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[personal profile] sekritomg
continued from here.


Just before bed Kyle’s mother uncovers a cache of beach gear in the closet by the washing machine. “This is great,” she enthuses, pulling out lounge chairs and umbrellas. “All the better for tomorrow morning.” That’s when they’re going to Marbella Beach, which was voted the best beach on the Gulf of Mexico in Gulf and Harbor Monthly. Stan knows this both from his mother’s guidebook and the signs that appear along with every quarter-mile marker on the main drag of Marbella Key, Surf Vista Highway. “Real estate on the Sarasota keys is quite difficult to come by,” Sheila Broflovski tells them. This despite the fact that there are seemingly of hundreds of units in this condo development alone.

“Oh,” Stan’s mother tells him dismissively when he asks her about it, “just let Sheila have her fun.”  The two umbrellas, four beach chairs, and a stack of garish towels are piled up with the cooler by the door.

Kyle announces to Butters, Stan, and Ike that as he is in charge here, he will get to sleep on the pull-out couch. It’s a queen-size mattress, so he invites Stan to sleep with him. “Maybe we can trade off,” Stan says, feeling guilty.

“Stanley.” Kyle’s tone is very serious. “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.”

“I’m happy on the floor,” says Butters. He has made his bed fussily on top of an air mattress. Ike has seemingly copied this, admiring how Butters’ neatly folded top sheet looks against the quilt. “Thank you!” he beams, happy to be adored. “The secret’s in making clean creases. See, you just gotta grasp both sides with your thumb and forefinger—”

Ike is enrapt, eyes wide, gasping, “Ohhhh.”

“Jesus,” says Kyle. “That’s really a lot.”

“A lot of what?” Stan asks.

“Just — fussy bullshit.”

They sink under the covers and try to whisper, the sound of Butters’ snoring eventually a sign that, perhaps, they should get to sleep soon, too.

“How’s your sunburn?”

“It’s okay. Just annoying.”

Stan is holding the duvet above their heads so they can see each other without feeling smothered. The main effect of this is that Stan hears Kyle breathing in between thoughts and, even worse, feels Kyle’s breath on the tip of his nose. “Well, that’s nice.” On cue, his dick grows hard.

“Well,” says Kyle, “good night.” He turns away from Stan, leaving some room between Stan’s crotch and his own ass.

“Good night,” Stan echoes, turning away himself. He peeks out from under the covers, his face hit with cold, conditioned air pushed around the room by ceiling fan. It’s still in the condo, the blinds closed, only some light rustling from the three boys sleeping around him. It’s insane, he thinks as he slips out of bed, but he can’t go on like this. Stan tip-toes over Ike and into the bathroom, where he turns on the lights, locks the door, and then turns on the ceiling fan. He knows he won’t be able to get to sleep unless he jerks off, so he does, sitting on the cold tile of the bathroom floor. When he’s done he wipes it off on a paper hand towel imprinted with Kyle’s aunt’s initials. Stan crumples it up inside a second towel and shuts the lights off creeping back into bed. Perhaps because he’s no longer terrified of intimidating Kyle accidentally in the middle of the night with his underdeveloped high school freshman boner, Stan is able to finally fall into a deep sleep.

~

There is a local chain of breakfast places called “Egghead’s Eggscellent Eggs,” and they have a location on Marbella Key, on the main commercial strip in Marbella Key Village. The name is so bad it makes Stan cringe, to the point that he cannot even bring himself to order eggs. Almost everyone else does; the menu brags about their “famous” 17 varieties of eggs benedict. Kyle orders the classic; Stan’s father has “Eggs O’Shaughnessy,” which comes with “whiskey baked beans” instead of gravy and black sausage instead of Canadian bacon. Butters goes for “Eggs Aloha,” an “island take on the old favorite.” It’s got a slice of pineapple stuck in there alongside the Hollandaise. There are 14 other varieties, but Stan’s eyes gloss over reading about them. He orders a Belgian waffle with strawberries. It comes with maybe three strawberries sliced into anemic slivers, along with a chemical-tasting ramekin of hot table syrup. Eating his dry, basically plain waffle, Stan wonders how he ended up here, wishing they were back at yesterday’s Cuban place.

