“You're drooling on my back," Sterling said. He was lying on his stomach and Aubrey was draped across his back. He felt the puddle right between his shoulder blades.
"Unh," Aubrey mumbled.
Sterling scooted away from him. "That's so fucking gross," he muttered to himself. "I'm gonna need another shower."
He got out of bed and made his way into the connected bathroom. Aubrey didn't even peek an eye open. He was sprawled out in the middle of the bed on his front. His arms and legs spread eagle. He took up the entire space of the queen sized mattress.
"Always been a bed hog," Sterling said under his breath. He couldn't help but smile. He knew many people would think it was weird that his son still crawled into his bed, but he couldn't bring himself to put a stop to it.
He turned on the hot water and kicked his underwear into the corner of the bathroom. He sighed as he stepped under the spray.
Aubrey was probably the only kid he was ever gonna have. It's true what they say — kids grow too fast.
He sounded like a fucking sentimental guy when he thought things like that. But he loved his boy. In fact, he loved him more than he was even willing to admit to himself. It felt...too much. It felt...wrong at times. Because the thought of watching his son leave and go to college — of watching him start his own life — hurt. Which was fucking ridiculous. He wasn't a clingy guy. He didn't even like having a girlfriend, they'd always ended up annoying him with all their calling and whining. They said he never spent enough time with them.
He scoffed. He spent plenty of time with them, they just always wanted more. After a few dates, the woman wanted a ring and a lifetime commitment. Thank fuck Allyson hadn't been that way. They both knew they weren't meant to be together. He had to wonder, though, if that would have been different if he'd "made a declaration of faith". He still didn't know what the hell that meant.
He didn't want religion almost as much as he didn't want a relationship. He may be 34, but that didn't mean he was ready to settle down. Maybe, if he met the right woman. But that hadn't happened yet.
He quickly washed up, then shut off the shower. After he dried off, he wrapped the towel around his waist.
Aubrey was still sleeping when he went back into the bedroom.
“Guess I'll be making breakfast."
"Ugh. You're too loud," Aubrey croaked. He rubbed his face into the pillow under his head. Which happened to be Sterling's pillow.
"Don't rub your fucking drool crusted face on my pillow," he said as he pulled boxer briefs out of his dresser.
Aubrey laughed. "What?" He lifted his head from the pillow. "Drool crusted? What the hell, Dad?" He laughed again.
Sterling dropped the towel and stepped into his underwear. "When drool dries it turns into this nasty white shit on your face."
Aubrey laughed even harder as he got out of bed. "Gimme a kiss." He puckered his lips and leaned towards him.
Sterling put his hand over Aubrey's face and pushed him back. "I'm not kissing that face until you wash it."
Aubrey licked his palm.
He snatched his hand away. "That's fucking nasty."
Aubrey fell back to the bed laughing. "You liked it."
He scowled. "You're fucking weird. I did not like your nasty ass morning breath getting on my hand."
Aubrey stretched. He looked like a cat. His boy wasn't as tall as him — probably wouldn't ever get to 6'1 — but he had a runners body. If he would get his ass to the gym he's probably be able to start building muscle like Sterling, but the kid only wanted to run.
“I'm hungry," Aubrey sighed.
Sterling pulled navy shorts and a gray AC/DC t-shirt out of the dresser and put them on. "Why don't you get your ass outta bed and go make something?"
The corner of Aubrey's mouth tilted up. "Because I'm comfortable."
Sterling tossed his towel into the hamper in the corner of the room. "I hope you're comfortable with an empty stomach," he called over his shoulder as he left the bedroom.
He heard his boy groan.
He shook his head and chuckled. He never smiled as much as he did when he was with his son.
Goddamn, he loved the shit out of that kid.
Aubrey loved lying in bed, but he figured he should get himself downstairs before his dad ate all the food. He grinned to himself. His dad was all talk. He knew he could sleep all day if he wanted and his dad would make sure he ate.
He rolled out of bed and trudged into the adjoining bathroom. He never used the other bathroom when he was here.
After a piss, washing his hands and face, and brushing his teeth, he headed downstairs.
"Something smells good."
"Bacon," Sterling said.
