Sunday, February 22, 2015

Excerpt from "Couldn't"

After "Shouldn't" (Friday) and "Wouldn't" (Saturday) comes the Sunday wrap-up. My goal is to keep Richard's voice consistent even as he gets more comfortable with having Cody around.

“Can I ask you a question?”


“Do you love me?” Cody asks.

Ah, yes. He’s a teenager. I prop myself up on my elbow. “In what sense?”

He glances off to the side. “Like…you know.”

Making my voice as gentle as possible, I reply, “Cody, just because our bodies fit each other doesn’t mean our minds or our hearts do. Of course I care about you, and I want you to be happy, but…”

“You don’t love me,” Cody finishes sourly.

How do I put this so that this man-boy can understand? “You’re looking in the wrong place,” I say. “If your parents are hurting your feelings, you can’t use sex to fix that. When this happens again, which is likely given your history of bullheadedness, are you going to start fixating on another authority figure? Sex doesn’t ‘fix’ anything. It’s our bodies’ expression of a chemical reaction that tells our reproductive systems—”

“That’s not what I meant,” Cody interrupts. “Just…I know you could tell I liked you.”

I bonk him on the head. “Yeah, you drew pictures of us fucking on your homework. That’s not subtle.”

He smiles reluctantly. “Before that. I thought you could tell.”

I have to choose my words very carefully. “It’s always easier not to wonder.”

That must have been the right answer—who knows how Cody interprets it—because his gaze lifts to meet mine. “I didn’t know if you’d let me in,” he confesses.

Rolling my eyes, I retort, “I couldn’t leave you out in that weather, no matter how much you harrassed me.”

Cody grins and rolls to match my posture. “You knew what would happen, though,” he says slyly.

Some might argue that I did. How, though, would I have ever reckoned that I would be watching the clock with a heavy heart? “Don’t assume that human kindness is an invitation for anal sex, moron,” I snap, and make as though to leave the warm confines of my sheets. Cody reaches for my waist; I’m not surprised when he draws me to fit inside the curve of his body.

I remind him, “No more. As it is I’ll be sore for days.”

He pulls my chin toward him for a kiss. “You can teach me instead,” he offers as though it’s a stellar bargain. “Expand my horizons, Mr. Hale.”

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