Talking about sex or intimacy with other people had never been a big deal, but with Kyler... it was difficult, tiring, wearing away at Lenny's energy and confidence as every step he tried to make, every time he tried to communicate how he felt, he just ended up making things worse somehow. Yet, he'd tried. Through the difficulty and awkwardness, he'd hoped that saying how he felt might mean something. He'd hoped that perhaps this would be a turning point, expected that after Kyler's assurances that he did care, that things would change, even if just a little.
He'd assumed that a little too soon.
His attempt at an encouraging smile swiftly faded when it was met with a frown in response. He glanced down, beginning to feel unsure, the sensation of feeling lost from earlier intensifying. His mouth tightened into a firm line at Ky's first question - 'Are you not happy with me?' - knowing that while in some ways he was happy with his boyfriend, in others he wasn't and he was willing to bet that wasn't the answer Kyler was looking for. The next movement on his boyfriend's part, the pulling away with Kyler's body no longer warmly and comfortingly against his, left Lenny feeling very alone on the bed he'd come to view as theirs.
And then came the sentence that had Lenny wondering if Kyler had even listened to any of what he'd just said at all.
"I'm not just a body, you know."
Lenny didn't say anything, not at first. His smile had disappeared, tightened into a sad, grim little line, his gaze focussed downward as he struggled to process all the thoughts going through his head. Because.. Hadn't Kyler heard any of what Lenny had just said, the feelings he'd poured out, the connection he'd been seeking to make? About sharing, getting to know each other better, opening up to each other about even deep, intimate things, rather than sex just being something they did, or even endured, it was starting to seem like, in Kyler's case, or only did what he knew he liked.
He kept hearing Kyler's words from earlier. "We can talk about how much I love you." But rather than bring a smile to his face all it did was confuse him, the struggle of equating those words with Kyler's reaction, to the strong, straightness of his spine with him sat up in bed, the scowl deepening on his face, the tone of his voice, only bringing on sadness when the two wouldn't add up.
Lenny sniffed. He didn't want to get upset, not more upset than he had been, but his spiralling thoughts were sending him in that direction. When he'd thought the conversation had turned a corner, that they were moving forward, that his wants and needs were listened to, it was as if they were back at square one. It meant that Kyler couldn't care, not if he hadn't listened, not if he wasn't taking Lenny seriously, not when he just couldn't seem to understand. Suddenly, a conversation that from which Lenny had hoped their relationship would be strengthened seemed to be heading in the total opposite direction.
He sniffed again, but his attempts at holding back his emotions weren't very successful. He wiped at his face, pushed a hand through his hair, but none of that made his feelings go away. None of them made him feel any less marginalised. He stared down at the comforter with watery eyes and sniffed again.
"I wanna be happy," he said, finally breaking his quietness and starting to cry again at this point. He hated the sensation of feeling like he'd done wrong, like Kyler was punishing him when all Lenny wanted was for the relationship to work, to be happy, and he couldn't understand why that was becoming so difficult, "but when I say how I feel you just get mad at me!" He sniffed, made juddery gasps for air with his chest expanding sharply between quiet but uncontrollable sobs, burying his face in the covers again but not turning away from Ky, "I know you're not just a body, that's why I care, that's why I wanna know about this... that's why I want you to care what I like... but... but you just get mad at me and I dunno what to do!" He curled up, putting his arms around his face, retreating from the openness he'd sought with Kyler before. "Maybe this can't work... maybe I'm just no good at relationship stuff..." He said, the words as erratic as his breathing, muffled but not dulled to being inaudible by the blankets and his arms, especially not the mixture of desperation and resignation in his voice – both hinting that it wasn't the first time such thinking had crossed Lenny's mind.