Monday, February 18, 2013

The Beat of My Heart Ch. 02

Getting Lost With Or Without Him

The seven and a half years had been good to Christian Adams. Now twenty three, he had grown six inches since ninth grade and stood at just under six feet tall. No longer on the track squad… he left team sports behind midway through high school given that he was an average runner at best… he still managed to find time to jog three times a week and work out every couple of days at the gym. It gave him sturdy shoulders, a nicely defined musculature in his torso and a light but distinct vee-groove separating his abdomen from his narrow hips. On his slender frame his clothing fit him like a glove in all the right places and attracted admiring glances he wasn’t even aware of from both genders.

Time had done the rest and was extremely kind to him. Christian had long since grown out of the stage where he dyed his hair at whim, and now that he was a college graduate he needed a more professional image. His locks were back to a natural ash brown, rich and shiny. He cropped them short with the top longer and styled into a messy tousle that set off a decisive jaw and straight, firm chin. He had decidedly grown up and there was nothing left in his features hinting that he once had a baby-face.

Christian finally tired of wearing glasses and underwent laser surgery for his nearsightedness when he was twenty making his large blue-gray eyes strikingly bright against his creamy skin. He couldn’t do anything about his boyish freckles but they softened the solemn expression that lined his mouth, and his curvy lips were very pink and sensual.

The changes weren't all in the looks department.

His remaining three years at Sharlington High School were spent experiencing the typical rites of passage of a teenager from the standing of being gay and out. Tenth grade unfortunately picked up where his freshman year left off, but the love of his family and friends and weekly doses of therapy helped him work through most of it. Contented experiences with those friends, loyal and highly protective, were juxtaposed with moments of mindless cruelty from the intolerant. That traumatic May afternoon cured him of his love for yaoi and he boxed up all his anime magazines and shoved them in the attic.

By the time he was a senior his counseling helped him realize he could not control what others thought of him and he was wasting his valuable energy worrying whether some stranger liked him or not. He made the decision to ignore the naysayers, and he got his mojo back. Christian had bigger irons in the fire and was turning into a respected sketch artist, winning awards at the county fair and in student contests. He couldn’t be bothered with the bigotry, and he was known for being kind, friendly and self-confident. He became a reasonably popular man about campus. It helped him to carry off being gay in a way that didn’t make him as big a target for the unenlightened pricks, and many of the younger LBGT kids looked up to him as a role model.

Gabe Norwood was still his best friend and alter ego, to the extent that it was said they were joined at the hip. While his classmates knew he was gay, Gabe was completely heterosexual and there was never any doubt that all they shared was friendship. Gabe had undergone his own growth spurt between ninth and tenth grades and joined the football team in his sophomore year. When he left high school it was with an athletic scholarship in hand, just like his older brother. However, his college of choice was The University of Oregon, home of the Ducks.

Christian managed to graduate with honors and enrolled in the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York to study graphic design. Despite his fear of moving across country and being on his own for the first time in his life, he concentrated on the positives of living apart from family and the freedom it would bring. Falling into the urban lifestyle at first had been a challenging set of highs and lows, but living and working with his fellow students kept him from being lonely.

It didn’t take him long to sort out the right and wrong way of doing things, and Christian quickly got used to the rhythm and flow of the city. In a metropolis the size of New York, he surprisingly found his niche there and his willingness and poise to try new experiences carried him through. He was honest and open with the jaded urbanites who were used to blasé cynicism, but they liked his California small town charm and accepted his offers of friendship. He settled into an avant garde way of life where he enjoyed rubbing shoulders with an eclectic mix of actors, models, musicians and other artists who broadened his horizons.

New York had a large gay community and here he found real acceptance. It was liberating to finally know he could be true to himself around other people instead of acting like he was ashamed of his homosexuality. With total immersion into the lifestyle, albeit in the safety of numbers and using common sense, he discovered there were all kinds of personalities just like back in high school. He picked his friends carefully and joined them for platonic gatherings whenever being social didn’t get in the way of his studies. But overdoing it, even at an esteemed school like Pratt, was no fun either and he enjoyed the exhibits and museums, trendy bistros and Broadway shows his friends introduced him to.

His dorm mate during his freshman year, Harry, hailed from Louisiana and was also gay with a similar upbringing to his own. Harry enjoyed smoking weed and smuggled his bong into the dorm, and one of the older boys bought beer for them. They got faded one night in October and then they turned horny, kissing and pawing at each other for two hours. Christian experienced a handjob from a hand not his own for the first time before they passed out. When he and Harry woke up the next morning with killer hangovers they were relieved to find themselves still mostly dressed and came to their senses. Mutually, they decided there was no real attraction and they were better off pals. Becoming intimate might be the breach their friendship wouldn’t recover from.

From that point on Christian quietly dated here and there. How strange that in a city the size of New York putting out tentative feelers didn’t bring him the kind of man that would set his heart ablaze. The men he went out with were sweet and good-looking, sexy and devilish and easy to have fun with. But sex with them just didn’t come easy. He was hesitant to commit himself mind and body, and a wild longing for a soulmate would often intrude and whisper ‘this isn’t the one’ in his ear. He was beginning to think that his destiny was to be alone forever and he hated the aching indecision and hollow feeling inside.

Christian was no longer the bright-eyed innocent he’d been before that awful May afternoon at Sharlington High, but children grow up. Dreams that had once seemed so important now appeared self-indulgent and were left to die. Maturity was learning that he didn’t always get what he desired, especially where love was concerned. The small part of his heart which had been hurt when he was fifteen kept him from becoming intimate. He wished he could make himself just give up and get over it. Give up his virginity. Get over Skylar. But he was not going to be someone’s one night stand simply to lose something so precious.

Even though he had physically evaded Skylar all the time they both lived in Sharlington, it didn’t mean he wanted to wipe him out of his life. He always hoped they could sit down before he left for college and hash out the whats, hows and whys of the picture he’d sketched in The Beat of My Heart. Christian still sketched Skylar from memory. He had books filled with his images in India ink, chalk, oil crayons and pencil. Drawing him was like an obsession. It was the only part of Skylar he had left.

In subsequent years he’d heard quite a lot about him through information passed from the Norwoods to his parents. A fine student in high school, he carried that quality into college where he majored in prelaw. He stuck with their football program despite seeing little action in his first three years where he was a running back on special teams. By the time he was a senior he had run back a punt and played a few kickoff returns for the Wolverines but he didn’t want to make football a career. It took up too much time and he was tired of getting injured.

His busy schedule must have been why Skylar didn’t make it home much during the holidays and summers preceding Christian and Gabe’s high school graduation. Darrin and Jen claimed that, besides keeping busy with his top-ranked football team, he had several part-time jobs and interned with a prestigious firm of attorneys in the Lansing, Michigan area. Much to everyone’s regret, Skylar had even missed the boys’ grad ceremony. His flight was delayed in Detroit by a violent Midwest storm system that was spinning out tornados.

Christian completely lost track of Skylar after high school. Following twenty-five stellar years as the main accountant at the head office for Rawlins Industries, Ted Adams was asked to steer the same department of a new branch in the Bay area, and Christian’s family moved to Oakland the summer he left for New York. They rented out their house in Sharlington, took their two now-teenage daughters and settled into a three-bedroom condominium. Christian hadn’t been back to his hometown since.

Family gossip eventually reached him that Skylar had graduated from Michigan State with his Bachelors Degree but there was no word on where he was attending law school. Muddying the waters even more, he had a falling out with his younger brother, Gabe, when Skylar was in his first year of law school, and the younger boys were sophomores in college, resulting in the two not speaking for months. Gabe made it clear he didn’t want to even hear Skylar’s name. Then they made up and Christian, afraid of opening old wounds or that his curiosity would raise questions better left unanswered, never asked about the details. Gabe was a chatterbox about a myriad of topics anyway during their infrequent telephone calls, and Christian was a chronic listener who gave him the attentive ear he craved. It wasn’t like Skylar was his friend.

