Saturday, 15 December 2018

MUSCLE FICTION STORY: AJ & NOAH (PART 14)

OK, this is it...the final chapter of "AJ & Noah"!

So before I started this story I had my doubts as to whether people would like it because of all the non-muscle element to the story, but I have been absolutely blown away by all the amazing feedback I've received, though admittedly most of that has been on the Muscle Growth forums rather than on here.

To hear people telling me things like they're emotionally invested with the characters and that the story has really touched them has just been amazing. And has just made this the best experience of writing and sharing a story I've had.

It's my favourite thing I've ever written and at the risk of sounding cheesy, I feel like this is the kind of story I've always wanted to write, but never really knew if I could.

Below are links to all the previous parts of the story, or if you want to read the whole thing on the Muscle Growth forums you can check out the thread here.

MUSCLE FICTION STORY: AJ & NOAH (PART 1)
MUSCLE FICTION STORY: AJ & NOAH (PART 2)
MUSCLE FICTION STORY: AJ & NOAH (PART 3)
MUSCLE FICTION STORY: AJ & NOAH (PART 4)
MUSCLE FICTION STORY: AJ & NOAH (PART 5)
MUSCLE FICTION STORY: AJ & NOAH (PART 6)
MUSCLE FICTION STORY: AJ & NOAH (PART 7)
MUSCLE FICTION STORY: AJ & NOAH (PART 8)
MUSCLE FICTION STORY: AJ & NOAH (PART 9)
MUSCLE FICTION STORY: AJ & NOAH (PART 10)
MUSCLE FICTION STORY: AJ & NOAH (PART 11)
MUSCLE FICTION STORY: AJ & NOAH (PART 12)
MUSCLE FICTION STORY: AJ & NOAH (PART 13)

So here goes. The very last chapter (though it's a bit of a lengthy one). How's it all going to end?!


Thirty Eight

I lay on the guy’s bed with my legs up. I just really wanted him to fuck me in that moment. I’d met him in the club a few hours earlier. The last of a number of one night stands and casual fucks during my first term back at university. He pushed himself inside of me. Fucking hell. This is gonna hurt tomorrow, I thought.

He fucked me for a little while and then collapsed on the bed. I was kind of relieved. And then I suddenly just wanted to get the hell out of his flat. Wherever it was. Hove, apparently. A fair walk from Naomi’s place, but it was doable.

He offered to call me a taxi and pay for it. I told him I was okay to walk but he insisted. But when I was putting on my shoes he made a snide comment about paying for the taxi in a sarcastic manner. And I just thought, why offer and insist if you’re then gonna be a fucking prick about it?!

I collapsed on Naomi’s bed when I got back to hers. I was an absolute mess. I hadn’t planned on taking anything the night before, but one of Naomi’s flatmates had put a pill in the palm of my hand in the club and I hadn’t been able to resist.

“My arse hurts!” I said.

She grinned at me. “Serves you right for being a slag!” she joked. “Your behaviour last night. Poor Richard!”

I groaned and sunk my head into the pillow. Richard was a guy I was sort of seeing. He wasn’t my usual type at all. 6’2, slim built and camp as tits. In other words, the complete opposite of AJ Jones.

It was the last thing I’d been looking for after what had happened with AJ in the summer, but I’d pulled him in a club down here in Brighton one night and afterwards he’d wanted to see me again. And then again after that time. He definitely didn’t give me butterflies, but he was a nice guy, so I’d just sort of gone along with it.

He’d come out with us the previous night and had actually used the words, “Do you want to be with me?” I’d then kissed that other guy in front of him and ended up going back to his. It wasn’t my proudest moment, I’ll admit. I guess I just kind of freaked out. Because the last person I’d been involved with had broken my heart and it had almost killed me. There was another reason too, of course. I tried not to let myself think about it, but even though I hadn’t seen or heard from him for months, what I’d felt for AJ Jones in the summer was very much still there.

I felt bad about what I’d done to Richard. I thought about texting him and apologising, but what would I say? Sorry for getting off with another guy and then going home with him right after you asked me if I wanted to be with you? Sorry for leading you on when I’m still secretly in love with a junior competitive bodybuilder who lives two hundred miles away? Sorry for being an absolute fucking dick to you because a guy you never met broke my heart four months ago?

“My dad will be here in, like, two hours!” Naomi said. I groaned again. Naomi’s dad was coming to pick us up and drive us back home to Little Denton for the Christmas holidays.

As I thought about the day ahead, a sick feeling churned in my stomach. It wasn’t at the thought of being driven halfway across the country by Naomi’s dad on no sleep and still feeling trashed. It was the thought of being back in Little Denton. I hadn’t been back home since the term had started.

When I hadn’t been at my lectures, a lot of that term had been spent with Naomi in Brighton. I guess I’d found it easier to be around someone who knew the scale of what had happened. Sure, I’d told most of my uni friends in London about AJ. That I’d bumped into an old school friend. That we’d fallen for each other and ended up being boyfriends. That he’d messed about with another guy and begged for forgiveness, then went to Ibiza, completely cut me off and told me he wanted to end it.

And they told me they were sorry and that it sounded like I was better off without him and all of the things you’re expected to say to someone in that situation. But none of them knew AJ. None of them saw what I was like with him. None of them knew how much I was in love with him. To the point where I didn’t think I’d ever love anyone as much again.

But Naomi knew. Even if she never saw us when we were properly together. Never saw that version of me. She knew what I’d been through. She knew in those months that had followed that I was going through hell. Feeling the lowest I ever had. This feeling of sadness running through everything I did.

And she didn’t judge me when I drank too much and acted out. When I’d bought guys back to her house to shag then turned cold and frosty with them when I’d sobered up the next morning and spent the rest of the day feeling sad. Or when we’d been having a good night out but I’d randomly returned from the toilets of a club with a red, blotchy face because I’d started thinking about AJ and it had all got too much and I needed to leave. She worried about me, obviously, but she understood everything. Mostly she was just there. Like best friends should be.

I’d forgotten how much I’d missed my family until I was home and my mum was kissing me on the cheek. “Oooh, here is. The stranger!” she said pointedly, but she was smiling and happy to see me.

My mum studied my face and gave me a suspicious look. I knew I looked a mess from the night before.

“You look … tired,” she said. Then she sighed and gently shook her head. “God knows what you and that Naomi get up to down there!” I rolled my eyes in response but I couldn’t help but smirk. Mum never changes.

“Yo, bro!” My sister, Kayleigh, who was also home for Christmas, gave me a hug. “Wow! You look like shit!” she said.

“Charming!” I replied. My sister was one of those people who didn’t have a filter. She basically just said whatever came into her head, regardless of whether it might cause offence. I’d often wondered how two people with the same parents could be as different from each other as me and Kayleigh were.

As nice as it was to see my family, I couldn’t wait to collapse on my bed in the bedroom I’d grown up in. It really did feel nice to be back. Whatever few bad memories I had associated with that room from the end of the summer, I think I’d always love it. It felt like one of the few places in the world where I truly felt safe. I had felt that way about AJ Jones’ bedroom once too.

As Little Cat jumped on my bed and curled into the back of my legs, I thought about that one afternoon in the summer when AJ was here, lying on my bed. His gorgeous, smiling face an inch away from mine, his ridiculously muscular body squashed up against me, his huge biceps bulging out of his blue, Tesco polo shirt. That was the day my mum had come home unexpectedly and I’d had no choice but to re-introduce him to her. Awkwardness aside, I had been so happy that day. Me and AJ in our own little bubble. I never imagined it would burst so easily.

And then I start thinking about another occasion; sitting on this very bed and crying into my pillow after getting that text from AJ telling me that it was over.

I never replied to that message. I thought about it. That night, the next few days and a dozen days after that. I thought about all the different ways I could have responded, and all the different things I could have said.

I thought about getting angry. Calling him a coward for ignoring me. Letting him know how hurt I was. Accusing him of not really caring about me. Reminding him that what we had was so special and that I couldn’t believe he was just throwing it all away.

I thought about being understanding. Telling him that I knew why he’d done what he had. That it was probably for the best that we ended it now and that I hoped one day we might be able to be friends again, even though I knew that that could never happen.

And sometimes I thought about fighting. Telling him that I wasn’t going to let him end things that easily. Telling him that we could make it work. That I could forgive him for messing about with another guy. That what we had was too special to give up. Doing whatever I could to change his mind. To make sure that I didn’t let him go like I’d let him go before.

But I couldn’t bring myself to do any of those things. Much like when AJ had hurt me when he’d messed about that guy, Dale, I had closed down to him. That imaginary wall between us had gone up again. And honestly, I just felt like giving up. I couldn’t be hurt anymore by AJ Jones. So I deactivated my Facebook profile. I hid away in my room for the last few weeks of the summer with only Little Cat for company. I stayed away from the leisure centre and Tesco. And any other place that AJ Jones might be.

Much like I had on numerous occasions over the previous few months, I then found myself wondering what AJ had been up to since the summer, and what he was doing now. Did he still work at Tesco? Maybe he was now a full time personal trainer at the Little Denton Leisure Centre? Or even a trainer at one of the bigger gyms in town? Did he go out on the gay scene? Had he met any guys off any dating apps? Did he have a whole new set of gay drinking buddies? Was he now boyfriends with the hottest muscle guy in town, me just a distant memory?

The more my mind started to wander with possibilities, the less I wanted to know. Maybe it was better to remember AJ as he was the last time I’d seen him. Sorry and hurt for what he’d done with Dale. Asking me for forgiveness. Gripping me tight with his ridiculous arms and sinking his head into my neck near the front door of his house before he left to go to Ibiza for a week.

Me and my family had a tradition. Every Christmas Eve we’d go and visit my grandparents on my mum’s side. Sleeping in my bed at my parent’s house the previous night had given me the best night’s sleep in months. Apparently though, I need more.

I woke up in the back of my dad’s car, my mum twisting her neck and looking at me with this amused, affectionate grin. And my sister also looking at me. Giving me with cheeky grin and rubbing my cheek with her finger. “Awww! The baby’s awake!” she said, in a cutesy voice.

Then even my fucking dad looked around with a big, cheesy grin on his face, also clearly amused that I’d fallen asleep in the back of the car. Jesus fucking CHRIST! I seriously couldn’t do anything without my whole family making a massive fuss of it. I rolled my eyes. I was annoyed. But, I don’t know, truthfully, I kind of liked it. In that moment, still half asleep, I felt this overwhelming sense of love for my family.

The car seemed to be slowing down. And then my stomach suddenly lurched, because I realised where we were and what we were doing. Pulling into the car park at the local Tesco. Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck.

“Why are we stopping here?” I asked my parents, anxiously.

“Three guesses! Your mother needs something!” my dad groaned.

“Shut up, Keith! Two things I need. I’ll be ten minutes!”

“We’ve heard that one before!” my dad said.

“Noah, you can stay here in the car with Kayleigh if you want. We won’t be long!” my mum said as my dad parked the car.

Still feeling a little groggy from not having long woken up, I didn’t really think about what I did next. I think I even surprised myself. Because I was suddenly undoing my seatbelt and opening the car door. Maybe if I hadn’t fallen asleep, had known in advance that my parents would be stopping there and had been given time to think about what I was going to do, I wouldn’t have gotten out of that car.

But there I suddenly was, trailing behind my parents and walking into the place where it had all begun. The place I’d been reunited with AJ Jones that Friday afternoon, all those months ago in June. Where I’d found out that one of my old best friends from school had transformed himself into a mini muscle bull of a bodybuilder, with ridiculous biceps, a big, beefy arse and massive tits which strain through the material of his work shirt.

As we walked passed the big Christmas tree and the people dressed as Santa’s collecting money for charity, my mind started spinning with questions. Did AJ even still work here? And if he did, would he be working on Christmas Eve? And what the hell would I do if I actually ran into him?

As soon as we walked into the main store, I got my answers to all of those questions. My heart jumped into my throat, and my legs felt like they were going to give up on me. Because standing next to a big display of discounted Quality Street, in the very same blue polo shirt, his arms still ridiculously huge (if not fucking more so!), his tits still straining through the material, his face just as fucking cute and oh-so-gorgeous as before and wearing a red and white fucking Santa’s hat, was the boy who’d broken my heart.

I couldn’t decide what I wanted more as I looked at AJ Jones for the first time in four months. To turn away from him and run the hell out of the shop, or to run towards him and sink my body into his. And tell him how much I’d missed him. How much I’d thought about him. And how I very much still loved him more anything.

I knew as soon as AJ had spotted me, because his expression suddenly changed. He looked surprised. He definitely looked nervous. Even a little bit scared.

I was incredibly nervous myself. But my legs just kept walking towards him. There was nothing I could have done then anyway. He’d seen me. I had no choice but to go up to him.

My mum had obviously spotted AJ too. “Come on, Keith, let’s go get the sausages!” she said, ushering my dad away. I was both surprised and impressed at how much my mum respected the fact that I wouldn’t want them around in that moment.

