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Little Man - 10. Broken Men

I can only imagine the dead slept this soundly. Eric's bed was a sea of comfort and I swam in darkness. At times I nestled against his body. At other times I cocooned myself into his blankets. I slept for so long. Every so often, Eric would wake me and give me pain medication and a glass of water. It was so difficult to rise enough to drink them down. Moving my body was so alarming that laying perfectly still was preferable. I continued to sleep after each dose. I lost track of how many times he woke me.

Honestly, I didn't care if I ever rose from this bed. My thoughts were groggy and muddled. Memories bled into my mind like Super 8 film clips that had yet to be spliced together. Moments were out of order and in black and white, but it failed to diminish the horror. Another reason to stay in bed, it was safer here.

The bed's illusion of sanctuary was fleeting. The images were gradually getting stronger. Sweating pigs squealed in the distance. Suffocated in alien flesh. Crippling agony. Tortured meat bled on the floor.

I gasped awake.

The bedroom shades were drawn blocking out the light. I couldn't tell what time it was. I was somewhat disoriented. I touched the arms surrounding me. This wasn't Eric.

“Welcome back to the real world, Little Man,” Ogre whispered. My eyes began to water. His presence was so satisfying at this point in time. I needed him here.

“Steve. . . ” I reached out and softly touched his face to prove he was really at my side. If it was still a dream I think I would have started to cry. I nearly did anyways.

“I have you, Little Man.” He stroked my hand in response.

“How did you get here?” I admit I was confused. I didn't understand why he was here in Eric's bed with me. I was glad to see him, but how did this happen?

“Eric called me. He had to go out and needed someone to watch you.” He brushed a careful kiss on my forehead.

“So he's not mad at you anymore?”

He snorted softly. “Hardly. He told me he didn't have anyone else who knew what was happening.” Ogre paused and I could see the sadness in his eyes. “I was afraid he'd never let me see you again.”

“He's not my father, it's not up to him. He can't stay that way forever.”

Ogre rubbed his face into my hand as we absorbed the moment before us. His touch was impossibly soft as he gazed wistfully into my eyes.

“I will never let anyone hurt you ever again.” His jaw set firmly as he spoke with such conviction I knew he meant every word. I could feel a weak smile begin to emerge on me. It was small, but I could feel it.

“How long have you been here? I didn't hear you come in.”

He continued to stroke me face. “A few hours. I was really careful not to wake you. You've been sleeping so soundly.”

“You've been watching me sleep, haven't you?”

“I've been watching over you to make sure you're safe.” I could swear I saw his chest puff up as he spoke.

“What's Eric doing that he'd actually trust you enough to call you to look over me?”

“He's got classes and he's making rounds to your professors to get extensions for your projects. He told me not to let you out of my sight.”

“So everyone will know what happened?” The smile on my face faded quickly as my body stiffened. The truth of my defilement was something I couldn't bear. My apprehension went through the ceiling. I started to breathe quickly.

“No.” Ogre spoke precisely and calmly. “All he's telling them is that you were mugged and have a lot of injuries. That's all they need to know.” The sentence sounded practiced. He'd obviously had the chance to pick his words carefully before I woke. It was working. The sudden alarm I felt in my chest was started to wane.

“Thank you.” The stress vanished from my breathing. Ogre stroked my dirty hair with his fingers. He was either oblivious or uncaring that it hadn't been clean in days.

“How are you feeling?” He asked.

I pressed my face into the pillow. “Like I was run over by a semi. I hurt everywhere.”

“You may not believe me, but you look better than you were at the hospital.” His voice was soothing and supportive. I wondered if he realized how fragile I was and how little it would take to shatter me.

“How long have I been sleeping?”

“Apparently, you've been asleep since you got home from the hospital. It's Monday afternoon. I've only been here for a few hours.” I looked up into his eyes in utter disbelief. I had lost two days. Reality was feeling a touch mercurial. I nuzzled into his caresses. I twinged at the pain in my face, but his contact was more necessary. A long sigh of relief escaped me.

“I'm so sorry, Clay. This is all my fault. I should have protected you.” I could hear his strength faltering. My guardian was risking to crumble before me and I needed his resolve.

“Shh. . . ” I placed my fingers on his lips. “I don't blame you. If you hadn't shown up I don't know what. . . ” My voice trailed off as I closed my eyes. I couldn't finish it verbally. “How did you know to come back for me?”

“After I left the bar I just sat in my truck. My face stung for a long time and I felt like such shit. I started thinking and I realized how stupid I'd been. I couldn’t believe I let Eric convince me that you'd be better off without me. I didn't know what I was going to do without you.” His fingertips continued to stroke my face. “You changed my life. How could I go back?” I felt him brush my hair out of my eyes.

“I came back to beg you to forgive me.” Ogre took a deep breath. “Again.”

