How I Got Carter

Chapter 22

By Roe St. Alee

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“You sure about this?”

I take a second to really think about Ko's question. Am I sure about this?

The simple answer is no. I’m not sure.

But am I unsure enough to let it stop me?

“I get it,” says Ko, “but you could always just come hang out at my place.”

I sigh.

He's right. I could bail and go play videogames with Ko. That sounds nice. And easy. And safe.

So while I know this isn’t a great idea, I need to do it anyway.

Even now it's hard to tell if Ko is trying to tell me he supports me either way, or if he actually thinks I should stop what I’m doing and go back to his place to hang out.

Don't get me wrong, I love the support I get from Ko, Katy, and Sam, but I can't help but push back when I feel like they’re getting down on my relationship with Carter.

I don’t think they do it on purpose, but sometimes I feel like they talk out of both sides of their mouths. On one hand they tell me to go for it, don't hold back, and take bold action whenever I need to. Find what I really want and take it.

But then when I go for it they get so concerned. They give me advice and try to talk me out of putting all of my effort into getting Carter.

Tonight's a perfect example. The whole time we were at the arcade Sam and Ko tried to talk me into standing up for myself and making sure that I'm getting what I need.

Seems simple enough. So I text Carter and try to get him to come over and see me.

Next thing I know, they’re right back at me, wondering if it’s a good idea to let myself get so close to him.

I figure I can put this on Ko's level.

“I’m not calling him over to talk, you know?”

Ko nods in understanding, but still looks skeptical.

“As nice as video games sound…”

He keeps nodding with that same dubious look on his face, but I see the faintest trace of a smile on his lips. He gets it.

“I can’t argue with that,” he says.

I take that as tacit approval and get out of Ko’s car. I wave as he drives off, then pull out my keys and let myself into the house.

The instant I step into the entryway, I’m struck by how quiet it is.

Our house is never quiet.

I'm not like Carter. I don't have a huge house where you can get away from the other people who live there with you. There are only four of us that live at my place, but it usually feels like you're never more than a few feet away from another person. There’s always someone talking or making noise around here, especially with the twins.

It's weird, because I’m almost never home by myself. With soccer practice I'm usually the last one back every night. By the time I get in, dinner's almost ready and the twins and my mom have been home for a few hours. So much commotion, so much always going on.

Tonight, however, is a perfect storm. It’s the ideal time to have Carter come over. The twins are staying with my aunt since I wasn't home earlier in the evening to watch them, and my mom won't get home until after I go to school tomorrow since she’s working an overnight.

Rare as it is, it's truly just me for the night.

It’s even weirder to think that I have school tomorrow.

The whole concept of a 'school night' seems to have gone out the window in the last year. When I was in middle school there was such a clear distinction. If you had school the next day you needed to be in bed by a certain time, come hell or high water.

But now there are so many exceptions. Nights where I'm up late doing homework or working on a project. Or sometimes just taking an extra hour to watch TV or play video games. Even in my family things have relaxed a bunch, to say nothing of Carter’s home life.

His parents don't seem to care what he does one way or the other. They let Carter do what he wants, but whether it's a product of apathy or trust, I'm not sure. It's part of the reason I even texted him tonight. I figured he'd be free to come over, and he was.

But that begs the question: When is he going to get here?

I sit on the couch and wait. Carter said he would be over soon, but what does that mean? Am I going to be waiting five minutes or an hour?

And more importantly, what's going to go down when he gets here?

I texted Carter fresh off of seeing Sam blowing Craig, so I clearly only had one thing in mind when I did it. But there's no telling what he's thinking, is there?

I wish I had more practice at this.

I know what I did. I made a booty call. There shouldn’t be any question when you hit somebody up just to ask what they’re doing and if they want to come over. If I wanted to watch a movie or something, I would have asked about watching a movie.

If it was a girl, neither of us could possibly have a doubt. When a dude texts [ You up? ] there’s no mystery about what he’s asking for. A boy isn’t going to text you after 8pm and see if you want to come over and play video games. Intention isn’t as muddled when you’re straight. A dude texts you like that, he wants sex.

