The next few days passed by amiably. Jason and Zander fell into a routine and Jason noticed that Zander seemed to come alive here. He was more relaxed and his nightmares eased up. He seemed content as well, so last night Jason didn't cuff Zander to the bed and he was pleased when Zander slept the night through. No attempts to run off. They hiked through the woods a couple of times too. They didn't talk much but they settled into a silent camaraderie that Jason appreciated.
He began trusting Zander more, enough to allow him to hike off alone, presumably to pick some wild blackberries. But Jason was getting worried. Three hours had passed. He was just getting ready to go look for Zander when he heard whistling. Zander appeared from the woods with a bucket of berries. He was smiling.
"Miss me?" Zander teased.
"Berries look good."
Zander nodded. "Yeah. I'll clean them later. It's hot. I'm gonna go for a swim in the lake. Wanna join me?" Even as he asked, Zander was heading towards the water.
Jason watched him go. It was a loaded invitation. He did want to join Zander, but he knew it would be a mistake. But Jason did walk down towards the lake, just in time to see Zander finish stripping. His cock reacted to the sight of naked Zander. Jason watched him dive into the water cleanly. The kid swam like a fish and Jason wondered about his past. For a time Jason watched Zander swim, until he was aching hard in his jeans, from the glimpses of Zander wet and naked in the water. Zander seemed unaware of his nudity. Comfortable in his skin. Jason knew he had no idea of the affect he was having on him and it was best kept that way. So he headed back to the cabin to start supper. He came back out twenty minutes later with a towel. Jason stood on the small dock. "Supper is almost ready," he called out. "Time to come in."
"Okay." Zander was amenable. He swam to the shore then pulled himself up onto the dock. He laughed when Jason threw the towel in his face, then he wiped his face and toweled his hair before drying off the rest of his body. Only then did he wrap the towel around his waist.
Only then did Jason feel like he could breathe again. His jeans were so tight that he was glad he had pulled a loose shirt on over his tank top, to cover his arousal. He watched Zander walk past him, heading into the house, the fabric of the towel clinging lovingly to Zander's taut ass. Silently, Jason cursed, then he followed him inside.
He went into the kitchen to dish up their dinner. Steak and roasted potatoes. Jason had dug a grill pit two years ago and it made cooking easy and delicious. He had the plates on the table when Zander came down the stairs. He was wearing jeans and was pulling on a tank top. His feet were bare. He was too damn sexy for Jason's peace of mind.
"Smells great," Zander stated, as he sat down.
"I got ice cream earlier," Jason said as he sat down. He watched Zander dig in and was glad the kid seemed to have gotten his appetite back.
Zander cocked an eyebrow at Jason. "You got ice cream?"
Jason nodded and that was it. No explanation. No telling Zander that he had hooked up a mini freezer unit just yesterday and that he had gotten the ice cream because Zander had mentioned liking it in passing. That he had mentioned it to Joy at the diner was inconsequential.
"Thanks," Zander said. "So…any plans for tonight?"
"Same as always. We stay home." Jason knew that Zander was getting a bit antsy. He had asked about going to the bar in town and Jason had refused. Zander swore he just wanted to shoot some pool, but Jason hadn't believed him.
Zander sighed. "You're no fun, you know that?"
Jason merely grunted and stabbed his fork into his steak.
* * * * *
Later that night they played cards. Jason began to wish he had taken Zander into town to play pool after all. It was killing him slowly to sit across from Zander. The night was warm and Zander was only wearing his boxer briefs. Jason made a mental note to go into town tomorrow and buy Zander some shorts. Not that they would cover any more of him, but at least Jason could pretend not to notice the bulge of Zander's cock whenever he got up to get something to eat or drink. Or the way the black material hugged the curves of Zander's muscled ass when he bent over to pick up cracker he dropped. Jason was beginning to get used to the idea of living with a permanent erection because that's what Zander had become. A walking hard on for Jason. And it was starting to drive him insane. He wanted Zander, but he knew he could never have him.
* * * * *
The next day was cooler. Zander went for a hike while Jason worked on the roof again. It was nearing midday when Jason heard a shot. He scaled down the ladder and grabbed his gun then sprinted off in the direction of the sound. A quarter mile down the path he spotted Zander hunkered down and rocking. Next to him was an old man with a shot gun. He stood up as Jason approached.
"You know this fellow?" he asked, pointing to Zander.
The man shook his head. "Don't know what happened. I shot the damn coon that's been getting in my garden and this young fella comes running up then he just froze. He hunkered down and started rocking. He won't say nothing."
"I'll take care of him. Thanks." Jason could see that Zander's eyes were locked on the blood stain on the ground. The old man had already moved the raccoon. Jason waited until the guy was gone to say anything. "Zander? Can you hear me?" No reaction. Jason cursed then he took Zander by the arm and pulled him to his feet. Thankfully, Zander was responsive to being guided and Jason got him back to the cabin.
