Hi again. So this is what I worked on today. I'm busy with my other story (Holiday Cup Of Joe) so I've not had a lot of writing time. I am also putting together outlines for two other stories I want to write next. Yes... one of them is for my Alien books. I plan to play with that after I finish this. To those of your waiting for that, thank you for hanging in here with me.

Be well,

~M. From C.M. Moore

Chapter 9

(Clay)

As far as Clay was concerned, Brice was damn obstinate. The grader's stubborn and pig-headed nature was probably how he survived getting shot and tossed into a mass grave. Even if Clay could appreciate Brice's determined side, right now, all he wanted was for the man to surrender. He knew Brice was going crazy without him, but he still hadn't come around. Clay knew Brice had to be going insane because he was too. He fluffed his pillow and stared at the bunk bed above him. If Clay jerked off in the toilet stall one more time, his dick was going to fall off. He needed Brice.

Sighing, Clay wondered how long before Brice faced his fears. That's all this was—fear of heartbreak, fear of the uncontrollable bond. Clay had been terrified of how big this connection was... at first. But now, the link was comforting and stable, like a tree with deep roots. Clay would admit that the tie moved a little fast, but that wasn't necessarily a bad thing. There was no reason to fight it. He and Brice would be great together. No phenomenal. They just needed to get past a few pesky problems.

"Claymore? Are you listening?" Abdul asked. "At all?"

Clay glanced over at Janis and Abdul. Maybe there were more than a few pesky problems, but none of that mattered. Brice and Clay would get together.

Rolling over on his mattress, Clay tried to concentrate on his best friend. Abdul sat on the floor between his bunk bed and Clay's. Janis sat cross-legged in front of the blueprints of the headquarters building. Abdul unrolled drawings that outlined the entrances that surrounded the complex. He pointed at the entry point where people had to get screened for Snow Flu before admittance into the compound.

"I'm listening." Clay slipped off his bed and knelt next to the markers of where the cameras were located. He glanced down at his watch. It was almost two in the morning.

"We need to wrap this up," Janis said as she unscrewed the battery compartment of her flashlight. "The recruits will be returning from their mock night mission soon."

"And you need to head up to Gears' lab." Abdul handed Janis what appeared to be sketches of chemical compositions and breakdowns of an organic substance. Clay thought they could be types of poison. She folded the sheet and tucked it into her flashlight before returning the cap.

"Do you have the layout with the trainer's rooms?" Clay asked as Janis rose. "I want to see the hallway."

Abdul shuffled the illustrations.

"Number six has the one that shows where all the camera's lens point. That one also shows the spot where Nancy has adjusted the angle to hide half the trainer's hall." Janis leaned against the bedpost. "Is that the time?" She tapped her watch. "I've got to go."

"It's almost 2 a.m." Abdul noted. "Can you get it all done before everyone gets back?"

"Yeah." Janis nodded. "And if I get caught, I'll say I'm hiding there smoking in the lab."

"Watch your six." Abdul tossed Janis a pack of matches. As soon as she walked out of the room, his best friend stared at him.

Clay ignored the intense look and instead scanned the trainer's hallway and quarters. Brice's room was the last on the floor on the right side. His quarters were as far away from the elevator as possible. He checked the camera's positions. If Clay wanted to sneak into Brice's bedroom, he would have to cover his face. If the man weren't going to come to him, Clay would see the mulish grader and tell Brice he was a stubborn ass. After that, Clay would get on his knees and beg.

"Clay? Earth to Wicks." Abdul waved a hand over where he'd indicated the maintenance room on the map. "What's going on?"

Glancing up, Clay sighed. There was no point in hiding this from Abdul. Even if he tried, eventually, his friend would figure it out. Clay and Abdul had been together for far too long.

"I'm in love." Clay leaned his head back on the mattress. He decided to tell it like it was —no point in sugar-coating the truth.

"Is that all?" Abdul snorted as he started to roll up the documents. "You had me nervous there for a second."

"What does that mean?" Clay picked up his head as his eyes narrowed.

"Talk to me when you decide to do something more than kissing. Then I'll worry." Abdul grabbed another blueprint.

