The tension in Tyler’s belly eased slightly as he peered around at his new home. The loft was masculine, with very little furniture, lots of space, posters from all the movies Colt had been in hanging on faux brick walls. There was the couch they were sitting on, low, black and leather, a matching love seat, a distressed coffee table, the big screen TV and not much else.
There were no walls in the vast, almost warehouse like space, everything separated by giant folding screens, like Tyler had seen in Chinese restaurants back home. Candles flickered on the coffee table, the TV silent, the hour late and Tyler nervous about bedtime.
Part of him wanted Colt more than he’d ever wanted anyone–or anything–in his life. Every smile, every flex of every muscle, only made Tyler want him more. Their first kiss had shown how explosive their lust could be and, since then, neither had dared tempt fate by trying it again. But now, Tyler wasn’t so sure.
“Penny for your thoughts,” Colt said, softly, brown eyes aglow from the candlelight, as if he already knew.
Tyler grinned and blushed. “What are the sleeping arrangements?”
Colt smiled, shaking his head, hands up in surrender. “Relax, kid, I’m not going to expect any favors for the rent, or attack you in the shower, or try and seduce you in your sleep.”
“Why not?” Tyler pouted, pretending to be hurt.
“Been there,” Colt reminded him. “Done that, remember?”
“Maybe I was just confused then.”
“Oh, like you’re not now? Night before your first big movie shoot and you don’t think you’re nervous, anxious, confused?”
“I’m all of those,” Tyler confessed. “Isn’t that all the more reason to… get a little distracted?”
Colt shook his head. “No,” he said, standing abruptly. “It’s all the more reason to go to damn bed.”
“Now you’re talking,” Tyler said, leaping up to join him.
“Alone,” Colt scolded and Tyler didn’t know whether to be disappointed, or relieved. “Get your feet wet, grow up a little, make some decisions and, later, if you want to get a little… distracted… we’ll see what happens.”
Tyler followed him to the guest bed, a double, white sheets, white pillowcases, looking empty and plain. “Okay,” Tyler said, feeling suddenly lonely and scared. “But can I at least have a kiss goodnight?”
“Tyler,” Colt chided, but as they stood face to face by the Asian screen separating the guest room from the rest of the loft, he sighed and reached gently for Tyler’s waist. “Come here,” he said, drawing his young student close.
Tyler melted into Colt’s arms, soft skin on his hard angles, long limbs entwined as their lips met, soft and gentle and warm. Colt pulled away but Tyler clung to his neck, dragging him back. “Not yet,” Tyler whispered along his jaw line, hard and scratchy with a day’s worth of stubble. “Just a little more.”
Bursting into the law office sputtering and wet, it seemed some great bird of prey had crashed through a window. His Roman nose, thick black beard, grey cloak and impressive shoulders only made the comparison truer; he seemed a falcon cursed to human form, and had such a spring in his step and fire in his gaze that at any moment he seemed likely to spread hidden wings and fly into the rafters. His cheeks had a rosy blush and his beard and mop of wavy black hair still glittered with the sleet that was falling outside.
Daniel had charged to Mayfair on foot from the docks. He hadn’t an umbrella, no money for a carriage and his cloak shed water all over the marble floor of the anteroom.
A maid rushed to take his wet coat and cloak and fawned over him, giving him a towel for his head and plying him with a pair of slippers.
“I must see Mr. Devaulier,” he said urgently.
He entered a grand office. Dark, hardwood panels encased the room and the rain beat against a long gallery of casement windows checked with panes of wine-bottle green. Thousands of books lined the walls, and a suite of Louis XVI furnishings circled the massive oaken desk. Behind it sat the elegant Armand Devaulier.
He wore a claret velvet vest and a grey morning suit, and scratched away at some legal document with a fountain pen. He had a narrow, androgyne face, long nose, and dainty blond moustache. He looked up at Daniel with some surprise.
“Pardon, me sir,” he said, rising, “I wasn’t expecting anybody.” His accent was neat and controlled, just as everything about him seemed to be.
“Nor was I expecting to seek you. My name is Daniel Thornley, and I have just arrived from Venice. I must report the death of my dear friend, the Duke of Marlborough. He told me to give you this.” Daniel produced from his breast pocket a glittering ring of platinum inset with an indigo sapphire.
“I see,” he said. “May he rest in peace. Please sit down, Mr. Thornley. I’ll send for tea. We have a great deal to discuss.”
The barrister moved to stand directly in front of Daniel and put his hand on the man’s shoulder. “You see, Mr. Thornley, in giving you this ring and sending you here, the Duke of Marlborough has marked you as the heir to half of his fortune.”
Daniel felt the colour drain from his face, felt the tingle in his palms. He sat down abruptly, staring into space.
My God, he thought. My God!
After ringing the maid, the barrister went to a safe hidden behind a portrait of a boy all in blue. From the cast-iron box he produced a stack of yellowed parchments which he scrutinized before and after sitting back down. As he leafed through the papers, Monsieur Devaulier occasionally looked up to see Daniel’s mouth hanging open in stunned silence.
The Thornley family, although noble, was on the brink of ruin, whereas the Duke of Marlborough was one of the wealthiest men in England. Daniel’s life would be forever changed. The tea came and Daniel stared into the red liquid for a long time before sipping it. He laughed a little and then giggled hysterically for a moment before tears clouded his eyes.
“Don’t count yourself a rich man, yet,” the lawyer warned, finding the document he had been seeking. “You haven’t heard the terms of your inheritance yet.”
“Yes. Here they are. Now, Mr. Thornley, I am but a solicitor. While I do not judge the Duke of Marlborough, and count him as one of my oldest associates and friends, neither do I endorse this will of his. It is a very queer document; no doubt the queerest of all the contracts I have ever drafted.”
“What do you mean?” Daniel was wary.
“Perhaps it would be better for me to have you read it, rather than speak such things aloud. Remember—you have my utmost confidence. No matter what your decision about these terms, I am henceforth your lawyer, solicitor, and confidant.”
He handed Daniel the parchment, and the young lord’s eyes widened in shock as he read it.
If you wish to inherit the vast wealth of my estate, you must prove yourself an heir to my spirit and my heart. You must join the brotherhood of the Cup and Eagle, and become the hierophant supreme, Jupiter. In addition you must run the gauntlet I did: Simply—within one year you must find twenty-one boys and men, and commit with them acts of flagrant fornication. They must come from all walks of life, all tribes, all shapes and sizes (as shall be listed below).
You shall receive as stipend (for this vast and dangerous mission of debauchery) a sum of 5,000 pounds to be used at your discretion. You shall have the full use of my townhouses and properties in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Paris, and Rouen, and the services of Armand as legal counselor and defender should you find yourself in conflict with the law. (As you very well may know, under the Crown, all these acts are punishable by DEATH). To accept these terms, you must merely take back the ring of Jove and wear it as your emblem, so that our brothers shall know you.
Daniel read these things with shock and horror. His face blanched, his hands began to shake, and he clenched his jaw.
“This filth,” he said, voice quaking. “It’s absurd!” He continued scanning the bottom of the page, and read aloud in horror: “Up to three rough-trade lads from the streets; a dairy boy, a minister’s son, a shoe-shiner; a boy studying at seminary or in training to become a chaplain… A Welsh lad, an Irish lad, a Scotch boy,” Daniel’s voice was climbing in volume with his indignation.
