Written for the Challenge #9 prompt ‘small town Saturday night‘ at the LT3 Goodreads group.
If he was able to drive, Drew thought, this place wouldn’t seem like such a shit-hole. Or at least he’d be able to get out of it when he wanted to. But Drew didn’t drive; it was still another month until his birthday, and even once he turned 17, he’d still have to go through all the lessons and tests until he could finally get out on his own.
His mum and dad had moved here because they wanted to get away from the hustle and bustle of the ever-growing seaside town he’d grown up in; they wanted somewhere quieter, so his dad could relax, get over some of the stress and anger that had been building up over the last few years—although Drew doubted that a change of scenery would help much with that; what his father really needed was a change of family, i.e. the total removal from it. It sucked, but that was how it was, and Drew had known it since he was 12 years old. He wasn’t sure his sisters felt the same way, but for him it was just a waiting game. This ridiculous village idyll wasn’t going to change shit.
Tilly was supposed to be at his house half an hour ago to pick him up. But that was Tilly; if she said half seven she wouldn’t be there until eight at the earliest. They were only going to the cinema, and then maybe for a pizza or a few drinks on the way back. It was Saturday night, and the town would already be full of people staggering about from one pub to the next, but Danny and Frankie were still only 15, in the year below Drew and Tilly—and Frankie never got into clubs, not even Galleries. It wasn’t really fair to keep going out without her and everyone knew they wouldn’t get in anywhere with her, so cinema it would have to be, at least until Frankie grew a couple of inches or lost the baby fat on her face.
A shrill honking came from the driveway, and Drew grabbed his jacket, patted down his pockets—keys, wallet, phone, check. He had to push Milo away from the door as he opened it, the stupid mongrel whining and scrabbling on the wooden floor, as desperate to get out as Drew was. Closing the door quickly behind him, and barely avoiding shutting Milo’s muzzle in it, Drew ran over to the car—a rather beaten second (or third or fourth) hand red Peugeot. He yanked open the passenger’s side door and jumped in.
That was probably the best thing about being last on the stop in—he always got to sit in the front, the car being a two-door and none of his friends caring enough about the front seat to want to bother with the constant in and out at every stop.
Tilly had her dark hair tied back into a scruffy bun, and she grinned at Drew as he got in and buckled up. “Sorry I’m late,” she said, her smile turning rueful. It was the same greeting every week, and Drew gave the same basic reply he gave every week. “No problem.”
Frankie was in the back, behind the driver’s seat, her blonde curls cut short, the tips dyed violet. Drew commented on the new haircut, pleased that he’d noticed.
“Drew,” Frankie sighed, unable to keep the slight whine out of her voice. “I got it cut, like, two weeks ago.”
Drew shrugged. “Better late than never though, yeah?”
Frankie shot him a dark look. “Men,” she muttered, ignoring the way Danny’s eyebrows raised.
Danny had shunted over to the middle, and behind Drew’s seat was another guy, someone he was pretty certain he’d never met before. He checked the guy over, to make sure. Dark, curly hair, pointed chin, ridiculously wide Bambi eyes, all dark and melancholy like Milo’s when he begged for scraps at the table. The guy was thin, tall too, his shoulders hunched over and head bent a little so he could fit in the car—it couldn’t be comfortable.
“Who’s this?” Drew turned to Tilly and jerked his thumb in the direction of the new guy.
“Oh, that’s Simon,” Tilly said, as if that explained everything.
“Yeah? And who’s Simon?”
“Why don’t you ask Simon?” A voice from the back—Simon—asked, sounding rougher than Drew would have expected him to sound, like he hadn’t slept all night or had smoked too much or something.
Drew twisted around in his seat, fixing Simon with a stern stare. “Who are you?” he asked.
Simon rolled his eyes. “We’ve met before,” he said, words slow and drawn out, as if he was trying to give them time to sink in through a particularly dense skull. “At Tilly’s birthday, remember? And I’ve seen you around a couple of times.”
Drew didn’t remember. “We haven’t,” he said, sure of himself. “I’d remember you, so you’re probably thinking of someone else.”
“No, you’ve met,” Tilly said, her eyes still fixed on the road. “He’s my cousin.”
“Huh,” Frankie said, looking from Simon to the back of Tilly’s head. “You don’t look much alike. ‘Cept maybe the hair.”
