“Mathew?” My eyes opened up at the sound of my name. The dog that had been lying beside me got up and started barking and wagging its tail. I squinted, trying to look into the street. There were no street lights here, so it was dark. I could only make out a figure. The person walked up the stairs and was soon on the patio under the orange florescent light. It was then my fogged mind realized it was Nathaniel. My eyes went wide, and my heart was beating as I looked up at him.
“What are you doing here?” he asked me, and I just shrugged, bringing my knees to my chest before hugging them. I wasn’t sure how much time had passed. I had napped around seven in the evening, and now it was... I looked about, noting how dark it was. Gosh, how long have I been sleeping? I wondered to myself as Nath walked closer to me. He bent over a bit, reaching out to push stray strands of hair away from my face. He was wearing a jumper and a pair of slacks. It let myself watch him massage my cheek with the base of his thumb.
“What happened to you?” his voice was void of shock this time. It was softer. I looked into his dark eyes, wanting to reach out to him so I could latch on to him and cry, but my throat was oddly dry, and I couldn’t make a sound. I just looked towards the bag sitting beside me, and Nath’s gaze followed mine. I turned to face him. His eyes had an unreadable expression, and he seemed to stiffen.
“You — You left?” he asked, and I just nodded. I watched him bite his bottom lip before letting go of my face. He straightened out, letting out a sigh as he ran a hand through his frizzy hair that he had out today. No buns, not braids, just his hair.
“I wanted to leave,” I said, cutting him off before he could go on a rant about making decisions on a whim. My gaze followed him, watching as he looked down at me again. I want to be with you Nath. That was what I wanted to say. That was what I should have said, but I muttered something else entirely.
“I was tired of everything. I don’t know. I don’t want to be there anymore,” I groaned, covering my tired eyes with my hands. I felt something wet on my ear. It was probably the dog trying to comfort me.
“I won’t ask,” Nath said, as I listened for the sound of his feet on the floor. “But I’ll help,” he said as I felt a hand on my shoulder. I took my hands away from my face, staring at him with a mix of emotions.
“Come on, let’s go inside.” I wanted to cry — of joy that is. I scrambled up to my feet before adjusting my clothes. Nath had already picked up my red backpack and was looking through his pocket for his home keys. When he found them he opened the door, and I followed him inside. We left the dog behind, making the poor thing whine. Emotions whirled up inside me as I followed him to the kitchen, taking a seat by the counter as I watched him get things from the fridge.
“Do you want anything to eat specifically?” he asked, and I blinked, realizing that I had zoned out. I haven’t been in Nath’s place in a while. Maybe over a month. Everything was still the same. His hot water kettle was still in the same place I had last seen it, but God it’s felt like forever. The past few months with him resounded like a continually pressed piano key in my head. He was all I could think about — all I wanted. I couldn’t really think back to when my life was boring and simple. I couldn’t really think back to a time when I wasn’t thinking of Nath.
My eyes followed him. The smell of his cooking still filled the room. He soon approached the counter with two plates, dropping one in front of me with a fork before giving me a small smile.
“Are you feeling better?”
“Yeah,” I answered in a low soft voice, pocking at the vegetables on my plate. “I just couldn’t be there anymore.”
“I understand,” he said, and I smiled a bit, turning to watch him pick at his own food too.
“You can stay here as long as you like.” What if I want to be here forever? I wondered, watching him put a forkful of food in his mouth. “You can have the guest room if you want privacy, or you could share my room with me,” he let out the second half of his statement like he wasn’t sure if it was an appropriate thing to ask. My cheeks flushed, and I looked away.
“I’ll stay with you in your room,” I said, looking at Nath from the corner of my eyes. His smile widened as he hummed at my response.
When we were done eating I followed him to his room and ended up sitting at the edge of the bed, not knowing what to do.
“You can take a shower,” he said, making me look over to him. He was rampaging through his dresser, and soon enough he tossed a clean towel at me. “You can use my stuff. I’m sure you didn’t bring much with you,” he added, making me nod, as I cradled the towel to my chest. I got up, heading for the small bathroom attached to the room. When the door was closed behind me and it was just me in the small white space I just stood there and let the events of the past few hours was over me.
I was in Nath’s house, not my room at the station. I had chosen Nath. My heart was beating fast, and I was a bit overwhelmed. I was happy, and yet I was still confused for some reason. Maybe it was normal. Maybe I just needed time to relax.
“You have to cut yourself some slack. You just ran away from your life for God’s sake,” I laughed at myself, but it was a dry laugh filled with nervousness, and maybe a hint of self-depreciation. I decided to take my clothes off before approaching the sink to look at myself. I looked like I expected to look, with my eye surrounded by dark circles, and a tired-looking expression. I touched my face, before looking at the shelf for toothpaste and a toothbrush. He said I could use his stuff. I reminded myself as my eyes looked at the products.
They were a lot. I hadn’t really thought men used so many products, but what did I know? All the women I talked to didn’t use much cosmetics either. On further inspection, I realized most of them had a lot to do with hair care. It did make sense. He did seem to really pay special attention to his hair.
