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On The Moon There Are No Ghosts

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“On the moon we have everything. Lettuce, and pumpkin pie and Amanita phalloides. We have cat-furred plants and horses dancing with their wings. All the locks are solid and tight, and there are no ghosts.”
Shirley Jackson - We Have Always Lived In The Castle


A kind-faced nurse lets him into the room. She tells him in hushed tones that he’s welcome to take whatever he wants now, and everything else they’ll pack up so he can collect it. No rush, it'll be waiting whenever he’s ready.

“Maura was a pleasure to have with us these last few years,” she says, smiling. “A real lady. We’ll all miss her.”

She leaves him alone then, and Martin looks around the room. It’s a bright and cheerful space, canary yellow walls with framed, colorful prints hanging on them. A large window opposite the bed where the sunshine streams in. Cream colored duvet and fluffy pillows, a couple of fat, cosy looking cushions. A vanity unit with lotions and powders laid out in front of the mirror, matching wardrobe and bedside lockers, strewn with little keepsakes and the book she must have been reading before she -

Well, before.

Martin picks the book up. We Have Always Lived In The Castle by Shirley Jackson. It’s always been one of his mum’s favorites, and this copy is dog eared with age, well worn. She had taken a whimsical pride in the fact that the protagonist was a Blackwood. He puts the book down again, and looks helplessly around the room.

There’s so much to do, for a funeral. Martin’s never had to organize one before. The last one he remembers the planning of was his grandmother’s, and he’d been too young then to actually help. Since then the only funerals he’s been to were for distant relatives and acquaintances, and - and Tim. Nothing he’s been close enough to be involved with. It’s overwhelming, and he’s worried he’s not doing it right.

Mostly, he worries people won’t come. It’s always been a bit of an abstract fear he’s had for himself, that when he dies, there’ll be nobody to come to his funeral. He doesn’t want that to happen for his mum. He doesn’t want to let her down, one last time. What if people don't see the death notice in the paper? Should he have gone with a longer memorial advertisement, like the undertaker suggested? It cost a lot, though, and there were already so many expenses.

He finds the address book in the top drawer of the bedside locker. He recognizes it instantly, the solid black tome that had lived by the telephone in the hallway as long as he could remember. His mum must have taken it with her when she went to the care home. He opens it with a lump in his throat, takes in its yellowed pages and faded ink, all the names and addresses and phone numbers. Decades of his mum’s life, friends and acquaintances and family, all laid out in her neat, careful handwriting.

He takes the address book when he leaves, along with the worn copy of We Have Always Lived In The Castle. Everything else he can collect later.


The house is cold when Martin lets himself in. He sets the shopping bag down on the kitchen table and goes to turn on the central heating, decides to make himself a cup of tea to warm up in the meantime. He fills the kettle and rinses out a mug under the tap; everything is covered with a thin layer of dust, like a poorly maintained museum. He should really give the place a proper clean, and he will, but afterwards. Right now it’s too much to deal with.

He should have come back more, he knows. It’s been nearly two years. But the Shankars next door have been kind enough to keep an eye on the place, turn on the heat to make sure the pipes don’t freeze in the winter, open the windows to air it out in the summer. He hasn’t had to be back, so he’s just kept putting it off.

Being back here does feel a bit like being in a museum. Everything is just the same as his mum left it when she moved into the home, just the same as it had been when she lived here, as if she'd expected she'd be coming back someday. Knick knacks on the shelves and pictures on the walls, all the little touches that had made the place her home. But no food in the fridge other than what Martin’s bought, no letters on the counter, no handbag hanging on the back of the chair where she always left it. Like someone’s built an exact replica of the house Martin remembers, and then forgotten to include anything that gives it life.

He makes beans on toast for tea, which is halfway between comforting and pathetic, but he’s feeling a little pathetic at the moment. He’s not hungry, in any case, and is sitting there watching the beans congeal into the soggy bread when his phone rings. The caller ID is blank, and Martin’s stomach drops. He knows what that means.

“Hello?” he answers anyway, hopeful that maybe it's anyone else. It isn't.

“Martin!” Peter Lukas’ cheerful voice crackles down the line at him. He always sounds like he’s making the call from inside a tunnel or possibly underwater, staticky and distant.

“Hi, Mister Lukas.”

“Call me Peter, I keep telling you,” says Peter, gently admonishing.

