At 3:45 pm I get a text from Greta.
u need to talk to ur boy nate. He totes got a rager today over innocent comment.
The text makes me frown because that doesn’t sound like him at all. He’s the patient, steady one. Nick is the hot head. I don’t send her a text back immediately because I’d rather hear from Nate what went down. The phone dings again but I don’t read it. I just know it isn’t either of the Jackson boys.
It’s hard not to be in classes with them because my whole day consists of eating, sleeping, and working on booklets that are my temporary replacement for classes. I’ve no motivation for doing any of those things. Occasionally, if the weather isn’t too cold, one of my parents will take me out for a walk like I’m the family dog. You faint one time on the elevator and you’re never allowed out of the house alone.
The one part of leaving that actually appeals to me is the idea that I might have a little more freedom. But for now, I spend most of my time waiting for the boys to get home because that’s when my real life starts.
I don’t rush them, though. They might need to work out or they might have homework. But every nerve in my body is straining toward their side of the building. The walls are too thick and too well insulated for me to hear the doors slam shut or the thud of their footsteps against the tile or wood floors, but my heart is so attuned to them, particularly Nate, that I know instantly when they arrive home.
I can see them in my minds eye jostling each other as they walk down the hall, their backpacks hanging off one shoo slder. Nick enters his room first, tosses his backpack on the floor, and flops down into his red and black gaming chair. He’ll play some kind of networked game with kids halfway across the world. He once told his parents that he was learning a second language. It wasn’t a lie either, they just didn’t know the second language was primarily sex words.
Nate follows. He’s slower, more precise of the two. Or maybe he’s just looking out for Nick like he does for me. Nate is always watchful. He sets his bag on his desk carefully and unpacks everything that he needs to address. In the past, we would have made plans on the way home from school. I’d do my homework and come over. But now I wait.
He must decide I’m more important than gaming or homework because my stomach does cartwheels at about 4:35 pm. He’s coming. I hear him greet Dad and then the sound of a hand slap. That’s probably Dad hitting Nate a bit too hard to remind Nate who’s in charge. But tonight Mom and Dad and Noah and Grace are going to a business function—a party really. They won’t be home until late. We’ll be alone for hours.
I try to suppress my wide grin so that Dad doesn’t have a heart attack when he sees me. There’s a knock.
“Nate’s here, honey,” Dad says through the door. He never opens it anymore, not since that one time when Greta stayed over and changed in the middle of the bedroom instead in my en suite bathroom. It was like she wanted to be seen which would be utterly gross. I get that girls think Dad is attractive, but please. He’s my dad.
“Okay Daddy!” I throw open the door and my gaze skips by Dad with his furrowed brow right to beam at Nate who is standing slightly behind Dad at the doorway.
“Mom says you should come over and have dinner tonight. She ordered in Lou Malnati’s for us.”
Lou Malnati’s is famous for its deep dish pizza. The crust is different, almost pastry-like in its flakiness.
“Bring some homework. I’ve got about three chapters of American History to read along with a biochem quiz to study for.”
The recitation of all Nate’s homework has inverse reactions from me and Dad. The lines on his forehead disappears and he turns slightly to clap Nate on the shoulder. “Charlotte has plenty of work to keep her occupied, don’t you honey?”
“Yes,” I say glumly and go over to my desk and pick up a couple of my booklets. They are mostly full of rudimentary math concepts as well as logic quizzes and memorization drills. The radiation and chemotherapy used to kill the cancer cells in my skull has affected my brain function so I guess I’m brain damaged. Literally. I hate this but my doctors say that with time, I should be able to catch up with my peers. With time. Everything is going to take time. I kind of hate that saying. ”Have fun tonight Daddy.” I give him a kiss on the cheek. ”Your mom will be by in thirty minutes,” he says with a return hug.I trudge behind Nate as we walk down the service hall that connects the two units. ”Think if we move that the new people will want to close this down?” he asks.”No,” I gasp. “No one’s moving from this place.””Charlotte,” he chides. “We aren’t going to live here forever.””Why not?” I know I sound grumpy but the idea that I have to do homework better suited to fifth graders instead of spending time exploring Nate’s fine body has already set my mood ring to white. Now he’s trying to tell me that we aren’t going to be neighbors forever? It’s like he wants me to be in a bad mood all night long. ”Because we should be somewhere that has a lot of space.””We?” I ask, perking up.”Yes, we,” he smiles down at me and suddenly I’m happy again.
