Making Changes Ch. 04

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Toys

A/N: So the rest of the story will be from both Ryan and Alex’s perspectives – though I’ll identify when it switches between them.

Enjoy 🙂

* * * * *

Alex

After that night, our first real kiss, things settle down. We haven’t started anything, not yet, although I know we will, it’s in the air. But what I want more than that is to get to know him properly, to stop being such a coward when I’m in his presence, to help him break down the walls that I can sense him holding onto, just because they’ve been built up so high.

The next week feels like the best kind of blur. On Monday, Ryan smiles shyly at me when I sit at the table across from him at lunch and my insides turn to liquid. He’s just too beautiful, and to have him looking at me with that mix of nervousness and excitement makes me want to leap across the table, take his face between my hands, just so I can stare more deeply into his indigo eyes.

Our friends are talking about the party, but none of them know what happened between us. We’d agreed, when we broke out of that heart-stopping kiss, that we’d take this, whatever it is, slowly. But I have no doubt they will have witnessed the new lightness in my step and in my attitude, because there’s no way I’m able to hide it.

After we’d gone back to the party, Ryan had danced, in that incredible elegant, sexy way of his, and I’d sneakily watched him from the side-lines, pretending to be in a conversation with some of the team, but not listening to a word of it. I ask him now, because the conversation has turned to dancing at parties, about it, wanting to know everything about him.

“So, have you had training in dance, Ryan, you’re really good?”

“No…no money for dance school, though I’d have loved to have done something like that when I was a kid,” and I sense that he’s revealed a little extra something about himself in that.

“Anyway, didn’t you go to a posh private school? Surely you were learning all the waltzes and foxtrots every evening after your Michelin-starred dinner?” he snorts, and I love the fact that he’s taking the piss.

“You know what? I wish we did have stuff like that. Only time we did anything like that was just before the year twelve ball, that we shared with a local girls’ school, but the practice we did was just with the guys from school, so I got lots of chances on that dancefloor.”

He laughs, which makes his eyes glitter with joy. Want to make him laugh every time.

* * * * *

Ryan

I’m amazed at how quickly things change from uncertainty to certainty, in a blink of an eye, a stroke of the skin, a kiss of the lips. After spending so many weeks feeling unclear about so much to do with Alex, now I can barely believe it wasn’t all entirely obvious to me from the beginning.

We have agreed to not rush things, choosing to see where it goes naturally, but I’m already slightly regretting that, restricted, as we are, to seeing each other almost always surrounded by others. But we’re speaking, finding out little things about each other through normal conversation, and I think our friends our appreciating the positive new dynamic that creates.

Gone is any awkwardness and the only problem I’m having, and I suspect Alex is too, is stopping myself from reaching to hold his hands, or stroke his arm as he speaks, and I know there have been a few incidences like that that have caused the odd raised eyebrow with our friends, although no one has called us on it yet.

It’s not that we aren’t going to date. We managed a whispered conversation before English today and we’re going to go to a great diner downtown after basketball practice on Friday, which is the one evening this week I’m not working.

On Friday, I work in the library until I know practice will be nearly over. I’m having to fit study in wherever I can at the moment. My mom’s earnings have been cut as there isn’t as much overtime for her, and I know she’s worried it’s going to get worse. She has a constant furrow of worry on her face, so I’ve been picking up even more shifts at work so I can give her money to help toward bills.

I don’t suppose schoolwork matters. I won’t be going to college, even if I can get a scholarship, which is a possibility, but I can’t take my income away from her, so I’ll probably still be working at the coffee shop, but full time, after school finishes.

My heart has been heavy with these pieces of knowledge, but the thought, now, that I’m going to be spending my evening with Alex lightens it. I head down to the locker room, seeing that the guys are still on the court, probably with ten more minutes of play based on the time. I brought a change of clothes, folded carefully in the bottom of my backpack.

I pull out my favorite dark jeans and my gray and black color-block Henley. It’s not a fancy outfit, but it’s one I’ve never worn for school, or the black belt with a vintage brass buckle and black military-style boots, which are the only new shoes I’ve bought in two years.

I strip down to my boxers and am surprised when the creak of the door tells me someone escort mamak has come in. I was intending to be changed and waiting outside before the guys got in from practice, so quickly pull on my jeans, shimmying the tight-fitted denim over my hips.

