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What's In A Middle Name

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1967

 

Mary Hargrove was sitting up in her hospital bed, looking down to the little carrier next to the bed holding a sleeping bundle wrapped in blue. She smiled down at her son, with his tiny little blonde curls, and took a deep breath before turning back to the paper sitting in front of her. 

 

She had filled out two of the three blank spots; William ____ Hargrove. But she had been hesitating over the middle name. Her husband wanted it to be his own name, Neil. Had demanded it actually, but Mary didn’t want to give her son any more connection to that man than she had to. So while Neil was down the hall getting some coffee she wrote the name she had been thinking about ever since she found out she was pregnant, even if it meant her husband would be furious. 

 

William Ocean Hargrove 

 

She looked back to the baby and reached over to caress his soft cheek. 

 

Only a few short hours after that, Neil slapped Mary so hard it sent her to the floor. It’s not the first time he’s hit her, but it is the first time he did it hard enough to knock her down. He threatened to do much worse if she ever told anyone what she wrote on the birth certificate. As far as everyone was to know, their boy’s middle name was Neil. 

 

~.~.~.~ 

 

1985 

 

Billy Neil Hargrove pulled up in his Camaro and parked in front of Palace Arcade at 5:46pm. He was a minute late, but that didn’t seem to matter because his step-sister wasn’t even waiting out front for him like she should have been. Susan was expecting them home at six for dinner and Billy didn’t want to be late. Whatever, it was only a few minutes back to the house, he’ll give Max a couple of minutes so he could finish his cigarette. 

 

He blew smoke out of the open window, the late April sun shining down and warming up the car as his mind wandered to thoughts about the past couple of months. 

 

It was two and a half months since Neil had come home from work one day, filled up a couple of suitcases with his shit, and announced he was taking off with some bitch he met at the bar. Before anyone could say anything he was out the door and driving away in his truck. 

 

After a month of waiting for him to come back, without even a phone call or letter, Susan hired a private investigator to track him down. Two weeks after that he was found a few towns over and she sent him divorce papers. 

 

Billy had no idea what was said about him (if anything was said at all) and for a while he was waiting for Susan to kick his ass out, but as more time passed nothing happened. If anything Susan was nicer to him, and he could see that she was doing better. Like a weight had been lifted off of her shoulders. He could empathize; he felt the same way. He didn’t have to walk on eggshells when he was home, worried about any noise he made or even just the sight of him setting off his dad. He didn’t have to sleep with one eye open, scared that at any moment Neil might barge into his room and pull him out of bed to smack him around for some imagined slight his son had done. Billy didn’t have to panic and watch the clock, terrified to get home even a minute later than he was told to. The two of them could breathe for the first time in a long time, and he was pretty sure Susan knew they had that in common. 

 

He flicked his finished cigarette butt out the window and looked around. There was still no sign of Max. Frustrated, he got out of the car, shut the door a little harder than he needed to, and went into the arcade. 

 

It only took Billy a few seconds to spot Max’s red hair in the dim lighting, standing in front of a game surrounded by her little friends. He marched over and pushed the curly haired one out of the way so he could stand intimidatingly over his step-sister. 

 

“Maxine, you were supposed to be waiting for me out front like five minutes ago!” he bit out.  “Let’s go, your mom’s waiting!” 

 

“Just a couple more minutes, Billy, I’ve almost beat my high score,” Max replied absently, focused on her character on the screen jumping around and dodging projectiles. 

 

Billy was quiet for a few seconds, staring at the screen, and at exactly the right (or wrong, depending on who you asked) moment his hand shot out and slammed on one of the buttons, causing Max’s 8-bit character to jump up right into an oncoming bullet. 

 

Max and the kids surrounding him all froze in shock while Billy smirked as the words GAME OVER flashed repeatedly on the screen. 

 

“Let’s go, Max.” 

 

Max spun and Billy almost let out a laugh at the red faced fury before him, but then she shouted at him. 

 

“Screw you, William Ocean Hargrove!” 

 

“What?” he asked, confused. 

 

“Yeah, you heard me! I know your real middle name!” 

 

Billy opened his mouth to ask her what the hell she was talking about when the Wheeler kid snorted loudly, which then set off the other kids. All of them laughing and clutching their sides. 

