Shawn watches Eric- Chantal- wiggle across the student union in his attempt to run down some random beautiful girl, and the look on the girl's face. Confused, maybe even amused, definitely not interested.
Eric really doesn't make that bad a woman, all things considered. The voice is okay, even though the accent needs work. He has a tendency to go a little rubber faced, but that's a personality trait not a masculine trait. Eric, with a little guidance, can probably master the roll and glide that women walked with. He's just trying too hard.
While Jack in disguise had swaggered as though he was doing his best to push his dick out through his skirt (because if you had to do something as degrading as dress like a girl you could at least make sure everyone knew you were being forced into it), Eric was willing to try to be a woman, and had ended up dressed up like someone acting like a woman. The accent out of bad indie film. The dress out of an old lady catalogue. The way he walked-like a woman, but like a woman trying to shoplift a ham between her legs.
Shawn hasn't said anything, but this whole new cross dressing interlude in their lives has been strange for him. It's like watching a movie he hasn't seen since he was a kid and realizing that he hasn't remembered it right. But that's not quite right either. It's like watching a horror movie that had terrified him as a child, but fully grown, with a better sense of real and fake, with the lights on this time. Now he's old enough to see the strings.
Shawn has been able to watch Jack and Eric, hobbling in their heels and swinging in their skirts, and see them embodying different aspects of how he'd felt, years ago, as Veronica.
The way it brings something out from inside Eric, and the way he seems… like a man exploring a new country, like a child with a new toy.
Jack's shame and embarrassment, even though he'd been treated the same way Veronica had been treated. Like he was beautiful. Like he was exotic. Like he was desirable.
The pictures had floated around school long after the article came out. There had been sneering. There had been disgust just like Jack's disgust. There had been jokes about him, and about Cory. But there had been smiles and compliments too. And Shawn had seen those pictures. And he had felt beautiful.
He's rationalized a lot of it away. The appeal of Veronica had been that she was able to walk into school without Shawn's baggage. Veronica had been the beautiful new girl, who already had boys carrying her books and opening doors for her and watching her legs move under her skirt.
Veronica hadn't been trailer trash.
Veronica's father had never been the school janitor.
Veronica hadn't been abandoned in her English teacher's apartment.
And even though Veronica's foray into dating hadn't been ideal, Shawn is well aware that wasn't the point, and just as aware that… in the right circumstance, wholly separate from any of the circumstances he'd been faced with in high school, Veronica's date could have been different. It could have been something he isn't comfortable thinking about as he watches Eric's jaw drop while he takes in the beautiful girl walking by and begins to waddle after her in his short skirt.
"Hey! Everybody experiments in college!" Eric yells.
Shawn shivers, covers it with a laugh, and walks, hips forward, back to the pool table.
A few days pass. Midterms end and people started slowly filtering off campus and back home for the break. Crazy Luther fails to kill, maim, or gnaw on Eric or Jack. Jack and Eric go back to shirts and jeans. No one talks about it.
And Shawn can almost stop thinking about it.
But not quite.
If it weren't during break, if there were a few more people on campus, if Cory wasn't so involved in decorating his and Topanga's apartment, Shawn might not risk it. But there's no one around.
And Shawn still has the wig.
He's done it a couple of times since high school. Just the wig. Just a little eye shadow. He hasn't done it since his father's funeral. But watching Eric and Jack out there in the union all week, Jack being treated like a pretty girl (though, for Shawn's money, there is something dewy and sweet about a feminized Eric) has made Shawn… hungry for it.
Jack, in his ongoing attempt to remain as ludicrously masculine as he can, bought tickets to some sort of sporting event today. He'll be gone for hours, watching the sport, getting wasted after the sport and attempting to pick up women while wasted after the sport. Eric has, presumably, followed along.
Shawn has the apartment to himself.
He grabs a Coke out of the fridge before heading up to his bedroom, shutting the door behind him and pulling open his wardrobe. He plucks a rusty key out of the pocket of his old leather jacket from high school, then lowers himself to his knees in front of his bed, and reaches underneath until he feels the worn leather of the handle on his father's old trunk. It was one of the few things from the trailer he had kept. His father had never kept anything in it, but it had belonged to Shawn's grandfather, who had probably stolen it from an actual veteran. Shawn had liked the smell of it and had wanted something he could lock.
The key is bent and doesn't fit into the lock quite right. Shawn jimmies it all the way in and wrenches it to the left, tugging the slightly warped lid off of the trunk.
The first thing in the trunk is a layer of extra winter sweaters that he put away to make more room in his wardrobe. He pulls them out with the same shiver of guilt he always feels. The lock on this trunk stands between him and everything he doesn't want to explain to anyone. Everything he has to keep just in case, and everything that would scare his friends if they knew he still had them.
Shawn feels like the letters, all of the letters his mother had written to him when she'd run away, the handful of postcards he'd received from his father and the letter telling him that his mother wasn't his real mother, are the most dangerous thing in the trunk. He keeps them all, mashed together into a brick of paper and envelopes with a few rubber bands tight around them. He read them all when his father died, and it had sent him off onto the road, not sure if he ever planned to return. But letters from a mother you hardly had and a father you had lost only engender pity. They seem so innocuous next to everything else he's kept.
An address book with a list of all the Hunters, their crime, where they were incarcerated and when they were expected to get released.
Mr. Mack's card and a candle that he'd stolen from The Center.
A bottle of whiskey, the seal unbroken.
And two shoeboxes. One with two pairs of heels, another with a wig and a rag-tag collection of half used make up.
He runs his hand over the glass of the whiskey bottle and wonders, like he does every time he opens the trunk, if this is the day to throw it out.
