The Circle - Chapter 1

The Circle

Chapter 1

Toby's Return

 

six months ago

Another dull, rainy, late summer day alone. Tom was visiting family out of state for the weekend. Jeff and his brother had left for vacation two weeks ago and wouldn't be back for another week. Eric was grounded, and the twins were out with their parents for another week before going off again for another couple of weeks.

I was spending the last days of August before my junior year alone. As it was a Sunday afternoon there was nothing on television, so I was listening to the radio. "Bad To The Bone" by George Thorogood and The Destroyers was still getting a lot of airplay, and I didn't mind. I played my own notes along to it on my keyboard and growled out the chorus. My voice was too high to match George, but I didn't care. Singing was fun.

I was howling along when I happened to see a head with blond hair so light that it was almost white coming into view over the last step up to my room. I couldn't place anyone I knew who had such white hair, except Cooley at school, and I doubted he had come over so suddenly. As the person's head and face cleared that last step, I saw that it was Toby; and it wasn't.

The last time I had seen Toby had been last summer, a year ago, when he had been up to visit his aunt in her mansion in another part of the neighborhood. I had fallen in love with Toby at first sight in the park, and we had gotten as close as two people could in the time that we had together. The parting when Toby had left his aunt's house to return to Georgia with his parents had been tough on us both. We had loved and lost in one summer month.

As the person took the next step up, I thought, If that's Toby, he's a lot paler and a hell of a lot thinner. He looks like a cancer patient! His face is like, drawn inward, and his eyes have dark circles around 'em. But ... it's him!

I jolted upright at the keyboard, then stood nearly at attention.

"Holy shit! Tob! When you get up here!" 

I was surprised beyond belief, not only at the sudden appearance of the close friend, the lover, the special one, but his poor appearance as well. I was elated and confused.

"Last night. Gonna be up 'bout a week," he said a bit out of breath.

Oh, that voice! Was it just a bit deeper now, and maybe a little less smooth? The accent is what's so killer! I turned the radio down as I passed it, walking closer to the strange looking, yet familiar person.

"Oh wow! So how you been? Dude! I gotta tell ya, you sick or something? You look like crap. Something wrong? Why did you bleach your hair? It looks good, but you had such cool hair before!"

"You look older! You grow a lot?" 

I was proud of the latest growth spurt. I was three inches taller and much broader since last summer. I had nearly caught up with the older Toby in height, we saw, as we stood closely before each other. We placed our hands palm to palm as we faced each other in the old, familiar way once again.

"You're still bigger," I admitted, looking up into his startling green eyes.

"When we get t'find out fer sure?" Toby asked, stepping up closer, now chest-to-chest.

I was on fire! Toby was back! Only a week, but it was already clear not a minute would be wasted!

"Any time your ready," I said, leaning in closer, gazing into the long-missed face and the green eyes that had stolen and held my heart since that first day in the park over a year ago. 

I noticed how thin he looked, though, as if he were starving. The eyes were still so green, and his lashes and brows so pale over them. The cute, pointed, narrow nose was a bit larger. He still had that pale, slightly sunburned complexion all over, though it had an almost yellow tint to it now. I could smell the same cologne on him, and his smell under it. I was being driven wild. My heart raced, my legs trembled, my breath was rapid, my balance unsteady.

Mom called from downstairs, "You boys hungry?"

"I got t'get back fer dinner," Toby called back to her over his shoulder.

"Okay. Dinner in a few minutes, Alex," she answered back.

"Guess we have t'find out later," Toby said with a reduced grin, pressing himself up against me, still holding palms to palms, but now with intertwined fingers. 

Toby pressed his groin into mine, and I felt the excitement evident there; he was hard and ready as well. My breathing changed, I started to sweat, and my legs felt tingly. But that was nothing compared to what Toby's presence was doing to my heart.

"I love waiting," I said as we kissed.

Our lips met in the same way that they had last summer, as if the time between had never existed. We tilted our heads and slightly opened our lips. Lips pulled lips, teeth nibbled them from time to time, tongues brushing each other.

