Her Brother Ch. 02

I woke up slowly and squinted at the digital clock next to my bed: 7:48. Why was I awake so early on a Saturday?

I almost groaned with annoyance, ready to press my pillow over my face, but an abrupt jolt shot through me as the memory of yesterday flooded my brain.

Julien!

I sat up very quickly, pillow tumbling aside, and looked around. I was alone in the bed I'd shared with Lisette up until last night, when her little brother had thoroughly usurped her place. Never in history, I imagined, had a usurper been so welcome, so appreciated, or so needed.

His absence worried me for a few moments. What if none of it had really happened?

I dove down to smell the pillows and sheets, looking for traces of him, and my hand brushed something soft and fuzzy. From beneath a twist of blanket I pulled a teddy bear - Julien's teddy bear - and I grinned, feeling a flood of joy and sweetness wash over me. I flopped back down on the bed, pressed the bear against my face, inhaled, and moaned softly at Julien's now familiar scent. My Julien.

Julien Labelle... Julien the Beautiful.

Where had my beautiful boy gone? I tucked his bear beneath my arm and left the bedroom. The bathroom was empty. I looked around the kitchen and living room, and didn't see him, but then I heard a shuffling noise from behind the kitchen island.

"Jules?"

His tousled head popped up above the island, and I grinned.

"Looking for something?" I chuckled.

He shut the door of the cupboard he'd been rifling through, and his cheeks reddened. He returned my smile after a few moments. The pretty, playful lines of his sexy pink mouth made me salivate, and I even felt my cock rise a little.

"I wanted to make you pancakes," he said bashfully, "but I can't find anything remotely pancake-friendly."

I felt as if I could melt into a big warm puddle on the floor. "Oh... could you be any sweeter?" I breathed, coming around the island to get close to him. I was disappointed to see him wearing pyjama pants, but it made sense considering we didn't know when Lise might be returning. I pushed his teddy bear against his chest and then pulled him close, hugging him with the bear squished between us. Julien giggled, his fingers digging into my bare back. I kissed his cheek.

"I guess my sister isn't likely to buy pancake mix," he whispered. "Not 'wholesome' enough."

"True. And if there's flour, it's gonna be that gross chunky multigrain stuff. Plus we've got nothing good to put on them. But you're absolutely the cutest guy ever for wanting to make me pancakes." I kissed his other cheek. "It's not too late. We could pop over to the grocery around the corner... grab some pancake mix... butter... syrup... and a big pack of bacon."

Julien's eyes widened steadily, along with his smile. "Yes, pancakes and bacon!" he crowed, bouncing a like an excited kid. He gripped my bare ass cheeks with a playful growl. "Will you go to the store like this?"

"I don't think anyone else is gonna appreciate that!" I laughed.

"Of course they will," he insisted, kissing my neck, licking me, and nibbling at my shoulder. "You're adorable and sexy." He pressed firmly against me and giggled. "And... um... apparently kinda turned on...?"

I shivered. My cock seemed to respond very quickly to anything Julien's mouth did to any part of me. "I can't help it around you, cutie. Anyway, if we're going out together, it's you everyone's going to be gazing and and appreciating, no matter what I'm wearing or not wearing. You are the most gorgeous creature alive. I'm just... well, 'average' is probably being generous."

Julien's rich, deep hazel eyes fixed on mine, the green flecks in them seeming almost to glimmer. He looked wounded, and my good cheer quickly melted at the prospect that I'd said something hurtful.

"Jules...?" I whispered.

"C'mere," he said, grasping my hand and pulling me. His bear landed on the kitchen floor, forgotten. He stood me at the bathroom sink, hung onto my arm, and pointed at my reflection in the mirror. "Tell me what you see, Cody."

I glanced over my naked self and sighed. "A kinda dumpy guy with a really hot little boyfriend...?"

"No, Cody!" he moaned, pressing his face against my shoulder. "Really look, okay? Tell me what you see!"

I shut my eyes for a few moments and then looked at myself again. "Brown hair, nondescript haircut... bluish-grayish eyes," I mumbled, cataloguing my features dispassionately. "Slightly crooked nose. Square face. I dunno, Julien... a mouth? A normal one. Slightly hairy but not-that-hairy chest. Flabby gut, flabby arms, flabby everything. Totally unremarkable cock. And such."

Cody wrapped his arms around me from behind and peeked over my shoulder. "Let me tell you what I see, okay? I see hair that begs to be grabbed and ruffled... a handsome, honest face... a cute nose that's perfect in its imperfection, and one I plan to kiss at least a hundred million times. I see a warm smile that makes me melt. I see a sweet, cuddly, teddy bear body that feels absolutely perfect when it's wrapped around me, a body I wouldn't change for the world. And I see a cock that makes my mouth water... a cock that was inside me last night, that popped my cherry. I see the only cock I want in the whole world. And... one that's already getting a little hard again...." His tone turned playful as his mouth curled into a grin. One of his hands slid down my belly and grasped my thickening penis, squeezing it gently.

"Julien," I breathed. My cheeks were warming. "How do you make me feel so good?"

"It's not me. I'm just helping you see what's really there. You've been looking at yourself through Lisette's eyes. My sister's never impressed with anyone but herself. It makes her feel better to pick other people apart, and she's not going to treat you that way anymore. Because you're mine now. Mine!"

I grinned as he squeezed my cock more firmly and dug his teeth into my shoulder. "You're extra cute when you get possessive," I laughed. I pulled him around to stand in front of me, making him face the mirror. "Look - who's that?"

Julien cocked his hips to one side, and then the other, duckfacing and squinting at his reflection critically, making me laugh even more.

"Pretty decent-looking guy," he concluded. "Scrawny, but not unsexy."

I squeezed his almost nonexistent love handles. "You'd use less syllables if you just said 'sexy'. It's basically the same thing as 'not unsexy'."

"Okay, I know a double negative is bad grammar and everything, but it just sounded slightly more humble!"

I laughed and pulled him tightly against my body, cuddling him close. He grinned and let his head rest back against my shoulder, mashing his cheek against mine. "Yunno, Cody... all I really wanted was for you to start to see what I see, and admit that you're 'not unsexy' yourself. Possibly even full-on 'sexy'."

I turned my head to kiss his cheek, and he quickly manoeuvred to try to meet my lips. Finally he squirmed away from my snug grip to rotate his whole body toward mine. "That was an awkward angle to make out at," he informed me before throwing his arms around my neck and plunging his tongue past my lips. I moaned and ran my hands up and down the soft, smooth skin of his back, darting my tongue out to spar with his.

My cock was really starting to rise now, and I seized Julien by his skinny hips and hefted him onto the countertop, knocking over several of Lise's hair products. He wrapped his legs around my waist and clung to me. I smiled as I kissed him, and slowly began to rub my hardening dick against the smaller bulge in his soft pyjama pants.

"Fu-u-uck," he whispered.

I grinned and bit his bottom lip, humping him a bit more firmly. "Like that, little guy?"

His arms tightened around my neck, his legs around my waist. His pelvis jerked to meet my thrusts, and soon we were both panting like out-of-shape joggers. His body was so tight around me that he was barely even sitting on the counter anymore. I clamped my hands snugly under his bottom and lifted him a little, shuffling back from the counter.

"Whoa," I breathed with a slight tremor. "Do you think we could... have sex like this?"

He threw his head back, his mouth hanging open with ecstasy. He was still humping me. "Unnhh! S-so hot! Could you... h-hold me for long?"

I grunted, not so much with sexual passion now as with pure physical effort. "Dang... probably not."

Julien noticed I was struggling and dropped his legs, sliding to the ground. "Oh well," he panted. "It was a nice idea."

I leaned down to kiss him and ruffled his hair, releasing that sweet apple-y scent I had noticed the first day we'd met. It still released clouds of tiny butterflies deep within my stomach. "Hey - it still is. Present tense. Good motivation for me to get myself in better shape!"

"Aw, man, you don't have to.... Wait, did you say 'dang' a second ago?" He smirked.

"Um, yes?"

"Who says 'dang'?" he laughed, poking me in the belly. "Come on, Cody - you don't need to follow my sister's rules. Fucking swear, dammit!"

"Well, damn!" I laughed along with him. "I guess you're fucking right, you cute little bastard."

He threw his arms around my neck and kissed me aggressively, seeming to really get off on 'corrupting' me. I grinned against his mouth and started rubbing my cock against him again, pushing him up against the nearest wall.