He'd learned from one of his very few AA meetings that most alcoholics keep a bottle of booze stashed somewhere at first. Some as a challenge, some as a punishment, some as a safety net- if they ever need it, they knew they could get it. He'd found a bottle of tequila in his father's trailer- the label on it weathered and wrinkled and old fashioned. It had been about three quarters gone. When he'd found it he'd twisted the cap off and poured the rest of the bottle down the sink, breathing the scent in deeply as the amber liquid splashed against the white tile.
Shawn grabs the neck of the bottle and lifts it, considering for a moment before letting a tight breath out of his chest. Maybe not today.
Instead, he takes a shoebox in each hand, sets them on his bed and drops the sweaters back on top of the incriminating secrets of the trunk.
He props the wardrobe door open so that he can see himself in the mirror inside, then smoothes his hair back and pulls the wig on. He fiddles with the bangs of the wig the same way he'd always fiddled with his own bangs, making sure he had just enough hair in his eyes.
Just the wig turns into just the wig and foundation. Then a little blush.
Hardly any eye shadow.
No eyeliner at all compared to some of the girls on campus.
Just enough mascara to make his eyes pop.
He stops smudging and blending and looks at himself in the mirror. He looks fresher that he had in high school. The 90's vampire trend was long gone and the few tidbits of make up he's acquired- things girls had left behind in his dorm and things Angela had thrown away- are more pink and shimmery than the blues and browns and mattes of once-upon-a-time.
He feels pretty. Attractive. Almost like he could just throw a belt around the flannel shirt he's wearing now and go out.
It's so tempting.
Tempting enough to keep going.
He unbuttons his shirt, watching himself in the mirror. The contrast of his feminine face and his flat, but more muscular than it used to be, chest is interesting. He turns a little from side to side to get the full effect. The shirt drops behind him. His jeans and boxers follow.
Standing there naked, a woman's head on a man's body isn't nearly as good. He looks like separate parts mashed together. Like doll parts broken and melted and sealed back together wrong. He turns away from the mirror and back to the boxes. Topanga had left a pair of pantyhose behind during her brief stay in Shawn and Cory's dorm, and Shawn had quietly acquired them. Just like he'd quietly acquired the bra that Jack had jubilantly thrown into the garbage.
He clasps the bra behind his back and shoves a few tissues from his less-than-subtle box on the nightstand into the cups, then sits down and slips the pantyhose onto one foot, relishing the feel of the nylon against his skin before he realizes that he can hardly free ball his way around.
Around where? Part of him asks, but goes unanswered.
Shawn doesn't have any women's underwear. For some reason that's where he's drawn the line. Everything else is strange, hard to explain, and probably (for Cory and Jack at least) just as worrying as the bottle of whiskey, but panties are the one thing that Shawn hasn't been able to justify. Panties are the thin silk line between foible and perversion.
He digs around his underwear drawer for one of his few pairs of boxer briefs, finally finding a pair wadded up at the back and pulling them on, then the hose over them.
It occurs to Shawn that he does have a dress and he shivers a little at the thought. He hasn't done even this much since high school. Full make up. The wig. Hose. Bra.
He's only been playing with it over the years. Just a few things. He's even been able to buy himself his own mascara. It's invisible unless you're looking for it and it makes girls flip over his "soulful" eyes.
But now he's just fucking cross dressing.
There's no girl to impress. No article to write. No raver to escape. He's just dressing up like a woman because he wants to. Practically needs to.
Shawn opens up his bottom drawer and pulls out the dress. It's a light blue cotton shirt dress that buttons all the way down. It's Angela's. It had looked like one of his shirts from the top and he'd thrown it into his laundry before they'd broken up and never brought it back to her.
His heart starts to pound as he gulps and pulls it over his head. His wig catches on the collar and slips down his head, wrecking the illusion for a moment. He readjusts it, then grabs a belt out of his drawer, throws it around his waist, and slips the leather through the buckle.
This dress had been huge on Angela's lithe frame. She'd belted it tight and let it exaggerate her round hips and breasts.
It's tighter around Shawn's larger body and he lets his belt hang loose and asymmetrical, adding a little bit of shape to his slim hips and total lack of a waist.
He tugs at the belt, then smooths the dress down with slight trembling hands and looks up into the mirror.
Veronica's grown up. She's a little taller, but not by much. Her skin's cleared up. Her jaw's squared out a little, but the hair cut helps hide that. The collar on the dress is flattering. The man's belt around her waist is just a little saucy.
It's also screaming out for shoes to match.
Shawn pulls the heels out of their box. Three inches. Round toes. A little out of fashion these days, but not criminally out of fashion. The heel is high enough to make the muscles of his calves disappear into his leg a little bit, smoothing and feminizing the line. He swallows heavily. It makes it completely obvious that he shaves his legs. It's a little thing. Like the mascara. People don't expect it so they don't see it.
Just like they hadn't seen Jack underneath Lala, despite the half-assed attempt to sound feminine and the way he'd clomped around in those terrible shoes. Like they hadn't seen Eric underneath Chantal, despite the bulge in his skirt.
Speaking of… Shawn makes a quick and familiar adjustment.
Like… none of the very few people that were still around during the break would see Shawn under Veronica.
His feet move without any direction. He grabs his messenger bag off the coffee table, with some vague plan of going somewhere and just reading his book for a while, as Veronica (who hasn't been abandoned more times than a political platform, who doesn't have a dead father, who doesn't have a bottle of whiskey she can't drink hidden under her bed) and then just come back, shower and change.
He locks the door behind him, and almost sags with relief against it.
Shawn might not have fully thought through this "go read at a coffee shop in a dress" plan. The barista, a slender young man with old fashioned glasses and a black tee shirt that is two sizes too small, is watching him. Checking him out.
And while that is part of the appeal of Veronica, the way that men check her out the way that women don't check Shawn out, he'd forgotten about the strangeness of it. Not necessarily the strangeness of guys checking him out, he gets that as Shawn too and tends to acknowledge it with a tightlipped smile. Thanks, but no thanks.
