It's only six hours from Puerto Peñasco to San Diego, so when Alejandro calls asking to switch shifts, giving Clyde an unexpected three days off in a row, he decides to drive up to UCSD and surprise Bebe.
The summer after high school they talked things through and came to the mutual conclusion that, while neither of them was ready to give up what they had together, they also didn't want to hold the other back. It's been just short of a year since then and so far the open, long-distance relationship thing seems to be working out pretty well. If Bebe has hooked up with anyone, it hasn't been serious enough for her to tell Clyde about it; for his part, Clyde hasn't told Bebe about anyone because there hasn't been anyone the whole time he's been in Mexico. Bebe is the girl for him. Clyde may not know much, but he does know that.
He grins as he parks on the street and walks up to her building, grins as he jogs up the six flights of stairs to her floor (got to keep in shape, even if he's not playing football or baseball any more; got to keep in shape for the tourists who tip bigger when you're shirtless as you pour their mai tais and blend their margaritas). His grin stays bright as he pauses at the top, massaging his knee; he grins only a little breathless as he knocks on her door, picturing how she's going to grin when she sees him.
"Want me to get that?" a voice, distinctly male, says on the other side of the door.
Clyde's grin fades, his breathlessness deepens for the space of a skipped heartbeat. But no, he shouldn't make assumptions. It might just be a friend and even if it's a new guy Bebe's seeing, that doesn't mean it's serious. And if it is serious, well, better to find out sooner rather than later, right? So he gets his grin back up as the door is opening—and then it falls right off again.
"Hey, Donovan," Stan Marsh says, looking only a little less surprised than Clyde is feeling. "Bebe didn't say you were coming up. What's up, dude?"
"Yeah, good," Clyde says. He shakes his head at himself, aware that his casual response didn't match up with Stan's casual question, but there's nothing he can do about it now; better to move on. It makes sense for Stan to be surprised, but Clyde doesn't know why he himself is. Stan is going to school here, too, across town at San Diego State, and the real surprise should be why they haven't run into each other before on one of Clyde's visits.
"Hey, babe," Stan calls as he turns from the door, "look who's here!"
Babe. That sounds serious. Clyde gets it, though, why Bebe hasn't told him yet. She didn't even tell him Stan and Wendy had broken up.
Speaking of Wendy: "Oh my gosh, hi, Clyde!" she says as she enters the living room, coming right up and giving him a warm, easy hug.
"Hey, Wendy." He looks at her, standing next to Stan now, her arm around his waist, his draped across her shoulders. The corners of his mouth tug up as he looks at the two of them, holds up his hand and points from one to the other: "You two are still together. And you're in town," his finger settles on Wendy, "visiting your boyfriend!" He doesn't wait for a response as he steps forward, wrapping them both in a hug. "That's so great, you guys!"
"Uh, thanks, dude," Stan says, laughing as he pushes Clyde back.
Clyde catches his hand as it's rising instinctively to clasp Stan's nape in their traditional "nice play" celebration. They don't play any more, at least not together, and in Clyde's case not at all. He grins, anyhow, and gets his hand to the back of his own neck for a comforting rub.
He turns to Bebe: and there it is, the grin he was hoping for on her face. His smile kisses hers. "Hey, gorgeous." They started calling each other that as a joke, making fun of themselves as the clichéd jock and cheerleader couple; and then the making fun became just plain fun. A lot of people seem to think they call each other that unironically. Bebe is definitely gorgeous and Clyde is pretty sure he's no slouch, but it's kind of hilarious that anyone would think they're serious about it. Which of course makes it more fun to do.
"We were just on our way out," Bebe says, arms still around his neck. "You should come with us!"
"Or," Stan interjects so quickly it's like a pounce, "maybe you girls would like to spend some time alone together?"
Clyde gets it. "Have fun shopping." He grins, kissing Bebe again before she disentangles herself from him.
