Copyright 2011 Theo Fenraven
Over the next few days, I took extra care to stay out of Mr. Crawford’s way. I did not want him to come to regret my presence and send me away. I liked being at his house very much. Everything was easier.
Now that he was well again, he was gone quite often. I saw him as infrequently as I did when I wasn’t living there.
At night, when I lay in my bed, I thought about the kiss he’d given me, and I remembered how good it had felt to be in his arms. I longed for him, but I kept such feelings to myself.
The cuts and bruises I had received at the hands of the bullies eventually healed, and I looked much as I always had. One evening, I was out in the yard, watching Kaz follow first one interesting scent, then another. Mr. Crawford came home, and I could tell he’d drunk a little too much. He was always happy when he’d imbibed too much alcohol. I found his behavior at such times amusing.
“Jamie!” He waltzed over to me and gave me a big hug. “I had a really good time tonight,” he said in my ear. And then he nibbled my earlobe. “You are so pretty, did you know? Love your dark eyes and black hair.”
I laughed uneasily. “Will, you should go to bed.”
“Yes, I should. Come with me?” And he pulled me against him so I could feel his arousal.
“You do not know what you are saying,” I said, trying to draw back.
“I most definitely do,” he insisted, moving his hips against me.
Desire flooded me, but still I held back. “Will… Mr. Crawford… you have drunk too much. You will regret this in the morning.”
He gazed at me steadily. “I will not regret this in the morning.” He pressed his lips against my cheek, kissing me there before moving down to my mouth. “I’ve wanted you forever.”
Fear took the place of my desire for him. “This will ruin things between us,” I said. “You will send me away, and I don’t want to leave you.”
That made him stop. He looked at me. “Is that why you’ve kept yourself so distant from me? You think I would treat you so badly?”
“You will tire of me and I will have to go,” I said, starting to cry.
He put his arms around me. “I will never make you leave. You can stay as long as you want, no matter what happens between us.”
I knew better than to believe him—men always say such things when they have an erection—but I wanted him fiercely, and so I allowed myself to give in. When he kissed me, I kissed him back. Soon, we were removing each other’s clothes and going into the house, into his room, and falling on the bed.
I respect Mr. Crawford’s privacy, and so I will not share the details of what happened between us. Just know that it was exciting and beautiful beyond anything I’d imagined. I have never experienced such pleasure, and I never wanted it to end, but eventually he was quiet in my arms, half asleep and satisfied and happy I was there.
“You may be the kindest, most giving person I’ve ever met,” he said sleepily, his head on my shoulder.
His words thrilled me. I kissed his forehead and he moved closer.
There was a moon that night. I watched its light pour into the room through the sliding glass doors, a silvery gray brightness that limned the furniture and our naked bodies. I wondered how I had gotten so lucky, to be here in this place with Will, feeling his warm skin against mine. Sweetness flowed through me like honey, and I kissed him again.
“I love you,” I told him. “You do not have to love me back, and if you never want me again, I will accept that.”
He turned his eyes to me and I saw moisture there, outward evidence of his emotions. “What happened to you, that you think so little of yourself?”
I shook my head. “I do not wish to speak of that tonight. I only want to hold you and commit to memory how lovely you are.”
He made a sound in his throat and began to kiss me, his hunger for me returning. I gratefully responded, already wanting him again.
We made love many times that night, and each was better than the last. He was ever considerate of me, as I was of him, and there was deep respect between us. I dared to think he might come to love me one day, but I was content to accept anything he offered me.
Just before dawn, he fell asleep at last, and I watched him, unwilling to miss even one moment of being with him. He was the most beautiful man I’d ever seen, and I do not speak just of his physical being. Inside, where it matters, he was also beautiful.
Finally, as morning light was breaking in the east, I let my eyes close and fell into a peaceful doze. The last thing I remember is feeling his arms around me as he held me.
After that night, everything changed.
I still cooked and cleaned and shopped, and he still went off every day and sometimes also in the evening, but when he came home, he would hug me and kiss me and take me to bed. Even when he did not want to make love, he preferred I sleep with him. Will was a great cuddler.
This made me nervous at first. I kept waiting for him to say, “Go away now,” but as the weeks passed, and he remained affectionate and generous toward me, I began to relax into the relationship. Always, though, I was aware of the differences between us.
It seemed he was aware of my trepidation, because one night, as we lay curled together on his bed, he said, “You seem more peaceful these last few days.” When I raised my eyebrows at him, he said, “You don’t look like you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop anymore.”
I’d heard the phrase and knew what it meant. “You are….” I trailed off, not wanting to tell him what I was thinking, but he pushed me.
“What? Finish it.”
I buried my face against his chest. “Beautiful, rich, famous, and I am a boy from Mexico.”
He was silent for a long time, and I began to tremble. He tightened his arms around me, and I felt his lips against my hair.
“Jamie, I want you to do something for me.”
“You need only ask.”
“Go back to school. Start taking those classes you need to realize your dream of working with dolphins and whales.”
I raised my head to look at him. His request was not what I expected. “College?”