He's less- Veronica is less… hesitant about it though. She's… Being her, is making Shawn more… aware of it. More willing to think about it. Gary had been such a sleaze that he'd written the few bizarre moments of thinking about it off as just being in character. After all, it wasn't as though he'd wanted Gary to touch him.
He flicks his bangs out of his eyes, looks over at the barista, and takes a sip from his mocha, taking more of the straw into his mouth than he actually needs to, and instantly averting his eyes from the barista's shy smile.
They land on Eric, sitting in a corner booth. He's got a textbook in front of himself, propped up on something, Shawn can't make out what, while he takes a bite out of his scone.
Shawn's heart thumps, stops, then kicks in again, hammering. Eric sets the scone down, rubs his eye and stretches. As his arms come back down Shawn sees Eric's eyes settle on him and his heart finally quiets when Eric's eyes drop back down to his book. But it's a short-lived relief. Eric looks back up immediately, stares at Shawn, and then the grin spreads across his face.
Shawn shuts his book, stands, and trips, forgetting about the heels for a moment. It gives Eric enough time to come over and take his hand, catching him in his fall.
"Shawn?" he whispers quietly.
"Veronica," Shawn corrects, but doesn't attempt to lie. Eric is one of those people who sees past things and he's scared the shit out of Shawn more than once by opening his mouth and saying what Shawn was just thinking.
"Wow. You ahh preety on zer outside," Eric tells him, in his soft, light Chantal voice. Shawn laughs as Eric let him go.
"What are you doing all… gussied up?" Eric asks.
"I umm…" Shawn starts, in his own voice, before hiking it back up into Veronica's pitch. "I just wanted too."
Eric shrugs, accepting that as easily as Shawn should have expected someone who had spent the last week loving being in a dress to accept it.
"What are you working on? Didn't you just have your midterms?"
"Got an extension on one of them, but I was just about to take a quick break," Eric says.
"You wanna grab your stuff?" Shawn asks, jerking a thumb back toward his own booth.
"Sure." Eric shrugs and head over to his table. Shawn sinks back down into the booth, suddenly terrified and thrilled. Eric does this too. They can talk about it. He can get a better grip on how weird it is. If he's a total freak or if it's just… something people do and don't talk about.
Eric drops down opposite him and Shawn reaches out for his mocha. He takes a sip and sets it down between them, like he's moving the first pawn of the game, but can't remember the rules. Eric looks at him, quirks his head, and then, because Eric is usually winning at Candyland when other people are setting up chess strategies, casually asks, "So… who is Veronica?"
hawn's vibrating with…something... everything.
Eric gets it, is willing to discuss it, wants to know about it, and Shawn feels absolved-almost purified.
"See, that's what I'm not totally sure about," Eric interrupts. "The inner woman issue."
Shawn reaches a hand across the table, tapping his finger against the cracking Formica surface. "What makes you say that?"
"I felt like Chantal was a whole different person, and that she was just…like couch surfing my body. You know? Chantal came to visit, and had this whole inner beauty lesson while she was here."
Shawn retreats a little, looking for a way to say what he wants to say about Veronica. And hour ago that comment would have felt damning but he and Eric had been picking apart this whole idea, from the clothes to the names to the voices since he'd sat down and it feels… normal now.
Shawn opens his mouth. Veronica's not visiting, she's part of him. She's… she's in his box of abandoned or inaccessible safety nets, with his entire family, his addictions and his weaknesses.
"I don't think Veronica's your inner woman either," Eric says. Shawn's mouth shuts. That comment still sounds damning. He crumples a little and starts to pull his hand back, but Eric closes his hand around Shawn's, holding it on the table. "I don't think it's that simple. Being Veronica gives you something doesn't it? Like Chantal and I are totally different entities, we weren't even sharing body so much as borrowing it from each other… Veronica's different. She's part of you, but she isn't hidden inside you. Not as a whole person. She's pieces. I can tell."
Shawn stares at Eric in horror and fascination, and Eric quirks his head to the side, like Shawn is a painting he's studying. A puzzle he's trying to solve. Shawn's mouth goes dry.
He feels like Eric is looking right through him, like the look that Eric is giving him can't just see those pieces, but can touch them and move them and maybe even take them.
Since it's remarkably similar to the look Eric gave to a can he was trying to twist open for ten full minutes last week, Shawn's not sure why it sends a shiver through his body. A shiver strong enough that it rattles his hand in Eric's grip.
"Excuse me, folks?" the barista calls over.
Shawn jumps in his seat. He'd forgotten all about the barista.
"We're closing up here, so if we could just get those glasses back?"
Shawn's eyes flick to his glass, all the ice cubes melted and gone into water, with just a trace of milky brown fluid at the bottom, then up to the clock.
He's forgotten more than the bartender. Hours and hours have gone by. The sun is beginning to set outside the window.
Eric is still holding his hand
"Sorry, sorry about that. We'll just… we'll clear out. So you don't have to sweep around us." Shawn pulls out of Eric's grip and grabs his forlorn book. He shoves it in his bag as Eric gathers up their glasses. Eric turns the glasses into the bussing bin as Shawn adjusts the various flaps and zippers of his bag, fiddling with them more then necessary as he tries to regain his composure.
He feels flushed and exposed and suddenly incredibly aware of how thin the fabric of his dress is. How his chicken legs are hanging out for the world to see and how there is no cloth barrier between the world and his body.
Eric holds the door for him as they leave the shop and Shawn's feeling of exposure is intensified when they walk out into the wet spring chill. The creeping night is leeching warmth out of the air and Shawn shivers.
"Cold?" Eric asks.
"Not exactly dressed for this," Shawn replies.
"Here," Eric begins to shimmy out of his jacket.
Shawn holds his arms out in front of him. "Hey… no don't…"
"Why not?" Eric asks, he tilts his head again and Shawn feels the force of the x-ray look cutting through him.
"It's… not something you do, alright?"