But this is totally different in a way. Carter and I aren’t officially together or anything, and even though we’ve been hooking up pretty regularly, that’s not how things started. We’re still just two dudes who hang out, so it’s not out of the question that we might chill and watch TV or something.

Yeah, right.

Even if that’s how things start, there’s almost no doubt where we’re heading at the end of the night. The first few times we hung out were innocent enough, but even then I always wondered. My intention was to get as close to Carter as possible, with hardly a dream of actually making anything happen. But what was he thinking?

The doorbell rings.

I feel my heart stop beating.

He’s here.

I take a deep breath and get up from the couch. My stomach is tingling and I feel lightheaded. Carter Mulkins is coming over to my house, but why?

I pull open the door and am greeted by the cutest smile in the world. Even in the light of our front porch Carter looks amazing.

He’s dressed so casual tonight, and somehow it makes him look even better. A plain grey sweatshirt tightly hugging the shape of his torso, with a pair of black track pants showing off just the right amount of bulge underneath. On someone else it would look like nothing, on him it looks like a million bucks. I don’t know how he does it.

“Can I come in?”

I shake myself out of a daze and feel my cheeks get hot. I hope he didn’t notice how much I was checking him out.

“Yeah, sorry,” I stammer, stepping back to let Carter come inside.

Instead of walking past me into the house, he steps directly into me and puts one of his arms around my waist. I gasp at the sudden contact.

“You could take a picture if you want,” he says, smirking.

He definitely noticed.

I look up into his eyes and I swear they’re sparkling. Maybe it’s the light, or maybe it’s simply how he looks when he turns on his charm. He smells different too. Not just the usual mixture of the body wash he uses and his natural smell. It’s all of that plus another smell, something manly, something almost… provocative.

He leans his head down and kisses me on the lips. I return the kiss and feel my head swimming.

I swear he can control it, and he knows exactly what he’s doing. He gets like this when he starts coming on to me. I’ve felt it before, but I’m so sensitive to it tonight, I feel like his entire body is exuding sexuality. His whole aura tells me that he wants me, and I am utterly powerless to push back against it.

We pull apart from the kiss and I realize that I wasn’t breathing. As I force a little bit of air back into my lungs, I search Carter’s face. How does he do this to me? When he turns on his charm, it electrifies my sexual need.

There are so many little tells that I’ve picked up on. His shining eyes, his mouth barely open with just the hint of a smile on his lips, his tendency to barely bite his bottom lip while he’s looking at me. Add them all up, and he’s the single most desirable person on the planet.

I launch myself back at him and kiss him with everything I’ve got. Our mouths grind against each other and our tongues slip back and forth into each other’s mouths. Carter’s other arm moves around behind my waist and I reach up to touch his face.

After almost a minute we break the kiss. My breath is coming in gasps already, just from a kiss. I look into Carter’s eyes and wonder if this is what he was expecting when he came over. I’m more than a hundred percent ready to go, but I can’t push all the doubts from earlier out of my mind. Here’s this beautiful, perfect specimen standing in my living room. Of course I want it, but…

“What do you want to do?” I ask, praying that he’ll shut me up with another kiss and throw me down on the floor.

Instead he laughs and pulls me in closer.

“What do you mean?” he asks.

“We could do something else if-”

“Something else?” His half smile has fully morphed into a smirk. “Isn’t this why you invited me over?”

“Yeah,” I admit, “but if you wanted to do something else, we could-”

He lets my sentence finish without an ending, and he keeps watching me instead of answering. He’s teasing me, relishing how silly I sound.

“What would I rather be doing?” he finally asks, chuckling.

It should infuriate me, but when he toys with me it turns me on even more.

“I dunno, we could…”

It’s a classic battle between my lizard brain and my insecurity. What do I think Carter would rather be doing right now? Playing video games? Watching a movie? Hanging out with Beth? Would any of those not sound completely stupid if I said them out loud? Then why can’t I drive them out of my head and just…

Carter interrupts my thoughts by grabbing my right hand and pulling it forward into his crotch. It’s not in an aggressive way, more like he can’t find the words to convince me of what he’s trying to say and he’s trying to show me instead.

