Word Count: 6k
Summary: Gong Chanshik is almost nineteen, and it's f*cking pathetic that he hasn’t gotten laid yet.
The dream is not images. Chanshik feels rather than sees, knows things without perceiving them. Details fit together without frame, without full perspective, but still make sense, like dreams do. It’s dark and spinning, a pressing feeling, benevolent and malevolent at the same time. Like from far far away, someone’s calling for him. Chanshik. Chanshik. Chanshik. There’s hands. On him, touching him. Warm but foreign. Whose are these hands?
Another him, is in front of him. Chanshik gazes into himself like a mirror. It’s his hands. Two him-hands, me-hands, Chanshik-hands, touching him. Chanshik, Chanshik says and isn’t sure which of the two of them is him, and which is the other. They both look the same. Maybe he is both. Chanshik, Chanshik says, hearing his voice echo. Chanshik. What are you doing?
Chanshik wakes up on the floor beneath Dongwoo’s couch. He’s still in yesterday’s jeans and tee, but he’s missing one shoe. His back and head are in excruciating pain and there is an imprint of the carpet pattern on his left cheek. A sharp ray of sun is shining in between the thin curtains of one of the small windows, piercing into his eyes and drilling in a thick ache to pound behind them. He moans dumbly in relief when a dark shape comes in between to lean over him.
“Morning,” Dongwoo says.
Chanshik doesn’t answer. Sounds hurt, listening hurts. He looks up at the edge of the couch towering above him. His back’s strongly suggesting climbing up into it but that would include some degree of getting to his feet and he’s not sure he’s got the motor skills for that kind of acrobatics at the moment. He contemplates rolling over to his stomach instead, but it probably wouldn’t feel much more dignified. Also, experience has taught him that pressure on his front tends to rabidly increase the nausea.
“Why are you drinking?” Dongwoo asks. In earnest. “You hate drinking.”
Chanshik opens his mouth. It’s dry and sticky. His tongue is glued to his teeth and he has to work a bit to get it loose. When his voice finally comes out, it comes out cracked and raspy;
“I fucking love drinking.”
It’s late July. It’s the summer before senior year. In three weeks, Chanshik’s turning nineteen. He has spent the summer doing most of the things he’s perfectly allowed to do in three weeks, but not now. He has gotten a tattoo (a small star on his hipbone), he has driven a car (which both he and Baro simultaneously pretty soon decided was a Not Very Bright Idea), he has gotten a nose ring (although had to take it out again when his mom threw a fit), he has huffed smelly cigarettes in crowded backyards (held back the coughs and struggled not to cry), and he has drunk bucket-load upon bucket-load of cheap plastic-cup alcohol.
There’s just one thing he hasn’t done.
The house spins by like a blur; busy, foggy, pounding, light and shadow, perfume and sweat, people with their moving bodies, all streaming the dumb blasting beat. Chanshik can’t see faces, they’re all blank like masks, rushing by, shoulders colliding with his, the skin of naked arms rubbing past his own, exchanging moist. He hears, like through a filter, someone calling after him; Chanshik, Chanshik, Chanshik. Laughter, maybe someone else’s. The nails of the hand holding his own so tight dig into him.
Gaeun locks the bathroom door behind them without even taking her mouth off him. Wall meets his back, tiles, cold on his skin. Girl meets his front, hard and soft at the same time, warm, hot, burning. She’s so dexterous. So deft, so nimble, so fast. Her hands are all over him, grabbing at his hair and stroking his neck and palming his ass and tugging at his belt, all at the same time. Her lip-gloss is all around his mouth. Her tongue is wet, tastes of peach vodka.
She’s pretty, Gaeun, she’s hot. Tall. Stands almost as tall as him on her glittery heels. Her short hair hangs in a single smooth shiny curve from her forehead to her chin. He touches it. Knows that he’ll probably fuck it up but he wants to touch it. Draws his fingertips over it, down, back towards her ear. She smiles at him, wide and short, and then she’s on him again. He touches her waist, feels it curve in just so, then spreading again. Her shirt is short, riding up. He lets his fingertips slide, up, under it, and feels the skin on skin like a startle. Hot, burning. His breath ties in his throat.
