On the night of their senior prom, Kyle showed up on Stan’s doorstep and demanded to be taken to the Grand Canyon.
The fact that it was prom night was incidental for them both, as Stan had just broken up with Heidi Turner, his girlfriend of three years, and had lost the deposit on his tuxedo, because he wasn’t about to go without a date, in the company of Kenny, and subtly get drunk while Heidi and her friends gave him nasty looks from across the ballroom. Kyle had eschewed dating fellow high schoolers two years ago, when he met Jeremy, his fancy Denver boyfriend, who took him to political rallies (sometimes Wendy got a ride with them) and allegedly provided Kyle with ‘the occasional coke snort.’ Stan didn’t believe that Kyle actually did coke, because his terminology for it was really odd, and also because he was Kyle, but then again, Stan didn’t know Kyle all that well anymore, which made his showing up at Stan’s house and demanding to be driven to Arizona all the more unexpected.
“What?” Stan said. He did not invite Kyle inside.
“I mean, I’ve just been thinking,” Kyle said. He looked angry, his hair was in complete disorder, and Stan felt vaguely threatened. “And it’s like, all this prom shit. Everyone obsessively talking about it all day at school on Friday, and now on Facebook, and just – I mean, the fucking Grand Canyon is just out there, and nobody cares, and it’s like, Jesus Christ, am I the only person in this redneck fucking town who has any sort of perspective on what matters?”
“Are you high?” Stan asked. He’d always thought that, if he ever did see any evidence that Kyle did coke, he would be really sad about it, and already this was proving true. Kyle groaned and pulled at his hair with both hands.
“I may have found a bottle of expired Ritalin and taken a few, but that’s not what this is about, Stan. Will you just get your keys? I need to show you something.”
Stan looked up and down the street, relieved to see that Kyle had not driven here. There was still snow on the ground, and Stan was heartened by the sight of Kyle’s tracks across his front yard. In fact, he was on the verge of becoming emotional over them.
“Where’s Jeremy?” he asked. Kyle reared backward, frowning.
“Jeremy?” he said. “We split up months ago. Oh, right, but you’re too good for Facebook. So how would you know.”
“It’s not that I’m too – look, come in, okay? I’m glad you, uh. Came. I’m watching CSI with my mom and it’s, like. The worst night ever.”
“Are you sober?” Kyle asked.
“Well then, get your keys. I don’t want to come in. I need to see the Grand Canyon by sunrise. I may go out of my mind if I don’t, Stan. I just may.”
Stan walked back into his living room alone, sort of dazed by how much he wanted to do what Kyle was asking. His mother saw him standing there, looking lost, and patted the couch cushion.
“Who was at the door?” she asked.
“Kyle,” Stan said. “I, um. Mom. I think I’m going to drive him somewhere. He seems upset, and he, uh. Needs a friend.”
“Oh, honey.” His mother put her hand on her chest and smiled. “I’d be so happy if you two reconciled.”
“We never – we didn’t break up – I mean, we didn’t fall out – we just—”
“Go on,” she said, waving him toward the door. “Have fun.”
“I might not be back until tomorrow. If – that’s okay?”
“Of course, yeah. I don’t mind if you stay the night at Kyle’s house.”
She smiled in a way that made him feel accused of wanting to get in bed with Kyle, which sent him scurrying out of the room. He grabbed his coat, his keys, and left. Kyle was outside on the half-shoveled front walkway, sort of bouncing in place.
“Where the hell is your coat?” Stan asked, and he shrugged his back off. He put it around Kyle’s shoulders, and Kyle stared at him, looking as if he’d just woken from a trance. For a moment Stan was afraid Kyle would back out of this spontaneous road trip, and he found that he was disappointed. Kyle shook his head.
“Let’s just go,” he said, and he pulled Stan’s coat on as they walked to the car. It was too big; the sleeves hung over Kyle’s hands.
For the first few hours, they were quiet. Kyle seemed pissed off, his arms crossed over his chest and his face halfway obscured by the collar of Stan’s coat as he stared out the front windshield. He let Stan control the radio, which was unlike him.
“So,” Stan said around ten o’clock, when they were nearing Highway 160, which would take them all the way to the Canyon. “Um. Too bad about Jeremy. I guess you heard about me and Heidi.”
“Ugh,” Kyle said. “As if those two relationships are even comparable.”
“Hey, man, don’t be—”
“I’m sorry,” Kyle said. He didn’t sound sorry. “It’s just – I went through something, okay? Coming out – he was part of that, for me. And just, all this other stuff. He wasn’t just some child I took to the movies.”
“I lost my virginity to Heidi,” Stan said, knowing this would hurt him. Kyle said nothing. “So. That was pretty intense, you know. I have feelings, too.” Saying so made him feel like he might start crying, but it passed quickly.
“Of course you do,” Kyle said, and, without shifting his gaze from the windshield, he reached over and placed his hand on Stan’s thigh. Stan immediately broke into a nervous sweat, and he was very careful not to move, afraid he would offend Kyle if he did. Once he’d calmed down a bit he acknowledged that he actually liked having Kyle’s hand there, especially when his fingers randomly tightened, usually when Stan was changing lanes.
