Second Night

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I was sound fucking asleep when the sirens sounded. I bolted awake, my heart thumping madly, staring into pitch fucking darkness. I flipped onto my side like a floundering fish. What the fuck--? What time was it? What was happening? What did we do?

Through the crack in the door, I could see flashes of red and blue. It made my head hurt and my stomach turn. My mouth was as dry as the Sahara. I could hear Axl's shallow breathing next to me, still recovering from his cold from hell. I could tell he was awake too, and staring at the flashing crack under the door. Car doors slam. Thudding footsteps. Flashlights. Neither one of us dared to move, not even a little. They might hear us. But I heard the faintest of a rustle; Axl moved his head to look at me. I couldn't see him in the dark, but I felt his hair tickling my bare shoulder. 

“Did you get caught in a dive again?” He whispered right into my ear. His hot breath tickled the inside of my ear and I squirmed, cursing at myself for how fucking loud I was. I shook my head feverishly, my breath still coming in shallow bursts. I could feel his eyes burning into me, into my soul, in the dark. I was telling the truth; I had been hanging with Marc over at his parents' deli until about an hour or so ago, when I came back here and Axl was resting in bed. 

“Ok.” He whispered back. The cops were still outside. I heard their footsteps thudding around in the alleyway, see their flickering flashlight beams scanning the alleyway. They were looking—were they looking for us? Our place was known for getting into a lot of trouble on a regular basis: late-night parties, underage drinking, wild sex, drugs, loud music, you name it we had it. But we had been quiet recently; I had just gotten back from County Jail and Axl had been ejected from a club in police custody last week. I was so terrified after my experience in County... I didn't want to go back... never! I couldn't! Oh God!

“Check down this way!” I heard one of the cops calling in the alley. Most L.A. Cops were bullies: mean, brutal, nasty. They weren't bright and they didn't give a shit whether you were really guilty or not; if you were guilty to them, they took you in. And to them, we were punk-ass trouble-making street-rats. And we were guilty as fuck. I faced Axl, my breathing getting worse as fear closed in on me... I was suffocating...

“Axl... I can't go back to County... I can't...” I breathed shakily, as loud as I dared with those motherfuckers outside our front door, so to speak. They continued to storm up and down the alley. “You don't understand...” Hot tears—tears!—ran across the bridge of my nose and into my hair. The cement walls, the peeling was all coming back to me! Make it stop, dammit! I squeezed my eyes shut, sobbing silently—

A soft, very warm hand brushed the side of my face, smoothing away my hair and dabbing the tears. His hand... It was gentle. He coughed into his arm, deadening the sound to almost nothing. But my heart was still thundering erratically. I bit my lip. Don't find us...please...

“We know you're here! If you come out now, we won't place you under arrest!” A cop yelled outside. I felt as if I couldn't breathe at all now, like the air in my fucking lungs had turned to concrete. 

A smooth arm slid under my shoulders and quietly pulled me into his soft, warm chest. The fabric of his shirt was even warm. I could still tell he had a fever. His arms closed around me tightly, compressing me into his body almost tenderly, like I was a small kid who had scraped his knee on the playground. I wasn't expecting it, totally out of left field! This...this was happening...right? Axl...holding me... Axl was holding me... what the hell? Was I dreaming? Or did I have a brain-frying fever like he did? He was so warm and soft... like a pillow... His breathing still sounded congested, and it rattled a little in his throat and lungs. I felt sorry for him. I wanted to pull away. 

Should we be doing this? 

We're both guys...

But he was so warm...

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