Sunday, December 2, 2012

Dreaming of Dax Ch. 04

Breaking Up Does Not Make You Stop Loving Him


I don’t know how I managed to hold on to any sense of equilibrium in the early weeks following my departure from the Capshaw home. I guess I believed in karma, thinking that in its own warped way, it was the great equalizer. What goes around comes around, ‘though sometimes it takes its own sweet time to balance the scales. Michael had been disloyal to me, and somewhere in the cosmic universe, he was going to get his right up the ass.

I could count on one hand the number of people who were there for me, no matter what. The honest ones who did the right thing without a single thought of what was in it for them. It was like I wore this sign around my neck that said, ‘kick me’, and at times I probably deserved it. But when you lose trust in the person you care about more than anything, you don’t want to put yourself out there to be tricked again. Maybe that meant I was going to be alone my whole life. Maybe a lot of people aren’t capable of monogamous relationships.

Despite making it clear to Michael that I had no intention of going back to him, it wounded me how fast he returned to his ex. He just carried on with his life with seemingly no worries about the wreckage he left behind him. It made me feel as if we never existed as more than just a casual fling, and how could this be true when he’d been everything to me, the man who would always be first in my life? I adored him- my best friend and my lover. And then he turned into a fraud, my betrayer, the man who broke my heart. Why? I still needed to know what Isaac gave him that I couldn’t. Maybe it was just me.

I looked back with regret, wondering if something I failed to say might have made a difference. No, not the “I love you’ sentiments, more like explaining some of the decisions I was making in counseling with my therapist, Zeke Carter. The real reason I elected- no needed- to leave his parents’ house after graduation from Santa Bella High but couldn’t move with him when he went to college in northern Cali. I was afraid of hurting his feelings, and it made me sound desperate. Then, Isaac waltzed in and it didn’t matter.

It wasn’t until after the love flamed out and the ashes began to settle that Zeke gave me a name for the intense relationship Michael and I had. He called it codependency and it is not a good thing. That means that I made Michael my entire source of happiness. Before that, I was so needy and immature that I put way too much pressure on my boyfriend, even though nobody knew about our commitment at the time. Zeke and I had spoken in terms of it of my friendship being unhealthy and self-destructive, and it was certainly that. At a critical time in my life when I was nearly eighteen and should’ve been taking important steps into manhood, I handed Michael the starring role in my life and relegated myself to the background.

Of course, the reasons for this were plentiful: my fucked up life as a kid, putting too much belief in Michael and expecting him to be the one to fulfill me. Deliberate or not, he claimed way too much power over me. I didn’t trust my own instincts and he had many more life experiences than I did. He was, literally, the only person my age who accepted me for who I was, but whatever I meant to him, in the end it wasn’t as if I was even a real person. I certainly felt more like a sex object when the person I worshipped chose to show how little importance he placed on our bond and ripped my world apart. But cheating grows you up fast.

I had to learn the responsibilities of being an adult- getting a job, buying a car and even moving out on my own. Testing myself had a lot of advantages, one which was figuring out life to see what made me, Dax Stephenson, tick. Only after I learned to stand on my own feet would I be able to have a mature relationship with Michael and, hopefully, Happy Ever After would kick in for the next eighty or so years. Unfortunately, I’m not going to get my HEA with Michael. His fault, not mine. I just get to live with the consequences.

Zeke had encouraged me to develop close friendships with others. That was easier said than done because I’ve always been shy, insecure and very distrustful of other people. Michael’s behavior reinforced why I shouldn’t have faith in others. Since moving in, I hadn’t even bothered to take the time to explore the apartment complex I lived in to see if anyone else my age lived there, nor had I made friends at work or school. Zeke said I needed to take back my power by befriending others but it all felt so hopeless.

Despite my rage, I knew I was still in love with Michael. Oh god, I missed him so much, but nobody has written a manual on how to make sense out of this. The price I carried in my heart were the bleakest of memories of trust and affection and great sex that now made me want to vomit. Or hit something. I was trying to move on. Maybe it seemed harsh, but turning my back on him was the only way I could deal.

I tricked myself into believing I didn’t care, and for a long time I was bitter. Yeah, I probably still am. He’s the spoiled, pretty boy from a privileged background, attending college in Eureka, living the freshman party life and sleeping with his ex-lover. I was basically an orphan kid with a lot of issues who lost my home and my future, forcing myself every day just to get up and make a few dollars to eat and pay rent. So excuse me for my self-pity and sounding a little self-indulgent but I’m so fucked. This was my way of working through it.

Donna and Robert Capshaw, Michael’s parents and my legal guardians, were genuinely caring people who were the exception to the ‘can’t count on anyone’ rule. I knew without a doubt that they loved me and considered me their fourth child even though a year ago I was just some teenager that Michael dragged in off the street. I felt so awful for listening to him when he talked me into deceiving them, and it made me think I was a burden to them. After everything I’d put them through during the last five months of my senior year, they still cared about me, and I was grateful for their patience and understanding. They helped get me through the darkest period of my life.

At the very least they didn’t dump me after they discovered that their gay son and I had been sleeping together down the hall from them for four months. After I moved out they kept in touch, inviting me over for dinner almost every week. Donna would drop by my apartment on a regular basis with ‘food she made too much of’ to round out my diet of microwave meals and junk. For my part, I was the spare back and extra set of hands around the house when Robert had a fix-it project and couldn't manage on his own. I also learned how to play guide for Donna and the rest of the realtors in her agency during showings of model homes in new housing communities.

I was afraid of reaching out to anyone for companionship and refused to admit I had emotional needs that weren’t getting filled. Friends: ah, too many variables. With every person I met, I had to consider what they wanted from me and how soon they would jettison me once I was found lacking. I let myself be too busy to make an honest effort. Searching for another boyfriend, someone to love me, was out of the question. Sex, well, we’ll get into that later.

I ended up squeaking by. The apartment I moved into was old and rundown but it met my needs. Cheap, close to everything important and I spent so little time there, why bother with a better place? The one downside was the toddler who lived next door screamed eighteen hours a day. With my restaurant kitchen job, I put every spare cent into paying off the used Toyota truck I bought in June. I guess I got lucky because it ran without major breakdowns, I didn’t have to spend a lot of money on upkeep and it didn’t guzzle gas.

My employment at the seafood place lasted until early September when the tourist season ended. Just when I was going to get laid off my boss recommended me to his brother who owned a Mexican restaurant in town. With me not speaking much Spanish or having people skills, the other kitchen help hated me, so I went out and found a temporary job for the holidays at one of the larger chain retail stores in the mall, unloading the trucks. I also found work on campus at the community college I attended.

In late August I began my freshman year at Seaview C.C., a large, diverse school encompassing Santa Bella and many of the small cities surrounding it. I registered for a full load of classes- advanced algebra, Euro-History and biology with a lab. At just under the twelve units needed to swing financial aid, I took a concert choir class. Hey, when it’s your first year of college and you’re way down on the totem pole as far as registration dates are concerned, you feel lucky for what you can find.

Concert choir wasn’t exactly as I pictured it. The music I expected really wasn’t my favorite genre, and yes, we learned from some of the choral masters of the past centuries like Bach, Hairston, Shaw and, of course, show tunes, but every semester we also included one more-contemporary piece. We put on two recitals each term, and in the fall that meant one in October and one at Christmas. I’ve been told I have a good voice, I like to sing and it was only for one hour a week. I couldn’t complain about getting an easy ‘A’, having some fun and fulfilling a graduation requirement all in one shot.

Our first presentation included music from Apocalyptica, the Finnish symphonic metal band, with words that reminded me of my breakup with Michael and made me wish we could go back and relive that terrible day:

But in this heart of darkness our hope lies lost and torn. All fame like love is fleeting when there's no hope anymore. And in this heart of darkness our hope lies on the floor. All love like fame is fleeting when there's no hope anymore.

Michael. I both loved and hated him. I hated that I loved him and that he was the first thing to come to mind when I woke up in the morning and the last thing I thought of at night. His absence made me feel so needy, questioning whether I’d missed any telltale signs ahead of time that might have warned me he was going to screw me over. And when I couldn’t find anything, I wanted to kick myself, knowing there had to be at least one and I was just too stupid to notice. I couldn’t get away from the negative his leaving me caused.

Being an unwilling participant in the lifestyle of my substance-abusing mother, I had every intention of staying sober once on my own. But the memory of Michael’s disloyalty kept ripping off the scab, and I was so desperate to find a way to stop hurting. Even before leaving high school I found a source to get what I needed. It was easy to slide into smoking bud on a regular basis, and I told myself that I could be careful to set limits and that it wouldn’t interfere with college and work. I would not allow it to get out of control or let myself become addicted to anything. I felt that the Man Upstairs owed me a couple of guardian angels to watch over me.

I figured out a way to trade for a fake California ID that instantly turned me twenty-one so I could buy liquor and get into places that served it. Cigarettes were socially acceptable and provided a good way to open a conversation. Joints and beer took the edge off my anxiety and the memories of being with Michael. My dealer noticed how tired out I was, and we talked about depression and my need to forget. He introduced me to pills which hyped me up, then sold me more to calm down the anxiety they produced. Ecstasy was cool, and I liked the way it sharpened my senses and melded the edges of my surroundings. You know, like tasting colors.

