"Mmmm…..Dermot O'leary….. cute."
Layla had been leaning over the shop counter, head resting on her hands and absorbed in a trashy gossip magazine, she'd failed to notice Jackson enter or reading over her shoulder, but looked up happy to see him.
"Yeah I know, I like funny men like him, reminds me of my David…. just without all the money." She laughed. Jackson smiled at her warmly.
"Yep and Doug's got the afternoon off so I'm stuck here all alone and to make matters worse David's got meetings all evening."
"Ahhhh….. poor you, tell you what why don't you and me go to the pub after work?"
"Yeah…you not got plans with Aaron?"
"No, I would rather hang out with my friend Layla." Layla looked at him sceptical.
"Alright" he laughed "Aaron's working late and I offered to wait around in the village until he finishes."
Layla gave him a look to say that's more like it.
"But it would be nice to catch up." It had been over a week since the two of them had spent any time together. They had bonded whilst Jackson fixed up the shop for her, paid for by Declan (A generous offer that Jackson still couldn't get his head around) and found that they could have a good laugh together. They had bumped into each other in town whilst Layla was buying David a birthday present, ended up going for pizza and their friendship seemed sealed. Layla was particularly thrilled as she'd always wanted a gay friend; Jackson had to remind her that they weren't an accessory.
"See you in the pub around 6.30?"
"Alright then, you've twisted my arm."
At 4pm Aaron had text him to say that he wasn't needed to work late and will see him at 6, Jackson immediately knew he was going to cancel on Layla and he felt terrible. It made him look like one of those people that never did anything with anyone except their boyfriend and the truth is since being with Aaron he was becoming one of them.
He entered the shop cautiously
"Blimey – you are keen, got another 2 hours yet." Layla said beaming.
Jackson scratched his head, trying to think of a decent way to get out of it and it was obviously written on his face because Layla guessed before he even opened his mouth.
"Ohhh no, your cancelling on me."
Jackson looked sheepish "I'm sorry." And rather pathetically explained "Aaron's finishing on time."
Layla threw her hands up and groaned "Oh god, your one of those relationshippy people." She pointed her finger accusingly. Jackson couldn't deny it.
"Usually I'd say let's all go anyway but Aaron said he'd treat me to a take away and he's brought a dvd."
"Yeah right, you're not blowing me out for a DVD, you're in that new relationship stage that means you're gonna be shagging each other's brains out all the time."
Jackson looked at her with a shocked smile, their friendship was fairly new and thus far there had been no discussions about sex.
"Don't give me the wide eyes Jackson, I remember that faze, ripping each other's clothes off – not making it to the bed. Truth is I'm jealous."
Jackson laughed "How about tomorrow lunch time, my treat."
Layla pretended to think about it for a moment "Yeah all right then but I want all the smutty details." And Layla winked at him before turning to greet a customer.
7pm and Jackson and Aaron had finished eating, true to his word Aaron had brought them a takeaway and they had just devoured the last of it, both of them were slumped in the sofa with their feet on the coffee table.
"I need to do some exercise to burn off all that food." Jackson began rubbing his stomach
"Yeah you're getting fat." And Aaron laughed before Jackson went to hit him. Jackson then moved in closer to Aaron so that they were deliberately touching.
"You wanna be my exercise buddy?" Aaron just looked at him before moving his arm around Jackson's shoulder and sighed contentedly "Nope." He said before closing his eyes
"Yeah it was a rubbish idea." And he looked at Aaron who appeared tired and suddenly sleeping, this explained the arm, Aaron was always more affectionate when he was too tired to realise what he was doing. Not that he didn't show affection normally, it was just that most of the time he was too self-conscious.
"There is no way I am letting you sleep, I blew a drink out with Layla because you finished earlier."
"Shouldn't of bothered, I could of just gone home." He said eyes still closed. This was a typical Aaron response, he couldn't say he was grateful or flattered instead he always acted petulant. Jackson wanted to call Aaron on his reply but he couldn't be bothered, he knew that despite Aaron's comment he was happy to hear this.
Instead Jackson reached his head up and started kissing Aaron's neck – an act that never failed to wake him, Aaron's breathing immediately deepened and he turned his head to find Jackson's lips. Jackson moved his hand up under Aaron's top and felt his smooth stomach with his fingertips.
Aaron followed Jackson's lead and moved his hand up the back of Jackson's shirt, Jackson returned to kissing Aaron's neck. Suddenly Layla's comments about shagging each other's brains out popped into his head.
"Aaron?" Jackson murmured against Aaron's skin.
"Yeah?" Aaron's reply came out slightly breathless.
"Do you wanna go all the way?"
Aaron abruptly stopped his moving hands and tensed up, "All the way?" Jackson could feel Aaron's brow furrow.
