Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Prelude

"And this is the bathroom. The tiles were redone in 2014. I quite like the modern design and the simplistic choice of color in this one", I gestured at the ugly black and white tiles that turned a rather average bathroom into a chamber of horrors just waiting for some bloodshed. Why couldn't any of these damn flats just be okay? There was always some catch that made them a hard sale. I was so tired of this shit.

Five years of pretending to be a real estate agent had really weighed me down. It was just the random sale every now and then that kept me financially afloat. People did need to live someplace after all, and I was selling apartments. Sure deal, right? At least I thought so when I started this phenomenal waste of time. Shaking off my thoughts, my eyes caught on the shower and the greenish mold spreading around the silicone seal. Damn!

I flashed my brightest smile, hoping to divert my clients' searching eyes by putting myself right in front of the mold-infested shower stall. Fidgeting with the top button of my white business shirt, I puffed out my wide chest and beckoned the two guys into the small room. Sure, I might have been San Diego's worst real estate agent, but I'd be damned if I couldn't sell this shithole to a gay couple who were staring at my lips like two kids on a hot day waiting to get ice cream from a street vendor.

Stan, the shorter of the two, looked around the room, while Hank, the tall, lanky one, smiled at me, his eye winking. Great. I tried my best not to roll my eyes.

"The tiles look like a chess board. And there's no window." Stan slipped an index finger across a tile and rubbed it against his thumb, apparently gauging the amount of dust. Okay, I could take a hint. Time to move on.

"Let's check out the bedroom, the view there is amazing!" I walked out of the bathroom and down the hall, Hank following at my heels.

"The view sure is amazing, Brian," Hank drawled. I couldn't believe that guy. Flirting with me right in front of his man. I swallowed and led Hank into the bedroom, ignoring the way his hand bumped into my hip in passing. Involuntarily, of course. Not.

The bedroom wasn't too bad. Bright and cozy with a dark redwood floor and large windows overlooking a park. The street was right below, but looking out from this floor, all you could see were trees. If they didn't ask me to open the windows, I might actually score a point with this one.

Stan walked around the king sized bed, staring at the bare mattress and out the high windows. Yeah, I knew an apartment would be easier to sell if there were furniture and decoration, instead of showing people around bare rooms, but hey, I wasn't selling in the Kardashian's price range, so I hoped the guys would give me a break.

"The view is nice," Stan conceded. He walked closer to the bed and bumped against it with his shin. Testing its sturdiness? Please just take the damn flat already.

"I bet that bed can easily hold three guys, right?" Hank walked forward and leered at me, clearly checking me out. God, really?

"I wouldn't know," I said, my smile slipping the more Stan joined his boyfriend in that awkward staring contest at my crotch.

"I bet you would, Steve Hunter. After all, we are fans." Hank walked over and slipped his hand around my waist, pushing me softly toward the bed. My porn name had me frozen to the spot. I had hoped that after five years of retirement my fame would have vanished, but apparently I was still famous enough for two horny guys to go as far as apartment hunting just to get me into a bedroom. Suddenly I wished this flat hadn't even come with a bed.

I shook my head and pushed the hand away. "Not gonna happen, guys."

"Come on, why not? We got lube and condoms right here and it's not like we're gonna mess up any sheets, right," Hank laughed and pointed at the blank bed, running his fingers along my naked forearm. "And we might be interested in this place after all, right Stan?"

Stan smirked and rolled his eyes. "Sure thing. You do come highly recommended, you know?"

I hated this. Even more so as it wasn't the first time. The longer I worked in real estate the more I ran into clients who expected something intimate on top of a lease contract for their new apartment. 'Oh, try O'Leary Real Estate if you want to fuck a porn star'. Made me feel like a rent boy. Made me feel like a whore. I had hoped those days were behind me. I closed my eyes, trying to think.

I jumped as my cell vibrated in my pant pocket, shortly before a soft chirping announced an incoming call. Saved by the bell.

Removing myself from Hank's roaming fingers I turned toward the windows.

"O'Leary," I answered the call, frowning at an unknown number on my private cell.

Silence, then the soft sound of a woman clearing her throat. "Bry? Is that you?"

"Sarah?" Way to go, man. I hadn't talked to the only woman I ever shared my bed with in years and all I managed was her name? "How... how are you?," I added, then words tumbling out of my mouth before I could stop them. "Is Evan alright?"

Sarah sniffed. "Evan is fine. He's... he applied at Berkeley. And got accepted."

I blinked, trying to find the mindset to discuss my son's education in front of two horny clients. Day of my life.

I didn't know much about academia, but Berkeley wasn't a no name university. My chest swelled with pride knowing my son was apparently smart enough for a college like that.

"That's... great news," I said quietly, all too aware of two sets of curious eyes staring at my back.

"Wait until you hear how much the tuition will be," she said carefully.

Stan and Hank startled behind me when I repeated the figure, almost yelling at my phone in disbelief. Stan cleared his throat.
"Don't tell me someone offered you that amount of cash for this dump here," he laughed and unbuttoned his shirt.

"Sarah, this is a bad time. I.. I'll think of something. I don't have that cash right now. Not even close," I whispered. I wanted to think I knew the disappointed glance that I was sure Sarah was sporting on her end of the line, but fact was I hadn't seen her in the last 15 years. Still, I knew I had let her down again, judging by her sigh. I swallowed hard. "I'll think of something, okay?"

Clicking my phone off, I turned back to Hank and Stan, who looked at me expectantly. Hank was already kneeling on the mattress, while Stan still worked to get out of his shirt.

I ground my teeth together. "You really gonna take the apartment if we do this?"

"Sure thing, dude. Now come over here." I followed Hank's beckoning hand and let him draw me closer by my belt. Bending me forward, he claimed my mouth in a wet kiss, raking his hand through my short hair. A warm weight against my back and a hand opening my shirt buttons one by one reminded me that Stan was still with us. I felt four hands roaming lower to work my belt, Hanks lips traveling down the trimmed hair on my gym-shaped chest, his tongue circling my nipple. I closed my eyes and let both guys play me, the way countless guys had before them. Teeth still grinding together, I just wanted to cry.




***




The apartment felt empty and cold. It wasn't really different to any other day, but I felt especially lonely as I came home after my successful sale. At least they had signed the lease when we were done. That was more than I could have hoped for. I stepped into the hallway and shrugged out of my leather jacket. Only a couple of buttons holding my shirt in place around my chest, I shrugged out of it and dropped it on the floor. Yeah, I knew. Laundry ain't a bachelor's best friend. My jacket had thankfully prevented the shirt from falling off on my way home, as I hadn't wanted to spend any more time around Hank and Stan than necessary to seal the deal. The smell of two different aftershaves on my body reminded me of what I had just done. Again. I pinched the bridge of my nose and leaned against the hallway wall.

I needed the damn money. Not just for Evan's tuition. I also needed to pay rent and cover my own expenses like everybody else did. Just that everybody else didn't hover on the tight line between gainful employment and being a hooker. How did other people do it?

With a college degree and a set of references. I could basically hear my mother drilling her wisdom into my teenaged self. Not that I ever listened to her. I didn't hold a grudge against her when she stopped speaking with me after the porn thing got out. Still I wished I had someone to rant about shit - and I figured that was what a mother was about. Or a boyfriend. Not that I had any of those.

I didn't bother to put on a shirt again and strolled to the kitchen for a beer. The fridge was well supplied with alcohol, if nothing else. I considered hitting the gym after all, not really wanting to break my training schedule. Reading the label of the beer bottle in my hand, I shrugged the notion off and walked back to my couch, my socked feet ghosting silently over the cheap linoleum floor. I just wanted this day to end, not drag it on. The laptop still sat opened on the couch table and it just took a swipe of my finger to awaken it. I couldn't wait to mark that cursed flat as sold and remove it from my listing, but first I wanted to check my finances. Logging into my bank accounts, I wasn't surprised to see that my cash account had shriveled down to a minus balance yet again. It wasn't by much, but it was still a rather saddening sight, given it was only the middle of the month. Today's sale would even things out again so I wasn't bothered. Switching to my savings accounts, I stared at the 80 grand sitting there. Money I had accrued for Evan's tuition. It used to be so much more. Porn had paid off well and a stab of guilt reminded me that I could once have covered the full tuition at Berkeley that he needed now, but fate had had different plans and forced me to take money out of the account to cover my own expenses. Ashamed, I pulled the laptop shut and shrank back on the couch. The cold beer tasted stale on my tongue and I noticed that it wasn't the only taste still lingering there. I should probably brush my teeth.

A tentative knock on the door had me turn my head towards the entrance. I wasn't in the mood for visitors tonight. Especially not Miguel and his persevering stamina. I was 38 years old after all and just had to satisfy two guys. Another soft knock on the door. Damn, I felt like an ass.

"Come in. It's open," I called out and sighed to myself, knocking back a large swallow of beer.

