Healing The Heartache
Jake and Dylan were making their way down to the parking lot as fast as Jake’s stiff knee would allow. Every once in awhile he thought it would be more convenient if he could use the wheelchair again, but his physiotherapist had strongly urged that walking was the best exercise. He had to be patient and strengthen the muscles if he wanted to play baseball again. So there they were hobbling along at his speed, Dylan keeping the conversation going while Jake felt sorry for himself.
Part of the reason Jake sulked was because Dylan continued to baby him. Well, it wasn’t exactly babying. It was more like he never lost his temper or acted like Jake was a burden, and that annoyed him because for once he’d like to see the real Dylan. The mean Dylan who would finally snap and say living together wasn’t working out. Dylan called him on his bullshit most of the time but he was always so fucking nice about it. If he thought Jake was indulging in self pity he’d make a joke to bring him out of himself, and if that didn’t work he’d propose getting out for awhile to relieve stress. Which was the reason they were on their way to Cold Stone to get some icecream.
They were pushing through the door of the ice cream shop just as a group of Long Beach State students were coming out, and Jake recognized a boy named Blaine from his calculus class. Greetings ensued, and Jake and Dylan were introduced to everyone in the group. A few minutes later, Jake had ordered a Cookie Minster and Dylan was lapping at the caramel dripping from the side of his Coffee-Lovers when they rejoined the students.
Blaine looked at Jake. “Do you know anybody who wants to move off-campus at the end of the semester? A friend and I share an apartment but his girlfriend wants them to try living together, so I need a new roommate.”
Dylan held his breath and waited for Jake to jump at the chance to ditch him. Frankly, now that he didn’t have weekly doctor appointments or the wheelchair and casts to hold him back, he had been expecting to hear a lot more from him about changing their living arrangements for the spring term.
Jake thought a minute. “No, sorry, no one comes to mind, but I’ll keep my ears open just in case.”
He went back to eating his ice cream concoction and felt the heat of Dylan’s gaze on him. “What?” he asked jokingly.
Dylan shook his head and looked away. “Nothing,” he muttered, just surprised over Jake’s answer. He was still wondering about it half an hour later when they were on their way back to the college.
“Are you alright, Dylan?” Jake asked. “You’re too quiet.”
Dylan moved over to the right lane to make a turn at the next stoplight. “I’m good. I, uh… I just wondered why you didn’t take Blaine up on his offer. Now that you don’t need help getting to class and can do stuff for yourself, I sort of expected you to grab the opportunity.”
Jake didn’t say a word for the next minute, surprised into silence. It sounded as if Dylan wanted him to move out. Wasn’t he happy with their dorm arrangement? Or did he want to be free of him so he could move somebody else in or get a place of his own? It was true they hadn’t discussed the future beyond winter break between them but surely, if Dylan didn’t want to be with him he should have said something.
“I’m good,” he finally managed. To save face so he didn’t appear so needy, he added in as strong a voice as he could muster, “I barely even know Blaine. Sharing a room with a near-stranger doesn’t sound very appealing. He seems nice and all, but…”
Inside Jake felt so muddled up. He was enjoying living with Dylan, especially now that the boy didn’t have to play nursemaid and they could be equal partners in their friendship. But like always, all he received back was mixed signals. Dylan had the whole responsible man doing the right thing act down to a tee. He needed to break out of it, but Jake didn’t know how to force it without sounding unappreciative and hurting his feelings.
To Dylan, Jake’s reason seemed like a genuinely good one so he didn’t push the issue. The kid completely shut down after that, and he thought it was better to leave him alone, wondering if Jake was afraid of hurting his feelings. Maybe he felt guilty after all the trouble Dylan had gone through to get the dorm for them. Maybe he should talk to him and tell him that this was always meant to be temporary until he got well, and he was free to move after the first of the year.
“Uh... Jake?” he ventured.
“What?” Jake turned sad eyes to him but, in the dim light of the SUV, Dylan couldn’t see the light film of tears. He could, however, hear the tiredness.
“Never mind. It’s not important.”
Blaine’s offer rattled Jake. It made him look at Dylan with new eyes and wonder if there was a way they could get past all the summer angst and forge a new relationship between them. That’s what he wanted, and sometimes he thought he detected a longing in Dylan’s face signaling that he wanted it too. But after two months of circling like combatants, their words, their very feelings seemed steeped in deep denial, and to bridge that topic invited disaster. It was a house of cards—all either one of them had to do was mention the ‘love’ word, and there went the whole tentative friend’s thing and sharing a dorm, all of it.
But sometimes Jake had more courage than at others, and late October found him at such a point. Now that he was mostly healed except for the stiffness in his knee and arm which he attended physiotherapy for, Jake didn’t have to rely on Dylan so much. Even the therapy didn’t require driving; the trainers in the Sports Medicine department of Long Beach State were amazingly competent at what they did, and they put Jake through his paces in exercises. But Dylan had a tendency to hover, and if Jake hadn’t found it endearing, it might have been damned annoying. When water polo practice didn’t get in the way, he was forever insisting on going with him to his strength-training sessions and cheering him on. Didn’t that speak to how much he loved him?
Jake had been determined that, come what may, he was going to tell Dylan. It was the third Friday in the month, and he had been working himself up all afternoon to admit he was in love with him. But then there had been a scheduling problem with the therapy where someone had double-booked his time, and Jake chose to be the nice guy who didn’t squawk and said no, it was okay, he’d come back in an hour and a half. By the time he returned to the dorm, Dylan was rushing around getting a bag ready because he was going up to the San Francisco area for the weekend to play water polo matches against Stanford and Berkeley. Dylan was just too distracted at the moment, but maybe if Jake could march up to him right before he left, plant a kiss on his cheek and suggest they talk on Sunday when he returned?
Then one of Dylan’s teammates, a senior named Dan Somebody, dropped by their room. They were catching vans to take them to the airport, and Dan had volunteered to drive Dylan. Jake sadly watched his man running around frantically late, a stranger impatiently waiting for him, and he saw his window of opportunity evaporate. Finally, Dylan stood completely still next to Dan looking around as if he’d forgotten something.
“Oh yeah,” he exclaimed, fishing the key to his SUV out of his pocket and tossing it to Jake. “I know you probably won’t use it, but in case you need to go out while I’m gone, feel free.”
Dylan waved his goodbye to him as he bounced through the door, and Jake heard Dan’s surprised but cautionary voice, “What’s up with that, dude? You let your roomie drive your car?” And then what was obviously meant to be a joke: “What is he, your boyfriend?”
“Nah, just a friend,” Jake heard fading down the hall. “Let’s go or we’ll miss the ride.”
Jake looked askance at the closed door, his heart tumbling in sorrow. Out of his own mouth! Apparently, everyone who had sworn that Dylan was still in love with him was wrong, or maybe he’d fallen out of love… it happened. Reasonably, this is what Jake should have expected, and maybe it was for the best. Up until now they had managed nicely, but he could feel the pressure building inside. Dylan was his friend, but Jake wanted the boyfriend back. He wanted his lover.
All Dylan had to offer, however sincere, was friendship. That hurt far, far worse than Jake ever could have realized.
After a succession of judicial delays, George’s preliminary hearing was set for the following Monday afternoon and Jake and Dylan had to attend. Tony had agreed to the DA’s deal to speak out against him and would be one of the State’s strongest witnesses, tying intent to the aftermath to show that George had purposely gone to Aleppo Park to hurt his son. The attempted murder case was strong against him.
Most of their friends had already explained to the judge in previous closed-hearing statements what they had observed when they entered the Walker residence that day in early August. Because there were so many witnesses, this was already the third day of the hearing with another three scheduled for later in the week. This would allow Jake’s brothers to mention their own abuse by their father and the fanaticism in which he’d tried to hunt him down in May. Carolyn was to testify about George’s hatred towards their son’s lifestyle. Jake’s doctors would close with the litany of grievous injuries he had suffered.
As with Kelsey’s hearing neither boy was allowed to hear the facts presented by the other.
Dylan went in first. There sat George next to his two attorneys, totally uninterested in the proceedings. Even in a tacky jail jumpsuit and cuffs and chains, George was a huge, imposing man, a man who would frighten a kid like Jake into submission. Dylan tried not to be intimidated by reminding himself he was doing this for him. Step by step, Dylan repeated his story of finding out what Kelsey had done and racing to Jake’s side. They had run into the house and there was George looming over him menacingly, and Jake was a mass of cuts, bruises and broken bones.
Then the defense began their cross-examination. Naturally, Mr. Nielsen’s attorneys quickly latched on to the fact that Dylan was Jake’s ex-boyfriend, causing George’s head to whip up and fix him with an evil stare. The questions seemed to go on forever as they reworded them several times and threw them back out, trying to trip him up. By the time he walked out he was pale and shaking.
Jake took a deep breath and stepped into the dim, quiet courtroom. As he passed the defense table he heard his father say “faggot” low, under his breath, but he didn’t let it bother him. Although George smirked at him throughout the hearing he knew he could no longer hurt him. Those days were done, and Jake had emerged mentally, if not physically, stronger.
The defense, perhaps sensing that they would not make points by verbally attacking the supposed victim at this stage, went easier on him than Dylan. Not that he remembered much of the actual attack on him. Even after nearly three months, his recall consisted solely of opening the door to him and Tony, the angry words between them over his flight from Madera and the first ten or so blows. Shock and trauma would have to account for loss of memory, but photos told the rest of the story.
A series of blown up pictures of Jake were flashed on a screen to his right, and he cringed. They were photographs taken of him, unconscious, at the hospital before and after surgery detailing the injuries he’d sustained. They fascinated him; ten days had passed between the date of the images and his surfacing from the coma, but it was like staring at a stranger. He couldn’t even identify his bruised and bloody face, and if he hadn’t known better he would swear it wasn’t him.
