Could I Lie Next To You? – Chapter 4 REVISED
It’s amazing how much more human a shower can make you feel. After Gerard and I unpacked our necessities, I called the shower first and gratefully stepped in. Leaning against the tile wall, I let out a content sigh and let the hot water run down my body.
I didn’t know what to think about Gerard. I knew there was something more to my feelings for him ever since the first time he kissed me on stage and caused me to miss a few chords. It wasn’t a normal reaction for a guy, and I knew it. Nor was it normal for a guy to constantly have such vivid dreams about his “buddy.”
But love was chemical. Sex—even just kissing—could trick the body into desiring another. Add in the loneliness that was so convenient to blame, and you had an explanation. An excuse. A Chemical Romance.
How would he respond if I were to tell him? What would I tell him? I couldn’t confess how I felt if I didn’t know, myself. And even if I did love him—my best friend, my band mate—then what? It seemed unlikely that he’d be gay. How could I possibly top all of those attractive girls falling all over him?
I was nothing more than that to him. An afterthought addition to the band who soon became a close friend. And that was something I’d have to start getting used to.
But it was the more-than-just-friends smiles we shared, the way his hand always found its way to my knee when we sat by each other, the sketches of me I found stashed amongst his other artwork, that gave me hope for something otherwise. And yet, every time I was convinced I had evidence that he shared the same torturous confusion as myself, I found just enough doubt to counter it. The smiles were about interpretation; the knee, a likely accident. The only unexplainable factor was the drawings.
Still, I had to accept the possibility that we were just really close. All five of us. Hell, before we got our bunks we all used to sleep with, if not on top of, each other. Piled like discarded rags tangled with one another at the seams.
Damn beds. Those things took all of my fun away. It was a twisted little game I played with myself, trying to see how long I’d last so close to him without getting an erection. Horrible for so many reasons, but too enjoyable to resist. Sleeping with him without actually sleeping with him was the sweetest torture I’d ever endured. Even more so than the staged kisses and groping sessions. There was just something about lying next to him, listening to his steady breathing. I could do it for hours.
So why was I so nervous now?
Through the pattering of the water against the tile, I heard Gerard’s unmistakable knock. One-Two-Three, One-Two. I hummed an okay and the door creaked open, illuminating a thick cloud of mist.
“Hey, Frank, mind if I shave in here?”
I jumped as the door opened fully and tugged the shower curtain closed.
“Uh… sure, go ahead.” I stood up straight and began to wash my hair, watching his silhouette through the thin beige plastic that separated us. It was almost sensual watching him lather the cream onto his face, then making long, smooth strokes with the razor. I watched him repeat it several times on one side before he moved to the other, rinsing the shampoo out of my hair in the process.
He managed to make the most mundane of things look so incredibly beautiful.
I finished with my hair and moved on to soaping the rest of my body, never taking my eyes off of him. How easy it would be to just walk out of the shower and take him by surprise. Maybe if I kissed him, he’d kiss back for lack of a better plan of action. Hell, we could even go farther than that. We’d been on the road so long he’d probably go along with it for the sake of venting some sexual frustration.
I grinned and closed my eyes. I could see it now: him moaning, arching under me, begging for more while sweating the way he did on stage, telling me how much he loved me all along and was too afraid to say it...
It was a good thing the sound of the water masked my heavy breathing, because I hadn’t realized I was paying extra special attention to soaping up a certain part of me until said part rose to full attention.
“Gerard…” I gasped, my mind as foggy as the shower.
“Yeah?” He turned to face me, the razor pausing mid-shave.
I let go immediately and cleared my throat, blushing deeply. He was driving me crazy. If I wasn’t careful, I’d wind up doing something he’d hate me for.
“I, ah… I’m getting out now.”
“Oh, okay.” He started to rinse his razor off, then hesitated. “Do you really want me to leave? I mean… nothing I haven’t seen before.”
If possible, I felt myself turning a deeper shade of red and glanced down. Yep, still excited.
“Um… no, it’s okay. Stay.” I held the curtain close, reaching out to grab one of the towels hanging from a hook on the wall. Wrapping it around my waist and pulling it taut, I stepped out to find Gerard watching me through the mirror. “Sorry,” I grinned. “No peep shows today.”
“Damn. And I went through all of the trouble to fake shaving just for that.” He winked, sending a shiver down my spine. Sadist.
