Our House of Cards, Part 1
Posted on Mon Feb 26th, 2018 @ 11:56pm by Unawakened Devon Spencer
Edited on on Tue Feb 27th, 2018 @ 12:01am
Location: Williamsburg, Virginia
Timeline: Tuesday, 16 March 2010
Tags: Devon, Dev, Deo, Spencer, Bobbie, Mitchum, Kyran
Previous: Paradise Lost and Found
“I remember way back then when everything was true and when
We would have such a very good time, such a fine time
Such a happy time
And I remember how we’d play, simply waste the day away
Then we’d say nothing would come between us”
– Madness, “Our House”
“Every man dies. Not every man really lives.” – William Wallace
Winter returned with a vengeance to Williamsburg as a familiar figure walked along walls and vaulted steps on his way to morning classes. Devon bundled up for the weather, taking no chances with his health after his close brush with death. It felt good to sit in Art Class again. He had only missed one day of school and yet it seemed like years. This past spring break was one to remember. How could his life twist inside out so many times in 14 days? Now that he sat once more in normal, peaceful surroundings it all seemed surreal. His life felt uprooted, adrift in a storm of chaos. Devon intended to tap his life back down and restore some semblance of order now that he had an opportunity. The familiar confines of the classroom felt good. He felt good. It was time to put the crap behind him and get on with life.
The “Supreme Master Illustrator,” Tony Watson stopped beside his desk and patted Devon kindly on the shoulder. “Dev, good to have you back. I heard you were sick over break. I hope everything is okay.”
“Yeah, I’m good, thanks. It’s nice to be back.” Devon looked up from his painting and smiled. Mr. Watson was his favorite instructor out of three years of college. The man spent half his life as an engineer with absolutely no natural talent for art but after a rough stint in his life, he tried art and applied his unique perspective to his work. He helped Devon to develop a practical approach to creativity that helped Deo discipline the mechanics of his application until it became unconscious. This allowed his imagination to roam freely and without distraction. Devon not only enjoyed art more but he saw the quality of his work improve dramatically.
Watson observed Devon’s painting with a curious tilt of his head. He bent down and lowered his voice so that it did not carry through the classroom. “Are you sure?”
Devon paused suspiciously. “I was but now I’m not, why?”
“Before the break, this painting seemed to flow off your brush. You seemed excited about something, happy, whimsical. Look at what you’ve done today. The strokes have a hard edge. It’s almost a different painting. You seem tense or upset about something.”
“Eh, spring break sucked,” Devon hedged his words. “I see what you mean, though. It’s obvious now that you point it out.”
“You didn’t see it, so you’re distracted. Whatever sucked over spring break is still bothering you. I recommend you put this painting aside for now and start a new one. Work out what’s going on inside. It’ll be good to get it out your system and I have a feeling the work will be amazing.”
Devon bit his lip anxiously, whispering, “If I start a new painting now I’ll fall behind!”
“Consider the new painting extra credit and finish this one when you’re back in the mood. Look, Dev,” Watson knelt beside the desk, “Grades take care of themselves. You’ve mastered the skill. What you’re doing this semester is mastering the expression. You can’t force it. It comes from you and you’re in a different place right now. Go with it, express it. See what happens.”
The young artist thought it over and finally gave a nod. “I see what you mean, thanks.”
“Hey, that’s why I’m paid the big bucks!” Watson fell into character and flexed his bicep. He patted Devon on the shoulder one last time before moving on to help other students.
The Greek youth stared at his painting. It was the forest scene with the sleeping Greek youth. This painting came to him after watching Bobbie sleep in his bed after their first date. He saw how hard, detailed bark replaced gentle brush strokes in the new portion of the canvas. The dreamlike quality of the work vanished completely, replaced with sharp, realistic details. He no longer painted using inspiration but by rote. The mood of the painting changed mid-stroke and it pointed to something deeper going on inside Devon.
Art in its purest form expressed one’s soul. If so then Devon’s soul was a mess. Instead of putting the past two weeks behind him and starting fresh, he found those two weeks bled into this, the most peaceful area of his life. Watson was right; the sooner he expressed what was going on inside him, the better his chance at finding out what was going on. The young Greek heaved a heavy sigh of resignation and got to work preparing a new canvas. He had a feeling this was going to be a long day.
