothing but staring at him. He looks at me from his place in the driver’s seat, his long fingers wrapped around the steering wheel. I try to tell what he’s thinking but as usual his stare gives away nothing. Rain continues to pour down as I stand there staring at him, the cold droplets run down my face stinging my eyes, I blink despite my fear that he’ll disappear when I do so. I shiver and I notice the concern that crosses his ice blue eyes for a moment.
“You’re cold…come on get in the car I’ll turn the heat on.” With those words his hand leaves the steering wheel and his slim fingers slowly move the dial of the air conditioning so that warm heat starts pouring in through the small black vents in the car. I slowly slide into the seat next to him and pull the car door shut locking out the bitter weather. As soon as the door shuts the light in the car goes out leaving us alone in the dark. I expect Billy to start the car immediately but he just sits there staring at me almost as though he is expecting me to say something. I offer up no words however, instead I drop my hands to my lap and shift my gaze towards the window. I hear him sigh as I look away and then I feel his hand on my shoulder willing me to face him again.
“Joel…” I turn and face him again waiting to hear what he is going to say. He drops his hand from my shoulder and lifts it to my lips slowly tracing them as he stares at me. His gaze upon me is so intense I am unable to move or even breathe. He leans in as his hand drops away and seconds later his soft lips are pressed against mine in the gentlest kiss I have ever felt. When he pulls away he looks at me, “Come with me?” He asks as his other hand leaves the steering wheel wrapping around one of my own hands. His lean fingers play with my fingers as he waits for my reply. I slowly nod not caring at all that I have no clue where he wants me to go with him, only knowing that the place doesn’t matter as long as I am with him. He pulls his fingers from mine and returns both his hands to the wheel starting the car.
I yawn and lean my head against the hard cold window not minding the silence that has suddenly fallen over us. I watch him as he drives, I try to memorize every detail of his face. I decide that one day were I ever to wake up and magically possess a drawing ability he would be the first person I would draw, in fact were I artistic at all I believe he would be the only thing I would draw and paint, hell I would even have sculptures of him.
“What?” He finally asks me when at last he notices my staring. I blush and turn away in embarrassment at once although I am quite aware that pretending I wasn’t staring is pretty much pointless after being caught doing it.
“Nothing.” I say quickly while shaking my head.
He pulls his gaze off the road for a moment to look at me questioningly. “Are you sure you didn’t want something?”
“No…I…I…I was just…” I stutter the words all the while thinking of a good lie.
Just…just, dammit think Joel! He continues to look at me, I feel even dumber under his penetrating gaze, “Looking at you.” I finally blurt the words out unable to lie under his stare.
He turns his attention back to the road, “Oh…” And then as an after thought, “Why?”
Why? I wonder if he is insane, does he not realize how incredibly attractive he is? Does he not comprehend his amazing gorgeousness? God If I looked anywhere near as attractive as him I would just clone myself and be in love with my clone.
“Billy…you’re…” I search my mind for a word, what word could I possibly use to describe someone as faultless as him?
“I’m what?” He asks as he notices my pause. I turn my gaze to the window before I speak, afraid he will laugh when the word rolls off my tongue.
“Beautiful.” He doesn’t laugh though, no, instead a slow smile creeps across his lips and a tear rolls down his cheek.
“No ones ever said that to me before…” He says softly to no one in particular, “No one…” His words drift off and he stares at the road thoughtfully, he looks like he is going to burst into tears and I can’t understand why, did my one word really have that much of an effect on him?
“No one…?” I look at him again and shift closer to him determined to find out what is wrong. “Then everyone is insane.” I bring my hand to his hair and I idly play with one of his dark strands.
“No.” He shakes his head and I automatically drop my hand from the strand I was playing with. “I’m a freak Joel…I’m…” He sighs, “You could do better, so much better.” His words strike a chord in me, and it is in this moment I begin to see the real Billy, the Billy that isn’t hidden behind silent smiles and cold apathetic stares.
“No Billy, you are beautiful.”
He nods, accepting my words but not believing them at all. “I’m hungry I’m going to stop somewhere to get food, you don’t mind do you?” He says, purposely changing the subject.
I’m not hungry though and the only thing on my mind now is my want to find the root of his sadness just so I can cure it. But I shake my head anyway and mumble a pathetic ‘of course not’, anyway.
He nods and pulls into the parking lot of the closest restraunt, which just so happens to be a Mc. Donald. For some odd reason there seems to be an endless line of cars in the drive thru so he just parks the car deciding to just go in to get his food. “Are you coming inside with me?” He asks as he turns off the car and undoes his buckle.
“Do you want me to?” I ask not wanting to annoy him with my presence in the fast food place.
He smiles softly and nods, “I do.”
We open our car doors and run into the rain, by the time we get inside the restaurant our clothes are soaked and we both look like victims of a shipwreck. Billy makes his way to the counter with me in tow.
“Can I help you?” The girl behind the counter asks as her eyes roam across both Billy and me. I cant help but get a little mad when her gaze returns to Billy and it seems to stay glued on him, as if she is transfixed with him. Billy seems not to notice the girls obvious interest him and he proceeds to rattle off what he wants from off the menu.
