Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Dreaming of Dax Ch. 14 (Conclusion)

Together Forever- Is Our Past Our Future?


It was a clear Thursday evening, I was standing near the Southwest ticket counter in San Francisco International, having coordinated Dax’s arrival with him. I saw him first, recognizing him by his lithe body; he was scouting the masses of harried travelers, looking tired and a little discouraged. Upon catching sight of me, he burst into a huge smile and began to push through the crowds, never taking his eyes off my face.

I’m sure you’ve watched at least one cheesy romantic chic-flick where long-parted lovers catch sight of each other across a crowded room and rush into outstretched arms in reunion. In an instant the cliché made perfect sense to me. I ran toward Dax, my mind firing with renewed hope and longing. I had to get to him right now, right this minute.

Face to face, he immediately dropped his bag and grabbed me up in a long hug and scorching kiss that made me tremble from my toes up, oblivious to the grunts of agitation from those trying to navigate around us. I may have even vaguely heard a snarled and quickly shushed slur about ‘fucking Frisco faggots’ but neither of us cared.

“I can’t believe I’m finally here,” he breathed into my mouth. “I missed you so much.”

“I’ve missed you more. It’s so lonely up here.” I wrapped my arms around him to pull him closer and felt his rigid cock testing the stitching of the crotch of his tight jeans. My filling hard-on answered back insistently.

Dax rested his forehead against mine. “It’s lonely in Santa Bella too. The family sends their love.”

I picked up his backpack and guided him towards the outside doors just paces away. “How was your flight?”

“The take-off and landing were a bit scary.” He blushed as if ashamed to admit his nervousness.

Dax shivered at the difference between the warmth of the terminal and the bracing wind of an autumn Bay evening biting at us as we strolled to my car. Suddenly it hit me, and I stared at him. “You’ve never flown before, huh?”

“Uh… no.” He shook his head, wide-eyed, and we both burst into laughter.

On the drive back to the condo he rested his hand on my thigh while I told him everything that was going on in my ho-hum life. How boring my job was compared to the challenges of the Master’s program. I also told him about Sylvan.

Since our run-in, Sylvan had avoided being around me at the condo during the day, and he would immediately run off with a jerk of his shoulders every time he caught my return after class or my job. When we had to share space together, I’d often feel his eyes drilling into my back while he made disgruntled sounds that were anything but quiet. I pointedly ignored him, not wishing to start drama with someone who only wanted to goad me into getting angry.

“I really hope he isn’t here this weekend,” I mentioned. “He hates me and gets on my nerves.” Anticipating trouble with the kid, I’d already checked with the landlord about Dax’s visit and, once assured that he wouldn’t be living we me every weekend and I wasn’t trying to move him in, he gave his consent.

Traffic was light for a change, and I pulled up to the condo half an hour later. Grabbing Dax’s bag with one hand and slinging my arm around his shoulders, I pulled him into a deep kiss right there on the sidewalk. “We are going to have so much fun, babe. I have all sorts of ideas on things to do and places to go.”

“We’ll see about that. Knowing you, you horny bastard, I may have trouble getting you out of your bedroom.” He grinned devilishly as his tongue zipped out to lick my earlobe.

I punched Dax in the shoulder. “Me?” I yelped. “You keep that up, and for sure we’ll spend all weekend in bed.”

Car headlights broke through the darkness, and a late-model Subaru parked behind my Nissan. I groaned in recognition. It was Sylvan, home early from his only evening class. He had to have seen me locked in an embrace by the side of the road, and Dax’s gender would have been obvious to him.

Sylvan exited his car and walked towards us. “He’s you brother, huh?” he scoffed wryly, glaring at us both before turning in a huff and stomping into the house. “So much for my weekend.”

“Don’t worry about him, Michael,” Dax urged. “Let’s just enjoy ourselves.”

The living areas of the condo were empty when I let us indoors to find lights off. Despite Dax’s calming wisdom, I grit my teeth over the behavior of the typically rude and obnoxious sophomore. Dax wasn’t hungry when I offered food, and we silently climbed the stairs up to my bedroom. Both of us were of the same mind and we had our clothes off in no time. Erections hardened as I drew Dax down with me on my futon, our lips taking possession and tongues getting reacquainted, shushing each other to keep our moans to ourselves.

“Here you are near San Francisco,” Dax teased between kisses. “Going to school with a bunch of teenage boys away from home for the first time who are looking to experiment, living with three other hot guys like Sylvan...”

“No, not like Sylvan,” I protested, carding my fingers through his hair. “Sylvan is not a hot guy. He’s a pest.”

“Okay, not him,” he agreed, pouting. “You could have your pick of so many other men. I just have to wonder why you’re with me instead of someone else.”

Dax’s insecurity was showing again, and I pulled him into a close embrace and nibbled his neck. “I love you very much and want to be with you for the rest of my life.”

He tried to argue, and I laid a finger over his mouth and left it there until he stopped talking. “Allow me to make up my own mind in my choice of a boyfriend,” I scolded gently. “Why would I want Palo Alto hamburger when I have prime rib at home?”

“Oh, so now I’m just meat to you?” he grinned.

“Yeah, tasty meat.” And I moved down between his thighs to gobble down his cock to the root, proving my point. I loved his soft gasps and squeaks as I skillfully guided him into an intense orgasm and drank his essence from him. Then he joyfully returned the favor.

Up early the next morning, we piled into my trusty car for the famous forty-nine mile drive around the upper peninsula, traveling through most of the central districts of San Francisco and enjoying views of the bay bridges, Alcatraz Island, the Embarcadero and the original Presidio city site. I had been warned against eating in Chinatown, so we went to Rincon Center to share a dim sum meal of steamed buns filled with various meats and vegetables. Dax was very taken with the shrimp dumplings called har gow, and I got a kick out of feeding him with my fingers.

From our lunch, we traveled to Chinatown proper and spent the afternoon walking around. We discovered that San Francisco’s enclave is the oldest in North America and houses the highest ethnic community outside of China. Dax and I wandered through tea and herb shops, visited pagodas and temples and shied away from the ostentatious souvenir rip-offs.

Our day ended in a gay bar in the Castro district called The Café. Pulse-pounding music we could dance to, sticking to beer instead of the way-overpriced mixed drinks and fending off unwanted advances from other patrons, we still discovered a good time. Dancing brings out the sexy in Dax like a throb under my skin, and we were kissing and giggling as I backed him through the front door of the condo to find my roommates playing wii games on the flat screen in the living room.

I quickly introduced Dax to Jamal and Terrence. They were good guys and smiled at him and shook his hand with warm grasps. Not so Sylvan, who covered the introductions with enough bigotry to chill the warmest room. “Don’t you two ever give it a rest? If I wanted to watch gay porn, I’d rent it.”

Two voices said at once, “Shut up, Sylvan.” Jamal and Terrence glared at him until he shoved past them and ran up to his bedroom, leaving the rest of us hovering in embarrassment.

“Don’t mind him,” Jamal smirked. “Sylvan’s just a prick.”

Dax shrugged. “No hard feelings,” he replied, and we said our good nights.

Dax was a master magician at making clothing disappear, and my breath hitched when his shirt came off, baring his smooth chest with its defined muscles and his toned, slim waist. We were soon in bed, our limbs tangling and our lips searching for each other. Our tongues entwined in a kiss, our hands touching everywhere in arousal, greedy against skin and muscle as we stroked. Dax was breathing in strained sighs, and his head whipped back and forth on the comforter his hair loosening from the braid to drift around his shoulders. I was steel-hard and groaned when his fingers brushed my cock slapping against my belly. His lips lifted in a teasing grin, and he reached for me again, smoothing precum over the crown and sliding in precise strokes that felt so right.

“Oh god, Dax, please,” I gasped raggedly. “Need you, need you.”

“Need what, Michael,” he whispered back. “This?” He massaged my balls in their sac, patiently rolling each one in his palm. “Or this?” His hand pumped my aching cock. “Or this?” Dax crawled down my body and took it between his lips, creating a vacuum and sipping my precum while he played all the small nerve centers like a well-tuned musical instrument.

“Yes, that!” I whimpered, driving my shaft into his mouth for him swallow down.

My breathing soon labored, and I was close to overwhelmed by the slow sucking and licking sensations of Dax working me. Covering my face with an arm, I let the other hand gently massage his neck and scalp in wordless encouragement. I couldn’t have spoken if I wanted to; I wasn’t even capable of tangible thoughts, just the incredible awareness of constriction, heat and wet of his throat and the talent of his tongue up and down my shaft.

I moaned and undulated, rocking my hips upwards while the approaching rapture lapped like waves in the pit of my stomach. My fingers roamed the tousled locks of Dax’s flowing blonde hair as he bobbed over me, feeling the coolness of it settle around my groin like a curtain. The gentle tides grew stronger, persistently pulling at me until, with a muffled cry, my balls tensed and my belly muscles began to ripple in the most satisfying of orgasms. Yellow lights flashing behind my eyelids, I coated Dax's tongue with my seed.

Moments later, I could almost breathe. Dax was once again lying in my arms, and I nuzzled his neck, biting at the soft spot near his shoulder to mark him. I casually ran my fingers up and down his warm, erect cock, causing him to grunt and lift his hips into my feather-light touches that aroused him but did little to get him off.

“Babe,” I asked. “Would you do something for me?”

“Anything, just name it.” His voice was full of confident devotion, and it made my heart sing.

“Please make love to me.”

I wanted to give myself to Dax, but I wasn’t sure if ‘anything’ covered this. I knew I could trust him to be honest with me and say no, just as I was certain he wouldn’t hurt me in any way. Even though I had bottomed in the past, it had been had been a long while since the experience, and never together for Dax and me. According to his proclaimed sexual history, he was versatile when the need struck. Besides, both of us had been exhausted the night before, so we’d settled on the shared blowjobs before sleep claimed us. Tonight would be our first time going without protection. I wasn’t looking to be selfish, but it would be such a privilege.

“Really?” He looked rather shocked, then pleased, and finally slid into outright happy, like I was offering him the world. He was so easy to please. I handed him the lube.

Dax rolled over and pulled me close, cradling me to his chest and claiming my mouth in a burning kiss. My hands slid down his back, the pads of my fingers tracing the satiny skin along his ribs and spine. He covered my neck and chest in sharp nips, and I squirmed and moaned beneath him when he bit my nipples. My soft cock, so recently sated, quickly began to harden again and nudge against Dax’s abs.

