Good Guys Don’t Date Bad Boys (BL, 18 )
Ch. 10 - Making The Headlines
Chapter Nine – Escape Artist
Jonathan took advantage of Maddoxs insane popularity to make himself scarce from his hosts view as various people began dragging the star of the party to and fro while trying to convince him to be part of their shenanigans. Now he was free to play the wallflower, and he was fine with it. The good part was that Ray seemed to be enjoying himself a great deal as Dex, Maddoxs friend, had him literally under his wing, holding him by the shoulders and plying him with alcohol. Jonathan hoped he wouldn have to deal with a very drunk Ray afterwards, but if push came to shove, he would do his best to help his roommate.
He leaned against the wall and took in his surroundings. Moments like this made him feel a bit alone and out of touch. It was too dramatic to think that he felt older than his years, but how many people in that room could say that they had gone through an experience similar to his? All his life, he had been sheltered, allowed to feel happy and carefree, and then, suddenly, the rug had been pulled from under his feet. And his parents, their judgmental eyes, had been too much. To think that they wouldn believe him, or at least accept that he had his own side of the story to tell. The one that belonged with the truth they hadn cared about.
Was there anyone at the party that had felt as alone and scared as he had felt at that time? The happy faces around him told him everything he needed to know.
”We should stop meeting like this. ”
Connor offered him a red plastic cup and smiled. Jonathan took it and murmured his thanks. ”Do you mean, when the music is too loud, and people can hear each other? ”
”You gotta admit it that its not as loud as in other places, ” Connor commented and leaned against the wall to his right. ”The Amazing Four know how to pull off a class act when they want to. ”
The Amazing Four? If things weren already ridiculous enough, Maddoxs group of friemds had to have a nickname like that. And he had no idea about what Connor meant by a class act, as this party didn look that different to him as opposed to others.
”I see that my joke was not well received, so I must suck at making them. ”
Connor offered him a pleasant smile, and only then Jonathan realized that the guy had actually put in the effort to brush his hair and no weird smell wafted away from his beard this time. Also, he wasn accompanied by his usual posse and he wasn talking about the important task resting on his shoulders alone, aka saving the planet.
”Oh, it was a joke? Im afraid Im the one whos slow on the uptake, ” he said courteously.
Connor stared into his cup for a few moments and sighed. ”Jonathan, I cannot help but think that I gave you a wrong first impression. No, let me finish. ”
Jonathan had made no sign that he wanted to interrupt him but said nothing on the matter.
”I tend to be a little too overbearing with the things Im passionate about, so I didn realize that I was making no effort to get to know you. ”
”Its admirable to have a passion and be so involved with it, ” Jonathan offered politely.
”Yes, but that pushed you away. ” Connor gave him a shrewd look.
”I wasn sure you were interested in me, ” Jonathan said, aiming for a truth that wouldn inconvenience either of them.
” Connor said directly.
”I think you
e a nice guy, the kind worth getting to know better. So, do you think we can start again? I promise I won try to kiss you out of the blue anymore and force you to leave the party early. ”
Jonathan nodded. This was what he needed, someone uncomplicated who spoke his mind, right? And Connor wasn unattractive. On top of it all, he was openly gay, too, so there would be no sneaking about and looking over the shoulder.
”All right. Hi, Im Jonathan Hamilton. ”
”Connor Simmons. Delighted. ” Connor shook his hand and held it, brushing his thumb over Jonathans skin before letting go. ”So, what brings you here? ”
”To this party? My roommate, Ray. ”
Connor laughed. ”I like a man with a dry sense of humor. ”
What do you know? Connor could be pleasant when he put his mind to it. Jonathan fell into a natural flow of conversation right away. It appeared that Connor was capable of talking about other things besides the impending and untimely death of Mother Earth.
Maddox munched on a cracker with a vengeance, as he observed Connor all over Jonathan. They were chatting, but they looked like they were having fun, and that ground his gears. One of these days, hed have a throw down with Connor, although he had never had one with anyone before, and thats if he didn count how Jonathan had almost floored him with a single punch.
Nonetheless, Connor was trying to steal Jonathan, and he couldn let that happen without a fight of some sort. He didn know how that was supposed to go down, but he was pretty sure that if it were a kissing contest, he would win it, and then, Jonathan would have no choice but to kiss only him.
