Subject: To Know What You Want, Chapter 1 To Know What You Want by RJ This story is for JSL, who reached out to me asking if I could build a story out of an experience he had. Names (including screennames) have been changed as to not reflect the people in real life, so any relation to someone in real life is purely coincidental. This story is about a high school sophomore who hits it off with a young man he meets on a dating app. Though the age gap is not large, if themes of adult/youth offend you, do not read. If you have any questions or comments about this piece, want to know about any of my other works, or just want to reach out, please don’t hesitate to email me. A list of my works, including links and descriptions, can be found here: If you would like to be added to a mailing list for this story (or all stories) and receive emails about any updates, let me know. Please note that this chapter serves as an introduction and will contain less sexual content than future chapters. Please also consider donating to Nifty if you fty/donate.html ~ Chapter 1 ~ All you can hear is the smacking of people chewing their gum rebelliously and the clock on O’Sullivan’s desk ticking away. He does that on purpose. “Now you can hear how much time you’re wasting!” or some shit like that. I think it’s more like “Listen to how much of MY time you’re wasting.” After all, it’s not like he wants to be here, supervising the five of us in detention. So if he has to be here, he wants us to know that it’s a total inconvenience to him. I don’t care about O’Sullivan, though. He’s cranky because he didn’t “make it big” in show biz and snaps at all the artsy kids because they remind him of himself. I’d feel bad for him if he was a little nicer, because he’s good-looking and probably actually had some talent back in the day. But I can’t help but hate him a bit any time I see his narrowed eyes. “Pssst.” I glance over at Pete, who’s on his phone under his desk. He tilts the screen towards me and says “Look at this fag.” It’s a picture of some dude with his girlfriend. I don’t get it. Pete’s in a quiet fit of laughter as if he told the funniest joke on the damn planet, but I’m missing the punchline, I guess. The kid looks normal. A little fem, maybe, but whatever. I pretend Pete was all wits and charm and I laugh along with him, though. I have to keep up appearances. Don’t need anyone knowing the truth about me. “Quiet back there,” O’Sullivan says, glaring at us. “Fuck you,” Pete says, just a hair too loudly. “Excuse me, Mr. Kaufman?” O’Sullivan demands, standing up abruptly. Saved by the bell, though. The clock hits 3 o’clock, signaling that our forty-five minutes of detention is over. Pete’s the first one out of his chair, and he bolts out of the room, completely ignoring O’Sullivan demanding he come back. That, I actually find funny, and I chuckle as I hurry after Pete, both of us laughing as we rush to get out of this godforsaken building. “He’s gonna kill you, dude,” I tell him as we escape and hit the fresh air. It’s not bad out today. 70s. Breezy. “He’s not gonna do shit,” he says with a grin, messing with his hair. “He’s a pansy.” “I think he’s just sick of seeing your ugly ass in detention,” I tease. “Fuck you,” he says, shoving me, and I laugh. “You’re not any better.” “Pretty sure they all call me Pretty Boy,” I say smugly. He scoffs. “Psssh. Who the fuck is ‘they’? No one.” “That’s just your jealousy talkin’,” I say, grinning as we walk towards the lot. “You’re an idiot,” he says, smiling as he pulls out his car keys. “You want a ride?” “Nah, I’m good,” I tell him. “Just gonna take my bike.” “Okay. Well, you’re gonna come by later, right?” When I shrug, he punches my shoulder. “C’mon, dude, you promised.” “I definitely didn’t,” I say. I’ve tried to wiggle my way out of these plans for a week. Pete’s cousin is visiting from Colorado or some shit and bringing a plethora of “goodies” with him. That only means one thing: drugs. “It’ll be fun.” “I’ll think about it,” I say, wanting this conversation to end. I just have no interest in that. Drugs just aren’t my thing. I’ll sneak a drink from my dad’s stash every now and then, but that’s about it. Pete’s obsessed with the idea, though, desperate to try anything he can gets his hands on. Idiot. “So I’ll see you later then,” he says decidedly. I don’t even try to fight him. We just do our handshake before he heads to his car, blasts his music, and speeds out of the lot, his tires squealing like crazy. I watch him leave a trail of smoke and burnt rubber before I head off school grounds, towards