And of course, you know what they say about sex, drugs and rock and roll, although in my case, the music was more diverse, more beat-driven. I loved indie and alternative riffs and could find playlists for every mood I was in. Even though I wasn’t looking for friends, I craved human contact beyond those I met through school. I began going to raves, and there were a couple gay clubs near my apartment where I had some anonymity and could at least admit my lifestyle. The club people were not friends, just someone to hang with, but they opened doors I hadn’t even known existed.

Let me make it clear that as a direct result of the prejudice I experienced in high school, I was very much in the closet at Seaview. Many of my former classmates attended the community school, but I was barely on speaking terms with most of them so I could get by with a detached greeting if one was necessary at all. I had too much direct experience with high school homophobia and the physical violence it spawned. I kept my life in Santa Bella, where I was kind of out, totally separate from the college crowd, gamely hoping that never the two would meet, or at least not compare notes.

I might have recognized one or two SBH alumni in my history class, but I wasn’t a member of the social elite and they ignored me. If the snobs wanted to pretend I didn’t exist, that was fine by me. I cultivated a ‘straight’ vibe and stuck to a fast rule- no checking out male students- to preserve my secret. In choir, I selected the prettiest girls in the class and paid attention to how the other boys referred to them, doing the same. I labeled them my ‘babes’, and yes, it objectified them, much to my dismay. But better to be thought a jackass than to have to explain that I preferred sleeping with men.

It’s my belief that inside every timid person is a bolder part fighting to break free. I wanted to be self-confident and make friends without wondering what they were after. Part of that bravado, combined with my recent growth and involvement in the club scene, spurred me on to make some changes in my wardrobe and general looks. One afternoon after my shift at the store, I found myself in a jeweler’s shop in the mall, holding still and gritting my teeth as holes were put in my earlobes. The studs I bought were small and non-ostentatious, basically small gold spheres about an eighth of an inch in diameter, but I liked them.

Michael made me question myself, my masculinity, my sexual orientation, everything. Since I was loath at first to meet anyone new, Zeke proposed that maybe I wasn’t really gay, that I had an attraction to the one person who I saw in front of me and he was gay. So what did that make me- Michael-sexual?

I was very confused, wanting him back and despising him at the same time, pulled by the conflicting forces. I didn’t really feel an appeal for anyone at first, male or female, but I quickly decided that needed to be remedied immediately. Zeke’s observations about whether I was really gay annoyed me no end, and the need to prove him wrong about Michael and me was powerful. Michael had awakened the sexual beast in me, and fucking was the best stress-relief around. I craved familiar and comfortable, and I had no interest in females and wasn’t interested in playing experimentation games. I gave up trying to figure it out and went with what I knew because it leveled the playing field and didn’t offend me with inconsistencies.

The first time I was ever asked for a blowjob was from, believe it or not, one of the jocks in Lamont Shores’ gang of bigots who had targeted me for abuse in high school. He saw me one night at the restaurant, and we locked eyes, surprising me with the lust in his. An hour later when I got off work, he was waiting by my truck with a big, hard cock trying to explode through his jeans, asking if I’d help him out and claiming to be a deeply-closeted gay. I laughed in his face, but his assumptions made me angry. I told him to go find a girl.

His request seemed to break something inside me, or maybe it was because nobody was going to assist me without my asking. It was so effortless to get admitted to the bars and dance clubs, and I went with one goal in mind. However, I discovered a weird trait I didn’t know about myself. Partially fueled by the drugs I was using, especially the sparkle or 2C-E- whatever- which offered some incredible tripping, I found out I was a good at dancing. I’d walk into a rave and within minutes be out on the floor searching for that appreciative eye and start flirting. It was so easy to find and pick up someone who was hungry for sex and go back to his place for the night. I simply turned off the switch that begged for emotional intimacy and sought ways to satisfy my urges, numbing out the shame and loneliness. Vague, forgettable, passionless fucking.

Even though I now stood at five-foot-nine, I still had the body type many preferred, kind of willowy but strong through my core. I wasn’t intimidating, but I didn’t look so vulnerable that I was easy prey either. Hard as nails on the outside, soft as sin on the inside, I schooled myself in safety techniques around strangers. I stuck to the solitary gays my age who looked safe and sensible, and I always used condoms. I got myself tested at the clinic regularly. I could turn on the charm and get my way, especially when drugs were involved. Careful not to get so loaded that I endangered myself, I was convinced I could spot trouble ahead of time. I guess in retrospect I was in a self-destructive mode, and I was lucky I didn’t get assaulted or my ass kicked.

The first man I was with after Michael was not even sure he was gay but had wandered into a gay bar to satisfy his curiosity. Not the safest avenue, true, but he was afraid of mortifying himself in front of his friends. He was twenty-one and in his senior year of college, majoring in nursing. Underage though I might be, my new ID was legit enough that I wasn’t hassled over entrance, and he bought me a couple of beers before I followed him to his place. It was sort of shocking to find myself more sexually experienced than him and having to become teacher, but he was probably the best I could’ve hoped for in terms of my initial casual hook-up.

I talked him through his first blowjob and, except for the occasionally painful nips when his teeth got in the way, he wasn’t bad. I went down on him and discovered I had very little gag reflex and could deep throat him with ease. I also was pleased to find a very responsive moaner on my hands which turned me on incredibly. I showed him how to open my ass up for intercourse and he was very careful and gentle. His firm thrusts inside me were dead on and seemed to hit my prostate instinctively, and I literally cried when I began to cum. It was due to Michael and the overwhelming upsurge of deeply-buried emotions, of course, but I had explained my recent breakup beforehand, and the new gay convert held me for an hour to let me sob out my distress in his arms.

Top, bottom, oral, I didn’t much care. Most of the guys were like my first, just one-offs, but a few hung around a couple of weeks before I got scared of committing myself and dumped them or set myself up for circumstances in which they would ditch me. It wasn’t like I was in love with any of them. Sometimes I would let my partners buy stuff for me, but I never hustled and I never whored. I even found myself playing the ‘other man’ role once or twice with a sick sense of retribution in which I imagined I was getting back at Michael. The best part was that the sex was regular.

The three people I wasn’t able to fool were the Capshaws and Zeke.

As much as I tried to pretend I was okay so they wouldn’t worry, I couldn’t hide my loneliness and uncertainty from Robert and Donna. They had been concerned about me when I told them I was moving out, doubtful that with my history I could safely exist in the outside world. I think they also saw through my faux good cheer, knowing how reserved I was with strangers but hoping I’d find someone to relate to who would heal my heart.

The sex was the last thing they’d ever question, but I’m sure they suspected that I was using drugs. There were a couple of times I went to dinner at their home in the fall when I was high, and Donna showed up once at my apartment just after I completed a deal for some Ecstasy. She’s a smart lady with her own real estate business and, after raising three teens of her own, had some street smarts. She knew the other kid wasn’t a friend. I never felt condemnation from her or Robert, just worry, and I loved them more than I had a right to. I felt terrible over how much I was letting them down but I told myself I’d make it up to them and stop using.

On the other hand, I remained very open with my counselor, Zeke, about the sex, and he wasn’t someone I even bothered to hide my drug use from. I know he was troubled about the yin and yang of my life; successful in work and school but unable to maintain any personal relationships. He tried to prod me into trusting someone- anyone- but it took a long while for me to feel confident in myself. We talked about my love for Michael at almost every session because Zeke identified him as the catalyst for my downward spiral.

Zeke said Michael’s insecurities and low self-esteem made him an easy target for Isaac’s abuse. As secure as his upbringing had been and as loving and forgiving as his parents were, he had a surprising lack of emotional maturity. He was very unsure of himself and didn’t believe he deserved good things, including me. Most likely he had self-sabotaged our relationship subconsciously. Thinking I would find him out eventually and leave him, he decided not to give me a chance and let Isaac in to manipulate and abuse both of us. Michael was probably already mourning what he did as much as I did which made me feel good. It served him right.

Anyway, Zeke recommended a self-help book about growing up gay in a non-tolerant culture that used true stories to describe many types of psychological scenarios. I devoured the book and it made a lot of sense, for both me and Michael. He also harped on me to make friends, but the walls I had built around myself were huge, and I didn’t trust easily. Aloof I could handle, distance meant safety, but sharing I wasn’t ready for. I knew I was depressed. The drugs and sex masked my turmoil and kept me from dwelling on the mess my life would become with just one misstep. But that is a conundrum of youth- knowing you’re screwing up and why but not really giving a damn. Why would I want to change when it was easier to live on cruise control?



I would be lying if I said life’s been easy since Dax left my parents’ house and I started college. For more than seven weeks around high school graduation we lived in near-silence while I tried to find a way to make it up to him and convince him to take me back. Okay, maybe I didn’t try all that hard because I had Isaac trilling in my ear the whole time about how great it would be once I started college at Humboldt and we could be together. Dax had made it clear that we were done; he even changed his telephone number on his cell so I couldn’t get in contact with him after he moved out. I figured I would be okay, I’d get over him soon enough and even if he didn’t want me, I had someone in my life who did.

