Tainted By Our Choices – Extract

Tainted

Jack stretched up just enough to peek down through the tinted glass of his office window at the protesters gathered outside holding hand painted placards and could only bring himself to sigh. They had moved in that morning, encroaching on all the best parking spaces in the parking lot and chanting angry slogans that Jack thought perhaps were kind of funny but would do nothing to stop what was going to happen.

The fracking would be going ahead, whether anyone objected to it or not. Works had all been approved, reams upon reams of paperwork signed and countersigned, and if some bureaucracy involving clandestine deals and exchanges of money between those further up the chain and the local authorities had happened, well. It was absolutely nothing to do with him. Jack had done his job. He had produced the environmental report that had helped win them the contract, carefully detailing all of the possible risks and hazards involved, right down to potentially affected species in the local vicinity, and models indicating the likelihood of contaminated water coming into contact with nearby residential supplies.

With another sigh, Jack looked over his mostly-completed work for the morning and pushed himself back from his desk, spinning one full circuit on his chair before coming to a stop, then doing the same the other way. He stood with an exaggerated stretch, wandering over to rattle the cafetiere and frowning at its betrayal when he found it to be empty.

With every intention of topping up from the coffee machine in the break room, Jack made his way there, the voices drifting out to him immediately changing his mind. He took a brief stop in the restroom and gave himself a quick glance over in the mirror as he washed his hands, tugging at his hair and telling himself that lighter color was definitely blond, not gray, in his usual brown.

Biting down on his lip as he debated with himself with himself, Jack decided on a local bakery with excellent coffee and even better cakes, then shrugged into his suit jacket and headed out. If he was staying late as usual to go over those complex habitat surveys for their most recent site acquisition, and had to survive the dreaded afternoon meeting, caffeine and sugar would be essentials to get him through his day.

With a carefree jog, he took the stairs down, noting with no real surprise that the chants outside grew louder and even angrier the closer he got to the exit. Giving a brief nod to the receptionist Jack stepped out into the bright, sunny morning, shielding his squinting eyes behind sunglasses from both the sun itself and the attention of those protesting. His face became a neutral mask as he passed the group buzzing like irate bees over to his right, hoping they wouldn’t pay him any attention. This wasn’t his first experience with opposition against what the company did and he’d learned early on to feign indifference, despite what he might really think.

A mop of messy black hair caught his attention, though, as it always did, whispering to him to take a look just in case. Jack’s gaze turned casually in the group’s direction as he continued walking, coming to a complete, shuddering stop and ripping his glasses off in disbelief as he watched pale blue eyes look him up and down in contempt, then spark with recognition before narrowing in quiet fury. His stomach sank and his mouth grew dry, and the only sound Jack could hear in that moment was the misplaced shriek of the crashing of waves.

1993

On a clear day, when the sky was the brightest blue and the reflection the sea gave back just as vivid, it made Jack feel like he could stare out at the horizon forever and never know where one started and the other began. The waves roared away any sense of unrest he might be feeling, waxing and waning with soothing sounds that never ceased to keep him calm.

Jack had been visiting this beach since before he could even walk, crawling along the sand and fisting it up into his chubby palms, squealing at the crunch and squeak of it between his fingers. He remembered helping his little brother build his first sand castle and watching the water lick it away one misshapen turret at a time. He remembered a red checkered picnic blanket pinned down beneath a cooler box to stop it blowing away, and laughter as he chased a corner of it that got repeatedly caught up in the breeze. Happy memories were what Jack had when he thought of this place. Happiness and home.

Today was not a clear day. The normally creamy colored sand was painted with jet black slickness, foam churning up gray against the shoreline. As if in sympathy the sky was dull and flat, clouds outlined with dirty smudges that bled into one another. It seemed to Jack in that moment as though all the color had been drained from the world. The waves rolled in as they always did, as they always had, but on that day, could do nothing to bring stillness to Jack, as each crest spewed out further victims of the oil slick everywhere he looked.

Though surrounding him was a flurry of activity, with rescue workers rushing about clad from head to foot in once white hazmat-like suits and carrying bird after bird away to cleaning stations further up the shore, the only noise that got through to him, that broke Jack’s continual horror at what he was seeing all around him was one of heartbroken, hiccupping sobbing.

A boy knelt off to his right, gently stroking his fingers over a bird whose head, he had rested across his lap at an unnatural angle. The oil from the bird’s feathers left glossy rivulets of black running down the sides of his thighs, and he continued his gentle path along its back as though touch alone could bring it back to life. A trembling hand ran over the flat of the bill, tracing against the curved tip that suggested a hint of its natural red color beneath the poisonous black that every other inch of the bird was coated in like a terrible second skin.

Jack looked at the boy’s mass of messy hair and decided it was the exact same shade as the oil staining his fingers. He stepped closer to him, his own heart heavy despite what he’d been witnessing all morning. His footfall caught the boy’s attention, and when he looked up at Jack with a quivering lip and piercing blue eyes rimmed red with tears, Jack felt an inexplicable need to bring him comfort.

Now

“Dylan,” Jack choked out, utter disbelief rippling through his voice as he continued to stare at him open-mouthed. Dylan glowered back at him, dropping the oversized placard he was holding down to waist height and resting his hands along the top of it in a fierce grip. He glanced up behind Jack at the office complex snorting in derision before dropping his eyes back down to Jack’s face in blatant scorn.

“You work here?” he asked, incredulous, a furious glare pinning Jack in place.

“Yeah,” Jack mumbled, and for a second he felt determined not to show any of the shame that surged through him just from being in Dylan’s presence. He managed a full three seconds of maintaining eye contact then found his gaze dropped to the tarmac beneath their feet.

“How the hell did you end up in Houston? Working here of all places?” Dylan demanded, so full of anger Jack struggled not to take a step back from it.

“I-”

“So, this is what you’ve become, huh?”

“Dyl…” Jack pleaded, lost for any other words to say. What was he supposed to say? What could he, after all this time, without it sounding like a string of poor excuses?

As though reading his mind Dylan rolled his eyes, glaring back at him with ice lighting those eyes that Jack had first stared back at so long ago. “Thought you wanted to change the world, Jack? Not rip it apart from the inside out,”

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Oblivious

When is a date not a date? When one of the people on it has no idea that it even is one…

For those of you who follow/have followed me elsewhere, you might recognise this story in another guise 😊


“Have dinner with me tonight, Seth?” Ryan’s voice was hesitant even to his own ear, betraying the nervousness in the simplicity of his question. The clink of the mug of coffee against the table seemed unfairly loud when he put it down, leaving him wondering how he could even hear it over the blood rushing in his own ears.

Seth nodded without looking up, continuing to turn the pages of the heavy book laid out on the table at the same steady pace he had been doing for the past hour, curling his free hand around the offered coffee. “Of course.”

“Just you and me. Okay?” Ryan’s words came out in a rush, and he flinched when Seth raised a curious eye to him, falling briefly to the mug in Ryan’s own hands then back up to his face.

“What about Louise?”

Louise. Ryan’s long-suffering housemate and self-adopted little sister would probably shriek with laughter at his pathetic efforts later when he told her, and then curl up next to him on the couch for all the gruesome details of his embarrassment. But she wasn’t home, so couldn’t see him suffering first hand, and Ryan felt it was only normal to be thankful for the small mercy that was.

“Louise’s busy. Doing Louise stuff. Besides,” he added, still rushing through his words as he crosses his arms tightly across his chest. “Thought it’d be n- good… for us. Catch up. You know?” although catching up from what, and since when, he didn’t know, since there had been exactly two days in the past three weeks when he had not spent at least a few hours in Seth’s company.

