It wasn't even that great, being in love. It's no wonder he's never bothered before.
‘Love hurts’ is a damn understatement, the whole thing felt worse than the comedown after E. Couldn't eat, couldn't sleep, half the time he was shitting himself over possible guns, barbed wire tattoos, the million ways to die that he’s learnt to disregard, but suddenly seemed everywhere for a vulnerable non-immortal like Simon.
It was worse in the shop itself, maybe because they're closer to Vince himself. He doesn't feel chirpy, floating on air, birds suddenly appearing, like you’re supposed to; he feels weird, dizzy, like he's drunk beyond exhaustion.
It probably didn't help that he's absolutely knackered; couldn't sleep last night, despite wanking enough times his cock still feels sore. He ended up watching a VHS copy of ‘Jerry Maguire’ over and over on the community centre’s crappy office TV; hoping Simon will call.
At 3am, he even pads down to Simon’s locker. His DVDs and books are gone, so he can't watch or try reading them; but he does spray Lynx Africa on a spare t-shirt Simon’s left behind, before inhaling it.
Combined with the cotton and fabric softener Simon’s mum must use, it’s pretty close to the real thing, and it almost has him ready for another tug, if he shuts his eyes; but then he suddenly recalls the same smell earlier when Simon stormed out, pissed off and creeped out; and instead of horny, he’s hit with a wave of embarrassment.
He’s never been exactly suave, but he fucked that one up big time, he should have guessed that Simon would need some time, a little romance before the big event.
Instead, he heads back to the office, hoping Tom and Renee will give him some lessons.
He should have grabbed breakfast at least, but by the time he’s finished his fourth viewing, it was nearly time for community service, and then he thinks if he's gone this long, it might be...lucky? to keep fasting.
Who knows? It couldn't hurt to be prepared, mentally and physically, should Simon change his mind.
Back at Vince’s, he can't seem to focus on anything; it feels like the whole world is behind a blurry window. He should be concentrating, but he can't help but think SimonSimonSimon, words repeating rhythmically, like an extra heartbeat.
He can see Curtis is hurt, and he's scared, blood coming out the mouth is never a good sign; but his brain feels slow and sticky, gum in the gears, and he just can't quite put together what's happening.
Why is Kelly ignoring them, stroking that ugly prick's face?
And why does Simon keep shaking him off, almost angrily?
He knows he was pushy earlier, but he's apologised. Anyone as sexy as Simon should be used to dealing with unwanted advances, how horny people can get, working with him day after day, watching his big beautiful eyes taking everything in, soft lips shaping out ideas Nathan could never think of in a million years.
And yes, cute little arse bent over in that cheap cotton jumpsuit, line of his back and the curve of his surprisingly muscled torso showing, even under the buttons done up all the way to the top.
He only agreed to come down here because he knows the tattoo thing is bullshit. Sure, Mr. Dick's a total prick, he's definitely fucking with Kelly somehow, and he deserves an arse kicking just for that; but the new tattoo has nothing to do with his feelings.
He can't really recall how he felt before this, how long he’s wanted this, but it feels like a while. Maybe the beginning.
He knows he and Simon fought, that he teased him, desperate to get his attention. How could he not put it together? It’s so obvious, the fixation he had, especially with how far Simon has been.
Nathan's never been into the cherry picker thing with girls, he’s too impatient to train up someone, risk the clingy shit, but then, he knows now why those...well, he can't call them relationships, but experiences, never worked out.
With Simon, the idea that no one's touched him before makes Nathan hard, but it also makes him want to be gentle for the first time.
Normally a first timer is just extra pressure. Nathan likes going down fine, or a quick finger or two; but they're both normally pissed, so he doesn't beat himself up for not always making the effort, or for coming quickly. It’s a compliment! And most girls don't come anyway, right?
But he wants Simon's first time to be the best time, to make it good, no, great, for him; especially as ideally, Nathan’s the only person he’ll ever be doing it with.
Simon's waited this long, he deserves something special. Nathan's totally ready, down for the kinky stuff, whatever Simon wants; whether it’s coming on his face, filming the whole thing, or cuddling and sweet nothings.