Big mistake! First of all, I missed Dax dreadfully. Memories of him occupied many of my waking thoughts; I would find myself wondering what he would think of a certain professor or the difference in climate between Eureka and Santa Bella, or how much he’d enjoy the beaches near the Oregon border. I longed for his easygoing companionship and sharp wit. I missed all the little things he used to do that made me feel loved. I dreamed about him constantly and would wake up early in the morning, my cock rigid and demanding his touch, wanting to cry. I ached for the incredible love he made to me.

Best friends, lovers, keeper of secrets until I let Isaac take us down.

Second, what I supposedly had with Isaac was a mere fraction of what Dax and I had shared. Before we even left for college he was already acting cold towards me and verbally abusing me for his shortcomings. You know what they say about insanity… that it’s doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results? That was my relationship with Isaac, expecting him to treat me better the second time around. It was like once he’d won me, he didn’t want me anymore. It was all about his jealousy of the relationship I shared with Dax, and after he manipulated me into destroying it, I bored him.

He had this way of speaking to me that made me feel as if I wasn’t allowed to have a differing opinion from him. His voice would turn scornful, irritated and cold, and I would know I was in trouble unless I started tiptoeing through the eggshells. It was a very stressful way to live where I would have to watch what I said, almost holding my breath if I had to ask Isaac a favor or change the subject in a conversation. Anything could set him off, and even though I suspected that he was cheating on me behind my back, I had no proof, and I was already leery of what he might do if I challenged him.

Demanding, moody, nothing was ever good enough and he was selfish about sex. He expected far more out of me than he was willing to give back. I was required to answer my cell phone immediately when he called or texted, and he accused me of ignoring him when I didn’t. But oh, how he had the excuses ready when I tried to get in touch with him. He stood me up all the time when we were supposed to go out. The worst was how he’d disappear for days; when we finally connected I’d usually have the scent of another man on him. He was just like the ass who broke up with me halfway through my junior year of high school, accusing me of flirting and cheating when he was the guilty one. I should have walked out but I was too entrenched in saving the relationship, and I couldn’t stand admitting defeat.

My dishonesty with Dax haunted me. Sometimes I felt I deserved Isaac’s indifference, my punishment for my deceit. I tried to rationalize, but I knew I’d let Isaac prove he still had control over me by luring me into sex. Dax and I shared something he couldn’t have- a committed relationship between two people who adored each other. He probably set out to break us up as soon as he met Dax and realized what he meant to me, and I was so pathetic I let him. He couldn’t stand for others to be happy when he’s such a miserable SOB, but he brings his own unhappiness to the table through his self-centered behavior. He might have used me to hurt Dax, but I had to accept a large part of the blame.

Dax was a subject I definitely could not discuss with Isaac. He had a hundred labels for him, all of them unkind. Isaac was born an only child with a silver spoon in his mouth, and he had a very disdainful, arrogant outlook on life where, I guess, others were there to serve him. Therefore, he did not take pity on the less fortunate. To listen to him, Dax deserved his rough upbringing, being molested and raped and the death of his mother. Maybe Isaac was the kind of guy to wish bad luck on the people he hated, but I wasn’t allowed to publicly show Dax any sympathy either. As time went by, it certainly made me ask myself why I was even with this guy.

His favorite epithet for Dax was ‘loser’, and therefore, I was also a loser for being in love with him. Dax was a thousand times smarter, sweeter, cuter and more pleasant than Isaac would ever be, and he was the loser? I made the mistake of claiming that Dax was a good-looking guy in front of him soon after our arrival at school; one of Isaac’s friends asked how we met, and my boyfriend loved to tell the story of how he stole me away from him. I insisted that Dax was not the pathetic loser he claimed and even backed my side up with a picture of him I carried in my wallet. Where our companions were whistling and agreeing with me, Isaac regarded me coldly.

That night he demanded the picture and ripped it to pieces in front of me while I pretended not to care. Grabbing my fingers, he bent them backwards until I screamed in pain. Then he took me hard with very little preparation and even less lube, and he slammed fully into me on the first thrust. It hurt so much, and all I could think of the entire time was how Dax would never hurt me. He was the man in my fantasy while Isaac was making me bleed. He was the only reason I was able to cum. Not for the first time was I aware of what I’d given up, but I think it was the first time I realized how dangerous being Isaac’s boyfriend could be. He had a temper that could flare in seconds.

My parents turned out to be surprisingly reasonable about me being gay. After all, they had suspected since I was fourteen when my mom found gay porn hidden under my mattress. Being here at Humboldt, I’ve met several gay kids in my dorm, and many share the same kind of experience. I guess I should consider myself lucky that my parents are so understanding. The funniest thing is that, as upset as they were about us having sex in my room, Mom seems to believe we should still be together.

What they’re having a difficult time pardoning me for is hurting Dax. I talked to Mom and Dad by cell several times a week, and the conversation always seemed to wind its way back to how he was getting along. Besides the usual discussion about his job and schooling, I was forced to respond to questions about Isaac, whom they can’t stand. Then would come the mild scolding over the way I allowed him to use me to injure Dax’s feelings and break us up. Naturally, I hated being scolded, even though I deserved it. I’d rather hear how well Dax was doing at Seaview College, taking a full load of classes and getting straight A’s on top of working forty hours a week. He made me feel like an incompetent slacker

It’s like Dax’s whole life is extremely busy and centered on work, school and sleep, living on minimum wage and the remains of a settlement from his mother’s death. They offered to help him out financially, but he was too proud to accept it and felt he would be a burden because they weren’t his biological parents. I can so see him being like that. This was what led to our only major disagreement before we broke up. I wanted him to stay at Mom and Dad’s or move up here with me where he would be loved and protected. I had no idea at the time that the person he needed protection from was me.

What wasn’t stated but I heard in the background was how much Dax is still hurting. He never complained to Mom and Dad but they could tell. They had taken to inviting him for dinner, and when they asked about friends he would get this look on his face that told them how lonely he is. Yeah, that’s my fault too. Dax has always kept to himself and doesn’t trust people easily. Since I was his only friend in high school, I wasn’t surprised. And he’s not the kind of guy who will go looking for companionship; it would have to find him. It made me feel so guilty seeing the far-reaching effects my treachery had caused.

So here it was, mid-October and I had been up in Eureka for two months with no breaks. Isaac claimed some kind of family function with his cousins over the upcoming weekend in Redding a hundred fifty miles away that he couldn’t take me to, and my Friday morning class had been canceled. By ditching my Thursday afternoon geography lab, with any luck I could have a four-day weekend, and I called up Mom and Dad and asked if they’d bring me home for a small vacation. So late on Wednesday night I caught a flight into San Diego. It felt good to be back.

I spent all day Thursday and most of Friday visiting local friends and relaxing with my parents. Of course I was able to share with Mom and Dad much more information in person than I ever could over my cell phone. But the details on Isaac I kept private because it only would have worried them. I’m fairly sure they saw through his bullshit, giving them another reason not to like him, but I didn’t want an ‘I told you so’ nor listen to questions on whether I was being mistreated. I wished I could find a way to leave Isaac but I was afraid of him.

It felt very weird being back in my old bedroom without Dax in the adjoining one, and I stood for a long time in our bathroom that first night staring through the door at his empty walls and bare mattress. I even sat on his bed and cried a little thinking about my actions and where they had led, wondering what Dax was doing and if he was with anybody. That thought brought up more pain than I could’ve imagined. It was five months since I had tossed him away like trash, and the recrimination just would not let me go. Oh yes, I deserved it, all of it, but I could tell it would be a long time before I got over my lover. Losing him was the biggest mistake of my life.

We were eating dinner together Friday night when Dax’s name came up, and my parents sadly told me they suspected he was using drugs. I almost choked on my food, I was so astonished.

“That can’t be possible,” I protested. “Dax doesn’t use. In high school, he was one of the most anti-drug students I knew.”

Dad took a sip of his coffee and shook his head. “I know what I saw, Michael.” My father is a representative from a pharmaceutical company so he’s up on all that kind of shit. “He’s come over here high many times. Just last weekend he was helping out in the backyard when we were bracing up some of the fruit trees, and I had to pull him off the Skil saw because I was afraid he’d do something stupid like cut his hand off.”

“I think I caught him with his dealer a couple weeks ago,” Mom revealed, broaching another tale that made me sit up and listen. “If that kid I saw him with was a friend, then he’s going for a much rougher class of companion than he did while living here. Dax was extremely nervous about us meeting each other too.”

I sat there chewing my food in shock, and the idea of my Dax using scared the shit out of me. How could his life had gotten so bad that he was on drugs? Oh yeah, I happened to him. I volunteered to talk to him, and they tried to discourage me, knowing I was the last person he’d want to see. But I was adamant.

“I can’t just ignore this,” I pleaded firmly. “I have to try to make him see reason.”

“Just don’t be surprised if Dax slams the door in your face,” Mom told me as she prepared to take the meat platter into the kitchen. “He isn’t handling life well right now. Dax still hasn’t forgiven you for what you did, and it’s going to take a long time before he does. He changed a lot and isn’t the same boy who lived here with us last year. It’s very sad.”