Briefly moving away, Dax found pillows and positioned them beneath my hips. I felt the loss of his body and spread my legs swiftly, planting my feet firmly against the mattress and willing him to hurry. I heard the lube top pop before he squeezed the gel on his fingers, rolling it for a moment to warm it. I lifted my hips upwards, opening myself to him, and he watched me with a huge smile on his face. Pressing his fingers against my ass, one by one they entered to saw and scissor. My back arched when the digits curled to find my prostate, and I panted and moaned.

Kneeling between my thighs, Dax coated his unsheathed cock with lube. “I’m going to take you bare, love. Skin to skin, like it should be.”

“Do it, babe,” I instructed. “I love you so much.”

Guiding my legs up his chest, Dax spread open the cheeks of my ass with his hands. I felt the mushroom head of his dick press against my bud, and with an insistent small push he was inside. There was a flare of burning pain that rapidly faded into sweet fullness, and he halted for me to adjust. “I don’t want to hurt you,” he said tenderly. I watched his eyes close at the same time, trying to hold back on his urge to thrust. I signaled to let him know he could move and he sunk slowly into me.

With the entry of Dax’s cock into my passage tagging my prostate all the way in, it was nearly more than I could stand. No, not pain, just the exquisite explosion of bare skin and passion that swamped me too fast. “Oh god, god... no Dax… you’re going to make me cum,” I moaned. Again, he stopped and forced himself to stay still, waiting until the urgency subsided. His hazy brown eyes bore into mine and his long blonde hair shimmered around his shoulders like silk.

Gradually, he began to drive inside and the expressions of delight and lust chasing their way across his countenance filled me with such love. “You are so hot and tight,” Dax whispered. “Nothing I could’ve imagined can measure up to being with you like this. It feels amazing.”

Dax set my legs aside, and I wrapped him in them while he thrust in and out of me and leaned forward. I held him close, memorizing the feeling of being pressed tight against his sweating chest. As he pulled back he brushed my prostate again and I cried out, my fingers tangled into his hair. My leaking cock throbbed and dribbled precum, and he began to caress it with a sure hand.

Dax 's hard cock plowed me, pushing past my sweet spot, building the friction. I knew I wouldn't last much longer. “Dax, I never knew…” I cried out. “Oh fuck, it feels so good, oh god!” I threw back my head and my hand fisted the comforter as my orgasm began to take over my body.

“Oh don’t stop...” Dax moaned as my twitching hole sucked around him and pulled him into nirvana with me. He came with a roar, his eyelids fluttering helplessly and his body thrashing. I felt hot semen splash deep up inside me and groaned my approval. We lay there collapsed together, our bodies tingling in afterglow.

Dax pulled his softened penis from my channel with a moan and a pop, leaving a trail of cum across my thigh. He rolled off me to nestle into my side, and we lay panting from the power of our loving. I clasped him in a gentle embrace and kissed him, then lapped at a small pool of sweat from the hollow of his throat.

“That is what making love with you feels like. Perfect.”

“Perfect together,” he agreed, snuggling into my side.

Our next two days together in San Francisco passed in a whirlwind of activity and excitement. On Saturday, we went to Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39 and Ghirardelli Square. We sampled food out of carts and bought souvenirs that actually looked unique to the area. Dinner was sourdough bread bowls filled with clam chowder from the wharf. On Sunday we rode a cable car, visited Lombard Street and Golden Gate Park; then drove over the bridges and ended up eating an early dinner at a 19th Street café before returning to the condo.

We talked in intimate detail about our lives, hopes and dreams. For instance, Dax enjoys his internship at the clinic so much. He was born to be a therapist. He respects what it’s like to be a confused and hurting teenager because he was one himself. He has such empathy and understanding and knows the desperation that leads kids to do crazy, self-destructive things to try to ease their pain. He wants to make a difference in others’ lives so they don’t have to learn life the hard way as he did.

For the first time, we were able to discuss our childhoods in an adult way. The diversity between my privileged childhood and his not so fortunate one was like striking. Years of therapy and his new job in the counseling milieu had helped him come to terms immeasurably with the damage done to him. He shared his frustration about wanting a child in the future, as I did, but he knew the statistics. Many men who were sexually abused as youngsters go on to abuse other children. Dax swore he’d never, ever thought about or wanted to have sex with a child, and I believed him. But the risk of his background made him leery of having any of our own, and I could offer him little but comfort. Pro or con, it did nothing to alter my future plans with him.

Dax shared several anecdotes from work about how Zeke Carter had him assisting with a teens-in-crisis peer group at our former high school. First of all, there are the reactions from teachers who remember Dax from his own school career and throw surprised second glances at him, not quite able to reconcile old to new, upon running into him on school grounds. Besides growing up to become very attractive, he’s so much more polished and self-confident than he used to be.

But it’s those same good looks that are causing such havoc when you consider that he’s dealing with hormonal teenage girls and he’s twenty-two years old and has the face and body of a god. Young ladies come out of the woodwork to hunt up distant relatives with minor illnesses just to give them an excuse to join the group, and Dax is so modest he has no concept of his appeal. We laughed about it, but exactly what did Zeke expect when he asked for his help?

Years later when I looked back, that weekend with Dax stands out as one of the pivotal events of my life. It wasn’t just the attractions we visited in the City by the Bay or acting like goofy tourists, it was showing Dax a good time in his first-ever real vacation. Hitting all the hotspots was essential, but not nearly as important as taking time to quietly talk and get to know each other all over again, discovering our commonalities, what moved us to turn into the men we’d become over the past four years. Yes, we relaxed into a soothing companionship but our commitment soared into us becoming a true couple with shared experiences instead of two hurting, lonely people.

For me, the weekend was mostly about what didn’t happen. We didn’t argue over anything critical, and neither of us had our feelings hurt badly enough to turn it into an overwrought debate. We didn’t violate boundaries or indulge in self-serving petulance. I think the extent of any disagreement was when Dax got me lost in a neighborhood of one-way streets that didn’t follow any rhyme or reason, and we ended up giggling over it. As the two of us settled into our bond, the vacation felt just right.

Well, it was almost ideal. Sylvan continued to act like an immature punk and for some strange reason, he remained at the condo all three days when normally he’d make other plans for the weekend. Dax and I would rise early to go out for the day, and Sylvan would dawdle in the kitchen, hindering us from a quick breakfast and complaining that I was letting ‘my guest’ eat cold cereal I had purchased for myself. He hogged the upstairs bathroom and parked his car on my bumper. He made a rude, random remark about Dax being quite vocal in bed, and I swear, I wanted to pop the snot out of him. Mostly, it was his unending stream of bashing comments about gay people in general and me allowing my boyfriend to visit me, specifically.

I drove Dax to the airport on Sunday to catch his evening plane. With a long, tongue-sucking kiss before he departed through the security gate, he made me promise to ignore Sylvan, and I agreed to try.

Another month and half went by, and it was Thanksgiving. I skipped a class on Tuesday and Wednesday to fly home for six days, and Dad picked me up at the airport in San Diego. We had just gotten onto the interstate going north when he turned to me.

“Tell me, Michael, how much of your time do you plan to grace us with this trip?”

Staring out the window into the rainy darkness, I sensed an underlying tension in the inquiry. It wasn’t that he was angry, more like uncertain over how our relationship was changing now that I didn’t have to live by his rules anymore. I did not want to start my holiday off on the wrong foot, but my father needed to accept the truth.

I gulped. “Dad, you know I love and appreciate you and Mom very much. You’re the best parents I could ever have asked for, but I’m twenty-three years old now. Some things, I have to learn how to do on my own.”

I felt myself tearing up and fought it, determined not to cry because it wasn’t manly and would weaken my argument for independence. “Dax and I love each other, Dad. I know we made all sorts of mistakes when we were eighteen, and that’s mostly on me. Dax wanted to tell you two the truth right off, and I wouldn’t let him. It’s taken me four years to get him back, and nothing is more important to me at this moment than what I feel for him and he, me.”

I glanced at my father. He was paying heavy attention to the road and the backed up rush-hour traffic to navigate us safely home, but his nod told me he was listening.

“If I was still in Santa Bella instead of studying at Stanford, Dax and I would be living together. Bottom line, that’s what we want. Once he finishes his internship in June, I think he’s moving up to Palo Alto, and we’re going to look into getting a place for the two of us. For all intents, this is how it is, and I’m sorry if you can’t accept us. I know you’re disappointed with me being gay, but…”

“Wait, son,” he interrupted, giving me a small smile. He inhaled deeply and let the breath out in a sigh. “First off, I’m sorry about how I sounded.” Another deep breath.

“I’m not disappointed in you or Dax. Nothing you could do would make me stop loving you... either of you. As long as you’re happy and you make the time to be good for each other, that’s all I ask. I admit it’s taken me awhile to conclude that the two of you have the right to plan your own lives. Hell, you aren’t children anymore, and for good or bad, you’re going to do things your own way, no matter what I think. But it’s parental instinct to want to protect you, and sometimes I go overboard. I love you, Michael. I love Dax. I know you didn’t ask for it, but you both have my blessing.”

I was so overwhelmed by his acceptance all I could do was croak out, “Thanks, Dad. You have no idea what this means to us.”

I stayed with Dax the entire holiday, and the six days were filled with so much love and joy, I felt as if I was floating. Almost too good, but I wasn’t a negative person and didn’t believe in bad omens anymore.

This provided the perfect opportunity for us to start our Christmas shopping for the family before the stores became impossible after turkey day. We went to the mall one evening to pick out a gift in one of the jewelry stores. Dax and I had decided to buy Mom a mother’s ring for Christmas. It would be made out of crossing gold bands with our birthstones on it: March, December, September and April respectively from the oldest, Jana, to Dax, the youngest. Happily for us in terms of color coordination, as if our mother planned it that way, all of the birthstones were in shades of blue except for Dax’s clear zircon. As I sat with a jeweler and filled out the paperwork to order the ring, Dax wandered around the store looking at other pieces.

Presently I saw a clerk around our age come out and talk to him. I caught a glance in my direction, and Dax smiled. More talking as well as gesturing with hands, the young man laughed and drew Dax to a counter along the other side of the room. No, I wasn’t entertaining any jealous thoughts, but I was curious. It took another fifteen minutes before the jeweler was satisfied he’d gotten all the details right, and I walked over to join them. The clerk shook my hand.