"Damn, I love the food at your house." Aubrey came and stood next to his dad at the stove.
"Your mom not give you bacon?" He said as he flipped the pieces of pork in the pan.
"She does." Aubrey leaned back against the counter on his elbows. "Just not this kind of bacon."
"Meaning real bacon?"
Aubrey chuckled. "Chicken bacon."
"Chicken bacon? I didn't even know that was a thing."
Aubrey laughed. "Oh it's a thing. And it's all mom buys."
His dad put the bacon on a paper plate. "Still not feeding you pork, huh?"
Aubrey shrugged. "Says pork is bad for you. And something to do with the Bible."
His dad rolled his eyes. "Goddamn, spare me that religious shit."
Aubrey burst out laughing. "Dad, c'mon, it's not that bad." He took the plate of bacon he was handed.
"Yes, is it," his dad said. "Now take that to the table."
Aubrey sat down at the small, square table. It was in front of the sliding glass doors. "I wish it wasn't so hot, then we could eat outside."
His dad sat across from him. "I don't know what it is with you and eating outside." He grinned at him.
"I don't know. I like being outside."
"Fucking mosquitoes will eat you alive in this humidity."
Aubrey groaned. "I know. That's why I can't wait to get out of Florida. Go somewhere where I can be outside all I want without being preyed upon by vampire insects."
Sterling felt a pinch — a fucking pinch — in his gut at the mention of his boy leaving.
He could always follow him...
Oh hell fucking no. Now he was becoming one of those clingy women. Goddamn, part of being a parent was letting go.
He shook his head at his own ridiculous thoughts and focused on his breakfast. He spread cream cheese on his toast and put five pieces of bacon in between the slices. He watched Aubrey do the same. It was their favorite breakfast. Simple, yet they both ate it every morning they were together.
"What are we gonna do today?" Aubrey asked around a mouth full of food.
Sterling looked at his son. The sunlight shining on his hair brought out the golden highlights. It was sticking up all over the place.
"I dunno, what do you want to do?"
He swallowed his food. "How about the pool? It's too hot to do anything else."
They both finished their breakfast and then headed upstairs to change into their swimming trunks.
"What the fuck are those?" Sterling asked as they both came out of their rooms.
Aubrey glanced down at his shorts. "I just got them from American Eagle. Pretty awesome, huh?"
Sterling grunted. "Where's the rest of them?" He started down the stairs.
"Dad, no one wears swimming shorts below their knees anymore." Sterling could hear the smile in his voice.
"These were in style when I was your age." He motioned to his black swimming trunks.
Aubrey laughed. "Yeah, exactly. When you were my age."
They paused in front of the door while Sterling grabbed his keys.
"How long ago was that again? Twenty years?" Aubrey said.
"No, you little shit, I'm not that old."
They walked outside with Aubrey still laughing.
They had a great day at the pool. Aubrey and his dad swam, wrestled in the water, and cannon balled in the deep end. For two hours they had the community pool to themselves. When the young family arrived, Aubrey and his dad got out of the pool and laid on the lounge chairs. The hot sun felt good on their wet skin.
After a few minutes his dad said, "So, you got yourself a girlfriend yet?" Aubrey glanced to his left, his dad had his eyes closed behind his aviator sunglasses.
"Boyfriend then?" He said in the exact same tone of voice.
Aubrey smiled. "No, no boyfriend either."
"Just casual sex then?"
Aubrey sat up. "Dad, what the hell?" He quickly glanced at the family with the two young children. They weren't paying them any attention.
His dad scoffed. "What? At your age I was having sex with —"
"Everybody, I know." Aubrey interrupted him. "But can you not talk about it so loud? There's a family with little kids over there," Aubrey said quietly.
His dad lifted his head and looked over at them. "Yeah at the other end of the pool." He smirked at Aubrey. "I'm not a complete idiot, I know your sex life is private."
Aubrey couldn't help but laugh as he laid his head back down. "God, Dad, you're crazy."
"So that's a no to the casual sex?" He did lower his voice.
"You know I'm not having sex."
Sterling groaned. "Yeah I do, something about waiting for the right one or some shit."
