Chapter 38.1: Jacky/Ryan

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School ended up cancelled on Friday, after the sky dumped eight inches of snow overnight

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School ended up cancelled on Friday, after the sky dumped eight inches of snow overnight. Jacky wasn't much help shoveling, but he could push the snowblower with his prosthetic arm. Afterwards, he felt cold and exhausted and spent the day wishing Ryan had been snowed in with him. Instead, he watched a movie and drank hot cocoa with his mom.

By Saturday he had cabin fever and even though he was dying for some private time with Ryan, he wanted to get out of the house.

"Wanna go to the movies?" he asked Ryan after they had picked him up from the group home.

"Sure," said Ryan.

He pulled up the information on his phone and they picked out a movie. His leg bounced up and down with excitement. He couldn't wait to share popcorn and hold hands, in the dark but also sort of in public.

He was so excited he barely noticed that Ryan didn't seem as excited as he did until they were close to the front of the line for the movie. "I, um, I don't..." Ryan mumbled something Jacky didn't quite catch. The matinee movie lines were full of families. The kids directly behind Ryan and Jacky were loudly having a pretend lightsaber battle that their tired-looking father didn't seem to even notice.

"What?" Jacky asked, leaning in.

"I don't have any money." Ryan's voice was a whisper.

"It's okay," Jacky said, surprised that Ryan thought he'd have to pay. "My mom gave me money."

Ryan didn't look happy.

"Ryan." He bumped into Ryan's arm and repeated, "It's okay."

"I just..." Ryan didn't finish his sentence. Instead he looked out the windows into the parking lot while Jacky stepped forward and paid for the two of them.

"Come on." Jacky fumbled putting the change back in his wallet. This always happened to him at stores, so he slid out of the way, then shoved the change and wallet into his pocket because he wanted to hold Ryan's hand.

But then Ryan had his hands in his pockets. "You want any snacks?" Jacky asked.

Ryan shook his head.

"Well, I'm going to get popcorn," Jacky said, and pulled Ryan over to the concessions counter. "Can you carry this?" he asked Ryan, handing over the popcorn.

Once in their seats, Jacky hoped Ryan's weird mood would go away. He tilted the popcorn. "You want some?"

Ryan shook his head again.

"Are you okay?" Jacky asked.

"Yeah."

"Okay." After a long moment of silence, Jacky added, "Because I don't mind taking you out on a date."

Ryan looked at him, a smile creeping onto his face.

"Yep." Jacky leaned back in his seat. "I like being your Sugar Daddy."

"Stop it," Ryan said, definitely grinning.

"I'll spoil you rotten," Jacky warned, then looped his hand through Ryan's arm on the armrest and rested his cheek on Ryan's shoulder. "Is this okay? Do you want me to wait until it gets dark in here?"

Ryan twined his fingers through Jacky's, then reached over and stole some popcorn. "Nope. This is good."

"I wish it could be like this all the time," Ryan whispered that night, after they had kissed each other raw and lay skin to skin under a heap of blankets

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"I wish it could be like this all the time," Ryan whispered that night, after they had kissed each other raw and lay skin to skin under a heap of blankets. He had that nighttime, love drunk feeling that he could tell Jacky anything.

"Like what?" In the darkness Jacky's eyes were all dark lashes on pale cheeks. "Naked?" He moved under the sheets to remind Ryan, not that Ryan needed reminding. He didn't know what had taken them so long. He never wanted to put his clothes back on.

"That, too." Another kiss, meant to be quick, went on longer than he'd intended. "Easy, I mean."

With Monica, things had been totally different. He could never quite figure out what to do with her, mostly because he wasn't interested. Once she had taken his hand and placed it on her chest, and he'd sat there, squeezing it, not sure if that felt good to her or not. With Jacky, he knew, and not only because they had the same anatomy.

When Jacky blinked, his eyelashes whispered against Ryan's chin. "Yeah."

It was hard to shake off that feeling, long into the next day, and Monday, when Ryan found himself staring across the cafeteria at Jacky. He kept thinking how he felt like there had been nothing between them, no boundaries – but now, here at school, there might have been a brick wall separating them.

That was when Ryan realized that there didn't have to be.

"I'll be right back," he told Lance, and got up. He left his lunch at the table, and walked over to Jacky's table.

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