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Roman Godfrey is perched on the banister at the top of the staircase, watching Peter; pulling on a smoke in the middle of school like he owns the place. Which, in a way, he does.

It isn’t the first time Peter’s noticed the long-legged overlord of Hemlock High tracking him with a steely-eyed stare. But, for a change and altogether unexpectedly, there’s no contempt in Roman’s scrutiny. Peter had no aspirations of being liked by anyone, least of all Roman, yet here Roman is, flaunting his intrigue for anyone to see. He’s probably just bored.

Peter puts his hand up and flicks him a cursory wave. Roman smiles at that, slips off the rail and begins sauntering down the stairs, supremely confident no doubt that Peter will wait for him. Peter keeps walking, right out the door and into the afternoon sun.

They got the formalities over with the night before, out on the field. It wasn’t a typical sort of introduction, at least probably not for someone like Roman, but Peter is used to all kinds of weirdness. Well, not what he’d call weird because his whole life is a non-stop reel of the out-of-the-ordinary. Weird for Peter would be something like paying for new clothes or going to church on a Sunday. He grins as Roman’s shadow looms ahead of him.

“Do you need a ride? I pass by your place on my way home,” Roman says with what sounds like keenness, at the exact moment Peter turns to look up at him. It’s pretty unfair, really, that Roman is so tall. He’s already floating on a social strata positioned so far above everyone else that shit doesn’t touch his feet. There again, it’s probably lonely up there.

Peter is drawn to Roman for reasons he can’t fully explain. He’s never been this close to anyone as polished—he’s never been allowed this close. “Sure,” Peter says like he doesn’t care either way. Then inspiration strikes. “Or if you want, we could go shopping.”

“Shopping?” Roman’s eyes go wide enough Peter can see the whites all the way around his pale blue irises.

“Not like the kind you do with your mom. You’ve got a car; we could go out of town.”

Roman considers it for a few seconds. Sometimes these rich kids are a bit slow on the uptake. Not Roman. His face lights up. “Okay. I know just the place.”

Roman drives with the top down. Once he’s cruising he says to Peter, “Want a smoke?” like they’ve been friends for years, like they haven’t only spoken to each other twice, ever. He uses his knees to hold the wheel steady while he reaches into the glove box and pulls out a fresh pack of cigarettes. Peter lights them one each.

That’s something they have in common then.

They drive for fifteen minutes—to a fucking mall. Peter puts his head in his hand as Roman pulls up outside Nordstrom. Roman looks pleased with himself. “Here?” he asks, like this was sufficiently down-market for what Peter has in mind. The guy is clueless. Peter, however, is in the mood for a challenge. Still, it’s a fucking department store. If she finds out, his mom will never let him live it down.

Peter shrugs. “Okay,” he says, scoping the lot for a parking space.

Roman, however, pulls up to the valet and hands the guy there a twenty. “On the end of a row,” he says politely. Obviously, he’s done this before.

Peter gets out. The valet’s no more than a couple of years older than them. He’s probably having to work his way through college. Peter gives him an apologetic smile but the guy’s thanking Roman, telling him he’ll take good care of his ride, and hardly gives Peter a second glance. The valet must deal with guys like Roman all day long. He knows how to handle them. Which is more than Peter can say for himself.

They go straight to the men’s department. Roman has ‘serious customer’ printed all over his forehead. With his height, the way he combs his hair back and his easy swagger, it’s brandished for every eager sales assistant to see. Roman is used to that kind of attention; it doesn’t faze him. It’s bred into his bones and manifests itself in the tilt of his head, in the way he brushes his fingers lightly over the shoulder of an expensive jacket he’d never wear but could buy fifty times over if the whim took him.

There’s no way this is going to work.

Peter skulks behind a display of mannequins looking for something, anything that might be at least tolerable. He won’t take anything he can’t use. That would be … he’s not sure. There’s probably a code, bred into his bones, like Roman’s, but different.

A belt would be doable though they’re all awful. Peter fingers the tags. Two hundred bucks to hold up a pair of pants. A gun would be cheaper. Unreal.

Peter doesn’t notice Roman until his face peers over the rack. “Seen anything you like?”

“Bastard.”

Roman thinks this is hilarious. The joke’s on Peter but he has to admit, he finds it pretty damned funny too. “Let’s get out of here,” Peter says.

They grab a coke, peruse the lingerie in Victoria’s Secret then hit the Lego Store and make the Harry Potter figures do obscene things to each other. After that they get thrown out.

Roman seems to shrink a couple of inches in the process, or perhaps Peter grows a couple—stands up straight, holds his head up higher. He can’t help himself. He can’t stop looking at Roman. It should throw him off balance but it doesn’t. He feels remarkably … centered.

On the drive home, unannounced, Roman pulls off the main road onto a quiet track. He parks on the shoulder under the dappled shade of an arch of tall trees. There’s nothing else here—it’s probably a make-out spot—or a somewhere to stop for a smoke, or take a piss or make a call.

Or make out. Maybe. Peter’s not sure why that thought is the one that won’t quiet, out of all the aforementioned possibilities.

His stomach lurches up into his throat and he belches, really loud.

Roman sniggers as he turns and faces Peter, one arm thrown lazily over the back of his seat and his knees almost touching Peter’s thigh. Almost. “Classy,” Roman says, not as bold as Peter would have expected. Actually, now Peter’s breathing deliberately slow and deep and trying to assess this sudden and unforeseen situation, Roman looks decidedly nervous.

“I got you something,” Roman says, shaking his wrist and freeing the watch Peter only realizes in that instant wasn’t there before—

“When? How?”