My hot young neighbor sticking his head inside my door was actually the most pleasant sight of the day. I relaxed with a smile and lifted my bottle in greeting. "Miguel, handsome! Mi casa et su casa, have a beer."

I tensed up when Miguel didn't react to my tired flirting and wordlessly walked over, dropping on the couch beside me. "What's wrong?" I sat up and put my arm on his shoulder, his dark tattooed skin smooth under my callous fingertips. He didn't look at me, watching his own hands instead as he tugged on his fingers one by one. We've known each other quite a while. It was nice to have a cute young guy next door to be friendly with after work. I didn't mind the occasional hot sex either. And judging from the moaning sounds I sometimes heard through the wall, I didn't have to worry about him getting too attached to me. Besides, Miguel and I shared a rather sad secret that probably deepened our friendship on a level that I wouldn't have tolerated otherwise. I didn't usually do the big brother act with my younger lovers, but Miguel's shaking hands had me draw him in for a hug. He sniffed against my ear. "What's going on, man?", I whispered.

He sniffed again, drawing back from my embrace. "You smell like sex," he said and wrinkled his nose, then smiled. "I hope it was good." His Mexican accent was more pronounced when he was unsettled like this.

"I sold a flat," I shrugged in answer, rubbing his back in a slow circle. I realized he was stalling.
"Are you feeling alright?"

He shook his head, his black hair falling into his eyes. He was a damn hot Latino and usually knew it, but he seriously scared me now, all pale and shivering. "Is it the meds?", I prodded gently.

He looked up at me with huge brown eyes. I watched him sniff again. He rubbed his eyes on the long sleeve of his pullover and I felt cheap sitting shirtless next to him.

"I had to change the combo again after only three months. And it still doesn't work. I feel like shit, man," he said quietly. So different to the usual banter we exchanged. "It's the second time I had to change. What if I run out of options?" His lips trembled and I felt his fingers close tightly over mine, holding on for dear life, it seemed. "I don't wanna die, Brian?" His eyes sparkled.

I had never seen him cry. So the tear slipping out of the corner of his eye, rolling down his tanned but unusually pale cheek surprised me. I drew him into a hug again and he melted against me, sobbing loudly, tear drops wet on my naked chest. "I'm sure it'll be alright. We'll go to the clinic right away and fix this. They'll check your blood and then the doc will decide how to continue."

He sobbed again and I did something I never did with him before. I kissed his head, his soft hair tickling my lips. "I had a shitty time myself until I adjusted. My first combo, I thought I'd die. The second one wasn't as bad, but it still took me three months to get used to it. It's been working for 4 years now. It'll be the same for you," I soothed him.

He stilled and I let him sit back. "What if not?" I could see his fear clearly in his eyes.

"What if you walk out that door and get run over by a bus? You can't ask 'what if' or you'll stop living, Miguel." I slapped his cheek playfully and smiled at him. "Come on, get your meds and we're off to the clinic. I just need to take a shower, okay?"

Miguel watched me, obviously mesmerized by the colorful design tattooed on my chest. When he looked up he said, "Thank you. For coming with me."

I patted his knee and stood up. "You're welcome. That's what friends are for."

"You're my friend," he said quickly and he sounded so much like a scared child that I wanted to hug him again. But Miguel was 28 years old. HIV wasn't the end of his life, even if it was a nuisance sometimes. I knew he would make it. And I'd be there for him when he needed me, hoping he'd do the same for me.



In the bathroom, I dropped my pants and socks and stepped into the shower feeling like someone who actually had a purpose in life. I smiled sadly to myself. The first real smile on a day that had already gone down the drain.




***


The clinic wasn't exactly buzzing with activity. This time of night, it was only emergency cases such as Miguel who were accepted. The usual crowd of worried party boys in need of a test after a night of wild and risky sex was luckily absent. I couldn't stand the stupidity of these guys. As if they would get a solid result after only a few hours. Still, they kept clogging up the waiting lines at the clinic while real HIV patients with health issues had to wait hours to be seen. A full health insurance was one reason why I had to take money out of Evan's account. There was a time when I actually thought I'd die, while the faces of mindless pretty boys stared at me in the waiting rooms, probably even recognizing my face. A health insurance meant I could see a doctor in a more private setting. Miguel wasn't as lucky, so I waited at the clinic next to him, letting him drop his head on my shoulder while we waited and glad that the usual day crowd was absent.

"I met someone. He knows." Miguel's words caught me by surprise. I turned my head, my mouth in his hair now.

"That's great. Congratulations. You going steady?", I whispered and squeezed his shoulder. He nodded.

"I think so. I've never had a boyfriend. I don't wanna mess up," he whispered back.

"You won't. If you really like him, he's worth it." He was silent, waiting for more adult wisdom from me. "And I'll be your friend, even if we don't do the bedroom tango anymore. You know that," I said slowly, not sure what he wanted to hear.

He raised his head from my shoulder and looked at me, his eyes searching for something on my face. After a second, he smiled and pressed a quick kiss on my lips.

"I didn't know, but thank you. It means a lot." He rested his head again on me and tightened my grip on his shoulder, drawing him nearer.

"Are you ever lonely?", he asked suddenly.

I shrugged. "You know, I'm rarely lonely."

I felt his chest rumble in a soft laugh. "I mean, between tricks. When you're by yourself."

I was glad he couldn't see the frown on my face. "Who isn't? It's not like I have much to offer to a boyfriend. And I don't want some porn freak who wants me to re-enact my old scenes with him."

"I think you have a lot to offer," he said and fell silent for a long time until I felt him take a deep breath.

"Why did you sleep with your clients today?", he asked. It felt like a dagger being driven into my side. I winced. It wasn't that I was ashamed of doing it. I never felt ashamed for having sex. It was just the fact that it sometimes felt like people bought me that unsettled me.

"They said they'd take the flat if I did. I needed the money," I sighed. "And what a shitty thing to say."

"Why are you doing real estate? You keep saying how much you hate it, but it's all you've done ever since I know you. Why not do what you really like. Like your gym stuff?" he said. I wasn't used to having a grown-up conversation with him. We never felt the need to talk much. He knocked. I opened and we soon found more pleasurable ways to fill our mouths than idle chatter. I never knew Miguel had given that much thought about my life or that he knew I was a fitness freak who liked bodybuilding - and not just to ogle the hot guys at the gym. I actually loved the health aspect and the dieting. It was one reason I was in such good shape despite my diagnosis.

"When I stopped doing porn, I did get employed at a gym. You're right, I was quite good at it. But some guys knew me and requested other services on the side. When my boss got wind of it, he fired me. That's why I decided to go into self-employment. Real estate sounded good at the time."

"Just that it sounds like the same thing is happening again. Except that there's no boss who could fire you for it." Miguel's voice sounded sad, which irritated me. Was he worried about me? Or did he think I was a whore? I wasn't a whore. I just did what needed to be done so I could meet my responsibilities.

"I know. Fact is, I need the money. Evan's college tuition is coming up and I don't know what else to do." I bit my tongue. Shit. Why couldn't Miguel just sleep on my shoulder until he was called in? I just gave away more of myself than any guy ever got from me before.

"Evan? Who is Evan?", Miguel said, lifting his head, curiosity clear on his face.

"He's my son," I said and looked at the empty chairs on the opposite side of the waiting room. I had never told Miguel about my family or my life before my nebulous porn fame. It suddenly seemed like I had lied to him for so long, simply by omitting something that wasn't his business to begin with.

"Wow," he looked at me like he suddenly saw a new person where his fuck buddy had been. "And you're paying for his tuition? Isn't that like a shitload of money?"

"Uh-hu. You got that right," I murmured and was relieved when he put his head back on my shoulder. He didn't freak out over my fatherhood at least.

"Does the real estate gig make enough money for that?," he finally asked.

I shook my head and rolled my eyes. "Not even close."

"So what are you gonna do?"

I shrugged my shoulder, careful not to disturb him with the motion.

"Will you return to porn?" The question surprised me. I hadn't ever considered it, not after the way I left porn. But I knew that with the rise of bareback porn, even HIV+ guys were getting work in the business, as long as their t-cell counts were okay. At least I hoped that the companies cared about such shit and not willingly endangered their negative performers by pairing them with guys like me.

"I don't know. Do you think I'd still have a chance?"

Miguel's laugh rumbled through his chest. "You gotta be kidding me. You'd be a rising star."

I smirked at his enthusiasm. "We'll see."

I looked up when a doctor emerged from one of the closed doors and approached us, a worn out look on his face. I couldn't blame him.

"Mr Rodriguez?"

Miguel sat up and looked at me. I squeezed his hand. "You need me to come with?"

He shook his head and followed the doctor into his office. I folded my arms in front of my chest and relaxed back into my chair. The clock said 9 p.m. My eyelids were starting to get heavy, despite my knees jiggling restlessly. I hoped Miguel would be alright. I didn't have many friends, just fuck buddies, but I felt like I could need friends now more than ever. Slipping my cell out of my pocket, I started to scroll through my contacts, most of which I only kept saved so I could block the numbers. Grindr was damn convenient to scratch an itch, but it also left me with lots of contacts I didn't want a repeat with.