“Your boyfriend tells me you’re getting married soon and in the market for rings.”

Dax blushed and looked at me with a pained expression as if he was afraid of me misunderstanding. “Not really soon, Michael… like we talked about, you know, when we’re ready. I just happened to mention…” I smiled and glanced down at the small glass display case. It was filled with men’s wedding bands. Aaah! That explained it.

The clerk obviously thought he was about to make a sale. "In case you're curious, we're the only jewelry store in the mall that specializes in wedding sets for couples in alternative lifestyles. If you shop another story, the staff might make you feel awkward, and we wouldn't want that. So when's the happy occasion?”

I explained to the overeager salesman that Dax and I, while committed, had barely discussed formalizing our relationship and didn’t feel ready yet. But I couldn’t help but notice that Dax was looking at the rings with a keen expression on his face.

Like a physical blow, it suddenly hit me how much my lover wanted permanence. I think because he was unloved and deprived of a normal childhood, he’d never had a family in the true sense to belong to. Abandoned and neglected by his parents, he eagerly accepted the love and guidance my parents gave him, thrived under it and reciprocated it back. However, there was still a drawn line in his mind between being a Capshaw and living like one. Ultimately being united with me was important to Dax, and it weighed on his heart.

We had the time with nobody hurt by our window shopping once I explained it to the salesman. He was gracious and patient, answering questions and indulging us, particularly Dax who wanted to take out and inspect the different styles. Some of the selections were very attractive, and we spent half an hour trying on various bands, discussing prices and the pros and cons of metal alloys and whether we wanted diamonds or not. We even managed to come to a conclusion about a ring… for an undetermined date in the future.

We spent Thanksgiving with my family, and it was a joyous day for all of us. Jana’s husband, David, has come around nicely and even apologized for his reticence in August. Little Nathan is almost eighteen months old, into such mischief and babbles constantly. He doesn’t know what to make of me, since I spend very little time with him, but he calls my boyfriend ‘Ucka Dack’. The folks tease Dax unmercifully about it.

After surviving our food comas of too much turkey and apple pie, we returned to the apartment to spend a quiet evening together. Dax immediately went into his bedroom, supposedly to change clothes. After a half hour, I began wondering where he was, and when I went looking for him, he was cleaning out dresser drawers and had shuffled boxes out his closet into the spare bedroom.

“What are you doing?” I hunkered down next to him on the floor.

He looked up with a beaming smile. “I’m making room for my boyfriend’s stuff so when you’re here you don’t have to live out of your backpack. I know we can’t actually set up housekeeping together, but when you’re in town, I want you to feel as if this is your home as well as mine.”

I bent down to give him a probing kiss, because what could I say to that except thank you and I love you. Presently we were clearing a space on the clothes-crowded bed and getting naked with each other.


Christmas was upon us, and with it Dax and I passed through two important milestones. He was half-way finished with his year-long internship, and I completed my first semester of Stanford. As it was, I wished I could’ve spent the entire winter break at home with him, but there was work to consider. Our company takes the 26th and 27th off anyway, and my employer wouldn’t allow me more than two extra days before Christmas Eve. I considered myself lucky to get them.

Christmas was amazing. Dax adores the holidays and acts like a child, making up for lost time because it wasn’t a happy season when he was younger. I caught a late flight from San Francisco on the evening of the 21st, and we stopped by a Christmas tree stand on the way home. He’d already placed holiday knickknacks around his apartment and strung lights on the patio, but he insisted I help decorate the tree. He even had a stocking for me.

We had made a pact to save as much money as possible. Housing in the Bay Area is expensive, and if Dax was going to move up with me at the end of his internship, we needed to tighten our belts. We bought small gifts for each other- clothing, music, video games- that sort of thing. We celebrated our first Christmas together in the morning by playing with the sex toys Santa brought us and joined the family for dinner at two.

New Years came and went, and I didn’t even try to make it down to Santa Bella. Before I realized the passing of time, it was March. Spring break was coming up, and I was disappointed to be stuck in Palo Alto working. The family was celebrating because my sister, Linnie, was pregnant with her first child, supposedly a little girl, and due in five months time following her graduation from law school. Mostly, I was worried about Dax who missed me terribly and seemed to have a difficult time being on his own during the winter months. I was counting the days until the second week of June when his year-long internship would be officially over and he could join me.

I was in a mid-week class when I received a text message from Dax asking me to call him as soon as I had the chance. We played phone tag for several hours before I caught him during his lunch break, and he was so breathless with excitement he barely even bothered to greet me before launching into his story.

“Guess what, Michael,” he said eagerly. “One of the clinic therapists is moving this summer, and I’ve been offered a full-time job in June to take over his place when I finish my internship.”

I could see him in my minds-eye, sparkling with enthusiasm, and it was contagious. “For real, Dax? That’s wonderful.” With the job market as lousy as it was, this was a golden opportunity for him.

He went on. “Zeke and Blaine asked to speak to me this morning before we began seeing patients and told me about the position. They suggested that if agreeable, I’ll work the next year as a clinic MFT, counseling clients and getting necessary experience. After a year, I’ll almost definitely have to go back to school and earn a Master’s part time while continuing to practice at the clinic. Upon completion of my degree, I will undergo another internship for an additional twelve months on a higher pay scale.”

“Outstanding, babe,” I congratulated him. “Did you say yes?”

For the first time I heard doubt creep into his voice, and he replied, “Not yet. I wanted to ask you first. If I take the job, it means I can’t move up to Palo Alto, and we’re going to be apart longer. I don’t know if I can face it.”

We talked back and forth for the next fifteen minutes. A sure thing like the promise of steady employment suddenly dropping in your lap doesn’t come by all that often, and Dax would be a fool not to accept it. It made me feel good that he wanted my opinion before he gave them an answer, but I urged him to agree, despite feeling dismayed by the setback to our personal lives. Another year apart? Would Dax and I ever be allowed to be together?

A few weeks later I was just leaving the bathroom after a shower, heading down the hall to my bedroom. Complete privacy was non-existent in the condo except for certain times of the weekday like now, meaning late mornings or early afternoons when everyone else was out. Even then, I always stayed modestly covered until reaching the bathroom, and I would wrap myself carefully in a large towel when I finished. Never let it be said that I was showing off my body to anyone besides Dax.

Sylvan’s bedroom was between my room and the bathroom. He bounded through his doorway and I gave a start because, according to his self-publicized schedule, he wasn’t supposed to be here. He slowed at my approach, an amused look on his face, and scrutinized my damp body thoroughly. His gaze centered on my flaccid cock hidden by the thick towel around my hips. His grin was wolfish, and I felt a stab of disquiet.

“Hi, Michael,” he quipped, apparently finding the way I gaped at him as funny.

Ever since Dax’s visit to San Francisco six months before I’d avoided Sylvan completely. Maybe I was acting juvenile, but his rude behavior towards my partner piqued my irritation, and he’d neither apologized nor done anything to rectify the situation. He usually avoided me, and if we happened to be in the same room, he would mutter comments under his breath before dashing away. Pretending he was invisible was the only way I kept from losing my temper.

Surprised by his newfound courtesy, I was wary, but I greeted Sylvan nevertheless and asked, “Aren’t you supposed to be in class?” He complained about his Poli-Sci professor often enough.

“Nah, the teacher’s out sick so they canceled.”

I gave a noncommittal shrug and went to move past him. Sylvan took half a step towards me, blocking my exit in a way that left no doubt it was deliberate. It wasn’t as though I thought he’d do me harm, but he intimidated the hell out of me. Even though he was smaller, his obvious aggression made me tense.

I cleared my throat and tried to stay calm. “Can you let me by?”

“Not until you hear me out.” His voice was sturdy and he leaned in towards me, his short hair brushing my shoulder. “I need to talk to you.”

I stepped back hastily. “Okay, I’m listening.” With Sylvan, anything could be possible.

His green eyes stared at me, watching the anxiety bloom on my face. Maybe he was aware of how belligerent his posture seemed because he made himself relax. “You must hate me, but it was just…”

Despite Sylvan’s unapologetic tone, I wondered if he was feeling sorry for the way he treated the rest of us here at the condo. “We don’t hate you,” I tried to soothe, “but you certainly don’t work very hard to make us like you.”

“Michael,” he scoffed, looking smug. “I don’t give a shit what Jamal and Terrence think of me. They’re hetero, and I’m not the type of guy who gets off by turning the straights gay.”

Huh? I admit that sometimes I’m slow, and there were just enough twists in this conversation to confuse. “Look, I don’t know what you're doing, but I’ve no time for riddles. Is this your way of proving you’re a homophobic dick?”

Sylvan drew himself up, flinching like he’d been slapped. He laughed bitterly. “One thing I definitely am not is homophobic. That would be morally repulsive, seeing as I’m gay myself.”

I had to fight the urge to laugh at the absurdity, but something niggled at my brain. “That was good,” I hissed. “You should be a drama major. Everyone knows you aren’t into guys, so what's your game?”

“Aren’t you fucking paying attention?” Sylvan snapped disdainfully. “I said I’m gay. Just because I choose to hate your boyfriend doesn’t mean I hate you. You’re kind of hot without him around.”

He reached out to touch my hair and I ducked away, the mention of Dax’s name drawing me up short. I took a closer look at Sylvan’s arrogant face and… oh! His entire being radiated desire, and understanding felled me almost like a physical blow. Oh! Sylvan was gay and... Oh shit!

“What are…? I mean, what do you… uh…” I looked him up and down almost out of force of habit, and I noticed the growing bulge in the crotch of his khakis. I was painfully aware that I was alone with Sylvan, dressed in nothing but a towel and standing in the upstairs hallway of my condo. Boundaries applied here, something I didn’t think Sylvan knew anything about. If I didn’t handle this carefully, I was going to be royally fucked, in more ways than one.

“Oh, don’t get me wrong, honey,” he simpered, eyes darkening with lust. “You aren’t my type at all. I like big, hairy guys with lots of muscle. There was no planning in this, just grabbing at opportunity.”

“Okay, I’ll take your word for it.” I was trying to temper my rising unease by not reacting to him. “I need to get dressed. Go downstairs, and I’ll join you in a few minutes.”

“Why don’t you want to talk in your bedroom, Michael?” He taunted, licking his lips. “Afraid of me?”