“Don’t be so glum,” his mother says, spooning a few fried potatoes onto his plate. “We’re going to the beach.”

Stan wonders if Kyle’s bad attitude is contagious. He listens to Butters’ dad argue with the wait staff over a $1.95 cup of coffee he claims wasn’t refilled to his satisfaction. “I thought in America ‘bottomless refills’ really meant something,” he argues. Stan feels awful for the poor waitress, wanting to leave her an extra dollar or two for a tip. Then he realizes he’s left his money back at the condo because, after all, they are headed to the beach. He tries to smile at her; she couldn’t be much older than they are, maybe 18 or 19. It really drives the point home, for Stan, that life is random and shitty and stupid. He leaves over most of his waffles.

This feeling of hopelessness dissipates when they arrive at Marbella Beach. His eyes go wide, drinking in the most perfect scene: an expanse of fine, white powder sand, a cloudless blue sky, and the most brilliant shining aquamarine waters, all free and there for him, just for him, and for Kyle, too. Kyle’s family is lagging behind, having waited back at the restaurant for Ike to use the bathroom; Stan turns to tell Kyle that they’re lucky, incredibly lucky, to be able to come to this beach and sit in the sand under their umbrellas and watch the gulls troll for scraps with their sharp black beaks and awkward crests of dingy grey feathers. But Kyle’s not there yet, and Stan’s heart begins to beat with anticipation for the look on Kyle’s face when he sees this place.

Then Butters’ family rolls up, his parents carrying the Coleman full of beers and waters. “Where to?” asks Stephen.

Linda, with her wide-brimmed sunhat and floral-printed cover-up, points to the water’s edge and says, “Well, we should head that way.”

“Oh boy!” Butters shrieks, racing toward the shore.

“Butters!” his father calls as he splashes into the water. “If you’re not careful you’ll step on a sting ray!”

Stan wishes to run after, but Kyle’s absence holds him back. In fact, he sits on his towel and waits for Kyle to show. Stan has already taken his shirt and sandals off, and he’s about ready to get going. Kyle falls to the ground dramatically beside him, whispering, “I am going to murder my whole family.”

“Should we get lunch?” Sheila asks.

“We just had breakfast,” says Kyle.

“I’m hungry,” whines Kyle’s brother. He is 8 and mostly quite adult, though he’s always had a sort of babyish charm that’s persisted into the fourth grade. He is a genius who’s skipped a year, or rather, began schooling early, so perhaps that has something to do with it. Or perhaps it’s that he has big eyes that make him look weirdly innocent, despite his uneasy maturity.

Anyway, Kyle’s parents discuss whether they shouldn’t get in line for hot dogs now, considering the length and the fact that “the sun takes a lot out of you,” as Kyle’s mother puts it. Kyle’s father takes Ike to go get the hot dogs, and Kyle spreads his towel out next to Stan’s.

“We should get in the water,” Stan says, trying to direct Kyle’s attention to where Butters is splashing around a group of children. “Isn’t this magical? I mean, fucking look at this. Just look at it.”

“Um.” Kyle pulls The Odyssey from his tote bag. “I’m not ready to get wet yet. Plus it’s hot out there.”

Something tells Stan that perhaps he should just go down to the water himself, but he won’t; he can’t. He wants to enter the ocean — well, the Gulf, really — for the first time with Kyle, hand-in-hand. The latter part is probably delusional, but the former is within his grasp. If only, if only — Stan bides his time, reading a six-month-old New Yorker he stole from the condo. Well, not so much reading as perusing the drawings and comics. The longest article is a profile of a new appointee to the first circuit court of Rhode Island. “Is This Judge Ready to Take Appeals All The Way?” asks the headline. Subheadline: Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin thinks so. It is shocking and dismaying to Stan how boring this is, though he wonders if and hopes that Kyle will notice Stan is reading this and make a flattering comment about his seriousness and dedication to the six-month-old New Yorker he found next to the toilet after jerking off last night, though Stan means not to reveal the last part, since those are unnecessary details.