I wasn't sure if I had deleted it long ago, but after a couple of minutes I found the number I was looking for. Staring at my phone for what felt like an hour, I clicked back to my home screen and waited patiently for Miguel to return.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Professional bonding

I didn't usually consider spending my spare time with the department Neanderthals a decent way to enjoy my Saturday off, but my captain requesting a day trip with my subs to 'socialize' was hardly a task I could delegate.

So here I was, deliberately ignoring the machismo and bromances that the younger cops seemed to entertain, as we walked into the spa entrance to spend a day of - and I quote - "professional bonding" which I knew would turn into a night of dragging shitfaced cops - who should know better - out of the pool bar before they drowned themselves.

Ramirez walking behind me delivered his usual rants and ignorant half-knowledge that the majority of the American population seemed to be prone to these days. On duty, I'd call him out on it, but tonight I intended to let the boys be stupid. I knew once they'd be nursing their third beers I would silently vanish to a dark corner and pretend I didn't know these drunk assholes. My ears peaked up when I heard one of the newbies behind us speak up, interrupting Ramirez in whatever hateful bullshit he was sharing with the men. Ramirez turned back to the kid and the guys almost bumped into him, eventually pulling the group to a stop.

I sighed and turned toward my subordinates, all of them dressed mainly in leather jackets and jeans instead of the black uniform I usually saw them in. Ramirez inhaled sharply.

"You're shitting me? You're what?", he spat at the kid. One of the officers in training who just completed his introduction period and was soon to be paired permanently with a fellow cop to roam the streets, walked up to him and stared him down, his jaw set.

"I said I'm gay, so stop talking shit like that, okay?", the kid growled. Gotta give it to him. He had balls. Not particularly smart to make an enemy of Ramirez, but still. I hoped he didn't jeopardize his opportunity of teaming up with a seasoned cop. Chances were, most colleagues wouldn't feel comfortable having a queer to back them up. It was some inherently homophobic superstitious bullshit that had somehow survived among the force. No one knew that better than me. After 20 years in that damn job, I knew staying in the closet was my only chance to survive among these assholes. That and making sure the men respected me. No, make that feared me.

So, yeah. The kid sure had balls.

Ramirez' face turned dark with rage. "I can't believe that cocksucker. What are you even doing here? Ogling real men in the showers so you can jerk off to the memory of us while your queer loverboy tongues your asshole?"

The kid turned white before he balled his fists and... Enough was enough.

I stepped between the men and put my hands flat on Ramirez' and the kid's (Decker, was it? ) chests.

"Ramirez! Stop fucking around. The boy ain't none of your business. You don't want to be partnered with a gay cop? Fine. But don't hate on one of ours just because he's different. You of all people should know what that's like. Where were you born again, huh? Mexico City?"

I put as much authority into my voice as I could. Ramirez shrank back and averted my eyes. Good boy. He knew as well as I did, had Trump been in office when Ramirez applied for the force, he'd have found himself on a one way flight back to the slums instead of sitting in an air-conditioned car all day, feeding on donuts and whatever Mexican shit *Mrs* Ramirez packed for him each day, like the 12 year old schoolboy he actually was.

"Never mind, lieutenant. Forget I said anything. Just make sure that faggot stays well away from me."

He looked at me with cold eyes and walked on. I noticed the men around us watching the exchange uneasily, a few of the guys walking around Decker as if he suddenly carried a contagious disease. Shit, I hated to see this.

The boy was still rooted to the spot, his eyes fuming and disappointed. I beckoned him to follow. "Come on, kid. Ramirez is an asshole. Don't take his bullshit to heart, okay?"

He nodded and walked behind me into the spa.

Professional bonding? Yeah, right. It was bullshit. This time, I hated to be right, though.


A couple of hours later -still late morning, mind you- most of my men had had more than their share to drink and were horsing around in the warm water, riding each other's backs, while waving their cocktail glasses above their heads. I should probably make a cellphone snapshot and put it in each of these guys' staff files. That would make the next staffing review much more interesting and bring home to the captain that this bonding bullshit was nothing but a waste of time.

Guys who were already fighting at work didn't need to be friends off work - and cops who were friendly with each other didn't need a spa to reinforce that fact.

I decided to wander off and enjoy the spa by myself a bit. I was sure I'd hear the life guards if one of my men *did* actually drown in that damn pool bar. I didn't particularly like the fake palm trees and tropical fish tank grotto that made the pool bar a popular place for screaming children and parents who started their intoxication way before lunch.

So I went to the sauna area, dropped my trunks, enjoying the sensation of walking in the nude, and felt my way inside one of the dark steam rooms to cherish the quiet, far away from noisy kids.

The steam was already well on the way and I didn't see a thing in the moist heat, my fingertips searching for the tiled bench to sit down. I felt the feet under me just when I stepped on them. Trying to avoid slamming into the person sitting in the dark before me, I slid on the slippery floor and felt strong arms on my back, keeping me from hitting the edge of the bench going down. Steadying myself, the strong grip on my skin eased and slipped away.

"Thanks. Sorry I stepped on you. I don't see a thing in here," I said and sat down next to the man.

"No worries, Sir", a familiar voice responded.

Sir? I squinted my eyes. "Decker?"

The familiar eyes gleamed in the dark mist in front of me. Of course it was him. I hadn't seen him at the bar. Should have known he was hiding.

"Why are you not out there getting shitfaced? It's rare the department puts out like this, so better take what you can get", I joked and smiled.

Decker didn't respond right away. He sighed.

"You know why, Sir," he said. An awkward pause stretched between us. I hated to point out that 'socializing' wasn't working like that. But then he sure as hell knew that already.

"Thanks for speaking up for me, Sir," he eventually added, breaking the silence.

I sighed. "Don't 'Sir' me, kid. We're off duty and supposed to have fun. I'm Greg," I held out my hand, which he shook awkwardly.

"Thanks, Greg. Please call me Ben. I ain't a kid anymore," he smiled.

I watched him in the dark, his body a bright shape looming next to me in the billowing steam.

"I can see that. You're an athlete, right? We need guys like you on the force. Guys who don't lose their breath chasing after someone on foot, just because they've gotten fat eating donuts all day."

He chuckled at that, his deep voice rumbling in his chest. Damn, he sounded young - and hot. A dangerous combination.

"Yeah. I'm into bodybuilding. I just competed in the USBF Miami. Just for fun. Didn't win anything, but it was great seeing all these guys in person, doing their thing." He smiled, white teeth shining brightly.

"That's awesome, Ben. You sure look impressive. How long've you been doing it?"

He sat up, puffing up his chest.

"Ten years. You gotta stay with it or it's no use doing it at all."

He ran his hand across his chest, feeling the muscles that he earned through years of training. I could see his smooth skin sparkle with sweat. It was dark, but I did notice the ripple of muscles under his skin as he moved.

"Impressive. May I?" I lifted a tentative hand, wondering if he'd be comfortable letting me touch his biceps.

In response, Ben lifted his arm and flexed his muscles. I ran my palm across his swollen biceps, feeling the muscle hard as steel under my fingers. Running my fingers toward his elbows, I continued to caress his lower arm, feeling raspy stubble there.

"Do you shave your whole body?"

He lowered his arm, letting me stroke up and down his forearm, the rasp of his hair growing back an electrifying sensation under my fingers.

"Only for competitions. The legs are tough, though. I'm a bit on the hairy side."

I wasn't sure if the heat in that steam had melted all my common sense or if I had just gone crazy, but I lowered my hand to touch his upper thigh, stroking from his knee up to his groin, feeling the same raspy stubble on his leg.

What the fuck was I doing touching that kid in a steam room like this? He had every right to file a complaint against me. I shuddered about THAT particular talk with the captain. Still, right in that moment I didn't care.

I felt Ben freeze up, the huge muscles in his thigh going rigid.

I withdrew my hand.

"Sorry," I swallowed. "I'm pretty hairy myself. I imagine shaving it all off must be a bitch."

What a lame excuse. I had better shut up.

Ben didn't say anything. I almost jumped when I felt his hand carefully settle down on my thigh, stroking up and down the coarse hair there, from my knee up to my groin, just like I had done to him.

"I... I don't mind, Greg. Do you?" He whispered.

His palm was hot on my already heated skin, sweat making the touch slippery. He reached my groin and let his finger touch my slowly rising shaft. The head jumped and brushed his fingers. He went higher, caressing the hair on the base of my cock, continuing his way up my flat stomach and hairy chest.

My nipples hardened, anticipating the touch of his fingers. When it came, I couldn't help but moan quietly.

"I like your body," he said.

I might have been pushing forty, but working my days off in my brother's construction business had shaped my muscles and the sun shining down on me working shirtless had given me a deep tan. I knew I wasn't ugly. Still, feeling this young man's hands on me sent a jolt of arousal right to my groin.

