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Lies Tie Us Together

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“I worry about him.”

Polo lifts his head from his book and turns to look at Ander, who is sitting beside him on the couch. The two of them have been studying in a comfortable quiet up until that point, and he’s caught off guard by the sudden break in the silence.

“What?” Polo responds. “You worry about who?”

“Guzmán,” Ander replies, scribbling down an equation in his notebook.

Polo stares at him. “What about Guzmán? What did I miss?”

“No, nothing, it’s just that...don’t you think he’s been different?” Ander still hasn’t put down his pen, and his gaze shifts between his textbook and his notebook. He’s not really processing anything about whatever mathematical theorem he’s supposed to be learning, but keeping his focus on the page makes it easier for him to quell the churning in his stomach that occurs whenever he tries to talk about how he feels.

“Different how?” Polo persists. After Ander hesitates a few seconds in responding, he shoves him in the arm. “Tío, what are you talking about?”

“I just mean...since the stuff that happened. You know, with Marina and Pablo?” Ander’s voice drops to a hush; even though there’s no one else in Polo’s enormous house to overhear them, the subject is taboo enough to warrant a whisper. “Guzmán just...isn’t like he was before. Haven’t you noticed?” Ander shakes his head.

“Ander. Hey, Ander, look at me.” Polo’s hand falls upon Ander’s and stills it. Ander hadn’t even realized he’d been fidgeting with his pen until Polo’s slender fingers slip between his and release it from his grip. Ander suddenly feels his heart thudding in his chest, and he swallows, looking up at Polo at last.

“What?” Ander says, voice hoarse.

He swallows again. “You’re right,” Polo replies.

Right? Right about what? Ander thinks for a second, having completely blanked on what they were talking about, until he remembers. Guzmán. Right, Guzmán.

“I haven’t been paying enough attention recently, God, I wasn’t putting the pieces together,” Polo continues, speaking more to himself than to Ander. He turns slightly away from Ander, folding his hands in his lap, and only then does Ander realize their hands had still been together up until that point. “I’ve been so caught up in things with Carla that I just...didn’t think.”

“He seems...gone,” Ander adds. “You might not notice it, if you don’t know him well. He just seems kind of, in his own little world, I guess. But man, we’re his best friends. It’s not normal for him to be like that, right? He doesn’t smile as much, his eyes seem dull...” He trails off, glancing back at his math textbook, the numbers and symbols all running together in his head.

Polo shifts his jaw, his eyebrows knitting together. He’s not used to talking with Ander about this stuff. They talk about parties, they talk about school, they talk about girls—although neither of them really get into that topic as much as Guzmán does.

The point is, he and Ander, they don’t talk about the hard stuff. The feelings. Not when they’re with Guzmán, either. The way their friendship works is that they’re there for each other, no questions asked. When one of them needs something, the other two are there. Supporting someone doesn’t require knowing everything that’s going on inside their head.

Polo is fairly sure he’d rather not know everything that was inside Guzmán’s head the day that they…

He shakes his head, clearing all thoughts of the locker room, the blood. Even now, it’s hard for him to stomach the images in his memory.

Polo finds himself reanalyzing all of Guzmán’s behavior lately, and he realizes that what Ander had said was true. He does seem like he’s not totally there all the time. Whatever had happened between his sister and that scumbag, it had flipped some sort of switch within Guzmán.

“What do we do, then?” Polo asks.

“I don’t know, man. I don’t have a fucking clue. That’s why I wanted to...fuck, you know I’m not very good at this stuff, but I wanted to talk to you about it.”

Polo nods. “Let me go get a couple of beers. I think we’re done studying for the day.”

He returns a minute later with an ice cold bottle in each hand, and offers one to Ander, who accepts it gratefully. Their fingers brush again as he takes it, but it’s just a normal touch. Ander doesn’t know why his brain fixates on it, and he can’t tell if Polo had thought about it too.

Settling in on the couch, Polo cracks open his bottle and puts his feet up on the coffee table. He takes a gulp, relishing the warm trail that it forges through his body. “Do you ever wish we never got mixed up in this mess?”

“All the time,” replies Ander without hesitation, fiddling with the bottle cap for need of something to do with his hands. Polo notices, but this time he doesn’t reach over to still him; he understands the comfort the repetitive movement brings his friend, who always has an excess of energy. “You?”