The very next article wants to know: “Is this the dating app that will jump-start Guatemala’s tech industry?” And then there is a book review of a new biography of Lou Henry Hoover.

“How do you feel about Lou Henry Hoover?” Stan asks.

Kyle’s eyes dart out from underneath Homer. “Who?”

“Um — are you ready to get in the water?”

“I suppose,” says Kyle. He pulls his shirt off and begins to rub sunscreen in. “Do my back,” he commands, and Stan is therefore paying attention to this and not to Kyle’s chest for a few good minutes. He nervously gets hard, of course he does, but since they are out in the open and he’s wearing a baggy swimsuit he doesn’t worry himself over whether Kyle will know. When Stan does see Kyle from the front, though, and without a shirt, he takes a moment to process that Kyle is, in fact, shirtless, his pale chest there for Stan to stare at. It feels intimate, more intimate than staring at some man in an underwear ad in GQ, which was in fact what Stan had been doing at the magazine shop in the airport yesterday before storming off to the men’s room. That feels like forever ago, and it might have been; it was a thousand miles ago, anyway, and Stan begins to inwardly panic, for he wants to drink in Kyle’s body but he knows that will only make Kyle uncomfortable. He wouldn’t want to be stared at; no one would, except perhaps the college-age boys — young men, really, to Stan’s mind — tossing Frisbees nearby, bouncing under the midday sun, shouting.

Sheila Broflovski shouts, “Kyle!” Both Kyle and Stan turn to see her stomping over, nearly covered head-to-toe in an old lady-ish caftan. Stan never imagined he’d see her at the beach, though he’s relieved he’s not contending with her corpulent body. His own mother is over there in her sensible, plain tank suit, tanning with a visor over her eyes and she chats with Linda Stotch and drinks a wine cooler.

“What?” Kyle asks. He stands up and gets out form under the umbrella.

“Bubbe,” she says, grabbing his arm, “don’t you want to put your shirt back on?”

“We’re going swimming.”

“Well, I think you should take a cover-up. Where’s your shirt? Here.” She picks one up and hands it to him.

He doesn’t take it. “Ma, this is Stan’s shirt.”

“Well, where’s yours?”

“I’m not putting on a shirt, I’m going swimming. Look, I put sunscreen on, I’ll be fine. Stan did my back!” He might be blushing when he says this; it’s impossible to tell, thanks to the burn that’s left his cheeks permanently flushed.

“Kyle, it’s not that,” she says.

“Well, what?”

“Kyle, it’s not — bubbe, I don’t think you want me saying this in public.” She sighs, like this secret is a huge burden.

“If you can’t tell me why I should put a shirt on I don’t see why I should!” Kyle raises his voice and puts his hands on his hips.

“Because,” she hisses, at least attempting to get quiet. “You’ve got — well, breasts.”

For a moment, nothing. Stan’s parents’ chatter continues; the gulls continue to screech. The frisbee guys continue their shouting. Kyle says, “Excuse me?”

“You have breasts, Kyle, little ones, and everyone can see them. You should put on a shirt.”

“I don’t—” Terror creeps into Kyle’s voice. “Shut up!”

“I’m sorry, it’s just — it’s my job to tell you these things. Don’t expose yourself, bubbe, put a shirt on.”

Instead of getting his shirt out of his bag, Kyle begins to back away.

‘Dude?’ Stan asks. “Are you okay?”

Kyle shakes his head, but otherwise, he doesn’t answer. Trembling, he turns and bolts, speeding away from the scene of his humiliation.

This is where Kyle’s dad and Ike reappear with the Broflovski family’s lunch of hot dogs. “What’s going on?” asks Kyle’s father. “Where’s he running off to?”

“Your son is being a little asshole, Gerald!”

“Why? What’d he do?”

“I’m not a little asshole!”

“No, Ike! You’re perfect. I mean your brother. He just took off! I asked him to put a shirt on and he got huffy and now he’s somewhere over there” — she points vaguely toward the dunes — “having a little pity party, and exposed to who knows what!”

