Chapter Thirteen – Little Boxes
He woke up with the first rays of sun gently invading the room through the curtains. He could not remember ever feeling so well rested. Usually, he was a fussy sleeper, as there always had to be something ready to annoy him, be it a crumpled sheet, a pillow all in knots, or his own mind trying to solve this or that.
“Morning,” Aron nuzzled his neck, waking up with the first stir from Carter.
“Um,” was the only thing he could say.
Last night, he had sucked his best friend’s dick and had his own sucked back. How the fuck was he going to come back from this? Alex was going to get pissed when he was going to get his body back. There was no way the douchebag was not going to suspect that something had happened.
Or maybe Carter’s body was in such a deep coma that Alex’s soul was not conscious, either. For the guy, maybe it was just going to be like waking up from a coma. And that was all that was to that.
“What’s with the frown?” Aron pressed his index finger between Carter’s eyebrows.
Great, he was making faces again.
“I have such a crappy day ahead,” he said right away.
“Really?” Aron seemed surprised. “Yolanda may sound like a shrew from time to time, but I know she loves you.”
“No, it’s not her,” Carter replied. “It’s Thursday, right? I have barre.”
His voice was so despondent that he was going to sink the Titanic if need be.
“You used to like it,” Aron said slowly, like he was trying to find his words.
“Yeah, but come on, do I really need to prance around in tights? There’s no other way for me to keep in shape?”
“I believe you told me that it was after much deliberation that you decided on ballet.”
Now Aron looked confused. But it was a good occasion as any to find a way to get rid of that kind of fitness regimen. Only the thought was giving him the willies.
“I think I’m ready to turn the page,” he said with conviction. “What’s the point of being a star if I cannot do fun stuff? Like basketball,” he added.
“As you say, Mr. Star,” Aron chuckled.
“Mr. Star?” Carter snorted. “I thought I was Mr. Ruskin.”
Now it was Aron who looked at him with stars in his eyes.
“You made me so happy when you told me you wanted to take my name.”
Carter bit his lower lip. Why was this making him feel like he was turning to mush inside? And hey, he wasn’t Alex. Period. He needed to repeat that enough times in his head. He was so obviously getting ahead of himself with this whole body swap thing.
“I did, didn’t I?” he said ruefully, as he yawned and stretched, to cover whatever he was feeling inside.
“We didn’t talk yesterday,” Aron let one hand caress Carter’s closest flank slowly.
“What about?” Carter asked. “Ah, the dishes. Well, I had to say something to deflect that son of a bitch.”
Aron laughed wholeheartedly.
“You know, for a moment there, I thought I would not recognize you.”
“Why?” Carter asked, puzzled. “You said that it reminded you of all the reasons you loved me, or something,” he added quickly, looking away.
“Well, you used to be a lot like this in the beginning. So much fun. You reminded me of Carter … oh, damn, baby, I didn’t mean …” Aron stumbled on his own apology.
Carter’s head almost snapped as it turned to watch his friend.
“You mean you fell in love with me because I reminded you of Carter?”
Aron’s face clouded. He was looking down and he was clearly distressed.
“So sorry, baby, trust me, I didn’t mean to bring him up, it’s just that …”
Carter pressed one hand over Aron’s mouth to stop him. Well, normally, Alex should have been mad at the mentioning of that old flame. But Carter wasn’t Alex, and, well, he was pretty damn curious.
“I’m not mad,” he said, looking Aron in the eyes, to make sure his words were understood. “I just want to know. I’m going to remove my hand now, okay? And you’re not going to apologize again.”
It was like he was kidnapping Aron and needed to make sure the guy was not going to yell. In a way, he was doing something illicit, and it was damn wrong, but, well, just like last night, Carter was pretty much convinced that he was going to hell anyway.
Aron nodded, Carter’s hand still clamped hard on his mouth. Carter moved his hand away, slowly, like he really expected Aron to shout for help.
“Now speak,” he demanded.
His harsh tone wasn’t helping things. He could feel Aron shutting down on him, and he didn’t have the time, or the skills, to deal with this.
“Aron, what of me reminded you of Carter?” he managed to tone down his voice.
Aron groaned and lay on his back, looking at the ceiling.
“You cannot let this get between us,” Carter had a sudden flash of memory from a movie he had once watched with one of his girlfriends. One of the few movies when he hadn’t fallen asleep or used the time to solve stuff in his head.
If it worked for that particular romantic character, it had to work for him, too.