“If you don’t remember,” Simon said, his dark eyes fixed on Drew, but his expression no longer annoyed, more amusement in his eyes, lighting them up. “It’s probably because you had too much to drink. We talked for ages, but you were pretty out of it.”
“Yeah,” Tilly agreed. “And then you threw up over my mum’s orchid.”
Drew didn’t remember that either, although he’d been told about it enough times, mostly from Tilly, and mostly when she was pissed off at him or wanted him to do her a favour. He shrugged, noncommittal, but for some reason he couldn’t help wishing he did remember this guy.
As Drew had predicted, the town centre was already busy, despite it not even being half past eight yet. A group of middle-aged men smoking outside a pub were yelling, their voices penetrating the rolled-up windows of Tilly’s little car. One of them pulled down his trousers and mooned the passing vehicle, and Frankie giggled in the backseat. Simon sighed, and Tilly muttered something that was probably “For fuck’s sake,” under her breath.
They pulled into the little car park opposite Scott’s cinema, and, miraculously, there were still several places left. Car parked, they all clambered out, Drew watching in amusement as Frankie slipped in the footwell and Danny had to give her a hand to pull her out. Standing up, Simon seemed to stretch on forever, and Drew wondered exactly how tall he was—he had to be at least 6’4.
The cinema was the small two-screen and hard seats kind—although the seats were better since they’d put in new upgrade seats and made the old ones the new standard—at the back of the Mecca Bingo building which sported a sign above its own logo, an arrow with CINEMA captioned above it, pointing around to the right side. Drew didn’t know anybody who played bingo, and as they all traipsed up the steps and in through the glass doors he wondered—very briefly—how much business they actually did.
The film was The Dark Knight Rises, and although the rest of them were enthralled, Drew was kind of bored. There was a hole in his armrest and he spent most of the film picking the stuffing out through it. He hadn’t seen either of the previous Batman films, and he didn’t get half of it, and he couldn’t stand how low Christian Bale’s dropped his voice whenever he donned the mask—it was completely ridiculous and made him want to giggle every time he heard it, but that only earned him a jab in the ribs from Tilly, who was clearly taking this shit Very Seriously. Personally, Drew preferred Spiderman, or X-men, when it came to superheroes, and he liked Misfits even better than any of them, although part of that was, he admitted to himself, because Robert Sheehan was hot as hell.
He didn’t notice that Simon, sitting next to his left, had fallen asleep until his head lolled over onto his shoulder, dark curls brushing against Drew’s face. He felt his stomach flutter, his heartbeat quicken, and wondered if he should push Simon away. But he didn’t—he didn’t want to, even though he’d only just met the guy (as far as he could remember anyway) and physical contact should have been way off limits.
Fuck, Drew thought as his whole body tensed, even his breath slowing down so as not to bring attention to himself. So I like Simon? For god’s sake, brain, what the fuck are you doing to me? He’s not even that hot. Except Simon was hot, kind of. He was too tall and too thin, his hair was too thick and his eyes too big, but for some reason Drew kind of liked all that, not that he was ever, ever, ever going to tell anyone else that.
As the film ended and the credits started to roll, Simon shook himself awake. He groaned and stretched, and Drew realised that there was a little muscle to his arms despite their skinniness. “Sorry,” Simon murmured, leaning close. “Hope I didn’t drool on you.”
Drew didn’t bother replying, just shook his head and got up as everyone else did, without waiting for the credits to end.
“Pizza Choice?” Danny suggested once they were outside.
It was dark out, and even here, on the outer edge of the high street, they could hear the shrill shrieking and laughter of the over-eighteens leaving or entering the pubs and clubs. A group of girls in short skirts and high-heels staggered past them, on their way to get even more pissed up after pre-drinking. They barely looked eighteen, and Drew was pretty sure he recognised one of them from his General Studies class.
They glanced over as they passed, and one of them, a slightly chubby girl with her blonde hair falling around her shoulders in elegant waves, smiled at them. “Alright, Danny?” she asked, her speech a little slurred, but trying to be sexy as she wavered towards them. Drew thought every step seemed to barely avoid tripping. “Why don’t I see you later?”
Danny blushed—he was easily embarrassed, and unused to this kind of attention. Drew suspected he was still a virgin, but that was fine. He was only 16 after all and there was plenty of time for all that. He knew Tilly wasn’t, and he wasn’t either, having lost it at 14 in a public toilet with some girl from school he hadn’t even liked that much. That was before he’d realised he didn’t really like girls at all, and was part of why he’d realised in the first place. If it wasn’t for that, he probably would have been living an accidental lie for a lot longer.