“Hmm and anything else?” The girl asks as she leans forward purposely revealing her cleavage to him, “A hot guy like you I can probably get a discount for…” She grins as she says the words and twirls her finger in one of her golden curls.
Billy ignores her and turns to me, “You want anything Joel?” I shake my head and continue to stare at the girl wishing I could shoot daggers at her with my eyes. Billy turns back to the girl and shakes his head, “Nah that will be all.”
The girl smiles and nods, “Now about that discount…” She smirks and brings her fingers to Billy’s chest playfully sliding them up and down him. He immediately shoves her hand away and turns to me, “Baby…why don’t you go get us a table.” He says to me stressing the word baby so the girl will get the point.
“Oh you’re…” She stands up straight immediately. “I didn’t know.” She mumbles apologetically. Billy just sighs and mutters a ‘whatever’ under his breath. I turn my attention from them and go sit down at one of the crappy tables near one of the huge windows in the back of the restaurant. I watch the cars in the parking lot as I wait for Billy to come join me, I briefly wonder if Benji even notices I am missing from the house, I decide he probably doesn’t though, Tony is probably over by now, and god knows if Tony is over I will be the farthest thing from Benji’s mind.
“I got you fries anyway.” Billy says as he slides into the booth next to me and sits some fries in front of me. I notice he is eating a salad; I have to wonder if salad is the only thing he does eat. I poke at the fries he set down in front of me but I cant bring myself to actually stick one in my mouth their greasy coating just isn’t working for my taste buds at the moment. I watch Billy eat instead, all the while trying to think of some brilliant topic to amaze him with.
“I’m going to turn myself in.” He says after swallowing some of his salad.
“What??!” I’m surprised I don’t shout the words I’m so fucking surprised.
He nods simply as though he stated the most common known fact in the world, “Yeah, I’m going to spend a week with you and then turn myself in.” He brings another forkful of salad to his mouth and chews on it quietly.
“But…you aren’t even guilty, you could go to court, you could plead innocent, you don’t have to go to jail.” I say quickly begging him to contradict what he just said.
“You’re right I could…but I wouldn’t win Joel, and why waste all that time, I’m going to prison there is no way around it.” He shrugs and continues to eat his salad.
“You will win though, it was fucking self defense Billy, you saved my life!!”
“Joel please…I’m turning myself in, end of story.” He stands and carelessly tosses his salad container in the garbage. “Ready to go?” His tone tells me the subject is closed and I stand unwillingly and nod.
“Are you doing it now?” I ask as we start out of the restaurant and back out into the cold. I’m grateful to see it has stopped raining, but even without the rain the sky seems horribly gloomy and sad.
“No…in a week.” He says shortly as he opens the car door.
“A week…why a week…why not a month?” I question him as I once again climb into the car and position myself in the passenger seat.
He shuts his door and starts the car, “Because in a month I’ll be incapable of leaving you..”
A million thoughts run through my mind as I devour his words, I look at him in the darkness and try desperately to flee the thoughts that have bombarded my mind so suddenly. Tears prick the sides of my eyes, tears I have no control over, tears whose meaning I know nothing of. I feel emotional suddenly and every emo song I have ever heard is playing in my head. “Billy…”
He smiles sadly and lifts his finger to my lips, “Shhh, it’ll be okay.” He whispers while staring at me. “A week…it’s more then some people will ever have.” He says as he lets his finger slide across my lips tracing them gently. His eyes never leave mine as he speaks, and in the dark I can barely make out the single tear that inches down his own cheek. I reach my hand to his cheek to wipe the tear away but he catches my hand just as my fingers brush with his cheek and he pushes my hand away. “We should go…” He mutters as he pulls his gaze off me and drops his fingers from my lips and puts them back on the steering wheel.
I nod, ignoring the cold that seems to invade my lips as his fingers pull away, trying to ignore the way my heart screams for him to touch me again. I nod and smile, and pretend it isn’t killing me that I can’t understand him. I wish I could be someone else just so I could have the brains and brilliance to get into his head and figure him out. I know as Joel I’ll never know the real Billy only because as Joel I’m a nobody and beautiful creatures like Billy do not divulge their true selves to nobodies. Hmm I wonder who I would be if I could be anyone else, I guess its one of those things everyone thinks about at least once in their lifetime. I think I’d like to be somebody beautiful; someone worth knowing, someone Billy could love and be himself around, someone else, anyone but me.
“What are you thinking about?”
I’m caught off guard by Billy’s question, not because of the actual question but the fact that he actually broke the silence at all. I focus my attention on him again and search my mind thoughtfully for a reply. As I look at him I notice him shiver and then I hear the slight rattling of his teeth…he’s cold, immediately all thoughts fall from my mind replaced now by concern. “You’re cold.” I state and bring my fingers to my seat belt undoing it.
“I’m fine.” He insists but I can tell he is lying despite his attempt to mislead me. I slide my belt off and crawl over to him, as I move his eyes turn off the road and he looks at me confused and surprised.
“What are you doing?” He asks, I shake my head and slide my hand over his thigh moving it up and down it trying to warm him with the action. I don’t know where I get the courage to do something so forward but at the moment I can think of no other way to warm him. “Joel?” He stares at my hand but he makes no move to swat it away.
