Thirty minutes later we walked much as we had before, the sleeves of our coats tucked together so we could hold hands in warmth. I chuckled to myself and Travis asked what I was laughing at.
"You know I tell Parker just about everything. So when he was busting my nuts yesterday he first told me that Angie had given him a blowjob. But later he stopped by and told me, at the end of his visit, that it hadn't been true. He didn't want to tell me that he'd done things he hadn't just because he didn't want us to be competing over things like that." I squeezed Travis's hand. "I understand the wisdom of that, now. I'm so glad we did things our way instead of because of some imagined pressure from someone else."
"Well, yours wasn't, maybe. I just wanted to be...I don't know how to say it." He paused and then stopped walking. I turned to face him, and slowly, as if feeling his way forward, he said, "When we went to bed last night we did things that were new to me but not to you. I wanted to be first with you. To have that...experience of doing something meaningful with you before anyone else did."
"Do you feel like you got what you wanted?" I asked him and studied his face. He nodded and smiled, once more not a shy smile nor forced, not anything but happy.
"I did. I'm good."
"I'll say," I said and snickered. He bumped me and we laughed. Parker greeted us like long lost friends and we were soon outside with him trying to teach me to skateboard again. It was mostly a flop. The real fun got started when Parker suggested that Travis learn. The twinkle in his eye was too much to resist.
"Um, I don't know," Travis said uncertainly.
"Don't worry," Parker reassured him. "I'll hold on to one arm and Shane will have the other. You can't fall."
Travis twisted his lips, clearly trying not to bite his lip. I held a hand out to him in invitation, and he sighed before giving us each a firm look. "You won't drop me?"
"As if," Parker snorted. We took Travis in hand, each with a hand locked around his forearm and he gripping us identically. He balanced on the board and we walked slowly, letting him get used to it. Parker had me let go and he took Travis's other arm and turned Travis to face him.
"Put your hands on my shoulders," he instructed. Travis complied and the slight wiggle of the board steadied. "Now the trick to this is balance. Bend your knees a little and, when you're ready, let go of me. If you feel like you might fall, grab me."
I couldn't see Travis's face, but I could see Parker give him a nod of encouragement and Travis let go. He wobbled a little and reached for Parker but didn't actually grab him. A moment later he was pretty steady.
"Okay. Trav, we're going to take your arms again. I want you to bend your knees and turn at the waist so you're facing the front of the board, mostly. Okay?"
Once Travis had complied and Parker and I had a grip on him, we started to move, taking him to the end of the block and negotiating turning him back the other way. Then Parker grinned at me. His stride picked up and I matched him. Our pace picked up to a trot, and I checked on Travis, who looked concerned yet gamely riding on. We picked up a bit more and the cold wind whipped around us, turning Travis's pale cheeks red, and no one was more surprised than me when a smile bloomed on his face.
We slowed to turn at the end of the block. Once we were headed straight Parker and I took off in a race. Travis called out in excitement as he flew along between us to the end of the block, where Parker and I pulled up, chests heaving like bellows.
"That was so fun!" Travis bubbled as he stepped off the board and we released him. Parker and I both placed our hands on our knees as we recovered our breath.
"It's freaking cold. Want to go back to my house?" Parker asked. I glanced at Travis, who nodded, and we headed back to crash at Parker's.
"So what have you guys been up to?" Parker asked.
"Parks!" I said with a smile and lifted a finger in warning.
"Not that. Jesus," he snickered and rolled his eyes. "You guys have been hanging out. You can't screw twenty-four seven."
Travis looked at me. "Is he right? I thought we could."
I burst out laughing and Parker shot Travis an assessing look laced with humor.
"You're a little different, Travis. I like it. But seriously, what do you guys do?"
"Movies," I told him. "Godfather movies rock. Have you seen them?"
"He's into the gangster movies right now," Travis said like an indulgent parent speaking of a child who was chasing a new activity.
"Oh?" Parker asked, perking up. "Have you watched Goodfellas?"
"I'm funny like a clown? I'm here to amuse you?" Travis asked in a weird voice, and Parker burst out laughing.
"Have you seen it, Shane?" Parker asked. I shook my head and followed him into his house. "Okay. Shane, you're on popcorn. I'll get the blanket. Travis, make yourself comfortable on the couch and we'll bring everything to you - only 'cause it's your first time. After that, you're on your own."