"Mmm... mmmm.... Pancakes!" he blurted out between kisses. "Bacon!"

"Right!" I gasped, releasing him and taking a few moments to catch my breath and let my hard-on settle down a little. "Whew!"

"We'd better put some clothes on before we get carried away. I mean, I'd love you to fuck me all day long, but we do need to refuel in between."

"Your logic is sound, little bro."

He slapped a hand over his mouth and stifled a laugh. "Oh shit, that sounds so wrong."

"What, you don't want to be my little brother?" I teased. "C'mon now, it was your idea. Remember last night, when we were ordering pizza? You said I was the best brother ever."

"Yeah," he agreed, leaning close to me. He put his lips next to my ear and whispered: "And then we sucked each other's dicks... and you put yours up my little virgin ass... bro."

I shivered. My cock throbbed. "True. So either we drop the 'brother' thing, or we're just really inappropriate brothers."

"I'll think about it." He gave my bare ass a smack before scurrying off to go find some clothes.

We romped to the grocery store around the corner with all the boisterousness of two young boys intoxicated with the freedom of summer vacation and up to no good. We bumped hips and laughed wildly, shoving each other back and forth, squeezing each other's shoulders, and messing each other's hair. Once in a while we just quieted and smiled at one another with the restrained glee of a shared secret. His heartbreakingly beautiful smile still made my pulse quicken, and I hoped it always would. I couldn't remember ever feeling such pure joy before.

It was like I'd spent years in some kind of stasis, and now I was finally fully alive. With Lisette I'd closed up, shrunk back, buried all of myself deep inside to follow after her like a dog. Released from her leash, I was opening up like a blossom and finding my colours again, and I liked who I was. I no longer felt I had to struggle just to be barely adequate as a human being. Lisette's version of "love" had torn my self-esteem apart, and in her brother's hands I was weaving myself back together, and feeling stronger than ever. Julien, too, was blossoming. Only a day ago he'd seemed so shy and withdrawn, and so heartbroken. As we spent time together I had the privilege of seeing his true personality unfolding bit by bit. I remembered thinking when I'd first laid eyes on him that there was an entire world buried behind his beautiful hazel eyes and alluring, barely-there smile, and now - lucky me! - I was inside that magnificent world and exploring it.

I was staring at him so hard I nearly walked into a signpost, and Julien yanked on my arm just in time.

"Smooth move, Ex-Lax," he snorted, raising an eyebrow at me. "I do find your crooked nose endearing, but it probably doesn't need to be any crookeder."

"You're probably right." I leaned close to him and lowered my voice. "I guess you'd better stop being so adorable. You're too much of a distraction."

He stuck his tongue out at me. "As if I could even begin to stop!" He then launched into an off-key rendition of Lady Gaga's "Born This Way", complete with spontaneous choreography, for which I had to give him a firm noogie.

We were walking into the store now and quickly quieted ourselves as we were already drawing stares with our laughter and light horseplay.

"Let's be grown-ups now," Julien whispered loudly.

"Grown-ups who sleep with stuffed animals," I reminded him.

"Of course. Nothing wrong with that."

"Nothing at all."

We stifled another round of giggles as we wandered over to the packaged meat section and perused the bacon options.

"So what is up with your nose anyway?" he asked casually as he examined a package. "Did you break it when you were a kid? Or were you just... as the song says... 'bo-orn this waaaay'?"

I smiled at the fact that he felt comfortable enough to ask. Most people wouldn't. "Yeah, I broke it once, and it didn't set quite right. There isn't any real interesting story behind it or anything. I was just going through a clumsy phase during a preteen growth spurt, and literally fell on my face while running around outside. It was pretty embarrassing."

He poked me in my side with a grin. "I think it's adorable," he whispered.

"It's adorable that I fell on my face for no good reason?"

"Well, only in retrospect," he laughed. "If I were there, I probably would have been cradling you in my arms and screaming for a doctor."

"If you were there, you would have been about five years old," I snickered.

"Nonetheless." He furrowed his brow at a bacon packet. "What the fuck is up with everything being applewood smoked these days? Does one wood make the meat taste better than another wood?"

"I have no idea. Let's just get something middle-of-the-road." I seized one that seemed basic without being overly cheap.

"Okay, works for me. Now where do we find pancake mix? Breakfast aisle or baking supplies?"

"My heart says breakfast."

Julien bumped his hip against mine as we walked. "My heart says 'Cody'. If you listen to it right now it's not going 'ba-dump, ba-dump'. It's going 'Co-dy, Co-dy, Co-dy'...." He patted a hand against his sternum with each melodramatic syllable.

I grinned and bit my lip, consistently disarmed by his adorable nerdiness. He reached up and tried to kiss me, but I sobered and shied away, reflexively glancing around to see if anyone had witnessed his gesture. His smile faded. We paused near the end of an aisle, frozen in an awkward moment.

"I'm sorry," he whispered, his eyes dropping. I could see him struggling, trying hard to be okay with the idea that I wasn't ready to be 'with him' in an obviously public way.

"I...," I stammered, somewhat at a loss. "Hey, Jules. I... no, I'm the one that should be sorry."

"No, no," he protested, shaking his head quickly. "I get it. It's okay, honestly. I've always... you know... known who I was. This is new for you. I shouldn't expect you to be like, 'look at me, world, I sleep with men!' without even a day to process the whole thing."

Again I was tempted to look around to make sure we weren't overheard, but I resisted this time. "It's not exactly that," I sighed, squishing the packet of bacon between my hands anxiously. "I'm not... embarrassed to be with a guy or anything. It's just that this is my neighbourhood, and I haven't officially broken up with Lise yet, and if people recognize me.... I dunno. I'm worried about people thinking I'm a cheater, or some kind of man-whore, not about people thinking I'm gay."

His eyes flicked back up to mine, and I watched him attempt to process the logic of what I'd just said.

"Oh... you know what? Fuck it!" I exclaimed, leaning down and planting a kiss on him. "There. I don't care. I'm with you now, and I'm never gonna be with her again. That's that. Deal with it, world!"

Julien's mouth spread into one of his most captivating smiles yet. His whole face lit up, the green and gold flecks in his hazel eyes sparkling and shining. He wrapped his arms around my middle and leaned on me. I hugged him tightly, right there in the grocery store, with the pack of bacon pressed against his back. People may or may not have seen us. If they did, no one bothered us. If they cared, I didn't.

"That's cold," he whispered.

"Oh... sorry," I chuckled, letting go of him so the cold packet was no longer on his back.

"Omigod - look!" he exclaimed, pointing past me.

"Hmm?" I turned around to see what he was gesturing to, and saw that the display at the end of the aisle we were standing near was an extravaganza of Oreos. It seemed like fate. I grabbed a pack, and then, after a moment, a second one. "Hell yeah! We should have gotten a basket."

"I'll take those!" he giggled, grabbing the Oreo packages and leaving me with just the bacon, and we moved on to locate pancake mix, syrup, and butter. We even grabbed a carton of 2% milk, purely because Lisette had only ever allowed me to drink nonfat.

Ten minutes later we were back home, and both of us instinctively quieted, knowing that Lise might be in the apartment. We looked at each other and didn't need to discuss it. I went in first, glancing around anxiously. To our collective relief, we were still alone. I watched Julien carefully untie and remove his shoes.

His well-worn Chuck Taylors looked as abused and neglected as any teenage boy's sneakers, but it seemed likely that their appearance was only an expression of their age and not of recklessness. Julien treated them with a certain reverence that I found charming. He was sentimental about them, as he was about his teddy bear. Both were connections with his ex-best-friend, whom he'd long hoped would be his boyfriend.

"Can I see your prom picture again?" I asked.

He looked up at me curiously. I couldn't blame him for being confused about his new boyfriend's motive for wanting to look at a romantic picture of him with his high school crush. He pulled out his phone, found the picture, and handed it to me. I gazed at the sight of my sweet Julien looking ravishingly handsome in a tux, with the charmingly incongruous Chuck Taylors on his feet, matching the pair worn by his equally handsome date. They looked like they were having the time of their lives. I wondered what it would have been like to be the one to dance with Julien at his prom. As an introvert I'd never felt especially comfortable with the idea of dancing in public, or with being at any venue or event where such activities were expected. Lisette had often forced me far out of my comfort zone during our relationship; with Julien, I was sure he wouldn't ask me to do anything that might make me uncomfortable, but at the same time, the way I felt about him made me want to volunteer.