"Only a week?" I asked during a break.

"Yeah. But we won't waste a day. I'll go see 'bout stayin' over here t'night, maybe all week, 'kay?"

"Sure!" I said before we rejoined lips. 

How awesome! And I was so worried he might not be interested this year, if he came back at all! Loosing him last summer had been so hard! Neither of us knew if we would ever see each other again. It had been as if he died. But now he's back! 

We broke hands, letting them roam over each other. I felt the narrow hips and the contours of his ribs, even in back. Toby's hands went from my butt to my shoulders in alternate timing, occasionally stopping to briefly pull me into a tight hug.

It was last summer again. While his body felt so different, he was the same Toby. We weaved together and fell onto the bed, glued at the hips. We kissed, whispered, groaned, and writhed.

"Alex, dinner. Toby can stay and wait for you upstairs, or sit at the table," Mom called.

"I'll call 'n let ya know what my folks say 'bout stayin' over, 'kay?"

"Cool. I hope you can every night!"

"Me too!" Toby said, his old, happy self and the familiar smile finally showing up.

It felt so good to see that sight again! Not just that it had been so long, but the way he looked was so frightening. All the worries and frights that Toby wouldn' t be interested in carrying on anything, even if he got to come back this summer, seemed to melt away, freeing me from a weight that I hadn't even known borne down so heavily upon me. 

"I was worried you might not want to, um, not want to do anything, you know?" 

I stumbled over the words while gazing into his eyes.

"You were 'fraid I wouldn't feel the same?" Toby asked, evidently very surprised.

"Yeah. Or if ya were even coming back," I said, looking away.

Toby pulled me into a tighter hug by my ass and nibbled my earlobe. It tickled when he did it that way, and he knew it.  

"You're the only reason I came up!" he whispered.

Toby moved to my brow for more kisses there, took my glasses off and tossed them onto the table, then pulled me tight and kissed me hard, sucking my lower lip as he pulled away.

I grabbed Toby's ass, pulled him tight, returned the kisses. There was no mistaking he had lost weight. Our hands roamed and legs intertwined. It seemed forever and it seemed just seconds before we were broken up by mom's voice insisting that dinner was ready again.

I almost forgot my glasses as we left my room, only noticing that I was missing them when my view of Toby seemed blurry. We walked to the door slowly, each adjusting ourselves in our pants and giggling briefly. We held hands as we started down the stairs, and as we saw no one near, continued to hold hands as we talked at the front door.

"Be sure to call, okay? Even if you can't, okay?" I said too quickly, swinging our linked hands between us.

"Sure. Let'cha know when I get there. Hope I can. Only reason I came up! Not just the sex, you!'

"I wouldn't care if we were eunuchs! Well, I would, I guess," I giggled. Oh my god! I don't fucking giggle! What the fuck? I thought. I hurried onward, saying, "Why didn't you call before you came up? Still got my number?"

"Sure do. Dunno, just didn't. Call t'night, 'kay?"

"Be waiting," I said.

Toby looked over my shoulder, as if searching for something, before he leaned forward and kissed me. I smiled and giggled again at the first time I had been kissed this close to my parents, feeling very unlike myself.

"Later," Toby said, smiling and turning away, letting go of my hands.

"Later," I replied, then "I love you," I whispered far too lowly for Toby to hear before closing the door.

I was floating on a biological chemical high. I felt my heart racing, my breath coming fast, my skin felt prickly, and I was light-headed: And as horny as I could remember ever feeling.

Why the fuck did I giggle like that! That was so fucking not me! But damn! I was serious about the eunuch thing. If he had nothing and I had nothing, I'd love him all the same.

I love Toby! I love Toby! I love TOOOOBY! 

It became a singsong, over and over in my head, all the way up the stairs. Only once I placed my first foot over the threshold of my bedroom did I remember that dinner was waiting downstairs, and I realized how school-girly I had just been acting.

Oh, fuck it! I love Toby. I always kinda knew that. So deal, get serious, and don't gush like a chick in front of the 'rents! Don't bug it. Now, down to dinner!