Now, Chanshik thinks, now. Focus. Relax. Focus.
Her hand is on his stomach, backwards, scraping knuckles down. So nimble, so fast. She’s laughing, small low titters against his mouth.
“Chanshik,” she says. “Chanshik.”
“Yes,” Chanshik says. He feels the lower edge of his belt buckle digging into the skin above his groin when she fingers at it, hooking her nail over the top, pulling just a bit.
“Do you like it, Chanshik?”
“Like what?” His throat is tight. Something’s pounding behind his forehead, like a headache. Gaeun goes blurry for a second. He blinks. She’s back. There’s tiny glittering stones at the corners of her eyes.
“Do you want it?” Her hand comes up to his face, running her pointer down his nose. Chanshik goes cross-eyed to follow it. Long slim finger, like a pretty spider leg. At the end, a long plastic nail is glued stuck. There’s tiny glittering stones on it.
“I,” Chanshik chokes out. He blinks, blinks, blinks the blur away. Gaeun’s sucking small little kisses to his cheeks. Chanshik can feel the wet patches of glittery gloss they leave behind. “Fucking want it.”
So her hand is on him. Finally, inevitably; pressing down through his fly, pressing, pushing, kneading. She makes a sound, an mmm, short and small. Chanshik’s mouth is limp against hers. He can feel the plastic nails, shouldn’t be able to through the stiff fabric, but he’s sure he can feel them, scratching, digging in. His throat clenches down suddenly. His breath pulls down, pulls back in, the wrong way. In the blink of an eye his chest is heaving, so quick he’s surprised by it himself. Blinking black fields are blossoming before his eyes. He’s disappearing, he’s slipping away, he can feel it. Focus, he tries desperately, focus, you fuck.
Her second hand has joined the first now, quick, nimble, long-fingered spider-hands, they’re working together on his belt. It’s no match. Long plastic nails are tracing the edge of his underpants, where elastic meets skin, so close, they’re dipping in.
“Aah?!” he lets out, a strange syllable going up at the end, pathetically high-pitched. His breath struggles in his throat, his chest works manically up and down but like it forgot the pace. It’s spinning, the room is spinning, hitching over and over a few degrees to the left over him, back to initial position without him knowing how it happened, pulling and pulling to the left but never the full lap around, screeching stops in a track like a broken record. He blinks and blinks, tries to make it still.
Then his knees lose their strength, wobble dangerously. All life is sucked out of his dick, slurping back into his body, leaving only something cold and small behind. Cold sweat breaks out on his neck and the nausea comes like a startle but at the same time like it was always there, icy and frightening. He’s slipping away, slipping away, tries to fight it but he can’t see, can’t hear, can’t move, can’t feel anything.
So, time stops.
Not fully, but almost, enough to be hard to tell, for a moment anyway. Slowly, his staring eyes register change in the picture. In ridiculous slow motion Gaeun’s fingers do move in his hair. Her head tips bit by bit to the left, her tongue snails over his, a strand of her bangs fall frame by frame into her eyes. Seconds have stretched out, to hours, to days.
Chanshik feels how his mouth is stuck open, how he doesn’t breathe. His whole body is frozen into place, solid like rock. His insides have shut off. His brain doesn’t process. If he tried to lift his hand he wouldn’t be able to, but he doesn’t try. He’s not there anymore. It’s not his body.
Above, a second Chanshik hangs in the air, gazing gently down upon him. He meets the gaze. Stares stiffly back with unblinking eyes as eons of unmoving time pass by. Second Chanshik is breathing, calmly and evenly. He moves, gently, where he floats, just a hand filtering through the air like to stay afloat, his head tipping to the right. He blinks, once.
“Chanshik,” Chanshik says, “Chanshik. What are you doing?”