I rose my hand and mirrored his touches, wandering over the ripples of Ben's smooth abs and huge pecs, his nipples hard and waiting to be caressed. He moaned.

I slid my hand lower, sweat making the motion fluid on his slippery skin. The base of his cock was shaved as well, the sharp rasp of stubble tickling my fingers. Jesus, he was huge. His cock was fully hard under my fingers, as I slowly pulled his skin back to reveal his pulsing head, the tip wet and slippery from precum under my touch.

"Shit, Greg. If you don't stop now, I gotta relieve myself right here, public indecency be damned," he said with a strained voice and pulled away from me.

I was an old fool and I knew it. Still, I grabbed his wrist and pulled him toward me, ridiculously happy when he complied. I moved his body down between my legs, spreading my own to settle him in front of me, his back to my chest. He melted against me, head resting on my shoulder. His body trembled as I hugged him close, his hard flat stomach rising and falling under my hand with each breath. I circled his nipples with my fingers and smiled against his cheek when he gasped.

I let my hand wander lower until they touched the hard shaft jutting in the air. I wanted to draw this out, make this good for him. But the voice in the back of my mind reminded me that someone might enter the steam room at any moment. Perhaps even Ramirez. And wouldn't that be a Kodac moment?

If I did this, I had to get him off quickly. Jerking him slowly, I began to knead his balls, letting go every so often to caress his muscled legs and belly.

His cock pulsed under my fingers and his breathing grew quicker.

He rolled his head on my shoulder, his lips brushing my cheek, like the shadow of a kiss.

"Greg...," he panted, his body writhing under my touch.

I felt the slick of sweat mingle with the precum oozing from his head. He moaned quietly, his hands rubbing up and down my hairy forearms as I jerked him off. My hand kneading his balls moved lower, caressing the skin on his perineum and I felt him move up my body to give me room. Following his invitation, I rubbed a finger against his puckered hole, already moist with sweat. He spread his legs further, pushing my own apart in the process. My cock was suddenly underneath his ass cheeks rubbing against his skin, much like my fingers looking for entry. I felt him tense up.

"Relax, I'm not gonna fuck you," I breathed into his ear, rubbing my thumb across his cock to make him shiver.

He rested his head back on my shoulder and opened up his body to me. I slipped my finger inside, reaching in as far as the angle allowed. I felt his cock pulse in my hand when my fingers rubbed across his spot. He moaned, much too loud for the circumstances we had found ourselves in, so I did the only thing I could think of and melted my lips against his, swallowing his cry in my mouth. His rushing breath filled my lungs as I sealed our mouths together and I felt his cock pulse in my hand, the rush of orgasm pumping his seed through the thick shaft, his slit gaping to release jets and jets of warm milky cum on my trembling fingers.

I felt Ben breathe heavily through his nose, the rush of air hot on my heated cheeks, while our tongues chased each other in what was probably the most intense kiss of my life.

He broke the connection first, trailing away by sliding his tongue slowly across my cheek.

Coming to my senses, I slipped my finger out of his ass and waited for him to get up. He grabbed my wrist looking at the cum streaked fingers with a surprised look on his face.

I freed my hand and brought the wet fingers to my lips, licking away the evidence of his pleasure. He stared at me with wide eyes.

Swallowing his taste, I smiled at him.

"I'm gay too, you know? No need to look shocked."

He looked down to my cock, still hard and leaking. Without another word, he dropped to his knees and swallowed me down, his lips closing around the base of my shaft, while my head entered his throat, the sensuous feeling of his swallowing around me sending me over the edge.

Caressing his stretched lips with my fingers, I felt his tongue lap against the underside of my cock, waiting for the pulsing that announced my own climax. I bit back a groan as I came, the sensation almost knocking me unconscious with the added heat of the steam room. My fingers caressed his Adam's apple as it bobbed up and down, swallowing every last drop I gave him.

Releasing my cock from his mouth, he tongued my head clean, eventually kissing my hairy belly, resting his head on my chest, as if he was unsure about the proper protocol after blowing his lieutenant in a steam room.

I put my arms around him and kissed his head.

"Wanna spend the day with me? Just relaxing and soaking while these idiots get shitfaced?"

He looked up and nodded, his smile lighting up the dark room.

We sat staring at each other for a minute, until we were calm enough to return to proper decency.

I left the room and waited for him to follow me, trying to ignore the fluttery feeling in my belly that I wasn't sure my badass old self was still capable of.

Ben was lovely. He wasn't just a hot body - which he sure as hell was - but he was quick to smile and easy to talk to as well. Spending hours in the hot tub and sharing a late lunch in the spa's restaurant almost felt like a date and had me forget that I was supposed to entertain my men. My focus was only on one of them, though.

Lying in a whirlpool, enjoying hot bubbles around us, I felt his fingers tentatively brush mine, as if gauging my reaction to his touch.

I made the decision for him, though, and covered his hand in mine, holding it like two lovers sharing a hot tub.

It was insane, but right then it felt so right, nothing could have kept me away from this amazing man.

The hours grew late and the pool lights in the outdoor area started to illuminate the water in colorful shades. The hot water sent clouds of mist into the night, putting a veil across us and the kissing couples around us who shared the peaceful silence.

I watched Ben closely and felt his eyes dart longingly toward the happy couples nearby.

He caught my glance and quickly looked away, embarrassed by my low chuckle.

"Come here," I said and pulled him into my embrace, folding his legs around me so he was sitting in my lap in the dark corner of the pool. The position was slightly sinful, with only our trunks preventing me from actually melting into him, the way I found myself wanting ever since our hot encounter in the morning.

"What are you thinking?" I whispered into his ear, rubbing my cheek against his. He tightened his arms around me, every move of his huge muscles like a ripple against my skin. "What I'm thinking? I can't believe I'm making out with THE Lt. O'Donnell, for one. You're a hero to everyone. I still can't believe you're gay," he laughed softly.

"And I can't believe you had the guts to come out like this to all the guys. Takes guts to do that, Ben. I've never found the courage."

He caressed my neck and looked into my eyes.

"You think there'll be consequences?", he asked, eyes searching mine.

"I'll make sure there won't," I said, cutting the conversation short by coaxing his mouth to open for mine, his tongue welcoming me, the rush of warmth stoking the fire in my belly, still looking for a hint of my taste on his tongue. I had fucked my share of guys, but never had I wanted to call any of them mine. Not the way I wanted Ben to.

I fleetingly wondered about the 15 years between us. Or the ranks separating us at the precinct. Would he even want me? A fuck in a steam room hardly qualified for a relationship. Only one way to find out.

I cast the thoughts aside and concentrated on the man in my arms and the soft rasp of his cheek against my lips as we competed with the couples around us, displaying the affection we felt for each other for everyone to see.

Kissing hardly ever felt so right.


Two hours later, we finally caught up with the guys at the pools. Most of them were drunk and still horsing around like underage fools, annoying other guests. I was glad they didn't wear a badge tonight, or I'd be sure to file away complaints like crazy before calling it a night.

"Look who's here, the fag. You done blowing guys in the sauna?", Ramirez babbled, sloshing his beer around, parts of it landing in the water around him. Whoever thought it was a good idea to put a bar *inside* a pool was hopefully scrubbing toilets somewhere now.

I was too old and hardened to let his words cut me, but Ben stiffened again, dropping back as we approached.

I directed an angry glare at Ramirez and put my full authority in my tone.

"You shut the fuck up now, Ramirez, unless you want to talk directly to the captain about the misconduct you displayed tonight." I grabbed Ben possessively on his neck and drew him to my side.

"Decker is gay. So what? I'm gay too, and I expect my men to treat each other with respect. Am I clear?" I basically yelled at him by then and pointedly ignored the men turning still around us.

"What...?" Ramirez looked confused. "All of a sudden, you're a fag too?!"

I pressed down reassuringly on Ben's neck.

"Always been queer. But it took Decker here to find the courage to come out. And I'd be damned honored if he would consider dating an old bastard like me."

I glanced at Ben, loving to see the surprised look on his face. He suddenly grabbed my chin and pressed a soft kiss on my cheek.

"I'd love to date you."

The awkward silence gave way to loud wolf-whistles and good-natured cheers, but Ramirez regarded us with disgust and turned away, muttering Spanish curses, no doubt.

"Someone got lucky, huh?", Silverman said, clapping me on the shoulder. Aimed at Ben, he said,

"You picked well, Decker. O'Donnell won't ever let you down." He raised his fist, waiting for Ben to bump it. Silverman was Ben's training officer, so I knew it meant a lot to Ben to hear these words from him.

"Sure thing, Sir", he smiled, bumping the offered fist.

I drew him in for a hug, enjoying the unusual freedom in front of my men.

"Thank you," Ben whispered in my ears. I pressed my lips on his cheek and finally found his lips again.

I knew things would be alright. The captain would probably have a heart attack, though. I laughed at that thought and closed my eyes, falling into the sensation of kissing my lover.