"I give my jacket to chilly girls all the time," Eric replies.
"I'm not a girl," Shawn whispers.
"But Veronica is," Eric points out. He holds the jacket out in front of him. Shawn can't fight the logic and his light cotton dress can't fight the cold. He turns around. Eric takes his bag from him, sets it down and slips the jacket on over Shawn's arms. He slings Shawn's bag over his own shoulder.
"Is Veronica a mask?" Eric asks seriously.
"What do you mean?" Shawn replies. Eric is in full on perceptive mode, and while he's crazy most of the time, the way he reads people is terrifying and the full force of that power focused down on Shawn and Shawn's strangest secret is scaring him.
"Nah. That doesn't make sense either. Because you're not being anyone else. You're still you, you're just you in a dress."
"The makeup could count as a mask," Shawn points out.
Eric shakes his head. "No. Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask and he'll tell you the truth. You're not different with the makeup on. There's nothing extra that you don't usually have."
"That's an Oscar Wilde quote."
Eric sucks his teeth for a moment. "It's on a poster in one of my classes. Near the window. I look at it when I'm not paying attention. Don't worry. I'm still stupid. Didn't mean to freak you out."
Shawn pulls Eric's jacket tighter around himself, stops and turns to Eric. "I don't think you're stupid, Eric," he declares, maybe a little more forcefully than he needed too. Certainly louder than he needed to.
Eric smiles, small and slow. "Thank you." His hand swings out at his side and grabs Shawn's. Shawn pulls back for a second, but relaxes into it. Sometimes with Eric it's best to steer into the skid. Like driving on ice. Shawn twines their fingers together and they keep walking.
"Yes," Eric says as they turned to corner back to their apartment. "Definitely not a mask."
"I like the way people look at me when I'm Veronica," Shawn volunteers.
"You're very beautiful," Eric says matter of factly. Shawn's blood thrums in a weird way. "I was not. I'd rather have people look at me as Eric."
"Eric?" Shawn asks suddenly. "Are you holding Veronica's hand or Shawn's?"
"I'm holding your hand," Eric answers unhelpfully. Shawn wonders if he's supposed to provide the clarification. He tries to nudge at it.
"Being Veronica makes me feel attractive. Desirable."
"Wanted?" Eric supplies.
Shawn's blood thrums in a completely different way. "Yes."
The sudden wrench in the conversation makes him uncomfortable. Aware again that there are things going on in the world besides Eric trying to climb inside his head and replace all the light bulbs. He looks around him for what feels like the first time in hours. At the street lights coming up as the sun sets. At the robins flopping down out of the trees.
"Are were going back to the apartment?" Shawn asks.
"Is there somewhere else you want to go?"
"I was out too late. Jack's going to be back there," Shawn hisses, stopping on the sidewalk with Eric's hand tugging his own when Eric doesn't stop. "Shit. I don't want him to see me like this, not after everything. Being cool with it is one thing, doing it in front of him is-"
"Don't worry about it," Eric shakes his head. "There's no way Jack will be there."
"How do you know that?" Shawn demands. Perceptive he can deal with. He is not going to deal with Psychic Eric.
"Because he's been majorly overcompensating for spending a couple days in a dress and sort of dating a dude. He picked up some skank he's going to forget about at the game. He won't be back until morning."
"How do you know that!" Shawn demands again, starting to get freaked out.
Eric looks askance at him. "He texted me."
Shawn lets his hackles fall again. Eric squeezes his had. Shawn's eyes fall to their joined fingers. "Eric… have you ever…"
"Have I ever what?"
Shawn can't believe he's asking this, but suddenly needs to know and thinks Eric will answer. "Have you ever been with a man?" Shawn whispers.
Eric bites his lip. "Is Veronica an excuse?"
"An excuse? What do you think I'm asking you?"
"The last time you let Veronica out of the box she went out on a date with a man."
Shawn gulps. "Out of the box?" he echoes. His voice trembles and Eric seems to pick up on it, because he relents.
"Yeah. I have actually. I got drunk at a party in high school and one of the basketball players took me upstairs and blew me. And I figured… you know. Tit for tat. And then when Cory and I went on that road trip a couple summers ago we were fighting and I got my own hotel room. Met a guy down at the bar and invited him up for a night cap that turned into a little frottage. And then I had sort of a… uh… friend with benefits my freshman year. He was the first guy I actually had… umm… traditional sex with."
Shawn breathes a little sigh of relief that Eric's revealing as well as interrogating. The chill of the night bites under the jacket a little. Shawn realizes how cold his legs are. He can feel the night pulling away from him. It's like the earth is shifting under his feet and Eric keeps doing that to him. He shivers again, a full body jolt this time. Eric steps toward him. Shawn steps back.
"That guy was just for research purposes, for Cory's article," Shawn whispers. "I went out with a girl after being Veronica that time." Then , adds, for the sake of equal disclosure, "She blew me, didn't want me to reciprocate." He cleared his throat. "So are you bi?"
"I honestly don't think about it that much," Eric tells him.
"How come no one knows about these guys?"
"No one's ever asked before," Eric replies.
"I like the way men look at me when I'm Veronica," Shawn admits. "I don't know what that means though."
"You don't have to," Eric says. "I don't think this is actually about your sexuality."
Shawn's shocked to look up and realize that they're already outside their apartment building. He feels like the night is only following dream logic. Time is running in leaps and stops. Eric pulls out the key and unlocks the door one handed, but drops Shawn's hand to open doors for him. He stops outside their own door and looks at him.
He's… analyzing but introspective. Opaque but strangely vulnerable. Shawn knows his secrets, but he's still trying to figure out Shawn's. And in the nature of this bizarre, intense night, Shawn would tell him the secrets if he knew what they were, but he doesn't, and he can't.
He has vulnerability to offer though.
Eric reaches his hand out for the doorknob.
Shawn licks his lips.
