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around the fire

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“Are you sure we should let Patrick be in charge of the fire?” you asked no one in particular.

Patrick was circling the fire pit, setting wood here and there, a bottle of lighter fluid in one hand.

This had to be one of the worst ideas the group had ever had.

“If we don’t, he’ll bitch about it,” said Henry, loud enough for Patrick to hear.

“Sure will, sweetheart,” said Patrick, sickly sweet. “So why don’t you just let me do my thing, okay?”

“Okay…” you said, then turned back to where Belch stood at the table, which was covered in various foods and sticks for cooking them on.

Henry sat at a chair near the fire pit, scraping bark off a stick with his knife, keeping one eye on Patrick.

With a whoosh, the fire went up. Vic cheered, and you smiled.

“Happy, babe?” you asked him.

“Hell yeah. Glad we finally did this thing. It’s been too long,” he said, taking a marshmallow from the bag and popping it in his mouth.

Belch grimaced. “Fuck, how can you eat that raw?”

“’Cause I’m not a fucking pussy, sweetheart.”

Belch rolled his eyes. “Uh huh.”

“I’m serious, if you can’t handle a raw marshmallow, then what are you?”

“A pussy,” said Patrick.

Vic held out his hands, vindicated.

You rolled your eyes.

“If it makes you feel better, I like them better toasted, too,” you said.

“Oh I don’t like them toasted. You know me,” said Belch.

“Yeah, yeah. Light it on fire or it’s not done.”

“It’s not!” he said.

“It’s gross. You’re eating ash.”

“What’s wrong with that?” asked Patrick coming over to where you stood. He got a stick and a hot dog, then turned back to Henry. “Hey, sweetheart, you wanna weiner?”

Everyone groaned. Not this shit again.

“You make that joke every fucking time we do this,” said Vic.

“It’s still funny,” said Patrick.

“Hockstetter, if you really think that shit’s funny, your brain’s falling out your ass,” said Henry.

“What, you can take my dick, but you can’t take a dick joke?”

“I don’t take nothing from you,” Henry growled.

“That’s not what Patrick says,” said Belch.

“He’s a liar, and you know it,” said Henry.

“So he’s a liar. Not like we’re all squeaky clean,” you said.

“Atta baby,” said Patrick. “Knew you were on my side.”

You made your eyes go wide in fake surprise. “Who ever said I was on your side?”

He threw an arm around your shoulders, then whispered in your ear: “you may not be on my side, but you were on my dick just a while ago, so cut the shit, baby.”

You blushed. It was true. You’d been fucking around when Belch had come and picked the two of you up to take you out to Henry’s land.

The fire pit was nestled between an abandoned silo and an empty barn, evidence of years gone past, when this place was still a real farm.

You shrugged out of Patrick’s embrace with a short kiss to his cheek, then got yourself a stick and a hot dog, going to sit between Vic and Belch, across from where Henry sat, nursing a beer. You started roasting your hot dog, trying hard to keep it out of the flames, but not completely succeeding.

Henry got up and got one of his own, and while he was gone, Patrick got into his chair, obviously intending for Henry to sit in his lap. When Henry got back, he rolled his eyes — a movement that should have only happened on his face, but somehow took his whole body to complete. You grinned.

“What?” you said. “You don’t wanna sit in Pat’s lap?”

Henry settled in the chair that had been Patrick’s and skewered his hot dog.

“Not while he has a boner for no fucking reason.”

Surprised, you looked at Patrick’s crotch. Sure enough, his dick was obviously hard, and you laughed.

“Jesus, babe, what got you going?”

“Oh, just thinking about you,” he said, giving a fake sigh. “We didn’t get to finish up.”

That was far from true, at least for him — he had come just minutes before you had to leave. You, however, had been left hanging.

“If anyone should still be horny here, it’s me,” you said.

“Did he forget to make you come again?” asked Vic.

“What do you think?” you asked, rolling your eyes and pulling your hot dog out of the fire. It was nicely done, if a little too dark. Whatever.

You got up and got yourself a bun, sneaking a piece of chocolate that you all had been saving for s’mores. When you came back, Vic was in your seat, grinning at you. You sighed playfully and sat in his lap.

“What, you gonna finish what Patrick started?” you asked. “Gonna go down on me with God and all the world watching?”

“So we borrow Henry’s bed,” he said. “So what?”