Nate’s parents say hi to us as we walk down the hallway toward the bedrooms but we don’t stop. Instead Nate opens the door to his room and after I slip inside, he enters and closes the door behind him.
Taking the booklets from my hands, he tosses them on the desk and then picks me up and tosses me right onto the bed!
“Nate!” I squeal when he launches himself and lands right beside me.
With a laugh, he buries his head into my neck which causes my entire body to melt and tingle. “Did you really think we were going to do homework all night?”
I bat uselessly at his shoulder. “Um, yes?”
He rolls onto his back but pulls me with him so that I’m tucked next to his body, my head pillowed on his shoulder and his arm is wrapped around my back. His fingers are curved around my waist and I feel fully surrounded by his warmth.
“Nah, we had the biochem test today. Pop quiz and I read my history chapters during study hall.” He tilts his head awkwardly down at me. “Do you need to study?”
“No,” I state emphatically.
He smiles and then rests his head back against the pillows. “Good. We’ll eat, watch a movie with Nick, and then…”
His voice trails off but I know. I know exactly what that silence stands for. Finally.
We do exactly as he says. Nick knocks to tell us the pizza is being delivered. Nathan helps me off the bed. The pizza, sodas, milk, and water is all set up in the media room.
Grace Jackson comes in on a cloud of perfume and gives me a warm kiss on the forehead. Her eyes are glowing with affection as she looks at the three of us sitting on the floor, ready for the movie to start. We’re watching The Outsiders, a movie that was old even when Aunt Grace and mom went to college. Uncle Noah gestures for Nate to step into the hallway.
“You’ll need these.” She hands me a box of tissues.
“Thanks mom,” Nick mocks, ripping the box away from my hands. He pulls out a tissue and dabs away pretend tears from his hazel eyes, a replica of his mother’s. I punch him at the same time that Grace ruffles his hair. He ducks both of us but tips over causing us all to laugh.
“Love you both.”
“Love you too,” we chorus in unison. He’s still lying on his back so it looks like he’s saying it to the ceiling.
His mom rolls her eyes and leans down to pat me on the cheek. “Follow your heart,” she says and turns to walk out the door.
“As long as it leads into Nate’s pants.” Nick waggles his eyebrows but unfortunately for him Nate has returned from the hallway and he delivers a punch to Nick’s arm that sends him tipping backward again. This time when Nick is rolling on the floor it’s because of pain and not laughter.
“Ratdick.” Nate calls him.
“Assface.” Nick returns.
Before Nate can return yet another insult, I shove a piece of pizza in his face. Unrepentantly, he simply takes a giant bite of the pizza and winks at me over the slice in my hand.
“This movie is supposed to be about brotherly love.” I shove another slice toward Nick and the insults die down as the movie starts.
“This looks like it should be in black and white.” Nick comments.
“With no sound,” Nate adds.
All is well in the world again. I settle back against Nate’s hard chest as we watch the three Curtis brothers fight, fall in love, and die. By the end of the movie I’m making good use of the tissues and even the Jackson boys are looking suspiciously tense.
“I’m calling you Ponyboy from now on,” Nate finally says after clearing his throat a couple of times.
“Better than Sodapop,” Nick retorts.
“No, I’m Darry,” Nate says. “I’m the oldest.”
“You’d both be Socs,” I interject, throwing my tissues into one pizza box that the boys emptied by the middle of the movie. “Not Greasers.”
“We’d never be Socs, Charlotte,” Nick explains. “No one wants to be Socs, even the Socs.”
With a pointed look around the room, I pick up the box and head for the kitchen. The media room has theater seats and a projection screen that is the size of an entire wall. Ponyboy would just about die if he saw this place.
“Do you think we have too much?” I ask Nate who has followed me out with the empty bottles and remaining pizza.
“All the time,” he answers. Taking the box from me, he throws it into the incinerator and places the rest of the food into the refrigerator. His words sound so fervent as if our privilege is something he need to apologize for.
“I can’t see you being mean to someone who wasn’t as fortunate as you,” I say.
“No but I want to see if I can make it without the Jackson name or the Jackson money,” he replies evenly but his eyes are intent upon but I can’t read the deeper meaning that’s there.
