gay drama

Curtis and Seth are back for a short, romantic interlude four years after the end of Phantasm. This is for everyone who wanted Seth to top.



+++++



Curtis



Curtis was so tired he nearly wrecked his car twice on the long drive from Colton High School. To be fair, the first wasn’t strictly his fault. A couple of boys had taken it upon themselves to tie a cardboard box to a piece of twine and pull it across the road whenever a car came. He’d been distracted enough not to identify the box for what it truly was, and he’d slammed on his brakes and veered into the other lane. He’d just brushed his shaggy brown hair from his eyes and sighed.



Pranks. It was Halloween weekend, and the town was alive with pranks. Lucky for Curtis, the road leading from the high school was pretty deserted at ten on a Saturday evening. As the boys ran off laughing, he eased his foot off the brakes and made it almost all the way home before braking hard for a deer just before the driveway. It took him a long time to pry his freckled hands from the steering wheel after that. At least the box had spooked him enough to keep one foot on the brake. Otherwise, he might not have missed the deer.



He blamed Seth. The black-haired man with the dreamy, quiet voice was invading his every thought, showing up in the corners of his mind when he least expected it. He thought about Seth constantly, counting down the hours until his husband of two fantastic, perfect, rocky, angsty, comfortable years would come home. He was down to fifteen hours now, if the flight was on time.



Seth had been gone for almost two months, and Curtis was going mad. He had plenty to keep him occupied during daylight hours– he was an underpaid, overworked high school teacher, after all–but when school was finished and drama practice was over and he wasn’t keeping kids afterwards to work on their lines, supervising set construction, or grading English papers, he was desperately lonely.



He felt it the most acutely when he was in bed. It was too large, too empty, too cold without Seth. He’d taken to lying on Seth’s side, just to feel more connected to the one great love of his life. He’d used Seth’s pillows and Seth’s pajamas. He hadn’t even washed the dirty clothes Seth had left behind before he went on tour to play keyboard for some well-known rock band as they toured the west coast.



Seth had been contracted for the Wintering Ink’s last two months of shows after the usual keyboardist died of an overdose. Sam, a friend from their college days, had been childhood friends with the drummer and had all but dragged Seth and Curtis from their new home in rural Iowa to the band’s next venue in Seattle within twenty-four hours of a frantic call. Sam was a musician who knew classical players, and the band’s piano parts had been complicated enough to need someone with fingers that knew how to move in just the right ways. After a few run-throughs with the sheet music and an hour with the studio-recorded track, Sam had pushed Seth in front of a keyboard and convinced him to play as the band’s manager anxiously paced the aisles. Seth had played the first song perfectly, and had been unanimously welcomed to that evening’s performance. The band had even made comments on how much they loved his scar, how his looks added character to the otherwise boring instrument.



Seth had tried to ignore that, and when the contract came, he read it to Curtis, signed it, and had been whisked away by the band’s manager for a little styling overhaul. Curtis had to leave for Iowa– he had classes to teach, after all– before he could see the leather pants. For that, he was still upset.



So Seth had gotten used to draping his hair over his scars and hiding along the back of the stage, pounding out the fast-fingered, obnoxiously catchy melodies that melted into the guitar, bass, and drums. The audience could barely pick out the piano when the songs came together, but without Seth’s speedy keywork, the whole thing sounded wrong.



Curtis thought that Seth could have been the star of his own tour, playing his own music in front of large crowds, but he hated to be the center of attention. He didn’t want fans, didn’t want the publicity. As a part of the ever-changing back-up section of the band, he could play on stage and not be a household name, not have his past dug up and smeared across tabloid headlines. The groupies left him alone, the press could have cared less, and he still got to stand in front of an audience and show the world his heart. After a month on tour, he’d guiltily admitted that it was the best therapy he’d ever had. Curtis could tell how much Seth loved it from the phone calls.



Seth had been petrified of playing, and it took a lot of smooth talking on Sam’s part to get him on a stage just to play back-up. It had taken Curtis days to convince Seth that he was okay with whatever decision the smaller man made about his own future, even after the contract had been signed. Curtis was enjoying his position as English teacher and head of the high school drama department, despite his misgivings when taking the job two years before. He’d invested so much of his own time in the drama department since his hire, earning the high school a new reputation for a growing performing arts program. He couldn’t have done it without Seth around to deliver pizza to the starving students when rehearsals ran late, to teach their orchestra pit the music, to bring Curtis graded papers he’d forgotten at home when his mind was so full during production weeks, and to give him the best shoulder and neck massages known to man when he got home. Seth had supported Curtis over the last few years. Curtis was doing his best to reciprocate. If Seth wanted to stay a back-up pianist for rock bands, Curtis would do what he could to support his lover. They would get by.



Curtis nearly collapsed when he finally made it through the door and into their too-empty, too-quiet house. It had been a long night at practice, since the students had been preoccupied with their Halloween plans. There were parties all over town tonight, and Curtis had been invited to more than a few. He’d refused. Without Seth, none would have been enjoyable. The liberal citizens loved to have the token gay teacher on display, showing their sensitivity to social justice issues and support for public education in one attractive-looking package. The more conservative citizens either ignored him completely or tried to pressure the school into kicking him out, but the school board either wasn’t concerned by his sexual orientation or just couldn’t find a replacement willing to teach three theater classes, four English classes, and run the entire drama program for just over thirty five thousand dollars a year.



He’d been invited to several student parties as well, but he’d just laughed and told them he was too old, too un-hip, and too busy. If they still hounded him, he’d informed them that if he showed up, he’d call the cops on any underage drinking. That had conveniently eliminated one set of invitations.



He was almost afraid of what kinds of parties they’d get invited to once Seth came back from his tour with Winterized Ink. Half the kids in his homeroom class were fans, and they’d been even more excited for Seth’s new job than either half of the married couple.



The phone rang. It was too early for Seth. He hadn’t even gone on stage yet. The caller ID informed him that an unidentified caller was on the other end. He answered, knowing who would be on the other end.



“Derek, Seth doesn’t come home until tomorrow,” he yawned. His husband’s younger brother called often since the death of his mother, whether he knew Seth was home or not. He’d cancelled his cell phone plan the week after Mama Martha died in a car accident and had never left another phone number in case they needed to reach him, but he made a point to check in on a regular basis, and had repeatedly informed them that if there was an emergency, they could email him.



“I love you too, big brother.” Derek’s dark chuckle was the kind that crawled into every sexually active human’s gut and sparked a fire, no matter who you were. Curtis sighed. His brother-in-law needed to learn to tone it down a little, or at least find a man to direct it at. He exuded sexuality, but Curtis had never heard of him speak of anyone in a remotely sexual way. Derek’s single status bothered the hell out of Seth, but Curtis had decided to leave it alone. Derek’s sex life was his own business, and Curtis suspected that his job was too demanding to make time for a relationship. The boy worked, but he never really said what he did.



The mature boy Curtis had met at eighteen had grown and changed into a complete enigma.



“What’s up, mystery man?”



“Not much. I wanted to warn you to be prepared for anything tomorrow. Seth has been emailing me a lot lately, and he sounds pretty overloaded. I think he’s slipping down the slope, if you know what I mean.”



“He never gave me any hint things were going poorly.” Curtis said, startled. Then he groaned. “Of course he wouldn’t. He doesn’t like it when I worry, and he knows I’d worry. God! I thought he was doing well! He kept talking about how the gig was working better than therapy.”



“Don’t freak, Curtis. It won’t do you any good. Just keep an eye on him when he gets home. Pull it out of him. I’ve given him some ideas on how to take out his frustration, but be prepared for anything. And I do mean anything.” Curtis could practically hear Derek’s thick black eyebrows wiggling suggestively.



“I don’t even want to know,” Curtis said.



“Good.”



“Thanks for the heads up,” he grumbled, but the dial tone was sounding before he finished the sentence. Derek was abrupt, on top of everything else, but he could always read his brother better than anyone else. It was one thing Curtis always felt just a tad jealous over. Even if Derek was on the other side of the world– which apparently happened often for his mystery job– he always knew if something was wrong. He always called when Seth was turning toward more extreme forms of pain again, was always conveniently around when Curtis needed the most support dealing with Seth’s continual psychological issues. He was the best brother Seth could have possibly had, though Derek didn’t seem to know how important he really was.



***



Curtis turned on the TV after Derek’s warning, flipping channels without really paying attention to what was floating across the screen. He was worried, but not terribly worried. If Derek had thought it was really bad, he would have done more to warn Curtis. Curtis needed to hear Seth for himself, now. He was waiting for Seth’s call, though it was going to be a late one. Seth was two timezones away and had one final concert to complete before the phone call that kept them both sane could happen. One last concert, one phone call, one plane ride, and he’d be home.



Tonight they would talk until they fell asleep, and then Seth would get on a plane the next morning and make his way back to the middle of Iowa, the middle of nowhere. Once he was home, Curtis wouldn’t have to worry.



He couldn’t wait. He could barely breathe with the knowledge that he’d get to see his pale, black-haired lover. He had tomorrow off. He’d worked hard to get all his papers graded, to finish all his lesson plans. He had everything lined up for play practice Monday night. Nothing needed to be done tomorrow. Nothing at all, except for one excruciating trip to the Des Moines international airport and an even longer trip back. The forty-five minute drive home with Seth in the car would be hell on both of them after two months apart.



Curtis blinked awake to the sound of whistles and applause. Seth had recorded the audience’s reaction to Curtis’s first high school production and set it as his personal ringtone. It had been cheesy, but very, very cute.



Seth was still embarrassed every time the phone rang. Curtis had refused to change it.



“Hey,” Curtis croaked into the phone.



“Did I wake you?” Seth’s sultry voice drifted into Curtis’s brain and jolted him wide awake.



“Possibly. I think I missed most of Saturday Night Live. What time is it?”



“Midnight for me. Two for you. Want me to hang up?” The voice was too light, too cheerful to be typical Seth, though Curtis probably wouldn’t have caught it if Derek hadn’t warned him. Seth was overcompensating for something, and he needed to talk.



“No, no,” Curtis yawned. “Tell me about your final show. You’re in LA, right?”



That broke the dam, and Seth’s chipper attitude crumbled into something a little more sincere.



“Yeah, though I’m starting to wish I wasn’t. The show went pretty spectacularly, but the band members are pitching a fit. I never knew how bratty rock bands could be, you know? Andre didn’t like how Travis sang, and Travis didn’t like that Casey was drumming drunk, but instead of a normal argument, there were destroyed instruments, broken amps– I think I still have plastic in my hair from when Travis slammed Andre’s guitar into my keyboard. I got out of there as fast as I could after a little intimidation on my own behalf, though I think I can still hear the screams and yells coming from their hotel. I’m so glad to be done with the toddlers.” He sounded exasperated, but not entirely upset.



“Shit, Seth, they broke your Roland?” Curtis was outraged. The RD-700nx had cost them a hefty sum.



“Yeah, Travis broke my favorite keyboard. He’s not my biggest fan since he thinks I want in his pants– all the girls do, why not the token gay guy, right?– and I don’t cater to his ego like the rest of the world. When screaming at him over the butcher of my instrument didn’t work, I took off my shirt and offered to knife fight him. You should have seen his face.” Seth broke down into giggles. It must have been a long night if he was willing to giggle. “Apparently Sam had left out the fact that I was a violent psychopath when he introduced me to the band.”



