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The tiers were quiet in the early afternoon, when most of the inmates were at work or in the Visitors' Gallery.
Justin unlocked the cell door. Inside, Brian stripped off Justin's sweatshirt and stuffed it into an old pillowcase that Justin had designated as the laundry bag.
"What's this?" Brian asked. There was a cardboard box sitting next to the bunks. He nudged it with his foot as he sat on the bed.
"This is the stuff my mom brought!" Justin cried in delight. "The guards must have delivered it while we were out!" He knelt down on the floor next to it and opened the flaps. The C.O.'s had already gone through the contents, so they were a little tumbled around, but everything that Jennifer had promised was there.
"Like you don't already have enough crap in here," Brian groused. Justin's clothes and art supplies and school books were making the small cell more than a little crowded.
"This isn't for me, Brian," the boy returned. "This is all for you."
Brian frowned. "What are you talking about?"
"I asked my mother to get you some of the things that I thought you needed." Justin pulled out some brand new pairs of briefs and tee shirts. A few of the tee shirts were the sleeveless kind. They had watched an old Marlon Brando film on Movie Night a few weeks before and Justin had thought that Brian would look really good in that kind of undershirt, so he'd written his mother to get those in particular.
"You had your mom buy clothes... for me?" Brian picked up one of the tee shirts. "Why?"
"Because you needed them. And I saw that you needed them. It wasn't any trouble to ask her to do it." Justin took out the sweater. It was a dark green cardigan in a heavy cable knit. It looked nice and warm. "Here. Try this on."
"I can't take it," said Brian, inching back.
"Yes, you can. I already have a warm sweater. And some sweatshirts -- which you keep borrowing." Justin pushed the sweater into Brian's hands. "Do you want to insult me by refusing to wear it? Or maybe you think my mother has bad taste?"
"No," said Brian, staring at the sweater. "It's just that... that except for my government issue, I haven't had any new clothes since... since I came in here." Brian rubbed the sweater between his fingers. The wool was thick and had a rich smell. "All of my clothes were things that no one else wanted anymore. That old sweater that got ruined was one of Ron's. He left it behind when he was paroled."
Justin's heart felt a little squeeze. "These things aren't anyone else's, Brian. Really. I got your sizes when I did the laundry. I wrote my mom exactly what to buy. When the weather gets warmer, I'll ask her send some more summery stuff."
"No, you don't have to do that, Justin," Brian insisted. "It isn't necessary."
"No, I don't have to. But I want to." Justin sat down next to Brian on the bunk. "It's such a little thing -- a few pairs of underwear -- but I know how much of a difference it can make. It's the crummy little things that make a difference in here. Like when you got me my pencils and my drawing pad."
Brian shrugged. "I called the office supply store when I needed more typing paper and legal pads and I just added them to the order. I knew you would want them."
"And it made me feel alive again when I could draw. I didn't ask you to do it -- you just did," said Justin, leaning his head against Brian's shoulder. "And my mom sent some books, too. Paperbacks. We both can read them. I know you've read those same books over and over again." Justin glanced over to a line of ragged paperbacks on the highest shelf, above where Justin had folded and stored their clothes. "And when I start taking that correspondence course with the Literature professor at Penn, I'll get even more books."
"You have everything all figured out, don't you, kid?"
"Not really," Justin replied. "A lot of things I don't have figured out too well. And when I make a mistake, it's a doozy."
"You mean like your 'Sunny' persona?" Brian smiled at the thought of Justin in Emmy's pink tee shirt, his bright blue eyes smudged with eyeshadow and black mascara.
"I thought you weren't going to mention that again, Brian! It was SO embarrassing!" Justin groaned.
"It's actually kind of funny -- in retrospect," said Brian. "I guess Michelle and Barbie meant well. And you were doing what you thought I wanted -- acting like a little queen. Just like I've been trying to act like a fucking bigshot jocker. But that's all it is, kid -- acting."
"And that's all our hooking up is, Brian? Acting?" Justin asked. "All it'll ever be? Really?"
Brian chewed on his lip. "After what happened to you, Justin, after seeing you in the Hospital and knowing how you'd been hurt... do you think I'm about to go all macho on your ass? Treat you like you're nothing more than a possession to be fucked over and used up? Something to be owned, with one person having everything, and the other person having nothing -- not even himself?"