"Professional bonding" never sounded sweeter.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Family Matters

Steve stepped nervously from one foot to the other, waiting for the door to open. He heard his father's heavy steps approach and glanced at his boyfriend next to him, looking to the older man for reassurance.

Hank put his fingers on Steve's neck and squeezed gently, his warm brown eyes calming him.

What would his parents think about Hank, he wondered. They knew he was gay, of course. But his previous boyfriends had been guys his own age, the relationships never lasting long, if they even reached any further than fuck buddies at all. It hadn't come as a surprise to Steve that he immediately took a liking to his newest crush, Hank. The guy was in his late 30s, calm, confident and a real problem solver. Plus he had a killer body, honed by years of being in the construction business, running his own contracting company two towns over.

Sure, Steve hated how people spotting them used to think they were father and son due to the age difference and the similar build and complexion, but other than their thick brown hair and dark eyes, they had little in common. Where Hank was a muscled tank of a man almost a head taller, Steve was more of a twink with a swimmer's body and sinewy muscles while Hank sported bulging pecs covered by soft layers of hair all over his body. In other words, Steve wanted to jump him every minute of each day. He was just that hot.

Feeling calloused fingers caress his nape wakened a stirring in his groin that even his anxiety of introducing Hank to his parents couldn't override.

When the door finally opened, Steve could see a sliver of surprise cross over his dad's face when he took in Hank in his tight khaki pants and sweat shirt. The man clearly hadn't expected a stud like him when Steve told his folks he would bring his newest flame over for dinner. Number 3 in this year alone. Maybe they took Steve for a slut anyway, but who cared? At least with Hank he felt a deeper connection than with any of the other guys before.

"Dad? It's good to see you", he said, hugging his father. "This is Hank Devereux, I told you about him on the phone. He's my..." Steve hesitated.

"Partner", Hank chimed in, taking the offered hand in his large paw and shaking it.

Interesting choice of words. Steve had something like 'boyfriend' on his tongue, but Hank had clearly put more thought into it, confirming their relationship in a way that Steve was still wary of.

"Pleasure to meet you, Mr Devereux", Steve's dad said.

"Call me Hank, please. And the pleasure's all mine", he said, finally releasing the hand after an awkwardly long handshake.

"Only if you call me 'dad', Hank. But Scott will do too. Come in guys"

Ever the joker, his dad. Scott stepped aside, letting Steve and his boyfriend enter the house. Steve had many fond memories of growing up in this home. He hoped Hank wouldn't spot any of the childhood photos hanging on the walls around the house. Giving his boyfriend an update on his acne situation in seventh grade was so not part of the deal.

Steve took Hank's hand and followed his dad into the dining room where his mom had clearly put an effort into setting up the plates and cutlery in a way that would probably do the staff at Downton Abbey proud.

A delicious smell of roasted chicken wafted in from the kitchen and Steve glanced from his dad to Hank, admiring how both guys seemed to be fighting with themselves to be the first to start off into the kitchen to help his mom with her chores. True gentlemen, it seemed. Scott didn't seem too eager to let Hank win that particular race.

"I'll gladly give Ms Hart a hand, if that's fine with you, Scott?", he said with that typical smirk that Steve came to like so much about him. Dad was clearly uncomfortable letting Hank storm into the kitchen like Prince Charming, but Steve knew that his father hardly ever lent his mom a hand in there anyway. And judging by the few times Scott had cooked for the family, it was clearly better this way.

Hank didn't wait for an answer and headed into the kitchen, where his mom was happily cooking away, dishes clanking merrily.

Steve looked at his dad, a smile on his face. "What do you think about him, dad?"

Scott smiled uncomfortably. "I'm sure he's nice, son, but he's probably my age. Isn't that kinda awkward?"

Steve raised his eyebrows. Of course, coming out as gay had already been hard to stomach for his dad. Certainly having an older boyfriend was another thing he had never imagined for his son.

"Awkward? No. I like experienced men", he smiled in response, watching how Scott squirmed at his words.

A sudden crash from the kitchen had both guys raise their heads. The  silence that followed the noise was terrifying enough that Steve and his dad almost fell over their feet to get to the kitchen.

Steve took in the shattered soup bowl, its content pooling on the floor among shards of procelain. Hank and his mom were staring at each other, unaware of the mess at their feet. Hank finally broke eye contact and looked over at Steve, a pained expression of uncertainty on his face.

Wordlessly, he grabbed a towel and knelt on the floor, sweeping up as much liquid as the thin cloth would hold. Mom would still stare at him, eyes wide in shock, her frozen hands finally moving to cover her mouth, as if she had to swallow a scream of pain. Tears started flowing down her cheeks and she turned toward the window, hands still closed over her lips, while Hank silently mopped the floor, only getting up to wring out the cloth in the sink before returning to his knees and continuing his task.

A cold shiver ran down Steve's spine. Scott walked over to mom.

"What happened, Sarah? Darling, are you alright?"

Mom just shook her head and squeezed her eyes closed, suppressing a sob. Steve looked down at his boyfriend. Hank had managed to clear the floor as best as he could and returned the towel to the sink. The defeated expression on his face scared Steve more than his crying mother looking out of the window. When had the day gone to shit like that?

"I better be going", Hank said quietly, turning around and walking toward the entrance, leaving Steve behind, stunned and speechless.

"Going?" Mom turned around, puffy eyes red and shiny, her makeup smeared across her cheek. "You're going nowhere, Hank. Not before you explain what business you have with my son!"

She ended the sentence in a shrill yell, freezing everyone's movement in the room. Hank turned around, looking at mom with the same defeated look that Steve had never seen on him before. He hated that look.

"I didn't know...", was all he said.

"Damn right, you didn't know, you scum!", she screamed.

"Mom, what's..?" Hank's hand on his arm stilled Steve. An imperceptible shake of his head told Steve not to intervene.

Sarah stormed over, clutching at Hank's hand and tearing it away from Steve's arm.

"Don't you dare touch him! How dare you come back like this? I worked so hard when you were gone doing *your thing*, how dare you come here and expect me to wait on you", she cried. Scott tried to pull her away, but she wouldn't budge.

Steve was shocked when he saw tears on Hank's face.

"Sarah, I was nineteen. I know I was a jerk. I'm so sorry." Steve did a double take. Could it be? His boyfriend was his mother's ex-boyfriend from like decades ago? What were the odds?

"I didn't mean to leave you like this, but I wasn't made for marriage and all that shit that you dreamed of. I didn't want to disappoint you", he explained. "I realized I was gay and I spent most of my life after I left you with a great guy who passed away a few years ago. I swear I didn't mean to hurt you." Tears rolled down his cheek.

Steve wondered if other families also faced tragedies like this when their sons introduced their boyfriends. No, that was clearly his type of luck.

"I didn't know I would one day meet your son and fall in love again after all these years. Please don't judge me for being in love, Sarah", he pleaded, taking a step closer. Mom paled, looking at Steve and Hank in shock.

"In...? You gotta be kidding me, Hank. You stay away from him!", she screamed, out of her mind.
Hank looked at her blankly.
"Why? Come on, Sarah, you're bigger than this", he scowled, clearly annoyed. He stepped closer, putting an arm around Steve's waist.
"Get away from him!" Sarah grabbed Hank's arm and yanked him away from Steve. Hank looked to Scott for help, but dad just stood there, mouth gaping open wide. Hank carefully freed his arm from mom's death grip and put some distance between himself and her.
"Why?! I love him", he repeated agitatedly, slowly losing his nerve. Steve wanted to reach out for him, but was afraid of his mother's wrath if he took a step closer to his lover.

"Don't you see? He's your son, you pervert!" The wheels in her head must have been turning like hell now, because she dropped on a kitchen stool and rested her head on her crossed arms, burying her face, for once quiet and subdued.

Steve felt his face flush while he witnessed Hank's complexion reach a similar shade of white as his mother's as their eyes met, their hearts racing wildly, chests heaving.

Scott used the sudden silence to pour himself a Scotch, wisely taking three more glasses out of the cupboard and filling them with amber liquid.

"To the family", he said, shaking his head incredulously, and swallowed his drink in one go. "And the bodies in our basement"

Steve stepped closer to Hank, but the man backed away, raising his hands as if Steve carried a contagious disease.

"Hank..." Steve took in the brown eyes, unshed tears shimmering inside them, the thick brown hair, so much like his own. Dad was blond and pale where Hank was dark and olive skinned - like Steve. It couldn't be, right?

Steve thought back to earlier in the day when he woke up enveloped by Hank's strong arms and beefy legs, enjoying the taste of his sleepy kiss, the stubble on his chin caressing his skin in just the right places to get things going, as Hank slid lower underneath the blanket.

Steve grabbed the offered glass on the counter and swallowed the Scotch down. Shit.

He watched Hank straighten up, his face now serious and stony. He cleared his throat.