"Do you think I should delete it?" he asked.

I looked up at him, surprised. He had a worried look on his face.

"I've been thinking maybe I should just purge everything about Miles from my life," he continued, looking down and giving his sneakers a little kick. "After the way he hurt me, don't you think it might be sort of twisted that I'm still holding onto these pieces of him so hard? The picture, the bear... even my Chucks."

"No - no, of course not!" I replied, pulling him close so I could hold him. "It's not twisted. You don't keep these things because of how he hurt you. You keep them because of the good times they remind you of, right?"

I felt him nod against my shoulder. "I just didn't want you to feel hurt if I'm still thinking about another guy and how much I liked him."
"I'm not hurt," I whispered against his head, breathed in the fragrance of his hair, and gave the top of his head a little kiss. I inhaled him, savouring that now familiar sweet scent, reminiscent of apples. "These things, and the memories attached to them... they're not pieces of Miles, they're pieces of you. They're experiences you've had that have brought you to where you are now, and you shouldn't try to pretend they never existed. I love your shoes, and I love your bear, and I love that picture of you. You look so sexy. The two of you looked gorgeous together! It really doesn't bother me at all. In fact, I'd really like a copy of it, if you would send it to me."

His fingers dug into my back. "Cody... you're so nice! Of course. I'll send it to you."

I nuzzled him aggressively until he turned his head to allow me a kiss. I sucked at his sweet lips and tongue until I was getting hard all over again, and for a second time he had to remind me, giggling, of pancakes.

"Damn, you are such an effective distraction!" I teased, grabbing him by the hips and giving him a little wiggle before ushering him to the kitchen. He texted me a copy of his prom photo as I organized the breakfast supplies, and then we both got to work. I fried up the bacon in a big skillet while he whipped up the pancakes. I noticed him trying to make unusual shapes as he spooned the batter into the hot pan.

"What are you up to?" I chuckled.

"I'm trying to spell your name," he sighed. "It's not going very well. It's really hard to make an 'O' without it just turning into a normal pancake... and the 'D' looks almost the same as the 'O'."

"The effort is enough to melt my heart, little bro," I laughed, bumping my hip against his. "You're so cute."

He flipped one leg back and swung it aside to thump his foot carelessly against my butt. "I can almost be romantic. There, look - the 'C' isn't too bad! Maybe I'll just let that be enough. 'C' for 'Cody'. And 'cute', and 'cuddly', and 'cock'."

"A-plus!" I congratulated him, still laughing heartily. "It's like 'Sesame Street', except really inappropriate."

"'C' is for 'Cody', that's good enough for me!" he sang in a growly Muppet voice to the tune of Cookie Monster's iconic anthem, "C is for Cookie".

I was howling by this point, and close to tears. Julien was set off purely by the force of my amusement, and we laughed throughout most of the remainder of our breakfast preparation, interrupted occasionally by the need for kisses.

We sat on the living room sofa to eat, because there was no one to tell us not to. We stuffed ourselves with crispy bacon and fluffy pancakes dripping with butter and thick syrup. Even the milk was a rich treat - I'd been stuck with nonfat for so long that I'd forgotten what milk was supposed to taste like. We had seconds, and even thirds, and by the time we were ready to surrender our plates, all we could do was groan and languidly cuddle on the sofa.

"I think I could die happy now," Julien mumbled, the side of his face smushed against my chest.

"Please don't," I protested lazily. "I've grown attached to you."

"Okay. So what should we do now, while we're still alone?"

My hand slid slowly down and cupped his soft cock and balls. "I feel like that question deserves a sexual answer, but I'm soooo full."

"Me too. Seriously, it's okay. I wouldn't want to get motion sickness."

I chuckled as much as my laziness would allow. Julien was the first to gather the strength to move. He reluctantly peeled himself from my bloated body and staggered over to dig through one of his boxes.

"Is it 'Game of Thrones' time, do you think?" he asked. "Or I could set up my Wii, and we could play some 'Mario Kart' or something."

I voted for the former option, not having energy for much other than lying back and passively watching a screen. We enjoyed a lengthy cuddle in front of the TV, with Julien tucked affectionately under my arm, at times wrapping an arm around my chest and practically crawling into my lap. The sensation of him clinging to me was deeply satisfying. He constantly assured me in tacit gestures of his genuine feeling for me. The sweetness of these small gestures highlighted everything that had been missing in my relationship with Lisette.

This was what I wanted in a relationship - just being able to sprawl out on the sofa with someone, cuddle, relax, and bask, while Lise always wanted to go somewhere, have drinks, and be social, during which I mainly waited on the sidelines, babysitting her purse and awaiting the fulfillment of my designated driver duties. In retrospect I found it hard to comprehend that I'd let myself become such a doormat, and even worse, that I'd been made to feel fortunate to be her doormat.

"Is it just me, or is this absolutely perfect?" I whispered, squeezing him closer to me and nuzzling his soft hair.

"So perfect," he sighed. His legs tangled with mine in delicious knots. "I need every Saturday morning to be like this from now on."

We were into the third episode of "Game of Thrones" when Lisette came home. We disentangled ourselves from one another and sat up. I paused the show, knowing she wouldn't abide it. I felt very suddenly tense and nervous as I heard her footsteps, and the distinctive jingle of her keys, which I hadn't realized had become familiar until this moment. I spared Julien a quick glance. He had hunched up his shoulders and crossed his arms, closing himself off. He had come out of his shell so much since we'd been alone together, but now, he was once again the shy little teenager, accustomed to being steamrolled every time he tried to stand up for himself. I felt sorry for him. We had both been victims of Lisette's narcissistic need for excessive control. I could not comprehend how much worse it must have been for Julien to grow up with her, as well as a mother whose temperament was similar to Lisette's.

She walked in with a set expression on her face. Her hair was gathered up into the casual bun I recognized as her "bad hair day" style. Wherever she'd spent last night, she hadn't had her hair dryer or arsenal of products. She carried several shopping bags, apparently having spent her morning indulging in a little retail therapy.

She set her bags on the kitchen island and looked over the mess we'd left, her expression growing steadily less and less impressed.

"Hi," I ventured after a tense pause. "Don't worry, we'll clean it up later. You doing okay?"

She looked at the mess for a few moments longer, and then shifted her gaze to me. There was something unusual in her expression. It was almost as if I could see cracks forming across her meticulously composed facade of perfection.

"Lise?" I urged. "Are we going to talk?"

She pursed her lips for a few moments before speaking. "The whole apartment smells like bacon. Are you just totally letting yourself go now? We have one little fight, and you just let yourself go?"

I almost laughed. The pure absurdity of her characterizing her unapologetic infidelity as a "little fight" tickled me, as did her perception of my consumption of bacon as a sign of my descent into a life of reckless hedonism, but I managed to keep my composure. "We just had a nice Saturday brunch. We ate what we wanted. People do that sometimes."

She spotted one of the packs of Oreos and grabbed for it, holding it up as if she'd found evidence of a crime. "And what's this?"

Now I couldn't stop myself from rolling my eyes. "Hookers and blow, Lise."

Julien sputtered behind his hands, unable to hold back a sudden burst of laughter. I shot him a little grin.

"That's not funny," Lisette replied, glaring at both of us.

"We think it is," I chuckled. "Come on - they're cookies. We didn't rob a bank."

"Well, what exactly did you do, Cody? You I obviously didn't take Julien for a haircut like I asked you."

"I don't want a haircut!" Julien cut in.

"He doesn't want a haircut," I reiterated.

Lisette let out a curt puff of breath through her nose, reminding me of an indignant horse. "Somehow I figured you wouldn't be able to handle the simplest task, so I went shopping for Julien myself."

She grabbed two of her shopping bags and came over to place them in front of her brother. "Those are some job interview clothes for you, and a proper pair of shoes. Try them on to make sure they fit."

Julien glanced at the bags, and then up at his sister. The laughter that had seized him moments ago had disappeared in a hurry. I watched him, and could see him struggling between two clashing needs: one to establish his independence, and the other to avoid what he knew would be a bitter quarrel. "Take them back, please," he finally said, his voice quiet but firm.

She stared him down. I recognized her desperation to gain control of a situation in which she had no upper hand. "Try them on, Julien. Don't argue with me."