"That's not the way things have to be, Brian," Justin replied softly. "Maybe that's what you've had to deal with in the past, but that's not how it has to be." Justin put his arm around Brian's waist. "You told me that no matter how we have to act out on the tier or in the Chow Hall or in the Rec Room or wherever, that has nothing to do with how we act in this cell. Isn't that what you said?"
"Maybe," Brian replied.
"It has nothing to do with how we act to each other when we're alone. It's not anyone else's fucking business. Right, Brian?"
"Yes, it's no one else's fucking business," Brian agreed.
"Then believe it, Brian." Justin looked at him. Brian's face was brooding. Justin thought he looked beautiful like that, with his lip pushed out and his eyes all shadowy. "Why did you have that argument with Ron? Why did he start yelling? And why did he leave like that?"
Brian blinked. "Because I told Ron something he didn't want to hear. And he got angry."
"And what didn't he want to hear, Brian?" asked Justin, his heart pounding.
Brian licked his lips. "That I was hooked up with someone else. With you."
"I figured as much," said Justin. "But you didn't have to tell him that, Brian. If it's only hooking up for pretend, only for my protection, then he didn't have to know. Or you could have explained to him that... that it isn't for real. That Ron is still your... your real boyfriend. Then he wouldn't have gotten mad at you." Justin picked up the round tin, which was still sitting on the bunk. "If he's mad at you, he probably won't bring you any more cookies."
"Fuck the cookies!" Brian took the tin out of Justin's hand and stood up. He stashed the cookie tin on the shelf next to the sink. Then he pulled the blanket off the top bunk and shook it out.
"What are you doing?" asked Justin. He watched as Brian draped the blanket over the bed frame, tucking it under the mattress of the top bunk. The blanket hung down almost to the floor of the cell and covered the front of the lower bunk.
"It's an old jocker's trick," Brian answered. "This is so no one can see you from the outside. Not that the C.O.'s give a shit, because they don't. Especially down at this end of the tier. It's nice and quiet down here. No one causes any trouble. And so no one will disturb us."
Justin's mouth gaped open. "Disturb us doing what, Brian?"
Brian took hold of Justin's wrist and hauled him to his feet. He unbuttoned Justin's workshirt and tossed it on the floor. Next, he pulled Justin's white tee shirt off over his head. Then he undid the front of Justin's baggy white workpants and yanked them down. And finally Brian pushed Justin back onto the bunk and pulled off his gray undershorts, tossing them over his shoulder.
"This," Brian said.
"Brian...." Justin whispered.
"You have to be quiet," said Brian. "We don't want the C.O.'s looking in here and then writing us up for unlawful physical contact."
"I'll try," said Justin. "I'll...." But Justin's words were cut off by Brian's mouth pressing down against his lips. Sucking away any more possible words, any more possible thoughts that Justin might have had.
Justin's entire body was trembling while his mind was racing madly. Half of him was terrified, but the other half was straining with expectation. He had been dreaming about the moment when he would have sex with a beautiful man, with someone out of his fantasies, but Justin had thought that had been ruined forever by what had happened to him in that dark little room.
But Brian didn't think he was ruined. Long ago Brian had horrible things done to him, and he had been made to do horrible things, but that didn't stop him from reaching out to Justin. Didn't stop him from loving Justin. And Justin was certain that Brian loved him. As certain as he was of anything in his life. Yes, the face of God, and nothing less.
Justin was naked in the bunk. He thought that he'd be embarrassed when this moment came, but instead it seemed the most natural thing that he had ever done. Brian had pulled his clothes off, piece by piece, touching him, caressing him, leaning Justin back on the bunk and stretching out on top of him.
And now Brian was investigating Justin's mouth with his tongue. Exploring it and claiming it. The taste of cigarettes and chocolate chip cookies mingled together. Justin could no longer tell which one of them was breathing because it was all the same breath.
Then Brian was moving over his face, kissing every corner, his eyelids, the curve of his mouth, the place where his neck met his ear. Justin shuddered. Brian's tongue trailed down from that spot. Down Justin's neck into the pit of his throat. And lower to catch Justin's pink nipple between his lips. Sucking at it. Pulling at it. Biting it gently.
"Brian!" Justin gasped. "I... I think I'm going to come!" His dick was so hard that Justin thought it would explode. It was pressing against Brian's thigh. Justin couldn't even remember when Brian had taken off his clothes, but he was definitely naked now, too. Justin moved his hands down and felt Brian's slender hips, his muscular ass. Felt his hot, smooth skin.