Seth gave a curious smile, nodding again. “Of course, Ryan. That would be good.”

“Good! Good. Okay then. I’ll… I’ll let you get back to your…” and Ryan stopped mid-sentence to glance along the length of the book spin and smile. “To Louise’s compendium on Middle Earth,”

Seth smiled in answer, his eyes fixed on Ryan as he turned away quickly on his heel and returned to the couch, picking up the magazine he’d not been reading and looking up when he was sure Seth had returned to his book.

***

Seth looked out of the passenger window of Ryan’s, fingers idly tapping along to the music against the frame of the glass. They passed an all-you-can-eat buffet, and something that looked like a giant steakhouse, before turning into a parking space outside a beautifully-lit restaurant with a warm glow spilling out of its windows onto the pavement outside.

Noticing this was not the typical kind of place they went for food, Seth looked over the restaurant in interest then and turned back to Ryan, a question clear in his expression.

Ryan cleared his throat. “Thought we’d try something new seeing it’s just us. Saw this place yesterday when we were passing. Figured we’d give it a go.”

Seth smiled, “Of course. It looks Italian?”

Ryan nodded in agreement. “Yeah, Italian. Are we heading in?” He cracked the door open and stepped out into the cold night air, watching his breath cloud in front of him as he waited for Seth to climb out of his side of the car.

At the door of the restaurant, Ryan cleared his throat again and stopped Seth with a hand lightly on his forearm. Reaching forward, he tugged on the cold metal handle and gestured for Seth to go in first. Once inside, they were greeted by a waitress, who studied them for a moment at the ‘wait here’ sign, then smiled knowingly, giving Ryan a wink, and led them to the furthest side of the restaurant into one of the boothed tables offering a little privacy.

They slid in either side of the booth, Ryan studying Seth’s every reaction as he took in their surroundings in interest, then turned back to him with a pleased smile.

After a brief discussion over the menus they ordered, bruschetta to start, and two unpronounceable pasta dishes for main. Ryan played nervously with the edge of his napkin as they waited for their drinks, uncomfortable with their comfortable silence, and scratching around in his brain for an opening to conversation.

Finally he settled with, “So Seth. This okay?”

Again, Seth looked confused. “I don’t know-”

“This. You, me, dinner. It’s okay?”

“We have eaten together numerous times before, Ryan.” Seth replied, reasonably. “The restaurant is a little… different, but that is all. We’ve never had a problem eating together before.”

“Right. Right. Same as always…” Ryan’s voice trailed away with a forlorn edge to it, the napkin between his fingers shredding in one violent twist.

Their drinks arrived then, and Seth’s eyes stayed intently on Ryan, aware something was on his mind. Ryan shrugged the look away in dismissal.

The beer in Ryan’s hand calmed him a little, giving him something else to focus on besides his nerves. He took a long pull of it, then launched into their usual small talk, speaking about Louise, their friends, Seth’s excitement over a new delivery of books that he was looking forward to cataloging and adding to their local library, and Ryan’s own day attempting to make the periodic table interesting to a bunch of 11 year olds.

The bruschetta was announced a messy success, with both of them dropping pieces of it onto their pristine plates with embarrassed laughs. Ryan’s tension lessened every time one of them laughed, his eyes crinkling up at the look of concentration on Seth’s face as he fought to keep everything in one place.

Their pasta dishes met with approval too; Ryan nudged his plate towards Seth so he could try some of his, and Seth offered the same in kind. In fact, by all standards, the evening was enjoyable, and comfortable, and any awkwardness he’d initially been feeling had gone without any trace.

Ryan insisted Seth try tiramisu, even when Seth protested that he was too full to even suck in a breath. After a little debate they agreed on one piece to share, and before Ryan could stop himself, he’d slid a fork through the layers, then leaned across the table, pausing it just in front of Seth’s mouth.

Ryan’s eyes fixed firmly on those lips, licking his own as he waited for Seth to move. Seth opened his mouth slowly, leaning forward to taste, dragging the full piece of tiramisu off the end of the fork and into his mouth, unaware of how still Ryan had become as he did. He chewed, savouring it for a moment then swallowed it down with a wide smile of approval.

“This is very good, Ryan. I think I like tiramisu. I am surprised I have never tried it before,”

Ryan smiled, gathering another piece onto his fork and reaching out again. Seth accepted it with no complaint, huffing out a little sigh of contentment.

“Are you not having any?” Seth asked, when Ryan didn’t take any himself.

Ryan dragged his eyes away from Seth, taking a bite, and when he raised his head again he found Seth watching him in thought.

“Something is different about this meal.”

Seth’s statement set Ryan’s heart off thudding in protest, and he broke eye contact, fingers nervously strumming against his beer. The truth was, he always thought Seth was a little oblivious to things unless they were set out clearly to him, but if it had taken him the entire meal to notice something was up, it didn’t bode well for what Ryan was hoping him to understand.

“Ryan,” Seth prompted softly when he had quite found what he wanted to say back.

Ryan’s hand flew to the back of his neck, his unconscious thinking spot for when he got nervous. “It doesn’t have to be different. Not if you don’t want it to be.” was all he could offer, the words he actually wanted to say stuck in his throat, and Ryan closed his eyes in disappointment at himself, letting out a small sigh.

“How can I want it to be anything when I don’t know what’s different?” was Seth’s bewildered answer, Ryan felt his face flush.

“Seth. Come on. I know you’re not… fluent in people sometimes, but come on, man. I’ve been pretty obvious,”

Seth continued to stare at him blankly and Ryan let out a small whine of exasperation.

“Alright. Pretend you’re doing your observing thing like you do when you’re people watching in the library, making up lives for them, and watching us instead,”

“Okay,” Seth agreed cautiously, suspicion tinging the tone of his answer.

“From the outside. I’ve asked you out to dinner – alone. Taken you to a place we’d never normally come to. We’ve sat here, just us, and… I’ve even fed you dessert off of my own fork.” Ryan hated the feeling of blushing raging across his cheeks, though forced his eyes to stay on Seth’s even when they tried to drop to his own lap. “Don’t make me say it, Seth. What’s it look like to you?”

Seth took in the flush to Ryan’s face, the uncomfortable way he was sitting, and narrowed his eyes in thought. And what seemed to Ryan like several decades later, answered uncertainly, with, “It would look to me as though we were on a date, Ryan.”

“It would.” Ryan’s own response was part confirmation, part embarrassment.

Seth’s face remained a mask, but the thoughts rushing through his mind then made his response curt, and sure. “But this can’t be a date, Ryan.”

And in that moment, Ryan wanted to slide from the seat and run. The plummeting of his heart into his stomach made him feel sick and sweaty all over, fearing the few scoops of that dessert he’d so willingly shared might be about to make a reappearance.

Seth noticed the immediate change in Ryan’s stature and frowned even harder, trying again. “It can’t be a date, Ryan, because in order for it to be a date, you would have had to have asked me.”

Ryan startled at that, his eyes blowing wide. Had he not been obvious enough? “I did ask you, Seth,”

“You asked me to have dinner with you,”

When Ryan said nothing, Seth felt a solitary clutch at his chest and tried for a third time. “But you did not say it was a date.” Seth maintained to himself that he was right. Even if his heart was beating its own excited little rhythm. Even if perhaps his naivety had meant he’d found himself in the middle of something very, very good.