“That's - that's all right,” Martin says. “What did you need?”

“Oh, just wanted to check in on you, see how you’re doing in this difficult time. Offer some moral support.”

“I’m fine, tha - ”

“Also wondering when you’re going to be back?” Peter continues over him. Martin sighs.

“I have another four days booked off, so I’ll be back next Monday.”

“Oh,” Peter sounds mildly disconcerted, and the part of Martin that always wants to accommodate everyone suddenly rears its head. He hears himself say:

“I’ll be back in London on Friday, though, so I can come in on the weekend if there’s something urgent?”

Martin grimaces in frustration. Why on earth did he say that? What is wrong with him?

“No, no,” Peter says, “It’s fine, no rush at all. You enjoy your time off.”

“It’s not - ” Martin starts to say, but Peter’s already hung up. Martin puts his phone down and just looks at it for a few long moments. Every conversation with Peter Lukas is just so...disconcerting. Martin doesn’t know if he does it deliberately, or if he’s simply that removed from humanity that he doesn’t even realize. He’s not sure which is worse.  

That night Martin sleeps in his old bedroom, in the narrow single bed that wasn’t comfortable when he lived here and is no more so now. He briefly considered staying in the master bedroom, but dismissed it out of hand. Sleeping in his mum’s room, even though she hasn’t been there in doesn’t seem right. It would feel like trying to clear the remnants of her presence out of the house, like so many cobwebs.

His bedroom is still a seventeen year old’s, a time capsule of who Martin used to be. He could never be bothered to change it, somehow, afterwards. There were always more important things to be doing, and then he’d moved down to London, only come back on the weekends or when the home care nurse had to be away, when his mum would just about tolerate him being there.

It’s funny, how you stop noticing things when you get used to them. The drunken lean of the wardrobe where one of the feet broke while he was moving it once. The spider web of cracks in the ceiling plaster. The frayed wiring on his old clock radio with the built in CD player, which he'd bought with the money from his first summer job, and had hung onto long after the spindle had warped into uselessness.

That’s just what happens. Things get broken or damaged, and you get used to them, and after a while it’s like they’ve always been that way.

Martin gets into bed and picks up the copy of We Have Always Lived In The Castle that he brought from the care home. There’s a bookmark set between the pages, and he sees that it’s right as the fire has been put out:

Then, through the laughter, someone began, “Merricat, said Constance, would you like a cup of tea?” It was rhythmic and insistent. I am on the moon, I thought, please let me be on the moon.

Martin knows that feeling, all too intimately. But Merricat got what she wanted, in the end. She made it to the moon, for good or ill, where nobody could ever hurt her and everything was quiet. He sighs, and turns back to the first page, and starts to read.

My name is Mary Katherine Blackwood. I am eighteen years old, and I live with my sister Constance. I have often thought that with any luck at all I could have been born a werewolf, because the two middle fingers on both my hands are the same length, but I have had to be content with what I had.


In the end, there are quite a lot of people at the funeral. He has no idea if the hours he spent phoning numbers from the black address book made any difference, but he's glad he did, just in case. Many of the people here Martin doesn’t actually recognize, and those he does are older versions of themselves, frailer and more wrinkled. They file past where he's sitting alone in the front pew of the church, some nodding in acknowledgment, to take their seats.

The air is loud with the sound of people trying to hold whispered conversations. The smell of the flowers is overpowering. Lilies were always his mum’s favorite, but Martin can’t stand the sickly scent. He sits in his uncomfortable, scratchy black suit, resisting the urge to adjust his collar again, waiting for the service to begin. He wishes someone would sit beside him, not leave him up here all alone, but he knows it’s tradition - only immediate family sit in the front row.

He can’t stop his eyes straying to the coffin, sitting in the aisle like some macabre conversation piece, its dark polished wood, its brass fittings. What on earth are those for, when it’s just going in the ground anyway? But, it’s tradition.

At last the pipe organ starts a somber tune, and the vicar appears from the vestry. Everyone stands up. Martin stands up too, watching as the vicar approaches the pulpit with a slow, measured tread. His hair is wispy and blond, and he wears plastic rimmed glasses. He clears his throat, and begins:

“We have come here today to remember before God our sister, Maura. To give thanks for her life, to commend her to God, our merciful redeemer. To commit her body to be buried, and to comfort one another in our grief.”