Curtis laughed. If Seth could joke about things, he was doing all right. “Did you take some pictures of the carnage? We could probably sell them to the tabloids for enough money to buy you another keyboard.”



“I didn’t stick around that long,” Seth replied in his most serious voice. “I had to get back to my hotel room so I could call the most attractive man I’ve ever had the chance to meet…” Seth sighed dramatically. “You should meet him. He’s a prime specimen of manhood. He’s got curly brown hair that looks like spun gold in the sunlight and giant honey-colored eyes that I just want to gaze into all day. He has these muscled arms that can pick me up and swing me around, and is the proud owner of the most delicious ass I’ve ever seen. And his freckles! I could spend hours licking every single freckle on his body, if he’d let me.”



Curtis laughed. “He sounds fantastic, when can you introduce us?”



“Mmm, I’ll see what I can do,” Seth said impishly.



“Great. What do you want this prime specimen of manhood to do to you right now?” Curtis asked in as deep a voice as he could muster.



“I think I’d really like him to barge into my room and push me down onto the bed, chest down, ass in the air, before I can put up a proper struggle.”



Curtis licked his lips and pushed himself up from the recliner. He needed to be in bed for this. Seth’s personal fantasies were always a little hot and steamy, a little over the top, a mix of pleasure and pain that appealed to both of them. They were always enough to get Curtis horny as hell and desperate to sink his cock into Seth’s beautiful ass and pound away until they both collapsed in a pile of cum and limbs. Seth had perfected the art of fantasy-telling in the last two months, and Curtis was already hard and aching.



One line, and it sounded like the start of a pain fantasy. Curtis slid into their bed and grabbed the lube and a paper towel. He might not like it when Seth drifted too far over the pain line, but dancing along the edge did it for the both of them.



“I want you to grab my wrists and pull my arms behind my back, hard enough to make me think my shoulders will pop out of their sockets. I want you to whisper exactly what you’ll do to me in my ear before biting my neck. Leave marks, Curtis. Draw blood. Make sure the world knows I’m yours.”



“I’ll suck your neck until you bruise, Seth. I’ll decorate your creamy skin with teeth marks.” Curtis could imagine his husband’s neck covered in red and purple blotches.



“Then I want you to make me kneel. Keep me from struggling, overpower me, let me feel how strong you are…” Seth’s voice had dropped into a whisper. Curtis groaned. Seth loved to be restrained, but only with hands. He’d had enough bad experiences with ropes to last five lifetimes, so Curtis’s hands acted as the ropes. His hands were strong, loving, and safe. His grip could loosen immediately if Seth began to panic, and even after eight years of healing and therapy, Seth could still panic. Little things would trigger memories. Sights, sounds, impressions could initiate flashbacks to Seth’s personal hell.



“I’ll hold you as tightly as you need me to,” Curtis rasped.



“Hold me down, Curtis, hold me down and spank my ass. I want to feel the sting. Tease me until I beg for you to enter me, to push your way to the hilt, to fuck me. Make me scream and cry for more of your touch.”



Curtis was stroking himself firmly, keeping pace with Seth’s voice.



“I can’t wait,” Curtis gasped. “I’ll wait until you start to barter and see what kind of deal I can get. A private concert. Your firstborn son. Perhaps I’ll wait until you agree to top me again.”



They both moaned at that.



“When my voice is hoarse from all the yelling, make me suck your finger. Tell me how you’ll breach me using my own spit as lubrication. Give me–” Seth broke off, and Curtis could hear loud pounding on the other end of the phone line. “Motherfucking bastards,” Seth hissed. “I am so fucking sick of this shit.”



“What is it?” he asked, pulling his hand away from his blood-darkened shaft.



“Hang on, let me check.” Seth’s voice was seriously annoyed, and Curtis pitied whoever was on the other side of that door. The man could make the most hardened bastard feel guilty when he was pissed off.



Curtis caught words like ‘club’ and ‘fight’ before Seth’s long-suffering sigh signaled his return.



“Apparently, two of the band members continued to be seriously pissed at each other and came to blows in the middle of some nightclub. Both are now threatening to quit. The manager wants to know if I can try to talk some sense into Andre tonight before I head out. Lord only knows why I’m the one asked…” Seth growled.



“Do what you feel you need to, but make sure they pay you extra for the hassle. And for your keyboard.” Curtis dropped his hand to his side in defeat.



“I’ll make it up to you when I get back,” Seth promised.



“Oh really?” Curtis asked sardonically. “How do you plan to do that?”



“I’ll think of something. In fact, I know just the thing.” Seth gave a self-deprecating laugh. “I’ll have a hard-on the entire flight home, planning this.”



“Uh-oh, you aren’t taking any of Derek’s advice, are you?



“I might be, and I know you’ll like it,” Seth teased.



“Good,” Curtis said, smiling to himself. “Make sure whatever handsome men you get sandwiched between on the airplane know exactly how taken you are when they start to eye that erection.”



Seth was still laughing when they hung up. It was a beautiful sound, one that Curtis was thrilled to hear. It had taken a long time for Seth to learn to laugh again, and Curtis had noticed a distinct lack of laughter in their phone conversations lately. Perhaps that was what had bothered Derek so much.



Not good. He’d have to fix that, just like he now had to fix his damned erection. He gave up on a long, drawn out masturbatory session with Seth and hauled himself to the bathroom for relief. Tomorrow, he’d take care of them both properly. For now, a quick jack would have to do.

His eyes fell on Seth’s box of enemas when he was finished, and he set two on the counter. It was always good to be prepared.



+++++



Seth



Dealing with the band had been like dealing with a bunch of hormonal twelve-year-old girls. The lead singer had slapped the guitarist across the face, and they all started screaming at each other. It wouldn’t have been so bad if the massive blowout hadn’t just so happened to occur in the middle of a public place. Seth had only just managed to get one of the members to retract his statement about quitting the band when television crews showed up.



The poor manager was going to be doing a lot of damage control. Luckily, Seth’s contract was over and he didn’t have to think about it any longer. He had his check, his bags, his plane ticket. His keyboard had been lost in the previous night’s events, but the manager had given him a hefty sum to compensate. He wasn’t upset. He was going home to his baby grand and his husband.



Home. The word was still as sweet as chocolate in his mind. The wait was making him anxious. He’d had no sleep, no time to clean up, and the airplane was too crowded and noisy for him to relax. He’d tried to keep himself steady without the pain, but it was getting harder and harder the longer he was away from Curtis. As much as he enjoyed touring with a rock band and playing his heart out on stage, he didn’t want to do it again without Curtis by his side. It had been too much. He’d get to Curtis soon, and then the world would be right. Perhaps he’d be willing to accept a tour next summer, when Curtis could go too, but not before. He’d been away from his lover, his husband, his sanity, for too long.



For his first flight, he was stuck behind twin infants. They were adorable, but they screamed a lot. He made a mental note to question Curtis about any desire to attempt adoption. He’d never been a big kid person, but the flight had cured him of any latent desires for babies. He didn’t think he’d have the patience to be a good dad.



For the second flight, he was next to an obnoxiously talkative woman who kept asking questions about his scar. He’d tried being polite. When that failed, he then tried to ignore her. When she got all huffy and started to hiss at him about his manners, he threw in his earbuds and turned on his mp3 player, cranking Camille Saint-Saens’s Danse Macabre. It was an appropriate enough choice for that time of year.



He broke into his bag of candy corn and moaned pornographically at the taste of the waxy sugar. Madame Obnoxious gave him a scandalized look, but it finally stopped her from talking.



As soon as they let him off the plane, he’d booked it out of Des Moines’s tiny terminal as fast as he could. He passed security and got stuck behind a large group of people on the lone escalator. He glanced around as he descended, the mechanical stairway going agonizingly slow. A small seating area was directly below him, and as he finally stepped off the stairs, he caught a flash of gold and freckles.



“Seth!” Curtis had him up off the floor, twirling around and laughing before Seth could see his husband properly.



“Holy hell, Curt, put me down!” Seth giggled. Curtis did, but he kept the younger man flush against him as he leaned down for a scorching kiss. Seth could see the obnoxious woman from his flight looking utterly shocked out of the corner of his eye, and then he forgot the rest of the world. Eyelids closed. Tongues battled for dominance. Hands groped, kneaded, brushed, stroked– and then they broke away in gasps. Seth grinned up at Curtis, basking in the heat of strong arms.



“God, I missed you.” Curtis leaned down for a quick peck as they walked toward the baggage claim.



“Not as much as I missed you,” Seth said quietly.



“Derek said you were stressing.” Curtis’s eyes flicker over his exposed skin. “I was under the impression that it was doing good things for you.”



“I think it was too much, Curtis.”



“Explain it to me?” Seth could hear the worry seeping into Curtis’s rasping voice.



“It was good and bad. I was getting pretty desperate toward the end, wanting the pain–” he held up a hand as Curtis’s mouth opened. “Hear me out. I couldn’t handle the band, and they dragged me into a lot of shit I wasn’t ready to deal with. Seth’s friend Casey was great, but the other guys had a hard time with the fact I was gay. Travis took it personally. I had a lot of nasty comments thrown my way, and you know how good I am with unwanted confrontation. Travis even went as far as to hire a hooker and shove her into my hotel room a few nights into the tour.”



Curtis winced. “Seriously? They knew you were married. Why the hell did he–”



“It’s California, and Travis thought it was disgusting. To him, our marriage isn’t authentic.” Seth could see Curtis’s face redden and contort. “It pissed me off too, and he learned pretty quickly how upset the little fag could get when you step on his toes.”



Curtis had to chuckle at that.



“I bet he loved that, didn’t he?”



“Oh, he most definitely did. He tried to fire me after I went off on his ass, but the manager kindly informed him that it was either me or nobody. They didn’t have time to find another pianist who knew the songs that late in the game.”



Curtis narrowed his eyes. Seth knew he would be in trouble for not talking about that incident during their nightly conversations. He’d glossed it over and gone for the phone sex. It was what he’d lived for, when he wasn’t lost in the music. Curtis’s voice could make Seth orgasm, even if he was just reading the dictionary.



“So tell me about the good parts.”



“I’m no longer scared shitless of stages,” Seth said, ticking off one finger. “Sam will be absolutely thrilled about that. I can handle an audience if I’m not the only one stared at. I’ve learned to use a synthesizer. I am now the proud owner of tight leather pants. I’m handling questions about my scars a bit better than I used to, since I was asked pretty much on a daily basis. The rush of playing live in front of so many people was incredible, Curtis.” Seth grinned. “It’ll always scare me shitless, but after getting thrown on stage for a week straight, I lost most of my inhibitions.”



Curtis pulled him into his arms again, holding him tightly as the noises of the little airport swirled and surged around them.



“I’m so glad,” Curtis whispered.



“I’m not going to do it again unless you’re able to go,” Seth said as he pulled away from Curtis’s tight grip and snagged his bags from the conveyor. “At the end, I was working as damage control and peace maker. I’m not wired for either job, and I took it pretty hard. I need you around when I get bad, Curt. I can’t do it on my own.”



Curt lifted both large suitcases and nudged Seth along, herding him across the street to the parking garage.



“Did you eat lunch?” he asked as Seth tossed his backpack in the back seat of the jeep.