I did my best military one-eighty and stood at attention, fighting the smile off my face. I knew it wasn' t going to happen, so I marched down the stairs to the beat of, "I loooove Tooooby" in my head the entire way to the table. Sitting through dinner, waiting for the phone to ring was excruciating. I asked my folks if Toby and I could stay over back and forth for a week. They were fine with it, as long as Toby's parents agreed.  

Our parents had all met last summer. We were all invited over for a cookout at Toby's aunt's mansion to get acquainted. Everything had gone well, the dads hitting it off after talking politics, and the moms getting along right off. Toby and I were allowed to stay back and forth at each other' s homes the remainder of Toby's vacation last summer. I was hoping the same thing would happen this summer. I wished it would be much longer than a single week.

This week I could easily spend entirely with Toby. Everyone was busy, anyway, or out of town, so spending all my time with Toby would be simple. If he stayed longer than that, it would be awkward, at the least. I could easily introduce him to my friends that hadn't met him yet, no big deal, but hiding how I felt for him would be impossible, and I knew it. I had barely managed last summer, and I knew that my friends were not as innocent as they were, and that they would figure Toby and I out.

Tom wouldn't be a problem at all, and already knew a lot more about me and Toby than I wanted him to. I was never able to hide big things from him, and Toby was the biggest thing ever.

My feelings for Jeff were troublesome. I often felt that I knew I was in love with Jeff. Comparing him to Toby proved there were such similar depths of feeling, that it was almost the same. During the last few months, as any chance of seeing Toby had melted away, I had let myself explore the opportunities with Jeff, or at least fantasize about doing so. Jeff seemed very unlikely to ever be willing to do anything sexual, so I had never pushed. I was firmly committed to keeping as close to Jeff as he wanted, but not letting on that I wanted so much more, let alone that I was gay. As religious as he had been brought up, anything sexual was clearly impossible. Tom was saying more often that he thought Jeff would welcome an advance from me, sexually. I knew he was wrong, so I had not done anything toward that end. I was happy keeping Jeff as a friend, instead of jeopardizing that for a slim chance that a dream could come true.

Now that Toby was back, even for just a week this time, I felt guilty about Jeff, Tom, and the others. I was sure Toby would have messed around with someone where he lived; he was far too cute to not have other guys hitting on him. His personal life was always a closed topic, except the few things he described willingly. I knew little of his previous sex life, having never asked or been very curious. I only cared that I had him, that he wanted me, and that we were together. Before was irrelevant.

When the phone rang as we cleaned dishes, I jumped to get it. Toby quickly and breathlessly informed me that my parents and I were invited to a cookout again, like last year, and that it was fine for us to stay at either house any night; just so long as all the parents knew which house to expect us to be at. We agreed I would ride my bike over there for tonight. I would bring the Atari and some games, and we could hook it up to the television in the bedroom Toby was using. He said that there was a stereo with a cassette and eight-track, and a VHS player in the room this year, so I said I would bring some cassettes and some of the new movies I had.

The moms wanted to speak to each other, so we handed the phones over to them. My mom laughed and smiled a lot, so that took care of any worries. I heard her agree to the cookout and cards afterward. She said her goodbyes and handed me the phone to hang up. 

"Guess we won't be seeing much of you for a week, will we, dad?"

"Probably not. You and Toby got to be good friends, didn't you, son?" dad asked.

"Yeah. He's neat," I said offhandedly as I placed the last of the plates into the dishwasher, not caring to reveal any more information, not comfortable with revealing even that much.

Directly afterwards, I rushed upstairs to pack the Atari and games, a few books, a couple special magazines, some cassettes, a couple of movies, and some clean clothes into my big pack. I carried the pack into the bathroom and packed a few things from there, then I stood in the center of the room going down a checklist in my head, guts churning and legs tingling. I went to the corner of the room, raised the beanbag chair, and got the stash of weed and papers. Now certain that I had everything I could want or need for the night, I ran downstairs, yelled bye to the folks, then rode double-time around the block to the white mansion up the street. The best features of my bike served me well; streets can take too long.