As I approached AJ, his face softened. He still looked really surprised. Almost like he’d seen a ghost. I guess he kind of had. But I could also tell, that even though he was nervous, he was actually pleased to see me.

“Hey!” he said, nervously.

“Hi!” I replied, my heart pounding. It was funny. I had always wondered what would happen if I saw him again. I had thought that I might still be pissed off at him and want to start shouting at him for what he did. But standing in front of him again in the flesh, looking at his cute button nose, rosy cheeks and his slightly jug ears sticking out underneath the white fluff of his adorable Santa’s hat, I was filled with this overwhelming feeling of affection. Even though I was nervous as hell, it was so fucking nice to see him. I never would have predicted I’d have felt that way.

He still smelt exactly the same. That unique, intoxicating, masculine scent I once loved so much. I hadn’t realised how much I’d missed it until that moment.

“Nice hat!” I said, playfully. AJ rolled his eyes and his mouth broke into a little grin. It was still as gorgeous as ever.

“Back home for Christmas then?” he asked.

“Yep!” I replied.

“Back in boring Little Denton!” AJ said, with a knowing grin. My heart fluttered like crazy. He had said those very words to me the day we’d bumped into each in the meat aisle of this very store. Clearly he’d remembered.

I realised in that moment how ironic it was that I’d always found Little Denton so boring as a teenager. How I’d been so desperate to move to London at the very first opportunity. And yet, both the most amazing and the most heartbreaking thing had happened to me right here in the place I grew up in.

“Still working at the leisure centre too?” I asked.

“Yeah!” he replied.

“Nothing changes much round here!” I said. AJ had said those words to me that day too. The cute, heart melting grin he was giving me told me he very much remembered that too.

An elderly woman who’d picked up a tub of the Quality Street from the display and was studying it was suddenly trying to get AJ’s attention.

“How much are these, love?”

GAAAHH!! Five fucking pounds! It says it on that big plastic sign in big letters right in front of your bloody eyes.

“Five pounds!” AJ said, cheerily, with a big, warm smile. God. He was still such a little fucking charmer.

The woman’s mouth then broke into a mischievous little grin as she then placed her hand on AJ’s wrist. “My grandson, Simon! He’s into all this muscle building stuff!” Then she looked at me and gave me a cheeky wink.

AJ shot me an amused look. “Awesome!” he said to the woman, grinning wildly. I bit my lip and tried not to laugh.

“I keep saying to him, ‘You’re getting too big, Simon!’ But he won’t listen!” AJ was smiling and nodding and the woman was shaking her head and chuckling to herself.

As she walked away, me and AJ looked at each other and exchanged amused grins. “Think Simon goes to Scorpio’s?” I asked AJ. And then he made a sound I never expected to hear again. He giggled. One of his cute, little giggles I used to love so much. And God, I wanted so much in that moment to be back where we were in the summer.

Even after everything that had happened, the chemistry between us was very much still there. Looking at AJ’s cute, smiling face as we exchanged a personal joke, this incredibly warm feeling washed over me. Just for one moment, it felt like nothing had changed between us. And then I remembered that it had, and suddenly my stomach was twisting and my whole body felt heavy.

A scary looking woman was walking in our direction and glaring at AJ with her eyes narrowed. I’m pretty sure it was the same woman who’d interrupted us when we’d bumped into each other that afternoon in the meat aisle. “AJ!” she said to him, sternly, as she walked passed.

AJ looked at me and this sudden look of disappointment flickered across his face. “I’d better …,” he said, nodding to the people looking at the Quality Street display.

My heart dropped. “Yeah!” I said, understanding that I needed to leave him to it. “Good to see you, anyway!” I said, my voice shaking a little.

“You too! See ya!” he replied, with a look of sadness in his eyes.

And then it was suddenly over, and I was walking away, not knowing if and when I’d ever see AJ Jones again.

Christmas Day was pretty much always the same with my family. My nan would come over in the morning. We’d open our presents. My mum would make sausage sandwiches for everyone’s breakfast. We’d probably have a Bailey’s or a Bucks Fizz each not long after that. My mum would say that lunch would be ready by two o’clock. We’d all know it would be more like three o’clock, which my dad would make jokes and sarcastic comments about.

We’d watch whatever films were on TV in the afternoon while still wearing our paper hats from our Christmas crackers. Probably one of the Harry Potter films for the four-hundredth time and me and Kayleigh would know almost every line of dialogue that was coming next.

That Christmas was no different. Except for one thing. The whole day I had been thinking about my encounter with AJ Jones. Had been going over it in my head a hundred times. How he still looked the same, apart from his arms, which I could have sworn were slightly bigger than the last time I saw him. The expression on his face when he’d first spotted me. The way his ears had stuck out underneath the white fluff of his cute little Santa’s hat. The way he’d grinned at me like he always had done and given me one his little giggles as we’d laughed and joked at that adorable woman, who’d brilliantly told us about her muscle building grandson, Simon. I had been thinking about the way he’d smelt. And the way he made me feel. The same way he’d made me feel in the summer. And I’d thought about that gut wrenching feeling I’d had when I’d walked away from him.

It was a few hours after our Christmas dinner that it happened. Harry and Hermione had just used the time turner to save more than one innocent life when I heard my phone ping in my pocket. I took it out, thinking nothing of it, and my heart suddenly felt like it had stopped. Because, for the first time in four months, AJ Jones had sent me a text message.

I jumped up and shot out of the living room. In the hallway, alone, I looked at the text. AJ had written three words.

“I miss you.”

Fuck! My heart was suddenly expanding and filling up my whole chest. I dashed up to my bedroom, closed my door and sat on my bed, smiling and staring at the message. Scared but excited at what had happened, while not knowing what to do or how the hell to respond. And then my phone pinged again. AJ had sent me another text.

“I miss our Facebook messages.”

And then he sent another.

“I miss teasing you about being a future shredded muscle freak.”

A huge wave of nostalgia swept over me, mixed with an overwhelming feeling of happiness. I grinned wildly into the phone and felt like I was melting into the wall I was leaning my back against.

“I miss thinking up awesome bodybuilder nicknames with you.”

I couldn’t believe what was happening. Couldn’t believe what was coming through on my phone. Text after text from AJ Jones.

“I miss calling you The Cookie Monster.”

“I miss taking you to Scorpio’s.”

“I miss watching Dom and Cole In The Land of Ug with you.”

“I miss lying on my bed with you.”

And then I was suddenly crying. Staring into my phone in disbelief, as AJ continued to text me, tears running down my cheek.

“I miss kissing you.”

“P.S. I promise I’m not drunk!”

And then I was laughing, while still crying.

“I miss flexing for you.”

“I miss seeing your face when I hit a most muscular.”

And then my dick started to swell in my jeans. I was crying and laughing and getting a bloody hard on. All at fucking once.

“P.P.S. Really, really, REALLY not drunk!” And then he sent the AJ emoji. I hadn’t used that emoji for months.

“I miss the way you used to kiss my head every time you cuddled me.”

“And I miss the way you made me feel.”

I remembered what he’d text Naomi that afternoon in his bedroom when he’d told her we were together. He makes me feel things I’ve never felt before.

And then another text came through.

“Things I’ve never felt before.”

And then the messages stopped. And the tears stopped. And something rose up in my chest and seemed to take over my whole body.

I knew what I had to do. I didn’t even stop to think about it. There was just one obstacle to overcome first.

I hovered by the kitchen door. My mum was tidying up while everyone else was sat in the lounge.

“Mum. Is it okay if I just pop out for a bit?” I cautiously asked.

She spun around, looking flabbergasted. “What do you mean?! Pop out where?!” she asked. I wasn’t surprised at her reaction. Going out on Christmas Day in our family just wasn’t a done thing.

I thought about lying to her. Telling her that I was going to see Naomi. Maybe I could spin a lie that I’d forgotten to give her her present. But it didn’t really seem necessary to lie to my mum anymore. Not after what had happened the day I’d found out AJ had cheated on me and she’d put her hand on my leg and sat on my bed. It felt like we’d reached a bit of a turning point that day. I was still a little dubious to let her in on the whole truth though.

“Just to see someone!” I said, my stomach twisting, a little.

She narrowed her eyes and looked at me suspiciously. “Let me guess. Someone from school?”

That was the lie I had spun that night I was going on my first date with Eddie in the summer. Only this time it was true. I blushed a little, but smirked too. My mum knew exactly which friend I was going to see.

“Don’t be too long! It’s Christmas Day!” she ordered. But both her voice and her expression were soft. And then she gave me this affectionate grin.

“Thanks, mum!” I said, grinning back.

Then she playfully rolled her eyes. Which I thought was kind of funny, because it was usually me doing that to her.

I had always thought that if I was ever stood on AJ’s doorstep again I would be filled with nerves and anxiety. But I wasn’t feeling that at all. Maybe the adrenaline and excitement of what was happening was overriding everything else? Or maybe it was just my sheer single minded determination of what I was doing?

My heart fluttered as the front door opened. Even before the person behind it was revealed, I knew it was him. He looked so surprised standing in the doorway, his huge body bulging underneath his painted on jeans and the most adorable purple coloured Christmas jumper with a big snowman on it. He was even wearing a little green paper hat from a Christmas cracker.

“Noah!” he said, with surprise.

“Hi!” I said, with a nervous grin. AJ bit his lip, but his mouth curled into this big, happy grin. His cheeks were all flushed and rosy.

“Have you got a thing for Christmas hats?” I asked.

AJ’s eyes veered up and he suddenly whipped the paper hat off his head in embarrassment, which was so fucking adorable. Then his mouth curled back into a little grin. He no longer had his shaved head. His hair was back to the way it was before, though not as styled and preened as it usually had been. It was more fluffy like it was the day I bumped into him at the gym when he hadn’t expected to see me. It was kind of perfect.

“Come in!” he said. My insides fluttered as I stepped inside AJ’s house. He closed the door behind me and we were stood close to each other. I wanted to touch him so badly. He had this coy, little grin on his face. It was like he couldn’t stop from smiling. And there they still were after all this time. Those fuck off massive butterflies in my stomach. All one hundred, thousand of them.

The door to the living room opened and AJ’s mum appeared. “Oh, hello, Noah!” she said, surprised. A look of curiosity crept over her face as she looked at the two of us standing in the hallway together. It was almost as if she knew something was going on. Then her mouth curled into one of her big, warm smiles.

“This is a nice surprise! Merry Christmas!” she said, leaning forwards and kissing me on the cheek. I could hear Harry Potter coming from the TV in the living room and behind her shoulder I could see Andy sitting down. Apparently even on Christmas Day he wore his black leather biker trousers.

“Merry Christmas, Mrs Jones!” I said.

“We’re just gonna go upstairs, mum!” AJ said.

And then, trailing behind AJ, I felt that all too familiar rush of excitement as we ascended the stairs to his bedroom.

His room looked exactly the same, apart from one thing. He’d changed the picture he had of himself stuck to his bedroom wall. Gone was the shot of him hitting a crab most muscular in his lime green posers while cheekily sticking his tongue out. And in its place was a picture of him hitting a similar most muscular on stage with his mouth wide open in the shiny pink trunks I’d bought him. It was from the guest posing spot he’d done at the bodybuilding show during the weekend we’d spent in London.

I couldn’t quite believe where I was standing. That I was actually back in AJ Jones’ bedroom. Stood just a foot away from him as his thick chest bulged through the purple wool material of his cute Christmas jumper. He still looked happy. But nervous too. Even a little unsure.

I suppose I couldn’t blame him. He’d sent me all those text messages. Opened up to me in the most wonderful and brave way. And I hadn’t responded to any of them. I knew what I had to do. I knew it was my turn to make the next move.

“Thanks for the texts!” I said, my stomach twinging with nerves.

AJ’s mouth curled into an adorable, coy grin. I stepped towards him and gently put my hand on his waist, feeling the soft material of his jumper on my skin. And then his muscular body was leaning into mine and his oh-so gorgeous face, with his cute button nose and his rosy cheeks was coming closer. And then my whole body exploded with joy as my lips met his and I was doing the thing that I had longed to do more than anything since the summer had come to an end. I was kissing AJ Jones.

When we parted lips, we just smiled at each other, our foreheads touching. My hands were gripping his impossibly broad back and his ridiculous arms, which definitely felt bigger than before, were wrapped tightly around me. His scent and incredible mass engulfing me for the first time in four months.

“Merry Christmas, Arthur-John!” I said.

AJ’s grin grew wider. “Merry Christmas, future shredded muscle freak.”

“Is it my imagination, or did you get bigger?” I asked, still squeezing him.

His grin transformed into a cocky little smirk. “I’m bulking!” he said. My chest fluttered with excitement.

“I’m competing next year!” he explained, with his eyebrows cheekily raised, knowing exactly what kind of effect those words would have on me. “Wanna help me tan up backstage again?”

I grinned like crazy. “God yeah!” I exclaimed.