“Absurd!” Daniel shouted. “Impossible and vile!”
“Does that mean you reject the terms?” Armand asked coolly.
Daniel stood up abruptly, fists clenched; he looked as if he might turn over Armand’s desk. Instead, he snatched the ring.
“Of course not.”
As Daniel left the law office, and went back into the driving rain, tears poured from his face, and he suddenly laughed with the relief and excitement of a man freed from slavery. He slid the ring onto his middle finger. It was a perfect fit.
“Got it!” Zach pulled another tick from the thick, curling fur on Wilson’s deep-set chest. The dog had beautiful and perfect conformation. Definitely from some good bloodlines, and not a puppy mill purebred. Not to mention the spot-on, friendly and intelligent Golden personality. Not only that, but it appeared that Wilson knew quite a few tricks. He sat, rolled over, extended a paw when asked, and even did a type of commando crawl—something he displayed when a woodchuck had popped up from the grass and chuttered at them before diving into its burrow. It had reminded Zach of something some of the service dogs he’d treated were trained to do when approaching a potentially hazardous situation.
“Wiiiiilson!” Suddenly, a man’s deep-throated cry sounded from near the beach. Zach was surprised to see that while the dog leapt up and barked in response, he didn’t go to the man who called. That was odd, because he’d been quite good answering Zach’s summons even when he was busy attempting to rid the world of the evil woodchuck.
Maybe the secret was the lingering scent of bacon that probably permeated his clothes and skin. Zach sat on the stairs and stroked Wilson’s back sadly. “You should probably go, boy. Your person is looking for you.”
“Whuff,” Wilson argued, and sat down on Zach’s foot. It was clear he wasn’t leaving any time soon.
“Wiiilson!” sounded again, and then the man’s head appeared over the edge of the slope, followed by the rest of him, rising up like a spectre from a grave. Zach gave the dog a nudge.
“Go on, boy.”
“Whuff.” Wilson lay down across both his feet. Zach sighed.
“Fine. I’ll meet your human and then you can leave. I suppose it’s for the best, anyway. In case I decide I want to contact anybody. At least I’ll know his name.”
Wilson wagged his tail and smiled. As the man approached, the tail wagged more vigorously, until it made a solid whumpwhumpwhump sound on the earth, and even created a slight breeze.
Zach steeled himself. Steve had made it sound as if the guy looked like a monster, but as he drew closer, all Zach could think was that the man was huge. Tall, lean, broad-shouldered and obviously fit as hell. The kind of guy who could do a hundred one-armed pushups in two minutes, or run a mile and a half and barely break a sweat. He didn’t exactly look like serious military, though, because his dark-auburn hair was long, and kept sweeping across his face in the sea breeze.
He sort of reminded Zach of the lead character in one of those fantasy pics, like Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings, or a historical figure, like in Braveheart. Definitely a warrior type, at any rate, dressed in boots, torn jeans and a faded black T-shirt that hugged his well-defined physique like the proverbial second skin. Zach wasn’t in bad shape, but this guy made him feel fat and soft, and definitely weak.
I should get up, he thought. No reason to look as physically pathetic as he felt. But the dog didn’t budge from his comfortable position on Zach’s feet, and it forced the warrior dude to continue across the lawn.
As he drew closer, Zach could see the scar Steve had described. Jagged and red, it swooped across the man’s face like a paint splatter from a carelessly swung brush. It was a shame, Zach found himself thinking, because the man had an extraordinarily beautiful face—almost feminine—with high cheekbones and full lips, and wide, blue eyes. He’d been handsome before he’d been scarred.
As he drew even closer, Zach realized he still was handsome, in a damaged sort of way. Then he frowned. Why in God’s name was he checking out this dude like he was a girl? The results of island isolation, he figured, and pushed himself upright despite Wilson’s weight pinning his feet to the ground. He held up a hand in greeting, and smiled in what he hoped was a pleasant and self-deprecating way.
“I have your dog. I’m sorry—he doesn’t appear to want to leave. I think it’s because I gave him bacon.”
Zach felt himself flush, and he felt stupid and awkward. What the hell.
The man strode right up to him, but his attention was focused on the dog. “Wilson!” he said by way of greeting, in a deep, gravelly voice that sounded rusty, as if he didn’t use it very often.
Apparently, he didn’t talk to himself all the time, Zach mused. He squared his shoulders and considered standing on tip-toe so he wouldn’t have to lift his chin to talk to the guy. It was a weird situation to be in—he knew he was six-foot-two inches tall, so having to lift anything to talk to someone rarely happened.
Still, the man didn’t even meet his eyes. Instead, he kept his gaze on the dog. “I’ve wasted a whole morning looking for you. What do you have to say for yourself?”
Wilson put his paw over his face and pointed his nose to the ground. Ashamed. Zach grinned and huffed a laugh.
“You should be ashamed,” he told Wilson. “You’ve been very naughty. First you ate most of my breakfast, and then you didn’t answer your human when you knew it was time to go home.”
The dog groaned and rolled onto his back, waving his paws in supplication.
Both Zach and the man laughed then, and their eyes met.
Holy crap, Zach thought, as a bolt of something shot through him. The man’s gaze was so intense—it felt like he could see right through him, read his deepest, darkest secrets, and then make a judgement about him. He struggled to take a breath. “Uh… I’m… hi. I’m Dr. Keegan.” He wondered why he’d used his title instead of his first name.
“I’m Thorne. Connor,” the guy answered.
Zach wondered if Thorne was his first name or his last, but he decided it didn’t matter. Thorne came first, so it’s what he’d use. He held out his hand. “Hi.”
Thorne flickered a gaze at his hand, then took it in his own. His palm was rough and his grip hard and strong, and it reminded Zach of a rock. Which didn’t make any sense, but it didn’t matter. Thorne pulled his hand out of Zach’s grip with a frown.
That was weird, Zach thought. Why did I hang on like that? He grimaced, then wiped his hand on his hip to counteract the feeling of Thorne’s skin against his own. He immediately hoped his action didn’t insult the man, but then again, what difference did it make? The guy was anti-social, like Steve had said, and didn’t want to be bothered anyway.
“I—uh—I gave him some bacon. I hope you don’t mind. He was working pretty hard for it, and it was hard to ignore his antics.”
“Yeah. He—uh—he’s like that,” Thorne answered, and nodded, looking down at his dog.
“Was he a service dog?” Zach asked, on a hunch that was quickly affirmed when Thorne quickly lifted his eyes to his in surprise.
“What makes you say that?” he almost seemed to growl.
Zach ignored the sense of unease Thorne radiated like heat, and shrugged. “In my practice, I’d seen some of them. Rescue dogs, mostly. Some of them came home from action with their trainers. Anyhow, he displays some of the same behaviors.”
“Really.” Thorne stared down at the dog thoughtfully, as if debating with himself. Then he gently nudged Wilson with a work-booted toe. “On your feet. Ten-hut!”