"Yeah, you know proper sex?" Jackson moved his hands and started stroking Aarons head, trying to maintain the mood from seconds before. Aaron didn't say anything instead he leaned forward causing Jackson to have to shift off him; he sat resting his elbows on his knees and looked at the floor.
"It's just that I really like you." And Jackson started rubbing Aaron's back trying to maintain the closeness. Aaron was having none of it; he shrugged Jackson off and stood up.
"I don't want to do that." Aaron began not looking at Jackson
"Really?" Jackson asked softly.
"I'm not into that." And this had surprised Jackson; he'd thought Aaron's reaction had come from fear.
"You tried it before?"
"No, I just know I'm not into it". Aaron was becoming more agitated, but he still hadn't turned to look at Jackson "I'm gonna go." He said softly after a moment where neither of them spoke.
"Just cause." He looked uneasy and embarrassed
"I don't want to fall out."
Aaron turned to look at Jackson "Were not, It's just…..I'll see you tomorrow." And he picked up his phone and wallet of the coffee table and left.
'That couldn't have gone worse' thought Jackson as he remained seated, watching Aaron leave. He waited a moment hoping that Aaron would change his mind and come back through the door, it wasn't totally unlikely, Aaron would often have a knee jerk reaction to things only to calm down five minutes later. Only this time it seemed different, he wasn't angry and he didn't go stomping off after yelling, maybe he just really wasn't into it?
He thought back to Layla's earlier comment, it was the reason he had asked Aaron. They had been together for over a month now and whilst they'd been very intimate with one another, they'd never had full on sex. Jackson thought they were just working their way up to it, Aaron was very nervous when it came to their sex life and he didn't want to rush things, it hadn't occurred to Jackson that Aaron simply didn't want to.
Jackson reached for his phone to text Aaron -ARE YOU OK? xx-
It didn't take long for a response - YEAH. SEE YOU TOMORROW –
Whilst the message didn't tell him much at least Aaron had answered. He dropped his phone to the couch and turned on the TV, hoping for the distraction.
Layla was stood behind the counter, hands on hips and watching Jackson enter through the shop door.
"Keeping our lunch date are we? She started.
"I said I would."
"Yeah and you said we'd go for a drink last night." She responded sarcastically but there was a light tone to her voice that told Jackson she was only joking.
"Lunch is on me."
"Well in that case I'd better tell Doug that I'm off."
They'd settled in at the pub, Jackson ordered a steak pie and Layla went for the salad minus the dressing, she was explaining to Diane how her body was not fit for a bikini and she needed a serious detox, Jackson wasn't listening. Unfortunately for Layla, Jacksons mind was on the previous evening.
He was gutted about Aaron's reaction, he'd spent the evening hoping that Aaron was just freaking out like usual and that he'd return and they would talk and then everything would be ok and maybe they would end up having sex after all, but Aaron had stayed away. Further confusing was Aaron's behaviour this morning; Jackson had gone to see Aaron before starting work next door at Dale Head and had expected to be ignored. Instead Aaron had meet him down the drive, happy to see him but Jackson couldn't let things lie.
"Aaron about last night" Aaron had quickly looked around to check who could hear. "Why did you go?"
Aaron stuffed his hands into his pockets "It was just a bit awkward, I thought it was for the best."
"Ok." Jackson said, nodding his head "I'd never want you to do anything you didn't want to, you know that don't you?"
"Yeah sure." And Aaron started gently kicking at the gravel. Jackson didn't know what to say next
"We still up for going to Bar West tonight? He said hopefully, neither of them had to be in work early tomorrow so they intended on making a bit of a night of it, although now Jackson wasn't so sure.
"Yeah, you gonna wait for me to shower?"
Jackson looked at Aaron, apparently everything was fine, "Yeah." He smiled and turned to go to work.
"Er hello, Layla to Jackson!" Jackson had been staring off into space until Layla had started flapping her arms in his face. Jackson smiled embarrassed
"Off anywhere nice?" Layla started laughing.
"Sorry, what were you saying?" and they started talking about a new display unit that Layla wanted putting up in the shop. She was asking Jackson to come up with some drawings and to do it for mates rates, Jackson was agreeing to whatever she said, not really paying attention
"Jackson, if you were listening then you wouldn't be agreeing to my demands." Jackson looked at her,
"Why what did you say?" Jackson was genuinely confused and embarrassed for zoning out again.
"You're thinking about that boyfriend of yours aren't you!" Jackson looked at her guiltily.
Layla eyes started to glint mischievously "Go on then, tell me all the details." Jackson hadn't meant to but he ended up sighing loudly.
"That bad huh?"
"It doesn't matter, what were you saying?"
But Lalyla's tone had changed from teasing to concern "Are you ok?
Jackson paused not sure if he should continue "Yeah just ignore me."