With a slam the door breaks open and out stumbles Gong Chanshik, 18 years of age, almost tripping on his pants that he’s trying to zip up, blindly crashing into a group of people before finding direction and leaping head-first towards the front door. Behind him, Gaeun’s shriek rings out over turned heads and confused laughter;
Chanshik keeps his eyes closed against the afternoon sun. If he can’t see, he can’t be seen. If he can’t be seen, he doesn’t exist. Doesn’t have to be a person, a sentient being, relating to his surroundings, relating to the people around him ( – relationships). Chanshik is The Invisible Man, hovering about, sitting in corners, observing quietly. He can go anywhere, nobody notices him. He is entirely without color, entirely without characteristic. He is blank, neutral, anonymous. He is nobody. Nobody takes notice of him.
A hand falls on Chanshik’s shoulder and jerks it around. “Hey.”
The sun stings in Chanshik’s eyes as they open. Sounds come back to him. The boing-boings of the basketball against the patio. The scronch-scronch of Baro chewing with his mouth half-open beside him. The wind in the trees and a car on the other side of the hedge. Baro puts his foot to the ground, pushing back, and then releasing without warning, making the canopy swing swing suddenly and Chanshik’s naked feet scrape over the tiles. He puts them up on the seat. Baro grabs at him again.
“What happened, then?” He doesn’t look at Chanshik when speaking. He’s throwing cheese-balls up in the air and trying to catch them in his mouth. “What do you mean you don’t know? You gotta know.”
Junghwan yells when Dongwoo jumps up and lets the ball sail straight into the ring over Junghwan’s waving arms. He immediately dives down after it, pointing his finger at Dongwoo and sending him fiery grinning glares. Dongwoo throws his head back and laughs.
“Why didn’t you do it?” The cheese-ball bounces off Baro’s chin and down on the ground. He curses but picks it up anyway. Five second rule.
“Is she not hot enough for you?” There is something hard in Baro’s voice. Chanshik pulls his lips together, answers quickly.
“She’s really fucking hot.”
“Didn’t have a rubber?”
“Did,” Chanshik lies.
“Couldn’t get your dick up?”
Junghwan yells again, this time for scoring. Dongwoo has paused for a moment, standing turned towards them. Chanshik briefly meets his gaze.
“Fucking course I could.”
Baro laughs. “I don’t get what your problem is. It’s always like this. Chick after chick, and you never know.”
Chanshik chews at his lip. He doesn’t tell Baro, about the time that stops, about second Chanshik. It’s always like this, girl after girl, and he can’t do it. Chanshik doesn’t get what the problem is either.
“Want me to set you up with somebody? Find someone for you?”
“Well, get it done then.”
Chanshik follows the orange ball, going between hands and ground, hands and hands, tan summer hands.
“You’re almost nineteen,” Baro says. “Fucking pathetic that you haven’t gotten laid yet.”
Baro’s putting small orange balls in the left side of his mouth. His fingers are getting faintly yellow.
“Aren’t you embarrassed?”
Dongwoo hits Baro in the head with the ball. Baro howls.
What’s in a fuck, anyway?
The dark room, the covers moving up and down, the grunting and huffing and puffing. The rubbing, the grinding, the pounding, the slapping. Dick goes into cunt. Genital meets genital in an ancient anonymous chemical ritual. Insert peg A into slot B. Hormones and urges. Chanshik thinks about evolution, reproduction; whoever has the most genital nerve ends likes to fuck the most and whoever likes to fuck the most has the most offspring and whoever has the most offspring wins. The human; the organic machine, responding to stimuli, the right buttons pressed, controlled by its instincts, the commands programmed into hard-drive.
Chanshik pushes in another romance flick, presses play, and fast forward. The stack to the right of him slowly shrinks as the stack to the left slowly grows. Boy meets girl. Boy fucks girl – implicitly; tastefully lit amber backsides, curving spines and buttocks, snake manically around each other. Flat woman stomachs, long woman hair, red woman lipstick, rushes by. Chanshik presses reverse, then fast forward again.