I stopped by Dax’s apartment the following morning. Judging by the complete silence surrounding me, I would’ve thought he was out except for the fact that his truck was in his parking spot. I rang the doorbell three times before I heard movement inside and then his tired, surly growl. “For Christ’s sake, give me a chance to wake up. It’s only 8:30 on a goddamned Saturday.” Umm, grouchy!

I don’t know what I expected to see when he threw the latch, but this definitely wasn’t it.

Dax lounged against the doorframe, his honey, shoulder-length hair tousled from sleep, his exhausted, red-rimmed eyes barely camouflaged by that hair floating in his face. He’d grown another inch since July and was less filled-out but more muscled than I remembered. He was barefoot and a freshly-lit cigarette hung from his pouty lips. Since the Dax I knew had always despised smoking it was another unpleasant surprise.

But what caused my mouth to drop open in shock were the tight, shiny black club pants that clung sensuously to Dax’s thighs and hung so low on his thin hips that I could see his pubes. They laced at the crotch, but the strings were untied, gapping the front open enough so that the top of his flaccid cock was visible above the leather. The thin fabric flawlessly defined the rest of his package below, and I saw no evidence of underwear. Setting off his shoulders at a muscular advantage was a tight purple tank top with a black net overlay and a suggestive graphic design of a rigid phallus asking, ‘Are you hard yet?’

It was clear from Dax’s sexy, rumpled appearance that he’d fallen asleep in last night’s clothes. It was also clear, if I was to adjudge from his attire, that he was doing much more than simply going to class and work. This was a side of my modest, formerly-shy ex-boyfriend that I’d never even imagined. He looked like a total slut, and my penis instantly rose to the challenge of the sleeveless shirt to expand painfully in my jeans. I let my eyes memorize him.

“Oh shit, it’s you,” Dax said disdainfully, glaring at me. “What do you want?”

I honestly did not know how to respond right away. I bit my lip to gain some control and tried to will my errant cock to behave. “God, Dax, what are you thinking, answering the door like that? What if I’d been a little kid?”

He sneered and looked down at his half-dressed self. “Not likely. The only kid around here is the screaming brat next door.” But he did pull the laces tight to close the gap on his pants.

“Can I come in?” I asked, trying to control my breathing and not stare.

Dax’s irritation could not hide his distress. “What are you doing here?”

“Mom and Dad sent me,” I fibbed. Well, they were at least the reason I’d gone to see him.

Dax looked me over, and anger filled his glazed eyes. “Yeah, I’ll bet.”

But he stood aside for me to enter his apartment. When he went to shut the door behind us, I saw the flare of his perfect ass cheeks outlined in the soft leather, and I moaned softly under my breath. My cock noticed too, and I had to fight to remind myself why I was there.

The apartment living room was simply furnished with a couch and chair I recognized from my family’s attic, a rustic table and large ceramic urn lamp. A card table and two folding chairs sat under a decrepit hanging lamp in what was obviously a dining alcove. Surprisingly clean and uncluttered, the only items out of place were a box of condoms inside a white plastic shopping bag from a nearby drugstore and a half-full bottle of Jack Daniels on the kitchen counter.

“How are you doing, bro?” I asked by way of starting the conversation and hoping I could distract him from his foul mood.

He scowled at me, puffing the cigarette and blowing smoke. “First of all, I’m not your ‘bro’, and I was awesome until you showed up on my doorstep. I thought I told you to stay away from me.”

“Sorry, I really am here because of my parents.” I tried to soothe him, to keep him talking before he threw me out on my ass. “They’re worried about you and said you’re smoking weed. Please tell me you’re not.” His red eyes and haggard appearance spoke of more than just a little bud.

Dax shrugged like it was no big deal. “So what! It’s my life.”

I shook my head and a tightness settled in my chest. It was just as my parents had said. This Dax was a totally different animal than the shy, responsible boy I’d lived with for nearly ten months. Gone was the naïveté and eager-to-please sweetness. He was pitiless, unbreakable. With a huge mouthful of guilt, I realized I was the one who made him like this so who was I to complain?

“Yeah, maybe, but you have people who care about you.”

“Who, you?” He outright laughed in my face. “Go back to Humboldt, Michael, and leave me alone.”

His attitude made me angry, despite my good intentions to not lose my temper. “So you can what? Kill yourself by being stupid?” I indicated his clothes. “And since when did you start going to clubs? You aren’t even old enough to get through the door of most of those places.”

“A lot you know,” he challenged me, his eyes seething. “You lost the right to dictate my life when we broke up. I don’t have to answer to you about how I spend my time or who I’m with. I can drink, party and fuck anyone I choose without your permission. Just like you didn’t ask mine to fuck Isaac.”

My stomach roiled thinking about him with another man, of anyone else getting pleasure from him, and I was instantly jealous. Ignoring the way his scantily-clad body affected me was out of the question, and I threw Dax a heated look smoldering with lust. Judging from his attire, he was hitting the party scene pretty hard and I wondered if he was into some crazy sub-dom shit. All he needed were boots, chains and a collar. His sexy pants adhered so hotly to his groin I wanted to rip them off and fuck him senseless right then and there on his living room floor.

Instead, my gaze fluttered to the condoms on the counter. “At least, I hope you’re being careful,” I warned.

“Again, not your business,” he spat. “But if you have to know, the only person I never had to use protection with was you. At least until…”

His rage was like a towering wall, and I felt myself retreating from it. I took a deep breath, feeling miserable as the responsibility for ruining Dax’s life shot home through my gut.

“I am so sorry,” I said in a husky voice, “for every way I hurt you. I can’t believe I threw away what we had over Isaac. You were worth so much more…”

“Just words, Michael,” he scoffed, but at least he didn’t look like he was going to choke the life out of me. “You are five months too late. For apologizing, for wanting me back, for making me think we had a future.”

I opened my mouth to retort that he’d never given me a chance to rectify the trouble between us and closed it again wordlessly, knowing it wasn’t true. Who was I to go crawling to Dax on my knees when it was my fault we were apart?

“I know,” I admitted. “I was stupid to take the easy way out; I never even stopped to consider your feelings. I just shoved your life back into your hands like you meant nothing.”

“And that’s exactly what I was to you- nothing.” His voice was sad now, not angry. “But it doesn’t matter anymore. We both have to live with the consequences.”

“Your consequences don’t have to mean getting fucked up on drugs, man,” I exclaimed. “I know this is my fault, but no matter what I did, you have to take care of yourself. You’re far too smart for that shit.”

Dax stood there speechless for a change, his head tilted to the side as he contemplated my words. Except for his stick-thin figure and haunting eyes, he looked good, but then he was Dax. It would take a lot to make him look like less than a god.

All his ire seemed to have left him. This was the first conversation we’d had in over five months, the only one in which I didn’t try to rationalize my behavior, and I think he was a little taken aback. This wasn’t about manipulation over getting back together or even being friends again. There were no stupid excuses. I needed him to know it wasn’t him to blame, it was me, the asshole who had made a mess of our lives.

In a quiet voice that was far calmer than I deserved, Dax began to talk about his therapist, Zeke Carter, and some of their sessions which, unsurprisingly, were about me. How underneath the surface I was so insecure that I subconsciously believed Dax would bail on us so I made the first strike. Why I didn’t stand up for us against my ex. “He says you have huge self-image issues, Michael, and if you’re still with Isaac, he’s right.”

I hung my head, not wishing to listen to what was coming next but knowing I must. Dax had always been the intelligent one, the person who could talk me out of my insanity and make me see reason. He had figured Isaac out long before I did and knew his power over me. I just wish I’d listened when he tried to warn me. Back when Dax was still part of my life and it would have made a difference.

He talked about his codependency and how he had placed his whole life in my hands because I was the only one willing to accept him for who he was. He had many hang-ups from his childhood and the abuse he’d suffered, and neither of us was equipped to deal with them head on. My own lack of self-esteem was so threatened I had fostered a way to break us up because I felt unworthy of him. Certainly, my guilt over the split was driving me back into Isaac’s arms.

Dax said, judging from what he’d observed of my new-old boyfriend and the account I’d told him about our first time together, he was positive I was being mistreated. Verbal abuse is just as damaging as physical; maybe even more psychologically because it grinds you down and strips you of your self-respect. I probably thought I deserved the abuse from him, and it would only get worse until I found the strength to break away.

He brought up the real reason he wanted to move out of Mom and Dad’s, which he’d been just as blind to at the time as me, and how unbalanced our relationship was. Until we recognized that we were locked in a power struggle over where I was going to live once he left for college and saw it for what it was, the fighting would have driven us apart in the long run. I was crippling him by not letting him grow up, and our love would’ve been doomed eventually because of it.

I looked down at my shoes so Dax wouldn’t see my how torn up I was inside. Oh God! I felt awful as I listened to our entire past fall into place. I didn’t know why he hadn’t spoken up beforehand, but there could be no fault on Dax’s shoulders except not being psychic. I had no justification whatsoever.