“No, I just don’t trust you,” I confirmed. “This feels awkward. I don’t want to hurt your feelings but…”

“I’m not some moody teenager,” he growled.

“No, you’re just a highly-closeted gay guy who likes to mess with people’s heads by acting like an asshole.”

He shrugged, leering at me unpleasantly.

I took a deep breath. “Would you do as I ask and give me a minute to put on some clothes? Please?”

His half-lidded stare lingered on me as if he had Superman’s X-ray vision and could see through the towel, making me blush in embarrassment. “Whatever,” he shrugged dismissively and turned to trot downstairs.

I dashed to my bedroom, closed the door firmly and locked it, glad to have the panel of wood between us. Sitting down hard on my futon bed, I took a deep breath and tried to calm down but my hands were shaking. Sylvan being gay, jealous of my boyfriend and feeling attracted to me- or however he wanted to describe it- that was an unforeseen distraction. I knew I’d been discreet and hadn’t inadvertently led him on. I was in love with Dax, who was my whole world and put his implicit trust in me. Betraying him by dallying with the jock was out of the question, and I was not about to let him down. Been there, done that, totally unsatisfactory.

I considered my options as I quickly dried myself and threw on jeans and a polo shirt. I’m not urbane, charming or all that compassionate, even in the best of times. I didn’t see how my message was going to come across to him as anything but negative and harsh. Sylvan struck me as manipulative, someone who, despite his youth, would go after what he wanted, whether it belonged to him or not. He had been playing me like an expert, and his ultimate goal wasn’t exactly a mystery. How far he was willing to push was the unknown quantity.

Descending to the living room, I found him peering out the front window. “Don’t say anything,” he ordered smoothly, strutting towards me. “You at least owe me the chance to explain.”

I stared at him in dread. “Not if this is heading in the direction I think it is.”

Every single feeling swirling through my body must have been reflected on my face. But thankfully, several important emotions were absent. Lust, desire, the satisfaction of knowing I was wanted by this kid and the need to prove myself with him.

He narrowed his eyes and started to speak, but I interrupted him. “Sylvan, you know where I stand. Dax is my boyfriend, and I’m in love with him. We're committed to each other. I’m sorry.”

Instead of retreating into sorrow and regret, Sylvan threw back his shoulders. “Don’t be sorry, Michael. That makes you more of a challenge, and I don’t give a shit about your commitment. I usually get what I want.”

“Not in this case,” I fired back. “There is no fucking way I’m going to cheat on Dax.”

Sylvan smiled at me the way a hunter regards an animal he has every intention of killing but wants to play with first. He made a grab for my hand and caught it. “There would be no risk, Michael. Dax is a long way from here. He wouldn’t have to find out, not unless you told him, and that would be stupid of you. I don’t think you’re stupid.”

I appraised him coldly, my eyes going disarmingly soft. “Yeah, you’re right, Sylvan. There’s no way Dax could find out.” I yanked my hand away from his. “But I would know. And I refuse to risk Dax’s faith in me.”

“Why are you afraid?” he sneered. “I don’t want a relationship with you. It’s just sex.”

I stepped back from him, shaking my head and laughing to myself. “This is going to sound cold, Sylvan, but I don’t give a damn about what you want. You have a lot of growing up to do. Just stay away from me.”

Seething quietly, I jingled my keys in my pocket and made an undignified exit from the house before Sylvan had a chance to try anything. The balls of that guy! If I'd had any positive feelings for him whatsoever, I didn't so much as like him as a person now. Hell, he didn't have the finesse to even try to convince me that he was in love with me. Sylva reminded me in many ways of Isaac who had the same fascination in taking me away from Dax.

By this time it was nearly three o’clock, and I was a bundle of nerves. My late afternoon class began in an hour, but there was no way I’d be able to sit through a boring lecture so I skipped it and headed for Lytton Park. Breathing some cool spring air might clear my head and help me get a handle on what had just happened and how I could avoid Sylvan for the next two months I’d be living in the condo.

“Hi, babe,” I breathed. “Are you busy?”

“Hey, I was just thinking about you. I’m sitting here going through notes from the bereavement class at the high school, so I have a few minutes. What’s up?”

“I missed you.”

That’s all I meant to tell him, honest. I simply wanted to hear the reassurance that everything was still right in our world in his voice. I had no plan to lie about Sylvan’s confrontation, but a topic this important needed sorting out in my head before I brought it up for dissection. However, Dax must have heard something in my voice that made him worry about me. He’s perceptive that way.

“What’s going on, Michael? You sound funny.”

And there it was- the question. Suddenly I was blurting it all out- how Sylvan had stopped me in the hall and insisted that he was gay and wanted me, his claiming that the hurtful remarks he’d spewed all year covered up the fact that he was jealous and even his suggestion that I sleep with him behind Dax’s back.

“At first I didn’t believe him. He wanted to follow me into my bedroom, and god, it scared me to death. I said I had no intention of fucking him. He told me it was just sex. Just sex? He knows so little about being in love with someone special. I couldn’t wait to get out of there and escape. I thought his being rude and immature was bad, but this... It’s going to be damned difficult living with him in that place for the next two months. I’ll have to watch my back all the time and stay out of his way.”

I finally ran out of steam and stopped talking, waiting for a response. Seconds went by and Dax didn’t say a word. The quiet hung between us like the muffled dampness of a foggy night.

“Dax?” I asked in confusion through the dead space. “Are you still there?”

“Yeah,” he answered dully. Why wasn’t he offering advice or commiserating with me like usual? The least he could do was call me a dumbass for not shoving past Sylvan immediately and locking myself in my bedroom.

“Dax, please,” I finally pleaded into the silence. “You’re scaring me.”

Then: “You didn’t know that Sylvan was gay?”

“Well no,” I explained carefully. “Just because we live in the same house doesn’t mean I pay attention to him. When you came to visit last fall did you notice? He goes out of his way to steer clear of me, which now I see for what it really is. I thought he hated me, but instead he was masking…”

“Yeah that,” he brought up carefully. “Why didn’t you know he liked you?”

“He doesn’t like me, Dax. He just wanted to fuck me. I was his conquest or a toy or something.”

Wary but insistent. “Stop evading the issue. You know what I mean.” Like poking at a beast in a cage.

I was starting to get annoyed, compounded by impatience, as if I was talking to a stubborn child. “I just told you- I didn’t know, okay? If I didn’t realize he was gay, why would I suspect he’d hit on me? We aren’t friends, Dax. Our schedules are completely different, and the kid and I don’t hang out together.”

“But I don’t understand…”

“What is so hard here?” I bit out. “I did it. I kept my feelings for you under wraps for well over a year. The only reason you found out was because I finally felt safe sharing when you said you loved me back. And have you forgotten our senior year of high school? It’s similar to us keeping Mom and Dad in the dark all those months.”

“Okay, I see. I suppose that...” he trailed off.

I picked up my side without really listening, and whatever he was going to admit was immediately stifled by my irritation. “You make this sound like it’s my fault.”

“I’m not trying to, love; it’s just that I…”

“Stop blaming me for something I didn’t see coming.”

Dax gasped, neither confirming nor denying I was wrong. The painful pause stretched into infinity. “Say something,” I commanded.

“Um… I don’t think I should comment anymore,” Dax murmured, his voice strained. I couldn’t tell if he was angry or hurt, but there was definitely something wrong.

“Why not?” I breathed, my heart pounding in my chest. I might have been in the car, outdoors with the windows open, but my surroundings swiftly began to close in on me, and I couldn’t catch any air.

“I need to think about all this chaos, and I’m afraid I’ll regret anything I say until I do.”

“What would you regret?” Did Dax think I was telling him a lie? Didn’t he trust me?

“Uh… I’m… Can I call you back later?”

Tears filled my eyes at the stricken sound coming through the phone speaker, but I stubbornly clung like a tether to our communication. “No, Dax,” I argued. “I want to know what you’re thinking. You’re upset, so tell me why.”

“Michael, please, I can’t do this at the moment. I need a time out.”

I heard him begging me. Warning sirens echoed through my brain, and I ignored them. My conscience told me that not taking no for an answer was destructively wrong, but like the blockhead I am, I didn’t listen and kept pushing.

“We have to settle this now.”

Another lull in the conversation, longer this time as he tried to calm down and step back from the brink. Failing.

“Is this how it’s going to be next year?” he asked in a panic-filled voice that made me wince. “You with Sylvan in Palo Alto and me here, wondering what he’s doing behind my back? We aren’t physically together to provide encouragement and strength to each other, and it’s driving me crazy. I wish now I hadn’t taken the job at the clinic.”

I was shocked by the heavy fear in Dax’s voice. What sounded like suspicion, jealousy and lack of belief in me rose through the shit and was floating on top of the rest. Was he really accusing me of wanting to fuck Sylvan?

“Listen to yourself, babe,” I begged, my voice cracking. “Consider what you’re saying. I am not with Sylvan. You are the only one I love. There is nothing going on here that I’m trying to hide, and I’m not so insane that if I was banging the kid I’d bring up the subject on my own. How can you honestly think…?”

“That’s not what I said.” Dax sounded startled. “I mean, I know you…”

“No, but it’s what you implied,” I insisted. I couldn’t believe that after all we’d been through and my fight to get him back we were having this discussion. It was like watching our love and commitment die all over again.

“How do you know what I meant?” Dax challenged angrily. “That’s just it, you can’t because we aren’t together. I’m unable to be with you 24/7 to make sure he leaves you alone, and it’s killing me.”

The emotional conversation had bounced from innuendo to major issue so quickly I was losing focus, but the air vibrated with every suspicion running through Dax’s head until I thought it was going to shake me into a million pieces. My heart broke under his mistrust.

“Damn it, are you really doing this to me after you promised?” I finally shouted into my phone.

“Doing what?” Dax’s voice was just as loud with a pinched-off breathiness that told me he was trying not to break down in tears too. “Trying to reconcile that you’re living with some teenage sexual predator that is suddenly gay and stalking you and nobody knows what he’ll come up with next?”

“You said you’d never hold what happened with Isaac over my head, and yet here we go again. My god, Dax, do you really think I’d be so foolish to throw everything away on some stupid college sophomore? That I have so little self-restraint that I’d fuck the first guy available. Sylvan is a brainless twink with the personality of a rock, and he’s arrogant to boot.”

