Today’s free fiction is a flashback from one of the characters of my regular online fiction story, CRANK. This flash piece is designed to be read on its own, so don’t worry if you haven’t been reading CRANK, but if you like Mike here, then take a peek at the ongoing story HERE.
Steve held the bottle in front of Mike’s face and shook it. Mike watched the amber fluid slosh around for several seconds before he remembered to raise a hand to take it from his friend. Mike’s stomach churned and his head bobbed with his swimming vision. They’d bought the cheap malt liquor before, but it, combined with the joint Steve stole from his brother, and Mike felt his body sinking while his mind floated ten feet above them.
Mike finished off the rest of the liquor and tossed the bottle out the open flap of the tent. As he stretched out, folding his hand behind his head, Steve crawled forward, and said, “Hey, we can’t let my mom find that.”
On his hands and knees, Steve reached through the opening to grab the bottle. Still floating and feeling both great and queasy, Mike watched his friend as Steve sat back on his heels and tucked the bottle in a black plastic bag he’d brought for their garbage.
When Steve turned around he cocked his head to one side and asked, “Whatta you lookin’ at?”
With a shrug, Mike shook his head. “Not much, man.”
“Bull.” Steve laughed and flopped down on his sleeping bag. He rested his head on one hand and stared at Mike until Mike looked away and rolled to a sitting position.
“I’m hungry,” Mike said. He grabbed a grocery bag full of junk food. “Corn chips or minty chocolate things?” He glanced over his shoulder, but quickly returned his attention to the bag between his knees. “Or, um…”
He tensed when Steve’s long, strong fingers gripped his shoulder and tugged at him, daring him to turn around.
“Mint chocolate,” Steve said near Mike’s ear.
Mike suppressed a shiver and squeezed his eyes closed. The tent really was too small for them now. They’d been camping out in Steve’s back yard since they were kids, but he doubted many high school guys actually still did such a thing. They should, he figured, be watching porn in the basement, comparing their female classmates, and talking about other guy stuff.
Without looking back at his friend, Mike lifted a cellophane-wrapped package of little green-foiled chocolates. Steve reached around him to take it, the warmth of his chest penetrating Mike’s thin T-shirt, and heating his flesh up and down his spine.
Mike remained frozen in place while Steve peeled the wrapper off the box, and then inched forward to tuck the cellophane in the garbage bag. He turned and sat cross-legged near the entrance flap of the tent, and then held the box out, offering Mike a piece.
Without looking up, Mike took two pieces of chocolate. As he unwrapped and stuffed them in his mouth, he relaxed. His body and thoughts wandered too frequently lately, and an all night camp out with his best friend suddenly seemed as extremely dangerous as it usually was fun.
“You okay, Mike?” Steve leaned forward, bracing his weight on his hands and tilting his head to peer up at Mike. “You’re doing that thing where you hide behind all that hair.” Steve reached out. From the corner of his eye, Mike tensed, and Steve hesitated.
“I’m fine,” Mike said his words hissed out through a clenched jaw.
Steve scooted forward. He sat in front of Mike – in his personal space – in cross-legged Indian fashion. He brushed his fingers under Mike’s long, dark hair, and pushed it up and back off of his face. His fingers lingered, tracing down his cheek and brushing lightly along his neck.
Flinching away, Mike said, “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” He meant to growl out the words, intimidate his friend into backing off, but instead his words whispered out over his lips with a trembling cadence betraying his mix of confused emotions.
“This…” Steve clenched his fingers, twisting them in Mike’s hair and holding him still. He leaned forward, hesitating just long enough for his gaze to flicker from Mike’s lips to his eyes and back down again. The pause felt like an eternity and a heartbeat, and then their lips met, soft and testing at first, followed by and urgent tasting of needs found and conquered.
When a soft whimper escaped Mike’s throat, Steve pulled away, his gaze downcast. “Don’t hit me, Mike.” His gaze flipped up, pleading. “Please? I needed to know.”
“Hit you?” Mike licked his lips. “Why would I…” It couldn’t be a joke. Steve kidded around, but not cruelly. He looked away. “Shit.”
“I’ve wanted to do that for so long, but I kept convincing myself you weren’t really checking me out.”
Mike’s head snapped up and he grabbed Steve’s arms, holding him still as he stared into Steve’s eyes, hopeful. “For how long?”
Steve slowly smiled. “You’re not mad?” He paused, and in seeing nothing angry in Mike’s expression, he added, “For, like…quite a while anyway.”
“I can’t believe I didn’t know that about you.” Mike loosened his grip and punched Steve’s shoulder. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
He rubbed his arm. “You could’ve told me too, you know.”
“Shit, man, how could I? You’re not… I’m not… What do you mean you thought I was checking you out?”
“Weren’t you?” Steve smirked; his expression heated with lust now that the secret stretched out between them.
“I know you,” Steve said. “We’ve been best buds for, like, ever.”
“Yeah,” Mike said. He licked his lips and his gaze drifted down to Steve’s warm mouth, watching as Steve’s tongue sneaked out to moisten his lips with a quick, teasing swipe.
Before Mike could respond, Steve lunged at him, pushing him down to his worn, tattered sleeping bag. Steve licked the seam of Mike’s lips and hummed quietly as Mike granted access. Steve lifted his head and said, “You taste like chocolate mints.”
“Enough talk,” Mike said. “We have catching up to do.”
“It’s about ti—” Mike’s kiss swallowed Steve’s last words.
I haven’t been writing much for the Silver Flash project. I have my own reasons, none of which need to be publicly decreed, but I do want to let you, dear Readers, know where to find free flash fiction from the other participants. I recommend following Ryssa Edwards’s blog, as she is the queen of prompts and the brave soul that organizes the writing sprees. From her blog, you can find links to any and all other participants every Wednesday.