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"The Approach of Splendor" (2/3) Scott, adult [SPECIAL]

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  • Minisinoo
    Continued directly from Part 1/3 ... After his tour of Europe, Warren returned to the mansion for a couple of weeks before leaving for New Haven, Connecticut.
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 22, 2003
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      Continued directly from Part 1/3
      ----

      After his tour of Europe, Warren returned to the mansion for a couple
      of weeks before leaving for New Haven, Connecticut. He was a college
      boy now, and like every other male member of his family, destined for
      Yale. But he wasn't sanguine about the future. If Worthington money
      and telepathic intervention from the professor had quieted rumors,
      gossip could always erupt again. I also knew he wasn't happy to be
      leaving me, and not just because he (still) carried a torch. I'd
      become his best friend, a point he'd stressed often enough that I
      believed him.

      "You'll come visit, right?" he asked one afternoon as we were sorting
      his laundry three days before he was to leave. He'd gotten quite
      adept at using the washing machine, a small point of pride for him
      that he wasn't helpless any longer when it came to household
      appliances.

      "Who me?" I asked. "At Yale?" But it was only half serious. After
      spending time at Columbia with Jean, I'd gotten over my fear of
      college, even an Ivy League college. Nonetheless, Yale was Yale.
      But Warren was Warren, and my friend. "I'll come if you want."

      "Absolutely, I want," he replied, grabbing his pile of silk boxers
      and shoving them into a drawer.

      Later after supper, he went out with me onto the front porch while I
      had a pipe. Here in mid-August, the sun set by eight-thirty and it
      was right on the horizon now. I wasn't feeling well today --
      nauseous. The drug cocktails that Hank gave me periodically to delay
      the onset of AIDS were toxic, like chemo, with a cumulative effect,
      and if I'd had jujube-citrus tea earlier, I still felt off.
      Overhead, the first star was visible. *Star light, star bright,
      first star I see tonight . . .*

      "Would you like to go flying?" he asked me abruptly.

      I glanced over at him, thinking he meant in his plane. Warren had a
      pilot's license, which I found amusing, given his mutation. He also
      had his own private jet, and had recently gained enough hours to
      qualify for night flying. I'd never been up with him. I tended to
      avoid planes, at least in the air. On the ground, I found them
      fascinating and had spent no little amount of time going over the one
      in the lower levels. But more to the point -- "I thought you drove
      up?"

      "I did. And I didn't mean flying in the Jetstar." His wings
      rippled, to underscore it.

      For a moment, I simply stared. While it was true that I avoided
      getting into planes that got off the ground, it was also true that I
      rather envied Warren his mutation. To have one's *own* wings . . . .

      I looked down at the pavement and turned the pipe in my fingers. "I
      don't know," I confessed. I'd been flying once before with Warren,
      of necessity, and had mostly kept my eyes closed.

      "We could go up a little ways, and if you didn't like it, I'd put you
      right back down."

      I thought about it. He didn't rush me. It was a rare thing he was
      offering. So far as I knew, he'd never offered it to anyone else at
      the mansion, not even Jean. I wasn't entirely sure why he was
      offering it to me. Friendship, certainly. Maybe just for an excuse
      to get his arms around me, but I doubted it. "Why?" I asked him.

      He didn't reply at first. When he did, it was one word. "Freedom."

      The answer said more about Warren than it said about me. Flying was
      the only time he was free of the strictures of being Warren
      Worthington, III. But maybe it did also say a little about me.
      Warren knew perfectly well that I hated flying.

      Bending over a little, I tapped out the pipe ash against the concrete
      of the porch, then pocketed the pipe and turned to him. "Okay.
      Let's do it." He smiled a little and stood, offering me a hand up.
      We walked out onto the lawn beyond the drive. Nighthawks flitted
      between trees. "What do I need to do?" I asked him.

      "Nothing. Just relax." And he moved up behind me, not too close,
      setting hands lightly on my shoulders. "I'm going to pick you up
      this way from behind, my arms over your chest, so you can see where
      we're going. Is that all right?"

      A deceptively casual question. I didn't like people getting very
      close, not in front, and definitely not from behind. He'd have to
      grip me pretty tightly, too, body to body. I wasn't worried about
      his ability to hold on. Warren is strong -- a part of his mutation,
      just as an improved sight is part of mine. Not only could Warren
      pick me up with ease, he could pick up Hank with ease, and probably
      the professor in his wheelchair.