He sucked in a deep breath and sat back on the sofa, bringing his knees up against his chest. "I don't have to do what you say. If I need clothes, I'll get them myself. I'm not a little kid, and I won't be treated like one."

I was proud of him.

"You do need them, and so far you haven't taken any initiative," Lisette retorted, pulling a shoebox out of one of the bags. "At least try the shoes. No one's going to hire you in those grotty sneakers. This is about your future, Julien. Don't be so stubborn when I'm trying to help you."

"Take them back!" he insisted, furrowing his brow. "I didn't ask for your help."

"Julien!" she snapped. "You wouldn't be living here in my apartment if you didn't need my help. It's why you're here, and for mama's sake if nothing else, you're to mind me. Now, for heaven's sake! You haven't even looked at the shoes!" Her attention shifted to me. "Cody, help me out here."

I raised my eyebrows, not expecting her to genuinely think I was still at her beck and call after everything that had gone down. "Uh... I'm with him on this one. He doesn't need them, and he didn't ask for them." I almost added that it was our apartment, not her apartment, but I certainly didn't want it to be ours now.

Her eyes flashed. "Why are you being so difficult?"

I stood up from the sofa and faced her squarely. "I'm not difficult, Lise. I'm just a man, who's allowed to have his own opinion. And so is your brother. You're treating him like a child, and he's right not to put up with it. Meanwhile, you've treated me like your little lackey for our entire relationship, and I'm well past putting up with that."

"A lackey!" she exclaimed, setting her hands on her hips. "Isn't that a bit melodramatic?"

"No, it isn't, but smashing someone's iPad is!" I returned, my voice escalating toward actual anger. "Not to mention sleeping around on your boyfriend and thinking it's equivalent to him watching porn! Just who were you with last night, huh? Tell me, who was your retaliatory lay?"

"Don't you dare talk to me like that!" she hissed, pointing an accusatory finger at me.

"Who'd you fuck, Lise?"

Her jaw fell open. I'd never dropped an f-bomb in front of her before.

"Was it worth it?" I pressed. "Was it worth fucking some other guy to try to teach me some kind of sick lesson? I can tell you for certain, all I've learned through this is just how much of a heinous bitch you are!"

For once in her life, Lisette the Beautiful didn't know what to say. Again I saw her facade begin to crumble, and she suddenly turned to flee to the bedroom, slamming the door behind her.

I let out a long breath and slowly sat back down on the sofa. After a few moments, I turned to look at Julien. He was still hugging his knees, but now he let go of them to give me a quiet round of applause.

"You don't think 'heinous bitch' was too much?" I asked, feeling a bit unsteady. I'd never lost my temper with someone before, and I wasn't sure how I felt about myself in the aftermath.

"If anything, it wasn't enough."

We were quiet for a bit, and then he uncurled himself and returned to my arms. I cuddled him close to my body. I could feel both of our hearts thumping between us. My own pulse throbbed in my ears.

"Are you okay?" I whispered. "This is pretty intense."

"Yeah, I'm okay. I just wish she was out of our lives. I can't believe we're related. I'm scared I'll never be rid of her."

I gave him a snug squeeze. "We'll get through this. I probably should try to finish talking things out with her. I need to make sure she knows things are totally over between us. She might actually still think she's going to make me grovel."

Julien sighed and kissed my cheek. "All right. I'll take care of the breakfast dishes. You've got enough of a chore ahead of you."

"That's really sweet of you, Jules." I kissed his nose, and ruffled his soft hair. "Do I have your permission to tell her about us... if the conversation goes in that direction?"

He nodded. "I don't want to hide anything."

"Me neither. I'm glad we have that in common."

We kissed once, softly, and then went our separate ways. I slipped inside the bedroom and closed the door again. Lisette was curled up on the bed with her back to me. I could see at once that she was crying. I didn't enjoy the feeling of making someone cry. I had to put in an effort not to feel sorry for her. I told myself that she was probably putting on a show deliberately to make me feel regret, because she was intimately familiar with my emotional patterns. All the same, I couldn't bring myself to be cruel. Not yet, at least.

"Lise," I said softly, sitting on the edge of the bed, "tell me one thing. Please? Was last night the first time you cheated on me?"

She sniffled. "Yes. Of course it was. I only did it because you hurt me so much."

"By watching porn?"

"Yes! I was devastated that you'd be so unfaithful to me." She shook with a few quiet sobs.

I sighed. "You know, I really am sorry about that. Not because I think it was wrong, but because I promised you I wouldn't, and I did it anyway. I would like to be a man who keeps his promises. All I can say is... I did it because I felt stifled. I don't want to be one of these guys that's like, 'I'm a man, and I have needs', but... really, it was getting impossible for me to live within your restrictions. I didn't just watch porn, Lise. I jerked off whenever I could have a little privacy from you. I needed the release. I have a lot of libido, and you rarely ever seemed interested! Even when we did stuff, you barely seemed to enjoy it. I don't understand why you even wanted to be in a relationship with me."

She curled up tighter, and continued to cry. "Cody," she finally sobbed after a couple of minutes, "am I bad at sex?"

I balked at the question, not having expected her to be so vulnerable. "Um... well... you don't really, uh... put any effort into it, I guess. You just... lie there like you're getting a doctor's exam. Maybe that's enough for some people, but... I guess most guys would kind of like to know that you actually feel something for them." I paused. "Did last night's... activities... not go so well?"

She sniffed a few times. "He was really into me. But when we got into it... he was, like... annoyed with me!"

"Did he hurt you?"

"No, nothing like that. He was just kind of ticked off. He called me 'frigid'. Said I was like a 'dead fish'. Am I that bad?"

I sighed deeply. I actually did feel some pity for her. She'd put herself on a very high pedestal, and until yesterday, I'd helped keep her up there. She only felt secure as long as she had full control, and somehow, in her twisted mind, she had genuinely thought that having sex with another man would help her regain the control she needed. Perhaps she'd expected that I would be so hurt by her infidelity that I would become desperate to gain back her faithfulness, and it seemed to have backfired on her... badly.

"Lise, I don't think I'm the right person to talk to right now if you're wanting someone to make you feel better."

She moaned and hugged a pillow against her chest. "I'm just really worried now...."

"Worried about what exactly?"

She didn't answer for a while, and when she finally did, I barely heard her tiny voice: "My job."

"Your job...?" I repeated, brow furrowing. "You were with... someone from work?" I sucked in a breath and cringed. "Oh... oh no, Lise. Tell me you didn't sleep with your boss!"

She whimpered and hugged her pillow tighter.

"You didn't!"

She gave a small nod.

"Isn't he married?" I exclaimed. "Doesn't he have kids?!"

She burst into a fresh bout of sobs, pressing her face into the sheets and wailing.

"Goddamn!" I marvelled, standing up and running my fingers through my hair. "I'm so done. This is disgusting. You're disgusting."

"Cody!" she wailed, as if she couldn't believe I would be so unkind.

"No, I have no sympathy for you anymore," I replied flatly. "I'm not going to coddle your tears and tell you it's all right. I'm actually embarrassed to have ever been your boyfriend."

"Huh-how can you say that?" she wailed, rolling over to face me. She was red and blotchy, and her eyes were streaming steadily. "I need you right now, Cody!"

"You really expect me to feel sorry for you?" I scoffed.

"I'm in a lot of pain right now," she whimpered. "It wasn't easy for me to deal with my boss having feelings for me. And you think I feel good about the fact that he has a wife and kids? Because I don't! But he said such sweet things to me, Cody, and then he turned so cold after we did it - it was very traumatizing!"

"Boo hoo," I said cynically, shaking my head. "No, Lise - whatever problems your sleazy little affair is going to cause you in the long term will be all yours to figure out on your own. I'm done with you."

"Cody... please!" she blubbered, reaching for me. "We don't have to break up. We can work through this!"

"Are you fucking kidding me?" I exclaimed, making her flinch and gasp. I backed away from her. "We were over the moment you decided to 'see other people'. I've already moved on."

"What do you mean?" she squeaked out.

"I mean we both saw other people last night, and it seems mine worked out a lot better than yours."

Lisette's mouth contracted into a tight little line, and she turned off the waterworks almost instantly. "Who were you with?"

I swallowed and took a deep breath. "I was with Julien."

"No, I mean who...." She stopped mid-sentence. Her eyes narrowed, and her voice dropped nearly a full octave. "What?"