Christian enjoyed New York so much he lived there for six months after his graduation from Pratt. To be honest, he had put off making firm decisions about his future and took additional drawing classes from the city college hoping to get hired somewhere. The job applications he circulated across the USA must have been sitting on managers’ desks or deep sixed first thing because not one of them resulted in so much as an interview. He blamed the economy, but the truth was he was scared. His funds were dwindling. He couldn’t afford to live in one of the priciest cities in the world on part-time employment, and he was no closer to landing one full-time in his chosen field. At twenty-three he felt like a failure but he didn’t want to crawl home to his mother and father.

In December his parents sent him an airplane ticket so he could join them in Oakland for the holidays. Except for his college graduation, he hadn’t spent quality time with his family in over two and a half years. Ashley was now a junior at UCLA studying international marketing, and Taylor was in her freshman year at San Francisco State. In the course of celebrating Christmas and catching up on everyone’s lives he learned from his father that the Sacramento office would soon be expanding its graphic design department and if he was fast and shot them a résumé he might get a leg up on the hiring process.

Christian ended up getting hired by Rawlins and moved back to Sharlington in early February. His parents tried to talk him into living in their old house which was between tenants at that stage, but he didn’t have the time to keep such a large place up and personally couldn’t bear to live next door to Skylar’s old home with all its haunting memories. Instead, he rented an airy, moderate-sized apartment with a bright kitchen, two bedrooms and a large master bath. It was affordable and within walking distance of the renovated downtown, close to everything that mattered. Work was a quick hop up the freeway.

Christian was grateful for the chance to show what he could do and eager to begin work. Quickly, he got himself established in his new profession and loved it. He enjoyed the hands-on creativity and took pleasure in working for his father’s old boss who still treated their staff members like family. He thrived in designing something of beauty for his clients, and the accolades from both them and his supervisors gave him a sense of accomplishment. Everyone said that he brought new life to the department.

He had no problem fitting in with the eclectic mix of coworkers. Louis, in his thirties who dressed like an aging hippy and swore by reincarnation, said he was a war vet from the 1960s who had been killed by a sniper in Indochina. Belinda, a busty blonde who watched soap operas on her iPhone on the company dime, spent more time at the water cooler gossiping than at her desk actually designing anything. Bohemian Zera and Marco, a married couple who emigrated from Italy, knew his father and were the original design team for Rawlins and swore they’d never retire. They took him under their wing to show him the ropes and complimented his energy and determination.

He was shopping in the supermarket near his place when he ran into a high school friend, Rick Cortez, who had been vice-president of the LBGT club and graduated the year after him. They exchanged small talk in the frozen food aisle until Rick asked what he was doing the next evening.

Christian gave him a wry smile. “I’ve only been back here for two weeks. I haven’t had time to make friends, much less check out the night life yet.”

“Do you remember Selina’s?” Rick asked, mentioning a bar that was four or five blocks from Christian's place and had been in various states of disrepair and closure all through their school years. “The owners finally sold it and now it’s a dance club that caters to the gay sector. Believe it or not, it’s called The Open Closet.”

Christian laughed at the absurdity. Even the idea of conservative Sharlington having a gay club was odd. “So how is it?”

“It isn’t bad. Their house beer isn’t expensive and they sell microbrews and some great wines. Local bands play on the weekends and the dance floor is fairly good-sized. You want to go? The place is a lot of fun on Friday nights.”

Christian wondered if Rick was trying to hit on him but, in truth, it was only looked like he was being helpful and friendly. It had been awhile since he went out with friends and he missed the camaraderie. What harm would it be if he was? He had to wake up and stop waiting for Prince Charming to sweep him off his feet. So in the end he said yes, and they made plans to meet at the club at nine.

Sharlington was a throwback to an earlier time when it was safe to be outside after dark, even in the downtown area. On that Friday evening, the evening air was crisp but also clear and starry, and Christian decided to walk to the club. He hadn’t settled into the gym yet or had time to develop a route for his runs and he needed the exercise.

The club turned out to be a pleasant surprise and Christian had to give credit to the new owners for the way they fixed it up. Given that he was used to the New York City nightlife, he expected a dump, and by East Coast standards The Open Closet might not be much. For Sharlington it was a marvel. Their drink selection was first rate, the layout had a good flow to it and the décor in teal, silver and purple, was modern and shiny. It was busy but not overcrowded.

Rick led him to a table halfway between the bar and the dance floor occupied by two men in their mid-twenties. Christian was introduced to Toby and MJ. He remembered MJ as being a member of the baseball team at Sharlington High but Toby was a stranger. As they drank beer and got to know one another, an occasional acquaintance would drop by and say hi. Christian, being young, good-looking and new to the club, drew them in like honey to bees.

He had been in having a good time for nearly an hour and was almost finished with his second beer when Rick looked over his shoulder and smiled broadly. At the same time he heard footfalls slowing up behind him, followed by joyful greetings from Toby and MJ.

“Skylar, dude, what’s doing?” Toby crowed, jumping to his feet and reaching across him to clasp someone’s arm. “And Evan too; we haven’t seen you in weeks.”

Christian froze, afraid to look up.


It was not a common name. Which could only mean…

MJ had picked up the excited greeting. “Skylar, Evan, are you two back together?”

“Nah,” said a nasally tenor Christian wasn’t familiar with, and the owner of that voice moved around a second body who had taken a place behind him. “We’re just here as friends.”

Whatever was at the other end of a long pair of legs encased in tight denim was still unseen. That ‘somebody’ put a hand on the back of his chair and he felt a thumb lightly stroking an inch of his spine through his navy button-up shirt. “And who is this?”

Now that quiet voice, Christian undeniably knew by heart. It both gave him chills and warmed his insides until curiosity picked at his brain. What in the hell was Skylar Norwood doing in a gay bar? And obviously with someone intimately, a male someone, or he had been recently.

Steeling himself, Christian pushed the chair away from the table and stood up slowly, prepared for the flash of surprise in Skylar’s eyes, the delighted greeting of recognition and to slap fingers with the one person he couldn’t stop thinking about.

He lifted his eyes from the carpet and the man lounging before him with an easy elegance and holding a drink in his hand was breathtaking. It was Skylar. His Skylar.

Already gorgeous in high school, Skylar had become a very well put-together adult. From a sports-toned frame, his strong core of ripped pectorals, abs and lats stretched to fill out his tight t-shirt. His biceps bulged the sleeves and prominent veins made a map of his deeply tanned arms. Christian guessed that his height had to be at least six- three but he saw lithe grace in play also.

His face was ruggedly handsome, all sharp angles across his cheekbones and along his jaw, and his nose was still endearingly crooked. He had a wide playful smile, and his plump lips looked moist and kissable. Christian was relieved to see that his hair was still golden blonde and shoulder length, just like he’d always worn it. His sleepy bedroom eyes in mocha twinkled at him invitingly below half-oval brows. Surprisingly, the beloved features calmed him.

Those brown eyes were sweeping up and down his own body and checking him out. When he finished, he gazed at Christian in open admiration bordering on lust and stuck his hand out in introduction. “Skylar Norwood.”

Christian was all set to respond to a more customary hello, something akin to the usual plea to call him by his full name. He stuttered to a halt, almost swallowing his tongue. What the hell!

Skylar didn’t recognize him.

“Chris,” he stated, taking the offered hand. There was no thinking on his part, no pause, just gut reaction once the diversionary tactic came to mind. He wondered if the nickname Skylar had always called him by would trigger a memory and stared right into his gold-fringed eyes as if in challenge. Nothing in Skylar’s enigmatic expression changed.