Eric pulls the key out of his pocket.
Shawn steps forward.
Eric unlocks the door.
Shawn takes another step forward. When Eric looks up Shawn presses his lips to Eric's.
It's not a kiss yet, it's an invitation, which Eric accepts, tilting his head down to Shawn's and parting his lips just a fraction. Kissing again. Shawn sets his hands on Eric's shoulders, somehow able to ignore that this is his best friend's brother, this is his roommate, this is his brother's best friend.
That he's never kissed a man before, never really even wanted to, and he only found out that Eric had all of five minutes ago.
Eric's hands smooth from his ribs over his waist and around his back and Shawn leans further forward into the kiss. Eric's arms pull him closer, and when his mouth parts for air, Eric's tongue slips in.
Shawn pulls his mouth away, with a little gasp of protest, but not his body. Eric's arms are still gentle at his back and he sets his face to Eric's shoulder to steady himself.
Shawn takes in another breath of Eric, who smells like coffee and aftershave. He reaches blindly to the side and throws their apartment door open. Eric lets him go and they walk inside. Eric shuts the door behind them, but they just stand there, a mirror image of where they just were.
"Eric?" Shawn asks, and he's pretty sure he's been talking in Veronica's voice this whole time, but he's more aware of it now. More aware of the heavy denim of Eric's jacket over the flowing fabric of his stolen amalgamations and his shanghaied femininity.
"Do you think you'd ever do it again? Cross dress?" Shawn asks.
"Maybe," Eric says. "But I don't know who I'd be if I did it again."
This time it's Eric that kisses Shawn, and like he has all day (and they've been together all day, talking turning to secret sharing turning to soul scouring) he guides it, until it's a real kiss.
Shawn knows he's a good kisser. He's got references. He was the school slut for too long not to have developed technique through experience.
But he's always, from the teenage idiocy phase to the grade schemes to the skirt chasing, just been a shadow of Eric, and he is here too.
Eric is a great kisser and Shawn finds himself swallowing a moan into his mouth as Eric, soft, careful, like he's changing out old bandages for fresh ones, slides his own jacket off of Shawn's shoulders.
"Eric," Shawn whispers.
"Mmm," Eric replies.
Shawn takes a step backward, towards the couch, and Eric follows. When Shawn doesn't take another step Eric does, moving further into Shawn's body when Shawn doesn't move with him.
Eric is broad and firm and taller than him. Taller than him isn't new, Shawn's not a big guy, as a woman he can decently be called petite, but broad and firm is new and makes him realize what he's doing. The shiver of fear is lost in Eric's arms, and then next step carries them both back to the couch.
"No," Shawn whispers, pulling back from the kiss. Eric leaves his arms around him, but his grip loosens. Shawn could pull away from him if he wanted to, but there's no urgent reason to try.
Eric looks at him, waiting patiently for what comes after "no".
"Not on the couch," Shawn tells him, brushing the wig hair off his shoulders.
"My room?" Eric suggests.
Neither of them move, then Eric leans forward and kisses Shawn again.
"It's going to be alright," he whispers.
He grabs Shawn's hand and leads him back into the hallway where all of their bedrooms are and ducks into the first door.
Shawn's struck by just how much Eric's bedroom looks like his high school bedroom. Clean and simple and looking very much like his mother picked out everything in it. He takes a few steps inside before Eric's arms wrap around him, and warm-lipped kisses dance over his neck. The walk forward together and Eric turns him gently when the reach the bed. He takes Shawn's forearms in his hands and lowers him down onto the bedspread.
Shawn gulps when Eric settles onto his knees between Shawn's legs, aware of his slowly hardening cock, pressing against his tight underwear and the even tighter pantyhose. The awareness is like an alarm going off. He's about to do something he can't undo and the chances to stop before it's too late are flitting by like leaves falling off trees.
But Eric just reaches for Shawn's shoes. He unbuckles the tiny little straps of one shoe, wraps his warm hand around Shawn's still wind-chilled ankle, and slips the shoe off his foot, then does the same thing on the other side. Shawn swallows heavily as he watches. Eric lifts his foot up, and presses a kiss to his ankle, over the panty hose.
"Eric what are we doing?"
"We're not doing anything wrong," Eric answers. He sounds so calm and so casual. He squeezes his hand around Shawn's ankle and Shawn realizes that his whole body is shaking in Eric's afterthought grip. "Do you want me to stop?"
There's a feeling like a stone dropping into his stomach, and Shawn shakes his head. "No. Don't stop."
Eric's hands slide further up his legs, the pads of his fingers skating over the pantyhose. Shawn squirms as Eric comes closer to the hem of his dress, and, despite himself, his thighs fall open under Eric's hands. Eric doesn't go under the fabric, but over it. He runs his hands over Shawn's body, over his stomach and his ribs and the tissue stuffed bra, then around his neck, cradling his head and bringing him up to where Eric can kiss him, still gentle, but not as cautious as before. Like he's still a little afraid Shawn might break, but he's reasonably assured Shawn won't bolt.
Eric's weight settles down on top of Shawn, and Shawn feels the hard outline of Eric's cock pressing down against his own. While Eric continues to kiss him, in a perfect way he couldn't have explained in any of his poetry, Shawn rocks up against Eric's hips and moans at the friction. It interrupts Eric's deliberate kissing for a moment and then Eric presses down into Shawn, burying him in the mattress, and kisses harder, faster.
It's suffocating, Eric everywhere, in his mouth, and on his chest, and between his legs. Shawn reaches out, like swimming, and Eric fills in the few gaps, pulling Shawn even closer, grinding their cocks together in a way that makes Shawn see sparks and try to roll his head back, but he doesn't have room. He drops his arms from around Eric's shoulders down to his chest and pushes him away. Eric rocks back like he was thrown. His arms are still under Shawn's body, but fresh air rushes between them again and Shawn drags it desperately into his lungs.