I lowered my eyes for a few moments, and then fixed them on hers again, stalwartly, nodding. "I know it's not something you'll want to hear, but... yeah. We're kind of an item since last night."

Her face was a caricature of fury. "No. No way. You did NOT hook up with my little brother."

"I did, though."

"That's not funny!" she hollered, her voice nearly a shriek. "You're not gay!"

"Well, it seems quite apparent that I'm at least bi."

"You're mocking me!"

"I'm really not. It happened. And I think he's the best thing that ever happened to me."

She breathed in short, forceful huffs for a few moments before leaping off of the bed and rushing toward the door. I tried to get in her way, but she darted past me.

"What did you do?!" she screamed at Julien, who was washing dishes in the kitchen. She charged up to him, and he retreated, looking genuinely frightened. They rounded the island, facing off with one another. Julien's hands were dripping with soapy water.

"What did you do to my boyfriend?" she demanded, fuming and glaring at him across the countertop.

I stood midway between them, caught between rushing to Julien's side and moving to stop Lise from advancing toward him any further. I watched Julien's reaction. His chin trembled a little, but his eyes were bold.

"We made love," he said softly, his eyes shifting to mine. I wanted to make love to him again, right that very moment. I remembered how he'd giggled at me last night for calling it "making love", and insisted we call it "fucking". It certainly had been fucking, but it had also been love, and we both knew it.
"And he's not your boyfriend," he added, returning his attention to Lisette. "He's mine."

Lisette shook her head slowly, seething. "This is really sick," she said in a low, trembling voice. "I don't know if the two of you are just messing with me, but either way, it's really, really sick."

She began yelling at Julien in French, and he shook his head vehemently. "Stop!" he shouted over her. "I'm not listening to you! English only!"

Lisette's head whipped around to face me. "You really had... sex... with him?" she hissed, her expression twisting with horror.

"Yes."

"You have the nerve to call me disgusting, when you had gay sex with my own brother?"

"What exactly do you think is disgusting?" I challenged. "That it was your brother, or that it was gay?"

"Uh, both!" she shot back. "You're both perverted and you're going to hell!"

"Sure, and you think God saves a special pair of angel wings for a woman who'll sleep with a man who has a wife and children?"

"Ew! Lise, you're horrible!" Julien exclaimed.

"You're one to talk! You corrupted my boyfriend!"

"He didn't 'corrupt' me," I cut in. "I made the first move."

"I don't believe that for a moment," Lisette hissed, shifting her intense glare toward me. "My brother is a manipulative little pervert. I'm sure he made you think you made the first move. You're weak-willed, gutless, and naive!"

I gritted my teeth. "I was when I was with you," I said in a low, dark tone. "You need a guy with no backbone. And that's not me anymore. Julien makes me feel like I'm a worthwhile person, a whole man who deserves respect. We both deserve respect, Lisette. So back off... and let's just make a clean break of things."

"You both deserve respect?" she repeated, her tone dripping with sarcasm. "That's cute. Wait till my back is turned, fool around with my own brother, and then tell me I'm a disgusting person? I can't even believe what a hypocrite you are."

"Exactly how am I the hypocrite? You're the one who opened things up for 'seeing other people' - it was your idea, and you were obviously off having your little affair well before I had Julien in bed!"

"Uuugghhh!" Lisette groaned, her face scrunching in disgust. "You did it in our own bed? I'm going to vomit!"

"Bet it was the best sex that ever happened in your bed," Julien retorted.

Lisette lunged around the island toward him, but Julien rounded in the opposite direction. It would have been like a bizarre cartoon had there been anything funny to me about the situation.

"Stop it, Lise!" I called out, feeling that I needed to end this feud but helpless to figure out how. I wanted to physically restrain Lisette to prevent her from hurting Julien, but would that be construed as assault at this point? Would she actually harm him?

Before I could reach any conclusions, her steps were hampered as she tripped over something. When she saw what it was, she reached down quickly to pick it up. It was Julien's teddy bear, which we had left lying on the floor near the kitchen this morning. She held it up by one furry ear.

"Give that to me!" Julien said, his voice rising in panic.

"You take my boyfriend, I take your bear - and I'll do whatever I like with the stupid thing!" she snarled.

"Lisette, this is madness!" I exclaimed. "Give him back his bear."

"Oh, sure. Whatever you like." She pulled a knife out of the nearby block and poised it at the bear's neck.

"Are you insane?!" I cried. "Put down the goddamn knife and get a hold of yourself!"

Julien was nearly beside himself, clearly wanting to rescue his teddy bear, but neither of us dared to approach her at this point. Lisette looked at both of us with challenge in her eyes, and then slashed with the knife, taking off most of the bear's head, exposing puffs of white stuffing.

"LISE!" Julien screamed, charging toward her. She dropped both the knife and the wounded stuffed animal and dodged away, toward the apartment door.

"Crazy bitch!" Julien hollered through clenched teeth as he gathered up his bear's remains.

"Don't worry - we'll get him fixed," I promised, hurrying to his side to comfort him, but his attention was suddenly arrested by what Lise was doing over by the door.

"Fuck, NO!" he cried, leaving the bear on the counter and pulling away from me to dash toward the doorway, where Lisette had just exited. I hadn't noticed what she was up to, but I followed them closely, and darted out into the hallway just in time to see Lisette shoving Julien's beloved Chuck Taylors down the garbage chute.

"MY CHUCKS!" Julien screamed. In his rage, he descended to his native tongue, abandoning his commitment not to speak French around me: "Salope! Salope! Je te déteste! Fou - t'es malade mental!"

I caught him just in time to restrain him from striking her. She stood haughtily with her arms crossed.

"Tapette," she hissed. "Enculé!"

"FUCK YOU!" he screamed, struggling against my arms.

"Va te faire foutre!" she yelled back.

"Shhh," I soothed into Julien's ear, not letting up on my tight grip as he began to shake and sob. "Shhh. This is going no further. Both of you - this is over. And don't think I won't call the cops if I have to."

A neighbour opened his door a crack and peeked out to witness the commotion.

"I'm sorry," I called out to the neighbour before pulling Julien back to our apartment. I gave Lisette a hard glare. "Back inside!"

Incredibly, she obeyed me, finally looking a little chastened.

"This is really embarrassing," I muttered. "We're not children."

"I'm sorry, Cody," Julien whimpered between sobs. He turned his body around so he could hug me. I squeezed him tightly.

"It's okay, Jules," I whispered. "I'll take care of everything."

"So now what?" Lisette muttered, crossing her arms and leaning moodily against the kitchen island. "The two of you ride off into a rainbow?"

"Lise," I said calmly, "I'm sorry you're hurt over this, but you're handling it very poorly. Take some time and calm down. You and your brother obviously don't need to be in each other's lives right now. I'm taking him out of here, right this minute. I'll be back in a bit, and we're going to talk through some things."

She growled something incoherent and stalked back to the bedroom, slamming the door behind her. I grabbed my keys, stepped into a pair of shoes, and offered Julien a pair of my own sneakers. They were too big for him, but they were something for the time being.

It wasn't until we'd been on the road for a few minutes that he asked where we were going. I glanced briefly over at him. He'd been leaning against the window, softly crying and fogging up the glass.

"Holiday Inn, little bro," I replied gently, resting a hand on his thigh. "Only the best for my guy."

He sniffled and ran a sleeve across his wet face. "How long?"

"Dunno. We'll have to figure out something. I can afford to put us up for a little while, but we'll need something more permanent as soon as possible."

"'Us'...?"

"Of course! You think I'd stay in that apartment with her now?"

"I guess not."

I squeezed and stroked his leg as comfortingly as I could. "It's gonna be you and me, Julien. That's what you want... isn't it? I don't want to railroad you. If there's someplace else you want me to take you...."

"No! Oh, Cody, of course I want to stay with you!" he exclaimed, leaning over to rest on my shoulder instead of the window. "I'm so sorry. I'm sorry about all this. My sister brings out the worst in me. And I'm mourning over a stupid pair of shoes and a toy when I should be thanking you for helping me."

"Don't worry about it," I soothed, turning to kiss the top of his head while we were stopped at a light. "And there's nothing stupid about the way you feel. I like that you're sentimental. Everything's going to get better now, okay? We'll make sure of it."

"Thank you, Cody," he sighed.

"Of course."