The girls pass, Wavy Hair being dragged away by her mates. Drew chanced a glance at Simon, to find him staring straight back. Drew grinned, shoved his hands in his pockets. If he kissed Simon, he’d either have to stand on tiptoes or Simon would have to lean down; it was a strange thought, he had never kissed anybody taller than himself before—not that he was actually going to kiss Simon.
They waited a few moments before heading off in the same direction as the girls, and Drew couldn’t help but notice how closely Frankie stuck to Danny’s side, and wondered if maybe there was something going on between them.
Tilly and Simon walked pretty close together as well, and occasionally one would murmur something to the other, resulting in a roar of laughter or a small giggle, and one would shove the other playfully. Bringing up the rear of the group, Drew wished he could hear what they were saying, and he felt a small stab of jealously that he knew was completely unfounded; Tilly and Simon were cousins, for fuck’s sake.
The queue outside Palace stretched halfway down the street, the line a mixture of old and young, people 18 or sometimes younger, people in their 40s and 50s and even a small group of men who looked about 70. They had to walk in the road, between the row of taxis and the edge of the pavement, past a couple of police vans waiting for fights to break out and an ambulance, ready for those who didn’t know their limits, or knew them and deliberately exceeded them.
Drew knew a couple of people waiting to get into the club, and he was stopped a few times by people from his college classes, even a couple of people he knew from school, before he’d moved here. He was hugged a few times, and really wished drunk people wouldn’t do that; he was not a hugging kind of guy, and especially not when he was sober.
He caught up with the rest of them outside Pizza Choice, which was already full of people wanting to soak up the booze before either heading home or getting back down to the serious business of drinking.
Drew handed Tilly over a tenner and shouted his order over the din of the greasy kebabbie. It was always easier to send up just one or two people, else they’d all be waiting in line forever, and end up being served at different times, lost in the sea of people surrounding the counter. As he slipped into the seat opposite Simon, he realised that Frankie and Danny weren’t there, and as far as he could see, they weren’t in the queue either. “Gone to get cash,” Simon informed him, having seemingly read his mind. And then, “So, is this what you do every Saturday?”
Drew shrugged. “No, not every Saturday. Just some. Other times we join this lot,” he gestured to the sea of drunken locals around them.
“You’re not from here though, are you?” Simon asked, voice raised over the noise of many people all talking at once. “I mean, you don’t have that farmer accent that your friends have.”
Drew hadn’t even noticed that his friends had much of an accent, he’d grown so used to them. “I’m from the next county over,” he replied. “But my parents are Brummies, so maybe I kinda picked that up. Where are you from?”
“Reading. Lived there my whole life. Bit different to here.”
“You mean not a total shit-hole.”
“Did I say that? I like this. You seem to know everyone.”
Drew shrugged again, suddenly feeling self-conscious—it was not a feeling he had very often. “How can you like it here? If it doesn’t stick of manure, it stinks of rotten eggs and vomit.”
“Or pizza grease,” Tilly added as she slid into the seat next to Simon, setting two pizza boxes on the table. Drew flipped one open. Margarita—Tilly’s. He pushed it over to her and took the box beneath it. Pepperoni—the best type of pizza. Simon didn’t appear to have ordered anything, but he helped himself to a slice of Tilly’s margarita. Tilly didn’t even blink, just kept chewing. If it had been Drew helping himself like that, he’d have gotten a smack round the ear.
“Where the hell are those two?” Tilly muttered twenty minutes later, when all the pizza, save for one or two slices, had been devoured.
“Queue at the cash machine?” Drew offered, but Tilly was still straining to look out of the window.
“Should we maybe go looking for them?” Simon asked, closing the pizza boxes and stacking them neatly at the side of the table.
“I’ll go,” Tilly sighed. “I could do with getting a tenner out anyway.”
Simon bit his lip. “You sure? I mean, we can go with you.”
“Simon.” Tilly’s voice was stern. “If you’re going to give me the young-woman-out-alone speech, I will hit you.”
Drew had to grin at that. The thought of anyone trying to hurt Tilly was ridiculous in itself, and he knew too well that Tilly could handle herself; she was a black belt in judo, and Simon had to know that. He was probably older or something, the instinct to take care of his little cousin stronger than the rational knowledge that she was as tough as nails when it came down to it.
