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  1. Jesse_H_Reign

    Chapter 11

    West stays home all day, after I tell him I love him. He calls work to say he won’t be in. He doesn’t give them a reason. We go back to bed and we stay there for a very, very long time. When we are finally spent, when we just can’t anymore, we lie together, a tangled mess of arms and legs. “So,” I say, when I finally remember how we got onto all of this, “A baby with Ash, huh? He sighs deeply, not moving his hand from my chest, or his eyes from mine. “Don’t freak out, okay? We’re just talking. Nothing’s decided. I just want to talk to you about it.” “Okay, talk and I’ll listen.” “I do want a baby. I want a family. I want to be there for someone in a way that no-one was there for me. I’ve always wanted it. I want it a lot.” I nod silently, a small knot forming in my throat. “Andy,” he says, reaching up and stroking my hair, “if we do this, Ash and I won’t be together. We are done. We’d have a custody arrangement in place. More than that, I want you to understand that as much as I want a family, I want you more. I want you, most of all. I only want a baby, if I can raise it with you as my partner. I’m all in. I mean it, I am all in. I just want us to talk about our options, okay? I want to know what you think.” His words land and penetrate me slowly. Some of it worries me, but part of what he just said has made my heart feel as if it’s going to explode. “Is a family something you want?” He asks, “I mean, is it something you want with me?” I nod quickly, still unsure whether I can muster the courage to say it out loud. For so many years, I’ve carried this small, crazy dream inside me. So ridiculous and so far-fetched, I’ve never even mentioned it to Sarah. “I do want it.” I say quietly, when I can. “You do?” He exclaims, his voice rising and turning high pitched, the way it does when he’s excited. “Really?” I nod slightly and then whisper, “It’s one of the greatest dreams of my life. To raise a baby with you. Your baby.” I think of what Sarah said. Even though I never thought I’d have it in me to say no to West, I know I have to. I know I have to tell him what I think, and I have to tell him how I feel. “The thing is, West,” I say, “I don’t want it to be with Ashleigh. I’m sorry, but I don’t. I know she’ll be a great mother, but I just don’t want her to be in our lives like that, forever. I do want your baby, but I also want the baby to be related to me.” He looks at me a little confused, “What do you mean?” “Years ago, when I came out, all hell broke loose at home. My dad took it badly. My mom tried to take it well, she really did, but she was sad that I wouldn’t be in a relationship that could lead to grandkids. I kid you not, I was only eighteen and that was her major problem with me being gay. That was the thing that bothered her. It went on and on, she tried not to, but she kept mentioning it. It made me feel terrible. Terrible. Truthfully, it was a very shit time in my life. Even though I’ve never had any doubt in my mind about the fact I’m gay, I’ve always wanted kids. My mom’s reaction really drove the point home, that it would be very hard for me to be gay and have what I want in life. My sister found me in my room one afternoon after a bad run in with my mom. She could see I’d been crying. She said, “Don’t worry, Big Brother, those fuckers don’t know anything. They know nothing at all. If you want a baby, you’ll have one. You’ll find the guy and I’ll donate the egg. One way or another, you’ll have your family. You’ll see.”” I look over at West, I hesitate for a moment, “If it’s something you want, West, we could use Joss’s egg, your sperm and a surrogate. It will take time and it won’t be easy, but we can do it.” He looks astounded. Thunderstruck. “D-do you think she meant it? I mean, do you think she’d really do it?” His voice is shaky and soft. I can hear the fear of hope in each quivering breath he takes. “I know she did. Over the years, we’ve talked about it. She doesn’t want to have kids of her own, but she would like to be an aunt. She’s serious, West. She reminded me of her offer last month, when I told her you and I were together. She said you were husband material and a plethora of terrible dad jokes, just waiting to happen.” “Are you serious right now?” He all but squeals. Over the years, I have seen West cry. He doesn’t try to hide it. Those times, the times I’ve seen him cry before, they were nothing like this. Those times, there were a few tears tracking down his face. Tears from a sad movie, or angry-sad tears over a break-up. Tears he wiped away and then quickly recovered from. This time it’s different. This time, tears are pouring down his face. This time, he’s sobbing. He’s struggling to breathe and he’s not even trying to stop it. “That’s what I want.” He says over and over, “That’s what I want. I want a baby that’s part of both of us.” I nod again and ask, “What do you think Ashleigh will think?” “Andy, Ash wants a baby. That’s her priority. That’s what she wants more than anything. She will be disappointed when I tell her she can’t use our embryos. She’ll probably be angry, and she’ll probably feel majorly inconvenienced. At the same time, she’ll probably get straight onto a sperm bank and start going it alone. In the long run, it will probably be much, much easier for her to do this without us being involved. The truth is, I irritate the hell out of her. We really just don’t get along very well. We’re divorced. It’s over between us. I don’t owe her anything.” “So,” I say, when he’s recovered a little, “what’s our plan then?” “Well, I think we should tell Joss we love her, and we definitely, definitely want to take her up on her offer. At the same time, I think we should wait for a while. We don’t have to rush. Joss is what, twenty-six or twenty-seven?” “She’s turning twenty-seven in September.” “Okay, so, we have time. We have lots of time. Right now, I can’t think or see straight. I’m head-over-heels, seriously. I’m really struggling to function if you aren’t in the room with me. We both waited so long for this. I want to experience it. I want to enjoy it. I want to spend every second I can with you and for now, I want to be selfish, I want you all to myself.” * And, I guess you could say we are selfish. We try not to be. We drag ourselves out to see our families. We see West’s friends and we spend time with Sarah, Tyler and Guy, too. They’ve been there for me through so much, I don’t want them to feel like I’ve deserted them. Sarah’s practise is going well, though she recently decided to change focus from counselling to coaching. She says she’s tired of listening to people all day without being able to take an active role in straightening them out. Tyler is convinced that his antics have finally cracked her…I haven’t corrected him. Guy called me last week and asked for my help. He’s planning an elaborate proposal. It’s going to be amazing. There’s going to be glitter and there’s going to be dancing. Believe me, it will be the gayest thing you’ve ever seen. Tyler is going to be beside himself. He’s going to love it. Still, some days, West and I find it hard to leave the loft. In truth, some days we find it very, very hard to leave the bedroom. The way things are between us now, is hard to describe. “An enduring state of bliss,” isn’t very far off. The fear and anxiety have left me now. I spend most of my time feeling euphoric. I still watch West with same intensity I always have, and what I see delights and surprises me. I see the way his face changes when he says my name. The way it changes when he’s on the phone to his mom, when he says, “Andy said this…” or, “Andy did that…” I see it, when he looks at me, too. His face creases and his eyes go vague and a little glazed over. Olive green turns mushy and soft. He looks like a fool. A beautiful fool. My beautiful fool. I don’t censor myself around him anymore. I say what I’m feeling. Mostly, what I’m feeling is crazy in love, so I tell him. I tell him every time I feel it, and he seems to love it. “Say it again.” He says, almost every time. And so, I do. “I love you. I love you. I love you.” He smiles and arches his neck, like a cat having its ears scratched. “I want you.” I say, “I want you. I want you.” When I say that, something changes in his eyes. Maybe, it changed in my eyes first, and he saw it, but something is different now. “What do you want, Andy?” “Same thing I’ve always wanted.” I say, “You.” I hear my voice change when I say it. It goes deeper and softer. It comes from lower down in my throat. He hears it, too. His eyes widen slightly, and I see his breathing quicken. “West,” I say, steeling myself. I know what I’m going to say needs to be said. I’ve been trying not to say it, not to put pressure on him, but I’m tired. I’m tired and I’m horny. I’m so tired of not telling him how I feel. Now that I’ve started telling him the truth, I can’t seem to stop it. “I want you to know, I’m happy with what we have. I love it. Truthfully, I love you so much, I’d be happy if all you ever want to do with me, is sit on the couch watching TV and holding my hand. I mean that.” He eyes me a little suspiciously, “Truly, if you don’t want more, I accept that one hundred percent. I love what have with each other.” He nods quickly, but I see him swallowing a little. It looks like one of those swallows, that doesn’t go down very easily. “But…?” He says, nervously. “But,” I say with a smile, “I want more. I want you. I want you, in every way.” He stands there before me. He’s still nervous, but he’s smiling. He’s smiling as if, he’s been waiting for me to say this. As if, he’s been waiting for a very long time. He doesn’t move. He just keeps waiting. “I want you.” I say again. This time, it’s different. I’m not hesitant. I’m certain. My voice is no longer my voice. Now, it’s a growl. “I want your body. I want to make it mine. Mine. I want to fuck you. I want to fill you. I want to fill you completely. I want to fuck you until you can’t remember a time before me. I want to fuck you and fuck you, until you can’t remember your name.” His eyes are very wide now. His pupils dilated. His chest is moving up and down rapidly but he’s not moving. He’s still waiting. He’s waiting for me. I reach for him, taking his throat in my hand, tilting his chin up so he’s looking directly at me. I see nothing but lust in his eyes. “Say yes.” I say, “say yes, and I’ll make you mine. Say yes, and I’ll own you.” “Jesus,” he twitters, nervously, “is this the Montgomery magic I’ve been waiting to see?” “No,” I chuckle, “not even close. Say yes and I’ll show you.” I bury my face in his neck, breathing him in, my lips on his skin, “say yes, and I’ll change your life.” He takes a few ragged, jerky breaths before whispering, “Yes.” He looks at me, pressing his lips together a little, then scraping his teeth over his bottom lip. He looks uncertain. I can see in his eyes, he has something he needs to say. “Andy,” he starts, his voice wavering slightly, “before we do this, I need to you know something about me. Something you might not know.” I look at him intently. I’d love to say that after everything that’s happened between us, I don’t feel any fear, but that wouldn’t be true. I have no idea what he’s about to say, and that still sends a tremor of fear straight to my heart. “I’m not cool.” He says. I look at him in amazement. Has he taken leave of his senses? He’s the single coolest person I’ve ever met. My eyes must show how I feel, because he quickly explains, “I’m not all cool and easy-going, when it comes to you. I can’t be. Okay? I know lots of people you hang out with, or have been with in the past are, but I’m not.” I’m finding it a little hard to catch up. “What do you mean.” “I mean, I-I can’t share you. Okay? I know lots of people can, and that’s great for them, but I can’t. I can’t do it. I’m not proud of it, but Ash was right. I was jealous of Paul. I was jealous of those assholes you used to hang out with before Paul and even before that, I was jealous of every guy who got to be with you. I don’t hold it against you, that you had a life before me. I’m not an asshole like that. I just, I just…can’t share you, that’s all.” He must have taken leave of his senses. “West, are you saying you want to be exclusive?” I really, really thought that went without saying. Then again, all the problems we’ve ever had, have stemmed from us thinking things went without saying. Maybe for now, in fact, maybe for a very long time from now, maybe forever, both of us should make sure we say exactly how we feel. “Yes.” He says, very quickly. “You must be mad.” I say, “You must be completely mad, if you think I’d ever want anyone else. West, for me, there’s never been anyone else. Never. No-one. No-one has ever come close. No-one.” I pause for a second, trying to think of a way to explain it to him, “Think of it like this, imagine a huge, old book filled with the names of every single person I’ve ever met. Everyone. People I’ve met once. People I like. People I dislike. My friends and my family. People I love very much. Every single one of their names are written in this big, old book, okay?” He nods to show that he’s following. “So, that’s the Name Book, okay? That’s everyone. Everyone. Then, there’s another book. A completely different book. A book that lives on a whole separate shelf from the Name Book. It lives in a whole separate room. This book, has one name on the cover, and one name on every single one of its pages. Only one name. For me, that name is West. It’s always been West. It will only ever be West.” “Do you mean that?” He says, smiling so hard, his face is shining. “I really do, Dumbass.” “Okay,” he says, pulling me towards him, “let’s write your name on every single one of those pages. Let’s write your name, right next to mine. Let’s write it in ink, so it can’t be erased.” “Let’s write it in semen.” I say, watching his eyes light up, as he starts to cackle. * It’s different this time. This time, it’s not dark and candlelit. This time it’s broad daylight. Light is streaming in through the windows, bouncing off the small specs of dust that float up all around us. There’s nowhere to hide. This time, I’m not nervous and we’re not in the shadows. He’s a little nervous now, but this time, nothing is unspoken. For the first time in our lives, we both know exactly where we stand with each other. I undress him slowly. I take my time. I claim every inch of skin I uncover. I claim it with my mouth. With my tongue and my teeth. Right from the start, he’s very aroused. He’s hard and tense. Not just his cock. His abs are tense, too. So is his back and his neck. I rub my hands over his skin, finding the places his muscles are rigid and I stroke him and knead him, until I feel him surrender. He’s naked now. His head is arching back lazily every time I kiss a new spot. He watches as I take my clothes off. His gaze is intense. It’s so intense, I feel it on my skin like a soft caress. He takes a careful breath, when I lift my t-shirt over my head. His mouth drops open slightly when I unbuckle my belt. He’s not moving. Even his blinking has slowed. Slowed to a point, where he appears to be staring. I know the feeling. He doesn’t want to miss anything. Neither do I. When I reach for him now, it’s skin against skin. Our bodies are warm. Scorching. I pull his hair back, making him look up at me. His lips part slightly. Ready. Waiting. I cover his lips with mine and my tongue takes his mouth. This isn’t a soft kiss. It’s not even a deep kiss. It’s the type of kiss where both people know that one person is giving, and the other, receiving. I kiss him over and over. I kiss him until his arms hang limply at his sides and his head lolls back, if I loosen my grip on the back of his neck. Once I have him like this. Once he’s soft in my hands, I push him back. I push him hard. He doesn’t resist. He doesn’t have a gram of resistance in his whole body. His arms are wide open as he lets go. He falls back onto the bed with grace. Grace and total compliance. I follow him down, covering him with my body. Kissing his neck. Running my tongue down his chest, pausing at his nipples, flicking softly, until he sighs and starts squirming. His chest is rolling. Rising to meet me. It isn’t long before his hips are rocking, too. I comb my hands through the hair on his chest. Raking and pulling. Following the dark, tangled path all the way down to his dick. I make my way down his body with my mouth and my hands. I pause at his dick. I can’t help it. It’s so beautiful, I’ll never be able to resist touching it. I won’t. I know it. I don’t pause there for long. As much as I love it. As much as I lust after it, today, what I want, lies lower down. What I want, lies in the shadow of his scrotum. It lies in the hidden valley of his ass cheeks. I push his knees back, giving myself the access, I need. The access I want. The access I’ve been obsessed with for years. I run my fingers down the seam that knits his ball sac together, stroking them gently, pushing them up, clearing a path for my tongue. I rim him lightly. Hardly touching. Teasing, until his body is thrashing. I use my fingers, too. Slowly. Carefully. Gently. Gentler, than I’ve ever been. Stretching him little by little. Opening him, until I know he’s ready. “Mmh.” He moans, as his head rolls back, “Please. Please.” I move my body over his. Pressing him down with my hips. Spreading his legs, making space to take what I need. I look into his eyes. He’s not looking away. He’s watching, following, tracking me with his eyes. He tilts his hips and rocks his knees back, winding his legs around my body, crossing them at the ankles. Holding me in place. “Oooh,” he says, a little uncomfortably, “I feel like some weird kind of girl.” I can’t help smiling a little. It’s true, until now, he’s never been taken like this. I can see why it feels strange to him. But that’s not what he is. That’s not what this is. “You don’t look like a girl,” I say, “you look like a man. My man.” I crush my groin against his. Grinding. Grating. Two hard dicks crushing each other. “You feel like a man.” I kiss his neck over and over, until he arches slightly and a deep moan escapes, “You sound like a man.” I kiss his mouth. I kiss it deeply. I’m not just kissing. I’m trying to consume him. “You taste like a man.” He’s groaning now. His body is moving of its own volition. My dick is between his legs, between his cheeks, nudging its target. I press myself up, giving myself a little space, so I can see his face. So, I don’t miss a thing. “Do you want to take it like a man?” “Mmmh.” He says, nodding at me with his mouth open. Slack. I have a feeling, that’s the most sense I’m going to get out of him now. I move back onto my knees, coating myself with lube, stroking a little because I can’t wait, but I know I have to go slow. I rub my head against his tight ass. I’m breathing through my mouth now. Panting, though I haven’t even started exerting myself yet. The sight of his pink, puckered, little hole makes me feel like someone else. Something else. Now, I am my arousal. I am my desire. Everything I am, is focussed entirely on one part of my body. The part, I’m about to drive into the man of my dreams. I guide myself in carefully. Pushing firmly, spreading him gently. I wait and wait and wait. I wait, for what feels like a decade. I wait until I feel him yield. I feel his tight, smooth muscle give way. I ease myself in. I wince when he winces. I love him so much, I feel his pain, as if it’s my own. I keep still and I wait until he opens his eyes. They look different now. The way he’s looking at me is different now. I’ve never seen this look on him before. He looks naked. Bare. He’s groaning. The sound comes from low in his body. It’s hard to say exactly where it comes from. Definitely not from the part that has reason. Definitely not from the part that has words. I wait until he’s ready. I wait, even though I feel certain, the waiting will break me. I wait until he pushes back. I wait until I feel him buck his hips up against me a little. I wait until he’s ready and then I thrust a little more. “Unnngg.” He says, from his belly. I pull back and then give him some more. He’s open now, there’s no fight in him. He wants what I have to give him. I start thrusting, as carefully and gently as I possibly can. He winces again. Just a little, but still, I see it. “West,” I say softly, “you know I’ll stop if you ask me to, right? You know that, don’t you?” “No!” He cries, his eyes flying wide open, for the first time in a long while, “My God, don’t stop!” He’s raised himself up, lifting himself using only his core. He’s grabbing at my waist and my hips. Grabbing any part, he can get a good grip on. He’s pulling me towards him. Pulling. Dragging. Dragging me deeper inside him. Deeper and deeper, until I’m all the way in. My body goes slack with relief. Finally, finally, finally. Finally, I’m home. I sink down onto him. Now, we’re face to face. I’m holding him and he’s holding me. Our mouths are on each other, kissing, eyes wide open. We move together slowly. Tentatively. Thrusting, until he can’t take it anymore. “Unnnggg,” he says, from his balls, “I have to come. I need to come now. I’m going to lose my mind, if I don’t.” “Do it,” I say, leaning back onto my knees, so I can watch the show, “I won’t be far behind you.” He starts stroking quickly. Long, languid strokes from his root to his tip. Each movement draws a long, deep moan that seems to come at me, from all around the room. I can see his pleasure rising. I can feel it, too. I feel mine as well. It’s close. I hope he feels it, too. He lets go slowly and then all at once. I shove myself into him hard, as he starts clenching. His seed shoots out of him, spurting wildly, in time with my thrusts. Load after load, spurts out of him, all over his chest and his belly. I come almost as soon as he stills. My body stiffens. It goes from muscle and bone, to solid concrete, as I expel the biggest load of my life. It explodes out of me with a force that leaves me reeling. Shocked. Weak. Stunned. So many things about West have shocked and surprised me, but still, I’m shocked by the extent of the pleasure I feel. My body convulses and shakes until the force of it leaves me. I collapse. I feel like I’m falling. Falling and falling, but he’s there. Steady. Solid. He catches me. He holds me. I’m right where I belong. When we come apart, he rolls onto his side, facing away from me as I wedge my body up against his. I get as close as I can possibly get. I wrap my arms around him, one arm under his neck. He takes my hand in his and lifts it to his mouth, pressing my fingertips softly against lips. “Tell me what you think, Andy.” “Hmm?” I say. “You’re such a mystery to me. I’ve spent so much of my life wondering what goes on in that beautiful head of yours. Tell me.” He says, twisting his head back, to face me. “Tell me everything.” “Well,” I smile, “let’s see…I think about food quite a lot. I think about making sandwiches. Sandwiches with bacon, or cheese. Or bacon and cheese. I think about things I’ve recently eaten. I think about things I want to eat next. I think about those bagels, with the salmon and sour cream, from Sanctum. I think about those a lot. Like, a lot, a lot.” He’s trying not to, but he’s smiling broadly. “I think about painting a lot, too. I think about paintings I’ve seen. Paintings I’m working on. Paintings I want to paint in the future. Sometimes, I don’t think in words, I just think in pictures. I think in colours. A lot of the time, I just think about colours mixing together. Like on a palette, you know?” He looks at me amazed. As though I’ve just said something remarkable. “Most of all, more than anything else, I think of you.” I sigh, “I think of you all the time. I wonder where you are. I wonder what you’re doing. I imagine you at work. Sitting at your desk. I imagine how you look, sitting there. I think how lucky the people you work with are, to spend so much time with you. I wonder if they know how lucky they are. I think about things I want to tell you, the next time I see you. Just stupid, random things. This is a bit weird, but sometimes, I have conversations with you in my mind. Even when we didn’t see that much of each other. Even when I was with Paul. I’d imagine myself talking to you. Sometimes, I imagine us having important conversations about meaningful things. A lot of the time though, it’s just really dumb stuff, like when I’m pouring myself a glass of orange juice, I imagine myself asking you, if you want a glass, too.” His eyes are shining and he’s blinking a lot. He presses my fingers against his lips again. “Ugh,” I groan, “that’s embarrassing. God, I can’t believe I just told you that.” “Do you think about doing what we just did?” He asks quietly. I raise my eyebrows, “I can honestly say, since the day I met you, not a single day has passed when I haven’t thought about that. Not a single day. Not one.” He smiles again, and then swallows quickly, “How did I compare to the fantasy.” “Jesus.” I say, leaning over, kissing his cheek, feeling his scar crease as I do it. “You have to understand, no human alive has ever spent more time thinking about something. No-one. No-one, ever. I’ve thought about every way it could possibly happen. Every scenario you could ever imagine. I’ve thought about it being good. I’ve thought about it being bad. When you married Ash, I tried not to let myself think about it, unless I imagined it being a disaster. I did my best, but somehow, at a certain point, the fantasy would take over. It would change, it would start out bad and then at some point, it would change. It would become amazing. Life altering.” He’s looking back at me. Soft eyes. Gentle concern. Fear that no matter what, reality can’t meet that level of fantasy. “Still, despite all that, what we just did was better. It was better. Reality was better than the fantasy. It was unbelievable. You know why? In all the dreams I had about this moment. And, honestly, I can’t imagine that there’s a way two men can be together, that I haven’t imagined for you and me. But you know what? All the times I thought about it. In all those dreams I had of this moment, none of them even came close. In all those dreams, I guess, I forgot the best part.” He looks up at me expectantly, his eyes meeting mine with a hint of a smile. “I forgot to remember that once it was over, once our bodies were spent and exhausted… you’d still be here. You and me, West. Just us. The way we’re meant to be.” “I love you, Andy.” He whispers softly, closing his eyes as he kisses me. Before I have time to reply, he reaches back, running his hand down my belly. Down even lower. He finds me at half mast, but I don’t stay that way for long. Two or three strokes of his hand are all I need to be rigid again. He looks back at me as he eases back, holding me firmly, as he guides me into his body. He accepts me more easily this time. His body is still soft and forgiving from what I did to him before. He’s warm inside. No, not warm, he’s hot. Scorching hot. Hot and so wet. I start moaning the second I’m inside him. He’s moaning, too. We’re communicating in an ancient language that neither of us ever formally learnt. It’s a language that existed before us. A language we both know, without knowing how. He rolls over onto his belly, pulling me with him, before pushing back so he’s on his hands and knees. The sight of him like this does something untold to my psyche. I’m out of my body again. At the same time, I’m more present than I’ve ever been. I’m in my body and I’m in his. I’m everywhere and no-where at the same time. “Don’t hold back.” He growls. The voice I hear isn’t his. He’s the same as me now. Not entirely human. Maybe, not human at all anymore. Our bodies are moving. They’re moving together. They’re one now. One thing. Slamming together. We’re moving like water. Waves rolling and crashing, destroying anything that might stand in our path. I don’t know if I believed in magic before this very moment. In fact, I don’t think I did. I’m almost certain, I didn’t. But I do now.
  2. Jesse_H_Reign

    Chapter 10

    We walk in silence for a while, but not for very long. A few blocks at most. He walks quietly alongside me. Not talking, not touching. It doesn’t take long for me to become aware of the change in my mood. I realise before long, that having him with me, isn’t a bad thing. Having him with me, has a calming effect on me. I look over at him and think of all the times he’s been there for me. He’s always been there. There in person, there on the phone, there in my mind. He was the one who was there for me when I was on a path of destruction. He was the one who saw it and he was the one who wasn’t afraid to step in. He catches my eye as I look at him and when he does, I know in my heart that even though he’s the person who has hurt me more than anyone else, he’s also the one person who’s never once meant to. I reach out for his hand, and find it open, waiting for mine. I lean in to kiss him, but realise we are in public. We haven’t talked about this and I don’t want to put him in an uncomfortable position. I pull away quickly. “Sorry.” “You still think I mind about things like that?” He says, frowning and shaking his head. He takes my hand and pulls me towards him as he steps back into the light pooling beneath a streetlight. His eyes are shining and clear. Unwavering, as he kisses me. He kisses me well beyond a quick peck. Well beyond a deep kiss. Right into the, this-is-an-inappropriate-level-of-PDA, type of kiss. When we get back to the loft, the space feels harsh and too bright. My eyes need a second to adjust to the artificial light. It’s obvious the mood has shifted again. This time, the undertone is clear; we’re playing for keeps. There’s a seriousness in the air. I know we can both feel it. It’s weighing us down. Pulling us down to the ground. Changing us from being weightless and floating, like we’ve been for the past weeks, to something anchored and heavy. It’s grave. It’s gravity. This is going to make us. Or break us. He looks at me for a long, long time before he speaks. “I’ll go first.” He says at last. “I don’t really want to. I guess, I’m afraid of what I’ll hear, but I also know I have to. Not knowing is eating me up.” I have a terrible knot in my stomach. I have no idea what he’s going to say, but I have feeling that despite the fact I’ve been avoiding it for almost a decade, I’m about to start telling West a whole lot of things that are real. “I guess, I’d just like to know when things changed for you? You know, when your feelings for me became something different?” I look at him in amazement. He looks at me and then down at his feet for a while. “I mean, we lived together for a year, we’ve been friends for almost ten years, all I want to know is why nothing happened before?” I’m astonished and instantly angry. “It’s pretty simple, West. I thought you were straight. I was sure of it. And I’m absolutely positive, you were married for a good chunk of that time.” He gives me a look, clenching his jaw tightly. “There were times, before Ash, when I thought you felt something. I could have sworn I felt you looking. I could have sworn I wasn’t the only one who wanted it.” Just like that, I’m back to feeling like my head’s going to explode. “Are you saying that you wanted this ten years ago? Are you seriously saying that? Are you asking me to believe that you really wanted something that wasn’t just born in curiosity?” I ask in complete disbelief. “’Course I did. I did for a long time. I waited and waited, but you never did anything.” I sit down heavily. He sits down next to me, not touching. My face feels hot and I can feel a strong, fast pulse in my neck. “West, I thought you were straight! You were fucking girls left, right and center. I didn’t come on to you because that’s not the way things go. Okay? Gay guys don’t come onto straight guys. That’s how gay guys get their asses kicked. That’s just a fact.” I say, emphasising my point with a furious glare. “It’s an unwritten rule. Hell, for all I know, some poor, sorry gay fool has actually taken the time to write that rule down by now. That’s how well known it is.” “I know that, Andy, but I thought this was different.” “Different? Why?” “Because this was you.” “What’s that supposed to mean?” “I mean, because it was you.” He says, waving his hands up and down in my direction. “You.” I raise a confused eyebrow at him. I have absolutely no idea what he means. “Jesus, Andy, you’re dense. I mean, because this was you. You.” “What the hell do you mean?” He looks at me as if I might be the dumbest person he’s ever met. “Honestly,” he says, “I find it very hard to believe that someone who spends their life painting faces, has no idea what they look like.” “I know what I look like.” “No, you don’t, Dumbass. You don’t have any idea of the effect you have on people, that much is obvious now.” “Look,” I say, feeling a little embarrassed by the admission, “I know I have a nice face.” He looks at me in disbelief, “Nice? Nice? Is that some kind of joke? You don’t have a nice face and you aren’t nice looking. You are intimidatingly good-looking. Okay?” I feel my cheeks burn. “Honestly,” he says, sounding exhausted, “that’s part of the problem. The fact that you don’t have a clue how hot you are, only makes you hotter.” He takes a long breath and sighs deeply, “I’ve spent so much time analysing it. Trying to get to the bottom of what it is about you. Your “nice” face and your body is only half the problem.” I look at him intently, despite myself, I am interested to know where he’s going with this. “There’s just something about you. I don’t know what the hell it is, but you just give off the impression that you are someone who really, really knows how to fuck. Maybe, it’s the way you walk. Maybe, it’s your voice. I don’t know. Surely, you can’t tell me, you don’t know that about yourself?” This isn’t the first time I’ve been sexually objectified, not by a long way, but it certainly is the most confusing experience I’ve had. “Are you insane? Are you mentally insane? This was on you, West.” I say, firmly, “Whether you like it or not, you should have been the one to say or do something.” “I fucking-well did!” He says, jumping up and looking back at me in anger. “How many fucking times did I need to let you catch me wanking? I used to sit in our room, dick out, waiting until I heard your footsteps in the hall. What the fuck do you think all that was about? Christ, don’t you remember when I asked to jerk off with you?” As a matter of fact, I do. Up until very recently, I masturbated to the thought of that agonising morning, at least once a week. “Holy shit, of all the times I’ve humiliated myself, I’ve never been more embarrassed than that.” His neck goes blotchy and pink, “All these years later, I still cringe when I think about it. I really put myself out there, and still, nothing.” He says, shrugging. I’m finding it very hard to believe that we both have such a wildly different recollection of one of my most excruciating experiences. “Is that when you decided to get together with Ashleigh?” I ask quietly, unable to keep the accusation out of my voice. He pauses for a second, clenching his teeth a little, “Ashleigh’s a very complicated matter. I know you know that. I know you know that I loved her. I did. I wouldn’t have married her if I didn’t. I’d never do that to anyone. My stomach clenches and twists. I hate hearing him say it, though I know it’s true. “I was never unfaithful to her. Not once. I tried very, very hard not be unfaithful to her in thought, either. There were times when I was successful and there were times when I failed there, but I tried. It was pretty pathetic, but every single time we broke up, I’d go running back to you. You know, just to, to check. Just to see if you’d make a move.” He looks at me helplessly. “I thought she’d change me. I thought she’d make everything okay. I thought we’d be happy together. I do know I had no business starting a relationship with anyone else back then. I know that now, but I didn’t know it at the time.” He looks tired and pained, but he continues, “But no,” he says, “no, that wasn’t when I decided I had to move on. What happened that day between you and me fucked me up, but the final straw came a couple of weeks later.” He looks at me for a long time. “Do you remember that prick, Alex Meeking, from a few doors down? The one who always used to mock us for being gay?” I nod, I do remember him. I remember him vividly, in fact. “I think the word he liked to use was, faggot.” I say. I remember that vividly, too. What’s more, I remember Alex on his knees, in his room. Blow job tears and saliva running down his face from the brutal face-fucking I gave him. I remember how he whined and begged for my cock. I remember distinctly how I made him say, “I’m a cocksucking faggot.” I made him say it three times, for good measure. I made him say it slowly and clearly, before I turned him around and gave him exactly what he wanted. “I came home a bit later that night,” says West, “I’d been to the library, so I was later than usual. I saw you come out of his room. You didn’t see me, but I saw you. I knew what had happened. I could tell by the way you were walking, that you’d just fucked him. I could just tell. I couldn’t believe it. What did that asshole have that I didn’t?” “So, that’s when you decided to get together with Ashleigh?” I’m lightheaded with fury. Alex Meeking? Alex fucking Meeking? That guy was my very worst kind of hetero. The kind that loves dick but is too ashamed to admit it. The only reason I slept with him was to get him to stop calling West a faggot. Of all the fucks I’ve had that meant nothing to me, that one would easily make the top five. “I guess, I just realised I couldn’t keep waiting for something that was never going to happen. It was hurting me. Waiting and wanting you like that. It was getting to me. I guess, after that thing with Alex Meeking, it finally hit me that just because you were into guys, didn’t automatically mean that you were ever going to be into me. I felt stupid that I hadn’t realised it before.” “Oh,” I say, “I see. So that’s why you want to know when things changed for me.” He nods slowly. I take a breath. I need to speak clearly. Even though I’m shaking with anger, I need to speak clearly, and I need to try not to yell, but I need to let this out. It has to come out. “Nothing has changed for me, West.” I say simply. “Nothing at all. Nothing whatsoever. The way I feel about you now, is the way I’ve always felt about you. I felt like this, when I lay in bed listening to you fucking girls, three metres away from me. I felt like this, when I watched you falling in love with Ash right in front of me. I felt like this, when I was best man at your wedding. I felt like this, when I damned nearly drank, drugged and fucked myself into oblivion. Through it all, one thing has always stayed the same…Nothing about the way I feel about you has ever changed.” My voice is ice cold, cutting, I’ve never heard it like this, as I add with pure venom, “Nothing.” West stands there stock still. Blinking and breathing. He looks dumbstruck. Totally stupefied. “Are, are you saying you had a crush on me?” He asks dumbly. I sigh and shake my head. For the first time, I’m starting to wonder if my brilliant best friend might not be all that bright. My throat feels tight and my breathing is shallow. My heart feels as if it’s being squeezed tight. Too tight. I feel the years of pain rising inside me. It’s deep and it’s sharp. It’s pure and true. “Itwasn’tacrush.” I say quickly. My voice is a little high pitched and it wavers as I speak. “What?” “It wasn’t a crush.” I say loudly, annunciating each word clearly this time. As I do, my chest starts heaving. My eyes are burning, as the ache I’ve held inside me for so long, starts to release. I haven’t cried since the day he got married. Not one single tear. Not one salty drop. But now, the tide is coming in and I can’t stop it. I’m no match for it. It’s strong and it’s rising with a force that’s beyond me. I see the look in his eyes, the second he realises what I’m saying. He moves towards me, arms out, reaching for me. “You hurt me West.” I sob, “You hurt me so much.” He pulls me towards him, his arm around my neck, cradling my head against his chest. “I’m sorry,” he whispers, over and over, “I didn’t know. I hoped and I hoped. I hoped for so long, but I didn’t know.” When I calm down at last, we part, and look at each other. Really, really, look at each other. Both of us, a little shell-shocked and uncertain. “I thought you told me everything.” I say, “I thought that was your thing. I thought you were open and honest and that you can’t hide how you feel.” “I am and I don’t, with you, I never do…Except for this one thing. This thing, I just, I just couldn’t say the words. I-I couldn’t get them out. There was too much to lose. I’ve never been able to stand the thought of losing you as a friend. I don’t just want you in my life. I need you, Andy. It’s just this one thing I haven’t told you, I swear.” “Pretty fucking important thing though, huh?” He nods slowly, pressing his lips together, blinking to keep his eyes from watering. We are quiet for a while. Letting the dust settle. Trying to let ourselves decipher this information. “My God,” says West, when he finally speaks, “we are a complete pair of idiots.” That breaks the tension. I laugh, long and hard, as I say, “I’ve always known that I’m an idiot, that much has always been clear, but honestly, West, I had no idea you were an idiot, too.” “Andy,” he says, pulling me close, hands on the sides of my face, as he looks into my eyes, “you dumbass, you should have known. If you’re an idiot, of course I’m one, too.” * I wake the next day, to the sound of breakfast being made. The aroma of coffee hits me as soon as I walk into the living room. It’s a welcome smell. Caffeine is needed after last night. It was the type of night, where there wasn’t much sleeping. “Morning.” I mumble, still full of sleep. “Jesus.” He says, eyes opening a bit wider as he looks down. I’m shirtless and I’m wearing an old pair of pyjama bottoms. Morning wood is currently making itself very well known. In fact, as I walk over to West, my dick leads the way. He looks bemused, as he takes a sip of his coffee and says, “Are you going to do something about that?” I look down at the tent that’s been pitched, shrug, and take my cock out. I ease my waist band down a little and trap my erection against my belly, so that the entire head is peaking out, pinned in place by my pyjamas. I look up at West and slowly and deliberately, tie a very small bow in the drawstring of my pants. A perfect little bowtie, for my dick’s head. West’s eyes light up in delight and he bursts out laughing. He laughs and laughs, until his eyes are watering. “Damn you,” he splutters, “you almost made coffee come out of my nose.” That makes me laugh too, which sets him off again. Honestly, when I come to think of it, I’m a little surprised it took us so long to realise that we’re both idiots. “Oh, Andy, I love you, man. You crack me u…” His voice trails off. The mood in the room has turned on its head. What was light and filled with laughter, is on a knife edge now. A sharp, shiny blade. I freeze, as my breath catches in my throat. West freezes too, but just for a second. He sighs and shrugs helplessly, “I do,” he says, unapologetically, “I love you like crazy.” I take a deep breath, steadying myself. I’ve always been of the opinion that while people don’t always know when they’re being lied to, we have an innate ability to recognise a universal truth when we hear it. We all do. We feel it. We know it. We can’t help it. It’s just the way we’re made. I take a moment to prepare myself, as I already know, the words I’m about to say, are the truest words I’ll ever speak. “I love you, too, West.” He doesn’t move, but I see his chest heave. It looks as though the air has been sucked out of his lungs. He looks at me in amazement. His eyes are open. Unguarded. “I love you.” I say again, stronger this time. “Always have...” I see the start of a smile as he closes the space between us in two or three long steps. “Always will.” He walks straight into my open arms, crashing into me, his body against mine. Chest against chest, cheek against cheek. Our arms wrapping around each other, each pulling the other into an embrace that’s so tight, I’m positive neither of us can breathe. I feel his heart beating wildly against mine, as we hold onto each other. It’s hard to say if we’re holding each other like lovers, or if we’re holding each other like friends. Perhaps, we’re holding each other like lovers, who were friends long, long before we were anything else. When we finally pull back, to take each other in, I can’t vouch for what he sees in my eyes, but I know I’ll never forget the look in his. His eyes aren’t just flaming, they’re not just on fire. They are worlds colliding. Exploding. Causing a ripple that can’t be undone. He smiles so broadly, his scar creases deeper than I’ve ever seen it. “I told you.” He cries, “I told you, I told you. Didn’t I always tell you, that one of these days, you’d say it back?” “You were right, West. You were right all along.” I say, laughing softly, “It was just a matter of time.” *
  3. Jesse_H_Reign