Once inside, Jason pushed Zander down onto the couch. Zander was pale and shaking and his skin was sheened in a cold sweat. Jason knew he was in shock. He grabbed a blanket and wrapped it around Zander. There wasn't much else that he could do right now but watch over him and wait. So Jason sat down in a nearby chair. He watched as Zander curled up on the couch and started rocking. He wondered what nightmare images were haunting him.
For the next two hours Jason tried to get Zander to talk to him. He wouldn't say a word. Then he made something for supper and tried to get him to eat. No luck. But at least Zander had stopped shaking and rocking. And, eventually, his eyes closed and he fell asleep. Jason expected another nightmare, but two hours passed and nothing. Since Zander wasn't stirring, Jason went upstairs to take a shower. When he came back down, the couch was empty.
The first thing Jason did was look for the car. It was still there. He checked Zander's room. Empty. He ran the perimeter of the cabin. No sign of him. Instinct told Jason that Zander would be back. It also made him check the kitchen cupboard where he had stashed a hundred dollars in cash. He had shown Zander where the money was in case of an emergency. Such as someone showed up and Jason wasn't around. Zander was to take off. The money could be used for gas and food or whatever was needed. Fifty of it was gone.
An hour passed and Jason was about to go out and look for Zander when the door opened. Zander entered carrying a paper bag in one arm. He was holding a bottle of Jack in his free hand. One third was gone. Relief washed over Jason. He would not begrudge Zander a drunk. Whatever got him through this night.
"Want one?" Zander asked, slurring his words a bit. He held out the paper bag.
"Thanks." Jason took it and pulled out two more bottles of Jack. He set them on the counter in the kitchen and tossed the bag in the trash. "You found the shortcut to town." It was a statement rather than a question.
Zander grinned. "Yep. The other day. Imagine my surprise. You can walk to town in the same amount of time it takes to drive there."
Jason nodded. "Do you want to talk about what happened?"
"Nothing to talk about."
"You were just about catatonic, Zander."
Zander shrugged. "I'm better now." He patted the bottle of whiskey. "Muuuch better. I'm going to bed." He climbed the stairs and disappeared.
Jason locked the doors, turned off the lights and followed him.
* * * * *
Jason had just dozed off when he heard Zander cry out. He jumped out of bed and ran into Zander's room. Zander was sitting up, rocking and shaking and muttering,
"Zander!" Jason's tone was sharp. He needed to snap him out of the dream. He gripped his face and felt the sheen of a cold sweat on his skin. "Look at me!" The hazel eyes locked on his face. "You're awake now, okay? Just relax."
Zander pushed Jason away from him. "I need a drink." He made to get out of bed.
Jason saw the bottle of Jack on the dresser and grabbed it. He then headed out the door and into the bathroom. He poured it down the sink.
"You sonofabitch!" Zander screamed at him from the doorway. "Fuck you! I'll just get more." He turned to head down the stairs.
"No!" Jason grabbed him by the arm then slammed him up against the wall. "Getting drunk won't make it go away, Zander. It won't make you forget."
Zander tried to break free of Jason's grip. "Fuck…you!" he hissed. "FUCK YOU!"
Jason held fast as Zander struggled against him. He waited for the boy to wear himself out. It didn't take long. He let Zander slide down to the floor.
"I just want to forget.." Zander whispered, banging his head against the wall slowly. "I just.." bang "...want..." bang "...to forget..." bang.
"Then talk about it." Jason sat down beside him.
Zander started shaking. "I left home five years ago...because I thought I killed my brother. I shot him."
Jason was confused. "Peter?"
"Yeah. Pete. He was older and he was everything to my parents. Everything I wasn't. And then he was dead and I left. Then my dad shows up and tells me...it was suicide. But it didn't change anything. Pete is still dead and I'm still alive." Tears slid down Zander's face. "I can still smell the blood in the air. I can see it soaking his chest and it got on my hands when I touched him." Zander rubbed his hands together now. "It doesn't wash off...you know? Not really."
"But you didn't kill him, Zander. It wasn't your fault."
Zander shook his head. "I'm alive and Pete's dead. That's my fault. That's my fault.." He got to his feet and grabbed the can of shaving gel and hurled it against the wall.
Jason knew that Zander felt the need to trash things. To destroy objects since he couldn't seem to destroy himself. But that wouldn't help. So he grabbed him and held him and when Zander struggled against him, he kissed him. He felt Zander stiffen and then he was kissing Jason back. Jason hadn't expected this but he went with it. He cupped the back of Zander's head with one hand and deepened the kiss.
© Shelly 2004