Listen, Allison, can he come over to yours? My parents are being weird and I don’t want him going home while his dad is on the warpath.
Allison says yes.
She stands in the doorway to her room and tries to figure out if she’s missed anything in her flurry of cleaning, shoving most things either under her bed or into her closet. She’s had them over before, all of them in various configurations, but it is only very rarely just her and Bender. Yesterday’s black shit is on her face and her hair is only probably brushed but the doorbell rings so it will have to do.
“I’ll get it!” She yells and she stomps down the stairs, mostly for her own benefit.
She pulls the door open and Bender turns, cigarette dangling out of his mouth and his sunglasses on his face.
“Did you pose like that on purpose?” She smirks, and he looks sheepish for about half a second.
“Shut up.” He goes to toss his cigarette but she shakes her head, pulling him in by his jacket,
“It’s alright, I’ll open up a window. C’mon.”
Allison loses some steam when they get to her room, sitting cross-legged on her bed and squirming a bit while Bender smokes and looks over her artwork. It’s propped up all over the room, on her desk and leaning against the walls, sometimes two or three sketches and paintings deep.
“So, what’s this one?”
Bender puts his cigarette out on the windowsill, flicks it out the window, and gestures to the painting on top of her desk, “What’s it supposed to be?”
She unfolds, coming over to see which one he’s pointing to,
“Oh, that was for one of my classes. I was supposed to go outside of my comfort zone, so since I usually work in pencil and charcoal on paper, I did colour and paint on canvas.”
Bender runs a finger over the surface, “I thought your usual stuff doesn’t look like this. So what’s it supposed to be?”
All of us, Allison thinks, and blushes straight away.
“It’s not really supposed to be anything. Maybe emotions? Love or something?” She stares hard at the painting, ignoring the grin that is on Bender’s face in her peripherals.
“Shut up, Bender,” She grits out, but he pushes closer, squeezes her a bit under one arm and kisses her on the head,
“You like us,” he croons, and laughs, “Come on kid, show me some more.”
Andrew bounces his leg, answers his mom’s faux casual inquiries with one word answers, and nearly throws himself out of the car when they stop.
Bender just gets him sometimes, gets him fucking riled. It would be better if he could punch him, he thinks, but Andrew knows that if he did, and if he won, it would probably mean the end.
He paces around his room, door firmly shut, and then throws himself on his bed. He can’t even remember what he said, just remembers the look on Bender’s face when he said. What, daddy’s boy can’t play with the other kids anymore?
He eventually gets up, brushes his teeth, avoids eye contact with his dad who corners him in the hallway and blusters something about women and their hormones.
He’s mostly asleep when he hears his window sliding open, closely followed by muffled swearing,
“Fuck you doing?” He mumbles, watching Bender fall into his room head first.
“Trying not to get tetanus from the nails you have sticking out around your window, what the hell?” Andrew starts to sit up as Bender half crawls, half stumbles to the bedroom door, locking it.
“No, what the fuck are you doing here?”
Bender looks dumbfounded in the faint light coming from the street lamp outside, gesturing,
“I’m apologizing, what does it look like?”
“Your apology is breaking into my house while I’m sleeping?”
Andrew knows he went too far again, Bender’s face going stormy as he turns toward the window, muttering under his breath before Andrew can interrupt,
“Alright fine, come here then.”
This, they’ve done before, this is not the first time the two of them have had to shuffle around and fit in a twin size bed. They end up facing one another, knees knocking together and breathing the same air. Bender smells a bit like weed and a bit like the art room that Allison can often be found in, and the smell has almost soothed Andrew back into sleep before Bender whispers,
“I shouldn’t have said shit, ok?” Andrew half grunts in response, and Bender continues, “I was being a jerk and uh, I’m sorry.”
Andrew pats at him haphazardly, feeling heavy with sleep, and pulls him closer.
Neither of them are good at apologies, or accepting them.
Claire taps her pen, staring blankly at the bookshelf across from her before she realizes that her study partner has gone silent. She glances sheepishly at him, and Brian shakes his head fondly.
