Teenage Dirtbag Sequel
I wake the next morning to a weird sense of déjà vu. I've woken up here before, to this exact room. Only this time I am blissfully hangover-free and I have Duo next to me. He's on his back, hogging the bed as usual. I don't know what time it is and I refuse to allow myself to look at the clock. We've got no plans for the morning, no where to be. I intend to bask in slothfulness and close my eyes again, but the room is still having its strange affect on me. I move closer to him and reach under the covers. I wake him up in a really nice way and we fool around as quietly as we can.
He dozes off again when I'm through with him, but I get up and take a shower. I dress quietly and as soon as I shut the bedroom door behind me, I realize I'm going to be alone with Helen without Duo as backup. No big deal, right? She knows about him and me and she didn't seem to have a problem with us sharing a room. Well, he didn't really leave her a choice, I guess. Hmm. At that moment, she appears around the corner, interrupting my thoughts.
"I thought I heard someone," she says to me with a smile. "Good morning! Breakfast is out, I've got plenty to choose from." She moves to lead me into the kitchen and since I've been spotted, turning back is no longer an option, so I follow.
I plan on simply having cereal and milk and not being a pain, but she's got bacon on the griddle and demands to know how I like my eggs. She brings me a blueberry muffin and big glass of orange juice to start.
"Thank you," I say, "you really didn't have to go to all the trouble."
She leans her hip on the table and takes a sip from a steaming white coffee mug, never taking her eyes off me. The woman is definitely sizing me up, but not in a disapproving way. I pick at the paper on the muffin.
"Not used to a big breakfast, huh?" she sighs as she goes back to the eggs on the stove. "Do I need to get on Duo's case? I know that boy knows how to cook!"
She winks at me over her shoulder and I laugh, mostly out of surprise at her frank insinuation. "He likes to make pancakes for me, but we just don't have time before work," I tell her in his defense.
She turns the bacon. "The old family recipe?" she asks.
"The old family recipe," I confirm with another chuckle. "He tried to teach me how to make them once, although I haven't really gotten to practice much."
She turns around. "He taught you the old family recipe?"
"Yeah," I shrug, the look on her face startling me a little.
"Well," she exhales, turning back around to dish eggs and bacon onto two plates. "I was going to grill you, but I guess that answers my questions."
"Uhh," I intone, totally confused. She sets a plate down in front of me and then sits down across from me with her own.
"I just have one thing to say to you, then," she says and then looks me in the eye as she picks up her silverware. "Hurt him, and I'll have to kill you slow."
A heartbeat of dead silence passes between us and then she laughs with a smile and a wink. However, the look in her eyes just now and the way she waved that knife at me made it clear that she would, indeed, kill me slow.
"There better be some bacon left," Duo yawns and grumbles from the entryway.
"It's on the stove, pumpkin" Helen says.
Duo shoots her a dirty look and I bite into the muffin to stifle my snickering. He clatters sleepily with pans and dishes and finally joins us. "Well, at least there are no photo albums out," he remarks.
Nope, no photo albums this morning. Just threats on my life, that's all.
"I thought while we're here we'd get you a new computer like we talked about," Duo says to his aunt as he salts his eggs. "I can't believe you're still using my old one!"
"Well," she considers his suggestions, "if you boys'll help me pick it out and set it up."
Duo looks over to me and I say, "Sure," before he even asks.
"Did you get in touch with Beau and everyone?" she asks.
He nods with a mouthful of orange juice. "Race tonight," he says after swallowing it.
"You can take the car if you drop me at work on the way this afternoon," she offers. "I can probably get a ride home after my shift. Be sure to stay over if you drink at all."
"We will," he promises.
Duo and I insist on cleaning up after breakfast and have to forcibly throw her out of the kitchen. When he's dressed and ready, we hunt down components for Helen's new computer. He keeps things pretty simple and the set up doesn't take long. He has just enough time to give her a short tour before she has to get ready for work.
Because of dropping her off, we go into town a little early, so we grab something fast to eat and head to the speedway hoping to beat the lines. Our promised tickets are waiting at the window and Duo leads us directly to the pit. His appearance causes a joyous uproar and I get the expected amount of razzing about "stealing" him away. After much hand-shaking and slaps on the back, we wind up crowded with everyone else in the crew box next to the track. There's lots of technical talk about the cars that I only half listen to. After the first race, Duo drags me off in the direction of the concession stand.
"How you doing?" he asks as we walk.