The toughest question was why he didn’t fight back, which the DA tried to object to, but the judge was eager to hear. Jake stood there for at least a minute fighting to put into words a lifetime of mental duress and being slapped down every single time he tried to defend himself from his father. How conditioned he’d become to keeping still so that the abuse would end sooner. In George’s mind, there was no side other than his, and as he had pointed out on the last two occasions they met, Jake was deficient and an abomination because he was gay. George felt it was his parental duty to pound the gayness out of his son. But with a twist of ironic justice, the defense blundered right into opening up a new line of questioning. What George had done to Jake in May when he discovered the relationship between him and Miguel came out in full detail, and that dovetailed into Tony’s former testimony about e-mailing the pictures…
“Are you alright,” Dylan asked in alarm when Jake walked out of the courtroom after three hours. His whole body felt wilted and he was limping in exhaustion.
“Yeah,” Jake sighed tiredly, wiping the back of his wrist over his stinging eyes. “Let’s go home.”
Dylan came fully alert well after midnight to an abrupt scream from Jake. He seemed to be in the midst of some terrible dream, and he was thrashing and moaning on his bed. Dylan flew across the dorm room.”
“Jake,” he said softly, shaking his friend. “Jake, wake up.”
“Oh!” Jake said, looking mystified as his eyes flew open and he sat straight up. “What happened?”
“You were dreaming.”
Jake lay back against his pillows and thought a few seconds before it all came back. “Yeah, I think it was about my dad. Someone was trying to hit me.”
Dylan chuckled grimly. “After court today I’m not surprised. That was grueling. Are you okay now?”
Jake nodded, and Dylan moved back to his side of the room. “Go to sleep. It’s fine.”
Only it wasn’t fine. Jake continued to wake up from bad dreams, sometimes in tears, sometimes shouting in fury. After the fourth time in as many days, while Jake was sitting sullen and exhausted at breakfast, Dylan had an idea.
“I don’t know what it was about you attending that hearing for your dad, but something got you worked up. Maybe you should see someone over at the counseling office.”
“Wonderful,” Jake tried to tease. “Now I’m crazy.”
“You aren’t crazy,” Dylan remonstrated, swirling a piece of pancake in maple syrup. “But you can’t keep going like this.”
“I just don’t know why I’m having nightmares about my dad now. It’s been months since he hurt me.”
Dylan ate the bite of pancake and washed it down with juice before speaking. “True, but it was the first time you had seen him since August and you know what he did to you then. If you think about the hearing and all the mental shit that the questions would force you to relive, it’s no wonder you’re having bad dreams.”
When Jake remained silent and his thoughts distant, Dylan tried again. “Listen, I talked to your brothers a lot while you were in the hospital. They were sharing horror stories about your father and how violent he’s always been…”
Jake nodded. “You remember that television sitcom from like ten years ago that is still shown in reruns late in the day? That 70’s Show? And the dad, Red, used to call Eric a dumbass? That’s what my father did, except it was accompanied by a hard slap to the back of the head.”
“So David was saying how both he and Adam have had counseling in the past to deal with their daddy issues.”
“Adam still goes,” Jake recalled. “Dad was violent to all of us.”
“But not as much as he was to you,” Dylan pointed out. “He never put your brothers in the hospital. So if they can get help when he didn’t beat them up, maybe you should consider it.”
Jake saw the logic. He kept his thoughts to himself, which were mostly about how little free time he already had and how intrusive therapy would be, but in the end he had to agree with Dylan. He certainly couldn’t keep slouching through the day, exhausted by scant hours of sleep because a bad dream in the middle of the night woke him up and he was too afraid to go back to sleep.
Jake was thrilled when the calendar changed to November second. UC-Irvine, where Noah and Marcus attended college was coming in to play Long Beach State’s water polo team, and their friends wanted to watch the late afternoon match. Well, actually, they wanted to visit Jake and Dylan, but if they were willing to claim they were being true to their school, so what?
With Long Beach being right up the freeway from Irvine, there was a fairly good-sized crowd attending, but Jake found his friends quickly after they entered the pool arena. And what a surprise to discover that Aunt Pat was with them! Jake gave her a big hug, and they went to locate seats. Pat sided with him to cheer on the 49ers, earning her Marcus’ good-natured scolding about being loyal to his university, and Dylan made two goals to help bring Long Beach in for the win.
Jake couldn’t wait to show his aunt their dorm room. He hadn’t seen much of her since he began college—only that one weekend he rode down with Dylan, and he had much to talk about. Marcus and Noah weren’t in a hurry to get back to their campus, and eventually they took off with Dylan, leaving Jake and his aunt alone to talk. It wasn’t long before the topic shifted around to Dylan.
“So tell me about what is going on between you two,” Patricia said, gazing down at her lap innocently even while her lips twitched in a smile.
“Nothing,” Jake said, trying not to be morose.
“That in itself is a problem,” Pat surmised gently. “Isn’t it.”
Jake turned to stare at her and realized what she said was true. “How do you know?”
“Do you think you could hide it from me, Jake? You talk about him enough. You think no one else bothers to look, but you watch every move he makes. It’s the way you light up when he’s in the room, the way you smile when he cracks a joke or grins at you. The funny thing is, you aren’t the only one. He does it too.”
“So you think cares about me?” Jake’s whole being went still in anticipation as he mumbled the words. He wanted to hear it, preferably from Dylan, but he’d accept confirmation from his aunt.
“Oh yes,” Pat said, her eyes sparkling. “I think Dylan Moore is head over heels in love with you.”
The next week Jake finally went to the counseling office and signed up to see a college therapist named Connie. She was a nice woman in her mid-forties with curly red hair and a placid face. However, behind that quiet schoolmarm exterior she hid a ribald sense of humor, and Jake liked her immediately. Even so, he was selective. The talked about George but not Dylan because he didn’t see any correlation. He discussed his nightmares, and she gave him several ideas for how to deal with them like calming his mind before bed. He hoped she’d make a difference.
Jake had other reasons to get depressed as the days passed. His training with the Sports Medicine personnel was damned hard and frustrated the hell out of him. It was like his knee was loosening up, the tendons responding to exercise and the whole kneecap less painful, and then he hit a wall. The training plateaued out in early November, leaving Jake wanting to beat his fists against one in frustration.
Jake returned to the dorm in a foul mood, swearing under his breath which was so unlike him that Dylan could only stare. “What’s wrong, Jake?”
“I’m fucking done, Dylan. I’m done with the fucking therapy and the goddamned exercises that aren’t doing me any good. I can fucking walk without limping now. If I never play baseball again, it’s no big goddamned loss.”
Dylan tried to tease him back into a good mood. “Are you trying to be a big kid and see how many times you can swear in the same sentence?” A glare from Jake wiped the grin off his face.
He tried again. “You have no idea how strong you are, Jake. You have been through three months of incredible hardship and bounced back. Yeah, you’ve hit a low point, but you aren’t a quitter.”
“How do you know, goddamnit?” Jake shouted, turning in desperate circles and flailing his arms. “You fucking don’t. We’ve been friends for six fucking months, and we know basically squat about each other. Maybe I am a quitter but I never knocked up against something that was too hard for me. I can’t fucking do this. I’m sick of the pain and the fucking exercises that don’t fucking work anymore. I’m supposed to report to baseball at the fucking start of second semester, and I am fucking never going to make the goddamned team.”
Dylan moved as if to physically calm Jake down by grabbing him, and Jake jumped away. “Don’t fucking touch me,” he warned. And with that he was out the door of their room.
Jake spent the next two hours stomping around campus. It was drizzly out, but he didn’t care. Sticking to the places most students didn’t inhabit, like the far side of the science building or the hill above the library, he swore and cried in private. He felt overwhelmed with all these emotions with no place to put them. He despised Tony. He hated his father, wished he would die a painful death and prison seemed like too good of place for him when compared to what Jake had to give up.
He loved baseball. The feel of the bat in his hand and the solid thwack when a pitched ball made contact. The incandescent joy of running full bore for the first bag and the thrill of the mental games he played with the defense in running and stealing bases to score a run. The concentration of manning shortstop waiting for his chance to make the big play. If he had to give it up, he didn’t know how he would stand it.
As Jake began to quiet, he felt bad for how he treated Dylan whom he recognized was simply trying to encourage and help him. It wasn’t fair to him to be dumped on like that; Dylan rarely ever cursed, and he’d been so rude. Why should he even bother to help him understand when Jake was exactly what he claimed: a quitter? He didn’t want to be a quitter, and he limped back to his dorm in exhaustion.
Back in their room, Dylan hung his head in sorrow for his friend. My fault. This is my fault. That was what it boiled down to. His mouthiness in blaming Jake for Tony’s presence at State, his splitting up with him, leaving him at Kelsey and George’s mercy. Where was the damned rewind button on his life? He’d give anything to go back to July and do it different.
Dylan loved Jake with all his heart, but on days like today it took almost more than he could bear just to remember what they used to share. What they probably would never share again. He was under no delusions. Jake hadn’t said anything, but he was only here until the end of the semester. He didn’t need Dylan’s pity-party help and could get by under his own power. He would find a roommate he wanted to be with and move out.
It was already dark when Jake let himself back into the dorm. He found Dylan studying for a test, and he barely looked up once he saw that Jake was basically alright.
“I’m sorry,” Jake mumbled. “You’re right. I’ve had a lousy week, but I shouldn’t have taken it out on you.”
Dylan smiled at him, always amazed by how cute the boy was with his dark curls and green eyes. “That’s okay, we all get in bad moods. You’re allowed a rotten day now and then. Don’t sweat it.”
I wish I could tell you, Dylan thought to himself, how much being with you makes me happy and that I don’t want to lose you next semester. He wished he could hear Jake, himself, say he still loved him because maybe it would magically heal what was wrong between them.
