Breaking Masks

by Dabeagle & Josh Aterovis


Chapter 13


My first kiss with Kody wasn’t quite the way I’d imagined it, but it was better than anything I could have ever dreamed. Sure, we were lying in a splattered mess of chicken, sauce, rice, and vegetables in the middle of the kitchen floor, but that didn’t matter. All that mattered was the feel of his lips against mine, the feel of my body pressed against his. I didn’t want the moment to end, but, of course, like all good things, it had to eventually.

I gently broke the kiss and pushed myself up on my elbows so I could look into his beautiful face again. His eyes were shining, his lips wet, his cheeks rosy—he was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. And then he spoke.

“The sauce is soaking through my underwear.”

I snorted and started giggling again.

“No, seriously!” he protested. “It’s kind of sticky and...well, wet. It feels really nasty.”

I kissed him lightly on the nose and used the table to pull myself up off of him, then extended my hand to pull him to his feet. We were both a royal mess. I had food on the knees of my brand new black jeans and down the sleeves of both arms. Kody was even worse. When he turned around, I saw he was coated from the center of his back to below his pert little bum. He twisted around to get a look at the mess and grimaced. I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing again.

“Great,” he muttered. He looked back down at the floor and he appeared as if he might cry at any second. “I’m so sorry. Everything is ruined—”

“No,” I said quickly, cutting him off. “Nothing is ruined. We had a great dinner— well, most of it anyway—and great conversation, and I found out that you’re a great kisser.” He blushed scarlet and ducked his head to hide a pleased smile. “And the night is far from over.” He looked up with a surprised expression.

“But we’re a mess...”

“So we change,” I said with a shrug, then added playfully. “Come on, I’ll help you.” I grabbed his shirt tail and tugged it up. He giggled and spun away with a squeal. I chased him around the table, almost slipping on the sauce again. I grabbed him around the waist from behind and swung him around. His shirt bunched up under his arms and I couldn’t help but take a peek at his flat tummy. His underwear was sticking out above the waist of his jeans in that way that I find ever-so-sexy. I did a double-take.

I set him down and spun him around to face me, my arms still tight around his waist.

“Is it my imagination, or is my name on your underwear?” I asked with a teasing grin.

Kody’s mouth and eyes flew open in abject horror. “’s...they...” he sputtered.

I squeezed him even tighter and leaned into whisper into his ear, “It’s okay. I’m wearing Kody boxers.”

He blinked. “Really?”

I laughed. “No, but I think it’s sexy as hell that my name is on yours.”

He flushed red again and tickled my sides so I let go of him with a yelp.

“This sauce is getting cold now and it’s even grosser,” Kody said with as much dignity as he could muster. “I’ve got to go change. What are you going to do?”

I started to answer flippantly with “Watch,” but realized that might be pushing things a bit too far. While Kody certainly seemed to catch on quick when it came to this whole flirting business, I had to keep reminding myself that he was really innocent and inexperienced. How inexperienced I wasn’t sure, but it was obvious that this was all new to him. He was so adorably awkward, yet so very earnest. “Maybe I should go see if Nick has something I can wear,” I suggested. “He’s a little taller than me, but it should be okay.”

Kody pulled a face. “Great. I’ll never hear the end of this from him. Can you tell him that we had an earthquake or something and he just missed it?”

I laughed. “I’ll make sure he doesn’t give you a hard time.”

Kody rolled his eyes, but turned towards his bedroom without a word. I wanted to follow him, but I made myself turn around and walk to the door. I knocked on Nick’s door and waited. The sauce really was starting to get cold. It was quite uncomfortable.

Nick swung open the door and looked surprised to find me standing there. “Uh, hey. Aren’t you supposed to be having dinner with Kody?”

“I am. Or I was. But then we had a little incident.”

“Oh shit, man! Is everything all right?”

“Oh yeah. I just...could I borrow some clothes?”

“What?” He looked utterly confused. He took a step back to allow more light by, and took a closer look at me. “Dude! What happened?”