Stan feels nervous when his father rises from his chair, clearing his throat. “Kids run off all the time,” he says, approaching the cooler. “He’s a little wiener but he’ll be okay.”

“He’s not a little wiener,” says Stan.

“Stan, honey,” his mother chides, “this is between Kyle and his family.”

“It’s okay, Sharon.” Kyle’s mother collapses onto her chaise lounge. “Kyle is being very dramatic. Of course Stan is worried.”

“Well,” says Stan, “aren’t any of you going to go after him?”

“Why did you even ask him to put on a shirt?” Gerald asks. Ike is already sitting in the sand, making a mess of his hot dog.

“Because, you know.” Sheila turns pink with embarrassment. “His little … things.”

“Well, you shouldn’t point that stuff out to him,” says Gerald.

“It’s a public beach! People were staring.”

“There are, like, a million guys on this beach with bigger boobs than Kyle’s,” says Randy. “Just saying.”

“That’s not appropriate,” Sharon chides.

“It’s really not the same thing,” adds Linda Stotch, apparently deciding to be part of the conversation.

“What do any of you know about it?” Sheila asks. Her head is in her hands.

“Seriously,” says Stan, “none of you are going after him?”

“I’ll go!” Ike announces.

“Bubbe, no.” Sheila yanks him back down by his bathing suit. “Stay here and eat your hot dog.”

Stan’s father, who is working on finishing his beer just as soon as he began drinking it, wipes his mouth and says, “Look, his tits aren’t even that big.”

Stan’s mother: “Well, Randy, it certainly sounds like you spent an awful lot of time looking at them.”

“I was not, Sharon, that would have been super gay.”

“Super gay? You’re talking about a 14-year-old boy!”

“Wait a minute,” says Stephen Stotch, “Kyle is a boy?”

“Yes, he’s a fucking boy!” Stan bellows at this old fool. “And he’s probably lost somewhere and really upset and you’re all talking about him like he’s not even here!”

“Well, he’s not here,” Stan father says to him, quietly.

“Fuck you, Dad!” Stan screams. “Guess what? I’m gay!” Almost before he can process what he just yelled at his father, or why, he’s off, kicking up powdery white sand as he races off in the direction Kyle was headed in. There’s a magical quality to the beach, the sand not searing hot on the bottoms of his feet. He likes to run, and is good at it, but he’s slower where the surface becomes less damp and compact, looser and without traction. Stan’s mind is racing, too, because he’s infuriated, infuriated, and he hates all of them, especially his own parents, but especially Kyle’s, who just stood there chatting, so nonchalant. The fucking sun is hammering down with an intensity unrivaled in South Park, anywhere in Colorado. Even on the ski slopes of Aspen, where the shining white snow was supposed to reflect and magnify solar energy, he’s never felt brightness like this. Stan worries for Kyle, who is without a shirt and who has such sensitive, flawless skin. At the beach’s far edge he stops running, the restored dunes cordoned off. It’s shady and as soon as he steps over the partition he feels some relief from the sun. Spotting a little auburn blur in the distance, Stan begins to lurch toward Kyle, sidestepping the burrs and rough stalks that litter the sand here.

Kyle is sitting in the dunes, face puffy. He’s been crying. He turns away from Stan, but doesn’t get up and leave. He buries his face in his arms when Stan sits down, saying, “I’m not in the mood” at the same time that Stan greets Kyle with a cheery, “Hey, dude.”

“Hey what?” Kyle asks. “You’re interrupting me.”

“Interrupting you what?” Stan asks. “You’re just sitting here.”

“Leave me alone.”

“Okay.” Stan shrugs. “I will if you want.”

Finally, Kyle sighs, raising his head. “You can stay,” he mumbles, “if you don’t make fun of me.”

TYybp7H

“Why would I make fun of you?” Stan sits. “Your mom is overreacting. There must be, like, a billion dudes on this beach with bigger tits than yours.”

“But that’s normal,” says Kyle, “since they’re fat old men.”

“So?”

