Keeping It Simple

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


Looking back now, it all seemed like unnecessary fuss.

Everyone they’d ever met had commented on the way they looked at one another, how they gravitated towards each other without the slightest sign of effort, or even the intention of doing so. How, no matter what they were doing, or who they were with, they’d end up side by side, often forget there were even other people around them when they were talking, and more often than not would be the ones to walk each other home.

They shared clothes, split drinks, stole food from each other’s plates when they were out to dinner, and knew their way around one another’s apartments as though they lived there themselves. Which in some ways, they did, because they spent so much time together, that if any of their friends ever saw either one of them alone, they politely checked if the other one was sick, or working late.

No one said anything of course, as the looks between them became more loaded, and their closeness grew more heated, until the knowing expressions of their friends were so obvious that even they couldn’t ignore what was happening. There are only so many times you can fantasize about having someone’s lips on yours before you find yourself on them, without even realizing what you’ve done.

Mark hadn’t even said a word.

That initial kiss, when Liam had pulled back in belated realization of his own actions, all he’d felt was fear. Of rejection, of losing the best friend he’d ever had, of never knowing the taste of Mark again. He really shouldn’t have worried, though, he reflected, thinking about it all this time later with a rueful smile for himself, because the only thing Mark’s smile for him at the time had said was… finally.

And that had been it.

Well, not quite it.

Of course, there had been conversations, words that with anyone else would have stayed firmly hidden away under metaphorical lock and key. But with Mark, in private, Liam’s words flowed freely, and in turn freed him of all the burdens he’d been carrying by not letting what he really wanted to be known.

He’d laughingly told Mark of all the times he’d planned conversations with him, to tell him what he was feeling was more than friendship, or adopted brother since they’d known each other so very long. He’d imagined every outcome, both good and bad, and had reached for him countless times before forcing himself to pull back again at the last moment, never sure if this is something he could really have.

Mark had rolled his eyes, but smiled, kind as he had always been to him. He too had internalized those very same conversations, those wants, and also the same fears, he’d shared with him then, reaching out and grabbing his hand. And it proved beyond any shadow of a doubt that they really were both excellent at giving other people advice about talking, and honesty, but failed continuously at doing both those things themselves.

And after that, they just… were. No fanfares, no confessions, nothing involving any kind of fussing. No drunken announcements, or status declarations on Facebook, or lewd insinuations in their Whatsapp groups involving emojis of eggplants and winky faces. No acknowledgement of before and after. They just… were.

Everyone would figure it out, eventually.

Even if it did take one very drunken birthday party where Liam and Mark had been unable to see anything but each other, and alcohol had found them grinding together in a corner, smiles never far from their lips, lips never far from each other’s, oblivious to the flash of cameras behind them, the hollering, and even the eventual raucous round of applause. It had taken a hearty grasp around Liam’s shoulder by his brother, whose birthday party it actually was, for them to untangle themselves from each other long enough to turn around, realise they were being watched.

But it had been okay. After the initial blushing, and mumbled excuses for leaving early, they’d woken to a stream of notifications on their phones, and spent a lazy morning in bed skimming through message after message of congratulations, then losing themselves in each other once more; this time without an audience of smiling eyes to stop them. And it had taken them a while, what with the long shower and vast amount of breakfast food that followed, but then each and every one of those messages had been returned, with thanks, and love, and if they were both honest, a little bit of relief that no Big Conversation was necessary.

So now, here they were. It was okay to reach out and touch one another in public. It was fine to lean a head on a chest, or a hand on a heart, to check the other were still there. It was more than fine to somehow manage to fall asleep in each other’s arms every single night, no matter what was going on around them. Liam figured he’d done enough self-denying for so long when it came to Mark to allow him this one selfish thing.

Mark was more than happy to oblige.

So here they were, in a blissful kind of limbo between work and other obligations. Staring up at a starry sky with nothing but a blanket beneath them and a holding of hands between them, cliche dates on deserted beaches be damned.

It wasn’t always simple.

But in this moment, it was.

Advertisements

Tomorrow

When did tomorrow become too late?

Tomorrow. Tomorrow I’ll tell him. Tomorrow I’ll find the words to sum up all the chaos that’s been turning paces round the inside of my skull for a lifetime.

Tomorrow.

Tomorrow I’ll stop making excuses, find courage that I tell myself I have for every other occasion when for this, courage seems like an impossible task.

