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Risks

Xie

Beta'd by gmta_nz. Commas by vlredreign. Acupuncture by intensefemme.


Chapter One



“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
–Anais Nin



Brian’s POV

I was licking my come off the insides of Justin’s thighs when the phone rang.

I ignored it.

Justin was face down on the bed, his legs sprawled out and his body completely relaxed. He was making little murmurs of contentment every now and then, and I flattened my tongue on the smooth spot behind his balls and dragged it up to his hole, tasting myself on him and in him.

Then my cell phone rang, this time with the emergency ring tone. Only two people had it, Lindsay and Ted, and I swore if it was Ted I was going to kill him.

I crawled up over Justin’s body and lay across him while I checked the caller ID. Justin was looking at me, but I shook my head. “It’s Ted.” I answered the phone.

“What?”

Ted started some long explanation about the course of true love never running smooth and a car and the crowd outside Babylon. I rolled off Justin and sat against the headboard and pinched the bridge of my nose.

“Theodore? Can you tell me this story in twenty words or less? Preferably much less.”

Ted cleared his throat and started again. “A guy drove his car into the side of the club, you need to come down and talk to the cops and the insurance rep.”

I groaned and snapped the phone shut. Fuck.

Justin sat up and ran his hand through his hair. “What happened?”

“Some asshole drove his car into the side of the fucking club. Because, and this is my favorite part, he was mad at his boyfriend.” I finished getting dressed and put my cell phone in my pocket.

“Was anybody hurt?”

I shrugged. “Ted says just the driver. I’ll see when I get there.”

The stairs and the corner of the building were damaged, but it didn’t look as bad as I’d thought it would. Ted was talking to the cops and a woman with a clipboard and flashlight, but he broke away when he saw me.

“Sorry you had to come out.”  Ted was always in his element handling a crisis, especially one involving bureaucracy.

“So, no one was hurt?”

Ted shook his head. “Just the driver. And his injuries weren’t as bad as they’d have been if he hadn’t been, let’s say, heavily medicated.”

“A veiled accolade for drug abuse, Theodore?”

He laughed. “More like, if you’re going to get loaded enough to think it’s a good idea to drive your car into the side of a building, make sure you’re also loaded enough to withstand the impact without killing yourself.”

“Words to live by.” I could have used some medicating at that moment. I could feel a headache starting to uncoil behind my eyes. “So what the fuck happened?”

“You know how it is, he got mad at his boyfriend and decided to run him down on the steps of Babylon.” Something in the way Ted explained that made it sound like a perfectly reasonable course of action. My headache got worse.

“But he missed the boyfriend?”

“He missed the entire crowd, boyfriend included.”

“And hit the club.”

Ted nodded. “And hit the club.”

Ted and I stared glumly at the damaged corner of the building, and then he brightened. “The good news is, the driver is insured and his auto insurance will probably cover almost everything.”

I snorted. “That’s not ‘good news,’ Theodore. ‘Good news’ would be the asshole running his car into the crowd in front of Popperz instead.”

Three hours later, Ted and I were sitting on the steps of Babylon. The cops and insurance investigator and city inspectors were gone. They hadn’t made us close the club, but everyone had to use the side doors, so closing time had been even more chaotic than usual. The night was hot, and we were both sweating a little. 

I threw my cigarette on the sidewalk, and Ted took a swallow from his water bottle. “You going to the loft?”

I shook my head. “It’s only 3, I’ll be fine. Besides, there’s something I need at the house.”

When I got to the car, I hesitated. I wanted a drink, and there’s nothing like a dozen cops and someone from your insurance company breathing down your neck to keep you from having one. I almost went to the loft after all, but at the last minute kept driving and went home.

When I got there, I went into the media room and had a drink, staring out the window. It was four in the morning, but I felt too wired to sleep. I used the workout room shower and went upstairs, my hair still wet.

Justin was lying on my side of the bed, and I smiled a little, because he was holding my pillow. He always complained I kept the air conditioning set too low, so he buried himself in pillows and blankets, and slept warm and wrapped up. He even liked to sleep wrapped up in me. Sometimes I would be holding him, and he’d have the duvet pulled up to his chin, and I’d be lying there uncovered to my waist.