The summer weather was perfect! The deep blue sky was broken only in a few places by puffy, white clouds. The bright yellow sun shone down, warming every inch of me it touched. It was hot, but not humid, and a nice breeze blew constantly from the east, off the lake. It was a perfect summer day. The only walls between me and the mansion were the ones around the big, castle style mansion with the dogs. The walls were only six feet, but that was taller than my eyes. Standing on the seat of the bike, I failed to see the dogs. I threw the bike over, followed it, then rode like the wind across the lawn. At the other wall, bike first, then myself. The dogs came running, but far too late. I guessed someone saw me and released them. As usual. The rest of the ride was a snap, only a thin strip of forest preserve to cut through then I was across the street from my target.

Once at the somewhat familiar gates, they were open and I could see two cars in the long, curved drive in front of the large house. One was a new Audi, the other an old Suburban with Georgia plates. My heart sent a pang through my chest when I saw the familiar old truck, still mud-spattered and looking quite bedraggled. I wondered how much of that mud was still there from last summer as I rode between it and the tall hedges.

I put my bike against the big column to the right of the door, shrugged my pack, and rang the doorbell. Toby tore the door open in seconds, wearing a huge smile that melted me where I stood.

"Come on!" he said, pulling me inside by the strap on my pack. "Folks want to say hi," he said, leading the way through a long, wide hallway of polished woods and brass accents. About four rooms back, we turned left and entered a large room with wood everywhere and dark brown furniture spaced all around it. Four different couches surrounded a huge, low, wooden table with brass sculptures of animals on it. More brass animals were placed on other surfaces around the room.

Sitting on two of the couches, near each other, were Toby's parents and his aunt. They were all in their forties, smiling, as Toby dragged me in by the pack strap across my chest.

"Well, hello again Alex. Nice to see you again. How have you been?" Toby's aunt asked in a manner I didn't expect.

Toby's aunt had been openly rude to me last summer. Her dark eyes had always seemed cold and distant, never meeting mine except to glare, and her voice was always impatient with me, as if I hadn' t moved fast enough to do what she hadn' t even asked me to do yet. That her sharp features seemed so bare and exposed, only added to her crony-like image. But now, her eyes were soft, even welcoming as they met mine. Her hair had changed, was now a dark blonde, almost honey color, and much longer, just touching her shoulders with curls throughout. She was definitely more attractive, and less cold seeming by far. She smiled at me nicely, only confusing me more.

Both of Toby's parents said hi in their thick, Georgia accents, and asked how I was doing in their genial way; same as last summer, but perhaps a bit exaggeratedly. His father's rough complexion and round, heavy face seemed impossibly related to Toby's. He even had dark brown eyes, again so different from Toby. Toby looked very little like his redheaded mother either, with her round, soft face. Even her eyes weren't green, I noticed as I met the blue of hers. While Toby's dad was heavy, even a bit jowly, his mother was thin, almost skinny. How Toby came to be from those two, I never understood.

We all exchanged hellos and discussed sleeping over at both houses. They simply wanted to know where Toby would be each night, and it would be fine. Excused to go "play," Toby and I turned to leave, and Toby once again took my pack strap in hand, practically dragging me along behind him. 

As we neared the doorway, Toby's dad said, "Don't be gone too long 'round town. We don't know where to look for ya or anythin'."

"We can't go far on foot," Toby said over his shoulder in exasperation, still dragging me along.

"Oh, we forgot, didn't we?" Toby's aunt said, seemingly surprised.

"Your aunt got ya a bike for you t'ride this summer. It's outt'n the garage," his father said, smiling.

"What? Cool! Thanks Aunt Barb!" Toby said, changing direction now toward the garage, whipping me around behind him onto the new heading like a tethered balloon.

"No takin' Toby too far away for too long!" his dad yelled, apparently at me, as we flew by the wide double doors to the room again.

"No problem!" I yelled back, just as I was pulled past the doorway.