“Long story.”

“You can’t have my clothes unless I get the story.”

“Fine, just let me get out of these. The sauce is getting cold and let me tell you, it does not feel good.”

He stepped back a little more to let me walk in. He took a better look at me after he shut the door.

“You know, I’ve heard some crazy shit, but this is really kinky.”

I laughed. “Clothes, Nick.”

“Story, Jake.”

“I knocked the food off the table and then slipped in it, okay?” He gave me a skeptical look. “Ask Kody!” I insisted. I’d have to be sure to tell Kody what the new story was, just in case he did ask—which I was sure he would. “Clothes?”

He shrugged. “Jeans okay?”

“That’s fine.”

He disappeared into the bedroom and I quickly toed off my shoes, peeled off the soiled jeans, and started unbuttoning my shirt.

A sharp wolf whistle announced Nick’s reappearance. “Damn, Jake,” he said appreciatively. He stood in the doorway and ogled my body.

“Five bucks a minute, Pederson. Cash only. Keep staring, I need the money.”

Nick shook his head and grinned as he tossed me the jeans. I pulled them on, then looked at him expectantly.

“What?” he asked.


“Oh yeah. You sure you need it? I’m sure Kody would like it better without one...”

“Shirt, please?”

He grinned and disappeared into his bedroom again. He came back out a minute later and handed me a red pullover.

I pulled it over my head and ran my hands down the soft material. It fit snugly. “I like this,” I said.

“Keep it. It’s a little small on me.”

“Really?” He nodded. “Thanks!” I put my shoes back on, then bent to pick up the dirty clothes.

“Leave them. I’ll wash them and get them back to you.” I looked up with surprise. “Hey, consider it my part in helping this little love affair along. Now get back to your boy. I know how hard he worked to make this night perfect. Try not to mess it up, huh?”

I quickly crossed the room and gave Nick a brief hug before heading back to Kody’s apartment. I gave a brief rap before walking in. Kody was on his knees on the floor cleaning up the mess. Like me, he’d changed into another pair of jeans, but his polo shirt was a smoky blue-gray that reflected the color of his eyes perfectly. He looked up as I approached and gave me a crooked grin.

“How about if you stay where you are?” he quipped. “I think we’d all be safer that way...and besides, I can look at you better from here.”

I smiled and did a little pirouette. “Like what you see?”

“Oh yeah. Don’t tell him I said this, but Nick’s clothes look better on you than they do on him.”

I laughed. “By the way, in case he asks, the story is that I knocked the food off the table and then fell in it.”

“But that’s not what happened!”

“I know that, and you know that, but Nick doesn’t.”

“You didn’t have to do that!”

“I know, but this way he won’t ride you about it.” I edged closer to where he was kneeling.


“Kody, it’s not a big deal. I feel stupid just standing here watching you clean up. Isn’t there something I can do?”

“I’m almost done. You can hold the trash bag so I can throw all this crap in there. Just don’t get too close. I don’t want you to slip again.”

“I’m a little more prepared now.” I picked up the trash bag and held it open while Kody tossed in the food and paper towels he’d used to clean up.

“So much for dinner,” he said with a sigh.

“It was really good, Kody. I can’t believe you cooked it yourself. I can’t wait to see what’s for dessert.”

His face registered dismay. “I forgot dessert!”

I tried not to laugh at his pitiful expression. “It’s okay,” I soothed. “In fact, it’s good.”

“Good? How can it be good? I forgot dessert! Everybody knows that’s like the most important part of dinner. God! What else can I mess up?”

“This is my chance to thank you for dinner. Now I get to take you out for dessert. Where should we go?”

“I don’t know.” He was still visibly upset, so I squatted down next to him.

“Kody, we could have had Big Mac’s and apple pies from Mickey Dee’s and this night would have still been perfect. I don’t care if dinner ended up on the floor and you forgot dessert. So what if things didn’t go exactly as you planned? We got to spend time together and that’s what matters. Right?”