      So he wasn't likely to drop me, but it would be awkward, and
      intimate, and maybe that's why he hadn't offered this to anyone else.

      "All right," I said now, tensing a little as I felt him move closer,
      slipping his arms around my chest and crossing them upwards so he
      could grip my shoulders, holding me tight like a vise. I could feel
      the warmth of his front all along my back, the contours of him, my
      shoulder blades against his flat chest, my ass pressed to his groin,
      the backs of my thighs to the front of his. Involuntarily, my breath
      sped up and my eyes squeezed shut. I couldn't take such overwhelming
      touch.

      He must have sensed something because he let me go, stepping away.
      "Sorry," he said, giving my back an awkward pat. "Sorry. Maybe it
      was a bad idea."

      That made all the difference, and brought me back to the now. "I
      thought I could do it," I said, suddenly very angry at myself.

      Why did this have to keep coming up? As I'd told Jean, I just wanted
      to get over it. We stood without speaking for a few minutes, me
      still facing away from him. Yet when he asked, "Do you want to try
      again?" my reply was quick.

      "No." Then more slowly: "Not right now. I'll take a rain check,
      okay? But I do want to try again." I'd be damned if I'd let this
      beat me.

      "Okay," he said, then walked away, towards the main mansion entrance.
      He didn't look back at me and I didn't stop him. When I saw him at
      breakfast the next morning, his face was a little sad, but he smiled
      at me. We didn't discuss what had happened, and when he left two
      days after that, I let him hug me goodbye, even hugged him back and
      didn't flinch. I thought that a small victory.





      If I'd come to think more about death of late, I'd been struggling
      *not* to think about sex. That a sixteen-almost-seventeen-year-old
      male could manage not to think about sex might seem improbable at
      best, but I'd been managing quite well for almost a year. As I'd
      told Xavier, I'd believed that part of me dead, yet my tearing
      rebirth on the boathouse dock had resurrected even my sex drive. It
      came slowly, and mostly when I wasn't looking. Sex for me had always
      been about control. Even when I�d been kneeling on the floor of a
      dirty john, the fact that I'd remained unmoved had given me control,
      or at least the illusion of it. There were the ones desired, and the
      ones who desired. Hadn't men paid for my mouth and hands? I was
      reluctant to give up the power that perspective implied because
      giving it up would mean I'd just been used.

      Yet I noticed pretty girls now, and bared skin, and my libido played
      peek-a-boo with the erotic. Subtlety turned me on. The more obvious
      the gambit, the less it caught my eye. Anonymity mattered, too; I
      only looked at nameless girls I passed on the street, saw in
      magazines, or in television commercials. If the girl had a name, she
      became real, and God forbid that I push my nasty little fantasies
      onto another person. I never masturbated, and if wet dreams still
      plagued me, I considered that a point of personal weakness. It was
      all about control, you see.

      The anniversary of my arrival at the mansion came in September,
      passing with little fanfare beyond a special dinner with Xavier and
      Hank. I think they were trying to mark it, but wanted to avoid
      embarrassing me, or reminding me too much. After dinner, the three
      of us sat up in the den, playing chess or reading, and I thought
      about how I'd changed in only a year. I doubted that a cursory
      glance at a picture of me then and a picture of me now would be
      recognizably the same person, though a cynical voice whispered that I
      hadn't changed in more than the superficial. I was and always would
      be a two-bit whore.

      The next day was a Saturday, and Jean showed up to lure me off to the
      Westchester Mall, a suitably ritzy place with white walls, brass
      fittings and brown marble floors accenting upscale shops that catered
      to the lawyers and doctors and financiers who kept
      multimillion-dollar homes in Westchester County. I was dragged
      through three stories, clothes shopping. Clothes for her, that is.
      I bought mine out of a catalogue -- subdued earth tones in
      dull-preppy styling -- but as we passed Club Monaco, I spotted a
      shirt hanging on a sale rack out in the walkway, dye-washed silk like
      an aurora borealis, though I couldn't tell the shade. Pausing to run
      my fingers over the cool fabric, I asked her, "What's the color?"

      She smiled. "Blue. It'd match your eyes."

      "Would have matched."

      She ignored that to pluck the shirt off the rack and hold it up to
      me. "I think it's a bit big." And it was, an extra-large when I
      still wore mediums -- a thin, lanky teen. "But it'd look good on
      you."