“We should get there before sunrise,” Stan said. “Um, and let me know if you want to stop and get something to eat. I’ll probably have to stop for gas at the border.”
“Ritalin kind of annihilates my appetite,” Kyle said. “Also my need to sleep.”
“You’re taking that on a regular basis?”
Kyle shrugged angrily and looked out his window. His hand was still on Stan’s thigh, and Stan wanted to touch it, to pat him supportively.
“I don’t know what I do on a regular basis,” Kyle said. “Everything’s this disgusting blur.”
“I know,” Stan said.
“You do?” Kyle looked at him doubtfully.
“I’m not excited about college,” Stan said. “I guess because, I don’t know. I’m not really going anywhere, like everyone else. I mean, I’m going to Denver, but. It’s – Denver, you know?”
“If I never go to Denver again it will be too soon,” Kyle said, and his fingers did that clenching thing on Stan’s thigh. “I hate that fucking place.”
“Oh. Yeah. Well, I’ll be there, um. You’re going to Boston, right?”
“Northeastern,” Kyle said. He sighed. “Whatever. I don’t know. Maybe I’ll just move to Alaska or something.”
“Yeah. Apparently there are a lot of single men there. But I guess a lot of them are rapists or something. Maybe not the gay ones? Or, no, they’re probably closeted and therefore worse. About getting consent, I mean. God, never mind. Don’t listen to anything I say. I’m just – losing it, or something. I was like, where do I go when I feel like this? To Stan, then to the Grand Canyon.”
“I’m glad you thought that,” Stan said, and he reached down to cover Kyle’s hand with his own. Kyle flinched a little with surprise, but he kept his eyes on the windshield and didn’t pull his hand away.
“Well,” Kyle said, quietly. “You’re the only person who’s ever been nice to me. So mostly I wanted to ask you – why.”
“Why you were ever nice to me. I mean, I know we met when we were like, three. So you just didn’t know better. And then you felt sorry for me—”
“No, dude – stop.” Stan squeezed Kyle’s fingers, hooking his thumb under Kyle’s palm. “I never felt sorry for you. Well, I did, but only when people were being mean to you for no reason, like Cartman, and then it was more like I wanted to protect you. Uh.” He squeezed Kyle’s hand again. “If you ever want to go anywhere, just show up and ask. You know I’ll take you – you knew, right? Tonight?”
“Mhmm,” Kyle said. He was smiling a little when Stan darted a glance at him.
“And if you want to go to Alaska, take me,” Stan said. “Because if you go alone, I don’t know. I don’t trust those guys up there. Like you said. I didn’t trust Jeremy, actually.” He blurted this, and didn’t turn when he felt Kyle looking at him.
“I know,” Kyle said, softly.
“I worried about you because – Jesus, Kyle, he was twenty-five! What did he want with a sixteen-year-old? I mean, I know you’re mature for your age, and really smart—”
“I’m not that smart.”
“You and Wendy always say that, but you fucking are, okay?”
Kyle took his hand away then, and Stan wanted to object, then to ask why. He clamped his mouth shut.
“There’s a rumor that you broke it off with Heidi because you’re still in love with Wendy,” Kyle said. “And you want one last chance at her.”
“Yeah,” Kyle said. He examined his hand, the one that Stan had been clutching. “I – had wondered where that came from. That rumor.”
“I can’t believe there are fucking rumors about me,” Stan said, his heart beating fast now. “I mean, who’s saying this? Who cares what I do?”
“Well, Wendy would be an upgrade,” Kyle said. He was mumbling, still looking at his hand. “She is just – I respect her so much. It makes me want to throw up, sometimes, how great she is.”
“Yeah, I remember that feeling,” Stan said. “It wasn’t a great feeling. No, you were right about dating high school people. What a waste – Heidi fucking drained me, dude. She pushed me until I had to break up with her.”
“You broke up with her?” Kyle looked at him, smirking. “Really.”
“Yeah. What, she said otherwise? I don’t give a fuck. I don’t have any pride anymore.”
Kyle laughed hard at that, and Stan wasn’t sure if he should feel insulted. Clumsily, he grabbed Kyle’s leg, close to his knee. For a moment he felt the weight of Kyle’s held in breath freezing the air inside the car, and he realized he was holding his breath, too.
“How did she push you?” Kyle asked. “Heidi?”
“I – God, I don’t know. She’d make these crazy fucking demands, like. Testing to see how much I’d do.”
“Ah. Like asking you to drive to the Grand Canyon in the middle of the night?”
“Ha.” Stan squeezed Kyle’s leg, felt him flinch a little. “No, not like that. Not – fun stuff. Like, she asked if she could – you can’t repeat this, okay?”
“Stan,” Kyle said. “I don’t talk to anyone.”
“Oh. Well. She asked if she could spit in my ear.”