"Not bad at all," I answer, digging for money in my pocket. "You having fun?"
"Oh yeah," he grins. "It's a blast. I know you were kind of zoning out there, but thanks for coming."
"Of course," I shrug. I keep my eyes down because if I look at him, I'll want to kiss him even more than I already do. Having to hide it all the time isn't fun, but we're just not there yet when it comes to public displays of affection.
We get hot dogs and French fries, which I've come to accept as tradition, and then settle on top of the trailer for the second race. When we're done eating, we go back to the box for the last race. Duo's team wins all three and he is hailed as the goodluck charm for the night.
Duo wants to go back to the garage with the team and help out before heading to the bar for the celebration, and I oblige him. I practice my staying out of the way routine and watch him work. He seems right at home, very much in his element. I wonder if this is the kind of work he'll want to get back into someday.
"Hey, NASA!" somebody shouts and I am beckoned over to help remove some tires and change coolant.
When everything is taken care of at the garage, Duo and I join the caravan to the bar. We don't decide whether we'll stay in the city or drive home tonight. I think we're both waiting to see what the party is like.
"I'm going to have a few drinks," he tells me when we get inside. "It's up to you if you want to drive home. If you want to drink, then I totally don't mind splitting a hotel room."
I nod in understanding and he makes his way to the bar counter. I talk with the people I remember and answer a lot of questions about what Duo and I are doing now. I eventually break down and pour myself a glass of the very same "horse piss" that was available last time, choosing it because the taste will make me drink slower.
After some time, two of the guys I'm standing with leave and the third turns to me asks, "Smoke?" and holds his fingers in a way that makes it obvious they aren't smoking cigarettes.
"Sure," I agree and follow him out the back door. One of the other guys is already packing a pipe. We pass it around it and trade stories and then smoke another one. I don't smoke much anymore and it's high quality, so it hits me a lot harder than I expected. I wouldn't say I'm fucked beyond repair, but things around me don't appear to be moving in real-time. I follow the guys back in
I see Duo and smile. A lot.
"Hey, where have you been?" Duo asks, elbowing me in the side.
"Stepped out back," I answer.
He looks at me makes a weird face as he tries really hard not to grin. "With Rodney and Stevo?" he asks.
He grins full force now. "You're fucking lit!" he laughs. "Look at you! The fiend is back!"
"Is not. I mean, are not. I mean… wait," I try to say in my defense, but he interrupts me with raucous laughter. "Oh yeah? Well, you're drunk!" I retort smartly.
"Well, I'm not as high as you are drunk," he insists, crossing his arms over his chest. It's my turn to laugh. He doesn't get what's so funny. We decide to go amuse Leslie and Tina with our chemically-enhanced antics. I'm too off balance to dance, so I let him take them both to the dance floor and sit myself down. I discover anew how fascinating simple things like napkins are when you're stoned. I don't know how long I'm tearing and folding when a woman sits down across from me and introduces herself as Janine. She's a brunette about 10 years older than me, but that's not so odd since Duo was the youngest person on his crew. I think we're the youngest ones in the bar, even. Janine and I chat and I give her the thing I was making, calling it a frog. She laughs and thanks me.
Duo finds us and sits down. He knows my new friend and they chat for a bit.
"I better make you a frog too," I say suddenly to Duo and reach for another napkin. Janine and Duo exchange looks and chuckle. I meticulously make Duo a napkin frog.
"Heero?" he shakes his head when I present it to him, "You do know that this one looks nothing like the other one and neither of them look like frogs, right?"
I look at him blandly. Of course they're frogs, I made them myself.
The night winds down and Janine offers to call us a cab. I am pleased to note that she pocketed the frog before going to use the phone. I'm not sure where Duo's hopped off to. Janine makes sure we get into the cab ok and we yell goodnight from the backseat. Several times. I like Duo's friends, the way they watch out for each other. We are not messed up enough to not be able to call a cab and get to a motel ourselves, but they make sure we're ok. Duo's old boss tells the cabbie where to go and even pays him.
Duo's hands won't stay to himself on the ride to the motel. He is more affectionate than usual when he drinks. Even a little will do it to him. He scoots into the middle seat and casually lays his coat over both our laps before attempting to molest me.
"Not on the first date!" I blurt out loudly, trying to embarrass him in front of the driver. He peals into hysterical laughter and slumps into the other seat. The ride is quick and Duo's old boss apparently called the motel's front desk as well because they are expecting us and have a room ready. There are two double beds in the room and he drops his bag on one of them. I go to the TV and turn it on. I hear water running in the bathroom. Duo comes back with a bottle of water and gently pushes me to sit on the bed.