Tomorrow. Tomorrow I’ll call, tomorrow I’ll say something, tomorrow I’ll be the person I could be, were I only to open my mouth.

Tomorrow. He’s… gone. Not here. No forwarding address, no call connecting, no way to make contact now I’ve found the strength to ask.

Did you want this? Me? Think of me for even one of the moments I’ve been dreaming of you? Did I occupy any corner of your mind, like you’ve invaded every one of my thoughts?

Tomorrow.

Tomorrow, I said, over and over and over some more, until tomorrow came, but you were already gone.

You couldn’t wait for me, and I understand that, in theory, of course I do.

But if I had just one more tomorrow. Just one more moment to hesitate.

Where would you be now?

Tainted By Our Choices – Extract

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,”

To read the rest, buy here

Waiting For the Right Time

When Evan’s brother is in an accident, he’s terrified, and doesn’t know where to turn, or who to ask for support. Which is stupid, really, since Peter’s been in his life for longer than he hasn’t, and has always been a rock.


 

It isn’t fair, Evan thinks, staring down at Tom laid pristine white in a hospital bed, willing himself to concentrate on the slightest evidence of his chest rising up and down. Tom’s the baby of the family, eight years younger than Evan is himself, and all Evan can think staring down at him then, is that he’s failed him for letting this happen.

It’s beyond not fair, he adds, eyes closing in anguish at the sight of the apparatus set around the head of that bed, proof that Tom’s only there because there’s machinery keeping him alive. The bandage wound around his head speaks of swelling that hasn’t shown any sign of lessening, and there are enough smaller ones dotted to his neck and arms to make him look tiny, fragile there in that bed.

Tom’s a good guy, the best of them, never done anything but try to live a good, honest life, and do the right thing, every chance that he gets. And okay, so maybe Evan’s a little biased because Tom’s his little brother and he’ll never see him as anything but a hero. But he’s also never willingly hurt anyone, and that’s a heroic quality Evan feels a lot of people in the world are lacking, turning a blind eye where Tom is always sticking up for people. Always jumping to the defence of others without any regard for himself, without ever being asked.

Which is apparently how he got himself into this mess in the first place.

Just a day ago, Evan had been putting the finishing touches to a customer’s garden, enjoying the many perks of outdoor work in the late summer sun, when he’d received the phone call. A quick glance around, his careful eye checking for any small details that needed fixing, was interrupted by the scream of his phone, and Tom’s near-hysterical friend Steven announcing he’d been hurt in a fight.

Evan had driven directly to the hospital, the mantra that Tom was against mindless violence doing nothing but terrify him even more, for all the images and possibilities it stabbed into his mind. Steven’s broken words when he’d collapsed into Evan’s arms, once he’d found him wide-eyed and startled on a hospital corridor outside the operating theatre, spoke of Tom standing like a fortress, when a guy at the table next to theirs in a beer garden had been attacked. Of course he did, Evan thinks to himself for the hundredth time as he reaches out to pointlessly straighten Tom’s blanket, of course he’d done that. Without even hesitating. Without even giving it a thought.

There’s only the two of them, Evan thinks then, his stomach knotting over and over, half-glad that their parents are already long gone and not having to share this burden with him, yet also desperately missing their support. What happens next? Who does he need to call? What can he do to fix this? There’s a thousand things he needs answers to, but no one there to tell him anything.

Thank god, or whatever is out there, he thinks, that Peter is there with him.

Peter is a calming, steady presence beside him as Evan stands watch over Tom, twitching, trying to anticipate whatever Tom might need, or want, even though he hasn’t yet opened his eyes.

“I’m here,” Peter says, seeming to sense how badly he needs him, not offering any platitudes about Tom being okay, knowing it will do nothing to soothe Evan’s nerves. Instead he drapes his arm around Evan’s shoulder and allows him to shuffle closer, the only acknowledgement paid to Evan’s frustrated tears being the circling of his thumb repeatedly against his upper arm.

***

When Evan gets Tom back to his apartment to watch over him as he recovers, Peter is still there beside him offering quiet support. He brings Evan coffee, swiftly grabbing the rapidly emptying whiskey bottle from Evan’s hands with a terse look that speaks volumes Evan doesn’t want to hear about, and replacing it with a large, warm mug he can wrap his fingers around as he quietly nods in thanks.

Peter empties the bowl Tom retches into sometimes, walks with him to the bathroom when he needs help getting there – when he’s sent Evan out on errands to force him into getting some fresh air, and continues his silent vigil over both of the brothers when Evan finally succumbs to much-needed sleep.