Rusty threw one arm over his shoulder. He pointed at Jonathan and Connor who were fortunately too far away to hear them. ”What is Connor doing? Is he trying to steal your man? ” Rusty gestured with a plastic cup that was still half full, making its contents slosh around dangerously. Great, now his buddy was half-drunk and cared only about pissing him off, Maddox thought.
e just talking, ” he said defensively. ”And hes not my man, ” he added and pouted.
”For real? You had the guy in your room, and you didn score? ”
”No, because you ruined it, ” Maddox said pointedly.
”Me? ” Rusty pointed at himself and seemed completely surprised at the accusation. ”Nah, you must have said something stupid. ”
”Thats it, Im going to box your ears until you say that you
e a stupid sandwich, ” Maddox threatened.
”So, when are you going to introduce him to us? ” Rusty asked, completely deaf to the nasty fate being prepared for him.
”So that you can fill his head with stupidities about me? No way, first I need to secure the deal. Then, hell have to live with the fact that I have at least one moron as a best friend. ”
”Who? Dex? ”
Maddox had a feeling Rusty was much smarter than people thought he was. No, he was certain of it, but Rusty preferred, for his own reasons, to assume the role of a meathead, enjoying the popularity that came with it. He wouldn have been so kinky if he didn have a brain that worked on overdrive to satisfy his horniness. Not only Maddox, but Dex and Kane, too, secretly envied him for being so creative when it came to sex and everything related. However, Maddox couldn stop thinking that maybe, just maybe, Rusty was doing all that outrageous stuff to hide something. Was it a need to show off? Or was it boredom? One of these days, he would have to rope Kane in and have him work his magic on Rusty to discover what was really in his head. They had all been friends since high school, and Maddox liked to think he was Rustys best friend even within the limits of their tightknit group. Still, there was a part of Rusty that had always escaped him, and time and again, he had wanted to unravel it just to know his best friend for real.
It wasn the time to think of that, though. Instead of wondering what Rusty was up to, he needed to find a way to pull Jonathan away from Connors charms, and that without making the guy feel embarrassed.
”What am I supposed to do now? ” He sighed and looked into his cup dejectedly.
”Do you mean, about Jonathan? Just leave it to me, ” Rusty said, and before he could do or say anything, his friend took off.
Maddox wanted to stop him but, right then, Kanes lacrosse buddies chose to grab him and push him toward the main room, under the pretext that they wanted him to meet someone. They were in various states of inebriation so dealing with them required a great deal of effort, and he was no match for their collective strength, either.
Just great. Now, he would have to do damage control after Rusty, too.
”Hi, my dudes. ”
Jonathan stopped mid-sentence as he sensed someone right behind him, leaning in dangerously close. As he turned his head, he found himself staring into a pair of mischievous green eyes. ”Um, hello. ” He knew who that was. Rusty Parker, one of the Amazing Four. As much as he wanted, there was no amount of irony he could add to that to make it sound as incredible as it did.
”Yo, Rusty, ” Connor said and high-fived the guy over Jonathans shoulder. ”Cool party. ”
”Oh, yeah. ”
Jonathan tried to move a bit away so that Rusty didn have to prop himself against him to have a conversation with Connor, but a heavy hand on his shoulder stopped him. Rightfully so, he felt slightly scandalized. Rusty didn appear to have any notion of what personal space meant. Jonathan could feel his warm body, hovering inches away from him from head to toes.
”Imma stealing Jonathan here for a moment. I want to ask him something in private. ”
What on earth could Rusty want? Jonathan wondered. Could it be that he had caught a whiff of something going on with him and Maddox, and wanted to have a little laugh at his expense? Once again tonight, but for a different reason, Jonathan felt he was getting a bit too hot under the collar.
”Sure thing. Just don keep him for too long. I really like this guy, ” Connor said. ”And Id like to get to know him better tonight. ” The last words came along with a suggestive wink at Jonathan.
Whatever it was, he would set Rusty Parker as straight as they come and quickly. He flat out refused to become the mockery of the most popular group on campus. Therefore, he made no objections when Rusty pulled him away and then guided him outside through a back door. He wasn afraid of a little confrontation if that were what people thought about him.
The cool air was doing him good. Rusty just kept pushing him from behind until they were at a fair distance from the house, and the music was considerably fainter, along with the noise of the party.
