Scripps could feel eyes on him. Not God’s eyes. He could have handled that. He’d been told his whole life that God was watching and he tried to live his life accordingly. His problem was that the eyes he could feel were Dakin’s. He didn’t even need to turn around to know that Dakin was standing in the back of the chapel watching him pray.
Scripps squeezed his hands together until the muscles in his arms began to ache. The ache was good though. It took away the ache of other things.
He could hear feet moving across the chapel. He wished he could squeeze his ears shut just as he did his eyes. He knew Dakin was getting close since there was no one else there and Scripps hadn’t heard the heavy oak doors swing open since Dakin entered.
Dakin sat next to him. Scripps stopped praying and quietly cursed. He knew he was in love with Dakin, but he also knew there was no reason he shouldn’t be. Everyone was in love with Dakin. Being in love with Dakin was like stating you liked chocolate ice cream or The Beatles. There was nothing unique about it but that didn’t mean you wouldn’t eat the ice cream when offered or sing along to Yellow Submarine after a few drinks.
Not that Dakin was offering. Not to any of them. He simply moved and they followed like blind, obedient, slaves to their lusts.
Posner was first in their little line of Dakin love. He never try to hide it. Scripps used to wonder if it was easier for Posner, being Jewish and all. If he got the same talks about natural and unnatural and self-abuse from his rabbi as Posner got from his priest. He’d been tempted to ask but then he’d have to explain why he was asking and he didn’t think Posner would take well to any competition for Dakin’s imagined affections. He also occasionally wondered about Akthar, but he was much further back in the line of people in love with Dakin. And they were all in love with Dakin if they admitted it or not. Scripps told himself that at any rate. It made it all a bit easier.
He drew a long breath through his nose. It was a bad idea. He could smell all the crap Dakin put on his hair and under his arms. It was stronger than the smell of candlewax and the wood oil rubbed into the pews once a month by little old ladies who spent nearly as much time in church as he did. It wasn’t right, Dakin’s smell being stronger than God’s, but it was.
Scripps curled over his own hands and tried to think of things other than Dakin. There were certain pains that were suddenly becoming too much. He knew he should be trying to think about God but he’d been doing that at the start and it hadn’t appeared to work.
He thought about the back of Hector’s motorcycle. It helped a little.
“We’re all getting together to pass around our papers before we hand them in to Irwin tomorrow. They sent me to pry your lips from God’s backside or wherever it is you put them.”
“Just another minute.” Scripps tried to think about anything other than the scent of Dakin’s hair gel which had managed to fill his nose to the point where he could taste it. He went back to praying to God, praying for something unpleasant this time to fill his mind so he could stand up and not make a fool of himself.
He heard the oak doors swing open and the sound of many feet. It was time for the old ladies of the choir to practice their warbling hymns. Some days Scripps wished he could still sing like Posner with his high sweet voice that still seemed years away from dropping. He told himself he would sing to God if he was granted such a voice but he knows he would just end up singing pathetic love ballads like Posner and Posner was thoroughly entrenched in that position.
“Akthar thinks he’s written a cracker. He’s arguing that Yugoslavia is actually responsible for the current problems between Israel and Palestine.”
Scripps thought about it for a minute. “Irwin won’t like it. Or he might like it but he’ll tell us Oxford and Cambridge won’t like it because they’re old and therefor Western Eurocentric.”
Dakin nudged him. Scripps cataloged the touch. “Come on. I’m sure God’s heard everything you’ve had to say that’s worth saying about ten times over.”
Scripps knew he was in about as good a condition as he was going to get under the circumstances.
The choir started warming up in rough scales. They usually hit the top and bottom together but everything in the middle was just a mess. Scripps filed that thought on the choir away in case he needed a metaphor on the exam.
“Come on,” Dakin said again, grabbing Scripps by the shoulder and dragging him to his feet. “You’ll have plenty of time to pray later. Shit, after the exams I’ll even pray with you ‘cause Jesus knows I’ll be doing it anyway.”
Scripps nearly stumbled with the shock. He’d probably be in less shock if Dakin had offered to suck him off right there in front of the choir. That he could very nearly handle but the idea of Dakin praying with him was so much worse. He knew the two of them, on their knees, side by side, hands pressed together is silent prayer would only make every solitary prayer after that useless. Instead of thinking on God he’d be thinking of Dakin by his side, and the smell of hair gel and deodorant. But then he spent most of his time praying thinking about those things anyway.
They pushed through the oak doors and into the light. “Piss off. You’d suck off Irwin before actually praying in a church and you know it.”
Dakin grinned. “That’s an idea. Well not me sucking off Irwin but I’d bet he’d jump at the chance to get a bit of what I’ve got.”
Scripps decided he would quietly hate Irwin from there on out. He knew Jesus wasn’t big on things like hate but Jesus didn’t have to watch Dakin ponce about in his underpants, or listen to Posner sing, or Irwin go on about Henry VIII. And he was pretty sure Jesus never got felt up on the back of a motorcycle.
Scripps took a deep breath made a resolution to be a better, kinder, more loving Christian. After the exams.