October 31st – a Shadowlands story

October 31st - Charlie David books

It’s October 31st, Trick or Treat!  No tricks for my friends, just treats!  I wanted to share a story from my book Shadowlands.  This one is dedicated to one of the guys in this story whose favourite holiday happens to be Halloween. 

IT WAS OCTOBER 31st AND THEY SAT ON THE SOFA WITH THE LIGHTS OFF. 

October 31st Shadowlands

A movie flickered on the big plasma screen but neither of the men paid attention.  I call them men because they are in their late twenties though by all approximations they are still boys.  There are four others like them – living like a pack of wolves in a house with four bedrooms.  One lives in the garage.  Their own private Pleasure Island where they can smoke and drink and play poker and video games all day if they want and most days they do.

But tonight it’s just the two of them.  The best friends.  All the other boys have gone out.  A night on the town to howl at the moon and chase their own tail until it leads them back home again. 

 The house groans as the October wind blows against it and branches from the avocado tree tickle its roof.  It’s his favourite month; October that is and the one on the left.  The one wearing the sweat pants, cut into shorts just above the knee.  His legs are muscular, tan and smooth.  He likes to keep them that way although the other secretly wishes he’d let the hair grow – on his legs, his chest, face…

The other has a lot of secrets.

The one on the left is also wearing a tank top.  He’s proud of his muscular arms and this is no secret although he currently has them hidden, wrapped up in a blanket.  It’s October.  His favorite month and even though this is Los Angeles there’s a slight chill in the air. 

The one on the right is watching.  One eye on the TV and the other on his friend.  He’s in love.  This is another one of his secrets.  He also doesn’t like horror movies.  Secret number three.  He pretends to because they watch together.  In the dark and alone.

The one on the left has a girlfriend.  The one on the right wants to hate her but can’t.  In fact he loves her too.  Just in a different way.

Tonight is not special.  It’s like a hundred others they have spent together.  Sometimes she comes by the house and they will be lying on one of their beds shirtless.  Just home from a run.  She is his girlfriend and she has suspicions but those are her secret.

But they only lay together.  Not touching.  Just talking.  They talk for hours.

They love each other but in different ways.  That is their shared secret.

“If only you were a chick…” the one on the left has said with a laugh and not just once.

“If only you would try it…” the other would respond also laughing but it was a practiced trick to mask the pain.

If only.  If only.  A life punctuated with a conditioned statement.

And so they sit side by side.  Two grown men who are still boys.  One wants to touch the other.  That’s his secret.  The other longs to be touched.  That’s his secret.

It’s the hundredth night in a litany of others which have played out much the same.  Neither has the courage to take the first step.  Neither wants to upset the perfectly imperfect balance of what they have.  It’s love.  It’s fear.  It’s an unholy union that may never be realized. 

The one on the left doesn’t understand his thoughts or why he can’t concentrate on the TV.  He just wants a blowjob but hates himself for even thinking about his friend in that way.  He thinks it would offend him.  That he’d suddenly want more than he’d be able to give.  He dreams of a middle ground – a place where they both get what they want and need from the other but he imagines it can’t exist.

And so he does nothing.  He does nothing because he loves him.

The other only wants to touch his friend.  He only wants to be close and close and closer.  He only wants to make him happy.  He’s smart enough to know he will never be, can never be enough for him.  But he yearns to be more than what he is.  He wants to show his devotion and show it is distinct and special from the other boys.  But he hates himself for wanting something from his friend that he cannot offer.

He dreams of a middle ground – a place where they both get what they want and need from the other but he imagines it can’t exist.

It does.  But it’s a secret they may never know.

And so the one on the right does nothing.  He hugs a pillow a little tighter to his chest and does nothing because he loves him.

Is not one of the most powerful things to so love someone with all your heart and yet have the knowledge you will never have an opportunity to be intimate.  Like an iron in a fire always burning, always present is this love, unable to be extinguished or at the same time be of any use.

The one on the left slipped one hand under his t-shirt and casually pulled it up while carefully gauging his friends reaction.  He let the blanket fall off his shoulders onto the couch letting the one on the right get an unobstructed view of his tan stomach.  He let his hand rest there while he adjusted the bulge in his sweat pants to a no more comfortable but definitely more obvious position.

The one on the right was sweating.

Drip.  Drip.

He could feel the small beads gathering under his arms and his heart was screaming through his t-shirt.  He began to worry anxiously if the one on the left would be able to hear it pounding right through the pillow that he hugged to his chest.  He wanted to stop this stupid movie and stop this stupid dance that they both knew the steps to all too well.

“Kind of a shitty movie huh?” The one on the left mumbled through a yawn as he crooked one arm behind his head.

 “S’alright.  Not great,” the one on the right agreed.

  “Should we shut it off?”

 “We could.  You getting tired?” The one on the right asked as he reached for the remote. 

 “Nah.  Let’s just do something else.”

