Chapter 24: Jacky (1)

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After therapy, Ryan clung to Jacky. Partly because Jacky didn't want to get in the car with his mother, and so Ryan rode on the back of Jacky's bike again. Partly, Jacky thought, must have been whatever he and Allison and Dr. Burns had discussed in their session.

Jacky's session hadn't gone as badly as he'd feared. His mother had talked a lot about how she was worried about Jacky's future. "He's going to have a hard enough time finding a job, and a career, being disabled," she told Dr. Greene. "If he never learns how to drive, it's going to be even harder."

By the end, he (and Dr. Greene) had convinced his mother to back off until he felt like he was ready. And even though she had asked him if he and Ryan wanted a ride home, she didn't keep trying to pressure him after he used the excuse of having his bike. It was a weak excuse, and they both knew it, but she didn't comment on it like she might have before.

At dinner, Ryan practically sat in Jacky's lap, earning his mother's raised eyebrows. Up in Jacky's room after dinner, Ryan stopped holding himself back and full-out wrapped Jacky up. Jacky felt like he was wearing a human body cast. But he tolerated it, and at least his arm was free. He ran it through Ryan's short hair, and kissed him around the neck and ear while Ryan inhaled Jacky's sweatshirt.

"Do you smoke pot?" Ryan asked suddenly, and Jacky knew what he'd been smelling on the fabric.

"Uh.... is that a deal-breaker or something?"

Ryan pulled back to look at him. Jacky had guessed wrong. Ryan had something else on his mind entirely.

"I mean, yeah, sometimes. Usually just when I'm with Cody. He's a major pothead." Jacky sighed. "Like, he's always smoking. So basically every time we hang out either he smokes or we both smoke. Which is why this sweatshirt smells like smoke. Also I don't wash it very often."

Closing his eyes, Ryan whispered, "I have to do my laundry before Saturday."

"Okay," Jacky said. "No problem."

He resumed stroking Ryan's head, and Ryan lowered his face to Jacky's sweatshirt again. Ryan took a deep breath, then said, "Do you think you could get us some pot right now?"

At first, Jacky didn't know how to answer that. He'd never asked Cody to buy pot for him. He never wanted to know who Cody's dealer was, because he didn't want to be a druggie. Not that he thought of Cody as a druggie. It just happened. Jacky had never felt the need to make it happen. At least, not the need to do more than call Cody up and see if he wanted to hang out.

"Um... How would you feel about hanging out with Cody?" Jacky asked.

The tightening of Ryan's arms gave him an answer. But even more than the idea of using Cody as a drug dealer, Jacky disliked the idea of doing drugs at his house, while his mother was home. That would be sure to fuck their tenuous truce into little pieces.

"Cody knows. About us," Jacky told him.

For a moment Ryan stopped breathing. Eager to prove that he hadn't done anything wrong, Jacky started babbling. "I mean, I told him not to tell anyone. He's my best friend. And he doesn't really hang out with any of your friends, so I figured it would be okay. He just thought it was weird, you know, that you were staying at my house, and I mean, I told him before the Halloween party. He helped me with my costume." Jacky flushed then, a surge of heat as he remembered his costume and Ryan's reaction to it and how Ryan had undone the collar and kissed his neck.

It seemed Ryan was remembering the same things, because he pulled his face out of Jacky's shirt and spent a long second staring at Jacky's neck before he lifted his gaze to meet Jacky's.

Jacky hadn't even noticed that their faces had drifted close enough together to kiss until his lips met Ryan's. Then his eyes closed and he was back in that night, that good time before everything went to hell. Ryan moved his hand up so that his thumb rested on that same spot on Jacky's neck, and instead of a pulse it was more like a memory nerve that throbbed a beat against Ryan's fingertip.

The kissing opened up a black hole, and twenty minutes disappeared before they came up for air, panting and eyes dark and everything feeling too tight. The moment they lay there, looking at each other, lasted long enough for Jacky to begin to wonder if he might be falling in love, and then Ryan asked, "So, do you think you can get some pot?"


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