That night, I was a little chilled from the shower and my wet hair. I went around to the other side of the bed and slid in behind him, wrapping my arms around him and pressing myself up against his back. He nestled back against me, and I saw him lick his lips, and then his eyes fluttered open. I leaned over him and kissed the side of his face. The warmth of his skin felt good.

Justin turned around in my arms and smiled at me, his hair falling across his eyes. I pushed it back and kept running my hands through it, and then I bent down and traced his lower lip with my tongue.

He blinked at me sleepily. “So, what happened?”

“Hell hath no fury like a faggot scorned.” I kissed him again.

That seemed to wake him up, and he put his hands on my neck and then worked them up to the back of my head. “Headache?”

“Mmmm.”

“I thought you’d go to the loft.”

I nuzzled my face into his neck and breathed in his smell, and bit at his skin just a little. He laughed and arched his throat, and I smiled, my hands sliding down his body and gently opening his thighs.

He wrapped his legs around me as I moved over on top of him, and I leaned down close so he could keep his arms around my neck. He breathed “Brian” against my ear, and I touched my mouth to his, and said, “Justin,” and he sighed and then our tongues were sliding around inside each other’s mouths, and his legs tightened on me. He moved one hand off my neck and fumbled in the drawer next to the bed for a second, and then handed me the lube, without breaking our kiss. I grinned against his lips and he laughed a little.

“I want to be inside you.” I whispered it into his mouth.

I felt him smile. “I want you there.”

I slipped a lubed finger into him and gently swirled it inside him. He felt relaxed and hot. He murmured and I pulled my finger out and pressed the head of my cock against his hole, and pushed a little.

He moved his legs higher on my back and his hands down from my neck to my waist. I kept my eyes locked on his while I slowly pushed into him, and saw his eyes get darker and his skin flush.

Justin’s ass tightened on me. I pulled back and pushed in against the tightness, and groaned at the heat and resistance, and then felt him shift a little under me and open up again. I pulled back and let myself fall forward when I thrust into him, my weight resting on my arms on either side of him. He was sliding his hands up and down my arms and biting his lip, and he never stopped looking at me.

I suddenly wanted to be even deeper inside him, and I bent down and touched my forehead to his. I whispered, “Let me all the way in,” and he let me push his legs up onto my shoulders. I thrust in as deep as I could, and just held there for a minute. I thought it might be nice to stay like that for the rest of my life, buried balls-deep in Justin’s ass, all that heat and constriction pulsing around my cock.

He pushed against me and tightened, and I gasped. “Don’t.”

Justin froze underneath me, and I stayed in him, and neither of us moved. I had my eyes open and he was looking at me, and I felt like I was sinking into him, all that warm soft skin touching me everywhere. His eyes were dark, and his breathing was shallow and rapid. I felt dizzy. And then I felt him move a little under me, just the slightest rocking of his ass, and I pressed against it, let myself drop onto him, pushing his thighs back against his chest with my weight. He made a sound, it might have been my name, but I couldn’t hear anything, the blood was pounding in my ears so hard.

I made myself pull back, and his ass muscles held onto me and then relaxed when I thrust forward again, and I fucked him slow and deep, feeling the heat in my balls rising up to meet the heat of his ass, every muscle in my body burning with effort.

Justin moaned again and the sound pushed me to the edge, but I hung on, wanting to bring Justin with me. I couldn’t reach his cock and he was still holding onto me, so I began to prod at his prostate deliberately with every thrust.

There was always a moment before Justin came when his ass would get tighter and softer at the same time. I felt it change and then the first spurt of his come hit me on the chest while his fingers dug painfully into my shoulders. Then his ass muscles clamped down on me hard and I felt my orgasm surge up and spill out of me into him, everything hot and wet and spasming.

I collapsed onto him, letting his legs fall off my shoulders, and lay with my head on his chest, almost gasping, my hands holding his shoulders. We were both drenched in sweat, and his chest was covered in come. I couldn’t move.