A sheepish grin spread across Simon’s face. “I wouldn’t dream of it. Although … I will just say that, if you’re murdered, that’s our ride home down the pan.”
“If I die, you have permission to raid my money box to cover the taxi costs, okay?” And with that, she was gone, shoving through the throng of people in the doorway and out into the street.
“So, are you in college?” Drew asked. It was a good question, he thought. The answer could give him an estimate of Simon’s age and tell him more about what interested him, all whilst seeming little more than small talk.
“I just finished.” Simon was talking without taking his eyes off Drew, and it was actually a little disconcerting. “Going to Exeter uni in September.” So Simon was at least 18, although he didn’t look like he could be much older than that.
“To do what?” Drew asked, trailing his index finger through a small pile of spilled salt on the table.
“To study—” he was cut off by a shrill shriek as a girl slipped over and landed on her arse in the middle of the crowd, followed by a bout of jeering and raucous laughter. “Let’s go outside,” Simon suggested once the noise had died down enough for him to shout over, and he got up from the table, reaching out and curling one hand around Drew’s wrist.
The touch seemed to burn, but not unpleasantly, and Drew didn’t pull his arm away, instead following Simon out into the cool air and relative quiet of the street. They stood to one side, out of the way, and as Simon let go of Drew’s wrist, his smile was uncertain, hesitant and nervous, and then he was leaning in, closer and closer until his mouth pressed against Drew’s and they were kissing—actually kissing. Drew couldn’t remember the last time he’d kissed anyone without having had a few drinks first, and certainly not a first kiss with someone he barely even knew, but he wanted it, with or without the inhibition-loosening alcohol, and he kissed back. He was suddenly very conscious of his hands, hanging limp at his sides—should he touch Simon? Where? Instead, he shoved them into his pockets, and let Simon lead the kiss. It was broken apart when Tilly returned, yelling, “Oh my god, Simon!” and Simon turned, so Drew could no longer see his face. Tilly though, looked amused. “Honestly, you’re here for one day, and you’re already trying to get it on with my friends?”
Drew ran a hand through his hair nervously, suddenly aware of people staring—not just Tilly, but strangers in the street, like they’d never seen two guys kissing before, and, he thought, most of them probably hadn’t. He shoved his hand back in his pocket, trying to seem a whole lot more nonchalant than he felt. Did Tilly mean that Simon did this sort of thing regularly? Was he some sort of player? Was this just a game to him? Did Drew even really care if the answer to all those things was yes?
Frankie and Danny were standing a little way behind Tilly, brought up short by her sudden exclamation. They were holding hands.
“Great,” Tilly muttered, pushing past Simon and Drew, but there was no real bitterness in her voice, only amusement and exasperation. “Everyone’s hooking up tonight and I’m the spare part.”
“You’ve got Will,” Drew reminded her. Will was Tilly’s boyfriend of six months, and probably the most annoying, simpering guy Drew had ever met.
“Fat lot of good Will is when he’s in Italy,” Tilly muttered.
“Best place for him if you ask me,” Drew retorted, not thinking.
“Do you still want a lift home?” Tilly warned. “Because if you do I reckon you’d better shut it.” Frankie giggled, and Tilly shot her a glare before striding off toward the car park, leaving the rest of them to catch up with her.
“Hormones,” Danny murmured in Drew’s ear, jokingly, and then a loud “Ow!” as Frankie slapped him hard on the shoulder.
“That’s domestic abuse, that is,” Simon grinned at the pair of them. “You want to watch that, Dan.”
Danny laughed, unconcerned with the way Simon shortened his name wrong, and he turned to brush a stray lock of hair out of Frankie’s eyes. How had Drew never noticed this before today? The two of them were meant for each other, in a way that neither Tilly and Will or even probably himself and Simon were.
Back at the car, they all clambered in, and Drew sat in the front, although for the first time ever he wanted to sit in the back, next to Simon. But he was first out, which meant he was last in, and he sat trying to catch glimpses of Simon’s face in the mirror all the way home, until Tilly swung down the road into his village and pulled up at the bottom of his driveway.
“Night guys,” he said, trying to keep the sullen note out of his voice; he didn’t really want the night to end.
