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The sweat on Steve’s skin feels like napalm when Billy runs his hand up from his stomach to his sternum, because Billy’s hand is a lit match that’s igniting it and leaving him a smoky fire that sinks into his skin as tar and doesn’t stop burning. He swears he can feel it an hour later when he’s in the comfort of his own bathroom, with steam and hot water surrounding him with a haven of heat from the cold walk between his car and the front door. He wraps his hand around his dick and cries against the tiled wall as he orgasms, splattering out his semen. He watches it ooze and catches as much as he can with his hand. He stays under the shower spray until his skin feels dry.

It’s love when his dick gets hard and he fucks Nancy on the second day of her three days breakup with Jonathan in January. He hates himself and knows he is just a tool in Nancy’s head, or at least that’s what he feels like when he sees her share a cup of fries with Jonathan like she didn’t whisper how beautiful he is in his bed when she came over to his house at six o’clock. But it’s lust when his dick hardens with Billy’s mouth wrapping around it. His gut rolls as though it’s sick. He’s just so overcome with arousal that his body can barely handle it. He comes within a minute, sobbing into the open air. Steve knows he’s being used by Billy, but at least he’s using Billy back.

Emotions shouldn’t feel so complicated, Steve thinks. He has to walk down the hallway at school and pass by Nancy being loving with Jonathan, Billy pretending he likes a girl’s cunt as much as he enjoys a boy’s ass, and his former friends laugh amongst each other. No one seems to miss him or want him unless it’s just use him. He’s okay with replacing orgasms with friends. Only he knows people don’t want him to be his friend. He’s just another pretty face with a nice car, a nice house, and a trust fund.

His dad tells him to walk like a man when he enters the dining room one day. Dad tells him to square his shoulders to look into people’s eyes. Dad tells him not to walk like he’s Aunt Martha in Church. Aunt Martha is Jewish.

Billy’s squeezes his dick into Steve’s ass like it’s meant to go there the same day as Tina hosts a Valentine’s Day party at her place. Instead of going and getting wasted, Billy flashes a metal pipe and a bag of weed at him from his car when he parks on Steve’s lawn. They drive, in separate cars, out to an empty field but Billy climbs into Steve’s after because there’s more room in the BMW than the Camaro. They smoke with the windows rolls up and fuck when the air is clogged so thick they can barely see.

After, Steve asks Billy if he thinks he walks like a man. Billy tells him he walks like Steve and gets out of the car.

Max throws a chunk of ice at Billy’s windshield when winter is fading. Billy doesn’t punch her. He punches Lucas and she doesn’t get rides from him anymore. She reappears one day at the arcade with her mom dropping her off. Steve sees bruises underneath her long sleeves and he ignores them. He ignores them because he’s seen worse on Billy. More than that, he’s just on Billy’s side more than he’s on hers. She’s just some random girl that Dustin used to have a crush on. If it gets too bad, someone will help her. Girls are always treated special.

Spring is wet and a little icy. Steve’s car slides on the road. He crashes into a tree. He’s mostly uninjured, but Billy visits him in the hospital room for every other day during his entire day. He’s told he’ll have to repeat his senior year due to all the time he missed out on. He doesn’t have any scars though, so that’s a plus. To congratulate his discharge from the hospital, his parents buy him a new car. Billy rides him in the backseat. He doesn’t think that’s what his dad meant by christening the vehicle.

It’s still feels like spring when Steve’s outside again. It lasts only for a week before the summer heat settles in. He wears shorts and baggy t-shirts. He plays basketball with Billy in Billy’s driveway and at the park. They carve each other’s names into a tree behind the old YMCA. They go cliff diving at the quarry. His parents get him a job at the new mall, as a cashier at a ice cream parlor that one of his dad’s friends owns. They tell him he needs job experience. Billy takes an obnoxious amount of time to order his ice cream. He workouts in the gym near the mall entrance, anyway, he says. That’s the only reason he bothers Steve.

Steve thinks it’s lust when he fucks his coworker Robin. They are just using each other for temporary relaxation and release. He comes inside of a condom and thinks about how Billy likes to go bareback. He ties it and dumps it outside of his car, while Robin struggles to get redressed. He doesn’t understand how she used to be his type.

It almost feels like love when Billy kisses him with a split lip and their hands on each other’s hips. They hump against each other like they are both thirteen and just discovered the wonders of a pillow. Billy moans into Steve’s open mouth. Steve almost cries when he empties out into his boxers, because it felt better to rut dick against denim against cotton against dick again than it felt to fuck Robin’s cunt.