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When their lips touch, Marcel swears his heart stops for that split second, that instant it takes to realize here and him and me, he didn’t know he wanted this until it was happening and now he wants, more than he knew a person could want, he just wants, all of him hungry and yearning and the points where his lips meet Ty’s burning, all these months of staring at those full lips, the way one side quirked up at the edges when Ty was being cruel, all this time Marcel thinking Ty hated him, couldn’t stand to be around him, go back to France you fag even though Marcel was born and raised here in Houston, and now Marcel finds he isn’t even really that surprised, the word fag lighting him up from the inside, moments coming to him in flashes — the feel of a boy’s hand in second grade when the teacher told them to buddy up, the way his eyes were drawn and drawn back to Greg Howard’s naked shoulders in the locker room after lacrosse, and that time he was hauled off the field for elbowing a player in the stomach and he didn’t even care because he was so busy replaying the way the man’s breath had huffed out into his face, the puff of air electric — and now he’s grabbing Ty and pulling him hard until their bodies are lined up, pressed into each other, reckless in the Texas heat where anyone might see, all that tension thrumming through him, and he thinks in some primal part of himself that if Ty pulls away now he will die, literally die, all his cells will burst in an instant, but that might happen anyway, all of him wired and his skin barely able to contain it, and Ty is pushing back, hands in Marcel’s hair yanking, little noises escaping his mouth that reveal a vulnerability Marcel never thought to hear, Ty’s whimpering begging Marcel not to stop, and Marcel wonders if Ty is strung just as tightly as he is, if he wants as much, but how could anyone hold this much want and not explode with it, and when finally Ty pulls away, it’s with a jerk, a sudden move that leaves Marcel tipping forward, dizzy, but it turns out it’s just so Ty can look back and forth between Marcel’s eyes, breathing ragged, before tugging him close again.
Jennifer London received her MFA in Fiction Writing at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her fiction has been published or is forthcoming in X-R-A-Y Literary Magazine, Slippery Elm, Spank the Carp, Red Coyote, Postcard Poems and Prose, and elsewhere. Links to her work can be found online at http://jenniferlondon.net.