“I didn't see you when I came in. The bartender said you'd been in the bathroom for a while.” He took a another deep breath as I opened my eyes. “When I saw what he was doing to you. . . When you said, 'Help me. . . ' Oh, God I wanted him to die, Clay. He stuck me with that knife and I put him through the mirror, the stall door and anything else I could fucking thing of. Then I hit him until he stopped moving.” His eyes became glassy with emotion as his careful grip on me grew firmer. “You must hate me for putting you through this.”

“No. I don't. You saved my life.” I would never forget that. “It's just sad that this is what had to happen for us to wake up together finally.” The irony had not been lost on me. “But, you're here now. It's all I care about.”

“I don't really want us apart. I need you, Clay.”

I reached out with my good hand and pulled him to me. I strained forward and planted my mouth on his. Tentatively, he returned my kiss. It was soft and nourishing. We quietly fed on each other with peaceful forgiveness. A small glimmer of hope shined into my life. My defilement was to be pushed back and ignored. His touches were gentle and hesitant.

“I'm afraid I'll hurt you,” he said. I couldn't admit out loud that I worried about that too. I was wounded and held together with rotten masking tape. However, I couldn't deny how much I craved his presence.

“You won't. I trust you. Can you do me a favor?”

“Anything. Just ask.”

My head looked away out of embarrassment. “I need help getting to the bathroom. I've been in here for a long time and I'm going to wet the bed any moment now.”

Steve climbed out of bed and came around to the other side. He helped roll me to the edge and supported my battered body as I tried to stand. My right ankle couldn't bear the weight. I kept trying to pull myself up using Steve as my ladder, but my cracked ribs limited my ability to do anything strenuous. I sat back frustrated, realizing my mobility had been severely crippled. Like me.

His strong arm went under my legs and around my back and carefully lifted me from the mattress. I leaned into his chest and neck as I had Eric the night we came home. My hand cupped the meaty pectoral in front of me and found the nipple under his shirt. He chuckled softly and kissed the top of my head.

Once inside the bathroom, Steve held me upright while I stood on my one good leg. My good arm fished myself out of my pants and allowed me to urinate on my own for the first time in two days. It was the most amazing release. My moan was audible. Once I finished I slowly made myself decent again.

I leaned into Steve for warmth and support. I smelled his fresh clean scent and I felt so dirty in comparison. I looked up at Steve.

“Steve, can you help me take a shower? I need to feel clean again. I swear I can still smell him on me.” All the evidence had been collected at the hospital. It was safe to wash away any lingering traces of the redneck's assault. His scent was subtle and diminished, but it reminded me of his greasy violation. I needed it gone.

“Wouldn't you rather take a bath?”

“I don't think I could get back out of the tub. These busted ribs are really slowing me down.” It was true. Getting out the bed was a struggle. The bathtub was not an option. Steve's brow creased as he pondered the situation.

“Okay.” He closed the toilet lid and sat me down while he started the water. I turned and found myself in the mirror. I wish I hadn't. Both of my eyes were blackened and my nose looked like a prize fighter's. My face was swollen and misshapen with bruises along one side of my face in the vague shape of a boot print.

Steve reached down and lifted his shirt and I couldn't help but feel the flush as his hammered stone physique came into view in the mirror. As broken as I was, certain triggers were still in place. I think I could be aroused by him from the grave. He winced as his arms raised over his head. A large gauze bandage was strapped to his shoulder that covered the stab wound inflicted during the rescue. I turned around and watched directly as he unbuttoned his cargo shorts and they easily dropped to the floor. A pair of black boxer briefs were peeled over his thick thighs and he stood gloriously naked before me. I felt a slight stir in my own sweatpants as he stepped to me. It seemed very inappropriate under the circumstances. He dismantled my slings and carefully removed what few garments I'd been in since coming home. When my pants came off, I worried I would be erect and he would be shocked.

I couldn't hide how injured I was once I was nude. Unnamed continents colored in black and blue painted the landscape of my body. The rest was reddened and swollen. I looked broken. I looked awful. I had to turn away from the mirror, my reflection was unsettling me. Even Steve flinched when all the damage came into view. I tried to hide my battered body with my hands in an ineffective way.

“I'm not kidding that you look better now than before.” I cringed. I couldn't imagine it being worse.

Steve tested the water and wrapped his arms around me again and gently lifted me into the spray and set me down so my weight was on my good foot. I held onto his shoulder to keep my balance. I found an odd set of five bruises on his chest in a sort of semi-circular pattern. I pondered them quizzically as the water ran like rain over the marks.

“What are these from?” I asked. Steve hesitated.

“That's where you grabbed my chest when I found you on the floor.” Steve's voice choked as the words fought to be heard. He reached for the shampoo and began to lather my hair. His touch was soft and feather light. Washing and caressing, my aches and pain melted away if but for the moment. I leaned back my head to rinse as he supported me. I wiped the water from my eyes and looked into his. His eyes were becoming glassy and his lip was starting to tremble. Harsh lines were forming in his face as his shaking hands washed my broken body with the soap. The shower couldn't hide his tears when they broke loose. Large heaving sobs came from my giant.