Once upstairs after examining the bike, I put the pack down near the television and bent over it. I was lifting out the Atari, saying, "I got some new games for it. Should we hook it up now or la-"

I was answered by the feeling of Toby's hands going around my hips, and Toby's crotch impacting against my ass.

"-ter, I guess," I said, dropping the new Atari back into the pack. 

I stood and turned to face Toby. His light blond, almost white hair was short and nearly a buzz cut, his pink scalp visible under it. I placed my right palm against his smooth, cool cheek and moved it upward to circle his ear with fingertips, then down his neck to his chest. I looked into the familiar green eyes under the almost white, fine brows and felt safe, loved and accepted. Toby had both hands on my jaw, lightly caressing my cheeks with his thumbs.

The strange feeling of completeness, of accomplishing some long delayed goal, filled me again.

"It's been so long!" Toby moaned in his sweet, Georgia accent.

"Way too long, Tobes!" I said, loving to say the name.

We stood, just holding each other that way for long moments, enjoying the first closeness in a year. A long, long year.

"You know I wanna take ma'time, don't'cha?" Toby asked.

"I love taking our time," I said, leaning into Toby's embrace. 

We moved closer, placing our arms around each other. My head rested just so on Toby's left shoulder, nearly the same as last year, but my chin reached all the way over Toby's now bony shoulder. My arms wrapped his noticeably narrower waist and squeezed him. Toby put his right hand on my head and pulled me in tighter. Toby's left hand went up and down my back under the shirt, comfortingly, lovingly. 

I wanted to purr. I moved my hands in alternating up and down strokes along Toby's back, shoulders, and sides. I felt his ribs, a new sensation, and his spine, a chilling one. I could feel his hard cock behind his zipper at it pressed against my groin, just above my own erection. His cologne, which he refused to name last summer, again filled my nose with its wonderful aroma. I could smell him under it, though, and it was even more pleasant.

Toby's hands ran up and down my sides, under the shirt, from armpit to waist. I moaned softly as Toby's hands curved around my ribcage, making me tingle inside as well as where he touched, nearly squirming. Soon his hands came to my front and found my nipples. Toby's fingers rolled over them, pinched them and played with them gently. Waves of pleasure rolled up from my toes, my groin, the base of my skull, all through me.

"Let's sit, huh?" Toby asked, breathing deeply.

"Sure. Go sit. I'll get a doob," I said, slowly and reluctantly releasing the embrace of a lifetime.

"Ya got some?"

"Fuck yeah!" I exclaimed, looking up into the green fields of passion that were his eyes. "You didn't think I'd forget, did ya?"

"Ya get it fer me or did'ya have it?"

"I always have it. How could I get it already? I mean I got an excellent dealer, and he lets me use credit when I want to, but I didn't exactly have any time to go get any, now did I?" I asked.

He probably hadn't even thought about how I didn't have any time to go get pot if I hadn't already had it. But then, he didn't know how far it was to get any, either.

I wonder if I should tell him about Tim? Tom? Or the others? Why? Fuck it. They don' t mean anything like what he means. If Toby was here full time, I would never so much as look at any of others.

While fighting a raging erection, I cleaned and rolled two joints as Toby finished hooking up the video game and closed the door, saying the situation was the same as last year. This room was way out of the way and had an intercom, so there was no way anyone would come bother us. 

I remembered how last summer we had not once been bothered in this room, and I wondered why we didn't stay here the entire time last summer; just hidden away, the two of us. Tom and the rest of the guys, I realized. 

And that would keep it from happening this year too, I thought sadly. Or would it? Everyone's gone! We could be here, in our own room, alone, with each other, all week!

I thought I was about to pass out! My breath caught and my heart hammered in my chest. I could feel it's beat in my temples, my neck, my groin.

"Tobes?" My voice was shaky.

"Yeah?" he replied as he locked the door.

"We don't have to leave this room!" I said in a nearly awed tone.

Toby cocked his head; there was nothing else nearly as cute.

"I don't have to go home but maybe once in a while. We got a bathroom. We could sneak stuff up here at night, not even have to go down for meals!"