 

“Dude, your middle name is Ocean ?” Wheeler got out between laughs. 

 

“Who names their kid Ocean?” Sinclair asked as he wiped tears from his eyes. 

 

To his utter horror, Billy could feel his face start to heat up. He had to get out of there. 

 

“GET IN THE FUCKING CAR, MAXINE!” he shouted as he turned and determinedly didn't run out of the building. 

 

Billy was so focused of getting the fuck out of there that he didn’t notice someone on the other side of the door until he’d already slammed into them and knocked them down to the pavement. 

 

“Shit! What the hell, Hargrove?” came Harrington’s confused voice from the ground. 

 

Billy wanted to stop and help him up, even fucking apologize because things had been cool between the two of them lately, but he had to get into his car. He had to get away. So instead he kept walking and threw himself into the Camaro. He’d apologize to Steve later. 

 

Max must have known how serious he was because it was only a few seconds later that she climbed into the passenger seat. Before the door was even fully closed Billy was pulling out of the parking spot, out of the parking lot, and roaring down the road. 

 

The ride home was silent. Billy didn’t even bother turning on the radio, too lost in his own thoughts. 

 

~.~.~.~

 

Half way through the ride Max was pretty sure something was wrong. More so than Billy’s usual anger issues anyway. The music wasn’t on, Billy wasn’t taking his eyes off the road, and, with his left elbow resting on the door, he was running his thumb over his bottom lip over and over again. 

 

When they got back to the house and pulled into the driveway, Billy didn't move to shut off the car or get out. Something was definitely up. 

 

Max looked over to him and could see that the hand that wasn’t clenched around the wheel was trembling. Most alarming of all, she could see that his eyes were red. 

 

“Billy?” she asked carefully. 

 

She could see Billy swallow before asking, “Where did you hear that?” 

 

“What?” she asked, confused. 

 

“About my middle name. Is it true?” 

 

“Oh. Yeah. Uh, I guess Mom found your birth certificate when she was going through Neil’s stuff. I saw her put something in your room the other day while you were out. I was curious so I went to see what it was.” 

 

“There wasn’t anything in my room,” he looked at her questioningly. 

 

“I took it. To use as blackmail or something,” she shrugged and tried to act like it wasn’t that big of a deal. 

 

He apparently didn’t care about that because he just asked, “Can I see it?” 

 

“Yeah. It’s in my room,” Max gestured to the house and reached for the door handle. 

 

“Can you get it? Bring it here?” 

 

“Sure,” she gave him a strange look but got out of the car and ran into the house. 

 

“Max, there you are!” Susan greeted her from the doorway of the kitchen. “Where’s Billy? Dinner is going to be ready soon,” she continued when she didn’t see him following her daughter in. 

 

“He’s out in the car. We’ll be in in a minute,” Max assured her mom over her shoulder while she quickly walked down the hallway to her room. 

 

She went to the bottom drawer of her dresser and, under a few pairs of shorts, she found the birth certificate she had put there last week. 

 

On her way back outside she paused to look out the window to the car to check on Billy and saw him sitting there, absently looking out the front windshield. What the hell was going on? 

 

When she got back outside she went over to the open driver’s side window and handed Billy the folded up piece of paper. 

 

Slowly, and with shaking hands, Billy took it and unfolded it to read. 

 

Max was silent, but finally spoke up when she noticed a tear make it’s way down Billy’s cheek. 

 

“Billy?” she asked, now even more worried. 

 

“I-I gotta go,” Billy’s voice cracked as he threw the birth certificate into the passenger seat and reached for the gearshift. 

 

“Wha-” Max cut herself off as she jumped back from the car when Billy shifted into reverse and backed out of the driveway at a dangerous speed. She stood there, confused, as he shifted into drive and took off down the street with a screech of the tires. 

 

After standing there for a few seconds, trying to understand what just happened, she ran back inside and grabbed the phone. 

 

~.~.~.~ 

 

Steve pushed himself up from the ground while he watched Billy and Max take off out of the parking lot with a roar of the engine. 