“Not without me,” said Henry through a mouthful of food.

“Sexy,” you said, cocking an eyebrow at him.

He rolled his eyes again.

“If you don’t like it, you can leave,” he said.

“Nope, I want a show,” said Patrick. “Please, do go on.”

He grinned at you and Vic, and Vic laughed, putting an arm around your middle. You relaxed into his touch, thinking about how much of a jerk Patrick was for doing what he’d done earlier.

He’d come inside you, and then, what? Just decided that that was it, that it was over? All because Belch had come to pick you up? Asshole.

You loved him, somehow, but he was a real jerk sometimes.

“Whatcha thinkin’ about?” asked Belch.

“Patrick,” you said.

“Sure you are,” said Patrick. “Why wouldn’t you be?”

“I was thinking,” you said, clearing your throat and getting better situated on Vic’s lap, “about how much of a dick you are for leaving me hanging earlier. Asshole.”

“Listen, we didn’t have much time,” he said, not defending himself well or with any sincerity.

“Uh huh. It would have taken two fucking seconds to help me out, but did you do it? No.”

He rolled his eyes. So much eye rolling was going on today.

“Want me to make it up to you?”

“Mm, lemme think — no. Vic’s got me covered, don’t you?” you said, smiling down at Vic.

His smile got even bigger. “Sure do, sweetheart.”

“Cute,” said Henry. “But I mean it — not without me.”

“What if you’re otherwise occupied?” asked Patrick, leaning in.

Henry thought about it. “Make it worth my while, and I’ll think about it.”

Patrick leaned in closer and whispered something in his ear, then bit his earlobe. Henry pushed him away.

“I’ll think about it,” he repeated.

“Don’t think too long.”

“We still gotta make s’mores, and you guys are already thinking about fucking,” Belch said.

“Y’know, he’s got a good point,” you said. “Which is better? S’mores, or sex?”

“Sex,” everyone said in unison.

You laughed. You don’t know what you’d expected. You agreed, too.

“Fine,” you said, getting up. You grabbed the bag of marshmallows and brought it back to the fire, passing the bag around.

Patrick immediately lit his marshmallow on fire — on purpose, of course, just so he could watch it burn and blow it out at the last second. You smiled, watching him. Belch did it, too, and you watched, slowly toasting your marshmallow. When it was ready, you made your s’more and ate it, marshmallow getting all over your face.

Vic watched you, poking you in the ribs and giggling as you messily ate your dessert.

“What?” you asked.

“You got something there,” he said.

Then he licked his thumb and wiped at the corner of your mouth, sucking it off. You sighed. He could be so sweet to you that you were surprised it didn’t rot your teeth out.

You leaned down and gave him a kiss, sliding your tongue into his mouth. He followed your lead, holding you by the back of your neck as he nibbled at your bottom lip, as he put his tongue in your mouth and rolled it around. You sighed into the kiss, blissfully happy.

When you pulled away, Patrick was clapping, all sarcasm.

“That was great,” he said.

“Why do you have to be such an asshole, huh? You jealous or something?” asked Belch.

“Or something,” said Patrick, coming over to where Belch was sitting, putting his hands on his shoulders. “Wanna make me less jealous?”

Belch pushed him away. “I’m not the mood, man.”

Patrick raised his eyebrows. “Not in the mood? Too bad. I am. Henry?”

Henry sighed. “Fine. C’mere.”

Patrick went back to Henry, holding the side of his face as he kissed him, long and deep. When the kiss ended, Patrick crawled into his lap.

Henry looked like he was going to push him away, but he didn’t. He didn’t encourage him, either, kept his hands to himself.

“What is this? Everybody hates Patrick day?” asked Patrick, pouting.

It was almost cute. Almost. There was still danger behind his expression, so it couldn’t be completely adorable.

“Well, maybe, if you’d made me come, everyone would be happy with you,” you said.

Belch grunted in agreement.

“It ain’t fair, to leave someone hanging like that,” he said. “You always make the other person come, dude. It’s just polite.”

“See, that’s why we love you,” you said.

He smiled, glowing.

“Love you, too, baby.”

“I know.”

“Well, I’m done here. You ready?” asked Vic.

You stood up, taking him by the hand. “Sure. C’mon.”

You lead him back to Henry’s house, down the hall to his room.

Vic made it up to you, hard and fast. It was a good night.