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Chapter 8

May 14 2006

"Seen Carl?" Pete's shaking, his heartbeat juddering in his ears, hand holding the wall, feeling nauseous. Amy-Jo looks up curiously from her book, and regards him suspiciously.

"No, why? What d'you do, Pete? You two fall out about something? You want to be careful around Carl, he's a bit sensitive, sometimes - "

She isn't able to finish, as Pete's already out the door, down two flights of stairs, and out into the dimly-lit street.

This is too important he thinks, to give up on now. Whether Carl wants to talk to him about it is another matter. But he isn't facing his eternity, with this new piece of mind and liberty, alone.
And if Carl thinks he is, then he can sodding well go down with Pete too.
He isn't going to suffer the horror of The Future without Carl, whatever else he might believe. He just won't.

He has no idea where it is he's going, really…knows that he must look like he knows these streets as well as the back of his own hand - which he doesn't…maybe it just comes from hanging out with Carl too much.
On a scale of one to ten, he's pretty sure of a safe 9 in terms of the unlikelihood of being able to find Carl tonight.
Probably pissed off to that mate's gig they were on their way to after all, just probably took some other slyer route that Pete wouldn't know about, just so that he could avoid him.

And so in hopeless dejection, dwelling on the thoughtless mistakes he seems to make every other second, he stumbles down some steep stone steps, to slump apathetic, gloomily under a bridge, in near total-darkness. It's a moment or so later, that with some peculiar trepidation he comes to realise two things.

One, that he's ended up beside a canal (can hear the smooth echoes of water lapping under this bridge he's found) and two, that he can hear the soft sound of someone crying.
And it doesn't take him too long to feel his way along the cool bricks, out from under the bridge, and into the better-lit shrubbery on the bank of the canal, where Carl is sat on a rusty bench, ignoring the approaching shape, and cold little rivers of wet on his cheeks, making his hair stick.
Couldn't have been sat much more than a few metres away, here in the dark, Pete realizes.

He offers Carl the cigarette that he lit under the bridge just now, and when Carl doesn't take it but just finally looks up, a little lonely-seeming, Pete gently tucks it between his lips anyway, and sits next to him, not touching, and just staring out at the ripples on the glassy black surface before them.

Eventually Carl stirs, takes the cigarette away from his lips and gives it back. Pete isn't sure if it's meant as some gesture of revulsion towards him, or if Carl just isn't in the mood, but he turns anyway, and catches Carl drawing a long shuddery sigh, raking a weary hand back through his hair.

And now that he isn't touching, kissing, talking to Carl, or trying his best to decipher whatever Carl's eyes are telling him, he doesn't know what else to fucking do - does he?
So he simply sits, waiting patiently.
Either Carl will get up and go away from him again, or just….something.

Suddenly Carl laughs bitterly, wiping at his tears roughly with the leather of his sleeve. Surprised, Pete turns to him, as he shakes his head ruefully, distant as he says "We aren't very good at being friends, are we?"

Pete doesn't answer but follows Carl's forlorn gaze out to the bank on the other side of the Canal. Decides to answer him with his own question, instead.

"So if we aren't friends, then what are we?"

"I didn't say that." Carl's scowling now.

"I just - we aren't….too good at being nice with each other, get me?"

"Well if I'm always saying things that hurt you, then why d'you still see me?"

Pete reaches a hand out, tugging a little on Carl's jaw so that they're eyes finally meet.

"Because..." Carl trails off perplexedly.

"Why do you care so much? Why did what I say back there get you that much, Carl?"

Carl brings a hand up to the collar of Pete's jacket so that he can't move away, and leans in, hissing furiously, frustrated as fuck into Pete's face, "BECAUSE YOU'RE THE FIRST FUCKING BLOKE THAT'S EVEN…" Carl falls silent, but doesn't let go.

Pete is stunned. Speechless, maybe.


And he feels sudden sorrow, looking at Carl now, tears drying on his chin, the little crease of distress at his brow, wishes he'd asked then, in the moment, had bothered to be more careful with him…

"So, not even..?"


Looking at him now, there's nothing but the fiercest honesty in Carl's eyes, and Pete wonders if it really is something Carl could be so upset by…
The first time liking, kissing, fucking another boy - it just isn't something Pete's used to caring a good deal about…he gave his own first blowjob to a boy this afternoon, and didn't make a fuss, after all…

"Carl…if this has all been new to you, then - I mean…I didn't know…
how could I have? You never talk to me yeah, and…" he cuts himself off, stroking a finger gently over Carl's hand, loosening it's grip on Pete's collar.

"What I mean is, when I said earlier about you not giving me head, I wasn't trying to…you don't even have to, what I meant, right…we don't even act like bloody friends half the time, and you don't even like me…."

"Bull-shit, Peter."

"Bull-true, Carl! I'm just a pain in the arse to you, aren't I? In more ways than one, and you go and show me that you want it, and then cry about it after. I fucking WANT to be your mate, but I want to have sex with you without feeling like that's the only reason that I'm even fucking seeing you, and I don't want to share you with anyone else, because they don't deserve to fucking have you!"