Before I have chance to fasten the button Maxwell comes around the edge of the lockers and stops in surprise when he sees me. He’s not on the team, he must have been working out on the gym equipment, covered as he is in a sheen of sweat. He looks me up and down, and I really don’t like the leer on his face.

Before I can react he’s on me, pushing my bare back against the scarred metal of the lockers. My shoulder hits a padlock with a sharp pain but I can’t shift to release it – his hands are on my chest, holding me back, his knee pushed between my thighs.

I’m confused by this strident change in behavior. I’ve never liked Maxwell, his overblown attitude as an apparent attempt to replace wit or charm, his hulkingly broad body not hiding any subtlety of movement, but I had never thought this of him, this aggressive forcefulness, this disinterest in consideration.

I know what he’s doing before he speaks, breathing his ketosis into my face. I know of what happened with him and Robbie in the past, more recently I know, from Robbie, just how much he liked it, despite all protestations to the contrary. I am not some innocent ingenue, so I know what’s coming.

“So Ryan, hanging in the locker room, huh? Hoping to see some hot naked guys I guess?”

He gives me no chance to answer, not that I would dignify it with one.

“I know what kind of thing you’re interested in. Know you got up to all sorts of freaky stuff with Charlie at his party. Who’d have thought stuck-up little Ryan was such a filthy slut hey?”

Again, no need to answer. He doesn’t want one. I’m not bothered by his words, which I know he’s just pulling from his limited imagination. Regardless of what I’ve thought of Charlie in the past, he’s not the kind of guy that needs to talk people down, and I doubt he would have given someone as vulgar as Maxwell any specific details about that night.

Plus, I’m well beyond caring what a person like Maxwell would think of me. It’s what nasty little ideas he might have got into his head that worry me, and I’m really hoping the guys don’t decide to run any extra drills tonight.

Maxwell leans closer and I turn my face away, though I can’t move my body as he presses into me and I feel his hardness.

“How about we have some fun, Ryan? I know you’d be up for that, I’m sure it’s why you’re here anyway.”

He starts groping at my hips, trying to push my jeans down. Pushing at my shoulder with the other hand, trying to get me to bend. This move makes me fight back in earnest, and I push at his thick chest, but it’s pointless, he barely notices, and I feel my legs begin to give way, finally feeling a bead of fear.

The door creaks again and relief floods through me. I can’t see, my head still to the side, as Maxwell doesn’t seem to have heard. The distraction caused by the noise means my legs give way, and I drop to my knees with a painful crack.

“What. The. Fuck?”

It’s unmistakably Alex, and I have a moment of horror. Does he think I want to be here?

* * * * *

Alex

I see that fucking great behemoth all over Ryan and my first instinct is blind rage. I want to end him. I can’t help exclaiming but then I rip him away from Ryan, landing a heavy punch directly to his eye, not caring about damage, to me or him, wanting it even.

Hai runs straight to Ryan’s side, and I punch again, feeling the satisfying crunch of flesh on bone. Jayden puts a hand to my shoulder, stilling me before I can take another swing.

Maxwell is bent over, blood falling gratifyingly from his nose, from a cut to his cheek.

“Get the fuck out of here,” I hiss, suddenly feeling sick.

Not over what I did, but over what he might have done if I hadn’t come in at that point. Hai is seated next to Ryan, who is on the bench, still shirtless, though outwardly calm.

“Can we go?” and his normally husky voice is small, frightened, belying his stoic face.

“Yes,” I pull a hoodie on, not even bothering to change out of my shorts, grabbing my bag from my locker.

When I turn back Ryan has pulled his Henley and his boots on and is shrugging a light jacket onto his shoulders. He doesn’t speak as I lead him out and to my truck, sliding silently into the passenger seat.

I start the engine and turn to him.

“What do you want to do?”

“I don’t know. You didn’t change. Sorry, I made you leave before you could change,” his voice is still small and uncertain.

“Ryan, I’m sorry I asked you to meet me there. I’m sorry Maxwell did that. He’s a total shit. But nothing whatsoever, up to and including the fact that I’m still in my basketball shorts, is your fault.”

That gets a small chuckle.

“Do you still want food?”

“Yeah, but don’t you want to change?”

“Yeah. Do you mind if we go by mine, ofise gelen escort I’ll take a shower and get changed and then we can go out?”

Ryan nods, smiling properly now, and I drive home.