A smile slowly spread across his face, transforming him into one of Raphael’s angels. “Right.”

I couldn’t resist any longer. I bounced to my feet, pulling him up with me. I drew him into me as I slid my arms around his waist. Kody’s arms snaked around my neck and we met halfway. The kiss was amazing. It lasted several minutes and I thought my knees would buckle. There was no doubt about it; this kid was a quick study. We broke reluctantly apart, both of us panting. I wondered if Kody could feel my erection pressing into his body. “Or we could just skip dessert and stay here,” I said in a husky voice.

Kody pretended to pout. “I wanted chocolate cake.” I raised an eyebrow and he grinned. “But I think I can live without it.”

He stepped back, sliding his hands down my arms and slipping them into my hands. He pulled me towards the couch and uttered the time-worn but never unwelcome words, “Let’s get more comfortable.”

I was ready to do whatever he said, anything to taste his lips again. I let him lead me across the apartment and onto the couch, where our bodies slid together like two pieces of a puzzle, a perfect fit. For a few moments, I just lightly traced the outlines of his face with my finger tips. He was so beautiful, so pure...and he wanted me. The idea blew my mind, made me deliriously happy and unspeakably terrified at the same time. Would he still want me if I told him everything? He’d surprised me over and over so far, but how much was too much?

He must have seen the uncertainty in my eyes, because he gently reached up and stroked my cheek. “Don’t be scared,” he said in a barely audible voice. “I won’t hurt you.”

My breath caught in my throat. I couldn’t look away from his eyes. I was lost in their smoky depths. I don’t know how long we stared into each other’s souls, but the spell was suddenly broken when the phone rang. Kody shot an exasperated look in the direction of the ringing instrument. I was surprised it didn’t melt into a pool of molten plastic from the intensity of his stare alone.

“I’m not answering it,” he said through clenched teeth.

“Why not?”

“Because I just know it’s Dad or Charlie.”

We watched the phone as it rang about ten times then finally fell silent. Kody turned back to me with a smug smile. He opened his mouth to say something just as it started up again.

“Arg!” he yelled.

“You better get it,” I said, rolling off of him. “It could be an emergency.”

“Emergency my ass,” he grumbled as he got up and stomped over to the phone. “Hello?” If I’d been on the other end of the phone when he answered in that tone of voice I would have promptly apologized and hung up. Whoever it was had a stronger constitution than I, however. Kody listened for a few seconds then rolled his eyes.

“Dinner was fine, Dad. Thanks ever so much for calling to check.” Pause. “Yes, it was delicious...until I dumped it on the floor.” Pause. “I’ll tell you later.” Pause. “Yes, he’s still here.” Pause. “No, you can’t talk to him.” Pause. “Dad! I have to go. I’ll call you later. No, wait. Tomorrow. I’ll call you tomorrow.” He hastily hung up and turned to face me, red-faced and tight-lipped. “Sorry about that.”

“Don’t be,” I said. “That’s parents for you.” I held my arms out to him and he came towards me with a small smile. I pulled him down onto the couch and he snuggled into me.

“I can’t believe he called,” Kody groused. “It’s like he doesn’t trust me or something.”

“Maybe it’s me he doesn’t trust,” I said with a snicker.

“It’s not like I’m some dumb little kid.”

“Well, you are kind of little.”

He punched me in the arm.

“Hey, watch it with that thing. I’ve seen your fists of fury in action.” That got a giggle out of him. “Calm down, Kody. So your dad called to check up on you. What’s the big deal? It just shows how much he loves you. I mean, you’re the oldest right?”

“Yeah,” he admitted slowly, as if he knew where I was going and he didn’t like it. He wasn’t ready to give up on his pout just yet.

“So, this is the first time your dad has gone through all this. It can’t be easy having you leave and move across the country. He probably misses you, and he probably feels like he’s missing out on important things in your life.”

He sighed. “I guess you’re right.”