“I ate more candy corn than I care to reveal this morning, so I’m not particularly hungry.” Seth laughed. “I’ve pretty much been living on a steady diet of mallowcreme pumpkins since the middle of September. I haven’t had anyone to cook for me, and the band wasn’t particularly health-conscious.”



“Damn,” Curtis grunted. “How the hell did you stay skinny, boy?”



“When the only sustenance you consume before a two-hour show that involves a lot of sweating and jumping around is pure sugar and caffeine, you’d lose weight too.” Seth laughed and reached for Curtis, pushing him against the side of the jeep and leaning into him for the barest touch of lips. He missed the feel of Curtis, the muscles and smooth, freckled skin beneath his palms. He pressed the erection he’d sported since their first hug into Curtis’s thigh. He wanted his husband to know exactly how much he wanted him.



Curtis was hard, too. His lips feathered across Seth’s in a gentle kiss, the kind of kiss that speaks of love and endearment and forever, but his big hands reached around and clutched Seth’s ass roughly. The combination of barest touch and rough grind was enough to drive both of them toward the edge.



Seth pulled away, a huge grin splitting his face. Curtis reached up and traced the raised scar down Seth’s cheek before running a thumb across his plump lips.



“Let’s get something with vitamins in you before we go home,” Curtis whispered. “You’ll need the energy tonight.”



+++++



Curtis



Seth was quiet in the restaurant, but he was fidgeting more than the six-year-old boy in the booth next to them.



“What’s up?” Curtis asked, narrowing his eyes and rubbing a hunk of bread around the empty plate, sweeping up the last remnants of steak.



“I’m… nervous,” Seth said, tipping his head to one side and squinting back at Curtis. “It’s been two months, after over three and a half years of always being together. It was hard being apart, and I didn’t expect to be nervous getting back together.”



“We can always aim for a quickie in the bathroom, if it’ll calm your nerves.” Curtis winked. “Though once I bury myself inside you, I won’t be letting you go for hours. Doing so where we won’t get arrested is probably best. Derek would have to fly in and bail us out.”



Seth chuckled and stole Curtis’s bread, nibbling on the juice-soaked portion until they got the check.



***



They’d barely gotten outside city limits before Seth’s hand landed squarely on Curtis’s crotch. The jeans he was wearing were tight enough and he was hard enough to give Seth plenty to feel. The delicate, long-fingered hand was taking full advantage of his half-concentration, his inability to jerk away, and his intolerable need for release.



Curtis glared at Seth, but the raven-haired man wasn’t even looking at him. His head was turned the other direction, his gaze lost out the window to cornfields ready for harvest, leaves changing colors, and the inevitable cow pasture.



“I missed this,” Seth sighed, tracing the outline of Curtis’s cock. “The midwest has an entirely different type of attraction than either coast. I never quite realized how beautiful the countryside was until now.”



Curtis grunted. It was all he could manage when skillful digits were sliding his zipper down. Seth was running the show entirely on tactile sensation. Curtis reveled in the touch, shivering slightly as his thick erection was released into the chill October air. Seth grabbed him firmly and gave him a few dry strokes.



“You’d better stop that or we’ll crash,” Curtis gasped. Seth ignored him, continuing to stare out the window. His hand pulled back for a few seconds before he began to trace veins with the tips of his fingers.



“You want to know the thing I missed most about this particular state?” Seth asked, working up the underside of Curtis’s cock with the edges of his nails. Curtis swerved and swore before getting the jeep under control again.



“Stop it!” he rasped.



“I missed the deserted gravel roads,” Seth said, turning toward his husband with a wicked grin. “Tomorrow is Halloween, Curtis. Trick or treat?”



Curtis just stared. Someone had switched his sweet, typically submissive husband for someone new. Sure, Seth had topped him before– Seth had been the only man he’d ever let top him, and he didn’t mind it– but to date all their experiences had been Curtis teaching Seth what to do and how to do it properly while Seth asked questions. Seth had always been more comfortable as the punished, the fucked, the dominated, so Curtis almost always took control. At best, they shared control.



Seth in control? The thought made Curtis so hard he could hardly remember the road.



“So this is what Derek was talking about last night. You aren’t possessed again, are you?” he asked, eyes wide.



“Hardly, love. Just answer the question. It makes all the difference in what I do to you.”



“What if I want both?” Curtis asked in a whisper.



“Choose.” It was demand if Curtis had ever heard one.



“Treat,” he breathed.



“Turn off,” Seth ordered. His voice was short, sharp, the kind of voice that made Curtis tingle in anticipation.



He hoped, desperately, that he was right about Seth’s mood. He turned onto the next gravel road and got them well and truly lost in a matter of minutes.



They pulled over, and Seth was on Curtis before he could shut off the engine. He fumbled with the keys, got the car turned off, and was lost beneath Seth’s groping limbs almost immediately. His shirt was unbuttoned, cold air blasting his sensitive nipples before a hot mouth covered one and pinching fingers found the other. Seth managed to keep up a constant stroking, sweeping his hand up Curtis’s hot cock, twisting around the head, and dropping back down to the root. Curtis spared all of half a second in amazement before sinking under the assault. Seth set in motion a three-pronged attack, and Curtis’s poor mind was ready to short out at the bombardment of sensations.



“Oh, God.” Curtis felt Seth’s teeth digging into the skin, worrying the tight nub with just enough pressure to force Curtis into dancing along the pleasure/pain line. Pain was typically Seth’s kink, but Seth had taken control and Curtis was willing to let it go as far as his lover wanted it to. Seth knew where Curtis’s limits were for activities they’d tried before, and could accurately guess where they were for most of what they hadn’t. Curtis trusted him completely.



He was eager to see where this went.



Seth pushed Curtis along the precarious edge, switching between nipples and laving at the teeth marks he left behind, tongue trailing fire. The hand on his cock stilled.



“Move to the back.” Seth whispered against Curtis’s bared skin. “I’ve been having these fantasies of you on your hands and knees.”



Curtis shuffled through a delightful range of mental images before he realized Seth’s body heat was gone. He turned just in time to see a pert ass in form-fitting jeans sticking from between the seats as his husband wiggled into the cargo area. The back seats had been folded down in anticipation for Seth’s luggage, and Seth’s pushed his two suitcases as far out of the way as possible. The cargo area was large in comparison to other vehicles, but it would still be a tight fit for the both of them.



“Get back here, lover,” Seth demanded, sliding his own jeans down to his ankles. “You’re making me wait.”



Curtis knew, in the deep recesses of his mind, that it would be a lot easier to get out of the driver’s side door and climb in the back hatch, but by the time he registered the intelligence of this thought, he was already scrambling over the seats, shoving his pants around his ankles in anticipation. He landed on his hands and knees in front of a squatting Seth, who leaned down to give him a hard, bruising kiss before pulling away and rubbing his erection through the thin black cotton.



“Suck me, Curtis.”



His voice was low, but the usual dreamy quality was gone completely. His face was stern and demanding, but his eyes were smoldering.



Oh, hell. This was going to be good, as long as nobody drove by and called the cops. Curtis reached toward Seth’s tight black trunks, but his hand was slapped away.



“Use only your mouth.”



Curtis planted his hand back on the rough fabric of the cargo floor and leaned forward, tracing the outline of Seth’s cock with his tongue. He trailed wet lines across the cotton, leaning down to mouth the testicles through their cloth prison. He allowed his tongue to stray upward along the shaft and make fluttering movements along the head before sucking the tip into his mouth. Sucking cotton-wrapped cock was a bit trickier than he’d expected. He released Seth and let his tongue trail along Seth’s lower abs, skimming the top of the barrier.



He nosed past the waistband of Seth’s trunks until he could feel Seth’s uncircumcised cock against his skin, and breathed in deeply. He missed the smell of Seth, the heady scent that reminded him of long romantic evenings of slow, careful lovemaking and desperate, five-minute poundings in public restrooms when they just couldn’t wait any longer. He gripped the top of the elastic with his teeth and slowly eased it down, exposing the long, thin cock to the mild chill of autumn air.



He licked around the head, sliding his tongue beneath the foreskin, teasing the tip until Seth’s hand gripped the back of his head and tugged him down the shaft. He sank until he was gagging, nose pressed into the smooth skin of Seth’s abdomen. Curtis loosened his throat as much as he could, letting Seth thrust as hard as he wanted to. Curtis risked a glance up at Seth’s face and began to hum Seth’s favorite song.



Seth’s hazel eyes were blazing down into his own, and the eye contact turned every flick of Curtis’s tongue, every suck, every vibration into a personal proclamation of need. Seth didn’t even complain when Curtis moved his hand to aid his efforts. Seth’s pendulous sac was too tempting not to touch. Large orbs rolled beneath soft, textured skin in Curtis’s palm, and Seth responded to the new stimulation by pulling Curtis’s head to him and thrusting hard until Curtis choked.



Seth leaned down, put one hand on either of Curtis’s shoulders, and pushed him away firmly.



“Face the front of the vehicle,” he demanded. Curtis wiggled around until his ass was toward Seth and his head was between the front seats. Seth’s hands came into view holding a thin piece of silky black fabric between them. Curtis held still as the blindfold was tied tightly into place.



Seth sank down behind him and began to tease, tongue rasping the tiny hairs along Curtis’s crack before swirling around near Curtis’s tight bundle of nerves, barely touching the skin.



“Please, Seth,” Curtis groaned as his tormentor backed off.



“Please what, Curtis?” Seth asked, sounding devious.



“I want you,” Curtis gasped. “I’m desperate to feel you, Seth. Please. Don’t tease me.”



Seth scraped his teeth along one pale, freckled globe and Curtis cried out and arched his back. Seth slapped the other cheek lightly and pulled them apart. Curtis could feel the air hitting his coral pucker, and Seth blew over it delicately before his tongue began a new attack. Fingers skated over his perineum, around his testicles, and up his throbbing erection. Each touch was strong, sure of itself, and managed to stoke Curtis’s fires incrementally higher.



“You taste soapy, husband of mine. You prepped for this, didn’t you?”



“Derek said to be prepared for anything,” Curtis gasped. “I had hopes.”



“Good boy. Keep your ass up in the air.” Seth was only partially intelligible with his tongue inside Curtis’s ass.



Seth released Curtis for a second, and Curtis could feel him moving around behind him. The zip of one of the suitcases echoed through the vehicle, and Curtis gripped the seats in front of him in anticipation.



Something cold and slick slid around his asshole. One of Seth’s talented fingers began brushing the nerve endings alternately with the pad of the finger and with the tip of his nail, spreading the lube into his skin, encouraging Curtis’s tight sphincter into relaxing enough to accommodate the slick digit. He could feel Seth’s finger slide in and out, swirling around until he began to moan.



A second finger pushed its way in beside the first in a slow burn, and Curtis could his body clinging to Seth’s fingers as he withdrew, only to ease them in again. Then he began to curl his digits upwards, and Curtis saw stars.



“You like that, don’t you?” Seth growled.



“Shit, Seth, do that again,” Curtis begged. Seth brushed against his prostate a few more times before scissoring his fingers, but Curtis had finally relaxed. The third finger slid in without difficulty. Seth worked Curtis into a frenzy. He could feel an intense build, a growing pleasure, and he tried to muffle a shout.



Seth pulled his fingers out, and Curtis whimpered at the loss of stimulation.

“Rarely have I heard or felt such purity and devotion.” A large rumbling voice filled the temple chamber.