“What?” Kyle said. “That fucking bitch! I hope you didn’t let her.”
“Dude, don’t call her a bitch. She was just – yeah, I let her.”
“Ugh, of course you did!” Kyle shoved Stan’s hand away. “You know, when you marry someone like her, don’t expect me to go to your wedding. I wouldn’t be able to stomach it without throwing up.”
“When I marry someone like her? Fuck you, dude!”
“Yeah, fuck you! I’m so glad to hear you have all this respect for Wendy, too bad you don’t have any for me. And by the way, Jeremy was ugly.”
“What!” Kyle was laughing, suddenly. “I mean, I know he was—”
“You know he was? What the hell! So why did you date him?”
“Because it was about more than that, Stanley! I thought we had a connection, okay? I was flattered by the attentions of an older man!”
They were both silent for a while, Stan fuming and Kyle staring at him expectantly.
“Yeah, well,” Stan mumbled, because he felt he had to say something. “Whatever. All that’s over now, so.”
“The truth is,” Kyle said, and he scoffed. “Oh, never mind.”
“What? What’s the truth?”
“I said never mind. I’ll tell you when we’re at the rim of the Grand Canyon.”
They were speechless until the border, where Stan stopped to gas up the car. Kyle got out without saying anything, and wandered into the attached convenience store. Stan followed him, because it was midnight, and these highway establishments weren’t necessarily safe. He trailed Kyle through the store, watching him pick out peanut M&M’s, pretzels, and Mountain Dew Code Red.
“I thought you had no appetite,” Stan said.
“This isn’t appetite food,” Kyle said. “This is junkie food.”
“You’re not a junkie, Kyle.”
Stan picked out some turkey jerky, a Soba tea, and paid for everything. Kyle lingered so close to him at the counter that Stan blushed and dropped his change when the greasy guy at the register handed it over. They walked out together, Kyle hugging his junkie food to his chest.
“You’re not a junkie,” Stan said, again, when they reached for their door handles.
“It’s pathetic, though,” Kyle said. “Because I want to be?”
“No, you don’t.”
“Well, I want to not care. You can relate to that, I think.”
“You know I can,” Stan said, hurt.
“I know,” Kyle said, and his eyes softened in a way that made Stan forgive him.
They were quiet in the car, back on the road, but Kyle tore open Stan’s jerky package and fed the strips to him until they were both laughing.
“I like eating out of your hand,” Stan said, because something was clearly happening, and he might as well remark on it. Kyle grinned.
“I think that makes you a nut job, dude.”
“Oh, God,” Stan said, because he hadn’t been called ‘dude’ by Kyle since they were twelve.
“I don’t mean it,” Kyle said.
“I know,” Stan said, and when he reached over, Kyle grabbed his hand.
They held hands in silence for the next hour or so. Kyle ate M&M’s, the bag of them balanced between his thighs. He fed Stan a few, his fingertips brushing Stan’s lips when he did.
“I just want to see something infinite with you,” Kyle said when they were driving past Kayenta, close to two o’clock in the morning, almost no one else on the road. “Like when we were kids.”
“We saw infinite things when we were kids?”
“No, probably not. But things felt infinite, then. Me and you, especially.”
Stan squeezed Kyle’s hand, his heart pounding again. Kyle squeezed back. He took control of the radio then, and Stan was glad, even though Kyle tuned it to Spanish accordion music, mostly.
As they were passing through Tuba City, Kyle fell asleep, his fingers gradually loosening around Stan’s hand. Stan turned the radio down. He hadn’t seen Kyle sleep since they were in middle school, and hadn’t let himself know how much he’d missed it. Kyle was defenseless like this, his lips slightly parted and his eyelashes moving in subtle little twitches against his cheeks. He looked so sweet in Stan’s coat, swallowed up by it.
They reached the North Rim of the Canyon just after six o’clock in the morning, and Stan was surprised to find the park gates open, the entrance station manned by a ranger in a coat that was zipped up to her chin. She took their entry fee, gave them a map, and wished them a nice visit. Kyle was half awake, fidgeting irritably inside Stan’s coat.
“Want the map?” Stan asked, and Kyle took it.
“Ah, God,” Kyle said as he examined it. “I don’t know where to start.”
“Well, sure,” Stan said. “It’s the Grand Canyon. Kind of intimidating. Let’s just find someplace to park. We’ll start there.”
There was still snow on the ground, but it was half-melted and dirty, piled in heaps near the walkways and around the parking lot. The sun wasn’t up yet, and no one else was around. Stan helped Kyle out of the car.
“I think I’m afraid,” Kyle said as Stan walked him toward the trail that led to the Canyon, Kyle’s arm threaded through his.
“Of what?” Stan asked, and he tugged Kyle closer.
“It’s like.” Kyle squinted, then yawned. “Like, infinity. What if it doesn’t exist?”
“It does,” Stan said.
“Yep. Here, watch. I need to show you something.”
