At 16, Stacy Evans dropped out of high school in the hopes of moving on with his life. But four years later, he's stuck in an abusive relationship with Lamar, a "friend with benefits," and works long hours at a dead-end job just to get by.
Then his mother enrolls him in a program to earn his GED. There he meets Darian, a woodshop teacher who is everything Stacy's friends are not -- smart, successful ... and who seems to take a personal interest in helping Stacy turn his life around. The two develop a rapport that keeps Stacy after school just to spend extra time with him. In intimate moments alone, they grow closer than just student and teacher.
On the right track for once, Stacy has a chance to choose between his troublesome past and a promising future with Darian. But his jealous friends won't let him go so easily.
Stopping at the edge of the bed, Stacy pulled his hands from his pockets and scattered the condoms he brought across the disheveled sheets. "Let's fuck."
Behind him Ange laughed. "Don't let anyone ever accuse you of being romantic."
"Damn straight," Stacy replied, grinning not so much at what his friend said but because Ange had laughed. Stacy liked to make him laugh, even at his own expense, because there was a sadness in his friend's silence that bothered him. Yanking off his cap, Stacy hooked it on the arm of the couch, then pulled off his shirt. As he tossed it aside, he asked, "What, you think I just came over to talk or something? We could do that on the phone."
Ange laughed again. When he came closer, Stacy poked at his stomach playfully, his fingers brushing over tight sinewy muscle beneath his friend's shirt. "A regular Don Juan," he teased, and Stacy, not sure what he meant, laughed. His fingertips slipped beneath the hem of Ange's shirt but when he tried to pull him closer, his friend easily twisted away. Scooping up the towel from the bed, Ange asked, "So how'd it go today? See anyone you knew?"
Stacy turned to keep Ange in sight. "No," he said, sinking to the bed. Where the towel had been, the mattress was damp beneath him, and he scooted over a little so he wasn't sitting in the wet spot. Ange wore a white tank top that pulled up from his black jeans as he stretched to drape the towel over the top of the open bathroom door. He'd never gone to Petersburg -- he graduated from Matoaca High over in Ettrick a year before Lamar, who he met at the shop. Though he technically lived in the city, the school system was zoned so that this far out by the railway station was considered the county and he ended up in county schools. He wouldn't know Mrs. Barrett or Dirty Harry, though Stacy must've bitched about them enough a few years back.
The thought of explaining who they were all over again exhausted Stacy -- he just wanted to feel Ange above him, in him, was that asking too much? They could talk afterwards, they usually did.
But Ange showed no hurry to get to where Stacy thought they should be. With crossed arms, Ange leaned against the doorframe and watched Stacy, waiting for more of an answer than that. Stacy picked at one of the condom packets on the bed, determined not to get drawn into a conversation about school, of all things. He didn't want to think about the cafeteria or the classes he signed up for, or Darian for that matter, though maybe Ange knew the guy, maybe he was from this area all along and just went to Matoaca? How would Stacy even bring him up without making Ange think he could possibly be interested in the guy, which he wasn't?
As if reading his thoughts, Ange prompted in his low voice, "Well? Anyone you didn't know?" Stacy laughed and Ange added, "Anyone you want to know? You had to've said something to someone, Stace. You were there all morning. What course did you choose?"
With a shrug, Stacy admitted, "Woodshop. Don't laugh."
Ange's grin widened. "Do I look like I'm laughing to you?" Pushing away from the doorframe, he went over to the dresser and stopped right in front of Stacy. A few steps more, Stacy thought, eyeing the distance between them. A little bit closer, please.
"Woodshop?" When Stacy nodded, Ange tapped the dresser's middle drawer with his fist, and the front of the drawer fell heavily to the floor. "Maybe you can fix this for me, then. It's been broke forever."
"I don't know anything yet," Stacy cautioned. "Class doesn't even start until Monday."
Now Ange took a step towards him, leaving the drawer front where it landed at his feet. "Will you fix it when you know how?" he asked, his voice low between them.
Stacy laughed. "And you thought my come-on lines were bad," he teased. Reaching out, he touched Ange's stomach again, and this time his friend let his fingers ease into his waistband and beneath the hem of his tank top. Ange's foot bumped Stacy's, then he was laying him back to the bed, his lips kissing over Stacy's bare chest. As his teeth closed over one hard nipple, Stacy hissed in delight. "Less talk, more sex," he sighed, tugging Ange's tank top up in his haste to get it out from between them.
Ange's breath fluttered over Stacy's skin. "Promise you'll tell me all about it when we're done?"
"There's nothing much to tell," Stacy started, but then a wet tongue licked down his stomach, around and into his navel, and strong hands unbuttoned his jeans, pushed the zipper out of the way of those lips, that tongue, those teeth that nipped at his underwear in eager anticipation. "Anything," Stacy gasped. "I'll promise you anything, Ange. Just please --"
The rest of his words were lost as his friend's hot, wet mouth closed over him.