“Well I haven’t had a foot massage today,” the one on the right joked and dared to kick his friend in the shin. “Shouldn’t I get a reward for chasing you around the UCLA track three times a week?”

“Your reward is fitness and getting to watch my ass for twenty laps.”

“Well usually that’s only fifteen laps, you’re nearly lapping me on the last five.”

“That’s my reward,” the one on the left grinned a silly crooked smile.

The one on the right dropped his jaw ready to pose a question.  A question about the definition of his friend’s reward.  But the sentence hung on his tongue like a sky diver afraid to leap and never took flight. 

The one on the left swung his feet up onto the couch and adjusted the blanket behind him into a makeshift pillow.  “But since you brought it up, shouldn’t the winner get a massage first?  I promise the day you win, I’ll happily return the favor.” 

“You’ve heard of Tanya Harding right?  I’m not above that.”  The one on the right laughed and grabbed his friend’s foot and rested it on his thigh.  The boys who were men caught each other’s eye and then looked away quickly.  This was a new level of intimacy and neither knew exactly how to behave.

The one on the right rubbed his hands firmly over his friend’s foot, pressing his thumbs into the meaty flesh of his heel and toes.  It was just his foot but there was something incredibly exciting about touching him this way.  The one on the left let a small groan of approval escape his lips as he slid down further into the couch, pushing his feet right into the lap of his friend and resting his powerful legs on top of the other boy. 

The one on the right felt himself stiffen in his basketball shorts and push up precariously close to the elastic waistband.  His eyes danced over his friend’s contented face and he thought, ‘This is enough.  This is all I need.  Just to be able to make him happy.’

He arched and flexed the tan foot in his hands and then pushed them up and under the muscular calf, applying careful pressure as he went.

“Okay I may be an asshole but I’m not completely selfish,” the one on the left opened one eye and winked. “Give me your foot.  It’s a mutual reward.”

The one on the right felt like his shaking insides would betray him as he lifted his foot into the hands of his friend. 

Rough hands.  Rough hands handling him gently.

“Are you kidding me?  Have you ever walked a day in your life?  Your feet are like…really soft,” the one on the left guffawed and then started laughing.  “So what do we call this?”

            The one on the right looked up cautiously.  “What do we call what?

            “This.  What’s happening here.”

            “Um… I think it’s called a foot massage.”

            “You know what I mean.  You okay with it?”

            “Yeah.  Are you?”

            “Yeah, I think so.”

            The men who were feeling more and more like boys handled each other’s feet for the next few minutes in silence, each lost in his own thoughts.

            And questions.

                                                And hopes.

                                                                                    And fears.

            “You know…” the one on the left started and then stopped, lifting his friends leg gently to massage his calf. 

            “What?”

            “Nothing.”

            “Seriously what?  I need to know what you’re thinking.”

            “I don’t think I can talk about it,” the one on the left said as he rested his friend’s leg across his lap and let the foot fall on his chest where he could get a more convenient grip.

            Suddenly the one on the right didn’t need to hear what his friend was thinking.  He already knew.  It was obvious.  He could feel it pressed against the back of his leg.  Without a word he looked at his friend.  And his friend looked back at him.

            The avocado tree creaked against the house and shadows danced in the corners of the room.  The one on the left had taken a chance.  He hoped his friend would understand and accept it for exactly what it was. 

            No more.

                                    And no less.

            The one on the right pressed his leg down into the evidence of his friend’s arousal just to be sure.  Now was no time to make a mistake.  He took the left foot of his friend and placed it casually between his legs as he took the right foot up in his hands. 

            The one on the left wrapped his arms around the leg of the other and pressed his hips up against him.  He pushed his left foot gently into his buddy’s crotch and felt him straining against the mesh basketball shorts.  He stroked the bottom of his foot up and down along the length of his friend’s shaft, surprising himself at how much he was enjoying this kinky session.

            The one on the right pulled the foot in his hand up to his mouth and wrapped his lips around his friend’s toes.  He’d never imagined doing anything like this before but now that he found himself here it was quite possibly the most erotic experience in his life.  He pushed his hips forward against the foot of his friend.  The threat of how much pain he could cause him with the mildest of kicks excited him further.  He was at his mercy and he liked it.

            The one on the left was happy.  So was the one on the right.

            It was nothing like any night they had ever imagined having together. 

            And yet.  It was perfect.

            The shadows danced.  The house creaked.  The men acted like boys as they waited for the other wolves to chase their tails home.

October 31st Shadowlands

If you enjoyed October 31st, consider picking up my book, Shadowlands.  It’s available on Amazon, Chapters-Indigo, Dreamspinner Press or by asking at your favourite bookstore. 

Love books?  Me too!  Let’s connect on GoodReads. 

The short story October 31st explores a bromance between a straight guy and a gay guy.  This dynamic is also explored in our short film FORCES.  You can watch it here.