the woods on the outskirts. That’s where I have to hide my bike every day, since bikes aren’t allowed for whatever fucking reason. I wonder what it’s like at other schools. If there are so many damn rules and regulations and restrictions. Can’t have bikes, can’t have water bottles, can’t have gum. Can’t use your phone, even if you’re waiting for an important text from your parents. Can’t use the damn bathroom without an escort. Though that last one’s because of all the other druggies ruining shit for the rest of us; they know that adults don’t know how to punish properly, so we all sink with their ship. I snag my bike from the bush I always hide it in. It gets stuck on a few branches but I manage to tug it loose, and then, I’m on my way. It’s a nice ride to my mom’s. Decent weather, and if I take all the backroads, no traffic. It’s relaxing, even while blasting Colour Revolt in my ears. Keeps my mind off the trouble I keep managing to get myself into (usually because of Pete) over minor shit. Admittedly today was my fault, though. I shouldn’t have punched Steve Jones square in the face, but I don’t take kindly to kids who think they can play tough guy with an actual tough guy. And Pete shouldn’t have gotten involved. But even though my fingers still ache from cutting against his braces, what’s done is done. When I get home, my mom is outside with her boyfriend. Tending to the herbs in her garden. “Hey sweetheart,” she says when I let my bike fall in the lawn and I pull my headphones out of my ears. “Hi, Ma,” I say, and she stands up. We kiss each other’s cheeks and only gives me a half-hug since her hands have soil all over them. I look towards Markeith and nod “Hey,” I say simply. He smiles and nods back. Probably excited that I addressed him. “How was school?” I shrug. “Alright,” I say, and I leave it at that, turning to my mom. “I’m gonna head in.” “Okay, love,” she says, shielding her eyes from the sun with her arm as she looks up at me. “There’s some fruit salad in the fridge if you want some.” I thank her and head up the steps into the house. I feel a little bad for Markeith. Maybe I should try talking to him more. I think he thinks that I hate him or something because I’m always short with him, but that’s not true. I just don’t know what to say to him. I grab some fruit from my mom’s salad before heading up to my room and throwing myself on my bed with a heavy sigh. Thank fucking God it’s Friday. Now I can relax. Probably should’ve actually brought my homework home, but I probably wouldn’t do it even if I had it on me. So that’s one thing I don’t have to worry about ’til Monday. I guess all I have to concern myself with is how hard Pete will try to convince me to come over later. But that’s for later. For now, I grab one of my pillows, hug it tight, and close my eyes, pretending I’ve got a guy of my own to hold. Ma wakes me up when dinner’s ready. I’m not terribly hungry, but I eat with her and Markeith anyway, mostly listening to them talk about work and the garden and Markeith’s crazy mom and shit like that. It’s not that I don’t feel included. They just both know by now that I don’t say too much, even when asked questions. It’s probably like pulling fucking teeth trying to get information out of me. I don’t know why that is. It’s not like either of my parents are like that. But I at least try not to be a bad kid, especially to my mom. Once dinner’s done, I always take it upon myself to handle the dishes and make sure everything’s clean. I figured, if I’m fucking up at school, I don’t need to be fucking up at home too. Then it’s back to my room. It’s getting close to seven. Pete will probably start pestering me soon, so I debate what I should do to pass the time. I could play video games, but I’ve exhausted the games I have by now. I’d need something new. I could take a ride to the local Gamestop, but I’d have to rustle up some money. Games ain’t cheap, and I’m dead broke. I sigh, resting on my bed as I pull my phone from my pocket. Maybe I could chat it up with someone on Grindr. I’m a little horny. That’d be a good way to pass a decent amount of time, long as I manage to find someone interesting. Hopefully someone’s looking for a virtual quickie. I redownload the app on my phone. I only have it on my phone when I’m using it because I’m terrified someone like Pete will find out about what I do on the side, as if I’m living a double life or some shit. I can’t be open about any of this. Not here. I know what happens to gay kids when they come out, or are outed. And I can fend for zonguldak escort myself