“So where does that leave us?” I asked, grasping at hope. I mean, it really sounded to me as if something of our friendship could be salvaged and he was willing to try. I know I was willing.

But that was not so. “We can’t go back.” His brown eyes held so much sadness I couldn’t look at him. “I don’t think I could trust you again. I would always look at any male in your life as someone you’d replace me with. Besides, you’re with Isaac. I truly do hope he’s changed and is making you happy.”

I simply nodded. There was no way I was going to admit to Dax that he’d been right all along about Isaac and I desperately wanted out of the relationship. It was too humiliating.

“Look, Michael,” Dax went on softly, his face drawn. “I’m serious about you staying away from me. I am still working on forgiving you for what you did, but that doesn’t mean I’m strong enough to have you in my life. Please just leave me alone.”

His decision was so final it made my heart hurt. I’d truly lost my one chance at happiness. “Just promise me you’ll stop smoking and get off the drugs,” I begged. “You don’t need them, and I want you to be safe.” I so wanted to beseech him for another chance but knew it was useless. Once Dax made up his mind, it was done.

Dax didn’t reply. He opened the front door and stood there waiting for me to leave. My eyes flooded with tears, and I numbly started past him feeling like I was walking to my execution. Quite without my meaning to, as if my fingers had a mind of their own, I reached out to gently brush the soft, bare skin of Dax’s abdomen just under his navel. I quietly groaned in desire, and I heard Dax’s breathing hitch. I lifted hurt eyes to his confused ones and stopped breathing. That we wanted each other was so evident!

Then, horrified, I was dashing down the sidewalk as fast as I could, disgusted with myself over what I’d done. I frantically drove home, and my mother found me in the kitchen wiping my eyes on a dishtowel. I shrugged when she asked how it went, but she could see that nothing was changed between me and Dax. She hugged me to her and held up her cell phone. “Dax texted me right after you left. He says his therapist recommended a book to him, and you need to read it. He also suggested that you get some counseling through the college.”

I looked at the message, noting the name of the book and deciding I’d go to Barnes & Nobel that very afternoon to buy it. I figured I should be angry that he was being somewhat of a hypocrite, telling me what to do with my life when he wouldn’t listen to me. But I knew it was in my best interests and he was right. I was in a fucked-up mess with Isaac and I needed a better understanding of all of us. If it somehow meant that there was a convoluted chance of getting Dax back, however small, I’d do just about anything.

I flew back to Eureka, college and Isaac. The first thing he asked me when we got together Monday evening in his apartment was if I’d seen Dax over the weekend, and I had no reason to lie. I told him about the suspected drug use and how concerned my parents were. That I had gone to see him and we talked over some of our past but it didn’t change anything. The next thing I knew, my cheek was burning like it was on fire, my nose was dripping blood and I was cowering in front of infuriated Isaac as he raised his fist to strike me again.



Michael’s appearance at my apartment surprised and disturbed me. I wasn’t ready for the flood of emotions welling up inside when I saw his face nor did I want to confront how he made me ache for him. Stabbing me in the heart were baffling memories of loving him and how complete he used to make me feel. The way he touched me as he left made my skin burn, and there was no mistaking his intentions. His eyes had begged me to take him back. He was sorry and wanted me, but I couldn’t go there, not when I still felt so much pain over his disloyalty.

Five months of forcing him out of my mind went out the window with that stroke, the desire just as fresh as when we were lovers. When I was naïve and thought he was my entire world. Unfortunately, the anger I had been using for months as a shield to cushion the blow of our parting had faded to a dull throb. My emotions were once again in flux and sharp with conflict without any defense against wanting him too.

That night I was in a new gay club called Cobbles on the far north side of Santa Bella. It was a two-story design built into a converted warehouse, with a bar on both the upper and lower decks. A well-designed stage for weekend live shows was tucked into a corner of the bottom floor, and a large dance quadrangle with the requisite mirror ball was on the top. The overall effect was hard, sharp lines in chrome and ebony with shades of dark red, silver and black. The bartenders and wait staff were all buff, good-looking guys in their early-to-mid twenties dressed in translucent tank tops, tuxedo jackets, bowties and black shorts. Techno music thumped loudly from the sound system, private party rooms lined the side walls and even the bathrooms were large and lux.

I had pre-gamed and was pleasantly buzzed and out on the busy dance floor as usual, wearing a pair of skin-tight low rise black jeans and a maroon button-up over a black tank. Weaving amongst the groping dancers and swaying to the hard-driving beat of the music, I saw a man who looked to be in his middle twenties alone on the other side of the club wearing ripped black leather and staring at me. Tall, with a lanky, fit muscle structure and dark auburn hair, he reminded me a little of Michael. As if mesmerized, I danced my body in his direction and it was if he read my mind because he stepped on to the dance floor and made his way closer to me.

“Connor Wright,” he told me by way of introduction as he sashayed against my hip. His smile was sexy.

I nodded, trying to contain my excitement so he wouldn’t know how interested in him I was. “I’m Dax Stephenson.” Lying, I said I was twenty-one, just like my ID claimed.

Now that he was next to me I could see that Connor didn’t look much like Michael at all. He was a bit heavier, all sinew and hard planes, and his eyes were a very pale green, not tawny. His face, while boyish, spoke of more maturity than the usual guy I hung out with, but I didn’t sense any danger. The only resemblance to my ex was the spiky way he styled his hair and the shape of his nose, but it was still uncanny enough to give me goose bumps.

Connor was, of course, into men and said he was twenty-four. He attended one of the universities in San Diego as a first-year law student and shared a house nearby with a friend. We spent an hour dancing and grinding against each other. He felt me up, making me horny and out of breath and my dick entirely too squeezed in by my fly, and then he suggested we leave. His face was animated and intelligent and something about him excited me. Maybe it was the semi-familiar hair, maybe it was the pot I’d smoked before my arrival, but I was more than eager to go.

I followed Connor to his house and parked at the curb. We went inside the darkened dwelling- his roommate wasn’t home, and he offered me a beer. I drank it and had another as we got to know each other better. We sat close in the small living room with the lights off, our thighs resting closely, and he kept touching me gently on my face. We leaned into a long hug full of light, searching kisses. His long fingers stroked the bulge in my crotch and squeezing my ass through my pants.

Connor bent to kiss me deeply. Ever since the departure of my ex, who was really good at kissing, I shy away from the gesture with other men because the intimacy is too painful.

“Don’t,” I said, trying to avoid his mouth. His confused eyes burned into mine. “It’s a long story about an ex-lover I don’t want to talk about.”

“I can make it better, Dax,” he cooed softly, caressing the hollow of my throat, dragging his thumb over my Adam’s apple and causing me to shiver. “I can make you forget all about him.”

He slowly maneuvered me into his bedroom, his strong arms around me, massaging my neck and back as he kissed my face. He guided me to the bed and pushed me to sit. Reaching to unbutton the cotton shirt and yank my tank over my head, he threw them aside. He pulled apart the snap to unhook my jeans, tugging them off to find me commando, and gave a grunt of appreciation. I lifted up to let him as the waistband scraped over the sensitive skin of my balls. Desire flickered through his green eyes as he stared at my naked body and roughly ran the palms of his hands up my thighs to circle my hips, and he tipped into me to suck on my neck. Already he had me going, and my cock stirred eagerly to life.

Connor tossed me flat on the middle of the mattress and, followed my body, straddling my groin. He bent over me to interweave his fingers into mine, pinning my hands to the bed above my head. I was nearly immobilized, and I squirmed hard against him, noting the way he just held me tighter and refused to release me. “Mmm, you like it rough?” he teased darkly and my eyes widened appreciatively just before he was all over me.

Starting at my hairline, Connor planted small kisses across my forehead, so soft they were like feathers brushing against me. He became bolder, open-mouthing me as he moved down my face to my jaw, throat to shoulder. He was panting as he nibbled the sensitive skin on the back of my arm from elbow to my pit, using his teeth to scrape into the sensitive skin and pull at my hair.

“God,” I rasped as he drew the flesh just above my pectorals into his mouth, sucking until he marked me on both sides. His lips skimmed down my breastbone and across my left nipple to suck on it. I felt it harden into a small knot. I let myself feel the desire flash within and rose rapturously into his caresses.

Jerked awake, my cock was hard and lengthening beneath the cleft in Connor’s ass, dripping precum that threatened to leave a wet spot on his leather pants. His dick was also erect and straining against the black fabric. “Someone wants to come out and play,” he whispered, and he ground his ass into my groin.

Fuck! I moaned aloud and thrashed harder underneath him.

I tried to pull my hands from his so I could tangle my fingers in his red hair and hold him there. He moved to the other side and then back and forth, teasing me with tongue and teeth until each nipple was red, erect and ultra-sensitive. He was taking pleasure in keeping me immobilized and unable to stop his teasing foreplay.

Connor wasn’t naked yet, had not even handled my cock, and I was desperate to be fucked. His lips and tongue worked magic over every inch of my chest and torso and I wanted so much more. As his open mouth moved lower across my bare body, the burn from his unshaved chin grazed on my skin. I was enjoying the surrender to an older man and let him dominate me, wanting to give in to his power and be taken as hard as he desired.