Peter is also there, when Tom is screaming, crying out in the middle of a nightmare, and Evan is leaking silent tears of his own for all the things he can’t do for him. Peter rests a hand on Evan’s shoulder, and Evan breaks, grabbing Peter to him and sobbing wrecked into his neck, clinging on with a vice-like grip. Peter soothes with words spoken softly into his ear, and gentle hands rubbing reassurances into his back.

At some point about a week into Tom’s recovery, Evan thinks that in a fear-fuelled moment late one night, he’s kissed Peter, seeking comfort, reassurance, and escape. But his mind is so twisted in confusion with all that’s happening, and so bone-tired, that he can’t even remember if the moment was real, or just an unrealised fantasy that’s taunting him. That has taunted him, for as long as he can remember. Either way, Peter resolutely stays by his side.

***

Tom is strong, and begins to show good progress, with strength returning to his limbs, and wit making a reappearance in his words. Evan looks on, smiling proudly, reminded of a thousand times he’d watched over Tom protectively in sleep when they were growing up, repeating his mantra of thank you over and over for having him there to still do that.

As Tom gets better still, Evan begins to leave him alone for longer periods as a solution to his argument that he should go home, get out of his hair. He’s never far enough away to be out of shouting distance if Tom needs him, or wants to yell at him some more for being an overprotective mother hen; but enough to give Tom what is surely much needed space.

Peter is still there with him, and Evan finds it aches thinking about him eventually leaving when things go back to normal. His overnight bag’s become a feature of Evan’s living room, his favourite shower gel leaves a teasing scent of him in the bathroom, and his attempts to force nutritious food on Evan have filled his cupboards with strange new worlds of ingredients for all the recipes he’s got him trying.

Evan pauses outside Tom’s room, one time, hearing Tom’s soft laughter and a bemused, gentle mirth in Peter’s low, gravelly tone, leaving Evan stuck between listening and leaving, both curious and afraid of what he might overhear.

“Don’t tell him, Pete, ‘cos I can’t handle justifying all his fussing. But I don’t know how I’d have got through this without him,” he hears, and Evan feels a lump form in his throat, that he quickly forces down.

“You too,” Tom adds, and from the rustling sound that follows, Evan’s sure Tom’s reached out to pat Peter on the shoulder, or something.

“Evan wouldn’t leave your side, Tom, not for a second. When we were in the hospital waiting for you to wake up, I had to drag him out of your room to make him take even a five second break. He was terrified for you. Kept telling me, he wished he could take your place there, wished he could be going through it all for you. And though I would do anything for you, help you in any way I can, it’s been… difficult. To have to hear him talking like that. It’s probably selfish, but… I’ve felt so helpless,” Peter finishes with a sigh, and Evan wants to walk in and wrap his arms around his shoulders, tell him how vital he’s been to him throughout all of this.

“You’ve been here for Evan.” Tom answers, stealing his words. “That is far from being helpless,” Evan hears Tom reply, imagines his smile, and closes his eyes, grateful that Tom is finally smiling again.

“He’d be lost without you too, you know?” Tom adds, and Evan freezes at his words, desperate to know Peter’s response.

There is a pause, but finally Peter gives a soft, breathy sigh that sounds like acknowledgement, and answers quietly with, “As would I without him.”

“You guys need to talk stuff out, you know,” Tom tells him, and Evan thinks he can picture Peter shuffling in discomfort.

“It’s not really the time, Tom. We need you to concentrate on getting better, more than anything else.” Peter’s tone is decided, and firm, adamant he’s right in his thinking. He is right, Evan agrees, but it doesn’t stop his heart sinking a little, even if he’s not worked up the courage to do anything about this – them, himself.

“Pete,” Tom’s talking in that gentle, patient, explaining-to-an-idiot tone of his, and Evan kind of loves him for it. “I’ve known you for… it feels like all my life. You two have been friends since forever now, and it’s obvious to anyone with eyes that there’s something between you even if you pretend that there isn’t. If you keep thinking about it like that, that now’s not really the time, there’s never gonna be a right time. So why not make it the right time now? What is it the two of you are waiting for?”

Evan doesn’t want to hear Peter’s answer, too scared it will be the confirmation of rejection, so chooses that moment to go in with the tray of food he’s prepared. But it’s not like Tom’s words don’t play over and over for Evan, or stop him sneaking continual glances in Peter’s direction for the rest of the day. Or give him any chance of sleep later that night.