 

His hands stung like a bitch and when he looked down he saw they were scrapped up and bleeding a bit. Great. With a sigh he went back to his car and, careful not to get blood on anything, went into the glove compartment to grab a couple of napkins he kept in there just in case. 

 

After wiping away the blood he was happy to see that the bleeding had basically stopped. He crumpled up the bloody napkins and got back out of the car to throw them away in the trashcan by the door to the arcade. 

 

Just as he threw them out, the door opened and out came Dustin with Lucas, Will, and Mike emerging behind him. Steve turned to head back to the car, the guys following behind him. 

 

“Steve! You’ll never guess what just happened!” Dustin started excitedly as they all climbed into the Beamer. “So Max was trying to beat her high score on-” Dustin cut himself off when he heard something that Mike had said and quickly started yelling at him in the backseat about elves or something. 

 

Steve rolled his eyes and pulled out of the parking lot to head towards the Wheeler’s house. He had somehow gotten roped into bringing all of them to Mike's house for a Dungeons & Dragons sleepover. 

 

The boys argued about their game the whole drive and Steve was thankful for the quiet when they all piled out of his car with absent minded thanks thrown in his direction, still focused on their rather loud argument. 

 

Once he got home to his empty house, he headed upstairs to his bathroom to clean his palms with the huge first aid kit under his sink. He hated how often it had come in handy since he bought it after shit with the Upside Down started. 

 

He had just gotten done with disinfecting the cuts, cursing the whole time at the unbearable stinging from the Bacitracin, when the phone started to ring. He quickly put the kit away and threw out the garbage before running to get the phone. 

 

“Harrington residence, Steve speaking.” 

 

“Steve!” 

 

“Max?” Steve was a little thrown, he had been expecting his mother or someone looking for his dad. “What’s wrong?” 

 

“I need you to do me a favor!” 

 

A minute later he was hanging up the phone and grabbing his keys while heading out the door. 

 

He was surprised Max was asking him to go find Billy. Apparently Billy was upset and she thought he could use someone to talk to. Why she thought Steve should be that person he didn’t really know, but he headed back out to his car anyway. 

 

They were friendly enough, he guessed; him and Billy. When they were picking up or dropping the kids off somewhere they would sometimes hang out for a few minutes while they waited for the kids and smoked. They would talk about insignificant things like school or sports. He really liked those few minutes, when they happened. Billy was a pretty cool guy when he wasn’t being a total asshole. 

 

The quarry was Steve’s fourth stop on his mission to find him. First had been the diner, then Melvald’s, then the school parking lot. He let out a relieved breath when he drove up the rocky path, gravel crunching under his tires, to the quarry and spotted the familiar blue Camaro parked a few feet from the edge. He honestly didn’t know where he would have checked next if Billy wasn’t there. 

 

He pulled his Beamer up next to the Camaro and shut off the engine. He could see Billy sitting on the hood of his car, leaning back against the windshield. He was dressed in jeans and a white t-shirt, cigarette dangling between his fingers, and Steve stupidly felt a little dumb dressed in his polo and khakis. 

 

He shook off the thought and got out to walk over to stand next to Billy. 

 

“What are you doing here, Harrington?” Billy asked wearily.  

 

“Max called me,” Steve said, really looking over Billy and taking in the red rimmed eyes and the tense way he was holding himself even though it was obvious he was trying to look casual. “She said you could probably use a friend right now.” 

 

Billy scoffed, but Steve chose to ignore that. 

 

“She couldn’t really tell me what was wrong, but she was worried. I can see why, you’re not looking too hot.” 

 

“Well, that’s a lie,” Billy smirked. 

 

Steve rolled his eyes and pushed the blonde’s shoulder. Billy laughed softly. 

 

“Seriously, what’s going on? You haven’t knocked me down in a while, I thought we were over that,” Steve tried to joke to ease the tension. 

 

It seemed to have the opposite effect because the small smile that had been on Billy’s face was gone and replaced with a serious look with a hint of concern. But maybe Steve was reading too much into that last part. 

 

“You good?” he asked as he looked Steve over, checking for injuries. 

 

“Just some scrapes. Haven’t had this happen since I was a kid,” Steve assured him and held up his hands for Billy’s inspection. His palms still stung when he moved them or touched them, but he’d be fine. 