Connor released my hands to quickly strip off his own clothes, and I didn’t even move but stared in reverence. He had a hard, well-toned physique with ropy muscles in his chest, abdomen and shoulders. Thick auburn fur covered him in a line down his sternum before spreading out like a curly mat on his torso. Only his navel escaped the hair with a few curls ringing it, and it was quite thick on his thighs and pubes. His thick penis was red in arousal, cut and about eight inches long with a bell-shaped head. His balls were large, furry and low-hung. I wasn’t sure how I was going to get all of him inside me, but I licked my lips, wanting him.

Cupping my face, Connor kissed me hard, lapping my mouth until I responded and thrusting his tongue inside when I finally opened to him. He swiped over my teeth and sucked at my tongue. We rolled against each other, thighs and hips straining to connect. Placing his body flat on top of mine in perfect unity, he wiggled against me, the friction of his nipples dragging against my own, both of us frantic for the direct skin contact. I looked at Connor through glazed eyes.

I twisted and groaned beneath him as our rock hard cocks found each other. We bumped together in a rocking motion and I felt the sparks build inside, adding fuel to the fire of my lust. My body felt like it was being licked by flames, and I wanted so badly to cum. I needed him, this stranger I had just met, and I cried out, more than ready for him to fuck me.

“You like that, huh Dax?” Connor whispered darkly. “You’ll like this more.”

He slid his hand down between our rapidly sweating bodies and took my hard cock in his hand. He wrapped his fingers around the shaft, twisting up and over the head and using his fingernails to lightly trail down the back, making my nerve endings scream. Oh god! I bucked into his hand as he squeezed harder, the precum slicking his fingers as he worked me, and the sparks inside smoldered into a blaze. “Yes,” I begged. “More.”

He chuckled, an eerie but sensual sound, and rolled sideways off me. He hovered over my dripping cock and stared at it as if examining something he didn’t understand. His narrowed eyes flicked to mine, sultry and deep, and, as he stared, he engulfed me in one slow, sensual mouthful. Oh shit! Lips skimmed my pubic hair as he fiercely sucked on me from base to tip. My ass tried to punch upwards, but Connor had his weight centered over my torso and hips and I couldn’t move. I could barely breathe.

I groaned loudly as Connor gave me one of the best blowjobs I’d ever experienced. His lips slid upwards as his tongue languidly caressed the sensitive back side of my penis and up to circle the crown, using suction to draw precum into his mouth. On each down stroke, he swallowed the head and his throat muscles expertly massaged it. I was rapidly losing control over my feelings, and my hand, one part of my body I could move, gripped his hair and dug into his scalp. How I wanted to plunge my cock violently into his mouth and fuck his face. It was like torture to be forced to go at his pace. Slow, teasing, I was caught in the grip of intense agony I had rarely experienced.

Highly aroused and held down, I quickly sensed the wonderful throbbing inside that meant I would soon cum. My fingers fisted in the sheets, clenching for purchase, and I threw my head back, seeing nothing. Connor’s mouth pulled on my cock, the friction unbearable until I felt the first subtle pulses of my release building fast. I knew I would cum very hard. I could not help the cries that were pulled involuntarily from me as my balls seized up to draw tightly inside my abdomen. Sparks that had fanned into blaze, fired into an inferno that consumed me.

“Oh… please… oh shit. Don’t want… stop. Too good… fuck yes.”

The next time his mouth descended to the base of my cock, I erupted and shot a volley of thick cum straight into his waiting mouth. He swallowed, his lips forming a vacuum that made me scream in such pleasure I almost passed out. He pulled on me through the next three emissions and sucked relentlessly, swallowing every drop of my semen. My orgasm sent me straight through the flames. Sweat burned my eyes, my torso went taut with shuddering muscles and my thighs strained against Connor’s embrace. My cock emptied itself and I went limp.

I was spent and could not move. Connor gathered me into his arms to cradle my worn body, kissing and smiling as he stroked my damp hair. “No,” he replied as I touched his needy cock and tiredly asked if he wanted me to suck him too. “I want to cum in your ass.” His eyes glowed with excitement and lust, simply asking me to use my body as he needed, for his receptacle, and I agreed.

He pulled out lube and a condom. “You have a pretty ass,” Connor said. “I’ll bet you’re really tight.” His fingers brushed my balls, and I shuddered.

I revived myself to get on my hands and knees, leaning my hips over several pillows, and he pushed down on my shoulder blades to settle my head against the mattress. I felt cool lube on his fingers as he slicked me up, and every time he passed over my puckered hole I jerked in pleasure. My thoughts went to Michael, focusing on the sweet love we used to make and I idly wondered if he was with Isaac. Then I felt guilty for even reflecting on him for a moment when I had such an attentive lover of my own.

I felt a small twinge of pain when he inserted his middle finger deep inside me, but mostly the sensation was one of pressure and I adjusted easily. Connor added a second digit and pushed deeper. He began stroking inside me, talking the entire time, teasing and asking how certain moves felt. He aimed for my prostate, rubbing the bump insistently when he found it and I arched my back in delight. By the time he added the third finger my cock had proudly come back to life. I was stretched out, twitching from need and moaning.

“Please.” I begged for his dick to replace the fingers, and he twisted my nipples, giggling when I gasped.

He sheathed himself in latex and lined up behind me. Holding on to my hip and shoulder and with a concerted push, the head popped through the guardian ring of muscle to disappear inside me and I hissed at the burning. I quickly signaled my okay to keep going and with slow, measured strokes Connor began plunging deep into my ass.

I arched against him, letting him fuck me hard, greedy for the way his cock kept stretching my channel. It didn’t take long before he sank all the way into me and his hands gripped my hips tightly. He pulled out almost all the way, leaving only the head inside and then slamming home again, over and over. “Faster,” I pleaded. His balls smack against mine. He bent over me, snaking his arm beneath my torso. I pressed into him, and he growled into the nape of my neck.

He thrust hard into me, and a torch-like heat began building. I heard his breathing catch and speed up. He licked my shoulders and kissed up my spine. When he changed his angle slightly, his long cock brushed against my magic spot, and I groaned. Again he stroked it, and I lost myself to the increasing eddies of passion until my knees gave out. I would’ve collapsed, but Connor held me tightly, making nonsense noises in the back of his throat.

Connor’s delivery of short thrusts into my hole was making me see stars. Sweat dripped down my thighs and my breathing went ragged. He drove me with brutal abandon, and I loved it, loved the way his balls slapped hard into mine and Connor moaning my name. I was grinding my groin against the pillows below me and my cock sought the delicious friction of the cotton. I felt my balls tighten and hike upwards, the quick pulse signaling the end. “Fuck… oh fuck… oh god,” I screamed as my muscles went taut and scalding cum shot through my throbbing penis to spatter into the pillowcase.

My orgasm triggered muscle spasms that sucked at Connor’s dick, and I felt him push down on my spine and piston into me hard. A brief swelling announced his own impending climax. "Yes, Dax," and he yelled my name hoarsely over and over again, pounding my ass. His body shuddered and he unloaded wildly into the condom again and again. Then he fell against me, murmuring into my sweaty back and stroking my chest.

“Awesome,” I replied tiredly when he asked how I felt. His cock was shrinking and he pulled out, letting me collapse sideways onto the bed. I shivered as my sweat cooled. I had cum twice that night at the hands of a proficient lover, and I felt ashamed for replacing him in my head with my ex. He deserved better.

I was so exhausted I didn’t feel Connor lead me up to settle against the pillows nor his getting into bed with me. All I knew was that in the middle of the night I came awake to find myself clasped in his arms, and I drowsed against him until I went back to sleep. Usually I would sneak away, but with Connor I was willing to stay put.

I awoke the next morning in a strange bedroom to find Connor staring at me, his head propped up on his hand, elbow bent. The sheets were massed around his thin hips, and I ran my fingers lazily through the auburn hair on his chest. “Hey, Connor,” I smiled.

“G’morning, Dax,” he answered, giving me a knowing grin. “You seem surprised to be here.”

I was looking around the bedroom. “I’m not used to sleeping over,” I sighed.

“I guess I should be flattered,” he laughed. He offered his bathroom so I could shower, and when I rejoined him he was making omelets, toast and coffee for breakfast. Even though they were still fairly clean, it felt strange to be wearing club clothes by the light of day, and my still-damp, thick hair was slicked back into a short ponytail.

“So where do we go from here?” Connor asked. He handed me a plate of food.

Good question! In the three months since leaving the Capshaws, Connor was one of my very few sex partners with whom I’d spent the entire night for reasons aside of being too drunk or high to move. He was surprisingly also the only one I felt I could like for more than sating my physical urges. But I didn’t want to admit my need so I shrugged, faking more nonchalance than I felt.

Connor regarded me quietly as he stirred creamer into his coffee. “Dax, how old are you? Be honest.”

I blushed. “Eighteen.” And before he could ask, I explained, “I use a fake ID to get into the clubs.”

“I thought you were younger than you said,” he responded dryly, taking a bite of toast. He chewed thoughtfully and washed it down with a sip. “Not that it matters really. I like teenagers.”