"Sarah, I swear I didn't know. This is not the time to ask why you never informed me about this, but let me assure you, I will stay away from Steve and I'm sorry about the trouble I caused. I didn't mean for this to happen" He willed Sarah to look at him, but she kept her face buried in the crook of her arms. A short glance in Steve's direction told him everything he needed to know. It was over.

"Steve, I'm sorry." He didn't come closer. Didn't give him a hug or offer a smile. He just turned around and left, closing the door softly behind him. Steve looked back at his parents, his mom still sobbing quietly on the table and Scott filling another glass with Scotch.

All he had wanted was for his folks to meet his boyfriend. But somehow he ended up with two dads and a mom who was his boyfriend's ex.

With a slight shake of his head, Steve knew he was in deep shit.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Sam Collins (Part 6)

A sudden crash woke him. He opened his eyes and the memories of the previous night returned full force. Grabbing the empty bed beside him he lifted his head to scan his apartment. Where the fuck was Sam?

"Paul?", a quiet voice called out from the small bathroom. Paul immediately jumped off the bed, taking the few steps to the small door in one leap. He stopped at the closed door, listening.

"Can I come in?", he asked, listening for any signs of struggle inside.
"Uh hu", Sam sighed.
Opening the door slowly, he found the guy sitting in the shower tray, naked. He lowered himself and touched his shoulder.
"Are you okay? Have you hit your head?", he asked, rising his hands to wander over Sam's temple, feeling for dents or wounds, but not finding any.
"I.... I went to the toilet", Sam said, resting his head against the cold white shower tile. Paul looked at him, dumbfounded.
"So?"

Sam looked at him for a second before lowering his eyes and flushing slightly. "I'm bleeding..."
Paul's mouth formed a surprised "Oh", before lifting his hand to cover it. He looked around the small bath and spotted a cloth lying beside the sink.
"May I see?"

Sam lifted his head, a defeated expression on his face, his features contorted by pain. He nodded. Paul grabbed the man's bicep and lifted him to full height in the small shower stall.
The guy was still weak from the drug. What was that shit?

"Can you stand on your own? Grab my neck for support." Paul deliberately did not shrug out of his muscle shirt and tested the water, making sure that it was warm, before aiming the spray at Sam's muscled backside. Why had he turned the guy down yesterday? He could have spared him this shit. But then, Sam hadn't exactly been a gentleman in that bar and Paul had had his share of assholes in his life. Not even a pair or pretty eyes and rock hard abs would have convinced him to start playing the game once again. He knew damn well why it was better not to get intimate with anyone.

His heart reached out for Sam when he heard the guy wince in his arms and felt the grip tighten on his neck, as Paul rinsed the ass crack thoroughly, using the cloth to softly wipe it clean. The tissue came back red. Damn! He hoped it wasn't a deep fissure. Putting a suture there was something that even a seasoned army guy like him didn't want to think about. Especially by those assholes in that joke of a hospital.

Sam breathed heavily at his side, his heart beating against Paul like a jackhammer.  He switched off the water and began rubbing the guy dry with a fresh towel, making sure not to rip open the wound down there with his movements.

"I need to put a salve on there to disinfect it, okay?" Paul grabbed Sam's chin, looking into his moist eyes. He was clearly way too macho to allow himself to cry in front of another man, but Paul could tell that his pain was intense. He nodded.

Paul didn't bother to help him put on clothes and directed him toward the bed where he lowered him on his belly. He went back to the bath and found a medical salve in his mirror cabinet. The tube wasn't expired, thank God!
Returning to Sam's side, he uncapped the tube and warmed the salve between his fingers. This shit felt like lube, but this was an entirely different situation, sadly. Paul looked at the muscled guy in his bed and smiled to himself. If only...

He settled between Sam's legs and started rubbing the salve generously into his crack, working it deeper with his fingers. Sam winced when Paul crooked his fingers to feel the fissure at the rim of his entrance. It wasn't too big, so it might heal by itself. "Are you okay with me doing this?", he said.

Sam pressed his head into the mattress, a grunt showing his consent. Paul frowned. He withdrew his finger, put more salve on it and returned it, this time caressing the inner walls of Sam's channel more deeply, until both knuckles vanished inside the man. Sam sighed. Maybe this wasn't so bad. Paul felt brave enough to brush his fingertip across the sensitive bundle of nerves inside Sam and he felt the man tremble under his touch.

"Still okay?" Paul carefully withdrew his finger, only to sink it into Sam's depth once more, making sure not to put any pressure on the opening to prevent the fissure from tearing up again. But this was enough stimulation to make Sam breathe heavier. Sam grunted, fisting the bedsheet.  "Uh hu."

Paul withdrew the finger once more, clapping Sam's inner thigh playfully. "Come on, turn around."
Sam lifted his head, watching Paul warily, his glassy eyes big as saucers. "Why?"
He didn't wait for an answer, though, and rolled slowly onto his back, both legs spread to keep Paul within them.

Paul looked at the hardening cock in front of his face, framed by a neatly trimmed bush of hair, the foreskin pealing back slowly, as the cock rose to its full size. He licked his lips.

"Just wanna make you feel good. You okay with that?" He met Sam's motionless stare, waiting for him to say yes or no. When Sam stared mutely at him, Paul took that as a yes and slowly worked his finger back into the moist hole and blew softly across the glistening head, the slit already moist with pre-cum.

He found the tender spot inside Sam's body and watched Sam jerk his head back in pleasure, before he closed his mouth around his cock and swallowed him down to the root. Damn, he hadn't done porn for nothing. You either could deep throat a cock of this size or you couldn't. Paul was fortunate enough to be gifted with this talent and felt Sam wreathe underneath him.

Sam lifted his hip off the bed to reach deeper into Paul's throat. Despite Sam's bad condition and the drug still flooding his system, it only took Paul a few thrusts and wicked twists of his tongue before Sam bucked heavily against the intruding finger caressing his prostate and he sent endless spurts of cum down Paul's throat, loud moans filling the room.

When Sam was done, Paul released the cock from his throat and felt Sam's pounding heartbeat with his lips still closed around the shaft. It's been so long since he had last tasted a man. Paul swallowed gratefully and released the cock with an obscene sound, kissing Sam's abs and withdrawing his finger for good. He slid up the bed and rested next to Sam's heavily breathing body.

"Thank you", Sam said, his breath finally slowing down. Paul looked at him with a crocked smile and pulled the cover over Sam's naked body.
"Don't mention it. Go back to sleep, Sam"

Paul rested against the pillow and closed his eyes, hoping to catch a couple more hours of sleep before the sun rose. He listened to Sam's breathing evening out and felt Sam's fingers close around his hand right before he fell asleep.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

A Dark Farewell

It was not the sound of soft waves crashing on the shore that woke me, but the salty water lapping against my face. I opened my eyes, feeling the sudden cold in my limbs. I lifted myself up, removing my chest from the water surrounding me. A strange numbness in my tummy reminded me that I was obviously not old enough to drink that much rum if it knocked me out cold and left me sleeping in the harbor of my hometown, Penzance. At least I think it must have been rum. I do not actually remember enough of last night to pin my unfortunate situation solely on rum. Good thing the tide was not coming in yet or I might have drowned. Mother would kill me if she knew. Spitting out what felt like a handful of sand, I slowly got on my two feet and removed several long blades of seaweed from my well worn and now salt stained, wet clothes. I hated when people in town called me a sea rat, but today I looked the part.


My blond hair hung into my eyes and even though I dreamed of eventually sporting a thick beard like the elderly sailors I knew from the docks, my chin was only covered with soft down, testament to my being only 17 years of age. Still, my poor excuse of a beard stuck wetly to my skin.


Rubbing the dried sand off my cheeks, I trotted out of the sandy beach near the main port and slowly headed towards home. Dark clouds filled the sky as I made my way to the 'Jolly Seagull', the inn my mother and I ran on our own ever since father, a fisherman, went out to sea and never returned after a stormy night. I blinked when rain started pouring down, washing the salt from my hair into my eyes. I opened the door to our inn, finding it dark and unusually quiet for an early evening on a weekday.

"Mother?"

I stepped into the main hall that housed several large wooden tables, carefully arranged in a crescent, so the big fireplace in the midst of the room would heat every single patron, no matter where they sat.

Tonight, there was no fire, though. A cold gush of wind sent a shiver down my spine. Someone had left a window open and the cold Atlantic current began to howl around the house, droplets of rain falling from the window onto the dark wooden floor. I ran to the other side of the room and closed the window.


Watching the rain fall heavily against the colored glass, I turned my head and saw a trickle of water on the floor leading towards the kitchen. The door was opened but I couldn't see inside, so I followed the watery trail before me.

When I opened the kitchen door fully, a lightning illuminated the large kitchen and I jerked back in shock.


My mother sat at the kitchen table in the dark, hands folded and staring blankly at the wall. When she saw me enter, she turned her head to me and smiled tiredly.

"Where have you been? You missed dinner", she said quietly.