"Isn't it lucky for you that Clyde showed up," Wendy says to her boyfriend. It almost looks like Stan blushes a little at that, but when Clyde glances again he thinks it must have just been a trick of the light or something.
After saying they'll call later to see if the boys want to meet them for drinks or dinner, the girls leave. As he stands there with Stan, the late afternoon sunlight streaming through the sliding glass door the balcony tugs at Clyde's attention. "Hey, want to grab a couple of beers and check out the ocean view? Or," he reconsiders, "you've probably already seen it."
Stan flashes a grin. "I can stand to see it again."
In the fridge, Clyde finds most of a six-pack of Blue Moon, only one bottle gone. Out on the balcony, he sets it on the floor between two of the chairs, handing one up to Stan before settling back in the chair with his own. They clink the bottle necks in a wordless salute to brotherhood and proceed to drink in companionable silence, enjoying the breeze making its way to them from the ocean, blocks away but visible.
"Oh, hey man," Clyde says after a while, turning to Stan, "I saw you start against Michigan."
"Yeah," Stan says. "Not exactly the stunning debut everyone was expecting." He takes a long pull on his bottle.
"You didn't suck, though," Clyde says.
Stan snorts, resting the bottle on his thigh, his hand tightening around the neck. "No, but you know who did suck? Fucking Jones. I can't fucking stand the way he snaps the ball. He doesn't do it like you. I know he's been a Division I player for three years and all, but he can't hold a fucking candle to you, man."
He looks at Clyde and Clyde tries not to grin, but his mouth quirks up on one side anyhow.
"You were the best center I ever played with, dude. I'm serious."
Clyde laughs. "You've only played with, like, three centers in your life."
"I could have played with three hundred, and play with three hundred more, and you'd still be the best." Stan shifts towards Clyde, a small but intense crinkle on his brow. "You did everything just the way I wanted it. Snapping, blocking, fucking everything. I mean, I got sacked three times that game. And I can take a hit, you know?" Clyde does know; Stan Marsh is no glass quarterback. "But twice they came straight through. He fucking let them through..." Stan shakes his head in disgust, settling back in his chair again. "I went down plenty of times in high school. But they never got to me by going straight through the middle." Stan looks genuinely pissed off and Clyde keeps his smile of pride tucked inside so Stan won't misunderstand and think Clyde is laughing at him.
Stan sighs. "I wish we could've kept playing together. I mean, you were supposed to go to New Mexico State, so I knew it was over even before you—" He looks down at Clyde's knee.
Clyde does, too, then looks off and takes a deep swig.
"How is your knee, anyhow?"
Clyde looks at it again, rubs it a little, buying time. Usually he gives a blow-off answer because for most people, even a lot of his friends, it's a blow-off question. But Stan is different. He visited Clyde every day in the hospital, kept visiting every day when Clyde was back home. It wasn't out of guilt or anything because it hadn't been Stan's fault; it hadn't been anyone's fault, not even Clyde's own, although it took him longer to come to that acceptance about himself. But yeah, Stan visited him then and Stan is asking now because he cares; the dude fucking cares.
So Clyde takes another swallow of beer, takes a breath, and gives a real answer. "It's not too bad, most of the time. It's twinging a little now because I ran up the stairs instead of taking the elevator." He flashes a grin to show he knows he was a dumbass for doing that.
Stan grins back. "Here." He leans forward to put his beer on the floor, then shifts sideways as he straightens up and rests his hand on Clyde's knee. He prods, gentle, then starts to rub. "How is this? Am I making it worse?"
Clyde looks up from Stan's hand to find Stan gazing at him intently. "No, that's. It's not worse."
"It would be better if I were touching you directly." Stan drags his chair over so he's in front of Clyde. "This is the first time I've tried it over clothing," he says as he touches Clyde's knee again. "I don't know if Bebe told you, but I'm studying physical therapy."
"Oh!" Clyde says. "No, she didn't. But that's awesome."