“Well. I know you haven’t dated much, but. Strictly speaking, you don’t have to say the word ‘date’ for the event to ‘be’ a date. You just… you know. Assume.” and Ryan kicked himself again for overestimating Seth’s understanding of, well. So many things. He liked order, and form, arguments to be presented with clear cut statements, and absolutely nothing that even resembled ambiguity would ever stand a chance of being understood.

“Oh.” was all Seth could manage say, because it looked suspiciously like that was a confirmation of what he was thinking.

“Out of interest. If I’d have used the word date. What would you have said?” Ryan’s fingers started up their nervous worrying of everything within his reach, and he avoided eye contact, bracing for the worst.

“I would have said yes, obviously.”

Ryan’s fingers paused and the fork he’d been spinning clattered loudly to his plate. “You… would?”

“Obviously,”

Ryan stared back at Seth, temporarily lost for words.

Impatience crept in on Seth, and he leaned forward, resting his elbows on the edge of the table. “Ryan,”

“It’s a date, Seth.” Ryan blurted out, fists bumping against the table. “It’s a date. I’ve been wanting to do something about… this thing between us for… so long. But I keep coming up with excuses.”

“Why?” and there was genuine bafflement in Seth’s question.

Which was exactly why Ryan didn’t do this kind of stuff. He didn’t know how. Didn’t have the words for it. “This is me we’re talking about. I’m not good at… this. Besides,” he added, shifting in his seat, “I’ve never really figured out if you knew what you were doing.”

“What I was doing?”

Ryan laughed, but there was no humour in it at all. “The way you are with me. The way I am with you. How we’re… different. With each other. To the way we are with other people.”

Seth looked away, and swallowed nervously. “I am aware.”

Ryan pressed his fingers into the table then, watching them as they splayed splayed. “If you’re aware, does that mean you feel something? For me?”

“Of course, Ryan, I-”

“I meant beside the friendship thing and the… marathoning shows together thing. Book recommendations. Clothes shopping together ‘cos we both suck at it. Something else. Something more than all that,” and Ryan couldn’t keep the hope from his voice no matter how hard he tried to.

Seth bunched his fingers into the legs of his jeans and let the squeeze of it settle him a little. Took a deep breath. Looked Ryan directly in the eyes. “Yes, Ryan. I’ve always felt something ‘more’ for you. Always. Ever since we met,”

Ryan thought back to the time he’d been finding some book titles for his students to do real, honest-to-god research with in the library, when he’d walked straight into Seth’s book trolley and ended up sprawled out on the scratchy library carpet. It hadn’t been love at first sight, but it had sort of been head over heels, with him instantly fascinated by Seth, and steadily falling for him afterwards and ever since.

Ryan raised his hands in a gesture that screamed about his helplessness. “Then how come you never said anything either?”

Seth shrugged. “I assumed you did not reciprocate.”

Ryan glared then, and without warning leaned across to grab the collar of Seth’s shirt, dragging him forward. “Reciprocate this.” he grumbled, pressing his lips hard against Seth’s and showing in no uncertain terms what he’d not been able to verbalise for years.

Daring To Be

There is a feeling, a draw, a pull that he can’t quite put a name to, an urge he doesn’t think he has the experience to understand.

It’s when he looks at him, when he sees him, when he knows him, like nobody else in his world ever has.

It’s when he touches him, soft, in passing, that discreet brush of fingers against his arm that roots him deep, grounds him like he’ll never need to fear again, yet sends him spinning off balance as though he has replaced his gravity with something different, timeless, reverent.

It’s when he’s with him. He can be across the room yet still standing right there next to him, his skin whispering against his in an innocent brush. Wherever he is, wherever he turns, wherever he looks, he is there.

He is… enchanted by him, mesmerised, just as much as he is terrified. Though that terror isn’t borne of fear of him, but of what he represents, what he’s stirred within him that leaves him laying awake at night, and walking haunted by thoughts of him throughout the day.

He distracts him. From duty, from responsibility, from the simplicity that was his existence until he came along. And though he wouldn’t have it any other way, can’t imagine waking to a world in which he doesn’t exist, he doesn’t know what to do with this. Barely knows himself enough to be sure of who he is, who he could be.

He does know, that he wants him. But that’s not something that frightens him; it’s that he can have him. Any time he chooses. The moment that he asks. He is his for the taking, and that openness, that offering, that acceptance of him, just as he is, perhaps that is the thing that is most intimidating about this of all.

But since he doesn’t know, has never been educated on how to just exist, how is he to understand how to do this? How will he know when to finally give in, when to let go of the idea that he is risking all that he is, just by being who, and what, he wants to be?

He wants to be his.

But what if his infinite patience for his uncertainty, his caution, is not the bottomless well that he’s desperate for it to be?

What if he gives up on him, becomes tired of waiting, just at the point when he finds the courage to extend his hand?

How will he ever live with himself, if he doesn’t allow himself to truly live?

As Nature Intended

 

When you first learn that you are an Omega, you learn all sorts of things you never imagined you would need to know when you were growing up. The essentials: Heat suppressants, scent masking, how to handle an Alpha that is scenting you, and of course, the laws that are in place to protect you, in a society that is accepting and progressive, yet still has elements of its attitudes stuck firmly in the past. You also learn that through no fault of your own, or conscious effort, it is possible for an Omega to adjust their body chemistry, to make themselves ready to do what some feel is their sole purpose in life: to breed.

Presenting as an Omega at the age of fourteen, Elliot has grown up cautious, distrustful of the world around him, yet determined to live a fulfilling life in spite of that. He is successful at work, has recently moved into a new apartment, and everything in his world appears to be falling into place. Which is, of course, exactly when his body decides to rebel, forcing ideas and urges into Elliot that he has spent his life trying to deny.

Enter reluctant Alpha, Oskar; as adamant as Elliot that he will not have his life disrupted by what he is, and just as horrified by his instincts as Elliot is finding himself about his own. Should they fight the inevitability that is their bond, that need they have for one another that will not get them a moment’s respite, or give in to just how easy, and effortless it feels between them?

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Sunday Thinking

Today I’m thinking that… people are… bewildering. I mean, this is something I think on most days, because you see things that make you want to shut up shop, pull up the drawbridges, wrap yourself in tinfoil and hide in the cupboard under the stairs. Well, me it does, which is sort of problematic; I have neither shop nor drawbridge, I am, much to my dismay, a mere muggle not destined for a magical future, and I’m out of foil.

And then I see things that make me want to embrace the world, comfort it and cuddle it and just… revel in this joyous thing we’ve got here in humanity.

Why does it take a tragedy to bring communities together? Or rather, why is it only tragedies that get reported on that show that sense of community? You flick through the news on any given day, and it’s like we’re constantly on the brink of civil war until something Bad happens, and then, oh, look at this lovely sense of sharing, aren’t we wonderful? Maybe we were wonderful all along. And maybe we weren’t, maybe we only realise there are people on our doorsteps when tragedy happens, and maybe even when that happens we’re far too narrow-minded to do anything but point, observe, turn our heads.

Which leaves me, and I’m certain a fair few others, bewildered by people. People can be the most cruel, twisted, awful individuals, yet turn into heroes the second there’s a call to action. People can be kind, sweet, genteel, and embracing of others, but the moment there’s an accident, nope, uh uh, not me, I can’t help, I’ll only help the people I want to, oh would you look at the time I’ve got to be somewhere else…

Humanity, people, we’re none of us perfect, and that’s fine, that’s life, that’s just how things are. But how are you supposed to embrace all that’s good in the world when there’s that niggling sense of doubt about what’s bad in the world? How do you overcome that cynicism that if someone can find a way to hurt you, they will? How do you trust people, enough to care about them all, when you never know if they’re going to turn out to be cruel, heartless bastards, or sweet, loving individuals who want nothing but good for this world? How do people gauge that? Is there a way to navigate it? An off switch for our overthinking, what? What is the answer here?