“Do you want me to stop?” I look at him but I don’t remove my hand. He nods slowly and I can tell that it is a forced action. I sigh however and remove my hand anyway and slowly crawl back into my seat pulling my seat belt back on. Silence falls over us again but this time it feels awkward and I rack my mind for something to say to break it. “Billy?” His eyes roam to me alerting me that I have his attention. “Umm I’m sorry.” I bite my lip waiting for his reaction.
“Well…” I rub my wrist nervously and avert my gaze to the floor. “Well…for touching you…I honestly just wanted to make you warm, though.”
“Joel…” he sighs, “just stop…you didn’t do anything wrong it’s fine.”
Uh huh sure I didn’t Billy, and that is exactly why you told me to stop. “Yeah...sure.” I mumble back doubtfully while turning my gaze out the window. I begin to count streetlights, 1…2…14…24…39…42…
“Joel?” I turn immediately at the sound of my name coming from his mouth and at once I lose track of my counting.
“Yes?” I ask a little too swiftly as I look at him.
“This is your house right?”
I shift my gaze back out the window and realize we are in fact directly in front of my house, “Oh…yeah.” I have to admit I am more then a little disappointed, I don’t know what I was expecting him to say…perhaps some grand love confession or something equally unlikely.
“Can I park on the driveway or would that block Benji from pulling out?” He asks, I roam my eyes to the window again and look over the driveway. I notice this time that there is one extra car on the driveway, a nicely restored Cadillac, one I am willing to bet belongs to Tony.
“You better park in the street.” I reply realizing Tony will probably want to pull out sometime, or you know with my luck he will probably never leave. Billy complies with my order and parks in front of the curb directly in front of my house. As I exit the car I am thankful to realize the rain has stopped, however the air outside is still moist from the dreary weather. Billy walks around the car and stops in front of my passenger door waiting for me before starting toward the house. He shakes as he stands against the car waiting for me to shut my door and I watch as he pulls his thin arms around himself. My immediate reaction is to wrap my arms around him and pull him against me but I just bite my lip and look at him.
“Umm you want my hoodie?” I ask slowly already slipping my arms out of the sleeves and starting to pull it off.
“Nah I’ll be alright.”
I sigh and push my hands back through the sleeves knowing I should have expected such a reply from him. He watches me carefully as I push my hands back into my sleeves it appears that he wants to say something to me but his mouth makes no move to speak.
“Uh you ready to go inside?” I shift my feet nervously and kick a pebble as I wait for him to say something. He nods but instead of moving toward the house he steps in front of me trapping me between him and the car. I feel the slow steady thump of his heart against my own chest as he leans so close to me.
“Joel…thank you.” He mutters as his lips move slowly toward mine.
“For…for what?” I stutter nervously my back pressed firmly now against the cold window of the car.
“Everything” He breathes the word while sliding his tongue out and moving it slickly across my lips coating their chapped exterior in a glossy wet layer of his saliva. Seconds later his tongue is exploring my mouth, while his arms snake around my waist providing me with even more of his body heat. I lean into the kiss not at all anxious for it to end; I truly believe I could stand here forever just tasting him. I close my eyes and breathe him in…
Don’t pull away…don’t pull away…don’t pull away.
He does pull away eventually though, but only to break the kiss momentarily to breath and then his lips are on mine again and it is only then the full extent of what is going on hits me…I Joel Maddens am making out with Billy Martin directly in front of my house where anyone could see us. Hesitantly I will my own arms to move around his toothpick of a waist, I don’t know why I am so afraid to touch him especially when our lips are all but glued together. He notices my hesitancy and his lips slowly part with mine. He lets his hands drop from my waist and he grabs a gentle hold of my hands and he directs them to his waist. I feel stupid for having to be directed in what to do but at the same time I am amazed he knew what was going through my mind. I feel his lips on my neck then, he tilts my chin gently to the side so he can get better access to my neck. I fight the urge to moan as his soft lips move down my neck occasionally sucking at the thin skin. I wonder what we must look like to people driving by, perhaps we appear as two lovesick teenagers or perhaps others see something dirty to our public display of affection.
“Billy…” I practically moan his name as he lightly nips at my neck. I suddenly want to tell him I love him that I will always love him, but all that comes out when I try to speak is a soft moan. His lips move up my neck and back to my lips and with one last kiss he finally pulls away.
We stare at each other as the last kiss ends; his eyes catch the light from one of the street lamps and the light dances upon his blue orbs making them twinkle in the darkness. I want to touch him again, pull him in for another kiss.
“Come on.” He says softly while pulling me toward the house. I follow him and within seconds we are standing in front of my front door. I am not at all anxious to go inside, Benji is undoubtedly still mad at me and well, Tony… of course I don’t want to see him.
“What’s wrong?” Billy asks as he notices my hesitation to open the door. I shake my head and murmur a pathetic, ‘nothing’ while slipping my hand onto the knob and slowly turning it. We enter the house together, I’m glad for the insides warmth and as we move towards my room I slip my hoodie off draping it on the couch. Tony and Benji are nowhere in sight and I assume they went to bed already. I switch on the light as we enter my room and I am automatically relieved when I don’t see Benji and Tony in my bed. I shut the door softly behind me, and turn to face Billy who is already slipping out of his wet clothes. “My stuff is in the car…you don’t mind if I wear something of yours do you?”