Both men’s eyes snapped open and they gasped in awe. Cavel’s hand tightened on Bashta’s fingers, his knuckles turning white. An enormous black jaguar sat in front of the altar, watching them as his tail flicked back and forth. His yellow eyes reflected the orange flames as he looked down on them. Sitting down he was taller than either of them would be standing. It was a truly intimidating sight.



“Do you mean that?” he asked.



“Pardon me.” Bashta bowed. “Do you speak to me, Great One?”



The large jaguar’s mouth parted, his teeth gleaming in the fire light in an odd parody of a smile. “No, dear heart.”



Cavel gulped, that meant the jaguar was addressing him. “I am unsure of what you mean, Great One. If you mean my thoughts of moments ago, yes. More than anything. I want the suffering to end. My people and,” he glanced at Bashta, “my mate, deserve to live in health and joy. I would give anything I possess, anything but my soul, to give them that peace.”



The great jaguar narrowed his eyes. “You would place limits on what you would offer when you beg a boon for your people?”



“I do not hold back anything that is my own, Great One but my soul is not mine to give,” Cavel said softly. He looked down to where Bashta held his hand, their fingers white from the tight grip and then looked up to stare in the jaguar’s shining yellow eyes. “That part of me has always belonged to Bashta, even before I knew him, and it always will. The piece of his soul I carry is held in trust only. I cannot betray my mate, not even to save my people who are your people, Great One.”



“I would never ask that Cavel face the pain I have felt since my clan died,” Bashta objected. “That he would do that, risk his clan for me is… too much.” Bashta looked away from the Jaguar and his tears slowly fell from his eyes as he looked at Cavel’s soft expression. “He… I have come to care greatly for him these past days. I think I love him.” He looked back up at the Jaguar. “I would do whatever required of me to spare him pain.”



A curious sound rumbled through the room, emanating from the cat’s chest. He rose up, easily towering over the kneeling men. He paced in a circle while they held their breath. “You would give anything. Any price I asked? Both of you?”



Bashta and Cavel looked at each other, an unspoken communication passing between them.



“Yes,” Cavel answered simply for both of them.



The Jaguar moved to stand before him, just inches from Cavel’s face. Cavel instantly fell into his bright eyes, passing through a great ring of flames just like the ones behind the altar. He felt a presence in his mind, a voice that whispered and spoke to him with the combined forces of all his ancestors. He was suspended in a moment of time, immersed in the essence of his people’s origins, lines that led back into history to this one creature.



His defenses stripped back, Cavel was flooded with knowledge and power and a sense of duty made all the stronger by his renewed connection to his clan’s ancestors.



He gasped when he was released, weaving on his knees until he could catch his balance against his mate. Bashta held him upright until Cavel blinked a few times and then managed a short bow to the Jaguar.



“You are worthy to be a Protector of our kind. Bashta was chosen as a kitling, brought before me and pledged to be mine. His family has had a Protector in their line as far back as his clan stretched. It is a solemn duty.”



Bashta was unable to choke back his sob at the reminder of the solemn ceremony. Held in his father’s arms as a small kitling the experience and connection he had felt to his people had been the brightest thing in his soul. When they died, it had felt like that had disappeared. The reminder of that made his chest ache in misery.



Cavel instantly looked away from the Jaguar and wrapped his arms around Bashta to comfort him. The Jaguar purred; a deep rumble that helped soothe and calm them.



“Is this mating something you want as well, dear one?” the jaguar asked Bashta when he lifted his head from Cavel’s shoulder.



“Yes.” Bashta’s voice was firm but soft. Cavel leaned forward and kissed his cheek softly, the tip of his tongue licking the last tear from Bashta’s soft skin. Cavel sat back and they both turned toward the Jaguar, their hands once again linked.



“Good. You will have need of that certainty. What I ask will be difficult for you. You will need support to endure the coming hardships.” Bashta blanched a little but Cavel tightened his grip. The Jaguar stood up, towering over them.



“The words of the spirits are often hard to understand. You listened when they spoke through the wise woman and made your way here, into the jungle, though you had nothing but faith to guide you, Cavel, newly made Protector. You have done well as a leader of your clan and deserve your reward for your faithfulness.”



“I have had my reward. This is where I met and fell in love with my mate,” Cavel smiled, “as badly as I bungled it in the beginning.”



The Jaguar huffed, amusement in his voice. “Truly. What you do not know is at the same time you also found your cure.”



Cavel looked confused. “I did? I don’t understand, what cure?” The Jaguar looked at Bashta which only made Cavel more confused. “Pardon me, Great One, I still don’t understand.”



“As the only survivor of his clan Bashta is also the only survivor of this plague that has so decimated our kind.”



Understanding dawned on Cavel’s face. “He had the plague? But… how did he survive?” He turned to Bashta. “Why didn’t you tell me?”



Bashta looked confused. “Tell you what? I didn’t know I was sick. I certainly never experienced the sickness of my clan. I was here in the Temple as they died. I had an infection in a wound and my mother brought me to the pools for healing.”



Understanding dawned over Cavel and he sat back on his heels, nodding. “Of course, don’t you see? The plague attacks the brain and causes headaches long before it attacks the body further and causes the more obvious symptoms. You must have had the headache but just didn’t realize it with the fever from your infection. When you came to be healed the ritual must have done more than just cure the infection, it cured the plague.”



“Then how am I your cure? We don’t have time to get your whole clan here and heal them all, do we?”



“No, that wouldn’t work, you’re right. But we don’t have to bring them here for the cure; we can take the cure to them. It’s in you, your blood!” Cavel said in excitement. “The doctor can create an antiserum with your blood and give it to my clan. It would attack the toxins created by the bacteria that is making them sick.” Bashta’s forehead was wrinkled.



Cavel simplified. “We would make a medicine from your blood and because you had the plague but were healed, they would be healed too. Your blood holds the cure inside it.”



Bashta’s face smoothed out and he smiled, his expression full of joy. “You can do that? Really?”



Cavel was almost dancing though he was still on his knees. “Oh yes!” His excitement faltered. “But… You’ll have to leave the jungle, your home.”



“I could come back.”



“That you could,” said the Jaguar. Their heads turned quickly. Cavel swallowed, he’d been so excited he’d completely forgotten about the enormous jaguar sitting just feet away from them.



Bashta blushed. “Our apologies, Great One. In our excitement we did not mean to ignore you.”



“I am not slighted, dear one. But there is more you must know,” he said kindly. “In order for your blood to work on his clan, you must be his clan. You must be bonded.”



“But I have no clan left alive to perform the ceremony. How can I mate if I have no one to sing for me?” Bashta’s face fell and tears filled his eyes.



They wouldn’t be able to save them. Cavel’s clan would die, just as Bashta’s had. Cavel’s heart turned to stone in his chest.



The Jaguar huffed again, the sound amused as he looked at Bashta. “You are silly, Dear One. Your clan, all clans; are my people. I created you; I succor you in times of trouble, and share with you in times of joy. I will sing for you, for both of you, in your bonding ceremony.”



He padded over to stand directly in front of Cavel and Bashta, so close they could feel the heat from his body. “Stand.”



Silently, they stood before him.



“Bow.”



Both men bent forward, showing their respect for the spirit of their people. As they stood the Jaguar touched his forehead to each of theirs briefly. His warm silky fur felt like a soft caress as he rubbed their faces gently. Cavel felt him enter his mind, encompassing and enveloping them in a presence that felt indescribable as he tested their mate bond. He did the same to Bashta. A purr rumbled in his chest as he moved back a pace.



“Oh yes, this will be a very good mating for our people.”



“Thank you, Great One,” Cavel said, his voice thick with emotion. Bashta didn’t speak, just bowed again.



“Take up the offered rings,” he instructed them. They moved past him and each picked up one shining black ring from the flaming eye still shining on the altar. It was so bright they had to block their eyes shining behind its surface. They looked up to the jaguar who was now facing them from across the altar. “Hold the rings in your right hands, palm up.”



His deep, rumbling voice began chanting in the ancient language Bashta had used for their cleansing. It was unlike any mating chant Cavel had ever heard, beginning as a single melody. Usually both families sang for the mated pair, the sounds blending together. Somehow the jaguar’s song did the same, growing richer and pulling both of them into the song. They were tugged closer together, their free hands joining. Cavel could feel his inner cats rubbing against him, pressing against his skin from the inside.



Bashta whimpered and Cavel knew he must feel it too.



With their eyes closed they didn’t see the Jaguar unsheathe the claws on one paw and slice across both their hands still held palm up, black rings centered on their palms. Their twin gasps filled the air as blood welled from the deep cuts and washed over the rings cradled in their hands. Turning to face each other, they joined their hands, their blood mingling as they clasped their rings between them. Two cries came from each distended throat as their heads fell back and they dropped to their knees in pain and ecstasy flooding their bodies, doubled as their bond grew between them.



Their cats came rushing to the surface as a wave of magic enveloped their bodies.



Starting at the hairline their jaguar clan markings appeared as black rosettes to cover their temples, flowing down their necks and spreading across their bare backs. They gasped as muscles stretched and rippled, shifting and growing. Their claws erupted on hands still clenched tight together, puncturing skin and flesh. The blood dripped onto the floor between them onto the porous black stone before the altar. The flames in the temple flared, filling the room with a living brilliance as their minds met and melded in a fiery clash.



When it faded both men were slumped against each other, still on their knees. The Jaguar sat before them, calmly waiting as their minds began to quiet and separate. It was long minutes as they reveled in each other’s emotions through their bond. Truly bonded mates at last; they each explored the other’s depth of feeling and found answering deep wells of love and devotion.



“A very good mating,” the Jaguar said as they finally pulled apart, both physically and mentally. Only their hands stayed linked around the rings but their minds stayed linked to that deep well hidden within each other. It was enough that they were no longer deaf to the world around them.



“The rings are an outward sign of your connection, to each other and to this place. You are now mated but not yet fully bonded. That will only happen when you share yourselves in the last of the ceremony.”



Cavel smiled as Bashta blushed furiously. Cavel knew that the first night as a truly bonded couple was the most treasured memory for all mates. He was ready to go home and bring salvation to his clan but they deserved this moment in time for themselves. He lamented that it would be a bit more hurried than a normal pair’s but he would make their first time an erotic and loving time for both of them to remember fondly as they grew older.



“I know what is asked of you is not easy Bashta, to forever leave the home of your people. So that you do not lose your roots here, where our kind began, you shall both return each year to the Temple. You are Protectors of all jaguars, bound to me and to my Temple. Bring your kitlings and your clan. Stay true to our ways and keep the spirits strong in your clan and you will prosper.”



Bashta bowed from his knees, his forehead touching the ground before the Jaguar. “It shall be done as you say, Great One. You will always be revered in our clan for saving their lives.” He sat up and smiled brilliantly. “I will never be alone again, because of your generosity. In our home especially, your memory shall never be forgotten.”



The Jaguar rumbled in pleasure, touching each of their foreheads with his again, his power rolling through them and across their bond in benediction. When they opened their eyes, he was gone and the wounds on their palms were healed. Cavel pounced on Bashta, hugging him as tight as he could.



“None of this would have been possible without you.” He leaned over to kiss his mate gently. “I love you.”



“I love you more than you can know,” Bashta replied. He looked down at his hands nervously and realized he still held the ring in his fist. Etched in orange across the black band there were now flames in a pattern that seemed to move and flicker. He held it out in a silent offer.



