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an eddy of the truth

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“Kissing as an adult is really different from the way people kiss as kids, so throw that expectation out the door.”

“I didn’t have that expectation to begin with,” Simon muttered. It was late but he was still rushing with adrenaline from the antics of the night. James had been continuing to coach him through romantic endeavors and had come home with Simon, saying he wanted to continue Simon's education.

“Huh? Speak up.”

“I didn’t kiss anyone when I was a kid so I’m not going in with that expectation.”

"Alright. If you already know how to do it, we can move on to the next part. So, once you-”

“I,” Simon interrupted, clearing his throat. “I don’t know how to.”

James tilted his head. “But you just said you didn’t-” James’ face contorted in realization. “Holy shit, you’ve never kissed a girl.”

Simon shifted his weight from foot to foot. “I mean, I’ve kissed my mom on the cheek-”

“Ew! Why the fuck would that count?"

“I don’t know, I just-”

“Stop. I get the picture. You’re virginity personified.”

Simon felt his temperature tick up a degree and he fumbled for an excuse, an explanation, anything to end this conversation.

“Hey, it’s nothing to be ashamed of!” James' smirk contradicted his words. Simon pretended not to notice. “We all have to start somewhere." James patted the space next to him on the bed. Simon looked at the door, trying to find an out. When none came, he resigned and sat down. The springs groaned, begging him to get up. His body was stiff, as if any movement would surely be the end of him.

“Dude, loosen up. Please. You’re bringing down the whole mood in here.”

“This is just how I am. I don’t know what you want me to do." His defense was quick, robotic, practiced.

James put a hand on his shoulder and said sweetly, “I want you to stop being you. Got it?”

Simon floundered at the false kindness. He knew James' tone was mocking but couldn't help the adoration that seeped out of him. Swallowing the lump in his throat, he muttered, “I guess I can try, but-”

“Step one of not being you is shutting up, capiche?”

Simon murmured the beginnings of an apology but elected to purse his lips instead, nodding. James smiled and removed the hand from his shoulder, brushing his jacket as he went. The movement was too familiar, too friendly, too everything and Simon couldn't escape it. Luckily, James was always happy to fill awkward silences with his own voice.

“On with the lesson. So, you know how it feels when you kiss your hand, right?” A beat passed and James looked as if he'd been shot. “If you tell me you’ve never practiced kissing on your hand I’m going to lose my shit.”

“No, I… I have done that one. Yeah.” Simon began wondering what the chances were for a stray bullet to make its way into his head right about now. Results: highly unlikely, but a boy could dream.

James' voice brought him back to this dreadful moment. “Alright, great! Now we’re on the right track. Hand kissing would be much more difficult to teach than the rest of this." James scooted further back on the bed, leaning against the wall. He looked so unbearably cool in everything he did and Simon's brain couldn't decide between admiration and jealousy. In all fairness, it didn't get much of a chance to before James spoke again and it ceased functioning altogether. "Now, show me how you do it.”

Simon's eyes went blank and his mouth slack as his brain stumbled through a manual reboot. “Show you, how I, uh… Huh?”

“Kiss your hand and I’ll critique your technique.”

The door was only a few paces away; it would take no time at all for Simon to be out. He could think of an excuse later and this could all be in the past and he could avoid facing any of the feelings he'd kept under lock and key. Instead he muttered, “I’m not gonna be able to do it right with you watching.”

"If you can't kiss your hand with someone watching, how are you ever going to actually kiss someone?"

Simon tripped over his words, voice much higher than usual. "I don't know that those two things are comparable. Wouldn't it be-"

"Shut the fuck up and kiss your hand."

Before Simon could even consider what had been said, his reflexes kicked in and his hand hovered in front of his mouth. His gaze flitted to James, who was staring expectantly with his arms crossed. James gestured for him to get on with it. Simon took a deep breath and closed his eyes, pressing his lips to the skin. The pretend kiss was awkward, stunted, and in the middle of it Simon had opened his eyes to look at James for confirmation that he was doing it correctly.

"Okay, stop," James said, leaning forward. Simon pretended not to notice that James' suit jacket was now open. "Try moving your lips a little more. Kind of open and close your mouth as you go. Don't keep so still; it's weird."