When he’s admitted sleep is just not going to be happening for him, Evan gets up, sighing heavily at the early hour glaring back at him on his phone, and pads through to the living room, expecting to find Peter stoically asleep on the sofa where he’s taking up what feels like just as much permanent residence as Tom. But Peter is sat at the dining table, his face illuminated by the screen of his laptop, and his eyes raise at the sound of Evan entering the room.

“Can’t sleep,” Evan offers in answer to Peter’s silent question, “What are you doing?”

Peter pauses, then reaches over to flick on a lamp on the table, and silently closes the laptop lid.

“Nothing much,” he says, coming around to lean back against the table, his hands wrapping around the edge, as he watches Evan. “Couldn’t sleep either,”

Evan watches back.

The silence remains heavy, loaded with unspoken questions. And Evan decides he can’t stand just watching anymore, so takes a courageous step forward. He bends slightly to cup Peter’s face and tilt it up, slow to give him time to resist if that’s what he wants to do. And then Evan leans down, claiming Peter’s mouth in a kiss that feels very, very long overdue. Peter’s hands are immediately around his waist, gripping Evan as he adjusts the way he stands between his legs, and pulling him as close as he can get.

The silence between them might not be filled with words, but there’s soft gasps and gentle exploration in their place, and that adds more to the sense Evan has of them finally getting somewhere. Evan feels hopeful, and humble, and more than anything, home. And when they pull apart to catch their breath, Peter’s smile for him repeats the same thing back.

***

When Tom walks through in the morning, rubbing a tired hand down his face, he comes to a stop at the foot of the sofa, his head tilting to one side as he considers the view in front of him.

On the sofa lays Peter on his back, with Evan tangled between his legs and wrapped up in his arms, fast asleep in the crook of Peter’s neck.

Peter looks at Tom, and Tom looks on back at Peter, and where Peter’s smile is small and a little timid, Tom’s is wide, and beaming happiness.

They nod at each other in unspoken acceptance of the change in circumstances between them all, before Tom turns and heads into the kitchen, a spring in his step and a hum in this mouth. He rinses the cafetiere, measuring out a generous amount of coffee, then settles it down on the side, fingers drumming as he considers adding another spoon.

Tom pulls down two mugs from a shelf, leans over to fill the kettle, then leans back against the counter, a gentle smile lingering around his lips for how ecstatic he feels for his brother. And with that smile, and a barrage of teasing already forming in his head, he turns around, and reaches for a third.

The Next Step

In the whirlwind that is after their first kiss, he knows that he’s got to keep making the decisions that count. There’s too much at stake here if he flounders; it’s like now he’s allowed himself to feel even a fragment of what he thinks he truly does for him, that all the blurred images that were once his rigid world, have been wiped clear, and everything is a sharper, brighter contrast than he’s ever dared imagine.

But what’s more important, what’s become bigger than all of that, in all that time after, is the responsibility he now holds in his hands; maybe, he corrects, more accurately in his heart. Because after all that pausing, all that lashing out when things are overwhelming, now he’s dared allow himself to have a taste, there is no way to resist the need to lean in for it just once more, time and time again. And he couldn’t live with himself if he pulled away from him now, even for a second, even in a moment of doubt; because he is too important, too luminescent to ever have to be smudged with the undignified shade of his awkward hesitation, of not knowing how to start.

They’ve been dancing; oh, how long have they been dancing. One of them will step forward to claim a kiss, a touch, a smile meant only for the other, and the other will then follow, only to pull back again, then lead with his own routine. It’s dizzying, this need that swells in him, more absorbing than anything else he’s ever felt, and coupled with the knowledge, the unyielding certainty of knowing that he is wanted back, well, that’s a little intoxicating.

But he can’t misstep, he can’t hesitate for too long, can’t bear to be the one that taints even a fraction of his smile, because he is too bright, too vibrant, to be anything but happy. It shouldn’t be allowed; he will not allow it, and more important than perhaps anything else, he will not be the one to ever tarnish that smile again. He’s done it too often, both meaning and not meaning to, too wrapped up in his own confusion to ever be good enough for what he might be wanting with him.

But he does want him, that much is clear; he’s never been shy with his affection or intention, so it’s a little surprising, when he reaches out, only to see his eyes widen in a fraction of alarm, before he takes a stumbling step back.