* * * * *

When we get to mine Kev isn’t home yet, and I’m pleased, figuring Ryan doesn’t need a ‘meet the parents’ on top of what happened.

“Do you want to watch TV in my room while I get ready?”

I’m not sure if I’m putting too much pressure on him. I’m not going to do anything, but an invitation to my bedroom might sound bad, especially under the circumstances, but I don’t want him to be on his own if Kev happens to come home.

But he nods readily, and we go upstairs. I take a shower and dress in the bathroom, and when I come out I watch Ryan, just for a moment. He put music on instead of television, and has used some of my wax, dancing and singing along as he runs his fingers through his hair.

God, he’s divine. I want to take him in my arms, and all sorts of other things, and, maybe, on a different day, I would give in to such desires, but not today.

He sees me in the reflection and turns with a smile.

“You look great, Alex,” he sounds shy for a moment and I do take one step closer, wanting to protect him, seeing a different kind of vulnerability to the one I can normally sense.

“Thanks Ryan, you do too,” I want to set him at ease, but my voice sounds strangled, which makes him grin.

He takes a step closer to me now and I am drowning in his nighttime eyes.

“Thank you…for earlier, for coming in when you did. I wasn’t that scared, you know, because I knew you were close.”

He comes forward further and puts his hand on my arm. I take his face between my hands, unable to resist further, though I won’t do anything else unless he shows me he wants it.

He does, then, closing the distance, pressing his mouth to mine. This kiss is passionate, but still with the underlying sensitivity he has shown before. I try to respond in kind, holding back on the desperate craving I’m feeling, tenderly swiping my tongue alongside his, tickling his mouth, tasting him fresh on me. I want to taste more, pulling away so I can breathe in the scent of his neck, the warm smell of clean skin, kissing lightly along his jaw, and I’m reminded of the desires I had when I first saw him, the fantasies that held nothing on this reality.

* * * * *

Ryan

We finally make it to the diner to devour huge dripping burgers and chocolate milkshakes. I could have stayed in Alex’s room forever, just feeling the way he tentatively held me, the way his soft lips felt on my skin.

I appreciated that he didn’t do anything further, not because of what Maxwell had done. That guy is gone from my thoughts. Just because we’d made a decision to not take things too fast, and I knew I’d have been putty if he’d pushed it.

When he drops me at the bus stop I can tell he’s hurt that I’m not letting him take me home, but I’m not quite ready for that on top of the downs and ups I’ve had today. I will be, but I think it’s an idea that I’m going to have to get used to.

* * * * *

At school, Maxwell is looking uncharacteristically subdued, with a mulberry eye and a torn cut along his cheek. His girlfriend, Casey, is telling everyone who’ll listen that he fended off a group of muggers, although it’s earned sneering snorts from Hai and Jayden, and Maxwell is blushing furiously.

Whatever his issue is, I just really hope he can sort himself out before college, as no one else deserves his messed-up mind being inflicted on them.

On Monday Alex drives me to work after school, saying he needs to visit a shop close-by. On Tuesday he does again, claiming the shop didn’t have what he needed and he has to go somewhere else. I roll my eyes but accept it. By Wednesday, as he’s walking me to my Chem class, despite his own class being in the gym, I’ve had enough.

“What are you doing Alex?” he looks confused. “Listen, I’m very glad you were there on Friday, but you can’t follow me around like a bodyguard.”

I know the frustration is there in my face, and he looks sheepish at having been caught out, but he pulls me to one side while the flow of students continues past us.

“I just can’t have anything like that happen to you again. I’d never forgive myself. I know Maxwell will never try anything now, but what happens if one of the others tries something and I’m not there to stop them?”

“Why do you need to be there to stop them? Why can’t I be allowed to look after myself? I’m not a child, Alex, don’t treat me like one.”

Now I’m mad. I don’t need to have someone I’m meant to be with looking down on me like some kind of useless body, who’s only good for being pretty and nothing else.

He looks hesitant, I’m sure he didn’t expect me to reject his ‘parenting’ but I’m not having it.

“Ryan… I-I, well, that wasn’t what I intended. Please, can we talk about this? We spent too long not talking to each other, I want us to talk about things that bother us.”

He otele gelen escort has a point, and his face is so adorable, the panicked concern sitting so strangely on his utterly masculine visage, that I can’t say no.