Simon nodded and resumed his efforts, James' advice ringing in his head. The thought of James watching, paying attention to every little movement of Simon's lips, wanting him to listen and do well, spurred him on. For a moment, the only thought in his head was of making James proud. Then sense returned to his head and Simon pulled his hand away. He turned his head to look at James as slowly as he could, fearing what he might see.

James' pupils were blown (must be the dim light) and (if he didn't know better, he might think) James was breathing faster than usual. "That was definitely better," James choked out. Simon gave a small smile and tried to ignore the ache in his chest from the praise. James cleared his throat and spoke in his normal voice, "It's important to understand that real lips are gonna be different from your hand. They move and respond, so you have to be able to keep up. Got it?" Simon nodded, soaking in the advice. "Try it on me now."

Simon's eyes went wide and he looked back at the door. He could leave right now, walk into the hall, and forget about all of this. He tried to stand, but his body was frozen in place. His voice betrayed him as he found himself choking out, "You- I- What if- No- I-" He cleared his throat and tried again. "What happened to no gay stuff?" he squeaked.

"It's not going to be gay because I'm going to pretend to be the girl." James sighed, rolling his eyes. "Do you know how demeaning that is for me? I'm sacrificing my pride to help you, Simon."

Simon's face fell at those words. Shame bubbled up in his throat, upset that he had let himself think more of it. This was purely educational; nothing to do with feelings or attraction or desire or anything else James would deem "girly." Sirens blared in the distance; probably another suicide. Simon clung to the sounds as a reminder that there was a world outside of this room, but when they faded the only noise he could hear was James' breathing. Simon swallowed hard, heartbeat in his throat. "Right. Yeah. Of course. Uh… Do I just start?”

“Of course you start. The girl doesn’t make the first move. You need to be assertive. Put her in her-” And that was it. Simon surged forward, eyes already closed as he kissed James. If this was a dream, and he was almost certain it was, it might as well be a good one. It took a moment for James' lips to respond to his own, but when they did Simon screwed his eyes shut. If he kept his eyes closed, maybe the moment wouldn't end. His hands shook as he reached up, cupping James' jaw. After a moment, James pulled back. Simon's eyes shot open at the loss and he returned to the edge of the bed, shaking.

“Sorry. Was that too much?” He asked, making an effort to sound casual.

James cleared his throat. “No, uh, enthusiasm is good. But don't forget to play a little hard to get. Make her want it.”

“Got it. Make her want it," Simon echoed.

The two sat in awkward silence for a moment. James looked away before speaking. “Do you want to try again?”

“Yes please," Simon breathed, closing the distance between them. He placed his hands on James’ jaw and resumed the kiss, leaning his back against the wall so they were side by side. Simon's breaths were shallow and his hands shook. James pulled away again, almost gasping.

“Next lesson,” he said, putting a knee on either side of Simon’s thighs and settling on his lap. “When a girl does this, it means you’re doing a good job and she wants you to start doing more.”

“Does that mean I’m doing a good job right now?” Simon breathed, his face flushed.

“It’s fine,” James said, shrugging. Simon could tell the nonchalance was forced but said nothing. “Now open your mouth.” Before Simon could question this, James leaned down and resumed the kiss. Simon gave a little whine before trying to mimic his movements, James humming a sound of approval into his mouth. Now that James was on his lap, he was very aware of the heat stirring in his stomach. He tried to will the growing arousal away, afraid of scaring James off and ending whatever this was. Before he had much of a chance at it, James pulled back.

"Next lesson," James gasped, removing his suit jacket and beginning to unbutton his shirt. "At this point in the process, you want to start touching her boobs. Girls like that. Obviously, I don't have tits so it won't be exactly the same, but it'll be close enough." Simon nodded, mouth dry. James leaned back down, resuming the kiss. Their teeth clacked together, both of them careless and frantic. James grabbed Simon's hand and placed it on his chest, shirt open and loose. Simon took the hint and experimentally brushed James' nipple, making the other man gasp.

"That's good. Now do it harder." James fisted a hand into Simon's hair as the other man placed his fingers on his nipple, pulling lightly. "Harder. Fucking Christ, you idiot, harder."