For the first time, he really likes someone, and just like those soppy films and songs he dismissed as shit to sell blowjobs say, he likes himself more. Or at least, wants to be less of a prick.
To get on better with the others, even that twat Curtis. To sort things with his mum. Maybe one day he can bring Simon round there to meet her. Clever, cute, a good influence – she and the dog would love him.
He sighs happily. It’s all gonna be so great.
They only got back from the field an hour ago, Shaun’s still due on site for another twenty minutes (although Simon suspects he’s gone home early, having seen him head outside with a cigarette and the Racing Post a while back), and Nathan's already liberated a bottle from the kitchens.
Simon knows that's on Nathan, he’s the one staying here, after all, but he can't help but try and do something. Curtis and Alisha walked off bickering soon after they arrived back, Alisha having been oddly quiet all afternoon.
Kelly would normally be the one to sort out problems in the group, especially Nathan-related ones; but she also stormed off a minute ago, on the phone, lacy edge of her bra showing, without even seeing him.
Nathan mentioned earlier he hadn't eaten or slept today, and self-preservation, if nothing else, dictates Simon at least try and intervene, before this gets messy. The hooded guy seems to be watching over them, but just because he's saved their lives, doesn't automatically follow that he'll protect them from discovery, or further trouble.
Simon heads up the mezzanine, awkwardly greeting Nathan. He’s not made much of a mark on the bottle yet, which is good, but it's vodka, which is…less good.
‘Oh hey, lover’, Nathan says sarcastically. ‘Thanks for fucking up my sex life. Maybe you can work on Curtis and Alisha next, wouldn’t want anyone to be getting laid around here ‘til you’re ready to lose your V card in fifty years.’
‘What’s wrong with Kelly? Did you two argue?’
Simon is tentative, as usual, more so because he knows Nathan’s still embarrassed about the tattoo, despite his earlier claims to the contrary; but Nathan could pick a fight with a wall when he’s on one.
Nathan scowls. ‘Yeah, she said my cock’s too big, even for her massive tunnel; and besides, she doesn’t want melonfucker leavings.’
‘If you hadn’t been rude to Vince, this wouldn’t have – ’
‘Yeah, yeah, yeah, save it for your school report, teacher’s pet. You’re such a tight arse; I wouldn’t have got anything up there anyway.’
Simon ignores that, being accused of frigidity is hardly an insult from Nathan.
He doesn’t feel guilty for taking the piss earlier with Curtis, either, considering how much worse Nathan would have been if the positions were reversed; but if Nathan and Kelly have had yet another falling out, he can see how the timing would sting.
‘Kelly knows it was the power, she’s not the sort of person to care about…that,’ he trails off.
‘Hey man, give me some credit. I’m a modern guy, I’m not prejudiced. It was way more embarrassing that it was you,’ he says nastily. ‘But hey, I was willing to shag a chav, my standards really aren't that high.’ He flops backwards on his mattress, nursing the bottle.
Simon’s tempted to defend Kelly, or for that matter himself, but this is pretty pitiful. Instead, he kneels down, uncomfortably.
'…She likes you. When you were dead, she cried, in front of all of us. She was the one who put that iPod in your coffin.'
'Great, so she likes me when I'm dead. All we have to do is get her to turn into a necrophile and I'm in.'
'What happened with you two?'
Nathan pauses. Either he’s drunker than either of them realised, more upset than he’s acting, or just too tired to play the prick.
'…Just said she wasn't feeling it.'
Simon asks, quietly.
Nathan rolls his eyes. 'I'm a guy. Imagine you're one for a second, cock and balls instead of your invisible cunt’, he does a brief but pornographic mime. ‘It really doesn't take a lot.'
'You didn't answer.'
'It was a stupid fucking question, is why! My dick was popping out my jeans, is that an answer?'
‘Maybe she wants something more serious.’
‘Hey, she said she was up for a shag, I slip in a finger, and then she says we’re like family. I dunno how things are with the circus freaks you come from, but those are pretty mixed fucking messages!’
'Maybe she wanted you to make a move before now.’
