I Want to Know What Love Is

by James Matthews

Chapter 2


After getting me home, Hunter came upstairs and I changed out of my uniform, into a comfortable trackie set. Even though it was freezing outside Hunter suggested we get out for a walk together. I begrudgingly agreed, much as I'd preferred to lay on my bed and watch TV.

We'd been walking for about twenty minutes just quietly chatting, when I realised we were in some kind of built up housing area. It looked run down and I saw a few shops that had been boarded up. I'd seen a couple of groups; boys and girls, no older than us hanging around on various grass verges made muddy where cars had been parked. It was a depressing kind of place, a far reach from the nice area I lived with Mum, Dad and Steven, but I went with it, hoping any minute now a nice park or grassland was just around the next corner, or at the very least he was gonna tell me why we were here.

"I know you needed a walk Hunter Hunter but where exactly are we?" I finally asked, looking all around, getting tired. "This place gives me the creeps!"

"I want to show you something" he replied, tugging at my coat to walk faster.

Odd shaped trees sat dotted all over the estate. Each looking hastily trimmed back to almost death, any sparse leaves that had been hanging on had long since blown away as winter was in full swing. The sky was grey adding to the slight unease I felt being in this area. I was thinking as we walked, how I'd probably feel a bit scared if it were not for Hunter being with me.

Suddenly Hunter slowed to a stop, and looked at me, turning to a house we ended up just out front. The place was in need of some paint, especially the crimson door looking like it had been faded by the sun over the years. To the left was a cracked window which has been taped up using the same stuff I'd seen dad use when painting at home.

"Wow, what a dump," I said to Hunter. "You'd think the people living there would have made an effort. I mean look at the state of the curtains inside, they're yellow. My mum always said curtains are out of fashion anyway and blinds are the way to go. And...and oh my God, have they not heard of a lawn mower?" I said looking at the long grass that a lion could hide quite comfortably in, undetected.

Hunter looked at me, frowning. "Welcome to my house, Puppy. Funny, I didn't have you down for a snob!"

I wanted to die right there and then!

"Fuck, I'm sorry, I'm really not, I just... Uh, well, you know I just didn't think..."

"Someone like me could live here?" He finished for me, his face warming slightly. "It's fine, don't beat yourself up, you weren't to know."

"Why have you brought me here? You always did your best not to. Well not your best, but it's never been something you were keen on doing. Well at least I gathered as you never invited me here."

"You talk too much, and would you? " He asked, as we stood there staring at his house. "Anyway, I wasn't planning to bring you here at all, but I don't want to keep any secrets from you Puppy. You've been so open and honest with your past and it got me thinking how much of me I've kept hidden. As soon as we left your house I knew part of getting some air meant I just needed to bite the bullet and be real with you, even if that meant... Well, showing you where I live."

"And you parents?" I asked, taking his hand in mine and rubbing his knuckles with my thumb.

"I'll get to them. So, you wanna come in? Please say if you'd rather not. The review you just gave it, I'd completely understand if you wanted to run away." Hunter chuckled, releasing some tension in me.

"It's your home, I wanna see it... I wanna see your bedroom, where you sleep and... And do other stuff."

Hunter gave me a sly grin. "Only you would think about that in a time like this, you dirty Dawg! C'mon, I'll show you in."

"Is your brother home?" I asked.

Hunter shrugged. "He comes and goes. We eat together normally but other than that he does his thing and I do mine."

Hunter led me down his uneven weed infested path to his front door. He shuffled about in his trousers for his keys, pulling out a ring with just one on it. I looked around his front lawn, counting the empty crisp packets and used cigarette ends dotted around nearby.

Hunter wrestled with the stiff door that didn't seem to want to welcome it's visitors. But with a kick he opened it and he walked in. I followed, stepping over a pile of letters and free newspapers, and he took me into his living room. The horror of untidiness lay waste before my eyes. With the epicentre being a large coffee table filled with all manner of things. From cigarette ash, to beer cans, cups, glasses and pizza boxes piled 6 high.

And again the odd empty crisp packet!

The second thing that hit me was the smell. It wasn't unpleasant really, more a mix of stale tobacco and body spray - the kind Steven used...Lynx I think. I looked down at the carpet which had seen better days and clearly not seen a vacuum cleaner for a while. As my eyes darted from place to place I saw a dusty TV and XBOX sat on a unit, and in front of the coffee table was a black leather two seater sofa complete with a few burn holes, the arms worn down to the grey under fabric

"Sorry about the mess, you know, it's just the two of us and well... You know, we're not that domestic."