Uncertain. For now, I will eye the world with suspicion yet still do all I can to help, from the safe distance of behind my computer screen and away from human interaction. Which probably tells you all kinds of things about what’s wrong with me, but, you know. We’re all works in progress and all that…

In conclusion. Humans: we’re weird, and I don’t know what to do with that.

 

By Candlelight

An evening in a cabin in the middle of nowhere is the perfect place for this loved up couple to be making some lasting memories.

This is NOT safe for work, just to warn you. For those of you who follow/have followed me elsewhere, you might recognise this story in another guise 😉

Jesse knows, without a single doubt, that he is the luckiest man alive, and that luck has everything to do with the man he’s currently draped over, with no hurry for either of them to be anywhere but here.

There have been many incredible memories that he and Vince have made together since first getting married. There was that first proud moment of referring to one another as each other’s husbands, smiles so full of joy at being able to say those very words out loud that it was almost impossible to get those very words out. There was the searching for, buying of, and moving into the perfect, perfect house for them, exactly in the area they wanted to live in and on a great commuter route for them both for work. There was the subsequent christening of every surface of said house on their first few days there, that Jesse will always, always remember with a smug smirk on his face.

But this one, this memory they are making right now will be one that competes with any of those fondest of memories and will stay with him a long, long time, he knows that, without a single doubt.

Vince by candlelight is a sight to behold. Some of those candles are even those huge church pillar ones, Jesse thinks to himself in amusement, not that anything they’re doing on this tangle of cushions and blankets can be considered as holy. Although, he ponders for the briefest of moments, it is a union of lovers, so really, that’s about as holy as it gets.

There is a sheen of sweat across Vince’s chest, and Jesse takes a moment to dip his head down, to lick a path up that finds its way over a hardened nipple, along a collarbone, and deep into the crook of Vince’s neck, where he bites down lightly, smiling there at Vince’s answering hum.

Vince arches up languidly at Jesse’s touch, whilst keeping up a steady stroking of them together in the firm grip of his hand. He glances down, sweeping his palm up over the slickness of their cock heads in one twist, but never breaking the rhythm he has going, and has had going, for what feels like an immeasurable amount of time.

Not that either of them are complaining about that.

There are no pauses; tongues flick into mouths, fingertips brush over skin, a steady exploration of each other underpinned by this slow, steady build of heat. The soft hush of candle wicks burning, skin gliding and snagging on skin, and lips pressed to lips, are the only sounds there are to be heard here, aside from intakes of breath and low moans of pleasure that echo out all around them.

If either of them were to look up, look out from this temporary retreat in the middle of nowhere, they would see a cloudless sky sprinkled with stars, a bank of trees touched only by moonlight, and nothing to speak of civilisation for miles upon rolling miles. This idea for a weekend retreat to a cabin in the woods was Vince’s, and is exactly what both of them needed, after a difficult few weeks at work and a need to just be together, and be alone. Jesse contributed to this particular memory making by gathering up all the candles, blankets and cushions he could find throughout the cabin, then leading Vince out to this deck, nestling them there together by candlelight as they slowly peeled back each other’s clothes.

Jesse feels himself getting close, and he’s not ready for that, he intends to prolong this night for as long as possible. So he wraps gentle fingers around Vince’s wrist until he releases his grip on them both, then raises both of Vince’s hands to either side of his head, pinning them down.

Jesse lines them up for a moment, thrusting in a way that has their cocks brushing together and their cock heads dragging tackily as they catch. They both arch and moan at how that feels, and then Jesse is shifting away from the instinct to keep on rolling his hips against Vince’s. Instead he lays on his side, twisting himself over Vince and kissing him thoroughly, only pulling back briefly to grin down at him and show him just how elated he is to be with him here like this.

The relative chasteness of this kiss only lasts so long, with Vince letting his knees fall open so that one bounces lightly against Jesse’s hip. Jesse smirks, glances down at the way Vince is laying himself open for him and then moves again, kissing his way down his thigh.

He bites down on the sensitive flesh of Vince’s inner thigh, then kisses against the mark he’s left there. Vince sighs, smiling down at him in approval and thrusting his hips forward, making his cock bounce against his stomach.

Jesse runs his fingertips over Vince’s thighs until his palms are flush against them, then he’s pressing insistently for Vince to open wider. Jesse dips his head down, kissing the creases between his legs, the base of his cock, the soft though wiry tickle of his balls, then moves lower, a length of kisses until he’s thumbing him open and licking a long, thrusting stripe over his hole.

Vince bucks beneath him, gasping, and Jesse laves him open, flicking and swirling his tongue in, as far as he can, as much as Vince will open for him, until he’s keening and writhing and begging to be allowed to come.

But all Jesse does is shift, leaning upwards and beginning a trail of open-mouthed kisses that start at Vince’s base and work up the underside of his cock, until he can lave his tongue over his cock head, suckle there on the crown, then suck him down deep, swallowing around him.

The noises, Jesse thinks to himself, trying to force his concentration away from what hearing them is doing to his own cock, the noises Vince makes are like nothing he’s ever heard before, he’s adamant about that. Maybe he’s biased, or lost in the moment, or quite possibly, so far gone on Vince that he’s blinded. But he doesn’t care; he’s here with Vince, he’s got Vince, and Jesse has every intention of never letting Vince go.

Vince gives the whimper Jesse recognises as him being close, and again, Jesse doesn’t want this to end any time soon. So he’s shifting again, laying back beside Vince, whilst Vince reaches out with trembling fingers and cups his face, pulling him into a kiss that can only be described as worshipful.

When he’s calmed, and his panting has lessened, Vince smiles, kissing Jesse once before rolling him over on to his back. And Jesse’s echoing Vince’s earlier movements, spreading his legs wide, offering himself up entirely to him.

Vince is thorough, with a contrast of butterfly kisses and bruising bites to every inch of skin he can get to. He always starts at Jesse’s neck, because he knows exactly where to graze his teeth to make Jesse’s cock twitch. He glances down, smiling triumphantly to see just that happening, and continues. Shoulders, arms, hands. Nipples, ribs, hips; there is no part of Jesse that Vince does not at least brush over with his lips, and by the time he gets anywhere near Jesse’s cock he is leaking heavily against his own stomach.

Vince ducks down to swirl his tongue in the mess Jesse’s made there, pausing as Jesse groans at the sight of that before slowly swallowing Jesse down. Jesse arches, his fingers gripping through Vince’s hair, holding him in place as he gently fucks up into his mouth.

Vince moans around him, letting his fingers drift down until he’s spreading Jesse open, pulling off without warning, then surging his tongue into Jesse and pressing firmly there as Jesse writhes. He keeps pressing until he can slide his tongue in more easily, smiling at the choked little gasps Jesse blasts out above him as he does.

Vince moves again, pressing a kiss to the underside of Jesse’s cock head before swirling his tongue around it and swallowing him down again, sucking hard a couple of times before sliding off once more. He stays on his knees, reaching over awkwardly for the bottle of lube just past the edge of their blankets and snags it up, brings it back with him.