Stan understood then that this was what Kyle meant when he’d said the same thing, ten hours earlier. I need to show you something: it was this, the Canyon, its stillness more incomprehensible than its size. They stood staring at it as the light came up slowly, nobody else around. The wind was cold and harsh, and Stan was shivering.
“Oh, shit,” Kyle said. He took Stan’s coat off and tossed it around Stan’s shoulders. “Shit, sorry. I’m sorry, I. You—” He seemed to lose his voice, and Stan pulled him into the coat, too, against his chest. Kyle buried himself there, not even looking at the Canyon. Stan pet his hair, then kissed it.
“Dude,” Stan said. Kyle said nothing, but he wrapped his arms around Stan’s chest, burrowing deeper into the coat. Stan pulled it around Kyle’s back. The wind was brutal, colder than it had been at home. Stan’s cheeks were stinging as he watched the sun come up. “You’re missing it,” he said, giving Kyle’s curls a soft tug.
“No, I’m not,” Kyle said, his voice muffled. He rubbed his face against Stan’s chest, as if he could get closer, and Stan tried to help him do so, squeezing him, his lips resting against the top of Kyle’s head.
“I hated Jeremy,” Stan said, because it seemed important.
“I know,” Kyle said. “I knew, I mean. I wanted you to. Obviously I hated Heidi.”
“I would have—” Stan started to say, but he couldn’t finish, because he wasn’t sure it was true. He’d meant to say that he would have been Kyle’s boyfriend. He’d never thought of himself as gay, but as soon as Kyle started dating a man, Stan had felt: why not me?
“Let’s – can we get a room at the lodge?” Kyle asked, and Stan’s whole body did a prickly thing, like agreement and disapproval all at once. Mostly agreement, though.
“Yeah,” he said. He was making out with Kyle’s curls, kind of, sucking on a few of them. “Uh-huh. Let’s get a room.”
“Because this is beautiful,” Kyle said, and he turned toward the Canyon, which was awash in the sunrise, light creeping into every crevasse. “But, ah. I just want to be in some blankets.”
They kept close to the rim as they walked to the lodge, holding hands. More people were emerging from the lodge and parking in the lot nearby, some taking video of the sunrise with their cell phones. It was the kind of thing that would typically annoy Stan, but he felt cheerful, though freezing, the coat back on Kyle now. He smiled as they passed other tourists, and kept hold of Kyle’s hand until they reached the front doors of the lodge.
Naturally, on short notice, the lodge had only one room available: a kind of honeymoon suite on the top floor, six hundred dollars a night. Stan was ready to turn away, but Kyle pulled out a credit card and passed it to the cashier.
“I thought your credit was, um?” Stan said, speaking quietly. “Ruined?”
“It’s my dad’s card,” Kyle said. “For emergencies.”
“Obviously,” Kyle said, and he smiled at the cashier when she called him Mr. Broflovski.
Stan kept expecting something to go awry as they were led to their room, for Kyle’s credit card to get declined or for someone to inform them that there were laws in Arizona that forbade teenage boys from sharing a hotel room. The valet who showed them to their room turned on the gas fireplace and pointed out the couch, which could convert into a fold out bed, he said. Stan tipped him with a ten dollar bill, because that was all he had. When the valet was gone, they turned to each other, ignoring the room’s panoramic views of the Canyon.
“I would never spit in your ear,” Kyle said. He was rubbing his palms together in a way that made Stan think of Butters.
“I know,” Stan said. His ears were still burning from the cold outside, though the room was so warm it was almost stuffy. He went to Kyle and put his hands on the collar of his coat, watching Kyle’s throat bob when he swallowed. They both laughed nervously when Stan pushed the coat off of Kyle’s shoulders and let it tumble to the floor.
“Make love to me, Stanley,” Kyle said. He was smiling like that was a joke, but Stan was pretty sure that it wasn’t, and he nodded.
“Yeah,” he said, and he kissed Kyle on the mouth. It was easier than he’d thought it would be, even easier than kissing Heidi had been. Kyle was a very generous kisser, grabbing for Stan’s face and licking into his mouth to show his enthusiasm. Stan put his hands on Kyle’s waist and pulled him closer while they kissed, so that Kyle would feel him getting hard. He didn’t want Kyle thinking this was some sort of pity thing. Stan had been fascinated by gay sex ever since he found out that Kyle was giving his ass to some twenty-five-year-old guy who wasn’t even cute. Stan pulled back, leaving Kyle in mid-swoon, his eyes all muggy when they opened. “Get on the bed,” Stan said. Kyle’s pupils fattened, and he nodded slowly. Stan had never been the boss with Heidi. He’d never wanted to be, with her.
He supposed he wasn’t exactly the boss here, since Kyle was the one who had demanded to be taken to the Grand Canyon, paid for this room and asked Stan to ‘make love’ to him. Stan wasn’t sure about love making. He’d done a lot of fucking, certainly, mostly in the back seat of his car, and sometimes on Heidi’s bed, amid her lingering stuffed animals, all of them watching him with glossy black eyes. This would be different, he thought, and he took off his belt. Kyle was lying on the bed with his legs spread in anticipation, propped up on his elbows and staring at Stan’s hands as he undid his buckle.