 

“Sorry,” Billy mumbled after looking over Steve’s hands and turning to look back out over the edge. 

 

“Okay, no more changing the subject. What’s wrong?” Steve put his hands on his hips, showing he meant serious business. 

 

“You have a middle name, right? Probably something stupid like Eugene or Herbert or something?” 

 

“Uh, it’s Anthony actually,” Steve replied, a little thrown. “But I said no more changing-” 

 

“It’s relevant,” Billy interrupted him. 

 

Steve stood there silently, waiting for him to go on. 

 

Billy took a deep drag of his cigarette, finishing it off, and held it in his lungs while he flicked the butt over the edge of the quarry. 

 

“Steven Anthony Harrington,” he said as he let out the smoke. 

 

Steve has no idea why hearing Billy say his full name while watching the smoke curl out of his mouth made him blush. He was very glad Billy wasn’t looking at him. 

 

“My whole life I’ve been William Neil Hargrove. All 17, basically 18 years, of my life I’ve had that prick’s name stuck to me like a fucking tumor or something. A constant reminder that no matter what, I would always have a part of him with me,” Billy’s voice got angrier and angrier as he went on, his jaw clenching shut when he was finished. 

 

“Okay?” Steve understood why that would bother him, Max had told the party about how much of an ass Neil was, and then Dustin told him, but he didn’t get what that had to do with Billy’s current mood. 

 

Billy reached for something under his thigh, a folded piece of paper, and after looking down at it for a few seconds he hesitantly held it out to Steve. 

 

He took the paper, his fingers brushing against Billy’s and sending a little tingle down his spine and unfolded it. 

 

Steve’s eyebrows went up in surprise, “It’s not Neil.” 

 

“It’s not Neil,” Billy confirmed. 

 

“That’s a good thing though, right? I mean Ocean is a bit unusual but…” Steve trailed off and looked back up to Billy. 

 

“It’s-” Billy cut himself off in frustration, “17 years, Steve. I was lied to for 17 fucking years.” 

 

Steve tried hard to cover up the little thrill at Billy calling him by his first name in a non-mocking way. 

 

“Better late than never?” he said awkwardly. 

 

Billy let out a sharp laugh and finally, for the first time since Steve had pulled up, looked him in the eyes. 

 

“I guess you’ve got a point.” 

 

“Wait,” Steve handed back the paper as he had a sudden thought. “What about your driver's license? That has your middle name on it!” 

 

Billy threw his head back and laughed as he reached into the back pocket of his jeans (his hips thrusting up so he had room, Steve quickly looked away) and pulled out his wallet. He opened it up and pulled out his license before tossing it to Steve, who fumbled but managed to catch it. 

 

“It’s fake.” 

 

“Seriously?” Steve inspected the piece of plastic in his hand, it just looked like a regular drivers license. 

 

“They make top quality fakes in California if you know who to go to. Dad kept telling me he had no idea where my birth certificate was and they wouldn’t give me my license without it, so I went and got that made up. Now I know my dear old dad was fuckin’ lying. What a surprise.” 

 

Steve looked closer at the license, at the picture of Billy staring back out, at the shockingly blue eyes. 

 

Did Billy’s mom know that his eyes would be so blue when she gave him that middle name? Steve wondered to himself. Because it was definitely his mom, from the little he knew of Neil there was no way he would have named him that. 

 

“Your mom…” Steve trailed off as he handed the license back, knowing the subject of Billy’s mom was a touchy one even if he didn’t really know the story as to why. 

 

Billy inhaled deeply and let it out slowly. 

 

“Must have been,” he nodded while he put the card back in his wallet and then tossed it on the roof of the car. 

 

Steve carefully made his way around Billy and the front of the Camaro, and slid up on the hood next to him, waiting for Billy to tell him to get lost. He relaxed when after a few moments nothing came. 

 

“She must’ve done it behind my dad’s back. Damn, he had to have been pissed. Probably threatened her if she said anything, made everyone think my middle name was Neil. Fucking jackass,” Billy laughed humorlessly. 

 

“Why do you think she named you Ocean?” 

 

“Fuck if I know,” Billy shrugged and searched his pockets, giving up with a sigh when, Steve assumed, he couldn’t find his cigarettes. 

