chapter eleven

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ALL THE SPACES WERE FILLED WITH EMOTIONS.

Crevices big or small; most of Dorian's body had been opened to thoughts and feelings he had yet to experience in his 17 years of life. He barely ate, for his belly was full of lightning. He barely spoke or interacted. His mother had called numerous times and Silvia had informed him about it whenever he was called to the office. But he didn't care.

On the bus ride to the St. Nicholas' Annual Excursion destination, Dorian allowed his mind to travel far away, beyond the lake, beyond the sea, beyond the stars. He was sited next to Hector, who had deliberately ignored Max's pleas to share the experience of traveling cooped up with another dozen or so boys whose testosterone was basically fueling the bus. His lover's closed eyelids, glossy under the sunrise light streaming through the window, tempted Dorian to gently run his fingertip over them, but Hector had been clear about touching in public. It had to be subtle, or there would be a disruption in the Fencing Club hierarchy.

It was words like these that brought Dorian out of his fantasies of eternal bliss. He often deliberated whether they were made for each other. Every time the conclusion was the same. Nazari was sent to this world by some higher power for Dorian alone. And Dorian was sculpted to fit Hector in his arms. It was the order of the universe.

Oftentimes, while they sat close by in the attic with the sculptures, naked if not for school blazers covering them, Hector would mention the most obscure facts he knew. Their conversations carried them to the past. The curly haired boy made of desert sand knew more about history than anyone Dorian had ever known. History concealed by time, unwritten. Facts that no history book could account for.

One day he looked at a sculpture with his honeycomb eyes.

"That one was made by a student, Joseph Halloway he was called."

Hector's eyes dropped to the floor for a moment and then dreamily caught Dorian's gaze. Dorian's insides burst into flames. The look in Hector's eyes was enough to shatter any atmosphere of devotion built previously by their touches. Dorian felt Joseph Halloway in the room with them, working on the stone, smiling at Hector.

"He graduated in 1963. That's all he left behind."

A statue and a memory. A memory that Dorian wanted to rip out of Hector's mind with his teeth. It alarmed him how possessive he became. It would alarm his mother, who had made sure with various words of advice that her son would be wary of these emotions. They make you weak, dependent, pitiful. But most of the time Dorian felt ecstatic.

A sick, twisted part of him rejoiced whenever he caught Max's gaze, which was an easy feat as he never left Hector out of his line of vision. The wounded puppy façade Max was projecting pleased Dorian to the core. He had always been one to gloat. There were times he spent hours thinking about the many people that wanted him, wanted to be him, desired what he had. For the first time, however, it was not just gloating. It was ugly. A serpent hissing in his mind, threatening to slither out of his mouth and attack Max every time he spoke a word of injustice.

The same snake turned into a dragon in his dreams. A golden dragon that looked at him with his onyx eye and bestowed upon him the final judgement before breathing hellfire onto his body until the heat ate up his heart. The same dragon that watched sometimes as Hector, glowing more than ever, appeared out of the sky and thrust his fist into Dorian's chest in search of his heart. Where is it, he often heard him scream as he shuffled through his organs with ease. I don't know, Dorian replied, you have it.

He shifted his eyes from Hector to look at Jazz and Haruki. Jazz was sleeping on he dark-haired boy's small shoulder, snoring lightly, while Haruki was staring right at Dorian. His eyes bore into his soul. It was a mystery to the Byrne boy what the matter of Haruki's judgemental looks was. But the looks were many and the scoffs twice as such. They hadn't spoken a single word to each other in two weeks, yet Dorian could tell what he was thinking about the closeness between him and Hector. A paranoid part of his mind continuously pushed him to explore the possibility that Haruki was simply worried; he'd been around for longer, he knew better. Though, when has a boy in love ever yielded himself to rational thought.

The bus rocked steadily as it turned. Dorian unglued his gaze from Haruki's. Max was in the front of the bus with Beaumont. Both vomiting in lunch bags. Max's heaving could be heard throughout the vehicle. Dorian was convinced he was simply grappling for Hector's attention. A smile formed on his features. You could die and he wouldn't notice, he thought bitterly. Such triumph could only be met in grandeur by Roman Emperors crossing city gates built in honor of their victories, watching as the defeated kneeled in shackles on the streets of newly conquered land.

Slowly, he laid his blond head on Hector's slender shoulder, knowing full well how it felt to do the same without the extra layer of clothing in between his temple and the soft skin underneath. It was torture to not be able to caress him every day, whenever he liked, for no reason at all. No matter the abundance of onlookers, Hector did something unexpected for Dorian, and himself as well. His sharp cheekbone met the surface of Dorian's hair and in his sleep, he nuzzled closer to him. Sometimes he was as warm as a sea breeze on a Greek island in the summer. Just enough to leave you wanting more.

Dorian swore his heart would inflate and ultimately burst, covering his shirt with boiling blood. He swore he could cry. Instead he shut his eyes as tight as he could and clinged onto that moment for dear life. The dragon breathed a hot breath on his neck. I'm closer than you think, it said.


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