    Chapter 9

    I’m in the studio, when West arrives. He lets himself in and comes to find me. I hear his feet on the wooden floor and feel a twist of excitement as he draws near. Every day, this is my routine. Anguish and pain when he’s away and pure ecstasy when he’s back in my orbit. “Hey, you.” He says, dropping his bag down in the doorway. He enters the studio and looks around slowly. It’s a big, airy space. Truly, it’s a dream space for an artist to work in. One wall is lined with shelves which house my canvas, brushes, paint and other supplies. Another has a bank of floor to ceiling windows and the two other walls have rows and rows of paintings displayed on them. Some are complete and drying. Others are works in progress. A few are works that for some reason, I couldn’t bring myself to sell. There are a few of Sarah. She has such a great face. So expressive and yet, so very restrained. I love painting her. There’s one of Tyler, eyebrows raised, and his mouth pulled open in great surprise. There are a few sketches of members of my family and, Heart, hangs in the light near one of the windows. Despite receiving several offers over the years, I never could bring myself to sell it. “Wow.” Says West, “It’s amazing to see so many of them together like this. It’s unreal. What a neat crowd.” He walks around the room, studying my work. Ordinarily, I don’t encourage people to come into the studio. In fact, I hate it. It feels like a massive intrusion. This is my space. Just mine. I give it a second. Waiting to see how I feel, but to my surprise, I feel fine. I feel relaxed. Do I like having him in here? “Oh,” he says, “I see you kept this one.” He’s standing in front of Heart. He has a little grimace on his face. “You don’t like that one?” “Any idiot can see that it’s brilliant, but it makes me feel… I dunno. When I look at it, I don’t feel good. I feel empty inside.” “Mmh.” I say noncommittally. You should feel hollow when you see it, you dumbass. I was broken when I painted it, and you were the reason. “You know what I’ve always wondered, Andy.” I look over at him. “I’ve always wondered why you’ve never painted a portrait of me.” Over the years, I’ve drawn him and drawn him. I’ve painted him too. I’ve painted his face over and over, but how would he know that? I always paint over the paintings I do of him. If I didn’t, this room would look like it belongs to a crazed stalker. Seriously, it would be enough to give the Behavioural Analysis Unit more than a passing interest in me. It’s one of the reasons I never sold Heart. Under the oil, before I started painting, I drew a life-sized charcoal study of West. The irony is, that at that time in my life, it was the best portrait I’d ever done. Even now, I’m not entirely sure that I’ve ever captured anyone quite like the way I captured him. I think of how I felt, all those years ago, sobbing late at night in the art room, as I painted my own face over the outline of his. “Every time you have an exhibition, a little part of me hopes that I’m going to walk into the gallery and see a painting of me. Maybe it’s silly, but it kind of hurts my feelings that you’ve never done one.” I look at him in bewilderment. I’m not entirely sure what to say. How do I explain this? “I guess, this must just be the one face you can’t paint.” He says with a big, goofy smile, pointing up at his beautiful face with both hands. “I can paint that face.” I say, under my breath, “Believe me, I can paint that face.” “Nah, you can’t. If you could, you would have by now.” He’s baiting me, and I know it, but still, I take the bait. “I could paint that face with my eyes closed. It’s not even a challenge.” “So, do it.” He says, walking over to me, wrapping his arms around me and kissing me sweetly. When he pulls away, he tugs my t-shirt and lifts it up over my head. “What are you doing?” “I thought you wanted a challenge.” Ooh, I see. Well, I do like a challenge. I always have. He stands beside the easel, as I lay out a new, smaller canvas and start mixing paint. I glance up at him, taking the measure of him. He cocks his glorious head and smiles, walking over and moving behind me. “I thought you said you knew my face. I thought you could paint it with your eyes closed. Hmmm? Let’s see if you really can paint it without looking at me.” I sigh. This really, really is too easy. Honestly, I know his face so well, I could produce a startling likeness in less than twenty strokes of my brush. I get to work quickly, laying the paint on thickly and loosely. Quickly descending into the zone. Into the place where nothing exists except for my eyes and my hands, my canvas and every colour under the sun. I love being in the zone. Usually, once I’m there, nothing distracts me. Sometimes, not even hunger or thirst. Sometimes, I stagger out of my studio, dehydrated and starving, realising that I haven’t eaten or drunk anything for hours and hours. That’s not the case today though. I haven’t been working for very long, when I feel myself rising out of my creative space. I feel like I’m being pulled. Lifted. Drawn out of sharp focus. Drawn out, by the man standing behind me. He runs his hands down my sides. His touch is light, but it still packs a punch. He leans down and kisses my neck. I try to turn to kiss him. “Uh uh,” he says, “keep painting.” He goes to work on my neck. Running his hands through my hair. Weaving his fingers, twisting them tightly. Making me arch back and expose my neck to him, sinking his mouth onto my skin. His lips and his tongue find my pulse, with the sole goal of making it race. They are highly successful. He kisses the spot just to the left of my jugular. The exact spot that makes me sigh. He runs his tongue along the lobe of my ear and breathes warm air onto the cool trail of his saliva. He seems to know that that’s the precise thing, required to make me shiver. He was right about one thing. He has learnt my body. I’ll give him that. No doubt about it. No doubt at all. His hands seem to know their way around it, the same way I know his face. He slides his flat palm down my belly. He does it slowly. Slowly. My abs are knotted and clenched by the time he gets to my waistband. He teases me gently. Tracing the place where my skin and denim meet. I keep my eye on the canvas. The painting is taking shape quickly, but still, I have a feeling I should paint as fast as I can. I have a feeling it won’t be long before I lose any and all, artistic ability. He proves me right about that, when he reaches down suddenly, groping me. Grabbing my cock and my balls in one hand, rubbing them hard through the coarse fabric. I must drift off a little, as I hear him saying, “Don’t stop painting, Painter Boy.” He unbuttons my jeans and unzips them slowly. It certainly seems as though he’s hell bent on driving me crazy. He eases them down over my hips and my ass, pushing them down all the way to my knees. He doesn’t touch me for a while. He just leaves me standing there, paint brush in hand, with my jeans bunched up around my knees. Ass on display, for all my paintings to see. If you’ve never found yourself in this position, I can assure you, nothing will make you feel more compromised, in as little time. His hands are back on me now. They’re on my ass cheeks. Stroking softly and then groping hard, spreading me open. I admit, I’m starting to feel very, very distracted. I try to keep painting, but when he licks his finger and runs it carefully across my hole, I lose my grip on my paint brush, dropping it onto the floor, sending a small splatter of paint across the floor. Joining the discordance of colour, that previous splatters have caused. I pick up a palette knife and start using that quickly, before he can tell me to keep painting, but I can feel him smiling behind me. He doesn’t make a sound, but I know he’s smiling. I know his smile well. I use the knife in my hand to carve gentle smile lines into the figure I’m painting. He wheels the stool in the corner over to me. I use it sometimes, when I get tired of standing. I try not to look back, but I can hear the wheels scraping over the floor. I don’t want to give him the satisfaction of seeing how much his every minute movement affects me. “Sit.” He says. As I do, he spreads my ass cheeks gently and kicks the stool in under me, a little too far, so that I’m sitting on it, but most of my ass is hanging off it. The most important part is definitely exposed. Spread. Unprotected and wide-open. Oooff. To think, I thought my previous position was compromising. “Don’t move.” I paint as quickly as I can, as he leaves the room. He isn’t gone long, but when he gets back, he’s wearing a big smile and not a stitch of clothing. He has a bottle of lube in his hand. “Any idea what I’ve got in store for you?” He murmurs into my neck, as he starts to slick me up. “I, arghhhh…” I moan as he penetrates me with a finger. I’m not sure what I was going to say anyway, so I’m not all that sorry that he’s cut me off. He takes his time, probing me slowly, as I desperately try to maintain the charade that I’m a person who’s painting. An artist, by trade. I’m slapping paint onto the canvas without any thought. No plan. No order. No preconceived notion where this particular portrait is headed. The palette knife cuts across the canvas, slicing through paint, out of control, as he surprises me by hitting my spot with astonishing accuracy and the perfect amount of pressure. It’s fine. Fine. I can easily correct it. The mark that I’ve made is close to where his clavicle should be. I can easily fix it. He chuckles softly behind me, kissing my shoulder softly as I start to writhe. “What do you want, Andy?” I look back, shooting him a look. Are you mad? Can’t you see what I want? “If you tell me, I’ll give it to you. I swear I will.” His voice truly is something else. When he talks like this, it feels rough on my skin. Like sandpaper scraping my flesh. “I want you.” “I’m right here. You already have me. If you want something else, you’ll have to tell me.” “I want your dick.” “Hmm, but you already have that too. Look, it’s right here.” He says, rubbing it gently across my ass cheeks. “I want it inside me.” I say quickly. My voice has started to sound a bit strange. Tinny and nasal. “Oh.” he says, as if that’s brand-new information. His fingers are still in my ass, they’re spreading me. Making me long for him. I know what he wants. I know he likes it when people talk. I look back at him. I can’t resist the opportunity to push his buttons. “I want you to fuck me, Dickhead.” I say, with what I hope is my most seductive smile. He bursts out laughing. A big, beautiful, belly laugh. I laugh too, I can’t help it. We both find ridiculous things very funny. “You want my dick head, huh?” He says, rubbing said dick head against my thigh. “Where do you want it?” I feel a bit spoilt for choice. I already had it in my throat this morning, and my ass is aching for it. I turn back again. I see the second his eyes change. He’s not playing now. “I want you inside me.” I say again. My voice sounds different now, too. I’m not playing either. “I want you in between my legs. In my ass. Deep inside me. I want you so deep I can’t feel anything else.” He takes a jagged breath against my shoulder, pressing his body against me. I feel his nipples, hard as stone, rubbing against me. “Because you asked nicely,” he says as he enters me, “I’ll give it to you.” I feel my face redden, and the veins in my neck protrude with the effort required to accommodate him. His thrust is forceful and true. One single lunge and I have precisely what I wanted. I sit there, frozen. Rapt. The palette knife still in my hand. Moaning and arching. Tormented by the predicament I find myself in. Speared on his massive cock, but unable to move because of the limited motion the stool I’m sitting on allows. “Keep painting.” He growls. “Ahaaah.” I whimper, but I’m no wimp, so despite the odds stacked against me, I do. As I drag the knife across the canvas, it feels like I’m touching his skin. He drives himself in and out of me over and over. He moves slowly. Deeply. Despite the fact that it’s pure torture, I’ve never, ever enjoyed creating anything more. At last, I can’t take it. I want more. I fling the knife down and leap up on unsteady legs. Unskewering myself in the process. Ripping my jeans off and kicking them away from me as if they are rancid. I turn on my target. The look on his face tells me, he’s a worthy opponent. I don’t think about that for long, as I tackle him to the ground. We are a cacophony of arms and legs. Hands and feet. Mouths and meat. At last, I have him on his back and I sink myself down on his massive cock, roaring in pleasure as I impale myself. I’m wild. I’m outside myself again. My desire to dominate him knows no bounds. I feel sure I’m going to lose my mind if I don’t top him soon, but that’s not what he wants and I don’t ever want to give him anything he doesn’t crave, so, I do the next best thing. I hold him down by the wrists, pressing them down at the side of his head and I ride him. I ride him with vigour and force that I’ve never experienced before. Truth be told, I’m not even sure I knew it was possible. Even though technically he’s topping me, there’s no doubt at all, I’m in charge now. My dick flaps wildly in front of me, alternating between slapping against my belly and then against his. His eyes are wide. Not in shock, but in rapture. They track their way up my body. Winding. Feeling me the way that he would, if he still had use of his hands. He struggles a little. “Let me touch you.” He pleads. “My God, let me touch you.” He’s growing increasingly desperate. “Andy! Please! Let me touch you.” “If you let me touch you,” he begs, “I’ll give you my load. I’ll shoot it inside you. I’ll shoot it so deep, you won’t be able to think of anything else.” That gets my attention. That’s what I want. Right now, I can’t think of anything I’ve ever wanted more. I let go of his wrists and he grabs onto my dick. Rubbing me, jerking, stroking with both hands. Yelling and shaking and spasming violently, as he gives me just what I want. I keep rocking my hips, as he recovers, moving slowly as he throbs hotly inside me. He looks up at me lazily, panting, as he caresses my dick. Though I can’t pinpoint the time or the day, at some point, West conquered my cock. He mastered it. He knows it. He knows what it likes. He knows every single thing about it and now, he looks me right in the eye, as he breaks me apart. I explode into his hands, loosing reason. I see every colour you could ever imagine, as I blast all over him. I collapse onto him, skin against skin. Sticky in my own spunk. We sigh and kiss for a while, but not for too long. I have my painting to get back to, after all. I clamour to my feet and get back to work. It isn’t long before he joins me, standing behind me, pressing his belly against me, coating my lower back with the result of our efforts. I can’t help thinking, as I stand there with my back, belly and thighs, damp with our collective juices, that right now, I’m covered in enough seed to repopulate a small island, should such a thing ever be required. At last, he moves to my side, to examine the painting. “Damn, Andy. You are so talented.” By some miracle, I’ve managed to capture West. It’s wild. The vivid colours running into each other. It shows none of the restraint or control that I’m known for. Still, it’s West. In the portrait, he’s looking up slightly. Green eyes glowing. Looking up through the dark forest of his black lashes. His eyes are smiling a little. The way he does seconds before he really cracks it. His lips have just started to curl. I turn my brush around, using the blunt wooden end to peel back the paint, to carve the final scarred detail onto his face. I always save it for last. His scar. It’s the thing I love most about his face. His perfect imperfection. “Do you want to do some?” I ask, handing him a palette knife. He looks pleased at the prospect. His eyes instantly smiling, even more than they are in the portrait. We still have background to paint. “Here,” I say, “you just use the knife as if you’re frosting cake.” “I don’t know how to frost cake.” He mumbles. I take his hand in mine, enveloping his, and show him how to lift paint up and lay it on the canvas. “There’s no wrong or right, just do what you think will look good. I’m going to wash the background out with linseed oil anyway.” I can’t help smiling as I watch him. He looks so happy. I can see he’s trying his best. His tongue is sticking out slightly, at the corner of his mouth, the way he always does when he’s doing something that’s hard. Sigh. That’s the thing about West. He’s the best. He just is. It’s not just the fact that I love him, that’s always been my problem. It’s not even the fact that I lust after him like a man who is possessed. It’s the fact that above everything else, I like him. I like him more than anyone else “Sign it.” I say, when we’re done. He picks up a brush and after a little deliberation, dips it into cadmium red. He takes his time. He does his best, but if he were to tell me that he hadn’t painted a stroke since elementary school, I would believe him. Still, when we stand back and examine the fruits of our efforts, my favourite part of the whole painting are the large, childish red letters, crookedly spelling: WEST. “Can I have it?” He asks. “Nope.” No way. “Can I buy it? I’ll make you an offer you can’t refuse.” He teases. “It’s not for sale.” Even though, I say it with a smile, I know instantly, that I’d rather give away every painting I’ve done in my life, than be parted with this one. This one is mine. I think. Another day, I’ll do a painting for him. That one, the one I do for him, will be a portrait of me. I’ll do it in the same messy style, so that they go together. The way we are meant to be. * I’m in the studio, the next day, pretty engrossed in a painting. I haven’t been very prolific since things started happening with West, so it feels good to be back in the zone. I suspect our little diversion yesterday got my creative juices flowing again. The shrill call of my phone jolts me out my creative bubble. I peer over and see that West’s on the line, so I put my brush down and answer. I still get a swift kick of nerves whenever he calls. “Andy,” he says, “just a quick one. I, uh, I just wanted to let you know I’ll be late getting to your place tonight. I just got a message from Ash. She wants to meet up after work.” My blood runs cold. Not just cold, my blood turns to ice in my veins. Rock solid ice. “Oh,” I say, using every ounce of my strength to keep my voice neutral. “Cool.” Cool? Fucking, cool? Am I insane? Do people even say, “Cool,” anymore? I hear his PA say something in the background. “Got to go, okay. I’ll see you later.” Wave after wave of panic hits me. It’s hot and it’s pure. If it wasn’t so desperately unpleasant, the force of the emotion would actually be quite impressive. I pace up and down the loft, frantically. When that does nothing to help, I take to my bed. Lying down on my back, my arms and legs spread out like a starfish. For some reason, that makes me feel even worse. I feel like I’m being crushed. Suffocated. Like I can’t breathe. I call Sarah. I call her, even though I know there’s a good chance that she’s in the middle of a session with someone who is actually paying her to supervise to their little breakdown. Mercifully, she answers. She’s on her lunch break and is free for the next hour, so I hot-foot it over to her office. I get there with thirty minutes to spare, before her next appointment. I’m still frantic. Even more frantic now, if anything. The mad rush to get to Sarah’s office, did nothing to help calm me down. “Okay, tell me what’s wrong.” I explain the whole situation to her. She listens intently and then rubs the sides of her head for a while. She takes a few deep breaths as she does it. Truly, she seems to be rubbing her temples quite hard. “Andy,” she says, after a while, “did it occur to you to ask West why Ash wanted to see him?” “No.” I say dumbly. “Well, maybe you should have.” She rubs her temples again. She must have a headache. “Did it occur to you to tell West that you feel uncomfortable with him seeing her? That it makes you feel insecure? That you need to talk about what’s happening between the two of you?” “Definitely not.” That didn’t cross my mind. “Right!” She says, her face turning bright pink, as she leaps up to her feet, almost yelling, “Right! I’ve had enough! I’ve had quite enough of this, Andy.” I’m instantly taken aback. I’ve never seen Sarah like this. Tyler and I have been saying for years, that one of these days, we’re going to push her over the edge. It’s just that, we thought he’d be the one to do it. We both did. I feel curiously intrigued by the fact that I appear to be the one who’s finally done it. Not proud, mind you. Just intrigued. And a little afraid. “Andy. I’m going to tell you exactly what you need to do, and I want you to listen and I want you to listen well. Do you understand me?” I nod my head up and down quickly. She has my undivided attention. “You,” she says, with force, pointing her finger at me, so neither of us are in any doubt who she’s talking to, “are going to bloody-well tell West how you feel. You’re going to start today. I will not sit here and watch you fuck this up because you’re afraid. I watched you do that with Paul, and that was unpleasant, but this is West and I’m telling you, I will not do it.” She pounds one of her small fists repeatedly on the flat palm of her other hand. “You will tell him how you feel. You will risk getting hurt because, you idiot, not taking a risk is what has been hurting you for almost a decade. I’m very taken aback that she’s called me an idiot. Even though it’s a word I often use to describe myself, it stings to hear it from her. “And, to avoid any confusion, I’ll tell you how you’re going to do it.” She points her finger at me again. I sit up a little straighter. This information seems like it’s going to closely pertain to my situation. “When West talks, when he asks you a question or makes a statement, you’re going to listen. Not just to him, you’re going to listen to the over-active voice in your head. You’re going to hear what it says, you’re going to think about it for a second, and then, and this is important, Andy, so make sure you’re really paying attention here…you’re going to say what you’re thinking and you’re going to say what you’re bloody-well feeling. Got it?” “Yes.” I say, nodding and swallowing, and then, because it seems like the sensible thing to do, I add, “Thank you.” “Right.” She says again, flopping down onto her chair, looking a bit shaken. “And Andy, don’t even think about telling Tyler that you finally cracked me.” I try not to laugh, but I fail there. The laugh comes barrelling out of me in the form of a snort. She bundles me up and shows me to the door. She still has a good fifteen minutes to enjoy her lunch in peace and quiet. She gives me a quick hug at the door, and I wrap my arms around her and squeeze her tight. Thank you, my friend. I think, where would I be without y… “Where would I be without you, Sarah?” “Oh, you’d be totally fucked. That’s where you’d be.” * My conversation with Sarah helped to some extent, but once I get home, I still feel terrible. Not terrible because I don’t know what to do, terrible, because now I’ve actually got to do it. Also, before I can even get to that, I’ve got to hope like crazy that Ashleigh and West don’t want each other back. I feel weak and sick when I think about it. I feel like I’ve been watching the clock for hours, but he’s only forty-five minutes later than usual. He walks through the door looking as calm and cheerful as ever. He leans in and kisses me full on the lips. “How was your day? How did your meeting with Ash go?” I ask right away. Before he starts talking. I add, “I felt weird about you seeing her.” My voice sounds a bit strange as I say it. You didn’t feel weird about it. You felt panicked. You felt like complete and utter shit. “Not weird,” I say, “I felt bad. I felt worried.” He looks at me in amazement. He blinks once or twice. Right now, it looks like maybe he’s having one of those moments where he feels like he’s seeing me for the first time.” “Thank you for telling me that.” He says, standing a little closer. “I don’t want you to feel like that. I never, ever want you to feel like that.” “What did she want?” “Well,” he says, cracking open a beer and taking a seat on the sofa. “It was a little unusual. It was a little unusual, even for Ash.” I want to yell, “I don’t want you and Ash and, “unusual,” anywhere near each other, but I remember that Sarah said that first, I have to listen to West. So, I do. “So, I told her about us, obviously.” Really? I wasn’t expecting him to do that. “Holy shit. What did she say?” “Well, it was kind of amazing. Honestly, I wish you’d been there, Andy. I wish you could have seen it. So, I tell her, “Andy and I are seeing each other.” I think that’s pretty big news, but she just looked at me for a second, like this.” He makes his face incredibly passive, looking down his nose a little. “She just looked at me, and said, “Good for you.”” He bursts out laughing. “I wish you’d been there. Oh, God, Andy, you would have loved it. Her facial expression didn’t even change for a second.” “Wow.” That’s not what I was expecting. Not at all. “So, what did she want to see you about?” “Um, that’s where things get a bit, well, a bit intense. So, you know how we had all that IVF? Well, we still have a couple of embryos frozen. With the divorce and everything else, we kind of just didn’t get to the bottom of what we should do about them. Anyway, the clinic got in touch with Ash this week, wanting to know if we’re going to use them, or destroy them.” “Oh.” Jesus, help me. “Ash says, she wants to use them.” He says very quietly. Dear God. It’s happening. The worst thing is happening. I feel that familiar, terrible squeeze of pure dread. My body starts to rebel, various organs squeezing and others going totally slack. My head starts to pound. “W-what did you tell her?” “I told her I wanted to talk to you about it.” I can’t think. My brain feels stunted. I can’t think a single thing. I have absolutely no idea what to do with my face. Even if I did, I strongly suspect that I lack the skills required to command it. Right now, the only thing I know, is that I feel a strong urge to run. “Don’t freak out, okay, Andy? Don’t freak out. I know this is a big deal and I know it’s lot, but please, don’t freak out.” Funnily enough, I feel distinctly like I’m on the verge of a very major freak out. I must look as bad as I feel, because he asks, “Are you okay?” “Um, no,” I say, “not really. I feel as if my head’s going to explode.” “We’re just talking, Andy. Nothing’s been decided yet.” Dear God. I really do feel as if I’m at risk of an aneurysm or something even more sinister. My head is throbbing that badly. “Uh, I, I need to take a minute.” I stammer. “I need some fresh air.” I need to get out of here. I need to walk. I need space. That’s what I need. I head for the door, hardly noticing that he’s following me, until he crouches down next to me, tying his laces, as I kick my shoes on. “What are you doing?” I ask. I need to be alone, West. I need it. You should know that about me. “I’m doing what I always do, Andy. I’m doing what I always do, whether you know it or not.” “What’s that?” I ask, more than a little annoyed. He looks at me evenly. Unflinching. Firm and undaunted. “I walk beside you.” *
  4. Jesse_H_Reign