Justin’s POV


I woke up in the morning, and Brian was sound asleep. He didn’t wake up when I got out of bed or even when I was in the shower. I thought about hiding the clock and taking his cell phone with me, but I didn’t know what was going on at Kinnetik or the club that day, so I just went downstairs and made coffee.

I booted up my computer in the studio and looked at Michael’s notes for the next issue of Rage. We were getting together to try to come up with some kind of schedule so it could come out before the end of the year, but not interfere with my show in December. Which was basically impossible, as far as I could see, but I agreed we had to try to find a way.

The story had ended with a cliffhanger, with Rage, JT, and Zephyr cornered and faced with either surrendering themselves or seeing hundreds of innocent citizens of Gayopolis die. Zephyr had been injured fighting the zombies, and JT had completely drained himself trying to use his newly developed, but still untrained, ability to strengthen Rage’s powers.

I chewed on my lip for a little while, and then picked up the phone and called Michael at the store.

“Hi, Justin.” He sounded distracted, and I heard his cash register ringing.

“Hey. I was just seeing what time you wanted to get together today.”

“It’s crazy in here today, can it be after I close?”

“Yeah, let’s meet at the loft, though, it’s more comfortable than the store.”

Michael snorted. “I don’t know, our record of producing the comic at the loft isn’t so good.”

I laughed. “I think between the two of us, we can keep Rage from wrecking the lair.”

I ate some lunch and started working on my painting, a mug of my acupuncturist’s noxious tea in my hand. She’d changed the formula slightly, and it actually tasted less disgusting than it used to.

I was working in my studio when I heard Brian come downstairs, talking on his cell. He was still talking on it when he came in a little later, set his half-empty coffee cup on the floor, and threw himself on the sofa. I put my brush down and sat cross-legged on my worktable, waiting for him to get off the phone. He finally snapped it shut and let his head fall onto the sofa back.

“The engineer’s report won’t be to the city for a few days, but he said it’s structurally sound, so Ted is trying to get the city to let us stay open until then.”

“If they were going to close you down, why didn’t they do it last night?”

“Because the morning people aren’t as bright as the nighttime people?”

“Okay.”

He got up and knocked back the rest of his coffee like it was scotch. “Okay, I’m going to shower and go. Are you still meeting Michael tonight?”

I nodded. “Come by the loft after work, we can eat.”

His phone rang again and he sighed, picked up his mug, and snapped “Kinney” into the phone as he walked out of the room.

By the time I had to leave to meet Michael, I was feeling really good. My hand didn’t hurt, and the sixth painting was finished and drying. I showered and hesitated just a minute before shoving some club clothes into my bag, in case Brian wanted to go to Babylon later. Unlike him, I didn’t keep an entire second wardrobe at the loft.

I buzzed Michael into the loft a little past 5. He was carrying a folder, a bag of chips, and a six-pack of Coke.

After we had his notes and my sketchpad spread out on the table, I pulled out my calendar.

“I have to have all my pieces done for the show before Thanksgiving. That’s non-negotiable, even if it means we miss our deadline. But I’ll do everything I can, short of having my hand fall off, to get it done in time. I can’t do anything better than that.”

Michael looked at me for a minute, and then shook his head. “You have to promise to stop a long time before your hand falls off. I’m way more scared of Brian than I am of you, and he’d rip my spine out if I let that happen.”

I laughed. “I promise not to let my hand get anywhere close to falling off. Deal?”

“Deal.”

I had to go to New York twice in the next two months, including next week, and so we sat and filled in a series of semi-realistic deadlines on the calendar. I added the tentative release date of the issue we’d just finished, which was just right after I got back from New York.

“We should have a party for the new issue release.”

I frowned. “Do we have to?” Rage release parties didn’t exactly mark the high points of my life so far.

“Just a little thing at my house.”

I looked at him.

“Okay, not at the house. At the store?”

I sighed, but agreed. Maybe we’d get it right this time.

We started to go over the story itself, and I showed him a few rough sketches I’d done for some key scenes and a new character. After a while we were more talking than working, and I noticed Michael looked really tired.