"Thanks." Stan applies a little more pressure, deepens the massage when Clyde doesn't wince. "I think I want to go into sports medicine. That way even if I don't go pro, there's a chance I could be part of the Broncos family some day and, like, really help them."
"That's really fucking smart, man!"
"Thanks," Stan says again, grinning now. "So how about you? How's Mexico? I hear you're bartending at a resort."
"Right on the beach," Clyde confirms. "It's cool and all, but I'm not sure how long I'm going to stay. What I really want to do is travel. Make my way around the world bartending and stuff."
"Stuff?" Stan glances up as he continues ministering to Clyde's knee. "What, like blowing guys in back alleys?"
"Only if they're not old or gross," Clyde says. Stan's gaze flickers, a slight crinkle appears on his brow before he smooths it out and nods, making a visible effort not to judge. Clyde grins. "I'm kidding, man."
"Right," Stan says. "I guess you'll have to suck off the gross ones, too, when you're hard up for money."
From Stan's perfectly serious expression, Clyde can see that he's the one kidding now. He shakes his head with a snort of laughter and Stan cracks an effortless grin back.
"So what's 'stuff', then?" Stan asks, renewing his attention to Clyde's knee.
"Oh." This is another thing Clyde tries to blow off when he's talking to most people, because he's never minded being the butt of jokes—except when he's serious. And he's serious about this. Which is what makes a lot of people laugh. He shifts, careful to leave his knee under Stan's hand. "Um. I'm actually doing some teaching. Conversational English."
He steels himself for the joke, but Stan sounds serious, even a little interested maybe, when he says, "Yeah? You can do that without a college degree?"
Clyde nods. "Yeah. I mean, I'm not at a school or anything, it's just private tutoring. But I really like it, and I was thinking it might be a way to pick up some cash when I'm traveling, or maybe trade language lessons or something." He shrugs, downplaying it like he hasn't been thinking hard about it. "I don't know, though."
"No, that sounds cool. You always were good in English, dude," Stan says, with no trace of irony that Clyde can detect. It's true: English was one of Clyde's best subjects in high school. It wasn't like he was at the top of the class or anything, though, so he never thought anyone noticed. "That sounds like a real plan," Stan says, working the sides of Clyde's kneecap with both hands. "When are you going?"
"Next year, probably." Clyde's knee has stopped twinging, but the massage feels so good he doesn't want it to stop yet. "I don't really have a plan beyond seeing the world, or as much of it as a I can, supporting myself with bartending and teaching."
"And blowing guys in alleys when you need a little extra," Stan adds helpfully.
"Oh, of course, yeah."
Stan grins and, to Clyde's regret, pushes his chair back to the side. Clyde accepts the beer Stan hands him, popping the cap off and then sighing in contentment as Stan resumes massaging his knee, one-handed now, as they drink.
Over the years they played together, Clyde got so used to reading Stan's every, smallest shift that he feels it right away: the question in Stan's touch. His breath snags on his inhale and he washes it down with a generous swallow of beer. He doesn't look at Stan, not yet.
He cants his legs a little wider.
Stan's hand slides off Clyde's knee, rests on his inner thigh.
Clyde takes another slow sip, looking out into the night, not sure if he's looking at the sky or the water.
He turns to meet Stan's gaze when he feels it on his face. "You and Wendy..." He's not sure how to put it. "Do you guys have an open relationship, too?"
"Not exactly." The edge of Stan's mouth twitches into a smile. "But you are on my list."
Clyde laughs at the reference. Stan keeps smiling, but he doesn't laugh. "What, really?" Clyde says, seeing how seriously Stan is looking at him. "Man, I'm never on anyone's list."
"Well, you're on mine, dude."
Now Clyde thinks Stan may be joking, after all. He has to be, doesn't he? Clyde should make a joke back. But he doesn't say anything.
When Stan takes his hand off Clyde's leg, Clyde's stomach does a strange little flop. He wishes he knew what to say, to make it not weird between them, to let Stan know he doesn't have to go.