Skylar stared back and liked what he saw. He judged the man before him to be a little younger than himself, in his early twenties maybe. It was clear that Chris worked out but wasn’t a slave to the gym and he had a nice body structure. His light brown hair was purposely messy and suited the shape of his face, and his creamy complexion with its sprinkling of freckles didn’t look California bred. Even his voice, a melodious baritone, suited him.

He had pretty not-quite-blue eyes, and in their avid intensity there was something reckless that gave him a strange feeling of déjà vu. They spoke of an inner pain that had never healed, like they were both looking at the same fragmented piece of history. Ah, but he didn’t go in for that crazy, poetic shit about past lives. Perhaps it was a figment of the two scotch and sodas he’d downed earlier at the bar. The strange persistence flew out of his mind as quickly as it had come once Skylar’s cock started rising to the occasion, and he switched his train of thought to ways of enticing this new acquaintance underneath him in bed.

Christian didn’t know whether to get angry and berate Skylar or burst into tears. His heart quivered painfully in his chest and he wondered if he was too young to have a coronary. Why was Skylar behaving like he didn’t know him?

He would be the first to admit that he was no longer looked the part of the emo-punk kid with the ugly specs. But neither could Christian believe his own appearance had changed so drastically that the passing years had erased him entirely from his old friend’s mind. The youth Skylar had once been would never pretend to be a stranger out of spite. Would he? Maybe after all this time his opinion of him was so low there was nothing worth the bother of identifying. He might even still have hard feelings over the yaoi incident and was just being politely vague so as not to cause a scene.

For all of two seconds Christian considered reminding him then and there. Hey, remember me? We used to be neighbors back in the day… That wouldn’t do at all.

First off, he didn’t want to embarrass Skylar in front of the other four men at the table. Even if it was funny how Mr. Cool who had been so high and mighty as a teenager could be just as clueless as any normal guy. He couldn’t wait to see the shocked expression on his face once he made the connection. They might even have a laugh about it later. But the biggest reason was that it hurt to be forgotten when Skylar had meant so much to him for so long.

Besides, he was dying to know how and when Skylar discovered he liked men. Social situations such as this seemed to encourage coming out stories between budding friends which he might not bring up with an old one once the identity issue resolved itself. Skylar had featured so prominently in the adolescent wet dreams that became adult desire he felt he deserved to hear the truth, chiefly because of what happened in high school.

Perhaps it wasn’t quite fair of him, but his decision was made. Waiting for the moment when realization bashed Skylar over the head would be a fascinating way to pass the time. If he asked the right questions, maybe Christian would finally get the answers he needed to move on with his life. He had picked up plenty of ideas from living in New York for so long, he could easily keep Skylar’s interest in him focused. All he had to do as look down at the other man’s bulge in his crotch to know he’d made a good first impression.

It was a response he fought not to duplicate. Feeling his own cock thickening, Christian swallowed hard and lowered his eyes, vainly willing his erection back down. Now was not the time to be thinking with his dick; he had to concentrate on how much to reveal.

But fuck it, this was Skylar. After the heartache of the past seven and a half years, his being gay was a godsend. A miracle! A sign even. He could let go and finally satisfy his own needs, his need for him

Skylar and Evan pulled up chairs and joined them, snagging the attention of a bare-chested waiter in leather short shorts, suspenders and a bow tie. Skylar ordered another scotch and soda and turned his gaze back to the cute brunette sitting next to MJ. He silently watched how they interacted, but neither man gave the impression that they were together. Joking around and relaxing into a good time, yes, but there were no personal touches or other signs of affection.

Skylar might like a good lay as much as the next guy, but he had a rock solid rule— no moving in on another man’s turf. He noted, in fact, how Chris occasionally flicked him a bashful glance when he didn’t know Skylar was looking and there was definitely interest in those blue-gray eyes.

Another half-hour went by and the group was warmed by their drinks and cheerful discussions. The dance floor looked inviting, but Christian had already decided he was not going to make the first move on Skylar. They were at opposite ends of the table, meaning they would have to shout over the others for conversation. He had felt his appreciative gaze on him several times, but the minutes ticked by.

He kept expecting Skylar’s eyes to widen as recognition dawned. To abruptly break out in a self-conscious grin and, guilt-ridden, use the excuse of a rotten memory to hail him as a former friend. All of a sudden Christian wondered if this was the right thing to do. He began to hope Skylar would get the positive ID down soon or he was going to feel tricked and think he had played him for a fool. Christian could just imagine his self-righteous anger and how he would scold him about being honest. He knew his own self-image was strong enough to withstand his ire. What he did not want to risk was Skylar severing ties again.

And then it was as if some celestial being heard his plea and the group began to clear out. Evan thought he caught sight of an old friend he hadn’t seen in months and disappeared with a quick goodbye. Rick went to dance. MJ received a text message from his roommate that a pipe had burst under the kitchen sink and he was needed at home, and Toby decided to go with him since he had plumbing experience. All of a sudden he and Skylar were the only two people at the table. Sliding down several seats to perch next to him, Skylar got the waiter’s attention to refresh his drink, and Christian lifted his mostly-full glass to indicate he was just fine.

Skylar went first. “What do you do, Chris? Where are you from?”

“My parents live on the coast,” he replied, having already planned this little part of his account out. “I have two sisters and stayed in the same hometown all my life until college when I moved to New York. I studied art at the Pratt Institute there. I liked the city which was a surprise considering it’s so different from out here. Returning to California wasn’t really in my plans, but it’s where the work is so I moved back.”

He stared at Skylar the whole time he was speaking watching to see if any tidbit rang a bell. All the other man did was listen politely. “What about you?”

“You really don’t want to hear about me,” Skylar smirked. “We’ll be here all night.”

Christian smiled and indicated that yes, he did want to hear regardless of the time it took.

Skylar took his last sip of scotch and put the glass down. “I guess I had much the same upbringing. My father was a transplant from Kansas and moved to the area for work and met my mother here. They got married and fourteen months later had me. I also have a younger brother who is probably around your age. He’s twenty-three.”

Christian nodded to indicate he was too, and bit back saying Gabe’s name. “Where do you work?” he asked, already knowing that Skylar was was in post-graduate studies.

“I’m still a student, Chris. I have three months until I get my law degree from UC Davis, but I work part time for the legal arm of Rawlins Industries as a clerk. It’s down the freeway towards the capitol. My father is employed there, and the owners have promised me a job once I pass the bar.”

Christian hid a startled gasp. This was just getting better and better. Skylar was at Rawlins too? How could they work for the same people without knowing it, especially seeing as their fathers were also employed? The parallels of their lives was creating an odd sense of déjà vu.

“That’s quite a break for you then,” he managed. “Having a job already lined up.”

“I don’t like to claim nepotism, but the owners are great to work for.” He reached into his jeans for his wallet when the server approaching with his scotch and soda, and it naturally fell open to reveal a family photograph which Christian gazed at thoughtfully.

“My parents, Darrin and Jen, and my little brother, Gabriel,” Skylar informed him, pulling the picture out of the sleeve and handing it to him. “Mom and Dad don’t live far from here, and Gabe is still in Oregon where he went to school. He’s a teacher. I wish I could convince him to move back.”

You and me both, Christian thought, feeling weird being introduced to people he already knew. “So,” he asked. “How did your family take the news that you were gay? Or have you told them?”

Skylar laughed, and it as a gorgeous sound to Christian, one he would like to hear every day. “That in itself is a major subject.” He took the photo back and put his wallet away. “First, let me ask you a question, Chris. I bring this up every time I meet someone new so it’s your turn. When did you know you were gay?”

“Since childhood,” Christian smiled. “I told my parents when I was twelve but I think they already suspected. It was very low-key and quiet.”

“See?” Skylar laughed again. “Almost everybody I talk to says the same thing. Not so much about their family’s reaction because I’ve heard some really horrific stories about coming out and how parents retaliate. But I didn’t know until high school that I was gay.”