"And you do, do you!?"


Carl's looking at him in astounded confusion, at the notion that Pete thinks anyone really deserves to have Carl at all.

"Why? Why do you deserve someone like me? I'm shit, Peter.."

"The fuck? Carl, you're the most incredible person I've ever met - "

"Ahh save it, Pete- "

"No, Carl shut up, yeah? Fucking amazing, yeah - you make me hard just bloody kissing me, you make me want to move to London, you make me want to play guitar as well as you do, you make me want to understand, you make me want to write to everyone I know to tell them I'm in love, you stop everything we've written together so far from sounding like 'the long song', you make me think of songs I forgot I even had in me, you make me think of the things that I want in the person I'm gonna be partners with…fuck Carl, don't you even know how special you are?"


Carl regards him with quiet disbelief. Pete exhales in uncontained frustration…he feels like fucking hitting something. And for the first time, it isn't Carl.
It feels like fighting for his one true love, (or something just as important) and watching himself cave slowly in, and lose over it, helplessness in cruel defeat…

"I fucking hate everything about this place."

The hardness in Carl's voice startles him. He sees Carl's expression shift, like rapid-fire between melancholy to tired disappointment, exhaustion.

"I hate the people me and Amy-Jo live with, I hate the people on my course, I hate that at the end of it all I'll be just another out-of-work actor on the dole, I hate that I thought that if I came here I'd find love and success, I hate the drugs that I'm taking, I hate that I'm working my arse off and I'm still poor, I hate myself for thinking that I deserve better anyway, but I really fucking hate that...I don't have a hand to hold - " Carl's face crumples and Pete doesn't touch him, doesn't dare.

"Just one hand s'all yeah, or a partner…" Carl choke-sobs into the hand curled pathetically to his mouth, and Pete traces the dim, streaks of streetlight that have made it through the shrubbery they're enclosed in on this bench, traces them on to Carl's face, the way it has dipped into the little, puffy crying-creases under Carl's eyes, fresh tears shimmering on his jaw, his throat….

And Pete brushes clinging wetness from Carl's eyelashes with the tip of a finger, is shocked to find an identical little salt-bead dribbling down the side of his own face as he says, "Well, I've never had a hand to hold, Carl. I wouldn't know, yeah…wouldn't hate the feeling of missing that."

And Carl turns then, as though he's about to confide something to him, passionate and blazing with revolt.

"Then what's the point, eh? What's the point in living out a nightmare? We'll never get away from it…"

"Come off it, Carl…'course we will…"

"No we fucking won't! We're going to be in this pointless fucking existence for ever until we fucking end it….going through failure after failure, disappointment and more - "

"Ahh Carl, come on, yeah? I've got faith in us, I don't think we're - "

"No, shut up! Our lives are already bloody written, and we'll go through it all with hope anyway, and person after person disowning us, horrors and fuck, we might as well throw ourselves off a fucking building, or a…an office block or something…"

Pete looks properly perturbed for the first time, his own teardrop drying completely forgotten on his chin.

"Er- look I don't think there's a lot of point chucking it all in now, mate, this young….bit of a waste, don't you think?"

"Waste of fucking what??" Carl says, remaining un-moved.

"For fuck sake, give me three good reasons why not! Three reasons why we shouldn't just throw our fucking selves into that Canal there?"

Carl's snapping out of his sorrowful trance, and for reasons best known to himself, is tearing his leather jacket off, flinging it away, starts working on unbuttoning his jeans…

Pete really hopes (after that little episode) that Carl's undressing so they can have sex again maybe, if he really is planning on killing himself soon…

And uselessly, Pete just finds himself doing fuck all to stop him…as Carl kicks his shoes off, t-shirt lying sodden on the bank somewhere, and standing in a dark pair of boxers, practically glowing with recklessness, despair, bracing a thigh either side of Pete on the bench, and he feels himself shudder with the cold and the tight arousal burning in his loins all of a sudden.

Carl can't be serious about shagging on this bench…it's bloody freezing and he should've kept some of his clothes on, really, Pete thinks, eyeing the satin skin of Carl's stomach shivering before his eyes…tiny goose-bumps spreading all over it, wants to just lean in, just a little bit, and maybe taste them…

Carl's hand appears, distracts him though from his ardent, admiring staring, reaching out to him, waiting….for what?

"Come on, Pete."

He's not bloody serious…He isn't.

Pete does take his hand.

But he doesn't let himself be pulled up off the bench. Doesn't let himself be led to the water's edge, and let himself be stripped too…

Instead, taking Carl by surprise, he pulls hard, pulls Carl down onto him, uses his other hand to snare in Carl's hair, and stop him running away.
Carl struggles fiercely against him, thrashing wildly, but can't dislodge Pete's determined grip in his hair and the moment passes, whatever was blinding him gone, and Carl gives up, goes listless and still against him,
sinks backwards, his head motionless in Pete's lap.

Pete isn't sure whether he's crying again, or not.