“I believe in you.” I lean into him and his arms curl around me. He buries his face into my hair and we stand there, holding one another while the appliances hum quietly in the background.
“I won’t let you down,” he whispers but while his volume is low his words are firm and commanding.
“I know. I trust you.”
He trembles almost imperceptibly in my arms and I squeeze tight as if I can deliver all that emotion right into his veins and into his heart. Without another word, he lifts me in his arms like I’m featherlight and carries me out of the kitchen, down the corridor and into his bedroom.
“Goodnight Nick,” he yells out.
“Glove up. I’m too young to be an Uncle,” Nick yells back.
I bury my face into Nate’s chest embarrassed that Nick will know exactly what we’re doing in Nate’s bedroom.
He sets me gently on the bed and crouches down in front of me. Rubbing the inseam of my jeans along my calf, he assures me, “Nothing happens tonight that you don’t want.”
But I’ve wanted for so long, it seems. Even though I know that’s not rational it’s as if Nate and I were born for each other. At least that’s what I dream of. “I want it all,” I declare. This time I have no embarrassment because it is Nate and this is right. He gives me a slow smile tinged with something that I’ll later be able to define as dirty. But right now it looks hot on him.
“All right,” he says and those are the last words he says for a long time. He rises up and places both arms on either side of my body and fixes his warm mouth on mine. We fall back onto the bed in a tangle of limbs.When his tongue slides over the seam of my lips, I part them and am rewarded with a hot, open mouthed kiss.
Everything about Nathan feels different right now. His skin is warmer and firmer under my fingers. I glide over the curve of his shoulders and the down his back where his muscles bunch under my touch. The weight of his legs against mine is even better when I part my thighs. He settles between them as naturally as if we’ve been in this position a hundred times instead of our first time.
And against my most sensitive region he is thick and hard against me. My heart trips a couple of times in excitement and even a little fear. But the fear fades with each passing kiss and each caress. His entire body seems propped up by one strong arm bent at the elbow while the other hand finds the delicate skin at my waist. I shake in response to that small touch.
His mouth breaks away from mine and he murmurs softly against my temple, “We aren’t doing anything that you aren’t ready for.”
“It felt wonderful,” I tell him and seek out his mouth again. When he returns to kissing me, I pull my shirt up higher so that there is more skin for him to touch and this time it is his body that responds with a tremor.
I never want to stop kissing him but as his fingers trace along my ribs and move higher until his palm is resting right below my right breast, I think possibly that I may never breath again. When he broke away a second time it is so he can kiss my neck and then lower. As his head moves down my body, his hand pushes my shirt higher until my breast is exposed to the air, to the dusky light, to his hot gaze. And his mouth. The sensation is so foreign, so delicious, so amazing, my back bows and I clutch at his head. “Nathan,” I say in shock and delight.
Somehow he is able to interpret this and he continues he attentions. He uses his lips, tongue and even his teeth on first one and then the other breast. Inside my head and my body, I’ve lost all control. It’s as if I’m on a ride at the Navy Pier and I’m out of my mind with joy and excitement. When he moves even lower, I suck in my breath. He places soft kisses all along the tops of my jeans. They are wet kisses and I can hear the sounds he’s making as well as feel the wet warm trail he’s leaving across my abdomen.
“Can I take these jeans off, Charlotte?” he asks, his voice gruff and tender.
I squirm on the bed. “Please. Please do.”
His deft hands pop my button and lower my zipper. I’ve my nicest pair of panties on. They aren’t super sexy but they have a nice lace around the top and a small bow at the front. He releases a long, slow sigh—almost a moan and the air from his body dances across my skin, alternatingly warming me and raising gooseflesh.
The jeans come off and he’s between my legs again and he places his mouth directly over the center of my panties. “Oh my god.” I cry out at the sensation. His laugh is low and naughty.
“No god here,” he says smugly, his lips against my inner thigh. “Only me, Nathan.”
“Are you going to…” I ask breathlessly.
“Yes,” he says and he does. At first I am embarrassed but after a few licks, the sensations are good to be embarrassed. This is what he meant when he said he was going to make it so good for me. I can’t believe how amazing his mouth feels between my legs. And from the sounds he’s making, it’s evident to me he is enjoying this too which makes me even more excited.