I waved his statement away. "It's cool," I lied. "I see someone likes computer games?" I said, eyeing up all the different games scattered inside the unit shelf next to the XBOX.

"What? Oh, yeah, we both play. Hey, my brother's not home... You wanna a drink?" he called, me not having noticed he'd walked out to the kitchen.

"What you got?" I called back, looking at his game collection, bending down.

"Uh well tea, coffee... Actually scrap that, we have no milk. Oh I do have Budweiser?" he offered, coming back into the Lounge.

"Bud what? Is it tropical?"

Hunter laughed. "No Puppy Dawg, it's beer!"

"Never had it, will I like it?"

"Only one way to find out!"

Hunter left the room again and I quickly followed him. Thinking I should for some reason. In his kitchen made me draw breath as my own kitchen with mum in it came into my mind. The sink was piled high with all manner of plates, cups, cutlery and pans. Every surface was just full of... Stuff! Bits of paper, bottle caps, newspapers and even a large bottle with the label torn off and a pen sticking out the side. I went over to it while Hunter was in the fridge.

"Is this a model you're making?" I asked, picking up the thing, noticing some dirty water in the bottom.

"Huh?" Hunter uttered, grabbing two bottles from the fridge and turning around. He then burst into laughter. "A model? Uh no Puppy, that is a bong!"

I must have looked confused. He came over and took it from my hands and then proceeded to explain how it worked.

"Wow, that's ingenious," I said nodding. "And this is like smoking weed plant?"

"It makes it a stronger Puppy, probably not for you though. Anyway, come, let's go to my room since that's what you wanted to see."

I smiled and followed him as we headed for the stairs. I noticed it was a small house with not many other rooms apart from three bedrooms upstairs and a small bathroom. Hunter led me to a room right opposite the stairs and opened the door. We went in and he passed me one of the open bottles in his hand. I took it, looking around the whole room. Every inch of wall was covered in posters. Some I recognised, others I didn't but most were music people and pictures of what I knew were vampires and devil like portraits. His bed was unmade, something that disturbed me slightly and the cream pillow he had, had drool stains on it suggesting the whole lot needed a wash. A battered brown closet and a chest of drawers sat in the corner of the room and a small TV was attached to the wall leaning out from the top with a thick layer of dust running along the plastic frame.

"You look uncomfortable," Hunter remarked, as I looked round the room. "It's untidy I know, but I wasn't expecting visitors until I actually had one."

I tried to laugh off his comment about it being untidy. Yeah, I was slightly uncomfortable as I kept comparing it to my own house, not to mention the fact I was a kind of tidy freak. It was the way I was brought up at Greenstone. Everything had its place and we were taught from an early age about respecting our environment. But I know Hunter was the one who was really uncomfortable seeing me look round his mess of a room. I wondered if he thought I was judging him.

Maybe I was!

"I can smell you in here," I said smiling at him before taking a sip from my bottle. What a strange taste!

Hunter smelt his armpits jokingly. "I did wash," he said playfully.

"No, I mean your room, I can smell you, your scent. It's like you, but more intense, it's kind of hot."

Hunter walked over to me and took the bottle out of my hand. "Take off your coat!"

"Uh… ok?" I did as I was asked and chucked it on his bed. Hunter went over to his bedside drawer and pulled out a small bottle. "Get undressed!" He said, demandingly.

"What, now... Here?"

"Do it!" He gruffed, the tone in his voice turning me on, but also filling me with a slight apprehension. Again I did as he asked and got down to just my socks while he watched. He threw his coat off and started to undo his belt. Pulling his trousers down just enough to expose his penis he came towards me and grabbed hold of my neck, pushing it into his mattress where I breathed lungfuls of, well, him!

"Puppy looks ready!" He said, applying a sliver of whatever he got from that bottle to my ass. I heard the bottle he had in his hand click shut before more of a cold jelly like substance was spread around my backside. Moments later I yelped in pain and mild pleasure as he pushed himself inside me, still forcing my face into his mattress.

He fucked me, quite roughly in that position until I felt one last shove and a few grunts escape his mouth. It was quick, clinical and almost angerful I would have said.

"Are you done?" I asked in a muffled voice, my mouth pressed firmly against his sheets, slightly struggling to breathe now.