He shakes it once, hard, as the bottle is coming to an end, and drizzles what’s left on to his fingers. He pauses for a moment, raising an eyebrow at Jesse who shrugs, because there’s plenty more of that on a shelf in the bathroom for next time.

Jesse parts his legs a little more, sliding his feet higher to give Vince easier access, and smiles in welcome as Vince leans down over him to press a soft kiss to his lips. Jesse’s head falls back with a soft huff as Vince slides and crooks a finger inside him, groaning quietly as Vince uses that same steady rhythm he’d shown earlier, in and out, in no hurry at all and unfaltering.

Vince flicks his tongue into Jesse’s mouth in time with sliding in a second finger, scissoring Jesse open and gasping with him as Jesse arches up at the feeling of his prostate being glanced against. He slides in a third and holds his hand steady there, smiling down at Jesse and arching an eyebrow to give a silent instruction. Jesse takes the hint, rocking his hips so that Vince’s fingers are sliding in and out of him without Vince moving at all, and Jesse groans out repeatedly as he fucks himself open a little more.

With another soft gasp, Jesse shakily reaches out his hands to pull him closer. Vince breathes out shallow, closes his eyes for a second and then moves, his hands sliding down Jesse’s inner thighs and his thumbs easing him open.

Vince rolls his hips, nudging his cock head against Jesse’s entrance, then slides all the way inside him in one go, long, and so, so slow, answering Jesse’s moan with his own. When he’s fully inside, he leans down over Jesse, resting on his forearms and spreading his own knees a little for comfort. And then he’s kissing him gently, rocking in and out of him lazily, smiling as Jesse drifts his hands up to glance over his sides as he moves.

The candles flicker, casting long shadows over their skin as they consume themselves. Blankets are adjusted for comfort, and when Vince’s knees begin to tremble Jesse pulls him close, wrapping his legs high around Vince’s waist so he can flip them over on to his back, and now Jesse is the one who is kneeling. He moans, once, long and loud at the shifted position of Vince inside him, pressing down at an angle that feels so good, so very good that he has to steady himself against Vince’s chest to rein in the urge to just impale himself repeatedly on Vince and come.

Instead, he waits a moment, splays his hands wide across Vince’s skin, and rocks slowly so that Vince is filling him whole and unhurried, wrapping his hands around Jesse’s hips to keep him just where he wants him.

Jesse keeps that pace up, slow, and steady, chasing down that sensation of heat that sparks off in his gut and radiates out. Vince reaches out, slides a lazy palm against Jesse’s cock head and slicking all the way down his shaft, wrapping his fingers around firmly and thrusting up into Jesse at the same time.

Jesse’s breathing and rocking becomes more uneven, unable to keep himself from whimpering out a litany of moans and choked off sounds. Vince is answering, just as desperately, digging his fingers into Jesse’s sides and keeping him just where he needs him.

That slowness they’ve managed to keep up for so long dissolves; there’s just heat chasing heat, moan echoing moan, juddering and jerking until Jesse becomes completely still and cries out, his head thrown back as he comes in long arches over Vince’s chest. Vince grips harder, lifting himself clean off the floor as he thrusts up into Jesse, once, twice, before stiffening himself, falling backwards and groaning out long, and loud.

Jesse leans forward, bracing and resting his weight on his hands for a moment as he gets his breath back, smiling as he watches Vince do the same. Then he’s sliding from him and slumping down beside him and on to his back, both of them with their legs and arms splayed wide as they cool down, though their hands curled around one another in the small gap between them.

When their breathing’s back to normal, Jesse rolls slightly to kiss Vince on the shoulder, then sits up with a soft grumble, looking around and snagging up one of the bottles of water they’d brought out with them. He passes it first to Vince to drink from, then takes several gulps himself, before grabbing his t-shirt from earlier, pouring some of the water on it and leaning back down, lingering kisses to Vince’s lips as he wipes him clean.

Vince reaches up, cupping a hand to Jesse’s face to prolong the kiss before sliding his fingers away and rolling on to his side, huffing in contentment as Jesse lays back down and curls himself around him with a soft kiss to his neck as he settles.

Permission

Todd and Eric have been fooling around together for a while now, though it’s never got beyond much more than a lot of drunken fumbling. That’s about to change…

This is NOT safe for work, just to warn you. For those of you who follow/have followed me elsewhere, you might recognise this story in another guise 😉

There are very few instances in Eric’s life where he has felt truly good about himself, but here in this moment with Todd looking at him with such adulation in his eyes, that’s what he feels: good. Worthy of this, maybe even loved, if he lets himself acknowledge this is the word to describe what’s going on between them. It’s a feeling he’s never had before, and if honest is a little overwhelmed by it. But Todd’s smile for him is warm, and his hand, curled with a thumb tracing the length of his jaw is soothing, and hell, Eric is only human. He can’t stop his heart soaring and his stomach fluttering and his palms sweating like this is the first time he’s ever been touched.

Todd’s lips on his are gentle, so shy it feels like this should be a first kiss, when it’s far from it. Eric kisses back, just as nervous, just as hesitant. Jumps in surprise when Todd’s fingers catch on his neck on the way to cupping the back of his head. Todd nudges against him giving the tiniest of smiles before claiming his mouth again, a little firmer this time.

Eric waits a moment, then moves closer, winds his fingers through Todd’s long brown hair and holds on, tugging just enough to make him softly whimper, then press back at all the points he can with the way they’re sat awkwardly on the edge of his bed. He reaches to loop an arm around Todd’s waist to pull him closer, and Todd leans over him until Eric’s pressed back against the mattress. Eric opens his mouth to him, and Todd moans at the gesture, sweeping his tongue inside to catch the taste of him there. Eric shudders with the need he has to get closer to him, feeling those same trembles back from Todd. They press tightly against one another and kiss with growing urgency until Todd is mouthing down his neck, then mumbling reassurances in his ear.

“Let me undress you,” Todd requests after a moment, low and heated in a rumble against him. Eric swallows, thinks how much he wants that, but how he doesn’t know if he can handle that look of love that’s in Todd’s eyes as he says it. Doesn’t think he can let himself believe it. One beer too many on an evening that had led to a stolen moment of drunken fumbling that now seems like a lifetime ago, is when the tension between them had finally broken. But until now, it has never been acknowledged just how much they mean to each other. Taking snatches of things they’re both desperate to mean something so much bigger, but are both too frightened to ask if this is what they really have.

As though Todd is reading his mind, he’s whispering to him the truth of it, leaving tears pricking in the corners of Eric’s eyes. Todd kisses Eric so sweetly then it’s like he can’t believe he’s even allowed to, and Eric has to claim himself a harder kiss to reassure Todd that he is.

Todd’s hands are immediately beneath Eric’s shirt and rising, gentle fingers pressed into his stomach and chest as he strokes a path upwards. Eric lifts his arms to help him remove it and ends up with them light around Todd’s shoulders as he bends to kiss along his collarbone before kissing a path back to his mouth.

When Eric reaches for Todd’s shirt he sees him smiling, shrugging out of it seconds later and that smile widening as he pulls lightly on Eric’s hips until their skin is flush. “I’ve wanted to feel you like this,” Todd tells him as he strokes reverent hands up the flanks of his chest, and it’s said with such sincerity that Eric feels himself begin to blush.

They help each other out of the remainder of their clothes, and then Todd is throwing back the duvet and murmuring for Eric to crawl in. He stands to the side of the bed looking down on him, seeming to just drink in the sight of him for a moment, then with deliberate slowness pulls out the lube from Eric’s bedside cabinet and slams the draw shut until it rattles, clutching the bottle tight in his hand. With a tiny swallow that reveals a hint of nervousness Todd asks, “Will you let me?”