Wilson rolled to his feet and stood squarely, with his nose pointing straight ahead at Thorne and his ears perked. Obviously at attention and ready for action. A smile quirked the unscarred side of Thorne’s mouth, but he quelled it quickly. “Appears you’re right, doctor.” He pinned Zach with a calculating stare. “People doctor or animal doctor?”
“Oh. Animal.” Zach shrugged.
“You don’t say.”
“He doesn’t appear to have any PTSD, though.”
Thorne’s eyes narrowed. “No, he doesn’t.”
Zach heard himself prattling on, and wished he could stop. Maybe it was the result of too many days without anyone to talk to but himself. “Some of the dogs I’ve seen have come home with all kinds of issues. Unreasonable fear, anxiety, fear of loud noises, sudden movements. Some of them even have to be put down.” He snapped his mouth shut with an audible clicking of his teeth as Thorne pinned him with a hard, glacial stare.
His eyes, Zach realized suddenly, were the exact blue of polar ice. How ironic. He swallowed.
“Fall in,” Thorne snapped and turned away. Wilson fell into step beside him and together they moved across the lawn without looking back.
Zach sort of fell back onto the stairs and sat there, watching Thorne’s long-legged, swinging stride. He had the overwhelming urge to follow, though he couldn’t say why. But his heart pounded in his throat and he knew without a doubt that Thorne was somehow about to change his life, and it would never be the same.
After Fiona had gone, Niall went to the back patio. There was a pleasant little rose garden and a gap in the hedges through which he could see the football green down the hill, and then beyond, the old gymnasium. Beyond that, the Bristol Channel and the lights of boats floating over the water.
The rain had stopped and he sat down on a stone bench. From his pocket he produced a tiny cigarette case that had belonged to his great-grandfather, and his grandfather, and his father. Silver-plated, engraved with roses, it’d been in the trenches of WWI and gone all the way to Trinidad with his grandfather. The treasured family heirloom seemed to Niall the best reason to keep smoking some days. Some man out there ought to keep pulling it out of his pocket, right? He popped it open, and from within, removed a thick joint.
As he lit it, Niall saw a small group of bodies creeping through the dark down on the football green. Squinting, he watched as they entered the old gymnasium. One of the lights turned on, and he heard hoots and hollers in the distance. There was a swimming pool in there, he reckoned. They were forbidden to enter the campus buildings without supervision, but then, Niall wasn’t exactly in a right state of mind to be an enforcer at the moment.
A plume of silver smoke billowed from his mouth as he considered calling the resident security. Instead, he kept smoking and drank a beer or two, letting his thoughts wander until the lads finally left the gymnasium. He saw them, in swim trunks, carrying empty beer bottles out and chucking them over the hedge. Then, in the light of a street lamp, he recognized the far-off profile and slender gorgeousness of Paul Amir.
“Well bugger me,” Niall whispered.
He’d let it slide, for now. Niall was far more stuck on the image of the boy, walking barefoot through the grass, his body wet, his smooth skin glistening under the yellow light. Dark hair clinging to his face, muscles sleek as a panther.
Their encounter on the train had been marked with so much hostility and anger that Niall hadn’t really been able to think about it clearly until now. And now that he did, his keen psychoanalytic mind realized the heat of that whole encounter was driven as much by lust as by aggression. The second Paul had turned to look at Niall, the man had felt lightning burst from his heels to his head-top.
The boy was god-like. His skin was radiant olive, his almond-shaped eyes like turquoise. Feminine long lashes, perfect jawline and nose, and lips that seemed like rose petals—
“Nooooo,” Niall groaned, rubbing the heels of his palms into his forehead. “Not again.”
He was always in love with an impossible boy. Genet called it the angel of loneliness. Whether he was terminally ill, or Mormon, or illegally young, Niall found himself magnetizing these ridiculous infatuations into his life again and again. Little could Niall reckon how much Paul was about to disrupt everything in his life.
Kyle was on autopilot as he left the Sneakers parking lot. He was smiling to himself, blushing and readjusting his semi hard-on as he paused at the stop sign up the street. He reached for his phone in the side pocket of his gym bag to check his messages.
Finding it empty, he put the car in park and rooted around in his bag to discover that he must have left it in the locker room. Fuck! Hoping that Dodge might still be there, he put the car into drive, pulled a U-turn at the deserted intersection and sped back to the gym. With relief, he spied Dodge’s car, a massive SUV with all the bells and whistles, parked in a loading zone out back.
Kyle leapt from his car. He expected to find the gym locked up tight and was further relieved when the door opened allowing him quick entry. He thought about calling out, to let Dodge know he was there, then thought better of it. He didn’t really want to face him again and rekindle the lust he’d only just managed to get control of. Better he just slipped through, got his phone and left without anyone even knowing he’d been there.
He crept quietly down the hallway toward the locker room. There was light still seeping from beneath the door and the sultry, humid steam from his earlier shower hung in the hall. Kyle opened the door. The bathroom area was deserted but still well-lit and the mirrors above the empty sinks covered in more steam.
Kyle heard breathing coming from inside the locker room, heavy and languid, as if Dodge might be doing pushups on the smooth bathroom tiles. Then he heard a soft groan, and the unmistakable slap of flesh on flesh. It was slick and rhythmic and Kyle knew, from his own countless jerk-off sessions, that it was the sound of a man pleasuring himself.
Suddenly glad he hadn’t called out when he’d first crept inside, and more curious than ever, Kyle slowed his roll until he was just inside the opening to the locker room itself.
Dodge sat, legs spread on the low bench beside a row of lockers. A damp towel was tossed casually over one thigh. He was naked and sweaty, his chest and throat flushed and his balls full and throbbing as he rhythmically jerked his shaft.
Kyle sucked in a breath. The man’s cock was magnificent—hard, thick and ribbed with a network of veins that cried out to be licked and sucked until he’d explored every one. Dodge’s eyes were closed tight, lips parted, lost to his own private fantasies as he pounded his meat with delicate authority.
His body was richly muscled, firm, marbled with age and ripened to perfection. His belly was flat, gently feathered with fine black hair from just above his navel and down until it blossomed into a thick, black bush.
His chest was heaving, sweat dripping from his arms and torso, thighs flexed and tensed as they seemed to spread wider to heighten the older man’s obvious pleasure. Balls, thickly lathered with sweat and steam, flailed and flapped at the end of the locker room bench, making Kyle ache to hold their obvious heft in the palm of his hands and caress them for hours on end.
Kyle must have been transfixed, gazing upon their pendulous beauty, when there was the sudden intake of breath, a gasp, and Dodge closed his legs. He covered his massive shaft—or tried to, anyway—with the damp towel that had been draped over one trembling thigh.
“K-Kyle,” he stammered, sitting upright. “What are you doing here?”
Remembering why he’d invaded Dodge’s private moment, Kyle spotted his cell phone resting precariously at the other end of the bench. “My… my phone,” he murmured, somehow inching into the room without realizing he was doing it. “I… forgot it.”
“Jesus,” Dodge said, the towel slipping slightly as he shifted position yet again. “I… I was just letting off a little post-workout steam, you know?”
He tried to come off as casual, but the blush that covered his handsome face couldn’t hide his obvious embarrassment.