 

Steve leaned back on the windshield and looked up into the slowly darkening sky as he thought. 

 

He must have been making some sort of face because Billy bumped his knee against his and asked, “The hell are you thinking about so hard over there? You’re gonna hurt yourself, pretty boy.” 

 

“Ha ha,” Steve said, voice dripping with sarcasm. “I’m just thinking about why someone would name their kid Ocean. I guess if you wanted them to be like it? You know what I mean? Like if your mom wanted you to be calm and free or something.” 

 

Billy scoffed and looked up at the sky with Steve. 

 

“That didn’t work out too well for her then. I’m more like the ocean during a storm; dangerous and uncontrollable.” 

 

Steve didn’t say anything for a bit because it was true. 

 

“Maybe, yeah. But you’re working on it. I can tell,” Steve kept going, even when he felt Billy stiffen up next to him. “Your dad leaving has been really good for you. You’re doing better in school. You’re nicer to Max and the kids. Nicer to me.” 

 

“What, you been watching me, Harrington?” Billy let out an awkward laugh. 

 

“Kinda, yeah,” Steve admitted softly and turned his head to look at Billy’s reaction. 

 

Billy looked over in shock and swallowed hard before whispering, “Yeah?” 

 

“Yeah,” he confirmed with a nod. 

 

At Billy’s confused look Steve sat up and ran his hands over his thighs. 

 

“Since the fight,” he answered the unasked question. “I started watching you to make sure you weren’t going to hurt anyone else. And then I kept watching you because… I was jealous, I guess.” 

 

“What? Why?” Billy asked and sat up as well. 

 

“I’m sure you’ve noticed that I don’t really have a whole lot of friends. I’ve got a bunch of middle schoolers, my ex, and her new boyfriend, who she basically left me for. So seeing you with a bunch of people clamoring over themselves to try to get you to pay attention to them, you know,” Steve paused and looked down at his hands. “And then I kept watching because I wanted to be one of those people. I wanted your attention, I wanted you to smile at me and just fucking look at me, you know? God, it sounds dumb,” he laughed at himself and ran his hands over his face. 

 

“What? Are you gay, Harrington?” Billy asked, and there was something about his tone that Steve couldn’t quite understand. 

 

“No!” Steve rushed to answer. “I mean- I don’t know! When I think about girls when I-” he makes an awkward jerking off motion, “It gets the job done. But so does thinking about you so... I mean, can you like both? Is that a thing?” 

 

From the corner of his eye he can see Billy start to blush, which Steve secretly found adorable, so he tried to think back over what he had said to cause it. Oh, shit did he really say that? Dammit, Harrington! Use your brain! 

 

Billy must have chosen to gloss over that part for now because he focused on the question, “I don’t know.” 

 

“So... are you like that too? You like both?” 

 

“No.” 

 

“Oh,” Steve let out softly, embarrassed and disappointed. Fuck, he just admitted to a straight guy that he jerks off thinking about him. He had to get out of there. 

 

But before he could push himself off the hood of the Camaro and flee to his car, Billy cleared his throat. 

 

“I’m gay, Steve.” 

 

Steve was confused, “But all those girls…” 

 

“Just to throw people off the trail, you know?” Billy shrugged. 

 

He thought about it for a minute, “You haven’t been with anyone since your dad left.” 

 

“Max ever tell you why we moved here?” 

 

“No,” Steve shook his head. 

 

“I was kinda seeing a guy back in California. Max saw us making out one day and ran home to tell her mom. My dad was right there. He sent Max and Susan out to the movies and when I got home… it was bad. Really bad,” Billy stopped, like he was flashing back to that horrible moment in time. “He put in a request for a transfer at work the next day, convinced that if we got out of California his son would snap outta it and stop being a faggot. To be honest I was hoping he was right,” he laughed at the absurdity of it. “But then we got here and I met Tommy and he took me to that fucking Halloween party. He pointed you out and I knew it didn’t work. That it wasn’t ever going to work.” 

 

“Me?” Steve knew the hopefulness in his voice was apparent. 

 

“You think I call you ‘pretty boy’ for the hell of it?” Billy joked. 