I took a shower, spending extra time to meditate. The sound of water hitting the tiled floor below was relaxing for some reason. Nath. I was at Nath’s house, using Nath’s shower shampoo and body wash. Nath, not the station. I kept reminding myself. When I was done I dried off my body then wrapped myself in the towel he had given me before walking out into the bedroom. My stomach almost sank from the shock of seeing Nath stark naked and drying his hair with a towel by the edge of the bed. His laughter soon filled the room when he looked my way with a raised brow.
I didn’t say anything in reply. My eyes were focused on him. I wasn’t sure if I should look. I wasn’t sure if it was rude, but I just couldn’t look away. He really is handsome. A little voice in my head was starting to sow seeds of doubt in my mind. Sure, he was messing around with me, but he could do a lot much better.
“I took a shower in the guest bathroom if that’s what you’re wondering,” he said, walking over to his dresser before pulling out a pair of shorts. “Why are you staring?” he asked, turning to face me again.
“Sorry,” I apologized, closing my eyes with my palms on instinct.
“It’s no problem.” I heard him say. “You can open your eyes, you know. You need to get into something too,” he laughed, making me take my hands away from my face. Nath was laying down in bed now, looking at me with a peculiar look on his face.
“Just grab anything from my drawer,” he said. I nodded, walking over to it, before pulling it to look inside. It was probably the immature part of me that was shy and flusters by having the man I liked sitting on his bed with only boxers on, and it was probably that same part of me that made me turn red when I realized I was probably going to be climbing into his clothes soon enough. I picked a loose pair of shorts, finding my way into them without dropping my towel. I’m not sure I was ready for him to see me naked. He was really handsome, and I was — I’m not sure how to put it? lean and quite plain.
When I was done changing I hung up the towel beside Nath’s on the rack before heading over to the bed. I laid on it, moving under the covers a bit, and my breathing started acting weird. I’ve been beside Nath on his bed before. It wasn’t a big deal.
I don’t know.
My mind was still overthinking things when I felt Nath’s hands reach out to me. My eyes went wide in surprise when he pulled me closer to him by my waist. I was soon cuddled up to him with my hands nesting between us as he ran a hand through my hair.
“You’ve been through a lot,” he said in a low tone, pulling away from me a bit so that he could look at me. “You’re handling this well.”
I didn’t trust my mouth to say anything, so I didn’t. I just nodded, watching as he smiled before leaning in to kiss me on the lips. His lips were soft as usual. A sigh left my lips when he made to pry my lips open with his tongue. I obliged, relaxing into the open mouth kiss. Small sounds kept leaving my lips, but Nath wasn’t pulling away and he seemed to even encourage me to make them. I was a little flustered, and my face only got redder when he raised his body and moved to hover over me.
“Wait!” I somewhat squealed, and Nath moved away just as fast, retreating to his side of his bed. I heard him let out a string of curse words after that, and I just stared at the ceiling as my heart raced.
“You didn’t do anything wrong, I’m just...” I trailed, not knowing what to add to that. What was I? I had left the station. I shouldn’t be afraid of anything, should I? I wanted to be with Nath in that way, but my mind was just fogged over, and everything was just confusing. “I don’t know, I panicked. I’m sorry,” I mumbled instead, turning to find Nath staring at me. He sighed, opening his mouth like he wanted to say something before he closed it again.
“Mathew.” I looked up at the sound of Nath calling my name. “You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. Don’t feel pressured, okay?” I nodded, and he smiled before making to turn away. It’s like a little alarm went off in my head at that, and I reached out to him, pulling at his shoulder until he took the initiative to turn back to face me. I didn’t give him much time to think because I reached out to cup his face in my hands before moving forward to kiss him again.
Somehow, we got tangled up with each other, he was pulling me closer, molding my body with his and I nested my legs between his. It felt good — great — to be able to touch and see him. I swallowed back my fear when I felt his hands move to touch my chest, my thighs, and then between my legs. His touch was soft, none intruding.
“Push me away if you don’t like it,” he whispered into my ear as he pressed a kiss to my forehead. He didn’t have to worry about that because I was shaking and quivering with the explosion of pleasure in my head. It was a new feeling, something I had thought about, but not experienced before. I wanted him to feel good too, so I mimicked his movements with my own hand. The lack of confidence that had clouded my thoughts before was gone. His vocal encouragement meant the world to me. I was an amateur being an amateur, he had probably had better, but it made me feel happy whenever he moaned into my mouth or told me it felt good when I dared to touch him below his midriff.
We didn’t do anything further, but I felt complete and content nested beside him on the bed. We talked for a while, and I told him about what Oliva and Sam had said, and he asked me questions about my family, and about what I wanted to do. He was supportive, none intrusive. He generally backed down from a discussion when he realized I didn’t want to have it. Of course, I kept looking at him. I was drinking in his appearance. He was stunning when fully clothed, more so when he wasn’t.
When he was asleep I allowed myself to touch his face, his hair, his upper body. I allowed myself to take in his whole being. I leaned close to his ear, muttering the words I love you. I had been too shy, and a bit stunned by everything that had happened this evening to say that to him at the appropriate time. Also, I didn’t want to come off as lovesick and desperate. And maybe I was afraid of dragging my two-dimensional idea of what a relationship should be into things.
There was no reaction to my words from his end. Obviously, he was asleep. I closed my eyes, cuddling up to him again under the covers before willing myself to fall asleep as well.