Stan isn't going, though. He's leaning forward so he can reach into his back pocket for his wallet. Clyde watches him open it and extract a piece of paper, yellow and square, which he holds out wordlessly.
Clyde doesn't say anything, either, as he unfolds the post-it note and reads:
It's signed by Stan, witnessed by Wendy; official.
"John Elway and Brian Boitano, huh?" Carefully casual as he breaks the silence, Clyde glances up. "Now I understand your fixation with blowing old dudes." He grins when a gust of laughter escapes Stan. Clyde examines the list again, fingering the edge. Despite the girls on it, he still thinks the whole thing may be a joke: "I'm not a celebrity, though."
"Yeah, I guess I thought you were going to be, eventually, when I made the list," Stan says, his expression as serious as his voice. "I mean, I know everyone had their eyes on me, but I knew who was making me look so good. I really thought you were going to be the one to make it..."
They look away from each other; Clyde looks down again.
"Dude," he says at last, "this is not, like, in order, right?"
"Yeah," Stan confirms: "You're my number one."
"That's dumb," Clyde says, because he doesn't know what else to say. If Craig were here, he'd say, "You're dumb," and that would be that and everything would be okay. But Craig isn't here. Stan is.
"You don't know," Stan says after a moment. When Clyde looks at him, he sees Stan looking down and thinks Stan is looking at the list Clyde is still holding; but then he realizes Stan is looking at his hands. "You couldn't know what it was like, having guys want to kill you out there, and knowing that they couldn't because you had someone who would never, ever let that happen. Someone who would protect you, no matter what. Who made you feel so fucking safe, you could do anything. You couldn't know," Stan says, looking up to meet Clyde's eyes, "'cause you never had that. You were always the one doing it."
"You're drunk," Clyde says. Stan doesn't deny it. "I need another drink," Clyde decides. Stan doesn't try to stop him when he gets up, and Clyde goes inside.
When he takes out his phone, he sees a missed call from Bebe. "Hey," she says when she answers, "so are you guys coming to meet us?"
"Oh," he says. "No, I—don't think so. I was just calling to talk to you. Stan, um. Told me something..."
"So he finally showed you his list, huh?"
It takes Clyde a moment to say, "You knew?"
"Yeah, babe. I’m sorry—I was sworn to secrecy. We figured there was no point telling you: it was up to Stan to decide if he ever would, and then you'd either brush him off or you'd—well, call me, if we were still together, to see if it was okay."
"Is that what I'm doing?"
He doesn't answer.
"I'll see you later, okay?" she says. "Love you."
"Love you, too," he says.
When Clyde goes back onto the balcony, Stan looks a little surprised, happy but also maybe like he's trying not to let himself be too happy. "Hey," he says. "Is everything okay? Are you—did I, like—are we still cool?"
"Yeah, man. We're cool." Clyde sits down. "So, your list. What, uh, what exactly does it involve? I mean, like—is kissing part of it?"
In answer, Stan leans over and presses his lips to Clyde's; slips his tongue in Clyde's mouth.
Clyde hasn't kissed a boy since a game of Spin the Bottle in 8th grade, and even though it had been on the mouth it hadn't been a real kiss or anything, just a quick touch. This is real. And it's good; oh god, Clyde had no idea Stan was such a good kisser, although maybe he should have guessed because Stan has always been good at everything he's put his mind to...
As the kiss goes on, not one long kiss but a series of kisses blurring together, infused with quick hot little breaths, Clyde feels Stan's hand is on his thigh again, higher up than before, but not all the way. "It's okay," he says, breaking the kiss, pulling back enough to look at Stan. "You can." He covers Stan's hand, coaxes it up until he's touching himself with Stan's fingers; lets go, and Stan is touching him. Squeezing, as gentle as he was with Clyde's knee. Exploring the shape, stroking the length with his thumb.
"Fuck," Clyde murmurs, shivering warm despite the cool of the breeze. He looks between Stan's hand on him and Stan's face, tilted down in concentration. He swallows. "Want me to take it out?"