“How’s Ben doing?” I almost didn’t ask, because I was never sure if it made Michael happy I cared, or irritated that people treated Ben like he was an invalid. But Michael looked kind of relieved, if not exactly happy, that I asked.

“He’s fine, but it seems like every time his viral load gets back to undetectable, his pancreatic enzymes start creeping up again, and then they back off the meds, and then his viral load starts going up. It’s kind of driving us both crazy.”

I frowned. “And can’t that create resistance in the virus, too? To the drugs?”

Michael got up and went into the kitchen and grabbed us both a Coke from the fridge. “Yeah. Exactly. Although so far, we haven’t run out of drugs, so it’s less of a concern. But if this keeps happening…” and he shrugged, but he looked pretty upset. He hadn’t sat back down, so I stood up and steered him over to the sofa.

“Have you told Brian any of this?”

“This is all the same stuff that’s been going on that you already know about, except we just found out about the latest increase in his enzymes yesterday. That’s the only part he doesn’t know.”

I sighed and let my head fall back onto the sofa cushion, and then I sat up. “We need pot.”

Michael laughed. “Brian did such a good job raising you.”

“He’s very proud.”

I went into the bedroom and got Brian’s stash out of his latest super-secret hiding place, and Michael and I got stoned. There may not be a cure for HIV, but I knew the cure for hopeless frustration was recreational drugs and snack foods. Like Michael said, Brian raised me well.

Brian’s POV

When I’d gotten to Kinnetik that afternoon, I slammed in the front door and everyone froze and then ran off to wherever they should have been in the first place. I went into my office, put my briefcase down on my desk, and took a sip of my triple shot latte as I sank down into my chair. I booted up my laptop and watched the clock, timing it to the second when Ted would appear at my door.

“Don’t you ever get tired of scaring the shit out of everyone who works here?”

I took a sip of coffee. “No.” I raised an eyebrow at him.

“We’re not being shut down, the engineer convinced the city that the damage wasn’t structural, but we have to use the side doors until the shoring work is done. Which should be by tomorrow morning.”

Apparently Ted was the canary in the coalmine of my temper, because just then Cynthia stuck her head in the door. “I heard someone took a piece out of Babylon last night, so I rescheduled your lunch to Friday and moved your 11 o’clock meeting to 3. So you can drink seven or eight of those things, become human again, before you actually have to interact with anyone.”

I glared at her. I hated it when the two of them ganged up on me.

Cynthia just laughed. “Okay, if you’re really enjoying your miserable mood, you could go down to the art department and frighten a few people. I’ll get you a list.”

I frowned at my laptop, which was showing nothing more offensive than a friendly reminder that I had mail. I glanced at the two of them. “Anything else?”

They looked at each other, then back at me, shook their heads, and left.

I spent what was left of the day on the phone, and called Justin on his cell at around 7. He answered sounding happy.

“Hey!”

“You’re stoned.”

He giggled. I pressed hard on the space between my eyes. Michael and Justin stoned together at the loft. This was going to mean trouble.

“So, we’re hungry.”

“I’m stunned.”

“And we were thinking…”

“That I could get some food? Why didn’t you just get something delivered?”

“We were thinking Greek food from that new place. And they don’t deliver.”

I agreed to be their Greek food delivery boy and hung up the phone.

When I got to the loft I braced myself to open the door and find a disaster, but other than Michael and Justin sprawled out on the floor in front of the sofa, and an empty potato chip bag on the kitchen counter, it was remarkably peaceful inside.

When the door slid shut with a bang, Justin jumped up, a huge smile on his face. He raced over and threw his arms around my neck.

“Food!”

I burst out laughing and set everything down on the kitchen counter, gesturing to the bags and containers. “Knock yourselves out.”

I went into the bedroom and changed into jeans and a white t-shirt, and padded out in my bare feet to get a drink. Michael and Justin were standing at the kitchen counter shoving souvlaki and spanikopita into their mouths, and arguing over what kind of sauce was in which container. I sat on the bar stool and pulled a piece of pita bread apart.

“So, tell Brian about the thing with Ben.” Justin’s mouth was full of food, and he had tzatziki on his lower lip.