It looked like I had missed a whole lot more. Not only had mother obviously cleaned all dishes and cutlery by herself, had managed to get all patrons into their beds before eleven o'clock and had even sweeped the main room, a task usually assigned to me after I had persistently convinced every single patron to take their bottles of rum with them to their rooms so mother could close up.


Tonight, though, she had managed on her own. I felt ashamed. Wanting to be a good son I always made sure to assist her whenever I could. She forbade me to become a fisherman afraid I would share my father's fate, so I knew the inn was to be my future. I did not mind. I liked the inn and my quiet life in town. Only some nights, when I found myself staring out of the little round window of the alcove I called my room, I wondered what it would be like to travel the seas and sail to different and wondrous places like the many ships I saw below, in the port of Penzance.


Tonight when I looked out of the window I only saw a dark veil of rain and felt the storm trying to reach through the glass to make me shiver in my old blanket, as I sat huddled on my bed. Terrible dreams tormented my sleep. Dark memories of a stormy night, high waves rocking the ground under my feet, my mother's cries in the darkness. I jerked awake and sat up, staring out to sea. Dark thoughts twisted my mind and not quite asleep, but certainly not awake either, I more felt than saw dark shapes appear on the unruly sea, moving with the waves like seafoam washing ashore. The shapes took form on the sand and began to walk towards the sleeping town, as I stared out of my tiny window, eyes wide in terror, sweat dripping down my face and the terrible stench of my own fear creeping into my nose.


Just when I was sure I heard a loud scratching sound on our door, a lightning unveiled a glimpse of a huge sailing vessel approaching the harbor on the wild and stormy sea. Could it be? A ship finding our harbor safely in a storm of this magnitude?


The scratching sound again, this time it was sharper, like a blade cutting on glass. Was someone trying to break into the inn? My eyes were glued to the enormous sails, blown up like huge wings on a gigantic bird in the midst of the thunderstorm above Penzance.


I witnessed more dark shapes appear in port, only this time they were not vague shadows, but sailors of flesh and blood who tried to find their way from the harbor toward the 'Jolly Seagull'. I squinted my eyes, trying to see the vessel in port more clearly. Was that a pirate's flag flying on top? I was scared of the dark shadows roaming the streets and scratching against our windows, but I knew that pirates would prove to be a more real and more urgent danger to my mother and me.


A loud knock on the door sent me out of my stupor. This was real.

No ghost trying to seek entry, but - God be willing - paying patrons.


I stumbled downstairs in my bedclothes and met my mother at the entrance. She looked at me warily as she opened the door. A group of dark men stood before us, rain dripping heavily onto their leather booths. The tallest of them looked down at us menacingly, opening his arms wide to include his fellow mates.

"Good evening, woman", he spared me a glance "and lad. Any dry rooms for my men and me and a bottle of rum to warm our tired bones?"

His voice was thick as gravy, echoing through the empty hall behind us. I looked at my mother and saw the same question in her eyes that I meant to ask her. Could we trust them?


A small bag of coins rattling in the stranger's hand in front of us answered the question for us.

Opening the door wide, my mother invited the sailors in and distributed blankets to them right after she ordered me to stoke the fire and bring bottles of rum from the cellar. The empty hall filled quickly with loud and boisterous sailors of all ages and ethnicities. To say I was not fascinated by them would have been a lie.


Tales and jokes were exchanged in various languages and the few I did understand took me to far away and exotic places I knew I would never ever be able to go.


"What about you, lad? Anyplace you wanna go? You're old enough to join a crew, you know?"

The melodious accented voice addressing me belonged to a young crewman, probably only a few years older than myself, whom I had noticed staring at me at several occasions when I went around to refill the men's tankards.


I looked into the brown eyes in the olive skinned man's handsome but weathered face in front of me. His short black beard was a stark contrast to his white teeth when he smiled friendly at me.


"I'm not a sailor. There's places I'll likely never get to see", I said warily, hoping to end the discussion by giving the man more rum to drown.


"Doesn't answer my question, lad", he gestured to the seat next to his, willing me to sit down with him. He looked somehow polished, so unlike the other sailors who seemed to swear and burp more often than they exchanged a proper word with each other, filling the room with their laughter instead.

I took the offered seat, feeling uncomfortably warm this close to the open fireplace.

"I'm running the inn with my mother. I cannot leave to see the world", I explained slowly, wondering what the man expected me to say.



He bumped his shoulder into mine and I jerked back, surprised at the sudden affection. A sweet spice of cinnamon, rum and the man's sweat tickled my nose. A scent that was not entirely unpleasant at all. He pushed his tankard aside and unscrolled a map on the table in front of us. I had rarely seen a real map this close. Usually sailors who owned them did not care to share these treasures with a lundlubber such as myself.


I vaguely recognized the shapes of England and the Mediterranean sea on the hand drawn map, but beyond that my eyes only found names that I had not even heard of before.

The man pointed at a few small dots somewhere in what I assumed was the Atlantic ocean.

"This is where I come from. The place I call home", he said. I could feel his eyes on me as I perused the map. Squinting my eyes I tried to read the letters surrounding the small islands his finger was pointing to.

"Great... Isle of Dogs?", I read aloud, wondering if I interpreted the winged handwriting correctly.

He nodded, smiling. His accent grew more pronounced when he answered.

"You got that right. The Great Isle of Dogs. Gran Canaria. A beautiful place. I wish I could show it to you", he whispered in my ear.


Blood rushed up and heated my face. The man's warm breath tickled my ears. What was wrong with me? I should not let a stranger's friendly banter affect me like this.

I picked up the bottle of rum and motioned to get up, when the man's warm hand closed around my wrist.

"My name is Miguel. What's yours?" I looked at him, his suntanned skin wrinkling around the curve of his mouth, highlighting his bright smile.

"Jack", I responded, rooted to the spot by dark eyes I could only describe as beautiful, even though they so clearly belonged to a man.



"Jack. If you change your mind, find me", he said, shortly before he turned away to laugh at a crude joke someone had told on the table next to him.



His unusual offer haunted me until all patrons were finally satisfied and strolled off to their rooms, allowing mother and me to fall tiredly into our beds as well.


Again my sleep was disturbed by dark images - memories? - taking me back to a stormy night out at sea. Was I reliving my father's demise? Was I witnessing him drown in the sea when the cries I heard over the wind so clearly belonged to my mother and me in my dream?


I tossed and turned in my bed, soaked in cold sweat. A soft light illuminated my nightmare, chasing away the fearful images.

Miguel's voice spoke to me in my dream, urging me to follow him and to leave Penzance behind. Sudden guilt started to devour me. Was I really considering the offer? No. I would never leave mother behind. Not after she had to say a sea-bound farewell to father that had left her in tears. I just could not.


Tired and drenched in sweat, I awoke the next morning. Our guests were still sound asleep, all but a certain Spaniard who sat in the common room, nursing a cup of tea, delicate china that looked out of place in the big hands of a sea wolf like him.


"Good morning, Jack", I half expected the man to say when I descended the stairs, but it was my mother greeting me from the kitchen door.

"Be a good lad and hop down to the pier, see if we left the ale there. I cannot find it in the cellar", she said.


Miguel nodded to me with a sad smile on his face, chewing on a piece of bread. "Mind if I come with you?", he murmured around the bread, sounding wary as if I would deny him his wish.


I shook my head and slipped into my jacket. Miguel was at my heels when I went down to the harbor where our small boat, the 'Sweet Melody" lay. I listened to his steady footfalls behind me, not realizing that I stopped at an empty pier until Miguel cleared his throat.


"What are we looking for again? Ale?", he said, looking around.

I could not believe my eyes. Right here in front of me, where our 'Sweet Melody' was always tied, I saw nothing but brackish water lapping against the pier.


"Our boat...it's gone", I said, panic rising in my voice. I started to tremble, dark memories of a stormy night once again flashing in my mind.

I clawed my arms into a threadbare shirt, surprised to find Miguel's arms around me, his mouth mumbling soothing words in a strange language into my ears. I hugged him back, trying to swallow down my sudden terror.



"Our boat is gone. We need it to get supplies. Mother wanted to sell it to purchase a horse and a cart so we wouldn't have to travel on the water, but it was father's", I rambled, desperately wanting to stop telling the man all this. The man whose strong arms were wrapped around me as if he were soothing a trembling child. I freed myself from his embrace and looked into his sad eyes, hoping to find answers there.


"Maybe the storm carried it out to sea", he said quietly.

I nodded, turning back to walk up to the inn, fearing to break the news to mother. I felt Miguel a step behind me. Who was this mate? Why was he so friendly with me, consoling me as if he knew more about what had happened to our boat than he let on?


Mother busied herself in the kitchen as usual, not sparing me a glance when I walked in.

"Ma, the boat is gone", I said, tensing up. No need to delay the inevitable. She looked up from slicing some onions and shook her head.



