After a disastrous first kiss, Shaun is angrier than ever. He doesn’t want to be gay, and he’ll do anything to avoid talking about his emotions. Jesse, however, is intrigued with the new–secret–budding romance and he needs someone to talk to.
Against Shaun’s advice, he befriends Kyle, Shaun’s ex-best friend, and tells him a lot more than he should. When everyone at school finds out about them, Shaun quits the band to escape the embarrassment.
Depressed and struggling with his sexuality, Shaun is hesitant when his old bandmate comes up with the idea for him to front his own band. With Jesse’s encouragement Shaun figures he might as well give it a shot.
Jesse wants to support him as much as possible, but he’s got serious issues going on at home. They are talking about moving out, but Jesse still has one last secret he’s holding on to, and he wonders if Shaun is mature enough to handle it.
Series: Permanently Black and Blue, Book Two
Author: C.R. Scott
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: 08/30/2022
Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex
Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, coming of age, family drama, high school, in the closet, musicians, young adult
Jesse ran as fast as his legs would carry him. He didn’t stop, because if he did, he’d think about what had just happened.
He reached the house in under a minute. The front door was open, and he slid inside, slammed the door, then pressed himself flat against it as his heart thudded in his chest.
Tyler and Allison were on the couch. They turned and looked at him in surprise.
“Jesse?” Monica called from the kitchen, and Jesse peeled himself off the door and bolted for the stairs, two at a time.
Sam was in the bedroom, lying on the bed. His head was buried in his phone, but he looked up when Jesse burst into the room.
“Shit,” Jesse muttered.
Sam glared at him.
Jesse stood in the doorway, vibrating with a nervous energy. “Can you get out of here for a while?”
Sam sneered at him. “Screw you.”
Jesse huffed. He was seconds away from a huge breakdown, and the last thing he needed was for Sam to witness it. “Leave!”
Sam looked back at his phone, a taunting smile on his lips. “No.”
Jesse marched across the room and grabbed his brother’s phone. Sam yelped in protest, but Jesse was already back at the bedroom door.
“I’ll throw it down the stairs if you aren’t out of here in ten seconds.” He started to count down.
“All right!” Sam leapt up and shot Jesse a nasty look. “I’m going, asshole.”
“Shithead,” Jesse shot back as his brother stomped into the hall. The second he left the room, Jesse slammed the door behind him.
Jesse had been expecting an explosive reaction, but he felt nothing.
Numb, he climbed up to his bunk and pulled the blanket over his head. Darkness enveloped him.
Shaun had kissed him.
Jesse shivered under his blankets. He didn’t know what to think.
He’d kissed girls who were more experienced than Shaun. Girls who knew how to give a guy an erection with a kiss alone, but Shaun…
Jesse brought his hand to his mouth and traced his lips with the tips of his fingers. The feel of the other boy’s lips on his had been startling. Strange, unexpected, but not bad. Shaun had kissed him so intensely, so desperately, Jesse hadn’t been able to react. It was like nothing he’d ever felt before.
Jesse had become incredibly clingy after hearing Shaun’s backstory. He wasn’t oblivious, like he’d pretended to be, he just couldn’t help himself.
What had happened to Shaun was terrifying, and Jesse wanted to touch him at every opportunity to assure himself he was here. Safe. That everything was all right. The feel of Shaun’s taller, sturdier body against Jesse’s smaller form was so reassuring. But now that they’d kissed, everything felt different. All those intimate touches, longing looks, the desire to be close, it all made sense now.
Jesse was unequivocally, painfully, stupidly, in love with a boy he’d only known for a few weeks. One who’d seen horrible things and had possibly done things just as bad.
But Jesse wanted him anyway. He needed him in a way he’d needed no one before.
Just one kiss had been enough. It had opened a chasm of feeling and emotion, and Jesse wanted it back. Desperately.
So why hadn’t he said anything? Why had he stood there after the kiss with his mouth hanging open? Why hadn’t he kissed Shaun back?
And the crying?
Jesse buried his face in his pillow. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d cried. He couldn’t believe how blubbery he’d been over Shaun’s wounds. That alone was the biggest indicator Jesse didn’t have normal ‘best friend’ feelings toward the other boy. Just the thought of Shaun being in pain was enough to make him cry like a baby. Jesse wished he’d stayed. If anything, he could have made sure Shaun got himself looked at.
“Stupid idiot. Cutting yourself doesn’t do any good,” he muttered.
Regardless of Shaun’s stupidity, Jesse couldn’t wait to see his friend again…or whatever he was after everything that had just happened. He wasn’t sure what he was going to say to him, but he knew he had to be near him again. He wanted to touch him and hold him close, maybe even kiss him again.
The thought brought a smile to Jesse’s lips. He traced his mouth again as he remembered the harsh way Shaun had claimed it.
Somehow, everything would work out. Jesse was determined.
“Jesse?” Brian poked his head into the bedroom. His blue eyes were wide with curiosity.
Jesse sat up. “What’s up, little man?” He hadn’t wanted company, but he found he couldn’t turn the boy away.
“Can I come up?”
Jesse nodded, and Brian’s face lit up with excitement. Jesse shrugged off the blankets and made space for the toddler as he clambered up the ladder.
Brian crawled across the bed on his hands and knees. “Is Shaun coming over?”
“Not today,” Jesse said as the toddler curled into his side. It reminded him of Shaun and all the times he’d convinced him to lie in this very bed. He’d invited Shaun to sleep with him Friday night. How had Jesse not realized how completely obsessed he was with him? The whole point in getting Shaun wasted Saturday night was so he could get close to him.
Shaun was upset Jesse hadn’t kissed him back. Didn’t he know Jesse was in love with him?
“Mommy said you were spending the night with Shaun,” Brian said. “How come you don’t have sleepovers here?”
Jesse stroked his hair. “We went to a party.”
“Why didn’t you invite me?” Brian’s bottom lip protruded. “I like parties.”
“It was a grownup party,” Jesse said with a laugh, thinking of the way he’d ended up wrapped around Shaun. That had been terribly ‘grownup.’ He’d realized right away Shaun was sporting an erection, but he’d assumed it was because he was drunk and horny. He hadn’t once thought it was because of him.
“You’re not a grownup,” Brian muttered.
Jesse continued to stroke his hair. “I’m eighteen,” he said. “I could move out and get a job if I wanted. That’s pretty adult.”
Brian grumbled under his breath, but Jesse let it slide.
“Hey. Let’s play a game or something,” he said.
Brian smiled, and Jesse ruffled his hair, his mood lifting just the tiniest bit. They climbed down from the bunk and went to select a game downstairs.
C.R. Scott is a self-taught writer with a BA in psychology. Her characters are flawed and imperfect and she loves them for it. They urge her to write their stories. She currently resides in the ever-changing climates of Ohio with her husband and two children. This is her first published book, with more to come.