And as he licks me and gently strokes me with his fingers, I close my eyes and let euphoria take me away. It’s one giant endless loop of pleasure and fierce happiness. When one of those fingers pushes inside of me, my eyes fly open.
“Oh Charlotte,” he moans and the vibration rumbles through every part of my body, “I’m so glad that I’m your first. I know I shouldn’t care, but I do.” He climbs on top of the bed again so that he’s half draped over me, his heavy leg lying over one of mine and his head tucked close to my shoulder. All the while, he’s slowly gliding his finger in and out of me, until that feeling of tense ecstasy begins to build again. He doesn’t stop stroking me not even after I’m crying out his name again and shaking like a leaf from the sensations that he’s eliciting with just his finger and his mouth.
“I’m glad it’s you,” I say after my shuddering has stopped. He slides his finger out of me and disrobes quickly. My eyes widen at the sight of his erection. It’s at least four fingers in diameter and far, far longer than even his middle finger. I gulp and turn away so as not become frightened. He sits me up and removes my shirt so I’m nude except for the panties he had pulled back up.
He kisses me again, soft at first and then demanding—his hard length lying rigidly against the side of my hip. He dips his hand inside my panties again and the fear that I had after seeing his penis is quickly forgotten under the onslaught of desire he stokes. This time he pushes two fingers inside and soon I’m arching toward every touch.
“Promise me it will always be me,” he says fiercely.
“I promise.” How could I not promise? I’ll never want another person to touch me in this way. Never. But a fierce surge of possessiveness washes over me. “And you’ll never have another besides me?” I demand.
“Never,” he vows. “It will always be Nathan and Charlotte.”
“Never,” I vow. “It will always be Nathan and Charlotte.”
Her lips looked shiny and big, puffed up from my attentions. I can barely breathe. Worse, I’m afraid I’m not going to last long enough to make it good for her. I lean down to kiss her again. I wish I had saved myself for her. I wish I had never kissed another girl, touched any breasts other than hers, slid my fingers inside any other female.
With each kiss and caress, I wipe away memories of everyone but her. When her clever tongue flicks across my lips and rubs against the side of mine, I’ll never taste anything sweeter. The heady scent of her arousal and the faint peach fragrance from her lotion surrounds me. My hands mold her body, memorizing each curve and arch. I’m absorbing her essence so that I’ll carry her with me forever.
“I’m ready,” she says. Her words are punctuated by tiny pants that make my heart beat faster. In an effort to collect myself, I lean forward and lick her breasts first one and then another until she’s convulsing around me again. I’m torn because I don’t want to pull my fingers from her hot, wet embrace but I also want my dick inside her so badly. I worry that it might break off if I don’t get relief. I pump my fingers and she tightens all around me. “Oh please, Nathan.”
I don’t want her to beg me even though it sends an illicit thrill down my spine. Regretfully I pull my fingers out and we both groan, one part dismay and one part pleasure.
“Shh,” I whisper and stretch out to grab a condom from under the pillow where I stashed it before I left this morning. She reaches down toward my stiff dick and I jerk away. “I’m sorry,” I tell her. “I can’t have you touch me.”
“Why? Am I not doing it right?” Her voices sounds plaintive.
“God no.” I grab her hands and place them on my chest. “I’m just a hair trigger away of embarrassing myself and making your first time a huge disappointment.”
“You’d never disappoint me.” Her fingers skim over my chest.
“I will if I don’t start thinking of something other than getting inside you,” I say ruefully. I pull her hands away from me and fold them between mine. Pressing a kiss on the backs of her fingers, I pull her hands over her head. Instinctively she arches her back, thrusting her breasts toward my mouth. Her rigid nipples are taunting me. And somehow she knows how tempting she is in this position because she undulates seductively.
Hurriedly, I grab a condom and sheath myself.
When I reach between her legs, she’s still wet. There are streaks of blood on my fingers but rather than turning me off, the sight of it thrums like a drumbeat in my head. Only mine. This is the proof of how she’ll belong only to me. I hide my look of smug satisfaction by surreptitiously wiping my fingers along the side of my comforter.
With one hand bracing my body, I grab my dick and rub the head against her soft opening. She smiles tremulously at me when I slide slowly inside her. At the first contact, I nearly blow my load and there’s a little devil that is urging me to plow her hard and fast. The heat of her body is setting me on fire. Squeezing my eyes shut, I concentrate on breathing slow and steady and the pressing need to rut like an animal eases off enough so I can gather a little self control.