“It’s been like this since you texted me.”

I let my hand explore him a little and I’m amazed at how hard he feels, even through his pants and what feels like a pair of tight briefs. They must be pretty tight, if he’s been this hard - otherwise I definitely would have noticed it when he walked through the door.

I squeeze the package in my hand, so full, but so constrained. It’s been like that since I texted him? He’s seriously been this worked up since I asked him to come over tonight? That means it’s all that he’s been thinking about for the last two hours. But is it just a case of a horny sixteen-year-old boy waiting to bust his nut, or does he get this hard thinking about me?

Carter must have read the question off my face, because he smiles at me.

“It’s you, Jackson,” he says. “I’m like this for you. Nobody else makes me feel this way.”

I let my hand slide up and down against the bulge in his pants. Two hours. He must be dying for release.

“Feel like what?” I ask.

Now it’s my turn to tease. I know he’s ready, but I want to hear him say it.

“Feel like you make me feel.”

I slip my hands into his waistband and pull out his cock.

“Nobody?” I ask him.

I wrap my hand around his tool and gasp. It feels like it’s been inside a furnace. It’s hot to the touch and the instant it springs free from his underwear it swells to it’s full size and shape.

“No one,” he replies.

I slide my hands up and down his shaft a few times savoring how incredibly sexy it looks in my hands before looking back up to Carter’s face. I want to say it, but I can’t. He says ‘no one,’ but I want to be sure. I want to ask him if he truly means it. If he means… her.

“Just you.”

I close my eyes and lean toward him. I feel his hands cup my face and pull me in. Our lips meet again, and this time I’m not thinking about anything else. He’s here for me tonight. Just me. To have me. To take me.

We kiss for a moment while I let my hands explore all seven inches of his manhood and the perfect, soft orbs of his balls. I’m going to enjoy this.

I drop to my knees in front of Carter and press my face into his crotch. His dick feels even hotter against the skin of my cheek than it did in my hands. I can’t believe how turned on he is right now.

But we’ll get to his cock in just a second. Instead, I lick across the surface of his balls before pulling one into my mouth. It feels swollen, just like his dick, like it’s inflated to a larger size than usual, fuller and heavier than I’ve ever felt before.

I wonder briefly whether that’s really the case or if it’s just me. I switch over to the other one and decide that it doesn’t really matter. I roll it in my mouth before letting it pop out and taking a long lick from the base of his sack back across the whole thing one last time. I could spend days down here, but I want to get back up to the main attraction.

My tongue continues its trail up along Carter’s shaft, and I spread my tongue as wide as I can, trying to hit every square inch of the underside of his cock as I slowly move to the head.

I reach my destination and let my tongue play around his dickhead for a few seconds. I look up and make eye contact with him while I do it. He watches me play with him and caresses my hair with his hand. Eventually his hand moves to the back of my head, and starts to gently push me forward.

“Do it,” he whispers, “suck me.”

I can’t help but smile. I love when he tells me what to do.

My mouth opens wide and I let him push me onto his dick. It fills my whole mouth, and I try to open up my throat. I’ll take as much as he’ll give me. All the way to the base if he wants to. I need him to fill me up.

“Oh, god!”

My nose hits his pubes and I have to pull off before I choke. I’ve never had someone deep throat me right off the bat like that, but I bet it feels really good.

I settle into a rhythm and enjoy the feeling of Carter filling up my mouth. It’s the best. A hot, hard, throbbing cock in my mouth. And not just any cock, but Carter’s. I’m sure it feels good for him, but it’s hard to imagine that he’s liking it more than I am.

I love how big it looks and feels when it’s up that close. I love the taste of it, the lightly salty skin with occasional drops of precum mixed in. I love the smell of his crotch, amplified every time my nose gets close to the base. And most of all, the perfect ridge of his head as it slides across my tongue and past my lips with every bob of my head.

“Jackson, you’re so good at this,” Carter sighs.

