Everybody’s Wounded


Chapter 8



Hot Docs is the Canadian International Documentary Film Festival that’s held every spring in Toronto.  It’s the biggest documentary festival in North America, with films from around the world, including a ton of world premiers.  Josh’s friend had sent a selection of highlights, and they were just what I needed to get my mind clear: intelligent enough to get me thinking, but distant enough to give me space. 


And watching them with Josh was special.  Being with Josh in his elegant apartment was totally adult somehow, kinda like being with my uncles.  We ate the pizza off plates, and drank decent Chianti from wine glasses. 


 “So how are you doing, Big Guy?” he asked, after a couple of hours of highlights.  He was sitting beside me on the black leather sofa, and poured me another glass of wine.  “You seemed so distracted when we had coffee the other day.  Not to mention all bashed up.  I can’t say I like what that sport is doing to your face.”


“Just bruises and scrapes,” I said, laughing.  “I’m ok, really.  Just busy.”


“Have you heard from David lately?”


“No,” I admitted.  “Not for a couple of weeks.  But to be honest, I haven’t answered his last few emails.”


Josh raised an eyebrow.


I sighed.  “I know.  I feel bad about it.  He’s trying hard to be a friend.  It’s just that – I don’t think I can deal with his friendship, you know?  Not yet anyway.” 


I wasn’t really sure how to bring up the fact that whatever the hell it was that I had going on with Luc had pretty much preoccupied me, in the emotions department, anyway. Part of me wanted him to know about that – and part of me definitely didn’t.


“Maybe not ever,” said Josh, and there was a sadness in his voice.  “Sometimes that’s just the way it is.  Once you’ve been that close to someone, you can’t go back to anything less.”


“Maybe,” I said. 


And then I decided to just go for it.  Maybe Josh was the person to help me deal with Luc.  “And I’ve been, well, busy.  Occupied.”


He raised an eyebrow.


“I’ve kind of been seeing Luc,” I said finally.


Josh just looked at me thoughtfully, but, as usual, his face gave nothing away.  “And?”


I shrugged.  What could I say?


“So – it’s not going so well.”


“It’s not really going at all,” I admitted.  “He’s hard to understand.”   


“I did warn you.  Have you, ah, …?”


“No!” I said quickly. 


Then I paused to figure out how much to tell Josh.  I wanted his advice – but I didn’t really want to tell him any details.  What was between Luc and me was just that, between Luc and me.  But I had to share something if I was to get any advice from him.


“Maybe a little necking,” I said finally, wincing inwardly at saying even that much.  I mean, it was true physically – but it didn’t come close to covering what I was feeling emotionally.  “But it’s like… I don’t know.  Like – he doesn’t want to know that he’s gay.  Like he’s having a really hard time with it.”


“Closet case, Scott.  I told you.”


“I know you did.  And maybe I should just leave him there.  But – I don’t suppose you have any idea why?  He won’t give me clue.  You said you knew his older brothers.  They’re not some kind of weird fundamentalists or something, are they?”


Josh laughed.  “Not that you could tell from those two guys,” he said.  “They could both be pretty wild.  Especially Robert.  Misha’s a little quieter, more like Luc.  But even Robert settled down a bit by his last year here.  That’s when he met his girlfriend, Angie; I think they’re engaged now.”


“Could it be a problem with his family?” I asked.  “I mean, I’ve heard him talk to his parents on the phone and they seem really close, so I don’t understand.” 


“I don’t think it’s the family,” said Josh, “though I guess you never really know.  As I recall, the Dad’s a banker and the Mom’s a university professor – French Literature I think.  I met them a couple of times.  Very French, very charming.  And the parents seem really close to the guys. 


“As for religion – they’re Quebec Catholics, but pretty lapsed, I would say.  I know the guys all went to a private Catholic school, but I’m pretty sure it was for academic reasons, not religious ones.  The family is very strong on academics.  I remember Robert telling me they went to a strict French Jesuit high school, and then they all had to go an English university for their undergraduate degrees because their parents wanted them totally fluent in both languages.  The twins are both quite brilliant, and I’m pretty sure the oldest brother, Pierre, is too.  I remember him, but as he’s a couple of years older than me, I didn’t really know him.  Robert told me once that Luc is actually the brightest of the lot, which believe me is really saying something.”