He grinned back and then it faded. He was then just looking at me with this pensive expression on his face. Like he couldn’t quite believe what was happening. He inhaled and exhaled and his huge chest heaved up and down. Almost like he was releasing the last four months of heartache from his body.

Still wrapped tightly around him, I looked back at him. AJ Jones, the bodybuilder. AJ Jones, the boy I fell in love with. AJ Jones, who broke my heart. If he broke it again, I’m not sure it would mend.

He nuzzled his face and head into my neck. “I can’t believe you’re actually here!” he said.

I never really left, I thought. But I didn’t say anything. I just sunk my head into his thick, bull neck and squeezed him tight.

This time I wouldn’t let him go.

THE END

Links to all of my stories here.

Monday, 10 December 2018

MUSCLE FICTION STORY: AJ & NOAH (PART 13)

It's time for the penultimate part of "AJ & Noah". Much like the last part, I won't say too much for fear of giving anything away.

Just a reminder that I'm doing a top 20 bodybuilders of 2018 list on my Twitter page throughout the month. Here's how the list is looking so far...

#20. Brad Rowe
#19. Adolf Burkhard
#18. Elliot Dermond
#17. Derek Lunsford
#16. Igor Illes
#15. Steve Kuclo

Final part of the story coming very soon!


Thirty Six

I put the key in my front door, praying that my mum wouldn’t catch me coming back home. Because I’m pretty sure she’d be able to tell that I’d been crying. And she’d definitely know that something was wrong. The coast was clear. But as I rushed up the stairs to my room, my mum came out of the kitchen and started saying something to me. I ignored her, shut my bedroom door, threw my switched off phone on the bed settee in the corner of my room that me and AJ used to sleep on during our sleepovers when we were younger and collapsed onto my bed.

I was no longer angry. All I could feel was like this incredible sadness. It was like a huge black veil had been draped over my world. Curled up facing my wall, I could barely move my head, let alone lift it from the pillow. I felt like I was lying at the bottom of this huge pit, and I had no desire or energy to try and claw my way out. I just wanted to stay there lying in the darkness.

Not long after lying down I fell asleep. It was the sound of Little Cat crying at my door that eventually woke me up. I let her in and she pounced on my bed, meowing and rubbing up against my legs and eventually curling into me. I had no idea what the time was or how long I’d been asleep for. I didn’t really care.

I wondered if AJ had tried to call me again. Or had left me any messages. I was almost scared at the prospect of switching my phone back on to see. I just wanted to block everything out. Put everything on pause for a while. But I knew that was impossible, because all of these thoughts were running through my head, and they wouldn’t stop.

I kept thinking about AJ with Dale, the beautiful, olive skinned muscle guy he’d been with the night before. How Dale had tracked AJ down on Facebook and arranged to come up and go out with him in town while I’d been on my work experience placement in London.

What had they talked about on Facebook? Had they spoken about me? And what exactly had they done on that night out? Had AJ been comparing Dale to me? Comparing what our bodies looked liked naked? Had Dale done things to AJ that I hadn’t? Made AJ feel a way I couldn’t?

Even though I hated Dale for what he’d done, on some twisted, fucked up level, I couldn’t really blame him for wanting to track AJ down. It wasn’t every day that a ridiculously gorgeous, junior competitive bodybuilder strolled into a gay pub, bronzed up and bulging out of his tight, white t-shirt.

Dale, and the two other muscle guys he was with had probably almost fainted when they’d first spotted him. The other two had even tried to entice us back to theirs. Mr Olive Skin had probably had a flash of inspiration when he’d gotten home, jumped on his laptop and found AJ on Facebook. The profile picture of him flexing out a most muscular with his mouth open, shredded and bronzed on stage, sticking out from all of the other AJ’s that had popped up in the search results.

And as much as I hated Dale, for being rude to me in the pub, for tracking AJ down online, for presumably lying about visiting friends in town, just so he could see AJ again, and telling him that shagging him behind his boyfriend’s back was “no big deal” because, apparently, that’s what gay guys do, like a sneaky fucking cunt, I knew that if it hadn’t been him, it would have been someone else.

Some other hot muscle guy eager to snap AJ up and steal him away from me, just like I’d predicted would happen the night we were out in London. I just never imagined it would happen this soon. And this easily. While AJ was still very much living in Little Denton. One fucking trip to one gay pub in London and our relationship was fucked.

I kept thinking about what AJ had said about whatever had happened between the two of them. That he was drunk. That it was “barely anything“. That it hadn’t changed the way he felt about me. I kept thinking about how scared and sorry he’d looked. And maybe he regretted what he’d done with Dale? Maybe it was just nothing more than sex? From the way AJ spoke, I got the feeling that that was the case.

But if Dale hadn’t made him feel anything, what about the next beautiful muscle guy who pursued and enticed AJ? Or the next guy after that? How long would it take for AJ to fall for someone else the way he’d fallen for me? Someone who was more suited to AJ than I was? A beautiful, A-List gay with a perfect muscle body, and an amazing personality to match. Maybe AJ and I were just never going to last that long? Maybe someone like me could never really be with someone like AJ Jones? Maybe the universe just wouldn’t allow it?

But above all else, what hurt the most, was not what would happen, but what AJ had already done with Dale. I still wasn’t sure whether AJ was in love with me. I knew his feelings went way beyond anything he’d known. He’d told me that. I remembered his text to Naomi. He makes me feel things I’ve never felt before. And yet, he’d still gone behind my back and met Dale. Even if he hadn't planned to do anything, which I’m not sure I entirely believe, he’d still lied to me about who he was going out with. He clearly knew on some level that what he was doing wasn’t right.

Maybe there was a deeper reason why AJ had done it? Maybe he was scared of his feelings for me? Maybe I’d been too full on the weekend before, worrying about what was going to happen in the future and when I’d gone back to university? Maybe AJ had subconsciously wanted to fuck things up because it was just easier that way? Or maybe he also knew that, deep down, someone like him wasn’t supposed to be with someone like me?

A gentle knock on the door pulled me out of my thoughts. “Noah?” Fuck. My mum cautiously opened the door. “What are you doing?” she asked, gently.

“I just fell asleep!” I said, irritably.

“Is everything alright?”

“YES!” I snapped.

My mum wasn’t stupid. I was lying on my bed with the light switched off. Of course everything wasn’t alright. I expected her to leave the room, but she wasn’t moving. She was just hovering over the bed looking at me.

“What?!” I said, lifting my head off the pillow again and looking at her.

“Do you think I don’t know my own son?” she said, calmly.

And then she did something I didn’t expect. She put her hand on my leg and for some reason, my eyes watered instantly. I covered my face straight away and did everything I could to hold it in. I couldn’t stand the thought of my mum seeing me cry. I didn’t know why. I think that I wanted my mum to think I was this super strong person. Maybe then she wouldn’t worry about me so much when I wasn’t safe in my bedroom in Little Denton? Because as much as parents want to protect you, they can’t protect you from everything. It’s impossible. They can’t prevent you from meeting people who will hurt you, whether intentionally or not. And they definitely can’t stop you from having your heart broken.

“I don’t know why you always keep things from me, Noah!” she said, sitting down on the bed next to my legs.

I groaned, and took my hands away. I knew my face was a bit blotchy, but at least I’d managed to keep most of the tears in. “Because … your my mum! It’s weird talking to you about certain stuff!”

“Well you don’t have to tell me all the gory details!”

I rolled my eyes. “What do you wanna know?”

She still look concerned, but her face had softened. I could tell she was excited about what was unfolding. “Have you got a boyfriend?” she asked, with a little smile.

“Ugh!” I rolled my eyes. “Sort of!” I honestly didn’t know whether I still had a boyfriend or not.

Her next question surprised me. “Has he done something to upset you?”

“Yep!” I said, a little frostily.

“Is it worth arguing over?”

“YES!” I said, defiantly.

“Fancy spag bol for tea?” she said. Apparently she’d found out everything she’d wanted.

“Go on then!” I said.

She stood up from the bed, and Little Cat lifted her head up and jumped off to follow her. “Try not to wallow too much!” she said, in a light tone.

My mum clearly didn’t understand the scale of what had happened, but that comment still made me smile a little. In fact, I was feeling considerably better than I had done after the chat with my mum.

Before she walked out of the room, she paused to ask me one more question. “This boyfriend. It’s AJ isn’t it?”

I lay my head back on the pillow. I was suddenly too embarrassed to look at her. I didn’t say anything. “I’m gonna take that as a yes!” she said. And just before she walked out, I glanced over and caught her face, which was suddenly wearing this pleased grin. I could barely believe it. I was convinced that my mum hadn’t suspected that something was going on between me and AJ. Clearly I’d been wrong.

I decided I couldn’t ignore reality for much longer. My stomach clenched tightly as I switched on my phone. It was funny though. I’d been okay with ignoring AJ, but as my phone loaded up, I was suddenly really anxious to find out whether he’d tried to get in touch. As suspected, he had. In fact, he’d sent a series of texts, dating back to two hours before. Right around the time I’d left his house.

“Noah come back.”

“I’m sorry! Please talk to me!”

“Just let me know you’re OK.”

UGH! I threw my phone on the bed in anger. Of fucking course I’m not OK, I thought. I decided that I wasn’t going to let him know anything. He could just sit there and fucking squirm.

Ignoring AJ was surprisingly easy, even when he text me the next day to ask if we could talk. I even took a little comfort in knowing that I hadn’t done anything wrong. Knowing it was all him. AJ was the one in the wrong. He was the one who’d fucked up. Even though it hurt like hell. Even though I felt like I’d never be happy again.

There were moments over the next few days when I questioned what I was doing. Brief occasions where doubt set in and I wondered if there was just the slightest possibility that I was overreacting. I mean, I got it. A lot of gay couples do mess about with other guys. And it’s no big deal as far as they’re concerned.

And if they’ve chosen to do that, and both parties are happy with the arrangement, then that’s great for them. But for me, I wasn’t sure such a thing would work. I was in love with AJ, so why would I want to be with anyone else? How could the rush of any quick blow job with a random guy in the toilets of a club compare to having sex with the man I knew and loved and worshipped?

“Oooh, he’s finally come out of his room!” my mum said one afternoon as I was getting a drink from the kitchen. I rolled my eyes and said nothing. I really wasn’t in the mood.

“Can I just ask you a question?” she asked, cautiously.

UGH!

“What?” I replied.

“Whatever AJ has done, is it worse than what that Reece Miller did to you at school?”

I scoffed. “YES!”

She narrowed her eyes. “Hmmm. Well did AJ say he was sorry?”

I looked at her in confusion. “Yeah?!” I replied, like that would make any difference.

“Well, that’s something!” she said.

What a stupid comment to make. Whether he was sorry or not was completely beside the point. An apology didn’t excuse what he’d done.

“I’m just saying,” my mum began. “That Reece Miller never apologised for telling everyone at school that you were gay, did he?”

I could sort of see her point. Reece, who was supposed to be my best friend, fucked me over and felt no remorse. But I’d always kind of known that he was a prick anyway. AJ on the other hand. He was sweet and good hearted and genuinely cared about me. He’d done one bad thing and was sorry for it. To be honest, though, I wasn’t really sure what was worse.

Over the following days I continued to ignore AJ. I was still so hurt by what he’d done, but as more time passed, I began to miss him. I kept thinking about everything that had happened over the previous few months. Even right up to a week and a half earlier when we’d been in London together. That amazing weekend in London.

I started to miss being cuddled up to him on his bed. I started to miss our cute, funny Facebook messages. Joking with him about me being a future shredded muscle freak. I started to miss being sat next to him in his car. I started to miss kissing him, the way he made me feel and the person I was when I was with him. Possibly the best version of myself there’s ever been.

I started wondering how he’d been doing. Imagining his mates at Scorpio’s and his concerned work colleagues at Tesco asking him if he was okay, because he didn’t seem like his usual self. I pictured him lying on his bed feeling down about what had happened. Regretting what he’d done and feeling awful that he’d hurt me. Wondering if and when I was going to reply to his texts.

And what if all this was just pushing him away? Surely there would be a point where AJ would give up? Where his pride would get the better of him and he’d stop trying to get in contact with me. God, maybe he’d even start texting Dale? Maybe he was doing that already?

I thought about the conversation I’d had with him in the hotel room in London about giving up on him too easily when we’d stopped being friends all those years ago. Was that what I was doing now?

There was one thing that I knew I could do to try and attempt to make myself feel better. One thing that had happened over the summer that I could try and put right. So one afternoon, while still ignoring AJ, I sat on my bed, picked up my phone and scrolled to a contact I hadn’t used for a while. Someone who I’d actively, and wrongly, been ignoring for weeks, and composed a text.