He took a hard, shuddering breath. “Michael, I told you I didn’t…”

I didn’t let him finish. “I need my man to believe me when I tell him how I pushed some guy away who tried to hit on me. I want him to know in his heart that when I said ‘I didn’t’ it not only means I didn’t, it also means I wouldn’t. I promised I would never hurt you that way again.

“You’re jumping to conclusions,” he cried desperately. “I wasn’t…”

“I need your trust as much as you need mine. Since you don’t believe me, that must mean you don’t love me either. I thought we knew each other better than this. I guess I was wrong.” I was sharply aware that I was in danger of breaking down completely. “Uh… I’ll call you later. Right now, I need to decide where this leaves us and what to do. I can’t talk anymore or I’m going to be sick.”

I pushed the button to end the call and nearly threw my cell phone out the window in frustration. Instead, I pounded on the steering wheel until my palms felt bruised and swollen. How could Dax doubt me? Oh, I knew how, but after five years, we were supposed to be beyond this by now. My chest ached from tension and holding my breath, and I couldn’t feel my toes. I rested my forehead against my folded arms and started to cry in earnest.

Seconds later my cell chimed with Dax’s ringtone. I guess I must be a glutton for punishment because I answered. “What do you want now?” My words came out strangled, and I could hardly speak. If he was going to castigate me all over again, I would turn off my phone.

His voice was low and subdued. “You made me stay on the phone and talk to you when I wanted to hang up and regroup, so what gives you the right to bail on me?”

“Your lack of faith in me, Dax,” I argued hoarsely. “You accuse me of fucking some asshole that came on to me and won’t listen to reason, and I’m supposed to let you treat me that way? Fuck you.”

At first, the only way I knew we were still connected was by his audible breathing, and time stretched forever in the late afternoon. Finally he huffed, “I most certainly did not accuse you of fucking him. Do you have any idea…?”

“Stop justifying yourself,” I screamed, sobbing. “Admit you screwed up or I’m ending this call.”

“Never mind,” he grit out. “Since you won’t give me a chance to explain myself or let me say anything in my own defense, I’ll save you the trouble and do it for you.” And Dax was gone.

First thought: what an asshole! Second thought: good riddance! Third thought: see if I you can talk your way out of this. Fourth thought…

Half a heartbeat later I sat there staring at my cell phone in shock. What just happened?

Dax’s last sentence reverberated through the peace and warmth of my quiet car. When I stopped to think about what he had really been trying to say, my anger began to fade, only to be replaced by a flash of despair. I felt a cold, hard empty space in the pit of my stomach. Oh no.

Playing back the entire conversation from end to beginning, I at last started to line up my responses to his words and came to the conclusion that Dax was right. While I hadn’t planned to drop the incident in his lap, at least it was by my own choice. On the other hand, I had forcibly dragged him into talking about it and refused to let him limp back to his own corner once he became overwhelmed. I could see Dax misunderstanding Sylvan’s declaration and objective; I knew he was sensitive about threats to our relationship, and I’d played right into his fears with my accusations.

And that’s what they were- accusations. True, Dax voiced some early confusion about Sylvan being gay and the way he tried to lure me into bed, but post-confrontation I could pinpoint exactly when he decided to believe me, and I felt sick. Not once had Dax actually blamed me for anything other than failing to read Sylvan’s intentions correctly, and he wasn’t actually fault-finding, just in need of help to get over his confusion. I was the one making the assumptions, not him.

My cell phone rang again, and I snatched it up, hearing nothing but tortured anguish on Dax’s side. “Baby, baby, I'm so sorry,” I crooned in distress, knowing what it had done to his pride to call me right back. “Please, oh please, forgive me. What an awful thing for me to do to you. Please don’t hang up.”

“How could you accuse me of not believing you?” he choked. His voice was thick, and I knew he was crying too.

“I know, baby, I know. I’m so sorry.” The pain in his accusation was haunting. I heard his deep sobs and let him cry, shushing him gently. He soon settled into quiet sighs indicating he was calming down.

“Michael, I didn’t…” he gulped. “It was my mistake. I’m fucking brainless and have so many insecurities. I never should’ve doubted you.”

"Shh, Dax... please let me say something, and then you can talk as much as you want." He didn't answer, and this time I knew he was listening and waiting for me to go on.

"This isn't your fault. I know you didn't do anything except ask the normal questions I would have asked if our roles were reversed. Believe me, there is nothing innocent about Sylvan. He's insidious, but I never had any intention of indulging his whims simply because he was available and you're in Santa Bella. I understand why you don't trust him, but give me some credit for knowing a good thing and wanting to hold on to it.

“I’ve been in love with you for over six years of my life, Dax. Why would I take a chance on that asshole and ruin it between us? You are too precious to me. I lost you once, and I’ll be damned if I would put our commitment at risk to lose you again. So any time you have doubts, you need to remember that I will never even look at another man. That is a promise.

"Please forgive me for my big mouth and let me have another chance," I pled. "This is me figuratively down on my knees, but if I have to beg you in person, I will. I will fly to Santa Bella tonight to convince you to take me back. I can't believe I was so cold. I love you, Dax and will for the rest of my life.”

“You’re forgiven, Michael.” Dax was trying to soothe me through my own tears. “But you’re right too. It was selfish of me to doubt you after I promised. You give me so much strength, and I give nothing back. I don’t deserve you.”

“Yes you do, so stop saying that. I wish I could be there with you. You’re not the only one who is alone and misses being together. I hate living apart from you. So Sylvan and I share a house! It’s not by my choice. He’s an asshole!”

“I understand, Michael,” he said quietly. “It must be so difficult to put up with him. You were right about the clinic job. I do want it. I know I should be happy to have it, but I don’t want to think of another year without you.”

“I hate that too,” I assured him. “We need to be together. I’m sorry I upset you so much, babe. I shouldn’t have just blurted it out like that. I’ve had a really long day, and you’re at work. It’s so unfair of me to drop that on your shoulders. I meant to give it more thought and tell you later, not that I was hiding anything.”

“No, don’t apologize,” he urged, sniffling again. “You should be able to say anything you need to if you want to get it off your chest. And I should never mistrust you. I am so sorry I did. You mean everything to me.”

His tears spurred my own. “Dax, I love you way too much to ever betray you. But I can see, with my history and us being apart, how you might think I would. I should have read Sylvan better and known that all this time he’s been jealous of you...”

There was a sharp intake of breath on Dax’s end, and he sounded annoyed again. “Michael Jason Capshaw, don’t you ever, ever take responsibility for something you can’t change. If you say that Sylvan hid the fact that he’s gay, then he did. I, of all people, know how easy it can be to conceal. My uncertainty was just my lack of confidence showing, not your battle to fight. Let me own it, and do not excuse me for it. Do you understand?”

Our conversation had been such an emotional rollercoaster all I could do was laugh in near-hysterics. At least we seemed to have taken a step back from the abyss. I was glad nobody was listening in because we both sounded so pathetic, there was no doubt we belonged together.

“Okay, Dax, but do you know how much you confuse the hell out of me?”

Now I could hear the tension dissipating on his end, and suddenly I was happy again. I let the deep cadence of his voice calm me. “I suppose I do, but you love me for it- admit it.”

“Yes, I love you, my crazy babe. So we’re okay?”

“Yeah, lover. We’re fine.”

The incident over Sylvan was our first big fight. We both felt guilty for weeks afterward, and I apologized so much he finally had to tell me to shut up because it was annoying him. He sounded like a whipped puppy on the phone, and it made me worry because he takes negative stuff very hard. I had to remind him to eat and coax him into getting enough sleep at night. It’s always so physical for him, made worse because of the miles between us.

It could've been so much worse, a fact that both Dax and I were well aware of. How easily feelings could be injured when Dax and I weren’t in the same zip code, not only hearing each other’s words, but reading faces and sharing emotions one on one. It caused me to take a good long look at myself and what was best for our relationship. Two months before I finished my first year at Stanford, and another year until I completed my Master’s. As an employed adult, I no longer had a minimum-pay job I could just ditch for the summer. Dax had accepted the post at the clinic with my blessing. It would be at least another fourteen months before we could live together. Too fucking long.



The fourteen-year-old boy sat on the couch in my office, crying his heart out. He was a tiny kid, reminding me of myself when I was younger- small, slightly effeminate and unable to defend myself against the haters. It was what made my job both heartbreaking and rewarding.

I’d passed my boards for my therapist’s license. Now that I was close to the end of my internship, Zeke and Blaine decided to let me counsel the clients I’d trained for- teenagers. I hoped to do a lot of good, especially for gay teen boys who were under-represented in many clinic settings. The amount of abuse that went on, especially when some of these kids came out to their parents, was sickening. In an ideal world, people would accept everyone else for who they are and a gay teenager wouldn’t have to worry about being kicked out of the house… or worse.

“I never should’ve gone into the alley with him,” the youth said sorrowfully. “My friends said he was dangerous but I didn’t listen. He was so nice until we walked outside. And then… he… he…”

Aside from a comment about blaming himself, I waited patiently. I could have made it easy on the struggling youngster and suggested the R-word, but this subject was one that he had been avoiding since the beginning of our sessions five weeks before. Today he had come further than ever to admitting he’d been sexually assaulted outside of the teen club. It was a story I heard far too frequently, and my heart contracted with empathy for him.

Still, he was far luckier than many. His absence had been notice almost immediately by his friends, his attacker had used a condom and the most damage sustained, aside from the sexual assault, was a twisted arm and bloody lip. He hadn’t contracted any STDs, and there had been trace DNA under his fingernails from where he’d scratched the older predator that might lead to the apprehension of his perp. The kid wasn’t willing at this point to cooperate with the investigation, but the sheriff’s department was looking into it.

Half an hour later the boy left, still without admitting he’d been raped, and I finished with my clients for the day.

Walking to the parking lot to climb in my truck, my cell phone pinged with the theme I’d selected for Grant Packard. It was a beautiful early-June evening, and the haze on the horizon indicated that the sunset would be spectacular. At least the past week had been clear and not our typical June-gloom that the northern San Diego area was infamous for. I answered my cell to listen to Grant invite me out for a beer with him and his brother. Having nothing better to do, I accepted.

I was longing for Michael. In some respects, growing up sucked. He’d finished his first year at Stanford two weeks before and passed all his finals, but he still had to report to his IT job, meaning he wouldn’t get much time off over the summer. My internship ended in three days, and I’d chosen to immediately switch into my clinic career instead of taking time off. What was the point if I had to spend it alone?