Toby had been walking toward the bed and me, was not yet half way when he stopped and said, "I haf'ta eat with 'em. We always do. But you can come join us. That's the only times I'm even gonna let you leave this room!"

Toby's patented sexy grin suddenly appeared during the end of his words, making me grin widely in kind.

Toby sat next to me and pointed to my t-shirt, asking, "What the fuck is The Insane Coho Lips Anti-Disco Army?"

I laughed, and as we got high, I filled him in on the anti-disco movement that a local Chicago D.J. had started. I told him about the crusade to stamp out the evil of disco, and how a riot had occurred at Comiskey Field during a double-header game with Detroit, when the The Insane Coho Lips Anti-Disco Army had led a song against disco between games. I also told him how that D.J. had lost his job at the station we had listened to last summer when he had visited because of it. I got up and turned the stereo on and tuned it to the new music station that D.J. now worked at, just in time for the start of '69 Love Affair.

"Awesome tune!" Toby said in response.

We smoked and sang a little, smoking the joint.

"Get your license yet?" 

"Yeah. Ain't got no car, though. I did drive a lot on the way up!"

"Cool! I can't wait to get my license next year!" I said excitedly.

"Maybe your parents'll get ya a car, huh?" Toby asked as he took possession of the joint.

"Pffft, as if," I choked slowly while holding the rest of my hit. After a pause I continued, "They're always bitching about how much it costs to live here, and how they barely make ends meet. I won't be getting no car. At least not right away. Be lucky if they let me drive their car!"

"Yeah. I wish I had a car," Toby said around his hit, growing serious.

"Where would you go first?"

"Anywhere. Anywhere but home. Ever." 

Toby suddenly seemed gloomy, and his smile faded quickly.

"Why? What's so bad about home?" I asked, wondering what was back there that could change his mood so much so quickly.

"Just shut up 'n smoke the joint, would'ya?"

I wanted to question Toby further, maybe find out what the problem was, but I recognized Toby's tone; it meant he wasn't going to talk about it. 

Later, maybe, I promised myself as we finished the joint in relative silence, singing to the radio.

I let my mind ponder the good points; Toby was back, he still felt something for me, and he was horny. In fact, he even said, "You was the only reason I came up."

I had wished and hoped, in the far back of my mind, ever since he had left, that Toby would come again. It was a vain hope, I knew. Or thought I knew. From the second that Toby had came up the stairs, I had felt the old feelings rush back. Sitting on the bed with him, getting high, and talking about nothing in particular between songs on the radio, I felt them burning as strong as ever.

A phone call months ago had dashed those hopes, when Toby had called and said that his parents weren't going on a vacation over the summer. I had been visibly depressed, Tom making comments on my mood quite often for several days. I had said that it was nothing and not to worry about it. I would force a smile and continue the day. Tom knew about Toby, I had mentioned him enough, in enough embarrassing ways. I still hadn' t spelled it out for him, but even then, I sort of knew that he knew.

And what do I do about Tom, now? And trying with Jeff? How do I feel about Jeff now? Toby's back. And what about Eric? Would Toby even want to know? Did Toby not have sex with anyone when he was back home? Would it matter to me? Sex with the guys wasn't like sex with Toby, at all. And I didn't know Toby would be back! I thought I knew he wouldn' t be!

But Toby is here, right now. And there seems to be something wrong. He's too thin and he isn't the same merry prankster I remembered. By now, Toby should have cracked about a dozen bad jokes, I thought, tossing the roach onto the game box. 

As I leaned back, Toby placed his hand on my thigh and looked into my eyes. I felt the connection between us as Toby smiled that smile I called his, "cute sexy grin." I grinned back uncontrollably. 

We leaned toward each other and kissed. My hands again roamed the familiar yet strange contours of his body. Toby laid us onto our sides on the bed. Both of us started breathing heavily, and soon shoes were kicked off, and legs twined together.

Toby placed his right hand on my head to run his fingers through my long hair as his left hand slid up my back and under my shirt, sending tingles all along my spine.

"I like your hair long, Al. It's such a cool color, too. Like, cinnamon 'n chocolate."