“Yeah,” Polo murmurs in response. “But it’s what we signed up for, being friends with him, you know. To stand by his side no matter what.”

Ander shakes his head. “I never signed up for this. Standing by and letting him do that? And then having to lie to keep his secret afterwards? It’s his business, we didn’t need to be a part of it.”

Polo sees where Ander is coming from, he really does. He’s thought the same thing, dozens upon dozens of times. It’s not like he wants to have something like that on his conscience. But he keeps coming back to Guzmán. Guzmán isn’t a bad person, and he’s stood by Polo countless times when he needed someone by his side. He owes it to him.

“Friends have friends’ backs. That’s it,” Polo concludes simply.

Ander lets out a sigh, taking another sip of his beer. When he glances to the side, he notices Polo observing him, and Ander blushes when Polo licks his lips to moisten them. Polo has one of those looks that makes it impossible to look away. He draws you in with those sharp blue eyes, makes you want to lose yourself in them.

Ander finds himself lost. Until Polo swallows the last of his beer and sits up to leave the bottle on the table. His knee brushes against Ander’s, and he doesn’t move it away.

Would Polo still have my back, Ander wonders, if he knew the truth about me? If he knew the side of me that I’ve been hiding from everyone for so long?

No one knows his biggest secret. That he likes boys. In the same way that Guzmán likes girls, in the same way it seems like every other guy their age likes girls. If his friends found out, they wouldn’t think of him the same way again.

That said, he’s imagined telling them various times in his head. Tried to visualize their reactions, how the conversation would go. But it’s just never seemed like the right time to do it for real. Guzmán has enough to deal with right now, and Polo...well, Ander can’t even seem to think straight when Polo is sitting this damn close to him, with his lithe fingers smoothing down the fabric of his pants, those pants that mold so nicely to his thighs—

“Besides,” Polo interrupts the dangerous flow of his thoughts, “if we’re going to have secrets, it’s better to have secrets that we share between us, not secrets we keep from one another, don’t you think? Better to lie together than to lie to each other’s faces.” Polo knows that he, of all people, shouldn’t be the one to say something like that, but it’s safest to pretend like he has nothing to hide.

Ander’s mouth goes dry. Had Polo just read his thoughts? He moves his lips, hoping the correct response will come to him, but no words come out.

Polo doesn’t expect this reaction from Ander, and he eyes him suspiciously. “We don’t keep any secrets from each other, do we?” Polo repeats when Ander doesn’t immediately answer. “Ander...is there something you’re not telling me?”

“No, no, of course not,” Ander responds, too quickly. He puts his beer bottle down so he can wipe his damp palms on his pants. Thinking fast, he deflects the question. “Is there something you’re not telling me?”

“No,” replies Polo, just as quickly. He hadn’t expected to have the question returned to him, and it catches him off guard.

But his response isn’t completely a lie, because the thing he’s hiding isn’t even something he’s entirely admitted to himself. He’s in love with his girlfriend, he knows that for sure, but he’s a teenage boy, and he can’t help it that sometimes his eyes wander.

And he can’t help it that sometimes they land on another boy.

He doesn’t think he looks at them in the same way he looks at Carla...but it’s been happening often enough that he can’t ignore it anymore.

Without realizing it, Polo winds up looking at Ander. Ander, whose arm muscles, toned from the hours of daily tennis practice, press against his sleeves. Ander, whose lopsided smile adds a sweet tinge of both earnestness and irony to everything he says. Ander, who has been in his life for so long…

Polo’s eyes have traveled up Ander’s body to, at last, meet his. And Polo has to stop for a moment and remember how to breathe, because he recognizes that look on Ander’s face. Because it's the same as the look on his own.

For an instant, everything in the room seems to come to an abrupt halt.

Then the two of them are rushing toward each other, too fast to process what’s happening.

They freeze again, noses touching, lips almost brushing lips, nearly, just molecules of air separating them. Both of them wait, hearts thudding, to see whether the other will make the first move.

But a few seconds later, both Polo and Ander seem to mutually decide, To hell with waiting. And for the first time, their lips meet.