“No not at all.” I shake my head and proceed to move towards my closet, it takes all my strength not to turn around and watch him as he undresses. I yank some Dickies from the closet breaking its hanger in the process, and then I pull a black MADE t-shirt out. I turn then to throw him the clothes, “Will these be alright?” I ask as I toss him the shirt and pants while trying not to stare too long at his boxer-clad body.
He nods and pulls the pants on which oddly enough fit him despite his height. The shirt is of course a little too big for him and hangs loosely on his chest, however he still fails to look any less perfect then usual. “Are you tired?” I ask while still eyeing him.
”Are you?” He inquires automatically.
I shrug, “A little…but if you aren’t we can stay up and do something.” I look to him for his reply on what he wants to do but he just steps forward and pulls on my arm dragging me toward the bed. I am a little shocked by his aggressiveness as he pushes me onto the bed and crawls onto it next to me. “Billy…what are you…” I trail off as he lays down next to me propping his head on the palms of his hands and setting his gaze on the ceiling.
“So…we are all alone now, both of us are too tired to do anything physical but neither of us are tired enough to go to sleep…so…talk to me Joel.”
What the fuck? “Umm okay…about what?” I ask as I prop my elbow up leaning my head on my hand my gaze set on him.
He rolls over and looks at me, “Anything...” He smiles and wraps his arm around my waist tugging me towards him, he leans in and presses a gentle kiss to my cheek before pulling away and staring at me again waiting for me to speak.
“Well…” I laugh nervously, and for some reason I distinctively feel as though I am blushing. “I’m boring…I have nothing to talk about.”
He says nothing in response to my pathetic attempt at conversation instead he looks at me his eyes roaming over every feature of my face, then his hand lifts up and gently touches my lips softly tracing them. His light fingers move slowly from my lips to the bridge of my nose and he slowly traces the gentle slope of my nose and then my jaw. “What are you doing?” I whisper, my eyelids closing as his slender fingers slowly dance over them.
“Memorizing you…” He mutters back a slow smile inching across his lips.
“Oh…” I can do nothing but stare at him, absorbing all that he is. The moment is perfect, I inch my fingers to his face and pull his face towards mine preparing to kiss him but just as our lips gently graze each other’s my door swings open and a drunken Benji staggers into the room.
“Joel!!!” He laughs as he stumbles towards the bed, a sloppy grin spread wide across his face. I instantly pull away from Billy not in shame or embarrassment but more from surprise then anything else.
“Where’s Tony?” I find myself asking as I search past Benji looking for Tony.
He grins stupidly and grabs one of the bed poles using it to support himself, “Tony passed out so I got bored…” He pulls himself off the bedpost and clumsily moves over to my side of the bed. “Come on Joel…hang out with me.” He commands as he grabs at my arm tugging on it roughly.
I don’t know what to think of his behavior, I know he is drunk of course but I cannot fathom why he is drunk.
“Joel come on.” He tugs on my arm again, his brown eyes staring at me as intensely as possible in his drunken state. I don’t budge however, I have played this scene too many times, and it always ends the same…always.
“No Benji.” I say softly yet firmly as I pry his fingers from my arm. “Go back to Tony, go lay down.” As soon as I say those words, Benji’s expression turns to one of obvious disappointment.
“Tony’s sleeping, come on Joel.” His fingers find their way around my arm again and he pulls at me roughly practically yanking me from the bed. I wince at the pain he inflicts upon my arm but I cant be mad at him I know he’s too drunk to realize he is hurting me. I’ve dealt with drunken Benji often enough to know by now how to deal with him and what to expect from him.
“Just go lay down Benj, you’re drunk, you need to sleep this shit off.” I direct him. I feel Billy shift next to me on the bed and then his arm around my waist pulling me firmly against him.
“Go to bed Benji.” He says firmly his voice neither wavering nor showing any emotion at all. Benji’s drunken gaze shifts to Billy and he casts him a cold stare.
“I don’t think I like you.” He states but the statement sounds more like a question then anything. “Joel...!” Already losing interest with Billy Benji turns his gaze back on me and whines my name, “let’s go now.”
I sigh and pull myself from Billy’s arms, “I’m going to bring him back to his room…you don’t mind do you?” Billy sighs and shakes his head and rolls over turning his back to me.
“Just turn the light off before you leave.” He says flatly pulling the blankets up around himself. I have to wonder if he is mad at me, maybe I shouldn’t go with Benji.
“Joel!” Benji’s voice automatically ceases all my thoughts and I instantly get out of the bed. The minute I am standing Benji falls against me using me as a support, I almost fall back onto the bed because of his extra weight against me. Somehow however I manage to drag him out of the room and to his own bedroom. The first thing I notice as I stumble into his room with him is Tony who is sprawled out on the black futon. I try not to stare at Tony too long but it is really hard considering his ribs are practically poking through his shirt.
“Ton Ton!!” Benji laughs as he pulls himself off me and stumbles toward the futon collapsing on it next to Tony. He weaves his arms around Tony and snuggles against him. I figure this is my chance to escape so I start to move toward the door but just as my hand reaches the handle Benji calls my name.