He never stumbles. And he never wants to be the one that makes him stumble; he’s too steady, too sure of himself to let such an unwieldy creature as himself be the one that knocks the backs of his knees, the air from his lungs. The spark from his eyes.

Is he wrong? Is this step he’s proposing too much too soon, or a move that was never destined to happen?

Worry, he hears, and vulnerable, and it’s laced with self-doubt, self-preservation, and so much contradiction; it’s like the want is there, lurking right behind his irises, but beneath his skin he’s twitching, churning. Fearful to reach out, fearful to take, in case he’s pushed away, permanently this time.

He wants this; does he not already know how much he wants this? Can he not tell by the tremble in his lip, the quake of his shoulders, that he wants this, him, so very badly, yet is half-terrified to reach for it as well?

He is an anchor, a port in a storm, a safe haven when the world is too much and the rain of that world comes crashing down to drown him. But he’s also the spark that ignites him, the curve in his lip, the beating of his heart in ways he didn’t ever dare to imagine he’d get to feel, to experience in his life.

This calls for bravery, a courage that he’s not sure he’s really wielding. But he wants this, in fact, he thinks he needs it, that they both need it; maybe if he can surrender his fear of falling, and he can lose his doubt of ever being caught, then they will meet somewhere in the middle. And that loneliness that swells in his gut, that he’s sure he’s seen peering out the corners of his eyes; maybe they can lose that. Maybe they can bolster each other.

What better way to find out? What better time than now?

He has to keep going, he has to keep pushing, because if he pauses for even a second, that strength and certainty he’s pretending to feel will crash and crumble, and if he steps back, for even a moment, maybe he’ll see in his eyes that this, he, is not really what he wanted after all. Not for more than a frivolity, a passing moment, a shiny new thing to brighten one of his endless days before discarding him again.

He can’t be that. He is not that. But what he is, is terrified; how can it be possible to feel so many emotions all at once? Is this what they always warned him against? Not that they could make you weak, but that they would overwhelm you; blur into and over one another, until you have no sense of time or meaning, when you are trying to feel, and be everything, all the versions of yourself, all at the same time?

He smiles then, delighted as he steps back just enough to really look at him, gripping tight enough to reassure that this is what he wants as well. It is freeing, to be on the receiving end of such beauty, to stare it down as though it is a sun he knows is going to burn him, but he won’t ever mind being forever scorched by. Not by him, and not like this; not when he’s leaning in to kiss him all over again, and the door slams closed behind them, and his heart sings at the knowledge that it is coming home.

As Nature Intended – Extract

Cover As Nature Intended

Elliot remembered with painful clarity the events that had led up to the exact moment he thought his life might be effectively over.

One early evening the week after his fourteenth birthday during a sweltering summer, Elliot was stood on his aunt Ellie’s porch in the still blazing sun, sipping on homemade lemonade, when he first felt an unfamiliar ache in his lower back. He and his cousin Sebastian had been busy playing with the family’s new puppy, chasing it back and forth across the lawn, and in and out of the small cluster of trees at the bottom of the garden for most of the day, so it had taken him a while to notice, acknowledging far too late that the pain had been with him since early that morning.

By the time the sun finally set, Elliot’s skin was glistening with sweat, and a fever raged just beneath the surface like an itch he couldn’t scratch. His pulse raced, his heart trembled with a sense of anticipation, and coursing through his entire body was the palpable need to be ready, all radiating out from a point deep inside himself that ached in a way he didn’t understand.

Aunt Ellie had sent him to bed with pain relief and a soothing kiss to his temple, a grim set to her jaw that told Elliot even then, that she knew something that he did not. And when the following morning came, when that ache and need had him writhing and moaning in unaccustomed agony, leaving him trying to seek friction, and fullness that he couldn’t place, Elliot understood. With quiet horror, he moved, feeling a leaking slickness coming from him that soaked straight through his clothes and the sheets beneath him on the bed, leaving him unable to deny his new truth.

Omega.

An oppressive stillness had come to him then, forcing up memories of biology classes in school that he’d thought he’d tuned out at the time. About how somewhere along the line of humanity, it had become possible for both men and women to conceive offspring, and that from that development was borne the Alpha, Beta and Omega dynamic. Betas carried on much as regular people always had done throughout human history, but instinct drove Alphas to impregnate, and Omegas to get pregnant, with those needs underwriting every aspect of an Alpha or Omega’s life. During a period of population crisis, the allele for Omega had shifted from recessive to dominant, and Alpha to recessive, with geneticists theorizing it was because a single Alpha could impregnate many Omegas, and were therefore in an evolutionary sense far less essential. Elliot remembered joking about telling that to his Alpha friends, and the laughs it had gotten around the class.