“Okay, at lunchtime-“

“No, now. How important is your Chem class? I hardly need to bother with gym, I have practice tonight anyway.”

Doctor Phillips had told us we’d be allowed to study for our test tomorrow in this lesson, and as I’ve already done a good amount of studying, I guess I can skip without too much detriment. I nod at Alex and he takes my hand, pulling me toward the maintenance cupboard. Luckily the halls are empty now, everyone else already in class, and I hope Hai will think to cover for me.

Alex upturns two galvanized steel mop buckets and flips the lock on the door as he turns the light on. The bare bulb flickers weakly as it swings over our heads and I feel like I’m in an interrogation, with Alex’s intense green eyes staring me down.

“Talk to me, please,” and he looks so hopeful that I smile.

* * * * *

Alex

Ryan grins at me, and turns it around.

“I think you should start. You’re the one that’s been following me around…”

“Okay, I deserve that. I have been. But, I told you, I cant bear the thought of you being in the situation where something like that could happen and me not being there to save you.”

“And, I told you, I don’t need a bodyguard. If you see me as someone too weak to deal with things then we aren’t equals, and I’m not being with someone who doesn’t see me as an equal.”

His words are fierce, but his face is worried, and I know he means this, even if he doesn’t want it to be a thing.

“Alex, have you ever wondered why so many gay guys have girls as best friends?”

“Um, I guess I assumed it had something to do with shopping. Or a mutual appreciation of big fat cocks?”

That earns a chuckle, but his voice is serious, “When a guy isn’t like you, all strong and muscular and able to stand up for himself, we have a lot in common with girls. We understand that guys can be seriously shitty. And that not taking no for an answer is common, not some out-of-the-ordinary anomaly.

“But it’s something we have to deal with. And we don’t need the big strong guys to be looking down on us and thinking we’re less because we don’t have the physical strength.”

“But you are strong. I mean, you’re not as small as Robbie-“

“No I’m not, but that’s the precise problem. I’m stronger that Robbie, but I’m not strong enough to fend off someone like Maxwell. I wouldn’t be strong enough to fend you off, if it came to it. I don’t want you looking down on me and treating me like I’m a child that needs watching because of it.”

“Is it really that bad? You’re acting like what happened on Friday is so normal that you just take the abuse and forget about it. But I don’t know if I can forget. I know how those guys talk. I know that it’s not just Maxwell who would push things too far. I’m scared of you being around them.”

“I would never intentionally be alone with Maxwell or anyone like him, although you can’t always tell who is going to be the one to behave like that. I can’t stop living my life because of the off-chance someone will be a shit. That would be letting that kind of behavior win, which I won’t do, and that’s what I mean about strong versus weak. I might not be physically strong, but I am mentally, and I don’t want you acting or thinking like I’m not.

“And the best way you can deal with that kind of behavior is to call it out when you see it. If they talk shit in the locker room pull them up, remind them it’s not okay to behave like that or think like that.

“Do you think you’re going to be okay about this?”

I look at him, his worried dark eyes reflecting the dim light from the bulb. God his eyes are gorgeous, and I don’t want them looking at me worriedly. I want them lustful, and loving, and adoring, but never worried, or scared, or angry. I reach for him, stroking his jawline with my thumb.

“I am. And I will, step up, I mean. If I hear anything, I’ll put a stop to it, make it clear how I feel. I want one thing from you though. I want you to let me teach you some self-defense; I’ve been doing Muay Thai since I was six and I want to teach you some moves.”

He grins, “I could be down for that.”

* * * * *

Ryan

“So, what now?” Alex checks his watch, “We still have thirty-five minutes of the lesson to kill.”

His question is innocent, but I grin at him and move quickly so I’m straddling his strong thighs. He gasps, a happy little exhalation, and puts his hands on the small of my back to hold me steady. I know Alex is capable of making me feel sexy, both desired and desirous, of making me feel funny, and smart, and even kind. When I think back to all our earlier interactions, even the awkward ones, those are the positive feelings I get.

But right now, the biggest feeling I have is safety. He makes me feel safe. And not only because of his own immense strength, the way his taut muscles shift under his t-shirt, the way his large hands hold me steady with ease, the way I can feel his quads tense under my ass. That’s the obvious way. The more subtle way is in how he looks up at me, with so much warmth, and the fact that he cares for me is so naked in his eyes I could stare into them forever.

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