physically easily enough, but emotionally? Fat chance. Once I log-in, the screen refreshes to show guys near my location. And there are a surprising amount of options. Less than when I’m at my dad’s, but still, there are some hot looking dudes that are within a mile and one that’s only a few hundred feet away. I spend a bit of time going through a couple dozen profiles, starring ones I like and debating which guys I should message in the hope that something will snag. That’s when I come across the profile “dannyphantom.” Intrigued, I click on the picture that’s cropped from the waist down to only show his sweatpants. Some anonymity, I guess. I don’t blame him. I let out a little laugh when I see the profile, though: “yes, I’m THAT danny phantom, but still alive and grown-up and stuff.” Danny Phantom was one of my favorite shows as a kid, if not my favorite. I discovered it around the same time I’d noticed that I was different from other boys. That I had crushes on the guys rather than the girls. And Danny Phantom was my first real crush, even though he was a damn cartoon. I spend a little more time on his profile, though he doesn’t have much to offer. It’s just the one picture, his bio, and only a couple stats: he’s 21, single, a little taller than I am, and has an “average” body type. That always makes me feel more comfortable, though, when guys say they’re average rather than buff or muscled or whatever. Because if we’re both average, we’re both on the same level and not trying to outperform the other. It says he’s close too — only a mile away. I’m somewhat interested to know more, so I send him a message: “I love that show”. He responds almost immediately: “It’s kickass right??” I smile as I type: “Hell yea. I had a big crush on Danny”. “I don’t blame you, he was cute”. “Still is*”, I say, correcting him. “You’re not wrong”. I lick my lip slightly before asking a question. “Is your name actually Danny?” “Yeah haha”, he sends back. Then: “What about you, Chief? Or should I call you Hot Lips or something?” I laugh. My profile name is Chief — something my dad has always called me since I was little, and the only photo I have up is a picture of me from my lips down to my bare chest. Nothing distinct. Nothing that’s clearly me. But my lips do look pretty good in that picture. “Chief is fine.” My name isn’t basic enough for me to want to dish it out to just anyone. Not many dudes named Jax out there. “Chief it is then”, he sends. “Looking for anything in particular?” “Just some fun”. I like to keep it vague, see what the other guy says. “Wanna exchange pics or something? It’s cool if not”. That classic phrase, “exchange pics.” We both know what that means. “Ok, but no face pix”, I send. “Fine with me”. He sends me a couple pictures before I even leave the app. First one is a body shot, showing off his hairy chest, and I follow my eyes down the trail of hair to his crotch. He has his cock and balls cupped in his hand to censor the photo, but it’s still enough for me to get a little boned up. Towards the top, I can see his chin in the photo, clearly sporting a dark brown beard. Light in length, but enough for me to be able to picture the rest of it framing his face. I wonder what he looks like. But I’m too distracted by his second picture to ponder for long. A basic cock-shot, but it gets me rock hard in an instant. It looks like it was taken in the same room as the first picture, in what is clearly a bathroom. The way the hair sits on his body makes me wonder if he just got out of the shower. I lick my lips slightly at the picture of his cock, studying it from his point of view. It’s a little bigger than mine. Thicker too, I think, judging by the way he’s holding his hard-on. And he’s got natural pubes too. The sight of them makes me want to nuzzle my fucking face in there. “You there still?” he sends me. “Yeah sorry”, I send back quickly. “It’s cool if you’re not into me,” he says. I don’t blame him for saying that. This app can make you seriously question your confidence if you don’t know what you’re signing up for or take this whole thing too seriously. Not everyone’s going to like you. “Yeah, but I am, so…” I send, and I follow up with a couple pictures of myself. I pick three of my best ones that I keep in a private folder on my phone. One’s basic — just a full body shot in my underwear to give the guy a general picture. To let them know that I’m not the skinniest, and I’m not the most buff, but I can handle my own. Second one is a cock-shot of my own. I think my dick looks best from the side, so I took one at that