Stan dropped his pants and took his shirt off, wondering why Kyle wasn’t undressing. Kyle seemed vaguely stunned, his breath shallow and quick. Stan went to the bed and leaned down to kiss him, then headed for the bathroom. He didn’t want Kyle to think he didn’t know about lube. There was some in the form of a little lotion bottle, creamy white, with GRAND CANYON in gold lettering across the front. He snatched it and returned to find Kyle still fully dressed, motionless until Stan came to stand beside the bed. Kyle dropped onto his back, resting his hands on his stomach.
“You can undress me,” Kyle said. His voice was surprisingly small, but he didn’t seem scared. Stan showed him the lotion and Kyle rolled his eyes. “Yes, thanks,” Kyle said, and he yelped when Stan grabbed his pants and yanked them down. They were track pants with an elastic waist band, so this was easy. “Socks, too,” Kyle said, and Stan peeled them off in a mockingly seductive fashion. Kyle grinned and reached for him. “Don’t look at my feet,” he said.
“I’m not,” Stan said, and he crawled up to kiss the head of Kyle’s tented erection. Kyle gasped and spread his legs a little wider as Stan fell onto him. Stan’s whole body was throbbing with a sort of adrenaline he didn’t want to lose or question — they were just getting started and he’d already had his mouth on Kyle’s dick, sort of. He felt he was doing very well at this as he rubbed himself onto Kyle, kissing him deeply.
“I knew you’d be good,” Kyle said, mumbling this into Stan’s mouth. “I knew you’d be so, so good.”
“I haven’t done anything yet,” Stan said, but he was proud. Kyle flung his shirt off, and Stan moaned at the sight of his stiff nipples.
“Yes, oh — exactly,” Kyle said when Stan sucked on them. Kyle arched and writhed, pulling at Stan’s hair to keep his head in place. The fire on the artificial logs made a particularly loud fwump noise, and Kyle laughed when Stan turned to look at it. “Nobody’s watching,” Kyle said.
“Good,” Stan said, and he lowered his mouth to Kyle’s ear. “I wouldn’t want anyone to see you like this. You’re gonna fall apart, okay? You’re gonna be a mess when I’m done with you. A sticky, shivering, fucked out mess.” Kyle moaned and nodded, pressing himself up against Stan desperately. Stan wasn’t sure where this sudden confidence was coming from. Heidi had once asked him to talk dirty, then laughed at his efforts. He had a hard time saying mean things to girls, even for a game.
“Wait,” Kyle said when Stan was kissing his way down Kyle’s stomach, already palming his dick through his boxers. “So, you’re gay. Is that’s what happening? You’re gay?”
“I don’t know,” Stan said, and he faltered for a moment, then decided to save the actual conversation for later. “I mean, I’m gonna put your dick in my mouth, dude. And suck you until you’re coming down my throat, and then I’m going to fuck you, Kyle, okay, all day long I’m gonna fuck your ass, so if that makes me gay, sure. It’s your call, really.”
“Are you insane?” Kyle asked, but he was grinning, humping Stan’s hand.
“Would you come in my mouth even if I was insane?”
“I don’t know if I’m going to make it into your mouth,” Kyle said, his hips moving crazily now.
“Hey, yes you are,” Stan said, and he put his other hand on Kyle’s hip, steadying him. “Be still. Okay? Good boy.”
Kyle moaned and went limp against the mattress. Stan mouthed him through his boxers, teasing him. He’d seen this in porn, and he loved it, because he liked the idea of erections but didn’t find most actual dicks attractive. He was sort of afraid to expose Kyle’s, but then he remembered that it would also be a chance to see his ginger pubes. Even Kyle’s red underarm hair was getting him off at the moment.
“Stan,” Kyle said, sort of sighing his name out as Stan pulled his boxers down. Kyle’s cock was cute, even hard and leaking like this. It wasn’t small, but there was something harmless and sweet about it. Some of the ones Stan had seen in porn were quite terrifying. As soon as Stan had dropped Kyle’s boxers to the floor he took a lick, not wanting Kyle to see him hesitate. “Oh, God,” Kyle said, whispering. “Again.”
Stan obeyed, licking him again, and again, finally tasting the precome as he moved up toward the head. It did not taste good, lukewarm and kind of slimy, but Kyle’s cock itself tasted nice, clean but secret, and his balls felt surprisingly fantastic in Stan’s palm.
Being the active party in sucking dick was not hot, mostly kind of a chore, but Kyle’s noises and twitching hips were worth it. Stan had never liked giving Heidi oral sex, either, but had enjoyed her reactions. Kyle’s were even better, because he seemed to be trying to hold them in, his eyebrows arching like he expected to be scolded for the way his fingers were digging into Stan’s hair.