“Luc is breathtakingly smart,” I said.


He nodded.  “Well, whatever his problem is, I don’t think it’s religion.  Or family.”


“Then what?” 


“No idea.  But don’t say I didn’t warn you.  I really think a boy like Luc is trouble for you right now.  A recipe for heartbreak.”


“I know you did.  But there’s something about him.”  I didn’t know how to put it into words.  “He runs so hot and cold.  One minute he’s – very passionate, and the next, it’s like his own feelings scared the hell out of him. But you’re probably right.”


I sighed heavily.  “You know, between saving myself for David, and trying to figure out what the hell Luc wants, I feel like I’m doing the groundwork for a major study on chastity!  Maybe we should head over to Rainbow and find us a couple of cuties!”


I laughed. 


I was kidding. 


But Josh turned slowly towards me and his face grew very still, and then I wasn’t laughing any more.


He said, “You don’t have to do that, you know.”  His green eyes were looking into mine so steadily, so seriously.  And then, very slowly, he leaned towards me. 


“I told you way back in October that I don’t do sympathy sex and I don’t do broken hearts,” he said softly.  “But I don’t think that’s quite where you are any more, is it?”


I shook my head slowly.  His green eyes were mesmerizing.


He raised his hand to my jaw, and trailed his forefinger from my ear to my chin, his touch light but firm.  I swallowed hard and trembled.  I couldn’t speak.  I could only stare at him, fascinated by the blatant desire in his face.  I could not look away. 


Slowly, deliberately, he leaned forward, closer, closer, until barely a breath separated us, and I inhaled the heady masculine smell of his nearness. 


And suddenly, I wanted him more than I’d ever wanted anyone in my whole life. 


The initial touch of his mouth on mine was firm but gentle.  Inquisitive.  A million

questions lay behind it.  I wanted to say, “I don’t know.  I don’t have any answers.”  But I

couldn’t say anything. 


I felt the fierce certainty of his desire in the heat of his mouth on mine, in the touch of his fingers against my jaw.  And in those glittering green eyes, I felt something else, something that I didn’t understand.  But I understood the heat, the desire.  I felt them too.


He ran his tongue carefully, deliberately against my closed lips.  My hands reached out to him, gripping his shoulders, and I knew I was lost.


For an endless moment, he continued to kiss me, his tongue caressing my lips, his teeth nipping softly.  I knew there was some reason I shouldn’t let him in, but I was damned if I could remember what it was.  The glide of his tongue, the heat of his breath, the pressure of his teeth; it was all unbearable erotic.  And he seemed so very sure. 


To taste him, just to taste him…


My lips parted, and where the kiss had begun questioningly, there were suddenly no questions left.  His mouth plundered mine.  There was heat and want, and the promise of a million answers, and I was sucked into the storm.  It was wild and hungry and hot, and blotted out the pale blue eyes that had been haunting my soul.


We started out on the sofa, but somehow we were on the floor, shirts gone somewhere.  His mouth on mine was hot and demanding.  And after everything I’d been through the last three months, it just felt so good to be wanted.  Honestly.  Openly.  Fearlessly. 


And fearlessly I responded, meeting him kiss for hungry kiss.  And somehow our shirts were off, and his hand was trailing to my jeans, hot and seeking. 


I was on top of him, my pelvis hard against his, my mouth devouring that perfect, tender spot where his neck met his shoulders.  His arms were fiercely tight around me, pulling me close, as if he wanted us to merge into one. 


“Let me love you,” he said, and his voice was hoarse with need.  “Dear God, Scott, just let me love you.”


I froze.  Fuck, what was I doing?  Somehow I managed to find the strength to pull away.