When I open my eyes, I see hers tight around the edges. This is painful for her and I hesitate thinking I should shove off because I can’t stand hurting her even the tiniest bit anymore. At one time, I’d get mad at her because I started thinking and feeling things I knew I shouldn’t be thinking or feeling so I’d lash out with a sharp criticism. All I want now is to see her smile and make her laugh.
But she senses my reluctance and pulls me down. “It doesn’t hurt at all,” she lies.
“Don’t.” I shake my head. “Always tell me how you feel so I can make it better. It’s all I want—all I’ll ever want.”
Waiting for her body to adjust to mine is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. My legs are starting shake but I’ll stay in this position with just the tip inside for as long as it takes. When I feel her relax I push in a little more and we do this dance of pausing and inching forward a little at a time until I’m fully seated. When I’m snug against her, her mouth forms a little circle as if she can’t believe we fit. But we’re a perfect match. She’s made for me and I for her.
“Put your arms around my neck,” I tell her. “I’m going to move now. You’ll need something to hang on to.”
She does as I instruct and by the slumberous gaze and the way her limbs have tighten all around me, I know she’s with me. I press my forehead against hers and watch her expressive eyes as I stroke in and out of her in slow, measured movements. Each drag along her tissues is the first of its kind and the wonderment and delight is driving me out of my mind. I’ll never forget this moment.
As the path becomes slicker and easier, I begin to speed up and her thighs are clinging to my hips. I kiss her, sipping from her lips at first and then thrusting my tongue into her mouth as I’m thrusting between her legs. She’s moaning and shuddering under me. I can feel my orgasm building and I need her to come before me. Her need before mine always. I move my hips, altering my pattern and listen intently until I hear her breath hitch as I catch the right spot. Then I work that over and over until her moans turn to cries.
“Let go, sweetheart,” I whisper against her mouth. “I got you. Let go.”
Dipping a hand between us, I circle and press her tender flesh until I can actually feel the rhythmic clenching and unclenching of her body as she comes. It’s the sign I’ve been waiting for and all my control vanishes. Mindlessly I thrust into her as my own pleasure overtakes me. Her hips rise to meet mine and her nails dig into my shoulders. She’s taking everything I have and demanding more. I’m no longer gentle or caring because I’m beyond that. I’m in another plane where I’m controlled by my lust and desire for her but her passionate cries in my ear tell me she’s there too. Finally I jet what seems like buckets of come into the condom, my body jerking against hers.
I collapse on the bed and roll to the side, careful to remain inside her. I should immediately withdraw and take care of the condom but I need to hold her. She’s shuddering against me, her whole body shaking with the bliss of our joining. I stroke her shoulders and press small kisses along her shoulder and neck inhaling the scent of her hair and of us.
After we both catch our breaths, she speaks with deep satisfaction. “God, Nathan, I want to do this again a thousand times.”
Grinning at her, I say, “me too.”
She runs her fingers through my hair and laughs and the sound of it goes into my ears and straight into my dick. The sudden hardness inside of her causes her eyes to widen. “So soon?”
“Yup.” My grin gets bigger. Hope she’s not too sore tomorrow.
“Nathan.” She clutches at my shoulders which are slippery from the sweat I’ve worked up loving every inch of her body. My name is a trembling whisper on her lips and like every other word sigh, and exclamation that has come out of her mouth I tuck it into my memory bank, overwriting every other girl who has ever been with me before.
Leaning down, I gently press my lips against hers losing myself in her taste. Kissing her is more erotic and more moving than all the other times I’ve stuck my dick into someone else’s body. I can’t envision wanting more than her ever.
I hiss at the sensation of her tightening around me, hugging me so tautly that it’s hard to withdraw. Instinct takes over and my hips begin thrusting against her harder and faster until I release all the tension that has pooled at the base of my spine. Replete with satisfaction, I collapse on her. She doesn’t even flinch at the heaviness of my body pressing her further into the mattress. Charlotte is worn out after the second go around.
“Sorry,” I mumble against the damp skin of her neck.
“Mmmhmmm,” she says. Her hands trail over my shoulder blades and down, parallel to my spine. Despite having just enjoyed the hell out of her for the third time tonight I feel myself harden, in response.