“Don’t look so surprised. You’re not the only one with a quick hand.”

“I’m overwhelmed,” Peter says drily, failing at sarcasm as his tongue sticks to the roof of his mouth. He’s feeling hot despite the shade. His hair isn’t long enough to hide the inevitable blush that’s erupted over his cheeks.

Roman slips the watch over the hand Peter offers. His fingers fasten the clasp and there it is—some cheap, dumbass rotary that Peter wouldn’t have looked at twice, but Roman took it for him and he thinks that might mean something more profound than telling the time. Roman could have bought him anything, everything in the whole store.

Without thinking about it, Peter says, “Thanks”, holding up his wrist and admiring the watch like it’s the best gift he’s ever gotten. Maybe it is.

There’s a shaft of sunlight breaking through a gap in the spread of leafy branches above. Peter lets his head fall back and closes his eyes against the brightness. When Roman moves closer, Peter feels the gust of his breath and his face casting a shadow on his, softer than the breeze, before Roman presses his lips to Peter’s mouth. He gasps and Roman slips his tongue in.

Peter reaches up and wraps his fingers around the back of Roman’s neck. He’s trying to let his brain catch up with his fingers and his mouth. He quickly gives up. Some things aren’t worth analyzing, not right in the middle of the thing, anyhow. He thinks he’ll think about this later.

Roman’s kisses are everything his full, lush lips promise they might be. Peter’s going hard way before Roman’s hand makes its way from Peter’s knee, up his thigh, stopping only to cup his balls and press out a groan before he palms the bulge of his dick over his jeans. He murmurs an approval, not that Roman was asking for permission, yet it spurs him on. He opens Peter’s jeans and pulls his underwear over his erection.

Pulling back from the kiss, opening his eyes and looking at Roman, flushed and breathless, Peter reaches up, runs his finger over Roman’s lips. Roman sucks them in and Peter isn’t prepared, wasn’t prepared, for the quick-sharp flash of arousal that follows. Roman smiles and casts a lewd glare downwards as he releases Peter’s fingers and sucks them in again.

Peter knows exactly what’s on his mind. He bites out, “Fuck, Roman. You sure?”

Roman’s eyebrows dart up and his head goes down.

There haven’t been many girls and there haven’t been any boys. Peter hasn’t had a reason to work on control—not before this. Roman’s mouth is tight and wet and hot around his dick and the unrelenting friction and pressure as he sucks and releases, sucks and releases, drives Peter close to the edge, fast. He nudges down in the seat, as much as he can. Roman’s shoulders take up any spare space there was between the front seat, Peter and the dash. Peter’s trapped and he’s going to come if Roman doesn’t let up.

“Fuck, shit. So close,” Peter pants out and Roman hums around his dick with no signs of slowing.

Peter briefly has a moment to notice Roman has freed his own dick and is stroking it with his left hand as he’s sucking. That’s all it takes, looking at Roman’s thick, ruddy dick shining at the tip in the circle of his fist for Peter to give in to the inevitable. If he comes soon, then so be it. Roman can gloat with a mouthful of Peter’s come trickling down his throat.

Peter’s balls fill and tighten, drawing up as the climb to climax takes his breath and holds it hostage, like his dick in Roman’s mouth, like his hand carding through Roman’s hair.

Roman must know Peter’s close. His jaw goes slack and he slams down. Peter bucks and gasps and pushes Roman’s head into his crotch, even as Roman gags and closes his mouth and sucks down again.

“You want it?” Peter gasps out like he hasn’t lost his last ounce of control.

If Roman answers, Peter doesn’t hear it. There’s a rush of blood, pounding through his veins and deafening him until yes, yes, yes, yes, yes he’s coming, his balls squeezing and his dick pulsing out his release. He cried out, he realizes as his heart slows and the air rushes back into his lungs, and Roman took it all.

Roman doesn’t get up. Peter’s legs are shaking, and his hand, as he touches Roman’s cheek. Roman’s eyes are closed and a bead of moisture clings to his lashes.

“You okay?” Peter whispers.

There’s a soft keening noise and Peter realizes Roman is coming, into his fist, his face screwed up like it’s painful.

Then Roman opens his eyes and sits up, looking pleased. And sated.

“Here, you missed some,” Peter says, swiping his finger across the corner of Roman’s mouth over the smear of semen on his chin. There’s a pause where they’re both absolutely still. It’s nothing awkward or very long. Peter has the chance to look at Roman unguarded. He really likes what he sees.

Then they’re tucking themselves back in and lighting up and Roman is turning the car back onto the road.

What they just did, Peter’s pretty sure it’s not what regular friends do. Peter doesn’t have much experience with friends but then it strikes him, neither does Roman. So maybe they are just friends and the blowjob, that was something else. Or maybe this is them, being friends. Peter doesn’t know and he feels like if he asks he’s going to spoil it. He keeps quiet and thinks about the plush curve of Roman’s lips and his insolent smile and those long, long fingers.

When they get back, maybe Peter's mom will be out. Maybe Roman will come in, if not today, some other time.

Roman stops the car at Uncle Vincent’s mailbox and says, uncertainly, “We’re good, right?”

“Yeah. We’re good.”

“See you tomorrow?”

“I’ll be right here,” Peter says, “if you’re driving by.”

Roman laughs. It’s nearly carefree and undeniably infectious. “I’ll see you tomorrow,” he says before he drives on up the road to the Godfrey Mansion. Peter watches him leave then checks his new watch.

Only fifteen hours until he sees Roman again.

His new friend, Roman Godfrey. Improbably. Maybe.