“Josh – Josh.”  My voice was cracked and desperate, even to my own ears.


He went very still.


“Josh.  I want this.  I want you.  You’ve no idea how much.  But I can’t… I don’t know…  Fuck.”


I was searching those green eyes desperately, until he closed them, shutting me out.  His breathing was ragged.  His face, that careful, calm face, was stark with pain.  His carefully cultivated control was gone.


“It’s Luc, isn’t it,” he said softly, swallowing hard.  It was a statement, not a question.  He pressed his lips tightly together, almost succeeding in smothering a sob.  The force of his emotion played so clearly across his face that it wounded me.  “You feel – more than you’ve said.” 


“I don’t know,” I said honestly, and my throat tightened.  “I just don’t know.”


He swallowed hard.  His eyes were still closed, and a tear ran down the outside corner of one, across his temple, into his hair.  “Are you falling in love with him?”


What could I say?  “I think so.  Maybe.  Josh, I can’t – I don’t want to hurt you –“


Those green eyes opened and bored into mine.


“I know,” he said, “It’s all right.  The heart wants what it wants, babe.  I know that.  Believe me.”


Then he pulled me back into his arms and kissed me again, hard.  “Just give me tonight, ok?” he said against my mouth.  “Just tonight.”


The need in his voice was so raw, so urgent, that I felt it in every atom of my being.  I couldn’t say no.  It just felt so fucking good to be wanted.  I kissed him back, sucking his tongue deep into my mouth. 


Everything that I am responded to him: every bone, every sinew, every beat of my pounding heart.  He stood up and pulled me to my feet, dragging me backwards into his bedroom where we were soon naked and anxious and clutching on his bed.  And even through the heat and the yearning, I knew that whatever happened, this night would wound us both.  I also knew we were both willing to bear the scars.  There would be no going back. 


Yet I wanted him. 


And I wanted him without barriers, without restrictions.  I wanted him absolutely. 


And yet – and yet –


Ben and Ry’s lectures pushed through even this desperate desire.  Their lectures, and memory of the framed photograph of that gorgeous young guy that sat on their mantle, forever nineteen.


“Condoms,” I said.


Josh just pointed at the bedside table.  “It’s ok, Big Guy,” he said.  “I’m negative.  Promise.  I’ve always been more talk than action.  And what action there is, is strictly… limited.  No one’s been there since Graham, and that was two years ago.  And I still get tested every three months anyway.”    


I was kneeling between his thighs. He grabbed the package from me, ripped it open with his teeth.  As he sheathed and lubed me, his hands trembled.  Then I positioned him carefully, lifting him so that his legs were draped over mine and he was tilted up for me. 


His eyes never left mine. 


Two years, he’d said.  Forever.  As desperately as I wanted him, I knew I would have to prepare him slowly. 


I reached down, spreading him, trailing a hand down, teasing with a fingertip.


He grabbed my wrist and pulled it away. 


“Just do it, Scott,” he groaned.  “Do it!  I want this as hard, as intense as it can be.  I don’t care about pain.  I want to remember it – I want it burned into me.” 


He pulled me down to him, guided me.  “Now,” he said.  “I need you to do it now.”


I started to.  Hard and fast as he demanded.  But he cried out, and I was watching his face, and I could see that the pain of just getting my head in was bad.  Two years.  I stopped. 


“I don’t want to hurt you,” I said, but his eyes were suddenly wild and determined through the pain, and he grabbed at my hips and tried to pull me tighter. 


“I don’t care,” he said, his breathing ragged.  “Just do it.”


There was a kind of desperation in him that almost swept me away, but I resisted it.  “Not like this, babe,” I said, pulling his hands away. 


Then slowly I leaned forward over him, taking care to keep my cock motionless inside him.  I raised his arms above his head, then took them both in my right hand and pinned them to the pillow.  With my left hand, I caressed his face.


“I don’t want to hurt you,” I said again.


“I don’t care.”


“But I do.”  And then I pulled out. 


“No!” he sobbed.