“No,” she laughs. “I can’t. Not again.”
“Just ignore me,” I say. Jesus, I’ve never been this horny. I should be satisfied and I am, really. It’s just that everything about her turns me on right now. With what I feel is a superhuman effort I push off from her body and tug the condom off carefully. In the bathroom, I wrap it in toilet paper and shove it to the bottom of the trash can along with the previous rubber victim.
I gulp down two glasses of water from the sink and then fill the third one up for Charlotte.
“Here,” I offer.
She takes the glass with a grateful look and drains half of it before handing the glass to me. I set it down on the nightstand.
“Now what?” she asks.
I glance at the clock. Our parents are likely to be home in a half hour. “Now we go to your room and I lie like a nice boy on top of the covers while you’re underneath them.”
“What’s the point of that?” she raises an eyebrow.
“It makes us look good. Like we’re not fooling around, just spending innocent time together.”
“My dad only thinks one of us is innocent.”
I wink at her. “Me, right?”
She tosses a pillow at me but it falls far short. I pull on my discarded sweatpants and a t-shirt and gather up her clothes. Tossing them on the bed, I head to tell Nick where we’ll be going.
“Over to Charlotte’s for the night,” I say. “Thirty minutes until the ‘rents are home.”
I hear enough scuffling to recognize that Nick’s got another person in his room.
“Who’s in there with him?” Charlotte whispers to me. Turning I see she’s dressed and her hair has lost that just fucked look that I am starting to love. I suppose I’ll find long strands of dark hair in my brush tomorrow but rather than being irritated, I’m kind of looking forward to it. Not that I’m going to weave a friendship bracelet but I like having things that Charlotte’s touched in my possession. I figure it will make our separation easier.
“Don’t know,” I shrug. I take her hand and walk down the hall toward the service hallway. “Don’t care either.” There are a few girls in our building that Nick could be nailing but I’m not going to guess which one. He’ll tell me in the morning. I wonder if Charlotte knows what a manwhore he is. Probably.
“I wonder if it is Nicole,” she muses. Yup, she knows all about Nick’s tendencies. We’re as close as one family and so secrets are hard to keep around here. Our newfound physical connection isn’t one we’ll be able to keep from our parents for long. I wonder how bad Uncle Bo will hurt me when he figures it out. He is my godfather, but I’m guessing he won’t go light on me.
Maybe Dad will intervene and explain that it was inevitable because it was. Our timeline just sped up because Charlotte got sick and now she’s leaving. I know I need to tell her about my plans before she goes but I don’t want to ruin everything now. I’ll wait. The day before she leaves I’ll tell her because that was just as inevitable as our getting together and if she thinks about it she’ll know I’m right.
“What kind of treatment are you going to get over there?” I ask as we climb into Charlotte’s bed.
“Just chemo and radiation followed intensive physical therapy.” she snuggles under the blankets, her thin body needing the extra heat that mine does not. “They say that because it’s directed at my brain stem there might be loss of motor skills, both fine and gross. And there’ll be tutors for various subjects so I can get caught up. I’ll probably have to have more physical therapy and tutoring when I come back this summer.” She plucks at the covers. “What’ll you do this summer?”
This would be the time to tell her that I plan to enlist in the Navy right after she leaves so that I’ll be able to start boot camp immediately upon graduation. Delayed Enlistment Program allows me to sign up and then request the earliest possible boot camp date. It’s the one secret I’ve kept from everyone except Nick but I’ll need my dad’s signature on the papers since I’m seventeen. But I know if I say this that she’ll beg me not to go and I’ll cave because I’ve never been able to say no to Charlotte. Not ever. But if I enlist then I’m bound by a contract to the US government to not only go to boot camp but stay in the military for four years. I’m hoping that contract is enough of a barrier to defend against her.
“I’m planning for our future,” I say.
“I love you,” she whispers as I pull her against me, the blankets serving as a pretty damn effective barrier. I can’t feel even one curve of her body through them.
“Love you too,” I say and kiss her temple. As we fall asleep, my mind wanders to that scene in another old movie where the elf princess wanders through the forest grief stricken because she outlived her king. That’s not going to be Charlotte and me but the image persists and despite all the evening activity my sleep is restless.