“So I’m not, I’m a fucking girl growing tits. My mom’s right. It’s disgusting.”

“It’s not disgusting,” says Stan, “it’s just your body.”

“Don’t you fucking tell me what’s disgusting!” Kyle roars. Then he seems surprised. “Jesus, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”

Stan isn't sure that it's the right thing to do, but he reaches out for Kyle, lightly grasping Kyle's shoulder. "It's okay," he says softly.

"No it's not." Kyle kicks at the sand with his heel and it goes flying, but he doesn't shrug Stan away. His arms are around his chest, but he softens when Stan gives his shoulder a squeeze.

"Well, then maybe it's not. But, dude, look. Um. A lot of guys have tits."

"No they don't."

"Yes they do," says Stan, "like, my dad does, and so does my Uncle Jimbo. And Cartman's got huge ones. I mean, arguably all boys do, like, look, see?" Stan lets go of Kyle's shoulder, grabbing at his own chest, trying to heft it up. "I mean, it's not very big, but you get the point."

"Thanks," says Kyle, dryly. "That's great, Stan."

"I mean, you're a boy, right? So if you've got boobs then you're just a boy with boobs."

"Can you please stop?"

"No! Well, I mean. I will if you want me too, but. Dude. I had boobs once."

"Yeah?"

"Yeah, when I took hormones."

"Oh. Well." Kyle brightens, lifting his head. "What did you do about it?"

"Well, after God told me boys didn't get their period, I stopped taking the hormones, and they just sort of went away."

"Well, great! I guess then if God just magically decides to talk to me I can get him to make my tits go away!" Tears begin to gather at the corners of Kyle's eyes. "Stan, you are so fucking stupid!"

"I guess. But, no, dude, please listen."

"Yeah, I guess I'll just sit here and listen to all your dumb crap, because, why not?"

"It's just that, God didn't make my tits go away, he just sort of got me to accept that, you know, I was who I was, and I just had to be okay with that." Stan pauses. "I'm not making this up!"

Wiping at his eyes, Kyle sneers. "I know you're not making it fucking up, Stan, I was there."

"Yeah?"

"Look, I appreciate you trying to make me feel better, but there's only one thing that would actually help, and you can't give it to me."

"Well," Stan asks, hoping there might be some means through which to prove Kyle wrong, “what would that be?”

“To not grow tits.” Kyle sniffs, and he gets up, brushing sand off of his thighs. “I bet my stupid mom feels like shit now. I'd better go tell her not to freak out." Kyle stares down at Stan expectantly. "Are you coming?" he finally asks.

"Um, I need a minute."

"Okay." Kyle sits back down. "But seriously, she's probably freaking out."

"Yeah." Stan sighs, lying down in the sand. It's shady in the dunes, and he covers his face with his forearm. "I sort of told them all I was gay, so. I'm just gonna stay here for a sec."

"Yeah. Wait, what!"

"When I went to go look for you," Stan says, "I sort of like, screamed it at them. Well, mostly at my dad."

"Oh my god," said Kyle. "Seriously?"

"Yeah, I seriously just yelled that."

"And you meant it?"

"I don't know." Stan sits up again, his hair now full of sand. "I think so."

"I don't believe that for a moment." Kyle lies back now, looking up at Stan. "It seems unreal."

"Or too real," says Stan.

"Yeah, or too real."

Stan looks down at Kyle, following the shape of his body from his flat feet to his flat stomach to his awkwardly swollen chest. Despite the heat of the midday sun, as the breeze skirts through the dunes Kyle's tits pucker up into little points. Stan wonders if wanting to lick them makes him gay or not gay -- Kyle is a boy but underneath all of Stan's rhetoric lies the unhappy truth that those sweet little buds are an omen of girlish puberty to come. Yet Stan tries to think about the girls in his class -- spritely Wendy, round Milly, curt Red -- and is unable to will himself to find any of them enticing. He burrows down into the sand on his stomach so he can be on Kyle's level; Kyle's tits rise and fall as he breathes deeply, his strength dwindling under the sun.

"Are you hungry?" Kyle asks.