“Like you even need to ask,” Eric retorts, one firm nod of his head and his cock already twitching at the certainty of what Todd is wanting to do to him. Both their eyes drop to it and Todd smiles, kneeling on to the bed and immediately bending to nuzzle along his length, smiling harder at the way it jolts against his face. Eric is momentarily stunned, as he is always stunned by the ease with which Todd touches him, how natural it seems for him to know exactly what Eric needs, then smiles up at him in encouragement and earns himself a proud smile.

Todd presses Eric firmly on his hips to insinuate he stays on his back, then crawls between his legs, kissing his way up Eric’s chest. He sneaks a hand between them to grab their cocks and line them up together before thrusting against him, groaning into Eric’s neck as he does for a few rolls of his hips. Eric’s arms are up and around his back, and lets out a contented sigh as he continues, that sigh inching over into a moan as teeth and tongue replace the lips against his skin. Todd raises his head for just a second as though he’s considering asking for permission, then bends back down, sucking in a bruise there. Eric swears he hears Todd mutter mine against him, and feels himself stir and swell even harder.

They kiss, lazy and sloppy, their hips moving together in a languid roll as they’ve done so many times before – though always through at least partial clothing, as though that final barrier between them made any difference to what they were doing to each other. It’s easy yet feels so different, and Eric thinks it’s because they’re both really on the same page now, that they both know how the other is feeling. Honesty has turned their rushed fumbles into something enduring, and affectionate. It’s taken them long enough, he thinks, hands greedily skimming over Todd’s hips as he gives a particularly hard roll beneath him, making Todd’s cock slip and nudge between his cheeks. They both blast out a moan then look down as one over the trial of precum they’ve left over each other’s skin from rutting together, and that sight just stirs them both harder still.

Todd pitches over to his side though doesn’t break their kiss, a brief stroke over his own cock before he wriggles to reach for the lube he’d unconsciously dropped to the bed earlier, with Eric plucking it from his fingers for Todd to pop the cap so he can pour some over his waiting hand. Eric slides his feet up the bed until his knees are splayed, then hooks one over Todd’s leg, settling and nudging against Todd’s cock wedged tight against his side.

Eric hums at the first slide of Todd’s slickened hand over his cock, raising his head to get a better angle as he watches him stroke him over, letting out small hums of pleasure to encourage him on with every slide. He gives a particularly louder moan when Todd gives this little twist over his head that he already knows from multiple past experiences Eric really, really likes.

Eric surges upwards, claiming a harder kiss, drags his leg back over Todd then rolls on to his side as well. He makes quick work of lubing his own hand up and reaching down to wrap it around Todd’s cock, and soon they’re whispering encouragement into each other’s lips with slides of tongue and slickened grips forcing out the most sinful of moans.

Todd drops his grip on Eric, teasing a trail of fingertips up over his hip and down over his ass. He slides one up and down the crack of it smiling as Eric hums, then slips it between his cheeks, nudging at his hole, this time groaning when Eric tilts his hips back to meet it.

Todd rolls Eric onto his back again with a firm press of their chests together, arranging his legs splayed just how he wants them before bending and licking over his cock head, pausing to suckle until Eric’s precum is flooding into his mouth. He gives one firm drag of his lips up and off his length then rolls himself back up, lubing his fingers up again with Eric’s assistance then kissing him firm, nudging his cheeks apart once more so he can press a finger against his hole to slip inside.

Eric’s desperate to have Todd inside of him, and shows that need by straightaway thrusting his hips down so he’s impaled on that finger Todd is giving him. Todd grins, mutters soothing things to him about being patient and kisses him quiet with a steady slide of that finger in and out. At Eric’s whimper, he adds a second, and smiles hard at the thankful sigh Eric blasts against his lips as he tries to kiss him.

“You getting a little eager for me there, Eric?” Todd teases, grinning as he crooks his fingers inside Eric, seeing the way it feels from the look on his face, and hearing it in the whimper that falls from his lips.

“I want you in me,” Eric stutters, his feet slipping as he tries to splay his legs open even wider, “I need it,” to which Todd closes his eyes and lets out another groan, pausing to drop his head down on Eric’s shoulder for a second as though he needs to get himself composed. But then he’s back to opening Eric up in all the ways he likes; repeated scissoring of his fingers, occasional nudges at his prostate, and an eventual third finger that on receiving makes Eric stutter out a broken wail.

Todd is leaning his head against Eric’s shoulder once more, muttering there what Eric thinks is keep control. It makes Eric smile; he’s not seen Todd like this before, not with eyes so full of need and such closeness to not being in control of himself. He likes it a lot, Eric decides, lifting his head up to drop a kiss down on the top of Todd’s, earning himself a self-deprecating smile and quiet laugh.

Todd leans to kiss him, and a few moments are taken up only with that, a closeness that is steadying and reassuring for them both. Then Todd is slotting himself between Eric’s legs and arranging him how he wants him again, leaning down to give Eric’s cock one final mouthing over before straightening up, bracing himself briefly with warm hands against his stomach, then pushing on Eric’s thighs until they’re open enough for him to fit between.

Eric shifts a little himself. He wants to watch Todd sliding in to him; he’s been waiting long enough for it to happen and as well as feeling it, he doesn’t want to miss a second of seeing him disappear inside. His legs jolt as Todd strokes his fingers down the creases of his thighs to linger and nudge against his balls, then drops his hands lower, one thumb sweeping over his hole and briefly dipping in to him before it’s joined by the other in pulling him open.

Eric watches Todd duck his head, angle back a little to watch for himself as he nudges his cock tip against Eric’s hole and rolls his hips, until his cock head is plugging him. He gives one glance up to Eric for permission, swallows greedily when he receives it, then gives one continuous roll of his hips until he’s all the way inside.

There’s a delayed moan shared between them, Eric’s eyes wide and round at the view he’s got in front of him and the feel of Todd’s cock all the way up inside and stretching him open. They raise their gaze from where they’re joined up to each other’s faces and give a little smile before they look back down and watch, as Todd pulls out until his head’s catching against Eric’s rim, then is sliding all the way back in.

They watch through another few thrusts, through another few groans of encouragement. Then Todd is pitching forward and getting comfortable, grinning at Eric as he brackets his face between his elbows and dives in for a kiss. He gives a languid roll of his hips that he hums his approval at the feel of against Eric’s lips, the rumble of that joining Eric’s own as he settles his hands around Todd’s lower back.

They keep grinning at each other, stupid and silly, interrupted only by the groans they drag out of one another and the continual meeting of their lips. Todd presses a harder kiss on him then drops his head down to nuzzle over the bite he left on Eric’s neck earlier, raising it again to keep eye contact as he gives another thrust into him. Eric bites down on his lip, watching as a wave of pleasure shivers through Todd, ending with a loud, desperate groan.

When Todd looks back up again, Eric lifts one hand to slot his fingers through the back of his hair and pull him in for a longer kiss, which they keep up for as long as possible until their gasps take over. Todd drops another on his cheek and stirs his hips a little, smiling at Eric’s answering arch. “Wrap your legs around me,” he whispers at him, eyes fluttering closed when Eric does just that and the angle shift has them both cry out as it feels like Todd is sinking into him deeper still.

Their thrusts grow more rapid, kisses impossible for the need to keep catching their breath in between their continual gasps and groans, with Todd’s hips soon losing the smoothness of their rolls and giving way to erratic judders that unhook Eric’s ankles from where they’re crossed around him until his feet are back on the bed.