It starts as just a light kiss, Polo’s bottom lip trembling between Ander’s, but once they both realize that the other is really, actually kissing them back, the inhibitions fade a bit, and they move against each other with more intensity.

Polo gasps when Ander’s tongue pokes against his lips, allowing him entrance. His hands have found their way behind Ander’s neck, pushing him closer, just in case Ander was going to try and pull away. He’s never felt like this with Carla before. Not that this is better, or worse, but it’s different, and it’s new, and the adrenaline and the alcohol coursing through his veins make him feel like he’s about to burst.

In an unexpected surge of self-confidence, Ander places his hands on Polo’s chest and pushes him back so he’s lying on the couch. The action causes the kiss to break, and they pause to look at each other. Ander’s chest is heaving as he catches his breath, and Polo’s shirt has ridden up, exposing a strip of his abdomen.

The tension in the room is palpable, until Polo breaks it with a cheeky smile. “No secrets, huh?”

Ander laughs in spite of himself. “Not anymore.” He moves one hand to caress Polo’s jaw, delighting in the way Polo’s eyes flutter closed as he leans into his touch. Ander settles himself down just a little bit on top of Polo’s body, to test the waters.

“Is this what you want?” Polo asks.

Ander nods without thinking. He’s afraid that if he lets himself think for a second, he’ll realize that what they’re doing is wrong. After this, there’s no way they’ll be able to go back to the way things were between them. But he wants it all the same.

He doesn’t ask Polo the same question in return, even though he knows he should. He’s afraid that if Polo thinks about it, he’ll remember Carla, and he’ll realize that someone like Ander could never compare. He’d rather that thought go unspoken.

Polo leans upward to capture Ander’s lips again, and Ander sighs into his mouth, allowing the kiss to deepen. Feverishly, the two of them explore each other’s mouths like cartographers, learning every ridge, every dip, every square centimeter by touch.

They continue like this for several minutes, until both of them are panting, lips red and swollen, and even then they don’t stop. Ander feels a building pressure deep down in him, and God, he knows he’s never gotten this hard just from kissing before, which is how he knows this is something different. Embarrassment washes over him for getting so excited with so little, and he’s about to roll off to the side to make sure Polo doesn’t feel it, but Polo grabs him first.

He raises his hips so Ander can feel that he, too, is hard. Ander’s hips move unintentionally against him, seeking friction.

Polo takes this as a sign to keep going, so he slips a hand under Ander’s shirt, fingertips grazing his skin. But he doesn’t get too far before Ander’s grip on his arm stops him. “Polo I...I’ve never…”

“Oh, shit.” Polo nods, suddenly understand. “Well, let’s do this the right way, then, what do you say?”

Ander doesn’t know exactly what Polo is referring to, but he follows suit when Polo stands up. He looks at Polo’s outstretched hand, uncomprehending.

“What, you can stick your tongue down my throat but you can’t hold my hand?” Polo teases. So Ander takes his hand, blushing. And somehow, it feels just as sinful and wonderful as the kissing.

Polo leads Ander up to his room. Ander has been there plenty of times, but it feels different this time. This time, he can’t focus on anything except for the bed.

“You okay?” Polo asks, unknotting his tie and letting it fall to the floor, the only sign of carelessness in the otherwise impeccable room.

“Yeah, I just...can’t believe this is really happening,” says Ander, still standing in the doorway. “I’m not like you, I don’t always get the things I want.”

Confession: Polo is what he wants.

Polo smiles, somehow angelic as he undoes the buttons of his pristine white shirt, never breaking eye contact with Ander. “Well, then,” he says when the garment falls from his shoulders, “today must be your lucky day.”

And fuck, if Ander has never seen a more arousing image in his life. He’s seen Polo shirtless plenty of times, but it’s never been like this. He knows he’s going to replay that moment over and over again in the nights to come, while he touches himself.

He realizes he’s staring when Polo steps toward him, putting his hands on his hips. “Tell me to stop whenever you want, okay?” he says seriously, nuzzling his face in Ander’s neck.

Ander exhales, daring to trail his hands up Polo’s bare back. “I won’t,” he says, voice low, and he can feel Polo smile against him.