    Chapter 8

    I wake the next morning, to an empty bed. I reach over to his side and feel that it’s still a little warm. I get up quicky and pad to the kitchen. I find him there. His hair is wet, and he’s dressed for work. As much as I love him in jeans and a t-shirt, I’ve got a particular weakness for him in a suit. This one is dark blue. The jacket hangs open and the fabric is tailored to his body. God, he wears it well. “I’m making you a bagel,” he says, “You should have stayed in bed, I was going to bring it to you.” I break into a smile. I catch myself quickly, as I feel the smile threaten to overtake my whole face and leave me standing here looking like a love-struck fool. This is new for him, I tell myself again, don’t scare him off. Don’t get over-excited. “How did you sleep?” He asks. “Great. You?” “I woke up a few times.” He says, “I guess, I just needed make sure it wasn’t a dream.” I try to control my smile again. I’m pretty sure I fail spectacularly that time. “I hope you don’t mind, I’m wearing a pair of your jocks.” What? I think, as I stifle a laugh. He has a nerve. Though, I can’t deny, for some reason, I find the thought of him wearing my underwear incredibly sexy. “Why?” He smiles sheepishly, “I just had a feeling that I was going to need a bit of extra support today.” That’s hot, too. “Why’s that?” I tease. “Well,” he says, with an apologetic grin, “the flashbacks started in the shower. They’re coming in thick and fast.” “Is that a fact?” I ask, as if the matter is only of minor interest to me. “What are you flashing back to?” He moves closer to me, handing me my cup of coffee. “It started with a flash of your back arching, and the sound you made when I breached you.” Oooh, Jesus. He edges closer to me, so that he’s right next to me. He’s so close. He takes a sip of his coffee. “The next one, was of the moment you bit down on the pillow.” Oooff. He leans in, so his face is close to my neck. I can feel his breath on my shoulder as he whispers, “My God, that was so hot. I nearly came when you did that. I clenched my teeth so hard, my jaw is aching today.” I don’t stand a chance when it comes to West. I never have. I lean down and give him a light kiss on his scar. I do it without thinking. I take a quick breath as I do. Breathing him in. He smells like my shampoo, and he smells like something even better. He smells like West. To me, West has always smelled distinctly like something I can’t have, so now, my senses are a little confused. “You okay?” He asks. I can see the question and the concern in his eyes. He runs his hand down my back, pausing for a second, before going lower, cupping my ass gently in his hand. “I didn’t hurt you, did I?” His eyes are soft, and he looks a little uneasy. “I’m fine.” I say, “I mean, don’t get me wrong, I can feel where you were. My ass definitely remembers that it took a beating, but I’m not hurt.” “Oh, Jesus.” He groans, “these jocks aren’t doing enough.” I look down. He’s right about that. * “So,” I say, later that day, when I meet up with Sarah, Tyler and Guy, “that’s what’s been happening in my life. All three of them sit there with wide, blinking eyes. Three pairs of eyes. Two brown pairs, one blue, just blinking at me. Mouths fall open slightly. Once or twice, I see one of them about to start talking. From the look on their faces, they want to start their sentence with the word, “But…?” “Isn’t West the one who’s straight?” Whispers Guy, eventually. Tyler pats his knee quickly and nods astutely. Sarah studies me closely. She’s trying to read me. She’s probably trying to ascertain whether or not I’m having a break from reality. “So,” she says at last, “so, you and West are together now?” “Hang on a sec.” Says Tyler, “Don’t get ahead of yourself, Sarah. We need full details first. Exactly what has happened? Exactly who did and said what? And, exactly who has done what to whom?” I look around and, in each face, I only see caring. I see caring and hope. These are my friends, and they love me, but still, there’s no way I’m going to answer all Tyler’s questions. Especially not the last one. No way at all. “I don’t know what we are.” I say to Sarah. “I’m really not sure. We act like friends most of the time and the rest of the time, we can’t keep our hands off each other.” “How does it feel?” Asks Tyler. I think for a moment and then try to describe how I’m feeling, “It’s heaven.” I say, though I’m instantly a little embarrassed by how adolescent that sounds. “It feels amazing when I’m with him. It’s everything I’ve ever wanted. It’s better than I dreamed. But when he leaves, I feel like I’m dying. I can’t work. I can hardly eat. All I can do is think about him. Even more than usual, and that’s saying something.” “Normal.” Says Guy, with a great level of confidence. Sarah, now a qualified psychologist and thus, the person in the group who is best qualified to be making this type of assessment, looks a little uncertain. “I feel scared all the time.” I say softly. “I’m scared right now. I’m terrified I’ll get text, or a call or that he’ll be at my place later, to tell me that he’s come to his senses and that this isn’t what he wants.” “Also, normal.” Says Guy, with just as much certainty as before. I’m really starting to like Guy, by the way. “Is this what it’s always like? God, it’s awful. How long does this go on for?” I ask. “When it’s the right guy, the good parts stay, and the bad parts fade away, until all you have is an enduring state of bliss.” Guy says, looking at Tyler, giving him a little nudge with his knee. Tyler leans in and rests his head on Guy’s shoulder for a moment. Everyone is quiet for a while. Tyler takes a deep breath before he speaks. “Well,” he says, “it looks like my gaydar had a pretty spectacular malfunction.” Sarah looks down at her hands. She looks uncomfortable, but she doesn’t interrupt him. “I, uh, I don’t know if I missed it on purpose, Andy. I don’t know if I did.” He looks at me bleakly. “If I did do it on purpose, I’m sorry. I’m very sorry.” I’m not really sure what to say to that. I’ve been thinking about it a lot, since things started with West. I’ve wondered if things would have been different, if Tyler hadn’t dashed my hopes, all those years ago. I feel very conflicted. Part of me is angry, the rest of me understands. Could he really have known? Does anyone really have an infallible gaydar? Could I really expect him to have told me, if he did know, given I know how he felt about me at the time? Better than anyone, I know the pain of a love that’s unrequited. Better than anyone, I know what that pain does to a person. I think of how hard I was on Ashleigh. I wasn’t always able to keep it in. How many times did I tell West she was crazy and that she was bad news? In his defence, no matter what terrible state I was in, Tyler never, ever, said a bad word about West. Maybe, that was him, doing his best. Sarah sighs audibly. “D’you know, sometimes I think I need more straight friends.” Guy cackles at that. Tyler and I join in, too. * A few weeks later, I’m in bed with West. He seems to understand innately, that his dick is more of a special occasion type of a weapon. A lot of the time, we get each other off with our hands and our mouths. It feels amazing, but I can’t deny, it leaves me in a perpetual state of wanting more. You’d think that finally getting my hands on him, would quell the shocking way that I lust after him. If anything, it’s only made it worse. Much worse. Case in point, tonight, I’ve already come. I just came pretty spectacularly, spraying into his hands, as he tried to catch it. And yet, before my heart rate has returned back to base, desire is winding its way through my body. Pinching and twisting. Squeezing me tight. “Your turn.” I say, rolling him over onto his back. Usually, I take my time, making sure that he’s beside himself before I touch his dick, but I’m so hot and bothered tonight that I can’t wait to get my hands on him. I lick him slowly, teasing and tasting, as he sighs and moans softly. I push his legs open wide, bending his knees and pushing them back. I stroke his balls and his taint, until he’s wriggling and starting to writhe. Ooh, I want more. I want it so much. “West.” I say softly, “Do you ever put anything up your ass?” It’s a little embarrassing to ask, and with any other guy, I’d test the waters by running my finger up and down his crack, but this is West. For one thing, I sincerely don’t want to freak him out, and for another, I know how he feels about consent. In truth, I’ve been struck time and time again, how good it feels when he explicitly asks, before taking what he wants. It feels good. It feels safe. Something about it is really insanely hot, too. Maybe, it’s those few seconds between the asking and the receiving, when you know without a doubt, exactly what you’re about to get. He smiles quickly, raising his head slightly to look at me. “Sure.” Jackpot. My dick lurches wildly and starts swelling, the second he says it. “What do you use?” He holds up two fingers. “Ashleigh’s?” He snorts a little. “Sure. Ashleigh’s, but that was years ago. Years.” He eyes me up and down and if I’m not imagining things, he looks a little abashed. “Now, I just touch myself sometimes.” “Show me.” I still have his dick in my hand. I stroke it up and down slowly to entice him. Inching my hand up and down his pole. Moving firmly and very, very slowly. He closes his eyes, pausing for a second and before raising his fingers to his mouth. Licking them carefully and reaching down between his legs. Oooh, that’s sexy. I’m so excited I feel myself grow hard so fast, I can feel the blood drain from my face. He grunts softly, as he wedges his fingers a little further inside. “That’s hot,” I say, unable to censor myself, rubbing my face against his inner thigh, “Oh, God, that’s so hot.” My voice catches as I speak. My breathing is so shallow, it feels as though I might hyperventilate, if I’m not very careful. As much as I’m enjoying the show, I want more of the action. I take his hand in mine, moving his fingers gently in and out for a while, before I say, “May I?” His head is tilted back, his lids hooded and low. He doesn’t speak. He just nods lazily. I lube up my fingers, noting with no surprise that I’m trembling. As much as I’ve lusted after his dick for my entire adult life. I’ve wanted his ass just as much. Now that I have it in my grasp, I’m so horny, I can hardly see straight. I sink one finger into him. Gasping when I feel the tight, hotness of him. I give him another finger, as soon as I think he’s used to one. He gasps and sucks his breath in through his teeth. “Oooh, Andy. That feels different.” I pull my fingers almost all the way out and send them back in. I send them deeper and deeper with each thrust, until they are buried inside him right to the knuckle. “Fuck.” He gasps. I can’t help flashing an evil grin. I saw what he did to himself. I saw the way he touched himself. That way is all well and good if what you’re after is the pleasant sensation of having something in your ass, but what I’m going to do to him now, is something quite different. I feel around gently, exploring his narrow passage until I find what I’m looking for. He starts shuddering instantly. “Do you feel like you need to pee?” I ask, keeping the pressure and the tempo even. “No!” He howls, “I feel like you’ve lit me on fire.” He starts to thrash, rocking his hips and moaning like crazy. I lick his balls, noting in pleasure how tightly they’re pulled up to his body. I take one in my mouth and suck ever so gently. He arches and yells in pleasure. He yells louder, and longer when I turn my attention to the other one, too. I keep working his ass. Slow and consistent. Completely relentless. His dick looks like it’s sprung a leak. It’s dripping like a faucet. Eventually, I can’t take it anymore. I lean down and lick him clean. I want more though. I have to have more, so I take him into my mouth. I take him all. I take him until my lips and my tongue tingle. He bucks and arches for real now. His body bowing up off the mattress as he comes with such force that try as I might, I can’t swallow it all. I come up for breath, as I gulp him down, but as I do, he spurts again and again, onto his belly and chest. When he stills, I run my tongue up his body, tasting the salty, maleness of him, not letting a drop go to waste. He shakes like a leaf as I do it. Quivering and moaning every time my tongue touches him. He looks up at me, unseeing. His eyes vacant and misted over. I lie down next to him. He turns toward me. Facing me. Curling his legs up towards him, as if his belly is aching. He closes his eyes lightly, until his breathing slows down. I study his face. I know every part of it. I know it so well. I know it better than any other face in the world, yet every time I’m close to him like this, a small part of me feels as though I’m seeing him for the very first time. “I felt that everywhere.” He whispers when he opens his eyes, “Everywhere. I felt it all over my body.” “I know.” I say softly. He looks at me for a long time, holding eye contact. If it was anyone else, it would make me intensely uncomfortable. I’d want to look away. Because it’s him, I don’t want to look away. Even if I wanted to. I wouldn’t be able to. I feel like he’s pried part of me open. Even though he’s the one who just came stunningly undone, I feel open. Gaping. I’m suddenly painfully reminded of my painting, Heart. After all this time, I still feel as though I’m standing before him with my chest ripped open, and my whole heart in my hands. He sighs and says dreamily, “Did you know that right before you get off, like, a second or two before you let go, your whole body breaks into gooseflesh?” I smile and nod. I did know that, Dumbass. “I never knew that about you, Andy Montgomery.” *
  5. Jesse_H_Reign

    Chapter 7

    It’s been a few weeks since things started happening between us. More than a month, maybe. We’ve fallen into an easy routine of seeing each other almost every day. When he comes over, he brings a duffle bag and sleeps over. He doesn’t seem to think it’s a big deal. Maybe it isn’t to him, but it is to me. Everything about him is a big deal to me. Things between us are a little strange. On the one hand, we can’t stay away from each other. We are out of control and both of us are next level horny for each other. Some nights, he barely makes it in through the door. Often, we land up in a heap on the floor. On the other hand, aside from the fact that we can’t keep our hands and mouths off each other, things between us are completely normal. It’s truly bizarre. We joke and we laugh together just like we always have. I’m still a little up-tight and he’s still the most carefree person I know. When we wake up together in the morning, he stumbles to the kitchen to get the coffee going, mumbling in monosyllabic grunts until he gets his first hit of caffeine. Just like the old days. The only difference is, now, he’s naked when he does it, and I’m not even trying not to look. I can’t keep my eyes off him. I don’t try to hide it. Now, he looks back. He doesn’t try to hide it either. It’s scary how good it feels. Very scary. “You seem worried about something.” He says after dinner on a Friday evening. That’s the thing about being with your best friend. He knows you. There’s no getting away from that. I am worried about something. I’m worried about several things, actually. I’m worried he’s just curious, like lots of guys are. I’m worried he’s going to sober up any minute and realise that this isn’t for him. I’m worried he’s going to freak out and go running back to Ashleigh, just like he always does. I’m worried Ashleigh is going to change her mind and realise she wants him back. I play all these scenarios in my head. I play them over and over, whenever he isn’t with me. I wish I could talk to him about it, but I’m worried about that, too. I don’t want to put pressure on him and I don’t want to freak him out. “I guess, I am, a bit.” “What’s on your mind?” “I can’t help thinking this is a lot. It’s a lot for anyone, but it’s especially a lot for you. You’ve been through a lot. This is a lot of new stuff. You’ve never done anything with a guy before, and your divorce has literally only just been finalised.” He looks at me calmly, waiting for me to clarify what the problem is. “I guess, it just feels like this might be some sort of epic rebound for you. Rebound: Curious Guy Edition, you know?” “I get it,” He says quietly, “and you’re right, but you’re also wrong. This is new, but at the same time, the thought of me being with a guy is not new to me. It’s not a knee-jerk reaction for me. It’s something I’ve been thinking about and dealing with for years. I’ve just spent six months in therapy dealing predominantly with this.” I raise my eyebrows. I had no idea that he’d taken it so seriously. “This is why I was in individual therapy. It’s a big reason the marriage ended. Things between Ash and I were fucked, but there might have been more we could have worked on. The truth is, I didn’t want to. I’ve wasted enough of my life. I’ve spent enough time being confused. I know my orientation now. It’s not some sort of abstract concept to me anymore. It’s crystal clear. I’m not just curious, Andy. I’m bi and that’s who I am.” “Do you miss her?” This is my worst fear. Technically, my worst fear is that he’s going to wake up any second and go back to her, but him missing her is a very close second. He thinks for a long time. “Sometimes, maybe? That’s a hard question to answer. Mainly, I miss what we could have had. You know, I miss the dream I had for a good life together. The thing is though, we weren’t right for each other. We were badly suited. We always were. Nothing between us was ever easy. Everything was a fight. We should have had an epic fling and we should have ended the first time she broke up with me. It was a fucked up dynamic right from the start.” Even though I hear what he’s saying, I know that for any guy who’s even partially straight, Ashleigh is not the kind of woman who would be easy to get over. She just isn’t. “Do you think you’re over her?” “Yes.” He says quickly and very definitively. “I know I am. I was over her for a long time before the marriage ended, and I’m absolutely sure, she felt the same. I’d been sleeping in the guest room for over a year. I can’t even remember the last time we had sex other than when we were trying to conceive.” He smiles almost wistfully, “Do you know how she used to proposition me?” I shake my head. “She used to say, “I’m ovulating. Come fuck me, Dickhead.” He bursts out laughing as soon as he says it. I’m a little shocked by how bad things between them got, but I have to admit, Ashleigh’s a bit of a badass. “My God, how awful.” I say, before dissolving into giggles. “I know this is soon, Andy. And I know that technically, it’s a rebound. I know that I’m still dealing with a sense of failure that comes with the breakdown of a marriage and I’m happy to talk to you about it anytime you want, but I’m not worried about whether or not I’m in the right place to be doing what we’re doing.” “Okay.” I say. I’m glad I asked the question, even though I still have so many more questions, I feel reassured. I smile at him when I catch his eye. He smiles back instantly and for a second, his eyes light up like they used to. Like fireworks. “You’re a good listener, Andy, but don’t think I don’t know what you’re doing.” I give him a look. I’m not entirely sure I know what he means. “You’re still exactly the same, after all this time. You still don’t give anything away. You still don’t tell me anything.” I scoff at him. I’d love to tell him everything, but I have no doubt in my mind, that would send him running straight for the hills. I can’t imagine a better way of freaking a guy on a rebound out, than telling him that he’s been your singular obsession for years and years. “I didn’t know you remembered that.” I say, “You were really pretty out of it that night.” “I remember everything.” The way he’s looking at me is making me uncomfortable. It feels like he’s trying to wake something deep inside me that’s been asleep for a long time. Something that wants to keep sleeping. I try to lighten the mood. “I’ll tell you one thing,” I say, “I’ll never say, “I’m ovulating. Come fuck me, Dickhead.” I mean it as a joke, but as soon as the words have left my mouth, the air in the room seems a little thicker. The way he’s looking at me is not helping. It’s not helping at all. I know that look now. I know what it means. I know we’re about to be taken over. I feel it coming. I try again for a laugh, “I can’t swear on my life though, that I’ll never, ever say, “Come fuck me, Dickhead.” He doesn’t laugh though. He looks at me seriously. He’s doing that thing, where he clenches and unclenches his jaw rapidly. Every time he does it, it unnerves me. It unnerves me completely. “D’you know, I don’t think I’d mind as much if you said that.” He says thoughtfully. “I, I wouldn’t.” I stammer, my mouth going dry. “I wouldn’t call you a dickhead.” “Oh, no?” He says in mock surprise, taking a step toward me, “What would you say then?” My stomach and heart and throat all constrict tightly. I feel strangled and breathless. I know, before I even open my mouth, that I can’t vouch for the state of my voice. “I’d say, “I want you. Come fuck me.” I whisper, before adding softly, “Please.” My voice is so soft and unsure, it hardly sounds like my own. “Is that what you’re saying?” He asks, looking at me intently. “I think about it, you know. I think about it all the time. I think about it when I’m at work. I think about it when I’m on the train. I think about it whenever I’m around you. Do you think about it?” I’d probably be five years younger, if I could undo all the time, I’ve spent thinking about it. There’s an edge in his voice now. Raspy and raw. He speaks again quickly, before I’ve had time to respond, “I hope you do. I want it. I want more, Andy. More. I want it so much.” I feel like I can’t breathe and I’m pretty sure, my voice has taken me as far as it can, so I nod. My cheeks instantly redden and burn, as I do. His face breaks into a huge smile. It’s the best one I’ve seen on him in years. His scar creases all the way down his cheek and his dimple dents deeply. His eyes are dancing and there’s a madness about him right now, that’s hard to describe. It makes me want to run to him and away from him, at precisely the same second. I’ve started breathing again, but my breaths are coming in quick, ragged gulps. “Now?” “Yeah,” he murmurs. “Now. Right now.” “I need to get ready.” I say, “It will take a while.” He nods very quickly, “I’m not going anywhere.” I feel his eyes boring into me as I head to the bathroom. I can feel him undressing me in his mind’s eye. I can feel exactly what he wants from me. It’s exactly what I want to give him. * I confess, while I’m in the bathroom, I have a little attack of nerves. While I’m going about my business, it occurs to me just how long it’s been since I’ve bottomed. I haven’t let anyone top me since before I got together with Paul. That’s at least a year and a half ago. Holy shit. My ass is about to take the biggest dick of its life and I’m completely out of practise. What the hell have I been thinking? I should have been preparing on my own, at least. Using toys or something. Instead, I’ve been in such a crazy fog, I haven’t had a sensible thought since the first time I kissed West. I’ve been so completely and utterly wrapped up in him, I haven’t even been able to think of anything else. I’ve been doing my best not to put pressure on him, not to scare him away by moving too fast. Now, here I am stark naked, ill-equipped and unprepared. About to get on the wrong side of the most well-endowed man I’ve ever met. It doesn’t stop me though. My whole body is shaking. Trembling. From nerves and a little fear, sure, but more than that, I’m shaking in excitement. I’m wound up. I’m so wound up, every ligament and every sinew in my entire body feels like they’ve been pulled so tightly, they’re in danger of snapping. When I walk into the living room, I find all the lights dimmed. My bedroom door is ajar, a warm glow streaming from the doorway. My heart starts to pound. This is happening. It’s really happening. “Hey.” He says, swallowing hard and standing to greet me. He’s dimmed the bedside lights and he’s brought the pillar candles from the dining table into the bedroom. He’s arranged them on every solid surface in the room. His eyes glow in the candescent light. Flickering in excitement. “Holy shit.” I say quietly. No-one has ever done anything like this for me. I’m starting to realise, that even though I’m technically the one with all the experience, when it comes to seduction, I’ve got nothing on West. Absolutely nothing. “Romantic, huh?” “Romantic as hell.” I whisper. I’m still standing a few feet away from him. The space between us is charged. The space feels big. Wide. It feels like a chasm. I don’t like it. I don’t want any space between us. I’m frozen though. Not sure I can move. Not sure, I should be the one to make the move. “You think that’s romantic? Wait till you hear the playlist I made.” “Jesus.” I say, more to myself than anyone else, “I don’t stand a chance.” He flicks his phone, pressing play. I smile instantly as I hear the first strains of Edge of Glory, by Lady Gaga. “Remember this?” He asks, moving close to me, but still not touching, “It was playing the night of Tyler’s hat party. Remember?” I do. I remember vividly, I feel like I’ve been transported right back to 2012. I remember the shock of seeing him there that night. I remember how humiliated I felt when he saw me dressed and made-up like that. I remember the way he leant in, to talk into my ear. I remember the terrible flame it ignited in me. “You looked unreal. I’d never seen you look like that. I nearly lost my shit. You probably don’t remember, but I touched your back.” “I remember.” One tends to remember when a light touch feels like death by electrocution. You’re not the only one who remembers everything. “I had to leave. I couldn’t stay, I had to get out of there.” “I wonder what would have happened if you’d stayed?” He smiles. He reaches down and pull his t-shirt off. “Maybe, something like this.” “Hmm,” I say, taking a sharp breath. “What next?” He unzips and pushes his pants and his boxers down, stepping out of them and shaking his erection at me with a flourish. It bobs and wags from side to side. I burst out laughing. I can’t help it. He laughs, too, closing the space between us in a few purposeful steps. Christ, he’s good-looking. His body is pressed up against mine. Skin against skin. His hair against my belly and chest. Moving in time with the music. I almost forgot what he looks like when he dances. He wasn’t one to dance often, and usually, when he did, I knew it was time for me to head home. The sight of him on the dancefloor was too much. The effortless control he has over his body. Over his hips. It was unstoppable. It drew girls to him like a magnet. He’s still magnetic. The only difference is, now, I’m the one being drawn in. The attraction is so strong, it pulls me toward him, slamming my body against his. He crinkles his nose, turning his face to the side, singing with passion, “I’m on the eeeedge, of gllllory.” I laugh again. He can’t sing for shit, but that’s never stopped him. He looks so sexy when he does it, I would pay thousands of dollars to see him live in concert, even if it meant I had to wear noise cancelling headphones the entire time. His arms are loosely around my neck. I wrap mine tightly around his waist and pull him toward me, kissing him deeply. We kiss and we kiss, for the rest of that song and for the next one, and possibly for the whole song after that. After a while, I lose track of time. I no longer feel sure, if we are moving, or if we are standing still and the room around us is slowly rotating. His hands are wondering now. Mine are too. Both of us are out of breath. Panting. His eyes are hooded, and his jaw is a little slack. I reach down and take his dick in my hand. Stroking gently. Swallowing quickly when I’m reminded of its terrifying potential. “Are you, um, will you be okay with…?” he motions down to his colossal erection, looking a little apologetic. Only West would be sorry for being so hung. I nod quickly. “I, I think so.” I squeak, pressing my hand to my mouth. I’m almost sure it will be fine. But I know damned well, it won’t be easy. “Do you want me to use a condom?” He asks. A condom is standard for me. Even with Paul, we always used one. For some reason, now, my body aches towards, “No.” “I got tested a few months after Paul and I broke up.” I say, “I haven’t been with anyone since then.” “I got tested for everything under the sun before each round of IVF. I’m all clear.” He looks at me for a long time. He looks at me with longing, “Bareback?” “Yes.” I nod, pulling him back into me. Kissing him again. This time, when he pulls away, he starts kissing my neck. He moves around me, standing directly behind me, running his hand up my spine, making me shiver. He combs his fingers through my hair, tightening his grip suddenly, pulling back, making me arch my neck. Making me expose my throat to him. Growling, as he kisses my neck again. This time it’s different. This time, it’s wild. He’s wild now. I feel myself slipping, too. I feel myself losing my socialisation, losing the training life has imposed on me, losing every bit of conditioning I’ve ever received. It all falls away. It leaves me untamed. I’m wild now, too. I’m just as wild as West. He nudges me toward the bed. I take the three or four shaky steps required to get me there. “Lie on your belly.” He growls into my ear. I quickly comply. As I make myself comfortable, he puts a hand under me, lifting me easily, shoving a couple of pillows under my hips. Oooh. I love this position. I love lying prone. Being pinned down. Having the weight of a man on my back. Something about it is so passive and helpless, it’s such a change from my usual speed, it really does it for me. He starts at my feet, running the back of his fingers up and down my soles, making my toes curl. Moving slowly up my calves, pausing at the back of my knees, using his lips and his tongue. He takes his time on my thighs. Teasing me. Touching me lightly. My legs start to shake as he works his way up. Oh God, I can’t wait for him to get to my ass. He skips it completely though. Instead, he begins again, starting right up at my neck. I’m panting and writhing now. I’m so desperate, my hips are rocking, pressing my dick up against the softness of the pillow in front of me. He works his way down my back, running his tongue down my spine. I arch and I moan, as he kisses the small of my back. He senses immediately how sensitive I am there. He stops his assault on every other part of my body and focuses only on that. My entire body breaks into gooseflesh as he kisses and strokes this secret erogenous zone. He doesn’t stop until my spine aches from arching so violently. “West.” I gasp. “West, please.” He takes pity at last, running his palms down my back one last time, before taking my ass cheeks in both of his hands, cupping them, kneading them, making me lift my hips back toward him. Arching involuntarily. He spreads my cheeks gently, taking a sharp breath as he does. “Oooh,” he gurgles, “that’s beautiful. Oh, God, that’s beautiful.” I moan in response. He runs his tongue up and down my crack. Mercifully, he doesn’t make me wait. Right now, I strongly suspect, if he did, waiting, would be listed as cause of death on my death certificate. He taps my hole lightly with his tongue. Circling me. Prodding gently. Probing me. My head rears back and I groan from the depths of my soul. Holy shit. West is good at many things. I guess, one could say he’s an over-achiever, but I didn’t expect this. I suppose I should have though. There’s never been any doubt in my mind that West has managed to tame the enigmatic clitoris. He’s mastered it, that much I know. And from what I’ve heard, that’s saying something. What he’s doing to me now, leaves me in no doubt whatsoever, that those skills are highly transferable. He tackles my ass with a level of proficiency that leaves me reeling. I’m dimly aware, that we must have run through the whole playlist now, as we are back on the Edge of Glory. I’m on the edge of reason. My body is thrashing wildly. I’m so desperate for more that I push my hips back so I’m in a kneeling position. He doesn’t stop but pushes me down again. Taking my dick in his hand this time, pulling it back gently, as he pushes me down on the pillows. He has full access to it now, and he uses it. Stroking it as he licks my balls and delves his tongue as deep in my ass as he possibly can. “West!” I exclaim, trying desperately to break out of his grip, “Careful! I’m going to shoot.” He backs up right away. Running his hands along my sides, as he heads to the bedside table. I know what he’s looking for. “Top drawer.” I say, aware of how thick my tongue feels in my mouth, as I speak. He comes back, spreading my legs roughly and kneeling between them. I grab large bunches of the sheet in both of my fists as I hear the tell-tale squelch of lube. His finger finds its way into me quickly. Pleasure floods my body. He lets me moan on that finger for a minute or two, but he doesn’t take very long to give me another. That gets my attention, alright. Ooh, God, even his fingers are big. He works me over until I can’t remember a time before him and me. Until I can’t remember a time we weren’t in this room. Until every second before this, just ceases to exist. Like it was nothing. He makes me take another finger. I grunt as I feel it. It’s a lot. My moans are high pitched and whiny at the end. I know I should be grateful, and I am. I know I need all the help I can get for what I’m about to receive. At last, he pulls out his fingers. I feel instantly bereft. I feel a quick sense of confusion. I don’t know whether to beg him to put his fingers back inside me, or whether to say, “Thank you, thank you, thank you.” Though, what exactly I’m so grateful for, isn’t immediately clear. Thankfully, my ability to speak has been seriously compromised. My brain is struggling severely to send messages to any part of my body, that West isn’t touching. I flinch and lurch forward, the second he rubs his dick on my hole. I take a long deep breath. Steadying myself. Calm down, for God’s sake. He waits until I arch my back slightly, pressing my hips out, opening myself as much as I can. He starts his assault as soon as I still. Pressing. Pushing. Relentless, until my ring starts to give way. It doesn’t give way easily. Even though no-one has ever prepared me better, there are some things that are just hard to take, and West’s dick happens to be one of those things. I feel myself stretching grotesquely. I try to breathe through it, but the pain is intense. As his massive head pops into me, I’m still for a second. Frozen as it hits me. I try not to, but I can’t help it. I cry out loudly. The thin sound bounces off the wall in front of me. “Argh!” He waits until I calm. Until I nudge my body back against him, letting him know I’m ready. He holds my hips in both hands, digging his thumbs into my lower back. Massaging deeply, making me relax. When I loosen, he gives me some more. It knocks the breath out of me. For a second, I’m immobile. I’m acutely aware of every bone in my entire body. My entire skeleton feels as though it’s fused together. My bones feel brittle. They feel as though they are locked tightly together. The shock of what he’s doing to me, flows through my bone marrow, making it quiver. Making it sizzle. “Fuuuck.” I groan, as he gives me some more. The pain is still there, but this time, there’s pleasure too. It flows through my marrow, charging it. Making it feel alive. Making it start to vibrate. My bones are slowly unlocked, ligaments loosening, as I finally give way. He takes his cue and gives me all that he has. I cry out again. “Arrrrghhh!” This time, the pain is heavily weighted in pleasure, but I feel him hesitate. I know West, if he thinks he’s hurting me he’ll stop. I know myself, too. If he stops now, I will go insane. I’ll never recover. I reach up and grab a pillow, pulling it down to my face, balling up one corner and shoving as much of it into my mouth as I possibly can. I thrust back and forth a little, urging him on. He takes my cue, and thrusts into me. I don’t hold back. I open my lungs and scream. Most of my cry is drowned out and mercifully, he seems to understand that now, the sounds I’m making were born in untold pleasure. He starts slow. Long, gentle strokes designed to get me accustomed to the massive intrusion he’s bestowing on me. He seems to sense when I’ve got it. When I’m able to take it. He starts changing the pace. Torturing me with the slowest of slow thrusts. Teasing me with short, tentative shoves. Every time he penetrates me, I’m blinded by pleasure. He scrapes every inch of me. The most sensitive parts especially. Initially, I wonder if it’s dumb luck. If he’s just so big, he can’t help hitting my gland. But the more he moves inside me, the more I’m convinced that it’s no accident. West seems to have an internal compass that guides him straight to what drives people crazy. He seems to have a peculiar propensity that leads him exactly where he needs to be, to drive people wild. I’ve never heard anything like the sounds he’s fucking out of me. I sound like one of the frantic, hysterical girls who used to lie beneath him. In truth, I sound even worse. Way worse. When he withdraws, it feels as if I’m coming apart, as if I’m being torn open and parts of me are falling out. Important parts. Parts I need. Every time he thrusts into me, I feel as if I’ve been put back together. Melded and moulded. Welded into a better version of myself. Every time he shoves his massive cock into me again, I feel as if he’s built me from scratch. Made me brand new. My cries are unbridled now. The pillow is no longer enough to contain my agitation. It’s not even close. I’ve pushed back now. I’m on my knees. Meeting him. Greeting every one of his thrusts with a gentle rock of my hips. He welcomes every movement with a deep, animalistic grunt. He pulls me back to him. My hand is on my dick. Our bodies are pressed together. We’re joined everywhere. He breathes heavily into my ear. “Say my name.” “West.” I shudder helplessly. Thrust. “Say it again.” “Wessst.” Thrust. “Again.” “WESSSST!” I scream as I let go. I let go of everything. Everything I’ve ever tried to control. Everything I’ve ever wanted. Every disappointment I’ve ever felt. Every dream I’ve ever had. I let it all go and the world explodes into bright white, as I break into pieces. I fall apart. I shatter completely. I shatter like never before. He holds me up as I shake and tremble, moaning softly as I feel him thicken and pulse and find his own release. He finds it with such force, I feel as though a pressure washer has been shoved up my ass. He sprays deep inside me. Drenching me. Coating my guts. I’ve never loved anything more. I slink down onto the mattress when he releases me. I collapse onto the bed, back in my position, over the pillows. Legs spread. Hips raised. Ass tilted upward. I don’t move. I can’t. He collapses onto me for a few moments but rolls off as soon as he’s able. He lies next to me. His lips on my shoulder, kissing me softly. His arm slung heavily over my back. Neither of us move for a while. A long while. At last, he traces my shoulder blade with his nail. “Hey,” he says, “do you want me to run a bath for you?” “Ugnng.” I say. I mean, “Yes.” Fortunately for me, he knows me, so he understands. He gets up and heads to the bathroom. I’m alone. Everything is quiet. Peaceful. I’m still reeling. I feel like I’ll be reeling for the rest of my life. I can’t imagine a time that I won’t be. “Andy,” he says softly, “the bath’s ready.” He nudges me gently. “Why haven’t you moved?” I look up at him quickly. My eyes are unsteady in my head. “I can’t feel my legs.” I say, apologetically. He smiles quickly. His eyes flashing wildly. He leans down and kisses both my ass cheeks. Squeezing them softly. He runs his hands down my hamstrings, rubbing hard. Rubbing life back into them. Moving down to my calves, digging his fingers into me until I sigh. He rubs my Achilles tendons firmly and presses his thumbs into the arches of my feet until they curl. “These are your legs,” he whispers, “and these are your feet.” “Oh.” I say, dumbly. I have a feeling that if he hadn’t just shown me who and where I am, it might have taken me a very long time to figure it out. He pulls me up to my feet and heads to the bathroom. I stumble along behind him. My legs are weak, wobbly. My ass is open. Gaping. I try to clench, but it’s no use. As I walk, I feel him leaking out of me. Running wetly down my thighs. I step into the bath. Grateful to feel that it’s scalding. It makes me shiver, but I know it’s exactly what my sore body needs. I rinse the lube from between my cheeks and wash my dick carefully. It’s still wildly oversensitive. I lie back and breathe deeply as I feel a deep sense of calm overtake me. “Scoot up.” He says, startling me. “Uh?” I say, a little confused, but I move down quickly, making space for him behind me. He sinks down into the water, wedging his legs around me. Sending a tidal wave of water over the edge of the bath as he leans back. He pulls me towards him, so I’m lying against his chest. Part of me is immediately uncomfortable. I need space after sex. I need to be on my own. I always do. I need to find myself again. He circles me with his arms. I expect to feel trapped. I wait for the feeling to hit me, but it falls short. It’s replaced by something else. Something different. Something that makes me feel as if the edges of me are just as blurred as the edges of a figure in one of my paintings. I feel as if I’m liquid. As if I’m melting. “Andy.” He says, like a benediction. “Andy. You have me at such a disadvantage.” I’m so confused. When has West ever been at a disadvantage? “You know exactly what you’re doing. My God. You are so good. I feel like I’m floundering, but I swear, I’ll get better.” I turn my head to the side. My brain feels befuddled. What could he possibly get better at? “I’m going to learn your body, okay.” I feel him nodding determinedly against the back of my head. “I’m going to make it my primary goal. I’m won’t rest until I know what every single part of you wants.” I look back at him, disorientated. “West,” I sound a little drunk, or stoned, maybe both, “you can’t get any better.” His mouth drops open. He looks shocked and hurt. “I will, I swear. I will get better.” “You can’t get better.” I say, definitively now, “There’s no way.” I glance back at him, as I add, “That was the best fuck I’ve ever had. No way you can get any better.” “Really?” He says, his voice raising an octave or two, the way that it does when he’s utterly thrilled, “Seriously?” The smile that overtakes his face has to be seen to be believed. This is not a firework; this is an entire galaxy. His eyes aren’t just flaming. They’re shooting stars. He wraps his arms around me and holds me so tightly, I feel my rib cage adjusting slightly. “Mine too.” He whispers into my ear. *
  6. Jesse_H_Reign

