If I Lay Here Chapter 3

His phone rang  and he checked the number before answering. “I said I’d call.” He started  before Bobby could speak.

“I couldn’t  wait, come over.”

“I’m busy.”

“Noah.”

“I am.”

“Come over, I  need to see you. I’ve a huge meeting tomorrow, I need to be inspired. Come over  this afternoon. Just a few hours…”

“Maybe I’m not  in the mood.”

“You’re a  teenager, you don’t need a mood. I’ll be good to you…”

“I can’t.”

“You’re not  busy, you’re home alone. A few hours, you’ll be home before anyone knows you’re  gone.” Bobby paused. “What’s wrong, you don’t normal need this much  convincing.”

“Riley asked  Georgia to the prom. I know, don’t laugh.” He winced at how teenaged angst that  sounded.

“I’m not  laughing. I know how deep in puppy love you are with him. I was still falling  for straight boys in college. I get it. Come over and I’ll make you feel  better. I’ll put on a speedo.”

That made Noah  laugh.

“See? You’re  feeling better already.”

“Okay, but only  for a few hours. I need to take a shower first.”

“Don’t, shower  here, I’ll wash your back.”

The lusty tone  to the older man’s voice made Noah grin. “I’m sure you will. Okay, I’ll be over  soon but really only a few hours and I have to get home, not all day.”

“I promise!”

Noah’s parents  knew he had a friend named Bobby but they assumed he was from school. They  didn’t ask too many questions, and since Bobby was a friend it wasn’t a lie. It  wasn’t like they just had sex, Bobby talked to him and really seemed to listen.  They watched movies and ordered in food and, yes, had a great deal of sex.  Neither one pretended they were anything more to each other than what they were  and it worked well. At the very least it gave him the motivation to put on real  clothes and leave the sofa.

 

Bobby’s arms  tightened around his shoulders as the older man moaned into Noah’s hair. He  always tended to get clingy as he came and it sometimes was difficult for Noah  not to laugh. It wasn’t Bobby’s fault that being pulled so close and almost  smothered reminded Noah of being a teddy bear, but the mental image had crept in  and refused to leave. The man sighed softly as his arms started to relax.

“Oh….to be  young again…”

“You’re  not….not that old…” Noah forced the words out around panting breath.

It made Bobby  pull away enough to brush Noah’s loose hair back from his face. “Yeah but you,  what? Came like four times?”

“Thr…three…”

“You okay?  You’re getting wheezy.”

“Geesh…what did  you…and my mom….do? Conspire to…to nag me about my asthma today? Been…been  forever…”

“Yeah well your  mom hadn’t just finished fucking you into the floorboards the last time you had  an attack. You okay?”

“Fine…” And it  wasn’t a lie, he was wheezy a little and it took him longer to catch his breath  but he could breathe. He groaned a little and arched back out of Bobby’s arms.  The older man let him go and Noah let his body drape down over the arm of the  sofa to lay across its cushions.

“Need showers  again.” Bobby suggested as he stepped away to work the condom from his rapidly  softening cock.

“Mmm hmmm.”  Noah agreed, a hand pressed to his chest as he lazed in happy comfort. A shower  and some snuggling and maybe a nap all felt like very good ideas. It certainly  made facing his parents seem easier and he was glad he’d agreed to come over.

He cracked open  his eyes and turned to where the tv had been on but muted beside them. The  video cut from a picture of military troops with rifles standing on a roadside  to a serious looking and Noah thought, kind of frightened looking, news  reporter at a desk. The video instantly switched to a young woman, her make up  and hair flawed when generally news reporters were flawless. She stood outside  of a parking lot and Noah cranked his head to read that it was a mall in  Arizona.

Instead of  cars, the parking lot was filled with people on blankets, some with IV’s in  their arms. A few tents dotted the area and occasionally someone moved in what  looked like a biohazard suit. The reporter seemed upset and she waved to the  parking lot and the camera panned to show hundreds and hundreds of more people  all laying around, waiting and sick. The woman seemed to be in a hurry and she  quickly walked to the side, the camera followed her and zoomed in around the  corner of the mall building. There, at the edge of the camera’s range to focus  on, was more people in blue biohazard suits, tossing darkly wrapped bodies into  the back of a covered truck from a pile of bodies that were stacked up like  cordwood.

“Jesus….remote…Bobby….”  Noah struggled to wiggle off the sofa but he was having trouble coordinating  his movement. His lungs felt tighter too and he scrambled for the remote as he  started to wheeze more.

“Noah? Where’s  your inhaler?”

“I’m…I’m  fine…I…” He got the sound back on.

“We’re told to  stay within a small section for reports but there aren’t too many of us left.  Most of my colleagues have joined the ranks of the sick in the last few days  and hours. The official report is still a very low death toll but as you can  see they’re filling trucks with the dead. This will be the fourth or fifth  truck that has left this facility today alone. Things are dire here, there are  reports of looting in Phoenix and some people are saying this is the end of the  world. I’ve even heard rumors of people trying to sneak past the quarantine,  some caught and turned back and there are even reports of some people being  fired upon. No one’s cell phone is working and internet connections and land  lines also appear to be down, we’re only able to reach the outside with a  direct satellite uplink.”