I met the Packard twins at our local watering hole and listened to them talk about their lives. Greg had now been dating Emily Bayard for over a year, and they were still strong. Grant was Grant, on the breeze, casually dating when he found time and peaceful with being single for now.

Greg got up to go to the bathroom. “Say Dax,” Grant called, strolling up from ordering another beer at the bar and falling into the chair next to me. “You’re looking kind of down in the dumps. Want to spell it out to a listening ear?”

“Not much to say,” I answered vaguely, taking a pull from my Corona. “I’m tired from work at the clinic, missing Michael… the usual.”

Grant shook his head. “Nah, that’s not all of it. I’ve seen you work like a demon before. Senior year finals, remember? Trying to pull down straight A’s, the abuse hotline and managing the gas station; that was overwork. This looks more personal, more about something inside that you’re burying. So talk.”

I just sat silent for a minute, knowing from experience I needed to unload, knowing from everything I’d been taught that it wasn’t healthy to keep my feelings inside. “Do you ever feel like your life is a vicious circle?” I asked, staring darkly at the fake wood of the table. “Like, nothing you do matters because it all leads back to zero?”

“No, I can’t say I’m that pessimistic. When you put out effort towards a goal, you usually get the rewards.”

“You’d think so, huh!” I murmured, almost to myself.

“So what’s bothering you?” Grant encouraged.

I sighed. “Mostly it’s this feeling of moving forward but standing still at the same time. Michael and I are okay, no thanks to me and some runaway lack of confidence, but we’ve managed to patch together a ten-month relationship with text messages, Skype, nightly phone calls and a few visits.”

“What do you mean, no thanks to you?” The expression on Grant’s face was compassionate and warm, making me feel as if I could tell him anything.

“We nearly screwed us up two months ago.” I inhaled sharply and told him what happened after the jock had hit on Michael. “Had we been together, not only would Sylvan have realized he didn’t stand a chance, but I wouldn’t have freaked out. Instead, we let our irrational fear and jealousy take hold.”

“Well, for one thing, if you’d been up in Palo Alto, Michael wouldn’t even be living with that student.”

I smiled. “Very true. I just can’t believe how easily our imaginations took over. My questions were so cruel.”

“You have a rare man there, you know?” Grant finished his beer and hailed a server for another. “I know nothing about issues between two guys, but Michael has a huge capacity for forgiveness.”

I groaned and dropped my head in my hands. “Yeah, I know he’s special and I try to appreciate him, but sometimes I think I take shameless advantage of him. I love him so much and don’t want to lose him.”

“How do you propose to solve this, Dax?” That’s why I like talking to Grant; he gets to the heart of the problem.

“I don’t know,” I admitted. “I have a full-time job with opportunity to advance at the clinic and, believe me, I’m not complaining because I know how lucky I am to be employed. But Michael’s stuck in Palo Alto, I’m here in Santa Bella and we can’t even be together. It’s getting old. Fuck it, Grant, I want to actually live with my boyfriend.”

“Does Michael know how you feel?”

I nodded. “It’s like the vicious circle and there’s nothing either of us can do for another year.”


It was the weekend, and I was cleaning my apartment. Only ten o’clock in the morning, and already the temperature was 85°. I was tired from lack of sleep and wondering what was up with Michael. Except for a few text messages, I had not heard from him since Wednesday, and my imagination was getting the best of me.

The doorbell rang, and with the irritation that comes from having to stop work mid-task, I stomped to the door. I threw it open and there stood an exhausted-looking Michael surrounded by two suitcases, his stuffed backpack and a stack of sealed packing boxes. I broke into a huge smile at the welcome sight of my boyfriend.

“What’s this?” I pointed at the mess growing from my front porch.

This is me moving in.” He flashed me a stunning grin showing white teeth and threw his arms wide to hug me. I jumped into them, and he kissed me. Together we brought his gear in from the walkway. I got him a beer and we sat cuddling on the couch together, my chores forgotten.

“I couldn’t stand living up in Palo Alto for another minute.” Michael shuddered. “The last two months have been hell. I’m not going back to Stanford next year.”

“But Michael…” I gasped, shocked at what he’d done. Not that I didn’t want him here with me, but quitting school?

“It’s already done, Dax. I enrolled in UCSD to finish my Master’s and will only lose one class’s-worth of credit. Starting next week I interview at three IT companies in the area. In the meantime, I’m working part-time for Mom.”

As happy as I was to have him move in permanently, his quitting such a prestigious school was all I could focus on. “UCSD is fine, but it isn’t Stanford. What about your future? You’re wasting such an opportunity?”

“Wasting?” He raised his eyebrows and considered me carefully. “I don’t consider anything a waste by your side. I realized recently that it didn’t matter how successful my future was if it didn’t include you. Would you want to leave Santa Bella and live somewhere else, especially since you’re the one in a stable career?”

I didn’t even need to think and shook my head. “No, I like it here. For the past six and half years it has been home to me, but you are what keeps me here. You and your family. We could live in a dingy one bedroom apartment in the middle of nowhere, but as long as I have you, it would be heaven.”

“So let’s start our heaven now!” And he kissed me.


Epilogue (14 months later)



I slowly rose into wakefulness on a warm Sunday morning in August, sprawled over Michael as he loosely held me asleep in our bed. I stretched slow and easy, careful about rousing him but knowing we needed to get up. It was a special day to celebrate the many recent changes in our lives, and I expected it to progress like clockwork, but there were still small details to worry about. After being up until the wee hours of the morning with Michael in one of our more energetic love-making sessions, I was tired.

And stiff. Michael and I had spent the previous day with the twins, Zach, Lauren, Emily, Carla, and assorted friends at a local middle school playing a game of tag football. Except that it got a little rough out on the field. I was on the thirty yard line jumping for a pass thrown by Zach, playing quarterback, when Grant blindsided me and almost took me out in a hard tackle into the turf. I was teased unmercifully later when we all ended up back at Greg and Emily’s apartment, but Grant did apologize.

Lauren pulled me aside to tell me Brendan’s news- he’d won his custody case and was going to get a fifty-fifty split of visitation with son Jacob, and there was nothing his evil ex-wife could do. He’d recently moved from his hometown closer to Columbia, the capitol, where he taught middle school. The city was less bigoted about his lifestyle, and he’d finally come out as openly gay. Zach said his brother was happier but learning to let go of me was difficult.

I’ve been a therapist at the clinic for the past year and think I’m making a small dent in the lives of my teen patients. The work is challenging, and sometimes I get so immersed in the complexities of mental illness, child abuse and school bullying they hang on my shoulders like a filthy jacket. Much to my delight I was recently accepted in the counseling graduate program at UCSD and will start part-time classes at the end of the month. It’s the same university that Michael graduated from in May with his MBA, and we’ve been forever teasing each other over how typically college we’ve become, supporting each back and forth other as we go after higher degrees. Michael has been searching all summer for a job to match his education, and last week he sat for his third interview with executives at a research company in San Diego. On Friday, they informed him that the position was his.

It’s been exactly two years since Michael and I started rebuilding our relationship and fourteen months since he moved in with me. The drama over his old housemate, Sylvan, receded, but it took a long time to work it out. We forgave each other incessantly but it was necessary. We have been totally true to each other, and implicitly, we would trust each other with our lives and stake everything on our faithfulness. The only positive was that it convinced Michael we couldn’t live without each other anymore.

We’re good for each other. Complementary, I guess you’d call it. Michael is laid back where I tend to overanalyze, but I’m more of a ‘big picture’ person. He’s the witty one with a mouth that gets him in trouble at times, and I find creative ways to rescue him. Michael is a total horn dog, and I can be slutty with him without feeling self-conscious. He comes up with ways to spend money, and I would rather sock it away for a rainy day so when we need to make a big purchase, we don’t have to buy on credit. But we both have a strong sense of family and doing the right thing. We feel comfortable enough in our skins where we can be around each other for a couple hours without having to make conversation, and it doesn’t get weird.

Life with him is a joyous experience, one I love waking up to every morning. We truly do lead ideal lives- both of us have careers we enjoy, our apartment is in a safe, mid-level complex with friendly neighbors, and we live close to family. Michael’s sister, Linnie, gave birth to a precious baby girl a year ago, and Jana’s son, Nathan, who is three expects a sibling any day now. We have an ever-growing community of supportive friends. How could it get better?

That’s not to say Michael and I are perfect. We’re human. We have small tiffs that challenge us like any ordinary couple over the regular things- equal share of the chores we dislike or being overtired and taking a comment wrong. He’s not a morning person like I am. For someone who majored in internet tech, Michael is a Neanderthal when it comes to checking electronic devices like day planners and cell phones, and he constantly forgets arranged get-togethers or to stop at the grocery store and pick up an ingredient for dinner. Some of our disagreements can seem pretty stupid to an outsider, but they feel personal to us, and our friends just roll their eyes and bite their tongues to avoid commenting. At times we might even go a day where we don’t speak and I’d like to lace his enchiladas with laxatives, but we always make up. Making up can be highly… entertaining.

I quietly got up to pee before padding out to the kitchen to set up the coffeemaker to brew a pot. Showering quickly, I wrapped a towel around my hips and went to dress. We go out to eat on Sunday mornings, have dinner with the folks in the evening and spend the hours in between alternately with friends or relaxing. Today’s meal called for something a little more formal than the usual shorts and t-shirt, so I selected accordingly. I smiled at how dead to the world Michael was, with the back of his head and strong back and shoulders peeking out above the sheets, knowing he could sleep through a three-alarm fire. I was confident that the wafting bouquet of hot coffee would soon do the trick. Michael’s caffeine fix was usually a good alarm clock.

Breakfast or brunch out on Sundays had become our private treat. Our favorite destination is the café near the clinic where we could order a typical high-cholesterol meal of eggs, hash browns and breakfast meat as well as less caloric choices like egg-white omelets and fruit. They’re known for their home-made pastries. We also like more mundane eateries like Denny’s or IHOP and sometimes even grab a fast food breakfast burrito, depending on the day’s events. It was a good time to refocus on our love for each other and talk, especially if our schedules had proven to be overly hectic during the work week.

As the coffeemaker bubbled, I checked the bottom drawer of my computer desk once again looking for several envelopes I’d been hiding there over the past week and removed them. Everything else was set, and I only had to await his return from the land of slumber. Perhaps he needed some help so I made no attempt to keep the noise down when I strode into the bedroom to nuzzle him awake. “Hey, love.”