    Chapter 6

    I wake with a start. We’re still on West’s sofa. He’s curled up, lying on his side with his legs over my lap. The lights are still on, but it feels late. I check my watch. It is late. I try to make sense of the events of the night. Even though I don’t think I’m high anymore, it still feels impossible to untangle. I look down at him. He looks so peaceful. He has his hands balled up near his face, sleeping sweetly. Panic washes over me. Pure, unadulterated panic. What the fuck have I done? He was drunk and high. What the hell was I thinking? I think of the morning I woke up with Tyler, after West’s wedding. This is like that, but this is much worse. This is West. My best friend, West. My best friend, West, who has always, always been straight. If I thought the look of disappointment in Tyler’s face was bad after the night we spent together, something tells me, the look on West’s face is going to be even worse. The look on West’s face won’t just be disappointment, it will be disappointment, and horror. Quite possibly, it will be horror and disgust. I get up carefully, lifting his legs and then easing them back onto the sofa. He hardly stirs. I’m in a hot sweat. What the fuck have I done? He was out of it. How could I do this to him? I pace up and down his living room. I’m frantic. I don’t know what to do. If I stay, he’ll have to face me when he wakes up. I can’t imagine that being anything other than very awkward for him. I don’t think I can handle seeing the look I fully expect to see on his face. I don’t think I could handle that. I don’t feel great about leaving him either, but right now, it feels like the better option. I look down at him again. He is so, so beautiful. His black lashes are tightly knitted together. I reach down and stroke his scar gently, so gently, I’m barely touching it. I try my best not to think that this might be the last time I ever see it. He doesn’t move. “I’m so sorry, West.” I whisper, my lips quiver as I say it, “Please don’t be angry with me.” I get the throw off the back of the sofa and drape it over him, before turning off the lights and letting myself out. As the door clicks shut behind me, the empty sound jars me. It feels like the end of something. Something big. My lack of judgement might just have cost me the most important person in my life. * Obviously, I can’t drive, so I get an uber home and before I even get there, I’m questioning the wisdom of my decision to leave. He asked me to make a move, okay? So, that’s on him. That is completely on him. On the other hand, he had been drinking and was stoned for the first time in years. I knew that, and I still kissed him. So, that’s on me. That’s all on me. Now that it’s happened, all I can think is that I finally, finally know that I really do love him as a friend. Now that I’m truly faced with the very real possibility that our friendship is over. I realise how much I need him. Even though I’ve spent years resenting him for not loving me the way I love him, the cold, hard truth is, the thought of not having him in my life at all feels worse than death. I shouldn’t have made a move. I should have shrugged it off and we could have laughed about it the next time we saw each other. West was Goddamned right, I’m no gentleman. I need to sort myself out. I’ve cleaned up my act a lot and that’s all well and good, but when the chips are down, I’m still capable of making spectacularly idiotic decisions. No getting away from that fact. I need to make sure that I remember this about myself and I need to get serious about working on it. I need to be better. It’s time to start being better. I toss and turn for the rest of the night, sleeping intermittently, waking in a feverish state. Horny the one minute and then filled with sickening regret the next. Dropping back to sleep, only to wake in a state of deep confusion. What was all that he was spouting about not being straight? How stoned was he? What the hell was up with that weed? I mean, that’s obviously bullshit. West has always been straight. He’s as straight as an arrow. If anything, he’s always been girl crazy. I would know. If anyone’s had a front row seat to witness how he feels about girls, it’s me. No doubt about that. He’s definitely straight. What if he’s not though? What if Sarah was right, all those years ago, when she said, “I think he flirts with you.” My God. Imagine if he’s been flirting with me all this time and I’ve been too dense to see it. Even in my exhausted, overwrought state, I laugh out loud at the absurdity of that. By the time morning finally rolls in, I feel as though I’ve run the gauntlet. I’m exhausted. I’ve played last night over and over in my head so many times, I hardly know what really happened and what I imagined. To make matters worse, I’ve realised that I left my car keys at West’s. I’m definitely going to have to pull myself together. No doubt about that. I need to start soon. At around ten in the morning, my phone buzzes. It’s West. I get such a shock when I see his name on the screen, that I almost drop my phone. I manage to catch it before it lands on the floor, answering it clumsily in the process. “Hey.” I manage, sounding a little constipated. “Hey, dumbass,” he says, “you left your keys at my place.” “Um, I, yeah, I know.” I splutter. “Can you drop by to pick them up? You parked my car in.” Shit! “I’ve got to head out soon, I have that golf thing today.” Shit, shit, shit. He told me about this last night. He’s playing golf with his boss later today. “Sorry! I’ll head over now. I’ll be there as soon as I can.” “Okay. See ya.” Okay, I think, that wasn’t too bad. He sounded okay. He sounded quite normal. Maybe, I’ve blown the whole thing out of proportion. Maybe, things will just be okay. Maybe, this will just be one of those weird things that happened, but we won’t make it weird, so it just won’t be weird. Right? I can’t deny, my heart is pounding by the time I get to his place. My breath is short and uneven. Despite taking a taxi to get here, I feel like I’ve run a mile. I take a deep breath and knock on his door. He pulls it open quickly. So quickly, it startles me a little. It makes me jump, despite the fact that I must, on some level at least, have been expecting him to answer the door. He’s wearing chinos and a white polo. He smells like he just got out of the shower. His hair is damp and perfectly tussled. In short, he looks like something I’d like to eat a whole meal off. By the time my eyes make their way up to his face, any level of confidence I had, that this is all going to be fine, dissipates completely. His jaw is set, and his eyes are stony. Oh fuck. “Hey.” I say quickly. “Hey.” He replies. His smile is notably absent. Oh shit. He’s mad. He’s mad, or worse. “Uh, West, I, um.” He raises a perfectly arched eyebrow. He appears to be waiting for me to say something, though I’m at a loss as to what is required to defuse this situation. “C-can I come in?” I say. He swings the door open, stepping aside and letting me in. I twist my body to the side, to avoid touching him, but still, I can feel the heat blistering off his body. Once I’m in the hallway, I turn to face him. “West, I, um.” I try again. He doesn’t seem terribly impressed by my lack of eloquence. He stands quietly, waiting for me to fill the silence. I try to speak again, but the truth is, I have no idea what to say. “What happened, Andy?” Oh, Jesus! Please don’t tell me he blacked out. Please do not tell me, I hooked up with him in a black out state. It just doesn’t make sense. I’m pretty sure we only had a few beers each. What the hell was up with that weed? “Ugh, I…” I croak. “Why’d you leave me like that?” Oh, thank God. He remembers, that’s something, at least. “I just, I just thought…” “Jesus, Andy,” he laughs, looking a little incredulous, “are you freaking out?” I stand there, stiff as a pole, looking at him wordlessly. I am indeed freaking out. “Are you freaking out?” He asks again. This time, the way he says it, makes it clear that he requires an answer. I open and shut my mouth a couple of times, before squeaking, “Yes.” A broad smile spreads slowly across his face, his eyes are dancing in amusement. “Why?” He says softly. “It’s just, uh, it’s because it’s you, you know. It was you. And me.” I sound like a twit, but I keep going, “It’s because you’re always straight. You just always are. And it was you, and you were out of it. And I’m a guy, you know?” “Hmm,” he says thoughtfully, “sounds to me, like I should be the one freaking out.” He eyes me up and down carefully. “Do I look like I’m freaking out?” As a matter of fact, he does not. He seems as calm and collected as I’ve ever seen him. He smiles at me slowly, moving towards me. For some reason, his movement unnerves me so much, I take a small step back when he does it. He takes another step towards me. When I step back this time, I find myself backed up against the console table. I look down at him. God, he’s standing close. The heat from before, is radiating off him now. I feel like I’m standing too close to a furnace. My skin feels like it’s being singed. “Andy.” He says. His voice is low. He’s still smiling, but his eyes are different now. He’s looking down at my mouth. He inches towards me again. He’s so close now, that the fabric of his clothes are millimetres from mine. The space between us feels static and charged. I realise I’ve forgotten to breathe again, so I suck a long breath in. My head whirls a little from the quick rush of oxygen. “Andy.” He says again. The way he says my name slices through me. It makes me feel like I’m coming apart. Like I’m falling again. I sit back heavily against the console. We’re eye to eye now, and he’s not looking away. The tension is unbearable, but I can’t look away either. He looks at me slowly. I can feel his eyes tracking down my face, as he says, “Can I kiss you?” His words slam into me with unprecedented force. Such force, that I damned nearly come in my pants. I clench my fists and fight for breath as hard as I can. I’m still looking at him. No matter what, it seems I can’t drag my eyes from his. His face is perfection. His eyes are honest and open, filled with desire. His mouth is parted slightly, giving me just the smallest hint of the constellation behind them. I take it all in. I memorise every small detail. “I want to kiss you.” He says, his voice sounds like it’s been mixed with gravel. I feel like I did the other night. Like I’m out of my body. “Ugheep.” I say. It’s not a word. Not even close. But I must give a slight nod as I say it, as he seems to understand, that in whatever primitive language I seem to have reverted to, I’ve answered in the affirmative. He reaches for me with both hands. Taking my neck and pulling me toward him, kissing me softly. He kisses me again, deeper this time, inching his tongue into my mouth. Probing gently, making me part my lips. As soon as his tongue finds mine, something breaks open inside me. It feels like hot lava gushing out of me, making me moan into his mouth. He looks at me in amazement. His mouth is open and he’s panting. There’s a wildness in his eyes that I’ve never seen before. We kiss some more and then, a little more. We kiss until both of us are dizzy. When he finally pulls away to look at his watch, I’m breathless. Shocked at the intensity of what just happened. Shocked that he unmanned me with nothing more than his kiss. “Fuuuck,” he moans, “I’ve got to get going.” * I drive home in a daze. By the time I park and get up to my apartment, I have a message from West: Can I see you tomorrow night? My heart skips a beat. I stand there, grinning like an imbecile. Reading the message over and over. A little later: I can come over to yours. I’ll bring pizza. I feel like a teenaged girl. I feel a serious temptation to shriek. West Baxter is coming over to my place to make out and he’s bringing pizza. I manage to stifle it, but only just. I feel completely delirious. I wonder aimlessly around the loft all day. I don’t paint a stroke. I don’t even try. I consider calling Sarah or Tyler, but I can’t bring myself to say it out loud; Something is happening with West. I don’t need to say it aloud, to know I’d sound totally unhinged. Instead, I just play the events of the morning over and over again. I’m slap bang in the midst of just such a dream, when my phone pings again: Your lips are softer than I thought they would be. Oh my God. I feel unsteady. I’m smiling like a complete halfwit. I’m totally beside myself. As I read his messages back again, my hand finds its way into my pants. I find myself swollen and hard. I don’t think I’ve softened completely since I saw him this morning. I jerk off until I can’t anymore. Once I’m done, once I can’t eke a single drop more out of myself, I still want more. I want the same thing I’ve always wanted. I want West. I want him with every fibre of my being. The difference is, for the first time, there’s a chance I might actually get him. * My heart clatters wildly in my chest when I hear him at the door. A day has never felt longer. I’ve been checking my watch since I woke up this morning, counting down the hours until I’m due to see him. I’ve tried to walk the tightrope required to find some sort of balance between being horny for him and not being too horny. Even though driving home yesterday, sitting in the sticky wetness of my own come, was incredibly hot in its own way. I’m loath to repeat that performance again today. I feel that I’ve struck a balance. At least, I hope so. I jerked off when I woke up and again a couple of hours before he was due to arrive. Hopefully, that will keep me on the right path. I open the door quickly. I smile when I see him, not just because I’m completely giddy, also, because he’s holding up a large box of pizza from Marco’s. My favourite. He comes in, dropping his duffel bag at the door. Is he planning on sleeping over? He opens the box, allowing the aroma to waft over to me. “Hungry?” He asks. “Starving.” I say, “I’ve been thinking about this all day.” He smiles at me. He smiles a little longer than he usually would have, his eyes twinkling slightly, as he takes a bite of his slice. “Me too.” He says. The pizza is delicious, as always, but tonight, I’m finding it hard to swallow. I chew it and chew it, but it just doesn’t seem to want to go down. “You okay?” He says, “You seem a little tense.” “Sure.” I say, but when I look into his eyes, I see an honesty there that I want to mirror, “I think so.” “You nervous?” I nod quickly. “Me too.” He murmurs. I swallow hard, forcing the last bite of pizza down my throat. He looks at me thoughtfully. “Wanna to break the tension?” I’m not entirely sure what he means, but I like the sound of it. I nod again. He leans over, kissing me surprisingly hard. My breath is instantly knocked out of me. He doesn’t kiss me for long, he pulls back after a few seconds, taking another bite of his pizza. He leaves me wide eyed and stunned. He smiles when he sees the look on my face. I can see that he’s trying not to laugh at me, but I know he wants to. I look away quickly. “Does your head spin when we kiss?” He asks quietly. His voice is so neutral, he might as well be asking about the weather. Though I want to be tough and I want to deny it, I can’t because this is West. He knows me and my bullshit and he would see right through me if I tried. “A little.” I admit, amending my answer, when he raises an eyebrow at me. “Okay fine, a lot.” “Is your dick hard?” “Yes.” No way I could deny that. He only needs to cast his eyes downward, to have concrete proof of that situation. “Mine too.” His voice drops when he speaks. There’s a timbre to it that isn’t usually there. In fact, I don’t think I’ve heard it before, not even in the middle of those hideous first year nights, when I used to listen to him talking to the girls he was fucking. I can’t help thinking that the kiss he offered me minutes before, did absolutely nothing to dispel the tension. If anything, it only made it worse. “Don’t.” I say softly, “Don’t tease me like that. Don’t play with me.” I’ll lose my mind. He tosses the last crust of his pizza back into the box, wiping his hands carefully on a paper napkin. “Do I look like I’m playing?” He says, standing up and moves towards me. I stand up too. I have a crazy urge to run. I don’t though. I stand still. Every part of my body feels hot. I feel hot and tense. The tension is everywhere. I can’t think about anything else. I’m so nervous I feel intensely uncomfortable in my own skin. “I can’t stop thinking about you.” He says. Oh, no. I can’t handle this. I can’t handle him talking to me like this. I will go insane. “You been thinking about me?” He asks. I’ve spent most of my life thinking about you, Dumbass. I drag my hand hard across my forehead. I feel hot. I wonder briefly whether it’s possible to spontaneously combust. I started reading an article about spontaneous combustion once, but I don’t think I finished it, so right now, I have no way of knowing what level of danger I’m in. If such a thing is possible, I know there’s a very real chance of me going up in flames. Igniting. Being burnt to nothing but ash. There’s only one thing I know, that quells this type of burn. So, I seek it and I take it. I grab him and smash my mouth against his, forcing my tongue so deep in his mouth that he gasps and then moans. He seems a little shocked. He takes a second to react, to respond, but when he does, he’s right there with me. His passion and fury match mine exactly. When I pull away to assess the situation, he takes it as an invitation, pulling at my t-shirt, yanking it up and dragging it over my head. “Everything off.” He mutters, as he starts unbuckling my belt. “Everything off, I mean it.” There’s an edge in his voice, that leaves me in no doubt whatsoever, that he means business. I kick my shoes and socks off, as he unbuttons his shirt and shrugs it off his shoulders, dropping it onto the floor where he stands. He starts unzipping his pants, rendering me completely immobile. I freeze, watching him move, as if in slow-motion. He pushes his pants and his boxers down in one fluid movement, stepping out of them and kicking them away as if they are nothing but an inconvenience to him. He’s completely naked. He stands in contrapposto, his weight on one leg, his body twisted slightly towards me. Michelangelo’s David has nothing on him. His body is solid. Deep dents and ravines carved into his flesh, where his muscles bulge and indent. His skin is smooth and flawless. Tanned and hot instead of cold marble. His chest is hairy. Hairier than it used to be when he was twenty. His pecs are covered, matted. A dark treasure trail runs all the way down to his dick, leading the way, drawing my gaze lower and lower. “Everything off.” He says, again. He says it like someone who expects to be obeyed without any discussion. I snap back into the present, quickly lowering my jeans and pushing my briefs down too. Stepping out of them with as much grace as I can muster, which isn’t much. I’m feeling flustered from the intensity of his gaze. He’s watching me, slack mouthed. His eyelids are lowered, and his breathing is so heavy, I can hear it from where I stand. I’m not sure who moves first. Maybe, we both move at the same time, but somehow, we get to each other. We move until we’re so close, our hips and our dicks rub up against each other. I hear a sharp intake of breath from him. He must have felt the same jolt of electricity when we touched. I run my hands up his chest, combing my fingers through his hair. Our dicks are crossed, clashing like swords. Hot and charged. His hands are on me, too. They warm every inch of skin that they touch. We stumble back to the sofa, he’s taking charge. He pushes me down and kneels at my feet. The sight of him like that, on his knees, looking up at me, is hard to describe. It’s everything I’ve ever wanted. It’s a rare and very peculiar feeling, when everything you’ve ever wanted materialises before you. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good. It’s amazing. But it’s also terrifying. I feel like my entire existence is on a knife-edge. I’m so close to having everything I want, but at the same time, I finally have something to lose. “Andy,” he says, smiling sheepishly, looking down at my dick. “I have no idea what the fuck I’m doing here.” He laughs a little, shaking his head, looking up at me with an openness that only West can manage, “I don’t know what I’m doing, I only know that I want it. I really want it.” I can hear the desire in his voice. I can see the lust in his eyes, too. He does want it. I take his left hand in mine. I curl it into a fist, extending his middle and forefinger, straightening them, gripping them firmly at the base. He studies me intently. He knows instinctively what I’m about to show him. He takes my dick in his hand, gripping it at the base, using the same pressure I’m using on his fingers. I lean forward and lick the tips of his fingers. I lick lightly, teasing gently. He does the same to me. Exploring. Timid at first. I lick his fingers harder, swirling my tongue over and around his fingertips. Over and under and all around. “Mmmh.” I moan, as he does the same to my dick. I press his fingers tightly together, I can feel his eyes on me, waiting for his next instruction. I tilt my head to the side slightly, pressing my tongue firmly where his fingers are pressed together. He gives a slight nod, before running his tongue up and down my piss slit. Flicking it gently. I suck air through my teeth and nod at him quickly. Yes, just like that. I lift his hand again, taking his fingers fully into my mouth, massaging them with my tongue. “Just take what you can, don’t force it. Just take what feels good.” I tell him. And he does. “Oohh.” I groan. His mouth feels unreal. It’s so soft and warm. So wet. So West. I use his fingers to show him how to suck, how much pressure to use, how to pull back with just enough suction. “You can use your hand, too.” I say. And he does. I’m moaning now. Not just to encourage him. I’m moaning in earnest. What he’s doing feels good. It feels amazing. He’s learning, but he’s already using his mouth and his hand with surprising skill. Say what you will about West, but he’s always been a quick learner. I lean back into the sofa, closing my eyes and relishing every sensation. “Is this okay?” He asks. “Yeah, it feels good. It feels really good.” Pleasure surges through me. It’s sudden and it’s strong. “Ah, oh God, West,” I say, tapping his shoulder lightly, “if you keep doing that, I’m going to nut.” His eyes light up and he dives down again. I’m instantly transported. I’m transported to a place where nothing exists except for him and me. There’s nothing now, except for his hands and his mouth. I feel like a distant memory. All I am now; he has in his mouth. I come with such force, my spine arches back and my abs contract so hard they pull my torso up off the sofa. I feel myself shooting reams of semen into his mouth. I open my eyes as soon as I can. I want to check if he’s okay. I see him swallowing again and again, his eyes rolling back ever so slightly every time that he does it. As soon as I recover, I switch places with him, pulling him down on to the sofa and taking his spot on the floor. I kiss him hungrily, tasting myself on his tongue. He moans softly into my mouth. I kiss a trail down his neck, noting with pleasure, the way he arches his neck for me. I run my hands up his arms. God, I love his arms. I work my way down his chest with my lips. He shudders uncontrollably when I reach his nipples. “Andy,” he gasps, “I’m sorry. I should have taken my time with you. I shouldn’t have gone straight for your dick.” I look up at him, smiling. “What?” I keep using my hands on him, running my fingertips up and down his taut belly. “I should have made all of you feel good,” he whines, “ahhh, like you’re doing to me. I should have taken more time. I’ll do better next time.” He’s starting to sound a little delirious. I up the ante. I use my mouth and my tongue on him in earnest now. I bathe every part of him, except for his dick. He’s squirming for real now. His butt is clenching, propelling his hips right off the sofa, every time I allow my kisses to drift near his groin. He’s panting and gasping for breath. His abs and his thighs are shaking uncontrollably. This would be hot, even if it were some random guy, but this is West. Seeing him like this is enough to make me lose my mind. I feel like I’m on the cusp of a spectacular meltdown. “Fuuuuck.” He wheezes. “Oh, fuck, are you going to make me beg?” I look right up at him, as I feel a dark sneer take over my face, pulling my lips back over my teeth. “Yes.” “Aargh.” He moans in frustration, thrashing a little before holding my gaze for a second. His pupils are so dilated, he looks stoned. He’s clenching his teeth as if he’s in pain. “Please, Andy.” He whispers, “please.” I’d love to tease him more. I’d love to play with him and make him go crazy. I’ve no doubt in my mind, if he was anyone else, I definitely would. But this is West. My West. Even on my worst day, I could never deny him. I sink down and take him deep into my mouth. I take as much as I can. I take him all. He’s moaning beautifully. The sounds he makes, ricochet off every wall in the loft. His hips are thrusting now, and he has his hands in my hair. Despite the terrible state he’s in, he’s not rough. He runs his fingers through my hair gently. So, so gently. It’s almost as if, I’m precious to him. He shouts his release the second it finds him. He shouts over and over, until his voice is hoarse. As soon as I discharge his dick from my mouth, he grabs my head in both his hands and pulls me towards him. He cradles me tightly against his body. For the first time in my life, after a sexual encounter, I don’t have the urge to walk it off, to take a little space to re-centre myself. For the first time, I’m content right where I am. I let myself sink into him, my ear against his sternum, listening to his heart galloping noisily in his chest. His wild heart and mine. *
  7. Jesse_H_Reign