Polo’s mouth attaches itself to Ander’s neck, sucking on his tanned skin and leaving a trail of kisses down to his collar. His hands make quick work of the buttons of Ander’s shirt, while Ander’s fingers explore more of his friend’s body, dipping down past the arch of his lower back and just barely coming to rest on the curve of his ass.

Throwing Ander’s shirt to the side, Polo guides Ander back toward the bed until he hits it, knees buckling. Polo climbs into Ander’s lap, straddling him, and rejoins their mouths in a kiss, messier this time. Ander lets out a grunt when Polo grinds his ass against him, just a subtle movement but enough to make Ander’s erection ache even more.

Blindly, Ander’s hands find their way to Polo’s belt to grapple with it. He tugs and pulls, but he can’t seem to get it off, and he’s about to lose it until Polo’s hands come to rest on his, stilling them just like they had earlier. “Hey,” he says, and Ander looks up. “Breathe.”

“Right,” Ander reminds himself. He lets Polo help him undo the belt. The bulge in Polo’s boxers is impossible to hide, and Ander finds himself itching to touch it. His hands creep up Polo’s thighs, and he asks, “Can I?”

“You first,” is Polo’s reply, and before Ander can protest, he stands up.

Following Polo’s signals, Ander lies down on the bed. He watches intently as Polo kicks off his pants, leaving his black boxer briefs on. He looks like all of Ander’s fantasies come true, which is why he doesn’t understand the look on Polo’s face. Polo looks at Ander like he’s the most wonderful thing he’s ever seen.

He quickly gets back onto the bed, which Ander is grateful for, because as turned on as he is, it makes him a little uneasy to have someone looking at him like that, seeing all of him.

“I need you to tell me what you want,” Polo says, kneeling before him. Ander is confused for a moment; why would Polo be asking him what he wants, when he’s only ever been in this situation in his dreams? But then he sees the look in Polo’s eyes and he understands. He wants—no, he needs to please him. It’s a side of Polo he’s never seen before, but then again, maybe he has. Maybe, deep down, that’s what’s always driving Polo, and he’s just never realized it before.

Ander doesn’t even know how to respond, because looking at Polo in front of him, there are so many things he wants him to do. How could he even choose? But then Polo licks his red lips in anticipation, and Ander knows. He needs that pretty mouth around his cock.

“I want your mouth on me,” he says.

Polo is quick to comply. He plants a kiss below Ander’s belly button as he undoes his belt and pants. Ander lifts his hips to let Polo pull off the offending fabric. His erection is straining against his underwear, which already has a dark spot of precum on it. Polo is smiling again—does he do that more when he’s turned on?—and he leans down to place a hot kiss on the tip of Ander’s still-clothed cock.

Ander lets out a ragged breath. “Please,” he manages, his voice deep with desire.

“Someone’s eager,” Polo remarks, yet he wastes no time in peeling off the last layer of fabric.

“Don’t tease me, Polo,” he warns. “I don’t know what kind of games you like to play, but save them for another time.”

“Why should I?” Polo asks, still with that stupid, sexy smile playing on his lips.

“Because I…” Ander swallows. “I want you.”

Polo doesn’t respond for a second, and Ander is afraid he’s somehow really screwed up. But before he can start apologizing, Polo surrounds his cock with his mouth, taking him all in at once.

“F-fuck,” Ander gasps. Polo wishes he could smile again, but his mouth is busy doing other things.

He hasn’t said so, but this is Polo’s first time as much as it is Ander’s. Well, first time with a guy, that is. He’s never had a dick in his mouth, but he’s using his intuition, trying to recreate the motions he knows he likes. And from the way Ander has grabbed a fistful of his hair, it’s working.

With his other hand, Ander is gripping the sheets so hard that his knuckles turn white. Polo is working magic with his mouth, and Ander vaguely wonders where he learned all that when he’s been with Carla for the past several years. But the thought fades away quickly when Polo does that with his tongue, and Ander moans low in his throat. “Fuck, don’t stop,” he says, and Polo responds by adding his hand into the mix, stroking in time with his mouth.

Polo can’t deny that this is one of the most erotic experiences he’s ever had. Although he’s just starting to figure everything out about himself, one thing he knows for sure is that he very much enjoys the feeling of having Ander’s cock in his mouth. He likes seeing Ander’s body squirm, hearing his moans, deeper and rougher than the ones he’s used to. Again, it’s not better, it’s just different. And he likes it.