"A little," Stan admits, still thinking of Kyle's nipples and what they might taste like. Stan imagines them a bit metallic, the tang of sweat clinging.

They walk over to the concession stand and read the menu, but they are both disappointed to learn that with the five bucks in Kyle's pocket they are not able to buy so much as a fountain soda. They sit at a picnic table with courtesy cups of lukewarm water and ogle guys, or at least try to. "Isn't that what people do at the beach?" Kyle asks. He is still holding his arms loosely over his chest.

"I guess." Stan shrugs; he is not interested in passing comment on every man waiting in line for a hot dog or fried grouper sandwich. But Kyle methodically asks, "What about this one? What about that one?"

"That guy is too boring," Stan says, disliking his baggy swimsuit. "Um, that one's okay, but I don't like his hair."

"What's wrong with his hair?"

"Well, I don't know, that's a stupid haircut."

"It's just a buzzcut," says Kyle, whose own hair is helpless in the swelter of the Gulf.

"Well, it looks stupid."

"Like your hair is so great."

Stan brushes at it, trying to envision how it must look from Kyle's perspective. He's interrupted when someone shouts, "There you are!" Both Kyle and Stan turn at the intrusion; it's Butters' father, still wearing his short-sleeved polo over his swim trunks.

"Everyone's been looking for you two," he says, "and to think you've been here the whole time."

"We haven't," says Kyle, getting up from the table. He doesn't look Butters' dad in the eyes, just walks off.

Stan hops to his feet and says, "Sorry!" before following Kyle back down to the shore. Mr. Stotch does not follow; glancing behind, Stan sees that he's gotten in line, and is staring at them as they depart — at Kyle, probably, Stan figures. He starts to mention what Butters’ dad said before, and stops himself. Kyle is making a point to kick up sand as he marches back to the blankets, and Stan hustles to keep up.

"Kyle!" Sheila Broflovski grabs her son by his ears, and pulls him toward her. "Why did you run off like that!"

"I don't want to talk about it," Kyle says.

She grabs him by his shoulders. "Never do anything like that again!”

“Mom,” he says, “we’re fine.”

“Yes, this time! What if someone—”

“What if someone what?”

“What if someone — wanted to hurt you?” She lets go and stoops to pick up Stan’s shirt again. “Here.” Kyle is slack, with a pained look on his face, while Sheila forces the shirt onto him. The cruelest bit is that unlike Kyle’s preferred baggy shirts, this one is fitted to Stan’s body and not a good size for Kyle at all. If anything, it emphasizes the shape of his body. He moans and sits down on the towel, which has become covered in fine grains of sand in his absence.

“If someone wanted to hurt you, Kyle,” his mother begins to say.

“Oh, fuck that—”

“Kyle!”

“—you hurt me, okay?” He collapses onto his back, pulling the discarded New Yorker over his face.

“Well, fine,” she says. “Let me know if you want a hot dog.”

“Just leave me alone,” Kyle groans.

Butters is back, too, and he comes over, saying, “Boy, am I glad to see you fellas.”

“Fuck off, Butters,” Kyle says.

“Come on, Butters.” Stan grabs him by the hand, yanking him away from Kyle. “Let’s go swimming.”

“But I was just — well, okay.”

At the seashore, Stan begins to pick at the little shells half-buried by the tide. He sits in the shallow, near waves and lets the currents lap over him, washing the wet sand from his collection, which he holds loosely in his hands.

“Find anything good?” Butters asks. “What if I got some for Kenny and Eric?”

“I think they’d like that,” Stan agrees. His swimsuit has pockets, and he stashes his shells in there. These are all for Kyle, who never makes it into the water.

~

The ride back to the condo is awkward, Stan’s parents not knowing what to say. Finally, his mother asks, “Stanley?”

Stan says, “Yes?”

She asks, “Did you mean what you said before?”

Thinking on this, Stan clams up. “I guess,” he says. “I don’t know.” Finally he shrugs it off with a “whatever,” and his mother gets the hint and leaves him alone. His sister came out two summers ago, and having been part of that family meeting, Stan does not really want to sit through it again, especially not as the protagonist. He’s much more interested in how Kyle is holding up. After showering they exchange shirts, and go to sit outside on the steps.