He pauses, and everyone sits down. Martin sits down too, and in a careless rush, Peter Lukas sits down beside him. Far too close, his shoulder tucked up against Martin’s and his legs splayed wide so his right thigh presses into Martin’s left. He’s wearing a midnight blue suit that looks like it cost more than Martin makes in three months, shirt collar opened to the throat and no tie.  

“I’m not late, am I?” he asks in a tone that pretends to be a whisper, but is far too loud.

“Mister Lukas - what are you - ” Martin begins, then glances around, drops his voice as low as he can. “What are you doing here?”

“Moral support,” Peter says, smiling at him, still too loud. “Like I said. And I quite like funerals.”

“Of course you do,” says Martin, hopelessly. He could make a fuss, insist that Peter leave, but he knows it’s pointless. Peter will do what he wants, and Martin has not even come close to forgetting that this man is a literal monster, in a church full of people who definitely don’t deserve whatever he is capable of doing to them. Besides, this is his mum’s funeral. The last thing he has to do for her - the last thing he can do for her. He doesn’t want to ruin it, and if the alternative is tolerating Peter Lukas, well, then that’s what he’ll do.

“Look with compassion on your children in their loss,” the vicar is saying. “Give to troubled hearts the light of hope, and strengthen in us the gift of faith in Jesus Christ our Lord.”

“Amen,” says everyone.

“Lovely stuff,” says Peter, far too loud. Martin tries to reposition himself discreetly, put at least a sliver of distance between them. Peter stretches further into his space, pressing cold against Martin’s side as the service continues.


“That was a nice eulogy,” Peter tells him afterwards. “Very touching.”

“Umm, thanks,” says Martin. He spent sleepless nights agonizing over that eulogy, looking up lists of the best quotes for funerals, all the trite don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened, and everyone dies but not everyone lives sentiments that sound pleasant but mean less than nothing. He wrote and rewrote it a dozen times, and every word he put down about his mum sounded hollow. Because he never knew her, not really, not in any way that mattered.

In the end he just read the poem “Grief” by Matthew Dickman, and talked about how he’s always liked the description of grief as a purple gorilla. Something never expected, but impossible to avoid when it arrives. How it can even be a comforting thing, if you let it in and don’t deny it. How he has a purple gorilla staying with him right now, and how he’s not going to pretend it isn't there, but he won’t let it put itself on the lease to his flat, either, because his mum wouldn’t want him to let it hang around forever.

He’s...not sure it went down very well.

In the church after the service, and even as far as the graveyard, Peter clings to him like a limpet. Stands at his shoulder while the great aunts and distant cousins pay their condolences, while neighbors from the old house shake Martin’s hand and tell him they scarcely recognized him. They look at Peter askance, and he smiles blandly at everyone, utterly at ease.

It’s common knowledge that Maura’s son is that way, as the great aunts whisper behind their hands, but who’s this man he’s brought to his own mother’s funeral? Does anybody even know him? And so much older! None of them say anything, though, just glance at him with mild disapproval.

“Who’s your friend?” one of the cousins finally asks, emphasizing the word friend so hard it’s almost painful. Joanne, Martin thinks her name is. Or Jenny?

“This is Peter,” Martin sighs, before Peter can speak. “We, uh, work together.” Because the only thing worse than everyone thinking he’s brought his much older boyfriend to his mother’s funeral, is everyone thinking his much older boyfriend is also his boss.

“Nice to meet you, Peter,” the cousin says, extending a hand. “I’m Jessica. Martin’s cousin, removed once or twice.”

“Pleasure to meet you, Jessica,” Peter says cheerfully, and shakes her hand.

“Cold hands!” she says, shivering theatrically.

“Warm heart,” Peter finishes the saying, and smiles. Jessica laughs, utterly charmed, before moving on.

“How long were you, uh, planning to stick around?” Martin asks tentatively.

“As long as you need me,” Peter says. “I’m here for you, Martin.”

“I, umm, I think I’m fine, actually,” Martin says, but Peter doesn’t seem to be listening. Peter’s hand comes down on Martin’s shoulder, possessive and heavy, as an elderly neighbor starts telling Martin what a shame it was that he’d had to move down to London when his mum was so sick. Such a shame he couldn’t stay at home to take care of her.

Martin nods silently, and swallows the bile rising in his throat. Peter’s fingers squeeze his shoulder, and he tries not to find it comforting.