“You don’t have to be mean to me,” Simon said, pinching this time. James groaned, tightening his grip on Simon’s hair and pressing their lips together again. He ground his hips down instinctually, making contact with Simon’s erection. The kissing stopped as Simon pulled away, eyes wide. He looked off to the side, stomach churning. His hair was matted to his forehead with sweat.

“Why did you stop?” James huffed, leaning back.

“It- Uh- I…” Simon's head was spinning. He took a deep breath, trying to gather his thoughts. “I didn’t know you were…I didn’t think you’d be…” He gestured at James’ erection. “It got a little too real, I think,” he said, blushing.

James groaned, exasperated, and sat back on Simon's knees. His shirt hung open, revealing the fine hairs on his chest. The blush on James' face extended to his chest, his collarbones a pale pink. Simon tried not to stare. “I’m not attracted to you if that’s what you’re thinking," James bit out.

“Gee, thanks.” Simon tried not to let the hurt that panged through him at those words show on his face. James didn’t seem to notice, but his self-absorption only made Simon feel worse.

“No, I mean that I’m not gay. Obviously you’re good-looking; we have the same face, after all.” James smirked. “Mechanically, it’s nice. That’s why I’m hard. Plus if I wasn’t responsive, you wouldn’t be able to learn anything. I’m not turned on by you or this whole scenario. It’s just my body’s reaction. It happens.”

“Right. Well, uh, thank you for the lesson. I think I got the basics down so...thanks. For that.” Simon nodded and gave a forced smile. He moved to get up, hoping James would take the hint, but he didn’t budge. “Uh, can I just-”

“You’re really just gonna leave me with blue balls here?” James asked, eyebrows raised.

“You’re welcome to take care of it on your own. I’m just going to go for a walk, I think. A long walk." Simon chewed his lip and added, "A long, long walk.” Again, Simon tried to move the other man off of him to no avail.

“I’m sorry for what I said,” James spoke slowly through his teeth, as if the words were bile. “Being with you is fine. I’m not averse to it.”

“Thank you for the...kind words. But I really should leave.”

James looked hurt and although Simon knew James’ libido wasn’t his responsibility, he felt a pang of guilt. Even if he'd wanted to continue (and he was desperately trying to convince himself that this was not the case) the arousal was gone. The moment was over. Simon clung to this knowledge; it was the only excuse he had left.

“Please let me try something. It’ll only take a minute and you can leave right after if you want to. Deal?” James held his hand out, eyes pleading. Simon thought the proposition over for a moment; he doubted a deal with James could result in anything good but then again, timidity wouldn’t get him anywhere with relationships. He shook James’ hand and nodded.

“Deal.”

James beamed and sat up straighter, clearly content to have gotten what he wanted. “This is a trick I learned a while back; it’s been very useful for me so far. I’m gonna throw five phrases at you. Don’t say anything in response. Just sit there. Got it?”

Simon tilted his head in confusion but nodded anyway. “Yes. Got it.” James scooted a little closer, their faces very near now. Simon gulped.

“One: I want to tie you up.” Simon tried not to react, but his brows furrowed in response. “Okay, not that one. Two: I want to call you daddy.” Simon winced, trying to wipe the very concept from his brain. “Great. No daddy issues here. Lovely.” James paused, looking away and thinking for a moment. “Three: You’re a stupid slut. Wait, fuck, that was dumb. Of course you don’t want that one; you just asked me not to be quote-unquote ‘mean’ to you. Too late now.” James sighed. “Four: I want you to step on me.” Simon went into a full-body cringe. “Okay, admittedly a little too specific for a first timer.”

“Dear God, people actually like that?”

“Oh, like you wouldn’t believe. Feet are popular. Had a few run-ins with that one. Not my favorite, but not the worst,” James smirked, confidence radiating. “Okay, last one.” He scooched closer to Simon until their hips met, almost chest to chest. James put a hand under Simon’s chin, tilting his head up and looking him in the eyes. Simon could feel James’ breath on his face and tried to suppress the shiver that ran through him.

“Five,” James whispered. The silence hung between them as James moved closer, their noses millimeters from touching. “You’re so special.”

Simon's eyes went wide in surprise, eyebrows raising. He felt his lip quiver, as if he were about to cry. The words looped in his head: You’re so special. You’re so special. You’re so special.