“I'm so sorry, Clay.” The words came out in between crying gasps. My giant was crumbling. “I want to take back everything I said in the bar. I didn't mean it any of it.” I answered him by riding my good hand up to his neck and pulled his mouth to mine. It was the most convincing method of forgiveness I could fathom.

“I believe you.” I took a breath to keep myself under control. “Consider this the do-over. I need you, you fucking asshole. Don't ever try to dump me again.” I smiled wryly. A relived grin began to emerge between kisses.

Steve laughed gratefully as he wrapped his large arms around me and pulled me closer. I admit it hurt a little, but I wasn't going to complain right then.

Steve finished cleansing me, shut down the water and gingerly extracted me from the shower. He leaned me against the sink and began drying me off, stooping on one knee to dry my legs properly. Steve was greeted by my aroused cock and pretended not to notice.

“You're going to ignore it?” I teased. I found my need for Steve to be rushing to the forefront. He looked embarrassed.

“That's not what I'm here for.” He shook his head sadly.

I felt the crease in my brow as my hands began to cover my body. “I understand. I'm not exactly feeling attractive right now.”

“I don't care about that. You're hurt. I don't want to make it worse.” I reached down for his chin and raised his head.

“Steve. I need to feel hands on me that don't make me want to scream. I need you to touch me and make everything a little less scary.” Water began to fill my eyes as I watched Steve's eyes begin to darken and his breathing begin to deepen. “I need you to make me forget how broken I am and make me feel good for a little while.” His tongue wet his lower lip. “Please.”

I watched his eyelids drop slightly as his resistance broke.

Steve stood, running his wet tongue in a line all the way up my body until he reached my lips. He cradled me against him as I explored his mouth with mine. Lifting me carefully, he walked me into my own bedroom and laid me down without breaking our contact. Steve positioned himself along my body so I could feel his heat without applying undue pressure to my skin. He gripped my erection and ran his tongue along its length. My back began to arch.

“Are you okay? I don't want to hurt you,” he said.

“I think you found an uninjured spot,” I cooed appreciatively.

Steve took his permission to proceed and cupped my balls and worked to swallow of much of my shaft as he could manage. The wet friction of his tongue and throat were working a much needed pleasure from my weary form. My hand roamed his torso as he devoured me. His muscles danced under my touch.

I was in heat. Steve had lost himself in servicing me. His movements were noisy and greedy. He seemed determined to get me off. I think he was as desperate for it as I was. My pleasure was his penance. Hardly a punishment, but a determined task for sure. His head bobbed over his hand strokes and he moaned on each repetition. I was losing the battle to resist my own finish. I tried to distract myself and slow his progress, but to no avail. Steve's nose hit the surface of my balls and my entire cock was experiencing the sensations of being swallowed whole.

I cried aloud as my orgasm overtook me. Steve pulled back with just the head in his mouth stroking the length and fed on every drop. My entire body was involved. I could barely hold myself in place. My injuries were enhancing every surge with a sweet undertone of pain. I had never come so hard in my life. I gasped loudly, ignoring the pain in my ribs as he slid my firm but exhausted organ from his lips.

“Oh, dear god that was incredible,” I panted through my permanent grin. Steve blushed slightly as I continued. “I'm not finished until you are.”

Steve stood on his knees. I was mesmerized by the turgid member that looked ready to explode. I reached behind his leg and backside and drew him closer. He slicked his palm with his mouth and began polishing his cock to a glistening coat. The flesh was getting even deeper in color. His eyes were glazed over as his ministrations increased their fervor. His whole body was shaking as he screwed his fist like the first time we made love.

“Feed me,” I said.

Those two simple words he understood completely. Steve thrust his hips forward and plunged his cock into my waiting mouth. I tasted the tip as the opening flared and surge after surge of fluid shot across my tongue. He couldn't suppress his vocal release. My hand could feel the shots through its resting place along his perineum and between the mounds of his ass. It pulsed with each spasm.

Once he was relaxed enough to extract himself from me, Steve laid alongside me once again.

“I love you, Little Man,” he whispered. We kissed over and over until a calm came over us. My energy level dropped and I was losing my fight to stay conscious. I curled back into him and a satisfying sleep overtook me. The last thing I saw was his smile.

* * *

I awoke to the sound of the front door opening. I had again lost sense of time. I wasn't wide awake but Steve was still cuddled around me. I didn't want to move and break the spell. I heard footsteps walk into Eric's bedroom and erratically step into mine. I heard the steps up to the bed and the quiet slap. I felt the jolt as Steve startled awake.

“Ogre. Get out here. Now.” Eric's whisper was fighting to scream out loud. He left the room quickly. Steve peeled himself from me and I heard him throw on his shorts. In a quiet rush he left the room and closed the door. Eric was furious.