Kyle nodded, walking even closer until he could smell the faint musk of sweat and desire wafting off of Dodge’s flushed, naked skin.
“I was rushing home to do the same,” he confessed, unable to quite believe his lurid fantasies of his older mentor had suddenly come to life. “When I remembered about my phone.”
Dodge nodded, biting his lower lip uncertainly, as if wondering what to do next. An awkward silence followed, sullied only by the squeak of Kyle’s shoes as he inched even closer. Now he could make out the thick shaft beneath the damp towel, even stiffer than before.
“Kyle?” Dodge tried for a stern tone. “Kyle, you really shouldn’t be here.”
Kyle nodded, their eyes meeting at last. “You’re right, Dodge.” His voice was faint and his heart pounding. “I shouldn’t, but since I am… do you… need any help?”
Evan Crane always preferred to be the last guy in the gym showers. That way, he didn’t have to pretend not to be ogling the others as they stood, naked, glistening and limber after their sweaty evening workouts. In that way, his life hadn’t changed much since high school. Back then, short and stocky and already wearing size XL gym shorts by ninth grade, he’d been insecure about his weight and had always waited until just before the last student left to slip inside the showers and lather and rinse himself off before his next class.
His old coach, Mr. Peterson, was forever giving him grief—and hall passes—to let him get to his next class a little late. A big guy himself, Evan had always figured Mr. Peterson understood his plight, even though it didn’t make him any happier about tearing off yet another hall pass at the end of sixth period gym.
As a result, Evan had perfected what he called the Five Minute Soap and Scrub: one minute to get all wet, one minute to shampoo, two minutes to soap up, one more minute to rinse off the later and… done!
Now though, he heard the last locker of the night slamming and sighed with relief, finally stripping off his sweaty pullover and hanging it over his open locker door. He was no longer ashamed of his body, having worked hard since graduating high school two years earlier to slim down and tone up. His nightly forays to the gym had worked wonders, if he did say so himself.
Still, it was hard enough being a young gay man in a town like Crawford, Georgia without being accused of scoping the other guys out in the gym showers every night. That kind of drama, Evan didn’t need. He stripped off his gym shorts and boxer briefs and stepped into the showers, only too late realizing he wasn’t alone after all.
“Hey,” grunted a tall, rangy stranger at the next shower tower, lean body lathered and glistening just outside the spray of his nozzle.
“Hey,” Evan said, trying to ignore the new guy’s tattoos as they appeared and disappeared each time another wave of soap slithered down his long, ropey biceps and lean stomach. “Thought everybody had gone home,” he chuckled, trying not to sound like a total kook.
The guy smiled, looking vaguely familiar under a dome of closely cropped black hair that somehow fit with the hard-edged tattoos and glinting steel of his body. “Me too.”
Evan turned to his own spigot, eager to ‘hit it and quit it’ before the sight of the male model at the next shower head gave him massive wood and spoiled all the hard work that gone into playing it straight in Crawford all these years.
The other guy wasn’t making it easy, though. “Do I know you?” he asked, lifting his glistening arm to lather up a taut, hairy underarm that instantly made Evan drool with wanting to taste it.
He looked away before he betrayed his desire. “I’m not… I don’t think I’ve ever seen you around before.”
Rather than offer a hand to shake, Evan lathered shampoo into his hair so he’d have a good excuse not to engage anymore. He massaged it in, quickly but thoroughly, the old Five Minute Soak and Scrub routine coming back to him, just like riding a bike. As he rinsed it off, he sensed a new presence and, blinking his eyes open, found the sexy stranger had moved to one of the four spigots on his own shower tower.
“Jesus!” Evan gasped and blinked, shrinking reflexively.
“Sorry,” said the new guy, peering at him curiously, and not just out of some vague recognition. “I just… I could swear I know you from somewhere.” Suddenly, something about his voice, and his eyes, made Evan gasp.
“Drake?” he blurted, hands at his side.
“Shit, dude,” the guy said, shaking his head as a slow, lazy smile curved across his chiseled face. “No one’s called me that since high school.”
Evan stood, shaking his head. “Then it is you: Drake Teaghan. Holy shit, man, you… you look different.”
Axel stumbled out of bed early, grumbling and brutally hung over. He dressed quickly, mumbling an apology as he headed for the door. “Sorry. I’ve got a lot to do today.”
Erik followed him. “Seriously, think about our bands touring together. My guys have talked about it and we think it’s a good idea. Let’s try to work something out.”
“Yeah, yeah. I’ll talk to my bitches and give you a call later, okay?”
At the door, he turned and kissed Erik on the mouth, his hand going to Erik’s crotch and fondling his cock through his boxer shorts. “Don’t jerk off. Save up more cum for me.”
Erik laughed. “You’re insatiable.”
Axel grinned, then he was out the door and gone. Erik looked at the clock. It was only seven. He had four hours before he had to be at work. He thought about going back to bed for a while and jerking off exactly the way Axel had told him not to, whilst he relived last night in his head, but in the end he chose to get dressed and pulled out his guitar. Any time he could find to practice was valuable—especially if this tour was going to happen.
That night he got a call from Axel and his heart leapt with the prospect of another hot hookup with him, but Axel was strictly business.
“I talked to the guys about your idea of touring. They’re open to it, but Harvey wants to have a meeting and talk it over.”
“Harvey?” Erik said, immediately imagining the drama that would be involved. “Really? Does it have to be him?”
“I told you, he’s our organizer in the band. He handles most of our business stuff. And he wants to discuss the details. Are you around tomorrow night?”
They agreed to meet at a downtown pub to discuss the possibilities, and as soon as Axel hung up the phone, Erik called around to Wes, Christian, and Lenny, trying to find one of them who was willing to come along with him. No dice. It was short notice, and none of them were able to make it.
“Shit,” Erik said, slipping his cell in his pocket. “This is gonna be fucking weird.”
It was going to be Axel, Harvey and Erik, the three corners of an unacknowledged love triangle, sitting together in a bar, all trying to talk about something else. It seemed like a box of gunpowder, but maybe it was just as well. Erik wanted to go on the tour because he wanted to spend the time close to Axel, but he also thought it would be good for his band. And like it or not, if they were going to do the tour, he would have to deal with Harvey. He might as well get it out of the way.
He arrived alone at The Red Drake at eight o’clock and wandered through until he found Harvey and Axel sitting in a booth near the back. They were both sitting on the same side of the booth, and Harvey had his arm across the back of the bench, his hand not quite on Axel’s shoulders. They each had pints of dark reddish beer in front of them.
Erik was wearing his leather motorcycle jacket. He’d chosen it because it made him look even buffer than he was. He wasn’t sure what to expect, but having some kind of showdown with Harvey seemed like a very real possibility, so he wanted to look as tough and intimidating as possible.
Harvey on the other hand, actually looked easy-going and relaxed as Erik approached. The fact that Axel was sitting next to him probably helped. Erik had to remind himself that these two were still fucking so Harvey had every reason to feel confident about his relationship with Axel. Pity he didn’t feel the same as he shot a glance at his gorgeous singer and wished it was him cozied up next to him.
“Hey boys,” Erik said, feigning a casualness he didn’t feel. He slid onto the bench opposite them. Harvey reached a hand across the table.