“I know,” Jake insisted, “but I had no reason to go off like that. It isn’t just the physiotherapy; it’s my nightmares and all the other shit that I’ve been through. Every time I get upset I can see it in your eyes. You blame yourself, and that isn’t right.
“The truth is, we can’t tell the future with a crystal ball. Fighting over Tony? Even if we hadn’t, we don’t know whether Erin would have kept his name to herself instead of telling Kelsey. You can’t say for sure I wouldn’t have been alone that day, so maybe George would have found me anyway. And he was gunning for me here at school, so possibly all it did was set the timetable ahead a couple of weeks. The point is, you did the right thing afterwards. You did exactly what Marcus and Noah said—you saved me. So get over it already and stop beating yourself up.”
There was complete sincerity in every single word of Jake’s, and Dylan stared at him in awe. How could he not love this man? He was good in so many indescribable ways. “I love you,” he said quietly.
By that time, Jake had turned around looking for a towel to dry his hair and didn’t hear him. “What, Dylan?”
“Uh, nothing.” Dylan didn’t have the courage to say it again, but right then and there, he decided to believe him and try to start over as if the fight had never happened. It was so ingrained to always be finding fault with himself, but he was going to try.
Jake’s nightmares continued at least several times a week. He wasn’t sure what help he received from his counseling visits with Connie, but he tried the various suggestions she offered. Sometimes when he dreamed, he only groaned once or twice and settled down right away. Other times, he would wake himself up with his cries, shake his head a few times and pound the mattress in disgust.
Dylan was at a loss to know what to do, but it hurt him to see Jake so discouraged. The morning following his worst dreams Dylan could tell that he most likely didn’t close his eyes for more than a few minutes at a time because he’d have dark circles under them. Jake kept a dream log, and often he would see him writing in it.
A few days later Jake was leaving his Biological Diversity lab and texted Dylan about lunch. They had a very thin overlap time around their Thursday schedule, and eating together was a challenge. Dylan messaged back and told him that he’d meet him in the dining hall in fifteen minutes.
Jake had just left the line at the sandwich bar, selecting pastrami on a sub roll, a small dish of fresh vegetables for dipping and ranch dressing, a brownie and milk. As he was making his way to the table over near the large windows he waved at Dylan who had just entered and was moseying towards the food line.
Pulling out a chair, Jake was surprised when a tall freshman with blonde hair and a jaunty attitude walked up to him, turned a seat around and straddled it. “Isn’t your name Jake?” the boy asked, studying his face intently.
Scott. Jake thought his name was Scott and he was a friend of Zander and Nick’s who he had been introduced to near the start of the semester. Jake nodded, and the boy brightened, bumping his fist and announcing that yes, his name was Scott.
“You know Dylan Moore, don’t you?” he asked eagerly.
Jake nodded again. “Yeah, we’re roommates. Why?”
Scott looked a little sheepish and lowered his voice. “You’re both gay, right?”
Jake didn’t necessarily like the ideas that popped into his head, but the question was asked in an innocent way. Besides, he thought that Scott was gay too, so there was little to fear. “I am, but I’m not going to speak for Dylan without his say-so.”
“That’s okay,” Scott said. “I’ve seen him around and it isn’t a secret.”
His glances became even more nervous and then he seemed to make a decision. “I know this is coming out of nowhere and is probably none of my business, but I got to know. Are you together? Like, in a relationship?”
What the hell! Jake looked at Scott and sighed at the hope in his blue eyes. He was beginning to see where this was leading.
“No,” he said reluctantly and thought, not for lack of trying.
“Then you wouldn’t mind if I asked Dylan out, right?”
Jake swallowed hard and shook his head. He wished he could speak the truth, but he wouldn’t want it getting back to Dylan.
“Uh, do you know what he likes? The kind of guy he dates, I mean. Specific body types, etc.?”
“You know, Scott,” Jake said in a strained voice. His chest felt tight. “I am the wrong person to ask. I’ve only known Dylan for six months, and you’re going to have to talk to someone else.”
“Oh, okay.” He sounded disappointed. “Well anyway, thanks for your help, Jake.” And Scott slapped fingers and was gone.
Jake observed him walking towards the food line just as Dylan was turning with his tray. Scott stepped up to him and caught his attention. They were too far away for him to hear what they were saying, but it was a short conversation. Dylan smiled at him with a short nod and passed around him to join Jake at the table.
Jake busied himself putting mayonnaise on his sandwich roll, a lump in his throat he almost couldn’t talk around. “What did Scott want?”
Dylan was about to ask Jake the same thing. He’d witnessed their entire conversation from across the room. “Not much. He asked if I wanted to catch a movie some time, and I said I was really too busy right now. What about you?”
Jake looked at Dylan slowly, relaxing all over. “He asked if he could invite you out.”
Intrigued, Dylan stared at him. “What did you say?”
“Not a lot. I was kind of vague because I wasn’t sure if you would appreciate me setting you up with someone. So I told him he was on his own.”
That was not the answer Dylan was hoping for but he kept his feelings to himself. He was hoping Jake had told Scott that he wasn’t available because he was already taken. Funny, Dylan grimaced sadly. That wasn’t about to happen, not with Jake.
It was the Friday before Thanksgiving, and Jake and Dylan were getting anxious to take off for a five-day weekend of eating turkey and joining throngs of other stupid shoppers to brave the malls of Black Friday. They made plans to get back in touch with the old gang, thinking how exciting hanging with Spencer, Sage and Luis would be after three months of missing them. Dylan would be, of course, joining his family, but Aunt Pat planned on a large feast with Carolyn and Jake’s two brothers, as well as David’s fiancée, in attendance.
Ever since their run-in with Scott, both boys had been walking around on eggshells and the tension in the dorm room was nearly unbearable. Jake loved living with Dylan, he really did. But once they returned after the holiday they had around three weeks until Winter Break and the end of the first semester. They would have to find a way to settle this feeling of impending disaster one way or another.
Dylan came awake somewhere around midnight to the sounds of Jake moaning in his bed. Another nightmare. He listened for about thirty seconds; sometimes Jake settled on his own without Dylan’s intervention, and that was supposed to be a good thing according to Connie. However, tonight, Jake seemed to be in the throes of a worse than usual dream, and he was thrashing and calling out “no, no, no” over and over as if he was being hurt.
Dylan stepped out of bed and crossed the room to Jake’s side. “Jake, hey buddy, wake up,” he said sleepily as he shook his bare shoulder gently. “You’re having another bad one.”
The yelling ended on a choked sob as Jake awoke abruptly. He had been back in the foyer of the Walkers’ with his father kicking and punching him, but instead of just him and Tony present there were several other boys that he recognized from his classes, and they were all closing in on him to help in the attack.
In the dim light from the window Dylan could see the terror on Jake’s face, and he knelt next to him on the floor. “Are you alright?” he whispered.
Jake’s breathing was harsh, and he wiped angrily at his cheeks. He hated these dreams that took him back to that terrible morning, and the worst wasn’t even the blows. He didn’t actually feel the pain of them; he just knew he was being hit. The worst was the sense that he was going to die and nobody was lifting a finger. He was powerless to stop George, and the panic that enveloped him was filled with all the normal bodily reactions- sweating, shaking and the sense of being unable to breathe that set him off hyperventilating. Tonight’s dream was one of those that would make any further sleep impossible.
Instead of answering Dylan, Jake turned his face away, embarrassed. Weak, he thought to himself. I am so weak. He needed… what? The answer drove its way relentlessly into his thoughts. He needed the comfort of a warm body…
Dylan seemed to know something else was bothering him. “What’s wrong?” He watched Jake’s shoulders lift in the dark.
A sudden idea came to Dylan but he wasn’t sure if he should even bring it up. Well, if Jake didn’t like the suggestion, all he had to do was say so. It’s not like it was going to ruin their tattered relationship. He could respond with the entire truth… that he offered only because he thought it would help calm him. That was the reason behind it, wasn’t it?
“Hey,” he said softly, almost holding his breath. “Do you think you would rest better if I, um… if we… you know, like… maybe I could hold you… just until you fell back asleep?”
Jake shuddered, startled that Dylan had somehow read his mind. Thanking the gods that he wouldn’t have to ask, he didn’t even need time to think about it. He reached behind him and threw the covers aside so the taller boy could crawl across his body and lay down. Dylan’s bare chest spooned in against his back, and he wrapped his arm around Jake’s shoulders and pulled him in close. This was nice, very nice.
Jake’s ass fit snuggly into his crotch, but Dylan refused to attach anything sexual to their positions. Earlier he had listened through the dark for the rhythmic breathing that signified Jake had dozed off before adeptly jacking himself off, burying his moans in his pillow, so maybe that helped him stay soft. And thankfully, both boys wore underwear to bed and, along with imagining the dandruff his kinematics teacher shed like snow around him, he willed his erection away.
Jake thought this was the most peaceful feeling in the world, one he had almost forgotten, of sleeping next to his lover. His cock languidly rose to a semi-hard position, but he was too tired to worry about it. Unless Dylan moved his arm he was in no danger of discovery. It felt too good to resist letting his tense body relax and fall against him. Oh yes, he could definitely rest comfortably like this, and he did. Consoled, protected, he dropped off immediately.
The sun wasn’t up yet so it had to be very early, and Jake was awash in comfort. Mmm, Dylan! He could smell his man all around him as he lay in his arms. His face tucked into his neck, Jake felt the slightly damp heat beneath him where his cheek made contact with his shoulder. Was this a dream? If so, it was one of the best he’d had in awhile.
Quietly he moaned and began to press soft kisses into the skin of Dylan’s pectorals and throat, tongue lapping at a few drops of sweat and enjoying the slight tang of it. His morning wood flared hard and hot, and he leaned into the muscular swimmer’s thigh between his legs and began to hump it. A roving hand trailed down Dylan’s abs to the waistband of his boxers, and it was no match for his purposes. He searched lower under the fabric and found the malleable, hairless sac of testicles, and he rolled them in his fingers. A penis lengthened like a snake under his wrist.
