Every year, a residential field trip was held for the young orphans. Always the same place, always the same supervisors, always the same low budget activities.
Christopher Samuels was sharing a room with three other boys. None of them liked him, but Miss Brown had grouped them together and insisted they be nice to him. They weren’t nice. They were cruel and taunting.
They went to the beach one day to collect rock samples as the salty wind blew their hair and their lips cracked with the dry sting of the weather. Christopher was eating a sandwich alone by the shore, curled up on himself, his oversized coat doing little to keep his trembling body warm. He was only ten years old, trying to shut out the sound of the other children playing happily, laughing and screaming with joy. He focussed on the waves rolling and splashing, crashing against each other and rising higher and higher.
He closed his eyes and pictured himself getting carried away by the current. Icy cold and merciless, but soothing nonetheless. It would take control of him; his body, his mind, every molecule that made him, him. A shiver ran down his spine as he placed his half eaten sandwich down beside him and stood up.
He kicked his wellies off and padded down to the water, goosebumps rising on his exposed flesh. A wave washed over his toes and trembles shook his entire body, but he continued walking. Soon, he was up to his waist, his trousers wet and clinging to his skin. The cold water seemed to penetrate his soul and overtake him, destructively and irreversibly. And yet, he felt so free.
“Christopher! Get back here right this instant!” Miss Brown screamed, sprinting down to the water.
The other kids halted their games and all turned their attention to the small boy being swallowed by the stormy grey sea. Christopher didn’t even turn around. He let his arms drop from where he was hugging his chest, his fingers grazing the water’s surface.
“Christopher! No one is allowed in the water, it’s dangerous! Get back here!”
A tear fell down his marble cold cheek as he hesitantly turned around. “I’m sorry.” He whispered to himself. The waves and the wind absorbed his small words and they were lost in the ocean forever. They only lived in his head. He carefully trudged back to shore and was immediately wrapped up in Miss Brown’s heavy coat, before receiving a stern scolding.
“Are you kidding?”
“No.” Quinn smirked, leaning forward to place a wet, sloppy kiss on his cheek. “I got the letter this morning.”
The letter Quinn received was from his parents. It was to inform him that they were going to be spending the summer in the Bahamas, the villa was already rented and the warm weather awaited them. But what stood out to Quinn was the extra invite.
“They said I could come?” Kit frowned skeptically.
“Yes.” A grin spread across his face. “Well, aren’t you excited? Think about it. We could have sex on the beach, or in the pool! I’ve always wanted to do that.”
“Quinn.” Kit sighed.
“No. Stop. Don’t get all negative on me, Kit. There literally isn’t a downside here. It doesn’t exist. You have to come with us.”
“I can’t afford it—”
“Oh, shut up, we’ll pay.”
“Why would they invite me? They hate me.”
“Because they knew I wouldn’t come if it was just going to be them.” Quinn giggled. “Why do you have to be like this? Just say yes.”
Kit searched his brain for another problem, but failed to find one. For once, he had to agree with his boyfriend. There was no downside. A summer with the beautiful boy in front of him in a beautiful location. A summer far away from his dark, rundown orphanage, full of people that hated him. “Yes.” He whispered.
Quinn squealed and tackled him to the ground, kissing him wherever he could reach. “I love you, I love you, I love you.” He laughed.
Kit rolled his eyes, though he couldn’t help the bright smile that spread across his features as he grabbed Quinn’s face and kissed him square on the lips. “I love you too.” He chuckled.
Summer wasn’t for a few months yet, but having something to look forward to immediately lifted his spirits. It wasn’t an endless cycle of lessons and violence and hating the prison he was trapped in. Because there was something waiting for him on the other side.
And as he held the laughing boy in his arms, his heart felt fuller than it had in a long time. He felt happy.
“Wanna have sex?” Quinn suggested.
Kit shrugged. “Sure.” He shuffled onto the bed and pulled Quinn into his lap, connecting their lips in pure desperation and ecstasy.
Once the pair were finished, they headed down to the canteen, their expressions steeled over, their faces still flushed, their hair still messy. “Who’s that?” Quinn nudged his boyfriend, gesturing to a skittish black boy with dark eyes and a scared expression.
“No idea.” Kit shrugged. “You do realise that I don’t personally know every black person, right?”
Quinn scoffed and shoved him jokingly. “Shut up.” He laughed. “I’m gonna go say hi.”
“See you later.”
They parted ways without a kiss, a hug, a smile, or even a ‘love you!’ And as they walked their separate paths, both wondered what it would be like to love each other openly. To be in a place where their relationship wasn’t a safety hazard. A place where they were free to be who they wanted.
They both sighed, sparing a longing look over their shoulder. One day.
“You alright, mate?” Quinn greeted the new boy, joining him in the lunch queue.
Peter’s eyes widened in surprise, “Oh. Hi.” He smiled, clearly happy about being approached by a potential new friend. “What’s your name?”
“You new?” Quinn questioned, though he already knew the answer, so didn’t bother wasting any time waiting for a response. “How you settling in?”
Peter shrugged. “Okay.” He answered simply. “I don’t really know anyone yet, and my roommate hates me.”
“Who’s your roommate?”
“Ah.” Quinn lowered his eyes and thought of a suitable response. “His old roommate ODed. That was not a fun day.”
“W-Were you there?” Peter asked carefully, shocked by this new piece of information.
“Shit.” Peter murmured under his breath. “Well, does that happen a lot?”
“Nah. Well...sometimes. Okay, I guess it does happen a fair bit. But there’s nothing to worry about, just don’t get involved in the drug game, you’ll be fine.”
Peter nodded slowly as they reached the front of the line. They both grabbed their food and Quinn patted the stranger on the back reassuringly, “See you round, newbie.”