“Shhh,” I said, as he struggled against me.  I lowered myself slightly to kiss his forehead, the tip of his nose, his chin.


Josh is older than me, wiser in many ways, and yet at that moment I suddenly realized that I understood things that he did not want me to understand.  I understood what he was saying he wanted.  I understood that he was lying.  I don’t know how I understood this, but I did.  I could see it in his face, which in passion was so open, so vulnerable, and so incredibly beautiful to me. 


This cautious, careful man, normally so successful in keeping his expressions calm, controlled, and unreadable, was suddenly as open to me as a book.  I could see what he felt, what he was afraid to feel, what he was afraid for me to see.  I understood that he was trying to push me, to make me get lost in the sex, so that I wouldn’t see him so exposed and vulnerable.  That was why he wanted me to be hard and fast, whatever the physical cost to him.  He wanted me lost in my own sensation so that I wouldn’t be aware of what he felt, what he needed. 


I knew I couldn’t take him that way.  I could not lose myself.  It was just not in me to hurt him like that.  It never would be. 


I needed him to know that.  I needed him to know that he could trust me with the gift of his body; that what was between us this night would be full of caring, and sacred beyond words – whatever the next day might bring. 


I’m stronger than him, and it was easy for me to keep his hands pressed above his head.  I held him there, watching his face, dipping down with small, soft kisses, whispering to him.


I felt a million years wise.


“I want you,” I said, kissing him softly, over and over, waiting for him to quiet beneath me.  “I want you, but I will not hurt you.  I will NOT hurt you.”


The soft kisses finally did what I wanted them to do.  When he finally stopped struggling, I raised myself on my elbows and looked down into his green, green eyes.


“Hold me,” I whispered.  “Just hold me.”  And I released his hands. 


He wrapped his arms around my waist, and I kissed him again, but harder now, and more demanding.  His answering kisses were just as hard.  Harder.


Only then, when he was lost in hard, wild kisses, did I reach down and begin to prepare him again.


“Just hold me,” I gasped as I felt his hands clench on my back.  “Just hold me.”


Finally, I knelt once again between his thighs, and watched that beautiful face as I entered him slowly, carefully, watching for any sign of pain.  Because I knew he wouldn’t be able to hide it from me.  This man, so controlled in the everyday, had no control at all in passion.  It was all there.  All of it.


My progression into him was slow and deliberate.  As I inched in, there were no more cries of pain. 


Finally, finally, I was buried in him.  I waited until he began to move against me, slowly at first, then faster, and harder, giving himself leverage by pressing his thighs up against mine. 


Inside him, I found myself in a wild, hot place where I thought I would never find peace again, and would never want to.  We both cried out and the room reverberated with the awe and wonder of our passion.


And in that moment, I swear I loved him.


The release, when it came, rocked everything in me.  I don’t know if it was the primal connection between us, the final letting go of David, the frustration of Luc’s advances and withdrawals, but whatever it was, it rocked my world.  And when I collapsed on him, I knew that I was changed in some fundamental way.


Much later, I let him push me on to my back, and watched through half-closed eyes as he sheathed and lubed me once again.  This time, he held my hands above my head and straddled me, and I let him impale himself on my cock with all the speed and force he’d demanded before.  But though he held me down, he was still in my hands, and I watched his face for any sign of pain.  Because this time, we both knew the line between pain and pleasure, and that I would keep him safe on the edge.


Maybe he couldn’t trust me with his heart, but he could trust me with this.  It would have to be enough.




I awoke to the cold, grey dawn, ocean fog pressed against the exposed wall of window.  I was on my back, and Josh was still sprawled on top of me.  His head was heavy against my collar bone.  I shifted slowly, trying not to wake him, but he stirred, and then I was looking up into those green, green eyes.


For a moment we were both silent, frozen in a gaze that connected us as intimately as a first kiss.  He reached up and ran his fingers down the side of my face and across my mouth.


“No regrets,” he said, and he kissed me fiercely.


Then he eased himself off me and headed into the bathroom, closing the door behind him.