    Chapter 5

    West calls me during the week and invites me round to his place, the following Friday. He’s still getting settled in and wants to try out his new barbeque. “I have beers and some steak.” He says. “Do you want me to bring anything?” “Hmm,” he says, thoughtfully, “do you have any weed?” I laugh. As a matter of fact, I do happen to have some weed. These days, I only smoke once in a blue moon, but I have some left over from a few months ago. “Sure, I’ll bring some.” “Great, it will be a blast from the past.” And, it is. We have a few beers and eat our meal. Afterwards, we sit on an old sofa on his balcony and light up. “Don’t inhale too much.” I warn him. “I know how to smoke, you dumbass.” He says, inhaling deeply and then immediately coughing and spluttering. “Oooh, shit,” he laughs, “maybe, I don’t.” I laugh too. I take a couple of puffs and we both sit back, looking out at the view over the city. I’m feeling happy. It’s not very good weed. It isn’t very strong, but I’m feeling a little relaxed and a bit mellow. I look over at him. I can see he feels the same way. He sighs a big, contented smile and is quiet for a while. He seems deep in thought. “Do you know, I finally plucked up the courage to ask my mom who my dad is.” I look at him in surprise. “What did she say?” He starts laughing, a deep, throaty chuckle. “You won’t believe it. Even if I tell you, you honestly won’t believe it.” “Well, don’t leave me hanging. What did she say?” “Okay,” he says, looking at me, “I’ll tell you. She said, she was travelling. She was visiting London. She’d been to see a show in the West End, and she happened to find herself in a quaint little pub. She met a group of guys there, and…” He pauses dramatically. “She landed up going home with them.” “Them? So, which one is your father?” I ask. “Well, that’s the beauty of the situation. She has no way of knowing.” He snorts out of his nose slightly. “She says, it was an orgy.” “Good God!” I exclaim, I’m shocked, but I’m also doing my damnedest not to laugh, the effort is making my eyes water. “How many guys were there?” “Four,” he says seriously, “four, she thinks.” “Oh, holy fuck!” I’m laughing now. I just can’t help it. The look on West’s face is absolutely priceless. “She can’t remember their names. She thinks, one might have been called David. So, that’s not very helpful, is it? She can’t even remember the name of the pub. All she knows, is that it started in the West End.” I look at him, I’m laughing uncontrollably, “So, you’re West from the West End.” He’s laughing too. He’s laughing so much, tears are running down his face, “Exactly.” “Oh, God,” I say, when the laughter finally dies down, “it makes perfect sense. I’m telling you, West, it makes perfect, perfect sense. Of course, you were made in an orgy. Of course, you were. No-one as amazing as you, could ever have been made by two people having straight, vanilla sex. It just wouldn’t have been possible.” He looks at me slowly. He blinks a few times. “D’you know, I think that might be the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me, Andy. In fact, I think it might be the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me.” “Talking about orgy’s,” I say, taking another swig of my beer, “you must be looking forward to getting back in the saddle.” “What do you mean?” He says, “Dating again? Oh, God, I wouldn’t even know where to start.” “Well,” I say, matter-of-factly, “you have so many options. You’ve got Tinder, Hinge, OK Cupid, etcetera etcetera. Honestly, you straight people are spoilt for choice.” He’s quiet for a while. For some reason, the mood seems to shift. He stares out into the distance. He takes a couple of careful breaths. “I’m not straight.” He says so quietly, it’s little more than a whisper. “What?” I say loudly, “Of course you are. Don’t be ridiculous. You’ve always been straight.” “I’m not.” His voice is still quiet, but it’s a bit stronger this time. “Since when have you not been straight?” I demand. For some reason, I feel a little annoyed. “I don’t know if I’ve ever been straight. For me, it’s not that cut and dried. I think, in some ways, it’s always been there, I just didn’t know what it was. For me, I guess, it hasn’t been that easy to know what this thing in me is. It’s not that simple, when you’re easily and often attracted to women. Because that’s the case, I guess, I just thought, “Well, great. I’m into girls, that’s one less thing to worry about.” But I think it’s always been there.” I look at him quickly. He’s still looking out into space. He takes a sip of his beer. My head feels foggy and thick. “I’ve always had these particular guys in my life. They’ve always been there. Guys, I just really want to be around, you know? I always told myself, they were my really, really good friends. It’s normal to want to spend all your time with your friends, right? Everyone does, right? It was different for me though. I’m telling you, I followed these guys around like a puppy dog. I had no idea what I wanted from them, but I just couldn’t stay away from them. There was Lucas Murray in middle school and Dylan Haynes in high school.” He still looking out, but he’s smiling now. He’s smiling a little. “And of course,” he says, sounding a little dreamy, “there was Andy Montgomery from university days.” I do a sharp double take and sit up a little straighter. What the hell did he just say? Holy shit. Maybe, that weed was stronger than I thought. His voice is soft, but clear, as he adds, “For some reason, I never could shake that one.” What? What the fuck is going on here? How stoned am I right now? My chest feels tight and my heart is pounding. I feel confused and on the verge of panic. I jump up off the sofa we’ve been sitting on and head to the balcony railing, trying to steady myself and get some fresh air. The irony of trying to get fresh air, when I’m already outdoors, is not lost on me. What in God’s name is going on here? Has West lost his mind, or have I? I look back at where he’s sitting, but he’s not there anymore. He’s up, and he’s standing a few feet away from me. He has a strange look on his face. It’s not one I’ve seen on him before. I’ve never seen anything like it on him. I feel instantly and inexplicably terrified. I feel more afraid than I’ve felt in my life. “Please, Andy,” he says. His voice is different. Something about it is different now, “Please. If you’re ever going to make your move, please, make it now.” I feel like I’ve fallen through a trap door. I look at him standing there, and I know instantly, I’m zero percent over West. I’m not even close. In fact, I’m still falling. He has his arms at his sides and he’s looking at me intently. His eyes are blazing bright green. They’re reflecting the night city lights, but they are reflecting much more. His mouth falls open a little, I can see a little tautness, a little tension in his neck, as he swallows. I’m still trying to decipher his words. My mind is moving slowly, struggling to make sense of these crazy events. My body moves quickly though. It’s driven by instinct. It doesn’t wait for me to tell it; This is a mistake. He’s drunk and he’s stoned. I pull him toward me and crush my mouth onto his. I find his open. Mine’s open too. Our tongues rise to meet each other at the same time. They’re strong and they’re equal. They both want each other. It’s a wild, lustful kiss. I’m stunned by the force of it. I’ve never felt anything like it. It’s a kiss that makes you feel like you’re being pulled. You’re being pulled by a force you can’t see. A force that’s bigger and stronger than you. When I pull back, I feel very lightheaded. I’m so confused. This time, he reaches for me. He doesn’t let me get away. He has his hands around my hips and he’s dragging me towards him. Grinding his body against mine. Both of us are hard. Rock solid. I can’t help pushing back, rocking my hips against him as he kisses me again. This time, his hands start to wonder. He slides them up and down my chest. It isn’t long, before he slides them up, under my shirt. They feel warm on my skin. His kisses move down. Down the side of my mouth, along my jaw. Nipping and scraping, making me gasp. The second I gasp, I feel instant relief. As oxygen hits my lungs, I realise, I’ve forgotten to breath. The shock of what’s happening seems to have cost me my breathing reflex. He’s kissing his way down my neck. His lips and his tongue are hot and leave a burning trail on my skin. Breathe, I tell myself. His hands are on me again, they’re on my collar, on my buttons, worrying them, trying to pry them open. “Andy,” he murmurs, “I want more.” Breathe, I tell myself again. He’s looking at me. He’s looking up at me and he’s waiting. He looks hungry, but he’s still waiting. This is West, I remember, he doesn’t touch anyone without their consent. He’s so primed, he’s clenching his jaw, but he’s still waiting. I close my eyes and give a small nod. I want more, too. His hands and his mouth are on me again. They’re on me hard. Unbuttoning my shirt, pulling it open. His hands on my chest, burning me. They’re on my fly, pulling, unzipping, pushing my briefs down. He’s moving fast. Holy shit, I think when rational thought finally prevails. We’re still outside, we’re in the open. “West,” I say, “we can’t do this here. We need to go inside.” He looks around dimly. I can tell, he forgot where we were. We head inside quickly, closing the door and drawing the curtains. We’ve barely made it inside when he’s on me again. He’s all over me. He seems completely intent on getting his hands on my junk. He’s not slowing down. He’s a man in a frenzy. Truthfully, I’m in a frenzy too. My mind is still lagging, my brain can’t compute, but my body know what it wants. He drops to his knees in front of me. Holy shit! He’s pulling my jeans and my underwear out of the way. He does it in a fury. I can see his hands are shaking. He can’t seem to wait. It doesn’t take long before he has what he wants. He has me. He has me, in his hands. His face is inches away from me. His eyes are completely glazed over. He’s biting his bottom lip. He strokes me gently, tentatively, looking up in wonder, when my dick pulses in his hand. He leans forward, pressing his face up against my groin, breathing me in, sighing softly. He has my dick in his hand, as he turns his face towards it, rubbing his cheek up against it, his mouth falling open as he does it. Oh, God. I can tell that he wants it. He wants it so much. I’m almost beside myself. I feel like I’m out of my body. I feel like I’m floating. I can still feel everything he does to me though. I feel every hesitant touch. I feel every cautious breath. I feel everything and more. Every sense is heightened. Even his soft touch is so intense, right from the start, I’m fighting the urge to scream. I’m almost insane with desire. I’m shaking as he opens his mouth. He licks me, timidly at first, but then with a little more certainty. It’s clear that he has no clue what he’s doing, but for some reason, right now, that only makes it hotter. I moan as he sinks down on me, trying to take as much as he can, but not managing much. As I moan, I see his scar crease and when I look down, I see West, my West, on his knees, with my dick in his mouth, and a huge smile on his face. Seeing him like that damned nearly undoes me. I almost explode right there and then. I clench everything I have, as I desperately try to hold on. I don’t want to cum in his mouth. I don’t want to freak him out. I don’t want to break the spell. I don’t want to change a thing, the only thing I want now, is the same thing I’ve always wanted. I want West. I want his body and I want his soul, but right now, I’d kill for his dick. “My turn.” I say. I pull him up. He looks a little dazed and confused. I walk him backwards towards the sofa, as I pull off his t-shirt and unbuckle his belt. I yank down his pants and his boxers, before pushing him down on the sofa. I get down on my knees and as I do, he drops a scatter cushion onto the floor, kicking it gently under my knees. Damn, West. Even at a time like this, you’re sweet. So fucking sweet. I look down at his dick and take a deep breath. For years, and I mean, years, I’ve dreamed of his dick. I’ve thought about it constantly. I’ve fantasised about it incessantly. I’ve spent hours and hours trying to convince myself that there’s no way it could really be as great as I’ve made it out to be in my mind. I must have been imagining it. How could it really be all that? Believe it or not, it turns out, it really, really is all that. It’s all that, and more. It’s hard and it’s straining. The thick vein running down it is pulsing. His skin is red and pulled tight with the effort to contain it. My God. I say a silent, “Thank you,” to my old fuck buddy, 69cockscker69, for teaching me what I’m about to do to my friend. I feel like an athlete, who has completed his training. An athlete, who has spent his whole life preparing for this moment. I look up and smile. I’m not just going to blow West. I’m going to blow his fucking mind. I take him in both hands. He feels heavy and hot to the touch. The room goes blurry and my spine quivers, as we make contact. I lick him slowly, circling the tip until he starts to squirm. I look up at him, licking my lips, before diving in. I sink down on him and hear him sighing in pleasure. That’s where he expects me to stop. That must be where Ashleigh used to stop. That’s nowhere near where I’m going to stop. I open my throat, swallowing slightly as I take him in. He’s so big and so thick, that it really isn’t that easy. Fortunately, it’s not my first time. I take him until I feel his hair brush up against my nose. His head flies back as his back arches involuntarily. “Holy fuck!” He exclaims through gritted teeth. I pull back a little, so I can make eye contact with him. His eyes are wide as saucers. “Ooooh, fuuuck.” He groans, as I sink down again. Breathe, I tell myself, as I come up for air. He fills me so completely when I take him, that my airway is completely constricted. “Oh, Jesus, Andy.” He moans, “What the hell are you doing to me?” I’m working him over properly now. I can tell he won’t last long. He’s writhing and panting, gasping for breath. Cursing and rocking his hips. “Oh, fuck.” He moans, again. He’s shaking now and I can see his abs clenching every time he breathes in. I reach down and take my dick in my hand stroking firmly as I give him full use of my mouth. He’s moaning unbridled. One long, unending moan. One moan seems to start before the previous one even dies down. His hands are clawing at the seat of the sofa, his nails digging in, leaving track marks in the leather. His entire body goes stiff as he erupts in my mouth, he calls out, low and loud. It’s a beautiful sound. It’s a sound that seems so familiar. It seems like a sound I’ve been meant to hear my whole life. I swallow and swallow and swallow and before I swallow the last drop, I arch back too. I cum harder than I can ever remember cumming. I cum so hard it almost hurts. I feel as though something is being ripped out of me. Torn. My throat aches and my head spins as my dick pulses violently in my hand. I take a while to recover. I stay on my knees, between his legs for a while. At last, I scramble up and sit on the sofa next to him. He looks as though he’s in a trance. I can’t say I blame him. I feel stunned, too. We sit there, next to each other, not talking, just looking straight ahead for a long time. Even though it definitely should be, the silence between us isn’t awkward. Neither of us move and neither of us speak until at last, he leans over, and puts his head on my shoulder. The tension leaves my body and something resembling peace washes over me. I hear his breathing start to slow. Mine’s nowhere near normal. *
  8. Jesse_H_Reign

    Chapter 4

    Ch 4 Perfect on Paper So, things between Paul and I are good. For a while, they’re even great. Things between us are good, until they just aren’t anymore. We’ve been together for over a year, when we find ourselves having a difficult conversation. It’s been coming for a while. We’ve both tried to ignore it. We’ve both really tried to make it work. “We’re just so perfect on paper.” Paul sighs. I sigh too. He’s right. We should be perfect together and we damn nearly are, but we just seem to fall short. “I’m sorry I can’t give you what you want.” He says, “I’m sorry I can’t top you. I know it’s something you need.” “I’m sorry I can’t give you the intimacy you need from me.” I’ve tried and I’ve tried, but I just don’t understand, or I just don’t have the faculty a person needs to be emotionally intimate with another person. It’s been his big bugbear since the early days of our relationship and as time has gone on, it’s become more and more of an issue for him. The same goes for me. I’ve tried to accept him as he is. I would hate for him ever to do something sexually that he doesn’t want to do, but at the same time, what we do, just isn’t enough for me. I miss type of sex that I’m used to. Maybe, I miss the violence. We’ve tried our best to keep it alive, but the spark has died and now that we’ve said the words, both of us know, there’s no going back. “Maybe,” I say, “we’ll be better as friends.” He nods sadly and wraps his arms around me. We hold each other for a long time and I’m not the only one with sad eyes, when he leaves. * Even though it wasn’t perfect and even though, ultimately the relationship failed, I’ll never be anything but grateful that I met him. I feel different now. I feel grounded. Part of me finally believes that a world does exist in which I could be in a relationship. The rest of me finally believes that I don’t need a relationship to be happy. Professionally, things could not be going better for me. My last exhibition was a raving success and I have a new one opening in a few weeks. I’m becoming a bit of a big deal in the art world, even if I do say so myself. After years of nagging by my parents, I finally took control of my trust fund. Turns out, my grandfather left me a building. It’s one of the first buildings he ever bought. He and I used to visit it together sometimes when I was a kid. He liked to go round to do handywork. I think he got a kick out of trying to teach me that it was good to be hands-on, even if you could afford to pay someone else to do it for you. The building consists of eight apartments that are tenanted and a huge loft space, that I’ve had converted into an apartment for myself. It has a large studio, two bedrooms and a bathroom with a big open plan kitchen and living area. The ceilings are spectacularly high, and I’ve left the beams as they were, giving the place an industrial vibe. I’ve installed reclaimed wood flooring and floor-to-ceiling windows in a couple of the walls. The original face brick looks amazing with the rugs and old leather sofa’s my mother gave to me. The way the light lands in the space is unreal. It’s beautiful. I love it. I never fail to feel happy when I unlock the door and know that I’m home. I had a bout of guilt about my excessive privilege when I first inherited the space. Sarah put me in my place, “Make a regular financial donation,” she said, “you can afford it. Don’t just do that though, do something more. Give something of yourself. Find a cause you care about and give it your time.” So, I did. I started volunteering at an LGBTQI youth centre downtown. I teach a walk-in art class there every Thursday afternoon. Every week, I’m shocked by how much I enjoy it. It’s often the highlight of my week. It’s scary how talented some of the kids are. In fact, I’ve been thinking that next year, I might offer to teach a class on Tuesdays, too. It’s been about six months since Paul and I broke up and it turns out, I was right, we are better as friends. We still see each other now and again and the tension between us has given way to an easy-going friendship. It’s great. I still see Josh and Seth sometimes. They’ve settled down now, their debaucherous Dinner Club nights are behind them, and I see a lot of Tyler and Guy. A week never goes by without me seeing Sarah. As for West, well, he’s still West and I’m still me. We don’t see each other as much as we used to. Paul didn’t like it, and honestly, I can’t say I blamed him. When I come to think of it, it’s been a really, really long time since West and I hung out, just the two of us. These days, when we see each other, it’s a group thing with a bunch of old friends, or it’s a dinner party at their new house. Ash has developed a bit of a penchant for elaborate entertaining. He still makes a big effort to see me, to include me in his life. He’s still never missed one of my exhibitions. After the last one, he sent me a message that said: Holy shit! Your work is at the stage now, where even I can tell that it’s good. Mind blown. I guess, because on some level, I’m always going to have my little problem with West, I couldn’t help thinking, when I read his message, that it was the best compliment I’d ever received. So, all in all, my life is good. I’m content. Dare I say it? I’m happy. * That all comes to a grinding halt one day in the spring. I check my phone and see I’ve got a voice note from West. He’s sent me a few texts over the past several weeks, but I haven’t got round to getting back to him yet. I do that these days. I no longer drop everything when my phone pings a message from him. I think it’s a sign of progress. As soon as I play the message, I hear something in his voice and my heart drops. I meet Sarah for coffee on her way to work and make her listen to the message with me. “There’s something wrong with West.” “Hmm.” She says, trying not to commit either way. She seems to have adopted the approach over the past couple of years, that it’s better not to allow me to talk about West very much. I can’t say I blame her. “I’m telling you; I think something’s wrong.” “Andy, you don’t have to go running every time West calls you. You just don’t. You’ve been doing so well.” Part of me knows that she’s right, but the rest of me thinks I’ll be okay. “It will be fine. I’m ninety percent over West.” I say, with a determined nod. “Ninety percent, huh?” “Yeah, and I think, when it comes to West, that’s probably as good as it’s ever going to get.” “Oh.” She says, though I can’t help thinking she looks a little disheartened. * West and I make plans to meet up in our usual place. I’ve resisted the urge to listen to his message repeatedly and I’m proud of myself. I feel sure, that that’s a good sign. Still, as I walk to the restaurant, I offer a silent prayer: Please let him have gone soft in the middle or, please let him be going bald. I know it’s a bit cruel, and I’ve never been in the slightest bit religious so I might as well be praying to Santa, but this is West we’re talking about. I could use all the help I can get. I try to ignore the little quiver up my spine when I get to the restaurant, but I can’t ignore the way my heart flip-flops when I see him. Shit. There’s no sign of balding and absolutely no indication of his having gone soft in the middle. He looks sexier than ever. His body seems to have got better with age. How is that possible? It’s thickened a little, he still works out a lot. He’s gained a bit of muscle. He’s even more solid than he used to be. He wears his clothes well. Success definitely suits him. “Andyyy!” He exclaims. He’s wearing sunglasses and he pulls them off when he sees me. The second I see his eyes; I know I was right. There’s something wrong with West. His eyes look different. His eyes are different. Though he’s still the best-looking man I’ve ever seen, his eyes look older than his years. He pulls me into a giant bear hug and just for a second, I let my body lean in against him. Just for a second, I don’t fight it. Shit, I think, as I pull away, I’m only eighty percent over West. “You look terrible.” I say. “I guess, I look how I feel.” We take a seat and order drinks. He starts talking. “It’s over with Ash.” Though I try my best to ignore it, my damned fool heart lurches and starts to pound. It’s just habit, I tell myself. Nothing to worry about. It’s just habit. I know that he and Ash have been having a hard time. That’s been clear for a long time. I’ve lost count of how many rounds of IVF they’ve had. “We just couldn’t do it. We just couldn’t make it work. It got to the point, where I couldn’t remember why we got together in the first place. It got to the point, where there was nothing good left. She got to the point where I honestly don’t think she gave a shit about me. All she wants is a baby. It’s all she cares about. I don’t think she’s really seen me in years.” He takes a long, slow sip of his drink. “We tried couples counselling for almost a year. For the last six months or so, I’ve been in individual therapy, too. The counsellor warned us at the outset that the most likely outcomes for therapy are either improving the relationship or uncovering the fact that it’s over.” He laughs weakly at that. “I guess, she really knew her stuff. I think on some level, Ash and I both knew it was over within a matter of months. Maybe, we knew before we even started therapy. We kept seeing her though, she helped us sort through a lot. We’ve been separated for a couple of months now, living apart. We’ll be signing the divorce papers in the next few of weeks. “God, West, I’m sorry. I knew you guys were having a hard time, but I had no idea it had gotten to this.” He’s quiet for a while. His eyes are so light, they almost look see-through. “Where the hell have you been, Andy? I’ve needed you, man.” My heart lurches again. Despite everything, I feel awful. I should have been there for him, or, I should have had the balls to tell him I can’t be there for him at all. I look at his face. His handsome face. It’s open and honest. He doesn’t try to hide how he’s feeling. He never does. I’m still so connected to him, despite how hard I’ve tried not to be. When I look at him, I feel what he feels. I feel his pain, and it is intolerable to me. I can’t stand to see him hurting. I can feel how much he needs someone. He needs his friend. He needs me. “I’m here for you, West.” I say quietly. I mean it. I mean it from the bottom of my heart. It’s not his fault that he’s caused me so much pain. He’d probably be horrified if he knew. Absolutely appalled. I have to keep a grip on myself. That’s all there is to it. I need to be here for him, and I need to keep a handle on my feelings. It’s that simple, really. * We hang out again the next week-end, and the next, and the one after that. I’m shocked by how easy it is to fall back into his life. We still have that easy comradery. We still just seem to get each other. The same stupid things still seem to send us into hysterical cackles. In many ways, it feels as though nothing has changed. “I’ve changed though,” I tell Tyler and Sarah, “I’ve changed for the better. I’m finally at the point where I want to be his friend more than I want to be his lover.” They both look at me strangely. Tyler nods supportively and Sarah, purses her lips, as if she’s trying to stop herself from saying anything. I meet West to celebrate a few days later. He and Ash signed the divorce papers today. I’m a bit worried about him, but when I see him, I can see he really does mean to celebrate, not commiserate. We go out for dinner and then to a bar. We go to another bar after that. “To freedom.” I say. “To a life worth living.” He replies with a broad smile. I slow down early on. I don’t come close to trying to match his drinks one-for-one. He is on top form. Absolutely blind. I haven’t seen him like this in years. I walk him home, with his arm slung over my shoulder, just like the old days. It feels so good having his arm around me, that I have no choice but to acknowledge, I’m less than fifty percent over West. It’s not great, but it’s not all that bad either. Not when you think how bad I used to have it for him. I’m still doing well. I’m fine. Fine. “Now, Andy did you hear about this one.” He sings, a line from an old REM song he used to sing to me after nights out, at university. “Oh, Jesus.” I say, shaking my head. That does nothing to discourage him. “Andy, are you goofing on Elvis? Dum, dum, dum, dum.” He sings, even louder this time. God, he’s going to wake the whole street up. “Shhh,” I hiss, “keep it down.” He laughs his head off at me, eyes glistening as he looks at me defiantly, “Oh, man, I love you, Andy.” “Ugh.” I groan, rolling my eyes. “Any one of these years, you’re going to say it back. You’ll see. It’s just a matter of time.” I get him up to the apartment he’s renting, fishing his key out of his pocket, trying my best to let him in as quietly and quickly as possible. “Do you want to crash here?” He asks, slurring slightly. “Nah, it’s ok, I’ll head home.” His new place is not all that far from mine. “Suit yourself.” He says, with an unsteady smile. “You’re going home, aren’t you? You’re not going to Paul’s?” “I told you, Paul and I broke up.” “I’m glad you broke up with ‘Perfect Paul’.” His mouth twists a little as he says it and he uses both hands to make exaggerated quotation marks around Paul’s name. I’m taken aback. I can’t remember him saying a bad word about anyone in all the time I’ve known him. “What’s your problem with Paul?” “No idea,” he says, seeming to lose interest in the subject, but then adding, like an afterthought, “Ash said I was jealous. To be exact, Ash said, “You’re just jealous, Dickhead.” He laughs uproariously at that. I laugh a little too, though I’m not entirely sure why. I’m almost completely sober, but I’m finding it a little hard to keep up with the conversation. I help him to his room. He pulls his belt off and drops it to the floor with a loud clatter. I pull his shoes and socks off, before he flops back onto his bed. He has an idiotic drunken smile on his face. As much as I hate seeing him like this, I can’t deny, there’s a part of me that loves it. After all these years, drunk West is still the best. He just is. He looks set to fall asleep, so I head for the door. As I do, he calls out after me. “You think you’re a gentleman, don’t you, Andy?” I look back at him quickly. Truthfully, I think no such thing. My behaviour has never warranted it. “You’re no gentleman though.” He’s slurring seriously now. “You’re just hard to get.” What did he just say? What the hell did he just say? “What was that, West?” I whisper. He doesn’t reply. He just breathes heavily through his mouth. He’s passed out cold. *
  9. Jesse_H_Reign