”Well? What do you want? ” Jonathan asked aggressively.
He didn have time to react when Rusty pushed his back against a tree, slamming him into it, and then quickly grabbing his arms and pulling them back.
”What on earth are you doing? ” Jonathan raised his voice.
It was painfully clear that Rusty was using something to tie his wrists together, forcing him to wrap around the tree and have a spine-straightening experience he didn care for at the moment. On top of it all, the guy was humming a happy tune.
”Release me immediately! We
e not in fourth grade! What do you think you
e doing? ”
Rusty stepped in front of him and swayed for a bit. Then, he raised one finger and wagged it at Jonathan. ”You stay right here. ”
”Really? Like I could leave as tied up as I am right now? Is this some sort of hazing? Im not interested in pledging loyalty to your little group, just so you know. ”
Rusty scoffed, hiccupped, and laughed, all at the same time. It was unnerving how quickly this guy had managed to overpower him while still being fairly drunk. ”Well, youll have to. No way around it. ”
” Jonathan said.
”I have no interest in something like that, as I told you. You
e all a bunch of jokers. ”
”Too bad you
e not interested, ” Rusty declared. ”Because we
e interested in you. ”
We? What could he mean by that? ”All right, all right, you want to have your fun, go ahead. Whats next? Will you throw water balloons at me? ”
”Hmm, that sounds nice, ” Rusty admitted. ”I bet youd fare well in a wet t-shirt contest. ”
He wanted so damned much to stare this guy down, but it was too dark for that.
”I thought those were for girls only, ” Jonathan shot back. He moved his wrists, but it looked like Rusty knew a bit too well what he was doing.
”You must have one hot bod under those grandpa clothes, ” Rusty commented. ”Right? ”
”Thats none of your business,
” Jonathan sputtered angrily.
”Release me, or we
e going to have a problem. ”
”Really? Wanna throw a punch? ”
Jonathan didn like where that was going. How much did Maddox share with his friends?
” Rusty said matter-of-factly since he chose to remain silent.
”Its because you
e so feisty, right? All piss and vinegar. ”
”I have no idea what you mean. ”
Rusty waved. ”It doesn matter. Just stay here. ”
Jonathan shouted after him, but to no avail. Rusty just walked away, leaving him there.
”All done. ” Rusty pulled him away from some stupid drinking contest and then pushed him outside through the back door. ”Walk straight for twenty feet, and to the right, youll find your treasure, tied to a tree. ”
”My treasure? ”
”Just go. Theres a chance he might chew his arm off to release himself. ”
”Rusty, what the hell did you do? ”
”Helping, ” Rusty replied, and well, Maddox was sure the idiot was being honest when he said that.
He didn waste any more time and hurried in the direction pointed to by Rusty, while his friend got back to the party. His steps slowed down only when he saw Jonathan.
Who, indeed, was tied up to a tree.
”Oh, **, ” he said and sprinted toward him.
”Maddox? ” Jonathan asked. ”What the hell is this about? ”
”Nothing, just my friend who is a complete and irremediable idiot. Let me untie you. ” He moved around the tree and felt Jonathans tied wrists. ”Damn. ” He touched the thin rope which who knew why Rusty had on him while at a party and tried to pull the knots apart.
”Well, whats taking you so long? ” Jonathan asked impatiently.
”Well, ” Maddox scratched his head and turned on the flashlight on his phone, ”Ill need something to cut it because Rusty is too damned good at making knots. ”
”Oh, that is just great, ” Jonathan mumbled. ”Is this some kind of joke to you guys, tying people to trees and all that? Its not funny. ”
”I assure you that Rusty acted completely on his own. I had nothing to do with it. ”
”I have great trouble believing that. What does your friend know, anyway? ”
”About what? ”
”About us. ”
”What us? You ran out the door like your pants were on fire, just like before, only then, you didn even have pants on. ”
Maddox felt some of his irritation from before returning a little. Jonathan was good at slipping through his fingers, yet, right now, he had the guy all to himself, tied up –
He grinned. Rusty wasn quite the complete idiot he pretended to be, and what he had on his hands right now was proof of that.