 

Steve’s breathing grew shallow as they sat there on the hood of the car, his eyes going from Billy’s blue eyes to his mouth and he swallowed hard when he saw Billy’s tongue peek out to lick his lips. 

 

Steve wasn’t really sure which of them moved first and to be honest he didn’t really care, because Billy’s lips were on his and they’re soft and warm and then Billy’s hand was on his side and Steve couldn’t really think anymore. 

 

He moved his hand up to Billy’s hair to run through the blonde curls and hold his head still as Steve opened his mouth and slipped his tongue between Billy’s lips. 

 

Billy let out a groan and moved so he was on top of Steve and then pushed him so he was lying back, his knees on the hood of the Camaro on either side of Steve’s hips. Billy’s hands rubbed at Steve’s chest before wandering up to cup his cheeks and deepen their kiss. 

 

Steve knew that he was going to become addicted to the taste of Billy, of cigarette smoke and something so uniquely him. To the feel of strong muscles under his hands and a mustache against his lips. 

 

He moved his hands to Billy’s hips, intending on forcing Billy down to grind their hips together when a sudden thought hit him out of nowhere and he flung his head back so hard it banged against the hood of the car with a painful sounding thunk , but he didn’t feel it, too busy laughing. 

 

Billy sat up and back onto Steve’s thighs as he watched him lose it. 

 

“I don’t know about the chicks you’ve been with, pretty boy, but I don’t appreciate it when the person I’m putting the moves on starts cracking up.” 

 

“No. No. It’s-” Steve had to pause to laugh some more and when he caught his breath he went on, “Your name is Billy Ocean !” 

 

It took Billy a few seconds to remember the musician with the same name and started laughing too, “I guess there’s worse people to share a name with.” 

 

When their laughter finally died down, Billy ran his hands up and down Steve’s chest, eventually moving under his shirt and pushing it up under his armpits. 

 

Steve’s breath hitched when Billy’s fingers brushed over his nipples and Billy smirked, not missing the reaction. 

 

Sitting up, Steve pushed his fingers through Billy’s curls and pulled him into another kiss. It quickly grew heated and Steve groaned loudly when Billy lowered himself and ground down onto Steve’s erection. 

 

“Shit,” Steve pulled back and gasped. 

 

“Yeah? You like that, pretty boy?” 

 

Billy pushed him back down and quickly started undoing Steve’s pants and pulling out his dick. He paused, eyes wide as he stared down at Steve’s hard dick in his hand.

 

“What?” Steve asked self consciously. Why the hell was Billy just staring at it? 

 

“I knew you were big, but damn. This one of the reasons they called you King Steve?” Billy said softly as his hand started moving up and down. 

 

Steve blushed, he knew he was on the big side but having someone actually say it was… a lot. 

 

“Fuck, and you’re so wet, baby,” Billy awed as a couple of beads of precum dripped down Steve’s cock. 

 

“Oh my god, shut up,” Steve groaned in embarrassment. 

 

Billy laughed and let go of Steve to undo his own pants and pull himself out. 

 

Steve pushed up on his elbows and watched as Billy pulled his dick out and gave it a couple of strokes. 

 

Billy noticed him staring and smirked before he took both of them into his hand and slowly starting to stroke them up and down. 

 

On an upstroke he collected the precum from Steve’s tip and used it to help lube them up, groaning as his hand gilded easier. 

 

“Fuck, Billy,” Steve moaned and fell back onto the car, his hands clutching Billy’s thighs. 

 

“Mmm, yeah, Steve. Feel so good in my hand. Pressed up against my dick, all hot and wet.” 

 

Steve squeezed his eyes shut and groaned. If Billy kept talking like that, and moving his hand like that, he wasn’t going to last much longer. 

 

Billy must have been able to tell because he chuckled and sped up his hand. 

 

“Eyes open, baby. I want you to look at me when you cum.” 

 

“Shit,” Steve gasped, but obeyed. 

 

His eyes trailed up from their cocks, to Billy’s chest, up to his eyes. Brown met blue and Steve smiled up at him. Billy looked really hot, his tongue sticking out between his teeth, a cocky smirk stretched across his lips. 

 

Billy used his free hand to rub Steve’s chest and stomach. Scratching at a nipple every few strokes. 