    Chapter 3

    To answer Tyler’s question, “How long are you going to keep doing this to yourself?” It turns out, I have a lot of stamina. Turns out, I keep doing this shit to myself for a very long time. I continue, completely undeterred for the rest of our university days. I continue unabated for those early years of our careers, too. West gets a job in finance, which he is, predictably, amazing at. He’s rapidly promoted, and it isn’t long, before he’s on the path to become the wildly successful man I always knew he would be. It isn’t easy for me. A career in the arts never is, but I eke out a living. My parents offer to support me, but I refuse. I feel bad enough about being a spoilt trust fund baby. Part of me wants to experience reality, before I turn twenty-five and get access to the money my grandfather left me. I tend bar at night and paint in the day, peddling my wares at every gallery I can think of, until it finally starts paying off. I start being able to depend on the fact that I’ll get commissions and I start being offered my own exhibitions. I still see West. I probably see him a lot more than I should. He’s just the kind of guy who really likes staying in touch. He’s the glue that keeps friendships together. He’s always on the phone, planning things, organising ways for us to get together. It’s not like it was in the old days, but it’s just enough to stop me from moving on. More than enough, really. He and Ashleigh live together now. It’s been over a year and a half since the last time they broke up. Yes, I do still keep track of things like that, and yes, I do know how pathetic that makes me. Speaking of the devil, my phone buzzes. It’s West. “Andy! How are you?” “No complaints, you?” “Ah, you know me, I’m always well.” That’s true, he’s still the most cheerful person I know. We chat for a while, just about general shit, when his tone changes suddenly. It’s serious now. “I’ve got a favour to ask you Andy.” “Shoot.” Anything for you. “What do you know about diamonds?” Of all the times he’s made my heart drop, and believe me, he’s done it a lot, nothing has ever compared to this. The ground beneath me gives way. It feels as though I’m falling into a sinkhole. All I can think, is how grateful I am that he did this over the phone. There’s no way I could have hidden my pain if he did it in person. I skip a beat or two, but I recover quickly. “I know they’re bad for the environment, a marketing ploy and a huge waste of money.” I say helpfully. He laughs uproariously at that. He still thinks I’m hilarious. I send out the distress call to Tyler and Sarah as soon as I get off the phone with West. They know it’s serious and ask me to come right over. They still live together, a few stops from my place. “Oh, God.” Says Tyler, as he opens the door, taking me in. “What the hell happened?” I tell them the whole sad story. “You don’t have to do this, you know?” Says Sarah, at last. Sarah is doing her PHD in psychology now. She’s a great listener and she hardly ever takes it upon herself to give advice. When she does, people listen. Wise people do, anyway. “You can say, “No,” to him, Andy. You don’t have to do this to yourself.” She says. “I know that I could, but I can’t. I’m also his friend.” I say, at last. “That’s bullshit,” says Tyler, “that’s what you tell yourself. That’s what you’ve always told yourself, but the truth is, you want him. You want him way, way more than you want to be his friend. That’s not really friendship, is it?” I sigh deeply and mull his words over. He makes a good point, but I already know that there’s no way I’m going to say, “No,” to West. * “Thank you, Andy.” Says Ashleigh, hugging me tight, her eyes are a little misted over. She looks like she’s in heaven as she looks down at her left hand. “I know you helped him choose this. I love it. It’s perfect. Absolutely perfect.” She’s right. I did choose it. West had absolutely no clue what she wanted. It’s a perfect emerald cut diamond in a vintage-style platinum setting. The second I saw it, I knew it was meant for her. A hall of mirrors, hard edges and jagged reflections. I surprised myself. I’d been fully intending to saddle her with a large, poorly cut oval, but I guess, I’m a bigger person than I give myself credit for. The best part of the rest of that year, is a blur of wedding planning, filled with random, torturous snippets: Will you be my best man? Does this suit look good on me? Do you think she’d prefer to honeymoon in Florence or Paris? I can’t tell you how much time I spend lying on my bed, shaking, staring up at the ceiling, thinking, what fresh hell is this? I must have been a mass-murderer in a previous life, to deserve this type of torment. I’m in such a state by the time the wedding day finally arrives that Sarah has to write my speech for me, and Tyler agrees to come to the wedding with me, as my plus-one. The day is predictably beautiful. Every star is aligned, even the weather doesn’t flicker. It’s a perfect, blue sky day. Ashleigh looks eye-wateringly beautiful, absolutely radiant and West looks so happy, I have a hard time trying to decide if I want to cry or to vomit. I guess, I should be grateful. At some point, the shock gives way to something else. I go numb. I move through the day exactly as required. I help West with his tie. My hands shake when I do it, but still, I get through it. Though I can’t feel my legs, I stand up beside him when Ashleigh walks down the aisle. I don’t make a sound when the priest asks if there are any objections. I don’t breathe or move either, though I am intensely aware of the fact that my heartbeat has slowed. It’s slow and so weak, I can hardly feel it at all. I shake hands and greet people politely. Even though I’m completely robotic, it wouldn’t surprise me, if I smile for the photos. My speech goes off without a hitch, but that’s not saying very much, wedding guests tend to be a very forgiving crowd. I finish with a toast, “To Mr and Mrs Baxter, a long life and a happy marriage.” I stumble to my seat before the applause has fully died down, grabbing two bottles of champagne off nearby tables, before sitting down heavily and announcing loudly to Tyler, “I am about to get absolutely blasted.” And that, is the very last thing I remember about Ashleigh and West’s wedding. * I wake up the next day with my head pounding. I try to swallow. It feels as though something very unpleasant has crawled into my mouth and died there. I try to open my eyes, but that makes my head pound more. I turn my body slowly, trying to move my eyes from the light streaming in at the window. Holy shit! There’s someone in bed with me. I can make out the shape clearly. It’s someone small. It’s someone with a vivid mop of red hair. Jesus fucking Christ! What the fuck have I done? I’m instantly drenched in a cold sweat. I reach down, running my hands down my body. Please let me have pants on. No luck there. I’m stark naked. Holy shit! “I know you’re awake.” Says Tyler, “I heard your breathing change a few minutes ago.” “D-do you have any clothes on?” I ask, a last-ditch attempt at hope. “No, asshole, I don’t.” I sit up quickly, swinging my legs out of the bed and onto the floor. The sudden movement makes the me feel nauseous. Tyler gets out of bed quickly, finding a robe and putting it on, before sitting down next to me. “What happened?” I ask. “You don’t remember anything, huh?” I think hard, “I remember the speech and I think there might have been some dancing.” He laughs a little. “There was definitely some dancing. You got a little sloppy, so we came back to your room. We danced some more, and then we got naked. We fucked and then we went to sleep. “Holy shit,” I say, genuinely appalled, “are you okay?” His face looks a little pinched, he doesn’t look like himself. “Are we going to be okay?” I ask, panic setting in. He looks a little uncertain, his eyes pooling up slightly. His voice is shaky. “I know I’m not your type, Andy. I know that, okay?” He looks at me, trying to smile, but failing to get there. “You know how we’re always saying that West is your kryptonite?” I nod, a terrible pit of dread forming in my belly. I don’t like where this is going. “Well,” says Tyler, shrugging his shoulders helplessly, “I guess you could say, you’re my kryptonite. You’ve always been. I know you don’t feel the same though, okay? I know that.” God, I feel awful. I had no idea. I’ve spent years banging on and on about my feelings for West with no clue that I must have been hurting Tyler. I must have been hurting him badly. “I’m sorry,” I whisper, “are we going to be okay?” I try to put my arm around his shoulder, but he gets up quickly. “Sure,” he says brightly, trying again to arrange his face into a smile, but this time, his bottom lip quivers, “I’m sure we’ll be fine.” He pauses for a second. Looking at me hard for a long time. “I think, I’m just going to need a little time. I think I might need to get myself in order. I think I’m going to need to step back and get a little space from you for a while.” “I’m sorry.” I say again, as he gets ready to leave. I feel helpless and awful. I can’t stand the look on his face and I can’t stand knowing that I put it there. I hate knowing that right now, I’m the one person who can’t be there for Tyler. * So yes, West’s wedding and the aftermath was a low point for me, no doubt about that. I wish I could say that things improve after that, but they don’t. In fact, I think it’s fair to say that I spin out a little. I start partying. I party a lot. I party hard. I drink and do a lot of other shit, I probably shouldn’t do. I hook up with every guy I can. The only time the pain seems bearable, is when I am out. When I’m drunk or high, or when I’m fucking butts. I fall in with a wild crowd. They are a big group of crazy, wild guys. They call themselves the Dinner Club, though I have no idea why. I genuinely don’t remember eating anything other than ass, when I am with them. We hang out all the time. Things always get out of hand. Debauchery is the only thing a night with them absolutely guarantees. I’m going to see them tonight. It’s Saturday night and I need to blow off some steam. I just got a text from West, asking if we could meet for a drink tomorrow afternoon. As usual, my heart does a quick somersault when I see a message from him. Nowadays, right after it does that, I find myself thinking, fuck you, West. At this point, I have no doubt in my mind, I would be a lot happier if I’d never met him. I’m a little distracted, but I start feeling better the second I get to Josh and Seth’s place. They’re hosting tonight. I’m a little taken aback to see that they’ve put out some snacks. Pretty great snacks, actually. An entire charcuterie board, in fact. How have I not noticed this before? “Heyyy, Andy.” Says Nick, eyeing me up and down, raising his eyebrows, making it clear he likes what he sees. I smile at him. He’s one hell of a flirt. He’s cute too. Not very tall, but not short either. He has a dancer’s body. He’s really quite something. “Are you going to fuck me tonight?” He says, shaking his butt at me a little. One thing about Nick, is that he really can move. If history has taught us anything, it’s that, yes, I will be fucking him tonight. “You know I only top you, if you blow me first.” I smile. That’s true, by the way. Nick and I like teasing and playing with each other. Sometimes, I deny him, just to keep him guessing. It drives him wild. I don’t think I’ll be doing that tonight though. No, tonight, I’m going to do what I can to ensure that tomorrow, he can’t sit down without thinking of me. It isn’t long before the alcohol is flowing and some other shit too. I’m feeling no pain now. If anything, I’m comfortably numb, just like the song. All I feel now, is that dark pull between my legs. The weight and the heft. That familiar heat. That old urge to thrust. Nick is on his knees at my feet. We are both naked. We’re still in the living room. Other guys are milling around, getting into their own scene’s, or watching Nick and I getting into ours. Nick has my dick in his mouth, he’s taking me slowly. Just teasing. He doesn’t want to get me too excited. He has other things in mind for me. I notice a new guy watching us. Or should I say, he’s watching me. He’s big and brawny. When he sees me looking back, he lifts his t-shirt slowly, pulling it off over his head. He’s muscular and hairy. A bear, if ever there was one. I like the way he’s looking at me. He knows what he wants. Something tells me, he’s the kind of guy who’s used to getting what he wants. I stroke the side of Nick’s face, “Go over to that table in the corner and bend over. Spread your legs and wait there for me.” His face flushes a little, I see the quick flash of thirst in his eyes. He stands quickly and does it. He likes being told what to do. He’s nothing if not a good little slut. I leave him there for a while, as I get myself another drink. He keeps looking back at me, waiting. I love this little game. I can feel the bear watching me too. He can’t take his eyes off me. I’m very, very much enjoying the tension. I like having Nick’s eyes on me, while this new guy is watching me too. The night is still young, but I have a feeling, it’s going to be one to remember. I grab a condom from the bowl on the coffee table and saunter over to Nick. All the guys here are on PrEP, but one can’t be too careful. I feel the bear approaching, he’s getting closer. Closing the space between us gradually, making me feel a little hunted. I’m lubing Nick’s ass, my fingers are deep inside him, when the bear finally speaks. “You’re Andy, right?” God, his voice is deep. I smile and give a small nod. “I’ve heard all about you.” “Is that a fact?” I say, trying to sound unimpressed. “What have you heard?” “I’ve heard you’re one to watch. I’ve heard you’re a great lay.” Nick squirms and groans a little under my touch. I give the bear a smile and a shrug, as if to say, “Guilty as charged.” He leans in closer now, I can almost feel his breath on the side of my neck. His voice is even lower, when he says, “I’ve heard that once in a blue moon, you like to take it.” I look up at him sharply. I wonder who told him that? I feel that instant tingle. That slow burn. Funnily enough, recently, I’ve been feeling like I need my hole taken care of. “What are you packing?” I ask, not mincing words. He smiles easily. He has dark eyes. Raw umber. He’d be intimidating if you ran into him in an alleyway, but here, smiling like that, I’m getting a really good feeling about this guy. He pushes his jeans down and his boxers too. I don’t know much about him, but I do know he doesn’t seem to have any body image issues. He doesn’t need to. God, he’s massive. He’s big in every way. Just how I like it. “Can I play?” He asks. I eye him thoughtfully. I try not to think about the fact, that I’ll be seeing West tomorrow. I try not to think that as big as this guy is, West’s dick is bigger. I try not to think about the fact that West is married. He’s been married for over two years. I try not to think about the fact that I’m such an idiot, I’m still hung up on him, after all these years. “Sure,” I say, “use a condom and start slow.” He smiles again. Even wider this time. He smiles like a boy who’s just been offered candy. “Lie on your back.” I say to Nick, turning him over and pushing his knees back so his ass is completely exposed. “You’re in for a show.” As I start working my cock into Nick, the bear kneels behind me, parting my cheeks roughly and licking me gently. Holy shit. This guy knows what he’s doing. That is a very, very skilled mouth. It isn’t long before I’m moaning. I fuck Nick slowly. Long, slow, deliberate strokes. I want to take my time. I want to be fucking him, when the bear finally breaches me. He’s taken me seriously about going slow. He teases me with his fingers. His fingers are broad. They’re thick and long. I start squirming when he gives me two. I’m moaning in earnest now. Nick’s head is arched back a little. He’s moaning, too. He’s moaning like crazy. “I need more.” Nick gasps. I catch his wrists, holding them down at his sides, stopping him from touching his dick. I want him to take a lot more than he’s already had. “Jesus, Andy,” he says, “why’d you have to be so hot?” I smile down at him, as I continue my long, punishing strokes. The bear is using his fingers on me, he’s timing it perfectly. He penetrates me at exactly the same I penetrate Nick. I’m grunting loudly with each and every stroke. “Why’d you have to be so hot?” Nick says again, whining now, “Why are you so hot, when you’re such a cold-hearted bitch?” I fuck him harder and faster for that. The bear moves into position behind me. I hear him unwrapping a condom and lubing himself up. I slow down, leaning forward, over Nick, spreading my legs, giving the hairy monster behind me as much space as I can. I cry out as he enters me. My eyes fly open in shock. Oooh, God, that’s a big, thick chunk of dick. Nick’s eyes are lazy, following me slowly. His pupils are severely dilated. He’s loving this. Usually, fucking in a train is a very hot concept, but the reality of it doesn’t work out very well. Tonight’s different though. Tonight, I don’t try to control the pace. I surrender. I let the bear fuck me just how he likes. I let the force of his body slamming into me, flow through me and into Nick. Nick’s bucking and writhing. I’m arching and moaning. The bear is behind me, grunting and grabbing at me. Holding my hips and slapping my ass. The guys watching us are jeering and urging us on. It feels never-ending. It goes on and on until Nick can’t take anymore, he’s jerking off and I can see that he’s close. He shoots all over his belly, crying out as his neck and chest flushes bright red. He holds his knees back, rocking back and forth, content to do nothing but make me feel good. I told you, he’s a good little slut. The bear’s getting close too. He’s fucking me hard now. He pushes me down completely, so that my chest is flat against Nick. My dick is deep inside him, his ass is still twitching and pulsing. The tight squeeze on my dick and the hard pressure inside me are driving me wild. I can’t hold back anymore. I’m close. I’ve been on the edge for a while, so when I finally let go, I erupt. I gush. It’s a massive load. I lose my legs, but just for a second. The bear pulls out at last, ripping the condom off and jerking himself off. Roaring as he cums all over my back. That’s not the end of the night. But it’s definitely the best part. From there, things get a bit vague. I know I cum twice more. Though how, and with who, I can’t specifically say. When I wake up alone in my bed the next morning, I have a headache from hell. I feel that inevitable dread. That familiar shame, that always finds me after a bender like that. Seeking me out. Squeezing me tight. Making me homesick for a simpler time. It was one of those nights that will certainly see me at the clinic on Monday. I shouldn’t have let that bear fuck me again. Once was enough. I’m sore today and to make matters worse, the second time, the condom broke. Fuck. Double fuck, I think, as I remember, I agreed to meet West this afternoon. * I meet West at a little bistro not too far from where I live. The food is good, and they have outdoor seating, which gives the place a chilled, relaxed feel. West loves it here. “Holy shit,” he says when he sees me, “you look like hell.” “Thanks, it’s nice to see you too.” He looks great, obviously. West never looks anything but amazing, and that’s not just because I’m biased. He’s twenty-eight now, and if anything, he’s only got hotter with age. He’s settled into himself. His flaming green eyes no longer seem to compete as much with the rest of his face. His cheekbones seem a little more chiselled and you could still cut ice on his jawbone. He’s doing well now. He still dresses with the same careless style, but his hair is styled a little better, his shirts are a little more tailored. You can see at a glance, that he’s going somewhere. He’s a guy headed straight for success. I wish it wasn’t so. I wish his looks were fading. Even though I know, I have a problem with a lot more than just his looks. It wouldn’t hurt if he wasn’t so Goddamned attractive. It wouldn’t hurt at all. Still, something is different about him. I can’t pinpoint it exactly, but I think it has to do with the look in his eyes. They’re a little more serious than they used to be. They always used to be smiling, no matter what the circumstance, his eyes were smiling. Now, they look a little different. Not sad, exactly. Not even jaded. Just, a little more experienced, maybe. Not in a big way, either. I’m sure there’s no other human on Earth who would even notice this microscopic change in West. I’m sure there’s no other person alive who studies him the way I do. We order drinks and start catching up. He tells me about work, and I tell him about an exhibition I’m getting ready for. I ask after Ash. That’s what friends do, after all. “Uh, yeah,” he says, “she’s going through a rough time. The IVF didn’t work. We found out last week.” “Shit.” Ash has endometriosis and I know they started trying for a baby right after the wedding, knowing they might have problems conceiving. I knew they were thinking they might need IVF, but I didn’t know that they’d already had a round. I’m hit by a particularly unpleasant pang. I feel it every time I think about West and Ash having a baby. I know how stupid it is. Believe me, I know. West is straight and he’s married. He’s very, very married. Still, as utterly moronic as it sounds, especially after all these years, I still have a dream of raising a baby that has eyes just like West. How dumb is that? Aside from the fact that I can barely take care of a houseplant, I’ve never even had a serious boyfriend. Can you imagine me trying to raise a baby? Absolutely insane. Embarrassingly stupid. So stupid, I’ve never said it out loud. “I’m sorry to hear that West. Are you okay?” I can see trying to put on a brave face. It kills me to see him like this. That’s the thing about West. No matter how much I hate him, no matter how much I wish something would happen to change the way that I feel, the second I see him, the second he starts talking, I love him just as much as ever. I don’t want him to feel any pain. I only wish him well. I want everything for him. I want him to have everything he’s ever wanted, even if that leaves me with nothing at all. “I’m okay,” he says. “I’m just trying to be here for Ash. This is so hard on her. The treatment was hard on her. I can’t believe it didn’t work, after everything they did to her. She’s already talking about trying again. Women, huh? They’re stronger than us.” I nod, noncommittally. I feel another sharp pang. This one’s for Ash. Even though, I hate her, officially, I definitely hate her. I know, deep in my heart, I like her. I can’t help it. It’s unavoidable, really. Even though she’s completely impossible, and even though she’s totally unruly, there’s also something quite charming about her. There’s a realness and a certainty about who she is. She makes no apologies for it. It’s hard not to like her. West always says that she’d be a great mother, and despite myself, I know that that’s true. He asks me about myself. He wants to know how I am and what I’ve been up to. I tell him in a roundabout way. I never did get comfortable telling him about my sex life and since that’s my social life nowadays, it’s hard to talk about lots of things to him now. I talk about my friends, without giving anything away. He listens quietly for a while and then takes a long time to respond. I can see that he’s thinking. I can see that he’s choosing his words wisely. “Don’t you ever get tired of it, Andy? Don’t you ever get tired of the same old shit?” I try to smile and shake it off. “Nah, it’s all good…” He cuts me off, “Don’t you get tired of waking up on your own? Don’t you get tired of feeling like shit about the night before?” I sit up a little straighter. How the fuck does he know this about me? I’ve never told him anything about this. “You’re headed down the wrong path, Andy.” I feel myself getting defensive. Who the hell does he think he is? “You’re headed down a path that’s going to hurt you. You’re headed into a hole that you could spend the rest of your life trying to get out of, if you let yourself fall in.” I know he’s talking about my drinking and partying. I’m instantly furious. “No-one else has a problem with me.” I say. “Mmh, and why do you think that is?” He asks, looking at me intently. When I don’t answer, he continues, “I’ll tell you. It’s because the people you hang out with all want a piece of you. That’s why.” His words make me uneasy. As much as I hate it, I recognise the truth in them the second they land. I look down. I can’t make eye contact with him. “You know I love you, Andy.” He says and for a second, I see that lightness in his eyes, that old mischief, that old sense of fun. I can’t help smiling. He smiles, too, but then, he’s serious again, “I just want something better for you. I just want you to have something real.” * Fucking West, I think again and again, over the course of the next week. Fucking West. He has some nerve. How dare he make me out to be the problem, when he is my fucking problem. Still, I stay home most of the week. I get more work done than I have in a long time. When the week-end rolls by, I tell the guys I’m busy and make plans to see Sarah instead. The same thing happens the next week-end. Instead of going out on a bender, I see Tyler and his new boyfriend. Things between Tyler and I were strained for a long time. For the best part of a year, actually. We hardly saw each other at all. I missed him like crazy, but I told him I’d wait until he was ready, and I did. It was hard and I was relieved when he finally called me and asked to meet up. I was so happy to see him, I threw my arms around him without thinking. He hugged me back but pulled away quickly. “Do you remember that time I told you that you want to be with West, more than you want to be his friend?” he said. I nodded. I remember it vividly. I still think about it a lot. “Well, I’ve come to realise, that for me it’s the opposite. I want to be your friend even more than I ever wanted to be with you.” I’m so relieved to hear it, my eyes well up. “I’ve missed you, Ty. I’m really sorry about what happened. “That’s another thing, Andy. I need to apologise to you for the way things went down. You were off your face. I had no business coming onto you. I shouldn’t have done it. That’s on me, not you.” I was relieved to hear that, too. I’d spent the year beating myself up about it, wondering how the hell I let things get so out of hand. Things felt strange between us for a while and they aren’t exactly the way they used to be. I’m little more careful about how I act around him and I try to be considerate about what I say to him. Recently, he’s started seeing someone special. His name is Guy, and I swear, I’ve never seen Tyler happier. It’s hard to say who is crazier between Tyler and Guy. They are amazing together, but honestly, sometimes after they’ve been around, I have to lie down and take a little nap. Sarah confided in me, that she does the same thing. I’m not entirely sure it’s conscious, but before I know it, I’ve been clean and largely sober for six months. I drink a glass of wine, or a couple of beers on occasion, but I don’t feel a pull for anything more. I feel better than I have in years. My work has rounded a corner. The colours are still dark, but there’s a vividness to them that wasn’t there before. The eyes I paint are clear. They are strong, focussed and more than one person has told me that they seem to look right through you. It’s this new and improved version of me, that walks into my regular coffee haunt, on a Tuesday morning in fall. I wait in line, thinking about a piece that I’m painting. Something about it isn’t working and I’m trying to put my finger on it. I’m a million miles away, so I’m a little taken aback when I try to place my order and the barista has my coffee ready for me. “I think there’s been a mistake,” I say, “I haven’t placed my order yet.” “That guy over there bought it for you.” I follow his gesture with my eyes, just in time to see a guy in the doorway, looking back at me. He smiles self-consciously and gives me a wave. He’s tall and a little lanky. His hair is light brown, and he has impeccable skin. He’s the kind of guy, who could pass for straight if he wore cargo shorts and a ratty white t-shirt, but that’s not this guy’s style. He’s very well dressed. Something about his clothes and loafers give off an exotic, Cuban-style vibe. I’ve got to say, I like his style. I like it a lot. I look down at the coffee cup in my hand and see the name, Paul, and a phone number written on it. I raise the cup to him with a smile, before taking a sip. I text him as soon as I get home: Same time and place tomorrow? I confess, I feel a little flicker of butterflies, the next day, when I wait for him to arrive. I’m early, he arrives bang on time. He looks just as good today, as he did yesterday. He sits down and says, shyly, “Hi Andy.” I’m a little surprised. I haven’t told him my name. “How do you know my name?” I ask. He seems a bit embarrassed. “I manage a gallery nearby and I’m a big fan of your work. We’ve actually been trying to sign you for a while. I read a piece on you recently and recognised you from your photograph.” I have to admit, I’m a little flattered. “I’m not a stalker, or anything like that. I promise you.” His voice is low but has a gentle quality to it. “Oh God,” he says, looking a little shocked, “I’m not stalking you, am I?” I laugh. He’s adorable, and I’m not even sure that he knows it. If he’s a stalker, sign me up. Our conversation flows easily. We have so much in common. It turns out, we know lots of the same people from the art community. Truthfully, it’s a little weird that we haven’t met before. Our lives have been circling each other for quite some time. We agree to meet again the next day for coffee, and then, the day after that, too. “Are you free for dinner on Saturday?” I ask after our third coffee date. He smiles broadly and looks down in pleasure, as he nods. I like the way he can’t hide the way that he feels. What I like even more, is the fact that I get the feeling that even if he could hide how he feels, he’s the type of person who wouldn’t. There’s a quiet confidence about him. He knows who he is and he’s happy with himself. He tells me that he likes old movies and power ballads from the eighties. He tells me he has a habit of being clumsy and falling over at inopportune times. He says that it happens more, the higher the stakes are. He says, “I’m surprised I haven’t tripped and spilt coffee all over you, yet.” He laughs when he says it. He doesn’t seem to think that embarrassing yourself is the worst thing that can happen. On Saturday, I take him to Soba, a new Japanese place in the village. We take our shoes off and sit awkwardly on the floor. Both of us have legs that are too long for this type of dining. We order an array of food and are only confident we know what about fifty percent of it is. We laugh and try sake, though neither of us drinks very much. I walk him home at the end of the night, and as we walk down the street, I find myself reaching for his hand. He smiles as our hands make contact and looks over at me. He has kind eyes. They are dark blue, almost gray. Winsor Blue and Payne’s Gray. My belly tightens when we get close to his place. The old me would be up there like a shot. The old me, wouldn’t have met him for coffee in the first place. I’d have invited him round and fucked him that first day. This isn’t the old me though. I don’t ask to come in. Honestly, I surprise myself a little as I hear myself say, “Paul, I want to take this slowly. I’m looking for something real.” I see him take a quick breath, as he looks up at me and says softly, “Me too.” We’re standing close to each other. Our hips are almost touching. The tension is palpable and to my even greater surprise, I find myself saying, “Can I kiss you?” My voice is low and filled with desire. He looks down again, smiling shyly. His cheeks flush in pleasure as he gives a small nod. I take the half-step towards him that’s required to close the space between him. I lean in without touching his body, letting my lips gently brush his. I brush them again, a little harder this time. He parts his lips first. His tongue seeking mine. There’s something tentative and a little uncertain about this kiss. Something about it feels even newer than it should. It doesn’t take long before I feel as though I’m melting. When we pull away, I feel disoriented for a second. That was one hell of a kiss. “Wow.” He whispers, before giving me a little wave and heading up the stairs into his building. * “I’m vers,” I tell him, answering his question, the next time I see him, “but I usually top.” “I bottom exclusively. Is that going to be a problem for you?” I’m a little taken aback. It’s not ideal, but his eyes are open wider than usual, I can see that he’s a bit nervous to be having this conversation. He looks nervous and hopeful, and I can’t help thinking I see a little glint of desire. He really is very sweet. “Nah,” I say, and in that moment, I’m almost certain I mean it, “that won’t be a problem.” * Over the next few months, I’m struck time and time again by how different this feels. It feels so different to be falling for a guy, who’s falling for you at the same time. This time, I’m not the only one whose heart is pounding. I’m not the only one who feels excited when I see him. This time, I’m not the only one who hangs on his every word, trying to piece his life together and understand who and why he is the person he is. In a word, it feels amazing. The first time we have sex, we’ve talked about it first. We’ve planned it and thought about it. He lies on his side and I enter him from behind. His ass feels smooth and cool against my body. He reaches down and takes one cheek in his hand, lifting it. Spreading himself. Opening himself up to me. His body gives way softly, accepting me willingly. Moving with me. We have the same rhythm. The same speed and the same pace. Having sex with him feels different somehow. It lacks the slight feeling of violence that sex between men often has. There’s a gentleness about what we do, that I haven’t experienced before. It’s beautiful. It really is. *
  10. Jesse_H_Reign

    Chapter 2

    Ch 2 A Sucker for Punishment Turns out, Tyler was wrong. West doesn’t move on with his straight friends and forget all about me. In fact, he goes out of his way to stay in touch. We still go to gym together a few times each week, at his insistence, and he pops in at our place all the time. Just dropping by to hang out. The long and short of it is, I have enough distance from him now to miss him like crazy, but nowhere near enough to get close to getting over him. Honestly, I’m not sure if it’s better or worse. Every now and then, every few months, he stops by in the early hours of the morning. He calls me to let him in, so he doesn’t wake everyone else. He’s considerate like that. Every time, my stupid, stupid heart races. Maybe this time, it will be different. Maybe this time, it will stick. “She says it’s over.” He always says. He looks crestfallen and his eyes look a little red. The sight of him like this makes me wild. I can’t fucking stand Ashleigh. “Don’t say too much.” Tyler warns me. “This break-up won’t last, they never do.” I know he’s probably right. History has taught me that he is, but every time, my reckless heart hopes this time will be different. I hope against hope, this time, it will be over for good. “What difference does it make?” Asks Tyler. “Really, when you think about it, what difference does it make whether he’s with Ashleigh, or not? One thing’s for sure, either way, he’s not going to be with you.” “Thanks, a good kick in the guts from a friend, always helps.” “I am trying to help you. Sarah and I both are.” “I know.” I say, and I mean it. “I know you’re just trying to help. I’m trying, okay. It’s not like I’m not trying, I really am. I just can’t seem to shake this thing. I just can’t shake the feeling that there’s something there.” Tyler whistles, low through his teeth. “You really got a little problem where this guy is concerned. You know that?” I do know that. Thanks. It’s just that when West and I are together, I feel different. I feel connected. I’ve never felt like this about anyone else. I don’t want to feel like this. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love it if I could feel like this about one of the guys that I hook up with. I just don’t. I think about West constantly. Daydreaming all day, and all night. Yes, I imagine him naked and yes, I imagine fucking his ass to shreds, but more than that, I imagine really dumb shit, like him saying, “Can I kiss you?” to me. Oooph, that one, I play over and over in my mind. I imagine what he would look like when he says it. I imagine how low and hungry his voice would be. I imagine what I would do. I imagine every detail. I imagine the light in the room. I imagine the shadows on his face. Every gradation. Every distinction. I imagine it all. I doubt I’d be able to speak, so I’d probably just lean in and kiss him. I’d put one hand round his neck and one hand in his hair and I’d kiss him. I’d kiss him forever. I’d never let go. I also imagine a world, where I could reach over, and trace my finger along the scar on his face. He told me, he fell onto a rock, when he was five. He was lucky he didn’t hit his temple, or his eye. He could have been hurt badly. He told me that his mom picked him up and carried him inside, lifting him up and sitting him down on the kitchen counter while she tried to stop the bleeding. He got eighteen stitches. I imagine touching the scar that it’s left. I’d love to press my lips against it, but I’d settle for touching it. Just touching it with my fingertips. Lightly. Feeling the ridges it makes when he smiles. Learning it. Reading it, like a story written in braille. It’s pretty pathetic, really. Okay, it’s very, very pathetic. “Are you coming to my party on Saturday?” Tyler asks West, the next time he comes over. “Yeah, sure.” “You don’t have to come, West.” I say, “It’s going to be the gayest event of the whole year, so you don’t have to come.” “It’s a hat party.” Says Tyler, sounding a little triumphant. I shoot West a look, as if to say, “See.” I feel a little relieved that West won’t be there, as we get ready to head out. My outfit for the night is not what I usually wear. I’m usually a jeans and t-shirt kind of guy. I tend to wear my hair pulled back. It’s not that long, but I can twist it over into a man-bun now. Tyler has told me repeatedly that I need a haircut, but I like it this length, and I can’t say I’ve had any complaints from my conquests. Tonight though, is something quite different. I’m wearing all black. Sarah has smoked out my eyes with mascara and eyeliner. I’ve never worn make-up before. I usually hate anything like that, but this is for Tyler, and as I’m sure you can imagine, he had some pretty clear ideas on what he wanted Sarah and I to wear. I made the hat in the art department. It’s an abstract piece that looks a little like black smoke wafting up off the top of my head. I added black ostrich feathers, just for the hell of it. It’s very dramatic and though it’s not really me, I’m taken aback when I see myself in the mirror. It looks pretty cool. I look like a totally different person. “Oh, my Gawd!” Screams Tyler, when he sees me. “That’s not a hat, that’s a headpiece. It’s fucking fantastic.” He hugs me happily. He’s wearing an elaborate tux and top hat. “I’m telling you, Andy, aside from me, you are going to be the best-looking person there.” Sarah, rolls her eyes, “Thanks a lot.” She looks sensational. She’s wearing a clingy gold dress and a martini glass fascinator tucked into her raven hair. “Oh, you know you’re gorgeous, darling.” Tyler says, trying to placate her. “If Andy and I were straight, we’d be all over you.” “How lovely.” She says dryly. “When hell freezes over, I’ll have tons of great options. Lucky me.” We laugh and head out. The party is fun, and I confess, I’m on a bit of a bender. There’s nothing like feeling like someone else, to lower your inhibitions. I’m getting myself another drink, when I feel a tap on my shoulder. I spin around a little flamboyantly, still in character. My throat catches and goes so dry, I cough a little. It’s West. Fucking West is here. “Hey.” He says. I’m instantly embarrassed. Mortified. I don’t want him to see me like this. I shouldn’t have made this stupid hat and I shouldn’t have let Sarah do my make-up. I feel my cheeks grow hot, as I blush in discomfort. “Wow.” He says softly, eyeing me up and down. “I-it’s a Say Something Hat.” I stammer, as if that explains everything. He misses the To Wong Foo reference. It goes straight over his head, but his eyes smile a little. He places his hand on the small of my back, burning me, as he leans in close to my ear, so I can hear him above the music, “Well,” he says, looking up at me, “I like what it’s saying.” I’m dumbstruck. I feel like I’ve been hit by lightning. He doesn’t stay very long and I’m a little shaken by the fact that he’s seen me like this, but at the same time, my foolish, foolish heart has another pathetic, insignificant thing to replay in my mind over and over, despite the fact that by tomorrow, West probably won’t even remember saying it. * It’s almost the end of the year. West and Ashleigh are on another break. Their break-ups usually last for seven to ten, angst filled days. None of their break-ups have ever lasted more than two weeks. My phone rings in the middle of the night, I reach for it, squinting as I see the call is from West. I sit up quickly. “Hello.” “Is that Andy?” “Yes, who’s this?” “Andy, something’s happened to West, there was a fight. He’s asking for you. Can you come?” I fly out of the apartment and down to my car at breakneck speed. I’d barely heard the whole story before I hung up. I know where he is, so that’s good, at least. It’s not far, but I get there way quicker than usual. I find him sitting outside on the curb. A large group of his friends are gathered around him protectively. “What the hell happened?” I say when I get there. “Some guy was giving a girl shit and West asked him to stop. He waited until West looked away to take a swing. We jumped in as fast as we could, but he went straight down.” Says Mark, a friend of West’s. I look down at West. There’s blood pouring out of his nose and his eyes are bloodshot. “Andyyyyy.” He says cheerfully, looking very pleased to see me. “Jesus.” I say. “We wanted to take him to the ER, but he’s refusing. He just kept telling us to call you.” “Okay, thanks. I’ll take him.” I load him into the car and help him with his seatbelt. “I’m fine.” He says. “Well, you look like shit.” “Thanks.” He says, smiling at me. Blood has run down his face and into his mouth. His front teeth are stained red. Only West would be smiling, when he’s just had the shit kicked out of him. “I’m taking you to get checked out.” “Don’t be a dumbass. I’m fine.” “Luke said you went down. I think we should get you checked out.” “Of course, I went down, that dickhead hit me while I wasn’t looking. I was only out for a second. It’s no big deal.” I look at him as if he’s mad. “I’m telling you,” he says, “I’m fine. I used to get knocked out all the time when I played football. I’m fine.” We have quite an argument about it, but the long and short of it is, we land up heading back to my place. West has agreed to let Tyler check him out. Just to be clear, Tyler is not a medical professional of any sort, but he is a dedicated hypochondriac and seems to know a lot about medical matters. I don’t think this is a good plan, quite the opposite, in fact, but I go along with it anyway. By now, we all know, I can’t even come close to saying, “No,” to West. * “I think he’s fine.” Announces Tyler. To be honest, he looks a bit excited. He would never admit it, but he loves this type of thing. “I don’t think his nose is broken, but I’m going to give him a couple of these to help with the pain.” Tyler hands West two mystery tablets, which West swallows without any argument. “Those are pretty strong,” Tyler says to me out the corner of his mouth, “so just keep an eye on him.” “Uh, Ty, could you check out my hand, I landed on my wrist when I fell and it’s hurting.” Tyler pronounces the wrist sprained and gets to work wrapping it up in a bandage. He seems to know what he’s doing. He’s taken several first aid courses. Even though he’s concerned about West, I think it’s fair to say that this little medical emergency has made Tyler’s night. “Thanks, Ty.” Says West, as Tyler heads off to bed. It’s late and the decision has been made for West to sleep at our place, so I can keep an eye on him. “You need a shower.” I say. He looks at me sheepishly, shrugging a little, showing me his bandaged wrist apologetically. “Uh, I think I might need a little help.” “Sure.” I’m happy to help. Obviously, I am. In spite of everything. He’s my best friend. I want to help him. I hate that he’s hurt and I’m furious with the guy that did this to him. I can’t deny though, that the thought of helping him shower, immediately gets a reaction from me. Don’t be an asshole, I beg myself. Don’t think like that. We get to the bathroom and he tries to pull off his t-shirt, he gets it about halfway off, when he runs into trouble. “Let me.” I say, reaching down and helping, pulling the neck of his t-shirt open a little wider, so I can ease it over his face without hurting him. He goes for his belt, but he doesn’t get very far with just his left hand. I unbuckle his belt silently, unbuttoning his top button and unzipping his fly. My throat is bone dry. I’m glad that it seems more fitting to help him like this without talking. I’d hate to hear my voice right now. I pull off his shoes and socks and then push his jeans down past his hips and he does the rest, stepping out of them. He pushes his briefs down too and heads to the shower stark naked, without a shred of discomfort. I pull my t-shirt off. My shoes and socks, too, and head to the shower with my jeans on. I bring the plastic stool Sarah sits on when she does her make-up and set it down in the shower. I indicate for him to sit down on it, as I start the water running. “What the fuck?” He says, looking a little bemused, when I get into the shower with my jeans, “Don’t you trust me?” You’re not the one I don’t trust, I think. “Just shut up and get in.” He sits down, holding his injured wrist up and out of the water, to keep the bandage dry, letting his other hand settle over his crotch. It’s a decent sized shower, but right now, it feels very crowded. My cheeks are burning bright red. I’m relieved that it seems appropriate for me to stand behind him, spraying him carefully with the handheld shower nozzle. He was leaning his head back in the car on the drive here, to try to stem the bleeding. He has dried blood in his hair as a result. I tell him to lean his head back, as I rub shampoo in both my hands and start working it through his hair. His hair is silky. Silkier than I thought it would be. It’s so spiky, I thought it would be coarser. His skull feels warm and solid under my touch. I massage his temples and the back of his neck. Neither of us talk. I’ve never done anything like this for another person. I’m not sure if it’s just because it’s West, but in some ways, this feels more intimate than anything I’ve ever done with anyone else. I rub his head gently, rubbing my nails back and forth through the locks of hair that are stiff with his blood. When I’m sure that it’s all out, I put one hand over his forehead, shielding his eyes from the suds as I rinse his hair. He tilts his head back, arching his neck, closing his eyes. Water droplets collect on his long, black eyelashes. I swallow hard. He’s never looked more beautiful. I’ve never been closer to him. He’s naked. My hands are on him. The soap and the water are coursing over his body. Down his neck, over his pecs. Down his spine, forming little rivers down his ass. Though I willed myself not to, I tried not to look, I failed. I failed in every way. I’ve never looked at him more openly. I haven’t held back. He is impossibly hot. I’m so turned on, my dick hurts. My movements are sluggish. My jeans are wet and sticking to my body. I’m worried he’s going to see what I spend most of my time hiding from him. “Hey,” he says, “can you spray my face.” He tilts his face down into the water stream, breathing out and rubbing the skin around his nose roughly. He winces slightly. “Gently.” I say. He goes back under, rubbing much more carefully this time. “You missed a spot.” I scrape the stubborn spot of dried blood off his cheek with my nail. His eyes are drooping slightly. When he looks up at me, he has a slightly goofy expression on his face. Those tablets Tyler gave him must have kicked in. I raise the shower head to his face again, giving him time to close his eyes and breathe out before I let the water hit him. I spray the side of his face. I stroke his cheek with my thumb. Running my finger along his scar. Tracing the shape. Memorising everything minute detail. Trying my best to keep my mouth shut. Clenching my teeth. Trying my best, not to lean down and run my tongue up the side of his face. It isn’t easy. I want him so much, I’m shaking inside. There was no blood near his scar. I just couldn’t resist it. I just had to touch it. He looks up at me, smiling a little lopsidedly. “All done?” “Yep, you’re done. Get out. I’ll get you something to wear.” I drape a large towel around his back and shoulders. I want nothing more than to stand behind him and rub every inch of him dry. I would kill to run my hands over his body, even if I could only feel it through a towel. I can’t take anymore though. No matter how much of a masochist I might be when it comes to West, I can’t take anymore. I’m on the brink. I’m going to lose my mind, or I’m going to lose my self-control. Neither of those are very good options. I leave him to dry himself as I fetch a pair of my track pants for him. No zipper. No buttons. He should be able to handle this on his own. I hand them to him. He stands there helplessly, waiting for me to dress him. Shit. He’s definitely a little stoned from whatever those tablets were. I sigh and squat down to help him get the pants on. His dick is lolling around right near my face. Dangling tantalisingly close. He’s not trying to cover it now. His hands hang loosely at his sides. I try to keep my head turned away, but I’m shaking. I can hear my heart pounding. Pounding with such force, I can feel my pulse in my lips. His feet are big and he’s a bit clumsy right now, so I struggle a little to get the pants on. He rests his good hand on my shoulder for balance. It feels hot against my skin. Searing. I try not to shudder in pleasure. I try not to lean into his touch. At this point, I’m not entirely sure if I’m successful or not. “Thanks, Andy.” He says over and over. He collapses into my bed. We haven’t spoken about this. Usually, when he crashes at my place, he sleeps on the sofa. I’m not sure what to do. I don’t really want to leave him on his own, since he’s stoned on some sort of prescription medication and has almost certainly got a concussion. Reluctantly, I lie down next to him, careful to give him as much space as I possibly can. What kind of torture could possibly be worse than this? Being drawn and quartered? Probably, but right now, I’m in such severe pain, I’m convinced it would be a bit of a toss-up. I lie as still as I can. Watching him. He looks like he’s about to fall asleep, but before he does, he opens his eyes and looks at me. “I love you, Andy.” I sigh. “Oh, shut up.” “Huh?” He says, “I thought tonight was my night. I’ve been badly hurt, Andy. Everything aches. I thought tonight you’d say it back. I thought you would.” He’s mumbling and grinning like an inebriated fool. He’s quiet for a while but I know he’s very out of it, so I take my chance. I’ve been trying to get this out of him since I first met him, “West,” I whisper, “what’s your IQ?” “Nice try.” He laughs, trying to sit up and swat me. “Lie down. Don’t get up. Just go to sleep, okay?” “Okay.” His breathing slows and deepens. I take a deep breath, too. I need try to relax. I’m in a bad way. I can’t recall ever having been in a worse way, come to think of it. “Andy.” He says, a few minutes later, his eyes flying open with a sense of urgency. His speech is a little slurred now, “Thank you for having me.” I laugh, despite myself. In case you’re wondering why I can’t get over West, this is why. It’s things like this. I can’t get over him because he’s the best. Even beaten, drunk and on heavy painkillers, he’s the kind of guy who’s still polite. Even in this terrible state, he’s still cheerful. He’s still smiling, and he still remembers his manners. He’s the best. He just is. I lie there, dead still. Unmoving. I don’t move a muscle. I just use every ounce of my strength to focus on my breathing. Slowly. I tell myself. Slow and steady. In and out. Don’t move. Just lie still. Minutes tick by. Minutes turn into hours, for all I know. West sleeps deeply beside me. His breathing is slow and heavy. Don’t touch him. I tell myself. Don’t you dare touch him. I wouldn’t, okay? I’m not like that. I’d never touch anyone who didn’t want me to touch them. I just wouldn’t. I roll myself into a tight ball. I lie on my side, looking at him. I can see the outline of his face. He’s on his side, too. He’s facing me. His eyes are closed lightly, and his mouth is open ever so slightly, slack with sleep. I’m so aroused, my skin feels tight. It feels tight everywhere. It feels too tight to contain me. My heart feels so swollen and bruised, it feels too big for my ribcage. Everything hurts. Don’t touch him. Don’t you dare. And I don’t. I wouldn’t do that. I do raise my hand up though. I raise it up near his face. I don’t touch him, I swear it. I wouldn’t do that. I just hold my hand near his mouth and his nose, and I feel the air he expels on my skin. It’s soft and it’s warm. It feels like a light touch. The fact that I know it’s been inside him makes me feel wild. It makes me want to scream. Everything hurts. Everything hurts. There’s pain everywhere. The next day we wake up, or, should I say, he wakes up. I’m not sure what you’d call what I do. I hardly slept at all, so it’s hard to pinpoint if or when I wake up. I was up all night, alternating between making sure that West was okay and getting up to go and wank in the bathroom to the thought of what could have been in the shower. I can’t stop seeing him like that. Sitting there naked. His one hand covering his cock, but not covering all of it. Looking up at me, translucent, pale green eyes, peering through those dark lashes. The way his neck arched back when I rinsed his hair. The way the water ran down his back. The way the suds pooled around his perfect ass. I jerk off to the thought of him in the shower. I imagine him standing up and bracing himself against the tiled shower wall. Spreading his legs. Looking back at me with that little smile. The one he smiles, when he’s thinking something he shouldn’t be. The one that creases his scar extra deep. I remember the curve of his muscular ass. I remember the glorious feel of his skin. I don’t need to imagine that now. I remember it. Even as I stroke myself, I’m aware that the pain of this memory is going to haunt me forever. It’s so much worse to remember something like this. To know. To know how he feels and to know, this is all I’m ever going to have. This is the closest I’ll ever get and now I know, he felt better than I could ever have imagined. His skin was smooth and warm. It was velvet. My dick was so hard in the shower. His body was so warm and so relaxed from the booze and the meds. It wouldn’t have taken much. I probably would have been able to get inside him without too much trouble. I could have soaped up my dick and just given it to him. I could have been quick. It could have been over before he even knew what had hit him. I imagine the sound he would have made. Like the sound he made, that first time with Ashleigh. Better though. I imagine he’d have made an even better sound, because it would be him and me. The way we were meant to be. Shit. I’m getting hard again. I don’t like myself for thinking like this. I don’t like myself one little bit. I need to get it together. He’s still here. We haven’t even had coffee. He has a serious black eye, and his nose looks a little swollen. It’s not his best look, but he’s still beautiful to me. I’ve never loved anyone more. I’ll never love anyone more. I won’t even come close. I’ll never, ever do this to myself again. “Coffee?” I say. “Sure, but just a quick one. Ash is on her way to get me.” My heart stops, “That’s nice of her.” This break-up only lasted three days. A new record for them. I smile thinly as my blood runs cold. “Are you okay?” Tyler asks when West leaves. I give him a look. I’m not sure what I could say, that would accurately describe how un-okay I am. Every part my body aches. Every single cell is screaming in pain. “How long are you going to keep doing this to yourself?” “Dunno.” I say, suddenly angry. Furious, even. “I do not know. Okay? I guess, I’ll just keep doing it until it stops being such fun. I guess, I’ll just keep doing it until I can’t take the pain anymore.” I’m speaking a little too loudly. Tyler looks away quickly, before saying, “I guess, he’s just your kryptonite, huh?” “I think he flirts with you.” Sarah says quietly. “Sarah!” Exclaims Tyler, “For God’s sake don’t say things like that to him.” *
  11. Jesse_H_Reign

