>> is lust an emotion bc i feel it
>> louder than anything else in ur head
>> or this room
Caleb shoots off all three texts in a row as fast as he can type them, then tucks his phone between his legs and pretends to be doing his math homework. He doesn’t have to look up to know when Adam reads them, because he can feel the low pulse of embarrassment radiating off of him.
If Caleb glances at him anyways because Adam’s cute as fuck when he blushes, no one needs to know.
Not that Caleb sent those messages just to make Adam blush, jesus that would be kind of fucked up probably, although come to think of it maybe sexting in the library during study hall would actually be the sort of thing Adam would be into -- he’s apparently already got his mind all wrapped up in Caleb’s dick anyways but --
His phone lights up.
>> Really? What’s that even feel like?
Caleb takes a real look at Adam after reading that text, but his boyfriend simply drops his phone into his lap while keeping all his attention on his open chemistry textbook. If Caleb didn’t know any better, he’d actually guess that Adam was enthralled by molecules, or whatever the fuck.
He takes a moment to really listen to what Adam’s feeling; Caleb had mostly been gritting his teeth and trying to ignore everything as soon as he felt that clench of desire in his lower stomach, but now he lets it wash over him.
>> it’s not -loud- rly, it’s just so much darker than everything else
>> like you kicked over a can of paint and it’s staining over everyone else’s emotions so i cant see them anymore
This wasn’t supposed to be a conversation. Adam was supposed to realize that Caleb could feel him and then pull his mind out of whatever gutter it had wandered into and they would go back to getting actual homework done. But Adam texts him back almost immediately.
>> Is that what everyone’s feels like, or just mine?
>> Is that what yours feels like?
Adam never runs low on questions about Caleb’s ability. When Caleb’s feeling generous, he thinks it’s just a sign of Adam’s curious and intelligent nature, this inability to let a thing lie until he knows and understands every angle of it. When Caleb’s feeling selfish, he think it’s a sign of how much Adam likes him, that he wants to know everything about how Caleb experiences the world. And when Caleb’s feeling ornery, he thinks Adam does it to needle him, to make sure he never gets half a goddamn second to feel things without having to dissect how they work all the fucking time.
Right now, Caleb’s feeling indulgent.
>> ive nvr felt it that strong frm sum1 else b4
>> maybe bc ur feeling it @ me ?
>> and idk if ive ever felt it myself
Adam responds before Caleb can even put his phone down.
>> Pretty sure you felt it last weekend
Feeling someone’s desire isn’t typically very easy. It’s usually shrouded by layers of excitement or disappointment or nervous anticipation. Caleb has to work pretty hard to suss through all of that to find the kernel of want at the bottom.
Lust is an entirely different thing. He hasn’t been able to figure out why -- not that he tries to think about it that often, because thinking about other people’s sex lives? Ew. -- but lust always feels less like the hidden center and more like translucent wrapping. He can look through it to the embarrassment or thrill or elation underneath, but it’s the desire itself that stands out, almost begging to be looked at.
When Dr. Bright had asked, he’d told her his least favorite emotion to leech off someone else was their anger. It had seemed a safer topic of conversation than anything remotely involving sex. The two emotions have a similar effect on him, anyway; they make him flush red, make his stomach clench up, make him restless to move, to touch, to grab.
Anger is easier. All it wants from him is a few swift punches. He knows how to handle that, and even though he hates the inability to control his own physical reaction to a situation, at least the motion of splitting his knuckles open against a wall had been familiar before his superpower started manifesting.
Lust had been new.
Caleb spends lunch hour in the locker room because he knows Adam would never enter it of his own volition. Not that’s he’s avoiding Adam, of course, he just needs some time to figure out how to say everything that he wants to say -- or that probably should be said before Adam gets the wrong idea. This conversation isn’t exactly going to be Caleb’s idea of a good time.
He finally finishes writing out the texts as the bell rings, and he sends them off before he can agonize about them anymore than he already has.
>> Emotion is different from the physical stuff. Like, yeah usually there’s some kind of physical reaction if an emotion is strong enough but the physical stuff itself _isn’t_ the emotion -- like when ur really sad u might start crying, but u can be sad without crying and u could cry without being sad (like, if you got something in your eye).
>> Does that make sense? Idk. I’ve never tried to explain how lust feels before.
>> I’m just trying to say that, like, I’ve felt the physical stuff before and my body definitely does that when I’m with you, but I’m pretty sure the feeling underneath it isn’t something I ever felt before I started feeling other people feeling it.
When Caleb gets to his locker at the end of the day, Adam’s waiting for him. The only emotion he can feel coming off him is an endless wave of nervousness, which doesn’t quite prepare him for the words that come out of Adam’s mouth before Caleb can even greet him.
“Are you breaking up with me?”
Caleb stops in his tracks. “What? Jesus, Adam, no, of course not.”
The sudden relief that fills Adam would probably be palpable even to someone without emotion superpowers. “Okay, good. It’s just that I’m pretty sure you sent me a text comparing sexual attraction to getting poked in the eye, and that didn’t exactly scream ‘I’m enjoying this relationship’ so I thought maybe --”
“I’m enjoying this relationship,” Caleb says immediately. “But you asked me what lust felt like this morning and I thought you deserved to know.”
“That you’ve never felt it before?”
“Except for when other people feel it.”
“Okay,” Adam says slowly, drawing the single syllable out as Caleb shoves books into his locker. “Do you want -- I mean, if we’ve been doing stuff that you don’t want to do….” he trails off.
Caleb slings his backpack over his shoulder and turns so he’s facing Adam directly. “The whole point is that I do want to,” he says, “but only when you want to.”
Adam makes a face. “I dunno. Doesn’t that sound kinda rapey?”
The whole conversation’s pretty moot; it’s not like they’ve even had sex yet. Nothing even close to it. Sure, they’ve been moving in that direction and there has been an unspoken understanding between them that they’ll get there eventually, but...
Caleb reaches out to take Adam’s hand, laces their fingers together and then leans forward to kiss Adam softly. He waits until he can feel the concern fade away, replaced by affection and contentment and -- yes, the lightest layer of want over top of all of it. Caleb reels it in, lets the good mood collect in his chest before replying. “It’s really sweet that you care about me enough to be concerned about that. Do you trust me?”
“Yes,” Adam responds immediately, squeezing Caleb’s hand.
“Can you trust me when I say that I do want it, as long as you still do?”
Adam considers him for a long moment. Caleb feels the concern again but it’s quickly subsumed by a flood of certainty. “Yeah, I can do that.”
They share another soft kiss. When they pull apart, Adam is smirking impishly.
“I do have one question, though,” he says. “When you say you’ve never felt it before -- do you mean not even for Tom Hardy?”