“Hey Eddie. I hope you’re okay. I know I haven’t been in touch for a while and I just wanted to say that I’m really sorry for that. You are such a great guy and we had some really fun nights together but if I’m being completely honest, I met someone else. I didn’t expect it to happen. And it took me by complete surprise. I guess it was just easier to ignore you, which I know was really wrong and (again) I really am sorry for that. I understand if you don’t want to talk to me again, but I thought you deserved an explanation. x”

As soon I pressed send, this huge wave of relief washed over me. I knew I’d done Eddie wrong, but maybe this would help to make up for it? Or at least make him think that I was a little less of a dick than he probably already did. I kind of had a feeling that Eddie would reply to my text. I wasn’t wrong. Not five minutes after I’d text him, his response came through.

“Hey Noah. Wow. Good to hear from you. Well I won’t lie, I was pretty gutted when I didn’t hear back from you, but hey, these things happen and I guess we didn’t know each other for that long. But I think you’re a great guy too, and I’m not really surprised that you met someone. I mean, you’re so fucking sweet and endearing. (And handsome too - obviously!) Whoever he is, he’s a lucky guy. I guess you’ll be going back to uni soon, but maybe we can still be friends? x”

I felt a huge wave of warmth as I looked at Eddie’s text. He really was a great guy. And even though being friends with him seemed like a really nice idea, I had a feeling that that wasn’t going to happen. That once I’d gone back to university, we’d lose touch. Still, I did what was expected and replied to Eddie, thanking him for being so understanding and telling him that I’d really like for us to still be friends. But before I finished composing the reply, Eddie sent though another text, which completely surprised me.

“Hey again. Can I just ask? The guy you’re seeing. Is it your hot bodybuilder friend AJ?”

Fuck. I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t help but smile at Eddie’s text. At the cute way he’d described AJ, and also the fact that, just like my mother, Eddie had clearly been able to tell that something had been going on with us. The whole thing also gave me an unexpected buzz, while also making me think, once again, about the boy I’d spent the summer falling in love with.

It was the sound of something outside my house that initially woke me up that night. Half asleep, and unsure of whether I was dreaming, I ignored it. But then the light from my phone screen lighting up fully woke me up. It was two am and AJ was calling me. No doubt probably drunk. I won’t lie, there was a part of me that felt excited about the fact that he was calling. Just seeing his name on my phone made my insides flutter.

He hung up, and I put my phone back down beside me. And then it lit up again. AJ had sent me a text message. Two simple words which made my whole body jolt. I was panicked. Surprised. But also kind of excited too.

“I’m outside.”

What. The. FUCK?!

And then I heard something hit my bedroom window. And then again. What the fuck was AJ doing? Was he throwing stones at my window? I lay dead still for a moment, my heart thumping.

And then I suddenly heard my parents stirring from the next room and my dad’s voice and fuck, a panic shot through me.

I thought about quickly texting AJ to warn him. I guess my pride was very much still in tact at that point, though, because I couldn’t bring myself to do it.

I heard my parents frantically climbing down the stairs. Shocked and nervous at what was unfolding, I sprung up in bed, and tried to listen to what was happening. I heard my dad confronting AJ and being stern with him. I heard AJ desperately saying “I want to see Noah!” I hated how upset he sounded. I felt like crying. I had never wanted to hear or see AJ upset. I had never wanted anything bad to happen to him ever.

A part of me judged him for the incident. It was such a reckless thing to do. Coming to my house drunk, throwing stones at my fucking window. But at the same time, I don’t know, there was a part of me that liked it. It was crazy and irresponsible. And so dramatic. But it also felt oddly romantic. Him being so out of his mind and desperate to see me that he came to my house in the middle of the night. It was a like a scene from a film.

He text me the next morning.

“Hey. I’m so sorry about last night. I was drunk and I just wanted to see you. I understand if you don’t want to see or talk to me but I fly out to Ibiza tomorrow. I’ll be at home pretty much all day if you want to come round and talk. Tell your parents I’m sorry.”

I looked at the text on my phone, and something finally broke inside me. I was ready to talk to AJ again.

Thirty Seven

I’d never seen AJ looking so nervous than when he opened the door to me in his bright red Scorpio’s Gym hoodie. Not even the first time I ever saw him standing in the playground on his first day at my school. I was still angry at him. And definitely hurt. But I couldn’t deny that seeing him again, for the first time in over a week, made my insides flutter. Despite what AJ had done, he still gave me those fuck off massive butterflies.

But even though he looked nervous, I very much got the impression that AJ was pleased to see me too. He was covered up, but I could tell from his face and his hands that the bronzed competition tan from almost two weeks had all but faded. His hair was starting to grow back too. As sexy as his shaved head was, I couldn’t deny that I missed his old haircut.

This horrible, sick feeling churned in my stomach as soon as I walked into AJ’s bedroom. I knew why. I was remembering what had happened the last time I’d been in this very room. I had always loved being in AJ’s bedroom so much. In fact, upon until a week before, it was probably my favourite place in the world. A place I felt safe, even. A place where I could be the boy I loved exactly the way I wanted to be. To kiss him and touch him and do all the things I wanted to show him what he meant to me. But now that place was tainted. Like someone had taken a knife to something I loved and etched a big scar right across it.

“Are your parents really mad about last night?” AJ asked, as we sat on his bed. My stomach was tightening in knots through nerves.

I gave a little shrug. “My mum seemed okay this morning. She just sort of gave me this disapproving face. She knows about us by the way.”

“Really?” AJ asked. He looked surprised, but not worried like I imagined he would have. He even looked a little pleased.

I nodded. “Nothing gets passed my mum!”

AJ’s face softened and he smiled a little.

“How you been doin’?” he asked, suddenly looking nervous again.

I shrugged. “Pretty shit!” I said honestly.

AJ looked at me with these sad eyes. “I kept thinking I was gonna see you at the leisure centre. Well, more like hoping!”

He looked at me with this hopeful, almost desperate look. I melted. Just a little. Then there was silence and everything suddenly felt tense again. I knew this was my chance to get some answers.

I looked down at my hands. “So why did you do it?” I asked, calmly but solemnly. I only looked up at him once I’d asked the question.

AJ made a little painful groan and pressed his fingers into his forehead. Like he was beating himself up. “I don’t know,” he said.

“That’s a shit answer!” I said, still calmly.

He sighed. “It just sort of happened,” he said, chewing his bottom lip and looking at me with that desperate look again.

Ugh! I could feel myself getting angry again. Just thinking about AJ with Dale. Beautiful, olive skinned, built like a brick shithouse Dale. But I needed to know more. My mind wouldn’t rest until I did.

“Did he come on to you?” I said, less calmly.

AJ nodded. “Back at his mates house after the club.”

And there it was again. That sick feeling churning in my stomach. “Why did you even go back?” I asked.

AJ shrugged. “Well, he lived in town. It was cheaper and easier than getting a taxi home, I guess.”

“Did you want something to happen?” I asked, suddenly feeling like I might start to cry.

“No!” AJ said, defiantly. “I mean I could sort of tell he fancied me. I mean, I think most of his friends did. But he knew I had a boyfriend. Then his mate went to bed and we were sitting on his settee, and that’s when he came on to me. He took me by surprise. That’s when he told me that it was different for gay guys. That lots of couples in relationships mess about with other guys. So I went along with it, but not for long. I freaked out and told him to stop.”

I hated the images that were going through my mind. Of AJ being out with Dale and his mates and all of them fawning over him. Of them going back to someone’s place. Of the two of them sitting on his friend’s settee, Dale coming on to him and AJ going along with it. Of them kissing. AJ kissing another guy. And things developing. Dale’s hand being on AJ’s leg. AJ wrapping his arm around Dale’s waist. The two of them touching. Dale sliding off the couch and kneeling down as he undid AJ’s belt buckle. Fuck. I decided in that moment that I didn’t need to know any more details of what had happened between them. It would do nothing but torture me.

Knowing AJ had freaked out and asked Dale to stop whatever he was doing though was, at least, one small comfort. That was if AJ was telling the truth, of course. I’d never had any reason not to believe him before I read that text message from Dale that day. I wanted to believe that AJ wouldn’t lie to me. But I couldn’t really say that I was certain he wouldn’t.

I looked away from AJ to his bedroom wall. The picture of Blaine Holton, jacked and huge in competition condition while squeezing out a most muscular pose staring back at me. For some reason, I was finding it hard to look at AJ in that moment. Perhaps it was because I now had an image of him and Mr Olive Skin kissing and fooling around with each other on some settee in a flat in town implanted in my brain. AJ had told him to stop. But he had still done it. Whether he was drunk or not. He’d still wanted to mess about with that beautiful muscle guy. He’d still wanted to be with someone who wasn’t me.

“There’s one thing I don’t get though,” I said, still looking at Blaine Holton rather than AJ. “You said you didn’t plan to do anything, but you still lied to me about where you were going that night!” I said. I finally looked at AJ. His face just as fucking gorgeous as ever. He didn’t look so nervous anymore, but he still looked distressed.

He sighed. “The thing is, Noah. This whole gay thing. It’s so new to me. And every time you’ve taken me to a gay place, it’s been so much fun. I mean, that night we were out in London. All the attention I was getting. And then those guys coming up to us. I loved it! And I know they were only talking to me because of the way I looked. But it was still fun!” he explained, shrugging.

“So when Dale asked me if I wanted to go out in town, I thought, “Yeah, I really wanna go!” It felt exciting. I mean, when you first started going out on the gay scene, seeing guys, having boyfriends, whatever … didn’t you find it really exciting?”

“Mmmm. Yeah, actually!” I replied honestly. And I really had. Suddenly, what AJ was saying was starting to make sense. I hadn’t considered any of this.

“And I knew you wouldn’t have liked it if I told you what I was doing. I knew you’d be funny with me. Like you were funny with me that night in London. And I suppose you could have come with me. But … I dunno. I mean, what we have. It’s so fucking amazing. And so special …”

Fuck! I was starting to melt again.

“But I think I liked the fact that this felt separate to that? Going out to gay places. Making new friends. And you didn’t exactly look comfortable with Dale and his mates that night. I mean, you said he was a dick to you!”

I scoffed. Even though what AJ was saying was making sense. Even though I was completely getting it.

“And it really wasn’t about Dale! I mean, I probably would have gone out with anyone who asked me. You know me, I’ll talk to anyone. Especially when I’m drunk!”

“I get what you’re saying!” I said, nodding.

“I was actually kinda hoping to run into that really camp guy who asked to feel my biceps in the toilet that night! He seemed really fun!” he said.

I felt myself softening. AJ’s mouth started to curl into a little grin. “I was maybe gonna squeeze a most muscular in his face. Just to see his reaction!”

And that was it. I felt my mouth curling into a smile and I gently shook my head at him. I hated that AJ was making smile. But I also kind of loved it.

“Oh, and I actually think you were right about Dale!” he said.

I felt a sharp twist at the mention of that name, but I was excited to see where AJ was heading. I raised an eyebrow at him.

“I think he is a bit of a prick!”

My heart fluttered. I furrowed my eyebrows at AJ, curious as to why he’d come to that conclusion, and also a little suspicious that maybe he was just saying what he thought I wanted to hear.

“I mean, he was alright at first. But then he made some comments about some of the people in the pub. Like, really mean things about the way they looked.”

Ugh! I scoffed. “Sounds about right!” I said.

“And he was just so … arrogant!

“Well, I could have told you that!” I said to him, feeling myself starting to smile again.

“I’ve known less arrogant bodybuilders giving it attitude on stage! Even Blaine Holton’s not that arrogant! And he’s about three times as big. And twice as hot!”

I smirked, but something twisted in my stomach. So he had thought Dale was hot? And then I remembered that when I’d first spotted him, before he’d been a prick to me, before he messed about with my fucking boyfriend, I had thought he was hot too. Whether he was a prick or not, he was a beautiful man. Ugh. I hated that. I wanted to live in a world where good hearted people were beautiful and dicks like Dale were butt fucking ugly.

“He’s been texting me too!” AJ said.

Fuck. I felt myself tensing up again. That was something I did not want to hear. I shook my head gently and turned my head away from AJ again.

“I’ve ignored every single one. I think he’s got the message.”

And then I softened, while thinking, Ha! Fuck you, Dale, you fucking prick. I cautiously looked back at AJ, who was biting his bottom lip and looking at me with this hopeful expression. Like he wanted me to just give in and say that all was forgiven.

“But you still messed about with him!” I said, calmly.

“I know!” he groaned. And he suddenly looked sad again.

Something came to me in that moment. What AJ had said about the whole gay thing being new and exciting to him, maybe that wasn’t just limited to going out on the gay scene? Maybe having sex with other guys was as equally exciting to AJ? After all, I was only the second guy he’d ever been with. Maybe that was the real reason he’d messed about with Dale?

“So is that what you want?” I asked AJ, cautiously.

“What?” he asked me, clearly confused.

I shrugged. “To mess about with other guys. An open relationship type of thing?” I said, looking down at my hands.

“NO!” he said, earnestly. “I don’t!”

I looked up at AJ. He looked so sincere. I was softening again. Here’s the thing. I did believe him. But I wasn’t quite convinced that what happened that night wouldn’t happen again. One night when I was back at uni, completely unaware that AJ was meeting some guy off the Internet, maybe an Eddie type, just as a friend, but getting a bit tipsy and something happening between them.