“Of course I am. You’ll quickly learn that I’m always right.” He rolled his eyes. “Hey! Don’t roll your eyes at me, Mister!” I started tickling him and soon had him squirming and laughing hysterically.

“Okay!” he cried breathlessly. “Okay, you win! I give up.”

I stopped tickling him and sat back, watching him gasp out a few residual giggles.

He sat up. “How about dessert now? I’m hungry.”

“You should be. You didn’t eat much before you tossed it all on the floor.”

He stuck out his tongue at me.

“Don’t stick that thing out unless you plan on using it,” I warned.

“Oh, I plan on using it.”


“Oh yeah.” He slowly started to lean in towards me, lowering his eyelids and licking his lips seductively. My heart started racing and I leaned in towards him, eager to pick up where we’d left off earlier. Just before our lips met, he suddenly licked the tip of my nose and jumped up. “Come on, I’m hungry.”

* * *

I didn’t get back to my dorm until fairly late that evening. After Kody and I left his apartment, we found a little ice cream shop. We got a large chocolate fudge sundae to share and fed it to each other. After that, we went back to his apartment and made out for a while. It was heavenly. I would have stayed the night if he’d asked, but I sensed he wasn’t quite ready for that yet. Eventually, I knew I’d better leave before things went further. I didn’t want him to regret anything about this evening when he thought back about it later. So I’d reluctantly pulled away and told him I needed to go because I had some work to do for class the next morning. We made it as far as the door where the kiss good night got a little out of hand, and it was another five minutes before I actually left.

I used the walk back to my room to cool down and think about what had happened between us. We’d certainly gotten the first kiss out of the way. Not to mention numbers two through ninety-nine. Even when we weren’t kissing, though, we’d had a real connection. We could talk to each other about real things, but we could tease each other too. I knew I’d have to tell him my whole story soon—just not yet.

I unlocked my door and started into my room when I was stopped in my tracks at the sound of grunting and a bed squeaking. I stifled a moan and hastily backed out of the room. Just what I needed to walk in and see: Foster screwing his girlfriend, white ass in the air. I shuddered and desperately tried to clear that image from my mind. I decided to go down and see what Erin was up to.

I knocked on her door and waited. I could hear sounds of movement from inside, but there was no answer. I sighed and walked away. She was probably busy with Carlos. Everybody was getting some but me. Well, it was probably a safe bet that Roy was alone, but I didn’t even know where his room was. He was always in mine.

I decided to head down to the Coop and see what was going on down there. Someone had come up with the bright idea of naming the campus hangout after a chicken coop. The sign by the door showed a proud rooster standing guard in front of his henhouse, but thankfully, they’d drawn the line at decorating. The restaurant looked like any other campus diner, with red-upholstered booths and a scattering of round tables. They have a small menu of mostly junk food type items, but nobody really goes there for the food. I stepped in and scanned the assembled students. It was fairly crowded for this late on a Sunday night. I heard a donkey bray of a laugh and turned to see a flash of bright red hair. What was Erin doing there?

I made my way across the room to stand at her elbow. She was talking animatedly to a dark-haired girl I’d never seen before. It took Erin a few seconds to notice me, and when she did, she let out an ear-piercing squeal.

“Jake! I’m so glad to see you! I’ve been dying to hear about your date. I tried staking out your room but your charming roommate came back with his skanky girlfriend, and they looked like they might be a while so I gave up and came here.”

“Yeah, well, I walked in on Foster and his skanky girlfriend, as you put it, while they were, uh, engaged in activity. I made a speedy exit. Actually, I went to your room, and I could have sworn I heard someone moving around in there. I figured you and Carlos were, uh, busy as well.”

She laughed. “I wish. Carlos is in my room alright, and he’s busy, but not with me. Busy puking his guts up is more like it.” I made a face. “Yeah, tell me about it. I stayed for a while and tried to be the supportive maternal type, but let’s face it, that’s not me. Finally, I told him to stay as long as he needed to but I just couldn’t hang around anymore listening to him vomit and wiping his forehead. Nurse Nightingale I’m not.”

