This was originally published in the zine One-Handed Frisky by Almost Foolproof Press, in 1998.

Posted to the web June 9, 1999.


Untaught Lessons

by Arduinna


The dark-haired man was scowling slightly as he arrived home. God, what a day. Why did everyone always come to him with their problems? Sure, he was good at handling problems -- okay, great -- but did that have to mean that no one else could? He had his own life to deal with! Ahh, forget it. The day was over; time to get ready for the night.

He shrugged out of his jacket, slinging it across a chair. He took a moment to stretch, really stretch, since he was alone. Gotta maintain the image in front of everyone else, but in private...nothing felt as good as a huge stretch after a tough day. He was smiling as his muscles relaxed, the scowl forgotten. The only thing that would make him feel any better was the next item on the agenda, a hot shower.

A quick glance at the clock showed him that he had plenty of time -- he wasn't due anywhere for almost an hour -- and he started stripping as he moved toward the bathroom. Reaching in to the shower stall, he turned the water on, then finished undressing and got in.

He couldn't stop a sound of pure pleasure as the hot water started pounding on his back. He leaned his hands against the wall of the shower, letting the heat remove the last memory of aches and pains; he'd twisted too far that afternoon trying to get decent leverage to finish the job. But everything was taken care of now.

He let his mind wander, just enjoying the feeling, until he realized where his thoughts were going. Frantically, he tried to distract himself, but it was too late. With a groan, he surrendered and let his mind think what it would -- what harm could it do to think of Richie, here in the privacy of his own shower?

Standing up, he reached for the shampoo and began working it through his hair absently, not seeing the shower walls around him.

Richie. 18 and all-American-boy looks, with innocent eyes and an attitude that tried to be worldly-wise; the combination roused every protective instinct in him. But somehow protection had turned to friendship had turned to something more.

He tilted his head back under the spray, rinsing out the shampoo, letting the water drip off the ends of his hair.

Images drifted through his mind -- Richie laughing at some joke, or staring back defiantly, unafraid, even when he himself was in a temper -- but he never stayed in a temper with the redhead around, did he? Not with Richie standing so close, so ready to be there for the man he thought of as friend and mentor. Mentor. Please, God, Richie would never find out what he really wanted to teach him. Please, God, Richie would never find out, and turn away from him in disgust, walking out of his life.

No, don't think about that. He grabbed the soap and began scrubbing himself with it vigorously, cleaning off the sweat and grime of the day. Think about this afternoon. Stopping on his way home when he saw Richie shooting baskets with a couple of friends, horsing around. He'd just sat there, caught by the beauty of the scene, storing up the memory of that slim body flashing in the fading sunlight, twisting and turning, stretching up to its full length to sink a shot.

His hands had slowed without his noticing, until now they were caressing instead of cleaning. Biting his lip, he moved them toward his cock, still trying to pretend that he was just washing himself.

At the touch, though, he gave a slight whimper, instantly silenced; Richie could come walking up those outside steps any time, and he didn't dare risk him hearing anything.

But, oh, what if he did? What if he heard, and walked in, and saw... and instead of turning in disgust, what if he smiled, and reached to touch...?

With a moan, he shoved the soap onto the holder and reached for his hardening cock with both lathered hands. He gripped it tightly for a moment, then eased the pressure, teasing himself. Reaching his left hand down to fondle his balls, he used the fingertips of his right to stroke the shaft lightly. His nipples hardened to peaks, drops of water gathering on them then dripping off. He closed his eyes, imagining Richie's tongue lapping up the drops, flicking across the hard little nubs before those perfect teeth started to nibble. Of its own volition, his left hand drifted up across his abdomen to tease at a nipple, tugging, taking the place of teeth, and a louder moan wrenched free.

His right hand wrapped his cock in a firm grasp and started stroking more strongly, rubbing his thumb across the head on each upstroke. Richie's hands... yeah, Richie would do this, for him, just for him, touch him like this, make him need so bad it almost hurt. No calluses on Richie's hands, though, not yet. Soft hands, to stroke and pet him, just like this.

His breathing was harsh now, and heavy, and he could hear himself whispering encouragement to his young lover. Yeah, baby, like that, just like that, you know what I like, what I need, oh god...

A hand reached down to cup his balls again, rolling them slightly, and he groaned, arching forward into the touch, thrusting his cock harder into the soap-slick tunnel surrounding it.

Frantic now, the stroking grew faster, harder, pulling him closer and closer to the edge. A picture formed in his mind, of Richie, his Richie, on his knees in front of him, mouth open to take him in, to love him...

"Richie!" The scream was no more than a gasp as he came, hard, spattering the shower walls. He opened his eyes to find himself alone, standing under a cooling spray -- again.

Someday... maybe someday he could tell Richie, show Richie...

Don't be a chump, pal.

Face it -- Richie was the walking definition of "straight". No way he'd ever understand this.

Moving by rote, he rinsed himself, turned off the water, dried himself off, walked into the bedroom to get dressed. At least now he could make it through one more night, one more day, of being nothing more than Richie's best friend. At least now he could go out on his date and pay attention; heck, even if they ran into Richie, he'd be able to laugh and joke with him now. Touch him without being afraid he wouldn't be able to stop touching him. Without being afraid that this time he'd give himself away. At least for one more day.

It amazed him, sometimes. Hadn't anyone noticed, how now he had to date women constantly? Hell, he was dating twins tonight, and no one batted an eye. Business as usual. And no one ever guessed it was to keep him worn out enough so that when Richie touched him he could touch him back as casually. So that when he dared put his arm around the kid, he put one arm around him, and didn't grab him close as tight as he could and never let go.

Richie even looked up to him for it, admired his ability to get women interested in him. So he taught him -- how to talk, how to walk, how to woo. Gave him lesson after lesson in love. But never the one lesson he really wanted to teach. Never that.

His hands clenched in the clean t-shirt he was holding, then, by sheer force of will, he unclenched them, smoothed the fabric. Taking a deep breath, he pulled on fresh clothes and reached for his leather jacket, knowing he looked good and not particularly caring.

He checked himself in the mirror; pulled out a comb to make one final adjustment, then changed his mind. With one last glance around to make sure he hadn't forgotten anything, he turned out the light and walked out, deliberately making himself think of the two lovelies he was going to see instead of the one person he wanted to be with.

The Olsen twins were waiting. And the Fonz never showed up late for a date.


(mini-notes: I was going to apologize at the top for not giving fandom and pairing, but then I'd have had to explain why I wasn't giving fandom and pairing, which would have pretty much made the whole thing moot, so -- sorry! It drives me crazy when people don't identify their stories ahead of time, and I apologize sincerely for aggravating anyone. But I did feel it was necessary in this case. If you read this and still have no idea, the fandom is Happy Days.)

~ fin ~

Feedback of any sort, from one line to detailed crit, is always welcome, at arduinna at trickster dot org.


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