Things escalated quickly after that. For two whole days Dominic ignored Donny and refused to acknowledge him. It was getting on Rocco’s nerves. He didn’t understand what was so wrong with him being friends with Donny, when Donny wanted to be friends with him too.
He wasn’t a child; he knew that there was some intense heat between them that suggested they could be more than friends. But right now his concerns over that issue were far outweighed by his annoyance with Dominic for acting silly.
He’d slept in again, in what Latimer called ‘making up for lost time’. Apparently his body was exhausted from doing so many new things when he didn’t have enough nutrition to keep him going. He kept feeling tired even when he didn’t want to, so he had agreed to start eating more often.
He had his three meals a day, but Chandler had also made fruit salads and hand made granola bars to snack on in between meals. He had to admit that his stomach was enjoying the nourishment, but he was still in that catching up period where it didn’t do the rest of his body much good.
Rocco rubbed his right eye as he walked out of his bedroom to the bathroom two doors down the hall. It was twitching because he’d woken up face down in his pillow. He had a funny feeling he’d been dreaming about Donny; or at least, that’s what his anatomy had been telling him when he woke up.
Growing up in an orphanage with one bathroom had solved that problem. There was no embarrassing long walk to the bathroom with his interest in the older boy right out there on display. Years of control had him able to walk to the bathroom like a normal human being; then once he was in the shower he could take care of business.
He walked into something solid and had to force his eyes to open properly.
Donny was standing right in front of him, rubbing his hair dry with a towel, while another hung around his waist. It was almost too much on top of the dreams he’d been having, but that thought didn’t help him any. He found one particular image, of his tongue trailing the path of every visible and hidden tattoo, popping into his head at that exact moment. He felt his cheeks going red as he moved away and around the solid mass of muscle standing in front of him.
Donny’s hand caught his and the next thing he knew he was being drawn into those strong arms. He didn’t say anything, but he wasn’t sure they ever had to say anything to each other.
He was about to make a second attempt to leave and head for the bathroom when Donny leaned in, his gaze flitting between his eyes and his lips until the latter made contact with his own.
Rocco had never been kissed before, but as with everything with Donny, it seemed to come naturally. He kissed back with a gentle brush of his lips and smiled when Donny took a half step closer. His hands held onto his wrists, his fingers tracing patterns on his skin while Rocco reacted on instinct; his right arm moved up and around his neck, drawing him further into the next brush of their lips.
They kissed for barely a minute, in the same chaste, sweet way before he forced himself to pull away. His raging teenage hormones were jumping the gun, so he backed out of the embrace and turned away. He walked calmly over to the bathroom, refusing to look back, just in case Donny could tell what he was feeling.
His plans for a hot shower had gone completely down the drain. He closed the bathroom door, shucked out of his clothes and stepped straight into the shower, blasting the water to the side of him until he was engulfed in a freezing cold spray. Once it would no longer give him hypothermia, he brought the cascading water down over his head and tried to remind himself how to breathe.
An hour later Rocco still hadn’t stopped smiling. He stood at the counter in the kitchen, pouring himself a bowl of cereal for his breakfast. He had to keep an eye on the bowl while he poured the milk into it; all for one reason.
Right outside, on the other side of the window that was directly in front of him, Donny was playing a game of basketball with his brothers, wearing just a pair of shorts. It was such a tantalising sight; all that bare flesh, exposed muscle and intricate art work on his skin. He wasn’t sure there was a better sight, particularly after their kiss that morning.
Something touched his arm, making him look up as he screwed the cap back onto the milk carton.
Latimer offered him a smile and gestured to the window. “Aren’t you playing?” He signed.
“I don’t know how. Donny said he’d teach me later.” Rocco admitted with a shrug. “I’m going to read my new book.” He told him.
Latimer laughed and brushed the back of his finger over his cheek with a soft look in his eyes. It was the same sad look that Chandler had when he looked at Beau’s picture. He knew his eyes were the same and Chandler said he had the same nature as Beau, but he would never regret that.
It made his family sad sometimes, but it was in a nice way. Like he was a living reminder of someone they had loved so much. It made him feel special.
“You seem happy here.” He signed to him, smiling a little.
Rocco nodded; he was happier than he had ever been in his life. He wanted him to know that Donny added to that happiness, but he was afraid to, because of the way Dominic had acted recently. He looked down at his feet, weighing up his options, before meeting Latimer’s gaze. He had to say it; he needed to know it was okay.
“Would you be mad at me if I told you something?” He asked.
“Never.” He promised.
“Donny kissed me.” He explained, finding a happy smile creeping onto his lips even though he tried to keep it back. He bit his lower lip to try to contain himself, while his dad smiled at him.
“Did you want him to?” He asked, just as he expected.
Rocco nodded in the affirmative; he had really, really wanted Donny to kiss him and so much more. But he wasn’t going to admit to that part.
“Then why would I be mad?”
“He’s older, and Dominic’s friend.” He signed, losing a little of his smile. He hated knowing that Dominic wasn’t talking to Donny because of him and that he was being treated like a kid because of it. It was unfair, but he didn’t want to make it worse by saying the wrong thing. “He’s already mad at Donny for being nice to me. I don’t think he wants us being friends.” He explained what he could, because he really didn’t want any more misunderstandings.
“If Donny likes you and you like him, I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t date.” Latimer signed to him, in admission.
“I don’t know if he wants to date me.” He hadn’t thought that far ahead.
“Donny wouldn’t kiss you unless he wanted to date you.” He told him, using both hands as he signed.
Rocco bit his lip and hoped that it was true; he could really like dating Donny. More than like it. With Latimer’s support he decided he would be brave and find out for himself. He hugged his father, thankful that someone was on his side. He was pretty sure Chandler would just tell him to do whatever he wanted, but that wasn’t quite the same thing.
Rocco sat at the breakfast bar to eat his soggy cereal; it was exactly how he liked it and at the same time he got to enjoy the stunning vision of Donny throwing hoops. His six-pack was quite the sight.
With Dominic refusing to talk to him, it meant the game was full of tension and competitive playing. Which meant jump shots, extended arms, tight abs and bunched shorts around sturdy thighs. It was exactly what he needed to wake himself up, but it wasn’t stemming the flow of images that his dreams of Donny had implanted in his head.
He turned away for only a few seconds to look over at Latimer, as he sat in the living room sending more e-mails inviting all of his rich friends to a fundraiser for Beau’s charity. When he turned back to the window his wonderful view was gone.
Rocco lifted himself off his seat and looked out the window, but he couldn’t see anyone. He looked over to the side door, between the kitchen and living room and smiled when he found his brothers talking and Donny pouring three glasses of fruit juice. He decided that, since they were finished with their game, he would make his move and find out what Donny’s plans were. Their kiss that morning had made it impossible for him to do what Dominic wanted and just have a friendship with him.
He slipped off his seat, dumped his empty plate in the sink and rinsed it before taking a deep breath. He walked over to Donny and gave the waistband of his shorts a tug to capture his attention. He turned to smile at him, looking vaguely surprised when he signed into his hand.