"Here, baby, drink this," he says, handing me a bottle of water.
"No," I say petulantly. I'm annoyed that he's trying to take care of me. I'm not that messed up and besides, I've taken care of myself for years. I refuse to be coddled.
He pops a couple of aspirin and guzzles some of his own water. "We gotta drive back tomorrow," he reminds me. He has a point.
"I was thirsty anyway," I claim, and drink half of the bottle.
"You're on my bed," he tells me matter-of-factly.
"Says who?" I demand, feeling playfully argumentative.
"Says me when I put my bag on it," he banters.
"Oh yeah? Well I'm on it now."
"Tough luck, bub, I claimed it."
"Too bad. I'm comfy here and I'm sleeping here whether you like it or not."
"Is that so? Then you're just going to have to put up with me molesting you."
"Will you stop at nothing?" I sigh.
He grins at me. "Finish that and you'll find out."
I finish the water he gave me and he takes the bottle. Duo takes off his shoes and kneels to remove mine too. He gets up and pushes me onto my back before crawling up to kiss me.
His hands are suddenly all over me, moving faster than my mind can really keep up with. I'm not always so blurry when I smoke. I used to be able to get through high school classes stoned, after all. My guard's down around him, that's all. It feels good. I'm not paranoid or confused, just really happy and relaxed. That is, until a whole new feeling overtakes me. Duo has my pants down. Now I'm aware that he's getting me hard. My brain is so fuzzy that pleasure rapidly saturates every working neuron. I'm lost in its haze, I can't think or do anything else.
Fuck, he got me horny fast. I'm making some kind of noises and not bothering to try and control it. His hands leave my dick to remove my pants completely and shove my shirt over my head. We're not wonderfully coordinated at the moment, so I get stuck with my arms above my head and the shirt over my face. I squirm around a little and get a nice kiss when he finally frees me.
Then his mouth is gone and I'm aware of him kneeling on the floor between my knees where my legs hang off the bed. When his mouth covers me again, I give a long moan that seems to encourage him. His hands skim over my chest and down my arms, and then pause, gently stroking the inside of my wrists, and I shudder. He sucks me like a popsicle, swallowing me up like he can't get enough. Shit, I can't believe he can deep-throat like this while he's drunk. I clutch at his hands and he laces his fingers in mine to keep me still. I start begging him to let me suck him until he lets my cock go and moves away to kick his pants off. He positions himself over me, bracing his arms on the bed on either side of me. I steady his hips with one hand and take hold of the base of his erection with the other.
During our initial explorations, we quickly discovered that we are just the right heights to make sixty-nine work perfectly. It still takes a bit of concentration, something we are lacking at the moment, but we make it work. He props my legs up and clutches the backs of my thighs as he takes me all the way in again. I groan around his cock and don't bother to worry that I'm probably slobbering all over him. He reaches the point where he can no longer divide his attentions and stops sucking as he comes in my mouth. I swallow the best I can.
Duo usually comes first when we do this, but the really amazing thing about him is that he doesn't quit after that. His efforts redouble in some kind of physical form of gratitude. He moves his pelvis off me and then I get his full attention. He makes me lose it in about fifteen seconds. I come nice and easy, just tipping over the edge like slow motion. It's not the most intense, but it seems to last a really long time. I feel his weight disappear just before I fall asleep.
I sleep like the dead. It's light out when I crack my eyes open again, rudely awaken by the clapping of an audience on a morning talkshow. The TV and the light on the bureau are both still on. I'm still on my back with my legs dangling over the edge of the bed. I'm stiff from not moving all night and my body feels like it's made of lead. Duo is beside me, still asleep, with his head at the foot of the bed. I start coughing and am amazed that he doesn't wake up.
This could probably go without saying, but I have the worst taste in my mouth. Next time I want to drink, smoke, and give head in the same night, I'm going to remember to brush my teeth before zonking out. I scratch my chin and my fingers follow a thin line of crusty stuff down my jaw all the way to my neck. Well that's just lovely. Guess I was a little slow at the swallowing last night.
I slowly prop myself into a sitting position and look for a clock. It's 8:07 in the morning. I remember that we have the reunion tonight. Fuck. What a way to start the day. I get up and pad to the shower wearing nothing but the pair of socks Duo neglected to remove last night.