angle, showing off my six inches in the best light possible. I like the picture too because I took it after getting inspired to trim my pubes a bit. So everything looks super picturesque. But the third picture is what really reels dudes in, especially if I want them to send more dick pics. My ass. “So thick and juicy it should be illegal,” one guy called it. I thought he was trying way too hard to compliment me, but I appreciated it nonetheless. It always gives me a bit of a rush to send a guy a picture of my ass. It feels somehow a little more intimate than just a dick pic. A little more risky. I think it’s because, if my pictures ever got out, people would know exactly what I’m into. They’d know I like to play bitch now and again. “Damn, Chief”, he sends back, and I smile. “Not just a pair of hot lips”. Then: “I’m desperate to know what you look like, man”. It’s tempting, sometimes, to send a face-pic. But not tempting enough for me to actually follow through. “Could say the same about you”. “Touche”, he sends. Then: “Can I at least hear your voice?” My voice? That’s rare. Dudes don’t often care about voice messages. “What do you want me to say?” “I don’t know.” Then: “How about ‘Bush did 9/11′”. I was expecting him to ask me to say something dirty, so this is a surprise. One that makes me laugh. So I do it. I hold down the little microphone icon and record a small message: “Danny Phantom is a crackpot conspiracy theorist and thinks Bush did 9/11”. Send. He sends back “Hahahah” before typing out another message. “You can’t deny the entire situation is sketchy”. “I don’t know much about it”, I say. Just that everyone my age jokes about Bush being responsible for it. Nothing I’ve ever really put stock into. “I’ll have to teach you”, he says. Then: “Your voice is sexy by the way”. I’d be blushing if he was saying this in person, but it’s not the first time I’ve heard it. There aren’t too many people in North Carolina who talk like me. “Do I detect a slight accent?” “Maybe a little Colombian”, I send back. I don’t look it, since I’m paler than most would expect, but I’ve got Colombian blood in me. Hell, I was born there. I was raised in the US and grew up listening to that accented form of English at home, but it was mostly beaten out of me through hearing and assimilating with American kids. “Oh shit, nice!” he sends. “Do you speak Spanish?” “No, sorry”. Don’t tell me he’s another one of those white dudes that like to be called “papi”. “Maybe it’s because I’m white as fuck but that would have been hot”. I can’t help but laugh. At least he’s honest. “Well lemme hear your voice at least”. So he sends me a message of him saying “Chief here is probably too big a patriot to realize the truth about America”, followed by the most boyish little laugh before the message cuts off. His voice is deep, calm, and soothing. It almost gives me chills. And to top it off… “Are you British or something?” He has a slight accent, much more noticeable than mine is. “Unfortunately”. That makes me snort. “Don’t hate me”. Somehow, though, that makes him seem more appealing. “And you ended up in North Carolina how…?” “Parents have a habit of dragging their kids wherever they end up”, he says. “So you didn’t come to America to educate the masses about 9/11?” “Oh, Chief thinks he’s clever”, he sends, and I chuckle. “I could definitely teach you a thing or two”. That sounds a little more sexual than the rest of our messages, and I grin a bit to myself. “I’m sure”. “Wanna meet up?” Another classic phrase on this app. But this time, it makes me more nervous than usual. I DO want to meet up, that’s the problem. But I only ever meet up with guys when I’m staying over at my dad’s since it’s a few towns over. Helps lower the risk of meeting up with someone I might know, or at least increase the degrees of separation. But this guy lives in town. Just a mile away from me right now. And I don’t know what he looks like, face-wise. I don’t know any twenty-one-year-old dudes named Danny, but I have to consider that he could be lying. Or could be the older brother of someone I DO know, if he lives in town. Fuck, I don’t know what to do. When I don’t respond for a minute, he sends me another message. “I’m at my parents’ right now but they won’t be home til really late”. I take a breath. What if I chanced it this one time? It might be worth it. After all, we kind of glazed over the sexual stuff. Usually my interactions on here are, right tunalı escort off the bat, raunchy. Which is fine when I’m horny or want to meet up quick. But this Danny character feels a