“High school?” Christian’s head shot up and he narrowed his eyes. Skylar knew in high school? With the attack in the parking lot occurring only three weeks before graduation, that meant he was gay and claimed he wasn’t when he went on the warpath. How could Skylar do that to him?

What’s wrong with finding out in high school, Skylar wondered, puzzled by the irate glare. Maybe it wasn’t the norm, but not every boy knew whether he was straight or gay as a youngster. More than a few men he’d spoken to in college acknowledged blooming late. He hoped that Chris wasn’t one of those who believed there was no way a man could go through adolescence without being sure of himself. There was only one way to find out.

“Well, it was more like college,” he admitted with a snicker, playing with the napkin under his glass. “I honestly didn’t have a clue that I liked boys until I was eighteen. Suddenly getting turned on by male genitals and dreaming of fucking guys— it scared me to death and I went into full denial. I thought I was going crazy because I was always a very horny teenager and suddenly I wanted nothing to do with girls anymore. I didn’t even get excited by tits.”

“That must have sucked,” Christian empathized, laughing too. This certainly put a different spin on the situation, and he was mostly placated by the account. “What happened?”

There was an awkward pause and when the younger man looked at him Skylar turned red.

Christian sensed his discomfort immediately. “Look,” he said softly, “if you don’t want to tell me, it’s okay. I know how it goes. Some of these accounts bring back some pretty bad feelings.

Skylar shook his head and said pensively. “No, it’s not that.” He stared out towards the dance floor for half a minute. “The rest is kind of a shitty story. Something I’m not proud of. My little brother’s best friend was gay but not out. I didn’t know it but he had a big crush on me. When I found out, I went ballistic all over him.”

Christian swallowed hard, hoping his face didn’t reflect his shock at hearing his own story. Well, here we go, he thought. His anticipation ratcheted up several notches preparing to learn the truth from Skylar’s perspective. Finally.

Skylar stared at napkin he was tearing to pieces. Visiting that day in his mind made it seem as if it was yesterday, all the restless feelings he kept stuffed down returning to lay him out. His first macabre reaction to the yaoi and taunting rebukes at Christian because the kid liked him. He expected to hear Chris tell him he was an insensitive jerk but he seemed to be waiting for him to go on with his narrative.

He took a deep breath, kind of liking how it felt to talk about Christian for the first time with an objective third party. Maybe it was the scotch. He still felt the long ago confusion and saw the boy’s terrified face before him. It eased his mind to discuss his fears with Chris and unload his near-decade-long feelings of guilt and self-loathing. It was comforting how carefully he was listening without judging him.

“The kid was an artist and drew this picture of us kissing. He left it under the passenger seat of my car in some kind of gay comic book but I’m pretty sure it was accidental…

“Unfortunately, I was being a dick and only thinking of myself. I was scared. I thought he had discovered I was gay, and then it sounded like he’d told my brother too. I started screaming at him and making wild accusations, and I wouldn’t let up on him until he confessed to crushing on me. He ran off all hysterical yelling that he knew I didn’t like him because I was straight. So not only did I expose this poor kid to being harassed for being gay, I humiliated him in front of the whole school too. I ripped him to shreds.”

“Oh,” Christian muttered softly, almost to himself. So that’s why Skylar had panicked when he found the illustration. He had never explained himself, for obvious reasons, so Christian had never known why he was so irritated. But in hindsight it made a lot of sense.

“The thing is,” Skylar continued sadly, “is that he was only a freshman at the time. I graduated that spring and went off to college so I wasn’t around to see the aftermath. My brother never let me forget how brutal some of the students were to him over the next three years. He probably wouldn’t have come out in high school, and I forced it on him.

“After that spring day, Christian did his best to ignore me. Two months later I cornered him like the asshole I am to demand why, like I expected him to just get over it in five minutes. He admitted he was still in love with me and it was too hard to be around me. After all the shit I did to him, he still cared but I don’t think he ever really forgave me.”

Christian was shocked at the wistful remorse in his voice and by how guilty he looked. He wanted to reach out and tell him that he’d absolved him years ago, but of course that wasn’t possible. As far as Skylar was concerned, he was ‘Chris Somebody’, not Christian Adams. He sat listening to the other side of the most horrible event in his life, and he couldn’t even tell him the truth so Skylar could stop feeling miserable.

He hinted in an oblique way and tried to make him listen. “Skylar, maybe he isn’t as angry as you fear. He was what? Fifteen? Surely he must understand that you were both kids and you deserve the benefit of the doubt. Eight years is a long time to hold a grudge. You should contact him and apologize. Tell him how you feel.”

“My brother says the same thing.” Skylar nervously tried to clear his throat around the lump. “But how do you forgive someone who hurt you and never said he was sorry. Not really sorry. Not at the time when it mattered.”

“When was the last time you saw him? Have you had a chance to make amends?”

“It’s been years,” Skylar acknowledged, deep in thought. He was almost positive his last face-to-face with Christian was the summer before he went to college. Amazing how he hadn’t thought of the kissing sketch in awhile, but in a few minutes he’d laid out the whole story to a stranger who helped him process the thoughts and feelings. He’d never confided in a person like this before, not even Gabe.

“Hey, has anyone ever told you you’re easy to talk to?”

“Sometimes,” Christian sighed. He knew they were at an impasse but it wouldn’t be resolved tonight. Instead, he forced a laugh and changed the subject a little. “So when did you finally decide you were gay instead of crazy?”

“I figured it out over my first three years at the university,” Skylar replied, shaking his head. “Early in my junior year I came out at school for my boyfriend. We lived together both semesters until he graduated, but it was only a school thing. Not long-term. It’s a little harder to be out when you’re on the football team, but it wasn’t as bad as I deserved.”

Christian winced, hating the way he kept chastising himself. Jealous of the boyfriend.

“Two years later when I was in law school, I finally told my family. By then my brother, Gabe, was in college too. I think I was more afraid of what he would say than Mom and Dad.”

Skylar went on to tell the story of scaring up the courage to finally take the plunge and discuss it with his family over winter break from school. “I didn’t tell them I’d been plagued by doubts for years. My parents handled it reasonably well; Mom cried and Dad looked like he swallowed a big mouthful of vinegar, but within a few days they were talking and telling me they loved me and if I was at peace it didn’t matter who I loved.

“Gabe was the one who challenged me about when I knew and kept wanting to focus on high school. At first I didn’t know what he was aiming for, but he’s a smart kid. He just needed to grow up enough to put two and two together and understand what he had really seen the day I went off on his best friend. Not that he had problems with me being gay.”

So, as Skylar now explained to Christian, one January night they sat down over a twelve-pack of beer and fought over it. With a little verbal encouragement and a couple bottles of the liquid kind, Skylar opened up to Gabe and grudgingly admitted when his suspicions began.

“He immediately zeroed in on me,” Skylar related. “He said, ‘So when you found Christian’s comic book in your car and blasted him for being gay you already knew you were?’ I was shocked because why would something that happened five years before impact my coming out to him. I was honest and admitted I suspected but I didn’t know for sure. He called it a dick move.”

Skylar scoffed at himself with an evil laugh. “Gabe crawled up my ass and ripped me a new one but good. He missed his calling in life… he should’ve been a shrink. He was certain my conflicted sexuality, as he put it, was at the center of my anger towards Christian and said I was a hypocrite for denouncing him in the worst possible way. Letting him go through all those years of torment when I couldn’t even be honest with myself.”

Christian shuddered, remembering the homophobic jerks back then and how frightened he was to go to school on some days. What was going to happen? Slurs on his locker? Some track team member accusing him of staring at him in the showers? Getting pushed into a wall from behind while the other students laughed? Yes, compared to his, Skylar’s coming out was probably a walk in the park.