“Did you get any of that?”
She shakes her head and he sighs,
“Claire, I know this is mostly an excuse to hang out but I do genuinely have stuff to do.”
“I’m sorry!” Claire tightens her grip on the pen, sits up straighter, and tucks her hair behind one ear. “Come on, Brian, for real this time. Let’s do some calculus.”
Math adequately distracts them both for about an hour, and Claire sighs gustily as she starts to pack up.
Brian checks his watch, “You wanna come over for dinner?”
Claire looks up in surprise, “For real?”
Brian shrugs, going a bit pink in the face, “Unless you don’t want to. My mom is probably making meatloaf and I can’t promise they won’t try to grill you about your college prospects.”
Claire grins, slowly, “Brian, are you trying to show me off to your parents?”
Brian shrugs, tossing an arm over her shoulders, whispers into the space behind her ear,
“Claire, I always wanna show you off.”
Claire tucks herself under his arm as they walk through the suburbs toward his house, laughing and smacking his hand away when he noogies her before pulling her in again.
“Ever since you finally hit puberty you’ve been lording it over all of us,”
“I’m enjoying being the tallest, honestly. Andrew has to stand on his toes to reach me, now,”
“I know! It’s cute. Oh, did I tell you about what Brandi said about that guy she was supposedly seeing? I still think it’s bullshit,”
She natters away, Brian interjecting with hums and occasional questions until they’re in front of what she knows is his house. She turns to face him, back to the driveway, and continues,
“So I think she’s being nuts, but Patricia thinks that it’s totally justified. Also did you know that I’ve never been in your house?”
“Yeah, you nervous?”
Claire shrugs, “Can you tell?”
Brian laughs gently, reaching out to squeeze her hand, “You know, you did just spend ten minutes telling me a story about Brandi that you told me yesterday.”
“I just, I don’t want you to feel like…” Brian scrunches up his nose, and Claire wants to kiss the wrinkle between his brows away, “I don’t want you to feel like you can’t have the shit that Bender made fun of you for. Like meeting your boyfriend’s parents! Or, you know, one of them. Or, uh, going on a fancy dinner date and then making out in the car before you get dropped off.”
Claire smiles up at his earnest face, stands up on her toes to firmly kiss first his scrunched up brows, then the tip of his nose, and then kiss him properly, wraps her arms around his neck and feels him slide his arms cautiously around her waist.
They’re usually far more cautious, especially in public, and especially anywhere any of their parents could find them, but Claire can’t bring herself to care.
“Brian? Is that you?”
Claire pulls back, glances toward the house to see Brian’s mom standing in the doorway, hand over her eyes. She looks up into Brian’s wide eyes and pecks him on the cheek, standing up straight.
“I love you,” Claire says firmly, “And I’m scared, and I should meet your mom before she kills me for defiling her son in her driveway.”
Brian giggles, drops his arms from around her waist, and says,
“Let’s not tell her Bender got there first.”
“Don’t ruin this for me,” Allison hisses, and Brian looks at her incredulously,
“Me?! Why me? I am not a threat here, ok, if anything your local cool kids,” He gestures to Claire, who is painting her and Bender’s toes with dark purple polish, and Bender, who blinks one eye open, “Your local cool kids here are the real threat.”
“I don’t know,” Claire blows over Bender’s toes, tightening her grip on his ankle when he tries to pull away, “what you could be talking about.”
Allison flaps a hand impatiently, pointing at each of them for emphasis, “None of you are gonna ruin this for me. It will piss me off,” she glances at the en suite door, “And more importantly, it will hurt him.”
“Are you ready, Al?” Andrew calls through the door, and with one final glare, Allison brightens up, straightening her sketchbook on her lap,
Andrew creaks the door open and then quickly closes it behind him, looking deeply uncomfortable.
Allison breathes, “Oh, Andrew, you look-“
“Dumb?” Andrew chuckles self-depreciatingly, hands awkwardly falling in front of his lace covered crotch.
