Watching and Wanting
By Jay Northcote
Length: 52,000 words
Housemates Series – though a series, each book can be read as a standalone.
Watching Jude’s cam show stirs desires Shawn’s always denied…
Shawn is adrift. Recently graduated, he’s stuck in a dead-end job that barely pays the bills. His girlfriend dumped him, his friends have moved on, and he’s still in Plymouth—going nowhere.
Jude is a student living in the same shared house. Out and proud, he’s everything Shawn’s been running from since he hit puberty. When Shawn discovers Jude works as a cam boy, he can’t resist the urge to watch one of his shows. It makes Shawn want things that scare him, yet his fascination forces him to confront his attraction.
Keen to explore his bicurious side, Shawn suggests they do a show together. Jude agrees, and things get complicated—and kinky—fast. But Jude isn’t looking to get involved with someone so deep in the closet. If Shawn’s going to get what he wants, he needs to find the courage to stop hiding from himself and be honest about who he is.
A couple of days later, Shawn was still doing his best to be a better housemate and friend. So after he’d finished his dinner—late because he hadn’t left work till six and had then been running again—he washed up lots of pots in the kitchen that other people had used and tidied up some things left lying around in the living room.
“Is this either of yours?” He held up a hoodie that was slung over the back of a chair.
Jez and Mac, who were on the sofa watching TV, both glanced his way.
“Nope,” Mac said.
“I think it’s Jude’s.”
Being helpful, Shawn decided to take it up for him.
He passed his own bedroom on the middle floor and went up the second flight of stairs to where Dev’s and Jude’s rooms were. Jude’s door was shut, so Shawn tapped lightly on it. There was no reply, so assuming Jude was out, he turned the handle and pushed. The door opened quietly.
It took a moment for his brain to register the information from his eyes.
Jude wasn’t out.
Jude was definitely in.
He was sitting in a chair with his back to the door, shirtless, dick out and jerking off in front of… fuck, was that Skype? Maybe he had a long-distance boyfriend Shawn didn’t know about.
But the screen didn’t look like Skype; there was a distinctive logo that even from the door, Shawn could see read “Boyz on Cam.” And—Oh fuck. The guy on the screen looked remarkably like Jude himself. Surely he couldn’t be…?
“Shit, sorry, sorry!” Shawn blurted out.
“What the fuck?” Jude wheeled around, simultaneously managing to whip his sweatpants up and slam the laptop shut. “Oh my God, haven’t you heard of knocking?”
“I did knock,” Shawn said helplessly, trying not to stare at the bulge in Jude’s trousers. Eyes up. Jesus Christ, don’t make this any worse than it already is. “You didn’t answer.”
“I didn’t fucking hear you. But you just barged in anyway.” Jude covered the tent in his sweatpants with his hand.
His face was flushed. It was hard for Shawn to tell how much was embarrassment and how much was anger. “You should have locked it,” he said unhelpfully, then mentally kicked himself for his lack of filter. Bit late to point that out now.
“I thought I had!”
“I’m sorry,” Shawn said again. “I didn’t… I mean….” Sensible words eluded him. There was no script for this. “I found this. It’s yours. I’ll go now.” He threw the hoodie at Jude, turned, and fled, shutting the door firmly behind him.
Back in his own room, Shawn paced back and forth.
“Fuck, fuck, fuck!” He scrubbed his hands through his hair, stopped pacing, and glared at his laptop where it lay on his desk, a threatening presence.
No. I can’t.
He threw himself down on the bed and stared at the ceiling.
But what if he was wrong? Maybe he’d misinterpreted what he saw? Maybe Jude was just watching another guy on camera who happened to look a bit like him? Shawn tried to tell himself that it was none of his business anyway, but he needed to know.
He got up and locked his door—learning from Jude’s mistake there—then sat at his desk and opened his laptop carefully, as if it was an unexploded bomb he had to defuse. He pulled up his web browser and typed in the words burned onto his brain: Boyz on Cam.
After an 18+ warning, the site loaded quickly and Shawn half covered his face with a hand, as though peeking through his fingers could make this better. He scrolled past a few photos of half-naked guys with nice abs and inviting smiles, but none of them was Jude.
Then he noticed a link at the top reading “Live Shows.”
Mouth dry and heart racing, he clicked on it. He didn’t think it was possible for his heart to beat any faster, but when he saw Jude’s face grinning suggestively at him from a thumbnail image, he seriously wondered if it was possible to have a heart attack at the age of twenty-one.
He knew he shouldn’t look, didn’t even know why he wanted to go any further. He’d confirmed his suspicions, and that was all he needed to know. Yet, with a shaking hand, he clicked on the link anyway.
Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England. He comes from a family of writers, but always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed him by. He spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content.
One day, Jay decided to try and write a short story—just to see if he could—and found it rather addictive. He hasn’t stopped writing since.
Jay writes contemporary romance about men who fall in love with other men. He has five books published by Dreamspinner Press, and also self-publishes under the imprint Jaybird Press. Many of his books are now available as audiobooks.
Jay is transgender and was formerly known as she/her.