Chanshik opens up another porno, presses play, and fast forward. He goes film by film through the site; he’s on page twenty-three. Boy meets girl. Boy fucks girl – hard, fast, switching positions, back and forth, up and down, round again. Energizer bunny hips bop together, jackhammer cock vibrates into flesh. Sometimes it’s so zoomed in it’s just genitals showing, the whole screen is a flesh-colored blur, a woman’s thighs and buttocks, clean-shaven vulva. A pole stabbing in and out, forcing flesh apart. Detached and anonymous. Could be any dick and any cunt. It’s just gonna go in there, work mechanically in and out, a one-lane race to the end, bodily fluids fly around and then it’s over.
Is that what it’s about? Getting off? Does it count as long as you get off?
He was chatting with a girl online once, and they jerked off together on cam. She was wearing her shirt, but had propped one leg up on the seat of her computer chair and he could see the whole thing. He could hear her voice in his ear the whole time, a little crackly and deep over the line, but it was right by his ear, loud and close, her little moans and noises. He went so slow, tried to make it last, tried to last as long as she did. And came when she did, simply because she came; partially for the fantastic fucking sound she let out, and because he could fucking see her clench, and partially simply by the knowledge that she had climaxed, that that actually had happened and that he had been there to witness it.
Didn’t that count even the slightest?
That was before second Chanshik, before all this.
Chanshik watches nature documentaries on TV. Antelope-boy meets antelope-girl. Antelope-boy fucks antelope-girl. Both scream. The huffing and the puffing, the rubbing, the grinding, the pounding.
His mother comes and knocks. He doesn’t answer.
“Chanshik,” she says. “What are you doing, Chanshik?”
Chanshik doesn’t answer.
“Why do you always lock the door?”
“Go away,” he says. It hurts a little but he pushes it away.
Chanshik holds his hand up against his bed-stand lamp. The light filters between his fingers and stings in his eyes, paints small colored spots in his field of vision. His fingertips glow red, half transparent almost. Blood and flesh and nerves. He knows this hand. This hand knows him.
It’s monkeys now. Both scream. The hand finds his naked dick again, fitting around it, finding the pace, all the right buttons. Chanshik watches it go and waits for it to be over. His body is on fire but his mind feels all numb.
His mother stops him in the hallway when he’s on his way out.
“Where are you going?”
“Who are you seeing?”
Chanshik stays bent down over his shoes, untying them and tying them once more.
“Is it Sunwoo again?”
So the other foot.
“Chanshik,” his mother says. He notes from the corner of his eye how she shifts, putting her weight on one foot and leaning against the doorpost. She has crossed her arms over her chest, he knows it. “I don’t like that you spend so much time with him, Chanshik. Staying out so late… or never coming home at all.” There is a pause, and then her voice is a bit smaller and a bit thicker. “You never used to be like this, Chanshik. What happened?”
Chanshik straightens with his back turned, digs for his keys in his pocket. He hears the sigh behind him.
“What about Dongwoo, from down the street?”
“What about him?”
“Do you. Still hang out with him?” She says hang out like it doesn’t really fit in her mouth and in one way that makes Chanshik a little tender in the chest but mostly it makes him want to scream. Things his parents do tend to have that effect on him lately.
“Okay,” she says. “Good.”
Chanshik sits balancing on his bike by the posters outside the movie theatre. It’s Thursday, and Dongwoo gets off early. He lights up when he comes out, spotting Chanshik by the wall.
Chanshik makes a face at him. “Fixed the chain on your bike yet?”
Chanshik cocks his head back towards his bike rack. “Want a ride?”
Chanshik starts when a hand fits itself over the back of his neck and squeezes.
“Man, you’re tense,” Dongwoo says, kneading a little. Chanshik makes some kind of hum. His head has tipped forward and his eyes already closed. “Lie down.”
Chanshik lies on his stomach across the couch, and Dongwoo sits on his back and starts rubbing at his shoulders.