“I really wanna touch you, but the last time I did that you almost kicked me in the face!” AJ said, playfully.

And that really made me smile. There was no hiding it, either. I shook my head and looked up at the ceiling, annoyed with myself that he was making me laugh.

“Don’t mess with Noah Cook!” he said, cheekily. He shuffled his foot along the bed to mine and wrapped his toes over mine and fuck, I melted. I tilted my head back against the bedroom wall, giving in, letting AJ touch me.

“Are we okay?” he asked. I closed my eyes. I wanted to forgive AJ. So much. But everything still hurt so badly.

I looked at him. He was looking at me with these pleading eyes. And then something happened which I hadn’t expected. He shut his eyes tightly and screwed up his face and whimpered. AJ was starting to cry, and desperately trying to hold it back. Fuck. And seeing AJ hurt, I suddenly wanted to cry too. I hated seeing him upset.

I didn’t even think about what I did next. I shuffled over to him and placed my arm around his shoulders and AJ wrapped his arm around my waist and buried his head into my chest, letting out a few whimpers, still trying to hold it back.

I squeezed him tightly and buried my face into the top of his head. It felt like ages since I’d touched him in that way. Even though it had been less than a week. In spite of what he’d done and how he’d hurt me, I just wanted to protect and comfort him in that moment. As a boyfriend. As a friend. As someone who just cared about him.

“I hate that I hurt you!” he said to me, his face still buried in my chest. “I’ve been going crazy!”

While I’d been feeling heartbroken that week, AJ had clearly been going through his own type of personal hell. I realised something in that moment, as I gripped onto AJ tightly. Something I think I’d always known. That, ironically, despite having more than a few extra pounds of muscle than me, despite being physically stronger and bigger than me, and the majority of twenty year olds for that matter, emotionally, I was the stronger one out of the two of us. I think I always had been.

We stayed like that for a little while. Just holding each other on his bed and not talking. We didn’t say much else for the remainder of the time I was there.

“Did you get your suit sorted for the wedding?” I asked AJ, as I stood in his hallway next to the front door.

He groaned and rolled his eyes. “Yes! That was a fucking nightmare! It’s way too long in the arms.”

I smiled at him gently. “Shouldn’t be such a monster then!” I joked. AJ gave me a warm grin but his eyes were still sad. I wondered whether he was going to try and kiss me before I left, but he didn’t. We just gave each other a prolonged hug at the door and I told him I’d see him when he got back from Ibiza.

It almost felt like a relief when AJ was on holiday. Knowing that things were on a temporary pause. I didn’t contact him and he didn’t contact me. Neither did I expect him to. It still hurt me. What had happened. What he’d done. But what AJ had said in his bedroom that day had made so much sense. About going out with Dale because the gay scene was new and exciting. And even though I had had my doubts at the time, in retrospect, I believed what he’d said about not planning to mess about with Dale. About him coming on to AJ and him freaking out about it and asking Dale to stop. I knew he was telling the truth. And even though it still killed me, even though I hated the fact that he’d done something with another guy, I hoped that I would be able to forgive him. Even though it would probably take a little time.

I had thought about the day that AJ got back from his holiday in Ibiza weeks before it had happened. When everything was still so good between AJ and I. I’d imagined how happy I would feel on that day. How much I would have missed him. And how excited I would be at the prospect of seeing him again after a week apart from each other.

When that day actually arrived, I felt none of those things. Instead, I felt nervous. Anxious, even. Because AJ being back in Little Denton meant having to face up to the reality of what was going to happen next between us. Having to find out whether we could make things work.

After what had happened over the previous few weeks, it was hard to know whether it was my turn to make the first move, or AJ’s. I kept wondering whether I should text him, while wondering whether he’d text me. By the end of the day, none of those things happened.

By the end of the second day, when I’d still not heard from AJ, I was starting to get this horrible feeling that something wasn’t right. So I composed a text. “Hey. How was the holiday?” I hovered my finger over the send button, wondering whether I should press it. Fuck it, I thought. And the text was sent.

Nothing came back. Not half an hour later. Not an hour later. Not even a day later. And that awful, sick feeling in my stomach only got worse. It was funny, because I had been fine before I had sent that text message (I guess that’s called having your head in the sand). But once I’d reached out to AJ and he wasn’t responding, suddenly I was incredibly anxious and eager to hear from him.

I text him again the next day, asking if everything was okay. When nothing came back then, either, it was abundantly clear what was going on. AJ was ignoring me.

I couldn’t believe it. After everything that had happened. After he’d messed about with that prick. Lied to me. Hurt me. After he’d spent a week desperately trying to get in touch with me. Coming to my house in the middle of the fucking night. After he’d explained everything to me in his bedroom and tried to get me to forgive him. Cried in front of me. After I’d held him in my arms, he was now doing this. Just ignoring me. Not facing up to me, or his feelings. Like an absolute fucking coward.

What had changed since I’d left his house the week before? Was it because he’d cried in front of me? Or it some kind of payback for me ignoring him that week? Was it just one huge pride thing? Or had something happened in Ibiza? Had he messed about another beautiful muscle guy? God, with another girl, even? Had he realised the past few months with me had just been one massive mistake and he no longer wanted to be with me, or any other guy for that matter? Or had he just come to the conclusion that me and him just weren’t meant to be? Still, whatever it was, I deserved to know. It was completely unfair for him to do this to me.

Something inside of me snapped. I gave AJ one more day to respond to me. When nothing came back, I sent him another text.

“AJ. What’s going on? I’m not playing this stupid fucking game with you. I’m coming round to see you.”

It was time for me to take action again, just as I’d done that day in AJ’s bedroom when I’d confronted him about his drunken messages after that night out with Naomi and Eddie, where he’d all but confessed he had feelings for me.

I had no idea whether AJ would be in, but when his house was in sight and I saw that his car was missing, I got my answer. His mum’s car was in the drive though. I had to see her, so that AJ knew my text had not just been an empty threat. So that he knew I wasn’t going to let him get away with treating me this way.

I was nervous when I rang the doorbell and my heart was racing, but something was overriding those nerves. It wasn’t so much anger. More just sheer determination.

His mum answered the door. “Oh, hello, Noah!” She was smiling at me, but she looked a little weirded out. She could obviously sense that something wasn’t right. Suddenly the nerves had taken over my determination. “Is AJ home?” I asked, meekly.

“He’s at the gym, love,” Mrs Jones informed me, looking at me with this confused and concerned expression.

AJ probably hadn’t even seen my text. “Oh.” I suddenly felt really awkward. “I’ll just text him later!” I said, suddenly desperate to get away.

“I’ll tell him you came by,” she said. “Bye, Noah.” She gave me one of her warm smiles. This one didn’t fill up quite as much of her face as it normally did, though.

I walked away from AJ’s house. I probably should have felt deflated. But I didn’t. Somehow, I knew I’d done enough.

It was about an hour later, when I was sitting on my bed at home, that AJ Jones finally text me back.

“I’m sorry, Noah. I can’t do this anymore. I had a lot of time to think in Ibiza. I hate that I hurt you so much. I know I fucked up. I could tell from last week when you came round that things weren’t going to be the same with us. I think it’s better in the long run if we just end things now. It probably wouldn’t have worked with you being in London anyway and I don’t wanna risk hurting you again. I’m sorry. This is killing me. AJ x”.

I threw my phone down on the mattress and picked up my pillow, wrapping it tightly around my face as I cried into it. I don’t really know why I hid my face. It was like I didn’t want anyone to see me cry, even though there was no one else was in the room. I remember thinking that it was one of those moments I’d never forget. Like a scene from a film that sticks in your mind long after the end credits roll.

But it’s funny, because I also remember thinking how there was a strange sort of beauty about the whole thing. In breaking down. In letting go. In feeling like my heart was breaking over and over again.

Sunday, 2 December 2018

MUSCLE FICTION STORY: AJ & NOAH (PART 12)

"I wanted to tell him how much I loved him. How I couldn’t envision being with anyone else. Had absolutely no interest in it. Not even a quick, meaningless fumble with a fit muscle guy in a blue t-shirt in a gay pub and his hot muscle daddy boyfriend. I wanted to tell him that my body was his. And how much I worshipped him. Every single part of him. But it all just felt too big to say."

OK, guys, here goes with part 12 of "AJ & Noah"! I'm not gong to say too much about this one. There's not a *huge* amount of the story left after this part so enjoy it while it lasts!

On another note, I'm doing a top 20 bodybuilders of 2018 list throughout December over on my Twitter page if you fancy checking it out. So far Brad Rowe has taken the #20 spot and Adolf Burkhard is in 19th place!


Thirty Four

“I wonder what would have happened if we’d have stayed friends at school?” I asked AJ.

I was wrapped around him on the hotel bed, my head resting on his chest, his right arm wrapped tightly around me and his left hand holding mine as they rested on his abs.

My whole body looked absurdly pale next to his bronzed skin. Somewhere on the hotel room floor lay both AJ’s pink posing trunks and the lime green ones he’d let me wear. Maybe the straps of both pairs were intertwined with each other, the posers almost sharing their own little snuggle like me and AJ were.

“Like, do you think we would have still ended up together?” I added.

I looked up at AJ. He had this little grin on his face but was looking pensive too. “Mmmm! I hope we would’ve!” he said.

“We could have been boyfriends for years!” I replied.

AJ dreamily grinned at me. “You could have been there for my very first bodybuilding show!” he said.

“Oh yeah! I wouldn’t have let you wear those awful black posing trunks either!”

AJ did one of his cute, little giggles. “Hmmmm. Who knows, maybe we wouldn’t have ended up like this if we had?” AJ suggested. “Maybe we had to stop being friends so all this could happen?”

My heart fluttered. “I like that theory!” I said, squeezing his hand with mine.

I turned my face down again, resting my cheek against one of AJ’s pecs. “You know when we stopped being friends? I thought a few times afterwards whether I could have done more!” I said, not facing him.

“Awwww!” AJ replied, burying his face in the top of my head and giving it a soft kiss. “I think it was just one of those things!” he said. “Friends just drifting apart!”

You drifting apart from me, I thought.

“Hmmm. I dunno. Sometimes I think I let you go too easily,” I said. I don’t think I’d ever said that to anyone before. He gripped my hand tighter and squeezed.

We stayed cuddling in silence for a little while after that, just enjoying being wrapped around each other, until AJ finally spoke. “Mmmm. What time is it?”

“Erm … not sure. Probably about seven?” I said.

“I’m fucking starving!” AJ said. “I’d usually be eating cheat meals after a competition! Shall we go out?”

For some reason, a voice in my head shouted, “NO!” I couldn’t explain it, but it was so clear.

“Or we could just stay here all night in bed?” I suggested, looking up at him and grinning.

AJ cheekily grinned back at me. “Let’s go out!” he said.

I still didn’t know why I’d wanted to stay in when I was sat opposite AJ at a table in a cosy little corner of an Italian restaurant somewhere around Covent Garden. As it had been before, being in public with AJ felt like such an incredible rush. As was just being with him in the city, away from Little Denton. Doing things other than going to Scorpio’s or watching Dom and Cole in his bedroom, not having to worry about whether we could do stuff because his mum and Andy were home.

AJ was bursting out of a white t-shirt. His bronzed arms, face and neck contrasting ridiculously with the white material. I still couldn’t believe how much of a proper bodybuilder he looked. I’m sure my cock had been hard more often than it hadn’t that day.

The tips of our trainers were touching under the table. I could have just stayed there sitting across from him and looking at his gorgeous face all night. Our relationship had definitely reached new heights after what had happened at the hotel. I still couldn’t quite believe what we’d done. That AJ had been able to do what he did and it had bought me such intense, mind blowing pleasure. I wondered if the buzz I was feeling was ever going to end.

“So, what do you think of London?” I asked him.

“It’s mental!” AJ exclaimed. I grinned in response. “There’s just … people everywhere!” It was kind of adorable seeing AJ’s eyes opening up to something new. He seemed so innocent in that moment. It was so fucking endearing.

“You seem different here, too!” AJ said, surprising me.

I furrowed my eyebrows. “How?!” I asked, curious and excited at his response.

AJ grinned and shrugged. “I dunno! Just … a bit more grown up I guess!”

I had never really thought about it before then, but I guess I was a slightly different version of myself when I was in London, away from my family and Little Denton,  where I didn’t have my mother worrying about me. Quizzing me about where I was going and who I was going out with.

I had so much freedom when I was in London. There were so many things I could do. So many different places to go. Sometimes I wanted it all so much. And yet, on the other hand, there had been so many times in the two years since I’d left for university when all I’d really wanted was to be back at home in Little Denton. Texting Naomi in my bedroom and wanking off to huge, shredded bodybuilders on my laptop.

“Is that a good thing?” I asked AJ, curiously. I think I knew the answer.

He gave me an adorable, loving grin. “Any version of you is good!” he replied.