‘Maybe you should shut the fuck up!’
Simon shuffles awkwardly. ‘You asked me to come to Vince's on your date with her.'
'I felt sorry for you; you're always hanging around looking needy and pathetic. Filming me for your spank bank. Thought I'd throw you a bone, give you two for the price of one, to knock one out to in your lair.'
‘I'm just saying, you wouldn't have done that if you really wanted to be alone with her.’
‘It’s a fucking shop, I don't think it's a sign I want to bang the local paedo because I didn't ban everyone within fifty yards from the place. You were the one all up for “wrestling” and “man-time,” Nathan uses his fingers to demonstrate the quote marks. ‘You were practically spunking in your pants when I told her to piss off, Mr. fucking Butch.’
‘Then why did you say you'd wanted to do it for a while?’
‘Jesus! What'd you do, write everything I said in your fucking diary? Do we 'need to talk about this?' He does what's clearly an impression of Simon, the stare cruel but accurate.
Simon’s caught, as he often is with Nathan, between feeling wounded and oddly amused.
‘It was that fucking tattoo. I'd have said I was queen of Spain if I thought it'd get my end away! I said that mushy shit because I knew a virgin like you would need a bloody engagement ring, and breakfast in bed the next morning, before you'd so much as hold hands. I didn’t realise you were so fucked up about sex that you’d run off from a guaranteed blowjob.’
Simon mutters, ears reddening.
‘So you shut your eyes, genius! You're seriously telling me any other bloke in the world has someone on their knees, dying to suck his cock, and says no?’
Simon makes the confused, socially autistic face he so often does. '...Yes.'
'Nah. You just didn't want it from someone who's awake and over the age of eight. What's the matter? Do they have to be kicking and screaming? Or do you prefer passed out?
Nathan doesn't know which insult it is, but he's clearly hit a nerve, as Simon punches him on the left ear.
'Ow!' he howls, but he's delighted to have got a reaction, rather than the creepy statements.
'I better watch you around my body next time I die! Don't wanna become your next frozen girlfriend. You should have tried fucking the bitch who killed my brother, she was frigid enough for even you to get it up for.’
Simon’s furious now, grabbing his jacket and making to leave. Déjà fucking vu.
Nathan’s never been much of a fighter, but any objections he had to a scrap – Simon is after all, a stocky bloke, and probably gets plenty of exercise lugging around victims in his underground lair, or whatever the fuck it is he does when he’s not at community service – are weighed against the booze, and the pissed off feeling he’s had since the whole thing happened.
Turned down by fucking Barry?
Those other shitheads taking the piss, instead of being taken the piss out of by him?
Barry, of all people, the pervert suddenly all smug and saintly on his high horse, who didn’t so much as succumb to a sneaky hand job from another bloke; while Nathan was practically humping his leg and picking out curtains.
And now Kelly, after creaming her knickers about how much she “fookin’ loves” him, deciding that after ten seconds of foreplay, the experience itself leaves her cold.
Nathan would literally prefer anything, even getting his arse handed to him; than another fucking night on this shitty mattress, mooning over another cunt from community service that would rather go home alone than touch him. Who doesn’t mind a quick leer when he’s flashing some skin, but upon getting to know him, decides that he’s not worth the effort, in the sack or out.
He shoves Simon against the railing, hard.
The worst that can happen is he gets shoved back, he already knows Barry’s no one to rely on when it comes to heights, so it might be fatal; but at least it shifts the balance of power a little. He’d rather a guilty apology, another bloody mess to clean up; than seeing Barry and Kelly ganging up tomorrow morning, all awkwardly mate-y, ‘this-doesn’t-change-anything, I-just-don’t-see-you-that-way’, blah blah fucking blah.
The power shifts in a different way than Nathan expected, when, stepping forward to shove against his solid chest; he feels what’s unmistakably a massive erection through Barry’s cotton jumpsuit.
‘Oh! What's that, Mr. Macho? Guess I might just make your oh so high standards after all!’ Nathan crows delightedly, looking around dramatically. ‘Nope, can't see a girl around. Does someone have a little case of cockthirst? ’
‘It takes one to know one,’ Simon spits, fists tight and panting.