I look back up at into his eyes and give him another deep throating. Carter rewards me with a shudder and a moan. I hold up my fingers in a pinching motion with about an inch of space between them. I want to ask him a question, but not enough to let his dick out of my mouth. Not yet, at least.

“Oh yeah, I’m close,” he says, picking up on my gesture.

Good.

This time I was a little more prepared to take all of him in, and I hold my lips against the base of his dick for a few more seconds. I want to have him right on the edge, but I don’t want him to cum. Not yet.

Carter gasps for breath as I pull off. His cock twitches once or twice in my hand before it stops. Perfect. He didn’t quite pull the trigger, but he was damn close. I want to savor this a little bit longer before I let him cum.

Carter seems to be on the same page. Taking the lead, he helps me get up and guides me to the couch, kissing me the whole way. I feel my knees hit the edge of the seat and he sets me down slowly, until he’s lying on top of me. He breaks the kiss only to pull my shirt off before coming back at me full force. I feel his hands undoing my belt and pants.

He starts to move from my lips to my neck, then down across my collar bone. I like where this is going.

His mouth follows the obvious trail down my chest and across my stomach while his hands slowly work my pants over my hip bones, down my legs and off my feet. Before I know it, we’ve traded places from where we were a few minutes ago and Carter is bobbing up and down on my cock.

He was never bad at it - Carter isn’t bad at anything as far as I know - but he’s gotten so much better. He’s so much more confident, more in control. Even though he’s technically in the subservient position, it’s almost like he’s still running the show, and with the way he can deep throat, he could probably get me off just about whenever he wants to.

I let him go for a few minutes, just lying back and enjoying the wet, warm pleasure engulfing my cock. I’m about to get his attention and try to switch places again when he starts moving down my shaft towards my balls. As I feel his tongue slide across them, an involuntary shudder shoots through my body.

“Are you-”

I cut him off. “No, that feels amazing,” I gasp. “Don’t stop.”

He doesn’t stop. He keeps licking, and I practically lose my mind as tingles shoot through my body. I feel him take one of my balls into his mouth completely, then switch to the other, just like I did with him. No wonder he was going wild for it.

Then a new thought strikes me. Last time we did this, I didn’t just stop at his balls. I wonder if...

I simultaneously try to lift up my hips to give him better access while at the same time lightly pushing down on his head. I want him to try something for me, but I figure he’ll stop me if he doesn’t want to.

“Oh, fuck!”

I can’t stop myself from crying out as his tongue flicks across my asshole for the first time. It’s like what I was feeling when he was working on my balls, but five times stronger.

He licks across my taint for a few seconds before taking another pass across my hole. I manage not to yell this time, but just barely. I slowly start to get used to the feeling, but my hips are practically moving on their own, squirming and writhing with each lap of his tongue. This must be why Carter was loving it so much last time when I did it to him.

Carter pulls off and licks back up the shaft of my dick and pulls the head back into his mouth. He uses one hand to stroke along with the motion of his mouth while the other plays with my balls, still extra sensitive from the bath they just received.

His lower hand moves slowly backwards, now stroking lightly back along my taint. I grind my hips forward, subconsciously trying to soak up more and more of the erotic feelings shooting across my body. His fingers slide even farther back, and I feel them brush over my hole.

Oh god, yes.

I would never have asked for it, but now that he’s right there, I definitely want it. I’ve seen porn where they do it - a finger in the ass during a blowjob - but I never thought it would be this exciting. I’ve tried my own finger before, but it didn’t do a ton for me. Right now, however, with Carter sucking me off and my ass so warmed up from his rimming, I feel like it would make me cum the instant it got in there.

I push my hips down farther, trying to relay the message. Carter keeps the rhythm of his mouth steady, but I feel the pressure of his finger increase a little. Not enough to push through, but enough to send another wave of pleasure through my body.

“Do it,” I beg, “Carter, do it.”

The pressure gets stronger and stronger until…

I feel Carter’s finger slide in to the first knuckle.

“Oh, fuck yes!”

The whole lower half of my body feels like it’s on fire. I feel my insides tightening up, sucking on Carter’s finger.