"No," Brian whispered. "Don't come yet. Don't...."
"I... I'll try, but...."
And then Brian's mouth darted downward and enveloped Justin's thick, blunt cock. It was like being plunged into wet velvet. Wet, hot velvet. And Justin couldn't hold himself back another second. Justin's dick bucked deeper into Brian's mouth, but Brian held steady, pulling it with his lips and tongue, extending the sensation until Justin thought he'd have to cry out.
But then Brian's mouth was against his again. And Justin could taste his own essence on Brian's tongue. And Justin felt that he'd been reclaimed somehow. He could no longer feel the blank hands of the bikers on his skin. No longer hear their nameless obscenities in his head. They had been replaced by the reality of this man. Brian. His body had become the whole world.
"My God!" Justin breathed. "Oh my God!"
"Just lay here quietly," Brian whispered. And they held perfectly still.
Justin could hear footsteps ringing down the tier. A cell opening. That metal rattle of the lock.
"Justin? Hey! Are you in there?" Someone was knocking on their cell door. "Justin!"
Justin blinked. "It's Wesley," he said, pressing closer to Brian. "I promised I'd ask Michelle if Wes could borrow some of her comic books. But I forgot."
"Don't move. He'll go away." Brian's tongue circled the inside of Justin's ear and he shivered. Brian took Justin's hand and guided it to Brian's cock. Moved Justin's hand up and down his length. Justin could feel Brian's heavy balls brush against his hand. They didn't seem frozen anymore. They seemed burning hot. Justin trembled even more violently, in anticipation.
"Not now, but soon, when you're ready," Brian promised. "This is going to be inside you. Every fucking inch of it. Do you want it? Do you?"
"What do you think!" Justin moaned.
"Justin? Did you get the comic books or not?" came Wes' voice. "Justin?"
They stayed still until they heard Wes' footsteps walking away, back down the tier.
"They'll all be coming back soon," said Brian, not really wanting to move, but knowing that it was inevitable. "We better get dressed."
"Okay," Justin replied. But they remained in the bunk, welded together.
Wes ambled into the Rec Room and plopped down next to Al on the broken-down sofa. Al was just back from his job in the Industry Building and he and Andy were trying to play a hand of cards before it was time to go in for 4:00 head count.
"Where've you been, bitch?" asked Al fondly. He punched Wes lightly on the arm.
"I went to see if Justin got me those comic books, but he was busy."
"Oh, yeah?" said Al, studying his cards. "Doin' what?"
"He and Bri were in their cell fucking their brains out, so I'll have to ask him later," Wes sighed.
Andy rolled his eyes and grimaced at Al.
"Jesus. It's about time," said Al. "Gimme another card, Andy. I think I'm about to get lucky, too!"
"Emmy! Did you hear?" yelped Barbie when Em returned to their cell from her shift at the Hospital Wing. "I mean about Brian and Justin?"
"The minute I climbed up to the tier, that's all anyone was blabbing about, honey!" exclaimed Em. "I am ALL a-tingle!"
"I wish everyone would give it rest!" Michelle griped. "So, they fucked? Who gives a shit? People fuck in this joint every day and no one makes a federal case about it."
"Someone's been bitten by the green-eyed monster!" chanted Barbie.
"Shut the hell up, you ugly bitch!" Michelle gave Barbie a shove.
"Look who's talking! Mealy-mouthed pussy-boy!" Barbie shoved back.
"Who are YOU calling a pussy-boy?" Michelle shrieked.
"Ladies! Please!" shouted Em, pushing her way between her cellmate and her friend. "That's enough! Now, Michelle, I suggest that you get back to your cell or you'll be late for head count."
"Okay," Michelle grumbled. But she gave Barbie one last withering glance before she left.
"Now," said Em. "What happened here while I was toiling among the bedpans?"
"Well," said Barbie, licking her lips. "Good old Ronnie came to visit Bri and they had a BIG blow-up in the Visitors' Gallery. Guess why?"
"Little Miss Muffet, of course!" Em replied. Em knew there would be trouble about the kid!
