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Butterfly Dreams, Part Six

Reply to Alerion

Posted to the rwguiltypleasures mailing list September 7, 2001


        The sun was already low enough for gold shadows to slant between the trees when I heard my dad drive up. I'd told him to wait for me near the Mustang. Most of the track was in deep shadow. I must have startled him when I reached the cars. He smiled, but the tight lines round his eyes showed how nervous he was.

        'Hey Kyle, two pizzas, as ordered. One of them is pretty strange. How are you? '

        'We're both fine, dad.'

        He looked wary and said: 'Both?'

        'Dad, ages ago you said you're in awe of the man I'm becoming. Would that change if Max and I were together?'

        'Why, son?'

        'Because we are.'

        Dad put his arm around my shoulders. 'You're sure about this, Kyle?'

        'Look at me, dad. I'm really happy.'

        'How's Max?'

        'He's pretty happy.'

        'This is a big thing to drop on me, son.'

        'I know, dad. I can't say that I'm sorry or anything. I'm not.'

        'I know that. Kyle, what happens if Max has to go home?'

        I shrugged. 'I'll deal with that when it happens. How much time does anyone really know they have anyway?'

        'I guess you've thought about how the guys will handle this?'

        'The football team? They lived when I found Buddha. They better be the same with this.'

        Dad started to say: 'Is this...'

        I interrupted. I had to. 'Dad, it feels right to me. More right than anything I've ever done.'

        'Do I have to read you the safe sex lecture, son?'

        'Max is an alien. Viruses don't work on him.'

        My dad asked: 'Where is he now?'

        'Back at the fire. Dad, I want you to be okay with him.'

        'I promised his parents I'd see him.'

        'That's not what I asked.'

        He shook his head. 'Kyle, you're talking like I'm a redneck. You know better.'

        'Sorry. Can we go talk with my boyfriend, then?'

        'Okay.'

        We walked back together. Dad kept his arm round my shoulders. It felt good. When we got there, Max was sitting on a log and staring into the flames. The sunset fell through the trees and made bars across his face. The kettle had boiled but he hadn't noticed. In some ways I think that moment was harder for him than for me. Dad broke the silence. 'Hello, Max.'

        Max shot up from his log and put out his hand.

        'Hello, sir.'

        Dad shook his hand and smiled. 'Does "Sir" really fit any more, Max?'

        'What do you mean, sir?'

        Every now and then my dad does something really, really great. 'You said once it had been an honour to know me. I'd be honoured if you thought of yourself as part of my family. Could you start calling me "Jim"?'

        I decided I'd make the coffee. The Max-and-Jim show was taking all their attention. All the times I'd been jealous of the way my dad treats Max came back to me. I must have grinned at the change in the way I felt.

        Dad said: 'What's so funny, Kyle?' He squinted into the sunset and then put up a hand to shield his eyes.

        'Nothing, dad. The coffee's ready.'

        'Thanks, son.'

        'Anything else happening I should know about, dad?'

        'Not really.' He looked at Max.

        'Your parents are very concerned about you, Max. How did you think they'd feel if you disappeared 3 nights running? I can talk to them if you like.'

        I said: 'Dad, we didn't plan this. It just happened. It feels right.'

        'I know, son. But that doesn't help Max' parents much. I guess they don't know about Max and Isabel?'

        Max said: 'Isabel and I always wanted one part of our life to be just normal. We always wanted to protect our parents from the whole alien thing.'

        'Max, are you going to tell them about your relationship with Kyle?'

        Max flashed one of his killer smiles. 'I don't know yet. Sometimes we feel like telling the whole world.'

        Dad said: 'Maybe one step at a time, Max. Do you know what your parents think about homosexuality?'

        'I'm not sure. It's never come up before. Can you just tell them I'm okay and I'll be back tomorrow?'

        'All right. That should make them feel better, anyway. Max, every father thinks their child is a child forever. You will look after my boy, won't you?'

        'More that Kyle's looking after me, right now, s.. uh, Jim.'

        'You've been through a lot. You know I'll do what I can to help.'

        'Kyle thinks I should see someone professional and tell them the whole story.'

        'That might be good, Max. Can you tell me what happened?'

        'I felt Liz dying. I felt Kyle dying. Pierce...' His voice gave out before he could finish.

        I raced over and grabbed him. He was trembling again. I smoothed his hair and murmured: 'Hey, starboy, It's okay.'

        Dad asked: 'What's wrong?'

        I looked round to say: 'Dad, Pierce didn't just torture Max.' Then I realised what I was doing and that it was the first time someone else had been there.

        'I see.' Dad's voice was grim. I do not remember ever seeing him look so angry.

        'Dad, could you find someone Max could trust? Maybe in another town?'

        'I can try, son. Leave it with me.' Dad finished his coffee and put the mug beside the fire. 'I should leave you two alone. What time will you be back?'

        'Round sundown tomorrow, dad.'