Eric begins rolling up to claim Todd’s thrusts desperately, them both building so fast, getting so close that their movements become purely instinctual, with no conscious thought behind them. Todd has just enough sense about him to shift until he’s wedged his hand between them to wrap around Eric’s cock, bringing him to orgasm with no more than a half dozen strokes, his hips beginning to jolt even more at the noises blasting out of Eric and the way his hole is fluttering around his length.

Todd picks up his pace, desperate and needy, staring Eric down the closer he gets. A couple more thrusts and then he’s coming, wailing it out as he grinds his hips against Eric, and Eric letting out his own whimper as he does, sure he can feel every spurt of Todd inside of him.

Todd gives out another grunt and collapses on top of him, pressing as close in and around Eric as he can get. He pets an idle hand along Todd’s back, pressing kisses to the side of his head as he flexes his muscles, grinning what he knows is probably ridiculously at his continual assessment of that wetness inside of him.

When Todd has recovered a little he’s shifting, kissing Eric triumphantly before kneeling back. He pulls out of him carefully, his face splitting into a smile as he tilts back to inspect Eric’s hole, plunging his fingers in and holding them up for Eric’s inspection to show him what he’s done. Eric bursts out laughing and reaches to squeeze Todd’s sides where they rest between his open thighs. “Why do I feel like I’ve just been claimed?”

Todd grins at him, lowers himself back down over for a kiss that turns into another hum of approval before nuzzling against him and dropping his chin down on his shoulder with a sigh and another kiss into his neck. “You have been; though long before now, though, I’d say,” he tells him, squeezing him tight for one more minute before rolling down beside him, and pulling Eric into his arms, content.

 

 

Tainted By Our Choices

Tarred by our choices is a contemporary romance that has flashbacks, sex, environmental awareness, and a slight fixation on dessert. Potentially all at the same time.

Meet Jack. A successful environmental officer working within an industry that is so very far from his childhood dream of saving the planet, that he no longer recognizes himself. How he’s found himself in Houston, Texas, where he has no one, and nothing but his work for company, he tells himself repeatedly he doesn’t know. But when the place that became home had the heart sucked right out of it, and all around him were the remnants of a life he wouldn’t get to have, Jack ran, at the first opportunity given to him.

On a bright, sunny morning, Jack sees a face so familiar to him that he knows it better than his own, one that takes him back first to a beach in his childhood home of Tampa Bay, and second to a college in Boston where Jack learned – and lost – his heart.

Tarred by our choices is the story of first crushes, loves, and heartbreaks, and the fallout that left Jack clinging to his past. Join him on his rediscovery of himself, as a chance meeting reminds him of the life he always wanted to lead. Is he brave enough to live it?

Goaded

For those of you who follow/have followed me elsewhere, you might recognise this story in another guise. And this is just as ridiculous and silly here as it was there 😉


“Jay. I am 34 years old. It is not a question of not knowing how to. Do you honestly believe that… just because I haven’t tried something before, that I couldn’t?”

Dean studies Jay’s face in that way he does when Jay knows he’s being an idiot but just keeps on talking anyway, and waits.

“Uh…” Jay stumbles, feeling lost for any kind of meaningful words.

He’s known Dean coming up to four years now, and on some days Jay still can’t work out how the two of them have become such good friends. Where Jay is practical, act-now-think-later, and very much a learn-by-doing, Dean is meticulous, researches and cross-references things he wants to know about to a point of obsession, and is the first to admit that spontaneity is a dirty word.

He’s also serious, thoughtful, loyal and compassionate to the people he cares about. Dean makes Jay feel he might be worth something, and that’s not something he’s used to being. And above all else, he’s patient with him, stays calm when Jay is close to panic, talks reasonably when Jay’s lost all sense of his. So it’s sort of funny seeing the slightest evidence on his face of being flustered that suggests for all of his blustering bravado, he’s actually a little nervous. It’s kind of cute, Jay thinks, then catches himself thinking it and pretends he isn’t.

“Yeah, Jay,” Matt pipes up next to him, grinning at Jay’s discomfort. Matt’s smirk drops instantly when Dean’s assessing gaze turns to him, as though Matt is being equally stupid.

This is what you get, Jay berates himself, trying to keep a lid on the whine that’s threatening to climb up out of his throat. This is what you get for arranging for your closest friend stroke not-so-secret forbidden crush to come over for dinner, and not forcing your kid brother out of the house you share. It’s inviting trouble, really, and he can’t blame anyone but himself for whatever’s about to unfold.

Dean continues to stare at him as this internal berating goes on for Jay, silently demanding an answer.

“Knowing the theory isn’t actually the same as… you know. Doing it,” Jay finally offers a little helplessly, flinching as Dean’s eyebrow raises a notch.

Jay looks longingly towards the doorway of the kitchen, to safety and escape.

He’s not going to get away from this that easily though, he knows that, acknowledges that the only way out of this is down. But he is going to have this out with Matt later, that much is for sure. How dare he bring up something like this, when he knows… Jay knows Matt knows… about… well. Things. About stuff.

“Well,” Matt relents after a minute, and Jay’s trying to concentrate on that, rather than the way his heart is attempting to leap out of his chest, “we’ve evidence, Dean. For example, from the last time you, uh… tried to help us cook. That… just ‘cos in theory you know how to do something? In practice, it doesn’t always work out all that well,”

“Omelette,” Jay blurts out, and for a moment, all three of them frown in sync, avoid looking at the black scorch mark on the frame of the patio door, and each other. Then Dean’s eyebrow cranks up a fraction more, in blatant disdain for their stupidity.

“I choose not to cook. It is not a question of not being able to,” he retorts, his scowl turning into a full on glare when Matt snorts, and Jay’s mind takes him back to the day of The Omelette pinpointing that as the start of so many of his current problems.

Dean had been insistent. Obnoxiously so. And most indignant, when Matt and Jay hadn’t believed he’d be able to do something as ‘simple’ as make an omelette. He’d raised an unamused eyebrow at both of them – very much as he is doing now – then shrugged out of both his coat and suit jacket in one fluid movement, and slowly rolled up his sleeves, all whilst Jay watched him open-mouthed like a man gaping at a beer after a taxing Dry January. Discreetly, of course. Discreetly.

Jay had continued watching Dean’s back as he’d walked over to the sink to wash his hands, dried them on kitchen towel like a pro, and then stalked over to the carton of eggs on the counter, bringing them back across the kitchen to leave next to the stove. Jay had swallowed roughly to see the pull of the shirt over Dean’s muscle and had stood, transfixed, willing himself to look elsewhere, but failing dismally.

Next, Dean had walked over to the fridge, bending down to peer inside in interest, and giving Jay a very distracting view of the way his pants tightened over his ass. Jay couldn’t help staring at things like that on any given day when he was around Dean, honestly he couldn’t, and at the time, Matt had given a delighted snort, grinning victoriously in his direction. Jay grimaces uncomfortably for remembering the look of comprehension on Matt’s face, still shrinking back from the wickedness emitting from his brother after all this time, wanting to turn quickly on his heel, and leave. Matt had that effect on him a lot when it came to Dean, Jay reflects then, fighting back yet another whine.

But Matt and Jay’s attention had then turned immediately to the bowl Dean clunked down noisily on the counter, and the way he threw in everything at once, before stirring the mixture vigorously and slopping it all over the sides.

Sure, in principle, the idea had been good; eggs, cheese, and bacon were acceptable – essential, ingredients perhaps, for making an omelette.