little different. Plus, I don’t know anyone who’s fuckin’ British. Maybe I just need to relax and go with it. I hesitate before sending the message “Lemme shower and I’ll head over”. “Okay cool. See you soon Chief”, he sends, and I smile. I take a quick but thorough shower, making sure I’m squeaky clean for him. We didn’t exactly discuss what we’re both into, or even what we’re expecting out of this, which I realize is sort of stupid. What if we don’t mesh? What if he’s into some crazy shit? But I tell myself to relax. You can’t really judge someone based off a text-to-text interaction, but he seems okay so far. The scarier part is wondering whether or not he was honest about his pictures. I hope he’s not some creepy geezer. That’s always a risk. Once I’m out of the shower, I get dressed in something simple. Boxers, jeans, old football sweatshirt, and some shoes that are easy to bike in. When I come back to my phone, I see that he sent me his address. I know exactly where that street is. Right through the park behind my mom’s. That fact alone makes me nervous, but I leave the house anyway, snatching my bike up off the lawn and heading out without so much as a head’s-up to my mom. She’s used to me leaving the house whenever, so tonight will be no exception. On the ride over, I play music through my headphones to distract me from my nervousness. But still, sometimes I get this weird sensation that someone’s watching me and knowing exactly where I’m going, and I have to stop altogether and take a breath. I almost bail out twice, pausing a couple times by the lake I ride by, but I try and push past my heart attempting to beat out of my damn chest. Then I find his house. It’s a pretty snazzy place, although pretty traditional. Nothing that would make me stop and wonder who lives in there. But now, that’s exactly what I’m wondering. What’s this guy like? What does he like? Will he even like me when he sees me? I’m not super picky about dudes. But what if he is? I pop my headphones out of my ears, noticing how dead fucking silent it is tonight. But almost everyone’s house is lit up in some way. Hope no one’s looking at me as I leave my bike by the mailbox and make my way up to the front door. Pocketing my phone, I take a breath and then ring the doorbell. I have to wait almost half a minute before I hear something click, and not at the front door. A separate door, closer to the garage. When I look over, I hear someone say “Hey! Down here!” I can’t see, though. The porch light is blocking my view of anything outside its radius, so I step out of the light beaming down on me and look towards the noise. There he is, Danny, half-standing at the bottom of a small set of steps leading to a side-entrance. I can tell it’s him the closer I get because he’s shirtless, and his body definitely matches the one he sent in the pictures. I feel the bulk of my nervousness go away as I approach him, for two reasons: one, he’s hot. His facial hair is a little patchy in spots around his jaw, but his features themselves are handsome. Dark brown hair long enough to play with, kind eyes, a strong nose. His lips look even nicer than mine, so I find it funny that he was calling me Hot Lips. And two, he’s smiling — and not in a creepy way either. He has a good-naturedness about him that’d be obvious to any stranger. “Sorry,” he says as I get closer, “I shoulda told you to use this entrance.” “It’s okay,” I say, stepping close. Now that we’re practically face-to-face, I can see that his eyes are a deep-brown. Sort of cozy. But then I notice that he’s staring at me as if pondering something. Shit. Does he know me? Or recognize me from somewhere? “What?” I ask anxiously. He blinks, shaking his head. “Sorry,” he says with a laugh. “Just, you’re like, pretty.” I blush. Pretty Boy strikes again. “Stop,” I say with a laugh. “I’m serious,” he says. I believe him too. I’ve gotten that before. I don’t know what about it it is. I think it’s the softness in my expressions. Girls tell me I have “sad eyes”. That, when mixed with my plump lips and soft jaw and shaved face, gives me (I suppose) a “pretty” look. But I have masculine features to offset it, like a prominent nose and thick eyebrows — one of them being split from playing with too many matches as a kid. But it looks like I just shaved it to “look cool”, so people don’t ever ask. “Thanks,” I say, trying not to smile. “Cute smile, too,” he adds, which only makes me laugh and look away. Sometimes I think I have a bit of a dopey smile, but Ma says it’s her favorite feature of mine. That could just be a mom