Skylar said, “Gabe told me my lack of drama was so far removed from Christian’s at the hands of the high school lunatics that made his life hell, I should be ashamed of myself. He called me a pussy-assed coward who sailed off to play football for Michigan State, troubles forgotten while he suffered in silence. I had the safety of college where I could be anonymous, but I denied him the same option.”

Skylar managed a weak chuckle. “Gabe was furious and even somewhat admitting he was right didn’t cool him down. It was like there was steam coming out of his ears. I can still remember my brother’s words: ‘And now… oh how awesome, you’re gay. You expect me to be happy for you? Well, fuck you.’ Believe me, Chris, I deserved it.

“The least I owed Christian, he told me, was an explanation. I said how I already apologized but we both knew it wasn’t enough. ‘A fucking three-line text message mostly to deal with your own guilt,’ Gabe accused. And he was right. I never took public responsibility for what I did. Christian changed totally overnight because of what I did to him, and he was such a nice kid he didn’t even tell his parents it was my fault.

“I asked Gabe what I should do,” Skylar went on. “He suggested I get in touch with Christian. Tell him I was gay and apologize again from the perspective of my own experiences coming out. I… I couldn’t do it. I knew he was right, despite my justification but I was too scared.”

He hung his head, and Christian wasn’t certain if he was going to start crying or not. Listening to his anguish felt like jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire. Talk about dick moves? Being a voyeur to Skylar’s deepest secret made him feel dirty.

He remembered how things had been that year. After his third semester at Pratt he was in with his family in Oakland during his own winter break when Gabe called him, very agitated. He announced that he’d had a huge fight with Skylar. He certainly didn’t share that his sibling was gay, but Christian could tell something was very wrong between them. Gabe vented over how stubborn and insensitive Skylar was. He kept referring to a deal they’d made years back that he now regretted because Skylar needed to ‘face the music and live in the real world’. Christian didn’t know what he was referring to at the time, and when he asked, Gabe wouldn’t reveal.

Skylar’s voice was muffled when he returned to his story. “When I was talking to my brother I thought I was over it. It had taken me five years of trying to erase my shame but it all came flooding back during our conversation. Like I said, there are some injustices you can’t come back from, and that was one of them. I was convinced that Christian still hated me and wouldn’t want anything to do with him… ever.

“So I sternly told Gabe, ‘That’s a big no. No way, no how, and don’t expect me to change my mind’. He started shouting at me and asked, ‘What if I were to tell you that Christian never got over you?’ Well, I was shocked, but I told Gabe, ‘Then that’s even more reason for me to stay away from him. He doesn’t need me fucking up his life. He deserves someone who can love him and put him first.’ It got really ugly. He didn’t talk to me for months afterwards. I mean, gradually we let it go, but a big part of Gabe is still angry I haven’t made the gesture.”

Skylar’s voice went soft. “I wish I had the courage to go to Christian and apologize. The practical stuff is the easy part. All I need is a phone number or address which I could get from my mom who is still best friends with Christian’s mother. Then I think, there isn’t any point. Even if he’s forgiven me, he has his own life to lead. What kind of ass would I be to walk back in and unload that on him just so I can feel better? He graduated from college last May. He’s probably leading this fantastic life with a great career and a boyfriend who means everything to him. I won’t be the asshole who walks in, dredges up the past and hurts him all over again.”

What Skylar didn’t tell his new friend was the final lob in the battle between the brothers, the one that almost shattered their relationship. On that January night three years before, Gabe had glared at him and scathingly declared, “So you’re saying you don’t care about Christian? That’s bullshit, Sky. You have been in love with him since high school, and we both know it. Grow up and be a man.” But he had slunk away, convinced that Christian was better off not knowing.

In the club, taking that last deep gulp of beer, Christian sat frozen. He’d gotten much more than he bargained for, and now he regretted being that fly on the wall. There was no way he could tell the truth and explain. Even if he tried to validate himself by saying Skylar hurt his feelings by not remembering who he was, he would be furious. And he would be justified.

Here he had found all the answers he needed to explain Skylar’s overreaction to the sketch, and it brought him no peace. He was going to lose Skylar all over again because of his deception, even if he wasn’t aware of his true identity. At some point he’d figure it out, and then he would never speak to him again.

But if there was one thing Christian hoped Skylar took away from this evening, it was the fact that the man he thought hated him sat next to him listening and never once sat in judgment. He hoped Skylar would know he was forgiven and just let the pain go.

As for right this minute, the smartest thing Christian could do was make up an excuse to leave, wish Skylar a pleasant evening and walk out of the club. Just put the glass down and he’d…

Christian was startled out of his reverie to feel someone standing next to his chair and when he looked up Skylar smiled directly at him, seemingly recovered from his depressing recollections. “Do you want to dance?”

And there went his chance to make a graceful exit.

He must have been staring because he heard Skylar clear his throat and say, “I usually don’t have this kind of effect on people until later in the evening.”

Christian had to reprimand himself to stop zoning out on the guy. Dancing with him would be dangerous. It would arouse the other senses besides sight and hearing; Skylar would be close enough to smell and touch him which might jog his memory. Not a good thing at this point.

“I’d love to, Skylar, but I think I should go home.”

The look in the other man’s eyes when he registered the rejection almost broke Christian’s heart again. Skylar was probably thinking that he was disgusted by what he’d done to his brother’s friend, and that’s why he turned him down. Oh, but Christian didn’t want to turn him down. He wished he could dance with him, very much so, but should he? What were the chances that he would remember now? Probably slim. And for the opportunity to be in Skylar’s arms?

“Okay,” he smiled, blushing at his nervy thoughts.

He let Skylar lead him through the loose, noisy masses to the dance floor. The band—typical guitarist who fronted as lead singer, bassist and keyboards player providing backup vocals and drummer— all wore matching black t-shirts with the sleeves ripped out. Images of zombies boiling in cauldrons decorated the fronts which labeled them as The Filthy Magic. The opening bars of Locked Out of Heaven by Bruno Mars began to wail.

Skylar stepped in behind him and moved to the beat. At first he didn’t touch him at all, but Christian could feel the heat radiating off him as he found his own rhythm. Dancing with Skylar was intoxicating, and he let the music wrap him up in sensuality of the man gliding behind him. The song changed to Maroon 5’s One More Night and several new couples entered the dance floor, crowding them. Skylar leaned in and lightly let his hand brush against Christian’s shoulder. The connection felt like molten heat.

It wasn’t long before Skylar threw off his black silk shirt and Christian, overly warm himself, hastily unbuttoned his cotton one and shrugged it away. Skylar had a perfect view of his lean, straight back and wanted nothing more than to lick him from nape to tailbone. Instead, he gently grasped Christian’s hip to pull him closer. Skin to skin and writhing together, bodies flush, Skylar ground his aching hard-on into his denim-covered butt. His other hand slowly slipped from shoulder to chest and Christian felt fingers grazing a nipple, making it pebble.

Oh damn, that was nice! The energy of the dance tempo and close proximity of their bodies made Christian sweat and pant with need. He was turned on just knowing who was behind him. When Skylar reached around to run the flat of his hand down Christian’s swollen cock, the younger man couldn’t help but moan aloud, and his head fell back against his shoulder.

“That’s it, beautiful,” Skylar crooned quietly in his ear. “I’ve got you. Just relax.”

Sliding his lips across Chris’s cheek to mouth he grazed his lips gently and patiently waited for them to part. When they did Skylar’s tongue sought out his, exploring inside and tasting beer and him. Lips locked together in a deep kiss, he kept stroking him through his jeans, all the while rubbing his own tool into the cleft of his pert ass.

Christian felt him expertly manipulating his rigid flesh in his palm until he thought he was going to explode right then and there. Tingles were racing up and down his spine and the muscles in his thighs were beginning to quiver.