“Joel…stay a while?” I turn to face him and try not to notice the adorable look of pleading he has pasted onto his face, “Please?”
I shake my head despite his adorableness, “No Benj…you have Tony you’ll be fine.”
Benji nods slowly and roams his fingers over Tony’s chest a tear sneaking down his cheek as he does so. “Tony doesn’t eat Joel…” He slides his hand up Tony’s shirt lifting the shirt up as he does so to expose Tony’s pale chest. “He’s sick Joel…sick…and he won’t let me help him.” His fingers wander over Tony’s ribs and more tears fall from his eyes make his thick eyeliner streak in messy lines down his cheek.
“Benji…” I want to say something comforting but somehow I know nothing I can say at the moment can help. I can’t help but wonder how long Benji has known about Tony’s problem…God what if he only found out tonight? I stare at them my eyes begging to tear, I notice for the first time just how fragile Tony is…just how fucked up. He almost looks like a porcelain doll in Benji’s arms…so breakable. More tears fall from Benji’s eyes mixing with his eyeliner and turning to black and falling onto Tony’s chest. I wonder if Benji will remember crying in the morning, will he remember any of this?
In all its derangement and oddness the moment is beautiful…beautiful because for the first time I realize the true extent of Benji’s feelings for Tony. I suppose it should hurt realizing that Benji loves Tony, is in love with Tony, after all I had been insanely jealous this whole time of Tony, but now being jealous would just seem selfish.
“He’ll be okay…” I say but I realize Benji is no longer listening to me, his lids are closed and his arms are wrapped firmly around Tony. I realize there is nothing much I can do at the moment for either of them so I slowly sneak out of the room anxious to get back to my warm bed and Billy.
Bright light beats down upon my closed lids, a gentle reminder that night has faded and I must surrender myself to the tiresome routine of another Monday morning. I open my eyes slowly letting them adjust fully to the light before opening them all the way. Beside me Billy shifts restlessly, his leg brushing with mine as he moves. I roll over realizing it’s to my advantage that he is still sleeping. I let my eyes roam over him for the millionth time burning his image into my mind. I can’t help but wonder how it is he remains flawless to me even with his eyeliner smeared messily underneath his eyes and his hair haphazardly arranged upon the pillow. Meekly I reach to move a black strand of hair that has fallen into his face but as my fingers reach the strand they accidentally graze with his cheek causing him to stir slightly. He rolls nearer to me, all the while mumbling incoherent words. I smile as his head falls against my chest and his long slender arms weave their way around my waist. Within minutes he is silent again, lost in some dream world totally oblivious to the world outside of his sleep zone. I bring my fingers to his hair and gently stroke his black strands, most of them are soft and silky since all his hair gel washed out in the rain, however some of the strands stick together in hard clumps refusing to part even for my fingers. I decide I’m not going to think about the fact that this moment may be one of my few with him for a long time but I find myself wondering what life with him could have been like. I realize I’d give anything just to wake up to him every morning…just to be able to hold him whenever I wanted to.
“Joel…” I look up from Billy as soon as I hear my name spoken aloud; my eyes quickly roam to the doorway where of course Benji is standing. “Are you coming to school today?” He shoves his hands into the pockets of his dickies and leans against the doorframe his gaze set on me. I notice he’s already dressed, decked out in a white Rancid shirt and his usual mass of eyeliner. Either he got up really early to get ready for school or I am just extremely late in getting up at all.
“I don’t know…it depends on what Billy wants to do.” I say while stealing a glance of Billy out of the corner of my eyes. He’s still fast asleep of course, his lids shut to the world hiding behind them all his many secrets.
Benji nods but doesn’t move from his spot against the door frame and I realize there must be something else he wants to say. I bring my gaze back to him and stare at him intently giving him my full attention so he knows I am listening. “Joel…” He begins slowly forcing his own eyes to stay on mine; “last night…” he continues while fidgeting slightly but not looking away in the slightest, “well…Tony…he’s not your problem man. So uh…yeah, don’t worry about it.” He nods when he finishes almost as though he is confirming with himself that the one statement in its self got his point across.
“Have you talked to him about it…I mean it’s obvious he needs help Benji.” I say while staring at him knowing all the while that my gaze is making him uneasy and the only thing he probably wants to do is get out of this room.
“Well…”He starts while sucking his lip ring into his mouth and playing with it nervously, “I’m going to…eventually.”
I open my mouth to tell him eventually isn’t good enough but Tony suddenly appears behind him in the doorway. His slender tattooed arms snake out around Benji encompassing him and his mouth quickly finds Benji’s neck. “I woke up and you were gone…” He murmurs softly while sliding his mouth down Benji’s neck nipping and sucking at the skin. Benji moans slightly and hugs Tony’s arm closer to him. I watch with an odd fascination, Benji closes his eyes and rolls his head back against Tony’s chest his mind totally forgetting my presence for the moment. I force my gaze away from them aware that they probably don’t want me watching them. I turn my attention back to Billy who is still comfortably cuddled next to me his head on my chest and his arms securely locked around me. I lean forward letting my lips graze with the top of his head, breathing in the rich sent of shampoo that still lingers in his hair. He shifts as my lips pull away and one of his arms moves from around me and falls against the pillow exposing the underside of his wrist. My eyes slowly scan over the pale skin, I can practically feel them widen as they come to a long angry mark in the flawless skin. I bring my finger to the mark and slowly trace over it. I reason with myself that he did not put the mark there, perhaps he has a cat. Yes, that answer seems to appease my worried thoughts if only for the moment at least. Still…I cannot pull my gaze away it is almost as though some morbid interest has developed in me. It’s beautiful really, the red scaring the white skin, beautiful but hideous at the same time.