I looked at Michael. “What happened?”

“Ben’s pancreatic enzymes went up again, they’re taking him off his meds.”

I put a hand on the back of my neck and squeezed. “Fuck.”

Michael nodded, and put a forkful of Greek salad in his mouth. “He’s okay, his viral load was zero, and they’re starting him on a new combo instead of just waiting this time.”

Michael headed out after they finished eating, swearing the walk back to the store would sober him up enough to drive, and if not, he’d call Ben. I went out in the hall and hung onto him for a little while, and then watched him run down the stairs. I went back inside and slid the loft door shut. Justin was cleaning up the kitchen, still picking at the leftovers, and humming to himself.

I poured another drink and went over to the stereo and tried to find a CD I felt like listening to. I finally put on the satellite radio and found some kind of electronic ambient music that seemed to match my mood, and left it there.

Justin had come and stood next to me, and as I turned around he slid his arms around my waist and put his hands on my back under my t-shirt. I let myself relax into him after a minute.

He rested his head on my shoulder. “Let’s never sell the loft.”

I kissed the top of his head and then put my hand on his neck, under his hair. “Okay.”

He sighed. “I mean, even if we go broke. Never sell the loft.”

I pulled back and looked at him. “Why would we go broke?”

He laughed. “In case you decide to risk everything again and bring down an evil politician.”

I thought about it for a minute. “I’d have to be trying to bring down Santorum to lose everything now.”

“That works for me.” Justin put his hands behind my head and pulled me in for a kiss. His lips were so soft and his tongue was so gentle in my mouth I forgot what we were talking about.

Justin was on his toes, and let his hands fall down to my shoulders. He leaned into me and put his mouth next to my ear. “Let’s stay here tonight. I want to make love here.”

“Before or after I design a campaign to unseat Pennsylvania’s right wing senator?”

He just gave me a big smile and pulled me into the bedroom.

I took the duvet off the bed and went into the bathroom, and when I came back out, Justin was lying on the bed. He was naked and pale on the dark sheets, although, despite his best efforts to slather himself in equatorially-enabled sunscreen products, he had just the faintest tan line at the crease of his thighs and above his pubes.

I leaned down and traced his tan line with my tongue, and then ran it up to his navel and rested my cheek on his stomach while I watched his cock go from half-hard to hard without my even touching it.

And then I touched it. I let my tongue lick at the head, flattening out over the smooth skin, tasting salt on my tongue when I lapped at his slit. His hand found my hair, and I shifted myself down his body, and looked up at him, grinning. He smiled kind of dreamily at me, and I buried my face between his thighs and licked and sucked his balls and his cock until he came hard, his come shooting down my throat and his ass clenching around my finger.

I was lying with my face on his stomach when he gave my hair a little tug. I crawled up next to him and pulled him into my arms.

“Hey.”

I smiled at him. “Hey.”

“That was great.”

I kissed his hair. “Greek food turns me on.”

“You didn’t eat any.”

“Seeing you eat Greek food turns me on.”

Justin rolled over and lay on top of me. I let him pin my wrists to the bed and kiss me.

“Justin?”

“Mmmm?”

“Do you feel like going to Babylon?”

He lifted his head and looked at me. “Don’t you want your dick sucked?”

“You can suck it at Babylon.”

He laughed. “Okay.”

We showered and changed, and I drove over to the club. There were still police tape and construction barriers around the front entrance, and Justin stopped and looked as we walked by.

“Fuck.”

“Could have been worse.”

“It’s been worse.”

I nodded.

We walked past the line waiting to get in and the sound and beat washed over us both. I’d wanted to drive so I hadn’t taken anything before we left, but I rectified that deficiency with some E the minute we got to the bar, and then Justin smiled and took a hit off my tongue.

“We’re going to get into trouble tonight, aren’t we?” He’d swallowed the E but still had his mouth up against mine.

I just smiled at him and then asked the bartender for two bottles of water. He was new, and hastily hid his smile when I glared at him as he handed them over. Justin laughed and dragged me out on the dance floor.