That had kind of a pervy sound to it, and my eyes narrowed. “Oh yeah?”

Connor laughed at me, leaning over to give me a kiss on the cheek. My cheeks turned a darker shade of pink, but he downplayed the whole situation. “Look you might be adorable but at least you're legal. Otherwise, I’d be holding on to your fake ID and you’d be out the door by now. I’m not that skeevy. What you did was kind of… ah… hot!”

We spent the next hour talking about ourselves. Connor had a confession of his own that freaked me out a little until he explained it. He had lied to me. He was not twenty-four any more than I was twenty-one, but he did attend the university. At least that part was true.

He said he was from prominent family in central Pennsylvania where his whole life had been mapped out before he was even in high school. His father and uncles were partners in a law firm, and Connor was expected to join as soon as he graduated from law school and passed the bar. Being gay wasn’t in anyone’s plans, and he was something of a rebel. Instead of following in his preordained career, he joined the Army right out of school and left for boot camp the day after he graduated.

“It was a huge wake-up call, but I was in for seven years. I was in Iraq twice as well as Germany. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was such a crock but I was discreet and kept my eyes to myself and never got caught. It took me five years just to screw my head on straight and realize my parents and uncles weren’t stupid. I didn’t want to be career military so I started getting my gen-ed classes squared away under the GI Bill. By the time my stint had ended I was already enrolled at Vanderbilt in pre-law. That was two years ago, and now I’m at UCSD getting my degree.”

He talked about clerking for one of the local attorneys and how he would be returning to his home state in three and a half years to work in the family firm. I was barely listening because I was doing the math. Connor was twenty-seven, and it messed with my head in a good way that this guy who was almost a decade older seemed to want me as more than a casual fling.

I found myself explaining how I was on my own, mentioning my neglectful parents and how the Capshaws had taken me in to finish raising me. I told him about Michael’s cheating on me.

“This might sound simplistic,” he advised when I was done with my story. “But you shouldn’t take it so personally. I mean, teenagers are supposed to be grown up, right? But look at all the relationship drama that goes on in high school. It’s not uncommon for a guy… well, gay or not, for that matter… to hook up with many partners in a year. That you made it through four months together says something for you and your ex.”

“You reminded me of him at first,” I admitted after taking my last bite of egg. “That’s what attracted me last night at the club, but when I got closer I noticed differences. You both have red hair and are the same height but your eye color and build aren’t the same.”

“Is that so?” he smiled. “I’ll take that as a compliment.”

I was sad to have to leave an hour later because I had to report to work at the store. Connor was good company and a lot of fun. I hated to admit that part of the reason I liked being with him was because, of all things, it created a certain amount of disloyalty to Michael. But I knew he was my past, and Connor was acting like he wanted me for more than just someone to fuck casually. To be permanent, part of his future. Much as I was afraid to claim him as a boyfriend, when Connor called me three nights later, I agreed to meet him at Cobbles.

He introduced me to his group of gay friends: Perry, Lance and Chris from college, and Tomas and Gil who were friends of Perry’s in their mid-twenties and worked in San Diego. Lance and Chris were a committed couple who had been together for over five years, while Tomas was a very obvious femme who liked wearing girls’ clothing.

The guys were an interesting, fun group and enjoyed teasing me about my tender age and lack of experience. Yes, Connor had introduced me proudly and told them how we met. The seven of us drank and danced for several hours, keeping our corner of the club rowdy. Connor then took me back to his place for some very passionate love-making, and I again spent the night.

Over the next several weeks we became close. We talked a lot about Michael’s unfaithfulness until I got the sense he was tiring of the subject. All it took was a couple of dark looks and a complete lack of response one afternoon when I was bitching again, at which point I realized it was improper to discuss past lovers with current ones and shut up.

I also revealed that I wasn’t at ease sharing my sexuality at Seaview College.

“Why the hell not?” he asked in amazement. We were in his large shower, and we were jacking each other off under the warm water. “You have no problem at Cobbles.”

“That’s different,” I moaned, having a hard time concentrating on words when his hands were so skilled at touching me just the right way. We had sex several times a day when we got together. “Everyone… gay at Cobbles.”

Then my mind shut down completely because I was cumming all over the shower tiles and falling into his arms, and he followed along behind me.

We picked up the conversation as we lay in bed later. At the risk of bringing up my ex-boyfriend I told him how Michael had outed me at Santa Bella High that May afternoon and the aftermath.

“That sucks, Dax,” he said, lightly running his fingernail over my nipple and making me hiss.

“I’m comfortable at places like Cobbles because I’m probably not going to run into bigots there unless someone lurking in an alley and I’m not paying attention.”

“I’ve been out since I was sixteen,” he stated, smiling at how squirmy I was getting. “It wasn’t easy at first, but people get used to it. College isn’t like high school. The idea is that the older we get the more adult we act. You need to take a chance and trust more.”

He encouraged me to take a few steps further away from the closet. I enjoyed his company and our sex, but I was skeptical leaving the past behind would be easy.

I guess you could say that Connor and I became boyfriends. We talked back and forth about me moving in but that was all it amounted to. I don’t think either of us was willing to make the commitment, and I know I felt like I was being rushed. Once burned, twice shy. I was afraid that if things went bad between us, there I’d be, the one having to move out with nowhere to go.

I was surprised that Connor didn’t hassle me about my drug use. We used weed together all the time when we got off work or we didn’t have a ton of homework. He wasn’t even averse to my experimentation with the party drugs, but I think I caught him off guard the morning he found me popping a dexie in the bathroom.

I had just finished my shower as I was preparing to start my day. We’d been up very late the night before fucking for hours, and both of us were tired. Lucky him, he had the morning off. I, on the other hand, had a full schedule of colleges classes followed by an eight hour shift at the store and a Euro-History term paper due that I’d put off in favor of spending time with Connor.

“Dax, what is this shit?” He opened my hand to reveal the capsule, black on one end, clear on the other with yellow and orange pellets inside. I closed my fist and pulled away, afraid he was going to flush it down the sink.

“My meds,” I lied. I shoved the drug in my mouth, tossed my head back and swallowed it dry.

Connor’s eyes narrowed. “Don’t treat me like I’m stupid. That isn’t prescription, I’ll bet. I hope you know what you’re doing. I don’t want to wake up one morning and find you OD’d in bed with me.”

“Yes, daddy.” I laughed his concern off. “I’m fine, Connor. I know how to be careful.”

He regarded me with amused eyes and clapped on the shoulder. “There’s no such thing as careful with drugs, Dax. But you aren’t going to take my word for it.”

In mid-November Donna Capshaw called me to discuss Thanksgiving. Of course, they expected their children, Michael and the girls, home for the actual holiday but didn’t want to ignore me. She knew I was without family and asked if I wanted to celebrate early with her and Robert by coming over to dinner two days before. I was grateful for her consideration and shyly asked if I could bring someone.

By this time, Connor and I had been seeing each other for almost a month. He didn’t have the funds to fly home and had nobody to spend the holiday with either. Donna seemed happy that I had a friend who might be more than that and agreed. I was proud of my new boyfriend and was thrilled to show him off, but I had to admit I was a little worried about our age difference and trusted that she and Robert would understand.

Connor was touched that he was invited and considered it a positive step in our relationship that he was meeting my former guardians for the first time. I couldn’t stop chattering about how wonderful Donna and Robert were, hoping they would like each other. We were happy and excited when we pulled up in front of the Capshaw’s lovely home on that chilly evening. We casually strolled to the door. He made a funny joke as I rang the doorbell, I laughed and he wrapped his arms around my shoulders. I leaned back into him lazily, his face nuzzling my hair.

The door was opened by Michael who stood gaping in shock to behold the two of us on the other side of the portal. His eyes pierced into my own startled ones before looking up, bewildered and hurt, at Connor. My brain seized. There must be some kind of mistake.

Dismayed, I glared at Michael wordlessly for a few seconds and, in that brief moment in time, I noticed three other important details. Over Michael’s shoulder I saw Isaac had followed him into the foyer and was glowering at me in hatred. Coming up behind, his face panicked, was Michael’s father, Robert, obviously set in diverting the unwinding catastrophe of two former lovers and their current boyfriends meeting up. Only peripherally did I see the shock on Michael’s face when he focused completely on the man next to me. I wasn’t sure what distracted him, the red hair, Connor’s age or just the idea that I wasn’t sitting at home pining for him.

I turned on my heel and dragged Connor down the sidewalk, my face set angrily and ignoring Michael’s cries to come back. I also tuned out Connor’s insistent voice on the way back to his place as he berated me soundly for over-reacting to Michael’s presence. He yelled at me for acting like I was ashamed of him, which I wasn’t. I just couldn’t stand being around the liar, and I was hurt that he’d managed to spoil my evening.

I didn’t spend the night but dropped Connor off and drove straight home. It hurt that he hadn’t believed me over how traumatic being around Michael was for me. I even considered that maybe I’d be better off alone myself. In the long run, reaching out still hurt way too much, almost as bad as picking up the pieces of my heart time and again.