Back at the house, Martin hands around plates of sandwiches and sausage rolls, makes pots of tea and worries there won’t be enough cups. It’s almost enough to distract him from the fact that they've just buried his mum. Almost, except not really at all.

The neighbors and relatives make themselves at home, eating and drinking with abandon, until Martin’s questioning whether he shouldn’t have got more food in. Peter’s detached himself from Martin’s side, and Martin could almost hope he’s gone, except he spots him at some point holding a mini quiche and drinking something from a Queen’s golden jubilee souvenir mug.

The atmosphere is subdued at first, but then one of the great uncles produces a bottle of whisky from somewhere, and a cousin fetches some beer, and a while later the house is ringing with joviality. People are reminiscing about his mum, her childhood antics and awkward adolescent years, the hilarity on her wedding day when a drunken guest fell into the cake. It’s good-natured remembrance, warm nostalgia to take the edge off the grief, and Martin can’t bear it.

He wishes all these people would just leave, and he could probably tell them to, this is his house now. (And god, he's going to have to deal with selling it, isn't he? Just another thing to worry about, another thing he doesn't know how to do.) But he can't, of course, because you don't just kick people out after a funeral, you let them tell stories and eat your food and hang around all day and night. It's tradition.

He retreats to the kitchen, sleeves rolled up, washing plates furiously and blinking back tears. It’s not fair, the good memories all these people have of her. Why can’t he have that, without the knowledge of - of everything else? He tries to think about the purple gorilla again, but honestly it can just fuck off at this point, because he’s been miserable and aching and sleepless for days already, and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better.

A cup slips out of his hand as he goes to set it on the draining board. It bounces off the edge of the sink, hits the tiled floor and smashes, and somehow, that is it. Martin storms into the hallway, makes some nonsense excuse to a neighbor who’s come to see what the noise is, and flees up the stairs.


There is a collection of old literary magazines gathering dust under his bed - Oxford Poetry, Wasafiri, The Rialto. From back when Martin had ambitions of going to university for English, being a real poet and getting published in these magazines. He sits cross-legged on the bed and thumbs through them, remembering how enthralled he’d been at seventeen, spending hours reading and re-reading, writing his own poems that, thinking back on it, had been painfully derivative of whatever author he’d fallen in love with that month.

“God, I hope none of my old journals are still around,” he mutters to himself.

“I don’t know, I’d enjoy reading them,” says Peter from the doorway, and Martin almost jumps out of his skin.

“What are - never mind,” he sighs. “You’re still here.”

“Of course,” Peter tells him. “I wouldn’t leave without saying goodbye.”

“That’d be a first,” Martin snorts under his breath without meaning to, and immediately regrets it, because he doesn’t think making clever remarks at a fear monster is a good life choice. Peter just chuckles, though, and walks into the room, shutting the door behind him.

“I suppose so,” he says, “But this is different.”

He closes his eyes and just stands there for a moment, inhales deeply through his nose and exhales with an audible sigh, as if he’s savoring a pleasant aroma. Then he starts walking slowly around the room, examining everything: the stack of CDs in the corner, the bookshelves, the posters on the walls. Reaches out every so often to touch something, with a soft hmm noise. Goes to stand at the window, gazing out at the dull suburban surroundings as if they were utterly fascinating.

“What do you want, Mister Lukas?” Martin finally finds the courage to ask. “I mean, really. Why did you come today?”

Peter turns away from the window and smiles brightly at him. Takes a single step and then he’s sitting on the edge of the narrow bed, leaning on one hand towards Martin. Martin is suddenly aware that he can’t get up quickly from his cross-legged position, and that Peter’s eyes are blue and merciless as the ocean.

“I’d like to get to know you better, Martin,” he says. “Now we’re working together. And I find people are most themselves when their defenses are torn down by grief or fear. This is your bedroom, isn’t it?”

“It is. Was,” Martin says. Peter nods in satisfaction.

“I thought so,” he says. “Did you know that every person has their own distinctive flavor of loneliness? Almost like a fingerprint.”

“I, uh - ”

“And this room is absolutely steeped in your loneliness, Martin. Years and years of it, built up within these four walls. Heady, like a fine aged wine.” Peter leans closer, his voice a low purr. “Honestly I’m feeling intoxicated just sitting here.”