He was almost past the point of caring, but Christian didn’t want to cum in his jeans and have the night end. Once Skylar got them off, he was afraid he would be satisfied and leave. Now that Christian knew the truth, he craved being near him. The truth? Truth be damned, he told himself brazenly. He had always hungered for Skylar even when he blamed him for his messed up life! He longed for him to take him home and take him to bed.

Luckily at that exact moment the music switched to what was obviously a personal request, and the band’s vocalist began singing the slower Coldplay hit, Yellow. Skylar didn’t miss a beat with the change in tempo. He whirled Christian around and pulled him tightly into his arms while they began to sway together, their erections nestled together. He liked the way his dance partner cuddled into his neck, noticing how his eyes were all shadowed and dark, giving up the evidence of his arousal. There were activities that were much more fun to do horizontally than standing up, and he hoped Chris would agree to leave with him.

“You want to get out of here, beautiful?” he asked in a husky voice. “Your place or mine, it doesn’t matter.”

“Yours,” Christian immediately replied, trying to keep his voice even. They couldn’t go back to his apartment; his old skateboard was tossed in the corner and there were family pictures on the refrigerator that he couldn’t let Skylar see, at least not now.

“Mine it is, then.”

Saying their quick goodbyes to Evan and Rick, Christian saw them shake their heads and grin wryly. He didn’t get a chance to ask why before he was following Skylar out to his truck, hand in hand. An attack of nerves just about stayed him as he climbed into the big Ford. He was going home with Skylar… for sex. With any luck he would lose his virginity to him tonight. Goose bumps covered his upper body when he thought of giving it up to the man who had been the center of his emotional universe since high school. It was a dream come true.

As they drove Christian noticed that Skylar’s apartment was in the same general direction as the old neighborhood but he had to play along like he didn’t know anything about Sharlington. He let Skylar’s words wash over him and paid attention.

“I was born and raised here,” the blonde man told him as they passed Sharlington High. Christian shivered a little and stuck his hands between his knees so his shaking wouldn’t be obvious. “I graduated from that high school right there before going off to college in Michigan.”

“Sports?” Christian asked already knowing the answer.

Skylar nodded. “Sure. I played them all. I even got a football scholarship to Michigan State. Our high school team took division championship in our junior year.”

“The Sharlington Sharks,” Christian grinned, inwardly reminiscing inwardly over how excited the entire community had been as the team just kept winning and winning, ending up with a perfect season. Just about every resident had attended the final CIF game at the university stadium to cheer on the squad to victory. Even though he and Gabe were only in eighth grade at the time, they had sat with both sets of parents screaming themselves hoarse.

Skylar frowned at the prompt asking himself how he would have learned such a thing after only a few weeks in town. “You know the shark is our mascot?”

“Oh… um,” Christian backpedalled nervously and stared straight ahead as the truck made a right at the corner between the park and the Presbyterian church. “I heard it somewhere, I guess. Many of the people I work with are locals who have been here for a long time.”

The answer seemed to satisfy Skylar. “What about you? You look like a swimmer or a runner.”

“Nah,” Christian hedged. “I run for exercise, but I was never any good at sports.”

By this time they were pulling up into the parking lot of an apartment building Christian didn’t recognize. If his bearings were correct, six ancient homes on spacious lots used to sit in this very spot, and the march of progress made him a little sad. Not that the apartments weren’t modern and pretty on the outside, but he liked old homes. It was probably the artist in him.

Skylar showed him the way to his unit which was on the bottom floor. Walking inside, he looked around the living area carefully. It was a bit larger than his own but Skylar said it was a one-bedroom place. However, there was a formal dining area as well as a breakfast bar and Skylar’s kitchen was bigger. It was in pristine condition with the sink cleared, no spices clustered around the stove or any other sign of use.

“Do you cook?” Christian asked, sincerely interested in the answer.

“I wish.” Skylar looked abashed. “I barely have enough time to eat, never mind fixing food. I hope when I graduate I’ll get the chance.”

“I’ll have to invite you over some time,” Christian urged enthusiastically. “My mom taught me how to make her secret recipe spaghetti sauce, and she does this soup thing with any leftover imaginable that’s out of this world…”

He gradually stopped talking when he noticed Skylar’s inquisitive glance. Here he was assuming they would want something together after tonight. Besides, his mother, Kristy, was well-known for her soups, stews and sauces. He was giving too much away.

“Would you like a drink?” Skylar inquired. “I have beer, scotch, tequila, maybe some Grey Goose.” It was like whatever passion had fueled their great escape from the club had waned and all that was left were too strangers in a living room trying to make small talk. Albeit, Chris was as cute as could be and easy to talk to. Skylar was still trying to understand what made him feel so familiar. But if Chris knew him he would have said something by now.

Christian shook his head. “Do you have any soft drinks?” He wanted to keep his wits about him and had ordered two beers previously at The Open Closet. He figured that Skylar was maybe a drink or two up on him, giving a possible reason for his lack of concentration.

While Skylar checked the refrigerator for soda pop, Christian wandered around the living room. The furniture was tan leather and honey oak pieces that matched a dining room set in the alcove and surrounded a forty-inch flat screen television and the usual electronic gadgets. He had a nice selection of action DVDs and videogames for his Xbox. On top of the gaming shelf were pictures of Darrin, Jen and Gabe.

“Those are better photos of my family,” Skylar said proudly, handing him a glass of Coke. “My little brother, Gabriel, is quite a character with a strong loyalty streak. He and Christian have been best friends since childhood so when I didn’t want to follow his very specific suggestions to make things good between us, he took it personally. I think he expected me to come to my senses by cutting off ties.”

He pointed the bottom of his glass, indicating they get comfortable and Christian took a seat on the nearest end of the couch. Expecting Skylar to take the opposite, he was surprised when he scooted in right next to him and rested his arm on the back cushion behind him.

“The nice thing about the future,” Christian suggested, “is that there is usually time to fix things. Your brother might be right but you’ll never know until you try.”

Skylar nuzzled into his neck. “Okay Chris, whatever you say. No more conversation about things we can’t change tonight, agreed?”

If only he knew! But Skylar was right. There were other things to worry about besides the past. Or enjoy because Skylar was beginning to kiss his jaw, his throat and down his chest to the first button of his shirt.

Christian tensed up without thinking as his nervousness automatically spiked. None of his past encounters had resulted in anything more intimate than a handjob. It didn’t take a genius to figure out that Skylar expected way beyond that from him. Christian wanted more… he wanted it all because this was Skylar he was giving himself to at last. He hoped he could be brave enough to follow through even if he had no idea of what he was doing or whether he’d be any good. He wanted to be good for Skylar.

“Relax, beautiful,” Skylar whispered, nibbling on his earlobe.

Christian tried to calm down and hesitantly leaned in, turning his head to lay a gentle brush against his lips. Skylar’s hand came up and wrapped around the back of his neck, pulling him in closer. He claimed Christian with his mouth and pushed his tongue inside, and they tasted both the sugar and effervescence of their earlier soft drinks. Christian felt the kiss through his entire body and thought it was the best he’d ever experienced.

Skylar shifted nearer. Enfolding him in his arms he drew Chris into his body and the resulting heat felt like an explosion. He smelled so good, the combination of spicy aftershave and herbal body shampoo mingling, and he shivered. Normally he shied away from feelings during sex because he wasn’t good at knowing where he and his partner were going. With Chris he could already tell they might have a future and it scared him. Skylar could feel himself being pulled through a fire that would refine all his baser instincts and leave the part of him that wanted to be the best man possible. But for now, kissing him was invading his senses and waking up his sleeping giant who just wanted fed.