    Chapter 1

    Ugh, I think, the first time I lay eyes on him. Shit. I know immediately that I was right, and my parents were wrong. They were very wrong. I shouldn’t have agreed to live in a dorm. I knew it. I should have fought harder. I should have insisted on moving into the apartment with Tyler and Sarah. One look at this guy, is all I need to know that this is going to be an absolute nightmare. My worst nightmare. I can tell on sight that he’s a jock. The complete and utter definition of the word. A football player, if his broad shoulders and musculature is anything to go on – the worst of the worst. A good-looking jock, at that. That’s going to make it worse. No doubt whatsoever, he’s going to be right up his own ass. No doubt, he’s going to be up to his eyeballs in pussy. I can tell just by looking at him that he’s going to be over-confident naked. He’ll almost certainly be the type, who gets a kick out of air drying and sitting around shirtless, all day. Before he even opens his mouth, I’m willing to bet, he’s here on a sports scholarship. He’s probably thick as pig shit, and I’m going to be stuck in a small room with him for the next year. Hot fury boils up inside me. I knew this wasn’t for me. I should have ignored my parent’s insistence that, “You make friends for life, living in dorms.” He’s carrying a large box under his arm and is dragging a massive duffle bag behind him, holding the door open with his foot. He staggers in, dropping the box on the empty bed, opposite mine. “Hi,” he says, turning to me, smiling broadly “I’m West Baxter. I guess we’re going to be roommates. Ugh, I think again, trying not to roll my eyes, West? Is he for real? What the fuck kind of name is West? I stand to greet him, putting my hand out. “Andy Montgomery.” I say, shaking his hand. His handshake is firm. Self-assured. He flashes me a killer smile. Shit. He’s good-looking alright. Very good-looking. Symmetrical face, perfectly spaced eyes, nose and mouth. There’s a neatness about the way his features have been arranged, that only occurs as a result of impeccable bone structure. His hair is brown, short and spiky, as prescribed in the jock handbook, but he has very dark eyebrows and eyelashes. Almost black. Unusual colouring, given his eyes are such a light green. Almost translucent. Olive green, titanium and a hint of oxide of chromium, I think. Before you get any ideas, it’s not like that. I’m an art major, specialising in portraiture. I analyse every face I see. It doesn’t mean anything. I just happen to like faces. And this face? Well, this is a good face. It’s pretty close to perfect, actually. The only thing that stops it from being a complete work of art, is a deep, faded scar on his left cheek, it’s forms an upsidedown v-shape, right near the corner of his eye. He gets to work unpacking his things. He makes small talk the entire time, hurling a rapid fire of questions at me, almost faster than I can answer them. “Where are you from?” “What are you studying?” “What do you like doing for fun?” I can’t tell if he’s talking so much because he’s nervous, or whether he just likes the sound of his own voice, but I’m pretty sure there’s no way he’s going to remember all of my answers. Still, it seems rude not to ask anything about him, so I do. I find out that he’s from New Haven, and yes, he likes pizza and grilled cheese. Unsurprisingly, I was correct, he is here on a scholarship. I knew it, I think smugly. “Football, huh?” I ask. He shoots me a look, casting his eyes down briefly, before looking at me almost apologetically, saying, “Nah, academic scholarship.” Despite myself, I sit up a little straighter. It’s almost impossible to get into this place, even if you’re a legacy placement. Sports scholarships are one thing, but academic scholarships are almost unheard of. “What are you studying?” I ask, the first inkling that I may have misjudged him, raising its head slowly. “Pure maths.” He says, again, looking ever so slightly apologetic about it. “What?” I say, genuinely surprised and unable to hide it, “Are you some kind of genius, or something?” He laughs a little, and I can’t help noticing a quick dent forming in his cheek, as a single dimple dips in his cheek. I also can’t help noticing, that he didn’t answer my question. He tells me that he deferred for a couple of years, and I tell him I did the same. “I guess that’s why they placed us together.” He says. “We’re a couple of years older than the kids who just graduated high school.” “Where did you go for your gap year?” I ask. “Uh, no, I stayed home. Just worked, you know, saved some money. Even with the scholarship, I knew I’d need to have some savings to get by.” Guilt instantly stabs in my side. I’m here on a free ride, too, but mine’s courtesy of Linda and Stanley Montgomery, my parents. I spent my first gap year teaching English in Korea, and then spent the next year travelling through Eastern Europe. When I ran out of money, my parents were quick to make a transfer. They didn’t even have any questions. They were happy to do it. “You got a girlfriend?” He asks. “Nope.” “Want to come prowling for pussy tonight?” “Ah, no thanks.” I say. I usually don’t enjoy telling people I’m gay. Something about it just feels a little awkward. It’s not that I’m ashamed, it’s just a little personal, you know. Right now, though, I’m actually looking forward to telling him. Maybe, he’ll be a homophobe. I’m pretty sure that if he is, I’ll be able to request a new roommate. I might even be able to swing getting my own room. “I’m gay.” I study his face intently as I say it. I’m well enough versed in spotting prejudice, that I can recognise even the smallest hint of it. It turns out, he doesn’t skip a beat. Not one. Not even a second. “Oh,” he says simply, “in that case, d’you want to come cruising for cock?” I must do a double take, because he adds, as if to clarify, “Or, trawling for ass?” I’m absolutely positive I do a double take at that. I can feel my jaw drop open slightly. He just smiles and shrugs, “Whatever you prefer.” Okay, I think, fine. So, he’s not homophobic. So what? He’s still a complete nightmare, that’s for sure. Against my better judgement, I do go out with him that night. He heard about a party nearby and thinks we should check it out. I text Tyler and Sarah to let them know where I’ll be. Tyler’s eyes stand out on stalks when he sees West, “Holy shit,” he whispers, “that’s your roommate?” “I know,” I say, smiling thinly, “lucky me, huh?” “I’ll say.” “I mean,” I clarify, “he’s a complete jock. My worst fucking nightmare.” Tyler raises his eyebrows at me sarcastically, “If I rightly recall, and I think that I do, it wasn’t too long ago, when you would have been classified as a total jock, too.” “Yeah,” I admit begrudgingly, “but I changed.” “Yes, you changed. You changed for the better, and I take full credit for that.” He looks terribly pleased with himself. He’s not wrong. Tyler and I went to school together. We ran in completely different circles for most of high school. He’s right, there was a time when I could have passed for a jock. I played football, if you can believe that. I hated it. I always did, but I played for my father. Running out onto the field, was one of a very small handful of times, I ever felt sure my dad was proud of me. I almost kept it up too, but I just couldn’t. In Senior year, it all came bubbling to the surface. I spotted Tyler in library one day and cornered him. He’s five foot eight in his shoes and has incredibly well coiffed, flaming red hair, Raw sienna, Indian red and streaks cadmium orange. Tyler’s the type of guy who never had to come out. For him and for everyone around him, that fact that he’s gay, was just assumed and accepted. “That’s the beauty of being a screaming queen, darling.” He likes to say. It was different for me. Nobody knew. I spent years hiding my secret. Trying to date girls, but unable to stay away from the right type of guy. It got me into trouble, when it finally caught up with me. A guy I’d been hooking up with, turned on me and started threatening to out me. That’s why I sought Tyler out. I didn’t know him from a bar of soap, but I had no idea who else to talk to about this. “Can I talk to you about something?” I asked, noticing the slow look of surprise on his face. “Sure.” He said cautiously. I told him my story quickly, “I’m gay and some guy’s trying to out me. I don’t know what to do.” He took a long breath in. “I’m sorry this is happening to you.” From the way that he said it, I could tell he really, really meant it. “This should be something you do on your own terms.” “You have two options,” he continued, “you could deny it. Most people would believe you. There aren’t any rumours about you or anything like that. Only the most advanced gaydar would flicker for you.” He pointed to himself. Tyler loves to say that he has the most finely tuned gaydar in the whole country. “Or you can get in front of it and come out before he does it for you.” My shoulders dropped and I closed my eyes, sighing deeply, “I can’t deny it forever.” So that was it. My hand was forced. It was hard. It wasn’t ideal, but in retrospect, I’m glad that it happened. For all I know, I’d still be in the closet, if it hadn’t. I quit the football team, causing a big raucous with the coach and my father. I’d always loved drawing and painting, but for the last few months of my high school career, I pretty much just stayed in my room and worked on my portfolio. The only people I hung out with were Tyler, and his best friend, Sarah. I think my parents were relieved when I decided to take some time off to travel. I’ll bet our house was a lighter, happier place without my dark mood weighing the atmosphere down. “He doesn’t seem too bad to me,” says Tyler, indicating to West, “give him a chance, he might surprise you.” I confess, he does surprise me a little, that first night. I watch him, as he works the room, coming back to me periodically, to introduce me to people. He seems to know everyone. He moves through the room with easy grace, causing a little ripple as he moves through it. Guys seem delighted to see him, like he’s an old friend, and girls are dripping off him like sweat. “How do you know all these people?” I ask him as we top up our drinks. “I don’t,” he says, “I just met them. Hey, are you almost ready to head home?” “Sure.” I say. “Okay, let’s have one more drink and then go.” I let my hair loose a little then. I might even have danced a little with Sarah, and if you know me at all, you’d know that doesn’t happen very often. West comes to find me after a while and we take off, walking down the dimly lit street together. “Looks like you got round to having some fun, at the end there.” He says. “Yeah,” I admit, “I always seem to have the best time, once I know that I’m going to be leaving soon.” He looks at me in something resembling incredulity, “Really? That’s weird. I feel like that too. Knowing I have a way out, makes me feel relaxed.” He smiles at me curiously, “You’re the first person I’ve met who feels the same way.” “What happened with that girl?” I ask, “The blonde one? She was all over you.” “She was cute,” he says, “but I realised I haven’t spoken to you about how you feel about me bringing girls home.” I confess, I’m startled by that. That’s not what I’d expect from some straight guy, who looked like he had a sure thing on his hands. This is considerate. Very considerate. I can’t be completely sure, that if I was in his position, I’d have done the same thing. “Uh, yeah, no, I’m fine with it. It’s no problem. I’m a really deep sleeper.” I lie. “Okay, cool.” He smiles. That night might have been the first time he surprised me, but it wasn’t the last. Far from it. In fact, the more I get to know him, the more he surprises me. As a roommate, he turns out to be pretty great. It’s not one big thing that he does, but it’s lots of little things. For example, when he cleans his desk, he does my side too, without asking, he just lifts my coffee mug and wipes the surface down while I sit there with my hands in the air, clearing space for him. He doesn’t talk about it. It’s no big deal to him. It’s as if, he just assumes that everyone would do this type of thing. When I mention that I like the chocolate brownies in the canteen, he tells me he doesn’t like them, but from then on, whenever we’ve been served brownies, I find his brownie wrapped in clingfilm, in the bar fridge we share. He brings it for me. He never forgets. The other day, I was running late for class, so I when I got my clothes out of the dryer, I just left them crumpled in my hamper, and dashed off. When I got back later, I found my clothes folded neatly. “Uh, thanks.” I say, when I see it. “No prob,” he shrugs, “they were going to be creased as shit.” I feel a little funny about the thought of him touching my underwear, but I quickly stamp out that thought. Don’t be silly, I tell myself. One thing I was right about though, is his comfort level with nudity. He’s more than happy to stand around, dabbing himself dry with a towel, while he talks to me. I make damned sure, I keep my eyes down, but it’s hard to avoid altogether. I admit, I’m not always able to resist a peak, when he has his back turned. His body is amazing. I don’t say that lightly. I say that as someone currently enrolled in a course called ‘Human Anatomy’. You can tell at a glance, that he’s very athletic. Naturally so. Sure, he works out quite a bit, but his body would be good, even if he didn’t. His arms are insanely defined. Denting and bulging in all the right places. His pecs are unreal too. Larger than average, even for his size. His belly is taught. Tight. I try not to look at his ass. I really, really do. I mean it. I don’t want to be disrespectful. I try not to look at his dick either. I do my best, but I’m not always successful. It’s just that it’s so hard to miss. Even when he’s in his boxers, the outline is massive. The bulge is so large, you’d have to be blind not to see it. I’ve taken to turning my whole body, when he gets dressed or undressed. It’s not that I don’t trust myself. It’s just that I don’t want to make him uncomfortable. Mind you, if I really thought it through, I’d realise that it would take a hell of a lot to make West feel uncomfortable nude. He seems so comfortable in his own skin; I almost envy him. He seems very comfortable with his sexuality too. I definitely envy him that. He’s so comfortable, in fact, that I’ve walked in on him wanking several times. Each time, he just looks up with a big, goofy grin, shoving his dick slowly back in his pants. “Sorry.” He says lightly. He says it as if it’s no big deal at all. He says it as if, it’s completely natural. I guess that it is, but you know what I mean. I was also right about the fact that he was going to be a chick magnate. He really, really is. He’s drowning in it. He has girls coming out of his ears. Literally. The way that he is with them, is not what I expected though. He’s not what my female friends have led me to understand is normal for a straight guy. He brings a lot of girls back to our place. “Shhh,” he always whispers, “my roommate’s asleep. I don’t want to wake him.” I really wish I hadn’t told him I was a deep sleeper. I’m not. I’m the lightest sleeper you could ever wish to meet. Thanks to that, I find myself awake night after night, listening to him fucking girls in a way that, by the sounds of it, is nothing short of transcendent. He’s a giver, alright. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you how I know that. He’s also a talker. I know that because I can’t help over-hearing every single, solitary word he says to the girls he brings home. He seems to know just what they want to hear. He always starts by asking for consent. The thing is, there’s something about the way that he does it. There’s something about the way that he says it, that seems to cause a little pit to form in my belly. “Can I kiss you?” He says, his voice low and hoarse. Even in the pitch dark, I can hear his desire. It’s thick in his voice. I can hear the way the girls respond too. They love it. They eat it up. Some of them actually squeal a little, when they say, “Yes.” He knows his way around a woman’s body. He takes his time. He talks the whole time, asking them what they like, what feels good, what they want. Believe me, it doesn’t take long before they start telling him. Even the shy ones do. They tell him and tell him, and he gives it to them. He gives it to them, alright. No doubt about that. My nights are tortured by the sound of girls getting what they want. High-pitched, desperate, cries ring in my ears, night after night, for what feels like hours each time. I don’t begrudge him. We’re becoming friends now, and I want him to have fun. Of course, I do. I just hate hearing it. I hate it. It’s probably just because I’ve never been the biggest fan of straight sex. That’s all it is. I’m pretty sure, that’s all it is. * “He hardly works at all.” I tell Tyler. “I’m telling you. He hardly works at all and yet he’s top of his class. Can you believe that?” Tyler nods his head, looking a little bored. I wonder dimly, if I’ve already told him about this. “He says that for him, it’s not hard. He says that to him, numbers just makes sense.” “What are we talking about?” Asks Sarah, walking into the room and flopping down on the sofa beside me. “Oh,” says Tyler, “nothing much. Andy here, was just telling me about the massive crush he has on his straight roommate.” “W-what?” I splutter. Sarah and Tyler give each other a quick, knowing look. “I do not.” I try again, but even as I say it, I get that slow, sick feeling, one tends to get, when one realises something, a little too late. Sarah presses her lips together sympathetically, patting my shoulder supportively. “It’s alright, darling,” says Tyler, “there’s no gay guy alive who hasn’t been there. Just keep a lid on it and don’t let it get out of hand. No good can come of it, I promise you that.” * Despite this little set back, West and I quickly become friends. Real friends. Soon, we’re inseparable. We have the same sense of humour. We both have an over-developed sense of the ridiculous. We often find ourselves laughing to the point of tears, at things that other people don’t even find funny at all. He doesn’t take himself seriously in any way, whereas I have a tendency to take myself way too seriously. He finds it hard to say no, when people ask him to do things for them. The first word I ever said, was, “No.” I guess, we balance each other out. Despite his nocturnal adventures, which always leave me feeling a bit queasy, I find it really easy to be around him. That’s saying something for me. I’ve always preferred my own company, to the company of anyone else, but West is different. He seems to know when I need time on my own. He seems to understand when I need to sit quietly, and think, with no talking. He always seems happy to give me what I need. * “Okay,” he says, lying back on his bed, “I’ve got one.” These little games are something we do when we’re bored. It’s pretty dumb, but we enjoy it, “Start a fight in ten words or less.” I laugh, this is too easy. By now, I know him so well, I can push his buttons in way less than ten words. “It’s jif, not gif.” I say, keeping my facial expression serious and neutral. I see him blinking his eyes, trying not to groan. “The sauce makes the steak.” He says, matching my expression. I bite my tongue for a second, but I can’t keep it in. I’ve seen this guy put ketchup on steak, for God’s sake! “West!” I exclaim, “One day, you’re going to be some big, hot-shot, doing business in Tokyo and you’re going to put ketchup on your wagyu. Let me tell you, my friend, that is going to bring shame upon your family. Deep shame. You mark my words.” He giggles a little. “One point for me.” “Fine,” I say, bringing out the big guns, “guac should cost extra.” He gives me a look and a thin smile. He hates that I’ve said it, but not enough to argue about it. I must have touched a nerve though, because he pulls out all the stops with the next one. “Broke Back Mountain is the most over-rated movie ever made.” “What the fuck!?” I exclaim, “are you mad? Firstly, that’s eleven words, not ten. Secondly, that film is a cinematographic masterpiece.” “Actually, ‘over-rated’ is one word, so, that was ten words, and I win!” He says gleefully. I leap up and jump onto his bed, wrestling him down and jabbing him in the side a little, until he’s laughing helplessly. “Fine,” he laughs, “I take it back, I take it back!” I keep tickling him. I love to see him laugh. I can’t help it. I usually try to do my damnedest to not to touch him unnecessarily, but now, I’ve lost my concentration for a second, and I’ve got away from myself. His abs are knotted and hard under my touch. I can feel them contracting and tensing. I quickly stop, jumping back, giving him some space. I check his face, to see if I’ve crossed a line, but I see no cause for concern in his eyes. “I’m only kidding,” he laughs helplessly, “I haven’t even seen that movie.” “Are you kidding me?” I look at him incredulously. He shakes his head. “Well,” I say, standing up and flicking the TV on. “We’re going to rectify that right now!” I draw the curtains and find and pay for the movie, while he gets up and makes us a batch of popcorn. We watch the movie in silence, sitting together on his bed, leaning on our pillows against the wall. It’s the closest thing we have to a sofa in our room. The movie gives me plenty of time to reflect. I see immediately that I let myself go a little, back there. I don’t know what the hell I was thinking, tickling him like that. I also don’t know what the hell I was thinking, making him watch this movie with me. The subject matter is entirely inappropriate to watch with a straight guy I have a huge crush on. Completely inappropriate. I sit there in agony, for most of the movie. It’s a long movie, believe me. I’m relieved when it finally ends. This is the first time I’ve ever watched it without being moved to tears. Maybe it’s because I’ve watched it so many times, or maybe, it’s because sitting there, watching it with him, all I could think about was how close his body was to me. His shoulder was inches away from mine. I could feel his heat closing the space between us, setting me alight, burning me, without him even touching me. I look over at him when the credits roll. He’s sitting there, looking a little stunned. He wipes his eyes on the back of his hand, first one, then the other. His eyes are red and watery. It’s the first time in a very long time, I’ve been close enough to someone, to see them cry. He doesn’t speak for a long time. When he does, he says, “Holy shit, that was intense. It was brilliant, I’ll give you that. I thought it was just some gay movie, I had no idea it was so sad. My God.” “Sorry. I guess, I should have warned you.” “Why do you love it so much? It’s so, so sad.” I’ve told him many times, that I think it’s one of the best movies ever made. “That’s part of what makes it so good,” I say quietly, “it’s a reminder that fifty years ago, that’s what life was like for people like me. It’s a reminder that in many countries, that’s what life is still like for guys like me.” “Jesus,” he says, “that’s sobering.” He looks me up and down and says gently, “I’m glad life’s not like that for you anymore.” If only you knew, I think, it might be 2011, but I’m sitting here right now, starring in my very own tragic love story. I didn’t know it then, but years later, I’d look back, thinking of this moment, realising that it was the very first time I let myself admit that my thing for West, was more than a harmless crush. * My feelings for West seem to be getting worse. They’re are gaining strength. They’re starting to hurt. They’re starting to twist inside me, strangling me, making it hard for me to breathe when he’s near me. It’s started to hurt even more, when he’s not near me. I find it hard to sleep on nights when he stays over at a girl’s place. I try to sleep, but usually, I find myself tossing and turning, until I hear his key in the door in the early hours of the morning. I’m trying to block these feelings out. Honestly, I’m doing my best, and the best way I know to do that, is to hit Grindr, and to hit it hard. So, that’s what I do. I find myself standing outside the disabled toilets on the third floor of the library, waiting for a guy named 69cockscker69. His profile didn’t mince words, he is a man who likes sucking cock. Say what you like about the lack of originality of his username, one thing’s for sure, his branding is clear. I see him approaching. His message said he was blonde and wearing jeans and a red t-shirt. He moves towards me a bit sheepishly. I nod slowly, opening the door, going in and holding it open for him. He’s cute, in that boy-next-door kind of way. His body looks good. Even in his clothes, I can tell that it’s tight. He’s not overly big or muscular, but he looks like the type who would be agile. He looks like the kind of guy who might rock climb as a hobby, or something like that. He has dark brown eyes and muddy blonde hair. He has an easy, cheeky grin. The first time I see him, one thing is abundantly clear. This guy is naughty. There’s really no other word for it. I can just see it about him. I bet, he got sent out of class more than anyone else in his year. His eyes seem to dance with glee. On sight, I’m excited. He looks like a good time and that’s just what I need. He doesn’t waste any time, he gets straight to it, unbuckling my belt and unzipping my fly, sinking down to his knees, as he sets my cock free. His eyes light up in delight, when he sees what I’ve got in my pants. “Mmh,” he says, taking my head into his mouth. His profile said that he deepthroats, and I can’t lie, that intrigues me. I’m half expecting it to be an exaggeration, but within a few seconds, I can tell that it isn’t. He circles my tip with his tongue. Slowly. Over and over, until I’m wet and wanting. He licks up and down my shaft, before taking me into his mouth. I let out a long, content sigh. He comes up for a little air. “Don’t start thrusting until you are in past my gag reflex, okay?” He says. I nod quickly. He sinks down on me again. This time, he takes a little more. He bobs his head up and down on me a few times, before opening his throat and taking all of me in. Holy fuck! I gasp in amazement, as his nose makes contact with my pubes. Jesus. He’s taken all of me. No-one else has ever come close. “Aaargh.” I moan, as he starts undulating his tongue, massaging and stimulating my dick in a way I’ve never felt before. He takes my hands and puts them behind his head. His profile said he likes being skull fucked. Who am I to refuse? I’d hate to be rude. My hips start thrusting almost at once. Almost involuntarily. I hold him in place and fuck his mouth with such vigour, I hardly notice him unzipping and taking himself in hand. He starts jerking himself off in earnest, as I start clenching and quickening. My hips and ass spasm, as I spurt my whole load down his throat. He comes like a fountain, not long after. Spraying his cream all over the bathroom floor, narrowly missing my shoes. “Holy shit.” I say over and over, as I sit down heavily on the closed toilet seat behind me. My legs feel weak and my head spins for a moment, as I take a second to recover. He’s sucked me dry completely, so all I need to do is zip myself up, to make myself look respectable. His situation, on the other hand, is something quite different. His eyes have watered so much, his face is tear stained, and his mess has formed a puddle at my feet. I tear off a long piece of toilet paper, handing it to him silently. He wipes his eyes and mouth quickly, before mopping himself off the floor. He tosses the paper into the bin and zips up quickly, heading to the door and unlocking it, looking back for a second, giving me a look and a smile, that is nothing short of pure mischief. Well, damn, I think to myself, as he leaves. * “I love you.” West says, hanging up the phone. He’s been on a call to his mom. He calls her all the time. They seem to talk about everything. He’s always affectionate to her and he’s never the slightest bit embarrassed about it. I can’t help noticing that his calls to his mom couldn’t be more different to the slightly stiff, stilted weekly calls I makes to my parents. “What’s the story with your dad?” I ask. By now, it’s not an insensitive or an invasive question. By now, we ask each other stuff like this all the time. “Uh, no dad.” He says after a quick pause. “What do you mean,” I ask, “don’t you have a dad?” He looks at me patiently, “Of course I have a dad, dumbass. I just don’t know who he is.” “Jesus.” I had no idea. “What’s that been like for you?” He looks at me plainly. He’s comfortable talking about things that most guys aren’t. “It’s fucked me up a bit, to be honest. At certain points in my life, it’s been harder than others. But, you know what? I got the best mom ever. She’s a better parent then most people get if they roll both their parents together. I consider myself lucky.” I nod slowly. His mom does sound amazing. He talks about her a lot. He says she’s out of control. He says she’s the best type of crazy. Knowing him as I know him now, I’m inclined to believe him. That night, West goes out without me. He does that sometimes, I’m not nearly as much of a party animal as he is. Even though he’s the popular one, he always asks me to go, for some reason, he seems to prefer having me with him. Tonight, I’ve refused. “We can’t all be gifted like you.” I tell him, “Some of us actually have to work.” I have quiet night in. I got quite a lot of work done and have been reading in bed for a while, when I get a message from him: Were are you? Can you come get me. I’n too drunk. I sigh deeply. The spelling and grammar errors in the message tell me everything I need to know about his state. Every once in a while, this happens. Everyone loves him. Lots of people want to buy drinks for him. Sometimes, he loses track and gets a bit drunker than he should. I get up and head out, going to find him. If anyone else did this, I think, I’d be mad. But because it’s him, I don’t mind. I really don’t mind. I get to the party and start looking for West. It’s not all that easy to find him, this party is wild. Everyone’s drunk. Sloppy drunk. A wasted girl approaches, tottering over to me, “Wow,” she murmurs, “you’re hot.” She runs her hands up my chest. I catch her wrists and move her hands off me. “Can I get you a drink?” She asks, trying to reach for me again. I duck out of her way. “Sorry,” I say, “I’m gay.” “You’re gay?” She wails. “No fair. You’re so hot.” I smile tolerantly at her. “You know what I think,” she slurs, “I think you should come home with me tonight and I’ll show you that maybe you’re just bi.” “No thanks,” I say firmly, “definitely not. I’ve tried being with girls, and I assure you, it’s, well, it’s not to my taste.” That seems to get rid of her, so I find West quickly and get the hell out of there. He could easily have left on his own, but once he’s had a certain amount to drink, he just can’t seem to get himself out of trouble. We walk down the deserted street together. It’s past midnight and the night has taken on that eery, moonlit feeling. He’s staggering a little, so I drape his arm over my shoulder and help him walk in a straight line. I try not to think how good it feels to have his arm around me, I swear I do. I try not to notice, how warm his body is, or how strong he feels, but I just can’t quite seem to manage. Tonight, my senses seem heightened. Even more heightened, that is. Recently, it feels like I’ve developed a radar, that works just for him. I seem more in tune with his moods. I seem to know what he’s thinking. Maybe I’m kidding myself, but sometimes I feel like I know what he wants, or he needs, before he knows it himself. “I love you, Andy.” He slurs, smiling like a drunken idiot. “Shut up.” “I love you.” He says again, “One of these days, you’re going to say it back. I know it. You’ll see.” This is not unusual. He’s an affectionate guy sober, but drunk, he’s even more so. This declaration is nothing to get excited about, he says it all the time when he’s