      I shrugged and put it back. I didn't want to look good. I didn't
      want anyone to pay that much attention to me. She watched, a bit
      sadly, but didn't say anything. We walked on. A few people glanced
      at me twice. The glasses -- at least in Westchester -- drew notice.
      Later, I'd come to realize that most people took me for blind, or a
      celebrity sneaking out incognito, but at the time, I just knew that
      they were looking.

      Jean finally left me sitting on a bench while she went to run 'quick
      errands,' which I translated as 'I want to dither over earrings at a
      jewelry kiosk without Mr. Morose looking at his watch every few
      minutes.' I'm not sure how long I sat. My brain had switched into
      idle in that way I'd learned on the street -- not pondering much,
      just staring until my eyes went a little out of focus and my thoughts
      slipped into a fogged blend of real and imagined.

      Gradually, I became aware of what I was staring at.

      Sitting across from a Gap store, my attention had been caught by the
      larger-than-life window ads of exotically pretty people dressed in
      expensive grunge, and I'd been staring at one in particular -- a girl
      in a tight tank under a loose shirt, and hip-hugger khakis. The
      photo had cut off her head above the chin, and her legs below the
      thighs. Her arms were thrown wide, the shirt blown open. The tank
      ended just above a pierced navel, showing lots of tanned skin made
      shiny for the camera by oil. She had a slender throat above a sharp
      jut of clavicles like the wings of a bird, shapely shallow breasts
      hinting at nipples beneath pale fabric, and a sweeping curve from
      ribs down to hips, accentuated by the twist of her long torso.

      I was mesmerized, all the more so with no face, no identity to get in
      the way of my visceral, below-the-belt response. Pure body. It
      jerked me back to reality even as I heard Jean's voice say, "Hey!
      I'm done."

      I turned; she had a new package to add to the pile I'd been
      babysitting, but that wasn't what riveted my attention.

      Her body did.

      She had the same body type as the girl in the window. The cut of her
      tank was different, with a scarf instead of a shirt, but suddenly --
      and shockingly -- I understood why I'd been so held. This was the
      form that had entranced me. The small breasts and swan neck, the
      long abdomen and slender arms -- they were the same. If the skin
      glowed paler, that didn't matter. I became choked by new awareness,
      a terrible humiliation, and painful arousal.

      She frowned and asked, "You okay?"

      "No, I --" I jerked to my feet and hurried off. "I need to go to
      the bathroom." Twenty feet away, I turned to call, "I'll meet you by
      the main entrance outside Nordstrom's in forty-five minutes." I
      didn't give her a chance to respond before jogging away down the
      walk. She remained stock still with bags all around her ankles.

      I wound up in the food court on level four, and being a Saturday, it
      was packed with families, flocks of teens, and young singles. I fit
      right in, and sat down at a two-person table near a wall. On an
      overcast fall day, the skylight above glowed dim, like my thoughts.

      I didn't want to think about what had just occurred. I couldn't be
      interested in Jean, not sexually. She was only a friend. That she
      was also a pretty woman had been abstract for me until now. I was in
      control, wasn't I? I wasn't like other men, led around by my dick.
      I didn't want to be like that, yet I feared being weak, effeminate --
      just as Jean had accused me. I *did* need to prove I was a guy . . .
      even as I didn't want to be one.

      That recognition took me by surprise, yet I had to admit the truth of
      it. I hated my own gender. Men made victims of others --
      physically, sexually, financially. To be male rendered me a pariah
      in my own eyes. Yet to be like a woman implied weakness,
      victimization, and I didn't want to be a victim, even as I didn't
      want to be the victimizer. Ironically, a snippet of Scripture
      circled through my head, a legacy of forced Sunday chapel at Boy's
      Town: "For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there
      are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs
      who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of
      heaven. Let anyone accept this who can."

      Not that I had plans either to castrate myself or go into a
      monastery, but I didn't want to be a man like other men.

      While I'd been pondering, I'd slouched back in my chair, sprawled
      casually, knees spread, staring out at the people passing. I was
      dressed less preppy than usual, just khaki slacks and a dark, tight
      turtleneck. It had never occurred to me that a mall like Westchester
      might be a point of bathroom trade, and maybe it wasn't normally, but
      even rich guys picked up hustlers, and perhaps bored little rich boys
      made extra cash in the fancy stalls of the food-court john. All I
      knew was that a stranger had suddenly seated himself at my table with
      a tray of congealed Mall Chinese Surprise. He'd probably been
      watching me a while. "Hi," he said. I didn't even start, just eyed
      him from behind my glasses, only then realizing the small signals I'd
      adopted without thinking. He was nicely, if casually dressed in
      expensive duds with neatly graying hair -- old enough to be my
      father, and passers-by would probably make that assumption. He acted
      nervous, but not as if he didn't know the routine. More as if he
      feared being caught. I wondered if he'd come to the mall looking for
      a pickup or had spotted me and acted impulsively?