“Fuck, your hands feel good,” Chanshik mumbles against the cushion. One of Dongwoo’s plaid shirts is thrown over the armrest, and he bunches it up into a makeshift pillow. It smells good. Dongwoo’s shirts always smell good. His hands are warm and working not too hard, not too soft, just so that it hurts just a little, the good kind of hurt. He can sleep like this, he thinks, with Dongwoo’s shirt in his face and Dongwoo’s hands on his body, just fall asleep here and sleep for two weeks straight.
“Fuck,” he says again. He struggles to pull his cellphone from his pocket to check the time. “I have to go.”
Dongwoo doesn’t move or stop. “Where?”
“Baro’s thing. Down by the beach.”
“You wanna come?”
“Come on, it’ll be fun. We’ll sit and drink beer and talk shit and get sand in our pants.”
“You can stay here instead. We can sit and watch sitcom reruns the whole night.”
“I promised I’d go.”
Chanshik closes his eyes against the shirt fabric. Dongwoo moves up over his neck again. Just a little bit longer, a minute, two. “Come with me,” he mumbles. “It’s so much easier when you’re there. Everything’s better when you’re there.”
“I hate drinking,” Dongwoo says, and gets off. Chanshik’s back immediately goes cold.
It’s almost dark when he comes down between the trees, but it’s still warm in the air. His shirt is sticking to his back after the ride, and he locks his bike leaned up against a trunk of pine. Hollow music is pumping out of a pair of speakers hooked to someone’s phone. Some people are out in the water. There is laughter and girl shrieks. He doesn’t see them more than dark shapes against a slightly less dark background. A fire is lit halfway down to the shore. It’s putting strange shades and shadows on the people moving over the sand; black, dark brown and warm angry orange, hiding parts of their faces and splitting people in half, molding some together so it’s hard to tell them apart.
A part of Chanshik wants to unlock his bike and swing his leg over the rack and skid up through the loose sand and trample all the way back to town without stopping, only wants to sit in Dongwoo’s couch watching sitcom reruns all night. Maybe make some noodles, maybe split one beer or at most two, maybe lean on Dongwoo’s arm and let himself fall asleep. But then a figure separates itself from the blur of bodies, moving up towards him and waving a hand.
It’s Baro. Chanshik slips into the wave of familiarity. He makes himself move, and with the first step it’s easier. He clasps Baro’s raised hand, repays the hard slap on his back with one of his own, a little harder. Baro laughs and starts talking and doesn’t stop, leading Chanshik by the arm. Chanshik slips him a 20 and gets a bottle in return. He sticks close to Baro’s elbow for as long as he can stand it, nodding at conversations he’s not part of and breaking eye-contact with people he’s not being introduced to.
An unsteady Zitao swings by to give him a tight hug and slur something about having to meet up some time that Chanshik doesn’t bother asking him to repeat. He sees Jinyoung waving at him from the middle of a clique of people a bit away, but he doesn’t walk over. He downs his beer, helps himself to another and sits alone by the fire. He feels so tired, even though he shouldn’t. Feels so tired of the whole world.
Three slick girlbodies stumble up through the sand, laughing and panting lightly. Krystal Jung is one of them, Chanshik notes. She’s got a small blue-dotted bikini and long wet hair in tresses over her shoulders. She looks at Chanshik, stops for a second.
“Hi.” Her wet skin burns warm angry orange in the light of the fire. Small pearls of fiery amber run down her stomach and legs.
Chanshik squeezes the throat of the bottle. “Hi.”
“When did you get here?”
“Wanna go for a swim?”
“I didn’t bring any trunks.”
Krystal laughs. “Who doesn’t bring trunks when going to the beach?”
Chanshik shrugs. “I didn’t.”
“Okay. You can skinny.” She grins. “Fine by me.”
Chanshik puts on a grin as well. “I think I’ll pass.”
“Okay,” she says, and then she’s gone.
There’s no one else out there now. Chanshik watches the small flickers of light in the small flickers of waves, thinking about whether having to walk around without underpants for the rest of the evening would be worth being in the water with her, seeing her long hair float, feeling her slick skin on his own, probably getting to touch her when chasing after her or splashing water at her, diving under the surface to tug at her ankle so she’d scream and kick at him, then laugh with him when he’d come back up and shove at his shoulders, cold slick girlhands on his body. Maybe they’d go far out, so far out they could barely hear the music and the noises up here, and he wouldn’t have to fight for inclusion because her attention would be all on him, and even if it wasn’t it’d be too dark and too far away for anyone to notice anyway.