Dylan’s breath hitched as he awoke to several delightful sensations at once. A warm, male body next to his own that he immediately recognized as Jake’s. His cock thickening under the ministrations of a skillful hand sliding around his balls in a gentle but firm touch. Cool brown curls skimming his chest as a pliant mouth nibbled and sucked at his skin. The hard erection bunching against his thigh, bringing forth familiar gasps and squeaks of pleasure from that same mouth.
“Ooh, Jake, yes…” Dylan grunted, wanting to thrust but afraid to move. “Just like that. You feel so good.”
Instantly the body recoiled, then stilled and Jake’s head dropped back against the pillow as sleep-dazed eyes cleared and looked up at him in horror. “I’m… I’m, oh my god, I’m…” He made as if to escape but Dylan tightened his arm around him.
“Please don’t be, baby,” Dylan said in a gravelly voice, his gaze locking with Jake's, now filling with tears of mortification. After all this time he had the man he loved in his arms where he’d wanted him all along. Dylan tipped closer, inhaling his clean man-scent, and kissed a trail of salt drops away. “Shh, don’t cry.”
Jake stopped struggling but he couldn’t look at Dylan. “But I shouldn’t have… I didn’t mean to…”
“Don’t be sorry,” Dylan said firmly. “I’m not, and I hope you aren’t either, not really.”
Jake stared back at Dylan, humiliation turning to joy. “I’m not,” he answered in wonder. The deep blue eyes spoke volumes back about love and desire, who he wanted and how long he had waited for him. Could it be true? Did Dylan truly love him again?
“Do you…?” He had to ask because it was too good to believe.
Without needing to hear the whole question, Dylan kissed his other eyelid and whispered, “I never stopped loving you, Jake. It surprises me that you still want me after all the shit I put you through to drive you away. I don’t deserve you.”
“Please stop saying that,” Jake begged sincerely. “Everyone makes mistakes, and I don’t want to keep being reminding of ours. I missed you so. Let’s just focus on now. You can start by telling me again that you love me.”
Dylan pulled his head back to his shoulder and held him tighter. “I love you, Jake, and I missed you too.”
“I love you too.”
Dylan hovered inches over Jake’s mouth, a teasing smile playing on his lips as he stared into the glowing face of his lover. Jake looked so happy, as happy as Dylan felt. He wanted to laugh at how silly the two of them had been, tiptoeing around the subject all these weeks. All that wasted time, and yet, did it matter if this was where they were supposed to be now? No, they were going to live their lives the way they were meant to from this moment on.
Lightly, those same lips ghosted a gentle kiss over Jake’s, and he sighed into the embrace before they pulled apart. Dylan rested his forehead against Jake’s and lovingly ran his fingers through the soft curls. Jake’s hand found the back of Dylan’s head, drawing him down to plant another kiss on his warm, delicious mouth. Dylan caught Jake’s bottom lip between his teeth, tugging enough to make him moan in anticipation.
“Shh,” Dylan whispered between kisses. “You’ll wake up the dorm.”
Jake batted at him playfully. “You bit my lip. Don’t tell me to ‘shh’.” And he bit him back.
With a groan, Dylan pulled Jake closer, nipping at his earlobe and forcing a whimper from him. The two them began to giggle between their playful kisses as their hands began to explore. Giggles became squeaks, and a few simple passes later, their mouths opened as tongues began to seek out and entwine.
The taste of Dylan exploded in Jake’s mouth, and it was like a drug hitting his system. He locked his lips on Dylan’s mouth, thrusting his tongue to touch every cell, every nerve, to possess him through his kiss. Dylan rolled, and he was on top of Jake, bodies aligned, their moist skin dragging across each other. Jake moaned again—skin to skin contact with the man he loved felt so good, not only on a tactile level but emotionally too.
They were both instantly hard, their cocks tangled in clothing, and Jake reached down to straighten himself out, the back of his hand rubbing against Dylan’s cotton-covered erection. He could feel the dampness of precum. Little throbs in his groin reminded Jake of past pleasures, and desire shot through him.
Dylan ran his fingers over Jake’s pebbly nipple and watched him shudder in delight. Skimming kisses across his jaw, he whispered, “I need you, Jake. So, so long…”
“Need you too,” Jake breathed. He thrust his aching cock into Dylan’s, making him groan. “Need you now.”
Dylan kicked off the bed to turn head to toe, wiggling out of his boxers so that he was naked when he fell back against the sheets. He quickly made short work of Jake’s briefs, pulled him on to his side and buried his face in his groin to sniff his boy’s musky scent that he’d missed all these past months. Jake’s hard member was right next to his mouth, and he nuzzled it from stem to tip, causing Jake to gasp and tremble.
Jake took the hint and wrapped his hand around Dylan’s thickness, beginning to jack him off with practiced assurance. He gently nibbled the wide bell-shaped head and drew salty drops of precum on to his tongue that snaked out and licked the sensitive area in back where it met the shaft. Dylan whimpered when Jake opened his jaw wide and began to firmly suck.
Dylan’s mouth worked around the crown, sipping at Jake’s slippery fluid oozing from the slit. With long, languid swipes of his tongue, he coated Jake’s cock in saliva before completely engulfing it to the pubes. Jake cried out in aroused surprise and began rolling his hips, and Dylan allowed him to fuck his mouth.
Jake did everything he could to remember on how to give head like his first and only time in the mountains. One hand tugged lightly on Dylan’s balls and rolled them in his hand while his other grasped his dick and rode the foreskin up and down the shaft like a glove. His lips formed a vacuum over the head, eagerly working his mouth farther down with every bob, re-learning as he went. Dylan was gasping in arousal, so that was a good sign that he liked it.
Neither boy was going to last long, and they moaned around each other’s hard tools, feeling the shifting in their abdomens that signaled their impending orgasms. Jake couldn’t help but thrust into Dylan’s mouth as his throat massaged his cock in a steadily rising concert of pleasure. Dylan writhed in wonder at the proficiency of Jake’s tongue and fingers that played him like an instrument, the exquisite suction of his lips that brought him quickly to the edge.
One minute they were teetering over the chasm and the next they were crying out, thrown into it by the twin sensations of heat and warmth. Their balls drew up and they were falling, clutching at each other to ride out their orgasms together.
“Oh god, oh yes,” Jake’s dick-muffled voice cried out as his hips lost control and he saw spots flashing behind his eyelids. He sucked voraciously as Dylan’s cum shot across his tongue in salty ribbons, and he swallowed it all.
“Jake, oh fuck, Jake,” Dylan chanted, holding on to his boy’s hips hard enough to bruise. Rapture nearly overwhelming him, he felt Jake’s release spurting into his throat in a sweetness he couldn’t get enough of.
And then it was over. Sensibility returned as they cleaned each other up thoroughly. Muscles relaxed and they regained their breath. Dylan scooted around and took Jake’s mouth in a tender essence-enhanced kiss. Leaning weakly into each other, they began to drift off, sated.
“I love you, Dylan,” Jake whispered, holding on tightly to his waist and feeling the damp skin beneath his fingers.
“I love you too, baby,” Dylan returned sleepily, nuzzling into the brown curls he had missed so much. “Goodnight.”
Jake’s lifted his eyelids several hours later to the innate feeling that he was being studied. Which he was… by a pair of cerulean irises edged in silver just inches from his face. “Hi,” Dylan said softly with a smile, reaching up to push a strand of brown hair off his forehead. “Did you know that you’re beautiful when you’re asleep?”
Jake stretched and grinned, elated to find himself in bed with Dylan. “Hi yourself, and no, I didn’t but thanks, I’ll take your word for it. Nobody has watched me sleep since I was a baby.” He gave Dylan a light kiss and looked at the clock over his shoulder. Eight-thirty. He hadn’t rested so well since before his nightmares started.
“So what should we do today?” Dylan asked mischievously, eyes twinkling and trailing a finger across Jake’s shoulder. “I have a term paper due in Fluid Mechanics the Monday after we return from Thanksgiving break, so I thought I’d spend some time at the library. Didn’t you say you needed clean clothes? That means a trip to the laundry.”
Jake covered Dylan’s mouth with his hand. “Or we could stay in bed doing all the naughty things we wanted to do over the summer when we couldn’t be alone.”
“Okay,” Dylan said, prying Jake’s fingers off his mouth and kissing them. “Naughty things wins out.”
At that moment Jake’s stomach gave a hungry rumble, and they both laughed.
“Maybe we should get some breakfast first,” Dylan suggested, leering at him. “The dining room shouldn’t be too crowded.”
Leaning in for a kiss, Jake breathed, “Starbucks. It won’t take as long.”
“Okay, Starbucks.” Dylan returned the kiss back and took Jake in his arms.
They were interrupted by a pounding on the door, and they heard their friend, Zander’s, voice. “Hey, are you guys in there?”
Jake sighed and rolled out of bed, feverishly searching for his briefs that Dylan had removed the night before. He scampered into a pair of jeans he found on the end of his bed while Dylan watched the fluid movements of his naked body in lustful appreciation. Jake stared at him with his eyebrows raised.
“Aren’t you going to put something on?”
Dylan made a face and leaned out of bed. Grabbing his boxers, he shoved his legs through them and sat back down. “There Mom, I’m dressed,” he teased. He quickly pulled the covers up to his waist as Jake rolled his eyes and opened the door.
Nick and Zander filled their room with restless energy when they strolled in. They were a gay couple from the same hometown in Imperial County, Nick being a freshman who had to reside in the dorms and Zander two years older whom Dylan had met the previous spring during the Clarence crisis. Nick was tall and muscular with mocha skin and dreadlocked black hair while Zander was a slim, brown-eyed blonde with the whitest smile Jake had ever seen.