Martin has no idea what to say to that, or to Peter’s hand sliding on top of his, cold and caressing. He is wrung out and exhausted, so filled with grief that there’s no more room left for suspicion, or loathing, or even common sense. Peter’s eyes are still merciless as the ocean, but they are even more blue, and right now Martin is willing to drown. When Peter leans forward to kiss him, he closes his eyes and kisses back, lets Peter’s tongue part his lips and press, salt tasting and cold, into his mouth.

Peter kisses him ragged, deep and wet, making small obscene noises as his beard scratches Martin’s face. Martin feels a thrill running through him, as if he’s doing something illicit, like a teenager who might get caught with a boy in his room. Not that he ever had any boys in his room when he was a teenager, but that’s beside the point. It’s exciting, and Martin feels rebellious for doing this with people in the house, even though everyone in the house already thinks they’re a couple. Again, not the point.

Peter’s hand is in his hair, and then Peter curls a fistful between his fingers and pulls, hard. Martin hears himself moan greedily into Peter’s mouth, and can hardly believe that noise came from him. Peter pulls away from him, grinning, and licks his lips.

“I’m learning all sorts of new things about you today, Martin,” he says. “See what I meant?”

“You should fuck me,” Martin says, daringly. Peter gives a low whistle, cocking one eyebrow.

“I like this side of you,” he says. “With your guests downstairs and all?”

“This is my house,” Martin says. “They can leave if they don’t like it.”

Peter laughs, shrugs his expensive jacket onto the floor and starts unbuttoning his shirt while Martin is toeing off his shoes and socks. Peter pulls off his own shoes with his shirt hanging open, and Martin can’t stop looking at his bare chest. Pale skin and wiry gray hair, broad and muscled in a way that speaks of physical labor rather than the gym. It is intensely masculine, and Martin is finding that very appealing right now. His mouth goes dry.

Peter pushes him down on the small bed and kisses him again. A bed spring creaks alarmingly, the same one that had plagued Martin’s puberty, so that he’d learned to lie rigidly still while masturbating. The sound sends remembered guilt thrilling through him, and he feels suddenly angry about that, and everything else in his miserable teenage years. He kisses Peter fiercely, biting at his lower lip, letting his hands roam up under Peter’s open shirt, over the planes of muscle on his back. Peter’s hand moves down to palm Martin’s dick through his trousers, and he lets himself moan again, loud as he wants, lets his hips buck up into Peter’s grip, creaking be damned.

“You know,” Peter says casually, working his trousers open one-handed. “I’ve heard that loss can be an aphrodisiac. Sex at funerals is remarkably common, so you shouldn’t feel like you're doing anything strange.”

His voice is as calm and level as if they were chatting in the corridor at work, as if he didn’t have Martin’s dick in his hand, jerking it with long, smooth strokes. Martin groans low in his throat.

“I wouldn’t know, myself,” Peter continues. “I’ve never lost anything I couldn’t live without. Do you have any kind of lubricant?”

Martin rolls out from under him and goes to look, digs in his suitcase until he finds a small container of Vaseline. It’s mostly for dry lips and the cracked skin he gets on his hands in the winter. Mostly. By the time he turns back, Peter is completely naked, and the rest of him is much as Martin imagined. His legs are thick and hairy, his dick a point of contrast, jutting out flushed and red against his pale skin. Martin feels a little foolish, standing there with his trousers hanging open and his shirt still on, but also a little inadequate. Peter might be older, but he is in far better shape than Martin’s ever been in his life.

“You can stand there looking at me all day,” Peter says, “I don’t mind. Or you can come here and I can fuck you.”

Martin swallows hard, and gets back on the bed. Peter gives a satisfied smile, and strips the rest of Martin’s clothes with brusque efficiency, large, rough hands sliding over his skin.

“Very nice,” he says once Martin is naked, giving him an approving once-over. “Now, how about you lie down and put that lovely arse in the air for me.”

Something in Martin hesitates, because this all feels terribly impersonal somehow. The kissing was nice, but he hasn’t even touched Peter, not really. But on the other hand, that’s the whole point, isn’t it? He doesn’t like Peter Lukas, certainly doesn’t trust him, is even now supremely aware that he is alone with a monster. They’re not intimate. Isn’t Peter giving him exactly what he wants - a nice, simple distraction from his grief, a way to shove the purple gorilla out of the room for just a little while? He’d be stupid not to take it.