“All right,” Aron spoke, but he sounded poker oyna like he would very much like to be someplace else completely.
There was a short pause, during which Carter took in his best friend’s profile. Aron had always been a handsome fellow. Not that Carter noticed such things about guys. Well, Aron was different. How come he had never wondered why Aron had never gotten involved seriously with girls? How come he hadn’t, either?
“When I met you,” Aron started, with a small huff, “I was after a string of hook-ups and one night stands, and, well, a few failed attempts at relationships. I could not stop comparing everyone to Carter. I know, it’s stupid, and it was sex, anyway, pretty damn good sex, sometimes. Why the fuck do I stutter?” Aron covered his eyes.
“How could you compare the guys you were fucking to Carter? Did you ever fuck Carter?”
Now that was a horrid thought. What if something had happened when Carter had been shit-faced after a night drinking with Aron?
“No, of course not,” Aron allayed his fears right away. “Just how insecure can you be, Alex? With your looks, anyone would think you’re one of the lucky few who don’t have to worry about being cheated on.”
“Well, you’re the one in love with your best friend,” Carter snapped at the irritation in Aron’s voice.
“Was,” Aron shot back.
“Continue,” Carter crossed his arms over his chest.
It was no insecurity talking for him, but frustration. He just needed to know.
“Only if you stop pouting,” Aron turned his head to him.
“Who’s pouting?” Carter frowned.
“You,” Aron accused.
“No shit,” Carter counter-attacked.
Aron rolled his eyes.
“I cannot believe I’m letting you convince me to shoot myself in the foot.”
“You’re not. Just talk, okay?” Carter sighed. “I’m not coming after you with this. Just, let’s just get Carter out of the way.”
It sounded so wrong. But he had no idea how to put it.
“So, you were after fucking some dudes …” he made an attempt to pick it up where Aron had left off.
“Yes, and I met you, and you were amazing,” Aron said quickly.
“Not so damn fast. What of me made you think of Carter?” he drove home the point.
“You were, I don’t know. You were laughing, in that bar, that evening, and I just turned to see who was having so much fun on a dull Wednesday night. Carter used to laugh a lot, at least, when we were young. We used to have so much fun. It’s true that sometimes he laughed at me, but he was coming up with such shitty jokes, that I could not be mad at him.”
“So, I was laughing like him, was that all?” Carter asked.
“No, of course not. And it was not like I thought about similarities right away. Must I remind you what happened?”
“That would be great,” Carter said.
“Okay, so I noticed you laughing, and I just decided that it wouldn’t hurt to try since I didn’t have anything to do anyway, and just drinking the evening away didn’t sound so swell without company.”
“Yeah, being a sad lonely drunk is not your style,” Carter commented.
“Did I say that to you about me, or you just noticed?” Aron frowned and looked at Carter.
“I noticed,” Carter said, deadpan.
Shit, was any knowledge he had about Aron overlapping, at least one bit, with what Alex knew? Damn, what a mess.
“Anyway, I offered to buy you a drink as soon as you stepped away from your friends, and five minutes later, we were in my car and you were with your hands buried deep in my pants. The next day, all my waking hours, I wondered if I had been dreaming that this awesome guy had blown me in my car the other night. Then you texted and we started dating.”
“Ah, well, at least you knew what you were getting yourself into,” Carter said philosophically.
“I thought it was just going to be a fling, but I felt so at ease around you. When I was with you, I felt like I could be myself. And you looked at me, like I was the center of the universe or something. Carter used to do that, too,” Aron laughed softly.
Talking about being a conceited bastard. But it was the truth, Carter mused. And Aron had used to be the center of his universe. His only true friend. The only human being in the whole world he could completely rely on.
“I know it’s not easy to explain. But I felt like I could be myself with you. Well, when you weren’t working. I love you, baby, but you’re driving the fear of heaven and hell into those who are working with you. Otherwise, you were so easygoing and fun, it just felt to me like I … never mind.”
“Hey, what did I tell you?” Carter demanded. “Cards on the table.”
“Well, if you insist,” Alex blew air noisily through his nose, in an annoyed gesture. “It felt to me like I found a second Carter. A gay Carter.”
Carter felt himself sinking slowly under the blanket. There was just no way!
“Why are you hiding under the blanket?” Aron asked.
“I’m nothing like A … Ah, Carter, damn it!” he shouted from underneath. “He plays basketball and eats pizza!”