Dylan was trying to act casual, but both men stared in curiosity. “Uh, why are you naked in Jake’s bed?” Zander asked. They had been in each others’ rooms many times, sharing snacks and playing video games or studying and knew who slept where.
Noting the way Dylan was lounging under the blankets with no t-shirt on, Jake had to agree with Zander, he did look naked.
“I knew there was something wrong with this bed,” Dylan scoffed in jest, doing his best not to blush. He stared at Jake who stared back, mystified. “You should have said something.”
“Huh?” Jake was slow to get the joke. “He’s not naked. He’s wearing boxers… Oh…” Too late, he realized what Dylan was aiming at and his face flooded with color.
“Dude, that still doesn’t answer what you’re doing in Jake’s bed,” Nick pointed out, making him want to melt into the floor.
Zander was gawking at Jake who was turning eight shades of red. Suddenly he got a knowing smile on his face and began theatrically sniffing at the air. “It smells like sex in here.”
“No it doesn’t,” Dylan answered— too quickly, too urgently.
At the same time, Jake wrinkled his nose and innocently asked, “It does?”
There was a meaningful pause and Nick burst out laughing. “Busted!” he chortled. “Awesome, dudes. It’s about time.”
“Ditto. You two have creeping around each other like two lovesick sheep,” Zander continued, watching Jake and Dylan’s faces glow brighter with the teasing.
“For how long?” Dylan asked in open curiosity, wondering if he was that easy to read.
Zander and Nick conferred between themselves. “Uh, since the two of you moved into the dorm in August,” Zander said.
Dylan regarded Jake in shock. “Honestly?” he asked, expecting to hear a much more recent date.
Jake nodded, equally stunned. Everyone had known but him. At the same moment he realized it wasn’t true; people like Marcus and Pat had told him. He’d been aware of Dylan’s devotion as far back as when he woke up in the hospital but was too stubborn to accept it. Walking over to the bed, he sat down next to the man he loved and took his hand.
“Honestly. More than you knew, even more than I knew.” Jake pressed his lips to Dylan’s, stroking his cheek softly.
“Aannnd we’re out of here,” laughed Nick. He grabbed Zander’s hand and hauled him to the door.
Zander picked up the joke because that was the way their humor worked. “Thanks for the tickets to the upcoming floor show, but we’ll pass.”
“If you guys decide you need, ahem… calories,” Nick pointed out, “and you will, believe me… or a break… say you get hungry? Give us a call and we’ll meet you at the dining hall.”
The door slammed, and Dylan made a face at Jake. “That was a little skeevy.”
“I told you to get dressed so it’s your own fault.” Jake pushed him backwards on the sheets and growled. Practically ripping the zipper in his eagerness to get his jeans off, they flew across the room and his briefs followed quickly. His cock was erect and throbbing, thinking of all the time he and Dylan had to make up for.
His boyfriend’s eyes lit up once he saw he was undressing. “What are you doing? I thought you were hungry.”
“I am,” Jake said, “for you. Besides, I want to make our room smell like sex some more.”
Dylan groaned and rolled over, pinning Jake to the bed. He was already growing hard. “What do you want to do?” he asked Jake hoarsely.
“We could take a shower together.” Jake still treasured the memory of the staff showers at the rec center.
“Kill two birds with one stone,” Dylan pointed out. “That’s a good idea.”
Jake laughed. “I don’t normally think about killing birds when I want sex, but if that’s a turn on for you…”
Dylan rolled his eyes and dragged Jake to his feet. Grabbing towels and their grooming gear, they headed for the bathroom they shared with their neighbors on the other side. They carefully made sure that the connecting door was locked from the inside, stripped down and turned the water on to a comfortable level.
Ogling Jake’s bare ass, Dylan shucked off his boxers and pulled him into the small shower. It was cozy and they had to stand close together to keep from brushing up against the tile, but that was the purpose anyway. As the water rained down on them Jake stepped in to Dylan and turned his face up to be kissed.
Dylan slammed his mouth against Jake’s and there was nothing soft or hesitant about it. Jake sucked on Dylan’s tongue, running his fingers up around his ear into his wet blonde hair. He was hard before he walked into the shower, but now his cock felt like marble, and Dylan’s swollen, uncut length was rising and stiffening between them. Jake tipped his pelvis a bit to make room, snaking his other hand between them to fist the two cocks together, squeezing and pumping simultaneously. Dylan let loose with a low groan.
Using his own fingers, Dylan worked his way down to the other side of Jake’s to form a constricting tunnel for the velvety smooth erections to pass through. Skin massaged skin and precum spilled from both cockheads, slicking the way along with the warm water. The sensations of slippery, rigid heat built and folded in on themselves, intimate and intense.
Jake was hanging on to Dylan, moaning into his neck and desperately trying to hold back his orgasm. One minute the passion was rising gently like a bubble, the next he was nearly beside himself as the flare of Dylan’s crown stroked his dick from top to bottom and stimulated the sensitive nerve endings until it was almost too much to bear. They set a frantic rhythm under the falling water, and Jake breathed in shallow gasps of Dylan’s name.
Dylan twisted in his lover’s arms in high arousal, arching his back, his shaft sliding gracefully across Jake’s. He could feel them pulsating, and he squeezed his eyes closed as all of a sudden he was riding a wave more pleasurable than one he ever achieved on his surfboard.
“Gonna cum, baby,” he cried into Jake’s hair. His toes curled and his arm whipped around his boy’s torso convulsively as hot semen streamed from his balls and coated their hands.
“Oh… oh god, Dylan.” The scream was muffled by Dylan’s shoulder Jake felt himself go weak with his own release spraying their stomachs. It was perfect only because it was Dylan who nestled into him, keeping him steady on his feet and covering him with tender kisses as he chanted his name in his ear.
They grinned tiredly at each other as their cum washed down their bodies and into the drain, and they quickly began to soap each other before the water cooled. Dylan insisted on washing Jake’s hair, and he returned the favor. They crashed into Jake’s bed and snuggled together to sleep another hour away.
Jake awoke to find Dylan talking on his cell phone in deep conversation. “Yes, thank you. No, that’s really awesome of you.” His eyes flicked up and noticed Jake stretching against the pillows. “He’s here now, so I’ll ask him and get right back as soon as I can. Love you guys- you’re lifesavers. Bye.”
Dylan took a deep breath and looked down at Jake with a sly grin. “What do your classes look like for the next couple of days?” It being Thanksgiving break, the school week was significantly shortened.
“No chemistry on Monday but I have a normal course load until Tuesday morning. My afternoon lab was canceled too.”
“Anything important you can’t miss?”
“Nothing pressing.” Jake stared at him intrigued, knowing Dylan was up to something.
At this time of year, there was a week or two where the pressure eased up a little heading into December and finals. Most of the professors appreciated that the students’ minds were not on their studies, and a lot of lecture halls had vacant seats this close to the holiday as young people began to fly home for family celebrations.
“What would you say if I told you we have permission to use my uncles’ cabin for the next two days?” Dylan was almost shaking with excitement.
Joy radiated out of Jake’s face. “Let’s see, um… ‘How soon can you get packed?’ Who wouldn’t want to exchange books for the mountains? Is there snow up there?”
“Three inches on the ground with a small storm expected late tonight which is supposed to drop another twelve.”
Jake smacked Dylan on the arm. “Then we had better get going if we want to get up there before dark. Maybe if we’re lucky we’ll get snowed in.”
For it being the weekend before Thanksgiving, the traffic was light and the boys found themselves back in Aleppo Park before 11:30. Dylan pulled up to the Walker home just as Marcus was stepping out of the house, with Noah, Sage, Spencer and Luis behind him.
“Look who it is!” Noah yelled, bounding down the driveway to slap Dylan’s fingers before they had a chance to alight from the SUV. When Jake climbed out and walked around to pull his gear from the back Noah took in his nearly healthy appearance with a huge grin.
“Not even a limp, Jake. I’m impressed.”
Marcus leaned back into the house to yell for his mother and inform her that Jake was home before he joined his friends on the sidewalk. He had to agree with Noah that Jake did look good. Something was different about him and Dylan that he couldn’t put his finger on, but he was too busy with greetings to worry about it.
They were all college kids on basically the same schedule despite the varied schools they attended, and Spencer faked them out with a mocking sneer, “Have you heard the new rules about state university students who cut class around the holidays? They’re levying fines and revoking scholarships.”
Jake jumped in horror, his gullibility getting him for the second time that day. The tall blonde boy pointed his finger at him like it was gun and said, “Gotcha.” Dylan chased him a third of the way around the cul de sac before returning to the front of the house where Luis stood shaking his head and muttering in Spanish.
Pat was the one who figured out the new relationship, but then she had always had a way of guessing Jake’s moods better than most people did. Giving him a big squishy hug, she held her nephew back with her hands to stare into his green eyes. She liked the peace that stared back, especially when she noticed how at ease he seemed to be with Dylan who rested a light hand on his waist in a possessive fashion.
“Everything is back to normal, right?” she asked, glancing at Dylan for confirmation and tearing up a little in happiness. He checked with Jake, and then both boys grinned at her.
Sage was watching the exchange. “Oh my god, omigod,” she squealed, jumping up and down and clapping her hands. She threw her arms around first Dylan, then Jake and almost knocked them off their feet. “You two are back together.”
Jake blushed and the crew looked at first startled and then relieved. Marcus clapped him on the shoulder. “Good. Having to choose between you felt damn awkward.”
Noah asked if they wanted to hang out together. “We can’t,” Dylan replied. “We’re off to Big Bear until Monday.”
That announcement was greeted by all manner of catcalls and raunchy jokes until Jake pulled Dylan into the house to get away from the teasing. They decided he would go home, pack and return to pick him up in an hour, allowing them plenty of time to drive up the mountain during daylight hours.