His own erection is still throbbing in his boxers, unattended, but his hands are busy. So Polo resorts to grinding down against the bed, gasping when he finally feels the friction he needs. He knows he probably looks like a desperate mess, but it feels so good, so, so good.

After just a couple of minutes, Ander is almost there already. He’d had hopes of lasting longer, but this is the first time he’s ever been with someone like this and it’s all too much for him: Polo’s mouth, his hands, the small sounds he lets out every once in a while, sending vibrations through Ander’s cock… “Polo Polo fuck, oh fuck, I’m close,” he gasps out.

Polo hums in delight, which sends a shockwave through Ander. If he’s being honest, Polo could come just from this, just from rubbing himself against the bed and having Ander’s cock in his mouth, but he holds back, directing his focus on bringing his friend over the edge.

A few seconds later, Polo’s tongue swipes over Ander’s tip, and Ander tightens his grip on Polo’s hair. When those icy blue eyes dart up to meet his, that’s enough to make Ander lose control. He lets out a string of breathy groans as he releases into Polo’s mouth, blabbering an unintelligible string of words that seems to consist of Polo’s name and a bunch of curse words.

Polo doesn’t let up until Ander is quivering under him and he’s sure he’s gotten every last drop. The taste isn’t new (he’s tasted his own, out of curiosity), but he’s never has his whole mouth full of it before, and he savors it before swallowing. It makes him feel dirty, and he likes that, almost as much as knowing how good he just made Ander feel.

Once Polo sits up, he’s expecting Ander to take a moment to recover from his orgasm, but he’s taken by surprise when Ander takes him by the shoulders and throws him back on the bed.

Ander sees the sparkle in Polo’s eyes, the way his mouth falls open in arousal, and it only serves to increase his desire to...what? Kiss him, touch him, do everything with him. Where does he start?

He kisses Polo on the lips again, tasting himself on his tongue, before moving down to his neck. Polo is getting impatient, and he grabs Ander’s wrist to guide him to the front of his boxers. Ander thinks briefly that he should make some kind of teasing remark to get back at him, but all that comes out is, “Ohh, Polo…,” and he slips his hand inside.

Polo hisses when Ander’s hand surrounds his length, bucking up into him. “Mmm…,” he breathes out, grappling with his waistband to get the underwear off with Ander still touching him.

He likes Ander’s newfound confidence, and although it’s clear that he’s not completely sure what he’s doing, he’s not hesitating like he was before. He explores Polo’s body, continuing to leave kisses all over his chest as he strokes him. Ander’s hand is calloused, rough, masculine, and it grips him tightly, just how he likes it.

“Just like that, ah, yes,” Polo encourages Ander, and Ander begins to pump his erection with even more self-assurance. Polo wants to say so many things. He wants to say do what you want with me and this is everything I’ve ever wished for and even fuck me, but only wordless moans come out of his mouth. And he thinks maybe this is better, because this way at least he knows he won’t say anything he wants to take back later.

Because this is crazy. And Jesus Christ, it feels so good, but it’s still crazy, how much he wants to cum all over Ander’s hand, how wrong it is to be doing this with his best friend, how little he cares, and how he doesn’t know what the fuck they’re doing but he doesn’t want it to stop.

Ander’s tongue draws circles around Polo’s nipple, and Polo arches up into him. He’d never known he was so sensitive there, but now his cock is leaking precum and he feels a tightening down in his core.

“Faster, faster,” Polo urges Ander breathlessly, and although Ander’s wrist is starting to cramp, he does his best to comply.

It’s not long before Polo is thrusting upward into Ander’s hand with each stroke, sloppily matching his rhythm, and they both know that he’s going to reach his peak at any second. He’s been hard for so long, and he’d very nearly already come in his boxers earlier, rubbing himself against the mattress. This is just the extra push he needed.

Finally, Ander tugs on Polo’s nipple with his teeth and Polo cries out. Everything becomes too much for him, and he spills himself on his abdomen, coating Ander’s hand, as his moans become high-pitched whimpers and his whole body goes weak.