"Are you taking over the house?" Parker's mom asked as she entered the room from the kitchen. Her eyes settled on Travis and she asked, "And who is this?"
"Mrs. Reid, this is my boyfriend, Travis Beauford." I stood beside him smiling widely.
"Boyfriend? Well then," she said coming over and taking Travis's hand and leading him to the couch to sit by her. "You must be a remarkable young man to have tamed our Shane. We're kind of fond of him over here, you know."
Travis gave her a smile and titled his head to one side. "You have a really nice home, Mrs. Reid."
"Thank you, Travis. It would be cleaner but, well, Parker lives here." She grinned at him and turned as Parker whined upon reentering the room with a blanket.
"Mom! I can't take over if you're keeping them from their jobs. Seriously, you're holding things up," he told her and dumped the blanket on the bed. He'd taken the opportunity to change into shorts now that we were inside and discarded his socks and shoes. "Shane is supposed to be making popcorn and Travis is supposed to be getting comfortable on the couch, but that can't happen because you're talking to Travis."
She arched an eyebrow at him. "Continue."
He smiled and rolled his eyes, warming to her challenge. "Shane is hovering, making sure he's here to support his boyfriend instead of making popcorn. He has to do that because I got the blanket and Travis doesn't know his way around our kitchen."
"And I do?" I asked.
He held a finger out to me, "If I want any crap from you, I'll squeeze your head." Looking back at his mom he said, "So now you met the boyfriend. You can see they love each other, and it's sort of disgusting and sort of cool, depending. Now we're going to watch a gangster movie before dad comes home and sits on the couch in his underwear, which makes no one want to sit on the couch anymore."
His mother's lips were twitching like she wanted to laugh at her weirdo son. Instead she turned to Travis. "If you want I can block him while you get out the front door. After that, you're on your own."
Travis laughed. "I'm good, Mrs. Reid. Thank you, though."
"Okay, fine," she said as she stood. "I'll pump Shane for details. Come on, Shane, let's take care of the popcorn."
"Crap," Parker muttered as his mom grabbed my elbow and steered me into the kitchen.
She lowered her voice. "He is so cute! Where did you find him?"
"Target. They had a sale," I told her.
Arching an eyebrow at me she said, "You have been hanging out with Parker too much."
I chuckled as I pulled out the popcorn jar and got to work on that. "We met at school. He was dating Angie, Parker's girlfriend."
"Tell me about Angie," she said as she slid into a chair at her kitchen table. "Is she nice?"
I thought for a second. "She's smart. I think she's nice sometimes, but she's tough. Like black-belt tough, literally. She liked Parker's quick mind - sort of a popular feature of his."
"Oh, yeah," she said sarcastically. "I know I love it. Really, Shane - is he happy with her?"
I started the microwave and turned to face her. "I think he's learning. And he's doing pretty well, I think. But that's all I'm going to say to my best friend's mom about his relationship."
"Relationship? Is it that serious?"
"Mrs. Reid!" I said and laughed.
"Okay, fine," she said and threw her hands up in mock surrender. "How long have you and Travis been an item?"
"Three-ish weeks. We started dating right about when Parker and Angie started."
"They've been dating three weeks?" She turned her head toward the living room. "That little skunk."
I poured the popcorn into the bowl. "Don't worry, Mrs. Reid. We've all had sex-ed."
She turned back to face me with narrowed eyes. "You were so sweet before Parker ruined you, Shane. Go on, get out of here, you scalawag."
I grinned and headed out into the living room with the bowl.
"Finally! Take your pants off," Parker said.
"What?" I asked as I barked out incredulous laughter.
"I put on shorts. You and Trav have jeans. It's bad cuddle material - you know this. Take your pants off so Trav will, get in the middle, and we can get this started."
"Get what started?" I asked while laughing at his idiocy. Travis was looking bemused but didn't look worried in the least.
"Seriously. I've told my dad about sitting here in his underwear. I want to see what he says when I tell him we all sat out here on his couch in our underwear and see if it doesn't freak him out the slightest bit, you know?"
"But you're wearing shorts!" I blurted and then felt stupid.
"Christ. Do I have to lead you into everything? Do you have no motivation, Shane?" he demanded comically and stood, pulling his shorts off, and pulling the blanket over himself again. "Now come on, lose the pants - wait! Popcorn," he said, palm up and flipping his fingers in a 'hand it over' motion. I rolled my eyes and handed him the bowl.