Later, after a quick stop at Sadler Center for his favorite campus lunch, a chicken buffalo bleu sandwich, Devon stopped in at “Aromas”. He got in line like a regular customer, shushing Shan as she rounded the counter with a tray full of coffee and pastries. She grinned brightly on seeing him and mimed zipping her lips shut as she continued on to serve her customers. Meanwhile, Dev waited until his turn to prop an elbow on the counter where he took in the handsome youth before him.
Kyran started work at “Aromas” the summer of Devon’s freshman year at William and Mary. They became fast friends on the job what with Devon’s taste in purple shirts and Kyran’s gothic flair. It seemed strange for an Australian surfer punk to wear black eyeliner, nail polish, and use his ears to display sinister jewelry, but Kyran made it work. He intrigued Dev such as to become the subject of many photo shoots and painting sessions. Everyone assumed they were dating but the boys never got that far, not for lack of trying. Now Dev wondered how Kyran might take the news that he was seeing Bobbie.
Kyran turned from a customer to flash a radiant smile at Devon. The artist marveled at the other boy’s eyes. Kyran’s baby blues never failed to enchant him.
“Arvo, mate, it’s been too long!” Kyran clasped hands with Dev. “I hear tell you’ve been partying too much. Tsk-tsk, you couldn’t have waited for me? Cruel, mate, you’re just cruel.”
“It’s like you say, man. Take it while it’s there,” Dev beamed.
“That you do, mate, that you do,” Kyran affected a sagacious nod. “Good to see you’re finally listening. So, what can I do you for, mate?”
“Just looking to get back on the schedule.”
“See, just when I think you’re getting better!” Kyran teased. “Don’t volunteer for work, mate. It never ends well.”
“I’ve had more fun than I can handle right now,” Dev rolled his eyes.
“Then you’re doing it wrong,” Kyran winked. “Anyway, I think Harvey’s in the back doing receipts.”
“Thanks, um….” Dev paused pensively. “Can you get somebody to cover for five? I want to talk in the back.”
“Sure, mate,” Kyran arched his brow with piqued interest. He called over one of the girls and followed Dev into the break room. Strange how it felt like a different place, like he had been away for years and not just over a week. Was that a new calendar next to the time clock? Kyran cleared his throat, spurring Devon to turn and face him. He grew awkward as he met the other boy’s gaze. He took a breath and pushed on.
“Ky,” he started, “there is no easy way to say this but, I’m seeing someone.”
“Shit, for real?” A sly smile crossed Kyran’s handsome face. “I didn’t know you had it in you, mate!”
Devon frowned, as he felt a pang of–was that disappointment? “You’re not upset?”
Kyran looked wounded and lowered his voice. “Shit, yeah, I’m broken-hearted, mate! I thought we were besties! I thought for sure we were going to get to necking on the beach this year, right? I bought lip gloss and everything.”
Devon shook his head, smiling, “You are an asshole, you know that, right?”
“Yeah, kind of goes with the look, right?” His smile softened, “Look, Dev, I’ve been upfront with you. I follow where the surf’s up. That’s not the kind of life for anything long-term. I’m not ready for that. I saw how hard it was for you to trust anyone and thought maybe–when you were ready–we could fuck around. You know, ease you into it with no pressure. Besties help each other, right? Anyway, I guess that’s off the table what with you getting serious out of the box.” He peered into Devon’s eyes, “Shit, man, but are you all right? Jumping into a relationship first thing is … I don’t know, it just seems like maybe you should take a few years to figure out what you want, right?”
Kyran’s words led Devon back to talk in the treehouse with Bobbie. He grew thoughtful. “I think we’re finding out together.” He then looked back at Kyran, “I know it’s a lot to expect but, I’d like us to stay besties.”
“On one condition,” Kyran crossed his arms sternly and Devon drew back, wondering what Ky was up to.
“Okay,” he warily agreed. “Does it involve death or dismemberment?”
“Just close your eyes and trust me.”
Devon did as Kyran bade and waited. He trusted Kyran, he considered the other boy his best male friend outside of Harvey, and while Harvey was a great friend, there were things one could only do with a friend one’s own age.