I felt stupid, being complimented for my terrible hair. I knew it was too long, and the curls that started when it got so long were a pain, beside looking dumb. I'd heard my hair called cinnamon before, and shit brown, even burnt-turd brown, but never so sensually as cinnamon and chocolate. Maybe it was just that Toby had said it, and when he had said it, but the phrase was welcomed and beloved instantly. 

Both of us enjoyed slowly kissing, sucking, licking, touching. The feeling of his lips on my cock was incredible, but I also enjoyed the sensation of his cock on my lips. I enjoyed nothing more than being able to make love to a cock with my mouth, and Toby's was the only one that I had ever been able to do so with abandon, without concern or embarrassment.

We sixty-nined until we both had stopped our orgasms several times, until I was unable to prevent my own. We finished nearly together, and lay spent, panting, sweaty, his head on my chest, arms around each other.

"Oh, fuck, and I was worried it would be different!" Toby exclaimed in a huff of hot breath over my chest.

"I'm glad it wasn't," seemed safe to say.

Toby's statement confused me quite a bit. I wondered just why Toby had been worried that the sex would be so different. And I wondered just what kind of difference he had expected. But more, why?

"Me too. I'm so glad," Toby said, curling over me.

He flung his left leg over both of my legs, and his left arm over my chest, playing with my right nipple. He was always taller, so he could bend as he did so, and we would end up face-to-face, crotch-to-crotch. Now, Toby and I were almost the same height, and it didn't work quite as well, but neither of us seemed to care; we just settled into the new, slightly less familiar angles. 

As we lay there in each other's arms, I realized how much I had missed this part of my time with Toby. Toby was different than anyone else, I always knew. He was more than the others, without a doubt. By this time I had played around with different guys, and none of them had been anything like Toby. We cuddled, we kissed, we stroked gently, and we loved each other.

I had felt it was so the summer previous, but right then I knew it with certainty. We were drowsy, spent, intertwined, and gazing into each other's eyes. We both knew it then. We said it in unison.

"I love you."

We lay like that, naked, sweaty, and happy, on top of the blankets, cuddling and sleepy, until we fell asleep, wrapped in each other's warmth.

*****

Some time during the night, I was woken up by Toby's voice. He was talking in his sleep, right in my ear. He was also panting, and sounded like he was whimpering from time to time. I reached up and put my right arm over Toby to comfort him. As I did, he jolted harshly and woke up immediately.

He looked angry, scared, not like Toby. He swung both arms as if in a fight, and mumbled something before he seemed to realize where he was and calmed down a bit.

"Damn! Toby, you okay? Bad dream?" I asked, afraid to try to touch him again.

"Jus' th' usual." he said, obviously still mostly asleep.

"What about?" I asked, growing worried, slowly trying to place my arm over him.

Toby accepted it, came back down to lay over me, cuddled into me again.

"Don't know. Never 'member," Toby said still sleepily, obviously already going back to sleep.

"Damn, you have those every night?" I asked, running my hand over his short hair as his head rested on my chest.

"Dunno. Mostly, guess. Wake up that way 'lot. Don't 'member th' dream. Go back t'sleep," Toby said softly as he snuggled up tighter, seeming to relax as he sighed deeply.

I felt his body relaxing in stages. It was cool in the room, so I managed to throw and pull the blankets to cover us. He cuddled up tighter over me, and I curled a bit onto my side, closer and tighter to him. It wasn' t more physically comfortable, but it was far more emotionally comfortable. I couldn' t be close enough to him, it seemed. I wished I could hug us together, into one form, right there under the covers.

It seemed as if our bodies sometimes got in the way, as if what I wanted to cuddle up to wasn't his body, but something inside of it. As if some inner part of me wanted to mix with and become one with some inner part of him.

Our body heat eventually warmed us, and I eventually drifted off, Toby' s comforting weight and presence across me a balm against the worry of his nightmare. I was cozy, warm, content, and happy. And in love.


chapter two
Chapter Two
Tuesday After School: Like An Open Book

The Circle - Chapter 1