He was almost halfway up the drive before he was knocked almost off his feet by someone slamming into his back. He whirled around—it was Simon, dark eyes glinting mischievously in the bright porch light, his hair seeming darker, his skin paler. Drew realised he had a small spattering of freckles over his nose. “Weren’t you going to ask for my number?” Simon pouted, jokingly.
Honestly, Drew hadn’t thought about it. He would have waited for Simon to call him, and he knew that either one of them could get the number off Tilly at any time. “Sure,” he said instead, trying to seem cool, like he wasn’t as completely elated as he was that Simon had caught up with him, that he wanted to call him.
Simon leaned forward, hand flashing out to Drew’s waist, fingers digging into his jacket pocket, pulling out his phone. Drew felt his breath catch in his throat, and waited, still and silent, as Simon keyed in his number to Drew’s contacts. That done, Simon pushed the phone back into Drew’s pocket, and kissed him, light and quick. Before he realised he was moving, Drew pulled Simon back as he turned to leave, and drew him in for another kiss, deepening it, tasting cola and pizza and Simon. The world had narrowed down to just the two of them, and Drew didn’t care that they were practically on his doorstep, in full view of the dining room window, and that his friends were undoubtedly watching from the car. “Night,” he mumbled as they pulled apart, smile stuck on his face.
“Night, Drew,” Simon said, voice soft as he turned away, and Drew shivered. He wanted to hear Simon say his name again like that, like he was savouring the word, like he didn’t want to let it go.
He closed the rest of the distance to his front door, forcing himself not to look back, and he heard the Peugeot’s engine splutter and start as he closed the door. In the dining room doorway, his sister, Jemma, leaned against the frame in her pyjamas, her hair damp and plaited ready for bed, one eyebrow raised. “Who was that?” she asked.
“That,” Drew grinned. “Was Simon.” He left that slender piece of information hanging in the air behind him as he went up the stairs two at a time, and closed his bedroom door behind him.
It was Simon’s last night in Bridgwater. Tomorrow, he’d be going back to Reading and Drew would probably never see him again.
They had spent most of the last week and a half hanging out together, sometimes with Tilly, but mostly without. Drew had wondered if Tilly would feel left out about that, but Simon told him she didn’t mind, that she too was preoccupied with Will, who had come back from Italy a few days ago.
Drew couldn’t help but feel it was kind of weird—when his cousins came down from Birmingham, they spent almost every waking minute together, going on walks and playing cards and hide-and-seek. It was really the only time he felt like a kid again, when he was chasing the littlest—Kyle—around, pretending to be a dinosaur or a yeti or whatever monster they’d decided he should be. But both Tilly and Simon were only children, and they were used to doing their own thing, and they were both grown-up, so Drew guessed that probably made a big difference to the way they did things.
They were in the breakfast room, the one room of the house nobody bothered going in. There were still a couple of boxes against the wall, their contents unknown and unnecessary. The little sofa was second-hand and patched up—Drew’s mum called it a loveseat, but Drew didn’t want to call it that, not when Simon was sitting on the arm of it, his t-shirt plastered to his body with sweat—they’d been out in the garden for most of the day, and had come in seeking the cool air and the electric fan that stood in the corner, blowing cold air and dust around the room. Drew liked that Simon’s shirt stuck to him—this way, he could see all the lines of Simon’s chest, the smooth, flat plane of his stomach above long legs that stretched out in dark blue skinnies across Drew’s lap.
Hardly anybody was in. Jemma was out at one of her friends’ houses, Harriette was playing in the field with some of the neighbour boys. His mum was working at the shop, and his dad was in the shed, playing around with his train sets. Milo was sleeping on the floor in the corner, his muzzle resting on his front paws, one ear flipped inside out. The likelihood that they’d be disturbed was slim. Drew pushed Simon’s legs out of his lap and shifted closer, leaning up to kiss him. It was slow, languid, the way everything was when the weather was like this—hot and muggy, the air almost unbreathable.
One hand was at Simon’s hip, the other tangled in his thick, dark curls, keeping him close, pulling him closer, and then Simon slipped off the arm of the sofa, forward, into Drew’s chest, knocking him back. His head hit the other arm. “Ow!” he muttered, even as Simon laughed and leaned down over him, curls ticking at Drew’s face, and kissed him, licking into his mouth in a way that made heat coil deep in Drew’s belly.