 

“Gonna cum, baby. You gonna cum with me?” 

 

Steve nodded, but apparently that wasn’t good enough because the look in Billy’s eyes got sharper and his grip tightened. 

 

“Say it, Steve. Tell me you’re gonna cum.” 

 

“Fuck!” Steve hissed. “Billy! I’m gonna cum! Fuck, I’m gonna cum!” 

 

And then he was arching his hips up and he was cumming. Billy Hargrove was making him cum and he felt it splatter over his stomach and chest. 

 

Billy was only two more strokes behind him, hissing out Steve’s name as added to the mess on  his stomach. 

 

He slowed down his hand as they wound down until it was too much and Steve had to bat his hand away. 

 

Billy looked down at him and laughed at the amount of cum on Steve’s bare torso. 

 

“Damn, do you normally shoot that much, baby?” 

 

Steve halfheartedly moved to punch him but Billy easily dodged it. 

 

He watched with half lidded eyes as Billy looked down at the bit of cum on his hand and, meeting Steve’s eyes, brought it up to his mouth and licked it off. 

 

Steve groaned and felt his cock twitch, more than happy to go another round, but then Billy was moving off of him and laid out on the hood next to him. 

 

As they both lay panting on their backs on the hood of the Camaro, Steve wished he had a cigarette. There was nothing like a smoke after good sex, and damn was that some good sex. 

 

“We need to do that again. And again and again and again,” he laughed breathlessly. 

 

He saw Billy stiffen up next to him out of the corner of his eye and braced for the “this was a mistake, I’m not actually gay” speech. 

 

“Steve,” Billy sighed. “I get that this is all new to you and I’m thinking you haven’t really thought this whole ‘liking guys’ thing through. It’s not the same as with a girl.” 

 

“Well, obviously. I can’t really do what we just did with a girl,” Steve tried to joke. 

 

Billy rolled his eyes before continuing like Steve hadn't interrupted, “If people find out about this it’s not gonna be pretty. Have you thought about that? About what your little kids are gonna think about it? What about the Wheeler chick and her boytoy?” 

 

Steve hated the fact that Billy had a point. Honestly he hadn’t given it much thought because he figured nothing would ever happen between them, so why worry about it? 

 

“I mean I don’t think they’d-” 

 

“Stop. I know you haven’t really thought about it. About all the consequences. About how hard it is to hide this shit and if it’s really worth it.” 

 

They sat there in silence, staring up at the sky as it got darker and darker. Feeling vulnerable, Steve put his dick away and zipped up his pants. When he realized his chest was still covered in cum he took off his shirt and used it to wipe it away as best he could. 

 

“Fuck!” Billy cursed loudly and slammed his fists down on the hood with a loud bang, startling Steve. “I’m not fucking- I’m not saying I don’t want to-” he started a stopped a few times, not knowing how to phrase what he wanted to say. 

 

Steve hesitantly reached down and took hold of Billy’s clenched fist, pulling it apart and slotting their fingers together, trying to offer comfort. 

 

Billy squeezed Steve’s hand and took a few deep breaths. 

 

“I’m not saying I don’t want to give this a shot, alright? Because I do. I really fucking do. But… I think you need to take some time and think shit over first.” 

 

“I’m not gonna change my mind,” Steve said adamantly. 

 

Billy laughed humorlessly and used his free hand to rub his face. 

 

“Yeah, we’ll see, pretty boy.” 

 

~.~.~.~ 

 

They had laid out on the hood of the car for a while longer before Steve got uncomfortable with the cum drying on his chest and went home to shower. A soft kiss was exchanged and Steve gave him a reassuring smile before he left. 

 

Billy had stayed another 10 minutes, just looking up at the stars and thinking. 

 

When Billy finally got home and shut off the Camaro, it was late. The light above the door was on and so was the kitchen light, but other than that the house was dark and he was pretty sure Susan and Max were already in bed. He made sure to be quiet as he shut the door to the Camaro and then entered the house. 

 

His plan was to just head to bed, but as he walked by Max’s door he hesitated.

 

Billy lightly knocked on the door, not wanting to wake her up if she was asleep, but then opened it when she called out for him to come in. He stood in the hallway, leaning against her doorway with his arms folded over his chest and tried to force himself to say something. 