The hot water works wonders on my disgustingly sticky body and I actually feel like a human being again after that and good long mouth scrub. I get dressed and turn off the TV. On the dresser I spot a torn up wad of paper. It occurs to me that I made that thing last night. It was a frog at the time. I gave it to Duo. He kept it. I laugh and go to shake him awake. He's still wearing a dark blue teeshirt but he's bare from the waist down. He grunts and rolls over, but I keep shaking him.
"Duo, it's eight-thirty, get up," I tell him. No response. "Duo, get up and wash the come out of your hair," I tease. I don't know how he got some there, I was pretty sure his mouth was on me the whole time. His eyes open and he reaches for his hair. He finds the stiff section near his ear, curses, and then becomes aware that he does not have the sweetest morning breath.
"Mother fucker," he cringes, sticking out his tongue and making a sour face.
"There's some on your shirt, too," I say, highly amused by his situation. He stretches and yawns some more colorful language. "Go get a shower, I'll call your aunt," I offer in attempt to be more helpful.
"That sounds like a threat," he says wryly as he drags himself from the bed towards the bathroom.
I call Helen and tell her we'll be on our way after we grab some breakfast, and then peruse the local listings for a place to eat. There are a few places between the hotel and the bar where we left the car; all easily with in walking distance. Duo gets out of the shower and braids his hair in front of the mirror. Then he comes over to me and I get a big, minty kiss before we decide on a near-by diner for breakfast. We check out and walk to the diner.
I order waffles and he orders the "Hangover Omelet." We both get coffee. I try not to tease him since we were probably equally messed up last night, he's just taking the recovery tougher.
"Wanna drive back?" he asks from slouched down in his chair.
"Sure," I answer.
"We should take my aunt out for dinner or something tonight," he suggests.
"Good idea," I agree.
"Reunion starts at 7 o'clock, but it's not like we have to get there right on time, so maybe we can kidnap her for an early dinner. She's got a graveyard shift tonight, so at least she won't be there to grill us on the reunion when we get back."
"I can't believe the reunion is tonight," I groan.
"You're telling me," he grumbles.
"Some one need a nap?" I ask. Damn, there goes my resolve not to tease him. Duo is nothing if not teasable.
"No," he retorts with plenty of sass and makes a face at me.
"Well, you can if you want, I won't even be there to tease you. I was going to take off for maybe a half-hour if that's ok," I say casually.
He sits up in his chair, interest piqued. Damn, I knew I wasn't going to get by without telling him.
"Whatcha doing?" he asks.
"Oh, uh, I was just thinking about going by the place Jay is buried. It's been a few years, you know? You don't have to come," I say rapidly.
His face softens a little. "Want me to, though? I don't mind. Unless you want to be alone, of course," he offers.
"I – " Ok, the truth is I don't want him there, but how am I supposed to tell him that?
"I won't be in the way or anything, just, you know, moral support and shit. I know all about the visiting of the dead relatives," he jokes mildly.
Fuck. Sometimes I forget about that. He so rarely ever brings it up. It's not like I can say no to him now, so I guess he's coming.
We finish breakfast, pay our bill, and I drive us home. He closes his eyes and I'm not sure if he's sleeping or not but I turn the radio down. When we get back to the house, he helps his aunt with the computer for a bit and I mentally prepare to visit Jay. It's not so much prepare as keep myself convinced that this is a good thing to do. When I'm ready to go, I just look at him and he knows. He tells his aunt we're going to run some errands and we get in the car again.
"We could stop and get flowers. You gotta bring ‘em flowers, that's the rule," Duo advises me as I back out of the driveway and shift the car into drive.
"Got something else for him," I say simply.
A smile cracks his lips. "Does this have anything to do with you photocopying your diploma before we left?" he asks.
I glare at him out of the corner of my eye. "You have to give me some space while we're there. I was kind of planning on doing this alone."
"Uh oh, now you're annoyed. That didn't take long. Ok, sorry. I'll just be moral support from afar or something, ok?" he offers.
I don't comment further. I'm glad he backed down when he did, I can imagine that getting ugly. This already feels stupid enough without worrying about someone else seeing it. I should have told him that I wanted to be alone.
I remember very clearly how to get there and have no trouble finding a spot in the empty parking lot. Duo is quiet as we get out, still contrite, and I feel bad about coming down on him so hard.
"Duo," I start to say.
"It's cool, Heero," he shrugs. "Everybody does this kind of thing their own way. I'll just wander around a bit."
