Zach used to pretend it— all of this— was spontaneous.
That this was sex, and that it sort of just happened. In the heat of the moment, with indescribable passion. Well.
There were only so many times you could “accidentally” have sex. And only so many times you could be thrown on the table and cry out “we shouldn’t…”
The jig was up. It had been up for some time, and Gentry knew it, too. Heck, he’d tease him about remembering to wear the “cheap” underwear. Zach never did think of a retort for that, but instead accepted it in stride. Well, as much stride as he could muster, since cheating was not exactly dignified.
The other thing that wasn’t dignified was peeling yourself off someone’s lap after, well. Some things Zach didn’t spend much time dwelling on, and “afterglow” was one of them. Which was why he quickly moved off Gentry’s lap, sticky-wet with a potent mix of sweat and cum, a dull ache building deep inside him. It would hurt more, later... but Gentry knew better than to leave him limping. He propped up against the table, as the day reeled through his mind.
Today’s lesson had started so slowly… he had time to leave, but he hadn’t. It all happened so slowly.
The air conditioner was broken. The heat hung heavy, swollen from the sunlight which glared through the blinds and reflected off tiny beads of sweat.
Wuthering Heights lay unopened on the library table, its laminated cover strongly glinting in the slowly fading sunlight.
The tiny room was hot, but comfortable. Too comfortable to work, and too comfortable to leave. Just good enough to stay the extra ten minutes.
Zach was slouched over the pale wood table, cheek mushed against his elbow and half-lidded eyes peering over his elbow. Sweat weighed down a few short strands of his coarse hair, the ones which refused to neatly spike up with the rest. Occasionally he would suck in his upper or lower lip, even though he tiredly acknowledged that it wouldn’t help the blistering dryness.
Days like this, he understood why rain existed.
It was one of those late afternoons where nothing seemed to move fast enough, when the world turned caramel-slow and everything was chewed over and pulled under. For the past ten minutes there had been nothing, not so much as a sound. Yet the lack of conversation didn’t bother Zach, because Gentry had a way of talking without speaking.
It was the way he sat curled up in his seat, slouching with his balled fist against frowning lips and an arm loosely thrown across his stomach, amber eyes blankly fixated on some spot in the distance. The heat was licking away at him, too; melting him into a pile of sweat and bones. The smell of chlorine still hung heavy on him, and his hair was still damp with water and sweat.
Both of theirs; its pungent smell permeated the air, unashamed and raw, so strong he could almost taste its curdled flavor in his mouth. God, it was hot. Too hot. So hot that Gentry peeled off his shirt and threw it at the window, falling back in his chair like a sunburned old redneck, the kind Zach saw in dubbed American TV shows.
“You need a rifle.” He told him, and Gentry smoothly drawled back,
“You need a whipping.”
No sooner had the reply left his lips then he lurched forward and took a long gulp of water, downing the bottle quickly a little bit trickled down the corner of his mouth. Zach watched him lazily, one hand fumbling through his backpack to pull out a shiny new mp3 player.
Gentry seemed to ignore him, until the first notes of the bumbling Bollywood melody reached his ears, honey-thick and rough all at once, thumping through the thick black earphones which hung loosely over Zach’s shoulders.
It went on for a good ten minutes, the only sound in the room until Gentry grumbled,
“What is that?”
“It should be called terrible.”
Zach sighed, and sourly turned off his mp3 player.
“I was just trying to liven things up.”
“That music could make the dead turn in their graves.”
“Then, what do you like, Gentry?”
Zach gave him a knowing look, “No, really? I meant music.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Never thought about it.”
Gentry lurched forward and swiped away the mp3 player before Zach could paw it back, then stood up and flipped Wuthering Heights open to page 255.
“Finals are in a few days. Knowing Handson, most of your grade will go on an essay about any book you’ve read. Wuthering Heights is a safe bet, since he does the same thing every year.”
“I already passed.” Zach sighed, “Who cares.”
“If you’re happy with a C, then why do you still come here?”
Zach shifted uncomfortably in his seat, then leaned forward with his elbows on the table and loudly asked, “What else do I need to know?”
“He gets all his final questions off a site, but doesn’t go in order. Your safest bet is to do all the prompts... ‘comes down to seven.”
“Got it.” Zach nodded curtly, and reached for his pencil.
“Just write the outlines for now.”
“I’ll help you from there.”
Help you. Zach didn’t know why those words irritated him as much as they did. So he briefly, very briefly, stole a look at him. At the faded jeans he had worn for the past few days, the rough bruises on his sore-scrubbed red hands, and the stale look in his eyes which hinted he hadn’t slept.
“How can you help me when you can barely help yourself?” he asked himself.
Just after the sound of his voice came back to him did he realize he’d said it out loud. Gentry paused dryly, regarded him coolly, then went on.
“A day or two before the final, you’ll read over your finished copies. By then, you’ll be ready for whatever he throws at you.”
“Did you also tutor Casey?”
Gentry looked thoughtful for a moment, then shrugged carelessly.
The pencil dropped from Zach’s hands. It hit the floor with a muted thump, rolling between them. Zach gawked up at that unrelenting poker face, at the lips which very slowly curled into a smile.