Later that night we performed a show for the rest of the passengers. Most of them were young, on their way to Hawaii for spring break. We endured two hours worth of autographing, pictures and the like before Mikey got the idea to celebrate another successful tour with a few beers.
As we headed over to one of the ship’s several bars, I remembered that Gerard couldn’t drink. I remained quiet about it until we were seated at the bar and he nodded to the bartender for a beer.
“Don’t,” he pleaded. “I just want to challenge myself; I know I can have a drink without going crazy and getting shitfaced.”
I couldn’t help but smile. “Good for you.” Oh, how lame.
Moments later we were sipping contentedly on our beers, pausing every few minutes to sign an autograph or pose for a picture.
“This is crazy,” Ray sighed. Exhaustion tinged his voice, though he tried to sound flattered. “You’d think we were gods or something.”
“Did you see that one girl that tried to throw herself on stage?” Bob’s lips twitched with a small laugh. He took a sip and licked a drop from his lip ring before continuing. “I actually felt bad for her. Security tossed her back like a rag doll.”
Gerard laughed and joked along throughout the conversation, taking his time with his beer. I smiled at him proudly and put a hand on his knee a few minutes later when he signaled the bar tender for another. I hoped I didn’t look as nervous as I did about what his reaction would be.
“I know I’m not your mother, dude, I’m sorry. But I really think you should try to take it one at a time.”
His eyes traveled from my hand up my arm and finally to my eyes. He held my gaze steady for a few seconds before giving me a smile that could melt the strings off my guitar.
“Thanks.” He put the second mug down, sliding it away from him. I put mine down as well and the guys followed suit when they realized why.
“Let’s call it a night,” Mikey yawned. “Unless I get some coffee soon, I’m going to pass out.”
We all agreed and started toward our corridor, bidding each other good night and separating into our rooms. Gerard and I took turns washing up in the bathroom and minutes later I was standing by the window, watching the water turn a darker shade of blue with each passing minute.
“I’ve never been on a boat like this,” I mused, more to myself than to anyone else. Gerard stepped out in only a pair of sweatpants and I stole a glance out of the corner of my eye.
“Me neither. It’s really nice, huh?” He was pulling the blankets back on our bed, reminding me that I’d be sleeping with him. Not that I’d forgotten, of course. It was on my mind all day. “Don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted.” I turned to him, watching him slide under the covers. He smiled up at me and scratched the back of his head, propping himself up on one elbow. “Thanks for looking out for me, man.”
“No problem.” I smiled back and slipped in next to him, ignoring the excited leap in my stomach. Gerard shut the light, and for a while all that accompanied the darkness was the ruffling of sheets as we both got comfortable. Then, silence.
It took me a while to get to sleep. I kept thinking of what it would be like to roll over, wrap my arms around him and pretend it was an accident. Or not acknowledging the fact that I did it at all. I figured he was too smart and would figure it out, anyway, and I didn’t want to weird him out. So I just watched him for a while, letting his calm breathing soothe me to sleep.
The water sloshed against the side of the ship, peeking occasionally through the glass of the window. I held Gerard wordlessly by the hand. He was shaking his head, refusing me as I tried to pull him toward it, but eventually relented when I pulled the glass aside and let in the salty air. He took a deep breath and followed, his resistant frown morphing into squinted laughter as we stepped easily out of the window and into the warm ocean.
I pressed my sea-salt lips against his when we resurfaced. The ship had come to a halt, and I pinned him against its immaculately clean side as he returned the kiss with a sigh. Upon pulling away I noticed a difference in our swimming: Gerard was floating without a single stroke, and I was growing out of breath with each desperate kick of the water below me.
My muscles eventually gave and locked up. I sank, reaching for Gerard as the blue mass concealed his body until even his feet had vanished. My lungs were contracting with the frantic pulsing of my heart. That, coupled with the increasing pressure of the water, had me fighting against my own chest—which was threatening to collapse in on itself at any moment.
All was still until Gerard suddenly appeared from below me. He swam up to my suspended form and coiled around me protectively, bringing life back to my limbs wherever his flesh met mine. We were both naked, but I could feel no detail in the curves of his body. Only the smooth planes of his skin, itself. I finally began to move again and kicked toward the surface, pulling Gerard with me, who was suddenly paralyzed as I had been a moment before.