Neither of them speak, but Eric tilts his head down and kisses Shawn's forehead through his thick bangs. He brings one of his hands up between them and settles it between the cups of Shawn's bra, tracing his thumb around the button. Shawn breathes out. Eric kisses his cheek and twists the button open. Shawn grabs his hand.
"Alright," Eric nods, pressing his forehead against Shawn's. Shawn tips his chin up and lets Eric kiss him again. "You need to leave the dress on?"
"Yes." Shawn says it before he thinks about it. And while it's what he wants he suddenly feels weird about it. Feels… sick for wanting to let whatever this is progress while he's in his ex-girlfriend's dress. His best friend's wife's pantyhose.
"What about the pantyhose?"
"You can take those off. And my boxers," Shawn's voice drops, he's still gasping for air, and Veronica's breathy tone is beyond him.
"And my boxers?" Eric asks.
Shawn slips his hand between their bodies and pops open Eric's fly, letting his palm brush against his roommate's erect cock as it springs forward into the extra room. "Lose those too."
Eric moves backward and stands between Shawn's widespread legs. Shawn watches him strip. Eric doesn't have a self-conscious bone in his body, and it's never been clearer. He tosses his shirt back, lets his tee shirt follow it then lets his jeans drop. He pulls the waistband of his boxers out far in front of him, sticks his hand in them and tucks the blush pink head of his cock up against his stomach before working the boxers off. He strokes himself a few times before settling his hands on Shawn's splayed thighs and running them under his dress.
He finds Shawn's erection underneath the panty hose and runs his fingertips up it. Shawn rocks into his hand and Eric flattens his palm over him while he works the waistband of the pantyhose and boxers down over Shawn's hips, then thighs, until the fabric is loose around his knees and Eric can just pull it off.
Eric takes Shawn's cock in his hand, his grip soft but tight, and starts to stroke him. Shawn kicks his legs out, like he's trying to push away, but his calves are still hanging over the edge of the bed and there's nothing for him to push against.
"Eric," he manages, reaching out and grabbing hold of Eric's calmly pistoning arm. Eric arcs over him, kissing him senseless while he pulls his hand over and down Shawn's cock, over and over again until he presses his thumb into the indentation under the head. Shawn yelps and arches off the bed. Eric's grip loosens, and then Shawn feels a sudden hot weight against him as Eric slots his own cock into his fist, squeezing he and Shawn together as his pumps his fist over both of them together.
"We need more room," Eric pants, kissing him hard and pulling back. "We need to…"
"Okay," Shawn says. "Eric… Eric let me go, so I can…"
"Yeah." Eric releases their cocks and steps back. Shawn sits up and crab walks back onto Eric's pillows, dropping down onto them. His cock tenting his dress eclipses most of Eric's body until Eric settles down onto his knees at the edge of the bed. Shawn gulps as he watches Eric knee his way up the bed, dropping to press kisses up Shawn's legs as he goes.
Eric hooks his thumb in the hem of Shawn's dress and pulls up. He tilts his head and starts peppering kisses to Shawn's inner thighs. Shawn's hips rock against Eric's face, the touch of stubble there.
"Eric… what are you…"
"Shh…nothing you don't want."
"Can we… like before?" Shawn garbles. He doesn't want to blow Eric. He's not sure he can. And it doesn't seem right to leave him hanging. Eric kisses his other thigh and lifts his body back over Shawn's.
"Yeah. Course we can."
Shawn pulls him down into a kiss, tongues already gliding together, cocks following.
"Are you going to come in your dress?" Eric asks and his breathy tone and ragged voice make Shawn rock harder into his hand, with a cut off "Mnnmmhh."
Eric squeezes their cocks harder together, coughing out a sound like he's holding in a growl. "Do you want to come in your dress?"
A filthy shiver runs down Shawn's body. "I don't… I don't know," he answers.
Eric's hand leaves his cock, Eric's lips leave his and Shawn whimpers in disappointment.
He hears Eric's nightstand drawer creak open and Eric's hand shuffling around in it. Shawn's head falls to the side and he brushes his hair out of his face, a little amazed that he hasn't lost the wig yet. Eric plucks a small tube out of the drawer and Shawn's whole body goes rigid.
"Eric, what are you doing?"
"Lube," Eric answers.
Shawn wriggles underneath him, digging his heels into the mattress and pushing away. "No. I'm not going to do that."
"Hey. It's alright," Eric says, soothing his hand over Shawn's bicep. Shawn pulls it away and tries to move, but Eric is still straddling him his much larger frame pressing Shawn down into the bed. "I'm not going to hurt you, I promise."
"Eric, stop," Shawn hisses.
Eric sets the lube bottle down on the nightstand and holds his hands over his head, like he's showing Shawn that he's unarmed.
"I'm not doing anything. Shawn? I'm not doing anything. I told you- nothing you don't want." He sets his hand over Shawn's heart and Shawn can feel his heart slamming against Eric's palm. He realizes that this is the first time Eric has called him Shawn since they crossed paths in the coffee shop this afternoon. "Jesus, Shawn. I was just going to slick up our cocks. Do exactly what we were already doing." Shawn tried to suck in a breath. "Why do you think I'm not going to listen to you? Shawn-" Eric bends down and kisses him again. "I'm not going to hurt you."
Shawn settles his hand over Eric's. Eric turns his palm up, and holds Shawn's hand.
"The guy I went out with when I was Veronica last time wouldn't listen to me."
Eric pulls away, just a few inches back from Shawn's face. He does that dam head tilt again. "That's not the reason, though."
"What?" Shawn asks.
Eric brushes the hair back from his face. "That's not it. That's not why you're so skittish."
"I'm not skittish," Shawn protests.
"You are textbook skittish," Eric snorts, still brushing Shawn's hair back from his face.
"Look, man, I'm sorry, but what am I supposed to think when you grab a lube bottle?"