The panties aren’t really meant to cover someone built like Adam, and Brian isn’t entirely sure where Allison got them but the way the fabric stretches across his groin makes him want to rub his face on them.
“Hey Andrew, come here for a second?” Bender’s voice has suddenly gone very high, and Andrew bites his lip, looking a little shy in a very new way,
“Oh, you know, not much,” Claire squeaks, reaching out a hand, mouth hanging open,
“Hey!” Allison shouts, distracting them all, “I have sketches to do, so you can look,” She grins now, a bit evilly, “But no touching.”
Bender groans, impatiently pulling Claire into his lap, ignoring her squawking about the drying paint on their toe nails. Brian tucks himself behind Allison, hovering just a bit as she talks Andrew through posing, wanting the very best angle to observe.
Andrew turns his back to them as requested, raises both arms and flexes just a bit. Brian might moan very quietly, but Allison won’t tell.
This might be a bad decision, but her mom is away at a spa retreat and her dad is on a business trip and she doesn’t want to have the stereotypical party, but she also doesn’t want to be alone, which is how Claire ends up planning her first orgy. Not that she knows, at first, that it’s going to end up an orgy.
She makes snacks, and paints the toe nails of everyone, and shrieks when somehow one of the bowls of chips is overturned on her head, devolving into a full food fight.
Claire is mostly asleep now, has always slept best at sleepovers, on the hard floor surrounded by friends. Bender’s ingenuity and a strong group effort brought her mattress onto her floor, and then they dragged in the guest bedroom mattress, so she’s comfortably nestled between some of her favourite people.
She wakes up a little bit to very urgent whispering, and she peeks through her eyelashes to see Bender lying on his back beside her, Andrew on the other side and Brian between his knees.
“You’re overthinking this again, Bri,”Andrew sighs, flopping down beside Bender, running his hand down Brian’s thigh.
Brian huffs out a nervous laugh, “Am I overthinking things? Or am I thinking of them just enough?”
“Overthinking.” Bender and Andrew say in unison, and the smile Bender throws his way in the seconds after no longer makes Claire feel jealous. She knows that that smile turns her way just as frequently.
“How complicated can it be, alright, you just stick it in-“
Brian eeps, scandalized, as Andrew says,
“I swear to God, Bender, if you ever try to ‘just’ stick anything up any of our asses, I’m gonna stick my foot up yours, alright,”
“Shut up, man, we’re trying to hype Brian up so he’ll stick his goddamn cock up my ass-”
“Yeah, and I’m just saying, it’s a little more complicated-“
“I don’t wanna do this! I don’t wanna hurt you!” Brian hisses, face bright red, and Claire almost intervenes, knowing how the boys get, but before she can,
“Listen,” Bender says gently, pulling Brian down by his biceps so that their faces are close, “Andrew did all that gay shit to my ass that he learned in wrestling,” Andrew makes an offended noise but doesn’t interrupt, “And it was weird but you’re not gonna hurt me. If you do I’ll just kick you in the dick, alright?”
Brian takes a visible breath after glancing at Andrew who is nodding vigorously in agreement, before he nods, kissing Bender firmly. Claire wishes she was closer, as Brian and Bender both tense up, Brian’s hands visibly tightening on Bender’s thighs.
“Oh, shit,” Bender breathes, pulls Brian down to his chest, “I’m, uh, good, just keep going?”
He sounds so vulnerable that Claire wants to hold him, but Andrew appears to be distracting him, she can hear the soft sounds of them kissing. She is equally distracted by the look of calm rapture that seems to have overtaken Brian, staring with wide eyes barely visible in the faint light from the hallway.
Claire startles when an arm is thrown over her chest, Allison propping her head on her upper arm. She knows Allison likes to watch nearly as much as she likes to be watched, and the boys aren’t paying enough attention to see Allison’s hand sliding down her body.
As Allison slides down, her mouth finishing the job her hands started, Claire looks around at a room full of her favourite people, and her heart is full.