“I knew it.” James grinned before leaning down to kiss Simon’s neck. Simon hardly even registered the sensation, still trying to process what had been said. Eventually his body regained its bearings and Simon heaved in a breath, shuddering on the exhale. His body lessened the tension in his muscles bit by bit, and soon all he could focus on was James' mouth on him. His stomach stirred at the sensation of open lips trailing his throat, wet and smooth and obscene and a million other words he couldn't conjure. Simon tilted his head back against the wall and gave a little sigh. James leaned back, his mouth wet with saliva.

"Do you like that?"

Simon tried to speak but the air stuck in his throat; he nodded frantically instead. James put a hand in Simon's hair, carding through the curls before leaning down and kissing him. Simon felt James' tongue run along his teeth and whimpered when James delved deeper.

“Hang on,” James said, pulling away. He removed his shirt fully and undid his belt. Simon froze as he pulled the belt loose. “Relax. I’m not gonna take my dick out.”

“Will I have to take mine out?”

“God, no.” James climbed off of Simon’s lap and laid down flat on his back. “But take off your jacket.” Simon obeyed and then stilled, unsure of what to do next. “God, you really need instructions. Okay, lean over so that you’re sort of on top of me. You’re going to have to do this with girls, so you might as well get used to it now.”

Right. Girls. That’s what this was about. Simon nodded and did as he was told, arms on either side of James’ head. There was an awkward moment where they just stared at one another, hot air between them. James raised his eyebrows expectantly. “Go on then.” Simon nodded before leaning down and pressing their mouths together, James smiling. “Good boy,” he muttered between breaths. Simon tried and failed to choke back a moan, feeling James’ legs wrap around him. He ground his hips down, unable to ignore his erection any longer. This elicited a gasp from James, legs tightening. “More. Fucking more,” James groaned, bucking his hips up. Simon moved his lips to James’ neck as he sped up his movements, James moaning in earnest.

“Touch my- fuck- touch my-” James aborted the sentence, instead grabbing Simon’s hand and putting it on his chest. Simon took the hint and rubbed his fingers over James’ nipples again. “Good, fuck, good boy,” James moaned, high-pitched and choked. Simon whimpered and returned to James’ mouth, kissing him hard. His movements were beginning to lose their rhythm as he got closer to the edge. Simon pulled away for a moment, breathing hard as his hips spasmed.

“I’m gonna, uh-”

James nodded and whispered something unintelligible, pulling Simon back down to his lips. Simon only managed two more thrusts before he came, moaning loudly. He rocked his hips through it, eyes squeezed shut before going still and shuddering. Simon wondered absently if he should apologize for his lack of stamina, but this thought was cut short by James’ hand on his.

“Just-” James said, moving Simon’s hand to his throat. James kept his hand on top of Simon’s, the other snaking down into his pants. “Please, please, just- Jesus fucking Christ, squeeze.” Simon, too dazed to question the order, tightened his grip on James’ throat. It wasn’t hard by any means, but James smiled and choked out slurs of gratitude as he came. The two stayed that way for a moment before Simon rolled off and laid down next to James.

“I think I’m in love with you,” Simon gasped. James groaned in response, sitting up. He wiped his hand off on Simon’s sheets; Simon pretended not to notice.

“That’s just your orgasm brain talking,” James said, fixing his belt. “Don’t say that after sex. It makes people uncomfortable.”

“Does it make you uncomfortable?”

“Simon, have you ever seen me uncomfortable?” He stood and put his shirt back on, buttoning it up most of the way. He ran a hand through his sweat damp curls, trying to make it presentable as he grabbed his jacket.

“Are you leaving?” Simon asked, the words coming out much whinier than he’d intended.

“Duh. I’m not gonna stay here and spoon you all night, if that’s what you were expecting,” James laughed, slipping his shoes on. A twinge of hurt ran through Simon as he pushed himself up. “Jesus, don’t look so sad about it. It’s weird.”

“Sorry,” Simon muttered reflexively. James surveyed the room, making sure he had all of his things. When he was sure, he walked over to the door.

“See you at work?”

“Yeah, of course.” Simon nodded. James opened the door and made to leave before turning around.

“Oh, one more thing,” James said. Simon raised his eyebrows expectantly, tilting his head a bit. “Good job.”