But Layla wasn't giving up that easily "No rocking between the sheets last night then?"
Jackson reacted slightly to her last statement, it wasn't much but it was enough to let Layla know she was on the right track, she cocked an eyebrow at him
"Ok." Jackson began awkwardly, he guess he needed to talk about this to someone, it was bothering him to distraction. He leant in and lowered his voice "me and Aaron have never…..." he trailed off hoping that Layla would catch on.
"Oh." She said surprised, she clearly hadn't expected Jackson to say that "Saving yourself for marriage?" she gently teased
"We've only been together a month!" Jackson retorted
Layla smiled "Exactly so what's the problem, it will happen when it happens."
Jackson sighed "No you don't understand, we've done stuff, loads of stuff… just not gone all the way."
"I'm not following?"
Jackson took a big breath, if he was gonna talk then he was gonna talk. "We've been fooling around together since a few days into seeing each other, we just hadn't got that far and I thought we were just taking our time until last night."
"What happened last night?"
"I asked him if he was ready and he point blank refused, said he wasn't into it."
Layla looked at him thoughtfully "How does it know unless he tries it?"
"Yeah this was my first thought, but then I figured that there were loads of things I knew I wasn't into without trying them first."
"Murder, Communism, The Jeremy Kyle show….."
Layla started laughing "I meant sexual."
"I know what you meant." Jackson turned serious again "I thought he was just panicking, but I've seen Aaron panic a lot, and this was notone of those times."
"And your gutted?"
Jackson thought for a moment "Yeah."
Layla reached out her hand to console him just as their lunch arrived. He'd reached for his knife and fork and took the first mouth full of his dinner
"Tell him he doesn't know what he's missing." Layla said and winked at him, the implication clear. Jackson almost chocked on his food.
Aaron had kept his plans with Jackson and they'd got ready to hit the town, whilst it had been a bit awkward at first, Aaron had quickly relaxed and they were having a nice evening. They'd first gone and had some fish and chips and then headed straight over to Bar West, it was the only gay bar in Hotten.
Aaron had gone up to the bar first and returned with a pint for Jackson, a vodka red bull for him and a couple of shots, Jackson eyed the shots.
"Making the most of the late start tomorrow?
Aaron grinned at him "Yep." before downing his shot.
The rest of the evening was really fun, they played pool for a bit before heading over to one of the booths and Aaron seemed to be completely over the night before because he was being really attentive and barely let Jackson go up to the bar. Aaron had reached a point where he felt comfortable kissing in public (well in a gay bar anyway) so they had sat together, very closely and every now and then would kiss, oblivious to everyone else in the room.
Jackson was telling Aaron about a problem he had at the builder's merchant earlier, it was a funny story and Jackson could telling that Aaron was very merry because he was laughing noticeably louder and much more unreservedly than usual.
"Your drunk." And Aaron leaned in, smiling cheekily and started stroking the hairs on the nape of Jackson's neck. This was a very intimate action that showed to Jackson just how drunk Aaron was. Jackson laughed at him "How are you so drunk?" but Aaron just grinned at him.
"Let's go back to yours."
Jackson eyed Aaron "Yeah, that's probably a good idea" and he watched Aaron get up unsteadily. Jackson couldn't understand how Aaron was in this state, they had matched drink for drink with Jackson even switching to the same as Aaron in the second round, but Aaron was a mess. He even slipped down the step when stepping from the booth, Jackson, already down, had grabbed Aaron before he fell on his arse.
"Oooops." Aaron said and started to laugh.
Jackson had managed to get Aaron back to his fairly easily. It was about a ten minute walk and Aaron just put one foot in front of the other until he made it there. In spite of this Jackson had really enjoyed the walk, it was the first time that they had walked arm in arm and whilst Jackson knew it was because Aaron was drunk, he still enjoyed it.
Jackson pushed over his bedroom door and Aaron lunged through it, falling on the bed before lazily turning on to his back. Jackson stood over him bemused.
"You gonna be alright or should I undress you?"
Aaron smiled at him trying to focus but Jackson thought that Aaron was probably seeing two of him.
"Help me." He said closing his eyes.
Jackson knelt down on the bed and started unbuttoning Aaron's shirt, Aaron moved his hand up and started stroking Jackson's arm, which made Jackson look down and fondly shake his head.
Aaron reached up and pulled Jackson down for a kiss and despite tasting like vodka and being a bit wet, Jackson welcomed it.
"Jackson" Aaron started against his lips
"Mmmm?" Jackson responded before moving his hands up to clutch Aaron's face.
"Let's have sex."
Jackson had been in the process of leaning in for another kiss but he stopped in his tracks.
"What? But…. Yesterday…. you said you didn't want to?" Jackson sat up a confused
"I didn't mean it." And Aaron clumsily followed him into an upright position "I didn't mean it." he repeated.