We drove in silence for a few more minutes. I swung through a drive-thru to grab us a couple of burgers, as it had been a few hours since we'd eaten. At last I pulled into the Holiday Inn, and we sat in the car for a few minutes while we finished eating. I turned to Julien with hesitant curiosity. "Could I ask... what was it she said to you? 'Tapette' or something?"

He crossed his arms and slumped over. "That means like... it's the same thing as 'faggot'. She basically called me a faggot and a cocksucker, or asshole, or whatever. And she told me to go fuck myself."

I sighed harshly, feeling anger rise in the pit of my stomach. "So. She'll cuss in French, but not in English."

"Basically, yeah."

I shook my head in disbelief. "I'm so disgusted with myself for being with her. I feel like I should apologize to you. I don't know that I would be especially keen on someone who would date a person like her."

After a few quiet moments, he leaned over and kissed my cheek, letting his soft lips linger there. "No, really... there's nothing you should feel sorry for," he whispered. "If it hadn't happened, how else would I have met you?"

I hooked my hand around the back of his neck and leaned against the top of his soft head. "Thank you," I whispered back. "You're right. I hadn't thought of it that way. I guess everything happens for a reason."

I rented a room for us, and helped Julien inside. He was still sulky and distant after the conflict with his sister, so I tucked him into bed and kissed his cheek.

"I'll try to be back within a couple of hours," I whispered. "If I'm going to be any longer, I'll text you, okay?"

"Okay."

I watched him curled up there like a sad little boy, and it tugged achingly at my heartstrings to leave him, but I was reasonably confident I could make him happy again once I returned.

Back at the apartment, my first stop was to visit the building superintendent, and beg access to the dumpsters in the basement. I told him something important had gotten thrown away by accident, though I wasn't sure if he believed me. Regardless, he was amenable to my request and I was overjoyed to find only one or two people had tossed trash bags down the chute since Julien's shoes had been thrown away. They were lying there neatly, almost on the top of the pile of trash, and all of the refuse in their vicinity was neatly bagged. The beloved Chuck Taylors were unsullied and available for the taking. I grabbed them and tucked them under my arm, thanking the super profusely for his help. I placed the shoes safely in my car before returning to the apartment.

Lisette was still shut in the bedroom when I walked in. I didn't bother her at first, and instead focused on packing all of Julien's things. He hadn't unpacked much, so it was an easy job. I even remembered to toss the Oreo cookies into his backpack. I gathered up the remains of his brutally assaulted teddy bear and tucked them gingerly into a shopping bag.

"What are you up to?" Lisette asked.

I looked up from the pile of things I had moved piecemeal to the door, ready to be moved down to my car. She had opened the bedroom door about two inches and was peeking out at me.

"Packing. I told you I was moving Julien out of here. I came back for his things. And I'm going to pack myself a suitcase."

"What, you're moving in with him now?" she snorted. "After knowing him for like, a day? What kind of idiot are you?"

"I'm just exploring options right now, Lise," I replied, trying hard to keep my temper from flaring up again. "For the time being, we're staying in a hotel. This obviously isn't a safe place for him, and it's certainly nowhere I want to be."

"So you're moving out, just like that?" She opened the bedroom door wider and took a step out.

"I'm moving out for good once I figure out a new place. I can't take everything I own with me at this very moment."

"Find a way," she shot back. "Because if you leave this apartment now, I'm changing the locks. You're not getting back in."

I clenched my jaw and glared at her, shaking my head slowly. "You'll do nothing of the sort."

"You have no control over me!"

"No, but I do have control over fifty percent of this apartment. My name's on the rental agreement. You have no legal right to keep me out, and if you withhold my personal possessions, don't think I won't do what's necessary."

She gasped dramatically and put on an exaggerated expression of fear. "Ohhh, nooo! Sweet little Cody is going to 'do what's necessary'! I'm so scared!"

"Grow up, Lisette," I muttered. "I'll come back for the rest of my things at a later date. And there's nothing you can do to stop me from doing that. I will get the police involved if you give me any trouble."

"Well, look who's found a backbone," she quipped.

"Yes. Exactly. Me." I walked toward her. "Excuse me, I need to get into the bedroom."

"No you don't."

"I need to get my clothes, Lise," I said, my tone escalating. "What are you going to gain from keeping them? Are you going to have some kind of ex-boyfriend garage sale? Burn them and have a little party? I know you're just trying to fuck with me, and it's incredibly insipid."

"You know what's insipid? You suddenly swearing because you're all excited about copying my brother, and thinking you're so cool."

"Not as insipid as pretending you're Miss Moral Superiority, and then only swearing in French so that no one knows it but your brother! I know what you called him, and I think you're a terrible person. Should I even mention again that you had an affair with a married guy? You've lost all integrity. Get out of my way!"

She wedged herself in the doorway. "No. You want to leave, then leave. Leave now and don't come back."

"It doesn't work that way, Lise! I wish it could be that simple, but we have an apartment together, and we're going to have to tie up a lot of loose ends. Can we please be grown-ups about this? Step aside and let me get my clothes."

We stared each other down for at least a minute, and finally she backed down.

"Fine. Get your stupid things. I could use the extra closet space!"

I packed up a bag for myself and tried my hardest to ignore Lisette, who griped ceaselessly at me. When I was ready to leave, she followed me to the door.

"If you do come back, bring Julien," she said, crossing her arms. "He belongs here. Our mother entrusted him to my care. You wouldn't tear a family apart."

"No, Lise, but I wouldn't stop an eighteen-year-old from exercising his rights as a legal adult, and neither you nor your mother can stop him either." I picked up a couple of boxes and went down to pack them into my car. When I returned, she was still standing there with her arms crossed.

"We still have four months left on our lease!" she exclaimed shrilly.

"I know," I sighed, hefting up the remaining bags. They were almost too much for me to handle, and I knew I would have a sore back tomorrow, but I didn't want to face Lisette another time today. "I signed the lease, so I'll have continue to pay half rent. Or will I? Because there's also the fact that you're going to owe me half the cost of all the furniture you picked out that we both paid for. I doubt you'll give that over without a fight, so maybe we can just call it even. I know how much it all cost, and we both know you'd be getting the better part of the deal by keeping all the furniture. That sofa alone was almost three thousand!"

"Get out!" she screamed.

I stepped out, and she slammed the door behind me. I heard her locking it and sliding the chain in place. I breathed a sigh of relief, deciding that her response was as good as an agreement. I didn't plan on paying a cent more on rent for that apartment, and if she decided to get a lawyer, I figured I had a solid case about the furniture.

After making one special stop, which took nearly an extra hour, I returned to the Holiday Inn and let myself into the room I'd rented for us. Julien was right where I'd left him, napping in the bed. He snored softly. I stood watching him for a minute or two, memorizing his long eyelashes, the curves of his cheekbones, the perfect outlines of his impossibly alluring lips. How did the whole world not run after this boy, trying to steal a kiss? He was the most kissable person I'd ever seen.

At last I reached down to peel up the blanket from the bottom, exposing his feet. He was wearing grey sport socks with a hole in one of the heels that, for reasons I was unaware of, made my heart melt. I sat down next to his feet and carefully slipped them into his Chuck Taylors. He stirred and sat up halfway, squinting at me.

"Hauunghh...?" he mumbled incoherently. He realized after a moment that I'd put shoes on him, and suddenly he whisked the blanket aside entirely, staring at his feet. His eyes widened, and his jaw fell open.

"It's a perfect fit," I whispered with a wink. "You must be the princess I've been looking for."

"Cody!" he crowed, his beautiful eyes lighting up with joy. "You got them back!"

"That's not all," I added, setting a shopping bag on the bed and slowly pulling out Julien's teddy bear. The stuffed animal was subtly scarred, but entirely intact.

"Cody... how?" he gasped. His gleaming hazel eyes grew even wider as he realized his slaughtered bear had been revived. He picked it up and examined it briefly before hugging it against his chest. He reached out to me with his opposite hand, and I wrapped myself around both of them.

"Omigod, Cody... you're my hero!" he whimpered. I felt his body tremble and I knew he was crying. I squeezed him tighter.

"It was nothing," I chuckled gently, rubbing his back. His body felt comfortingly warm in my arms, heated from his recent slumber. The softness of the teddy bear between our chests made me smile when I remembered it had been in the same place the first time I ever hugged him, which seemed like forever ago at this point but, incredibly, had only been the night before last. It wasn't just a sentimental object for Julien anymore. Even though the bear had been gifted to him by another guy, it felt like something that was "ours".