“We didn’t do a proper introduction at that last show,” he said, smiling and showing off a slight gap between his two front teeth. “My name is Harvey.”
“So, you want to set up a tour?”
Harvey got right down to business. He had a notebook with him, and he wrote in it as they spoke, listing possible cities then pulling out his tablet computer to search for potential venues as they discussed it. They talked about time frames which would work best for everyone involved and Erik had to admit, Harvey did seem to have the business side of being in a band down nicely. No wonder he ran the show for Growing Chaos.
Axel, meanwhile, sat next to Harvey, quietly listening, flashing an occasional half-grin at Erik. He didn’t contribute much to the conversation, except sometimes mentioning whether or not he’d visited this or that venue in a nearby town. He seemed a little bored by it all. Erik tried to concentrate on Harvey rather than him, but he found it increasingly difficult to ignore the pretty boy, especially after what they’d done together last night. After a few more beers, Axel excused himself to go to the washroom. As soon as he was out of sight, Harvey gave Erik a sharp look accompanied by a sneering grin.
“You want to fuck him, don’t you?”
Erik raised an eyebrow. “Excuse me?”
“I’ve seen a lot of guys come sniffing around, trying to get a piece of Axel. He shakes his ass up on stage and even straight boys want to bend him over. I’ve never seen anyone go to the lengths of trying to book a fucking tour just to get in his pants though, but let me tell you, he’s not available. Get it? He’s not fucking available.”
At the thirteenth floor the lift stopped and the door swung back to the offices of Sanchez & Sons Solicitors. Real live potted plants stood either side of the lift, their green leaves spread in friendly welcome, pointing him towards a dimly lit reception desk. Of course it was empty and again, Sam felt that sense of unease crawl over him.
He consulted his note, more for reassurance than need, and took the left hand corridor past rows of cubicles, also empty and eerie. Right down the end, there was a welcome glow of light spilling into the passageway. Nick’s office? Hell, the man had better tip well after all this.
He drew up outside the half-open door and knocked. There was a scuffle from inside, the sound of something hitting the floor with a dull thud and a low, muttered expletive from the occupant. Sam realised he must have startled him.
“Pizza!” he said, his voice sounding very loud as it echoed around the vast office space. Without waiting for a reply, he pushed open the door.
Nick Sanchez was sitting in a tall, leather chair behind a dark timber desk piled high with paperwork, overflowing in-trays and general clutter. Perched on a stack of folders was a laptop and balanced precariously next to it was a telephone. Behind him on the stark white wall was a mass of framed qualifications alongside a huge glass window that looked out at other brightly lit office buildings—a kaleidoscope of colour in the dark night.
But Sam’s attention was drawn to the man behind the desk. His tie and jacket lay discarded on the floor beside his desk and he was wearing a navy blue business shirt, rolled to the elbows and open at the neck. The shirt stretched taut across broad shoulders and hugged a well-built upper body. Smooth, tanned skin was visible through the shirt’s open V.
He had dark collar-length hair and even darker eyes that looked black from where Sam stood in the doorway clutching the box of pizza. He didn’t speak, so Sam stepped forward and placed the box on the man’s desk. “You are Nick Sanchez aren’t you?”
“Yes,” the man said. He leaned back in his chair and rubbed his forehead for a moment. “Thank you.”
Up close, Sam saw he had grey shadows beneath his dark-chocolate eyes. He looked tired, as if he should be in bed not about to have his dinner, but far be it from him to voice such observations. He was only there to deliver the pizza and so far, so good.
“You’re welcome. Enjoy.”
Nick reached out and lifted the lid of the box. Sam was pleased to see the pizza within looked attractive to the eye, but he could tell from the way the cheese was congealing, that it had passed optimum consumption time.
“Any anchovies?” Nick asked.
“Er no. You didn’t order any.”
Nick smiled and the dark shadows seemed to lift from his face making him look much younger. “Good, just checking. I hate them.”
Dropping the lid, Nick reached around and pulled his wallet from his trousers. Withdrawing a hundred dollar note, he held it across the desk. Sam stared at the money in the man’s hand. For all his assertions about tipping, he couldn’t take so much from the guy and he told him.
“That’s too much, man.”
Nick waved the money at him. “Take it. I really appreciate you delivering.”
Still Sam hesitated. “It’s no big deal. You were on my way home.”
He watched the way Nick’s eyes roved his body before returning to his face. “Aren’t you a bit old to be a pizza boy?”
It might have been meant as a joke, Sam knew, but at that hour of the morning his humour had all but gone. His mind wasn’t quick enough to devise a witty come-back and he didn’t feel like explaining to the man that he wasn’t actually a delivery boy, but the owner of the pizza bar. He might have even let the comment go altogether if it wasn’t for the smirk that suddenly appeared on Nick’s face. Sam bristled at the man’s arrogance. Fuck him, he would take that hundred dollars after all!
He reached out and snatched the bill from Nick’s hand as he retorted, “And you’re a bit young to be CEO.”
For a moment they stared at each other, Sam’s hot glare fighting Nick’s grin. “Hey I didn’t mean to offend you,” the man said in a tone that sounded far more amused than apologetic. “Especially when you flatter me. I’m neither young, nor CEO.”
Sam hardly cared. “Whatever.”
“I’m only thirty-one and I’m a junior partner. There’s at least three snouts in the trough higher up than me.”
“That’s ridiculously top heavy for any business,” Sam scoffed. It didn’t go down well.
“Oh, Pizza Boy knows how to run a company does he?” Nick challenged, derision lacing his tone.
Sam’s arms folded across his chest as he took the bait and replied with matching acerbity. “As a matter of fact, yes.”
Nick suddenly rose from his chair and took a few steps backwards, holding out his hand in invitation to Sam. “Well, be my guest.”
“Don’t be an idiot.”
“Go on. Since you can do a better job.”
“I never said that.”
“No?” Nick’s eyes were like twin lasers, burning into him.
“No. Chill out for God’s sake. And eat your bloody pizza.”
On his feet, Nick was a good three inches taller than Sam. He was more lean muscle than bulk, like a racehorse, and just as sleek and powerful looking. Honey-gold skin made his dark eyes even more intense and the sprinkling of stubble on his chin emphasized a strong jaw and hard cheekbones. Even Sam, who never normally noticed these things, had to admit the man was beautiful—if a little unsettling.
Nick stared at him a moment longer before his hostility drained away, leaving him looking weary. He sat back down in his chair and lifted the lid of the pizza box again. Sam slowly edged backwards towards the door when Nick’s voice stopped him in his tracks.
“Do you want some?”
Nick’s eyes narrowed in suspicion. “Pizza Boy doesn’t eat his own pizza?”
“Actually, far too much,” Sam admitted. “Which is why I can’t eat any more right now. Plus it’s one o’clock in the morning.”
“Is it?” Nick seemed genuinely surprised and he looked at his watch. “It is too.”
“So I’m going home now. Enjoy the pizza.”
“I don’t mind if you stay awhile.” Nick’s deep, husky voice held Sam in his place. Why did the invitation sound appealing even though it was the last thing he wanted?