He pushes it farther and I feel the second knuckle slide past my sphincter. A massive tingling is building in my balls, but this time I can feel it in my ass, too. I’m about to…

“Oh, god, I’m cumming!”

I try to warn Carter, but it’s definitely too late at this point. He’s either taking it in the mouth or all over his face. Since we’re on the couch in my living room, I have to hope he’s ready to swallow.

I unload into him and he takes every last drop of what must be a huge load. As I feel the last spurt, Carter sucks all along my dick, cleaning it off and making me shiver. I look down and am struck yet again by what I see. Carter Mulkins just swallowed my load. Amazing.

From what I can see, he was enjoying himself quite a bit - it looks like he’s still hard as a rock. And as much as I’d love to watch him lick and suck the cum out of me for the rest of the night, I can’t let him have all the fun.

I maneuver us around and get Carter to sit on the couch. I wasn’t mistaken, his raging erection hasn’t subsided in the least. It honestly looks like it might be even harder, if that’s possible.

I don’t waste a second getting right back to it. I suck Carter and let my hands work over his stomach, thighs, and of course his cock and balls. Even after my own explosive orgasm I couldn’t tell you which side of things I like more. Blowing my load felt great, but I love having Carter’s fat, juicy cock in my mouth.

And there’s one thing I might like even more than that. Carter’s ass.

I slide down to his balls and let my tongue reach back as far as it can go. He gets the message and slides his hips up, just like I did, giving me full access to his beautiful back door. I nuzzle in underneath his balls and start licking his asshole like there’s no tomorrow.

“Jackson, that’s awesome,” Carter says in between breaths. He’s twitching and squirming under my ministrations.

It’s the same reaction as the last time I did it to him, and this time I’m not holding anything back. The taste, the smell, and the feeling of his ass are an intoxicant for me. The more I have of Carter, the more I want.

I reach down and start playing with my own cock, already hard again. I’ve never jerked off twice in a row, and even all the times Carter and I have fooled around it’s just been one and done. Here I am getting turned on again so quickly just by eating someone’s ass, and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

Truthfully, I’d love to get Carter to play with my ass more, too. This is the first time he’s rimmed me, and the finger he put up there was amazing. It’s more than I’ve ever done with anyone, but I definitely didn’t reach my limit. If anything it made me want to explore more of what Carter can do to my ass, and how good he can make me feel.

I wonder if…

No way.

Even as turned on as he is, I don’t think Carter would go for it. We’ve never talked about it. Aren’t you supposed to talk about that sort of thing before you do it? I just don’t know if…

“Fuck, Jacks, I’m close.”

Jacks? He’s never called me that before. It’s like, a pet name or something.

I try not to let my smile interfere with what I’m doing. He called me Jacks.

Suddenly, I have an idea. A perfect compromise to what I was thinking about before. A way to make both of us feel good.

As much as it pains me to do it, I pull my head out from between Carter’s legs. I stand up then climb onto Carter and straddle him. Our mouths find each other’s and we start making out again. This time though, it’s a totally different kind of making out. It’s sloppy, steamy kissing. Just kissing each other like there’s no tomorrow, barely stopping to breathe in between. It makes what we were doing before look like a couple of chaste pecks.

Sitting on Carter’s stomach, it traps his dick directly under me, pressing it between my ass crack and his stomach. I feel the heat radiating off of it against one of my most sensitive areas, and I’m amazed at how big it feels down there. I wiggle my ass a little bit to nestle it even further into my crack, and I feel it twitch when I do. With how close Carter must have been to cumming, it’s not going to take much.

I slowly start to rock my hips, sliding my ass back and forth over Carter’s raging hard on. I can feel the ridge of his cockhead rubbing against my hole as I do it, and I hear an involuntary moan of pleasure escape my lips. The whole area is slick with spit from our combined blowjobs and rimjobs, and Carter’s dick slides up and down my crack with the perfect amount of friction.

I pick up my pace and Carter’s breathing gets shorter in between our kisses. I feel his hand wrap around my cock and start stroking me furiously. I tighten my butt cheeks to put more pressure on Carter’s rod and speed up even more. There’s no question, we’re both about to cum.