I melted and sheepishly smiled back at him. I’m sure I probably blushed a little too. Before I could reply we were approached by the waitress bringing us our pizzas. She had this conspicuous little smirk on her face when she looked at AJ. I could tell she thought he was hot.

“Looks like you’ve got another admirer!” I said to him as she walked away.

AJ playfully sighed. “The downfall of being a sexy fucker! Everyone wants me!”

I laughed and playfully shook my head. “If you start bouncing your pecs again like you did on the tube I’m walking out!”

AJ beamed. “Yeah right! You loved it!”

I rolled my eyes and smirked. AJ picked up his knife and fork. Straightening up his back, he cleared his throat loudly and proceeded to bounce his pecs underneath his white t-shirt.

I shook my head and grinned like mad. “I don’t see you going anywhere!” he cheekily said, as he goofily grinned at me.

“I can’t believe how hard that guy on the tube was staring at you! He wasn’t even trying to be subtle!” I said to AJ.

AJ cheekily grinned. “Does everyone down here have a thing for shredded muscle freaks?”

A question suddenly came into my head. My stomach clenched a little at the thought of asking it. Normally I wouldn’t have, but there was something about that evening, what had happened at the hotel earlier, and just being away from Little Denton with AJ that was giving me a sense of bravery.

“Do you think you could you see yourself living down here?” I asked AJ, my stomach suddenly twisting.

AJ immediately screwed his face up. “Hmmm. Nah! I don’t think it’s for me!” he said shaking his head.

Fuuuuck! It felt like someone had kicked me in the fucking stomach. I actually couldn’t quite believe he’d responded that way. Given me such a resounding no. And so thoughtlessly. What the fuck did AJ expect me to do once I’d graduated university? Move back to Little Denton and get a job in Tesco? I knew we hadn’t discussed what would happen that far into the future, but surely AJ had thought about it? If only just a little?

What was also bad was that he didn’t even seem to register my disappointment. At least not at first. Once I’d been quiet for a little while he asked me if I was okay and I assured him I was. Perhaps foolishly. Maybe I should have just bought up the subject there and then, but I didn’t want it to seem like I was overacting. And I definitely didn’t want to ruin the atmosphere or the night. Even though AJ had kind of done that already. So I tried to convince myself I was being stupid and tried to put it out of my mind. Apparently not very successfully.

“You sure you’re okay?” AJ asked me as we walked out of the restaurant and headed towards Soho. We’d agreed to go to a bar, even though a huge part of me just wanted to go back to the hotel and fall asleep as fast as I could. In hope that when I woke up the next morning I would have snapped out of the mood AJ had put me in and forgotten all about his comment about not wanting to move to London.

“Yeah!” I reassured him, perhaps unconvincingly.

AJ narrowed his eyes. “You’ve gone quiet on me! I didn’t hurt you earlier did I?”

The question took me by surprise. I knew what he meant. Somehow I just didn’t expect him to ask me that. It was so considerate and sweet.

“No!” I assured him, sheepishly grinning at him and suddenly wanting to melt into him. Or at least hold his hand again like we’d done earlier on the way to the hotel.

“Good! I was a bit worried!” he said, biting his lip and grinning at me.

I wanted to tell him that no, he hadn’t hurt me. That what we’d done had been the single most pleasurable experience I’d ever had, and I couldn’t wait for him to be inside me again. That was the point that I managed to shrug off the earlier incident. What may or may not happen in the future suddenly didn’t seem so relevant.

AJ had requested I take him to one of the pubs I go to. I didn’t have the energy to face one of the bars where the younger guys go so I opted for one I knew of with an older crowd.

I knew that AJ was going to turn a few heads, but I wasn’t quite prepared for just how much attention he received. Jesus! It felt like practically everyone in the bar was staring at us. It probably didn’t help that I’d bought him to one of the cruisiest pubs in Soho. A fact I’d suddenly remembered once we were in there. I’d always received my fair share of attention whenever I’d been in that pub. So of fucking course everyone was staring at and checking out the huge, bronzed, painfully gorgeous bodybuilder bulging out of his tight, white t-shirt.

Even the insanely fit barman who served us was gawping at AJ. “I thought you said no one cares in London?” AJ said with a smug grin, as we found a spot to stand and I explained to him what cruisy meant, enjoying the fact that AJ was so innocent about such things.

It was interesting, because on that night in the bar back home where AJ and his mate had joined me, Eddie and Naomi, I’d loved seeing the attention he’d received. On that night, however, it was making me feel uncomfortable. Even a little anxious that so much attention was coming in our direction.

Maybe the reason I was feeling uncomfortable was because AJ and I were now together. He wasn’t just a guy I suspected might, against all odds, be interested in me. He was now my boyfriend, being checked out by an entire bar of guys. But there was something else that was bothering me too. I could tell that it was having an effect on AJ. It wasn’t an environment he’d been in before and from the glint in his eyes, I could tell that he liked it. All of these guys so blatantly checking him out.

“Those lads over that look pretty beefy!” AJ said, nodding to the corner of the bar. He was giving the same mischievous, wide eyed look he would if he were pointing out a particularly big guy at Scorpio’s who he thought I might fancy.

I turned and noticed three hot muscle guys looking in our direction. One was about 6’3, built like a brick shithouse, olive skinned and, quite possibly, one of the most beautiful men I’d ever seen in my life. But I could tell there was an arrogance there, even from the other side of the pub, which was an immediate turn off. There was something about the way he was looking at us, almost in judgement, which made my stomach clench.

The other two guys looked a little more easy going. One was a bit of a daddy. The other probably late twenties, maybe early thirties. Short-ish, good looking, pretty muscular, but no where near the level of the other guy, or the bodybuilder who’d cum inside me just a few hours before.

I probably should have known that when I left AJ alone to use the toilets, someone would approach him. I would never have predicted that I’d go back to the bar to find the three muscle guys he’d pointed out surrounding him, though.

I felt nervous approaching them. I knew that these guys weren’t interested in talking to me. That they definitely wouldn’t have approached me if AJ hadn’t been there. It was funny, because even before I was standing with them, I couldn’t help thinking how absurdly comfortable AJ looked with them. Even though he’d only just met them. It was almost like he’d found his people. Hot muscle gays. A private little club I definitely did not belong to.

“This is Noah!” AJ said, putting his hand on my back. The daddy and the short guy surprised me because they were really warm and friendly. But the other guy, the tall, beautiful, olive skinned guy, who AJ introduced as Dale, barely looked at me. In fact, it was almost as if he made a point of not looking at me.

And then, a few minutes in, we locked eyes, and I’ll never forget the look he gave me. I don’t think I’d ever really been looked down on before. But that was definitely was this guy had done. An intense feeling of hatred consumed me. There was no question about it. Mr Olive Skin was an absolute fucking dick.

After ten minutes or so, AJ went to the toilets. The short-ish guy, whose name was Jack, leaned into me. “Where the hell did you find him?” he cheekily asked. I couldn’t help but get a kick out of his reaction to AJ. I explained that we’d been friends at school and had bumped into each other just a few months before. I told how I’d assumed he was straight but we’d spent the summer rekindling our friendship and that we’d ended up getting together just a few weeks before.

“Awww! That’s kinda sweet!“ Jack, said to me. “Sorry, was it Noah?” he asked. Then he linked his arm with mine and fuck, I definitely felt something. I told him yes.

“I can see you’ve got a bit of muscle on you. You’re kind of like a muscle man to be!” he said. I couldn’t help but swoon and grin at his compliment. He was so incredibly charming and warm. Plus, he was undeniably sexy, filling out a tight blue t-shirt, with his pecs visibly straining through the material. Next to AJ, he was probably the hottest guy who’d ever chatted to me in a bar. The muscle daddy, who I’d found out was Jack’s boyfriend and who was now talking to another random guy who’d approached us, was pretty fucking sexy too.

“What are you guys doing after this?” Jack asked me.

“Erm … nothing,” I said, feeling both nervous and excited at what was unfolding.

“Do you guys wanna come back to ours?” he asked.

Had that been proposed to me two months earlier, and to me alone, I wouldn’t have thought twice about saying yes. But that was before AJ had come along.

“We’ve got coke!” he informed me.

“Ummm … I’m not sure if AJ is into that!” I replied, even though I was pretty sure that AJ actually would be up for trying it, if he hadn’t already.

“We don’t have to do that! Whatever you guys wanna do!”

It was obvious what that meant. Jack and his muscle daddy boyfriend wanted to mess about with the gorgeous, hot bodybuilder who’d waddled into the pub and caused a stir. If that meant his much smaller, non-muscular boyfriend had to come along for the ride too, then so be it.

I wanted to believe that AJ wouldn’t be into it. But, I honestly couldn’t say for definite that he wouldn’t. It was completely uncharted territory. The idea of having sex with a couple of hot guys we’d met in a pub wasn’t something we’d ever discussed. I knew what I wanted though, and that was to go back to my hotel room and spend the night with the boy I was in love with. Just me and him.

But something else was suddenly pre-occupying my mind, because Mr Olive Skin had left the group, and I suddenly noticed where he was. Talking to my boyfriend just a few feet away from the entry of the toilets. Whispering in his ear, with his hand placed gently on his shoulder. AJ looking both interested and engaged. Fuck! An unnerving, sick feeling churned in my stomach.

What the fuck was that prick saying to AJ? And why exactly did it merit him touching his shoulder? My mind was racing as I imagined all the possible things Dale could have been saying to my boyfriend. Informing AJ that there were plenty of gay muscle guys in London. Some of whom he could personally introduce him to. Maybe AJ was starting to see how exciting it would be if he hung around with guys like Jack and Mr Olive Skin? And maybe AJ would start to listen when all of his new hot muscle friends told him that a guy like him could do so much better than a guy like me?

We left the pub not longer after that, my mind still spiralling with all of those thoughts. Sometimes when I get into a certain mindset, I can’t seem to shift my mood. It was like my brain switched into this dark place with all these negative, anxious thoughts swirling around it. And the only thing I could do was just endure it.

The worst thing about it was that it affected the atmosphere between me and AJ. For the first time ever, I didn’t feel comfortable with him. It was like there was an awkwardness hanging over us. He didn’t say anything initially, but I knew he felt it too.

AJ was being uncharacteristically quiet. And then I suddenly thought, what if it had nothing to do with me and my mood? What if it was because of whatever that fucking dick had been saying to him in the pub, whilst his hand had been on his shoulder? I needed to find out what had happened.

“What did that guy say to you? When you were coming back from the toilets?” I asked AJ. We were walking back to the tube through busy, crowded London.

“Oh, what Dale?”

Ugh! I hated the way AJ said his name like he knew him. Like they were friends. FUCK OFF! You only met him an hour ago, I thought.

“Oh, was that his name?” I asked, pointedly. AJ shot me this weird look. He knew I was being funny with him.

“He was just telling me about this club where muscle guys go!”

My stomach churned. I’ll bet he fucking was, I thought. I didn’t respond, but all I could think about on the tube ride back to the hotel was what might happen if AJ did move down to London to be with me.

What if he did start hanging out with Mr Olive Skin and all of his hot muscle friends? And what if I slowly lost him to those people, just like I’d lost him to the cool kids at school? But, perhaps what was worrying me the most, was what if AJ realised that he could do so much better than me? Be with a guy so much more muscular and sexier than I was? Someone like Dale or Jack or his muscle daddy boyfriend?

Maybe it was best that AJ stayed in Little Denton. Where people like Mr Olive Skin couldn’t take him away from me.

Once we were back in the hotel room, my mood lightened a little. The amazing memories of what me and AJ had done earlier in this very room were starting to come back. But I still couldn’t stop thinking about what had happened at the pub. And I still couldn’t seem to get the image of AJ and Mr Olive Skin out of my head. Granted he’d towered over AJ with his tall height, and was at least several years old than us, if not more, but I couldn’t stop thinking that the two of them had looked good together.

“You know that guy, Jack, asked me if we wanted to go back with him and his boyfriend?” I said, lying on the bed as AJ stood over it and played with the TV remote.

He furrowed his eyebrows and smirked. “Really?! What, like … a foursome?”

I nodded. AJ looked surprised but amused. “What, he just came out and asked you?”

“Pretty much!” I said, nodding and feeling charmed at AJ’s naivety at how forward gay guys could be. I was almost tempted to ask whether he’d have gone for it, but I didn’t think I wanted to know the answer.

AJ jumped on the bed. He climbed on me and lay flat on top of me, resting his chin on my stomach and looked up at me with intent while making an, “Mmmm,” noise.

I melted instantly, grinned and put my hands on his back, while feeling his bronzed up mass squashed against my body.

“What’s wrong?” he asked, with genuine concern.

The question threw me. “Nothing!” I said, gripping him.

AJ rolled his eyes. “Liar!”

I felt sheepish, and reluctant to talk. But I also kind of loved that AJ was concerned. And how sweet he was being.

“Something’s up. Have I upset you?” AJ asked, looking a little worried.