"Your drunk." Aaron gave him a dopey grin acknowledging Jackson's statement.
"I still wanna have sex." And he moved his hand over Jackson thigh towards the zip of his jeans, Jackson caught his hands.
"Your just saying that cause your drunk."
"No." Aaron started, he was shaking his head, a gesture that was exaggerated due to his drunkenness "I can say it cause I'm drunk."
Jackson sighed, a horrible sinking feeling washing over him "Aaron, how are you so drunk?"
Aaron dipped his head, embarrassed and said in a low voice "I was sneaking an extra shoot every time I got more drinks -."
Jackson laughed quietly to himself, the situation was ridiculous, he shook his head completely dumbfound before pulling Aaron towards him, holding him closely. "You're a crazy guy."
"It's not gonna happen, is it?" Aaron mumbled as he heavily rested his head against Jackson's neck.
"Nope, I prefer it when my dates can remember a night of passion." but Jackson wasn't annoyed if anything he felt like laughing hysterically but he didn't think that would go down well with Aaron. "let's get you into bed." And he pulled the covers back, allowing Aaron to lie down; he then proceeded to remove Aaron's shoes and trousers.
"I'm an idiot aren't I?" Aaron said sleepily
"Yep." And by the time Jackson had sorted himself out Aaron was fast asleep.
The next morning Jackson had woke to find Aaron hiding under the covers, he'd mumbled something about it being too light in the room and that he was too sick to go to work, he didn't cope with hangovers well. Because of this Jackson didn't have a chance to talk about the previous night conversation – he wasn't sure if Aaron would even remember. He hoped so because now he definitely wasn't going to let it lie and things would just be so much easier if Aaron wasn't able to deny anything. Jackson hadn't woken up with a hangover what with his ratio of 1 drink to every 2 that Aaron was consuming and he'd hoped that by the time he returned from work Aaron would be a bit livelier.
He walked through the door just after 6pm to find Aaron sprawled out on the couch watching TV.
Jackson smiled at him "Alright, you feeling better?"
Aaron looked at him sheepishly and nodded his head "got out of bed about 2ish and made a fry up – your out of bacon."
"Ahh well your welcome, was gonna make sausage and mash for tea, got some fancy sausages from Layla's shop – you fancy it?"
Aaron nodded but didn't say anything, Jackson could see that Aaron was tense he'd gone from easily slouching to sitting to attention and he was looking at him but deliberately not finding Jackson's eyes. Jacksoncould tell that Aaron was nervous about the night before. He plonked the carrier bag full of their evening tea on the kitchen counter and made his way over to the single sofa, sitting across from Aaron, Aaron still hadn't relaxed, instead he'd crossed an arm in front of his chest and started absently chewing on a finger nail.
Jackson took a big breath "So" he began "do you remember last night?" Aaron slumped back into the seat clearly dreading the conversation; he looked up to the ceiling.
"Yes." He said quietly but reinforced it by nodding his head.
Aaron started chewing on his lip "All of it." He mumbled, Jackson let out a puff of air.
"Wow, figured you'd be hiding out at smithy." He smiled at Aaron, Aaron just shrugged.
Jackson was pleased that Aaron was answering him even if it was like pulling teeth he was also pleased that Aaron had stuck around for the day rather than run away, it proved to Jackson that despite all their upheavals, things with Aaron were progressing. "So why did you tell me differently?"
Aaron was sucking on the inside of his checks, Jackson thought for a moment that Aaron wasn't going to speak but instead he sighed, annoyed at himself.
"My usual gay hang ups shit…." Jackson had to hand it to him at least he was being honest. "and…." Aaron trailed off.
"And?" Jackson encouraged gently. Aaron scrunched his eyes up, clearly horrified with having to talk about this
"The pain….." and that was as much as Aaron was saying. Jackson smiled at him, he could understand this, it had been a worry of Jackson's before he actually started doing it.
"Ok, well it's not that bad – it falls into the pain/pleasure category".
Aaron opened his eyes to look at Jackson "Never did understand that concept."
"Actually it was probably created to describe anal sex." Jackson laughed
Aaron's head lulled into his hands and he moaned but it was exaggerated and Jackson could tell that he was seeing the funny side of the situation. Jackson moved to the other couch and Aaron made room for him, Jackson stroked Aarons face with the back of his hand.
"Look at this from my point of view, my boyfriend has to get drunk before he'll sleep with me."
Aaron openly laughed. "Gutted mate." And they sat there for a moment with Jackson's hand against Aaron's cheek, looking at one another.
They leaned in and gently kissed and then Jackson caught Aaron's eye
"I'd never do anything to hurt you and when you're ready, you tell me."
Aaron rested his fore head against Jackson's