They almost didn’t make it. Dylan had to borrow gloves from Marcus and the only warm coat he owned was at the bottom of one of his packed boxes, and he wasn’t going to use precious time hunting for it. Pat finally found a parka of Avery’s that he didn’t wear anymore. They shopped for food and couldn’t decide on what to eat; using the stove was a challenge they didn’t feel up to overcoming, and who wanted to cook a big fancy meal anyways? They drove over to get the keys from Chris and Bruce, and Jake was finally introduced with great fanfare to Dylan’s uncles who liked him immediately. Bruce was in a teasing mood and ribbed them about their plans for the long weekend until Chris threatened to muzzle him.
By two o’clock they were on their way northeast, hampered by a big-rig traffic accident on the 215 that put them up on Big Bear as the sun was going down. Fortunately they knew their way once they got into the cabin community or they never would have found it in the early dusk of the approaching storm.
“We seem to only use this place when it’s getting ready to rain or snow,” Jake complained good-naturedly as they emptied out the SUV of their supplies.
“I don’t know about you, but I like storms,” Dylan replied with a shiver. “But let’s go somewhere warmer to discuss it.”
The cabin was dark and chilly inside despite the fact that Bruce and Chris left the heater set at 66° through the cold season. Bruce had given them instructions about turning on the water next to the front gate, and they built a roaring fire in the fireplace to chase out the damp. Except for putting away perishables, everything else could wait, and they soon were seated on blankets in the living room. It was their favorite spot in front of stone hearth munching on their purchased dinner of Subway sandwiches.
They had been listening to Dylan’s iPod and enjoying the accompaniment of music to their dinner. He was mostly an alt-rock kind of guy which meant songs were easy to find and he had an extensive mix. When Gavin Rossdale’s Love Remains The Same came on he got a funny look on his face.
“Dance with me,” he said softly to Jake, taking his hand.
Jake gulped nervously. “I don’t dance… I mean, I don’t know how.” Shrugging, he added, “I never went to any of the dances in high school so there was no reason to learn.”
“Oh come on, you wuss.” Dylan jumped up and began to push the blankets aside away with his feet. When Jake made no move to join him he grabbed his hand and pulled him to his feet.
“It’s easy,” he insisted, giving Jake a reassuring smile and switching hands so he faced him directly. “Just follow my lead.”
“So you’re guiding me, which means I’m…? No way.”
He was a masculine guy who, gay or not, wasn’t sure how to feel about submitting to a boyfriend. Acting offended, he laughed at the hurt pout on Dylan’s face until he saw how much it meant to him. “Okay, you big baby, I’ll dance with you.”
He stepped closer to Dylan and let him draw him into his embrace. Folding his hands against the larger man’s chest like he knew what he was doing, Jake felt Dylan’s arms go around him. It seemed natural to lay his head on his shoulder as their feet moved in little more than a shuffle. It made him feel strangely cherished.
As they swayed together, Dylan was whispering lyrics from the song as if to himself: “I never thought that I had anymore to give, pushing me so far. Here I am without you. Drink to all that we have lost; mistakes we have made. Everything will change but love remains the same.”
He pressed a kiss onto Jake’s forehead and whispered in a deep, raspy voice, “I used to listen to this song a lot after we broke up. It hurt, knowing that I’d lost you because I had treated you so shabbily. I never thought you could forgive me because I couldn’t forgive me either. Then your dad beat you up, and I truly believed you were gone forever. You would die or never come out of the coma, and there I’d be, missing out on all the chances I had during the last week of day camp when I could have apologized and didn’t. I would have to go on without you, knowing there was no way to ever make it up.”
Jake relaxed into him and let his warmth, his scent take him over. As much as he wanted to scold Dylan for revisiting the argument again, he didn’t have the heart. Maybe he needed to let him talk so he could get it out of his system. He at last reached the end of his account, and Jake cuddled in closer like he was trying to become part of him. Dylan held him tight and they slow-danced to one song after another, no matter what the tempo, by the light of the flames. Eventually they weren’t doing more than just standing in one spot and rocking back and forth, lost in the music and each other.
“Jake?” Dylan said presently, kissing the shell of his ear. “Would you let me make love to you?”
Jake’s eyes flew open and he raised his head. He knew, of course, this was where their intimacy would take them eventually.
Dylan took Jake’s rapid change of mood as hesitation, wondering if he’d read the signals wrong. Or maybe the position was wrong. “Uh… unless you, um… well, do you pitch or catch?”
Jake was about to ask what baseball had to do with anything when he realized what Dylan really meant. “I don’t know.” His face glowed like a stoplight. “This is new to me, so I have no preference.”
Dylan shrugged. “I don’t know either.” His face brightened. “We could play rock-paper-scissors.”
“Nuh-uh,” Jake giggled, amused at the idea of a silly kids’ game determining who would top or bottom. “Look, since you have at least some experience, why don’t you, uh… pitch tonight. The next time, we can change places and decide.”
“Oh god.” Dylan looked horrified. “I hope we don’t end up where we both prefer the same position.”
That set Jake to rolling his eyes at Dylan’s pessimism and looking for trouble where none existed, and he fell into him and tickled unmercifully until Dylan fell to the floor and begged him to stop. “If we’re going to do this, don’t one of us need to get a few things?”
They had already resolved not to use condoms. Dylan had been tested at the start of term as part of his water polo physical, and Jake’s virginity was firmly established. Neither wanted any silicone sheath robbing them of skin to skin contact. Jake was right, however, and Dylan hopped up to fetch several towels and a bottle of lube. “The gay man’s friend,” he stated.
They added more wood to the fire and prepared their love bed. Gratefully they fell into each other’s arms and began to kiss, little pecks followed by deep, tongue-filled passion that left them gasping. Dylan pushed Jake back into the mound of covers and rearranged his body above Jake’s and rolled over, so the smaller boy was on top of him.
Jake covered Dylan in kisses. After all the drama from the end of the summer on, it was like a gift to have him back. He loved the sweetness of his pink mouth, the curve of his cheek, the blonde stubble on his jaw. His fingers traced Dylan’s throat, and then he swooped in to suck and nibble a large love bit on the most sensitive part of his neck.
“Too many clothes,” Dylan complained.
Jake agreed. “Get me naked.”
Dylan stripped down and removed Jake’s clothing piece by piece, setting everything in a nice neat pile next to the couch. By the time Jake lifted his hips and his briefs slid down his legs, his cock was like stone and he was breathing shallowly. He was about to lose his virginity, and it was going to be with Dylan, the man he loved. Jake admitted to himself that he was afraid of the possible discomfort, but more than that, he was so turned on by the mental pictures of what was about to take place he wasn’t sure he’d last long enough to be fucked.
Dylan smiled down at Jake’s naked body and couldn’t help but consider himself one of the luckiest guys on the planet. His boy was so perfect. He loved running his finger through his golden brown curls, and his jade green eyes were mesmerizing. The way his cheeks turned pink when he blushed, the dimple that appeared when he smiled. Jake had just enough muscle definition throughout his torso, shoulders and thighs to prove he was an athlete without the overpowering physique of a gym rat. His package was perfect too- the right length, the right thickness- scrumptious.
“Up on your hands and knees, baby,” he told him. “Since you’ve never done this before, you are going to be tight, and I need to get you ready and loosen you up. Don’t worry, I’ll take care of everything.”
Jake gave him an anxious look before rocking up to land on all fours, and Dylan put a gentling hand on his hip before using his knees to spread Jake’s legs farther apart. “The last thing I want to do is hurt you. If you don’t like what I’m doing or it’s too uncomfortable, tell me and we’ll work something else out. Just remember I love you and I want you to enjoy this.”
Jake nodded, trying not to be so scared or at least not act like he was. With one last glance into Dylan’s blue eyes he turned around and waited for his boyfriend to begin.
Dylan knelt behind him up close and stretched over him. Jake could feel his hard cock twitching between his butt cheeks. He was about to ask him what he was doing when he felt the other boy’s hands on his shoulders, pressing his fingertips into the muscles and massaging his heated skin. It felt good. Carefully he worked down and outwards along his sides, a particularly sensitive spot for Jake, and he whimpered at the little quivers Dylan’s touch awoke in him. His lover licked along his spine, nibbled each ridge and his hands kneaded the globes of his ass.
Jake groaned. He felt like he was being tortured. Slowly.
He heard Dylan open the bottle of lube and slick fingers skimmed down his crack to find his rosebud. Dylan’s index finger circled it lightly, and Jake clenched at the new sensation, surprised that it felt good. Around and around it prodded at him, and Jake’s asshole fluttered at the attempted intrusion.
Suddenly that finger zeroed in on him and slipped in up to the first knuckle, and Jake hissed in pain. It burned and he wiggled his hips instinctively as if trying to dislodge it. “Shh,” Dylan soothed, still rubbing his other hand firmly over Jake’s ass. “It’s supposed to get better after a few seconds.”
He was right; the pain receded, leaving a new feeling of fullness. Dylan began to saw his finger back and forth inside him, and Jake felt a brief spark of pleasure that flared brighter. More lube, another digit entered him with the same results, discomfort followed by adjustment. By the time Dylan slid the third finger in Jake was beginning to enjoy the intimate touch.
Dylan rotated his fingers, searching for the small lump that was supposed to…oh, there. He knew the exact moment he found it, because Jake trembled violently as his arms went out on him and his upper body crashed to the floor.
“Oh Jesus,” Jake panted in a mixture of lust and wonder. “Oh fuck… what was that?”
Dylan smiled and kissed his shoulder. “That, baby, is your prostate and the reason you’re going to love this.”
With that, Dylan started thrusting his fingers in and out of the tight opening. He gently stretched him in all directions, stroking that nub pleasurably for a short time, then moving away altogether. Jake moaned, pressing back against the fingers to ride them. He didn’t care if he was acting slutty; he could feel need building ferociously inside him and was nearly in tears with it.