He had an opportunity. Instead of struggling with the rope that appeared to be made from tough synthetic fibers, he straightened up and walked around to face Jonathan. The flashlight revealed a pretty nice sight. Jonathan was pouting, and he appeared mighty pissed. Somehow, the look worked great on him.
”Would you lower that? Or do you intend to interrogate me? ” Jonathan hissed. ”Please, just go and grab a pair of scissors. Im not at all comfortable here. ”
”Nah, Ill just interrogate you first a little. ”
”Ah, so it is some sort of hazing. ”
Maddox snorted and turned off the flashlight. Then, he placed himself close enough to smell Jonathans pleasant scent and feel his hot breath on his face. ”Why are you always running away from me? ”
”Im not running, ” Jonathan said defensively.
”Oh, yes, you do. It sure looks like running to me. One minute you
e hot like a furnace, the next, you move to the North Pole. ”
”What are you talking about? ”
”This. ” Maddox grabbed Jonathan by the back of the head and brought their lips together. Despite the surprise, or maybe because of it, the other opened his mouth and allowed the kiss. This time, he didn deepen it but pulled back. ”You know, I think Im starting to like you all tied up like this. ”
”Maddox, ” Jonathan let out a tense whisper, ”anyone could come and see us. ”
”Is this what you worry about? ”
”Yes, of course. ”
”Oh, snap. You don want to be seen with me? ”
”Is that a trick question? ”
”I wish. You
e one messed up dude. But I like kissing you like crazy. ”
”Don even think about it, ” Jonathan warned.
”Oh, yeah? ” Maddox brushed his lips over his, immediately earning a tiny desperate whimper from the other. ”I can because its all Im thinking of. ”
As much as Jonathan wanted to deny it, when he kissed back, it was a whole different story. And Maddox had to agree that while Jonathans rejection was teasing him in all kinds of ways, having him pliant and unable to run had its charms.
But he wasn the type to use tricks like that, as appealing as it was. So, with all the regret he could muster and cursing inwardly, he allowed himself just one last deep kiss for tonight. Boy, but Jonathan was a kisser, he thought, as their tongues did that now familiar dance. Funny how they didn really know each other, but still, their bodies reacted so well to one another. As far as rules of attractions went, they were an incredibly good fit.
Now, the only thing left to do was to convince Jonathan of that undeniable truth. He moved his tongue around, enjoying the others sweet mouth some more, choosing to caress and tease enough to leave him wanting, and then pulled back.
”Stay right here. Ill be back in a jiffy. ”
Jonathan mumbled something. ”Why do you people keep thinking I could run away while being tied up to a tree? ”
e an escape artist, thats why. ”
Jonathan cursed under his breath as Maddox disappeared into the house. If they left him there for the entire night, he would have their heads, Amazing Four, or three, or two, it didn matter. For a moment there, he had thought that Maddox would take advantage of the situation and start doing things to him, and he half-regretted that there appeared to be no interest in that on the others part.
Clearly enough, he was losing his mind. It was enough for Maddox to kiss him like that, and he was a goner. He would have allowed him to do whatever he wanted while being tied to a tree! And he didn even know which one was worse, being the object of some strange ridicule, or a sex object for the most popular boy on campus.
He hadn been able to come to any conclusion since Maddox had stepped away from him and left him there, just like Rusty before. Only that he didn have time to meditate on his miserable fate for long because the back door opened again, and Maddox hurried toward him with something in his hand.
He chose silence as his hands were finally released from their ties. Now was as good a time as any to bolt. Sorry, Ray, but your roomie just had enough excitement for tonight, and I hope youll get home in one piece because I need to get out of here.
Maddox stepped in front of him and took his wrists. Right away, he began to massage them gently, and Jonathan knew that he needed to pull his hands away or he might do something hed come to regret.
”Its all right, ” he said in a ragged whisper, ”it wasn that tight. ”
”Yeah, Rusty is good at stuff like that, ” Maddox said.
Jonathan had a mind to ask what stuff, but that meant that he would just end up making conversation, and it appeared that they both weren that good at it as it always led up to –
”Good night, Jonathan. I hope Rusty didn ruin the party for you too badly. ”
Good night? Was Maddox sending him home now? Jonathan felt irritated and pulled his hands away from that gentle caress. ”Good night, ” he said primly and pivoted on his heels.
”Do you want me to walk you to your dorm? ” Maddox called from behind.