Elliot also remembered from those classes the apparent fucked up way the human body chose to reproduce. How once upon a time, many, many generations ago, when the world was evidently an even worse state than it was then in Elliot’s lifetime, women could carry a healthy baby to full term at around nine months. But in Elliot’s lifetime, male Omegas statistically proved stronger breeders, had overall better fertility, could endure gestation periods of almost eight months, where most Beta women, if they made it at all, could barely cope with six. Omega women fell somewhere in between, and considered very rare, but were still at higher risk of complications than Omega men.

That only two genders were legally recognized, when an entire spectrum of creation, and existing was possible between people, would continue to baffle Elliot, even then, in that moment, trapped in a sterile waiting room where he was waiting for his results to be confirmed and unable to stop his thoughts from wandering, desperate for good news.

He had already paced around the room several times, pausing once or twice to glare at his reflection in the mirror to critique his appearance, taking in the family trait of strawberry blond hair that on his cousin Sebastian appeared red in places yet on himself Elliot could only think to describe as dirty. Pale blue eyes stared back at him, accusatory and mocking, goading him into actions he wanted no part of, until he had to turn away, only to be drawn back once again to looking at all his flaws, seeking out a visible reason for his predicament.

Elliot strained to hear the nurse beyond the closed door, but only muffled voices taunted him. The waiting left him incensed with fear, because the last thing he needed was for what was happening to him then to really be happening. But he could feel it intensifying in him, his instincts fighting to be allowed to surface and force him into wanting things he really didn’t want to think about. There was no other word for it; Elliot was frightened. He remembered that first, overwhelming heat, when he’d thrashed and begged for things he didn’t know, couldn’t understand, as his family stood by helpless and unable to do anything for him, and that aching sense of hard arousal so out of place in his innocent fourteen-year-old body that left him feeling wrong, and broken. Corrupted.

He remembered scaring Sebastian, only a year younger than him yet almost the same height, his petrified eyes peering at Elliot through a crack in the door as Uncle Bernard and Aunt Ellie tried to soothe him, tried not to look at Elliot as though he was different, something fearsome to them, because they didn’t really know what they needed to do.

Elliot remembered hearing Uncle Bern’s panicked call to his already-absent father, Carl, and his subsequent though much-delayed arrival, only to glance over Elliot with callous eyes that told Elliot one thing; this was his final failure as a son being what he was.

Remembering all those things, Elliot couldn’t, wouldn’t allow the Omega in him to rise and force such mindless need on him. It would not be his reality, and he would do all he could to fight it, whatever it took. He closed his eyes to the final assault of his most painful of memories. Of overhearing snatches of a phone conversation between his aunt and a doctor. Of being given sedatives, then picked up and carried in gentle, loving arms, bundled into a car and driven to an imposing-looking clinic to figure this out.

The Heat suppressants prescribed for him at the time, a carton of pills pushed across a pharmacy counter into his trembling young hands and clutched there as though they were his lifeline, had worked ever since. He’d lived normal – as normal as he could do, anyway, and more than that, he’d lived well. They couldn’t fail him, not after how hard he had worked.

Those muffled voices he still couldn’t make out were ending their conversation. Elliot swallowed hard and straightened in his chair, then leapt up to follow the nurse as soon as she appeared to beckon him into an office. He sat rigidly and watched her work, precise fingers typing furiously at a computer, not paying him any attention until she had completed what she needed to do.

“So?” Elliot asked, the moment she looked up at him, because patience was not a gift he’d been blessed with. “Tell me.”

The nurse looked at him kindly, and it was the worst look Elliot could have hoped to receive. Without her even opening her mouth, enough hesitance in the nurse’s expression for Elliot to know what she was about to tell him.

“It would seem, Mr. Roderick, that the reason your suppressors have ceased working to full effectiveness is because your body is ready for you to breed,”

***

To read more, buy here

Sunday Thinking…

…apologies… I am full of cold and forgot to do anything for this… here, have some happy news things (again)!

Picture book to instil kindness among pre-schoolers launched in Tampines

Guardian Angel for the Homeless Rewarded for Kindness

Woman thankful for kindness deputy showed during traffic stop

Choose kindness to help stop bullying

Act of kindness puts principals on the roof

Acts of kindness are contagious

Happy Sunday!