The absence of Steve's body heat saddened me. My room suddenly felt very empty and hollow. I looked at myself and realized I was wearing all my slings. Steve had put me back together while I slept. My body still ached, but I felt better. Even still, I was not leaving Steve alone to face Eric's wrath. I was not going to lose him now. I just got him back.

I carefully sat up ignoring my body's protests and stood on my good leg. I realized I would have to hop to get anywhere. I had left my crutches in Eric's room and given the range of my injuries I didn't know if I could even use them. Eric's tirade could be heard in the living room. The door opened soundlessly, it hadn't latched shut. I quietly bounced on one foot until I reached the living room. Eric was storming. He raged in Steve's face as Steve stood back holding his ground, but taking the abuse.

“What the hell were you thinking?” Eric spat. “I didn't bring you here so you could fuck him.”

“It wasn't like that.” Steve was obviously unprepared for this conversation.

“Haven't you done enough already? I can't trust you for anything! First you take him to that shitty bar and now this? He could have been killed!” Eric's vehemence was rising. His hands flew wildly in the air as he ranted. I was starting to lose my patience with my long time friend.

“Don't you think I know that? I went back for him!”

Eric was close enough to kiss Steve he was so close. “A little too late! It's your fault he was raped!”

“THAT'S OUT OF LINE!” I shouted into the room. Immediately both men took notice of me and silence overtook the space. Eric spun in my direction. He surveyed my battered body, still undressed, and his darkened eyes sunk. It appeared he hadn't slept since that night and it wasn't wearing well on him. The dark lines I saw in his face at the hospital were still there and his hair was unkempt.

In spite of his haggard appearance, I felt the bile rise. Steve was his good friend. Next to me, he was his best friend. Steve had saved my life even with the fucked up circumstances. He was acting like a jealous husband, and he wasn't one. I ground my teeth as I stood unsteady in the hallway. I could feel the cold sweat on me after hopping on one foot down the hallway. My ribs ached with each movement. It was a reminder of how broken I was.

“For the record, this is as uncomfortable as it looks. Somebody get me to a chair.” Eric rushed to my side in a flash beating Steve's reaction. The confused look on Steve's face showed he didn't know what to do. He was in the middle of an impossible conflict. Eric lifted me and placed me in the arm chair. The rough fabric itched my bare skin and the padding on the armrest was practically nonexistent, but it was a better experience than standing right then. He leaned over me to my left and spoke in soft tones.

“Are you okay? Do you need anything?” Eric's rage had flipped a switch and he was in complete nursemaid mode. Any other time I would have welcomed his care, but I was feeling incredibly defensive over Steve and highly annoyed. Reaching up, I placed my good hand along the side of his head.

“Leave Steve alone.” I stared him hard in the eyes. I wanted his complete attention.

“I didn't bring him here to get his groove on.” Eric's response was an overprotective growl and I wasn't appreciating it.

“He hasn't taken advantage of me, for fuck's sake. Steve hasn't done anything I haven't asked him to do. Stop blaming him. It's not his fault.” I wanted to speak gently but my frustration trembled beneath the surface.

Eric shook his head slightly in my hand. “He was responsible for you getting hurt.”

“Ogre didn't attack me. He saved my life.”

“If he hadn't taken you there, this wouldn't have happened at all.” Eric replied in a calm, matter of fact tone he only used when he intended to convince me I was wrong. He was good at that. He had a natural gift for persuasion. You just wanted to believe him. On any other day it might have actually worked. I saw Ogre out of the corner of my eye. He was anxiously standing back silent, no doubt waiting to see how this played out.

“If you hadn't decided what was best for me without my input and fucked with his head he wouldn't have dumped me there,” I shot out. My seething was coming to the surface.

“I only did what I needed to do to make sure you would be happy.”

Happy?” My voice grew louder with the shaking outrage swelling inside me. “Dumped, beaten and raped is your idea of happy!?” My anger spiked into pure madness. The snarl that came out of my mouth didn't sound like me to my own ears.

DO I LOOK FUCKING HAPPY TO YOU!?” I screamed as I grabbed a fistful of his hair. A look of terror etched his face as his hand grasped at my wrist. I wasn't letting go. Suddenly, I slammed his face into the chair's hard armrest, bringing him to his knees. Every muscle in my arm flexed in deep relief as I strained to humble him by viciously grinding his face into the coarse fabric. I could feel the pressure all the way through my injuries. I caught a glance at Steve standing back in total shock, he had never seen me like this. No one had. Eric frantically tried to pry my hand away as I shook his head in fury. I pulled his head back up so I could look him in the eye.

YOU DID NOT DO THIS FOR MY BENEFIT!!!! YOU DID THIS FOR YOURS!!!!” I raged in Eric's face, spittle spraying from the corners of my mouth. My composure had gone up in flames. The stress of restraining him was pushing my broken ribs beyond their limits. I ignored it. I wasn't feeling the slightest remorse as I watched his self confidence melt and fracture. I slammed him face first again into the armrest. I squeezed harder to maintain my hold. My chest and side were white hot and sweat burst across my forehead.