"I mean it, Abdul. I'm in love." Clay didn't have the words to explain this feeling. It was more than love, but what did someone call that?

"I know you, Clay. I even dated you when I was young and dumb. Your idea of love is talking a big game. You say all the things you're supposed to, but in the end, you're scared of intimacy. I don't even know if it's fear as much as repulsion and dread." Abdul stopped rolling the drawings and tipped his head to the side as if he was thinking much too hard about Clay's sex life.

"I don't know what you mean," Clay muttered the lie. Unfortunately, he knew precisely what Abdul was saying. Being called corpse-cock on more than one occasion was enough of a reminder.

"I'll tell you what I mean." Abdul tossed down his papers. "You treat sex like a horrible chore you're trying to get out of." He held up one finger. "You won't touch anyone's genitals, man or woman. You won't even look at a penis or a vagina. It's like it's the sun, and you can't look right at it." He held up two fingers. "And you won't even hold someone's hand without them pleading with you." Abdul held up three fingers. "After you do touch someone, you wipe your palm like they're made of mold. I think you're more friendly fighting an opponent then you are in the bedroom." Abdul waved four fingers before he picked up his pencil. "When you were dating Denise, you even told me you'd try to get out of kissing her. You used your gift on her to escape."

"This is different." Yes, Abdul had an accurate description of all his past relationships, but his sexual side wasn't dormant with Brice. Now his sexual side was alive and kicking. He wanted it all with the instructor. Clay needed to touch him and kiss him and talk to him. If he had to, Clay would crawl over broken glass to have a second with his grader. He could stare at Brice's penis all day long.

"I'm not saying I don't believe you, but you have to excuse my skepticism. You and I dated for what? A year?"

"Ten months," Clay mumbled. He knew what Abdul was going to say. The boyfriend-situation had been a disaster. The only thing Clay was happy about was that they'd salvaged their friendship after everything went down the shitter.

"And other than kissing and holding my hand once, all you ever did was complain. You hated sucking dick. You walked out on me when we tried. You didn't want me anywhere near your ass hole. You walked out that time too." Abdul picked up the designs again. "When you fucked me," Abdul's voice lowered. "I could tell how much you hated it. You went soft halfway through. If I remember correctly, you weren't even into me going down on you." Abdul shook his head. "I should take away your man card for that. What man doesn't want his penis sucked on?"

"Can we forget I said anything?" Clay held up his hands.

"The one time I was licking you, and you fell asleep during it. Gavin told me you did that to him as well."

"I was tired," Clay said weakly. Now that he'd been with Brice, Clay had a new perspective on sex and closeness with another person. If Brice were licking him, it wouldn't matter if the room was on fire. Clay would beg to have the man finish.

"You were tired both times?"

"Forget I said anything. I don't need to be called corpse-cock again" Clay reached for the plans and started unrolling them. "Let's talk about this instead."

"Too late now." Abdul tugged the blueprints from his fingers. "Let's pretend that I believe that you're in love." He nodded. "Tell me what in love looks like because Janis and Gavin and Denise all said that you were just as bored with them. I know it's not a woman or man thing."

"This isn't about sex," Clay tried to explain. "And it's not about gender either. What I feel for him is more than all that."

"Him?" Abdul asked.

Clay dropped his eyes to the layout.

"You asked to see the hall." Abdul picked up the detailed drawings of the trainer's area. He stared down at the writing. "Ponce has that sexy smile, and he looks like a model from an old magazine." He ran a finger down the hallway depiction. "Essie has that sexy Spanish accent and a six-pack to drool over." He glanced up and grinned. "One of the Deans? Do you like beards now?"

Clay shook his head.

"I know it's not Nancy or Zoey because you said him."

"It's Head Instructor Brice."

"Brice?" Abdul scoffed. "The guy with that scar down his face?"

"I like it." Clay pictured Brice's face and had to control the urge to sigh like a love-sick teen. "I used to have scars like that too."

"He looks like he never smiles and doesn't know what sex is." Abdul chuckled at his joke as he rolled up the blueprints. "You know what? Go ahead. You have my permission to be in love with that fucker."