Alfe was the DJ that night, and so of course every time something new started playing, Justin’s face would light up and he’d tell me, “Oh, I love this song!” I was in the mood to love everything that night, especially with Justin nibbling my throat and dancing so tight against me it was almost a sex act.

I was running my hands through Justin’s hair and he was holding onto my upper arms when I heard a familiar giggle next to me. I opened my eyes and saw a flash of purple and an explosion of curly hair.

“Daphne. What are you doing here?” It was Justin, his face flushed.

She giggled again, and gestured behind her. Alfe was grinning at me, his hand resting casually on her bare shoulder. “I was in the DJ booth with Alfe and we saw you basically fucking on the dance floor. Hey, Brian.”

I leaned over and kissed her cheek without letting go of Justin. “Well, don’t break anything in the DJ booth, I’m still paying for the new sound system.”

Justin smiled radiantly at Alfe. “The music’s great tonight.”

He laughed and patted Justin’s arm. “I’d appreciate the compliment more if I didn’t have the feeling you’d be just as happy with polka music in your current condition. But I’m glad you’re having a good time. Keeps the boss happy.” He and Daphne turned to go, and she looked back over her shoulder and waved and winked at Justin.

He watched them walk away, and then nestled back into my arms. “I want a drink. Not water.”

I kissed him. “And then I think you owe me a blow job.”

He smiled. “We can credit it against the thousands you owe me.”

“Or you can blow me.”

He laughed. “Or I can blow you.”

I kissed him and then got him a drink at the bar. I almost took him into the backroom for old time’s sake, but at the last minute I went upstairs to the VIP room. I laughed when he started tugging at my belt before we even got in the door, and let him push me against the first wall we came to. He was lifting up my shirt with one hand and kissing my stomach while his other hand undid my pants, and I arched my back and gasped when his mouth surrounded my cock while he cupped and cradled my balls. He was pressing his finger on my perineum and humming deep in his throat around my cock, and in about two minutes I couldn’t hold back anymore and came with my hands grabbing his hair.

He stood up almost immediately and fastened his mouth on mine. I was sagging against the wall so he didn’t have to stand on his toes, and he fed me my come with his tongue, and then pulled my right hand to his cock while he pressed against me. I opened his jeans and pushed them down on his hips, and kept my mouth pressed to his while I gently turned him around. His head was twisted back so he could keep kissing me, and he leaned back against my body while I slowly jerked him off.

After a minute he broke away from the kiss and let his head fall back on my shoulder. I was holding almost his entire weight against me, my arm across his chest, and he was breathing hard. I nuzzled his hair and let my hand speed up, and then pulled my other arm back and reached between us, stroking his balls from behind, feathering my touch over the smooth spot behind them, and then trailing a finger over his hole.

His cock got rigid in my hand and his balls felt hot and full, and then his breath caught in his throat. He turned his face into my neck, drenching my hand with his come, and spurting big ropes of it out onto the floor.

I let him turn and burrow into me while his heart and breathing slowed to normal, resting my cheek against his hair. Finally he lifted his face up and smiled at me. “That was nice.”

I kissed him. “Yeah, it’s fun now and then to have sex standing up.”

“With an audience.”

I smiled. “I didn’t think you noticed.”

He rolled his eyes, and we cleaned ourselves off, straightened out our clothes, and went to find Daphne and Alfe in the DJ booth. We hung out with them for a while, and then danced to a few more songs. I was about to call the car service, but Alfe offered to drive the Corvette and then let Daphne drive him back, so Justin went with her and I went with my car.

Alfe seemed to show the proper respect for the car, and I relaxed a little. Daphne must have warned him.

“So, you and Daphne?”

He nodded. “She’s pretty cute.”

“Deceptively so.”

“I told her you said she was small but deadly. It seemed to make her very happy that you thought so.”

I rubbed my arm. “She hits.”

He burst out laughing. “I’m going to guess you deserved it. What did you do?”

“I’d misplaced Justin.”

He didn’t say anything at first. “I think I’m just going to not ask.”

I nodded. “Wise decision.”