And so as usual, when he has nothing better to do, strokes the head bowed against him, and begins to sing with a charming kind of uncertainty, his imperfect teeth and his solemnity softening consonants meant to sound harsher,
"turn that noise dahhhn,
We're gonna get chucked out,
You wait and see,
Pack it up son,
Pack it up, pack it up, son…"

And Carl lifts his head a little, some small part of the anguish melting away, and an innocent child-like smile flits across his face for a second before he says "Chas and Dave - Pete, really…."

"It's 'my melancholy baby'…" Pete murmurs, stroking the dark, soft head looking up at him, mournful from his knees.

"Pretty fitting though, init? Right old cry-baby, you are..."

"I am, yeah…" Carl smiles some more, sheepishly almost, and wipes self-consciously at his wet cheek all of a sudden (which Pete thinks is a pretty valiant thing to be self-conscious about, when you're sat by a freezing canal and practically fucking nude).

And Carl's eyes have shut, like he's willing the world, this canal, this bench - Pete even, to go away, so that he can be free when he opens them.

But Pete doesn't want that.

He wants Carl here with him now, wants him to see how it could be worth it all…so he leans down, (Carl's sides remaining clamped tightly between Pete's thighs, from where he sits on the bench) brushing lips so softly over Carl's closed eyelids and then over his mouth, so incredibly soft and slight, that Pete suspects Carl will think that it never happened.

But carries on any way, with this tiny meeting of two skins, this sympathetic little act - "I'm sorry..." it says.

….and he thinks Carl must be able to feel it now - the downy little hairs above one another's lips brushing, the friction that his skin and Carl's stubble create…
And he almost hears Carl open his eyes, their proximity's beginning to intoxicate him, make him think he can hear Carl's thoughts, the blood running under his skin…

and the other problem with this proximity (and the fact that Carl's wearing practically nothing) is that it's somehow managed to make him insanely hard in the space of about ten seconds.

Not a bad achievement, that.

And of course, now that Carl's got his eyes open, he can bloody see that, can't he? Since he basically has a hard cock poking into his ribs, the poor boy…

And all of a sudden, Pete finds himself sprawled backwards, didn't see the sharp push to his shoulders coming, and nearly yelps when he feels instant heat through denim around his cock, tries desperately to sit up a bit, and see what's being done to him, and fuck...

Carl's head is bowed down and he's mouthing the bulge at the front of Pete's jeans, teeth catching slightly at his zip, and Pete yanks his head up,
has to for fuck's sake, crashes his mouth against Carl's and mutters - in between barely-contained pants, as Carl's hand massages the straining material between them both - mutters drunkenly against Carl's lips, "mmffff - you're meant to take them off first, you giffer..."

Freezing cold, sly fingers are being pressed into, laced around the notches of Carl's spine, making him bite down hard on Pete's lower lip, breath heavy and rattling through his chest, the same freezing hands slipping under the cloth of Carl's underwear, to clutch at his arse, making for a pained "nnghhh, Pete!"

"Sorry…" he whispers, taking his hands away (even though they'd really been enjoying themselves).
Carl's hand is still pressing at his crotch, and Pete kisses harder now, more frenzied, hands fighting for purchase on Carl's shoulder-blades, trying to press down, his begging muffled uselessly against Carl's face,
"fuck - please Carl, yeah…? …Please."

Carl's still only leaning up though, running a tongue along the groove of Pete's collar bone, until Pete growls restlessly, and pulls at his hair, (not too hard, doesn't want to upset him, or anything…at least, not any more than he is now) and kisses him so fiercely that Carl moans desperate and then, pissed off when Pete pulls away.
So, (not to make a point, or anything) he shuffles his hips forward a bit on the bench, doesn't really care if anyone finds them like this - some bloke getting sucked off by another half-naked one on a bench by a canal.
He's learnt pretty quickly that it's fucking deserted here, this canal near his sister's house…thinks that they're probably pretty much out of sight anyway, here in the shrubbery…

Carl's managed to take a hint, and is casually unbuttoning Pete's trousers, pulling the zip down, tooth at a time, and glancing once nervously around, but not wanting to look bothered, Carl slips the waist of Pete's jeans down around his thighs, reaches in to his underwear and squeezes.

Pete's head goes back, instantly, seeing little white ghosts blurring the black behind closed eyes, and he quickly gasps in a breath, and tries vainly to keep his head in a static position so he can at least see some of what's going on.
And when he looks back, Carl has paused, hands resting on Pete's naked hips, and has the most feral smirk on his face that Pete has ever seen. He's practically leering at him. Like all the old men in Pete's local back home, at his sister when they all went for a pub lunch on Sunday and she was wearing a (pretty indecent) skirt.

It's a bit unnerving to be honest, and Pete squirms a bit under Carl's gaze…

"Yes, Carl?"

"Nothing, it's just I can't believe that you want this as much as all that."

Pete thinks to feel a bit embarrassed that he reacted in such a way to Carl just shoving his hand into his boxers, but doesn't really give a fuck, and he won't let Carl make him, either.
Right now, he just really, really wants to fuck Carl's mouth. He'll do embarrassment some other time. So, pulling lightly at Carl's hair, so that he's almost on all fours in front of the bench, face pressed into Pete's skin, he says "Trust me boy...I do."

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