‘Hey, I have feelings. I'm pretty sure you had them up against your hip last night.’
Nathan leans in, slowly, in case Barry’s gonna leg it again, or lose it and start babbling about sin and the unclean, or something. Doesn’t try to yank anything down, or even go for a snog; if he didn’t learnt any lessons about rushing sex from the granny-fucking episode, he thinks rejection twice in twelve hours might have done it.
He just presses against Barry, lets him feel that he’s hard, has been the whole time. Maybe even harder than with Kelly. If the blood wasn’t all in his dick at the moment, it’d be in his cheeks – the idea of Barry being right about something!
‘You're messing with me,’ Barry mutters. ‘It was the power; you're embarrassed, so you're trying to make yourself feel better because I didn't fall for it before.’
‘I'm trying to make myself feel better by getting off, you little twat! What do you want here? A commitment ceremony? A signed contract stating I like cock? I never claimed I was 100% anything! You're the one trying to prove you're what, saving yourself for the perfect woman? Maybe if you were really that desperate for fanny, you’d have found one already.’
‘It's not right. The...tattoo, you've been drinking, I...I don't want to be with you like that. Like you can't say no. I don't want to be that way with anyone. Ever again.' Simon adds, in a small voice.
Nathan steps around his words as carefully as he knows how to, which isn’t very. He doesn’t know Simon’s past, and he doesn’t particularly want to talk about his own.
He’s certainly never thought about saying no, or whether the other person wanted to, to be honest. If anything, it’s a rush to finish, before they change their mind, sober up, run over the strict time limit his face gets him as an in before he inevitably fucks it up with his personality.
‘Hey, if you take away drunken shags, you’re not leaving me with much more experience than you, here.’
Simon tightens up his muscles, pulls away a little.
Nathan sighs. ‘I mean…I know what not wanting it feels like, alright? This isn’t that.’
He doesn’t want to get into that stuff, a boner killer if ever there was one, but Barry’s a bright guy, he can probably guess what he’s talking about.
‘Feel!’ Fuck subtlety. It was never his style, anyway. He shoves Barry’s hand on his crotch.
‘I want it, alright? I want you. I like you. Jesus. Have I not embarrassed myself enough recently?’
‘I don’t know how long that power lasts. Maybe you just think that because it made you.’
Or maybe Barry’s just stalling, considering he hasn’t moved Nathan’s hand, let alone huffed off with his briefcase.
But Nathan gets it; it’s hard enough putting yourself out there, even when you’re him; but for a repressed virgin whose last blowjob was from a psycho? He can’t promise the mushy stuff, but he supposes he can admit to more than a hard on.
‘Look. The tattoo was fake, yeah? I’m not gonna be running around weeping over romcoms and sewing wee triangles on my jumpsuit. But it didn’t bring out anything I hadn’t…thought about. Or noticed.’
Nathan winces a little, hoping Simon doesn’t really have the photographic recall he seems to.
It’s one thing to play off begging for it from the group geek, he’s said far worse to get even the chance of a shag, but the ‘beautiful boy’ sloppy romance shit is more embarrassing. The last thing he wants is Barry realising he’s actually not terrible to look at and go out and get some gash.
‘I haven’t been writing “Barry and Nathan forever” on my locker or anything, but yeah, you’ve come to mind, during the odd wank. Once or twice. Before all of this.’
Barry looks at him, the old creepy stare, so long that Nathan’s actually legitimately beginning to wonder if he was wrong, if the erection was just adrenaline or talking about twats.
He’s about to get up, leave Barry to shut down and reboot or whatever the fuck it is he does; when suddenly he’s shoved backwards onto his mattress, getting kissed so hard he’s pretty sure his lip is bleeding.
It would be hilarious how needy Barry’s acting; but as Nathan’s already nuzzling at his neck while his hand gropes blindly at Barry’s zip, he thinks now might not be the time to mention it.
In fact, having apparently broken the habit of a lifetime and somehow made talking about a wank the right thing to say, now might be a very good time to shut the fuck up.