He has just begun to regret it when suddenly she’s back, sitting down next to him in shorts and a sweater and with thick half-dried strands of hair around her face. She takes the bottle from his hand and has a sip.
Chanshik doesn’t know whose car this is, but he doesn’t think about it. Krystal’s body is warm in his lap, heavy and light at the same time. It’s almost completely quiet with the doors shut, he can barely hear the music and noises from down there. Their sounds fill up the backseat as he helps Krystal off with her sweater in the cramped space, the barely there things like amplified – little grunts that are half moans and half huffs, almost quickened breathing, the rustle of fabric. Krystal’s yelp when she knocks her hand into the ceiling, their giggles when her head finally comes out, with long tousled bangs over her face.
It’s dark in between the trees. He can just make out the shapes of Krystal’s face, less dark on a darker background, the glint of her eyes and her teeth when she smiles. Her black hair is blacker than ever. He tucks some of it behind her ear. She leans up over him, bending his head back and putting her tongue in his mouth. He runs his hands down her naked sides, smooth warm girlskin under his palms. Brushes against the elastic of her bra; white with pink stripes.
“Take it off,” she says.
“What,” he says. She reaches back and moves his hand to the clasp. He struggles a bit, feels himself starting to blush, but then it’s off. Her mouth moves to his cheek, his temple, and he watches her breast, can’t help it, can’t not look. They’re white in the dark. Small, light, delicate, perky like little alp-tops, like toppy meringues, with cone-shaped little nipples pointy and stiff.
Krystal looks at him, smiling with glinting teeth. “Touch them,” she says, and it takes him a couple of seconds to look up at her face.
“What,” he says. She takes his right hand in both of hers and fits it over one of the alp-tops. It’s firm and soft at the same time. He closes his fingers into the shape, feels it give in just so. The hard-soft nipple pokes into his palm. He moves his hand over it, lets it graze over his skin. Krystal makes kitty noises against his lips.
“Take it off,” she says, hands already down under his shirt. Barely is it over his head before her mouth is on him again, kissing him wet and deep. She runs her hands over his chest. He startles. She has cold hands, cold light girlhands.
Chanshik blinks. The world goes blurry for a split second but then it’s over. Chanshik blinks.
She presses her body close to his. Her breasts press against his chest. The seat fabric presses against his naked back. She makes a noise, grabbing Chanshik’s hands that he didn’t realize lie limp beside her thighs, pressing them back over her waist. She cards her fingers through his hair, tugging just a bit. She presses close, grinds her groin against his.
Chanshik’s throat ties, his breath goes thick. His dick presses in his pants. Her sounds press in his ears. The breath presses in his throat.
“Chanshik,” she says. “Chanshik.”
“Yes,” Chanshik says.
She sits back a bit, leaning over to dig around in her pink fanny-pack and has suddenly produced a small square tinfoil package from the front pocket. Chanshik recognizes it, knows it, immediately, obvious like a jolt. The protruding, ring-shaped contour glints promisingly, fatefully, in the dark. The silence presses heavy on his ears. The thudding of music is far, far away. Krystal puts her mouth back on his. Cold light girlhands reach down and undoes his straining pant buttons.
Later Chanshik tells his friends the detailed story of how he fucked Krystal Jung in the backseat of somebody’s car, of how she took off her shorts and rode him till she screamed his name, of how sweet her tits and wet her pussy. Baro, Junghwan and Jinyoung shout in unison, patting his back and bumping his fist, finallys and congrats, and all the time Dongwoo sits in the back smiling at him, smiling like he knows.
He waits around the corner until the last couples and threes have poured out, then parks his bike and pushes the glass door open. Dongwoo’s behind the counter, and lights up when he sees Chanshik come in.
“I’m just closing up.”