With a final thrust of my hips, Carter throws back his head and cries out as I feel his cock swell against my asshole. I can feel each pump of his orgasm, and his hot boy juice shooting against the base of my cock and onto his stomach. It’s more than enough to send me over the edge, and I unleash my second load of the night all over Carter’s chest.

For a few minutes we sit like that, catching our breath and enjoying the contact of each other’s skin in the afterglow of our orgasms. My body still feels like it’s on fire.

After some time, Carter looks up at me and leans in for another kiss. While the others were frantic and full of passion this one is light and emotional. Before we were trying to get off, now it feels like we’re trying to be close to each other.

“You came twice,” he says, sending a glance down to his chest and stomach, which are more than a little bit damp with our combined loads.

“I guess you make me feel pretty good too,” I say.

We kiss again, just as soft, but longer.

I never want this to end. The pleasant haze of sexual aftermath, shared between the two of us. It isn’t as physically pleasurable or intense as the deed itself, but these minutes together are the ones where I really feel intimate with Carter. The soft moments. The tender moments.

Even though he isn’t sure about this, I know we’re connected to each other. I know he values me, and values what we have together. He wouldn’t be here if he didn’t. He wouldn’t hold me so close, and wouldn’t share these long, affectionate kisses.

I know he hasn’t made up his mind, but deep down in my heart I know he wouldn’t hurt me.

I could stay here forever, resting my body against Carter’s. This could be heaven.

...

That being said, we should probably go take a shower before any of this stuff gets on the couch.

------- ------- ------- -------

I get to be the big spoon tonight.

Every breath I take is a good one, breathing in the sweet, warm smell of Carter’s hair. Even though he just took a shower in my house using my soap and shampoo, he still smells like Carter. He smells perfect.

I pull him in tighter and lightly kiss the back of his neck.

If you saw us right now, you’d probably think that we’re trying to fall asleep like this, but we’re not. The light’s still on and we haven’t gotten under the covers yet, even though it’s a cold night. We’re both stripped down to just our boxers, burning off the residual heat from the hot water of the shower. With us nestled so close, it’s slow to leave our bodies, and I secretly hope that it will take the rest of the night for it to happen.

I guess we’re cuddling.

For some reason I try to fight back the smile as it comes to my lips. We’ve never cuddled like this before. We’ve done it immediately before or after fooling around, or a few times as we’ve gone to sleep, but this is just being together for the pure sake of closeness.

It feels like, I dunno... ‘couple’ stuff.

Why do I always fight it? Why can’t I just be happy with this?

In a perfect world, where Carter and I are ‘boyfriends,’ this is exactly what we would be doing right now. We would have just gotten each other off on the couch in a fit of passion that couldn’t even get more than a few feet past the entryway of the house. Then we would have taken a shower together, playfully washed each other’s backs, and now we would be right here. Exactly right where we are.

I can’t help but laugh at myself on the inside. Maybe it’s beyond me to simply relax and be happy with what I have.

[ Bzzzt. Bzzzt. Bzzzt. ]

Carter’s phone goes off, making us both jump in surprise. He squirms his way out of my grip a little bit to see who it is.

“Give me a sec, ok?” he says, propping himself up on his elbow then swinging his feet off the edge of the bed.

“Yeah, no prob,” I say.

Carter gets up and leaves the room as he answers the phone.

“Hey, what’s up?” I hear him say as he closes the door. I follow the sound of his feet down the hallway and stairs until I can’t hear them anymore.

I flip onto my back and shiver, suddenly aware of how cold it is in the room.

I didn’t notice it before, partly because I was pulled up so tightly against Carter, keeping at least the front half of me toasty warm. The other part is just being close to Carter. It makes me... warm, I guess.

I wonder what time it is.

I grab my phone and take a quick look. 11:36. No wonder I’m so tired.

It’s been a long day. School, then an hour or two chilling at Ko’s house before driving over to the arcade for our party, then a few hours of playing video games and stuffing my face with pizza and fries. I’m honestly surprised I’m not more tired.