After my trip to Santa Bella in October, my life dwindled into small spheres of appeasing Isaac, going to class and spending hours in introspection. Dax was constantly on my mind, and I longed for him both nostalgically and physically. I saw his pain-filled eyes in almost every single waking thought, knowing that as much as Dax denied it, we both wanted the same thing- to be together again. I missed the intensity of our love-making so much it hurt. I masturbated all the time to images of him: Dax in his tight leather pants with his beautiful dick above the drawstrings and the feeling of his soft skin against my fingers. The dream was far better than my reality of Isaac.

Isaac had apologized profoundly for hitting me after my trip to Santa Bella and wrote it off as silly jealousy and loving me to distraction. And he tried to treat me better as the semester progressed. He bought me gifts and spent most of his non-class time with me. He didn’t go skittering off to visit secret lovers. There was no repeat of the violence.

Nevertheless, as Thanksgiving approached, I was feeling less and less assured about dating him. I could feel his aggression just under the surface, and his apology seemed contingent on me closing my eyes to his flaws. With the holiday right around the corner, my parents reluctantly agreed that Isaac could spend some of the four-day weekend at our house. They still didn’t like him, and the more we were together, the more I agreed with them.

We were supposed to fly home together on Wednesday, but Isaac hadn’t seen his parents since the beginning of term and convinced me to ditch my Tuesday classes and leave early. We somehow managed, despite the crazy holiday rush, to trade in our tickets and find an earlier flight. When we arrived in San Diego mid-day on Tuesday, Isaac’s brother picked us up from the airport and dropped us off at my house.

My mother and father greeted us eagerly as we walked through the door as part of a surprise arrival. They were excited to see me, but there was a loud buzz of alarm in their hellos that I couldn’t understand at all. Mom was in the middle of fixing a big dinner of baked ham, scalloped potatoes and all the usual trimmings like it was already Thanksgiving. Dad paced and started to speak to me several times but didn’t seem to want to be rude to Isaac. Seeing as how they weren’t expecting me, it didn’t make any sense.

Not, at least, until I answered the door over Dad’s vehement protests a couple minutes after my arrival to find a strange man much older than me standing on the front porch holding my ex-lover. We were about the same height and had almost the same hair color, but he was really ripped. He and Dax were snuggling happily into each other.

Dax’s face instantly changed from contented expectation to complete horror. He went white beneath his tan, backing up quickly and nearly tripping in his rush to escape me. To be honest, I was more jolted by the tall man with him, catching how much older he was- mid-twenties at least, who looked like he’d been well-used. Pain ripped through my heart and flooded my insides with ice, knowing that Dax was moving on and didn’t need me anymore. He was off the porch straight away.

Of course, my parents’ consternation at my arrival was now perfectly explained, but I tried to make things good for him. Dax didn’t need to leave on my account. If necessary, Isaac and I could go out and allow him to eat with my parents as planned.

“Dax,” I urgently called down the sidewalk to him as tears filled my eyes. “Please don’t leave. Come back.”

But Dax continued his hurriedly escape to his truck, and now I could hear the voice of his companion berating him over his behavior. Dax wasn’t paying attention and quickly drove off in a screech of tires. Watching from the doorway, I felt so terrible for both of us.

But terrible didn’t even begin to describe my feelings when I turned and looked into Isaac’s incensed face. Insanely jealous Isaac, who noticed my wet eyes and had witnessed the entire exchange and saw how hard I tried to make Dax stay. I trembled, knowing he would make me pay heavily for it later, and I was suddenly more afraid than at any other time in my life. I knew what he was capable of. To make matters worse, Dad was right behind Isaac and locked eyes with me. In his sad, anxious gaze, I knew he fully recognized my fear and understood my predicament.

Mom was furious. It’s not that she faulted us for arriving early or even me for answering the door, but she and Dad had been counting on spending time with Dax and his new boyfriend. I felt so guilty. Every time I tried to help him, even when I didn’t mean to hurt him, I screwed it up. Dax has no family left, and this was supposed to be his night with them. By coming home early I spoiled it for him.

Isaac dragged me into the back yard to quietly demand why I was so upset, and I tried to explain that I don’t like hurting other people’s feelings, not even Dax’s. Isaac should have realized that he was part of the family as often as I’d explained how my parents were his guardians, and that as family, they would choose to celebrate the holiday with Dax apart from me. In my universe my mother and father made the rules, and I wasn’t allowed to tell them what to do. See how hard they were all working to keep us separate?

He already knew all of this- he had been the reason for it- but he wasn’t buying it. Isaac felt that I had somehow arranged for us to meet Dax. How ludicrous was that! Isaac was the one insisting on leaving Eureka a day early, and I gave into his request. Dax apparently had a new boyfriend and showed all signs of leaving me behind. Isaac’s jealous whining was so ridiculous; did he fail to notice how much startled and angry Dax was and how he hated being around me?

“Your ex is such a repressed asshole,” Isaac scoffed, his light blues glittering in contempt. “I have no idea what you ever saw in him, but I will not allow you to get all over-emotional because of him.”

How unfortunate that my older sister, Linnie, chose that exact moment to make an appearance on the patio and overheard Isaac’s disrespect. She loves Dax and despises my boyfriend. Her face froze into mask of dislike, she turned on her heel and immediately told our parents.

We had a quiet dinner except for Isaac’s overly-loud voice and thick application of bonhomie as he tried to be the life of the party and make up for Dax’s exit. His efforts weren’t appreciated at all, and Dad drew me aside when Isaac took a few minutes outside to call his parents on his cell.

“Is anything wrong, Michael?” Dad scanned my face for any sign of fear or discomfort. “If you need help, you need to trust us and tell us what’s going on.”

Here was a perfect chance to bring up Isaac’s abuse. But I stayed silent. I knew I would have to return to college at Humboldt with him, with no protection and far away from my family. I couldn’t admit to anything he was doing to me or beg help getting out of the relationship, even to save myself.

“No, I’m fine,” I lied. “It’s all good.”

Dad went on to explain, as if I hadn’t known, that Dax had been invited to dinner. Linnie’s report on Isaac’s unfortunate opinion had been relayed accurately. He hated to do this, but his and Mom’s minds were made up.

“Isaac is not allowed in our home from now on. We can’t keep you from seeing him, but we can restrict our home from his presence. Dax is like a son to us, and you two were so close at one time. You should be standing up for him more… We will not tolerate his rudeness.”

I don’t know why, but my father’s words made me angry. It didn’t seem fair that this was a strike against my boyfriend and we got blamed for driving Dax away. If Mom and Dad had said something as soon as we arrived about Dax showing up for dinner, we would have boogied. Well… it’s possible that Isaac would’ve stayed around just to create the drama, but we’ll never know, will we?

Maybe they were making assumptions nobody could prove. Maybe I was just being contrary. Tell someone they can’t do something, and that’s what they want more than anything. But I scowled at my father and stomped away. Isaac and I left soon after. While I slept at home, I spent most of my time with him, and as ordered, he didn’t return for the rest of the holiday. I didn’t even eat dinner on Thanksgiving with my folks. I was angry, and then I was sad. Isaac invited me over and, even though it was pleasant, it wasn’t the same.

Isaac was restrained and polite until we arrived back at school. Then all hell broke loose in an angry tirade that brooked no discussion over how he felt. By Tuesday I was sporting two splinted fingers and abrasions on my face that made my college friends inquire if I’d spent the weekend getting falling-down drunk.

Ha-ha, yes, I’d joked back as Isaac glared at me in challenge to tell the truth.

Thankfully, nobody could see the damage done to parts of me covered by clothing which was just as well. I knew I’d blown it by not accepting my father’s help. The only thing I could do was try not to rile Isaac up any further and hope for strength. For the first time I seriously wondered if I would survive the rest of my first year of college without serious injury.

I eased myself slowly into my dorm bed that night, wincing through the cuts and bruises. I tried to fall asleep, but it didn’t come easy. I thought about the week before when I saw Dax, how he had replaced me with someone just like me. It must be a sign and it gave me a small modicum of comfort. Tears began to leak out of my eyes as I realized exactly what I’d squandered, and I sent a quick prayer.

Dax, you have no idea how much I miss you. You were so right about me, you were right about Isaac, and I wish I’d listened to you six months ago. Why did I fuck us up? I didn’t deserve your love, and I am sorrier than you will ever know. Please, can’t you just give me another chance? I’ll do anything.

I love you so much.

(To be continued...)


  1. I'm so desperately sad for these two characters. Connor seems nice, but I wonder if it will last. I'm not sure if I can wait too much longer for a reconciliation...if there will be one. Please tell me there will be one!!!

  2. It kills me that Michael is with Isaac, i'm hoping that after this last time he'll find the courage to leave him. Dax and Michael can't have any kind of reconciliation until Michael gets the help he needs and Dax gets works through the emotions he's having.

  3. Another great chapter. I feel so bad for Dax. I really hope that the counseling pays off and he can get himself back on stable ground. It has been so, so hard not to go and read the story on Lit. I know you said you made some changes so I don't want to go read the old stuff, but it is literally taking every ounce of will power I have not to. Thanks for the quick posts.