We pulled up in front of the loft, and Alfe turned off the ignition and handed me the keys. “See, was that so painful?”

I grabbed them from him and locked the car carefully. Justin was climbing out of Daphne’s car, and I could hear them laughing. He leaned on me and waved goodbye to her, and then we went inside. He stood against me in the elevator, his head on my chest.

“You must be happy the Corvette’s right outside, waiting for you all safe and sound.”

I tightened my arm around him as we got to the top floor, and lifted the gate up with my free hand. I got the door open and pulled two bottles of water out of the refrigerator, but by the time I got into the bedroom, Justin was burrowed into the pillows, sound asleep. I set one bottle on each side of the bed, took a piss, and climbed in next to him.

Justin’s POV

On Thursday night, I was sitting at my computer and talking to Kalli on my cell phone. I had to go to New York the next day for a party and opening at Armand’s gallery, and I was supposed to stay with her. She’d taken her new full time salary and used it to get a place with air conditioning, but it had gone out, and I was going to spend the extra money and get a hotel room. My memories of the previous summer were sweaty and gross, and this summer was hotter than the last.

At around 10, I heard Brian putting the car in the garage, and went out and met him in the hall. He looked surprised to see me. I had been working kind of intensely for the last few days.

“Hey.”

“Hey. I was going to work out and then swim, have you eaten?”

“Yeah, I had a sandwich, did you bring home something good?”

He laughed. “There’s Thai food on the counter. I’m done, so just put what you don’t want in the fridge. And come swimming in a little while.”

I shook my head. “I can’t swim until…”

“Right. Half an hour after eating.” He rolled his eyes. “Then come watch me swim.”

I ate Thai food out of the container and went back to my studio, but when I heard Brian dive into the pool, I stripped off my jeans and paint-covered t-shirt, and went out and sat on the edge watching him swim. The underwater lights were on, and his tanned body was slipping through the water, his arms breaking the surface and then cutting back down.

When he was done doing laps he swam up to me, and took my hand and tugged me in. The water was shallow so I just laughed and waded over to the steps and sat there with him, cooling off from the hot night air. He pulled me up onto his lap, and my ass slipped down in the space between his legs. I put my arms around his neck.

“I’m going to hate it when the summer’s over and we can’t use the pool.” I kissed his neck. “The smell of chlorine turns me on now.”

He looked at me. “It’s only August. We have a month of summer left.”

I sighed. “Yeah, but I’m working and then I have to go to New York. And the next thing you know, it’s going to be September and Gus’ birthday. And he’ll be six. I can’t even believe it.”

Brian didn’t say anything, just ran his hands up and down my arms. I tightened my grip on his neck and kissed him.

“Did I mention the smell of chlorine turns me on?”

He smiled lazily. “No, why don’t you show me?”

I kissed him and turned in his arms, wrapping my legs around his waist and lifting my ass up. Brian moved down a step so the water was deeper. He leaned back and grabbed the oil-based lube from where it was lying under a fold in the towel he’d left by the stairs.

“So, this is what you meant by asking me to come swimming with you?”

He kissed me again. “Mmmm hmmm.”

He slicked his cock with lube and then slid a finger into my ass and gently opened me up. I closed my eyes and let his finger press and slide inside me, my head on his shoulder. I tipped my head back when he put his hands on my hips and settled my ass over his cock, and I let my breath out when he slowly lowered me onto him.

When he was all the way inside me I curved into him again, my arms on his shoulders and our foreheads pressed together.

“God, I love you.” I groaned when I said it.

He didn’t answer, just thrust up into me as he pulled me down, and I groaned again. I was rocking on his lap and letting the motion of the water and his hands move me up and down on his cock. I took one arm off his shoulder and wrapped my hand around my cock, and started jerking myself off with the same rhythm of his fuck.

It was dreamy and peaceful, but I felt the heat start building up in my balls and my hand moved faster. He pressed his face into my neck and bit me, and spread his legs farther apart and pulled me down a little faster. I felt his cock hit against my prostate and it pushed me over the edge, my come spilling onto my hand and into the cold water.