“Clay, stop! You're going to hurt yourself!” Ogre called out. I ignored him. I also noticed he did nothing to stop me as Eric shouted into the armrest.

IF YOU WANT ME ALL TO YOURSELF, WHY DON'T YOU JUST FUCK ME ALREADY AND GET IT OVER WITH!!???” My whole body shook and screamed through the pain and I took him with me.

I COULDN'T DO IT!” he cried out. With a bestial snarl, I pulled him close and kneed him in the face. Eric grunted painfully, landing solidly on his back as my body finally gave up and I slumped forward in the chair.

Knives stabbed my lungs like abused pincushions and I couldn't breathe. Labored gasps escaped me as I tried to scream out in agony. My eyes crushed themselves shut to blot out the pain. The tears were starting to seep through. I gripped the arm rest in retaliation.

“Calm down. Slow down. Slow shallow breaths.” I heard the soothing tones. A gentle hand was along my damaged flank and another at the side of my face comforting me. I looked at Eric in front of me. His hair was twisted and matted along the side where I'd held it. Blood ran from both nostrils and the side of his face was scarlet with brutal rug burn. Swelling was already setting in and I knew he'd be sporting some righteous bruises, but he talked to me as if nothing had occurred ten seconds ago.

“Ogre, get his pain meds. They're on my dresser. Two bottles. One of each.” Eric directed over his shoulder without breaking eye contact. Steve rushed to Eric's room and from the bathroom brought a glass of water. With my trembling, sweating hand I gratefully took the pills and drank them down. Long silent minutes passed as I calmed down, the pain began to mellow. I slowly regained my composure as Steve stood back unable to move. I finally found the air to speak.

“Eric. . . , you said 'couldn't'.” Eric suddenly froze in place. A subtle, wash of shame came over his battered face.

“When did you try?” I asked. Eric's eyes turned away, guilt overtaking him as he wiped the blood from his nose with the back of his hand.

“Last year,” he confessed. “When that shit Ethan broke up with you. I overheard your argument. He said, 'You two can't be that close without sleeping together. If not now, you will be later.' I didn't mean to listen in. I came home early and could hear the shouting from outside. I couldn't stop thinking about it. It sort of struck home. We've always been more than friends and more than family. I started thinking that maybe he was right. Maybe all the times people made jokes about us meant something else.

“I went to your room one night later that week and I just stood at the door. You'd pretty much just slept for days and I started thinking maybe hooking up would make things right.” He took a deep breath as he rubbed his face. “You know, I stood there a long time. I just couldn't bring myself to knock. I walked away.”

“Why didn't you?” Steve asked. His voice surprised us. Eric looked over his shoulder at Steve.

“Because no matter how much I love Clay, I'm just not wired that way.” We all paused for a moment.

“I would have turned you away.” Eric looked back at me surprised. “I love you, too. But, not like that. I've never loved you like that.”

A hush fell over us as we pondered the situation. Instantly, all the angry tension was gone. I wasn't sure that anyone knew what to say next. Everything was strange. My rage had come to a dull ebb.

“We all have to stop blaming each other,” I said. “We all had a hand in what happened. If any of us hadn't. . . well. . . I'd be standing easier. If Eric hadn't meddled. . . ,” I turned to Steve, “if you hadn't listened to him instead of doing what you really wanted. . . ” I turned away from all of them. “If I hadn't stayed so long and gotten drunk, we wouldn't be here right now.”

A very quiet voice in my head denied every word I uttered. True fault only belonged with my attacker, but that would have to be an acceptance to admit at a later date. For now, I believed it would level the playing field and diffuse the blame that sought to ruin us all.

“I wish I'd come back sooner,” Steve said.

“So do I, but at least you came back when you did. I think he was going to kill me.” I could feel the tears pricking my eyes. A slow, deep breath was required to settle me. “He was bringing his knife to my throat when you burst in, Steve. Another minute and I think I would have bled to death on the floor.” I could see the color draining from Eric's face. He slowly gazed to Ogre and back to me and I watched his shoulders shrink slightly. I looked Eric in the eye.

“Eric, Ogre saved my life, no matter how we got to that point. If he hadn't come back, I wouldn't be here.” I continued making sure I had his complete attention. “It's not as if he came out of it unscratched. Haven't you wondered about the bandage strapped to his shoulder?” Eric looked without speaking. I could practically hear the thoughts in his head processing my words.

“He stabbed me in the shoulder trying to get away when I pulled him off Clay.” Ogre reported without any hint of anger at Eric. “Then I beat the living shit out of him. If Clay hadn't needed me more I would have probably killed him for what he did.”

“I didn't know.” Eric reached up and rubbed his left arm with his right nervously.