But, as Jay had sidled up to him, taking in the bits of shell floating on top of the mixture and the bacon fat sticking out like little white islands in a sea of yellow, he couldn’t help but laugh.

Even if Dean did spin on his heel and glare at him in contempt.

The second attempt, when the first had been thrown with some force into the trash, fared slightly better to start with. But Dean couldn’t seem to get to grips with the pan, and even Matt, who had been strictly forbidden from doing anything more complicated than reheating or nuking things in the microwave, howled in laughter, as Dean pushed stubbornly at the black mess that in a former life had once been eggs.

The third attempt, using up the very last of the eggs, had resulted in that black mark on the door frame that all three of them are currently glaring at, and Jay tactfully takes a slight step to the side, blocking everyone’s view.

“This is different,” Dean assures them with the most serious of expressions on his face.

“How is this different?” Matt laughs, boldy. This doesn’t really impact him one way or another, after all. Aside from watching his brother die from mortification. Unless it’s a really underhand way to get his share of the house, Jay thinks, considering just how evil Matt is, and what his limits may or may not be.

Dean stares at Matt curiously, and somehow that makes Matt laugh more. “Because, Matt. The omelette… incident…” Dean glares at them both for a second, daring them to comment. They do not. “I had never considered making an omelette before. It was not something I had ever spent a lot of time thinking about. You are both aware that I prefer to eat meals that are prepared for me,”

Jay straightens up from where he’s been slumped back against the counter, and his eyes narrow. “Wait,” he says, half-extending a hand towards Dean but curling his fingers back before they actually reach him. “You’ve been thinking about this? A lot?”

“Yes, Jay.” Dean tells him with utmost certainty, calm and assured as he is almost always calm and assured.

There is a look on Jay’s face that Matt instantly recognises as jealousy. He knows it, and has known it all his life; usually when Jay thinks Matt’s got more toppings on his pizza than he does, or has unknowingly poured himself an inch more wine from a shared bottle, it’s true. But still. He knows jealousy on Jay when he sees it, and finds himself smirking a little harder.

“With who?” Jay demands, stepping that touch closer, his voice tinged with bristling anger.

Dean’s face contorts, showing he’s really not sure what Jay’s problem is.

“I would have thought that would be obvious by now,” is all he can offer in answer. Which Jay growls, actually growls at, and Matt barks out a peal of laughter at, earning himself another glare from Jay.

“So,” Matt eventually manages when he’s finished his gleeful laughter from the safe step back he’s taken away from Jay’s mood. “What you’re saying, Dean. Is that. Is that. Unlike the omelette thing. You’ve been thinking about doing this. A lot. So you know exactly what to do here.”

“Yes,” Dean gives him simply.

Matt shrugs. “Prove it.”

“Matt,” Jay blasts out, eyes full of rage for Matt and spinning around, fully turning his back to Dean.

His eyes drop the second he feels Dean’s hand on his shoulder, and raise back up again in shock as Dean is pushing him back against the counter with no gentleness at all.

“Uh…” is all he manages, before Dean is against him bodily and kissing him firmly on the mouth.

There is a moment, a tiny moment, when Jay registers Matt laughing hysterically beside them. But it is only a moment, because right now, his brain has shorted out for the absolutely most impossible thing to be happening to him. Dean is kissing him. He’s actually kissing him, willingly, very ably, he’d very much like to add, and from the feel of… yep, that feels a lot like, well, interest, he seems to be enjoying it just as much as he is.

Unconsciously, Jay’s arms curl around Dean’s lower back, pulling him that little bit more firmly against him, making Dean moan into his mouth in appreciation.

I’ll die happy, is the only thought Jay manages, sagging under Dean’s weight.

Matt is doing all but cheering them on, resisting the urge to clap and forcing back the slight tears he’s feeling pricking in his eyes to see what he’s seeing before him.

Never in his wildest dreams would Matt have believed that what was a glib challenge to Dean about his never having kissed another man before, would have led to this. To seeing Jay, so utterly and thoroughly caught up in, well. Kissing Dean, like Matt damn well knew he’d been thinking about for an eternity. It made his little shipper heart sing, it really did.

Although.

Perhaps that level of enthusiasm was a little too much for his eyes, and oh hell he knows he just saw tongue.

Choking back the laughter that’s threatening to erupt yet again, Matt clears his throat, which neither Dean nor Jay acknowledge him doing.

“So, uh…” he tries pathetically, knowing there’s no way he’s getting their attention any time soon.

“Uh… you can thank me later, Jay,” he manages to half-call out eventually, backing up slowly towards the kitchen door.

Jay must be somewhat aware that Matt’s still standing there, because he slowly raises the hand he’s got wrapped hard around Dean up, flips him off, then slowly gives him the thumbs up Terminator two-style, before putting his hand back firmly on Dean, a little lower this time.

Matt’s eyes widen to see that, and he thumbs a gesture over at the door, making a quick exit with an absent wave, averting his eyes as he does.

Point of No Return

“You remember when we-”

He says, a reminiscent smile on his face as he leans on the terrace railing and stares out over the water. His voice fades away, but you don’t need him to finish the words, because you do; you do remember. A small boat, white with a navy blue trim around its flank. Sea spray striking your skin as wind whipped up your hair. Your hands on the steering wheel, though he was the one steering; pressed up tight against your back with his hands around your middle, gentle fingers slipped between your own.

A lifetime ago, you think, but it isn’t really. Can it only be three years since? Three years, for the love of your life to morph into barely an acquaintance? You don’t even know this man stood there in front of you, not really, not anymore. Not the lines of his back, nor the warmth of his skin beneath yours; nothing. You barely know yourself anymore, you defend, but it’s empty, as empty as you feel.

“I do,” you say, anyway, wincing at the words, because not so long ago, you thought you’d be saying them in front of witnesses. The ring still sits in its velvet prison, buried deep at the bottom of your sock drawer. You should have taken it back months ago, when you first accepted it was never going to happen, but you’ve talked yourself into and out of it so many times, clinging on for hope, which is what this weekend is all about.

You watch him in profile, and it brings the slightest amount of comfort seeing that reminiscent smile turn wistful before finally settling on just plain sad. You both did this, you tell yourself, though it’s nothing but fiction. Because some days it’s easier to pretend it just happened. Easier to act like you didn’t bring it all on yourself.

That small boat, with that deck so small, that you barely had room to step around one another. But that hadn’t stopped the wandering hands, the smiling faces, the teasing kisses under the fading summer sun. A lake house, a long stretch of decking to which that boat had eventually been tethered, and love made on a mess of blankets on that decking underneath the light of the stars.

You took that from him, you think, your stomach churning, as it always seems to be churning of late; you did that to both of you. Took something sacred, sweet, and centring, and turned it stale, and sour. And this weekend away, you hoped would claw it back. But how can you claw back what you took for granted? How can you regain the trust that you so viciously shred apart?

“I wouldn’t go back, you know,” he says then, quiet though firm, soft enough to make your heart both ache and pound, “I mean, I wouldn’t change it. Wouldn’t… guess I’m saying is, I don’t regret it; not a minute of it. Not even if this is where we’ve ended up,”

This, you think, tears choking your throat, then pricking in your eyes, as his hand reaches out to press over yours, slotting his fingers between your own as he once did, as he has done, so many times. This is over; there’s no point denying it, no point sprinkling it in sparkle and pretending the end isn’t happening when so obviously, it is. It has been happening, for months now. You’ve just finally run out of time.