"No," Eric replies calmly. "I get that. That's okay." His hands fall from Shawn's forehead and drift down his body, back down over the dress and Shawn suddenly feels ridiculous in his wig and dress while Eric is totally naked and still mostly hard on top of him. Eric's hands settle between Shawn's thighs, holding them open. "Shawn?"
"You don't trust me." He doesn't sound hurt. He doesn't sound surprised. He sounds… dry. Factual. Nuetral. Like he had just stated any random, meaningless fact. Bathroom's on the left. Show starts at 7:00. You don't trust me.
Shawn clears his throat. "Well… don't take that too personally."
"Right." Eric says. "You don't really trust anyone." He rubs his palms over Shawn's thighs. Petting them. "I know what Veronica is."
"What?" Shawn asks. Eric's palms leave his thighs, and Shawn shivers as the cool air in the bedroom rushes back over the skin. Eric sets his hands at the button of Shawn's dress again fiddling with it, but not undoing it.
"Veronica's a wound that has forgotten how to heal," Eric says quietly. He pops the button open.
"What? What does that mean? What is that from?"
"It's from a poem. Erica Jong. Remember I said Veronica was pieces of you?"
Eric's hands drift down and he pops open the next button on the dress. "She's made up of little rejections."
"That doesn't make any sense, Eric," Shawn protests. Eric opens the middle button of his dress, Shawn doesn't move to stop him.
"You said you felt desired. Attractive. Wanted. You were a girl for less than an hour before one of the most popular guys in school asked you out. He couldn't keep his hands off of you."
"Hey- I can get girls," Shawn huffs, aware that it's an absolutely insane thing to start claiming, half naked underneath Eric as Eric undresses him one button at a time.
"You don't think you can. Your reputation could, but the girl's didn't always get what was advertised, or they sampled the milk and didn't feel like buying the cow. Your looks could, but girls got used to them, or someone else came along. Girls came along that liked who you were trying to be that week. You think that they ran off once they'd been around you too long."
"Eric, please don't do this to me. Can we just… get off and go to sleep, or just… stop now?"
"You don't need this," Eric says quietly, parting the unbuttoned dress and exposing Shawn's naked body. "She's just pieces, Shawn. She's just little hurts. You're covering yourself in them." Eric presses his fingers to Shawn's forehead, pushing backward and dragging the wig off his head.
"Eric-" Shawn starts.
"Shawn? How long do you think you could trust me?"
"Trust you to do what?"
Eric kisses him. "I didn't bring Veronica up here," Eric whispers against Shawn's lips. "I saw you. I brought you. I kissed you. I touched you."
They're pressed together at the waist again. Naked. Their cocks are starting to harden against each other again.
"I undressed you," Eric pants, dipping his tongue into Shawn's mouth.
"Trust you to do what?" Shawn tries again.
"Make love to you."
Shawn tenses. "I don't want you to put-"
"I know," Eric says. "I won't. Nothing you don't want. Relax. Trust me."
Eric kisses the air out of him. Shawn shudders, arches.
"Why?" he gasps.
"Because you need it," Eric answers.
Eric pulls back, leaning back on his haunches and kissing a line down Shawn's middle as he does. He digs his hands underneath Shawn's back and presses up. "Come here."
Shawn follows, and Eric keeps kissing him as he works Shawn's arms out of the dress, then undoes Shawn's bra. He pulls the wig the rest of the way off and drops it off the side of the bed. Then he lays Shawn back down, lifts his hips to free the rest of the dress and tosses that off the side of the bed as well. He kisses up Shawn's chest, and Shawn rocks his cock into Eric's stomach as Eric pauses at a nipple, laving his tongue over it until it buds. Eric moves to the other nipple and Shawn watches Eric's arm creep up his side and grab the lube off the nightstand again. Eric drops the lube next to his side, and tucks a hand under Shawn's knee, bringing his legs up. Shawn moans at how much it improves the feeling of his cock against Eric's body. But Eric pulls away and picks up the lube bottle.
Shawn watches him for a moment, then lays his head back and closes his eyes.
He can do this. No matter what he's locked down on trusting Eric right now. Trusting Eric not to tell everyone he was cross-dressing. Trusting Eric not to tell anyone that he'd wound up naked in Eric's bed, moaning at the feeling of Eric's hands and cock. Trusting Eric to continue not to say anything to Cory, and thus spark the sort of melt down that probably necessitated warning levels and evacuation strategies.
Eric's hands settle on Shawn's thighs again, spreading them apart and Shawn lets them keep laying there when Eric's hands move. Eric makes a series of quieting, soothing nonsense noise, on the theme of "There you go, hush now."
Shawn gasps when Eric's lube slicked hands wrap around his half hard cock. The slide is good, and Eric is in no hurry, working his pulsing grip over Shawn's cock until Shawn is hard in earnest again, eyes still closed while Eric touches him.
Eric's hands are gone suddenly and when Shawn feels them slip over his inner thighs, his eyes pop open.
Eric smiles down at him, tips a little more lube onto his fingers and slides the lube into the grooves between Shawn's thighs and Shawn's groin, letting his hands come together just above Shawn's balls and brushing down between his legs.
"I need you to trust me," Eric breathes.
Eric's hands teasing over his perineum feels good, even though the slickness dripping over his thighs is strange and starting to chill. Shawn forces himself to relax. Eric is cautiously edging his hands lower.
Shawn bites his lips and spreads his legs a little wider. He's being ridiculous. He's acting like Eric is going to rape him. He really is a mess if he can't at least trust Eric that far. Eric quickly, almost clinically brushes his lubed thumbs through just the edges of Shawn's crack and stops. He hums appreciatively as his fingers slip back up Shawn's body, rubbing at a spot under Shawn's balls that made twinges of pleasantness spark across his stomach.
Eric wipes his hands off his sheets, kisses Shawn and sets his broad palms on Shawn's knees.