I nod at him and then head in the direction of where I remember Jay's marker to be. The last time I was here was four years ago when I buried him. I still hated him then. Luckily for both of us, the old quack had thought to provide for his own death, otherwise his plot and grave stone probably wouldn't be so nice. I continue to struggle internally with the futility of this visit. I don't hate him anymore, but there's no use trying to tell him that. No one should use him as an example of how to raise teens, but it wasn't his fault I was psycho and I'd at least like to thank him for putting up with my shit.
I'm doing it again: thinking too much about things that don't matter. I've come to realize that there may be some things I can never leave in the past and my mistakes are at the top of the list. I am unforgiving with myself that way. Maybe I just need more time, more distance. That's why I still can't believe I'm back in this place. The high school class reunion, the cemetery, even Duo's house, they all symbolize a period in my life I wish I could erase.
I decide to do it then. I just bite the bullet and do my lame-ass little ceremony. I unfold the photocopy and proceed to actually read the damned thing out loud to his grave like I'm talking to him over the phone or something. When I'm done I step up and drop the paper by the grave stone.
"That's, uh, for you," I say, but quickly amend as if he's going to reply with something rude, "I mean, I did it for me, but… yeah. You know."
I stand there dumbly for a minute, thinking about how unbelievably pathetic that was. The two of us never did have the communication thing down very well. I swallow stupidly.
"Well, I'll, uh, be back in a few years. With the next one," I force myself to finish. I feel the urge to give a goodbye, but let's not make this anymore absurd than it already is.
I stuff my hands in my pockets and turn around to go find Duo, but I see him standing only ten feet away. I glower at him.
"You said you would go away," I scowl.
He's got one hand covering his mouth and his eyes are wide, watching me tenderly. His eyebrows are raised, wrinkling his forehead. It crosses my mind for a mere 2.8 seconds that he might be holding back tears when I realize that, no, his hand is hiding a smile.
I huff affrontedly. "Asshole."
His hand drops and I see that he is still fighting that smile as he crosses the space between us and pulls me into a hug. I grunt in half-hearted protest and he just buries his face in my neck.
"You…" he says, but never finishes.
I sigh and allow myself to nuzzle his neck just a little since my arms are currently pinned to my sides. He lets me go and leads the way back to the car. He goes around to get in the driver's seat, so I hop in the passenger side. He doesn't say anything as he starts the ignition and pulls out of the lot.
After a couple minutes, I realize we aren't headed back to his aunt's house and I look over at him. He flashes me a quick smile before looking back to the road to make a left turn.
"Thought you'd like to, uh, meet the family," he says. "You know, since you let me come with you." He makes another left turn and I see another cemetery down the road. He easily pulls the car parallel to the curb and we get out. We don't exchange any words as I follow him to the plot. He might have felt comfortable coming with me, but I feel horribly out of place here, like I'm trespassing. He stops and I nearly run into his back. We're standing in front of three granite stones bearing the name Maxwell. I step around Duo to present myself properly.
"That's my dad," he says, pointing to the left-most marker. "Helen says he liked science fiction and was a history buff. He had a whole song worked out of all the U.S. Presidents in order and he and Solo used to sing it all the time." He chuckles a little.
"There's my mom," he points to the far right stone. "She had blond hair like Helen and laughed a lot and was a gifted pianist.
"Solo is in the middle there," he continues, "he was four and liked Presidents and learning to play the piano, but Helen says what he really wanted was to fly airplanes. She said he could read already, at age four."
Duo doesn't look sad, but his eyes reflect thousands of ‘could-have-beens,' from the family vacations, to the fights, to the pets they might have kept. He's obviously learned to deal with the ghosts by now, it's been over twenty years. It strikes me then how similar we are that way, raised on the stories and memories of people we'd never get to meet.
I clear my throat a little. "I think," I say, "they would be proud of you."
He smiles. "Oh, I know they would," he replies.
I look at the three stones one more time and suddenly really want to tell them that I'm going to watch out for him now, I'm going to take care of him. I know it's ridiculous, I mean, number one, they're dead and secondly, Duo doesn't need anyone to take care of him. Really, it's he who takes care of me.
"And I like to think," he continues, "that they'd like you."
I grunt. I wish that for all the world, but probably not after the way I treated him. "They wouldn't have liked me five years ago. No one liked me five years ago."
"I did," he says simply. I look over at him and he smiles broadly. He moves closer to me and my arm snakes around his waist under his jacket. He throws an arm over my shoulders to steer me toward the car and we stroll out together.