Julien leaned back so he could take a close look at his bear. He ran his finger across the tidily stitched-up places where the knife had slashed through the fur. His finger then outlined the little red felt heart on the bear's chest, which had mercifully escaped harm. "How did you manage this?" he marveled.

"Wish I could say I fixed it myself, but I just looked up some of these places that do sewing alterations and custom tailoring and stuff. Tracked one down that was willing to take on an urgent repair." I grinned at how he seemed to think I'd done something excessively marvellous. "Would it be more magical if I told you I consulted a wizard or a fairy who taught me a spell to repair broken things with the power of love?"

"Yes... I think I'll believe that second one," he giggled, lunging forward to kiss me, hard. He threw his arms around me, pressing the bear against my back. His legs went around my waist, and he clung to me like a small child, sucking hungrily at my neck.

"That tickles!" I laughed, hugging and wrestling him at the same time.

"Om nom nom!" he growled in a Cookie Monster voice, beginning to gnaw at my neck and collarbone. We flopped back onto the bed and rolled around, laughing, tangling the covers as we grappled, biting, licking, and kissing one another.

We grew quieter and less boisterous as we settled into serious making out, spiced with slow, exquisite dry humping. It took very little time for clothes to find their way to the floor.

When Julien began to slip his sneakers off, I stopped him: "Leave these on. I think they're sexy."

He smiled that earth-shattering smile that made me want to swoon like a frail woman in an old black-and-white film.

"You want to fuck me while I'm wearing nothing but my Chucks?"

"Yes. Deal with it."

"Gladly," he giggled, rolling onto his back and splaying his legs wide, Chuck Taylors pointed at the ceiling.
"Fuck yes!" I growled, grabbing him by his thighs and pushing them up to expose his cute little ass. "Look at you. You're so fuckable. I'm hard as granite right now."

"I love making you hard," Julien sighed. "It feels so good inside me. It feels so right. Cody... make love to me. I neeeeed you! Now, now, now!"

I laughed as he kicked his legs anxiously. I was still checking out his precious backside, practically drooling with the desire for it. My cock certainly was. "'Make love', did you say? Don't you usually insist on calling it 'fucking'?"

"Yeahhh... I know I laughed at you last night for saying that, but you're totally right. It is lovemaking. When it's us... you know? It's still fucking, but... it's special. Really special."

The amusement around my smile melted away. My heart swelled and seemed to burst inside me in a flood of warmth that melted all the way through my extremities. I kept both hands on his cute butt cheeks and leaned down to kiss him, my tongue sliding hungrily across his gorgeous lips. He grabbed hold of me and squeezed me tightly, with all four limbs, trying to absorb me, to make us into one organism. Even the sensation of the rubber heels of his sneakers digging into my backside was sexy, and man, I could have leaped off a bridge for this gorgeous kid if he'd merely asked me to.

"You're so hot," I growled against his soft lips. "So goddamn hot."

"Lube, for fuck's sake!" he groaned.

"You're gonna have to let me go for a sec, little bro."

I grinned wickedly down at him. He scowled playfully at me and smacked my ass with both hands before releasing me with a little shove against my chest. I rolled off the bed and dove into the bag I'd thrown Julien's bottle of lube in while packing. Locating it with a crow of triumph, I leaped back onto the bed and flipped the bottle open, immediately drizzling plenty down Julien's cleft.

"Eeee, that's cold!" he yelped.

"Be a man!"

"You can't make me!" he giggled, kicking his legs. "I'll be a boy forever. I'll shave off my pubes and be your little twink."

I slicked up my aching hard-on and shuffled into position over him, grabbing his slender thighs to angle him up and keep him still. "Is that what you think I want? To put my cock inside a little hairless twink? Quit wriggling, kiddo - I need to get my cock inside you!"

"Would you still want to put your cock inside me if I waxed myself all over and became one of these pretty boys?" he asked softly, his laughter calming. "Or... would you like me even better that way?"

I touched the hungry tip of my cock to Julien's slick hole and let it rest there as I gazed down into his warm hazel eyes. The tiny flecks of colour in them seemed almost to glow, as if they were laced with gold dust and minuscule chips of emerald. "Do what you want with your body," I replied, smiling steadily at him. "Be a bare twink, or be as hairy as a Wookiee for all I care. It was your beautiful heart and your gorgeous smile I fell for... not your pubes."

He was gasping at the gentle pressure I put on his asshole with my cock, but descended into another brief giggle. "You're so fucking romantic. I think my heart has a boner for you."

I snorted and almost lost my grip on his thighs. "Heart boner! Seriously, don't make me laugh when I'm trying to get inside you." I panted and pressed my cock more firmly against his pink pucker. "Fuck... you're so tight, I can't get in. Should I stop? We didn't, uh... prep you."

"I can't wait!" he said urgently, jerking his pelvis up a little. "Just push harder, okay? No mercy! Like, seriously, I need you to fuck me now, good and hard. Fuck me to pieces, Cody!"

"You're sure? Are you sure?" I fretted, but clearly he was sure. I drew myself up and grunted powerfully as I gave one powerful thrust against him, and at last felt his tight ring of muscle give way to the thick head of my cock.

"FUCK!" he bellowed, his body going rigid for a few moments. His eyes clenched shut, and his mouth locked open in a silent scream.

"Oh shit, oh god, Jules, are you okay?" I babbled, carefully not moving a muscle. "You said no mercy! Was it too much? I'm so sorry! Holy shit, say something!"

"Shhhhh," he finally exhaled. He lifted his eyelids, and I was horrified to see tears gathering around his beautiful eyes. Gradually his body relaxed, and he reached up one languid hand to cup my cheek.

"No sorry," he whispered tremulously. "I told you to do it. Hurts... a lot... but it'll pass. Just... gimme a sec."

I locked my eyes onto his as he inhaled deeply through his nose, and then exhaled through his mouth, over and over. His ass was squeezing my cockhead with almost painful intensity, as if it never intended to let me go. As bad as I felt about hurting him, this was all enormously sexy somehow - his pain and tightness, his tears, our mutual carnal need being held at bay by the limitations of his compact body. I needed him so much. I needed this, everything about this experience, even the anguish and fear.

After a minute or two, I felt his opening ease up a little, enough that I could either pull out, or push in a bit further. I stroked his thighs lovingly and waited for a signal from him. He gently squeezed his muscles around me, making me gasp, and he managed a tentative smile.

"Give me a little more," he whispered. "Slowly."

Breathing heavily, I nodded and pushed into his gloriously tight ass another inch. His body became a little more welcoming, adjusting to my girth, and almost pulling me in once I'd worked another inch into him. "Good boy, you're such a brave boy, oh, that's so good," I breathed. "Does it still hurt?"

"Un peu," he breathed, and then rolled his eyes at his own lapse and quickly translated: "A little. But good."

"Good hurt?"

"Hurts so good, Cody."

I smiled euphorically down at him. He had never looked so beautiful, his cheeks flushed with lust and with the effort of accommodating my size. He squeezed my cock again; I moaned, and his eyes widened gleefully, drinking in my reaction.

"You sure know how to work that hot little ass," I growled.

"Why don't you start working that cock, stud?" he whispered, bucking against me gently. "I'm ready."

I released my grip on his thighs and leaned down over him, my mouth seeking his. As our tongues sparred and clashed, I slid out of him until only the wider head of my cock was still inside, and then pushed firmly back into his exquisite hole, moaning into his mouth. His legs wrapped around my middle. I loved the feeling of being totally plugged into his body.

With Lisette, I had come to accept that sex couldn't possibly be like it was in movies or stories. Having sex with her had always felt like a vulgar act of claiming physical relief by imposing a shameful procedure on her, and the fact that she let me do this thing to her that she did not seem particularly excited about made me feel like I was luckier than I deserved to be. I felt lucky to have someone who put up with my grossness.

Julien made me feel the opposite of gross. The obvious pleasure he took in our coupling amplified mine exponentially. He accepted every part of me, appreciated even the little oddities that had always chipped away at my meagre sense of self-worth. Julien made me feel connected to him. My body craved his, and his craved mine equally. When I sank my cock into his snug hole and heard him moan with satisfaction, it felt like a true coupling. I was sharing pleasure with him, not taking it from him, or inflicting something on him. The connection created a mind-blowing positive feedback loop, where every pleasure each of us experienced increased the other's enjoyment.