"Let me suck you, I want you in my mouth," was all he said to my question. He pulled me by my short hair and spun me round before pushing me back on his bed with my legs hanging over the edge. For the next few short minutes he took me to places I'd never been before. I ejected hard into his mouth as my hips and ass danced in the air at the pleasure.

"Fuck that was fucking hot!" I strained, crashing back down in an exhausted state, smiling

But was it? Really. Something left me feeling a niggling emptiness.

"Man, you made my eyes water trying to take that! Who the fuck made you?" We both laughed.

After getting dressed we lay on his bed facing each other, our fingers entwined, both just staring into each others eyes.

"Hmm, your bed smells so much of you, I just want to bottle it up for when I'm not with you," I said, pushing my nose into the fabric and taking a deep breath. When I came back up and looked at Hunter his expression was serious. "Everything ok?" I asked, my expression matching his.

"Do you think i'm too rough with you… you know when we do it?"

"Where is this coming from?" I asked, not really understanding why he was asking.

"Can I be honest with you?"

"Sure, go for it," I replied, sitting up.

Hunter heaved a sigh. "I uh, well I think I'm in love with you and I'm scared that I'm gonna hurt you."

"Hurt me? In what way?"

Hunter sat up with me and we both sat crossed legged on his bed facing each other. He took both my hands in his, and smiled lightly.

"This is gonna sound really corny, but you have an effect on me that I'm not sure anyone else ever has. Truth is Puppy, I'm a user. What people say about me, what people know, I can't defend. I fuck people and move on to the next one, its all i've ever known… or rather done."

"Well, I mean, you told me about your past stuff outside clubs and I get it, I'm not judging you for that, Hunter. All I can go on is how you treat me now."

"And you think I treat you well… I mean when we have sex?"

"What are you saying Hunter?" I asked, creasing my forehead.

"What I'm saying is, I need to remember sex is about both of us, not just me and I kind of feel like when we have sex, sometimes I think too much of me, and not us."

"So you're using me for your own pleasure, is that what you're saying?"

"You say that in a blunt way. I think it's more complicated than that but old habits are hard to break. When I said I was in love with you that is true, but…" Hunter paused.


"Well my feelings for you are at odds with how i treat you during sex. I'm rough and treat you like an object and i'm… well i'm kind of ashamed, because you are my boyfriend and I feel bad."

I got up off the bed and slowly paced around his room for a few seconds before stopping and turning to him, his gaze never leaving me.

"Hunter, you're my first. I dont have a clue what real sex is supposed to be. What you do to me feels nice. I like it when you're rough and yeah sometimes it hurts at the start but…"

"Look at those words you used," he cut in. "You said 'what I do to you'. Goes to prove my point, doesn't it? Sex should not be about what I do to you, it should be about what we do together."

I looked at Hunter inquisitively. "What are you getting at, what is all this about?"

"Its about fucking respecting you Jensen, dont you get it? Don't you deserve better? Better than someone who uses you when we have sex?"

I squinted my eyes. "Jensen? Since when do you call me that? And why is this suddenly stressing you out? You say you love me and then all this. Up until today I never had an issue of how, where and when we have sex and I've not had an issue about how we do it."

"Yeah because you don't know any different."

"I'm learning."

"Well I do, and it's not right the way I treat you!"

"Can we change the subject, please? This is not an issue for me so you don't need to worry. If it was an issue and I thought you were going too far, I do have my own mind you know, I can say stop! So, tell me about your Dad, I'm interested."

"What do ya wanna know?" Hunter sighed. I knew this whole sex thing was really bothering him, but i wanted to get off that subject. Although my question about his family was the last mystery I felt needed revealing, selfishly it was better than the previous conversation.

"Well just tell me everything, I won't be shocked. As I said, I've come from a fucked up background myself. I don't think anything you tell me is going to be much different from what I've gone through."

Hunter paused for a moment, pushing his lips to one side, thinking. "You know, eight years ago you might've almost thought I came from a normal family," he started. "But I guess In the blink of an eye things can change. Families change. Well I guess in reality it wasn't a blink of an eye but whatever, in a nutshell my Dad is doing time in Prison and my Mum is living out the foreseeable future in a nuthouse."

"You mean a hospital for sick people, I heard nut houses are what some people call them. Hmm, and your Dad in Prison. Oh my God!"

"Yeah anyway, I was just a small kid... eight I think, when my Mum started acting weird. She would like, sleep for days and my Dad had to do everything as well as go to work. Me and my brother always asked what was wrong with her and Dad would just say she wasn't feeling well. That was the days she was sort of out of it. It was worse when she was up and about. She used to get so angry and break stuff."