"I'm pretty sure you're supposed to want me to do that, you know be proud of the fact I'm not sleeping around."
"You're a red blooded sixteen year old, I would understand if you couldn't keep it in your pants."
"Like you couldn't."
His dad grinned. "Damn right I couldn't. I fucked every willing girl I could get my hands on."
Aubrey scrunched his nose. "I don't see how that's anything to be proud of. You did get mom pregnant after all."
His dad sat up and planted his feet on the ground. Aubrey rolled his head in his direction.
"You were the best thing that's ever come from my sleeping around," he said fiercely.
Aubrey reached out and touched his dad's arm. "I know Dad, if there's one thing I know it's how much you love me."
He gave a sharp nod. "Damn right I do."
Aubrey grinned at him. That was one thing he'd never questioned — how much he was wanted by his mom or his dad.
"What are we gonna watch?" Sterling asked as the popcorn popped in the microwave.
Aubrey crossed his arms as he leaned against the counter. "I dunno. Whatever you want. You know I'm easy."
"Rocky it is then," Sterling said.
"Just how many times in your life have you seen that movie?" Aubrey's blue eyes were so light that they sometimes looked almost clear. Sterling couldn't help but be proud of how damn good looking his boy was. Which was why he didn't understand why he was still a virgin. Had to be all that shit he learned at the Christian school and church.
The microwave beeped and he popped it open to get the popcorn out. "Too many times to count," he answered Aubrey's question.
"Well, I think I've seen it at least a hundred times with you over the years."
Sterling laughed. "You're exaggerating."
Aubrey shook his head. "Sadly, I don't think so."
Sterling shrugged as he passed him, heading to the living room. "You should have picked a movie then."
They flopped down onto the black leather couch, the popcorn bag between them.
"I knew when I said I didn't care, you'd pick this." Aubrey put his feet up on the wood and black coffee table. "But I really don't mind."
Sterling grabbed the remote and turned the TV on. "My boy, always so agreeable."
"Not sure mom would think so," Aubrey said around a mouth full of popcorn.
Sterling scoffed. "Please, you're the most well behaved 16 year old to ever walk the planet."
"Why does that sound like an insult when you say it?" Aubrey said with a slight smile.
Sterling glanced at him. "Just don't know where you came from." He shook his head. "The shit I got into when I was your age." He whistled. "It's amazing I didn't end up in jail." He found the movie and hit play.
Aubrey was quiet for a bit as the music started and the fight scene came onto the screen. As the referee was breaking Rocky and the other guy apart for the second time, Aubrey said quietly, "Would you like me to be that way?"
Sterling furrowed his brows as he shifted his attention to him. Aubrey was looking down at his hands in his lap. "What the hell are you talking about?"
Aubrey looked at him. His blue eyes were big and serious. "Like you were when you were my age?"
Sterling grabbed the remote, paused the video and turned on the couch to face his boy. He shoved the popcorn out of the way and pulled Aubrey to me. Putting his hands on his shoulders, he said, "I would change nothing about you. You're damn near perfect and I couldn't be prouder of you, okay?"
"Good." Sterling pulled him against his chest and kissed his head. Goddamn, he'd hurt his boy's feelings. Shit. Him and his fucking mouth.
"Thanks, Dad," Aubrey mumbled into his chest.
They stayed that way for the rest of the movie.
Aubrey had fallen asleep on the couch. He blinked his eyes open. There was a blanket draped over him and the lights were off. He slowly sat up and squinted at the clock on the stove. 12:34am.
He yawned and stretched. No way was he going to spend all night on the couch. He tossed the blanket aside and padded to the stairs. On the way up, he took his t-shirt off and his shorts. His dad's bedroom door was open. Aubrey crawled onto the left side of the bed, just behind his dad's back. The sheets were at the end of the mattress since his dad never covered himself when he slept. Aubrey scooted against his back and sighed as the warmth from his dad's skin seeped into him.
"I should have just woken you up and brought you up here," his dad mumbled.
Aubrey smiled against his dad's shoulder. "It's fine. You knew I'd crawl in here anyways."
His dad grunted.
"Night," Aubrey whispered. "I love you."
"Love you too, kid."