“Joel..” Like a tidal wave crashing down upon a peaceful shore, my silent stare is broken. I turn my attention back to Benji and Tony forgetting Billy if only for the moment. I am aware at once of Tony’s absence in the room, and I realize he must have wet off to take a shower or something. “We’re going to go ahead and go to school, I’ll tell your teachers you’re sick or something.” He shrugs slightly and turns to leave the room.
“Benji…” I slide out from under Billy and walk toward him touching his arm gently as I approach him. He looks at my hand and turns around slowly revealing hazy brown eyes clouded with tears. He shakes his head and pulls his arm away, “I’ll talk to him, don’t worry Joel…” He nods then as if to convince himself rather then me and then he walks out of the room shutting the door softly behind him leaving no evidence that his presence in the room was even real. I slowly walk back toward my bed where Billy is sleeping soundlessly, deaf to the world around him. I sit down on the bed and watch him for a moment debating whether or not to wake him up. I wonder what fate brought him to me, me instead of anyone else, why was I so lucky?
“Joel…?” His blue eyes open fully and he stares at me while shifting into a sitting position on the bed. I half expect him to say something as he stares at me but he just yawns tiredly and throws his legs over the side of the bed and gets off the bed slowly.
“What time is it?” He asks with a slow stretch that reveals his torso slowly to me. I find my eyes drifting to his waist where the skin is being revealed little by little, unfortunately at the end of his stretching his arms fall immobile by his side once more and his shirt drops back down covering the area of skin above the band of his boxers.
“Early.” I reply, rather then actually looking for a clock with the actual numeric time on it.
A small smile breaks out across his face and I realize he was rather amused with my reply. He steps forward and brushes his lips with mine pulling away too quickly for my tongue to part his lips and slide in to explore his mouth. “I’ll be in the shower…if you want to join me.” He says brazenly, a smirk sliding across his lips. With that statement he walks out of the room totally oblivious to my dumbfounded stare and it’s at least five minutes later before I can function at all again. Slowly I pull myself off the bed and force myself over to my closet for some clothes trying not to replay his words over too many times in my head, however I am finding it quite hard and now even more then ever all I can think about is him. Why the hell did God forget to give us off switches for our minds or rather; why the hell did God make something so beautiful as Billy to fuck with my mind? I sigh and pull a Rancid shirt out of my closet, it’s not mine of course, one of Benji’s I suppose, but at the moment I don’t feel like solving for how it ended up in my closet. Instead I pull the shirt off the hanger and grab a pair of Dickies, I realize the outfit is insanely similar to everything else I’ve worn this week and I decide Dickies and t-shirts could be my life uniform. Even through my thinking about my clothes a part of my mind stays locked on the thought of Billy in the shower. I wonder if he truly meant anything when he invited me to join him, or perhaps he was just joking around. I decide I had better stick with option one seeing as though him actually inviting me into the shower with him sounds a little far fetched. Clasping my clothes in one hand I walk out of my room and start down the hall toward the other shower in Benji’s room so I can take my own shower. As I am passing the hall bathroom the sound of water hitting tiles invades my hearing and I once again find my thoughts being drawn to the Billy/shower kind. I stand for a moment in front of the door listening to the steady drone of water tempted to knock on the door, it takes all my resolve to pull myself away finally and head to Benji’s bathroom.