Ander continues to stroke Polo lightly until he really can’t take it anymore, and then he lies down beside him. Polo looks...incredible. His pale skin flushed, with a sheen of sweat, breathing heavily, his cum all over his torso. Ander is seeing a side of his friend he never thought he’d see, and he can feel a stirring within himself again.

If he were daring enough, he might even go as far as to tell Polo he wants to fuck him. Because he doesn’t think there’s anything he wants more in this moment. He wants to feel Polo around him, to be surrounded by his heat. And even if it doesn’t happen now, he can imagine Polo’s face, nonchalant but pleased, as he says, “Maybe next time,” and Ander likes that almost as much.

But he doesn’t want to be the one to break the silence. He doesn’t want to say something wrong and destroy the illusion. So he just lies there, his sticky hand on his abdomen, waiting for Polo to catch his breath.

After a minute, Polo has recovered, and he silently gets up and walks into the bathroom to clean himself off. Ander is confused. He’d thought he would say something...but maybe when he comes back.

Polo wipes up the cum that drips down his body with a wet cloth, then washes his hands and splashes down his face. It’s only then, looking at his disheveled reflection in the mirror, that it starts to set in on him what he’s done.

He’s cheated on Carla. Carla, the girl who has never been anything but faithful to him. And for what? For a stupid whim? The sudden urge to feel a cock in his mouth?

But that’s the worst part. He knows it hadn’t been a whim. This wasn’t just a moment of uncontrollable hormones, or an instance of innocent experimentation. This is a whole side of him that, up until now, has gone unexplored. If it hadn't happened with Ander, there's a good chance it would've happened with someone else. And now that this side of him has finally seen the light, he doesn’t know how he can keep ignoring it.

How could I do this to her? he thinks, then corrects himself. How could I do this to her...and enjoy it so much?

Once Polo has had a moment to collect himself, he wets another towel and brings it out to Ander, who’s lying in the exact same position on the bed. He hands it to him without looking him in the eye, then immediately begins searching for his boxers on the floor, rifling through the strewn garments before finding them.

As he pulls them on, he says, “This can’t happen again.”

Ander’s stomach plummets. He thinks he hears regret in Polo’s voice, but regret for what? For the words he’d had to say, or for everything they’d just done?

Part of Ander had known this was coming. The moment that Polo remembers that he has a girlfriend he loves, one he was probably with just last night in this bed. The idea almost makes Ander shudder, and it’s enough to propel him into getting up and getting dressed himself. But even if he’d sensed this might happen, it doesn’t make it sting any less.

“It’s okay,” Ander says, hoping his voice doesn't betray the emotion behind it. “I understand.”

Polo does feel bad, ending it like this. After all, he’d enjoyed everything they’d done, and he hopes that’s obvious to Ander. But every passing moment that Ander is here, in his room, the guilt sets in a little bit more. This isn’t who Polo had wanted to be.

Polo dresses faster than Ander does, which makes Ander uneasy. It’s never been natural to him, being exposed, and not just physically. In the past hour, Polo has seen Ander in ways that no one has ever seen him before. Really, when Ander thinks about it, no one has ever seen him, the true him, up until now. And that’s...well, it's terrifying.

Ander had let himself believe that he and Polo were sharing something special. He kicks himself internally for having let his guard down, just for it to end up like this.

When they’re both dressed, Ander heads for the bedroom door, but he pauses before opening it. “I won’t tell anyone,” he says, looking back at Polo, whose expression is unreadable.

“I won’t either,” Polo replies.

Ander gives him a single nod, then opens the door, but before he gets the chance to go downstairs, get his math textbook, and get out of there already, Polo catches up to him. He puts a hand on Ander’s neck and kisses him, as if he’s asking for something, but neither of them know what. Ander doesn’t pull away.

They break apart after a few seconds. “I’ll...uh, I’ll see you tomorrow,” Ander says. "And we should talk to Guzmán, make sure he's okay." Then he disappears down the stairs.

Polo sits down on the top step and puts his head in his hands. He rubs his eyes in frustration, because he doesn’t know what to do anymore. About Ander, about Carla, about Guzmán, about any of it.

It’s better to have secrets that we share between us, he remembers saying earlier. But where do the secrets end?