"This is stupid," I said as I unbuckled my pants. Travis stood, perhaps because I was, and we dumped our pants on top of Parker's shorts. "Parks, where is Angie and why aren't you trying to get into her pants instead of mine?"
"I heard that!" Mrs. Reid called from the kitchen.
"She's not in town," Travis said as I slipped under the blanket between him and Parker. "Clint and his family - his dad and Angie - flew out to New York this afternoon."
"She did? They did?" I asked, looking between them.
"Yeah. They went to see some relations out in this little town. Springy something." Parker shrugged and started working the remote to cue up the move.
"Sanitaria Springs," Travis supplied.
"Oh, man. She won't be here for the whole Thanksgiving break then?" I asked.
"Nope. But she cooked a freaking feast last night, let me tell you!" Parker said and swooned onto my shoulder. "Brother-mine, that woman can cook like nobody's business. I'm serious. It was something French, and the girl has won my stomach."
"Isn't it supposed to be heart? Win your heart?" Travis asked.
"Same thing with Parker," I told him.
"Shut up, Shane," he said and bumped me. He started up the movie and I was sandwiched between them, which was pretty fucking cool. I can say that in my head; it won't offend Travis. The movie was pretty great and I think Travis was right - I like gangster flicks. We were sitting on the couch about fifteen minutes after it ended, talking about the movie and specific lines that we thought were cool when his dad walked in from work.
His dad is a nurse and was wearing scrubs under his jacket. Before he'd completed turning around from hanging his jacket Parker whipped the blanket off of us and stood.
"Hi, Dad. How was work?"
His dad took one look and fixed Parker with a stare. "Why are you all in your underwear on my couch? You think I want your skid marks rubbing off your shorts and onto my couch?"
"Eh, you won't be able to tell between ours and yours. Kinda gross though, I'll give you that," Parker replied, grinning at his dad who grabbed him and started to rub his knuckles into his hair.
"Punk. Like that, huh? Brat," he said as he and Parker tussled and laughed. While that went on, Travis and I went ahead and pulled our pants on. When Travis and his dad were done, Parker looked at us and his face fell.
"What? You guys are leaving?"
"I have to finish off that English paper for tomorrow. It's the only thing I didn't do before break," Travis said.
"Mine's done," I said as I turned to Travis. "Maybe you want to look it over? See what you think?"
"Perfect! Let's grab my lap top and you guys can help me write mine." Parker looked back and forth between us hopefully.
"Parks," I groaned. "Really? You didn't do it?"
"I started it. I got the title down pat. In my head." It was too stupid, we just laughed at him. We hung out in his room for a few hours. Naturally he wasn't that far behind - he loves to gently jerk people around. We all read each other's work, though, and made suggestions and improvements. Travis was clearly in his element dealing with academics, and I was impressed with some of the suggestions he made.
Eventually we stopped that, though, and started making short videos on our phones where we reenacted scenes from the movies. It was hilarious, as we couldn't keep straight faces or stay in character, so we'd end up laughing or making someone else blow their line. Eventually, though, it was time to go. It was a school night, after all, and Parker's family had to sit down for dinner, and I'm sure Travis's grandparents were expecting him as well.
We walked slowly through the cold, quiet streets. I was grateful the wind had died down so it didn't feel quite so bad.
"So what do you think of my best friend?" I asked him.
"Hmm. He's nuts. The good kind, though," he said and chuckled. "I had fun. Thanks for including me."
"Anytime. I'm pretty sure Parker liked you a lot," I told him and walked closer, bumping our shoulders together.
"I'm thinking you'd think everyone likes me," he said and laughed.
"Naturally," I agreed. We walked up to his stoop, and I turned him around and hugged him close.
"I love you," I told him.
"I..." he leaned back and looked at me. "I didn't say it before. I wanted a perfect moment but you seem to get all those. I love you, too, Shane."
The corner of my mouth lifted in a smile. I stroked his face and said, "Saying that made it a perfect moment, Trav."
The kisses were gentle and sweet, nothing to scare the neighbors. Of course, I was kissing Trav and that had inevitable results.
"Trav?" I grumbled, still planting small kisses on his lips.
"What?" he managed.
I leaned back slightly and grinned. "Would it be weird if I gave you a goodnight kiss on your dick back in your room?"
We looked at one another for a moment and then burst out laughing.Next Chapter Previous Chapter