Walking into Benji’s bathroom I find the usual mess, I swear one would think a girl owned his bathroom by the looks of the place. I stare in disgust at the messy counter tops, jars of eye liner and hair wax and other such products lay without caps on the smooth linoleum countertop. I am tempted to sweep my hand across the counter and slide it all into the trash but I restrain myself and instead go through the slow process of recapping everything and rearranging them neatly on the counter. I wipe the counter with a wet rag afterwards to remove all the smeared makeup and hair gunk that has dried onto the countertop. At last after what seems ten minutes of cleaning the countertop is finally clean enough to lay my clothes down upon. I move over to the shower stall and turn the faucets on permitting more hot water to flow then the cold. I sweep my hand under the current of water flowing from the showerhead testing its temperature. The water beats down upon my hand in a fiery current and I realize I had better add more cold water or else receive third degree burns. When at last the water is to my desired liking I begin to undress, slipping from my pants slowly. My clothes drop to the floor as I remove it much like a snake shedding his coat. The coldness of the small room is what I notice immediately, it chills me, wrapping itself around me and doing much to ease my erection. Quickly, so as not to freeze to death I slip into the shower stall letting the warm water rush over me drenching my hair and body in a warm curtain of water. I close my eyes and lean my head against the tiles content to stay under the warm relaxing jets forever. I fall into some sort of trance slowly going through the motions of washing my hair and my body like a robot, however my mind is everywhere but on my showering. My brother somehow reaches the forefront of my mind. Guilt tugs at my heart, a guilt I am not totally able to comprehend. Somehow our tightly knit bond feels like it is unweaving, as if any day now the string might totally unravel and me and Benji will be standing together as strangers under the same roof. I suppose numerous things could be blamed for the lessening of our bond…and I know Billy and Tony are probably the greatest reason. Things somehow feel different then they used to be of course it’s not all bad, I mean I have Billy now even if it is only for one more week and Benji has finally found someone to make him happy. I suppose I just got used to the way things were only days ago. I of course never intended to get so close to my twin, but with my mother leaving us and running off with some rich boyfriend I really had no choice. I guess when our mom left Benji kind of took over the big brother role a role I myself was too scared to take. Ever since she left, which was only a year ago, Benji and me have been each others everything…
Cold...the water that was once hot turns cold as my shower lengthens in time. I instantly pull away from the water so I am standing behind it staring at the clear moving sheet. My fingers move and find the faucet handle and I slowly, with shaking hands and chattering teeth, turn the water off. Silence fills the bathroom as the water slows and eventually stops all together except for a slow lazy drizzle still escaping the showerhead despite being turned off. I quickly get out of the shower grabbing a towel as I do so; I pull the warm blue towel around me delighting in the smooth soft material of it as it glides across my skin. I move to the counter ready to grab my clothes and change, I notice the mirror has fogged over with condensation and I move my palm across it clearing a spot on it. I stare at my reflection for a moment; my wet hair falls flatly into my face weighted down by the water dripping from it. I wish that I could say it looks extremely sexy however instead it looks like exactly what it is, a mop of wet hair. I sigh and scan my eyes over the counter looking for some gel to put in it however the only thing Benji has is his hair wax. I eye it for a moment debating whether I should actually use it; finally I pull it into my hand and slowly remove the cap icing my fingers with some of the gunk. I realize my hair is probably too wet for the stuff so I grab the blow dryer which is laying carelessly on the floor near the waste basket and quickly hook it in working fast to dry the heap of sopping hair. When my hair is fully dry I run some of the gunk through my hair which does not prove an easy task. I don’t know exactly what I plan on doing with my hair and I finally settle for what Benji would classify as a style Mohawk. Once the majority of my hair is pulled into a pathetic Mohawk I look in the mirror, I find that the Mohawk is rather flattering but I’m embarrassed as to what Billy and Benji will think of it and suddenly I find myself wondering what possessed me to do it in the first place. I decide I cant leave my hair in the Mohawk, I definitely don’t have enough guts to leave the bathroom with my hair in such an absurd outrageous style, not me not Joel Maddens, Benji perhaps, yes, but definitely not me. I move towards the shower ready to stick my head under the showerhead and remove the gunk but just as I reach it the door creaks open and Billy appears in the doorway.
“Your hair...” He says as he shuts the door behind him his eyes scanning over my newly styled hair with a speculative gaze. I want to run and hide, or at least find a paper bag to stick over my head…anything to conceal how awful I look.
“I was just about to wash it out...” I reply automatically, hoping the words that flow from my mouth are coherent. He shakes his head and walks over to me his eyes never leaving my hair. There’s something fluid about his movements, within seconds he’s next to me, his fingers sliding against the tip of the Mohawk as though he’s testing its texture. My ability to breath is momentarily disabled with this closeness to him; I have to force slow shaky breaths in an effort not to suffocate myself.
“I like it.” He says finally as his long fingers pull away.
I assume he’s lying or joking or just trying to make me feel good because there is no way in hell he could possibly be serious about me looking good when its obvious I look ridiculous. “Yeah…sure” I step forward and turn on the shower running my fingers under the current of water to test its temperature.
“No, Joel… really.” He slides his arm past me reaching to turn off the water, his slim fingers slide around the translucent knob and I watch the gentle trickle of water slide across his skin from the overhead shower. Tiny droplets roll down his bracelets, bracelets I only just now notice, staring at them I’m only partially aware that the bracelets serve another purpose rather then just that of decoration but I say nothing about this to him. He pulls away from the shower as the water slows to a drizzle and then totally ceases falling at all. He leans again the wall and looks at me, his blue eyes wandering over my hairstyle a moment more before he finally steps forward trapping me between him and the sink. I shiver despite the warmth radiating from his body and for the first time I realize I am still only dressed in a towel. His hand extends forward and slides to the bottom of the towel smoothly sliding in between my thighs, my flesh burns where he touches me and I can feel my cock stiffen as his hand moves nearer to it. I roll my head back letting a silent gasp escape my parted lips, he leans in and his lips find mine, “I want to take you somewhere...” He breathes the words onto my lips before pulling away. His hand leaves my leg as his lips leave my mouth and a cold chill erupts upon the flesh where his hand once was.
“Where…?” The word escapes my mouth in a shallow whisper and I’m barely able to keep myself from yanking him towards me again.