"I'm not kidding, Abdul." Clay tried one last time to explain his feelings. "He's phenomenal."

"Like I said. Talk a big game." Abdul opened his footlocker and tossed the drawings into the bottom. "Get back to me when you do more than kiss scar-face."

"We already did. We—" Clay didn't want to talk about Brice this way. It was almost like telling Abdul about his night on the top floor would cheapen what they had done. Brice was incredible in and out of the bedroom, but Clay didn't know how to get the man to see that what they had was bigger and more important than the H.S.P.C. When it came to Brice, Clay didn't care about Keith or The Originals or anything in this world.

Clay reached under the bed and pulled out the small black plastic box that Gears had given him. He ran his fingers back and forth over the smooth top.

Abdul finished covering his layouts of headquarters with blankets and uniforms. His friend even tossed his boots on top of the pile. After he hid everything, Abdul closed his footlocker and then sat next to Clay and eyed the container. He jerked his head at the box in the silent question of what it was.

"I need help with this, and I don't know who else to ask." Clay stared at the floor.

Abdul took the case and popped the lid. His friend's eyes widen as he looked at the contents.

"Lubrication? Orange citrus healing gel?" Abdul lifted a small bottle.

"I want Brice to..." Clay rubbed his forehead and couldn't meet Abdul's stare. It was pitiful that he was this old, and he'd never had anyone inside of him before. Now he wished he'd let Abdul screw him when they were together. At least then he would have the experience. "I want to lose my virginity."

"You're not a virgin. You fucked me. At least halfway."

"Will you stop joking around?" Clay snapped.

"Are you messing with me?" Abdul held up a black tube. "Is this a prank?" His voice dropped. "It's not funny."

"I went to see Doctor Gears about having anal sex, and he gave me that box. I want to get ready. I plan to sneak into Brice's bed."

"Shit, you mean that." Abdul rubbed his jaw. "What do you need? Do you need help breaking into his room?"

"I've never done it."

"You're good at picking locks. I can give you my pick set."

"I mean, I've never had anal sex with someone inside of me."

"I'm not surprised, Corpse-cock." Abdul chuckled.

"What I'm saying is," Clay muttered and then took a deep breath. "I need you to explain how to use some of the items in the box. I didn't get a chance to ask Gears before people interrupted us. I don't want to mess this up."

"You want me to teach you how to get ready to have anal sex with the head trainer?" Abdul laughed out loud. "This is a prank." Abdul hooted and rolled to his side as he shouted with laughter.

Suddenly Clay wished he'd never asked. After all, Abdul was Clay's ex-boyfriend, even if it was a long time ago and the relationship didn't go anywhere. Embarrassment flamed Clay's cheeks, and he grabbed the box and stood. He shoved the plastic container under his pillow and started taking off his boots.

"Forget that I asked."

"Do the words The Originals have any meaning to you?" Abdul asked as he stood. "We have shit to do." After he wiped the tears from his eyes, he grabbed Clay's arm and yanked until they were face to face. "What about Keith?"

"I love Brice." Clay glared at Abdul. "What else do you want me to say? I love him. Yes, I understand this isn't the time or place. I understand the risks. I get it, but I'm going to do this with or without your help. Are you my friend or not?"

"Okay." Abdul let go of him. "Just stop saying I love him all depressing like that."

"You're my best friend. I didn't know who else to ask. I know I was never into sex when we were together, but it's different with Brice. When his mouth is on me or when I'm touching him, it's like sex is all I want. Right now, I'm not sure what's going on. He won't talk to me, and I'm going to sneak into his bed. I think he loves me. I'm going to find out."

"I always figured that one day you'd have a sexual awaking." Abdul slapped his shoulder and then leaned back. "I just don't think now is a good time for it, but I want you to be happy."

"Thank you. That means a lot to me."

"Alright, Wicks." Abdul grinned. "After tomorrow's training, we will go to the bathroom, and I'll explain how to get ready for sex with this man you love."

"Thank you." Clay squeezed his friend's arm. "You're a phenomenal best friend."

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