“I know,” Chanshik says.
He helps sweeping the floors while Dongwoo locks up, picking popcorn and candy wrappers off the blood red carpet. Feels good, to do things. To let your body work all on its own, mechanically, not having to think. Just moving arms back and forth, he can do that, he can shut off. He listens to Dongwoo humming under his breath while picking with the register, longs for the cool night air in his face on the way back, longs for Dongwoo’s arm pressing against his when they’re sunk down in Dongwoo’s couch.
A warm hand clamps around the back of his neck, squeezing enough to make his shoulders shoot up in defense. Dongwoo laughs.
“Are you done?”
The hand stays in place, not kneading, just sitting there. Dongwoo stands looking at him, studying his face till Chanshik needs to look away, look down, wants to turn around.
“Are you okay?” Dongwoo says.
Chanshik quickly straightens his back, wears a smile. He’s good at that. “Yeah.” He breaks away, wrings himself off the touch of the hand and hurries away across the floor, far away, till there’s a whole room of distance between them. “I’m fine,” he says, with his back turned, putting the broom in its closet.
When he looks again, Dongwoo has sunk a bit. Something small hurts inside Chanshik at the look of him, hands by his sides, face limp. He hurries back over the floor, brushes his shoulder against Dongwoo’s when passing.
Dongwoo doesn’t move. He stays watching Chanshik for a moment, and Chanshik looks back. Then Dongwoo shifts, puts his lips together and his hands in his pockets. “Do you wanna watch a movie?”
The lights dim down, and the commercials start rolling. Dongwoo comes out from the back door and sinks down next to Chanshik in the middle of the top row of the empty theatre. He has changed out of his work-shirt and into a plaid shirt over a tee. It’s soft against Chanshik’s arm. He can almost smell it, even from here. He sort of wants to put is nose into it. But doesn’t.
The sound is set kind of low, Chanshik notes. He doesn’t mind. He is tired. He feels like when he has a headache, except he doesn’t. He would sort of like to shut off all his senses, shut off all sights and sounds and people, would like to shut off the whole world. The film has started but he’s not really watching. He closes his eyes. It’s almost like being shut off. Just sitting with Dongwoo in this dark room, so far away from everything else, listening to him breathe and smelling his shirt, feeling the warmth radiating through the fabric, from Dongwoo’s arm into his own.
“Chanshik,” Dongwoo says. “What are you doing?”
Chanshik Chanshik what are you doing?
Chanshik startles. He’s just about to open his eyes and say I’m just shutting my eyes for a moment, don’t worry, I’m not bored, just a bit tired, really ready to, but he doesn’t. His eyes stay closed. His head tips down against Dongwoo’s shoulder. And he says;
“I have no fucking idea.”
And he says;
“I hate drinking.”
And then he says;
“Whenever I’m with a girl I hallucinate that a second me is flying in the air looking down at me.”
He feels Dongwoo move, twisting towards him, but can’t be arsed with looking up.
“I can’t get it done. I’ve spent the whole summer trying but I can’t.”
“You didn’t fuck Krystal Jung, did you.”
“No,” Chanshik says. “I couldn’t. I had her fucking boob in my hand but I couldn’t do it. I just pushed her off and walked away. It felt like there was no point. I don’t even know her. You know. Just felt like it didn’t even matter.”
“You’re not getting Baro’s shit get to you, are you? Don’t listen to Baro,” Dongwoo says. “He’s an idiot. He’s my best friend, but he’s an idiot. It’s all bullshit. There’s no point doing it if you don’t want to. It’s all too hyped up. Like having your genitals touch someone else’s genitals would make you a different person or something.”
“I’m just,” Chanshik says. “I’m so tired of this. So tired of everything about this. I just want it to be over.”
There is silence for a moment, then Dongwoo says quietly; “I can do it.”
Chanshik opens his eyes. “What?”
Dongwoo’s poking at one of the buttons on his shirt. “I can do it,” he tells the button. “If you want.”
Chanshik looks at him.
“It wouldn’t count.”