He lies face down on the duvet, grabs a couple of pillows and shoves them under his hips to raise them up. The cool fabric rubs pleasantly against his erection, and he wriggles a little to get comfortable, letting the sensation roll through him. Peter’s icy hands cup his arse, squeezing firmly, then slide up the length of his back in a rough caress. He can feel Peter’s dick brushing against his buttocks, then pressing firmly as Peter leans over him, mouthing at the base of Martin’s neck, kissing his shoulders in a way that’s almost gentle. Martin sighs with pleasure.

Peter retreats, and Martin hears him opening the container. He is taut with anticipation, and he forces himself to relax: tensing up is the last thing he needs to do now. Peter’s palms slide up the backs of his thighs, to his buttocks, pushing them apart. Peter makes a low, pleased sound. One hand stays where it is, kneading possessively, while the other moves, a slick finger probing at his arsehole. Martin presses his cheek against the mattress, breathing deep, as Peter’s finger slides inside him. It's been...a while, to say the least, since he's done this with anyone, and the sensation takes a bit of getting used to.

Peter’s cold finger fucks him for a while, and by the time he adds a second, it's starting to feel good, his arsehole stretching obediently, the strange but pleasurable feeling of fullness increasing as a third finger slips in. Peter is either very experienced or just has spectacular fingers, because they are brushing against Martin's prostate with every stroke, sending waves of arousal through him. Martin has his eyes shut, focused on the sensation, trying not to think about the person inducing it, or all the people downstairs who are probably wondering where he's gone. Little breathy moans escape him as he lets his hips rock with Peter’s movements, his aching dick dragging against the pillow with delicious friction. He thinks he could come like this, and honestly doesn't care what Peter would think of him. He just wants to ride this feeling all the way, let it wash his mind clean for a little while.

Of course Peter has other ideas, and all too soon his fingers slide out. Martin hears a whimper of loss escape him as the sensation retreats, shivers a little as the pads of Peter's fingers run over the rim of his stretched, tender arsehole, teasing the sensitive flesh. His hips push back instinctively, and Peter laughs.

“Keen, aren't you?” he says, and a second later Martin feels Peter's face pressing between his arse cheeks, beard tickling the skin while his cold tongue laves Martin’s hole. Martin groans, so turned on that he can barely think, as Peter's tongue presses inside him, more delicate and teasing than fingers. A few moments later his tongue also retreats, and Martin gasps at a sudden sharp bite to his left buttock, hot and stinging. He starts to turn his head and protest, but then Peter grasps his right hip, hard and anchoring, and Martin feels Peter’s dick nudging up against his arsehole, and he forgets about it.

Martin breathes through his nose as the head of Peter’s dick pushes inside him, feeling huge and blunt, stretching him even wider. It gets a little easier once it’s past the head, and the unnatural coolness of Peter’s dick dulls the burn as more of it slides in, slick and hard. It feels strange inside Martin, like an inanimate object, except at least silicone warms to your body’s heat. It’s an oddly arousing contrast to the heat sweltering over Martin’s skin, coiling in his belly. Peter keeps easing into him with little rocking motions of his hips, until finally Martin can feel Peter pushing up flush against his arse, pressing him forward. Peter pats his hip fondly, as if he was a well behaved dog.

“Lovely,” he murmurs, then rolls his pelvis forward in a shallow circle. Martin gasps as the head of Peter’s dick grazes his prostate, sending a pulse of pleasure through him. Honestly, how does he do that? He pushes his arse up, wanting more of that feeling, and Peter makes a low, satisfied sound. Martin expects to be fucked just like this, minimal contact, just the cool hardness of Peter’s dick filling him and an impersonal hand on his hip. An appropriately Lonely experience.

Instead, Peter leans forward and practically drapes himself across Martin’s back, his chest pressing cold against Martin’s heated skin, rubbing his bearded cheek against Martin’s shoulder like a cat, kissing and nipping. His hips move in a maddening, leisurely rhythm, his dick stretching Martin in a way that quickly moves from uncomfortable to intensely arousing, impaling him so deeply that Martin feels overwhelmed. He slowly, deliberately fucks Martin against the mattress, the bed creaking loudly, but Martin doesn’t care. He abandons himself to the sensation, pushing his arse up into Peter’s downward strokes, his own dick sliding tortuously against the pillows beneath him as Peter’s nudges his prostate again and again, sending spikes of arousal through his body. He moans, wanton.