Stan looks up, moistens his lips; nods. Clyde does it blindly, eyes on Stan, watching Stan watch his hands. Watching Stan look at his naked cock.
Breath slipping heavily through his parted lips, Stan looks up. Their gazes meet. "Yeah," Clyde answers Stan's wordless question. "Fuck yeah, touch it, man, please."
Stan's fingers are warm, callused, careful. It feels good, so fucking good, and Clyde tells Stan so just before Stan invites Clyde's tongue into his mouth again.
When the kiss breaks, Stan says, "Do you want to go inside?"
It's Clyde's turn to nod. He zips up and follows Stan in, barely gets the balcony door slid shut before Stan leans against the wall, pulling Clyde to him. They grind against each other as they kiss and through their jeans Clyde can feel Stan's own hardness, his heat.
Stan gets his hand between them, pushing up under Clyde's shirt to worm inside his waistband. Clyde glances down to see Stan thumbing the button of his jeans. "Can I take you—your cock, out again?" The words, that little hesitation—oh god, those words from Stan's lips—
"Yeah," Clyde breathes. "Take yourself out, too; I want to see you."
He steps back to give Stan room as Stan undoes himself first: he's hard, full and flushed dark with blood, and there's a glisten on his cockhead as it peeks from beneath the hood of his long foreskin. Perfect. Stan's cock is as perfect as the rest of him; of course it is.
"Nice~" Clyde murmurs.
Most of the blood not in Stan's cock seems to make its way to his face as he smiles. Clyde does, too, and keeps smiling as he watches Stan's gaze move back to his waistband.
They freeze at the sound of footsteps in the hallway, but the footsteps go by without stopping. Still, it's on their minds now, the girls coming back; Clyde can see from Stan's expression that Stan is thinking it, too.
"Do you want to stop?" Stan asks.
"No," Clyde says. "Unless you do."
Stan's smile says he doesn't. They head to Bebe's room, but with his hand on the doorknob Clyde has second thoughts about doing it in her bed. He points across the hall at her roommate's bedroom, empty for the weekend as usual. "Think we could go in there instead?"
"Sure, dude; whatever makes you comfortable."
Just Stan saying that makes Clyde pretty comfortable. Makes him want to kiss Stan, so he does. Kisses him again when they get inside the bedroom, and Stan must like making out up against walls as much as Clyde does because he doesn't make a move for the bed as they kiss. Stan's hand keep going under Clyde's shirt, skimming along his back before falling to his waistband, pushing the shirt up as it travels along Clyde's spine again.
"Hey, you want me to take my shirt off?"
"Yeah," Stan says. "Take it all off." Then, hearing his words, he flushes. "I didn't mean it like that."
"I could do a striptease for you, though, if you want," Clyde says. "I do them for Bebe all the time."
Stan looks like he's considering it, but then he grins and shakes his head. "You have to save some things for her, right?" Clyde thinks it's not just about the strip tease, but Stan giving him a way out of anything else, too. He's pretty sure he's not going to want a way out, but the fact of the offer curls up warm in Clyde's belly.
They undress themselves without fanfare and, naked, sit on the bed. They don't kiss; Stan seems to want to look at Clyde's cock, and Clyde is content to let him. His gaze is almost reverent, and when at last he touches again, Clyde feels the adoration in his fingertips.
He lies back against the headboard and, when he holds out his arm, Stan accepts the invitation and lies with him, even resting his head against Clyde's shoulder as he basically worships Clyde's cock. As he watches Stan's hand moving on him, Clyde starts toying with the cowlick at the at the back of Stan's hair.
"Hey, um," Stan starts, still focused on Clyde's cock. "Is it cool if we don't do any more than this?"
Some of the shaking he's been feeling, Clyde understands now, isn't just excitement but nervousness. He's disappointed with himself for not realizing sooner. He wants to help Stan feel calm; that's always been part of what he does for Stan. "It's your list, man," he says, letting his fingers burrow deeper into Stan's hair, soothing along his scalp. "If this is what you want, I'm good with it." His eyes flutter shut as Stan tugs his foreskin. "Fuck, we can do this all night, if you're going to touch me like that."