“I’m sorry. I really do need to get going…”
“I understand.” Nick grinned, teasingly. “The wife is worried and the kids are still awake wreaking havoc in the house.”
Sam baulked at the image he created and answered more harshly than he intended. “Hardly! No wife, no kids.”
“Really? A good looking guy like you and you’re not married?”
“Not anymore, thank God.”
Eyebrows raised with interest, Nick rested his chin on steepled fingers. “Oh? Not interested in women?”
“Not interested in wives.” Or discussing intimate details of his life with people he didn’t know.
“Fair enough. Well… if there’s no one waiting for you… how about you stay a bit longer?”
“I didn’t say there was no one.”
“No, you didn’t.” Nick leaned back in his chair again and regarded Sam in an intense, unnerving way that made his breath catch in his throat. “Do you have someone waiting for you?”
The directness of the question took Sam by surprise and he hesitated to reply, which, for Nick, seemed to be answer enough.
“Well then, there’s no reason to go is there?” The man’s voice was smooth and compelling. “So why don’t you stay and eat some pizza? Or,” his dark eyes as they watched Sam, were suddenly full of hunger. “You’re very welcome to eat me.”
At the end of the drive he pulled up alongside a log cabin on stilts with a row of steps leading down from the centre of a long, wide deck. There was a soft glow coming from the windows and he spied Dan’s dark Audi parked in the underfloor carport. Hole in one!
But his bravado quickly evaporated as he stepped from his own car. Shit, this was a very bad idea. If Dan wanted to see him, he would have. If he’d wanted to talk to him, he would have called. Hiding out here in the middle of nowhere was a fair indication the man wanted to be alone.
Just talk to him, his sub-conscious soothed. The worst he’ll do is slam the door in your face. Or punch you in the head. Or push you down the stairs…
“Okay, not helping!” he muttered as he mounted the steps. From the deck he could see right over the short bushes in front of the house, out across the lake. The air was still and the water looked like a sheet of silken material shimmering silver beneath the full moon. Not a ripple stirred its perfectly smooth surface. Josh could have gazed at it for hours but he had more pressing matters. And the sooner he attended to them, the sooner he could leave. Without giving himself time to think, he turned and knocked on the solid, wooden door.
It felt like an age waiting there for it to open. Josh’s heart seemed to creep up to take shelter in his throat and his breathing stopped. Then suddenly the door swung open and there was Dan, shirtless in torn jeans, staring at him with dark, unfathomable eyes.
“Hey,” Josh croaked, his mouth suddenly dry. “Er… I was just out this way and thought I’d drop by.”
A grin broke across Dan’s handsome face. Standing aside, he gestured for Josh to enter the cabin.
“That’s the lousiest excuse I’ve ever heard,” he said as he closed the door. “But I like it.”
Inside the cabin it was hot. A fire burned in an open grate, its flickering light joining the dozen or more candles that were lit around the room. The dark, wood-panelled walls and soft, old-fashioned furnishings added to the feel of cosiness that enveloped Josh.
Turning, Dan met Josh’s gaze. The smile was still on the man’s his lips as he took a step towards him. Josh swallowed. His chest began to constrict and he suddenly felt short of breath. Crap, this was far worse than he’d imagined. Employing his trusty avoidance tactics, he looked around frantically for something else to catch his attention but found he couldn’t keep his eyes from Dan.
“Uh… nice place,” he said lamely.
“It’s an ancient old hovel and you know it,” Dan replied, his eyes raking Josh. “Now why are you really here?”
Josh decided to cut to the chase. “Rachel asked me to…”
“Rachel?” Anger suddenly drowned Dan’s eyes. “What the hell does she want?”
Stalking past him, Dan went towards a low table near the fire where a can of bourbon sat, opened and waiting. He picked it up and took a drink so long it made Josh wince.
“Well, you by the sound of it,” he said hesitantly.
Turning back to him, Dan’s dark eyes were glinting in the firelight. “So that’s it? The reason you had to hunt me down in the middle of the night, because my fiancée wanted you to?”
He almost spat the word fiancée. Josh didn’t know what to say, he hadn’t got very far in his scenario-planning. Dan stared at him for a moment longer then he spun around and Josh found himself looking at his taut, rippling back instead.
“She’s worried about you,” he said, suspecting he was only digging a deeper hole from himself.
“She tried to call you. Lots.”
“I don’t get reception here.”
“She was about to report you as a missing person.”
Dan reeled around. “Like hell she will! I told her I’d be at the wedding. She knows that. Now everyone can just back off and stop worrying about me.”
His words stirred jealousy in Josh. “Well I wish to hell someone would worry about me!” For some inexplicable reason he felt tears pricking his eyes and it made him angrier. “So just get over yourself and suck it up.”
He heard Rachel’s words shooting from his mouth. Dan seemed to recognise them too because his expression became dark and dangerous.
“Is that all you came here for?”
“Yes, it’s all,” Josh said, matching his venom.
“Fine. You’ve said it, now go.”
Their locked gazes held a moment longer, then Josh turned on his heels and marched out the door. Fucking, arrogant, selfish… He was halfway across the deck, racking his mind for every derogatory adjective he could muster, when suddenly Dan was beside him.
Josh froze. Shit, he was going to get thrown down the stairs after all. Dan grabbed his shirt. The anger was gone from his face and in its place was something far more indecipherable and intense.
“You cannot imagine how much I was hoping you’d come.” Dan’s anguished voice hit Josh in the heart. “But you came for her, not me.”
“That’s not true,” Josh protested, taking a step backwards so Dan had to release him. “I came because it’s your wedding in three days and you’re hiding out here like a hermit. I don’t know what fucking, crazy-ass agreement the two of you have, but it’s too late to ditch on it now.”
He saw how the moonlight lit Dan’s dark hair like a halo. A forlorn, fucked up angel. The misery on his face was reflected in his beautiful eyes. Josh’s anger dissolved and he reached out to put a soothing hand on his shoulder. The skin was cold and goose pimpled beneath his hand. Dan shivered at his touch.
“You are about to marry one of the most beautiful women on the planet…”
A tear rolled down Dan’s cheek. “That means absolutely nothing to me, when it’s you that I love.”
Seth stood in the shower, hot water pelting his skin, his body raw from the endless sex romp with Chet. Jesus, but they’d fucked! All night long, and half the damn morning. Every inch of him was sore. His tongue was sore, his lips were sore, his neck was sore, to say nothing of his bruised, battered, limp and drained dick.
He shook his head and then remembered the wicked hangover that had been his only souvenir of the beautiful stranger he’d met in the bar. He sighed, recalling how he’d woken up to an empty house, partly grateful he wouldn’t have to make morning after chit chat, but slightly disappointed he wouldn’t get one more look at that dick-stiffening body.
He’d left without a word, no note, no phone number, just a name—a first name—and his musky, meaty taste still in Seth’s mouth, even after he’d brushed his teeth. He shaved and dressed and made a second cup of instant coffee, downing two more aspirins before looking at his watch and cursing.
Bad enough he was hung over, he didn’t need to be late for his first day of class as well. He’d sold his car to pay for the move, and rented an apartment close enough to campus to walk, and now he regretted both decisions. Grabbing his messenger bag, thankful at least that he’d finished his syllabus before heading to the Brewery last night, he set off across campus.