I awoke to a pain in my chest that subsided with each gasping breath. Swallowing back lungfuls of air, I slowly regained my calm and sense of reality… or so I thought.
Something was rubbing up against me, keeping my breathing ragged long after I had filled and emptied my lungs several times. I tried to pinpoint the source of the friction, but my eyelids were still too heavy to keep open for longer than a few seconds and I couldn’t adjust to the darkness.
“Mmmh. That feels good,” I mumbled, pressing myself against whatever it was. A hybrid sound of moan and sigh graced my skin with a gust of breath. The rubbing was consistent, and I finally pried my eyes open when I felt a hand trace my hips and waist in time with it.
And then I remembered where I was. It was Gerard, and that amazing feeling happened to be his thigh between my legs.
“Shit—” I gasped. I attempted to pull away but he held me in place. “G-Gerard…?”
The only logical answer was that he was sleeping. Which left me with two possibilities: pull away and pretend it never happened, or…
Part of me was disgusted with my decision, but few would have done otherwise. I leaned into his touch further, letting out a shaky sigh.
My eyes fell closed until I managed to bite back my shame and open them to see his gorgeous face.
His black hair hung in haphazard tendrils around his freshly shaven face. The moist red lips were parted slightly, and his breath was coming out in quick, shallow exhales. Open and glazed over, his eyes slowly came into view through the darkness, scared and tentative as my own. He was awake. And staring right back at me, waiting for my response.
It was the opening I’d waited for; if I didn’t take it, I would hate myself.
Leaning further into his touch, I wrapped my hands around the sides of his head and pulled him closer, pressing myself against his body. My lips crashed down onto his and, without hesitation, his arms encircled me while he kissed back. A weak moan escaped my lips and my stomach turned over when I realized that, at least for the moment, he wanted it as much as I did. The realization gave me the confidence to roll on top of him, straddling his hips and leaning down to kiss his soft, pale neck.
When I heard him moan, I lost it.
Pressing his hips down with mine, I continued to kiss him feverishly. I could feel him getting hard, as he had on stage during that one performance. Our breathing grew heavier and began to mesh, becoming as inseparable as our bodies. His hands worked their way up my shirt.
I had been with women before. Plenty of them. But none of them touched me the way he did, and I was suddenly overcome by a need to tell him that. It became all-consuming, increasing in intensity with each brush of his satin-soft skin against mine. The word “love” kept leaping to my tongue, and I knew it was true. As a friend. A band mate. A /brother/… but more?
My hormones weren’t going to give me a chance to rationalize. I had pulled away to rub more forcefully against him, my wrists straining beneath me on each side of his shoulders. The moment he pulled me back down and trapped my lips in another kiss, I nearly burst.
“Gerard, I— ah!“
He cut me off, rolling me over so that he was the one on top. My hands were suddenly pinned above my head as he ran his down my arms, over my chest and finally down to the waistline of my boxers. I felt a gentle caress beneath the elastic and I moaned yet again, arching into his touch to hopefully force his hand lower. I could have sworn I saw stars when I felt him start to stroke me slowly.
I could hardly concentrate on the passionate kiss we were locked in anymore. I kept having to force my tongue to move, too absorbed in the dizzy sensation that weighed it down and dulled every sense other than touch. He started applying more pressure to his strokes, quickening the movement. I grunted, pressing into his touch.
“Oh, God, Gerard… d-don’t stop…”
After holding back as long as I could, I finally exploded. My vision was slightly blurred and I felt as if I were floating. I only vaguely felt his hand tracing back up my body and turning my face toward him, his lips just brushing mine.
“Open your eyes, Frank.”
I did to find him breathing just as heavily as I was. I leaned in and kissed him softly, slipping my hand below his boxers this time. I stroked him the way he did me, slowly at first and then faster. My hands shook with insecurity—had he been with another man before, one who knew what he was doing?—and I struggled to steady them as I put to practice everything women had always done for me. His breathing quickened even more and he let out a series of grunts, moaning my name into my ear as his hands roamed my back. The sight of him arching into my touch was amazing, the sounds of his arousal even more so. Then, finally, he came as well.
We laid still then. He was on his back, I on my side. The air around us pulsed with our heat, fed by our rapid, irregular breaths.
And although I had so much to say, so much to confess, I felt as if I had said it all, and drifted off into the best sleep I’d had in five years.