“Can’t say I’d want you for my nurse.”

She laughed. “Oh, Jake, this is Chrissy. She’s an RA in Cayuga. Chrissy this is my friend Jake.”

We exchanged pleasantries, and then Chrissy said she needed to go.

“I hope I didn’t chase her off,” I said after she’d left.

Erin rolled her eyes. “If you did I should thank you. She’s so god-awful boring. I mean, get a personality already.”

“You have enough personality for the both of you.”

“True. So...tell me everything. What was it like? What was he wearing? What did he cook for you? Was it any good? I love a man who can cook. Did you guys do it?”

“Slow down! I can only answer one question at a time. Kody was wearing jeans and a shirt.”

“Oh come on, you gotta give me more than that.”

“Okay,” I giggled. “He was wearing these jeans that just hugged him everywhere and this sexy tight black button-up shirt, but the best part was that his underwear has my name on them.”


“Yeah, it’s some brand, Jake and Company or something like that. It was wild.”

“And just how did you discover that fact?” she asked suggestively.

“Not the way you’re thinking. See, while we were eating...”

“Oh! What did he cook?”

“Something French, chicken with this sauce, it was really good but I don’t remember the name, if he even mentioned it. Anyway, as I was saying, while we were eating, he stood up to get me something to drink, and somehow, the tablecloth snagged on his belt—or it was tucked into his pants, I don’t know. Either way, he yanked the whole thing off the table and all the food hit the floor.”

“Oh no!”

“Oh yes. I thought he was going to start crying right there. I felt so bad for him. He was trying to clean it up, so I went to help him, and I somehow slipped and fell on top of him. We were both covered in food, so we had to change. I saw his underwear then, but just the band.”

“You changed together but you only saw the band of his underwear?”

“We didn’t change together. I changed at Nick’s apartment.”

“How disappointing. Other than that little mishap, how was it?”

“It was really amazing. Erin, he’s so incredible. When I got there, it was so cute. He had the lights all turned down low and candles lit on the table. It was obvious he’d worked so hard, and he was so nervous. But then we got to talking and he relaxed. It was just”

Erin giggled. “It sounds like somebody has got it bad.”

“I do.”

“So, did you guys get it on?”

“No, actually we didn’t.”

“Oh God, please tell me you at least kissed him.”

“We did do that.”

“Whew. You were about to shatter all my stereotypes about guys in general, and gay guys in particular. I mean, I can only handle so much virtuousness. Is he a good kisser?”

“The best.”

“Aww. How cute. Hyperbole. And after only your second date.”

“Shut up. I really like him, Erin. And that scares the shit out of me.”

“Okay, that’s the second time you’ve said something like that. Why are you so scared? You’re sweet, smart, funny, and God knows you’re cute as hell, so what do you have to be scared of?”

“My past.”

“Right. So you were like a government assassin? You chopped the heads off babies? You kill and eat your mates? What could be so bad?”

I was filled with indecision. I wanted to tell her, but at the same time, I was afraid of her reaction too. I took a deep breath and decided to take the plunge. “I used to do drugs and drink...a lot.”

“Oh no!” she gasped in mock horror. “I don’t know if I can ever speak to you again!”

“That’s not all. While I was addicted to drugs, I got involved with a man, an older man. He was very powerful, a drug dealer, or a drug smuggler to be more exact. He provided me exchange for...”

“Oh, Jake,” she said softly. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t know...”

“It gets worse. Not only was I pretty much a whore, but I was a whore to this guy who was a very bad person. He hurt people, a lot of people. He was a murderer, and I don’t just mean in the drug-dealer sense. I mean he actually killed people. Then it came back to bite him in the ass. He was murdered while I was at his house. I don’t remember anything since I was busy overdosing at the time. I was found unconscious with a gun in my hand and a dead body in the room with me. Naturally, I was suspect numero uno.”