My hips worked more rapidly, pistoning my length deeper and more powerfully into him. The first time we'd fucked I had been cautious and dependent upon his instructions, but this time, I let my body move more instinctively. He didn't tell me what to do, and I didn't ask him if it was all right. We kept our eyes locked, drinking in the sight of one another, and we just knew.

I felt like an animal, like a savage. I speared into him as if I meant to run him through entirely. He screamed out curses, both English and French, but his legs remained locked around me, and his arms continued to reach for me, pulling at me as if to force me in closer than close, to crawl right inside him. I would have, if I could. I craved him with an all-consuming thirst. It didn't matter if I was homeless for the time being, as Julien the Beautiful was my home now. I inhabited him, claimed him, devoured him. My mouth moved across his salty skin, kissing, tasting, nibbling. I took a nipple between my teeth and bit until he yelped. He grabbed handfuls of my hair and growled at me; I growled back at him.

The carnal frenzy gradually calmed into a smoother, more intimate rocking, and Julien smiled adoringly up at me as I continued thrusting into him.

"Can I be on top?" he panted after a minute or two.

"Of course - want me to pull out?"

He shook his head rapidly and eased his legs down, pushing against the mattress with one sneaker to lever us both over. I stayed carefully inside him as I rolled onto my back, pulling him atop me. We grinned at each other with new delight at having achieved this feat with my cock still firmly embedded in his ass. He straddled me comfortably and leaned back, propping his hands on my thighs just behind his bum. His eyelids lowered, his head fell back limply, and he grinned blindly at the ceiling, absorbing the pure sensation of my hardness buried inside him. He looked so triumphant and so perfectly happy. His smooth young body glowed with a light sheen of sweat. I was in awe for several still, silent moments.

"You look like a sex god," I marvelled. "A cute li'l sex god... impaled on my dick."

He opened his eyes and lowered his gaze to mine, his smile spreading even wider. "All I need is a set of goat legs, horns, and some panpipes. Your own personal satyr."

"Hot," I chuckled, and then gasped as he lifted his ass and lowered it all at once, fucking himself on me. "Mmm, yeah! Use me, you gorgeous thing. You like riding my cock?"

He let go of my thighs and leaned forward, propping himself up on my chest instead. He looked down at me with an intense smoulder in his warm hazel eyes. "I fucking love riding your huge cock, baby," he growled, pulling almost free, and then shoving his ass back down, forcing my cock back up into his tight hole. "And I fucking love when you talk dirty to me."

I groaned and smirked up at him. Dirty talk was still new to me. I loved all of the naughty things Julien coaxed out of my formerly repressed self. I took hold of his hips as he began to ride me, his tight muscles squeezing and tugging at my throbbing shaft. "Your ass feels incredible! I love to see you bouncing like that, pleasuring yourself on me. Sexy little cowboy. Ride it real hard, beautiful!"

He grinned and did exactly as I suggested, riding my cock with increasing fervour. "It's... not quite so dirty... when you call me 'beautiful'," he panted.

"But you're so beautiful...!" I groaned. My eyes flicked down to his tempting cock, which had remained hard and bobbed wildly along with his brisk movements, now and then shedding crystalline drops of precum that splattered onto my belly. "Should I call you bitch? Slut? Filthy whore? Or just... my naughty little boy?"

"Oh... oh... anything!" he cried out, his voice sounding increasingly desperate as he worked his tight little ass up and down my excited cock with greater and greater fervour. The wet slapping of our bodies was becoming hypnotic. "I'll take beautiful... I'll take bitch. I'll be your beautiful, naughty boy, Cody! I just want to be yours!"

"Oh, you're mine!" I growled. "All mine, my little sex doll!"

"More," he huffed, locking his eyes on mine. "Move with me - fuck me hard!"

"Oh fuck yes!" I burst out, beginning to drive my hips upward as he thrust his pelvis down. I was awkwardly off rhythm at first, but soon we were perfectly in sync. My hands on his hips began to shove him down harder against me. I forced myself into him with brutal intensity, and his jaw hung open, screaming silently at me. A deep flush was spreading down his smooth neck and chest. I could tell by the tensing of his body that he was very close to climaxing. I was not far off myself. We huffed like a couple of steam engines.

"Wat me to cum inside you?" I panted.

His eyes widened; he nodded rapidly. His fingers dug into my chest, and his brow furrowed. I forced him down even harder and faster onto my cock, pounding into him like a great big piston, growling and grunting, and at last I felt the pleasure explode in my core and rocket out through my cock, filling his insides with several potent blasts. I had no frame of reference to know what it felt like to have one's rectum sprayed with fresh cum, but the feeling must have pushed him over the edge. He raked his fingernails down my chest, leaving brilliant red lines, and finally a cry emerged from his gaping mouth. He sounded like a wild jungle beast as he lost control of himself, shooting long, shining strings of cum across my belly and chest, his pelvis working frantically until his orgasm finally calmed, and his expression relaxed, his eyes rolling back. I felt his body losing its strength, and I managed to catch him and roll him onto his side before he fell straight into the mess of his own spend.

My cock slid slickly out of him, and I felt a rush of my own hot cum dribble out with it. I pulled his warm, twitching body against my side as we both struggled to catch our breaths. One of his hands idly explored some of the mess he'd made on my chest.

"S-sorry I scratched you," he mumbled. "Ohhh god that was amazing."

"S'okay," I breathed, kissing his damp forehead. "It was good, all good. Like, incredible. Oh man. I can't believe I never knew sex was this fun!"

He chuckled shakily and kissed my neck. My fingers idly played with his sweat-dampened locks.

"I... I called you a sex doll," I recalled.

"Mm-hm!"

"Too much?"

"No, I kinda liked it."

"Hmm. Noted."

He laughed again and tangled one of his legs between mine. "Cody... mmm... this is so great. You're the best. The best boyfriend. The best lover."

"To be fair, I'm your first," I teased.

"Shhh. I'm still allowed to think you're the best." He kissed my neck again, and then my shoulder. "Thank you, Cody. Thank you for taking such good care of me. I mean, not just in a sex way. You were my knight in shining armour today. Sometimes I worry I'm never going to be happy because of just how much my mom and sister have fucked me up. I'm like... really sensitive, and sometimes I know I can be a doormat, and you know, for most people that would probably mean a shitty personality and a lot of shitty relationships. Things could have gone really badly for me. I was so dreading having to stay with my bitch sister, especially given how depressed I was already feeling, and then... there you were, this breath of fresh air, this beautiful soul hiding in the last place I would have expected. You made me forget about my problems for a bit, and I saw this sadness in you that maybe you didn't even know was there. I saw it because it was the same sadness I was feeling... and it broke my heart to see you putting yourself in last place when you stood out like a bright star in my eyes. I wanted you to see the value in yourself... and you ended up doing the same for me. I feel like, for the first time in ages, despite the fact that I'm technically jobless and homeless, everything's actually gonna be okay."

I breathed deeply and squeezed him tightly against my body, kissing his forehead. "We'll make sure it is, Jules. It's gonna be amazing. And thank you for giving me the kick I needed to snap out of Lisette's spell. It's kind of horrifying how a person can live through a terrible, soul-sucking relationship and have no idea how bad it really is until it's over. So many people warned me about her. I lost friends over her. It took you to really make the truth sink in. You're a bright star too, you know. The first time I saw you, you took my breath away."

He giggled and nuzzled my shoulder. "Really?"

"Absolutely. I thought I'd seen beautiful before, but you... whew! Totally lost my mind."

"Omigod, omigod!" he breathed, squirming even more firmly against me as if he meant to meld our bodies together. "I remember you looked kind of spaced out when you first walked into the apartment. I thought you were upset. I thought you were uncomfortable I was there."

I chuckled and kissed his head a few more times. "No, it was just your classic 'oh shit, my girlfriend's little brother is even hotter than she is and suddenly I'm questioning my sexuality' expression."

"Oh... one of those!" he laughed. "I should have recognized that one. Happens all the time."

I poked his cute little freckled nose with the tip of my finger. "I wouldn't doubt it, Jules."

He blushed and tilted his head up to catch my finger between his teeth. We laughed, and cuddled, and teased late into the night. We enjoyed one another, putting aside for the moment the great big question mark that was the future. For tonight, everything was beautiful, because Julien was everything to me.

her brother

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