“Mmm,” Michael smiled as he reached for me, eyes still closed but knowing where I’d be. He brushed his lips across my own. “Good morning, babe.”

I gave in to the sweet, lingering kiss for a few minutes and ran my hands through his auburn hair. In the past months he’s grown out some hair on his upper lip to make himself look more mature but it doesn’t fool me. It’s sexy. I like to bite it when I kiss him, and Michael now knows how it feels when he pulls my hair because it’s a hot spot for him.

“Time to rise and shine, sweetheart,” I coaxed.

He groaned, wrapping his arms tighter around my neck. “But it’s Sunday and only...” He checked the clock and flopped back against the pillow. “… nine.”

I pouted at him in fake hurt. “You promised not to sleep in, Michael. We have reservations.”

“I have a better idea.” He tried to pull the hem of my white button-up out of my jeans. I slapped his hand and slipped out from under his grasp, fully aware of his sneaky moves.

“You have five minutes to get out of bed and into the shower or I’m bringing in the ice cubes.”

“Oh no,” he exclaimed in a falsetto voice ripe in pretend horror, “not the ice cubes.” His golden eyes twinkled and he snuggled down into the mattress as if in challenge.

We had discovered that ice can be an excellent distraction for laziness and has other erotic appeals, as does food like ice cream, yogurt and even guacamole. Today hopefully wouldn’t call for such zaniness, and I resorted to tickling the daylights out of him until he relented. Tickling led to kissing, but I wouldn’t be deterred.

“Get up, lazy ass,” I gasped, smacking him playfully. “Eat now, and we can come home and go back to bed until it’s time to visit your folks.”

That did the trick, and an hour later found us waiting to be seated at Le Beau Poisson, a chic and very busy seafood bistro on the coast that serves an excellent, albeit expensive, Sunday brunch buffet.

“Wow Dax,” Michael exclaimed as he followed me to a back table, his head on a swivel. His gaze took in the silver and dark red décor, central fireplace and real linens at the place settings. We were surrounded by diners, but I kept my hand clasped in his and ignored any strange looks that might come our way. I’m past the point of caring.

“What’s the occasion?”

“We’re celebrating,” I announced, grinning happily. “My acceptance into grad school and your new career.”

Le Beau Poisson served up the typical brunch items as well as specialty salads and fish and seafood in almost every style possible. I ordered a bottle of champagne, and we relaxed into our food and the ambiance.

The server had cleared our dishes, and I paid the bill. Michael was finding the fizzy tartness of the wine didn’t go well with carrot cake and pushed the plate away, full. I pulled out a large yellow greeting-card-style envelope that I’d concealed under my shirt and slid it across the table to him.

“What’s this?” Surprised, he widened his tawny eyes in distress. “Did I miss some sort of anniversary?”

I shook my head and chuckled at his embarrassment. “Open it, Michael.”

He pulled the card out slowly. The front was a yellow-washed photo of two very buff, shirtless men hugging each other close and kissing in a field of tall wildflowers with the caption, ‘Happy Anniversary’ in gold letters across the top. I had inserted a small, gold sticker above the space in between the two words that said ‘2nd’. Michael glanced up at me, abashed. “I forgot again, didn’t I?”

My feelings weren’t hurt, and I sought to soothe his. “We’ve both had a lot on our minds lately. Please, don’t worry about it. You can make it up to me later.” I gave him a smile that he couldn’t fail to comprehend.”

The inside had been left blank by the greeting card company, and I’d created my own sentiment. On either side of the center crease were pasted pictures of Michael and me from his sisters’ weddings. Except for the cut and style of the tuxes, there hadn’t been much difference between those two years. My hair was longer, or Michael looked more muscular. You could tell in the photo from Linnie’s wedding that we were good friends, but as groomsmen for Jana’s spouse, Michael and I hadn’t even been on speaking terms, and the distance was evident in our forced smiles.

Below the images I had carefully printed: ‘Why settle for being the groomsmen when you can be the grooms?’

When Michael looked up again at my seat it was empty. I was on the floor next to him on one knee with a small blue box in my hand, staring humbly up at my lover and best friend, his wide eyes shining and fiery hair like a glowing halo around his head. He took one look at me, covered his mouth with his hand and burst into tears.

“Michael,” I choked out, my own eyes filling. “I love you more than anything in the world. Will you marry me?”

He took the box in shaking fingers and opened it. Nestled against blue silk were two rings of polished 18k gold with an engraved circling leaf and trellis design and platinum edges, topped with three small square-cut white diamonds.

“Dax,” he stuttered, blushing and crying as his hair fell into his face. “You got them. The ones we chose at the jewelers when we bought Mom’s ring. But how did you do this without me finding out?”

I stroked his hand. “Just say yes, Michael.”

“Yes, of course, yes!” It came out like an explosion of emotion, and he hauled me up into his arms for a long, exploratory kiss that took my breath away. Diners who had noticed the proposal from their tables surrounding us had gone quiet and most of them cheered Michael’s acceptance. He took the rings from the box, and I put the larger one on his right hand, admiring the way the gold looked against his tan skin. He slid the second band onto my hand and kissed my fingers before pulling me into his arms.

“When we have the ceremony,” I informed him with another peck on the lips, “we’ll switch hands.”

He nodded, his face wreathed in smiles. “We have a lot to plan, don’t we?”

I looked at him mischievously. “But not right now. I think there’s somewhere we need to be.”

He grabbed my hand, practically dragging me away from the table. I love you so much, Dax.”

“Love you too, always.”

We rushed home. Lucky for us both, I was driving because Michael looked like his eyes were crossed. We raced into our apartment, trading light kisses up the sidewalk and finding it difficult to fit the key into the front lock. My neighbors were slowly becoming used to this because it happened several times a week now. It made no difference how much time Michael and I spent together, we couldn’t get enough of each other.

Front door locked behind us, I jumped up to circle Michael’s waist with my legs and wrapped myself up in him, nuzzling his hair. “Take me to bed, lover.”

Draping my arms around Michael’s head I let him carry me into our bedroom. He slammed the door with his foot before he lifted up for a soft, achingly sweet kiss. His mouth opened to allow my exploring tongue in to dominate, and I tasted carrot cake, champagne and Michael. At first tender and unhurried, passion began to build rapidly as I stroked the roof of his mouth, and the small muscles sucked at each other in tandem. My dick hardened, and I could feel Michael’s tenting his pants below my ass. The kiss turned rough and unrelenting and we panted, trading depleting oxygen until we had to part breathlessly and he set me down.

Michael was looking at the new ring on his hand curling around my neck. “Great minds must think alike,” he gasped. “I was going to propose next month when we celebrated my birthday.”

“Mmm, good to know we’re so in tune,” I murmured. “For now, let’s…”

His mouth slanted into mine in another scorching lip-lock that singed the air around us. I was consumed by lust, and I feverishly responded to his swollen lips. Cupping his ass, I forced my groin into his wantonly, and he moaned.

“I need you so much,” I groaned when Michael’s lips slid up to my temple.

“You have absolutely no patience,” he scolded with a gentle laugh, catching my lower lip between his teeth and brushing my hair out of my face. “We aren’t even undressed yet.”

“Let me take care of that problem.” With a determined tear, I sent the buttons of my shirt flying around the room as I ripped it off me. Another pull had Michael’s over his head. “Problem half-solved.”

“God, Dax, anxious much?” he laughed. Then he stopped laughing as I began to suckle on the lobe of his ear which distracted him as I fumbled at the closure for his jeans. My fingers shook as I popped the metal button out of its tab and eased the zipper down. Once open, I let gravity take over and the pants and boxers whisked down his muscular legs. A gentle shove sent Michael bouncing on the mattress, and I pulled them off his feet.

Still wearing my own pair of tight denims I crawled up beside him to straddle his now exposed body. Every inch of Michael’s nakedness was mine to explore with finger and tongue, and I lost no time. He groaned loudly and his chest heaved with each deep breath when I settled my ass on his upper thighs and felt his dick twitch. Biting down softly on the sensitive flesh between his neck and shoulder, I moved across his collar bones to suck at the hollow of his throat and marked the other side as well. I tilted lower to brush kisses down his sternum and sucked at a tanned nipple, feeling it knot in my mouth beneath my tongue. Michael moaned when my fingers circled his navel and lightly traveled around his back to finger his crack. He gripped my shoulder to steady his trembling.

Sliding farther down his legs, I enjoyed the view of his dick hardening to steel and slapping against his belly. My fingertips glided over the shaft softly and maneuvered his balls in gentle circles. “Please don’t torture me…” Michael begged as he tried to break from my firm grip. He reached for his erection, and I slapped his hand away. “I need you to suck me.” Sliding my index finger from hilt to tip and gathering up precum, I popped it in my mouth for a salty-tangy treat. He grunted, and I watched his hips roll up in a silent plea.

“Is that what you need?” I laughed, grasping him. I melted in sympathy, completely turned on over how eagerly he was looking forward to what only I could give. Knowing this was about Michael’s pleasure, I couldn’t wait to taste his flesh. I slid between his thighs and, with a quick lap of my tongue in his navel, followed his treasure trail to his groin and swallowed his cock in one mouthful. Michael screamed hoarsely and his hips punched wildly upwards to drive it into my throat.

Michael curled around me, and his hands moved down to curve around my neck and caress a line down my shoulders and massage my back. “Yes, oh yes,” he chanted while I greedily sucked him, massaging his cock head with the muscles of my throat and swirling my tongue around the shaft. I could feel all the veins and taste his generous flow of precum as I swiftly guided him into ecstasy. His entire body tensed like inflexible marble when his orgasm crashed down around him, and I didn’t waste a drop of his essence.

“Damn, Dax,” he whispered after we kissed again and shared his flavor. “That never gets old.”

The touch of his warm lips brushing against mine caused excitement to flow through me, and Michael kissed me hard, taking me in his arms. My heartbeat sounded loud in my ears, a rhythm matched by his. The kiss went on forever, tasting and sliding to caress tongues and teeth. His hand groped my chest, and he traced the outline of my pectorals, zeroing in on my nipples to pull on them until they were pink and rigid and shooting bolts of arousal straight to my cock.