        'Right, I'll leave you to it until then.' He clapped me on the shoulder and walked back towards his car.  Just before he was out of sight he turned back to us. Max was holding my hand. Dad waved to us and said: 'Take care, boys.' Then he was gone.

        Max murmured: 'Your dad is a great guy, Kyle.'

        'I think the way you like your pizza surprised him.'

        'I didn't know you'd organised pizzas.'

        'Anything rather than eat your cooking again, starboy.'

        We ate the pizzas in silence. Both of us were smiling like idiots.

        'Sleeping bag time, starboy. It's getting cold out here.'

        Max grinned. 'You just want to get naked again.'

        'Yep. And it'll get cold later so we'll have to sleep really close.' When Max smiles he sets me on fire. He does not smile often enough yet.

        Max slowly unbuttoned my shirt with his long fingers. He kissed his way across my chest and then up my neck to my lips. I am not used to mumbling 'I love you' all the time. It's not a problem, I'm just not used to it yet.

        Max asked: 'I wasn't your first, was I, earthboy.'

        'Sadly no.'

        'Does it feel different?

        'Totally. It's like being asleep and then waking up. I thought you and Tess...'

        'I'm not sure now. I can remember it but it doesn't feel real. Nothing with Tess feels real any more.'

        I tensed because I know what talking about Tess does to him.

        Max was quiet for a minute, a long minute. 'Tess wasn't all mindwarping, Kyle. A lot of it was my fault. I felt dead after seeing you and Liz together and Tess was the only one who'd talk to me.'

        'That wasn't true.'

        'I didn't know that, Kyle. I didn't know anything. It's all really hazy like a nightmare. I know what you mean about being asleep and then waking up. There was a link with Tess but nothing like the link with you.'

        'How about Liz?'

        'Liz was a forerunner.'

        'Max, you've never said anything about the pregnancy...'

        He whispered 'I don't know if that's real either...'

        'I thought you formed a connexion with the child?'

        'Kyle, a lot of things happened with Tess that feel less and less real.' It was getting dark. Max noticed me shivering when a breeze stirred the trees. He grabbed my hand and steered me into the tent.

        'Max, some time we need to work out what the Skins really want?'

        Max looked at me sharply and demanded: 'What do you mean?'

        'If these people want you dead why not just sit on a hill outside town with a high powered rifle?'

        'I don't know.'

        'We should talk about it with the others.'

        Max rolled onto his back. 'Are you going to dreamwalk tonight, earthboy?'

        'No idea, starboy. I'm not in charge of what's happening.' I dropped my head on his chest.

        'Hey, earthboy, what do you do while you're waiting for the rest of us to wake up?

        'I meditate on the fundamental ground of being and make coffee.

        'What's the fundamental ground of being? A Buddhist thing?'

        'Right now? You. Us. "Before enlightenment, chop wood and draw water." That's what Buddha said, anyway.'

        'What are you supposed to do after enlightenment?'

        I laughed. 'Chop wood and draw water. What did you expect?'

        'Kyle, I want you to do something.'

        'For you, starboy, anything.'

        'Do what Pierce did.' His hand tightened on my shoulder.

        I looked up at him. 'Ouch. Won't that just wake up more demons?'

        'You're pretty good at demon-slaying.'

        'You're really sure?'

        'I want to know what It's like having you inside me.'

        'Uh, Max... It's not that easy. I, uh, practised for a while.'

        'How?'

        'You mean: "What with?". I had to sneak out of that football camp to hit a sex shop without getting caught.'

        Max flicked an eyebrow up and grinned at me. 'Earthboy, I didn't know you could blush. You know your ears light up like traffic lights?'

        'Grrr...' What could I do after a crack like that? I punched him in the side. Max rolled on top of me. I tried to get out from under him but he was too heavy and too strong. Anyway, all he really wanted was to kiss me and who was I to fight that?

        'I still want it.'

        'Hell, Max, you're sure you're ready for this?'

        'No, but I want to be.'

        'Let's leave it a little while. Tonight let's just talk.'

        'You're a shapeshifter, aren't you?'

        'What?'

        'My Kyle would never ask to just talk. You must be a shapeshifter'

        'So I'm your property now, starboy?'

        'Didn't you ever watch <i>I married a monster from outer space</i>?'

        'Actually, no. Anyway, you belong to me.' We kissed slowly.

        'Maybe we belong to each other, Kyle.'

        'You just want me to blush again, starboy.'

        'Earthboy, you're the one who made ears an issue.'

        'You could get punched again if you keep this up, Max.'

        'Huh! I can beat you anytime. Earthboys are easy.'

        'Aliens have swelled heads.'

        'I thought that was your trick, Mr Cool.'

        'You know, starboy, as a pillow you're really bony.'

        'Is that a complaint, earthboy?'

        'Nope. I'll miss your bones tomorrow night.'

        'Go to sleep, earthboy. Try not to dreamwalk us onto the cutest couple contest in the school paper.'

        'But, Max, we are.'

Continue to Part Seven

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