“Oh god, Dylan, I need you to fuck me.”
Dylan had to be positive Jake was ready for this; he felt such love for his boy and didn’t ever want him to regret this. “Are you sure, baby?”
“Oh yes… yes please,” he whispered, his head turned back to watch Dylan gazing at him in adoration.
Dylan nodded and removed his fingers, leaving a void that Jake felt keenly. His eyes widened, considering what was about to happen. Dylan was going to put his thick, hard cock up inside him. A tremor went through him.
“I’ll go slowly. Let me know if I hurt you. The important thing is to relax.” Jake nodded that he understood.
Dylan positioned himself directly behind Jake and tenderly pushed his shoulders and head back to the floor. “Like this,” he told him, calming him with a kiss to his tailbone. Jake’s hole winked invitingly, and he lined up his cock up to move forward slowly. An inch of the spongy head disappeared inside, and Dylan moaned at the constriction that seemed to pull at him.
Jake winced and tried not to cry out. Fuck, that hurt! It felt like Dylan was trying to shove a log up his ass, and he tensed up spontaneously. He wanted to tell him to stop, he wasn’t ready for this, but they had already gone this far. If they ended this now, he might never summon the courage to try again.
“Relax, baby,” Dylan said again. “It will be better soon.” He gave another small thrust, and the cockhead popped through the second ring of muscle, easing the pain just a bit. Jake took several deep breaths to quiet himself.
“Are you alright?” Dylan ran his hands down Jake’s flanks. The intensity of their love-making was hitting him full force, how this was the first time for Jake and feeling such privilege to be sharing the experience with him. But the responsibility was heady, and goose bumps broke out all over him.
“Yeah, I’m good.” Jake gasped out. He was no longer a virgin. It was a giddy thought and, relaxing, he let his body release the tension. He stared up at those deep blue eyes in total trust. “Make love to me, Dylan.”
Dylan planted another kiss on his shoulder. “Let’s get you on your back so I see your face.” He pulled out of Jake with a moan. Jake grunted too at the emptiness, quickly flipped over and spread his legs wide. Dylan moved between them and pulled his feet to his shoulders. With a quick slide he was back inside of his lover.
Dylan pulled out before sinking back into him to slowly fill his channel, beginning with long, slow drives. Each advance wrest a sigh of bliss from Jake’s mouth until Dylan was fully seated and his balls slapped against Jake’s ass. Dylan was barely holding himself together; the ecstasy of being inside his boy was so strong. He was a snug fit, better than it had ever been with any girl, which fired off every nerve ending along his cock. “Damn, oh damn, Jake, it feels so good… so good.”
“It feels wonderful,” Jake cried out, his head whipping back and forth on the blanket. The feeling of Dylan’s warm, smooth cock in Jake’s ass was incredible. Jolts of pleasure sheered through him each time his length rubbed that sensitive spot and he could feel the pressure building. “Fuck me hard, Dylan.”
Dylan pulled Jake’s legs down, and he wrapped them around his waist as Dylan switched up his tempo to deep, quick jabs. He knew he was going to cum soon because he could feel the semen churning in his balls. It felt too amazing to last for long, like the stretching of a bow singing over a violin and seeking the end of the song. The urgency grew louder, and Dylan could no longer hold back.
“Fuck baby, I’m gonna cum. I can’t stop it. Oh Jake!”
Like having a mind of its own, Dylan’s hips switched to autopilot and he reached for Jake’s cock, fisting it in desperation. He peppered Jake’s ass with quick strikes, and his molten seed shot from his pulsing tool in spurts that painted Jake’s gut and made him feel like he was going to pass out in rapture. He couldn’t breathe, he couldn’t see; all he could do was hang on to Jake until he got to the other side.
The firm grip on Jake’s aching dick was too much, and over the edge he went into the hardest, most powerful orgasm of his life. “Dylan… god, Dylan,” he screamed, muscles taut as his essence splattered over his abdomen in milky streams. His fingers grabbed handfuls of his lover’s skin and Dylan crashed against him, shuddering violently. Mouths collided in a frantic kiss as they groaned together and returned to sanity.
Presently they both felt Dylan’s cock begin to go soft, and it fell out of Jake with a slight tickle, causing them both to giggle. Dylan rested his forehead against Jake’s. “Awesome, baby, that was awesome.”
Jake was still trying to get his breath back, and his fingers were skimming over Dylan’s sweat-slick shoulder. “I thought blowjobs were good, but I’ve never felt anything like that. You have to try this, Dylan.”
“Next time,” Dylan puffed, rolling off Jake to cuddle next to him and stare at the ceiling. “I’m too tired for now.
Jake glanced over at his boyfriend and had to know for his own sake. “Compared to making love to a female…?”
Dylan shook his head. “You are the first person I’ve ever made love to because I really cared. I only fucked girls. Being with you was by far better than being with any of them. I love you, and that makes all the difference.”
“I love you too.” Dylan’s sincere words were enough to still his fears. He was too tired to worry about it anyway, and Dylan passed him the towel to clean off his stomach and between his legs. Jake threw the blanket over them and they snuggled into a ball of sated happiness. It took no time at all before they dropped off to sleep.
It did indeed snow overnight, and the boys awoke to a winter wonderland the following morning. A foot and a half on the ground with it still coming down. Of course, they did what most young Californians did when confronted by the cold, white stuff. Whooping in glee, they hurriedly dressed and, bundled in boots, warm jackets and gloves, immediately ran outside to play. Scooping up handfuls of fluff, they began throwing snowballs at each other as they raced around the yard dodging and yelling. Half an hour later, with no feeling left in their fingers and the rest of their bodies frozen to the bone, they called it a draw and trudged back inside for breakfast. Dylan volunteered to make eggs, and Jake found a two-slice toaster in a cabinet that must have been at least thirty years old. However, it did make nice, crisp toast.
Dylan was spooning the scrambled eggs on their plates when he stood completely still and looked at Jake. “Hey, you didn’t have a nightmare last night.”
That reminder astonished Jake who by now was used to having at least one bad dream every night. “Hmm,” he teased. “Do you think it’s from being at the cabin instead of our dorm?”
Dylan snorted. “Maybe more like sleeping with your fascinating, handsome boyfriend instead of by yourself.”
“Where? I don’t see any fascinating, handsome boyfriend.”
Jake dodged the piece of egg that flew in his direction and then allowed himself to be caught for several minutes of blissful making out before publicly recanting and agreeing that yes, his new boyfriend was much more fascinating and handsome than the last whose name was also Dylan. Jake got a dark look, tempered with a slow smile, for that comment.
As they ate, they made plans for the day.
“Maybe you’re going to get your wish,” Dylan pointed outside where it was snowing so hard you could barely see the road. “If it doesn’t stop soon we might get snowed in.”
“Hmm,” Jake grinned, throwing his shoulder into Dylan’s in fun. “As much as I love Thanksgiving turkey, I could think of worse things than having to spend the week up here with you. As long as we have heat and food, that is.”
Dylan pointed the living room. “Fireplace and plenty of wood.” He pointed to the food cabinets. “Enough food too, even if most of it is canned. And there’s a grocery store in the village. We have it made.”
Jake took a sip of his coffee. “Have you ever been up here skiing?”
“Oh no,” Dylan laughed. “Uncle Chris and Uncle Bruce tried several times when I was growing up to teach me, but I’m hopeless. Put me on a surfboard, and I’m killer. Stick me on a snowboard or in skis, and I’m taking off for the trees.”
Jake inaudibly sighed in secret relief. He had learned to ski in Madera, but there was no way he’d risk it now. Not with is half-healed knee and recently repaired arm. But the last thing he wanted was to hold Dylan back from an activity because he wasn’t able to participate. Maybe down the line when they both knew what his permanent limitations were, he’d volunteer ski instructions again, but that was years away. And then he smiled because he was thinking of years away with Dylan.
Following breakfast, they cleaned up and decided to visit Big Bear City. It was rather a surreal landscape walking around the same touristy stores they’d visited in July, now covered in white with icicles hanging from the eaves. Some of them had decorated early for Christmas and a few even changed their wares according to the season. Instead of bins full of baseball caps and sunglasses emblazoned with the words ‘Big Bear, CA’, now it was wool caps and scarves.
The smell of baking pie brought them into one of the village eating spots. The menu claimed a lunch special of hearty soups and fresh bread, and they were famished already. Jake chose minestrone, and Dylan selected chicken vegetable. The food was filling, and they each had a slice of hot apple pie and icecream for dessert.
The snow stopped as they walked to Dylan’s SUV, and they could see dusky blue sky peeking over the top of the trees to the west. It was four o’clock and the sun was ready to set. Driving back to the cabin, they planned out their dinner for later. Beforehand, a shower and before that, a snowman. With the completion of their four foot tall gentleman, they went inside just as cold as that morning even if they didn’t have to dig melting snow out of their ears.
A hot, lusty shower was up next with lots of mutual hand play to get them off in the space that was even smaller than their dorm shower. They put in two hours working on homework assignments from their laptops, and they baked a fresh pizza they had bought in the village for dinner. As darkness settled in, so did peace.
“You know, once we get out of college and start making some decent money we should invest in a place of our own up here,” Jake ventured. “I’d love a cabin like this to relax in every other weekend.”
Dylan stared at him, realizing that Jake was speaking of a future with him in it. “Yeah, baby, that’s a great idea. I’ve seen ‘for sale’ signs on several nice cabins I wouldn’t mind owning.”
The silence stretched easily between them again, with the boys concentrating on their work. At nine, Jake stretched and closed his laptop. “Are you done yet?”
Dylan looked at him over the top of his monitor and shut the top. “I’ve been waiting for you.”
“Waiting for what?” Jake arched his eyebrow and grinned.
Setting his textbook aside, Dylan whispered, “I’ve been waiting for my sexy baby to go to bed with me.”
Jake was instantly hard.