Things fell quiet in the break room and Devon began to worry. He considered opening his eyes when he felt a warm brush of lips against his. He froze in stark surprise and, truth be told it was a good kiss–a great kiss. The kind of kiss that made the toes curl and the day seem brighter. Devon became suddenly aware that he had leaned into it and gasped, drawing back with his eyes wide open. What was he doing?
Kyran stepped back with a fetching smile, his blue eyes glittering. At that instant, Devon imagined how, once upon a time he might have given his heart to this darksome, irresistible boy. Kyran tipped Devon’s chin and stole another quick kiss before settling back, “If we’re going to be ‘just’ besties I want a taste of what I’ve been working up to for three years before we close that door. Nice,” he grinned wickedly, “Very nice.”
Devon stepped back with a goofy smile when he caught sight of Bobbie past Kyran’s shoulder. His lover leaned against the doorframe in his work uniform, his arms crossed, a stormy expression on his face. All color rushed from Devon’s face and his smile fell to horrified shock. He worked his mouth to speak but nothing came out.
Kyran looked back over his shoulder with a frown and on seeing Bobbie he burst out in laughter, “You’re with Bobbie? Is he the lucky bastard? Aw, man, this totally sucks! It isn’t fair! I’ve only been trying to crawl into his pants for the past two weeks and now the two hottest blokes in town are banging the back door! Fuck my life!”
Bobbie’s face changed on seeing Devon’s look of frozen terror. That look went far beyond embarrassment or guilt, Devon looked ready to hyperventilate with panic. Bobbie mentally kicked himself and rushed to comfort his lover. “It’s okay, I’m sorry, it was a joke, I was stupid!”
“I didn’t–I’m not–it was–we’re not–!” Devon’s words tumbled past his lips but Bobbie stopped them with a touch.
“I heard everything, it’s okay. I understand; I just thought it might be fun to surprise you. It was a stupid idea.”
Devon hugged him tightly. “I love you! I wouldn’t–!”
“I know, shush, it’s okay; I’m not mad.” Bobbie rocked with him. Devon calmed with a look of sheepish embarrassment.
“Y-You’re not mad?” He peeked hopefully from under his lashes.
“Nope, I know you love me. We’re good,” Bobbie gave him an arch look, “Why, do you want me to be pissed?”
Devon hung on that for a long moment and then shut his mouth with a click of teeth. “Forget I said that. Wait, why aren’t you pissed?”
“I heard ‘Asshole’ here and I had a feeling about what he was up to. Besides, I’m not going to walk into your life and expect you stop having feelings and friends.”
“Sweet, does that mean I get to neck with you both on the beach?” Kyran piped up, grinning.
“NO!” Devon and Bobbie snapped back in unison.
“Aw, piss!” He pouted. “You’re no fun!”
“Maybe we can talk later,” Devon gave his Aussie friend an “am-scray ow-nay” look and Kyran rolled his eyes, smiling.
“Whatever, I’ll leave you lovebirds. Just make sure not to bang the door too loud, right?”
“We’re not–” Devon started but Kyran had already gone. He leaned close to Bobbie and lowered his voice to a conspiratorial whisper. “Everybody thinks we’re fucking like rabbits and we totally would if we could just get my body to cooperate!”
“Well, we know that you aren’t allergic to THC….” Bobbie got a suggestive look in his eyes. “Maybe later we can go in on a night at a motel. If it doesn’t pan out we always have another amazing back rub and no fear that Chuck or Sandy might walk in on us.”
Devon considered this. He avoided THC ever since that night with the stoner twins because of his near-death experience but Bobbie made a good point. Doctor Millman ruled out a THC allergy as the cause of his reaction and he wanted badly to feel that good again. THC restored healthy function to his brain. He felt like his true self that night. He felt ready, eager even to consummate his love with Bobbie and that was how he wanted to lead his life. His gut clenched anxiously but he made his decision.
Devon leaned close and nuzzled under Bobbie’s ear. He raked his teeth tantalizingly against the skin and shivered with an intense desire for his green-eyed lover. It deepened his voice to a husky growl as he spoke his next words. “Yes,” he consented. “I want you, Bobbie Mitchum. I want you very badly.”
“I want you too, Deo Karistinos.” Bobbie leaned into his lover’s breathy ardor. “I want you so much it hurts.”
-To be continued-