I don’t want to move, but I quickly decide I’m too cold to stay on top of my covers. I need to get into bed.

But I haven’t brushed my teeth yet.

Damn.

I have to get under my covers because I’m cold, but I can’t get into bed until I brush my teeth, otherwise I’ll just have to get up again later. And to brush my teeth I have to get up and walk all the way over to the bathroom. What if it’s even colder over there?

Ugh, talk about a total white-mare.

I will myself up and over to the bathroom and start brushing my teeth, dreaming of the day when scientists have the technology to brush my teeth for me without needing to get up out of bed. I finish up, take a quick lap with a flosser, then put a bow on the whole process with a quick bout of mouthwash.

Sparkling clean, I quickly scoot back over to my bed and get under the covers. The temps are supposed to get down below freezing tonight, and it’s definitely starting to feel like it.

Alright, I’ll admit it!

I don’t care about my oral hygiene that much. I’m just trying not to think about Carter and who the hell he’s on the phone with right now.

At first I thought it might be his mom or dad, but from what I’ve seen they probably wouldn’t bat an eye at him leaving the house to crash at a friend’s place on a school night, any more than they’ve cared when I’ve come over to spend the night at his place. If they were worried about it, they would have called before 11:45 anyway, right?

So maybe it’s a friend like Gray or Ricky calling. I’m sure those guys are still up. But they would have just texted if they needed something.

That really only leaves one person…

No.

I’m not going to think about it. I’m going to think about something else. Plus, Carter’s been on the phone for almost ten minutes now, so he has to be finishing soon, and then I can just ask him who it was, and I’m sure it won’t be anything important.

Sometimes I wish I could take all the negativity and confusion in my head, and just cancel it all out. Just get rid of it. Forget about all the things that make me sad, or make me hold back from doing what I want. How great would it be to feel like everything is perfect just the way it is?

But ignorance isn’t bliss. Not even close.

All those thoughts that won’t stop popping into my head, all that fear and worry, the endless wondering and constant need to analyze everything around me? That’s just me trying to protect myself.

Because Sam and Ko were right when they were talking to me earlier tonight. I’m not happy, and I’m not satisfied. But somehow I keep convincing myself that I am. Even if it’s only for ten minutes or an hour at a time, I keep letting myself believe that things are going to work out just fine.

Or is it the other way around? Should I be happy with what I’ve got, and it’s my negativity that’s the lie?

I always try to write off the doubt, but it’s there to tell me something. Ko, Sam, and even Katy echo that voice in my head, and they help it get stronger. When I take a few minutes by myself, away from the distraction of Carter, I can hear it loud and clear.

He always gives me just enough to keep me hanging on. A wink during a conversation in study hall. A hand on my back when he passes me in the hallway at school. A kiss, a blow job, and ten minutes of cuddling together. It’s enough pieces of what I need to make me think the thing is whole.

And tonight? Tonight I felt we were closer than we’ve ever been before. He kissed me the second he walked in the door. He pulled me in against his body. We came together, held each other, and shared some of the sweetest, softest kisses I could imagine in the afterglow.

And what did he say? ‘Nobody makes me feel this way. Nobody. Just you.’

Just me. I’m the only person he feels this way about. He said it himself.

I can’t expect him to make a decision or figure his whole life out in a day, or even a month. He’s going to take his time, like we talked about last time I was brave enough to bring up the subject. He has to take his time, there isn’t any other way to do it.

I still believe in what he said, and I believe that he meant it. I believe in the feeling I had as we laid together on the couch. He doesn’t have it all figured out, and I’m going to have to wait, and it’s not going to be easy. But he won’t hurt me.

He knows there are boundaries, things I won’t be able to weather while I’m waiting. I could see the understanding in his eyes tonight, could see the importance of what we have together reflected in his heart.

I believe it.

I believe it even though I know.

I know he’s talking to Beth.

...

I can’t think about this anymore.

I pull out my phone for a distraction, and I’m happy to see that I missed a few texts from Katy. After a quick read, I shoot back a response. It was nothing important, just something about a show we’ve both been watching on Netflix. She probably won’t get it until tomorrow morning, but it holds my attention for a few seconds.