They took turns in the bathroom and clothing disappeared quickly. Jake groaned at the sight of Dylan’s gorgeous body, sculpted from months of water polo. He pushed him down to the floor in front of the blazing fire, watching it play over his golden skin and licked his lips. Jake gave into the passion firing inside him, and he launched himself at him and attacked his mouth with a hunger that had been building all evening. Delicious kisses passed between them that grew in intensity, and he thrust his tongue between Dylan’s lips, nibbling on the bottom one. His fingers traced down his jaw to the muscular back and shoulders, and he made love to him with caresses and endearments.
Dylan watched the light shining in his baby’s eyes and let himself finally be forgiven. His lips moved to the hollow of Jake’s throat where he raised a bruise that made Jake gasp in bliss. First fingers, then his mouth slid to Jake’s sensitive nipples, and he cried out as Dylan teethed them into little knots. Sliding down his torso, he hovered over his groin and flicked a tempting glance at him before taking Jake’s cock lovingly into his mouth.
He ran his tongue around the head, tasting the precum that welled from the slit and sucking lightly. Jake groaned, his hips rolling into a soft rhythm without force. Sucking harder, Dylan drew Jake’s whole cock into his mouth, letting his throat muscles massage the head, and Jake exploded with a cry, fisting the blankets beneath him.
Jake reached for Dylan, but he entwined his fingers in his and pulled his hand away from his cock. Jake threw him a confused look but his boyfriend smiled at him.
“You can wake me up in a special way in the morning,” he said, his eyes twinkling and pulling him in for a deep kiss that shared Jake’s flavor between them. “But for now, someone promised me last night that he was going to make love to me and I’m ready to take him up on the promise.”
Jake felt his whole body come alive. He’d had to keep his thoughts off of tonight, his excitement was so high. But now that it was here, there was no need. He threw his arms around Dylan and responded to his kiss. “What do you want to do?”
“I want to watch you again,” Dylan smiled, arranging himself on the blankets and pulling his feet up to his ass to offer himself to his boyfriend. “See if this works.”
Remembering how Dylan had opened him up the night before Jake coated his fingers in lube and moved between his legs. Gently he brushed his fingers from Dylan’s balls down the perineum and across his asshole. Dylan whimpered, and his hips twitched searching for another touch. Circling the hole, Jake saw the nerves jump, and he dipped his finger into the hot channel. Dylan squirmed in a combination of pain and desire. More lube, one finger became two, moving within to prepare him, and Dylan’s hips rocked as pleasure soon took over.
Jake watched in wonder as his lover fucked himself on his hand. Adding the third finger, scissoring and widening, he turned them upwards and aimed for the prostate. Dylan nearly came off the floor. “Oh yeah, mmm” he moaned.
Jake continued to prepare Dylan until he couldn’t take anymore. “Love you, baby. Need you inside me.”
“I love and need you too,” Jake murmured, taking his legs and pushing them up his body. He leaned in and pressed the tip of his dick into the tiny pucker, feeling the muscle resist. Slowly he pushed forward, the flesh gave way and the head popped in. Dylan’s breath caught at the sharp discomfort and he shut his eyes tightly.
“Are you doing okay?” Jake whispered, lowering his body over Dylan so he could brush tiny kisses over Dylan’s face and neck. Even though it was only the head of his cock, it was like magic being inside of him like this.
“Just hold up a sec.” Dylan’s voice was deep with desire, and was almost too overcome for words. Part of it was the pain, but mostly it was that Jake making love to him was better than he could have ever dreamed. By keeping his eyes closed he could simply enjoy the fullness that came with it.
“Relax, Dylan,” Jake begged, feeling the tension in the muscles underneath him. “Remember what you told me last night.”
Dylan nodded, giving himself completely to his lover’s gentle embrace. He did as told, feeling the pain begin to diminish now that Jake’s cock had passed through the stricture, knowing he could take this. “Please move,” he begged, reaching his hand up to stroke his face.
By slow inches Jake began to slide in deeper, filling Dylan in a gentle rhythm. His pubes brushed his ass, signaling that he was seated, and he let Dylan’s legs circle his hips. Jake began to drive his cock in and out of his ass. He knew that they were on track to a quick end even as he kept his strokes even and slow. The sensation of his balls smacking against Dylan’s ass was almost too arousing.
“I can’t believe how hot and tight this feels,” Jake gasped. His cock felt like it had gone to heaven.
“I can’t even start to describe how it feels,” Dylan breathed with a groan. “Go faster.”
Jake began to piston into him harder. Dylan moaned as his hard length slid in and out of his ass. Then Jake leaned over him and planted his hand next to his shoulder, shifting his balance so he could pump Dylan’s cock with each thrust. Dylan moaned again, the added sensation ramping up his pleasure and steering him into what was certain to be a strong orgasm.
“Before I’m done I’m going to make you scream as loud for me as I did last night,” Jake huffed, sweat plastering his curls to his face.
“Do it,” Dylan gasped, and he felt Jake’s hips begin to corkscrew, sliding his dick against his prostate with every thrust.
It didn’t take long for either of them at the pace he set. The twin sensations of sharp, short, bursts massaging his prostate and Jake’s handiwork on his cock, and Dylan was gone. “Oh shit, Jake, cumming,” he cried, arching into him. His hardness throbbed and warm cum spurted between them, coating their abdomens and Jake’s hand.
The sensation of Dylan’s hole spasming around his cock was all it took. From head to toe, Jake felt his body tense and, groaning deeply, he began to erupt. He held the blonde’s slim hips in a vice grip as he stiffened and strained for that extra fraction of an inch in depth, his tight balls unloading and filling Dylan’s ass with thick sperm.
Holding on to each other through the fierce emotions until their bodies quieted, Jake and Dylan talked about the morning and preparing to go home. They talked about family and school and moving in to an apartment at the end of the semester. Of Jake’s continued rehab and tough classes, loving family and friends, and putting Jake’s dad out of their minds until his trial, then never to think about him again. They kissed and talked until they began to feel drowsy, and Jake’s eyes closed.
Dylan watched Jake sleep, playing with his hair. After four months he could finally let all the pain and misunderstanding from the summer disappear like the smoke from the fire drifting up the chimney. Between his accusations and the near-disastrous beating by Jake’s father, it was the kind of situation that either broke you down or drove you together. He was fortunate that Jake had the capacity to love and forgive. He would protect and care for his baby for as long as Jake needed him, until the end of time if allowed. Sleepily his eyes closed, and he knew he was exactly where he was supposed to be.
Epilogue (Four years later):
“You have to try, Dylan. You give up far too easy.”
Dylan surveyed Jake in defeat. His boyfriend’s once long hair was cropped close but still curly and his jade eyes, hidden by wrap-around sunglasses to protect against the glare from the snow. He looked such at ease in everything he did, but Dylan knew the truth. Jake was unmatched for tenacity and hard work.
He was also a harsh taskmaster.
“I’ve tried, Jake. Every single winter for the past three years. I can’t ski, I can’t snowboard. Why won’t you just give up?”
Jake growled at him. “Because if I could get past my disabilities to play baseball for the Dirtbags in my junior and senior years of college, you can certainly ski down a little bunny hill. All it takes is balance which I know you have because you can surf. It also takes trust. You do trust me, don’t you Dylan?”
Oh god, if there was anyone in the world worth Dylan’s trust, it was Jake. They had been partners in everything since that crazy year in college after the summer they broke up, and they relied on each other for everything important. Moving in together in the middle of Dylan’s junior year had solidified their relationship, and they were still passionate for each other in a way their friends envied.
Now living in Irvine, Jake was employed as a microbiologist by OTJ Corporation while Dylan went for his masters in aviation engineering at UC- Irvine. Every winter they managed at least three skiing trips to the uncles’ cabin where Jake would patiently try to teach Dylan at a nearby ski resort. They had a growing savings account that they had been setting aside all the money they could afford, to buy their own cabin some day.
“Whatever,” Dylan returned, rolling his eyes. He pushed off with his ski pole, embarrassed by his lack of fortitude and shamed because Jake was right. It took him over a year of agonizing rehab, but Jake had overcome the injuries from his father’s beating to play again. So he would try… again… to get down the kiddy slope at the resort.
On the flat he was fine, but downhill skiing meant skiing downhill, and there was the little knob at the top before the uneven terrain kicked in. He managed to make it over the slight hillock and, wonder of wonders, was still on his feet. Dylan could hear Jake cheering his progress from the top, could see other beginners, especially the children, staring at him, but he didn’t care. He was doing this for his man.
The middle of the hill was a bit steeper, slightly more difficult. He could feel it in his toes, but he managed to turn his feet just a bit to the side, and he slowed down. Okay, that worked. Actually the chill of the wind whipping across his cheeks felt kind of nice. It was a cold, crisp day and… oh, that was a bit of surprise where the snow was icy and he almost slipped. He was heading for a patch that flattened out, and all of a sudden realized he was at the bottom of the hill. He’d skied the hill.
Jake came to a slushy stop behind him yelling like a little kid and threw his arms around him. Their skis were a little crossed and they tipped precariously, but Dylan could tell Jake was ecstatic over his triumph.
“You did it, Dylan. You did it.”
Dylan grabbed Jake and planted a big kiss on his mouth. “Only with your teaching and your patience, baby. You set a good example.”
“You’re the one who had to believe and make the effort.” Jake stared into the cerulean blue eyes that had drawn him in that long-ago night by the swimming pool. “I love you.”
“I love you too,” Dylan replied with another kiss. “Now, can we go back to the cabin? I’d rather be doing other things.”
Jake lifted an eyebrow, knowing exactly what was on Dylan’s mind. “Yeah, you big baby, but we’re coming back tomorrow. I’m going to put you on a lift and make you really ski.”
“Ah, no, you can’t make me…”
And they climbed the hill towards home.
© 2012 by Janelle Caves