Steve shook his head. “We never had a chance to talk about it. You were too angry and I was feeling too guilty for abandoning him. We were both too worried about Clay.”

“But you did go back for him.” Eric's voice was soft with regret.

I realized how fortunate I was to be alive. I wiped some moisture away that built along my eye. “I should be grateful the way I hit you, I didn't think you were coming back at all.”

“Whoa. . . wait a minute.” Eric interrupted. He turned to Steve. “He hit you?” he asked in disbelief.

“Dude, he fucking near took my head off. I've never been hit that hard.” Steve blushed mildly through a warm grin while absentmindedly rubbing his jaw.

“Nice!” Eric's smile was huge. “Ogre, when you piss someone off, you do it right. Way to go, Little Man.” He gave me a big thumbs up.

Ogre shot Eric a look riddled with disbelief. “Dude, what are you talking about? You just got fucking rocked by a naked cripple a few minutes ago.”

“You were a lot of help.”

“Clay didn't need any.”

“Steve, come here,” I said. I motioned him closer.

“Oh, hell no. I saw what you did to Eric.” He shook his head as he comically flattened his lips.

Eric laughed first. Steve and I fell like dominoes. Sniggering and guffaws echoed in the living room. It hurt so much to laugh, but I needed it so much. We hadn't found humor here for so long and we welcomed it like a long lost lover. It hadn't even completely died when I beckoned Steve again.

“Get over here.” He walked his magnificent shirtless body over to me, took my outstretched hand and knelt in front of me. I could tell he was trying not to look into my unclothed lap. Steve kept glancing over his shoulder at Eric who was watching us closely.

“I want you to listen to me,” I said. “I want you to know that other people's opinions are bullshit. You do what you want. You love who you want. The rest of the world is unimportant. Never let anyone into your head like that again. Even Eric.” Without releasing Steve I looked to Eric.

“Eric, if I have the time and energy for the two of you, so do you. You need Ogre as much as I do. Just not in the same way.” I smiled and pulled Steve closer. I kissed him softly and could feel his hesitation. Eric was making him nervous. I stared him in the eye.

“Steve, he's seen you with your dick in my ass. I'd say this isn't so bad.” His cheeks flushed a deep crimson. “I love you, Steve.” I caught Eric's smile as I pressed my forehead against Steve's.

“I love you too, Clay.” I couldn't contain the first true moment of happiness I'd experienced in many days.

“Oh, God I'm starved. Can someone get me something to eat? I'm feeling a little shaky here. I don't think I've had anything but pain medication in the last few days.”

Steve spoke up. “I brought soup and sandwiches in case you woke up. There's plenty for all of us. It's in the fridge. We can heat up the soup in the microwave.”

“I got it,” Eric said. I saw his warm smile as he headed into the kitchen. Shortly, I heard the microwave come to life. Eric came back into the room.

“Anything else you need?” Eric asked.

“A blanket or something. It's too hard to move right now and I don't have the energy to get dressed. I'm feeling a little weird being the naked one here. Throw something over me.” Part of me really just wanted to hide all my injuries.

Eric paused and scratched his chin while he thought. Kicking off his shoes, he pulled off his shirt and threw it on the floor. Steve was looking at him with a raised brow as he stripped his pants and underclothes and stood before us in the nude.

“There's no need to feel weird. It's not like this place hasn't been like a locker room before.” Eric grabbed his clothing and dumped them off in his bedroom. “Ogre, you too.” Steve shook his head with that giant endearing smile of his as he stood and his shorts hit the floor.

Eric pointed at the two of us. “Don't go getting frisky while I'm getting the food.”

I wanted to start laughing. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Both of the important men in my life were going nudist for my benefit. A sudden cease fire had been issued and all parties were at peace. I felt very warm and all the crappy events of the last week suddenly seemed very small. My world would be okay.

Eric brought in the food, mine staged on a tray, he and Steve sat on the couch as we all devoured our meals. I hadn't eaten in days and could feel my energy slowly returning. I had an excellent view of two beautiful naked men as I ate. They were both mine. In different ways, but both mine. A strange threesome we were. I think the three of us loved each other in one way or another. We were inseparable again and I couldn't imagine my world without them both.

We ate and watched television like old times, except I was being waited on hand and foot. We joked and laughed and other than being naked, it was like any other time we were together. Our lives had been given a big reset button.

Eventually my medications were making me drowsy. My stamina was all shot to hell. I fought to stay awake. Steve helped me to the bathroom to pee again and Eric followed us into the hallway. I watched Eric come up behind Steve and wrap his arm around his shoulder.

“Ogre, why don't you take him to bed. I'll see you two in the morning. We can talk about how to get you living with us tomorrow.” Eric gave me a careful hug and kissed my forehead. He looked at Ogre and bumped his fist on his shoulder. “You saved my Little Man. You better take good care of him, Steve.”

Steve nodded proudly. “I will, Eric. Thank you.”

Eric paused for a moment, his eyes looking away. He struggled to utter the words that came out.