To Forget

**previously published on Hot Chili Erotica** – suffice to say, this is not safe for work…


Rebound sex is supposed to be messy. Sweat stained sheets and spit-slick lips, no thoughts other than want, no feelings but release, a momentary pause in the heartache to remind that life goes on.

This bar, just the right side of sleazy, is perfect.

A room thick with bodies, the heat from the summer sun so heavy that the atmosphere in the bar feels almost smoky, and liquor on tap to smooth the way for getting exactly what you came for.

A wall of sound that is the disembodied conversations of other people also here to lose themselves allows you to tune in, yet switch off your own thoughts. Your fingers curl around the cool glass of the tumbler that you’ve emptied several times now, the whiskey hitting the back of your throat and providing a numbness that puts a temporary silence on the painful memories taunting you on repeat.

Absently, as though you are viewing through frosted glass, you observe the room; blond by the pool table, gym bunny at the end of the bar in jeans tight enough to make a small smile flicker across your lips. Over by the cigarette machine there’s a guy with hair so dark it looks streaked with blue under the poor lighting, standing on chaotic end, and reminding you so very much of—

Cold glass pressed in warm grip as you reign your thoughts back in yet again, signalling for another drink. You take a moment to compose yourself; this should be getting easier already, you should be able to switch off; he clearly has, able to walk out of your life as though all that time together was nothing more than a fleeting thought.

He should be easier to forget. Or at the very least, momentarily replace.

A denim-clad knee grazes solidly against yours as the stool next to you is occupied. The quick glance you give to your side shows a muscled thigh and a tanned, equally-muscular arm beneath a tight green t-shirt, and there’s a wash of relief that trickles through you. This is perfect. This is what you want. This is what you need to take your mind off—

He knows you’re looking at him. You know his eyes are lingering over you too, and you resist the urge to hold you breath, suck in unnecessarily, as those eyes lift slowly until they meet heatedly with yours.

That denim-clad knee knocks against yours and stops there, making you swallow with difficulty, as a thrill of excitement begins to stir.

You watch as he orders, smile as he gestures for the bartender to refill your own glass, and nod in thanks. There is small talk; you hear a name you intend to forget the second this evening is over, and possibly long before then.

When he leans in, you lean back.

He’s making conversation, and you’re nodding in all the right places so that to anyone who might be looking in your direction there is nothing happening that shouldn’t be. But there are fingertips pressing just above your knee, sliding a path that’s steady, and sure, and your legs part without you even thinking as those fingertips brush over your fly, pressing gently, until there’s a whole hand cupping, moulding, exploring.

His thumb strokes insistently against your length, and you shuffle slightly on the stool, feeling yourself begin to stiffen and swell under his touch. For a second you lose yourself in the feel of it, close your eyes, let a soft sigh spill from your lips. Then remind yourself that this is where you’re supposed to reciprocate.

Shaky fingers find hardness, and that’s when the low swell of desire swirls its way around your gut. This is good. This is what you need, and most definitely what you wanted from this evening. The whiskey is thrown back with the same rapidness as the previous ones, and you surge forward, parting dry lips with your tongue and swallowing the resulting groan.

The burn of stubble sings against your own, and you reach a hand up to slip through hair, angling an unfamiliar head towards you as you turn in slightly and give him better access to where he’s stroking you solid.

He tastes good; part whiskey, part unnamed spice, and your hands appreciate the firmness of the chest beneath your palm as you slide it upwards, resuming the grip in his hair as you keep him just where you want him.

There is movement, and you neither know nor care which of you is the one to initiate it; moments later there is the sound of a bathroom stall being locked and the feeling of being pressed roughly back against a door, his mouth back on yours instantly. He pulls away for a moment, a trail of kisses down your neck where he bites first into your pulse point, then back up to nip at your earlobe, forcing out a soft moan from your own mouth.

You feel the press of a button being undone, and your fly sliding down, and hands sliding around your waist into your boxers, as those and your jeans are firmly tugged mid-thigh. You spring free, feeling the coolness of the air hit you momentarily, before a thumb sweeps over your head, swiping up the slickness already there.

You fumble to do the same for him, but he smacks your hands away, and gives you a grin that makes your cock pulse in its freedom. And he’s squatting down until he’s at eye level with it; you can’t blame him for not wanting to kneel in here, but the way he’s looking at you makes you thrust your hips forward until your shaft is bumping against his lips, insistent about what you want.