It bustled with a hectic pace, the sun on the rise, the pace increasing with every step that brought him closer to the Liberal Arts building. The aspirin was finally working, the coffee too as he opened his office door with ten minutes to spare. He wouldn’t have time to print enough syllabi for the entire class, but at least he’d show up on time and, hell, they’d probably thank him for not passing anything out.
He had a short welcome speech planned, nothing major, just his normal casual, young, hip professor thing, and then he’d do the usual, “Let’s go around the room and introduce ourselves.” That should eat up at least twenty minutes and after that, well, he’d wing it.
He found a tin of breath mints in his desk drawer, boxes still littering the shelves from his move. He’d come back after class and try to get organized, but first he needed to eat something other than twenty-year-old spunk.
He smiled, shaking his head, glad he’d at least gotten that out of his system. At least now, he thought, locking his office behind him and drifting down the stairs to the classroom level, he could focus on his new job and his first day of a new opportunity.
He paused in the downstairs bathroom, finger combing his hair, straightening his tie and winking at himself. “Here goes nothing,” he said, pretty proud of the fact that he’d made it to class on time without stopping to puke every five minutes.
The classroom door was open at the end of the hall and, even from a few steps away, he could hear the familiar hum and thrum and bustle of energy that always accompanied the first day of class. He stood outside for another minute more, smiling at a few last minute stragglers, sexy co-eds who lingered on their way past, giving him the smoky eyed, moist lip treatment without a clue that he could have cared less.
When at last the hall was empty and the class was full, Seth stepped inside and shut the door behind him. Soft murmurs dwindled and a chair squeaked as someone sat and Seth approached the podium in front of the room. He smiled at the fresh faces turned toward him, lined up in a row, smelling of cologne and perfume and bubble gum and youth. He slid his messenger bag on top of the desk to his right, grabbed his syllabus and placed it on the podium.
“Hi gang,” he said, turning to the board and scrawling his name behind him. “I’m Seth Greenwell, and I’ll be your guide this semester for Introduction to English Literature.”
His eyes scanned the class, pausing at a familiar face in the front row. As Chet sat there, looking freshly scrubbed and a little tired, Seth sagged as if someone had just let all the air out.
“Now that you know who I am…” He swallowed hard, blinking back at his class. “Let’s go around the room and introduce each other…”
For once, the good-natured groans didn’t bother Seth because they helped to cover up the sound of his life crashing and burning right before his eyes.
Giles was padding down the hallway, flip flops on his feet, damp towel around his waist, freshly showered after work when he saw Chet standing, his head leaning against the locked dorm room door.
“Dude,” he said, rushing him up to him. “What happened?”
Chet merely turned to face him, eyes puffy, nose runny, forehead still leaning against the door.
“You were right all along,” he said as Giles rushed to open the door and let them in.
“Right about what?” Giles shut the door behind them and turned on the lights.
Chet sank onto his bed, hanging his head and shaking it at the same time. “About everything. Just… you were right.”
Giles tugged on a T-shirt, feeling conspicuous in his wet towel as he squirmed into a pair of boxer shorts before Chet could look up. “Just tell me what happened.”
“I went over there, like you said I should,” Chet began, voice cracking as he peered back at Giles. “And… he was in some frat guy’s T-shirt!”
“It’s true. Cliché but true. I mean, like, he doesn’t think I don’t know what SKA stands for? Doesn’t he think I know all about those guys?”
Giles could hardly believe he was defending Seth, but after all his secret hoping and wanting and desires, he still didn’t want to see his friend so heartbroken. “Maybe he got it at a thrift shop or something, Chet.”
“He said a student gave it to him for Christmas.”
Giles couldn’t help but snort at that one. “Okay, well, never heard of giving college professors Christmas presents before but we’re freshman. What do we know? I mean, did you actually see another guy over there?”
“I didn’t have to. There were beer bottles everywhere, cheap stuff Seth wouldn’t be caught dead drinking. And fast food wrappers from places he never goes to. Plus, the whole place smelled like he’d just had sex…”
Giles frowned, shaking his head. “I’m sorry, Chet. I don’t… I don’t know what to say.”
Chet’s eyes were moist as he peered back at his friend, wearing a joyless smile. “Just say ‘I told you so’. You know you want to.”
“Bullshit,” Giles snapped, standing up to keep from touching Chet. “You keep acting like I wanted you two to breakup, Chet. I didn’t. I don’t!” To keep his hands busy, he started shoving his clean laundry in his duffel bag. “I want you to be happy, okay. I’m not going to kick you when you’re down.”
Chet sighed softly, but Giles heard him. He’d turned his back so Chet couldn’t see the flood of emotions crossing his face. The mattress squeaked as Chet stood and slowly approached him. Giles felt a hand, soft and gentle on his shoulder, as Chet turned him around.
“I know that, Giles. I’m sorry. I didn’t come here to bitch about Seth, okay?”
“What did you come here for?” Giles asked a little breathlessly.
Chet idly picked up one of the T-shirts Giles had carefully folded and looked at it absently. “To apologize for being such a lovesick fool.” He held out his arms. “Hug it out?”
“Is that something we’re doing now?” Giles grabbed the T-shirt back and shoved it in his bag. “Hugging things out?”
“Why not?” Chet inched closer. “You won’t catch the ‘gay’ off of me, Giles. I promise.”
Giles chuckled and slid into Chet’s arms. His friend’s body felt as hard and lean as it looked, arms big and strong as they pulled him closer.
“Thanks for being there for me,” Chet murmured. His soft breath was warm on Giles’s shoulders as they stood, bodies pressed together, for longer than would normally be appropriate.
Giles felt a rush of emotions—wanting desperately to tell Chet about his true feelings, wanting to do more than hug him—but now was not the time. He eased himself away blushing, confused and giddy.
“That’s what friends do, Chet.”
Chet inched back a little and gave Giles a small smile. “Well, I haven’t had much experience in that area. Have you?”
“Not really,” he confessed. “But I hear that’s what friends do.”
“Well, either way, I appreciate it. Hey, what are you packing for?”
Giles turned, arching one eyebrow. “It’s a little thing called Christmas break. Starts tomorrow. Ever heard of it?”
Chet sighed. “Yeah, I just… I’ve been so consumed with Seth and haven’t saved up any gas money and my folks didn’t seem too jazzed about me coming home anyway, so I just thought I’d hang around here.”
“Screw that.” Giles zipped up his small duffel bag. “Come home with me.”
“I couldn’t do that.” Chet sank back down onto the room’s other bed.
“That’s like, two weeks long. Your family doesn’t want me hanging around that long.”
“I’m sure they wouldn’t mind, but they’re not going to be there.”
“They’re off on a cruise to the Eastern seaboard. Won’t be back until the first week of January.” When Giles saw Chet’s surprised face, he explained. “Mom’s a travel agent so gets great last minute deals. They do this most years, it’s nothing new.”
“So you were just going to go home alone?”
Giles shrugged. “Sure, why not? And now, with Seth being an asshole, there’s no reason for you not to go home with me.”
Chet looked back at him, a soft smile spreading across his handsome face and Giles’s heart fluttered. “You’re right,” he said, leaping from the bed and reaching for the door.