The trembling dissipates as Stan keeps playing with Clyde's foreskin. It feels kind of amazing, to have someone who knows just what to do and just how to do it, who knows not because someone has told them but because they know what it feels like themselves. He wants Stan to experience this amazement. "Want me to stroke you off, too?"
"There's something else I want to do, I think," Stan says. He shifts into a kneeling position. "Can you kneel up, too? Facing me?"
Of course he can; Clyde can do and has always done everything Stan has ever asked of him. When he gets in position, Stan cups the back of his neck and kisses him again. Then he breaks the kiss and leans his forehead against Clyde's as he lets go, reaching down to take Clyde's cock in one hand, his own in the other, and touches their cockheads together. Clyde feels the pulse in the tip of Stan's cock; his own pulse intensifies, quickens in a rush through his bloodstream. Then Stan tugs his own foreskin up, stretches it more, covering himself—and more, enveloping Clyde, too.
God, fuck, he's inside Stan.
It's not entirely unfamiliar. It's kind of like being inside himself , except that he's never been hard like this inside himself. Still, it's not all that strange—until Stan starts to move. Clyde closes his eyes to feel the tender pressure of Stan's fingertips, just on the other side of the soft skin, to feel Stan's fragile skin stroking and rubbing over him. Sliding and stretching, covering and exposing, Clyde's cockhead going in and out of Stan's foreskin, in and out and in, plunged into sensation, heat shivering down to his balls and back up, with ache and now with thrill. And it's like he's fucking Stan's foreskin; or maybe Stan's fucking him with it.
"Fuck me," Stan murmurs. "Fuck me, man, yeah, fuck my cock."
Clyde does it. He's always done what Stan asked; Stan is his quarterback, the only one he's ever played for, the only one he ever will, oh fuck, Stan is the only one~
As their cocks fuck between them, Stan's fingertip stretches farther than his foreskin can, down to trip and linger along Clyde's length. The thrill curls and flexes in Clyde, in his fingers. At last he reaches for Stan, wanting to share the thrill through touch: he slips his arms around Stan, his hands shaping themselves to the curve of Stan's ass as he starts massaging and squeezing in a rhythm sympatico with the one Stan's foreskin is stroking out.
The thrill sinks deeper into Clyde's balls now, curls up into coils, coils itself tight and tight and tighter; then releases hard. Clyde's come fills Stan's foreskin as it spills out of him, he fills Stan until his come spills out and it looks like Stan is spilling out of himself, too. And then Stan really does orgasm, not filling Clyde but covering his cockhead with come, Stan's come slipping down along Clyde's length, lingering with wet sloppy caresses over his cock.
They must have been breathing this hard this whole while, but Clyde only notices the rasps of breath now in the quiet they've fallen into. He closes his mouth, but his breath wants to push past his lips, so he parts them again.
Their breathing starts to soften as they lie down again, their cocks softening too. Clyde's fingers trail absently through the come his cock has transferred to his belly. When he catches Stan watching his hand, he asks silently, holding out his fingers; and Stan gives a wordless yes, please and thank you as he licks them clean.
After a little while, Clyde says, "I think I'm going to go crash out in Bebe's. But I was thinking—stay here tonight, if you want. You and Wendy. We can all go for brunch or something."
Stan gives a somnolent "mmm" in agreement, rolling onto his stomach and hugging the pillow beneath his head when Clyde gets up.
In the open doorway, Clyde pauses and turns back. "Hey, Stan." He waits for Stan to rouse himself enough to look over. "How do these lists work? Like, once you've slept with someone, do they get crossed off, or..."
Stan gives him a sleepy grin. "No, dude. You're still number one."
Clyde grins back. He doesn't really know what it means, not fully or in entirety. But he knows it makes him smile—and that's all he needs to know.