“Ogre. Clay. I'm sorry for everything. I've taken care of him for so long and through so much shit. I've never really been ready to share.”

I stood dumbfounded. I could count the number of times I'd heard an apology fall from his lips on the fingers on my crippled arm.

“It's already been forgotten,” Steve said. A relieved smile slowly appeared over Eric's face. Steve placed a tender kiss along my head. “Come on, Little Man. I can't wait to wake up with you in the morning.”

Steve smiled, swept me up in his arms and carried me to bed. I curled up into his firm flesh as he dragged the covers over us and cocooned me in his warmth and protection. The aches and pains of my body were no longer important to me. I never slept so well.


 

Another huge batch of thanks for all the help MJ85 did to help me make this chapter ready. It's all in the details.
Copyright © 2012 Mann Ramblings; All Rights Reserved.
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Great chapter, but it feels too much like the end of the story. I don't know what I'll do without my "Little Man" fix.

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well i wasn't expecting that from Eric, nice little twist there. i have to agree it does sound final, and i desperately don't want it to be :P

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I hope this isn't the end either, because it leaves so much unresolved on the Steve front. He spends so much time standing silently on the sidelines when big decisions are made. Will he finally start thinking for himself? Can he stick to the decisions he makes? He's shown himself to be a vacillating coward so far. If he stays with Clay, he'll have to come out. Can he see a future possibly without pro football? Also, I wouldn't be surprised if readers take issue with Clay and Steve being intimate so soon after the attack. To that I would say, people heal in different ways. Who are we to judge? Also: more Heidi!

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I don't feel like it is the end. To me, the Eric and LM issue is not resolved. I feel a few vibes there that LM has not addressed. Everything has been from Eric. What if LM went to Eric?

Will Ogre be able to handle being out to everyone.

Last of all, the safety and naturalness that LM felt in Eric's bed was too filled with true emotion not to mean something.

So, (taps foot patiently). I don't have to tell you how awesome this is. It just is.:)

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WOOHOO for LM finally going batshit on those two dudes. Yes he is beat up but he will bounce back. I like the drama in this story. I am also very glad that Eric admited his feelings and that story has closed itself. I really want Ogre and LM to be happy. I think the three of them will create a new bond but I really, really want more. If not of this story than create something new for us. You are doing a great job. Keep it up. thumbsupsmileyanim.gif

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On 11/05/2012 04:17 AM, Ozymandias said:
Great chapter, but it feels too much like the end of the story. I don't know what I'll do without my "Little Man" fix.
Hmm... perhaps I'll have to consider a sequel... We shall see. :)
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On 11/05/2012 05:23 AM, joann414 said:
I don't feel like it is the end. To me, the Eric and LM issue is not resolved. I feel a few vibes there that LM has not addressed. Everything has been from Eric. What if LM went to Eric?

Will Ogre be able to handle being out to everyone.

Last of all, the safety and naturalness that LM felt in Eric's bed was too filled with true emotion not to mean something.

So, (taps foot patiently). I don't have to tell you how awesome this is. It just is.:)

It's funny you mention LM's comfort level in Eric's bed. I based their relationship on mine and my after college roomie. Same thing. More than friends and all up in each other's lives and love lives. But not so much as a kiss. Ever. And we were good with that.

 

Thanks again for your unending support and point of view. It keeps me thinking.

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On 11/05/2012 09:52 AM, Carrie76 said:
WOOHOO for LM finally going batshit on those two dudes. Yes he is beat up but he will bounce back. I like the drama in this story. I am also very glad that Eric admited his feelings and that story has closed itself. I really want Ogre and LM to be happy. I think the three of them will create a new bond but I really, really want more. If not of this story than create something new for us. You are doing a great job. Keep it up. thumbsupsmileyanim.gif
Thanks, Carrie! There will definitely be more from me over the next few months. I am not a hit and run author on GA. Keep a look out! :D
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I am enjoying this story. I really liked when LM smacked down Eric. That was priceless...he needed some taking down a peg. There is so much left to think about here...how Ogre reacts with his football, whether or not he can stay faithful to LM, will Eric decide to experiment, how does everyone else react when Ogre comes out? This can't be the end!!!

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A splendid piece of writing, Mann! I just discovered the story on the day you posted the final installment. Some really magnificent turns of phrase throughout a compelling story.

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On 11/05/2012 12:21 PM, The_Round_One said:
A splendid piece of writing, Mann! I just discovered the story on the day you posted the final installment. Some really magnificent turns of phrase throughout a compelling story.
Thanks! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. There's still one more chapter to go in this story. While it would be easy to say it's done at this point, I don't believe in abrupt endings when there are some loose ends to tie up.
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I ditto everyone. lol I want to know what Ogre will do regarding football. LM is out and I can't see him going in the closet for Ogre.