thing, though. “You gonna make fun of me all night or you gonna let me in?” He laughs, stepping aside and making room for me to enter. I bite my lip as I do, glancing around what looks to me a furnished basement or something. It must be, since it’s under the garage. I assume it connects to the rest of the house somewhere. It’s nice, though. Clean, nicely decorated, has a cozy feel to it. A little dimly lit, but I like that. Over in the corner I see a giant L-shaped couch in front of a large television set, and after Danny closes the door behind me, that’s where he gestures for me to go. “Take a seat. Get comfy.” “Thanks,” I say, shucking my jacket off and setting it on the couch before I sit. “You want anything?” he asks. “A drink or…?” Then he laughs, rubbing his forehead with his fingers when he realizes something. “Yeah, sorry, I should have asked this way earlier, but… how old are you?” “Eighteen,” I lie, hoping he takes it without question. Would he care if I was sixteen? Probably. Guess he accepts the lie, though. “Maybe no alcohol then,” he says with a smile. “I’m fine with a water or something,” I say, though I’m not exactly thirsty. “Cool. Gimme a sec,” he says, turning around the corner. I bite my lip as I glance at the television screen, where it looks like a soccer game is playing. So he likes soccer. That’s a little tidbit we could talk about. It takes me a bit of time to realize it’s a video game, though, and not real life. I see the Xbox under the TV. Games look so legit nowadays. It’s crazy. When Danny comes back, has on a plain t-shirt to compliment the athletic shorts he was wearing. He tosses me a water bottle and I catch it, watching him take a swig of his beer as he sits on the couch a decent distance away from me. “You put a shirt on,” I say. “Hm? Oh yeah,” he says, chuckling. “I had just showered when you showed up but, I didn’t wanna seem indecent.” “I didn’t mind,” I find myself saying. He grins a little before leaning forward. “So what’s your name, if you don’t mind me asking? I can’t call you Chief in seriousness.” I hesitate. Seems a little too personal for someone who lives in town, but whatever. “Jax.” His eyebrows arch. “Jax? Really?” “Yes,” I say defensively, cracking open the bottle and taking a sip of my water. “No, I mean, that’s a cool name,” he clarifies. “Jax.” I like the way he says my name. Makes me feel sexy, in a weird way. “And you’re Danny Phantom,” I say. He laughs. “Flesh and blood, baby.” I smile at him as I put the cap back on the bottle and set it down on the coffee table in front of us. That’s when I notice the cigarettes, along with the ashtray. I thought I smelt something. “You smoke?” I ask. “Yeah. Do you?” I make a disgusted face, almost as a visceral, automatic response. “No.” He laughs when I look at him apologetically. “It’s okay. I know it’s gross.” He takes another sip of his beer. “What about like, weed and stuff?” I shake my head. “Nah.” “Really? Huh. You don’t hear that that often.” “Just not my thing,” I say. “It’s cool, man. I won’t do it in front of you.” “Thanks,” I say, appreciating that. “Do you drink though?” he asks, pointing the neck of his beer bottle towards me. I shrug. “Sometimes.” “At least try this,” he says, standing up and coming to sit closer to me so that he can pass the bottle without a struggle. I take it. Our fingers touch for a brief moment. It’s that sort of sensation that you only want more of. Human contact. I bring the bottle up to my nose and sniff it before trying a sip, fully aware that his lips were just on the tip of it. Turns out it’s not beer at all. It’s hard cider. He smiles slightly. “Good, right?” “Yeah, not bad,” I say, licking my lips and handing it back to him. “My parents make their own cider,” he says, leaning back against the couch. “They have a company and everything.” “Really? That’s intense.” He shrugs. “I mean, it’s the reason we moved here, like, eight or nine years ago, so kinda,” he says with a smile. “Damn,” I say. “You must be rolling in it then.” He scoffs. “Them? Sure. Me? Not so much.” That surprises me. “But you’re their kid.” “Yeah but I’m an ‘adult now’,” he says, using air quotes. “Once I turned eighteen I was kinda pushed outta the house.” I frown. “That’s shitty.” “It is what it is.” I try to imagine what would happen if mom or dad kicked me out. I’d just tunceli escort live with the other, of course. Dad might be quicker to not want me around if I fuck up real bad, but Ma is too good to me to let me be homeless. “So where do you live now?” I ask. “Eastern suburbs,” he says. “But I work there, so