Elijah likes to play video games when night falls, settles over the sky in mixed hues of velvet indigo, obsidian whispers. Stars peeking out when the cover of day vanishes, shining brightly, brilliant explosions that magnify, shrink, swell to a tiny focused point and then explode within their white boundaries. Somewhere, cicadas chirp beneath shelters of overhanging leaves, whistling constantly, dull hum reverberating wherever they happen to lie. He's not really sure why he ignores this, walls up himself within plaster and slickly painted wood and escapes within technology. Childhood heroes fought crime and drove magic cars when midnight kissed the earth; maybe Elijah wants to be a hero.
Elijah's not really sure why he even plays video games. He knows what a therapist would say, answer coming rigidly straight from the textbook. You play because you want to forget yourself in the role of someone else, or you play because you have secrets you feel the need to escape from.
Maybe he's just an average, ordinary guy kicking back on the Playstation. Or maybe Elijah has a secret.
Life could be so complicated sometimes, each noise always complex, unexpected. In Gran Tourismo, Elijah always knew what came next, the squeal of brakes as he rounded the corner or a coruscating explosion of rubble, gasoline and flame. Elijah likes the simplicity. No metaphors or hidden meanings, just everything in-your-face there. Elijah can't enjoy this unsubtle wonder when Billy's there, though. The scintillating lights and sleek cars all fade against Billy's surprisingly soft fingertips gliding over the grooves of Elijah's foot. Gran Tourismo vanishes under the weight of Billy's fingers, and when Elijah feels them tracing a path along his thigh, dipping lower, Elijah knows Billy wants him to turn it off. Elijah doesn't understand why Billy beats around the bush, why he doesn't just swipe the controller from his hand and simply take what he wants. But Elijah does know why, and it revolves around a secret he told Billy once.
He was drunk, on tequila and vodka and life. It was getting late, becoming a night like the ones when Elijah played Gran Tourismo. He was alone with Billy, in the den or some other recreational room. He spoke with a slur, emphasizing a point by letting his hipbone glide against Billy's. He liked the way it felt, shivered from the prickling thrill it sent up his spine. He let his fingers slide over Billy's forearm, soft fine hair prominent though it felt as if it shouldn't have been. Elijah hoped that Billy wouldn't notice the subtle touches, would pass them off as friendliness or intoxication.
Maybe Elijah needed balance. Or maybe Elijah just wanted to feel Billy's skin.
To this day, Elijah doesn't know why he told Billy the things he did. Namely, one thing in particular. It had to do with a friend of Hannah's, when he was fifteen years old on the fourth of July. He was just a silly, stupid kid, entering high school as a sophomore in only a few months' time. His father had been gnawing on fried chicken and yelling at Elijah's mother. Elijah didn't want to hear it, so he'd snuck out onto the roof with Hannah's friend. He found out soon enough that the misshapen lumps under her fuzzy pink sweater were Budweisers. The brilliant, incandescent shower of fireworks had illuminated her lilac coloured lips, the tiny cornflower blue blossoms on her bra. She bent her head, curtain of dirty blonde hair masking her features as she undid Elijah's jeans.
The whole thing didn't last very long, but Elijah forgot to be embarrassed about his lack of stamina. He tried to stop the tremors running through his thighs, watched Hannah's little friend wipe the glaze off her lavender lips with the back of her hand. She flashed him a smile that didn't quite reach her eyes. Elijah walked her to the door almost anxiously when the food had gone and the fireworks died down, awkwardly angled his head to touch their lips with bated breath. She turned her head and Elijah was left with the pained rejection of a kiss, brief floral whisper of her hair against his nose.
Elijah vividly remembers telling Billy this secret, face buried in the mauve cotton of Billy's shirt as the words spilled forth like a dam unleashed. Elijah knows Billy won't ever bring it up, though, and neither will he. It's an unspoken secret that they'll never say aloud, stored away in well-visited cabinets of their minds, fingers tracing, swirling patterns in the dust.
After the flow of words tapered off, Elijah lifted his head from Billy's shoulder and looked into his beer, avoiding the weight of his stare. He took another long swig, emitted a tiny laugh and finally gazed up at Billy, eyes liquid with nostalgia and longing and vermilion clandestine secrets. Elijah slid his fingers along Billy's forearm again. He felt no resistance. Bending his head, he undid Billy's jeans. Elijah had always wanted to do this. Now that his story was off his chest, he could.
Afterwards, Elijah flashed Billy a smile, wiped his mouth with the back of his vacillating hand. He had done what he'd always wanted to do, but it didn't feel the way he thought it'd feel. No words came. They had none.
They both drove themselves home without kissing goodnight.
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