Noah was  gasping for breath now but he couldn’t look away from the television. Bobby had  hurried across the room to where Noah had tossed his jacket and patted down the  pockets until he found the inhaler. He hurried back to the sofa and pressed it  into Noah’s hands and when Noah didn’t instantly use it he nudged the younger  man until he did.

“Things here  are not what is being said and people are frightened. We have some reports of  some smaller towns becoming graveyards in the last week and worse there are  reports that this virus isn’t just killing some people but driving them mad,  turning them loose to rape and murder their neighbors. There was a young girl  of maybe sixteen brought in here last night absolutely brutalized and she was  raving about her boyfriend being a monster. They quickly shuffled her away and  issued an order not to mention it. The media has been tightly locked down and  we are under martial law right now. Everyone, as you can see, is in biohazard  suits except for a handful of local police that have already been exposed. There  are clean zones established for the medical and military personnel and the rest  of us locals are being kept back from those areas by hundreds of feet. We’ve  had reports that anyone with previous law enforcement or military experience  are being recruited and, as you can see here, they’re being armed as well.”

“Hey, you know  the rules. Back to the designated media area.” The man the camera panned to  shouted, the shotgun he held was enough authority to back him up.

“This might be  the last time we get to broadcast out as opposed to simply documenting what’s  happening here. Things aren’t what is being told, things are bad here, really bad  and people are frightened.” She struggled to get her words out quickly.

“You’re  broadcasting? You’re not supposed to be broadcasting.” The militia man hurried  over and pushed the woman out of the camera’s view.

“Things are bad  here, it’s not what they’re saying!” She shouted as she was brushed aside.

“Give me that,  give me that!” The man demanded and the camera swung around widely as he pulled  it from the cameraman’s grasp.

“We still have  a free press!” The cameraman protested but the camera was ripped away. There  was the sounds of shuffling and shoving as the camera swung around, someone  cried out in pain before the feed went black.

Noah took  another pull from the inhaler. “How did they manage to broadcast?” He glanced  up to Bobby as the desk anchor came back but there was a very long pause where  they sat sitting as wide eyed and frightened as Noah felt before they escaped  to a commercial break.

“Who knows, a  sat phone maybe?”

“Do you think  that was real? That couldn’t have been real, it has to be a hoax.”

“Why?” Bobby  petted a hand over Noah’s hair.

“Because they  said…they said it was okay…” He took another pull off the inhaler just for good  measure.

“Rumors are all  over the web.”

“Why would they  lie?”

“You know, being  naïve is cute, but your parents have done you a disservice. The world isn’t a  good place, Noah. I wasn’t lying when I said the world was going to end. My  meeting tomorrow is on how to manage a pandemic for our workplace,  telecommuting, scenarios and shit like that.”

“But it’s  contained, it won’t get here.”

“Do you really  believe they can shut down a whole state? Cover every back road and country  crossing?”

“Jesus…I need  to go home…”

“What  difference is it going to make if you’re here or home?”

“I…” He stood  up and looked around but his clothes were in the bathroom, he’d need another  shower anyway. “I just have to go home.”

Bobby slipped  his arms around Noah’s shoulders as he hurried by. “Stay…” He whispered into an  ear. “We could all be dead tomorrow, stay and live with me today…”

“That’s not  funny!” He threw the arms off and pushed away.

“Who’s  laughing? Do you know how many people died during the 1918 flu pandemic? They  think it could have been as many as 100 million people. It had a fifty percent  infection rate and killed people fast. It was only a matter of time before a  new flu made the rounds. I mean, in 1918 there was only like a billion and a  half people globally, so 100 million dead is huge, that’s like close to like  700 million dead now.”

“You’re not  making me feel any better.” He hurried to the bathroom and got the shower  turned on as he gathered up his clothes.

“What? It’s  just facts.”

“Facts? Just  facts? It’s not just facts to those people being tossed onto trucks!”

“It’s a long  way away. They’ll get it under control before it spreads too far.”

Noah shook his  head and got under the water. “You said yourself it’ll spread.”

“And they’ll  have a vaccine in a week’s time.” He stepped into the shower and wrapped his  arms around Noah’s more narrow shoulders. “It’ll be okay, science to the  rescue.”

“You really  think that, or are you just saying that to make me stay?”

“I really mean  it. Do you think I’d be going to work if I thought I was going to be getting  some virus by doing so? You know what a selfish prick I am.”

“You are.”

“So stay…”  Bobby massaged at Noah’s shoulders, rubbing the worry and fear away. “Take a  nap with me, we’ll order a pizza and watch something other than the news.  Deal?”

It felt good to  be touched. Sometimes Noah thought the only person alive that cared to touch  him was Bobby. His father had stopped hugging him when he was ten and had been  caught making his GI Joes kiss and his mother had never been a touchy feely  person. He’s only close friend had ever been Georgia and she’d stopped trying  to hug him when he flinched away from it once when they were thirteen. Bobby  may only touch him looking for sex, but that was better than nothing at all.

“Yeah, deal, but  I’m still leaving before it gets too late.” Truth was, Bobby may have just been  a friend and casual lover, but that was better than sitting home, all alone,  with no one around.

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