 

I'm thrilled Eric FINALLY 'saw the light' and realizes how much LM loves Ogre and how important Ogre is to him. It's just too bad it took all that angst and getting beat up by a crippled, naked LM. lol I was cringing every time LM smashed Eric's head in the couch. Ouch.

 

I was wondering though when Eric was congratulating LM for hitting Ogre, he said, "Ogre, when you piss someone off, you do it right." But Ogre pissed LM off only because HE LISTENED TO ERIC!!! If he had gone with his heart and his gut instinct, none of that shit would have happened.

 

And like everyone else, I don't want this story to end. It's been terrific writing from the very first sentence.

 

Also, on an unrelated note: did you get your pen name from "Rambling Man" from The Allman Brothers? I was just looking at the name late last night when I first started reading the chapter and it came to me! "Rambling Man" - anyway, just curious. =)

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On 11/08/2012 06:43 AM, Lisa said:
I ditto everyone. lol I want to know what Ogre will do regarding football. LM is out and I can't see him going in the closet for Ogre.

 

I'm thrilled Eric FINALLY 'saw the light' and realizes how much LM loves Ogre and how important Ogre is to him. It's just too bad it took all that angst and getting beat up by a crippled, naked LM. lol I was cringing every time LM smashed Eric's head in the couch. Ouch.

 

I was wondering though when Eric was congratulating LM for hitting Ogre, he said, "Ogre, when you piss someone off, you do it right." But Ogre pissed LM off only because HE LISTENED TO ERIC!!! If he had gone with his heart and his gut instinct, none of that shit would have happened.

 

And like everyone else, I don't want this story to end. It's been terrific writing from the very first sentence.

 

Also, on an unrelated note: did you get your pen name from "Rambling Man" from The Allman Brothers? I was just looking at the name late last night when I first started reading the chapter and it came to me! "Rambling Man" - anyway, just curious. =)

Glad to see your power's back on Lisa! Thanks again for loyal support. It really makes me feel good that this story is getting so much attention and feedback. It's been great!

 

My pen name is a variation of Ann Rice's pseudonym "Ann Ramplings" when she was writing erotica. She was the first legitimate author I knew of that wrote fiction with heavy gay themes. The variation just seemed appropriate. :)

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I guess pissing off the little guy does seem to clear the air. I'm really surprised that is all Clay did to Eric if I was him I would have done a hell of a lot more. I was wrong in that Eric didn't have a romantic love for Clay but it was still a deep love all the same. Personally I would think that Eric would be happy that his two best friends got it on together but I guess he didn't want to share which is sad really. I'm glad they made up wish it had happen without tbe abuse and rape. Hopefully Clay comes out of this physically and mentally whole.

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On 08/25/2013 09:16 AM, Daithi said:
I guess pissing off the little guy does seem to clear the air. I'm really surprised that is all Clay did to Eric if I was him I would have done a hell of a lot more. I was wrong in that Eric didn't have a romantic love for Clay but it was still a deep love all the same. Personally I would think that Eric would be happy that his two best friends got it on together but I guess he didn't want to share which is sad really. I'm glad they made up wish it had happen without tbe abuse and rape. Hopefully Clay comes out of this physically and mentally whole.
if Clay was physically capable of doing more at that point, he definitely would have. But this is all typical jock mentality. You get in a brawl and everything settles itself after. That's the simple version. lol
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I can't imagine what it's like to have two men fighting over who gets to love you the most. Little Man is so lucky to have Eric and Ogre. The three of these very different men don't make sense but they work and they work beautifully, even when they are fussing and fighting and hitting each other. I am saddened by the fact that the story is nearing the end but I feel fortunate having got to get a glimpse of these three individuals at such a pivotal moment in their life.

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On 09/09/2014 12:18 PM, Bryce Lee said:
I can't imagine what it's like to have two men fighting over who gets to love you the most. Little Man is so lucky to have Eric and Ogre. The three of these very different men don't make sense but they work and they work beautifully, even when they are fussing and fighting and hitting each other. I am saddened by the fact that the story is nearing the end but I feel fortunate having got to get a glimpse of these three individuals at such a pivotal moment in their life.
If it was these two guys, I'd like to let them fight over me. Undressed with a bottle of conola... but I digress. I wanted an unusual threesome with this story with blurred lines of attachment. I'm just thrilled that it's been so well reviewed and received. Thank you for being one of them!
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Unnamed continents colored in black and blue painted the landscape of my body. This line is an example of the caliber of the writing in this story that is keeping me enthralled. This line sings.

Clay is so fortunate - I know it sounds strange to say that about a man who is so injured and in pain as is he, but the sense of the statement is this - he has two men who love him, one in the sense of a gay lover and the other in the sense of a brother, but both love him deeply. Now the author has to work out how such a strange three-sided affection can exist. If anyone can work this out, I feel you can Mann, even though you have only one chapter in which to do it.

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I knew you would come up with a solution that would work. I'm just going to acknowledge another great chapter so I can get on and read the last one. Job well done.

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