“Apparently so do you,” Aron canlı poker oyna pointed out and grabbed the blanket to tear it off Carter. “Hell, you’re having even more in common with him than you think.”
Carter chose to look miffed as he stared at his friend from his disadvantageous position.
“If it bothers you so much, why do you keep asking me about him?” Aron insisted and managed to pull the blanket all down.
A warm hand rest atop his protruding hip bone. Carter could swear that was enough to make his body temperature rise a few degrees. They were both silent, and Aron’s hand began to move in small circles, his thumb going lower and lower, until it brushed by the side of Carter’s cock.
Carter shivered, and he was pretty damn sure it wasn’t because of cold. But he was not going to let himself swayed from learning the truth.
“If you were so in love with him, how come you never told him?” he blurted out.
Aron’s hand stopped. He was thankful for that.
“And risk losing him as a friend? Carter is as straight as they come, Alex,” Aron sighed. “Just look at how he reacted when we got married. That man is straight, end of story.”
Yeah, definitely, Carter thought, shaking his head, mentally at least. A straight guy with a new found taste for his best friend’s cock, apparently. This time he shook his head for real. That had been just an accident. A one-time-thing. Could heavens just hurry and make him go back to his own body? He needed that old and familiar shell. He was pretty certain that he was not going to think about giving blowjobs once everything was going to be back to normal.
“Wow,” he commented, with a small grimace. “But how did you manage to hide it from him? I mean, all this time … how long have you been in love with him?”
“Seeing that I kissed him when we were 14 … until 29, when I met you, that would be 15 years, if I’m doing the math right.”
“Holy shit,” Carter murmured. “Really, how did you manage?”
“The high school years were the toughest, I believe,” Aron began speaking. “I didn’t know exactly what I was feeling at the time. I was starting to have a pretty solid suspicion I was gay, but I didn’t exactly want to admit that I had the hots for my best friend. Straight best friend, do keep that in mind, baby,” he added.
“I do,” Carter sighed.
“In college, we hanged out together plenty, and then I was starting fooling around with some cool guys, so I was taking the edge off, so to speak. After that, I left the city. More like I fled, because I just could not stand him anymore blabbering about this or that girl.”
“Was he sharing his sex adventures with you?” Carter pretended to be disgusted, just trying to stay in Alex’s character at his best of his abilities.
“No, it wasn’t anything like that. But, with him, it was like the current girlfriend was the best woman in the world for exactly three days, after which he almost didn’t speak about her again.”
Had he really done that? He liked to think he was courteous in his relationships with women. Was he that much of a scumbag? No wonder Aron thought he was much like Alex. Just two douchebags doing their douchebaggery thing.
“Wow, what a bastard,” he commented, feeling much in the mood for a mental lashing.
“He wasn’t like that,” Aron immediately jumped to his defense. “He’s like a head in the clouds kind of guy. And I think he compartmentalizes a lot. He gets annoyed if things are not in their little boxes. I suppose he wanted his girlfriends to fit into one of those, and none of them did. When that happened, he didn’t know what to do, so he just fell out of love.”
Why did Aron have to be so accurate in his description of Carter? Well, his relationships were usually longer than three days, but it was true that he often became disinterested quite fast. And he did like things in boxes. Compartmentalized. They were just easier to deal with, while he could see about his usual thoughts involving solving this or that.
“What I cannot understand,” Carter began, “is what you see in that guy. He’s just so plain.”
Aron pursed his lips and seemed a bit annoyed.
“He is clearly not as beautiful as you,” Aron said cautiously. “But the girls thought he was cute, and I, well, I thought he was pretty damn handsome and sexy. I don’t mean to make you jealous or anything, baby, but that guy has a really nice ass. Not that I care about that now,” Aron added quickly and looked away.
“You must be joking,” Carter murmured. “What about that guy is handsome? He only has plain brown hair and plain brown eyes, and I don’t remember his butt, but …”
“Alex,” Aron stopped him. “Stop being jealous of him. And you were the one curious and asking questions. If you don’t like the truth, fine, we’ll just stop talking.”
“Fair enough,” Carter agreed. “All right, your taste in men is fucked up, and I’ll leave it at that.”
Aron glared but said nothing.
“So, all this time, you did nothing to raise his suspicions?” Carter chose to turn back to the conversation thread. “You’re quite the internet casino stoic, man.”
“Eh, let’s just say that I knew it was wrong,” Aron shook his head. “And I did my fair share of stupid things.”
“What did you do?” his words barely came out.
