Everybody’s Wounded


Chapter 6





It’s late afternoon, and I’m lying on my back staring at the ceiling.  The room is dim; the weak November light is barely enough to penetrate the long, narrow window.  The man I hold in my arms is quiet now.  Beneath my jaw and against my throat I feel the softness of his curling black hair, and I breathe him in. 


 I hold him close to me, his chest pressed against my side, his face buried in my shoulder My shirt beneath his cheek is wet with his tears, and hot from his breath and his skin. His weeping has stopped now, and his breathing is slow and regular.  I think he has fallen asleep.  I’m achingly hard inside my jeans, but I’m oddly detached from that, and feel no need to do anything about it.  Right now he is at peace, and there is a part of me that does not want to know what comes next, that just wants to hold him like this, quiet and safe, forever. 


The only thing I understand about his tears is that his pain is deep and real.  It haunts his joy and it haunts his pleasure.  It is a pain beyond words, beyond touch.  I want to soothe it, to heal it, but I don’t know how.  The need I feel to comfort him, to take this pain away, is so strong that I don’t know how to bear my helplessness. 


I try to understand what has happened, but it eludes me. 


 One minute everything is perfect.  We are standing beside my desk, our arms around one another, our kisses no longer tentative, careful, but hard and deliberate.  He’s pressed against me, his mouth open to me, drinking me in.  I have never been so deeply moved by a kiss, not by David, not by Josh, not even by the fog-drunk kisses he and I shared just two nights ago.  This is more powerful, more real, than any kiss I have ever known, than I ever knew a kiss could be.  The taste of him overwhelms me.  Somehow he has reached inside me and grabbed my heart in his fists.  My knees are weak. 


I wrap him in my arms and slowly ease him back towards my bed. 


And I am careful, so very careful.  I do not forget about his fear.  I want him so desperately, but I control it.  All my desire is in my kisses.  I’m careful not to lie on top of him but rather beside him, protecting him from the demands of my thrusting hips, my hungry cock, by pressing myself into the mattress.  There will be time for that, I tell myself. 


Time, when he is gentled and ready to welcome me. 


For now, I allow only my upper body to lie over his.  My elbows take my weight on either side of his shoulders.  My hands hold his face as our kisses grow ever deeper and more urgent.  He throws his head back, and my mouth caresses his throat, sucking, licking, biting gently.  The scent of his neck, the taste of his skin intoxicate me. 


He makes slow, soft, incredibly beautiful sounds at the back of his throat, and I hear them and tremble.  They are sounds of desire and surrender all at once.  I don’t just hear these sounds; I feel their vibrations against my lips.  I roll onto my side, taking all my weight on one elbow and wrapping my other arm around him.  I pull him close.  I want him closer. 


I think that everything is perfect. 


 I move my leg over his legs, wanting only to draw him closer to me.  My thigh brushes against the front of his jeans, and I tremble.  He cries out fiercely, throwing his head even further back.  I leave my leg just there, the weight of my thigh against him, heavy on his hardness.  He strains beneath me.  And then – then he is perfectly still for several seconds.  Beneath my mouth, his breath catches in his throat. 


I know what is about to happen.  I reach down to release him from his jeans, take him in my hand. 


It is already too late. 


He grabs my wrist.  “No!” he cries, and I freeze. 


Then he shudders beneath me.  I cover his mouth with mine, pin his thrusting hips beneath my thigh.  I am on the bleeding edge of release myself, but somehow I manage to keep control.  I pull him closer, hold him harder, until the powerful shudders that possess his body ease beneath me. 


“Everything is perfect,” I think.  “He wants me.  He wants me so badly that just the touch of  my thigh had been enough to make him come, both of us still fully dressed!” 


I can hardly believe that I’ve affected him so powerfully.  For a few seconds, I am filled with an almost overwhelming joy.  I want to laugh, to cry, to shout from the rooftops. 


 I kiss his face, his eyes, his beautiful, beautiful mouth, and in this one perfect moment I believe.  I believe in hope.  I believe in the real, solid possibility of love. 


 I dare to think, “This is so perfect.” 


And then.  .  . 


I run my tongue along his jaw and taste salt, and I know it isn’t sweat. 


I ease up on my elbow and look down into his face.  For a second, those beautiful Siberian eyes meet mine.  Then the fine, angular lines of his face contort with pain, and the sob that escapes him is low and hard and harsh, and wounds me to the core. 