Simon angled his hips, probably unconsciously, automatically shifting into the most comfortable, most pleasurable position. They’d done stuff before, once, in an empty field, one of many in between his village and Puriton, where Tilly, Frankie and Danny all lived, where Simon was staying. It had been sunny then, too, but cooler in their wooded spot between the fields, hidden by shrubbery, brambles and nettles they were careful to avoid. They’d been kissing, and Simon had slipped his hands beneath Drew’s shirt, which—well, Drew wasn’t going to say no to that, and he tugged at Simon’s shirt, loving the way Simon obediently stuck his arms up, helping Drew to get it off him. They hadn’t stopped at the shirts; before too long both of them had jeans and underwear shoved down to their knees.
The feel of Simon’s lips against his own, of his tongue slipping into his mouth, his hands pushing up under his shirt, and the memory of how it felt to have those long fingers around his cock in that field, all conspire to make the blood flow downward, making him hard. Simon, too, was hard, pressing against him, digging into his thigh. Drew canted his hips upward, not really meaning to, the movement coming naturally, automatically, and a small, faint moan escaped his lips.
Simon though, pulled up, eyes going to the window, then back to Drew. Drew tried to pull him back, wanting him, wanting more of him. “Maybe we should go upstairs?” Simon suggested, slow, tentative, almost shy, if such a word could ever be applied to him.
“Yeah,” Drew breathed, the promise suddenly more tantalising than the immediacy of contact, and although he felt suddenly empty, almost cold despite the summer’s wicked heat, as Simon pulled away, up off the sofa and stood, stretching, he didn’t complain—he had lube and condoms upstairs, and if they wanted, they could go all the way instead of just touching like they were still kids.
He followed Simon upstairs, the flight seeming impossibly long for some reason, then pushed past him, leading him down the corridor to his room, where a sign stuck to the door said ‘KEEP OUT’.
“I hope that doesn’t include me,” Simon said as Drew pushed the door open.
Drew shot him a derisive look, and grabbed his wrist, pulling him in to the room.
The bed was only a single, but it was sturdy and Simon was thin and, Drew thought, they could make it work. That was, if they could reach it, he thought as Simon shoved him against the wall and took up kissing him again, his shoulders hunched to take an inch or two off his height, Drew’s neck craned upwards.
“This,” Simon murmured in between kisses, his voice barely more than a groan. “Is the best holiday ever.”
Drew shut him up with another kiss—he didn’t want to be reminded that this was just a holiday for Simon, that tomorrow he’d be gone, sitting on a train back to Reading while Drew was left behind, stuck in this crappy village, this crappy town, without him. Simon would go back to his regular life, but for Drew, this was his regular life, and Simon just snuck into it like an earwig crawling up through the floorboards, totally unaware of the change he’d made in Drew’s life, of the fact that now, everything was different, because—fuck it, Drew could admit it to himself even if he never could to anyone else, least of all Simon—he’d fallen, idiotically, in love, in little more than a week. He’d never felt like this before, in love, and the words felt strange even inside his own head, almost like an insult. Maybe it was because Simon was so like Tilly in some ways, that Drew felt he knew him better than he really did; maybe the love was just an illusion, something that would fade the further away Simon got, but Drew felt it, and, at that moment, it was real, and he couldn’t pretend it wasn’t.
His kisses harshened, teeth nipping at the flesh of Simon’s throat, fingers digging into bony hips. Simon moaned, head tipped back. He was too damned tall, Drew thought, for this. Nudging Simon’s ankle with his foot, Drew twisted him around and walked him back towards the bed, pulling their t-shirts off as they went, and then pushing him down as the backs of his knees hit the frame, clambering down on top of him, knees either side of Simon’s long, skinny legs.
There were too many hands, too many hands and yet too much skin that even a thousand hands couldn’t possibly cover all at once. Every light touch was like a burn, like tiny drops of boiling water being flicked over him, landing, searing, fading almost immediately. Simon was stretched out under him, naked, beautiful, mouthing at Drew’s jaw, and the heat of him, stretched open around his cock, knees pulled back to his chest, squeezing against Drew’s sides, pulling him closer, like no part of them was allowed to not be touching. His hands were at the small of Drew’s back, fingertips and fingernails digging into soft, sensitive flesh, and Drew groaned, half pulling out and shoving back into him; he wasn’t gentle—this wasn’t his first time doing this and it was clear it wasn’t Simon’s either. Simon’s throat and chest were mottled with darkening bruises and the imprints from Drew’s teeth—Simon might have been going home tomorrow but he was sure as fuck going to take something of Drew back with him.