“No!” I lied. “I’m just … being stupid!” I told him.

“Well I’m not moving ‘till you tell me what’s wrong! I’ll go to sleep right here on top of you if I have to!”

I rolled my eyes and sighed, still reluctant to open up.

“Right then! Night night!” AJ joked. And then he turned his face away from me and placed his cheek on my chest and made a snoring sound, pretending to go to sleep on top of me.

I couldn’t help grin at what he was doing. “Ooooh, this pillow’s a bit lumpy!” AJ said, wiggling on top of me.

I giggled, continuing to grip on to him and he looked back up at me with a big, self-satisfied grin on his face. Clearly feeling pleased himself. I loved the fact that we were back to our normal selves. That the uncomfortable awkwardness I’d felt when we’d left the pub had passed.

“Tell me what’s up!” he gently ordered.

I sighed. What was I supposed to tell him? I didn’t want to bring up his comment about not wanting to live in London, but AJ clearly wasn’t going to drop the subject. I knew I had to tell him something. Go part way to explain what was bothering me.

“That guy in the pub was kind of a dick to me!” I said. Mr Olive Skin was playing a big contribution to my mood after all.

“Which one?!” he said, furrowing his eyebrows.

“Dale!” I said, rolling my eyes. “Or whatever his name was!”

AJ looked surprised. “What did he do?”

I shrugged. “It was just the way he was with me. He was just rude! And he gave me this look!”

AJ looked at me like I was being overdramatic. I was starting to regret telling AJ how I felt. “Hmmm. He seemed okay to me!”

Ugh! That pissed me off. I was telling him that someone had been a dick to me. Why wasn’t he taking my word for it?

“Well he was okay to you!” I said. I knew how that made me sound. Like a crazy, jealous boyfriend.

AJ’s mouth curled into a little grin. Like he thought I was being cute. “Does it matter though, Noah?” he said, shrugging his shoulders slightly. “He was just some random guy in a bar!”

Just some random guy, I thought. Who was absurdly good looking. And built like a brick shithouse. And oh yeah, had his hand on your fucking shoulder.

“Anyway, mister, you were funny with me before then!” AJ said.

Oh God. My stomach twisted.

“Was it something I said in the Italian?”

Fuck. AJ clearly wasn’t going to let me get off that easily. Maybe it was time to broach the subject? Tell him the truth of what had initially bothered me? I took a deep breath.

“It was what you said about London,” I said, nervously. AJ looked at me confused. “How you couldn’t see yourself living here?” I explained.

He furrowed his eyebrows, but there was something in his expression too. A seriousness that wasn’t there before. Maybe he knew where I was heading.

“Okay …,” he said, prompting me for a further explanation.

“It’s just … I dunno. I’m probably gonna end up living here when I finish uni. Especially if I wanna get into publishing!”

“Yeah, but, that’s not for, like, another year!” he said.

“I know. I guess, I just think about these things!” I said honestly, feeling more nervous still.

“Are you saying you’d want me to move to London?” he asked, his eyebrows furrowed.

Fuck! “No!” I said, instinctively. “I dunno!” Fuuuuck. What was I saying? My heart was pounding. AJ had a serious look on his face. “I mean … not right now!”

AJ’s expression softened and he gave me this warm little grin. And I felt a flutter of excitement. There was a part of me that thought it was a crazy notion. The idea of AJ moving to London to be with me. Especially as we hadn’t been together that long. But there was another part of me that couldn’t think of anything more logical. Being as close to the boy I loved as I could.

The way AJ was looking at me, and what he said next suggested that maybe he didn’t think it wasn’t such a crazy notion either.

“I mean … I haven’t really thought about it properly!” he said, with a little shrug. I felt a pinch of excitement. “It’s just so different down here! And people don’t stare at me in public as much!” he added, wiggling his eyebrows and cheekily grinning.

I smiled and rolled my eyes. 

“But, Noah,” he began, suddenly looking serious, “it’s not like you asked me to move here and I said no. And I’ve only been here for, like, half a day!” he reasoned. “I can’t really say whether I might wanna live here in a years time or not!”

So don’t wait a year, I thought. Come with me when I move back here next month. But that seemed like an even crazier notion. And way too out there to suggest.

“And I’m not being funny, but you don’t definitely know you’re gonna stay here after uni either!” AJ continued.

AJ was right, of course. When did he become the voice of reason? “I know!” I said, shaking my head. “I’m being stupid!”

He gave me this adorable grin and looked at me lovingly. “I guess I’m just worried!” I explained, feeling brave. I didn’t think too much about what I said next. Perhaps if I had, I wouldn’t have said it.

“Like, I’ll be going back to uni next month. I don’t want things to change.” I couldn’t believe what I was saying. That I was being so honest. But I guess I felt like it finally needed to be said. And that felt like the perfect moment.

Something flickered in AJ’s expression. A look of worry. Sadness, even. “I know. I think about it too!” he confessed. Fuck. My heart fluttered. “But it’s not like I’m going anywhere!” he added.

But what if, once I’m back in London, you realise you don’t wanna be with me? I thought. What if you sign up to a dating app and meet someone like Eddie just like I did a few months ago? And what if you go to the one of the gay pubs in town and meet another hot muscle guy and realise you wanna be with him instead of your long distance boyfriend you don‘t get to see as much as you’d like?

“I mean, if anyone should be worried it’s me!” AJ exclaimed.

That completely threw me. “Why?!” I asked, confused.

“Cause you’ll be down here. Going out! Meeting guys in pubs and getting invited back to theirs! And I’ll be back in Little Denton! Just … waiting ‘till I get to see you again!”

I couldn’t believe it. I had no idea that AJ had been thinking any of those things. I shook my head and looked at him lovingly, while gently playing with the top of his left, slightly jug ear.

I wanted to tell him how much I loved him. How I couldn’t envision being with anyone else. Had absolutely no interest in it. Not even a quick, meaningless fumble with a fit muscle guy in a blue t-shirt in a gay pub and his hot muscle daddy boyfriend. I wanted to tell him that my body was his. And how much I worshipped him. Every single part of him. But it all just felt too big to say.

“Trust me. You’ve got nothing to worry about! You know what you mean to me!” I said, a little sheepishly.

He dreamily smiled at me, and then leant in to kiss me. I could have stayed there all night just looking at him. Kissing him. Touching him. Feeling him against me.

I hoped that AJ believed what I’d said. I hoped he knew how much he meant to me. I hoped he knew that I would never intentionally hurt him. And more than anything, I hoped that he was wishing for all of those exact same things from me.

Thirty Five

“So, what sort of things have you been doing?” Naomi asked me.

We were sitting in a Chinese restaurant near Soho. I’d done three days of my work experience placement at Third Hill Publishing and Naomi had come up from Brighton for the evening to see me. I proceeded to tell her about all the mostly fun, book related things the guys at the company had got me doing.

“And are you missing AJ?” she asked, with a teasing grin on her face.

I grinned and rolled my eyes. “It’s only been three days!” I exclaimed. “Obviously we’ve been texting. And messaging on Facebook!”

Now that I was actually on my work experience placement in London, I felt a little embarrassed about the fact that I’d been gotten so worked up about being away from AJ for such a short amount of time. Even to the point where I’d considered not going on the work placement in the first place.

As AJ had rightly predicted, the three days so far had flown by. In another two nights I would be back home in Little Denton and I’d get to see him again. Obviously I was looking forward to it, but as it turned out I actually was able to function without my daily fix of being cuddled by my bodybuilder boyfriend.

“I better get used to not seeing him anyway when I’m back at uni!” I continued.

“How often do you think you’ll go back?” Naomi asked.

I shrugged. “Every weekend. Hopefully!” I said, a little sheepishly.

“Really? Awwww! That’s so sweet!”

“And hopefully he’ll come down here some weekends too when he can get it off work!” I said.

My stomach clenched tightly as I suddenly thought about our night out the weekend before and I pictured Dale, the excruciatingly beautiful muscle guy we’d met in the pub we’d gone to, whispering into AJ’s ear with his hand on his shoulder.

Maybe I could somehow get barred from every gay pub in London? Severely reducing the risk of AJ attracting the attention of any ridiculously gorgeous, olive skinned muscle men and their hot muscle daddy friends, who try to entice us into orgies back at theirs (not that that proposition had been particularly un-enjoyable). I hadn’t told Naomi anything about that evening yet. Including the discussion we’d had at the hotel afterwards.

“We actually had a bit of an argument Saturday,” I told her. “Well … I’m not really sure if you’d have called it an argument, as such.”

“What happened?” Naomi asked, intrigued.

I sighed. I told her what AJ had said about London. About how he couldn’t see himself living here and how I’d told him it had bothered me so much back at the hotel.

“Well … I hate to say it, Noah, but I think AJ’s right!” Naomi said. “I don’t think you should be worrying about stuff that’s, like, a year in the future! I mean, he might come down here a few times to visit and decide he really likes it? And like AJ said, you can’t say for definite that you’re gonna stay here when you graduate. I mean, who knows, you might end up getting a job in town back home!”

I pulled a face. “Doing what?!”

Naomi shrugged. “I don’t know! But the publishing thing might not work out. Or you might decide you don’t wanna do it?”

“Mmmm,” I said. I knew Naomi was right, of course. But I’d always pictured myself staying in London after university. This is where most of the jobs I was interested in were. And even though I’d only been on my work experience placement at Third Hill Publishing for a week, I could really see myself working there permanently. Or at least somewhere similar.

But what if AJ really didn’t want to move to London? What if I had to choose between a job and a career, and ultimately the life I really wanted, or the gorgeous, sweet, funny bodybuilder I’d fallen in love with back in my hometown?

“You guys will be fine! It’ll work itself out!” Naomi said.

I wanted to believe she was right, so did my insides feel like they were tightening?

When I woke up the next morning, for some reason, the last thing I wanted to do was spend the day sitting in an office full of people I barely knew for seven hours. Maybe it was because I’d spoken about him the night before with Naomi, but I suddenly really wanted to be back in Little Denton with AJ. Cuddled up to him on his bed watching an episode of Dom and Cole In The Land of Ug on Netflix in our different coloured Scorpio’s Gym hoodies.

Sending him a Facebook message on my lunch break was the best I could do.

“Is it possible to get withdrawal symptoms from cuddling your gorgeous bodybuilder boyfriend?” I sent, with a blushing face emoji.

It was an agonising fifteen minutes or so until AJ text me back. It was crazy. After all those weeks of exchanging Facebook messages, he still had the power to make my whole body fill with excitement just from sending me a simple reply.

“Hehe!! You better not start going round that office hugging random, geeky, bookworm boys!”

I sent him the AJ emoji. “You’re safe! There’s no huggable boys here. I’ve not seen even a hint of a bicep!”

Three dots appeared then vanished. Then appeared again. It was taking AJ an unusually long amount of time to reply to my message. When it eventually did come through, I wasn’t quite prepared for what that message would say.

“Hey, I’m going out with some old college mates tomorrow night.”

FUCK! My heart sank instantly. I was absolutely gutted. I had started to really look forward to seeing AJ again and I’d expected it to be the following night. I’d already pictured going round to his house and being reunited with him a dozen times that morning. I wondered whether I should be mad at him. And then I reasoned no. It was only one more night after all. I never wanted to be the type of boyfriend who would get pissed off at him for going out and doing things without me.

“Awww! That’s OK!” I messaged. Even though I wasn’t sure if it was.

Three dots appeared then vanished. What was with all the hesitation? I didn’t like it. Something felt off.

“Sorry!! Will deffo see you Saturday though!” AJ messaged, with a smiling and blushing face emoji.

I grinned as I looked at the message. Three dots. AJ was typing something else.

“I’ll get my new pink posers out!”

I beamed wildly into my phone screen and pictured AJ in the shiny pink trunks I’d gifted him the Saturday before and my cock began to instantly swell beneath my work trousers.

“Ummm…FUCK YEAH!” I messaged, with three of the AJ emojis.

After we’d wrapped up our conversation, I didn’t hear from AJ for the rest of the day, or the following day when I finished my work experience placement and travelled back on the train to Little Denton. It might not have necessarily seemed like cause for concern, but I couldn’t quite shake this nagging feeling that something wasn’t quite right.

That nagging feeling only grew the next day when I text AJ to ask if we were still meeting up and I didn‘t get a reply. I knew there was a strong possibility he was either asleep or severely hungover from his night out with his old college mates. So why did I have a feeling that something else was going on? And worse than that, why did I have this worrying feeling that AJ might be ignoring me?

It was only when he finally responded to my text, a good couple of hours after I’d sent it, that I started to think that I may have just been being paranoid.

“Sorry, Cookie!! Bit hungover. ARRGHH!! I’m back home though. Come round!”

A huge wave of relief washed over me. I suddenly couldn’t stop grinning. Because, after almost a week, I was finally going to get to see AJ again.