"Break stuff?"

"Yeah like throwing plates and... Well anything within reach really. After that she would just burst into tears and apologise. Sometimes she got angry with us kids. There were days when even if we blinked she would go nuts at us. My brother got it worse than me but she would say the most crazy things to us, like we weren't her kids and how she wished we were not here."

I listened intently, stroking the back of his neck as if willing him on to reveal more. "Go on."

"And then Puppy, as some people do, she discovered the art of drinking. She would drink bottles of wine, vodka and when desperate would even drink cheap strong cider. The cider was the worst. That was always gotten when money was tight. It made her like an animal. The anger was more violent, the words got nastier. My Dad was at his wits end trying to hold down a job, deal with my mum and feed us kids."

"Wow, that's just terrible," I said, shaking my head.

Uh huh. So my Dad rang round a few places and I think he got her in a place to dry her out first, and then I have a memory of her being moved to a few other places to deal with her mental health issues. It got so bad one time, we went to see her in one of these places and she asked who we were! Dad said it was the drugs she was on but it was so scary for your own mother to look at you like you were a stranger."

"Man, Hunter, I am so sorry that happened to you."

"Yeah, and so this went on for about three years. She would be in and out of these places. She'd come home for a few months and be sort of fine... Not fully, but enough that she showed us love and washed our school uniforms."

"And then?"

"Well my dad never earned good money and I used to hear him on the phone begging my grandparents to lend him some money to get her into a private place to get proper dedicated help but they either didn't have the money or they were unwilling to help. Mind you she had said some crazy shit to them too so maybe they had had enough of her, who knows. Like I say I was still pretty young and didn't really understand some of the conversations that were happening. Then one day my dad said he was popping out to get some cigarettes and weirdly asked my brother to take good care of me. That part I do remember because I thought it was strange that he would say something like that. After all, he was only going to the shop which was about a one minute walk from here."

"Yeah, why did he..."

"Puppy, he didn't go and get cigarettes, he did a hit on a Jewelry shop in Croydon with two of his mates!"

"A hit? Is that like he stole some jewels?"

Hunter nodded as a tear ran down his cheek. I wiped it with my thumb and cupped his neck in my hand. He pushed my hand away, almost like he was embarrassed, I'd seen it.

"So, uh, yeah he came back home with this grey duffle bag and went straight up the stairs and told me and my brother he was going away for a few days and to not touch this bag. We didn't know where he'd put it anyway but yeah, he just packed a case and left saying he would be back. In between we had visits from the police asking for him and then my grandparents came to get us after a day or so I think" Hunter stopped as if trying to recall something. "Then…"


"Then… yeah, then he turned up after three days and these four guys I'd never seen before came and collected the bag and gave him like loads of cash. There were bundles of it… more than i'd ever seen in my life! We watched from the stairs as these guys were talking quietly. After they left we went downstairs and my Dad just broke down in tears. I remember my brother giving him a hug while I stood there crying myself."

"My God," I said, trying to take it all in. "So how did, uh... How did your dad..."

"End up in prison? Well after a month or so he woke us in the middle of the night and told us to come downstairs. He said that he had paid the rent on the house for the next year and said in the shed there would be cash to carry on paying it and he'd hidden it in the lawn mower grass box. He gave my brother strict instructions only to use the cash to pay for this place and to buy food. He gave us 2 card things which he told my brother were to top up Gas and Electric. He'd also got my mum moved to a private institution and that he hoped she would get better. We stayed up all night mostly with him hugging us and trying to give us information so we'd be safe. Silly things like making sure at night the door was locked, and not to talk to strangers... That one was more to me really, as I was younger. Anyway, it was a really odd and confusing time."

"Yeah," I said, hanging on for more.

"Then at about Seven in the morning he got up and went upstairs without saying a word. Half an hour later the police knocked at the door and handcuffed him. My brother was going nuts at the police and then called my grandparents. They came and took me back with them. That lasted about a year and then I ran away back here to be with my brother."

"Wow, that's heavy stuff Hunter."

"Yeah, and then the school found out as my grandparents called them and things got messy. They tried to take me back, and threatened me with going into care. It was only my brother who calmed shit down and said he would take care of me and that's why I'm still living here."

"And your Mum, how's she doing?"

"She's a zombie, Puppy. She's not getting out of there any time fast."