      I thought of a dozen things to say, but said none of them, just
      waited to see what he'd do next. He glanced up at me, smiled
      faintly, anxiously, then pretended to eat but mostly pushed around
      the unidentifiable fried meat in neon orange sauce. I didn't move a
      muscle. After a decent time when anyone who might have noticed him
      sit down had quit watching, he pulled out his wallet and flipped it
      open, extracting bills and slipping them under the edge of the white
      Styrofoam plate. Twenties. Five of them. He didn't move them
      towards me but glanced up, as if asking if that were enough, and
      tapped his lips.

      Long practice alone kept me from reacting. The jackass had just laid
      out my former grocery bill for two weeks, all for a five-minute blow
      job. It was twice the going rate for tearoom trade, but this was
      *Westchester*. The kid I'd been was tempted. It would be my cash,
      not charity from Xavier, and no pimp to cut eighty percent off the
      top.

      But the man I was becoming recoiled at the thought of doing it again,
      dropping my jaw for some stranger's cock. Now that I'd walked away,
      I wondered if any amount of money would ever be enough to lure me
      back to that place.

      I took a deep breath, then leaned over the table to spit in his
      dinner. "I'm not for sale, motherfucker." Getting up, I walked
      away. Strolled, really. A free man ran from no one.

      The paranoid part of me screamed that he might follow, try to avenge
      the insult, but the shrewder part said he wouldn't. He'd been too
      nervous, and the more I thought about it, the more I figured he
      hadn't intended to pick up trade at all, just reacted to what he
      thought was an opportunity.

      Stopping before a decorative brass plaque outside a random shop, I
      stared at the distorted reflection. You can take the boy out of
      Alphabet City, but not Alphabet City out of the boy. So what if I'd
      walked away? He'd seen what I'd been, and I loathed myself for it.
      Any victory seemed hollow.

      To make all of it worse, there was still Jean to face. I arrived
      early at our rendezvous point, but she was already there, waiting,
      hands clasped between her knees, bags beside her. Seeing her, my
      stride slowed, and she must have sensed me because she turned to look
      right at me, but didn't stand or attempt to approach. I might have
      bolted, and I think she knew it. She waited for me as if I were a
      wild animal. I paused, but then came forward and sat down beside her
      on the lip of a fountain with bronze horses, a good foot between us.
      "You're early," I said.

      "So are you." A pause. "You want to talk about it?"

      "No." Lying to Jean was pointless. If I'd said there was nothing to
      talk about, she'd have scoffed and pushed. Telling her the truth
      worked much better. Usually.

      "You looked pretty upset earlier, Scott. You still do, in fact."

      "I got spooked," I admitted. And I had. "But I don't want to talk
      about it." My eyes were roaming the crowd of shoppers, half-afraid
      that I'd spot the man who'd propositioned me upstairs, but he must
      have been long gone.

      "What if you wrote me about it instead?"

      "Huh?" Taken by surprise, I turned to stare at her. She wasn't
      looking my way.

      "Scott, your face upstairs . . . You were looking at me like you
      hated my guts. I don't know what I did, but if you could tell me,
      maybe I could avoid doing it again."

      And I was as amused as I was unnerved. I wanted to say, 'Can you
      stop being a woman?' but didn't. She couldn't stop being a woman any
      more than I could stop being a man . . . and that was the fundamental
      problem, wasn't it? I *wasn't* a eunuch, and I was sitting beside a
      beautiful woman who I'd just realized -- at a gut level -- was
      beautiful. But I didn't want that realization. She was Aphrodite to
      my Hephaestus, and like the forge god, I was ugly and maimed --
      crippled in my soul. She'd never love me, and I didn't even want her
      to. I might get soot on her. My past wasn't going to go away.

      "You didn't do anything," I said now. She hadn't, either, unless one
      counted just being.

      "And you're not going to tell me about the rest?"

      "I don't know how to, Jean."

      We didn't say anything after that, both prisoners of our
      insecurities.
      ----

      Continued direction in part 3/3....



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