He turns away from me, curling his long narrow length into a foetal ball.  Suddenly his body is wracked with weeping. 


I feel so helpless in the face of this grief.  He cries and cries.  The sobs are so deep, so painful, that they frighten me.  I have never seen anyone weep this hard, with so much pain.  He cries as if he’s lost his soul. 


The storm of tears goes on for a long, long time, deep, heart-wrenching sobs that wrack his body and leave it trembling.  I am so helpless.  All I can do is curl myself around him, pull him back against my chest, and hold on. 


Finally, the harsh sobbing ends, and his body goes limp.  I gather him closer.  He doesn’t push me away, but I know he finds no comfort in my touch.  There is no peace in the body heat between us, for him or for me.  Whatever this wound is, I cannot heal it.  Wherever it is, I cannot go. 


Eventually, his breathing quiets.   I know it is not from relief, but from sheer exhaustion.  I turn him gently towards me, press the dark curly head against my shoulder.  He doesn’t resist – he has no strength left to resist – but he doesn’t welcome me.  He is limp in my arms, almost helpless. 


It is only as he falls asleep that his arm reaches around my waist.  I take some hope in that. 


I find myself thinking of David, my beautiful boy, who was so easily moved to tears.  I know you cannot compare pain, but I can’t help thinking about how easy it had always been for me to soothe him.  Sweet, fragile David, so easily crushed by an unkind word, a cruel glance… and so easily soothed by words and by kisses and by the warmth of my body next to his.  How many times had I held him in my arms, like I am holding Luc now, kissing away his tears? 


Even those last tears for the end of our love, his sadness falling on my face, mixing with my own tears… Part of me had known, even then, that there was someone who would kiss them away for him.  It just wouldn’t be me. 


But I know that Luc’s tears cannot be kissed away so easily. 


I have no idea what I will say to him when he wakes up.  I lie here, thinking that if I could just hold him like this forever, it might be enough. 




Eventually, I doze off as well, and it’s hours later when I feel him stir in my arms. Through the haze of this uneasy sleep, I am aware of the quick intake of his breath, of a small gasp in his throat that sounds almost frightened.  He tries to pull away from me, and I am instantly awake.  My mind is alert, but my body is warm and drowsy, and he feels so right in my arms.  The room is dark except for the glow from my digital clock, and the air is heavy with the sweet smell of sex. 


“Stay here, babe,” I say softly, holding him close, pressing my cheek against the top of his head. 


He lies back, stiffly at first.  I tangle the fingers of one hand gently into his soft, black curls.  With the other, I rub his shoulder in small, soothing circles.  Eventually, I feel him relax against me.  His head rests over my heart.  As he falls back to sleep, his leg comes up over mine. 


It’s after nine when I awake again.  I know from the rhythm of his breathing that he is no longer sleeping.  He is still in my arms, still pressed against me.  This time, he doesn’t try to move away. 


“You are awake?” he asks softly.  I have noticed that when his emotions are close to the surface, his accent grows stronger.  Now the musical French cadence is heavy in his whispered question. 


“Mmmm.”  I rub my healing cheekbone against the softness of those black curls. 


His arm tightened around my waist.  “Scott – I’m sorry,” he says. 


I don’t know what to say.  I hug him closer and kiss the top of his head.  “Can you tell me why?” I ask finally. 


He shakes his head against my shoulder. 


“But I want to understand.  I want–”  I stop.  I don’t know how to explain what I want. 


“I can’t,” he says.  “Please.”


So I let it go.  For now. 


Eventually, we get up.  I send him into my shower with a clean pair of my favourite boxer briefs.  I want to be with him in there, but I know better.  As I listen to the water, I can only imagine how it falls over his pale skin, his long, narrow limbs.  I realize I have no picture of his body.  I know only his face, his hands, the line of his neck. 


When he leaves a while later, his black curls are still shower damp, and the planes of his face bear an incredible sadness.  When I kiss him goodbye, I do it gently, carefully, on his forehead.  Then I tilt up his chin and stare down into those beautiful pale blue eyes. 


“Don’t run from me tomorrow,” I say, and I do not let him look away. 


“Luc.  Promise me.”


He catches his bottom lip between his teeth, and nods slowly.