”No, ” he shouted back, but without turning. ”Its not that far. ”
He needed to get out of there and fast. When he risked a look back, Maddox was still there, a dark silhouette, unmoving in the faint light.
Well, the least he could do to protect the conquered territories was to push Jonathan to go home, as that was where no Connor was. Maddox observed with displeasure how Mother Natures favorite son was looking everywhere for Jonathan, asking people if they had seen him.
”Hey, Maddox, did you happen to see Jonathan? ”
He shook his head. ”No. But he was saying something about not wanting to stay up too late. ”
Connor groaned and ran his hands over his face. ”This guy and his beauty sleep. Can you believe it? But I guess thats how he keeps himself looking so great. Shoot, what am I telling you? As a straight dude, I don think youd even notice things like that in another guy, right? ”
Maddox offered a sheepish grin. ”Yeah, totally. ” What was this guy thinking? That he had a chance with Jonathan or something? No way, and not if he could help it. ”So, how are things with you and him? ” he asked, fishing for information.
Connor caressed his beard thoughtfully.
e good. We
e getting places. ”
”Do you want him as your boyfriend or what? ”
”Thats right, ” Connor confirmed. ”The name, the way he carries himself, how he dresses, and of course, that academic scholarship – did you hear about his perfect GPA? ”
Maddox just nodded. ”So you like how he dresses, is that it? And that hes a straight A student? ”
Connor patted him on the shoulder and winked. ”Jonathan Hamilton is someone. I have yet to figure out who, but he is. And lets say that I don mind getting myself an influential boyfriend. ”
Maddox worked his jaw a little to mask the grimace threatening to twist his face. ”Oh, yeah? ” he asked.
Connor nodded with importance. ”That, and I think that wed make a power couple. Looking good and all that. Guys a total looker, right? ”
He had never before saw himself as having violent tendencies, but right now, he could see himself wrapping his hands around Connors neck and making him breathe less of the precious planets air. Was that what Jonathan meant to this asshole? A way to get ahead in life or something?
”You know hes working at the library to support himself. ”
”He does? ” Connors eyebrows shot up in surprise. ”I doubt that he does it to support himself, though. It must be only because hes hardworking and wants to learn the value of a dollar. Come on, just look at how nice his clothes are, or the cologne hes using. I doubt those are things someone whos barely making ends meet would use. ”
Connor knew shit about Jonathan. But then again, Maddox knew just as much. The difference was that he intended to remedy the situation, while Connor didn care at all, except for using that information to his advantage.
This tree hugger was no competition; he would make sure of that because there was no way he would allow some opportunist to mess with his Jonathan.
”Yeah, maybe, ” he said. ”Now sorry to leave you hanging, but my buddies need me. ”
”Thats cool, man, no problem. ” Connor patted him on the back again.
He plastered a smile on his face and fought hard not to brush away the dudes touch. Saving the planet or not, Connor was kind of a douchebag.
Rusty caught up with him the moment he got rid of the guy. ”So, how did you find your treasure? ” he asked.
In the meantime, he appeared to have sobered up some, so Maddox thought it a good time to sit his friend down and talk a little about boundaries. ”As you told me, by walking in a straight line for twenty feet. Seriously, Rusty, what were you thinking? ” He took his friend by the shoulders and forced him down to his level. ”Tying the guy up and stuff? ”
”No stuff, I promise, ” Rusty replied. ”I only tied him up. I didn touch him or anything. ”
Maddox rubbed his knuckles against Rustys head until the other let out a heartfelt ouch. ”I didn even imply that. Wait, were you tempted to touch him? ”
”No way, ” Rusty protested. ”You know Im straight like a line with no curves. ”
”Well, I thought I was, too, until he came along. Now I feel like Im bending a little. ”
”Bending? So you want to be the guy that takes it up – ”
Maddox slapped his hand over Rustys mouth hard enough for the idiot to feel him.
e my buddy, and I love you. But sometimes, you make me want to kick your ass so hard. ”
Rusty just nodded and sat still until he was released. ”All right, man. Don have my head over it. But I get the bending and all stuff. This Jonathan dude is really good looking. ”
So, everyone was noticing it. Maddox began pondering over whether convincing Jonathan to start wearing a paper bag over his head whenever he walked out of the dorm was a good solution or not.
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