been drinking. He says it, even when he hasn’t been drinking. I bet, he says it to everyone. “You’re my besht friend, d’you know that?” “Uh huh,” I sigh, “you have mentioned that once or twice.” “Am I your besht friend, too?” He asks, his head bobbing around on his shoulders unsteadily. “Yes.” I say begrudgingly, and as I say it, I realise, I mean it. I really mean it. He stops dead in his tracks, his arms hanging limply at his sides. My subtle nudges do nothing to move him along. “Tell me this then,” he says, pointing a little too close to my face, “if I’m your besht friend, then why are you so mean to me.” I roll my eyes. “Don’t be daft, I’m not mean to you.” “You are too.” He says, looking very sad suddenly. “You are so mean to me.” Fine, I think, I’ll play along. “When have I ever been mean to you?” “You’re mean to me all the time,” he slurs, “so, so mean…I tell you everything. And you,” he says pointing up in my face again, “you tell me nothing.” “That’s not true. I tell you lots of things.” I say, though I’m a bit intrigued to see what he’s getting at, and more than a little perplexed, as to why he might think something like this. “You don’t.” He says, shaking his head sadly. “You just don’t. You don’t tell me anything real.” “Fine,” I say, “what do you want to know?” I feel pretty confident that I’m safe to play this game with him tonight. Given the state of him, I’m almost certain he won’t remember much of this, in the morning. He looks at me intently, taking me by the shoulders and making me look back at him. “I want to know why your eyes are always so sad.” He says, his voice trailing off a little at the end of the sentence. My heart lurches. What the hell is he talking about? “M-my eyes aren’t sad.” I stammer, shocked and alarmed that he’s noticed. If my eyes are sad, it’s only because I’m crazy about a guy, I’ll never have. “You see!” He exclaims, as if it’s a victory, “that’s what I’m talking about. You never tell me anything, Andy Montgomery.” * “I was right about you, you know.” He says, one afternoon at the start of the second semester. “Hmm?” I say absently. I’m drawing his hands. He’s posing for me, as he sometimes does. He has his hands cradled in his lap. His hands are beautiful. They’re big. His palms are thick and solid, but his fingers are slender with long nail beds. I’m doing my best to look at his hands. His hands only. The sketch I’m trying to finish is due for tomorrow. Stay focussed, I tell myself. “I knew you’d be cool, when I met you. I thought you’d be all worldly and cool, and I was right.” I smile to myself, when I think how completely wrong, I was about him. “What about you? What was your first impression of me?” I stifle a smile. “Well, to be honest, the very first thing I thought when I saw you, was “Ugh”.” “Ugh?” He says in disbelief. “Fucking, “ugh”? Are you for real?” I’m laughing now, I can’t help it. “I was wrong ok? I thought you were nothing more than a dumb jock, but I was wrong.” He looks at me in amazement. A smile slowly takes over his face. It’s a beautiful thing to see. It starts in his eyes, flickering quickly, lighting up, burning bright green, before moving down his face. His eyes crinkle at the corners, especially the side with the scar. The scar creases deeply when he smiles, sending deep lines down one side of his face. His lips split open at some point, parting softly, giving me a gleaming, snow-white constellation. I swear, when he smiles like that, I can’t help but think of fireworks going off against a pitch-black, night sky. * A few weeks later, he gets back after going home for the week-end. He drops his bag on his bed and starts to unpack, as he does so, he pulls something out. “I got something for you.” He says, tossing a novelty cap to me. I turn it over and chuckle as I see it has the word, “Ugh” embroidered on the front. I love it. Despite myself, I really do love it. It’s exactly my type of humour. The small, idiotic part of me that hopes, despite how utterly ridiculous it is to hope, is quietly thrilled. I pull the cap on and check myself out in the mirror, turning around and showing him. “Looks good.” He smiles. I ask him about his week-end. I know he was a little nervous going back. He hadn’t seen his ex-girlfriend for six months or so, and this week-end, they had plans to meet up. He doesn’t give me details, we seem to get distracted talking about other things, but a bit later, we’re just kicking back in the room, feeling a little bored. “Okay,” I say, “Tell me a story in twelve words or less.” He thinks for a second, before saying, “When I saw her, I realised my feelings have changed.” “Really?” I say, cocking my head at him a little. I’m very relieved. It’s stupid, I know, but I hated thinking he was still hung up on his ex. “Yeah.” He says, “I’m glad that I saw her, and I wish her well, but I just don’t feel the way I used to. It’s weird how things like that can change with time.” It’s my turn. I’m feeling a little out there this evening. I was at Tyler and Sarah’s place this afternoon and I had a few drinks with them. I’m not sure my judgement is one hundred percent. “I thought I saw fireworks once, but it was just a smile.” He smiles. “That sounds good, but it’s too cryptic. You have to go again.” Fine, I think, I’ll give you something less cryptic. “It hurt at first,” I say, not fully thinking through what I’m saying, “but then it felt good.” I’m a little taken aback by what I’ve said. I shouldn’t have had those drinks. I hardly ever drink when I know I’m going to be alone with West. I just don’t feel like I can risk it. God, I hope he won’t get it. He smiles again. A slow smile. “Yeah, yeah,” he says, “that describes just about everyone’s first time getting their ass ploughed. I swallow hard. I feel a bit flustered and warm. I shouldn’t have said that. What was I thinking? He’s looking at me hard, trying to read me. The question is clear in his face. I roll my eyes hard. “Fuck,” I say, “just ask it already.” I know the question he wants to ask. For some reason, straight people just love asking this question. “Fine,” he says, after a pause, “do you like giving it or taking it.” I swallow again. I know I shouldn’t be talking to him about this. As friends, I probably wouldn’t be too uncomfortable. Tyler and Sarah know my preferences and that doesn’t bother me one bit. It’s different with West though. Even though it’s all in my head, with West, it feels different to me. “I’m more of a top,” I say at last, “but every once in a while, for the right guy, I like bottoming too.” I don’t just like it, I need it. Even though my filter is slipping a little, I manage to stop talking right there. Part of me would love to add, “I’m a size queen. I bottom for guys who are hung. Guys, exactly like you.” I manage not to. I put myself on notice though, I’m out of my element here. I’m playing with fire. “Oh.” He says simply, as if I’ve just disclosed nothing more personal, than my favourite flavour of ice-cream. He’s quiet for a while. It’s his turn to go. I wait patiently. His voice is a little strange when he speaks. It’s softer and lower. “Sometimes, I think I might be the product of rape.” I sit up quickly, swinging my legs down onto the floor. I look at him sharply. “What do you mean?” He takes a deep breath, “Sometimes, I wonder if my mom was raped. You know, if that’s why she doesn’t ever want to talk about my father.” I’m shocked. That’s one hell of a thought to live with. “Don’t you think, maybe, you should ask her.” “I don’t know.” He says vaguely. “I asked her once and she seemed so uncomfortable. She’s happy to talk about anything, but the fact that she seemed nervous, almost scared to talk about this, gave me the impression, that she was hiding something. Something bad.” He looks up at me, pressing his lips together for a moment. “I guess, I know that I can live like this, you know, with this small, little suspicion. Honestly though, I’m not sure I could live with knowing my suspicion was true. I just don’t think I could.” I get up and sit on his bed next to him. I lean my shoulder lightly against his, and don’t say anything. We sit like that for a while, before he looks at me, “Thanks,” he says softly, “I’ve never told anyone about this. I’ve never even thought it aloud.” “That’s not how you were made, West. I know it isn’t.” * “Okay,” he says, one random afternoon, “I have a question. Did you take a vow of celibacy or something?” I look at him in amazement. “What the hell do you mean?” “I mean, why don’t you ever go out and get laid?” I’m astonished he’d ask this. I’m even more astonished that he’d think it. Mind you, I do go out of my way to keep my extracurricular activities anonymous and behind closed doors. Most of my hook-ups are random encounters. I like it that way. I have a bunch of guys I hook up with on a semi-regular basis. Tyler calls them, “Andy’s Harem.” “I have sex all the time.” I say quietly. “Yeah, right.” He says, “When was the last time you had sex?” “I had sex this morning.” I tell him. It’s true. I’ve converted my friend 69cockscker69 into a very willing bottom. “Truth be told,” I add, “I’m kind of a slut.” That’s true, too. He smiles that big, easy, broad smile of his, lighting up his whole face. “I never knew that about you, Andy Montgomery.” I shrug, “Well, now you know.” “I’m kind of a slut, too.” “You’re not wrong there.” I say, nodding sagely. He throws his head back, cackling loudly. I try not to think how much I like that sound. “Oh, man, I love you, Andy. You crack me up.” “Shut up.” I say, rolling my eyes. He laughs a little more, looking at me with dancing eyes. “One day, you’re going to say it back. You’ll see.” I try not to think a single thing. I try to keep my mind and my face one hundred percent passive. A little while later, he looks up at me. I can tell, something’s bothering him. “Andy,” he says, “I hope I’ve never done anything to make you feel like you couldn’t bring a guy back here. I’d hate to think I’ve made you feel like that’s not something you could do, if you want to.” It’s never even occurred to me to bring someone back here when he’s here too. I can’t think of anything more awkward. * Still, his words must have made a bit of an impression, as not long after that conversation, I get caught in a bind. I’m out one night and I’ve finally managed to hook up with a very hot bottom. I’ve had my eye on him for quite a while. His name is Chad Dwyer. He’s a sexy, muscular blonde with a handsome face and terribly well-cut hair. He’s in high demand and he knows it, still, tonight, he’s ticking a lot of boxes for me. “Your place?” I whisper into his ear. “Uh, no. No way, my roommate’s a nightmare.” Shit. Now that I have this guy in my grasp, I really, really have to have him. I’m so hot and so horny, I can’t think straight, so I find myself saying, “Okay, let’s go to my place.” I let us in quietly. It’s the middle of the night and the room is dark and quiet, but still, I can see West’s outline in his bed. Damn, I was hoping he wouldn’t be home. “Shhh.” I say, pulling Chad toward me and starting to unbutton his shirt. “Are you sure your roommate’s okay with this?” “Yeah, definitely, he’s cool.” “I don’t want to get my ass kicked.” “Don’t worry, he’s not an asshole.” I undress Chad quickly and myself too. I’m in way more of a rush than I usually am, and I’m not sure if that’s because of how hot Chad is, or if it’s because I want to fuck him and get him out of here, before West wakes up. I push him down on his knees, without any forewarning. “Oh, fuck!” He gasps, as I run my tongue down his crack. “Shhh.” I say again. I don’t stop my assault on his hole though. He’s squirming and arching and seems entirely unable to keep quiet. “Ooooh, fuck, that feels amazing.” He says when I dart my tongue into him. “Quiet.” His ass is unreal, a perfect, pert bubble butt. I can’t resist getting up to my nose in it, tonguing him, in some sort of frenzy. “I can’t help it,” he moans, “you’re so good at that. I’m losing my mind here.” Ordinarily, this type of talk would be right up my street, but tonight, it’s stressing me out. I finger him quickly, stretching him out as much as I can. I’m horrified and excited, in equal measure by the ghastly, loud groans he’s omitting. I enter him smoothly, hoping against hope that the shock of my dick might silence him for a while, but to no avail. He’s moaning in earnest now. “Oh, God, Andy, you’re so big. I feel like you’re splitting me in two.” I clamp my hand hard over his mouth after that. “Quiet,” I say, hissing this time, “if you don’t keep it down, I won’t let you cum.” He groans even more loudly at that, arching his neck, straining and struggling to take me. Under different circumstances, I’d really, really be enjoying fucking this guy. He starts jerking off as I pump in and out of him, he’s still moaning his ass off, but at least the sound is muffled by my hand now. The effort to be quiet seems to be making it hard for him to get there. He’s gasping and shaking. I pick up my pace, drilling him a new one, as he thrashes beneath me. At last, he lets out a long, choked cry. I try my best, but I can’t catch the whole sound in my hand. I come soon after. Silently. Finishing with nothing more than a shivery sigh. Afterward, he gets dressed and gets ready to leave, kissing me at the door. “The rumours about you are true,” he smiles, looking up at me with glistening eyes, “I want to do that again.” “Shhh!” I whisper. I walk back to my bed as quietly as I can, tiptoeing carefully. West, turns in his bed, “For fucks sakes,” he says, sounding grumpy, “next time, just let the guy moan, so he can cum.” Even though I’m shocked and embarrassed, a very, very idiotic part of me is pleased that he heard. Even though I know it’s stupid, believe me, I know. I’m pleased that he’s seen a glimpse of this side of me. * “Sorry about last night,” he says, as he pours himself his second cup of coffee. “I was tired, and I was out of order.” “No problem.” I say with a shrug. I know him well enough now, to know that he doesn’t wake up well. The two or three minutes it takes him to get up and get a pot of coffee brewing, are the only time of the day that he is ever anything less than a ray of sunshine. Still, after that night with Chad, I don’t bring anyone back again, unless I’m absolutely positive West won’t be home. Strangely enough, he largely stops bringing girls back, too. He goes to their rooms instead. I’m incredibly relieved that I’m not being subjected to the torture of listening to girls fucking the man of my dreams anymore, but at the same time, it means he spends less time in our room, and I hate that. My feelings for him have now reached epic proportions. I’m at the stage, where I’m utterly convinced that I will never know a single day of happiness, if I can’t have him. As we all know, he’s straight. So, that means no happiness for me. Only despair. Deep, unending despair. My melancholy knows no bounds, to the extent that I find myself at Tyler’s place, begging him to use his gaydar to give West another once-over. “Please, Ty,” I say, “please just check him over again. Just look at him, okay? Just look. Are you sure there isn’t anything there?” Tyler purses his lips and shakes his head sadly. “Please, Ty, just look at his face? The way he holds his jaw? That tiny little bit of tension? Isn’t that something?” Tyler closes his eyes and sighs deeply. He’s losing his patience with me. I don’t blame him. In fact, I’d probably judge him if he didn’t. I’m deeply ashamed that it’s come to this. I’m deeply humiliated that I’ve let it get this far. “Please, Ty. Just tell me how you know. How do you know, he isn’t just a little bit bi?” Tyler gets up, grabbing my arm and dragging me to the large mirror, that hangs in the hallway. “That,” he says, pointing to my reflection, “that’s how I know.” He turns to face me. “You’re how I know, Andy. That’s how I know, okay? It’s because it’s you. West has lived with you for almost an entire year. He’s slept in a bed a few feet away from you. He’s seen you getting dressed and undressed. He watches you work. He hears your voice all the time, and still, nothing has happened between you. He’s been rip-roaring drunk around you and still, he hasn’t made a move.” I don’t move. I stand still and look at my reflection. West was right. I do have sad eyes. “Do you understand me, Andy? West is not gay and not only that. He doesn’t even have one millilitre of bisexuality in him. Okay? That’s just a fact. If he did, he would not have been able to resist you. It’s as simple as that. There’s just no way that he could.” I try to smile. It’s a wobbly, insincere smile that doesn’t reach my eyes. “Thanks, I guess.” The small, idiotic part of myself, the part that can’t resist hoping, no matter how much it hurts me, can’t help thinking, did something happen? It happened a few days ago. Though, whether ‘it’ was a thing, and whether it was a ‘happening’ is up for debate. I’m not sure either way, but it went like this: West had been out for the night. Given the time, I thought he’d go straight to his first lecture, so I thought I had the room to myself. I woke up with massive morning wood and decided to take a leisurely approach to sorting it out. I don’t often have the opportunity to take my time, so I went all out. I set up my laptop and had one of my favourite porn clips playing, my pyjama bottoms were down round my ankles and I was sitting on the edge of my bed, with my dick in my hand, when who should walk in, but West. “Holy shit!” I exclaimed, slamming my laptop shut, as if it was on fire. West’s eyebrows shot up and he laughed in delight. I had both hands covering my junk and was in a bit of quandary about how to keep myself under wraps and get my pants up at the same time. “Fuck.” I said, stunned and horrified and at a loss for anything more intelligent to say. West was still laughing. Not laughing at me though. He doesn’t do that. No, he seemed genuinely amused. “It’s no problem, Andy. It’s normal. Everyone does it.” “Look,” I said, finally able to string a few words together, “I’m dying of shame here. Could you kindly just get the fuck out of here for a few minutes?” He really laughed at that. “Nah,” he said, completely unaffected by my utter humiliation. “You’ve caught me lots of times, it’s no big deal.”” “Well, it’s a big deal to me.” He sighed, as if I was being very silly. “I tell you what, if you’re going to make a huge deal out of this, why don’t we just both jerk off? Let’s just get it out of the way, so neither of us is uncomfortable about it?” I looked at him in amazement. It was an absolutely ridiculous idea. Absolutely insane. No possible way, that would make this any better. Still, I was horny. Really, really horny. I was pretty close when he walked in and my balls were heavy and full. Plus, this was West. This was the guy, I fantasise about almost every single second I’m awake, and now he was offering something. It wasn’t what I wanted, but it was something. In my compromised mental state, I couldn’t think of a single reason not to. “O-okay.” I said, I could hear the tension and excitement in my voice. I hoped against hope, that he couldn’t. He sat on the bed next to me, unbuckling his belt and unzipping his fly. The fission of excitement that flowed through me felt reckless. Reckless and stupid. Keep it together, I told myself. Keep it together. “What are we watching?” He said, opening my laptop. Holy fuck! I darted forward to tried to slam my laptop closed again, but it was too late. “Hmmm,” he said, reading what I’ve been searching for, “‘bottom struggling to take it’, huh?” Hot, hot humiliation ripped through me. Red hot. I was so embarrassed right then, that I wanted to go back in time and slap my dumb, younger self for every time I’ve ever thought I was embarrassed before. No embarrassment has ever come close to this. “Nice.” He said. “Uh, um, West, this is, um, this is gay porn.” He looked at me as if I was mentally challenged, “No shit, Sherlock. I’ll just block out the dick and focus on the ass.” He looked at me with a big grin, “After all, an ass is an ass.” My dick lurched wildly at that, so much so, that I stopped trying to wrestle the laptop out of his hands and had to get back to trying to cover myself. He pressed play, and to my eternal shame, as the video started playing, I found myself more aroused than I’ve ever been in my life. I tried to keep my eye on the screen, but he was sitting so close to me. So close. If I were to spread my legs a little more, my thigh would press against his. I tried not to look down, but I could hear him easing his dick out of his jocks. The temptation consumed me, to the point I had to turn my head away slightly, and watch the screen out of one eye, only. Right from the start, my breath was uneven. The more I struggled to even it out, the worse it seemed to get. I was hardly touching myself, but by the sounds coming from him, he was stroking himself quickly. He meant business. I glanced over at him, moving just my eyes. His eyes were on the screen, he was engrossed, so I caved. I gave in. I let my eyes wonder down his body. He was fully dressed, his open fly, exposing only his dick, his dark, neatly trimmed hair and a glimpse of his balls. I hated myself instantly for looking. Not just because I’d just invaded his privacy, but because, the second I did it, I knew I’d just caused myself weeks, months and possibly years, of absolute agony. His dick was everything I ever imagined it could be. It was all that, and more. It was massive, the hefty outline in his pants had made me think he must be a shower, but now I knew, he was a grower, too. Absolutely no doubt about that. I honestly couldn’t believe just how impressive it was. His wide, mushroom head was swollen and red. Pulsing as it disappeared into his fist. I looked away quickly. Eyes on the screen. The bottom in the video was moaning unbridled. The sounds were driving me wild. There’s nothing I love more, than the sound a man makes when he’s having his hole slammed. My dick was pulsing too. It was pulsing like crazy. Stimulation seemed to be coming at me from every angle. My orgasm was close. I could feel it gathering force. It felt so wild and intense, even in my compromised state, I had the presence of mind to feel a little afraid. It was almost too much. I looked down at West again. I couldn’t help it. A single, slick bead of pre-cum was glistening in his slit. My abs contracted and my neck arched back when I saw it. My mouth filled, as I salivated at the sight of it. I want to touch it. I want to touch it. Please. Please, please, PLEASE CAN I TOUCH IT? I was so desperate, I could feel the words forming in my mouth, my tongue circling around, ready to beg. I can say for certain, that I’ve never, ever wanted anything more. I clamped my fist tightly against my mouth, biting down on my knuckle, doing anything I could think of, to stop me from speaking. When I came, it was anything but the shivery sigh, I let out that night with Chad. This time, the sound erupted from me, without my assent. I came so hard everything went black for a second, and I let out a long, strangled cry. Before I had time to berate myself for humiliating myself even further, West came. He came beautifully. His semen erupted like a fountain. Spurting up again and again, spilling all over his lap. He moaned soft and low. He sighed deeply and closed the laptop, when it was over. He got up and got his washcloth, wiping himself down, as he picked up my washcloth, and tossed it over to me. I cleaned up quickly, shocked and appalled by what had just happened. So shaken, I wasn’t able to censor myself, as I whispered, “Is it weird that we just did that?” West looked at me as if I was daft, smiling so widely, that his scar creased almost all the way down his cheek. “Of course, it’s fucking weird. But it doesn’t need to be. It doesn’t have to be weird unless we make it weird.” So, that was the end of that. We didn’t make it weird, so it isn’t weird. Say what you want about West, but he has a way of living in the moment. Nothing about his behaviour since has given a hint of tension or strangeness between us. I find myself thinking of Tyler’s words from earlier today, over and over. “Nothing has happened between you.” Now, I’m confused. I’m not at all sure, if that’s true anymore. Is it? * It’s nearly the end of the year, we’re a few weeks out from final exams, when I wake in the middle of the night. I wake to a deep, sick feeling that can only be described as desolation. Chilling anguish and horror. It strikes me right in the core. The cry that wakes me, isn’t the high-pitched, moan of a frantic girl, though there’s definitely a girl with him. This cry is low. This cry comes from a man. It comes from deep, deep within the man I love. It comes from West. It sounds as if something inside him has been ripped open. My face feels hot and my eyes water instantly. I put my hands over my ears, but that doesn’t help. I can still hear him. I know what’s happening. I know exactly. A spell is being cast. I’m right here. I’m a witness. I have a front row seat, and there’s nothing I can do to stop it. I don’t sleep a wink for the rest of the night. I can’t. I can’t move either, my limbs are heavy and leaden. Afterwards, I hear him whispering to her. This is different, too. This time, he’s not asking her what she likes in bed, he’s asking her who she is. He wants to know her. He wants to know everything about her. This one is different. He wants her. When daylight finally rolls in, they get up and he makes coffee for her. I can’t pretend to be sleeping much longer, so I open my eyes. “Andy,” says West, “this is Ashleigh.” He looks about as happy, as someone who has just been announced as a Nobel Peace Prize winner. He motions to her proudly, as if she’s the trophy. She’s petite with elfin features. Her hair is platinum blonde and short, falling forward, almost into her eyes. She’s wearing jeans and a white tank top without a bra. She’s just woken up, her make-up is a little smudged around her eyes and yet, even a guy as gay as I am, can’t help but instantly see, this girl is hot. Piping hot. Absolutely smokin’. “Nice to meet you.” I lie. Wave after wave of misery hits me. Outrage, too. I know, right as I sit there, that I’m watching my worst nightmare coming to life. It’s happening right in front of me. I can’t believe it. I can’t believe that this is happening to someone so beautiful and kind and wonderful. I can’t believe that someone as powerful and majestic as West, is about to be taken down by an Ashleigh. A mother-fucking Ashleigh. * I’m beside myself, when I get to Tyler’s. I haven’t slept and obviously, that isn’t helping, still, I don’t try to control myself. I can’t. “You should have seen him.” My voice is higher than usual. Even I can recognise that I sound a little unhinged. “You should have seen her.” “Andy, please, you have to calm down. It won’t be as bad as you think.” “It’s going to be exactly as bad as I think, I know it!” “You don’t know that.” “No?” I say, sounding quite angry, “I know West. I know him better than anyone.” “Okay, fine, you know West, I’ll give you that, but you don’t know this girl. Okay? You don’t know the first thing about her. You don’t know what she wants.” “Actually,” I spit, “I know two things about her. I know her name’s Ashleigh, and I know that she’s human.” There’s no way in the world that anyone human, wouldn’t want West. I sit down heavily. Tyler sits next to me quietly, putting his hand on my back. The warmth of his touch undoes me. Though I try not to, hot tears run wetly down my face. “Oh, Andy.” He murmurs. Sarah has come out of her room to see what all the commotion is about. She sits next to me too, hugging me tightly, causing another wave of tears to escape. Once I calm down, Tyler says, “Andy, Todd is moving out next year, we still haven’t filled his room. I think you should move in with us. You can’t keep living with West. You can’t do it to yourself. You just can’t.” Sarah gives Tyler a quick look, but seems to change course, quickly dropping her gaze and then looking at me. “Ty’s right, you can’t keep living with him. We’d love to have you. We’ll have fun together. You’ll see.” She says. “You’ll see, Andy,” says Tyler, “within a few months, you’ll start feeling better. You’ll hardly ever see West. He’ll get on with his life with his boring straight friends and you’ll be able to move on. You’ll see.” Even though the thought of West getting on with his life without me, feels like a blade to the heart, I know that they’re right. I can’t keep living with him. I can’t do it to myself. * It’s almost the end of the year. We are in the middle of exams. I’m studying hard. West is doing the bare minimum. He’s completely and utterly wrapped up in Ashleigh. It’s even worse than I thought. He’s been hit harder than I expected. “Don’t be stupid,” I say, “you can’t risk your scholarship for a girl.” “I’m not stupid.” He says. It’s the first time I’ve ever heard an edge in his voice. “I’m telling you, West, this girl is bad news. She’s crazy.” He smiles at me patiently, “She’s the best kind of crazy. She’s out of control.” I hate the way he looks when he talks about her. He looks like a fool. His green eyes glaze over, as a helpless, toothy grin takes over his face. “I’m moving in with Sarah and Ty, next year.” I say, without any preamble. His face drops when I say it. He seems stunned. I immediately regret not telling him more kindly. This isn’t his fault. He can’t help who he is, any more than I can help who I am. “Oh,” he says, over and over. “Oh. I guess, I just assumed we’d keep living together.” “Tyler and Sarah have asked me to take the third room in their place. I think it’s for the best. Dorm living, just isn’t for me.” I explain, trying to soften the news. “Will you be alright?” “That’s okay. I understand. I’ll see if I can still get that Student Rep position, they offered me. It’s not much money, but at least, I’ll get my own room. I can’t imagine having to share with anyone else.” I nod. I feel bad, but I know it’s for the best. Loving him and living with him, is killing me slowly. * I stand back and take in the painting. It’s the best work I’ve done. I say that without ego. It’s just a fact. It’s the practical piece for my portraiture class. It’s a self-portrait. Though the face and body are purposefully blurred out, I’ve captured my likeness. You can see at a glance, that it’s me. My expression and posture are perfect. Every nuance is there. I’m standing straight, one hand at my side, the other is raised in front of my gaping chest, holding my heart in my hand. I’ve painted the organ in a hyper-realistic style. The blood and membranes around the heart seem so life-like that anyone looking at it is likely to feel that slight clench, that slight sense of dread, you get when you see a car-crash. I’ve named it, Heart. I’m standing there, looking at it, when my professor walks up and stands beside me. She stands there quietly for a long time, taking it in. “It’s incredible, Andy.” She says, “It’s the best work I’ve seen in years, and I don’t just mean from a student.” Her words should thrill me. Professor Langdon is amazing. I love her work. She’s a brilliant teacher and I look up to her. She’s not quick or over-the-top with praise, so I know what she’s saying, is a big deal. Still, right now, I can’t feel anything but what I see in the painting. I’m hollow. Broken. She stands beside me. Not speaking for a while. I think she’s about to move on, when she looks at me. Her eyes are as sympathetic, as mine are sad. “Unrequited.” She says softly. “There’s no worse way to love.” *
  12. Andy Montgomery is an artist and a dreamer. It doesn't long before the person he's dreaming about is his straight college roommate. If you've ever known the pain and torment of love unrequited, this story is for you.
  13. Hi, I'm new here. I've tried to post a story, which has gone onto temporary hold. Is this the normal process, or have I inadvertently done something wrong? Thanks
  14. What happens when two straight guys meet and feel an inexplicable sexual connection? I'll give you a hint...one of them is sure to end up getting bent.
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