it makes travel a little easier.” “What do you do?” “I’m a phlebotomist.” I wince. “Like blood ‘n shit?” “Just blood,” he says with a laugh. “Damn. Is that… I don’t know. Fun?” “Not really,” he says, taking a long swig of his cider, “but it pays the bills, you know?” Then he smiles at me. “So, what, you in college now?” I laugh. “Nope. Still high school.” He grins. “Gross.” “Don’t I know it.” “What do you wanna do after?” I shrug. That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? The truth is, nothing. I have no real academic ambition, so I’d probably do a trade or something. “Still figuring it out,” I tell him, not wanting to sound like a burnout. “If I could, I’d just play hockey for a living.” “Hockey, huh?” he says, looking me over. “Bet you’re a savage in the rink.” “Good eye,” I say with a grin. “It’s my favorite sport.” “A little too violent for me, I think,” he says with a chuckle. I shrug. “It’s not that bad. Not as bad as football.” He chuckles. “Don’t tell me you like that bullshit.” I blush and laugh. “Hell yeah.” I glance towards the TV. “I’m assuming your sport is soccer, English boy.” “‘English boy’,” he repeats with a laugh. “And yes, it is. The REAL football,” he adds, nudging me. I laugh. “I’m not having this argument with you. We just met.” “Fine,” he says. “But yeah, I love soccer. My three loves are soccer, ice cream, and music.” I find it sort of cute that one of his all-time favorite things is fucking ice cream. But I’m intrigued by the music. “Let’s talk music, then.” We spend a good amount of time combing through each other’s music. We both pull out our phones and compare bands we listen to while taking turns eating one of his favorite flavors of ice cream: ironically, Stephen Colbert’s “American Dream.” It’s fucking delicious, and it feels like we’re getting familiar with each other. It’s a nice moment, taking turns making fun of a particular band one of us might like while also swapping the spoon back and forth. “Okay, well, what about Taking Back Sunday?” I ask, after he shot down four bands in a row. He pauses. “Dude. I fucking love them.” “Right?” I say excitedly. They’ve been one of my favorite bands for a long time. “Especially their old stuff.” “ONLY their old stuff,” he says, correcting me with a grin. “Have you ever seen them live?” he asks. I shake my head. “No one really comes around here,” I say. “I’ve only ever seen like, local bands. Small garage shows and stuff.” “Really?” he asks. “That’s still pretty cool. Anyone any good around here?” I laugh. “They’re alright. It’s mostly just for fun.” “Fair. Well, Taking Back Sunday, they were sick live. Here,” he says, tilting his screen towards me. He presses the home button and scrolls back a few pages, looking for his photos app. But I can’t help but notice his background: a picture of him holding a small boy. “Who’s the kid?” I ask. “Hm?” “The kid.” I point to his screen. “Oh! That’s my son, Riley.” I blink, taking pause. “You have a son?” “Yeah,” he says, scanning the pages back and forth, still looking for his photos app. Is he kidding? How is he being so nonchalant about that information? He has a fucking kid? And a young one too — can’t be older than two, by the looks of him. But Danny doesn’t seem to think it matters. He finally finds the photos app and scrolls back several months’ worth of pictures until he finds the video he was looking for. “Aha! Here. Look.” He shows me a video of the crowd during a performance of the song “Spin.” They’re especially rowdy, it seems, but Danny had an upper view of the crowd below. They looked like they were swarming or moving around like a school of fish. “Crazy,” I say, finding it only vaguely interesting because all I can think about is that he has a son. He created life. His dick is a dad dick. Why is that both blow my mind and make me so fucking horny? “Yeah, it was a great show,” he says, shutting his phone off. “In Boston, I think. You ever been to Boston?” I shake my head. “Never been out of the state,” I say. He blinks. “Out of North Carolina? Ever?” I just nod. “Damn, dude, you gotta get out there!” “Well, where have you been?” I ask. He laughs. “I could talk about this for hours.” I smile a little, picking up the pint of ice cream and taking a bite. “So talk.” And talk he does. Talk we both do, for a long damn time. It starts off with his adventures around Europe when he was a kid before he starts talking about his trips around America — Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Florida, California… All places I’ve never even been. But he’s not a one-sided