Cavel held out his free hand as Bashta held up his. Together, both men slid the warm rings on the first finger of each other’s left hands. Cavel brought both hands up to Bashta’s face, peppering it with soft kisses across his forehead, eyes, and cheeks. He finally settled his lips over that succulent mouth, gently parting Bashta’s lips with his tongue and seeking out the warm inside of his mouth to roll and caress with his tongue.



They were both breathing heavily when Cavel pulled back and buried his face against Bashta’s neck. He greedily sucked on the skin, bringing blood and heat to the surface around one of the new round black marks.



“I like these. You look so sexy.”



Bashta moaned, raising his chin and baring his neck. “More, please… more!”



***



Cavel laid him down gently on the stone floor, lying to one side of Bashta. He lightly kissed the red mark he had already made and then began slowly licking and sucking again, this time at the base of Bashta’s jaw.



Bashta heard himself begging but he didn’t care. The sensations were rolling through his sensitive skin. His sense of touch, hearing, and smell all were much more acute in his newly bonded form. He felt as if Cavel’s tongue was bathing the actual nerve endings under his skin as the scent of their arousal mingled and combined into a heady aphrodisiac that filled the chamber.



He whimpered, making Cavel chuckle and then bury his hands in his hair to pull his head back into an even more vulnerable position, kissing down the side of his neck. When Bashta remained limp and unresisting Cavel struck, a large sucking bite over his carotid. It stung but Bashta didn’t move, waiting for Cavel. Nipping gently and laving the skin with his tongue, Cavel began to purr in pleasure when he remained motionless. His emotions flowed through their bond to Bashta.



Bashta felt a wave of pressure as the vibration pulsed through his neck and the sensation forced his manhood erect in moments. It was like lightning streaked through him until he was unable to remain still any longer. His arms came up to Cavel’s shoulders, clutching them as his hips began to move, begging with silent movements for more touching, more caresses.



Cavel opened his mouth, licking his mating mark with his tongue and then kissed it gently. He lifted his head to stare at his mate with shining eyes. “You like this?”



Bashta groaned. “Spirits, yes! Don’t stop.”



Cavel grinned. “Oh I have no intentions of doing that,” he said teasingly. He moved up to straddle Bashta’s body, kissing his way from his mark down his neck to his chest, attacking each nipple as his hands roamed, touching and kneading. His claws scraped gently against Bashta’s sides and thighs and then dug into his slender hips, holding him still.



Moving down again, Cavel circled Bashta’s belly button with his tongue, dipping it inside and chuckling when Bashta moaned and then cursed in agony at the instant pulse of his insistent arousal at the sensation.



Bashta was awash in the feeling of the warm wet tongue tickling and caressing his body. It felt like Cavel was touching him everywhere at once. He shuddered and arched his back, desperately trying to bring his weeping member to Cavel’s attention but his larger mate held his hips firmly, not letting him move as he teased. Hot, moist air washed over him and his breath hitched as he waited in anticipation.



Even then he was hopelessly unprepared for the onslaught of sensation when Cavel’s mouth engulfed him and began to bob up and down from base to tip, sucking fiercely. He cried out, surprised and pleased.



“Oh spirits, Cavel,” he moaned.



He could feel the drawing sensations pulling deep inside him, tugging at their bond. Cavel was unconsciously pumping his hips, brushing his own cock against Bashta’s thighs. They were both panting, reveling in the feelings of love and pleasure through their bond. Cavel pulled off with one final strong pull, drawing a groan from Bashta.



“Why did you stop?” Bashta asked anxiously, panting. His hands were stroking Cavel’s head and kneading his shoulders as his claws flicked in and out.



“I need you,” Cavel said honestly, his own body drawn tight almost to the point of pain. They laid there, Cavel on top of Bashta and stared in each other’s eyes. Bashta watched his mate as he struggled for control. “I don’t want to hurt you.”



Bashta reached up to cup Cavel’s cheek with one hand. “You would never do that. I know you now, remember? We’re two halves of one whole. I trust you.”



Cavel buried his face in Bashta’s neck. “Thank you.” He kissed him gently. “We need something to ease the way. Maybe there would be something slick we could use near the hot spring pools?”



Bashta blushed and looked at the altar. “I think we provided everything we would need tonight already.” Cavel smiled when he looked up and saw the gourd with the tucuma oil. He reached up and brought it down and set it on the floor next to them. Taking a deep breath, he touched slowly, kissing Bashta’s face and neck, pulling up to kiss his mouth deeply, tongue thrusting.



Minutes passes as they caressed each other. Cavel’s claws began to dig into Bashta’s hips, lifting him as they rubbed their cocks together. Their breathing began to pick up as they began to feel their previous urgency take them over. Cavel reached out and dipped a finger in the gourd. Settling himself between Bashta’s thighs he kissed his lower stomach before reaching down.



Bashta gasped when he felt the silky wetness against him as Cavel began to gently open him. His gasp turned into a groan at the slow, deliberate penetration. The addition of two and three fingers made him writhe in need as his body easily accommodated his mate’s explorations with only a small bit of pain that made the pleasure greater.



Unable to hold the sound back, he mewled in need.



“Roll over,” Cavel growled. He urged Bashta up on his hands and knees. One hand caressed the muscular back and shoulders in long soothing strokes as his other coated his straining erection. Bashta watched between his legs, panting as he watched Cavel shudder and close his eyes. His head shot back as Cavel ran a stream of oil across Bashta’s ass.

His mate used both hands to stroke and caress him as he shifted and moved closer. He leaned over and ran his lips across Bashta’s neck and shoulders, sucking and biting as he positioned himself against him, thrusting back and forth a few times against Bashta’s ass.



Bashta moaned and arched as chills raced through him. Suddenly he felt teeth break the skin and bury into the muscles where his neck and shoulder met in a deep bite. His body went limp and would have fallen if Cavel’s hands were not under his chest and stomach, holding him up. In that moment Cavel thrust his hips forward in one long, smooth stroke that drove a scream from Bashta as the pain of the bite and abrupt penetration flowed over and under the flood of pleasure they shared as they joined and their minds bonded again.



Reveling with the pleasure in both their heads and bodies they moved instinctively together. Pulling his mouth from that sensitive spot on Bashta’s neck, Cavel began to lick at the bloody teeth marks, sucking on them as he moaned and panted. Bashta’s back arched as Cavel’s hips rolled forward, their bodies slapping together over and over. Their eyes were blind to the flames in the Temple rising into an inferno around them as they came closer and closer to completion.



Bashta found it first as Cavel brushed against his prostate again and again as he stroked in and out. He could feel the pressure building but he fought the bond and the sensations that were overwhelming him.



“Cavel… oh spirits. I… I don’t know…” His voice broke and he shuddered.



“Shhh, let go,” Cavel growled in his ear, “just feel. Let go for me, I’ll catch you.”



The small stinging nip to his ear from Cavel’s sharp teeth sent him over the precipice. He cried out at the pleasure, calling Cavel’s name as he climaxed. The rhythmic tightening of his body milking Cavel’s rock hard length set him off just seconds later and their cries blended as their minds merged and their souls combined. Locked into a moment of time that seemed endless they strained together, feeling each other’s bodies and minds explode with pleasure.



The flames above the Temple flared high, turning night into day until their bodies went limp after a final shudder of pleasure burst through them and they collapsed to the floor. Exhausted, Cavel rolled to one side. Bashta shuddered as he pulled out, then slid to the ground. He turned to face Cavel and snuggled into his chest.



He pulled Cavel’s hand up to his mouth and nibbled on the pads of his fingers before kissing his palm and then sighing in contentment. “Just one hour and then we will go purify ourselves in the pools, okay?” Bashta murmured, already falling asleep.



“Of course, my love. Anything you want.” Cavel tightened his arms around him as he too fell asleep.



***



The journey out of the jungle didn’t take nearly as long as it did to find the Temple. With Bashta leading the men they made a straight line for the edge of the jungle. Cavel smiled in amusement as Bashta felt another flare of embarrassment when Piscel teased him about his ears again. They were wide at the base then flowed into a neat triangle. He thought they were sexy as hell; not to mention sensitive. Just a finger stroke down the backside was enough to have him quivering in anticipation, his cock hard as a rock for his mate. Cavel began to get hard himself just thinking about it and he blushed when Bashta turned back to glare at him.



“Do you think you can control yourself?” he snapped.



He was dressed in Piscel’s spare clothes, the smallest of the jaguars with them. They hid quite a bit more than his breechclout had but the scent of Cavel’s arousal was having an unfortunate affect on him and it was pretty obvious. His ears twitched in irritation and Saulle laughed.



His attitude toward Bashta was completely different after they came out of the Temple, transformed and fully bonded. Bashta could feel it to, that connection to Cavel’s clan, their clan. It eased the tensions in the group and they fully included Bashta now where before there had been a distance, a separation of clan and not clan. Once Cavel told them of his plan to produce the antiserum there was quiet celebration and a renewed sense of urgency. They had hope now and that sped them on their way home.



Home.



Cavel smiled at the thought. They had left the jungle that morning and traveled along a dirt road until they came to a small town. From there they hired a couple of cars and made their way into the larger towns. Once they got to the airport they were one flight away from Fresno. From there it would be a forty-five minute flight on a small plane or a four hour drive home to Lone Pine.



Close to mountains, the small town was home to their clan. They owned a large tract of land that protected a trail up to a rugged wildlife area never visited by humans that was perfect for their clan when they needed space or room to roam.



Bashta wasn’t excited like the other men. He had gotten quieter as they traveled into the human populated areas. His hands flexed and his claws kept coming out, puncturing the cloth covering his thighs as his agitation grew. When they got out of the car at the airport a plane was just taking off. His ears went flat to his skull and he cowered back from the loud roar of the engines as the plane sped skyward.



“Cavel, you better get over here,” Saulle called.



Cavel ran around the car, dropping to his knees next to the distraught man. He concentrated on sending soothing waves of calm certainty through their bond to calm the rising hysteria he sensed. Bashta looked up at him, his eyes wide and filled with fear. Gathering him into his arms, Cavel stood up. He looked around, spotting an isolated bench near a fountain on one side of the entrance. Walking slowly toward it, the clan men gathered around them, blocking the view of the curious people gawking at the large group of Carthera.



Cavel sat them down, holding on to Bashta. His mate’s rigid body refused to relax and he trembled against him. He stroked Bashta’s hair, running his hands through the heavy strands without saying a word. He focused on calming the turbulent emotions he felt inside their bond, sending calm and sharing his own peace until Bashta finally shuddered and his body went limp. His arms unclenched and he laid his head on Cavel’s shoulder and snuggled into his body. Cavel continued to stroke his hair as Bashta sought comfort by nuzzling his neck.



“I don’t know if I can do this,” Bashta admitted, letting Cavel feel his shame at his weakness. “I could barely stand to be in that… that car, even with the windows down. It scared me, going that fast without moving my own body. Now you say I have to get in one of those,” his eyes cut toward the airplanes visible against the small terminal, “and trust that it won’t come crashing down out of the sky.”



“I know it’s a lot to ask but it’s the only way. We can’t afford to travel overland, it would take too long. This way we will be home in mere hours; well… in Fresno, at least. We have more traveling, but it will be easier, I promise.