Dongwoo looks up to look at him back. “Yes it would.”
Dongwoo’s fingers pull at the button. Chanshik looks at them, looks at his tan summer fingers. Darker on the upside than the pads, nails pale and pink. Long and strong and sinewy and soft – he knows, because he has touched them before, has been touched by them before. These hands that he knows, warm and smooth, damp sometimes in the summer, on the hot august days, and chapped sometimes in the winter, when all water is bound in snow. Always warm. These hands that have touched him so many times, that he has felt on his body, stroking his back, grabbing his arms, petting his hair and working stiffness from his shoulders. He likes these hands. He knows these hands like his own.
Chanshik feels the arousal spark like a punch to his stomach. It surprises him so much he almost startles, sets his heart beating faster and his chest starting to heave. His body is ready before he is, before the whole thing has fully dawned on him. He looks up at Dongwoo, and Dongwoo looks at him, eyes dark and searching.
“Yeah?” he says, and it’s barely voiced, barely mouthed, but Chanshik is so close he can hear it.
“Yeah,” he answers back, without thinking.
It’s like a jolt when Dongwoo moves, a little bit too fast. He flips the armrest back in between their seats. Then he stops, for a beat or two, just too long to be a regular pause. Chanshik forces thick breaths through his throat. He searches, searches within himself; for what kind of thickness that is, for what kind of tightness that’s in his stomach, for what kind of tiny tremble his leg is doing. For whether he’s disappearing, slipping slowly away, or staying completely close, solid, hooked stuck to this moment of reality.
Carefully Dongwoo’s right hand finds Chanshik’s thigh, moving slowly up and down, fingers pressing, one at a time. His eyes stay on Chanshik’s face, searching, asking, making sure. Chanshik can feel the heat through his jeans, shouldn’t be able to through the stiff fabric, but he’s sure he can feel it, warm, hot, burning. He blinks, blinks, blinks, but Dongwoo remains clear and defined before him. Slowly the hand migrates up over his fly, stroking, pressing so softly, and Chanshik’s blood already pounds hard and fast through his veins.
“Hyung,” he says, barely more than lips parting, barely more than a puff of air, but Dongwoo is close enough to hear it. “Come on.”
Dongwoo grins, just short, breath suddenly coming quicker through his nose. When his fingers find Chanshik’s zipper, Chanshik reaches his hand over as well.
“What was your first like?” Chanshik has a fucking dick in his hand, a dick that isn’t his. He can’t stop looking at it. It’s thick and hard and heavy between his fingers. He can use it to draw noises from Dongwoo’s throat. They make Chanshik’s chest heave up, hard, once or twice before settling down again.
“Krystal Jung,” Dongwoo says, without hesitation. “Right here. Last April. She wore jeans shorts. I stripped her down and fingered her till she cried.”
Chanshik looks at his face instead. “Really?”
“No,” Dongwoo says, sort of hard and soft at the same time. “I’m just kidding. This is my first.” He studies Chanshik’s dick with tender interest, draws soft fingertips over the head.
Dongwoo grins. “Yeah.”
They don’t kiss at first, but then they do, long and a lot. Tongues tasting lips, tasting tongues, soft and slow. Bit by bit they turn towards each other, curl into each other, so to cup a hand around a neck, so to drag fingers through hair. A pair of glasses get knocked into and tossed out of the way. The film ended and nobody noticed. Hands tighten, push and pull, soft and hard. Small noises grow bigger. Blood rushes hot back and forth.
So Chanshik’s hand stills, lags at first and then just stops, because he’s curved forward and panting short breaths into Dongwoo’s neck, and Dongwoo strokes his nose over Chanshik’s cheek, breathes against him, almost as quick, keeps him so tight all the way till Chanshik comes into his tanned summer fingers.
In August, Gong Chanshik turns nineteen. When Baro takes the liberty of raising his beer can to Krystal Jung, in her absence, for doing the honors of ridding Chanshik of his virginity, Chanshik’s eyes find Dongwoo’s, like on their own. Baro doesn’t see them grin.