 

“Have you eaten?” Max spoke up from where she was sitting in her bed before he could finally get something out. 

 

“No.” 

 

“We saved you a plate. It’s in the fridge, come on.” 

 

She pushed her blanket off and hopped out of bed to lead him to the kitchen. When she pointed to the table Billy took a seat and watched as she went to the fridge and got out the plate wrapped in tinfoil. She unwrapped the plate of meatloaf and mashed potatoes and stuck it in the microwave. They stayed silent as his food heated up. Max stopped it right when the timer hit 0:01 so it didn't beep loudly and possibly wake up Susan. 

 

She took the plate over to Billy, grabbing a fork for him on the way, and sat down across from him. She pushed the plate over and he started to move the food around absentmindedly while he waited for it to cool off enough to eat. 

 

“Thanks.” 

 

“No problem,” Max shrugged. 

 

“Not for this. For calling Harrington.” 

 

“So he helped?” 

 

Billy felt his lips twitch into a smile as he answered, “Yeah. Yeah, he helped.” 

 

“Good.” 

 

Continuing to push the food around the plate, Billy tried to decide if he wanted to ask the question he had floating around in his head. He finally took a bite and built up the nerve to ask. 

 

“Why did you call him?” he wondered around a mouthful of food. 

 

Max crossed her arms over her chest defensively and shrugged, “I was worried about you, asshole. You just took off and you looked really upset. You know you’re going to have to tell me what that was all about at some point, right?” 

 

“But why him ?” 

 

She awkwardly looked away, “He asks about you a lot.” 

 

Billy lowered his fork to his plate, his focus now solely on his step-sister, “What?” 

 

“I don’t think he knows he’s doing it, or that he’s so obvious. But whenever I see him he always asks something like ‘So did Billy drop you off?’, ‘Do you need a ride home or is Billy coming to get you?’ and then from there he asks ‘How is Billy?’, ‘What’s Billy been up to?’, ‘How have you and Billy been getting along?’, stuff like that.” 

 

Billy remained quiet. 

 

“You… you kinda do that too,” she adds hesitantly, eyes not leaving the table. 

 

He immediately stiffened up, worried about where this was going. 

 

“I do that sometimes. When me and Lucas are fighting or whatever. Because I care about him and I want to be with him but I can’t because he was being a jerk or something. So knowing what he’s up to is good enough.” 

 

Billy didn’t look up from his plate. 

 

“Billy are you-” 

 

“Stop. Don’t, Max,” he bit out. 

 

“It’s okay if you are, you know. Mom and I wouldn’t care.” 

 

Billy finally looked up at her in disbelief. 

 

“When,” Max stopped to clear her throat and looked anywhere but at Billy. “When that stuff happened back in California. And Niel had Mom take me to the movies? On our way home she explained things to me. That sometimes boys like boys or girls like girls. And that it’s okay, but some people think it’s bad. I didn’t,” she stopped and sniffled, and Billy was surprised to see her eyes tearing up. “I didn’t know that it was a thing. I was just confused after seeing you with that guy and I didn’t think that it might be a bad thing or that Neil would freak out or-” 

 

“Max,” Billy stopped her and reached over the table for her hand. 

 

“I’m really sorry, Billy,” she gripped his hand tight and used her free hand to wipe the tears off her face. 

 

“Max, look at me.” 

 

Max finally looked up and met his eyes. 

 

“It sucked at the time. Majorly. But things have worked out okay, right? You’ve got your little nerd squad and you’ve got the top score at all the games at the arcade.” he smiled at her encouragingly. 

 

“Yeah, I guess so,” she nodded. “And you’ve got Steve,” she added with a smirk. 

 

Billy rolled his eyes and took his hand back from her. 

 

“It really is okay, Billy. There’s nothing wrong with it and Mom will be cool with it too.” 

 

“Fuck,” Billy whispered and rubbed his face with his hands, trying not to cry again tonight but failing. 

 

“Plus Steve’s a pretty cool guy. You could totally do worse.” 

 

Billy gave a wet laugh and nodded. 

 

“Yeah. Yeah, he is pretty cool, isn’t he?”