Michael unhooked my pants and slid them and the briefs down to bare my own legs, while I lifted up to assist and the clothing drifted away. I gazed into his eyes and let the tenderness I found there consume me even as I focused on breathing. We kissed again. With practiced hands he stroked my ribs and circled my hips before the gentle pressure against my thighs indicated that he wanted me to spread my legs. Rising up on my elbows, I watched his head descend to my groin.

He took my cock in his hand and squeezed lightly to judge its hardness, and I moaned as his fingers slipped through the precum to lubricate the head. My eyes silently begged him to suck me, but instead he leaned over and slowly slurped my balls into his mouth, one at a time, to lick and lave them. He groaned around them, and the vibrations made me fall back into the mattress, my back arching in pleasure. Finally, he tongued the bottom of my dripping cock, working his way up the blood-darkened shaft, across the ridge to the back to attack the bundle of nerves.

I moaned, my toes flexing in excitement. Covering the mushroom head with his lips, he sucked from the tip like a straw and drilled me with his tongue. He took me fully into his mouth for the first time, easing down on me until he drew my cock into the constriction of his throat. Up and down he bobbed over me, tongue caressing my pole. I felt myself beginning to lose control. “Oh Michael,” I screamed before I finally gave up and volleys of my cum shot into his mouth while I babbled in nonsense sounds.

He held me tenderly and pushed my damp hair off my face as I lay, serene and breathless, cuddled in his arms. “So how do you want to do this?” Michael smiled, idly twirling my ring. “Let’s not wait long.”

“Do what, love?” I was still lost in the glow of good sex with Michael.

He gazed down at me skeptically and chuckled. “Get married, of course… or committed. Do you want a former ceremony or just exchange vows in front of our friends?”

I stared into his golden eyes. “Formerly married, absolutely,” I said. “Which leaves us one of two choices…”

“Wait for the courts to overturn Prop 8 and California to find a way to recognize gay marriage,” Michael sighed. “Which might take forever…”

“Or we could go to the east coast- New York or Massachusetts and get it legalized.”

“You don’t want to wait, do you Dax.” Michael stroked my cheek. I shook my head, and he grinned in delight. “Then I guess we choose a date and make plans to go back east.”

“You know your parents will want to have a formal wedding,” I mentioned, laying my head on his shoulder. “Especially Mom. She’ll be falling all over herself to set this up for us.”

“She’ll be in her element, for certain.”

From a nearby apartment I could hear music playing- Jay Sean’s Down, and I hummed along with the lyrics, causing Michael to smile.

So baby don’t worry, you are my only
You won’t be lonely, even if the sky is falling down
You’ll be my only, no need to worry
Baby are you down down down down down

He joined in to sing the song with me, running his finger through my tangling hair. “Yeah, babe, you’re my one and only.”

“Today’s surprises aren’t quite over yet,” I told him. I got up and crossed the room to the dresser from which I took two letter-sized envelopes from the bottom drawer and retrieved my wallet. Returning a few minutes later, I passed one of the envelopes to Michael, indicating that he was supposed to open it.

He slid several pieces of paper out, with a stylized A in the upper left corner of the top sheet and the words, ‘Abel Screening’, next to it. Michael leafed through them before gazing up at in me confusion.

“In April when I began planning for today,” I explained, “I wanted to clear up several nagging challenges to getting married. This…” I pointed to the document, “…is the print-out for psychological tool called a Diana Screen Test. I had Blaine administer the test to me last spring. To make a long story short, it shows that I don’t have any pedophile tendencies. I’m not attracted to children sexually, nor am I likely to physically abuse them. What this does is clear me to parent a child if we decide later we want them.”

Michael read aloud from a note which was signed by Blaine and attached to the document. “Not only did the test clear you, but you're missing a key part of the abuser profile, Dax. They always have a sense of entitlement. ‘I was used so I have a right to use others.’ You have none of that in your personality. Not to mention, you show no signs of being sexually attracted to kids. Both your clients and any children you parent are totally safe with you.”

Michael’s eyes were sparkling, his grin huge, when he reached over to kiss me warmly. Until that very moment I wasn’t sure how much he wanted children, but by the look on his face, it was obvious that he hoped we could be fathers some day. It made it all worthwhile.

“I’m so happy for you… for us. I don’t know where we’re headed with this, but it’s good to find out in the meantime, not that I had any doubt it would turn out differently. I’ve watched you with kids- with Nathan- and you’re kind and loving. I’ve never once believed you could hurt anyone.”

Next, I produced my driver’s license alongside of a folded heavy sheet of paper. His eyes went wide. “Is this what I think it is?” The official seal adorned a starched document from the San Diego court system, a legal name-change document. My license now read Dax Stephenson Capshaw.

“Hey, Dax,” he grinned in delight.

I nodded. We had been discussing making me a part of the family for ages, and I was eager to alter my first name as well because I hated the names my bio parents had given me. “I had it changed over the summer.”

Michael jumped at me in a hug. “Oh god, Dax, Mom and Dad are going to be so happy. Not to mention what this means to me. I love you so much, babe.”

“I love you too, and I can't wait until we’re married,” I sighed happily, “and no more separation.” “Sounds good to me.” Michael kissed me and raised his eyebrow. “Now, I think you have a hole that needs to be filled, and I have this itch only you can scratch.” He stroked his filling cock.

“Whatever is causing the itch, it better not be contagious,” I laughed back, reaching for his velvety shaft. Michael leaned into me, and he slipped his tongue into my mouth, and let it probe mine. The kiss became hotter, more critical, threatening to melt us.

Michael’s hands played all over my body, gliding over the sensitive spot below my ear, massaging the muscles in my arms and flirting around my pectorals. He pinched my nipples and I gasped at how quickly they beaded and the tension in my groin. My leaking cock gave a hard jerk and pumped out another squirt of precum. Grinding my dick into his, I whimpered as nerve endings soared, slick with yearning, our essence mixing to swab our abdomens.

“Want you in me,” I husked. My other hand trailed down his lower belly and curled around his waist to rest against his lower back and the curve of his ass, and I felt the love pass between us.

He set about to prepare me, grabbing up lube and squeezing some in his hand. Despite last night’s love-making his finger in my ass burned at first and I hissed, causing him to use additional lube, but I soon relaxed. Adding more fingers, he moved them within me, pressing every which way and opening me up while I twisted under him. He curled his fingers and, with each thrust, tagged my prostate. I moaned in a fever of need, begging him to fuck me.

He coated his bare cock with the lube and then leaned over me, settling in between my thighs. One hand lightly stroked me as the other arranged my legs over his arms the way he wanted. Grasping his cock, Michael positioned himself against my entrance, and with fascination on his face, he began to gently push forward. I felt the pinch of the breach, and he fought to keep in control.

Hot desire sluiced through me, and my rigid cock throbbed painfully. Oh god, it was Michael inside me, Michael I had to possess, Michael I wanted forever. He was stretching and claiming me too, and I nearly wept in thanksgiving. Instinctively I knew we belonged to each other, and this was forever.

Even with my eyes closed, I could feel him gazing down at me as I adjusted to being filled. When all I felt was a dull ache, I grasped his shoulders and nodded. “You don’t have to lay there; I’m okay.”

Michael’s warm, damp body felt so good against mine. It didn’t take me long to begin to respond to his deep thrusts. The fullness of his cock sliding in and out of my ass ignited me, and I lifted my hips in euphoria, rising to greet his steely, hot cock, then rolling back as my channel emptied. I groaned as each reverse left me feeling vacant. Faster and harder he moved in me, and in no time I was writhing and whimpering beneath him.

He took me roughly, the snap of his hips beginning to frenzy, and I danced with him in joy. I couldn’t get enough air in my lungs, sweat dripped from Michael on to my body to blend with mine and my eyes stung. Nearly out of my mind with wanting to cum, Michael wouldn’t let me touch my cock while we reached higher and higher towards completion. All too soon, I felt him thicken within me, and one hand gripped my shoulder as the fingers of the other barely brushed my dripping erection. We exploded together.

“Michael!” I cried out his name like a prayer as I came, shooting hot seed all over my stomach and chest. My back bowed sharply, offering my body to him like a gift, and I let out another cry. I could feel him ejaculating ropes of semen inside me and filling me. I watched enthralled as his body went rigid before thrashing above me and calling out my name in rapture.

I couldn’t tell you how long we lay together, seconds or minutes, as the glow softly set us back down on the bed. Michael was resting against my hot, sticky body and licking my cum off my chest. I buried my face in his hair and inhaled the scent of sex and sweat mingling with his Santal cologne, reminding me of a hundred aroma memories just like this one. I rolled into his embrace, wrapping him in my arms to nuzzle closer, and he cuddled into me with a sigh. Michael was my everything, first and last lover, heart of my heart.

“I got you, babe,” Michael said. I beheld my boyfriend, now almost my husband, with a knowing eye and pulled him closer to me in a soft embrace. “I understand you better than anyone else in the world. Getting married is not only the right thing for us to do, but I know how essential it is for your peace of mind.”

I smirked. “Not like a piece of paper is going to change much between us.”

“No, but it gives you the stability you need.” He looked deep into my eyes. “It means forever.”

“It feels like my forever is right here,” I said, putting my hand over Michael’s heart. I tingled all over and clasped my arms around his shoulders. “Together forever, right? We just took the long way around to find it.”

With a casual tousle of my hair and a sexy leer, Michael removed my right hand from his shoulder and took it in his own right. I slid my fingers up over his wrist in imitation of a long ago Saturday morning when we were just kids. There, gleaming on our fingers in the muted light of our room was the proof of our forgiveness and commitment to each other. A shiny golden ring on each right hand, fingers inches apart. I breathed in his scent from his neck, and he nestled into me contentedly.

“Together forever, babe,” he answered, and we kissed.


© 2012 by Janelle Caves

This entire series is dedicated to Emery Lynn Thomas (Owens), whose nickname in real life was Dax but identified with Michael and his betrayal. This was the happy ever after story he wanted for him and his boyfriend, Kendal, and never got. Love and miss ya, kiddo.


  1. Wow. Love Dax and Michael! Finally getting their HEA! :) you did a hell of a job, and you should be so proud of this work! Can't wait to see what's next! :)

  2. I thought the original Dax and Michael was good, but this new version? OMG, double sexy and so much better without the specter of Dax being bisexual. All of it makes total sense without having to stretch the incredibility factor. I want what they have. Together forever.

  3. You are an amazing author! I have read most of your stories and they are all so good! Thank you for writing them!