Simon’s hair was damp and plastered to his face with sweat, his whole body glistening with it. Licking a stripe over his chest, Drew tasted it, the salty tang, the headiness of it. Simon moaned, tipped his head back, dug his fingers in harder to Drew’s back, squeezed him with his thighs. “Fuck,” he groaned, as Drew mouthed at a nipple, and then a string of unintelligible words as Drew quickened his thrusts, hitting that sweet spot inside of him again and again in quick succession, and hard. It felt so fucking good like this, Drew never wanted it to be over, but he couldn’t help it, couldn’t slow himself down now, and as Simon shuddered under him, around him, he let go. It was almost at the same time—something that had never happened with any of his past partners. Simon was coming, spilling over Drew’s hand, striping his stomach with the white, sticky substance, and Drew spilled over, caught up in a wave of white hot pleasure that rushed over him and swept him out, blurring his vision, making his hips stutter, every muscle in his body pulled taut, on fire.
And then it was gone, fading away, and Simon was panting, his body a furnace, the sheets beneath them soaked with sweat, his eyes closed, lips full and red, kiss-bitten. Drew caught his breath, resting his head in the crook of Simon’s neck, and chuckled low in his throat. It was a while before he felt like speaking, and he’d pulled out and washed up before either of them did.
“That was …” Simon started, and then stopped. Drew was pretty sure he would have said something good if he’d finished the sentence, but instead he said “I’m going home tomorrow,” his voice mournful, opening up a hollow pit inside of Drew’s chest.
“You could stay,” Drew said, that after-sex glow turning him idyllic and stupid.
“I can’t,” Simon groaned into Drew’s shoulder. “It’s my dad’s birthday on Friday, and I’m leaving the week after.”
There was silence for what felt like a long time, the only sounds those that were floating in through the half-open window—children playing in the street, a dog barking, somebody’s lawnmower. Then, “Exeter’s not that far away …” Simon said, slowly, each syllable drawn out.
“Yeah?” Drew opened his eyes, turned to face him.
“Yeah. I mean, I like you. Obviously,” Simon grinned, but Drew thought he still looked a little nervous. “I’m not saying it would definitely work out, but … We could, you know, see.”
“Okay.” Drew smiled. He very much wanted to see.
In the brochures, Exeter university had looked very grand and imposing, but standing in the grounds it just seemed like a lot of other campuses he’d visited over the past few months, albeit nicer, with students milling around in scruffy jeans and t-shirts, books piled under their arms, a few sitting in circles on the grass, talking and eating.
It wasn’t the first time he’d been here, but it was the first time he’d actually seen much of the buildings and grounds and all the different classrooms. Every other time, he’d intended to look around, and Simon had kept saying that he’d give him a proper tour, but it seemed that, when he got there, the only tour he ever got was the one of Simon’s bedroom. Not that he was about to complain about that.
The tour over, having ended up back where they started, Drew made his way over to Simon, who was leaning against a wall and leafing through a copy of Simulacra and Simulation with a confused frown on his face. He looked up as Drew approached and grinned. They stood, slightly awkward for a couple of seconds before Simon shoved his book back into his messenger bag and stepped forward, hands going straight to Drew’s hips and pulling him close, kissing him deep.
Simon tasted of strawberries and, slightly, of gin. The late afternoon sun was warm against Drew’s back and Simon’s body warm against his chest.
“So,” Simon said, pulling away, a grin spreading across his face, wide, dark eyes lighting up with it. “Cake, then sex, then party?” He drew out the word party, turning it into paar-taay, and Drew chuckled.
“Sounds good to me,” he said, slinging one arm around Simon’s waist and pulling him close. No one even blinked in their direction, and Drew thought that was maybe the best thing about university; no one cared what you did or who you did it with, and if they noticed them at all, they’d say things like ‘Wow, you make a cute couple,’ instead of ‘Oh, ugh. Get a room.’
The best thing about this university though, was easy, and that was Simon. Really, the open days were just to mollify his mum, to convince her he was making a thoroughly informed decision; he’d known for almost whole year where he was going to go, and that was right here. He was going to live and study in the same city, the same university as Simon. They had made it work, and it was going to keep working, Drew knew it, not just in his heart but in his head, too, in his very bones. This was it, his new life, out of his crappy small town and into the city, with Simon. He couldn’t wait.