Christian couldn’t tell if it minutes or hours went by, but every sweep of their battling tongues made him want more. Lips left his and traveled up to the freckles saddling his nose, back down to his jaw, then across his throat to suck and lick, leaving a trail of fire in their wake. Skylar claimed the tender skin where neck met shoulder as his own and left his mark. A whimper escaped Christian's mouth and fire leapt to his groin causing his cock to catch and twist against the confines of his jeans. Already Skylar was removing unwanted clothes, and his half-buttoned shirt went over his head into a pile on the floor. Skylar’s followed, and the younger man marveled at the sparse patches of soft golden hair like wings on his chest that met almost invisibly over his sternum and flowed down to thicken at his crotch.

He pressed into the bare skin, admiring the defined but not bulky muscles of Skylar’s pecs and abdomen. He tried to suppress his moan, fascinated by the body art that he’d waited forever to caress intimately. Almost as if reading Braille, his fingers swept softly over the henna swirls of vine and stark black lines that made up the sword on the left side of his back. His lips followed in worship, and he gently pressed his thumb into the two inch matching sword on his right shoulder and mouthed the golden rings on his nipples. When he bit and tugged on the precious metal, the sensitivity made Skylar groan.

There was something desperate yet innocent about the way Chris touched him that left Skylar wondering about his experience. He hadn’t said anything about boyfriends in his past all evening, and he wondered if he had one… or ever had. It was also curious how he seemed to know where to look for the tattoo on his back, like he’d seen it before. But Skylar was getting too intertwined with pleasing and receiving pleasure to fuss about it.

His hands went exploring. Chris’s body was perfection. Translucent skin stretched across bone and muscle alike create a marble masterpiece of his torso. Except for the small wedged scruffs of hair in his pits, he was smooth all the way down into his waistband. Collarbones stood out in relief between the frame of shoulders looking deceptively delicate, and his shoulder blades sprouted out of his upper back in sharp angles. Soft intakes of breath escaped Chris as Skylar ran his fingernails over his round, pink nipples before bending down to nibble them into hard knots. He smiled into the nubs, loving how adorably responsive he was to his touch.

Deftly he reached down and unfastened Chris’s jeans. They slid easily down his slim hips and thighs, taking his boxer briefs along, and Skylar drank in what lay before him. If the upper body was perfection, Chris’s lower half was paradise. Below a tiny outie navel, he had a slender, cut six-inch cock already rock hard that slapped at his abdomen. The head was the deep rosy red of arousal, shaped like a bell and slick with precum. The shaft was straight as a ruler and evenly thick from top to bottom. His entire groin was shaved smooth, and his balls were like eggs in their sac.

“Fuck, you are beautiful,” Skylar whispered in appreciation. He stood, removing his own tight jeans before sliding back down onto the wide seat of the couch and covering Christian’s body with his. Skylar’s thick cock was a tawny color and about two inches longer with the rounded head fully extended beyond the foreskin, but they were good fit. Both of them gasped when he rotated his hips, causing them to slide together, friction and precum guiding the way.

Skylar couldn’t fail to notice how Chris had gulped and stared at his hard steely member, his panicked eyes wide before he averted them and tried to pretend he wasn’t nervous. The man was an obvious bottom and most likely a virgin. All the tenderness he usually tried to hide to protect his heart came into play because he sensed Chris was special and he didn’t want to hurt him.

“Chris, have you done this before?” he whispered quietly in his ear as he gently cupped his jaw so he couldn’t pull away. “Ever been with another man?” A pause and then the most minute shake of his head. Skylar smiled in delight. Chris was untouched, a blank canvas. It made him shudder at the responsibility handed him to take it slow and make it as painless as possible for him. “Relax and let me treat you right. I’m going to make love to you and make you feel beautiful.”

Skylar shimmied down to the other end of the couch until he faced his angry-looking dick. A drop of pearly precum was beginning to follow gravity, and he licked it off the head, smiling at Chris’s explosive gasp. His tongue circled the corona, swathing it gently before sucking the head and an inch of his shaft into the hot wetness of his mouth. Letting it go after only seconds, he kissed his way down his length to his balls which he carefully bathed one by one.

Christian moaned. Nothing had ever felt as good as what Skylar was doing to his cock. Having his balls in a man’s mouth was like heaven; the suction, the gentle tugging of the sac and how the tongue awoke every nerve ending. Already his groin was tingling and his hips would not keep still on the cushion, wanting to roll with every pull. Then, with an almost audible pop, Skylar let go and his lips began a slow slide upwards to the head again which he flicked with his tongue to capture more precum.

He took him to the pubic bone in one mouthful, and lights flashed behind Christian’s eyes. Without even time to warn him, his entire body locked up and he was suddenly cumming. “Oh fuck, yeah that’s good,” he grunted as his cock erupted, filling Skylar’s mouth with his cream. Body clenching in hot spasms as the most exquisite climax swept over him, and his dark, aroused eyes fluttered closed, his last sight of the top of Skylar’s blonde head embedded in his brain.

Skylar hadn’t been caught unaware; he recognized the hitched breathing and light plunges of hips signaling the impending orgasm in Chris. His nervousness was cute, artless in a way that wasn’t forced or fake or playing games. When he spurted without verbal warning Skylar caught every drop of his release. Salty with a bit of sweetness, warm and sticky, he drank him down and cleaned off every inch of him.

“Sorry,” Christian panted breathlessly when Skylar rejoined him.

“Don’t be,” he answered with a peck to his lips. “You were so sexy and sweet, and you taste good too.”

He climbed off the couch, pulling Christian with him as he headed for his bedroom. He didn’t even bother with the lights, but in the moonlit dimness Christian saw a king-size bed with a dark red comforter on it. Skylar whisked the covers back to reveal gray and red plaid sheets before pushing him backwards. He scrambled to the middle with the older man following, and then Skylar took his mouth again in a deep kiss that made him dizzy.

With trepidation, Christian kissed down Skylar’s body in search of that long, thick cock between his thighs. Not that he didn’t know where it was, but he wasn’t sure what to do with it once he got there. But he knew what felt good, and so he quietly went about duplicating Skylar’s actions and hoped his were as good.

The entire round head was shiny with liquid arousal. Christian sucked it off and liked the taste. He was surprised by how much he had to stretch his lips around it but earned a thrust of Skylar’s hips and a sigh. Christian sucked him back inside and gradually worked more of him in, rearing up and driving downwards. Careful of choking, he was able to get about five of the eight inches in before it hit the back of his mouth and flipped his gag response. He let his hand drift to Skylar’s nuts and gently rubbed them between his fingers while his palm pumped the lower end of the staff. Skylar moaned loudly, rocking into him and guiding him down with a hand to the back of his brown head. “Feels good, beautiful,” he praised him.

For a virgin, Chris seemed to know his way around a dick, Skylar thought. However, as good as the blowjob was, he didn’t want to cum in his mouth. After a few minutes he reluctantly pushed Chris off of him and swiftly soothed him when he saw the sorrow in his eyes, “It felt too good. Let me make love to you.”

Grabbing lube and a condom out of the drawer of his nightstand, he rolled Chris on his stomach. “I’m going to take this real slowly. You tell me if I hurt you, okay? Take it easy.”

Christian smiled and tried to follow instructions. Skylar guided him up on his spread knees, chest down and hips high in the air. Frankly, exposing his ass like this was embarrassing and made him feel slutty but he didn’t say anything. He knew Skylar was going to have to lube him up and get him opened or the breach was going to be agonizing. It was worth a little mortification not to feel pain. Being with Skylar made it all worthwhile.

Christian accepted the first lubed finger with only a hiss of discomfort and was glad when Skylar grabbed his dick and began to stroke him back to hardness. It distracted him from the goal and his body relaxed better when he wasn’t thinking about it. He barely noticed the digit fucking his bud in widening circles as it fought the natural reaction of the muscular rings guarding his gut. Two fingers was a little more stretch than was easy but it worked itself out too. He kept his mind on how good the stroking fingers felt against his new erection. On how it would feel having Skylar fuck his virginity away.