“He used to sleep at my house a lot, even after growing up.”
Yeah, he remembered that. He was certain he had slept more at Aron’s house than in his own bed. In a way, Aron’s house was more his home than his real one. Even Aron’s parents … whatever, it was old history.
After a small dramatic pause, Aron continued.
“I once stole one of his t-shirts. Well, not exactly. But I told him that my mom won’t be bothered if I threw some of his stuff in our washing machine. I loved his smell. Especially after a day out, playing ball.”
“You fucking pervert, what did you do?” Carter mumbled.
Aron laughed. He had no idea what danger he was in.
“I won’t go into details. Let’s say that that wasn’t my proudest fap. My mom was so startled to find me fiddling with the washing machine. Let’s just say that there were some traces of …”
“Too much info,” Carter said quickly.
Now he was mortified. His best friend had fapped to his t-shirt? Well, not the t-shirt, but the smell … okay, he needed to admit it. He was way out of his league here.
“At least, I didn’t kiss him in his sleep again,” Aron laughed. “Although I did let him kiss me a few times when he was drunk. He is very affectionate with several drinks in his system.”
When had that happened?! All his neurons, dead or alive, grabbed protest signs, ready to unionize.
“He kissed you,” he said, hoping that he had just heard it all wrong.
“Yeah, well, it was nothing. Who can make sense of what drunk people do? And he never remembered anything the next day.”
“He kissed you,” Carter repeated, “on the mouth?”
Aron chuckled, getting even more on Carter’s nerves.
“Yes, full on the lips.”
“Tongue?” Carter inquired, in rapid fire.
“What is this? You’re grilling me?” Aron suddenly moved and climbed on top of Carter’s body, pushing the blanket all the way down, and making him spread open.
Carter set his chin, seeing that otherwise he was immobilized as Aron was holding his hands down, too, into his.
“Tongue or not tongue?”
Aron rolled his eyes.
“I wished there was tongue in there. No, he was just smooching me loudly, saying crazy stuff, such as I was the single person in the world who could understand him.”
“Why was that crazy?”
“Well, Carter is the type of person that is well liked, even though god knows he’s not making any effort in that direction. Well, that was after we went to college, because in high school … But never mind. I’d say he sometimes even tried to do the opposite, to drive people away. But no one took him seriously. He is just endearing like that, I guess. And it explains why so many women like him. I can safely say that the guy will never suffer from a shortage of girlfriends.”
If Carter thought correctly, he hadn’t had a girlfriend in almost two years. Ever since Aron had gotten married to the douchebag. Like he had been in mourning, or something.
“Don’t tell me you’re upset now that he didn’t use his tongue when kissing me,” Aron glared from above.
“You could have kissed back,” Carter retorted, without thinking.
Why was his mouth running away without him? He needed a sewing kit to solve this once and forever.
“And take advantage of my best friend while he was drunk?” Aron frowned. “I hope you know I’m better than that.”
“Show me how he kissed you,” Carter demanded.
There was no way he had been that much of an idiot. Aron was lying. He had to. It was impossible. Although Aron never lied.
“Are you sure this is a good idea?” Aron grimaced.
“Yeah, show me.”
“Okay,” Aron shrugged and straightened himself up, and then pulled Carter to him.
Being so close, face to face, eyes to eyes, was making his heart beat faster. Good thing he could not focus as Aron leaned in. It was a good a reason as any to close his eyes.
“Ouch,” he yelled in surprise.
Aron was pinching both his cheeks hard. And then he planted a loud kiss on Carter’s lips.
“See? This was what he did.”
Carter began massaging his cheeks.
“And you let him?”
“I just told you I did,” Aron replied.
“No, not the kiss, this,” he said as he continued to rub his face. “It fucking hurts.”
“Don’t be such a cry baby. Jeesh, can you be more like Carter? He didn’t like it when his aunts came around to do that, truth be told. Makes me wonder why he was doing it.”
“Well, do you like it?” Carter grabbed Aron by his cheeks and pulled as hard as he could to the sides.
Aron laughed, making Carter’s fingers slide away.
“You’ll have to do more than this to hurt me, baby,” he said with a small smile.
“Do you want me to hurt you?” Carter asked, bent on making Aron pay for his little confessions.
A small shadow passed Aron’s face, his smile fading a little. Carter knew the guy well. At least he thought that. And right now, Aron’s breath was deepening, his eyes were becoming hooded … this was not exactly something familiar to Carter.