I check out my Snaps, but there’s nothing too exciting. Why do girls take so many pictures of their shoes? What are they trying to make us see? The world may never know.

Then it’s over to Facebook. I realize it’s my cousin’s birthday tomorrow so I send him a quick message. I scroll through my feed and watch a short video about some delicious-looking dessert that you can supposedly make in the microwave. I watch highlights from a soccer game that happened yesterday in La Liga. Then I…

I hear footsteps in the hall at the exact moment I see it.

Each step I hear is a little bit louder than the last, and the crescendo mirrors the anger I’m starting to feel. By the time I hear the doorknob turning, I’m ready to explode.

“Sorry, I had to talk…”

He stops when he sees the look on my face.

“What?”

I’m too furious to even answer. If I open my mouth right now, nothing good could possibly come out. Instead I hold my phone up to him.

I want him to see it. He needs to see it, just like I saw it. He needs to know what I’ve been looking at for the last sixty seconds.

A picture of a dress. A caption that says, “Can’t wait for the Winter Dance with my boy!” Tagged in the photo: Carter Mulkins.

The post is from Beth Beeler.

“Jackson, I can explain! She surprised me, and was so excited. I can’t say no, it wouldn’t be fair to her-”

“Go home.”

Neither of us say anything after that. The words echo in my bedroom until all I can hear is the ringing in my ears.

Carter looks like he’s in shock, too surprised to respond. How can he be surprised? After what he told me tonight. After how he made me feel. Not ten minutes later, he forgets about all of it, and goes running back to his girlfriend.

And then to say that it wouldn’t be fair! Apparently Beth is the only person who deserves fairness from Carter, because I’m sure not getting any.

“Go home, Carter.”

I say it again, hoping that he’ll grab his stuff and leave. I want to have a meltdown right now, but I won’t give him the satisfaction of seeing me yell, punch the wall, or cry into my pillow. It would kill me to let him know how much this hurts me.

“Jackson-”

“I liked you,” I say, willing myself not to cry. “I liked you a lot. And I never thought you would like me back.”

“I do like you, Jackson,” he says. “I just-”

“No.” I point at Carter, and I can’t keep my finger from shaking. “Not like I did. And you convinced me, too. I thought we were…” I can’t bring myself to say it.

I silently pray that he’ll leave, but he takes a step closer to me.

“We are,” he says.

“No,” I say. “We’re not. You’re too worried about…” It’s hard to choke out the words but I have to. “You just want to be ‘fair’ to your fucking girlfriend.”

That word tastes like shit when I say it. It makes me so furious, but also makes me realize that it’s not all directed at Carter.

I’m mad at myself.

Carter is why this all happened, but I’m the one who could have stopped it. I could have listened to all those doubts in my head and let them protect me. He didn’t have the guts to tell me that we would never be together, but I didn’t have the guts to realize it for myself.

Instead, I just kept trying. Stupidly, pathetically trying. I had to see what it was like to be with Carter.

And now, I have to admit that I failed.

“I was so amazed that you wanted to be with me,” I say, “that I was blind.” I feel a hot tear burn its way down my cheek. “Blind to the fact that you don’t.”

Carter takes another step toward me and reaches out.

“I do,” he implores.

I pull away from him and instead hold the phone back up in his face.

“You. Fucking. Don’t.”

He won’t look at the phone, like the image on it will hurt him if he does. I hope he stares right into it. I hope it fucking kills him.

“I can explain...” he starts to tell me.

He could have said so many things, but ‘I can explain’ is the worst. Explain, talk, tell, compromise. It’s all bullshit, and the way he’s looking down and away tells me exactly how much conviction I should expect from a person like him.

He could have said ‘I’ll cancel.’ Or what about, ‘I'll drop everything. I'll make my decision.’ Hell, he could have even said, ‘I’m choosing Beth.’

He didn’t. He just wants to explain. And I’m such a good fucking listener.

“Go home, Carter.”

He grabs his clothes from next to the bed, and walks out without another word.

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