"Bingo!" Barbie confirmed. "So Lou Lou -- her mom and sister were visiting and they were a couple of tables down -- says that Ron yelled at Bri and slammed out of the room in a huff! Then Brian got up and left, really depressed. So the kid went after him -- but not before he and Michelle had a few words. Right in front of Michelle's mom AND the kid's mom, too!"
Emmy laughed. "No wonder Michelle's knickers are in a twist, babydoll! She is SO jealous of that sweet boy it isn't funny!"
"Then I guess Wesley went to their cell to see Justin -- and the two of them were in there going at it HOT and HEAVY! You could HEAR them half way down the tier!" Barbie panted.
"You know that Bri Baby does have that 9-inch cock, honey!" Emmy confided. "That thing would cause a commotion anywhere on God's green earth! Even I, who have literally seen it ALL, am impressed every time I behold its beautiful magnitude!"
"I've only been fucked by Baby once!" moaned Barbie. "Now I'll probably NEVER get another chance! And poor Michelle -- I don't think Bri has EVER given HER a tumble. That's why she's so pissy about the kid."
"Poor Michy. And Dave is getting out at the end of next month," Emmy sighed. "Michelle will just have to be satisfied with her comic books from now on!"
And the two queens collapsed in a fit of giggling.
At 5:00 the C.O.'s racked the cell doors and the inmates began lining up to go down to the Chow Hall. Naturally, every man was waiting to see whether Brian and Justin would emerge for dinner. How would they act? What would they say?
Not just the queens and the punks, but the jockers, too, were obsessed with gossip. When so many men lived together in such close quarters, nothing was really a secret, and the permutations of every relationship made up the main subject of most conversations on all the tiers. And this new couple, who had caused such a stir from the minute the kid entered the Quad and caught Bri Baby's eye, was THE hot topic of the moment.
Justin came out of the cell, grinning like a cat who had swallowed a very big canary. Maybe even a 9-inch canary. His hair was more than a little tousled and slightly damp from washing up and his usually pale face was blushing red.
The kid held the cell door open for his old man and Brian stepped out. He was wearing a brand new white sleeveless tee shirt, one of the style that the inmates called a 'wifebeater' because it was favored by the most macho of the street studs. The tee fit tightly across Brian's broad shoulders and muscular back, showing off his pumped-up upper arms. The hours he'd been spending up on the iron pile were definitely paying off.
All the queens were swooning over Brian's new appearance. "I always said that man would look good in nothing but a burlap sack," Emmy pronounced. "But in that wifebeater I don't even think our esteemed warden, Mr. Horvath, would kick Bri Baby out of bed for eating crackers!"
"Hey, Justin!" said Wes, as they lined up along the tier. Wesley was addressing Justin, but his eyes were riveted on Justin's tall cellie. Wes had lived next door to Brian for a while but never really noticed just how completely hot he was before.
"Hey, Wes," said Justin. "I forgot about the comic books. I'd ask Michelle about them at dinner tonight, but she's a little mad at me right now."
"That's okay," Wes replied. "No hurry. Are you gonna take that new class? There's a flyer up in the Library for it. Creative Writing. The instructor is coming in once a week, on Tuesday evenings. I gotta take it 'cause I need the extra credits before I'm ready to take my High School Equivalency Test." Wes had pretty much stopped going to school around the 9th Grade, so he needed all of the credits he could cram in to get his diploma before he left the joint.
Justin was immediately interested in the new class. Something creative would be great. His mind needed a little more stimulation than it was getting in the basic classes available for the inmates in Stanton. "Yeah, I'd like to take that class. It would be fun." Then he paused. "But I have to ask my old man first -- to see if it's okay with him." Justin reached back and felt Brian's hand grab hold of his, their fingers intertwining.
"Right," Wes nodded. "You gotta ask your old man." Wes glanced up at Brian, who was smiling down at the two punks. Wes used to shoot the breeze with Bri all the time before, stopping by his cell to kill some time. But now Wes was afraid to speak to Brian directly. Al got really jealous if he caught Wes talking to another jocker.
As they began filing down the stairway Al gave Brian a nudge. "Hey, Brian. Me and Junior and Johnny and some of the guys are playing b-ball tonight against some jocks from the second tier. We could use another tall guy. You in?"
Brian smiled slightly. "Sure, Al," he said. He reached down and casually adjusted his dick in the front of his khakis. "I'm up for whatever you guys got going. So, yeah -- count me in the game from now on."
Posted November 24, 2004.