"Nonsense, I just saw it at the pier a moment ago. This nice gentleman was kind enough to bring me the ale that took you an hour to fetch, boy!", she scolded.

I looked at the tall man sitting on a table nearby, nodding to me as we spoke. I took him for the captain but I had troubles determining the men's rank on this peculiar ship. I glanced at Miguel who watched the exchange warily.



"How is it, lad? Wouldn't you want to join me jolly crew? We're two hands down on our ship. What do ya say? A guy scrubbing the planks may easily end up captain rather sooner than later on my ship. And wouldn't that make your momma proud?", the man said, his voice booming through the kitchen.

"A young strong lad will make it big on my ship. That much is certain. Ain't that right, Spaniard?", the man raised his tankard towards Miguel.



"Aye, captain. Truer words were never spoken", Miguel replied, subdued. He lowered his head and stepped out of the room. My heart ached to know what weighed so heavily on his heart.



"Whaddaya say? Jack, right? Will you join me on our voyage? Bid your momma farewell as a boy and return to her a man commanding his own crew?" It sounded intriguing. I knew how officers used to lure sailors to join their crew and fill all required hands on deck, but never before had I heard words more alluring than the captains. Still, looking at my mother working to prepare luncheon for our patrons, I once again reminded myself of my duties.

"I appreciate your offer, sir, but my place is here, running this inn by my mother's side", I said and left the room, going about my daily chores.



I did not see Miguel during the rest of the day. I cleaned the floor, helped my mother with the laundry and washed the dishes as every night, when I heard another thunderstorm approach. The windows once again rattled in their hinges and thick veils of rain cascaded down on our roof, each drop hollering through the inn like a thousand hammers drilling on tiny nails.



Finally done for the day, I retreated to my chamber, washing myself and lighting a candle, hoping to fend off the humid cold that filled my tiny room during nights like this.



Sleep came easily to me, but the terrifying images found me again, clouding my dreams with cold winds and the sound of a breaking hull, water lapping at my feet. A lightning parted the sky but all I could see was debris floating around me and greedy blades of seagrass clawing at me, tugging at my feet until my lungs burned from the lack of air.



A soft knock on the door startled me awake. I blinked, trying to slow my breathing. No one ever disturbed me at this time of night, so I wrapped the blanket tightly around my naked body and opened the door.



Miguel stood there, clad in only linen pants, his feet and upper body bare and shivering in the soft candlelight.



I stared at him, dumbfounded. His chest was covered with a dark mat of fine hair, framing nipples even darker than the sun kissed skin around them. I ached to touch the black hair, a sign of his manhood, wondering if it would feel soft, like my own hair did or if it was wiry. Miguel followed my gaze, his face lighting up, a smile revealing white teeth clattering in the darkness.



"Can I... come in?", he said.

I opened the door wide and let him enter, aware of the poor impression my tiny bedroom housing only my unmade bed and literally nothing else must have made to him. But then, he lived on a ship, so he would be used to small spaces. He sat down on the bed, crossing his muscled arms in front of his chest, trying not to shiver from the cold. I noticed how the hairs on his arms resembled those on his chest - and wondered why I cared. What was wrong with me to even contemplate things like that? He trembled visibly and sucked in air as if to show off his clattering teeth on purpose.



Unsure of the protocols of hospitality for such strange nightly encounters, I sat down next to him, putting my warmed blanked around his shoulder, doing my best to remain covered and decent with my other hand. Miguel leaned into me, his cheek only inches from my face. I could smell his hair, an intriguing scent like a day on the market where spices from all over the world mixed in the salty air. His short dark beard rasped against my nose.

"Thank you", he said, keeping his arms gracefully crossed. God knew, if he opened them he would clearly brush my naked body and discover the unseemly excitement I so desperately tried to conceal. In God's name, when had I become a wanton - craving a man's touch?



"You're welcome", I stammered. "What are you doing here? In my chamber?"

He looked at me and I believed to find sadness in his eyes again. He swallowed heavily before he spoke.


"Tomorrow the "Soaring Eagle" will depart. I'm leaving. I... was hoping I could convince you to join me after all?", he said, opening his arms slowly, rubbing the heels of his hand against the soft hairs on my belly.

"I can't", I said, my voice breaking. "You know, I can't." I felt tears in my eyes. I didn't want him to leave me behind with my mother's sadness for the rest of my life. He sighed.

"Then this is goodbye" He closed the distance between our faces and kissed me softly on the mouth, my hand falling away from the blanket to embrace his shoulder, drawing his warm body closer to mine. I never believed in heaven or any of the places the priests spoke of, thinking them inventions of clerics to explain things humans are not meant to understand, but in this moment I saw a glimpse of paradise, as I felt Miguel's beard scrape softly against my lips, his tongue chasing mine, his taste intoxicating and sweet.


He lowered me on the small bed, his mouth traveling across my neck, his beard mingling with the soft hair on my chest, as his tongue caressed my nipple, sending a jolt of pleasure to my growing member, pressed between our heated bodies. Miguel caressed my arms with his fingers while his tongue reached my belly button and wandered lower, tickling the hair above my groin while his beard caressed the sensitive head poking at his cheek. I tried to stop him, but found myself rooted to the spot when his lips closed around my member, his burning tongue peeling my foreskin away to lap at the sensitive head beneath, the warm sensation sending shivers all over my body. I knew what would follow soon, having relieved myself often enough in the way that men are wont to do.



But experiencing this growing sensation while Miguel's beautiful mouth was wrapped around my hardened member was more than my inexperienced body could take. Biting on my tongue to swallow my cry of pleasure, I pumped jets of warm semen into Miguel's lavish mouth, not surprised when he hummed, satisfied, and swallowed as much as he could.



He carried a strange taste on his tongue when he released my member and slid higher to capture my mouth in a hungry kiss. I wrapped my arms around him and drifted off to sleep, for some reason certain that I would not be bothered by bad dreams tonight. Miguel caressed my skin and watched over me, guarding my sleep like a dark angel.



I woke up alone. Sitting up so quickly I almost knocked my head on the low ceiling, wondering if the nightly encounter had been a dream after all.



I felt something in my hand. A leather band with a small seashell attached to it. Miguel's necklace. It wasn't a dream. And I slept through his goodbye. Feeling cold and empty without his arms around me, the thought of never seeing him again scared me to the bone. I looked out of my window. The 'Soaring Eagle' was still in port, so it wasn't too late. The large white sail, drawn up to keep the ship safely tied to the pier promised adventure and excitement. I couldn't wait to board the vessel!



Barely bothering to slip into my trousers, I ran downstairs. My mother frowned at my bare chested appearance, but the captain smiled at me. He was still here, talking to my mother.



"Momma, will you give me permission to leave with the captain?" Did I really say this out loud? I looked down, didn't want to see the disappointment in her eyes.

I flinched when momma stepped forward, half expecting her to slap me, but finding her hug me instead.



"I love you, Jack. You need to find your own way, I know that", she said as she embraced me. Tears fell down my cheek as I hugged her back.

"Goodbye momma", I said, crying.

When I turned around, Miguel stood in the doorway, wearing his crewmate outfit and saluting me with his rolled up map.

"Time to go, Jack", he smiled.



Walking side by side to the pier, I did not question why Miguel took my hand in his, guiding me to the "Soaring Eagle". We must have looked like children, but none of the crewmen made any of the crude jokes I came to expect.



When I reached the deck of the beautiful sailing vessel, a sudden flood of memories brought me to my knees. I saw my mother float in the angry sea in front of me, her hair crashing wildly about her head, like a mermaid's, lifeless eyes staring back at me. I tried to reach her, but my feet were tangled in seaweed and I couldn't break free. Observing my short life in front of my eyes, I knew this was the end. Planks and debris floated in the water around me, bound to be swept ashore as flotsam, just like our dead bodies would be.



Miguel's hand on my shoulder steadied me.

"It is time, Jack", he whispered in my ear. I struggled back to my feet, turning around to look at the lonely dark 'Jolly Seagull' in the distance, willing my mother to leave the inn and join us.



"Mother...", I stammered helplessly, tears falling from my eyes.

"You will meet her again someday. The captain will not rest until she too will join us on our journey", he said in his softly accented voice. I drew him closer to me, feeling the strong presence of his body, grounding me on the unsteady deck.



The 'Soaring Eagle' was untied and began to set sail, leading its big hull out of the harbor of Penzance. Miguel steered me to the railing, pointing at somewhere in the distant blue sky.



"Are you ready to let go, love?", he whispered. Taking my hand in his, I realized that I was. Nothing held me back in that lonely inn where my mother's ghost needed more time to find its way home. However, I was ready for my journey. I tilted my head up and kissed Miguel, his lips parting in welcome.



"Stay with me?", I whispered, searching his brown eyes, sparkling with what I hoped to be his love for me, as the 'Soaring Eagle' rocked on the ever growing waves of the Atlantic. He smiled and put his lips close to my ears as he hugged me tightly to his chest.

"Always", he promised and together we sailed into the blue.

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