“Where are you going?” Giles asked.
“Back to my room to pack.” Chet paused in the doorway. “What time are we leaving tomorrow?”
“We?” Giles chuckled, beaming.
“Yeah, I figure ten days with you is better than sticking around here pining for Seth.”
“You know what I mean.”
“Yeah, whatever. We’re leaving at 9 a.m. sharp, so don’t stay up late watching gay porn all night.”
“You either,” Chet said before racing from the room, making Giles wonder how obvious he’d been about his interest in his new friend.
Kyle war auf Autopilot geschaltet, als er den Parkplatz des Sneakers verließ. Er grinste in sich hinein, wurde rot und rückte seinen Halbsteifen zurecht, als er am Stoppschild am Ende der Straße haltmachte. Er griff nach seinem Handy in der Seitentasche seines Rucksacks.
Da diese leer war, parkte er sein Auto und wühlte in dem Rucksack herum, wobei er erkannte, dass er es wohl im Fitnessstudio hatte liegenlassen. Scheiße! Mit der Hoffnung, dass Dodge immer noch dort war, legte er den Gang ein, machte eine Kehrtwende auf der leeren Kreuzung und raste zurück zum Fitnessstudio. Zu seiner Erleichterung erspähte er Dodges Auto, ein gewaltiger Geländewagen mit allem Drum und Dran, der in der Ladezone hinter dem Fitnessstudio stand.
Kyle sprang aus seinem Auto. Er rechnete mit einem verschlossenen Fitnessstudio und war noch erleichterter, als sich die Tür öffnen ließ und ihm einen schnellen Eintritt gewährte. Er dachte darüber nach zu rufen, um Dodge wissen zu lassen, dass er da war, aber dann überlegte er es sich anders. Er wollte ihm nicht gegenübertreten und die Lust wiederaufkommen lassen, die er gerade unter Kontrolle gebracht hatte. Es wäre besser, wenn er einfach hineinschlüpfte, sein Handy holte und wieder ging, ohne dass jemand etwas mitbekäme.
Er schlich sich leise den Flur entlang, bis zur Umkleide. Unter der Tür schien immer noch Licht hervor und der schwüle, feuchte Dampf der vorherigen Dusche hing noch im Flur. Kyle öffnete die Tür. Der Toilettenbereich war menschenleer, aber trotzdem gut beleuchtet und die Spiegel über den leeren Waschbecken waren auch mit Dunst bedeckt.
Kyle hörte ein Atmen aus der Umkleidekabine, das schwer und müde klang, so als würde Dodge Liegestützen auf den glatten Fliesen machen. Dann hörte er ein sanftes Stöhnen und das unverkennbare Geräusch, das ertönt, wenn Fleisch auf Fleisch trifft. Es hörte sich glitschig und rhythmisch an und Kyle wusste, da er sich schon unzählige Male einen runtergeholt hatte, dass dies das Geräusch eines Mannes war, der sich selbstbefriedigte.
Plötzlich war er froh, sich nicht durch lautes Rufen angekündigt zu haben und neugieriger denn je. Kyle wurde langsamer, bis er gerade an der Schwelle zur Umkleide war.
Dodge saß mit gespreizten Beinen auf der niedrigen Bank neben den Spinden. Ein feuchtes Handtuch hing locker über einem Oberschenkel. Er war nackt und schweißgebadet, seine Brust und sein Hals waren rot und seine Eier prall. Sie pulsierten, während er sich mit festem Rhythmus den Schaft rieb.
Kyle hielt die Luft an. Der Schwanz des Mannes war prächtig – hart, dick und mit Adern durchzogen, die nur darauf warteten geleckt und gelutscht zu werden, bis er auch jede einzelne von ihnen erkundet hatte. Dodges Augen waren fest geschlossen, sein Mund geöffnet. Er hatte sich in seiner eigenen Fantasie verloren und bearbeitete sein Fleisch mit feinfühliger Bestimmtheit.
Sein Körper war reich an festen, vom Alter gezeichneten und perfekt ausdefinierten Muskeln. Sein Bauch war flach und mit feinem schwarzem Haar gefiedert, dessen Ansatz kurz über seinem Bauchnabel lag und nach unten führte, wo es zu einem dicken, schwarzen Busch erblühte.
Seine Brust hob sich, der Schweiß tropfte ihm von den Armen und dem Oberkörper, die Oberschenkel spannten sich an und sie schienen sich weiter zu spreizen, um die offensichtliche Lust des älteren Mannes noch weiter zu intensivieren. Seine Eier, die in Schweiß und Dunst getaucht waren, schwangen umher und klatschten an das Ende der Bank. Kyle verzehrte sich danach das offensichtliche Gewicht in seiner Hand zu halten und sie stundenlang zu liebkosen.
Kyle musste von dem Anblick dieser schwingenden Schönheit hypnotisiert gewesen sein, als plötzlich ein tiefer Atemzug zu hören war, dann ein Keuchen und Dodge die Beine verschränkte. Er verdeckte seinen massiven Schaft – oder versuchte es zumindest – mit dem feuchten Handtuch, das vorher über einem der zitternden Oberschenkel gelegen hatte.
„K-Kyle“, stammelte er und setzte sich aufrecht hin. „Was machst du hier?“
Kyle erinnerte sich, warum er Dodges privaten Moment überhaupt gestört hatte und erblickte sein Handy am anderen Ende der Bank. „Mein… Mein Handy“, murmelte er und bewegte sich langsam in den Raum, ohne es überhaupt zu realisieren. „Ich… habe es vergessen.“
„Meine Güte“, sagte Dodge. Das Handtuch rutschte leicht weg, als er seine Position erneut veränderte. „Weißt du, ich habe nur ein wenig überschüssigen Dampf nach dem Training abgelassen.“
Er versuchte lässig rüberzukommen, aber die Röte, die sein attraktives Gesicht bedeckte, sprach dafür wie peinlich es ihm war.
Kyle nickte und ging noch näher an ihn heran, bis er den leichten moschusartigen Geruch von Schweiß und Lust riechen konnte, der von Dodges geröteter und nackter Haut ausging.
„Ich bin nach Hause geeilt, um das Gleiche zu tun“, gestand er, nicht in der Lage zu begreifen, dass seine dreckigen Fantasien über seinen älteren Mentor plötzlich wahrgeworden waren. „Dann habe ich mich an mein Handy erinnert.“
Dodge nickte und biss sich unsicher auf die Unterlippe, so als wisse er nicht, was er tun solle. Es folgte eine peinliche Stille, die nur vom Quietschen von Kyles Schuhen gestört wurde, als er langsam näherkam. Jetzt konnte der den dicken Schaft unter dem feuchten Handtuch ausmachen, der noch steifer war als zuvor.
„Kyle?“, versuchte Dodge mit ernstem Ton zu sagen. „Kyle, du solltest wirklich nicht hier sein.“
Kyle nickte und endlich trafen sich ihre Blicke. „Da hast du recht, Dodge.“ Seine Stimme war schwach und sein Herz wummerte. „Das sollte ich nicht, aber da ich jetzt hier bin… Brauchst du… vielleicht Hilfe?“