“Yes, college. I’ll help you register. You may have to take an equivalency test to prove you can handle the caseload, and I’ll help you with that, too. You’re smart, I know you are. You can do this.”
My throat had thickened with emotion, so I could not speak, but he could see in my eyes the pleasure his words brought me.
“We’ll look into it on Friday,” he said, and began to kiss me.
We spoke no more of it that night, but I kept his words close to me, holding them in my mind as if they were the greatest treasure.
He did not forget. On Friday, he drove me to school, and we talked for a long time with someone in the registration office. I was overwhelmed with the requirements, but Will said, “Just take it one step at a time and it will be easy.”
On the way home from that initial meeting, he remarked it would take too much time out of my day to take the bus back and forth, and he insisted I use his other car for that.
“I do not wish to take advantage of your generosity,” I said quietly. “The bus is fine.”
Pressing his lips together, he said, “Use the car. I don’t want to hear another word about it.”
At the house, he grabbed me in the kitchen and pulled me into his arms. “You are going to do this,” he said against my ear, “and you are going to graduate and become the person you want to be.”
“It will take a long time,” I said, remembering what the registrar had said.
“Doesn’t matter. Time passes anyway. Do something worthwhile with it.”
I could not argue with that. “I love you,” I said.
He laughed softly, running his hand down my back. “Want to show me?”
So I took him into the bedroom and made love with him, and it was glorious.
Soon, I was busy with classes and homework, besides the work I did for Will, and he was gone a lot because he was filming a movie. We hardly saw each other for weeks. I missed him, but I was happy about college and all the things I was learning. I made new friends, too, though I could not spend much time with them.
One day after class, a beautiful boy with blond hair asked if I would like to get coffee with him. I accepted, and we spoke of many things across a tiny table in a small shop off campus. An hour passed before I said, “I must go now.”
“Do you live nearby? Perhaps I could go home with you.” He put a hand on mine and gave me a beseeching look.
I was tempted, I will not deny it. But I could not betray Will in that fashion. I loved him too much to go with another, even briefly, and though I knew he would not mind and I suspected he sometimes went to bed with others, I said no. “I am devoted to my lover,” I told the blond boy.
He nodded. “I hope he realizes how lucky he is.” Outside, as we said goodbye, he kissed me on the cheek. “If things ever change, let me know.”
I thanked him and we parted.
That night, I waited for Will. He was very late and very tired. Stripping off his clothes, he fell into bed, wanting only to sleep. I had planned to speak with him, but seeing how exhausted he was, I could not. I merely got in and “spooned” him. He sighed.
“How’s school?” he asked.
“Good.” I hesitated, and then said, “I had coffee with someone, and he asked to make love to me.”
I felt him stiffen under my hands. “And did you let him?”
“No, Will, I did not.” I kissed his left shoulder. “I love you.”
He turned so we were face to face. “I’ve never asked you to be faithful to me. I don’t expect it of you.”
“I know, but it is how I am. I love body and soul, and I could never do that.” My unspoken question hung in the air between us, and suddenly I was afraid. “You need sleep. We can talk about this another time.”
“I do need sleep, but this is important.” He touched my hair, running strands between his fingers. “You want to know if I have been with anyone else.” He paused, holding my eyes. “I have.”
I abruptly looked down so he would not see how his words had hurt me. I knew it was not reasonable, as we had never defined our relationship, but I could not help my feelings. Pain bloomed in my heart, and I had to choke back sudden tears. To hide from him, I rolled over. “Sleep now, Will.”
He touched me. “Please don’t do that. This may not be the ideal time for this talk, but we’re in it now. Jamie?”
I swallowed hard and faced him again. “I do not own you, as you do not own me. It is my choice to remain faithful to you, but I do not expect you to make that same choice.”
He bit his lip, watching me. “That’s very noble of you,” he said, and there was a hint of anger in his voice. “Why wouldn’t you? Do you think you have no right to make demands of me?”
Surprised at his vehemence, I merely looked at him, unsure what to say.
He kissed me almost harshly, forcing his tongue into my mouth, sending delicious shivers through me. “Jamie, I love you. Never be afraid to talk to me about anything.”
I love you. The words echoed in my head, in my heart. “You do?”
He seemed surprised. “Well, yeah, didn’t you know?”
“You have not said it before,” I said quietly.
“I haven’t? Then I’m an idiot, because yes, I love you.” He kissed me again. “I’ve slept with two others since I met you, neither of whom meant a damn thing to me, and I wonder now why I bothered.” He ran a hand down between my legs, exciting me. “So we’re into monogamy now, is that it?”
“That would please me,” I said honestly.
He smiled and touched me in a very intimate manner. “I don’t think that will be a problem.” He nibbled my arm. “I’m glad you didn’t let that guy take you to his room.”
“Did it make you jealous, hearing about him?”
He bit me almost hard enough to hurt. “Yes, it made me jealous.” He pulled me against him.
Our lovemaking was very passionate that night, despite his fatigue, and afterward, he fell into sleep so suddenly, I felt guilt over having kept him awake at all. But I was also full of joy, because he had said he loved me. I stroked his hair and touched his face—very lightly, so as not to disturb him—and thought even heaven could not be as fine as this.