“Oh damn,” he groaned. The third finger had gone into his ass relatively smoothly and he could tell his muscles were loosening up down there. Then Skylar twisted his wrist and something inside him arced with pleasure and made him groan. He knew it was his prostate, and suddenly he was pushing himself against the hand and whimpering frantically. “I’m ready, Skylar. Now, please.”

Skylar laughed as he withdrew his fingers and unrolled a condom over his erection, lubing up thoroughly. Positioning himself behind Christian, he gently massaged the pale, muscular cheeks of his ass to quiet his nerves. “I’ll go slowly. At any time you can tell me to stop and I will. Let me give you time to adjust until you’re ready again. Don’t tense up.”

Christian nodded. He felt Skylar’s cock sweep up and down the cleft of his ass a few times before resting against his pucker. With a series of light presses inward, he popped through the retreating muscles, and Christian registered the first painful burn with a sharp gasp. It hurt, hurt bad enough that he wanted to beg Skylar to stop and pull out but he didn’t. He knew he wouldn’t push him until he was ready and it would get better. Men, he reminded himself, liked doing this so there must be pleasure in it.

He kept breathing and felt Skylar’s hands all over his back patient and calming. Christian signaled that he could move, and another inch of cock entered him to more waiting. Slowly he felt himself being penetrated until he felt Skylar’s springy pubic hair resting against his ass, and he released a sigh of contentment he didn’t even know he’d been holding.

“I’m going to start moving, beautiful,” Skylar whispered in his ear, draping himself over him. “Let me know how it feels.”

“Go ahead,” Christian said.

He closed his eyes and allowed his emotions to overflow. Skylar, the man he'd loved for eight years, was inside him, all around him, flowing through him. Making love to him. It was warmth and the calm release of tension he'd carried around for almost a third of his life, and now all the hurt of that terrible day in the parking lot could be put to rest. If ever he'd doubted he still loved Skylar, there was absolutely no question now.

Leisurely, Skylar drew back and thrust in again, filling him with his hot, velvety cock. Skylar moaned at the heated tension of his channel squeezing him like a fiery glove. At this rate he was going to cum quickly. He made sure each drive inside rubbed over Christian’s sensitive nerve bundle. Skylar saw the love blazing from Christian’s lust-blown eyes and it took the small amount of breath left in him away.

To the younger man it was like the combustion point of a runaway fire, and soon his moans joined Skylar’s in harmony. “Good. It feels good,” he panted. “Can you give me harder, Skylar? I can handle it.”

In response, Skylar pulled out and rolled Chris on to his back. He spread his legs over his elbows and firmly drove back into his ass, instantly reseating his cock. He began to fuck him, slow and gentle at first, then his rhythm quickened, gaining in vigor. Skylar was soon breathing rough and shallow and with each plunge his thighs slapped hard against his lover. His sweat dripped onto Chris who writhed beneath him meeting every thrust in growing rapture.

Christian’s entire body was soaring, humming with power. This was incredible, the burning morphing into intense bliss. He was almost there; he could feel it in every atom of his being, the pounding thrusts, each of them nailing his prostate. Skylar took his cock and pumped it in time, and that was all it took. He was floating away in a world of pleasure radiating from his groin, his hole gripping and releasing as his cum bubbled over Skylar’s hand to paint his abdomen.

“Sky, oh Sky, for so long…”

Skylar, who normally didn’t take time to notice, let himself gaze in fascination at the tableau of radiant emotions flickering across the man’s face. Then he fell headlong over the edge with him and came with a roar, clutching Chris’s hips tightly and releasing jets of semen into the condom as his channel milked him dry. In his ecstasy, he was only vaguely aware of the more familiar version of his name used only by family and close friends and didn’t dwell on it. All that mattered was the huge rush of his powerful orgasm and the warm, masculine body below his that brought it forth. In time he pulled out from Chris, removed the condom and collapsed on the bed next to him.

They cuddled against each other in afterglow. Christian had a soft smile of triumph on his face and kissed Skylar passionately in thanks. He could hardly believe the accident that had brought him back in his life. Or the sad reality that would force him out again, this time for good. But for now he was content.

Skylar eventually got up to fetch a warm washcloth and cleaned Chris up. He looked so beautiful in his bed, his skin still flushed with his orgasm and his eyes hazy and unfocused. There was just something there Skylar couldn’t put his finger on, something important beyond his grasp that he should know. But he was too tired, too sated to worry for now, and he joined Chris in bed. Covering them both with his quilt, he spooned in behind him.

“Goodnight, Chris,” he mumbled, his mind nearly disengaged as he let the comfort of his lover’s body lull him into torpor.

“Christian,” came back softly from the other, mostly-asleep, like a reflexive instinct built in from years of reminders. And then he was out too.

It was very early in the morning when Christian awoke. Just the barest hint of the onrushing dawn maybe half an hour away. That sad reality was now heart-tormenting fact. He had pretended to be a stranger while listening to Skylar bare his soul, and there was no doubt that with the sunrise would come the return of his memory and condemnation with it. The night had been magic but the morning meant rejection and rage. He’d already had one experience with it when he was fifteen and couldn’t face another.

His mouth tasted terrible, and his head felt slightly achy from the beer. But he remembered everything, including the automatic correction of his name as they dropped off to sleep. He had to get out of there.

Slowly he eased himself from the bed, allowing himself to use the bathroom and hoped the closed door muffled the sounds of running water. In the near dark he located his clothes in the living room and soundlessly dressed, keeping his ears open for the rumble of Skylar’s deep breathing. The sun was just appearing over the horizon when he stepped outside to the cab waiting in the parking lot. The driver shot a knowing, satisfied grin at his rumpled appearance and haggard expression, but Christian didn’t care.

On his way home in the morning chill, he reflected on what had happened. He was no longer a virgin and in a miracle of sorts, Skylar was the man who had relieved him of the burden. Remarkable, precious Skylar who had never forgiven himself for the pain his rage had caused almost eight years ago. So sad and broken over their estrangement, but unwilling to reach out to him.

Skylar needed his forgiveness and restoration but Christian couldn’t help him, not with the secret he kept. He couldn’t ever go back, knowing how angry Skylar would be once he learned the truth of his duplicity. And damn, if that wasn’t fucked up.

(To be continued...)


  1. It was a good chapter but I have a question. How could Skylar NOT recognize Christian? They grew up together.

    1. Looking at pictures of my own sons, there is a big difference between being 15 and 23. You take away eyeglasses, change hair colors and styles and put four drinks into a guy, anything is possible.

    2. I understand. A guy from high school barely recognized me and he was sober. We sort of followed each other around every now and then like puppies. I told him in a letter that I am bi and seeing him bartend brought feelings for him. I was too forward in my letter because when I saw him again he looked at me with confusion. Casey 1988

  2. wow, amazing story.
    Looking forward to the next chapter!

  3. Oh wow, I didn't see this coming. Great story! Can't wait to see what happens to these two :)

  4. Holy major miscommunications, Batman! This will be quite the problem to salvage...

  5. It's going to be epic when Skylar gets it. Sooooo good.

  6. Yeah I think Christian summed this chapter up in the last sentence. Wow this is going to be one complicated hopefully not too heart wrenching doozy of a story. The guys are all readt attracted to each other and have a base connection even with Christian knowing who Skyler is. I hope they can work it out.

    The sex was pretty hot too by the way. I loce all your attention to detail. While I was reading the scene it was like I was watching it as a mocie in my mind. So descriptive. It was awesome.


    P.S. I live in Oregon and went to U of O. Go Ducks! Lol!

  7. Come on Cliff! I think we are all dying to find out more about this cute couple, you left us with an amazing cliffhanger.

  8. Amazing chapter keep up the work. :)
    Casey 1988