“Is this what you used to imagine, in your lonely bedroom?” Peter murmurs against his ear. “Lying in bed, touching yourself and fantasizing about being fucked? Knowing there’s no reason why anyone would ever want someone like you?”

Hot shame rises in the back of Martin’s skull, a hollow pit opening in his stomach at the memory of his teenage years. He understands what Peter is doing, and he knows he should stop this, now. He shouldn’t let Peter Lukas do this to him. But he doesn’t want to stop, not when his entire body is trembling with need, not when his brain is so close to whiting out, to forgetting everything for a little while. Peter chuckles against his ear and then bites his earlobe, and Martin whimpers, drives his hips back against Peter’s harder, begging for more. His eyes are stinging with tears.

“You’re just a beautiful mess of loneliness, Martin, do you know that?” Peter tells him. “It’s honestly breathtaking.”

He presses his nose into Martin’s neck and inhales, like he’s smelling a fine cologne. Martin squeezes his eyes shut, tries to tune Peter out, focuses on the physical sensations washing through him, his aching dick rubbing against the cool cotton, the hard, insistent pleasure of Peter’s dick filling him, rolling his body against the bed like tidal swells. Tries to ignore the lump rising in his throat, the pressure behind his eyes. He is so close, he can feel the heat rising, his dick throbbing with arousal. He just needs to get there -

Peter’s hand slides under Martin’s hips and grasps his dick, tugs at it with firm, practiced strokes. Martin gasps, stars bursting in his vision. He’s going to -

“Do you think your old mum would be proud, if she saw you now?”

He’s coming, groaning and sobbing, his hips bucking helplessly as his dick jerks in Peter’s hand, Peter’s dick still driving mercilessly into him. His entire body is shaking with the intensity of his orgasm, and he’s aware that he is crying, tears running down his face and into his mouth. He feels ruined, and he doesn’t know if it’s even Peter’s fault, or if this was just the last straw. Peter runs a hand over his back, makes soothing shushing noises to him as the last pulses of sensation die away.

“You did wonderfully,” Peter tells him. Martin doesn’t answer, just lies there as Peter’s still hard dick slides out of his arse with a slick sound. He hears the soft noise of Peter jerking himself, quick and hard, and isn’t surprised a few seconds later when cool wetness spatters across his arse and thighs. Peter doesn’t make a sound as he comes.

The bed creaks as Peter gets up, and Martin can hear him starting to dress. He can still hear the sounds of the relatives and neighbors downstairs. He’ll have to go down there soon, be a good host, face all the great aunts and cousins who definitely heard him getting fucked through the mattress in his childhood bedroom. He can’t find it in him to care much, though. The tears have stopped, but he feels hollowed out, a deep pit yawning where he thinks grief should be. Instead there’s nothing. Numbness.

I am on the moon, he thinks. He feels a bit like he’s floating, like he’s untethered from his body and just watching everything happen. It’s an odd, giddy feeling. He sits up to look at Peter, who is mostly dressed, looking utterly unruffled by their encounter.

“Have you ever thought about going to the moon?” he asks. Peter looks at him quizzically.

“Can’t say that I have, particularly.”

“I’ve heard it’s very quiet there,” says Martin. There’s a shout of laughter from downstairs, and he winces a little. “No people. It sounds nice.”

“Funny you should say so,” Peter tells him. “I wanted to talk to you about just that. Not now, though. Monday, when you're back. There’s something important I need your help with.”

“Oh, right,” says Martin. Peter smiles, and comes to lean over him. Kisses him, and Martin lets himself be kissed, tips his head up into it.

“I'm afraid I need to go,” Peter tells him, pulling on his jacket. “But, I’m saying goodbye first.”

“Bye,” says Martin. His heart is sinking in his chest and he's not sure why. Peter gave him exactly what he wanted, and Peter took exactly what he wanted, and those were two very different things. He doesn't want Peter to stay.

His feet are starting to feel cold. He leans off the bed to retrieve his socks from the floor, and when he looks up, Peter is gone. He puts the socks on, and then crawls under the duvet and curls up. Lies there, feeling the tight tracks of drying tears on his cheeks, and tries not to think about anything at all.

After a while, he gets dressed and goes downstairs to take care of his guests.