“You can do this, I know you can. You’re strong, one of the strongest people I know. You are a black jaguar, an alpha of our clan. You may not know them in here yet,” he tapped Bashta’s head, “but in here you know them as well as I do.” Cavel placed his hand on Bashta’s heart. “You won’t let them down.”



Cavel could see the struggle in Bashta, the newfound bond with his clan, his trust and love of Cavel fighting his fear of the modern world around them and the idea of being encased in a metal object hurtling through the sky. Locking their eyes, Cavel tried to send him reassurance and love as he sat patiently holding him. “I’ll be with you every step of the way,” he assured him. “I’m not going to rush you into this.” They would go when his mate came to terms with his fears, not a moment before.



“You won’t let go of me? Not for anything?” Bashta whispered.



“Never.” Cavel leaned down and brushed their cheeks together in an affectionate caress. Bashta’s overwhelming fear was starting to ease when Saulle came hurrying up from the baggage area with a small package in his hand. He had checked their bags with the outside attendant while Cavel calmed Bashta. Their flight left in just three hours.



Saulle held out a small box. “I think this might help. The seer gave me these before we left. For the little one she said.” He looked, licking his lips. “I’m sorry, I forgot about them before now.”



Cavel opened the box. Nestled inside were two small capsules filled with a dark fluid. He looked at them and then up at Saulle. His eyes narrowed suspiciously. “What are those supposed to do?”



“Calm him down for the flight.”



Cavel started to shake his head and Saulle stopped him before he could speak. “I can feel him broadcasting through the clan bond. If he gets any worse he’s going to start affecting the humans around us. A bunch of humans broadcasting fear in an enclosed space? We don’t need that kind of trouble.”



“I’ll take whatever you think I should,” Bashta said quietly, before Cavel could speak. “He’s right. The thought of just going in the building makes it worse. I don’t know if I would be able to walk in there, even with your help.”



He unclenched one fist from Cavel’s shirt and held out his hand. Cavel carefully put one of the capsules in his palm. Taking a deep breath, Bashta daintily licked it up, swallowing the pill without water. He took a deep breath and Cavel hugged him. He wrinkled his nose at the smell of gas and fumes in the air. “Can we wait a little while longer before we go in?”



Cavel nuzzled him again. “Yeah, we can. Not too long, but long enough for you to relax.” Cavel looked up at Saulle. ‘Thank you,’ he mouthed silently. Saulle smiled at him in return before joining the other men still standing in a loose perimeter around the bench.



The little food Bashta had managed to eat the past two days of traveling was barely anything. It was just a few minutes before the effects of the pill started flooding his body. Cavel watched him in concern, feeling their bond go fuzzy but was reassured by the lazy grin on Bashta’s face and the way his mate nuzzled his neck. “Ready now, babe?”



“Mmhmm,” Bashta murmured. His smile was lazy, curling across his face. “I feel funny, like I ate overripe fruit.”



Saulle laughed. “That lady wasn’t messing around. Glad she’s on our side.” He moved up beside Cavel as he stood up, helping him support Bashta. “Security is through the main doors and to the left.”



The humans in the airport eyed them warily, especially Bashta and Cavel with their black jaguar markings. Their kind was rare and the security screeners eyed them suspiciously, but there were no hold ups as they moved toward their gate and flight home. Cavel barely got Bashta into his seat and buckled in before the smaller man curled up against him and fell asleep. Halfway through the flight Cavel woke him and fed him the other pill. He had to suppress his own unease on the plane; his jaguar side did not being contained. He curled around his mate and purred gently when Bashta twisted his hands in his shirt and snuggled closer in his sleep. Hours passed as he sat watching over his mate.



The plane was on the ground and pulling up to the terminal before Cavel gently shook Bashta awake. He was still confused as Cavel helped him stumble off the plane. The clan men all gathered in a large group and made their way down to baggage claim, the walk helped burn off some of the fog of the herbs in Bashta’s system. Cavel left Bashta with Saulle to make a quick call while they were waiting for their bags. He closed his cell phone and made his way over to where Saulle was standing with Bashta right behind him.



“I’m taking Bashta straight to the clinic here. I’ve phoned Dr. Waddel to meet us there to begin the process to make the antiserum. I’ll take Piscel with us and send him back with the first batches on the clan’s helicopter. I need you to take the rest of the men home and get all the clan together at the hall. Can you do that?”



Saulle nodded; his face both hopeful and worried. “Do you think we made it in time?” His face turned toward their home, as if he could find a way to see their loved ones through the distance and know they were okay.



Cavel’s expression tightened. “We won’t know until you get there. I hope we are; I just don’t know.” He squeezed Saulle’s shoulder. “Don’t worry; the doctors will work as fast as they can.”



***



The sterile white walls of the clinic and the smells of the antiseptic made Bashta wrinkle his nose. He looked over at Cavel and Piscel who both rubbed their noses as well. The place was empty, the silence broken only by their footsteps. The streetlights shining on the blinds covering the windows made them look orange, casting black stripes across the white floor.



“Wow, that’s bad,” Cavel said with a wince when he took a breath. “Has it always smelled this bad?” he asked Piscel.



“It’s the transformation. Your nose is a lot more sensitive now,” he answered.



Bashta sneezed and then did it again. He seemed to have some difficulty breathing as soon as they entered the building. Cavel looked at him worriedly, grabbing a handful of tissues off the check in desk they were bypassing. He handed them over to Bashta.



“Are you okay?” he asked after Bashta sneezed explosively again.



Bashta shook his head. “Something in here smells really bad.”



An older man came out of a room at the end of the hall when he heard their voices. He hurried over to them. He stared openly at Cavel, taking in the mating marks, the spots running down the sides of his face and his ears. “I see congratulations are in order,” he said, offering Cavel a nod of his head and looking curiously at Bashta. “This is your mate?”



“Yes, he is. Bashta, I would like you to meet Dr. Waddel. He treats the members of our clan when we have a serious injury or illness. He has always proven to be a great friend to us.”



Dr. Waddel smiled at him and shook his head. “I do no more than give what I have been given in return.” He looked at Bashta. “I was being attacked by a small pack of rogues while hiking in the woods one day and your mate and some of the men of the clan fought them off. They saved my life.”



Bashta offered him a smile and then sneezed again. His voice was thick like his nose had become stuffy as he spoke, “I’m not surprised. My name is Bashta. I greet you, Dr. Waddel.” He sneezed explosively and his ears went flat. “I’m sorry, but is there somewhere else we can go?”



“Something in the air is irritating my mate,” Cavel said, his own nose twitching. “He has lived in the open environment of the jungle his entire life. The chemicals you use are a bit… strong for ordinary Carthera anyway but for him it’s much worse.”



“Oh!” Dr. Waddel exclaimed. “Please, come this way. I have a room set up with the equipment you asked. Maintenance recently came through and cleaned, the chemicals are most likely causing the trouble.” He ushered them into the room he had come from.



“I called for some help. Dr. Pennelst is a colleague of mine; he should be able to make the antiserum here in the laboratory. I think you should know that it will take a few days though, not hours.” Dr. Pennelst was walking forward, one hand extended when Cavel growled. He stopped mid-step and started at Cavel with wide eyes.



“A few days!” Cavel roared. Piscel slumped against the wall and Bashta took a few steps back. “What do you mean a few days? Our kitlings could already be dying.”



“Producing a proper antiserum normally takes months, Cavel. We’ll be working day and night as it is. You know I would never do anything to risk the lives of the kitlings.” Dr. Waddel walked over to where Cavel was pacing in frustration, stepping between him and the frozen Dr. Pennelst. Bashta stood quietly, giving the very upset alpha some space. Piscel intercepted the doctor before he could get too close. He shook his head when the doctor looked at him.



Cavel continued to mutter as he moved angrily about the small room. One his third circuit Bashta stepped in front of him. Cavel jerked to a stop, his eyes flat and his eyes narrowed. He snarled in anger, his temper holding on by just a thread.



“Move!”



“You are not helping anyone this way,” Bashta said quietly. Cavel snarled again. He took the last step between them and invaded Bashta’s personal space. He pushed into Bashta’s chest and glared.



“I said, move!”



“No,” Bashta said calmly. “The kitlings need this medicine and they can’t start making it until you calm down.” He held his ground, looking deep into Cavel’s eyes. He didn’t push back at Cavel but didn’t move back an inch either. “They need you calm. I need you calm.”



Cavel shook his head, his hands clenching and unclenching at his sides, “Days. They could already be dying. We don’t have days.”



“You don’t know that yet. We haven’t seen the kitlings. What we do know is that these men are here to help us and you are losing control. Get it back. Everyone is doing the best they can,” he reminded him.



Reaching out, Bashta ran his hand down the side of Cavel’s face. “I am scared too. I have already lost one clan to this plague, I don’t want to lose my new one as well,” he said softly.



Cavel’s eyes closed and his shoulders relaxed as he finally accepted the calm Bashta was sending him through their bond. He reached out and pulled Bashta into his arms roughly, burying his face in his hair. Bashta could feel the tremors in his body but said nothing, rubbing his cheek comfortingly on Cavel’s neck, combining their scents.



A few minutes passed as they stood comforting each other. Cavel took a deep breath and lifted his head. Piscel and the doctors avoided looking at his reddened eyes as he spoke quietly.



“I’m sorry, Bashta is right. I’m not being a very good alpha. I understand you will work as fast as you can to make a cure for my people. Thank you, Dr. Pennelst; we will be forever grateful if you can save our kitlings. I’m sorry if I frightened you.”



Dr. Pennelst nodded. “Of course.”



“What do we need to do?” Cavel asked.



“If you would just have your mate sit on the table; I have a few questions.” Cavel led Bashta over to the paper lined exam table and stood next to him, one hand wrapped around the back of his neck.



The doctor held his pen over a clipboard. “You say you had the same sickness as the young of Cavel’s tribe?”



“I didn’t get the sores. My mother took me to a sacred spot to soak in some hot pools to heal an infected wound. Apparently the magic of the pools healed the plague as well but I was only suffering the beginning symptoms.”



The doctors shared a look and then turned back to look at Bashta, their faces skeptical.



Cavel frowned at them. “I know humans don’t believe in magic that they can’t see and touch, but it is there. There are forces beyond our knowledge: gods, goddesses, avatars, objects of power. How can you treat people who are half animal and not believe in the magic that is inherent in our very nature?”



Dr. Waddel cleared this throat. “It’s not so much that we think you are lying.” Bashta stiffened and the doctor hurriedly continued, “It’s just that we need to make sure they did have the exact same plague or the antiserum will not work.”



Cavel grudgingly nodded, “Alright. A misunderstanding on both our parts.” He would not back down further and apologize for castigating the doctors but they were used to Carthera patients.



A very touchy lot in general; when one was injured or sick they were much more sensitive, especially if it was a loved one. In this case Cavel’s whole clan was at risk; his temper was understandable in the light of the fear of that loss but he had to try hard to curb it. Bashta could feel it through their bond, his iron control.

The next morning started earlier than I would’ve liked. I awoke to the closing of the bathroom door. Apparently Duke liked to shower before and after bed as well. The only reason that I didn’t do so last night was because of how tired I was. That and little Luke had made getting out of the bed a little difficult.



Speaking of little Luke, he wanted some attention this morning and staring at a once more wet Duke wasn’t helping.