He shakes his head in response to my question and moves towards the door, “you’ll see.” Within seconds of the word leaving his mouth he’s gone. I stare at the closed door; its white surface melts into the background of the white wall, tears prick my eyes, I bite my lip and hold back the onslaught of tears. I realize that crying at all has no purpose, he meant nothing harmful in his chaste exit and yet I feel as though there was something malicious in his leaving me so suddenly. I want to call out to him and have him come running into the room. I want his slender arms to wrap around me again, I want him to kiss me, to love me…honestly love me.
I sigh and rip my gaze from the door forcing my hands to grab my clothes so I can pull them on. I slowly slide the pants up my body, loving the soft feeling of cloth against wet legs, and then my hands finds the shirt…Benji’s shirt. I stare at it, suddenly incapable of putting it on. I’m not Benji…a smile slides across my face, a sad smile. I’m not Benji, so why the hell am I trying to look like him. Of course part of my mind tries to reason with me, tell me the hair, the clothes, all of it was unintentional, simple occurrences with no meaning, coincidences. But deep down I suddenly know being myself could never be enough to make Billy happy, on my own I couldn’t hold on to something so beautiful as Billy…all I could offer was me and how could I ever be worth anything to anyone?
“Joel…I’ll be in my car.” His voice…perfect it slices through the silence knocking me out of my self-loathing. Another sigh from my lips and I grab Benji’s shirt and walk bare chested to the bathroom door, the air that greets me as I pull the door open is cold and sharp, it pierces my skin like miniature daggers and I wrap my arms around me in my defense. The house is totally silent as I make my way to my room to retrieve another shirt. I’m almost hoping I might hear Benji and Tony within its suddenly hollow halls…but I’m aware they’re are at school and any hope is quickly dismissed from my mind.
As I enter my room, I notice the billowing of my drapes; the wind from the window tries to pull me into its malevolent grasp. I confront it with an air of apathy I didn’t know I could possess, I walk towards it and slam the window closed not bothering to question why it was open in the first place, simply not caring at all. I feel tired suddenly, an emotional tired that seems to crawl into every space within me, I walk to my closet and yank from its plastic hangers the first shirt I see. “The Ramones”…it’s written in bold gray letters across the front of the shirt…another one of Benji’s shirts. I want to scream…how many fucking shirts of his do I have in my closet? I throw the shirt to the floor, tears sliding down unprepared cheeks, cheeks that sting as the salty liquid invades their surface. I suddenly don’t know what’s wrong with me, why the tears are so persistent. I clutch at shirts as my body racks with tears…thoughts…feelings...emotions, they all scream to be released, I feel like a coke bottle shaken up to many times, I feel like I’m going to explode…or implode…whichever one. I slide down to the floor, my fingers dig into the carpet, my body shakes, my face distorts as the emotion pours from my eyes and mouth.
Breaking…I was so unprepared for it.
“Joel…” His voice, his arms around my waist. “Shh…” His fingers stroking my hair, his lips against my head. “Whatever it is…whatever it is I’m here for you.” The words, they’re supposed to mean comfort, but they just make my sobs louder, my body shake harder.
“You…” but the words fall apart as the crying overwhelms me. I want to hold onto the moment forever, wrap my fingers so tightly in his own that we might get tangled together forever. “I cant lose you…” I release in an anguished cry while burying my face in his chest afraid of what I might see if I look in his eyes.
A sigh moves through his body finally emerging from his lips in the form of the words, “I know…”
I shut my eyes and the moment dissolves as though acid was poured onto its crystal clear surface. I imagine sunsets and blue skies…him and me forever. But when I open my eyes I’m in my cold bedroom in his arms, and there’s no forever for us, no endless tomorrows, there’s five fucking days. I tear myself from his embrace, he stares at me a look of confusion scarring his beautiful features. I try not to notice for the billionth time that he’s perfect…that everything I have ever wanted is within the depths of his blue eyes. I shakily stand and grab a shirt from my closet and pull it over my chest not bothering to notice what it looks like. I walk to the window feeling his eyes on me the whole way. The tears don’t cease falling; I simply forget to notice them. I bite my lip and lean against the mirror forcing myself to look at him, there’s still confusion in his eyes but there’s fear as well…so much fear, almost as though he already knows what I am going to say.
“Billy…” and the world seem to fall away around us and all I can see is his blue eyes. The sound of a car pulling up the drive way momentarily yanks my attention from him, I turn and the world stops.
“What is it…Joel?”
I turn to him again but words cant form on my lips…I point towards the door, tears falling faster, everything falling apart, pieces slamming to the floor, pieces ripping and twisting and shattering as they break within my insides. “Run.” And the word comes out and he’s up in seconds…understanding and fear mixing to make the expression on his face. He’s not moving toward the door though, he’s moving toward me, “Go goddamit!!” And the words sting my lips as they leave my mouth, “Forget about me…GO!”
He stops dead in his tracks…but he doesn’t move towards the door, “But…if I turn myself in…I can get out eventually, and we can be together…” His words seem pathetic suddenly and I realize its because they’re hopeless…
“There’s no future for us…just run Billy…forget about me.” Its like pulling nails forcing myself to say those words.
He still doesn’t move though, he looks at me, “Come with me…”
“I cant.” And its as simple as that, the cops knocking on the door rings through the hollow home, I turn and look at them from the window and when I turn around again…Billy is gone.