Ray's earliest memory is sitting on his mother's knee in a big white room that smells of disinfectant. It's dark outside, and snowing, and the windows are iced over; every few moments there's an announcement over the intercom for some doctor or another. He remembers getting a little packet of chocolate-covered raisins from the vending machine in the corner. At one point a woman with short dark hair is wheeled past in a wheel chair, screaming "god damn you, evil /husband/-person," and Ray starts to cry; his mother is startled into laughing.
There's a gap in his memory, and then he's in a smaller room, sitting on the edge of a bed with crinkly blue sheets. His mother's sitting next to him, talking to the tired-looking red-headed lady in the bed; but Ray barely notices anything they're saying - he's too enthralled with the tiny blond baby lying in the woman's arms. The image is startlingly clear in his mind - dark blue eyes, almost black; tufts of thin gold hair; soft pink skin.
"Baby," Ray tries to say, pointing, but it comes out as 'Bobby'. "Mama, Bobby, look!"
His mother and her best friend look at Ray, then at the baby, then at each other. "Bobby," the red-head grins, and looks up at someone behind Ray. "Little Bobby Bryar."
Ray laughs and touches Bobby's nose.
[Ray is nine and Bobby is six]
Ray walks Bobby home from school. It's summer, the last day of school for the school year, and they take off their shoes and walk on the strip of grass by the side of the road. Ray holds Bobby's hand when they cross the road, and buys him an iceblock at the corner store; Bobby swings his shiny red Superman lunch box by his side and asks Ray why summer has to be so /hot/. Ray tries to invent a scientific-sounding answer but ends up just saying, "because the sun ate all the snow so now it's bigger."
Bobby asks Ray's mother (very politely) if he can stay the night; they eat pizza and play video games on Ray's sega, and Bobby falls asleep halfway through /A New Hope/.
Ray watches Bobby sleep until he begins to feel creepy, and turns over to go to sleep himself.
[Ray is eleven and Bobby is eight]
Bobby is a chubby kid. His mom likes to bake, so that makes sense. He's also very, very shy. Shy and apologetic and quiet, and, despite the fact that he is almost half a foot taller than everyone else in his class, unable to stand up for himself. Which can be a problem.
Bobby frowns and takes another bite of his sandwich. Roast chicken and salad and mayonnaise, on home-made bread. It's good. He licks his lips.
"How many pies did you eat for dinner last night?"
Bobby keeps eating, but the taste has gone out of the salad, and the meat is too dry. He swallows, and it hurts.
"Oi, fatty! I'm talking to you!"
Bob finishes his sandwich and starts on the cupcake. It's chocolate and orange flavoured, with yellow and red icing. Home made.
"Pay attention to me!"
Someone rips the cupcake out of his hands and slams it against his forehead. Bob hesitates, then opens his lunch box for an apple.
Someone stomps on his hand.
"Ahh!" Bobby grabs his hand back, "Get off me!"
"I told you to pay attention to me!" Bob's apple bounces off the mess of icing and cupcake on his forehead and rolls across the asphalt. A hand grabs his hair and jerks his head up. "You are so fat/. I bet your mom can't even /bear to kiss your ugly fat face good night."
Bobby scowls. He doesn't do anything, he just scowls.
"You should go on a diet. You should starve yourself, you're so fat, you'll probably die if you didn't."
"Say something, fatty!"
"Go away," Bobby says, very quietly.
They kick him in the side and leave. When Bobby looks over at his shiny red Spiderman lunchbox, on of his most favouritest things in the world, the top is smashed in and the hinges are broken.
(Later on, Ray finds out and buys him a new lunchbox, even though he has to use two weeks of allowance. He would have beaten them up, but he's skinny and small and has glasses, and can't fight for shit.)
[Ray is 15, Bob is 12]
The girl has long, long legs, and a fringe that covers at least a third of her face, and she's wearing a ripped Iron Maiden shirt and scuffed old converses and a leather cuff around her wrist that Bobby recognises as belonging to Ray. She's sitting on the front porch of Ray's house, and she's eating an ice-cream, dripping down over her hand. It looks good, almost perfect, Bob thinks; like a commercial for summer.
Bob kicks open the gate and marches down the path, stopping right in front of her. She looks up, shading her eyes from the sun with one hand. "Hello," she says.
"Um," she says. "I'm Melinda." Bob studies her face; she's very pretty, with dark, flawless skin and full lips. Her hair curls at the bottom, like she's started to straighten it from the top down and decided not to half way through.
Bob decides he likes her very much.
"I'm Bob," he says seriously. "Is Ray home?"
As if on cue, Ray kicks open the front door, holding his own ice-cream in his hand. "Ready to go, Mel-" He sees Bobby. "Oh. Bob. Hi."
Bob grins and points at Melinda. "Is she your /girlfriend/?"
Ray takes a breath and holds it. "Bob, I'm going out now. Go home."
"Are you going out with /her/?" Bob asks, ignoring him.
"Bob, go home, please."
Bob grins even wider. "You are/, Ray-face! You /so are!"
Melinda starts to giggle, tucking her hair behind her ear. Bob begins to sing, "Ray and Mel-IN-da, up a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G!" Ray turns pink. "Bobby, go /home/!"
Bob sticks his tongue out at Ray and runs back up the path, still singing.
Melinda scolds Ray for being mean.
Later that night, Bob lies in bed and thinks about Ray kissing Melinda, and closes his eyes and pretends not to care.
[Ray is 17, Bob is 15]
Ray walks Bob home from school, even though Bob insists on saying that it's a mutual walking-home-together-type-thing. Ray holds Bob's hand and buys him a Red Bull from the corner store and swears back at the kids who yell; Bob hangs his head and pretends to disappear, but he doesn't let go of Ray's hand.
Bob stays the night at Ray's place, and they eat pizza and drink beer Ray stole from his big brother, and play video games. Ray turns the TV off halfway through /Return of the Jedi/. He's being distracted, and besides, he has better things to do.
Bob squirms too much, and he moans too much, and Ray has to slap his hand over his mouth as Bob arches his back and comes apart in his arms. Ray concentrates (which isn't hard, considering exactly what he's concentrating on and exactly where it is) and hiccups and shoves deeper, and he comes too.
"Jesus," he breathes, arms giving way as he falls against Bob's back.
"Boys? Is everything okay up there?"
Bob yelps, and jumps. Ray yelps louder.
"W-We're fine, mom," Ray calls.
"Don't come up!"
Bob squeaks when Ray moves, and Ray has to slap his hand over his mouth again.
A/N: crossposted to my DeviantART, as are most of my stories.
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