“You ready to go get the rest of your stuff?”



He asked as he bent over to look for something in his row of drawers. I could tell from this angle that his ass was toned just as nicely as everything else that I’d managed to see thus far. I wonder what it would feel like to grip both cheeks from behind. Ok, let’s slow that train of thought down before I have to sit here for another thirty minutes. I really need to get laid or this is going to be a long week.



“Sure, just let me get a shower and we can head out.”



I decided that I’d make a sort of dash to the bathroom while he was still looking elsewhere. Gathering clothes at a speed never before seen, I felt confident that I could handle things if given some time.



What I didn’t count on was the bag of candles that I had forgotten to unpack. Falling face first towards the floor, I just closed my eyes and waited for the pain. No use in fighting it and getting hurt worse. Suddenly, though, I was pulled upright and flush into a strong chest that I was now stuck against. I didn’t know that chest hair could be this soft, almost like a thousand little feathers and god damn he smells good, like a forest, sweet and musky at the same time. Man, I hope he doesn’t notice little Luke’s not so subtle rise upon the scene.



Slowly, I looked up into hazel eyes that were once more filled with amusement, except this time there was something else there that I couldn’t quite decipher. After a moment or two he stood me upright by pushing me at the shoulders and started to smooth the wrinkles down out of his shirt as he began buttoning it, turning away from me.



“You may want to watch where you place your feet as you go into the bathroom. There’s a bit of a step up for some reason and I don’t think I’d be able to run fast enough to catch you from over there.”



“Uh… yeah, thanks, I had forgotten about that bag.”



“Are those candles?”



“Yeah, they are. I kind of have a thing for scented candles. My mother used to light one every night.”



“Used to?”



“She passed away when I was six.”



“I’m sorry to hear that.”



“It’s not that big of a deal anymore. For the most part I don’t remember her, only certain things.”



“Like the candles?”



“Like the candles.”



“You mind saying how it happened?”



“She was mugged one night on her way home from work. She worked at the hospital on the night shift and someone liked here necklace I guess. My dad noticed it in a pawn shop few weeks later. The way he tells it, he nearly had to kill that pawnbroker to get it back. Now it sits in a box on his dresser. Sorry, I’m rambling again, I tend to do that.”



“Rambling just means that you’ve got a lot to say; besides I don’t mind.”



I chuckled at that and walked on to the shower and yes, there was a large step up into the bathroom. I brushed my teeth as I let the shower warm up and started to think on where things stood. Am I attracted to him? There’s still some half hard evidence of that. Now for the bigger question: is he attracted to me? So far I’m failing on that account. I don’t even know if he’s gay, straight, or has a thing for koala bears.



Stepping into the shower was heaven in a nutshell. Time to make little Luke go away for a while. Grabbing the head and working my way down my modest six and a half inches, images of that chest and those eyes filled my mind and I couldn’t help but moan as I thought of how those long fingers might feel in the place of mine. Grabbing a little of the conditioner I’d brought with me and squirting that on my hand, I worked my shaft fast and hard until I came against the tile wall with the thought of laughing hazel eyes and what I imagined to be an impressive package.



Holy shit; usually I last a little longer than this. I may be eighteen, but that doesn’t mean that I have a hair trigger, well at least not until now. I decided that some actual bathing might do me good and went about that while trying to get my knees to continue to support me.



I don’t get how he’s managed to get under my skin so quickly. I don’t even know the first thing about the guy other than he likes organization and sounds like a soft meandering love song. Ok, maybe that was a bit of a self serving description on the latter, but I do like his voice. It’s slow and soft, enchanting even, without trying. I’m really getting into deep water here.



However, there is hope. You see this is all physical attraction and more so deprivation. I haven’t had a date since David, much less a lay, and that was nearly a year ago. Had to cut that off when I found the bastard with some other guy between his legs. Let’s just say that I was pissed.



Point is, there can’t be anything special about him, and even if there were, I don’t need to go and fuck my roommate just to have something go wrong and make the rest of this year intolerable. I just need to get some action and I’ll be fine. I mean, come on, I’m the definition of a twink. That may sound self-defacing, but I don’t see it as such. In fact, I take pride in my looks, they’ve served me well. I’m not a whore or anything. Most of my relationships tended to go at least a few months. At the same time though, I was never more than a week or two without someone to keep me company.



Walking out of the bathroom, a sight greeted me that I certainly didn’t expect. Duke was in his rolly chair by the window, with his feet propped up on one of the bookcases, reading once more with a toothpick in his mouth. What had stunned me were the candles arranged on my desk by colour and size, each looking as if someone had spent hours on their placement. Maybe I wasn’t a hair trigger after all.



“Figured I’d do something while I waited; hope you don’t mind.”



“Not at all, thank you. Sorry that I took so long.”



“You were only about fifteen minutes.”



Well fuck.



“Oh, well are you ready to go?”



Without a word he closed his book and grabbed his keys from his desk, placing the book in its stead, as I started to gather my things. Also, it appears I was right about the glasses theory. He only grabbed the case and slid them in his interior jacket pocket rather than put them on. He locked the door behind us and we started our walk out to the parking lot. Guess now’s my chance to delve into the mystery that is Jack Anderson.



“So, where are you from?”



“South Virginia, little town called South Boston. Doesn’t look a damn thing like Boston before you ask.”



“I thought that you were from somewhere down South. I’m from Milwaukee. Have you ever been there?”



“Can’t say that I have.”



“It’s a great town, if a bit on the large side for me.”



He just gave a grunt at that and we continued on in silence. In fact, we remained in silence, with the exception of a few attempts at small talk made by myself. I was beginning to think that I’d done something to piss him off, except he didn’t seem angry. Instead, he was down right calm, as if he was just watching and not participating in life. I didn’t like that.



It was quite unsettling, and if you want to talk about unsettling then you should see the way he would look at people from under his eyebrows, almost like he was sizing them up. Again though, none of it was menacing just mannerisms, which I later came to learn, were unique to him. That day passed innocently enough. He didn’t want to go to the concert and I eventually gave up trying to convince him, and so I went alone. Figured that I could find a little entertainment to settle my nerves and christen my new college years with a bang.



At least that was the intention. The band sucked and I didn’t manage to find anyone that tickled my fancy, so I reached in my pocket for my phone so that I could at least play a game of solitaire while I tried to think of something else to do. That was about the time I remembered that Duke and I had traded numbers and I took notice of the fact that I wasn’t even ten o clock yet. So I called him as I walked to a coffee shop that I’d noticed on the way over to the common. The voice that greeted me was both slightly amused and questioning.



“Bored already Luke?”



“You know it Dukey.”



“Did you seriously just call me Dukey?”



“I can go with Jacky or Johnny if you prefer.”



“I take it plain old Duke is out of the question.”



“Unfortunately so Dukey, it would seem that someone already claimed it.”



“Who?”



“He starred in a few movies back in the day and I think he might object to the possibility of my getting the two of you confused, so Dukey it is.”



“But it sounds like you’re a two year old running to tell me that you managed to shit in the pot.”



I nearly coughed up a lung laughing at that.



“Oh dear God… you just gave me all the reason I need to keep using your new name Dukey.”



“Some of us are just blessed I guess. Did you want something besides my self-respect Luke?”



“Yes, meet me at that little coffee shop just to the right of the common.”



“No please? And which way is the right?”



“I’m sure you’ll manage. See you soon Dukey”



I heard him try to say something, but I turned him off before he could finish what was bound to be a refusal as I walked into the little café. He can’t say no if I don’t give him a chance right? I ordered up an espresso and grabbed the corner booth as I waited for my lanky country boy to come round.



Ten minutes and two espressos later saw the entrance of my new roomy and part-time obsession. He was dressed in a pair of somewhat tight blue jeans, black boots, a red flannel shirt, with a black leather jacket, a black stocking hat, and a light blue scarf. His hair was hanging out of his hat and partially hid one eye while falling down his shoulders in the back. I was suddenly very happy that there was a table to hide my lower half. He made a quick glance about the room before spotting me, which he indicated with a nod of his head. If I didn’t know any better I’d say that he way on his way to some sort of deal. He wouldn’t make a good spy.



He got a latte and a cinnamon roll from the waitress before joining me on the opposite side of the booth. He glanced down at my empty cups and then at the one in my hands before cocking his head to the side and laughing.



“Should I be concerned that you’re going to bounce away before I can finish mine?”



“Not if you drink fast. Besides, this isn’t even a lot.”



Those hazel eyes held disbelief in them now and his jaw might need someone’s assistance in being useful again for it now hung helplessly open. Eyes off of his lips Luke, eyes off of his lips.



“Just what is a lot?”



“Four or five.”



“Do me a favor and slow down, for my sake. I don’t want to have to explain to the good people around us why you won’t stop shaking.”



“Don’t worry, I don’t start shaking till the fifth one.”



That earned another chuckle. We talked about the basics: how are you liking college life so far, hobbies, favorite movies, and the like. This is where I should explain. You see, I meant to say that I talked about those things. Duke merely sat there sipping on his latte while nodding, all the while staring directly into my eyes as if he could see into my soul.



That may sound exaggerated, but his gaze was the definition of penetrating. He’d just calmly hold your eyes, no matter the tale. You would get the same stare for telling him how you stubbed your toe that morning as you would for recounting the time you cured polio. It was unnerving.



At first I thought that he was just being polite, feigning listening while daydreaming. However, I soon got the sense that he just preferred to listen rather than add anything to the conversation.



The waitress eventually came over to tell us that they were closing since it was one o clock and we were the only people left. We gathered our things and left with the night shift, some glaring at us for making them stay this long. As we walked back to the dorm I decided to broach the question that was bothering me.



“Duke, do I talk too much for you? Because if so, I can tone it down.”



He waved a hand dismissively and said “Not at all. You’re quite interesting; I just didn’t feel the need to interject.”



“Are you sure?”



He stopped, turned towards me and spoke slowly. “Luke, talk all you want and I’ll listen. If I should ever grow tired of doing so, you’ll be the first to know. Until then, say what you like when you like.” Turning back to the dorm, he left me standing there a bit awestruck. I felt as if I’d just been comforted, yet he didn’t seem as if he had been going for that.



“Are you coming?”



I ran after him and we walked the rest of the way in silence. Still, it was a comfortable silence, the kind where it didn’t feel as if anything needed to be said. We got back to the dorm and laid down to sleep like normal. Same routines, same pillows, and same room. There was a difference in me though. I felt determined to discover more of the mystery that was Duke and even allowed myself the privilege of some less than g rated dreams as I nodded off.



OoOoOoO



Thanks for the comments on the first chapter and any in advance for this one. I can’t promise that the next ones will be any longer but I will finish the story. That’s pass time writing for you. Anyway, thanks again and enjoy.

“Help me



Figure out the difference



Between right and wrong



Weak and strong



Day and night



Where I belong and



Help me



Make the right decisions



Know which way to turn



Lessons to learn



And just what my purpose is here”



*



Ben waited nervously for the young man’s answer



“I… well, yeah. Sure.” James laughed.



“Just so you know I normally don’t ask out patients, but I think you’re darn cute.”



“Well, thanks, I guess.”



“So…” Ben encouraged.



“Yeah, I’m free on Friday actually.”