I was oddly nervous standing on his doorstep waiting for him to answer. Probably more so than since that very first time I’d come round to his house and we’d taken our first trip to Scorpio’s. A sudden wave of nostalgia washed over me as I remembered how uncharacteristically nervous AJ had seemed on that occasion. And now I knew why, of course. Because he’d been secretly harbouring feelings for me.

I think there’s a part of me that will never quite believe that happened. That the old school friend who grew up to be a gorgeous, competitive bodybuilder I’d ran into one day at Tesco and started exchanging cheeky Facebook messages and going to the gym with actually liked me back.

When the door opened, all of my nerves evaporated. Because, for the first time in almost a week, I was standing in front of that very bodybuilder. Admittedly looking more tired and a little rougher round the edges than usual but giving me that gorgeous little grin which curled from one side of his mouth that I loved so much.

His insanely developed upper body, still a little bronzed in the sexiest fashion from the previous weekend’s competition tan, was bulging out of a white vest and he was wearing baggy grey shorts. His ridiculously sized round shoulders and the top of his thick plates of pec muscle bulging around the cotton material.

“Hey, you!” I said.

“Hi, stranger!” he replied, still grinning, as I walked in his house. As soon as the door was closed, I wrapped my arms around him and went in for a kiss. Fuuuuck. I’d forgotten how good his obscenely muscular body felt against my skin and just how much kissing him made me want to die. Every fucking time.

When we parted lips, we looked at each other, our bodies still pressed tightly together. AJ was smiling at me, but there was something not quite right about his expression. A strange seriousness that I couldn’t put my finger on it. Maybe nerves. Or maybe just the after effect of his night out.

“How’s the hangover?” I asked.

AJ pulled his “eeeek” face and looked sheepish and I just grinned and playing rolled my eyes in response. He usually held my hand on the way up to his bedroom. On that occasion he didn’t. And so, once we were inside his bedroom, I wrapped my fingers with his and he gave me this coy little grin.

“Glad to be back in Little Denton?” he asked.

“I am now!” I said, squeezing his hand. “Was last night good, then?” I asked as we sat down on his bed.

“Hmmm. Yeah. It was alright.” His voice was a little distant. It wasn’t just his voice, either. He seemed distant himself.

“Have you only just got home?” I asked.

“Yeah. I was at Nathan’s.”

I didn’t know why, but the atmosphere felt slightly awkward. Sitting on AJ’s bed with him just didn’t feel as comfortable as it usually did. Maybe it was because we’d not seen each other for a week? Maybe it was just because AJ wasn’t feeling one hundred per cent? Whatever the reason, I hated it. I just wanted things to be normal again.

“Are you hanging really bad?” I asked.

AJ made a little groaning noise and tipped his head back against his bedroom wall. “Kind of. I’m sorry!”

I grinned and playfully shook my head. I honestly didn’t care. Hungover AJ was better than no AJ at all. Or AJ half way across the country. “Just tell me if you want me to go!” I said, earnestly.

He instantly furrowed his eyebrows. “Fuck that!” he exclaimed. “I’ve only just got you back!”

My heart swelled and AJ climbed over to me, wrapped one arm around my waist and put his head on my chest. “Mmmm!” he said, as I squeezed him tight in my arms, his skin warm and slightly sticky. I softly kissed him on the forehead. Suddenly the atmosphere relaxed, AJ looked up at me and gave me a warm, happy grin and just like that, we were back to our usual selves. My heart filled with so much joy I thought it might actually burst.

“Missed you!” I said, into the top of AJ’s head.

“Mmmm!” he said, nuzzling his cheek into my chest. “Me too!” he replied, gripping my waist tightly. “I’ve missed doing this!” he confessed. I melted and grinned.

“I’ve missed your little tummy!” AJ continued, tickling my stomach. I bit my lip and grinned.

“And I’ve missed your massive fucking cock!” he said, suddenly grabbing my hard on bulging through my jeans. I giggled in response then groaned as he squeezed it. “Grrrrrr!” he said sexily, before twisting his head up and shooting me a cheeky, excited grin.

AJ undid my belt buckle and I gripped on to his huge back, grinning ecstatically as he undid the buttons on my jeans, manoeuvred down and took my throbbing cock out of my boxers.

He made a sexy little groan and put his lips around the head of my hard dick. “Oh God!” I groaned in response as AJ worked my cock with his wet lips, dancing his tongue around the rim of the head and plunging up and down, all the time making these hot, little, muffled groans and moans.

“Oh fuck!” I groaned as I ran one hand over his shaved head and gripped his shoulder blades with the other. If AJ kept doing what he was doing, it wouldn’t be long before I blew. He seemed determined for that happen. “Oh God! AJ. I’m close!” I cried.

He responded by groaning louder and sucking harder. I was in my own little heaven. Lying back and letting the boy I loved worship my hard, throbbing cock with his perfect mouth. I felt myself getting closer and closer to cumming. For some reason, when I knew I was about to cum, I didn’t feel like warning him. Maybe I was just feeling a little mischievous? Or maybe, somewhere subconsciously, I wanted to get my own back for him going out with his mates the night before instead of seeing me? Somehow, the fact I didn’t tell him I was about to cum made the orgasm seem even more intense. I cried loudly and AJ groaned as my cock exploded in his mouth.

When he was done he looked up and shot me an animated, wide eyed glare. But I could tell he was amused by what had happened too. “Sorry!” I said, genuinely. “Probably should have warned you!” I said, failing not to grin back at him.

He pulled a jokey, indifferent face and shrugged. “Meh! I’ve had worse surprises!” he said, his mouth then curling into the cheekiest grin.

He rested his head on my tummy as I stroked his shaved head and gripped his gorgeous body. A huge wave of happiness and comfort washed over me. Because I was back in AJ’s bedroom, the place I loved with the boy I was completely besotted with. Just me and him, back in the little world that we’d created. We stayed like that for a few minutes, neither of us talking. Time seemed to slowed down. Until AJ released a groan and lifted up his head. “Need the toilet!” he announced, lifting his head off my stomach.

Before he climbed off the bed, I pulled him back and towards me for a kiss. “Mmmm!” he said, as we parted lips.

“Maybe you can surprise me when you get back!” I cheekily suggested. AJ bit his lip, wiggling his eyebrows up and down and left the room, happily grinning as he went.

I sank my head into AJ’s pillow, rolled towards the wall and closed my eyes, while grinning to myself, still feeling happy and content. After a few seconds, AJ’s phone beeped from somewhere on the bed. I lifted my head up a little and saw it near my feet with the screen lit up.

I kicked it to bring it closer and when it was close enough to reach I bought it towards me. AJ had received a text message.

As soon as I saw the name of who the message was from, my stomach violently lurched. “Dale”. The guy from the bar the weekend before. Mr Olive Skin. The insanely beautiful, built like a brick shithouse muscle guy who was a complete and utter prick to me, but seemed more than interested in my boyfriend, whispering into his ear at one point with his hand on his shoulder. An image now embedded on my memory. I had a feeling that looking at this text on AJ’s phone would be a very such image too.

“Just got home. Thanks for last night, sexy man x”.

I felt like I was going to be sick. My body seemed to be going into a panic. My heart was racing. And all of my insides felt like they were trying to escape. Like they couldn’t fit into my body anymore. I couldn’t quite believe what I was looking at. It didn’t feel real. It couldn’t be real.

AJ came back into the bedroom. “Mmmm! I don’t feel so hungover now!” he announced. As soon as he saw my face, he knew that something wasn’t right.

“What’s wrong?!” he asked, concerned.

“What the fuck is this?!” I asked, handing him his phone. It was weird. It was AJ standing over me. The boy I loved. But, suddenly, it also wasn’t him at all.

A look of fear and panic swept over his face as he read the screen of my phone and I knew in that moment that something had happened between them.

My chest suddenly felt really heavy. Anger and hurt building up inside me. And then, looking at AJ, a completely new emotion swept over me. Something I’d never felt with AJ, or ever expected too, either. This sudden, intense feeling of disdain.

“Dale?!” I spat. “That guy from the pub last week?”

He looked at me, looking worried, a little shell shocked and guilty as fucking hell. “He’s got mates in town!” he said. “He asked me if I wanted to go out.”

“What the fuck?!” I said, not even really to AJ. Just the space between us. My head was spinning. I couldn’t get my thoughts around it. How had this happened? He’d only met the guy a week before. Just some random guy in a bar. That was how AJ had described him. How had he gone from that to someone he was texting and calling sexy in the space of a week.

“Did you give him your number last week?”

AJ shook his head. “He found me on Facebook!”

Of course he fucking did. FUCK. And then something else hit me. An almost overwhelming hatred for Mr Olive Skin. I’d already concluded that he was an absolute fucking dick from how rude he’d been to me the weekend before in the pub. And now this?

“Oh, what and he just happened to be coming up this weekend?” I spat.

“That’s what he said,” AJ replied. He looked so worried. Fucking good, I thought.

I scoffed. “Bullshit! He came up especially to see you!”

ARGHH!! I was raging. This guy had known that me and AJ were together. But still, he’d gone out of his way, not just to track AJ down on Facebook, but to then meet up with him. He’d gone through all that effort with absolutely no regard for me.

“He said he was coming up to stay with his friends!”

I shook my head in disbelief. I couldn’t believe that this was happening. I went away for five days and this had happened. And then I looked at AJ, and suddenly I wasn’t mad at Mr Olive Skin. Suddenly I was wondering, why and how the hell had AJ done this?

“And you lied!” I exclaimed. “You told me you were going out with your old college mates!” I said, the sickness churning in my stomach again at that realisation.

“I thought you’d be funny about me going!” AJ said, his voice shaking a little, still looking guilty and worried. “You said you didn’t like him!”

Something rose up in my chest and into my face. “Why was he calling you “sexy man“? Did you do something with him?” Something caught in my throat.

AJ sat down on the bed and distressed, put his head in his hands. Fuck! And that was it. I couldn’t stop it. My eyes were watering and I was sobbing. It came so suddenly and with such force. AJ looked at me and he looked distraught. I hated the fact that AJ had done that to me. But equally, I was glad that he was there to see it. I wanted him to see me like that. To see what he’d done.

“Noah!” AJ pleaded. “It was barely anything!”

“But you did something? You messed about with him?” I said, my voice raising.

“I was drunk. It just sort of … happened!” he pleaded.

I didn’t care what he said. It didn’t matter. Because AJ, who I loved and trusted and worshipped, had done this to me. Everything felt broken. Didn’t AJ realise how fragile everything was?

“Noah! Please!” AJ pleaded again.

He put his hands on my leg and I instinctively kicked it away with my foot. Almost violently. AJ looked shocked. I just didn’t want him fucking touching me in that moment.

“He told me it was … different for gay guys,” AJ said, almost defensively. Like he was suddenly trying to excuse his actions. “He said this is what a lot of gay couples do. They mess about with other guys and it’s no big deal.”

I was so fucking angry that I stopped crying instantly. “Oh, FUCK OFF!” I shouted. Not particularly to AJ, more to that cunt, Dale.

“I’ve heard the same thing from other people!” he said.

What the FUCK?! ARRGGHH!!

“You are not fucking using that as an excuse!” I shouted. I surprised myself at how loud I was. I never thought I’d raise my voice to AJ in that way. But then, I never thought I’d have a reason to. “You’ve just fucking messed about with another guy!”

“I know! I’M SORRY! Noah! It doesn’t change the way I feel about you!”

But it changes the way I feel about you, I thought.

And that’s when it happened. I felt myself completely closing down. And this imaginary wall going up between me and AJ.

And suddenly, I didn’t want to show AJ any more emotion. “I’m going!” I announced, defiantly but calmly. I imagine I must have looked so cold and stony faced in that moment.

“Noah, don’t!” AJ pleaded, looking more panicked than ever and jumping off the bed.

I opened his bedroom door but AJ grabbed my arm. “Get off me!” I spat viciously, jerking my arm away. As if a drunken stranger had touched me inappropriately. AJ looked surprised. Scared, even. It almost looked like he was about to cry, and I softened for a moment. Because it was AJ. And I still loved him so much. More than anything. I felt myself starting to cry again so I spun around from him. I just needed to get the hell out of there.

“Noah!” AJ cried as I flew down the stairs. I grabbed the handle of his front door, my hand shaking slightly and flung it open, not looking back at him. I was determined that AJ would NOT see me cry again. I didn’t look back as I walked down the drive and away from his house either. I heard him scream, “Fuck!” to himself in the distance and a sob rose up in my mouth as I carried on walking quickly away from AJ’s house.

My whole body felt heavy. Like there was a huge weight on me. My phone vibrated in my pocket. AJ was calling me. I stopped, screamed, “FUCK OFF!” into the screen, switched my phone off, my hands and fingers shaking as I did so. I put my phone back into my pocket and exhaled deeply through pursed lips to try and stop myself from crying again.

I don’t really know why, but without thinking, I then just started running. I probably looked like an idiot sprinting down the street. But I didn’t care. Because all I wanted to do in that moment was to run. To get away from AJ Jones as fast as I possibly could.
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