Backs to the apartment, Kyle says, “I’m so fucking glad you’re here.”

“Oh, good! I mean — why?”

“Why? Why — Stan, you’re too good for this shit. I mean, too good for me.”

“No I’m not.”

“You read the New Yorker!”

“Dude, I found that in the bathroom. And it’s boring.”

“You know what?”

“What?”

“The fucking Odyssey is boring,” Kyle confesses.

“I knew it!” Stan exclaims. “I mean — yeah, it is.”

They are not leaving until Monday; it’s now just Friday afternoon. They are missing school for this. Dinner isn’t for a while, and while the Stotches have gone to see the botanical gardens, both Stan’s and Kyle’s families have canceled their afternoon plans to decompress. Kyle’s wet hair is dripping onto the shoulders of his T-shirt; he sighs.

Stan is not sure what to say.

“I’m hungry,” Kyle announces. He never did eat his hot dog.

“Me too. Do you think there’s food in the fridge?”

“I think there might be crackers in the cabinets.”

“Oh, cool.” Stan is waiting for Kyle to get up, and so he doesn’t move.

“Come on,” Kyle bids, and he leans over, pressing a very soft and too-brief kiss to Stan’s cheek. Stan turns, blushing springing to his face. “Sorry,” says Kyle, and he is blushing, too. He wipes it off of Stan’s cheek and says, “I was just trying it out. Like, to see if you’re really gay.”

“I don’t know,” says Stan, the words coming out hoarse. “I, um, I need to think about it.”

Kyle stands. “Let’s see if there are crackers,” he says.

“I’ll, um, I need a moment.” Stan lingers on the steps as Kyle goes inside. He is nearly sweating again, just after his shower, and a very feisty lizard is scurrying up the bannister. It’s too quick, running into the shadows as soon as Stan spots it, but it’s very much alive.



THE END

Date: 2014-11-09 09:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] negniahn.livejournal.com
i forget if you started writing this because i said i like when you write them as kids, or if you finished this for my birthday because i said that after you started it? but whatever, you finished it (quickly!!) and it's so good.

i mentioned to you at some point that sometimes when you write kid!kyle he comes off as too ... subdued? quaint and proper? i'm not sure. but i think you hit on all the characters really well here. it helps that they have butters and their awful parents to be constantly exasperated with. speaking of! parent-kid interactions are really interesting to read about, and i like how you include them here -- like kyle being canny to the fact that his mom invited stan's family to brag. i like sharon feeling guilty for drinking on the flight, stan staring at her incriminatingly. feels especially true to stan after last week's episode.

kyle critiquing the terrible decor (and using the word decor, with the accent and all) is really good.

the picard's fish bit reminds me that i really miss the kids including totally random, awful star trek trivia in their day to day conversations, on the show. because, what?? and also, yes.

i guess what really works about this is how you make the theme of pubertal kids being surrounded by obnoxious adults who are constantly applying heteronormativity and cisnormativity to things that would otherwise be cool, like manatees and oysters. you also excel at the theme of florida being super fake and depressing, which makes stan's love for nature/sunlight/swimming and him trying to reach it with kyle, or bring it to kyle (like he brings him seashells) extra sweet and refreshing by comparison.

stan trying to read complex articles to impress kyle is real as hell. god bless. "how do you feel about lou henry hoover?"

the beach scene in general is my favorite, because you deal with the pain and anger kyle's put through really well (especially the fact that he doesn't even win, sheila still forces the shirt on him, ugh) and how none of these grown ass adults are capable of treating kyle kindly and respectfully, but stan is because he just wants so badly for kyle to feel happy and loved.

SO, i'm so, so happy for this fic, dude, i know you didn't post it on my birthday but i loved watching you write little bits of it and reading it all together like this puts me in such a warm mood. anyway here is more of the stanley gaze for you (since this is one of my fave moments)
http://i.imgur.com/Jb0QdTZ.png

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