“I can’t believe it’s you,” Kyle said, and when Stan peeked up at him his head was thrown back, his body bowed with tension. “Stan, Stan — yeah, God, suck my dick, Stan, that’s so—” He came with a cry, jerking forward again, his hands sliding out of Stan’s hair and thumping onto the mattress. Swallowing was actually quite easy; gravity did most of the work. Stan pulled off with a bonus lick, catching the last drops. Kyle had his arms outstretched, and Stan fell into them, rolling Kyle against him. Stan was afraid to lose momentum, but he didn’t want to miss this, holding Kyle while he was naked and trembling, Kyle’s ass cheek sort of quivering under Stan’s palm.
“Are you okay?” Stan asked, and Kyle nodded. He couldn’t seem to catch his breath, or hold his eyes open, or stop kissing Stan’s mouth.
“I never appreciated this before,” Kyle said.
“How you taste like me. Well, not that it was you, before. But I didn’t care, it was just. Incidental. But you, Stan, you. Swallowed my come.”
“Hmm, yeah,” Stan said. He gave Kyle’s ass a squeeze. “You want to swallow mine? We don’t have to, um. Do the whole making love thing. If you’re tired. You seem tired, dude,” he said, and he ran his hand through Kyle’s hair. Kyle shook his head.
“I’m just recovering,” he said. “And I do need the, uh. Making love thing. Oh, God, Stan. We’re having sex in the wee hours of the morning after prom. Technically. How cliche.”
“We could wait,” Stan said, sliding his leg up between Kyle’s. His own erection was still trapped in his boxers, leaking profusely.
“I can’t wait,” Kyle said. “I need you. Fuck me all day, like you said. Like you said, Stan.” He murmured this again Stan’s lips, licking at him. “Please, just like that.”
“Damn, dude,” Stan said, pushing Kyle onto his back so he could see him properly, sated and flushed but still needy. “Okay. Okay, um. You want to see it?”
“Your dick?” Kyle grinned, and Stan felt dumb for assuming that Kyle would be a little afraid of his dick, too. “Yeah, take it out. Lemme see.”
Stan was the one who felt nervous, though he wasn’t sure why. He’d been told that he had a nice cock, and having researched gay porn online, he was pretty sure Heidi wasn’t just flattering him. He pulled his boxers down, exposing himself, embarrassed by his amount of precome production. Kyle moaned as if impressed, tickling his fingers through the slickness.
“Foreskin,” Kyle said, so dreamily that Stan had to hold in a laugh.
“Yep.” He withheld his question about whether or not Jeremy had some. Probably not, because Kyle seemed transfixed, pushing his fingers into Stan’s foreskin to test its give. “So, there it is,” Stan said, and he opened his legs a little more.
“God,” Kyle said, and when he looked up at Stan his eyes seemed different, less foggy. “Put it in me,” he said. “Stan, just. I want you to wreck me on this dick.”
Stan moaned and grabbed him, kissing him hard. He felt unbalanced, as if he’d lost the control here. He groped for the lube while they kissed, thumbing the cap off clumsily, and he grunted with annoyance when some lotion spilled out onto the mattress.
“Be still,” Stan said to Kyle, who was writhing against him, nipping at his neck. Kyle moaned and only halfway complied, hooking his thigh around Stan’s waist so he could hump himself against Stan’s cock. “Oh, shit,” Stan said. “Uh. Do you have a condom?”
“No,” Kyle said. “Do you, like. Need one?”
“I actually — don’t.” Stan didn’t want to tell Kyle that the reason he’d gotten tested was that he’d had sex with Liane Cartman a week after he broke up with Heidi, then panicked at the thought of all who had gone before him, even though they’d used a condom. “I’m, like. Clean, I mean. I got the whole testing thing done, and. I haven’t had sex since then.”
“I got that, too, after I broke up with Jeremy,” Kyle said, blushing. “I just didn’t trust him anymore, um. But I’m okay. He didn’t give me anything.”
“Thank God for that,” Stan said, and they kissed for a while, poured back into themselves. Stan dragged his fingers through the lotion that had spilled onto the bedspread, and Kyle gasped when Stan ran his slick fingers between Kyle’s ass cheeks.
“You don’t have to do all that,” Kyle said. “I mean, I can take it if you just go in slow.”
“I have to, trust me,” Stan said. He hadn’t been very into the dicks in gay porn, but the asses — he loved everything about the asses. He sort of wanted to roll Kyle onto his stomach, scoot down and examine things properly, but he was afraid he’d blow his load if he had a close up view of his fingers pushing in. Kyle raised his eyebrows, then shut his eyes when Stan slid one finger in.
“Mhm,” he said, pressing his mouth to Stan’s shoulder. They were facing each other, both lying on their sides. “Yeah.”
“Yes, yeah, uh-huh. God, it’s so different with you. I’ll never get over this.”