"And this prison thing your dad's in? I mean how does that work, will he be in there a long time?"

"He got fourteen years for armed robbery. It would have been less if he'd told them where the jewels or cash was but if he'd done that we would have been homeless and mum would still be rotting in a state run mental institution."

"So your Dad sacrificed his freedom for all of you, is that it?"

"Pretty much, yeah!"

I shook my head and put my arms around Hunter squeezing him tight. "Thank you for trusting me all that, I never would have had a clue."

Hunter pulled away from me slightly. "So you see why I keep my private life at school private. If people found out everything, well... You know my life would be hell. I mean, don't get me wrong, people did start hearing rumours. So I needed a plan, and just before I turned sixteen I basically stood on a table in the canteen and shouted 'Yes, I'm fucking gay' at the top of my voice."

"A distraction?" I asked, wondering what was worse. The truth about his family life or coming out to the whole school.

"Desperation Puppy. But when that much shit is going on in your life, telling people you're gay suddenly becomes easy."

"And now people just get on your case about you being gay now?"

Hunter nodded. "Exactly! But I don't care about that, they never say it to my face. But yeah, so far, even now, people find that so much more interesting than anything else about me. My brother went mad at me saying I'd just made life for myself harder at school. He wanted... Wants me to do well so that I leave school with a decent education. So after hearing him tell me how bullied I was going to be, I started to train, do weights, swim and get bigger. I was already quite tall so I just filled out my muscles and learned to protect myself. I became an extrovert, more confident and after what I'd been through with my parents, I learned to not give a fuck about what stupid immature kids at school said about me. If they wanted to say it to my face I was ready for that, but they never do as I said. And then six months later a cute, handsome, adorable boy comes and sits next to me in the same tutor class!"

I looked at Hunter intently, trying to gather some words. I brushed his face. "As... As confident as you are, why did you feel the need to hide parts of your life from me, like your parents, your house. I mean I've told you everything, you must have known I wouldn't have judged you?"

"Confidence is one thing, Puppy, being ashamed is another. I guess I just look at you, that loving family you have and it just felt... I dunno, a world away from... well from this. I mean you have to admit, you were shocked right, I mean leaving your lovely home and coming here?

"Ok, so a little."

"Puppy, let's stay honest, it's always best. I can take anything, forgive most things, but not lies."

"Ok, it was a shock yeah!"

"Good, see, I'm fine with you saying that, because I know how I would feel if the roles were reversed. So yes, this is my family disaster," Hunter gestured round his room with his hands.

"There's these feelings I have, they are for you! No one else, not your house, not your family situation." I replied, my words passionate. "You could have told me any time."

"Yeah well, it just seemed easier at the time, you know, while we were starting out and maybe I should have told you earlier."

"You've told me now. So, no more secrets?"

"No more secrets," Hunter repeated, kissing me hard on the lips.

I got home around Six in the evening, the time spent at Hunter's running away as we played XBOX, chatted about nothing much and even managed to have sex again, this time on the sofa.

Mum was just about to pull dinner out of the oven and Dad was in the garden scraping the mud out of his boot treads. I went upstairs to put my phone on charge, thinking a shower was in order after dinner.

I was about to go back down but saw Steven's door was open and I could hear him rustling about in his room so I sidestepped over to his room.

"Knock, knock," I said, putting my head round. He was on his bed in a pair of striped boxers screwing bits of paper up from a pad he was writing on.

"Hey Shithead, where have you been, you don't normally leave the house?"

"I do so, and I was with Hunter."

"Oh yeah, doing what, getting sucked off somewhere in an alley?"

"I was at his house actually," I said, smug.

Steven sat up and his eyes went wide. "You mean he actually does have a house, parents and a real life?"

"Ha ha. Yes he does, so yeah, that's where I've been."

"So, what's his parents like, do they have deformities and are they kept under the stairs?"

I didn't know how to answer Steven, even if he was being silly about them. Truth was I didn't know whether Hunter wanted them kept out of any conversations, and with Steven being... Well Steven, anything I did tell him would be round the school in no time. I chose to tell one of my first lies.

I feig ned a false laugh. "Yeah, they're actually pretty cool."

"Cool as in tattoos, smokers, attitude and dress all in black?"

"If you're referring to Hunter in that question, no they don't, and I like him that way," I stated, trying to swerve the conversation. "We better get going anyway, Mum is serving dinner."

"At last, I'm starving!"

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