"I think you'll like this," he whispers. "But it's alright if you don't. Let me know."
He presses Shawn's knees closed, then his feet, so that his lubed thighs are tight together, then presses at one knee, guiding Shawn's body down onto the bed. Eric lays down behind him, his stiff cock jutting into the back of Shawn's thighs, the head slipping in between then just a fraction of an inch.
Shawn pants as he realizes what they are going to do. Eric's cock slides further between his legs, and Shawn holds still, rocking back just a little when he feels Eric's breath, scalding hot, on the back of his neck. Eric's cock pushes through his thighs and brushes over his scrotum. Shawn's arm flies out to hold himself up, steady so that Eric has the leverage to thrust between his legs. As Eric's cock slips up under his own, Eric's arms wrap around him, bear-hugging Shawn's body to his chest and holding them there as his hips rock back and forth, dragging his cock between Shawn's thighs.
Shawn breathes. He can't move. Eric is holding him too tight and even the arm that he still has splayed out only holding him up. But it's okay. The sensation of Eric rocking between his legs is pleasant on the sensitive skin there, the movement teases across his perineum just enough to make his blood rush. The sensation against his cock is just a tease, but he's getting off on Eric's panting and thrusting too.
He's never been held during sex. His hook ups all seem to take their moves out of porn, being more about show than connection. The girls he'd fooled around with in high school who were willing to go pretty far, but not all the way, all had methods of not actually having sex that made it feel good, without having to touch all that much. He and Angela had been pretty vanilla together. Kissing, missionary, cuddle for a while before sleeping. And, as the guy, he was always the holder, never the holdee.
The more he gasps and moans the tighter Eric's grip around him gets. The tighter Eric's grip gets the better the sensation of Eric's cock between his legs gets. The better the sensation gets the more he gasps and moans.
"Eric… Eric," Shawn pants. "Please… getting…"
"What do you need, Shawn?"
"Need your hand," Shawn chokes as another thrust brings Eric's cock against his balls. One of the arms around Shawn's chest jolts down between his legs and thumbs around the head of his cock, rubbing over the slit. Shawn groans, a long, desperate, agonized noise. He wants to come and he's not quite there.
Eric thrusts between his legs, hard and stuttering, and with a wrenching throaty cry, he crushes Shawn's body to his chest so hard it almost knocks the wind out of Shawn.
Shawn drops his face to the pillow and echoes Eric's cry. Eric's fist tightens around his cock, and pumps, once, twice before Shawn's feels the churn in his balls tighten and he comes, hard and fast, shooting ropes of come up his body. His rocking hips force Eric's cock through his legs again, his shudders against Eric's arms don't move him at all, he's clasped too tightly
His body sags in relief when his orgasm ends and he lays there gasping for breath like a fish out of water. Eric lets go of him for a split second, and he feels Eric's cock slip out from between his legs before Eric's arms are back.
"So?" Eric asks,.
"Umm," Shawn starts. "I'm covered in come," he manages. It's not romantic or sweet or really even polite, but it's definitely the thing that's occupying his attention. He can feel it starting cool on his chest and stomach, he can feel Eric's dripping between his legs. And his entire groin is still lubed up. The only feeling currently outweighing "Sticky" is "Relieved".
Eric presses his face to the back of Shawn's head and laughs. Shawn shivers at the way the warm air rushes into his hair.
"Wait here. Don't move," Eric says. He reluctantly disentangles his limbs from Shawn's and, still naked, lopes out of the room. Shawn lets his eyes sink closed while Eric's gone, and he dozes for a moment. It seems like no time at all before he feels hands on his shoulder, pushing him onto his back.
"Hi," Eric smiles at him. Shawn smiles back. "Hold still."
Eric brings something, smelling strongly of soap, up to his face and wipes carefully at his chin. "Makeup wipe." He clarifies, sweeping it over Shawn's cheekbones and nose.
"How do you feel?" Eric asks, as he starts on Shawn's forehead. Shawn closes his eyes, and feels the cold soap-slime feeling sweep down over the bridge of his nose and very carefully around his eyes.
"I don't know," Shawn replies. Eric sweeps the cloth down one side of his face and then the other, then stops.
"I'm just looking for a good or bad here," Eric replies. Shawn gasps quietly when the wet, cold soap feeling is replaced by a real washcloth, warm and wet, rubbing in little circles to rid his skin of the gross feeling left behind.
"What are you doing?" Shawn asks.
"I'm washing your face."
"Because it's covered in the makeup of a girl you used to know."
The washcloth goes away, and Shawn hears water tinkling before it comes back, warmer than it had been. Eric brings the washcloth down to his chest and wipes away the come there, wiping down his body until the washcloth gets cool, then the tinkle of water, then the warm washcloth again his skin again and Shawn keeps his eyes closed.
"Good," he finally replies, maybe ten minutes later, eyes still closed. "Eric, how did you get to be like this?"
"Like this. The kind of guy that just decides someone needs to be made love to and then just does it."
The washcloth goes away and Eric doesn't reply. Shawn feels the mattress sink next to him and fingers tracing over his skin. Her turns into the feeling and opens his eyes, finding himself chest to chest with Eric. Eric watching his own fingers skimming across Shawn's skin.
"Wouldn't it be nice if the world was a good place?" Eric replies, sounding sad and dreamy at the same time. His eyes flick up to Shawn's. "Where you could just… get the things you needed? If things were easier?"
Shawn moves forward into Eric's arms and Eric embraces him, kissing his forehead.
"Yeah," Shawn agrees. "It would."
"Yeah," Eric yawns.
"Do you feel good?"
"Yes. I do."
Shawn breathes out. "In the morning… in the morning I need to show you something."
"Something in my room. I might need your help."
"Alright." Eric yawns again. Shawn moves up in bed a little bit and kissed him.
They drift off like that. Arms around each other. Hearts beating quietly against each other.