“Me either,” Stan said, meaning the larger thing, this, their first naked moments together. He would never get over it. Kyle sighed and rubbed his face against Stan’s neck. They both groaned when Stan’s finger was all in, squirming around inexpertly. Stan’s heart was pounding, and Kyle was clenching around him in little pulls, as if he wanted him deeper. It had never been like this with Heidi; they had been very sexually compatible in most ways, but because of that they were always frantic to get at each other. There hadn’t been a lot of foreplay, and Stan had loved that about her, that she wanted to get down to it the way he did. He was glad Kyle didn’t want that, though. That wouldn’t haven been right at all, not with his his childhood best friend, and he felt patient now, glad to have time just to feel Kyle like this, and to suck possessive markings into the soft, pale skin on his neck.
“I knew you’d take care of me,” Kyle said, very quietly. His eyes were closed, his face hidden against Stan’s neck while he pushed back on his finger. “I knew, just fucking knew. Sometimes it’s like you’re the only thing I know.”
“I missed you,” Stan said. “And now. College.”
“Nnh, don’t talk about that. Here.” Kyle took Stan’s wrist and pushed his finger out slowly. “Let’s get under the blankets,” he said. “I want you — like that, when you’re in me.”
As kids they’d slept with their foreheads pressed together in Kyle’s playpen during their parents’ dinner parties. They were both too old for a playpen by the time they met, but their parents would use it to contain them after bedtime, and Stan and Kyle never put up much of a fight. As long as they could be together, no enclosed space was too small.
They climbed under the blankets, and Stan waited for the mood of their dirty talk to return, but they were both quiet as he pushed inside Kyle. He was on his back, looking up at Stan in a sort of worshipful or at least astonished way, his knees bent against Stan’s sides. Stan had expected Kyle to again ask to be wrecked, or to assure Stan that he could take it hard. Kyle made soft noises of slight discomfort until Stan was all the way in, and they were both drenched in sweat but unwilling to throw the blankets off. They kissed, and Stan didn’t ask, Is it because I’m bigger? He had the feeling that Kyle’s sudden quiet had nothing to do with his dimensions. This was just bigger than anything either of them had ever done.
“You okay?” Stan asked after they’d both just breathed against each other for a while, Stan brushing beads of sweat from Kyle’s temples with his thumbs.
“Yeah,” Kyle said, but his voice was a little pinched. Stan felt like he’d just woken up like this, as if all that had come before had been done while he was sleep walking: the drive to the Canyon, Kyle’s magic credit card, the effortless sex talk. Now it felt real, and he would have been scared, but Kyle was with him. They kissed for a while, and Stan didn’t even think to move until Kyle shifted underneath him. He’d been too overwhelmed to even let himself enjoy the most obvious pleasure in this, and he tried to move his hips in fluid rolls, wanting to fuck that tight heat so hard. Kyle guided him in this more love-making pace, his hands spread open on Stan’s waist.
Stan had a lot to say, but he couldn’t get his voice to work while he was inside Kyle, so he mostly just moaned into Kyle’s open mouth, his movements growing increasingly erratic. His arms were beginning to shake terribly, which was embarrassing, and he whimpered when Kyle said shhh and guided Stan down against him, letting Stan hide his face against Kyle’s neck.
“Go ahead,” Kyle said when Stan started to fall apart — he was the sticky, shivering mess now. “You can finish. You won’t hurt me.”
“Kyle,” Stan said, and his voice broke, because how could Kyle possibly know how hard Stan wanted to fuck him? So hard, too hard, and Kyle wouldn’t be able to take it, Stan might break him.
“Go on,” Kyle said. “Stanley, goddammit. Give me what I’ve been waiting for. Do I have to — say it, do I have to tell you? Ever since the first time I looked at you too long at the pool, ever since the first time I noticed how you smelled — this is what I’ve wanted, please, please, just give it to me, please.”
Stan did, and in the end his wild fucking was really just a few sharp thrusts. He said Kyle’s name when he came, loudly and without meaning to. Kyle was half-hard against his belly, but he held Stan so tightly in the aftermath that Stan couldn’t have moved to help him. Stan felt every part of himself growing softer, the calm returning to his blood stream tenfold. His heart was still pumping hard when he cracked his eyes open and remembered where he was: at the Grand Canyon, oddly enough. In the honeymoon suite. The sun was up now. He was missing church.
“I should call my mom,” he said, and Kyle laughed.
“Yeah, she’ll want to hear all about this,” he said.
“I just want to stay like this forever,” Stan said, mumbling. He couldn’t believe how exhausted he was, and he suddenly remembered that he’d been driving all night.
“Me too,” Kyle said. “But it’s six hundred dollars a night.”
“I could suck you off again,” Stan said, and he tried to slurp his drool back into his mouth when he realized it was touching Kyle’s neck.
“Maybe later,” Kyle said. “Jesus, you’re like a virgin or something,” he said, and he kissed Stan’s ear.
“I drove you here, man. You slept in the car.”
“That’s true. Poor Stan. Take a nap, I’ll watch over you.”
“Don’t you — won’t you sleep, too? Kyle, you can’t take expired Ritalin. Please don’t do that.”
Kyle sighed. “I may have been exaggerating for dramatic purposes,” he said. “It was more like three cups of strong coffee.”
“Oh. And don’t snort coke.”