There is no objection on his face. He laps out his tongue, and the instant you feel that wet lick through the smear of pre-cum that’s budding out of your slit, your head drops back with a thud against the thin cubicle wall. This is most definitely exactly what you came here for. He laps over your head again, swirling his tongue in a way that has you grunting in appreciation, and half-forcing your hips to steady, before he’s sucking you in hard enough to startle a groan out of you that you know full well was far too loud for this public place.

You can’t find it in yourself to care, not with that sensation of wet heat that’s pulsing around you, teasing you harder as hands steady themselves on your sides, then slip around to mould your ass. You look down, watch the stretch of his lips around you, take in the wink he gives you as he adjusts his position. And then he’s sliding, taking in even more of you, until you feel the constriction of his throat around your head, squeezing as he swallows.

His eyes never leave yours, and there’s something about that that makes you even harder, that and the way he slowly slides off you as though to emphasize just how much of your length he’s just taken in. He swirls his tongue over your head again before those lips slide down over you once more, and again he’s sucking you down, squeezing you tight, a roll of heat surging through you that makes you lift your hands, grab his face, fuck into his mouth.

You lose yourself in the feel of him gripping and swallowing around you, the build of your orgasm burning away any other thought. But then as quick as he started he stops, rising quickly to his feet and pressing himself hard against you so you can feel how hard his dick is just from sucking you off.

You taste yourself on his tongue, shove your hands into his jean pockets and pull him close, groaning to match his own as you rut together. He whispers something about going back to yours and your mind freezes, taken over for a second by an assault of images, of someone else in your bed; of someone who left.

You shake your head, both in answer and to force the images away, and instead reach out, unzipping him quickly and wrapping your fingers around him, swirling the mess of pre-cum on his head down his shaft, then line him up against your own cock, and stroke.

He moans against you, and it’s sinful, spurring you on to set a steady rhythm that blocks out anything but the feel of skin on skin, mouth on mouth, tongues sliding and bodies grinding together. He slots his fingers in the gaps between yours and then you’re grinding harder, biting bruises into lips and digging fingers into flesh to keep you both upright as you jack off.

Your mind is clear, of anything but the sensations of him, and you, and the sounds you’re both making, the way the very stall is shaking as you rut and groan together. You’re getting close, the heat in your core growing hotter as the slickness between you grows sloppier, and your hips jut at an ever erratic pace.

He’s building there with you if the gasps he’s letting out are anything to go by, already pushing up his own shirt and hooking his thumb up under yours, expecting mess, any moment now. Your hands move faster, your tongues lick deeper, and teeth bite into lips as you get closer, and closer still.

And then you come, feeling your balls contract tight as you empty yourself, slumping at the pleasure rippling through you, spurting against both your chests just a few thrusts before he is painting you the same. He swears, leaning against you, head in the crook of your neck as you both take a moment to catch your breath, already aware of the cooling mess dripping down between you both.

Another minute passes, and there is a lazy kiss, followed by a hasty wiping down, a grimace as the toilet is flushed, and then you each zip yourselves up, standing up straight and sated. There are smiles, and he cups your face in his hands for one more kiss, before he’s gesturing at the door and you’re sliding the bolt across, following him out.

You wash your hands side by side in silence, and he waits as though he is expecting you to be the first to leave.

You are.

You pay your tab, leave, walk home pleasantly numb and empty in the best kind of way. It isn’t until you’re letting yourself into an empty apartment, hearing the resounding click of the door shutting behind you, that the feeling of emptiness changes, morphs into loneliness, and your heart aches all over again as the memories assault you once more.

You walk through empty rooms, look at shelves with dust-free spaces from taken-down photographs, pause in the doorway of your bedroom and notice how wrong it looks with your pillows in the centre of the bed instead of to the side, next to his pillows, next to—

You cross the room in three strides and wrap your fingers around the cold glass of the half-drained whiskey bottle on your bedside cabinet, and you gulp down a good measure of it before slamming it noisily back on the side.

You fall, heavy on the bed with a drop that leaves you bouncing, succumbing to the images that have been taunting you all day.

Tomorrow, you tell yourself. Tomorrow you will forget him. As you have forgotten him every night in different bars for the past five nights.

It’ll stop hurting soon.

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

Tainted

Tainted 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.

Tainted 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?