“Cool. Well, I’ll get some paper to write down your phone number at some point, but you can go back to sleep if you want. I’ll bother you again in a couple hours.” Ben turned and walked away to the triage desk. James shook his head. He never would have guessed that the short muscular man was gay. Course, his gaydar had never been great, so he stopped trying to guess anymore. Sleepy from the pain meds, he drifted off again.



Ben watched James fall back asleep after a few minutes. Suddenly, the phone rang. Cindy answered it.



“Ugh, multiple car accident heading our way, one critical, two stable. Sounds like they suspect the critical might be a drunk driver.”



The next two hours flew by as they were able to stabilize the driver, and make sure the other two were comfortable.



Ben quickly stopped by James’ bed.



“Hey… James, wake up dude.”



James sleepily opened his eyes.



“Whoa, what did I sleep through? And how did I sleep through it?”



“Car accident.” Ben said as he checked over James.



“Everybody okay?”



“Yeah. Well, go back to sleep, I’ll let you go an extra hour this time I think, and then we might be able to get you home after that.”



“Cool. Thanks. Hey, did you find a pen for me?”



Ben reached into his pocket, but the piece of paper was long gone.



James grabbed the pen, and pulled Ben’s wrist over. He removed Ben’s watch, and wrote his phone number onto his wrist, then replaced the watch.



“There. Just be careful washing your hands now.” James said.



Ben laughed.



Ben called James later that week, and they set up a date for Friday night. As confident as he seemed, Ben was nervous for their date. It had been awhile since he’d been out on one, specifically since college because of his schedule. Not easy to go out and meet someone when your schedule changes and you mostly work nights. But he actually had Friday off, so he was going to make the most of it. And James was freaking cute with his scruffy facial hair. Without the facial hair, he would probably fall under the ‘twink’ category, because he was so lean and short. He made sure to dress in a dark green shirt to bring out the color of his eyes because he knew guys loved the green. He grabbed his keys and went to go pick up James.



James watched out the window waiting for Ben to arrive. He was really excited to go out with Ben, not just because he was hot, but because he was also very nice. Their conversations outside of the hospital solidified that thought too. He spotted a black mustang pull up outside his apartment. Ben stepped out of the driver’s seat. James stepped outside, and locked the door to his place. He met Ben at the three steps at the start of the walkway up to the building.



“Hey, ready to go I take it?” Ben asked.



“Sure. Where are we heading?” James replied.



“Well, I wasn’t sure, mostly because I’m a vegetarian, but I wasn’t sure what you’d prefer to eat.”



“Well, huh… you might be surprised at this, but I’m also a vegetarian.”



“Cool. Good, then I know a small café downtown that has awesome coffee and great sandwiches.”



“Sounds good. I love coffee…”



“Oh, that’s good. I might not be able to date someone who doesn’t like coffee.” Ben laughed.



“I know how you feel,” James said as he slid into the passenger seat of Ben’s mustang. “I feel I must mention I love the car too.”



“Hard not to like a mustang.”



“True. At some point though, you’ll have to let me drive it.”



“I’ll think about it.” Ben said.



They arrived at the café.



“So which sandwich do you normally get?”



“I like the one with cream cheese and cucumber, but the other one has hummus and a ton of veggies, so that one’s good too.”



The boys ordered their food, and Ben shoved James out of the way to pay.



“Hey, I can pay for my own!” James protested.



“No dude, you’re my date. I pay.”



The cashier laughed.



“See, she agrees with me.” Ben pointed to the cashier.



“Don’t encourage him.” James said. The cashier just laughed harder.



“Thanks guys, you made my night.” She said still chuckling.



They sat down to wait for their food.



“So, James, what do you do for a living?”



“Well, school and I work as a waiter.”



“Ooh, fun.” Ben said



“Right? Pays the bills.”



As they ate, they told each other funny stories of happenings at work, generally having a great first date, and neither wanted it to end.



Ben pulled up to James apartment to drop him off.



“Want to come up? I don’t have alcohol on hand, but I make a mean hot chocolate.” James said slyly.



“Hmm… Sure.”



James opened the door and motioned for Ben to walk in first. Ben stepped into the kitchen, and turned around to ask James a question, but James grabbed him and kissed him, hard. Before Ben could comprehend what had just happened, the started leaving a trail of clothes to the bedroom. By the time they reached the bed, they were only wearing their underwear. Ben picked up James and set him onto the bed and then crawled up over him, leaving a trail of kisses along his left thigh, bypassing his boxers, continuing up his side to his neck.



“I’m normally not this slutty.” James said.



“Neither am I. I’m really attracted to you though. I want to be slutty for you…” Ben said before matching his lips to James’. The kisses grew in intensity until they could hardly breathe. James brazenly reached for Ben’s hard cock, trapped in his boxers. He rubbed it through the cloth, jacking it slowly. Ben’s hands went to James’ sides, causing him to gasp softly.



“Shit, I forgot about your ribs.” Ben said stopping James from rubbing his cock.



“Look, we already know I have a high pain tolerance. We both want this…” James said.



“I don’t want to hurt you…” Ben whispered.



“So, what then? Do we just wait? Or?”



“Well… hmm. What do you prefer?”



“Dude, I want to fuck.” James said.



Ben laughed, “No, I mean top or bottom?”



“Oh… well, bottom, but I’m versatile.” James said.



“Huh. If you were a top this would be an easier decision. Actually, nothing says you can’t be on top…” Ben said with a wink, as he flipped James over on top of him.



James sat up, straddling Ben’s waist.



“Go for it…” Ben said.



James slowly kissed his way down Ben’s body to the edge of his boxers. He tugged them off gently. Ben was so hard, his cock snapped back to his abdomen. James grabbed his cock, and bent down to take it into his mouth, but hesitated briefly.



“Ugh, I suppose we should have the condoms talk…”



“I get tested quarterly since I work in the ER, I’m negative for everything…”



“I had myself tested after college, but I was always pretty careful. So if you want,”



“I want to skip it.” Ben interrupted.



“Okay by me” James said as he slipped his lips over Ben’s cock.



Ben groaned and threw his head back as James expertly worked him over. Using his right hand, James slowly jacked up and down as he suckled around the head. He dropped into a maddening rhythm, slow soft licks up and down the shaft, then a few quick jerks while sucking like his life depended on it. Ben was helpless under James’ onslaught. His hands dropped back and grabbed at the head board. Suddenly, it was too much too fast, and he grabbed James’ shaggy hair and pulled his head back.



“Why’d you stop me?” James kept his hand on Ben, but didn’t move.



“You are way too good at that… I was too close.” Ben pulled James up even with him.



“Hey hot stuff…” James said, kissing Ben.



Ben gently rolled James over, and slunk down his body, kissing his ribs delicately. James squirmed.



“You okay?” Ben asked stopping.



“Just a bit ticklish there.” James said.



“Hmm… filing that away for later…” he said moving down further to the waistband of his boxer briefs.



“Hmm… what do we have here…?” Ben said pulling down the boxer briefs slowly.



“A little friend for you?” James lifted his hips to help Ben slip the underwear off him.



“Little? I don’t think so. Jeez, for such a little guy…” Ben slid a hand up James’ 8 inches.



“You aren’t bad either… And yeah for us being so short…” James cut off with a gasp as Ben lowered his head to James’ penis.



“Oh… my… god…” James groaned out.



“Nope, just Ben.” He said with a quirky smile.



“Ha ha ha ha. Get to work.” James wrapped his hands around the back of Ben’s head, guiding him.



Ben tried to one-up James’ blow job technique by using what he always referred to as the ‘ice cream’, swirling licks starting around the base, working up until he reached the tip, where he then deep throated James’ entire 8 inches.



“Holy……” James bucked his hips as Ben swallowed, the back of his throat working the head of his penis like nothing he’d felt before. Ben slipped off, slurping up the extra saliva.



“I need you in me right now, oh god, I’m dying…” James said, pushing Ben away from his cock. Ben rolled them over again so James could be on top. James was a puddle of mush though after Ben’s expert blow job and could only drape himself over Ben.



“You have lube?” Ben asked.



“Drawer…” James motioned weakly to the bedside table.



Ben reached into the drawer and pulled out a bottle. Reaching between their legs, he slicked himself up. He lifted his hand to James’ cute little butt, and globbed some lube between his cheeks.



“Ah! Cold!” James sat up straight.



“Perfect.” Ben worked a finger into James’ tight hole. James rocked his hips in time to Ben’s sliding finger. He worked quickly to two, then three fingers, stretching James out.



“Ready?”



“God yes…” James whispered.



Ben lifted James up, and positioned his cock at his entrance.



“Whenever you want to, you start moving. I don’t want to hurt you.” Ben said.



James slowly started impaling himself on Ben’s cock. Ben groaned as he felt his dick being engulfed by the warm heat of James. His hands gripped James’ waist tight, willing himself to go slow. James bottomed out and hesitated, sighing in pleasure. Ben reached up and pulled James down for a kiss. James cried out into his mouth, and started to rock his hips. Ben laced his hands into his hair, and lifted his knees. James buried his head into Ben’s neck, working his hips up and down with the occasional hip rotation.



“Don’t stop, oh… god…” Ben groaned. James sat up to take deeper thrusts, riding Ben’s hips like there was no tomorrow. Ben sat up as well, moving them up so he could lean back onto the headboard. James hesitated, and sunk down even further onto Ben. The both moaned in unison. James stopped moving and giggled.



“What?” Ben asked a bit



“You are absolutely the best ever, I swear.” James said.



“I’m glad you feel that way, but I would appreciate you keeping your giggles to yourself until we’re done, and oh, by they way, move your ass!” Ben said, punctuating with a thrust of his hips. James cried out, and returned to taking deep long thrusts. Ben rocked his hips in time with James’ movements. In no time at all James’ moves became erratic.



“You ready?” He panted.



“Close. Keep moving, keep…” Ben threw his head back as James rotated his hips on a down thrust. He clocked his skull on the headboard.



“Ouch…” He said but kept moving.



James came on a startled cry, spurting cum all over their chests as he kept bouncing on Ben’s hard cock. Ben grabbed his hips and thrust hard one last time as he came deep inside. James slumped onto Ben’s chest, panting hard. Ben lifted his hand and cupped James behind the head and held him close. They caught their breath, and James giggled.



“Best,” He said. “The absolute best…”



“That was fantastic.” Ben said.



“Stay the night?” James asked.



“Yeah. Definitely.”



James dismounted and walked to the bathroom and returned with a damp washcloth. He had wiped himself down in the bathroom, but brought the washcloth to wipe off Ben’s chest. He tossed it into the laundry basket near the door. He crawled up Ben, and laid his head on his chest. Ben wrapped his arms around him, cuddling him close.



The next morning the boys got up early and James made some scrambled eggs for them.



“So what’s your plan for the weekend?” James asked.



“Well, nothing today. Church tomorrow morning.” Ben replied.



“Church… Really?” James said incredulously.



“Yeah church… why is that weird?” Ben asked



“Well, its church, and you’re gay.”



“Why is that weird?”



“Really? I mean do the people at church know this about you?”



“Well, yeah, Dad’s the preacher.”



“Wait… what the fuck are you talking about?”



“I don’t get why this is weird for you.”



“Maybe because most churches hate gays, and the fact that your father is a preacher and didn’t disown you the moment you came out?!”



“Oh. I forget that other churches are like that. You should go with me tomorrow. Let’s spend the day together and then go tomorrow morning. You can meet my dad too.”

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