“Like I even have. I was just trying to impress you.”
“I know,” Stan said, and he slid out of Kyle, slumping onto his side. Kyle rolled toward him and smiled.
“You’re so wrecked,” Kyle said.
“I know,” Stan said, though he didn’t feel wrecked, exactly. He felt fearlessly tired, like nothing would touch them here, like this moment wouldn’t end. Kyle scooted forward until his nose was touching Stan’s, his hand curled under Stan’s chin. Stan tried to stay awake, but he was so deeply tired, in every way. He groped for Kyle and pulled him closer, his fingers moving lazily on Kyle’s back until he drifted off.
They called their parents and stayed the night. Kyle made promises to pay his father back from his forthcoming graduation present money, but he was still in big trouble, his driving privileges revoked for the summer. Kyle didn’t seem too upset, probably because he knew Stan would drive him anywhere he wanted to go, including national parks in neighboring states. Stan’s mother took the news that he was spending the night at a lodge on the rim of the Grand Canyon better than he’d expected her to, and eventually he realized that she’d guessed exactly why Kyle was sharing a room with him. She’d never liked Heidi, and had incessantly asked Stan about Kyle’s well being during their friendship hiatus, despite the fact that Stan’s father talked to Gerald on a regular basis.
Dusk fell early, and they went for a walk to watch the sunset, Kyle bundled up in Stan’s coat. Stan thought it was only fair, because he’d come in Kyle twice more, and though Kyle insisted he was fine, his gait had been steadier before all the sex. Kyle stopped to peer at the view and Stan wrapped himself around Kyle’s back, resting his chin on Kyle’s shoulder.
“I smell snow,” Stan said. “You smell that? Maybe we’ll be snowed in for weeks. They couldn’t charge us for the room if we had nowhere else to go—”
“This is the last place outside of South Park where I was with my mother,” Kyle said. “Before, I mean. The diagnosis.”
“Oh.” Stan felt like he should have known that, or guessed. He kissed Kyle’s cheek. They’d drifted apart around the time of Sheila’s funeral. Kyle hadn’t wanted Stan’s comfort. He hadn’t wanted Stan anywhere near him.
“It’s like, that trip,” Kyle said, and he sniffled, maybe just from the wind. It was icy, and Stan was sure there would at least be flurries. “That trip was the last time I felt like myself,” Kyle said. “Until now, I mean. Until this morning.”
“You hated me,” Stan said. “After.”
“No. I just. I knew as soon as you hugged me I’d climb you like you were a tree and never let go.”
“You could have,” Stan said. “I wouldn’t have let go, either.”
“I know,” Kyle said. “But I didn’t think you’d want me to. I just knew you’d let me.”
Stan held him more tightly, pressing his face to Kyle’s neck. He wanted to tell Kyle that he would have done more than just comforted him out of obligation, but he’d been thirteen years old at the time, an idiot for the most part, and maybe it was better that they’d come together now. He knew they would again, during college, at any available intervals, and afterward. He had no doubt that they would always be able to reach across whatever space was between them, lay a hand on the other’s thigh, and be inseparable again.
They ate dinner at the lodge dining room, and the flurries came, but nothing more. That night, holding Kyle in bed, Stan dreamed that there was a blizzard. It felt real, like a glass bubble he’d configured for them in his sleep, a place where they could stay like this even while they were apart. In the morning they were both creaky from overuse, and they mostly just pawed at each other under the blankets, curling up together to try to hold on to the warmth. They’d slept late, and would have to check out in an hour.
“I feel like we’ve barely looked at the view,” Stan said. They were turned toward the windows, Stan spooned up behind Kyle, but from where they were lying they could mostly see the sky.
“It’s alright,” Kyle said. “It’s the sort of thing – it’s better not to look too long. You know, like. Leave feeling like you didn’t appreciate it enough. So that you’ll come back.”
“We’ll come back,” Stan said. “To this room, too, someday. I feel like we really have been on our honeymoon.”
“Me too,” Kyle said, so softly that Stan was afraid he would cry.
“It’s more like our prom night, I guess,” Stan said. “Should we take pictures? So you can post on Facebook about your prom?”
“Ha,” Kyle said. “Yes, actually. Yeah. Hand me my phone.”
Kyle updated his Facebook from his phone while they were on the drive home, posting a single picture. It was him and Stan with their heads on the mussed pillows, just from the neck up. Stan still thought it was obvious that they’d been fucking on hotel sheets for hours. Somehow it just came through, mostly in the way Kyle was smirking at the camera, and in the way Stan had his face turned slightly toward Kyle’s, protectively maybe, looking up at the camera like he didn’t quite trust it. Stan wasn’t exactly smiling, but he still thought it was the happiest he’d looked in any picture that had been taken since his tenth birthday party. Kyle asked if he was really sure it was okay to post it with the caption ‘Senior Prom,’ and Stan said yes, of course. He’d never liked the whole picture tagging culture on Facebook; it seemed prideful, like bragging. But in this case he wanted to brag.