conversationalist. He asks me questions, wants to know my input, lets me add in commentary, and it feels strange to talk so much to someone. Not even someone I just met, but just in general. It feels both good and exhausting. But the conversation flows so nicely that I don’t want to stop. Traveling, different and strange social customs throughout the US, the desire to both be a nomad and settle down… After a while I start to forget the reason I came here: to have sex. We’re only interrupted by my phone buzzing on the coffee table. We both glance at it, but I ignore it. The first time, that is. But then it rings again right after. “You gonna get that?” Danny asks, probably thinking someone’s trying to reach me for something important if they’re calling so much. I sigh. I already know who it is without looking at the screen. I pick up the call and answer. “Yo.” “Where the fuck are ya?” Pete says. He’s yelling. Sounds like he’s in a car or something. “I’m out,” I tell him, glancing at Danny. “Cancel whatever you’re doing, bro,” he says. “Meet me at my house in ten. I just got my cousin.” “I’m busy,” I tell him, but he cuts me off before I can keep talking. “The fuck you mean you’re busy? You out with a chick or something?” I glance at Danny, who’s smiling slightly at me. “You can go if you need to,” he says. I know I CAN. I just don’t WANT to. But Pete blares in my ear again when I don’t immediately respond. “Earth to fuckin’ Jaaaax–” “Alright, alright,” I say, getting irritated. “Fine. I’ll come. Fucking relax.” “Atta boy,” he says, and then he hangs up without another word. I sigh heavily, relaxing myself. I shouldn’t have agreed. Maybe I could just bail on him, but if I do, I’ll never fucking hear the end of it. I know Pete. He’s a relentless motherfucker. I look at Danny with a frown. “End of the night, huh?” he asks. “Yeah. Sorry.” “No, it’s okay,” he says, standing up. “I got plenty of time in.” He gives me a little grin before saying “I’ll walk you out.” I grab my jacket and pull it on as I follow Danny to the door. I check the time. Just past eleven. We’ve been talking for nearly three hours straight. Jesus, time flew. Guess he really did get his time in. But I really, really, really wish I could have stayed longer. He opens the door and lets me pass, but catches my attention before we say our goodbyes. “Hey, so, listen,” he says, clearing his throat. “I’d like to see you again, if you’re up for it.” I can’t help but smile. “Yeah?” “Yeah. I like you, Jax,” he says with a smile, and I feel all… I don’t know. Fluttery? A Grindr hookup has never been like this for me. They’ve always been just that: hookups. Nothing more. “Gotta say, this night didn’t really turn out like I thought it would.” I laugh. “Sorry you didn’t get laid.” He grins a bit. “Well… I don’t know about you, but I’m glad we got to talk. Sometimes it’s better than a quick… you know. Blow-n-go. Fuck-n-chuck.” “Alright, I get it,” I say, laughing and stopping him before he goes off on a weird tirade. He can be childlike, I’ve noticed. But it’s kind of cute. “Do you wanna see me again?” he asks me. Why can’t I stop smiling? “Yeah,” I tell him. As in, yes, I’d love to suck your dad dick sometime. Speaking of which — we should probably talk about that, especially if he wants to see me again. Especially if this just isn’t about sex. “Cool,” he says, smiling before he licks his lips. “Well. Bye, I guess.” “Bye.” He hesitates for a moment as if checking how I’ll respond, but then he finally leans in and kisses me. I think initially it was supposed to be this sweet goodnight kiss, and we both smile against each other’s lips. But then I lean in for more. He presses his lips firmly back against mine, and I find myself feeling both light and heavy at the same time. I grab onto his shirt as the kiss gets more intense. More needy. Deeper. Hornier, even. I love his hand on my lower back and his tongue in my mouth and his body against mine. This a proper fucking kiss. Finally, we both have to pull back for air, and when we do, we laugh a little. “That’s some goodnight kiss,” Danny mutters, licking his lips. “To hold you off ’til next time,” I say. “Oh ho,” he says, laughing a little harder. “Careful. I’m gonna hold you to that.” I just grin as I step back, hoping he does. “‘Night, Danny.” “G’night, Jax,” he says, giving me a little wave before I turn and walk away. I can feel his eyes on me as I leave, my face aching from smiling so much, my lips still wet from his, my body already anticipating our next meeting.

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