“Oh my God!”

“I’d probably be in jail except for my best friend, Killian. He’s a private investigator and he found the real killer. I owe him my life, several times over by now. So there you have it, my story in a nutshell, minus all the sordid details. I was a whore and a druggie.”

“ overcame all that! Jake, you should be proud of who you are, not ashamed for what you did in your past. I mean, you don’t do drugs anymore, right?”

“No, I don’t even drink. I’ve been clean for about a year.”

“See! You’re a survivor, a fighter! You conquered demons that kill most people.”

I blinked away a sudden onslaught of tears. “I guess I've never thought about it like that.”

“I think you should trust Kody enough to tell him the truth.”

“But he’s so pure and innocent!”

“And I’m not?” she said with a raised eyebrow.

“Well, I didn’t want to say anything, but...”

She swatted at me playfully. “Trust him, Jake. You can’t keep something like that hidden. It’s a part of who you are. If he cares about you as much as I think he does, he won’t care about your past, only the man you are today. Keeping it a secret could do more harm in the long run than just being honest.”

“I know you’re right. I’m just so scared.”

“Tell him.”

“I will, when the time is right.”

She smiled and slipped out of her seat and slid into my side of the booth to give me a hug. “Thank you for trusting me with the truth,” she whispered into my ear.

I held her close and squeezed my eyes shut in silent gratitude. I was so glad to have made such a good friend here.

“Well, well,” a caustic voice snarled, interrupting our moment. I turned to find a very angry Becca standing next to our booth, eyes narrowed and hands on her hips. “Why don’t you introduce me to your girlfriend, Jake?”

I rolled my eyes. This chick was really getting on my nerves. I started to tell her that Erin was just a friend, but then I realized that I didn’t owe her any explanations. “This is Erin,” I said simply.

“I see,” she spat. “So you’re only gay when you want to get rid of somebody, is that it? I knew you weren’t gay when you fed me that load of crap. Nobody who looks like you could be gay.”

“And you’re an expert on what gay people look like?”

“Oh please. I can’t believe you’d rather be with this red-headed Amazon freak than me.”

Up till now, Erin had been following our exchange with mild amusement, but now she drew herself up straight and narrowed her eyes menacingly. “Excuse me?”

“Was I talking to you?”

“When you talk to my man, you talk to me,” Erin responded acidly as she placed her arm possessively around my shoulders. I was tempted to let this cat-fight play out, but pretty much everyone in the Coop was now watching, and I thought I’d better put an end to things before they got out of hand.

“Becca, Erin isn’t my girlfriend,” I said as I shrugged out from under Erin’s arm. “She’s my friend. I am gay, and I have a boyfriend.” At least, I hoped I did. “But even if Erin was my girlfriend it wouldn’t be any of your business. I wouldn’t date you even if I was straight and you were the last girl on campus. I have standards.”

Becca’s mouth dropped open in shock as Erin snorted and scattered applause broke out around the room.

“So, if you’ll excuse us,” I continued, “we were in the middle of a private conversation before you so rudely interrupted.”

“Oh! of a bitch!” she sputtered. “You little fag! I’ll....I’ll...”

“Thank you for proving my point. Buh-bye.” I waved and deliberately turned my back to her.

“You’re gonna be sorry, Jake. I’ll make you sorry.”

I glanced over my shoulder with studied casualness. “I’m already sorry—sorry we ever met.”

Oh!” She spun on her heel and stormed away.

I started laughing as soon as she was out of sight. “Damn, that felt good,” I said between giggles.

“Bravo!” Erin said with a grin. “I’m impressed. Remind me never to get on your bad side.”

I chucked her gently under the chin and winked. “You could never get on my bad side, kiddo.”

She laughed. “Lord, aren’t we full of ourselves? Don’t get too cocky. You know what they say about a woman scorned.”

I shrugged dismissively. “Becca? I’m not worried about her.”

“Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

If only I’d listened to her advice.

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