Brian’s fingers dug into my hips hard, and I felt him start to come inside my ass while I clenched on him. I loved how hot his come felt when he fucked me in the pool.

I stayed where I was for a long time after we both came, until his cock got soft and started to slip out of me. He pulled me off and then back into his lap, but I twisted around and knelt on the step between his legs, kissing him. Then I stood up, took his hand, and we went up to bed.

Brian’s POV

On Friday morning, I dropped Justin at the airport and went to Kinnetik. Ted was waiting in my office, never a good sign.

“What’s up?”

“We need to go to Chicago and then to Washington DC on Monday. We have to meet with Remson’s attorneys to get an overview of the wording on their new ad, and then meet with Remson himself, and he’s stuck in DC talking to the FDA.”

“Their timing sucks.”

Ted nodded. “I know Justin’s just getting home Sunday night….”

“Theodore. I can bear to be away from Justin for a few nights, that’s not the problem. The problem is the goddamned Redland-Moss meeting.”

“Cynthia called them, they’re thrilled we’ll be in Chicago, saves them a trip here.”

There were good things and bad things about doing presentations out of the office. “Can Cynthia come to Chicago?”

“She can.”

“Okay, tell her to set it up. And have Cynthia set it up, not Elaine. I don’t want any fuck ups on this.”

“Is Elaine fucking up?”

I shook my head. “No. But have Cynthia do it anyway.”

“Will do.”

God, I hated that expression. “Any other good news?”

He grinned at me. “The coffee machine’s broken, and it won’t be fixed until 4 this afternoon.”

“I hope you’re in the mood to run to Starbucks several times before 4.”

He laughed and waved over his shoulder as he left the room. I sighed and buzzed Elaine to find someone to go to Starbucks for me.

Around 2, Justin phoned to say he'd checked into the hotel, and while I was on the line with him, Michael called. I told Justin later, and switched over to Michael.

“Hey. I was wondering if I could come by the house after work tonight.”

Michael and I often got dinner after work, but he almost never came to the house. “Is this a ‘keep Brian company while Justin’s out of town’ rescue mission?”

Michael laughed. “It’s actually not. I need to talk to you about something.”

That sounded ominous. “Everything okay?”

“I’m fine, Ben’s fine, I just want to talk.”

Michael’s car was in the driveway when I got home, and he was sitting with his feet in the pool. He looked up when I came in the gate. “It’s so nice out here.”

I nodded. “Let me change and get us some beers.”

I pulled on some swim trunks and grabbed a couple of beers, and stopped and ordered a pizza before going back outside.

I twisted the top off a beer and handed it to Michael, and then sat down next to him. “So, what the fuck’s the matter?”

“I need to ask you a favor. Hang on.” Michael got up and got a folder off the table, and handed it to me. He sat down next to me, and put his feet back in the pool. But he didn’t look at me.

I opened up the folder and started reading. It was about Remson’s latest clinical trial, for a new combination therapy for people who were failing on their HIV regimen. He’d highlighted a section on patients with recurrent pancreatitis.

“You want me to find out about this for Ben, from Remson?”

“Can you?”

“Did you try to enroll him through the front door?”

“We were out of their geographic area. But we’ll travel, it’s just to New York.”

“But he qualifies otherwise?”

He nodded. “I wouldn’t ask but we’re running out of options, and I just…”

“You can shut up now.”

Michael sighed. “I’m sorry. I …”

“I know.” I bumped my shoulder into his. He leaned all the way back and stared up at the sky, his arms back over his head. He looked like a kid.

“This is why you warned me about getting involved with Ben, isn’t it? Not that I’d get infected, you said to fuck him if I wanted, but not to fall in love with him. Because then he might die.”

I didn’t say anything, and after a few minutes of silence Michael sat back up and rested his head on my shoulder. I wrapped my arm around him and stared at our feet in the water.

“I didn’t know what I was talking about.”

“Yeah, you thought we get to pick who we fall in love with.”

I turned my head and looked at him under my lashes, and he had that asshole “I know you even if you think I don’t” look that I hated.

“We need to get stoned.”

He laughed. “I can always count on you. But I have to drive home, so not tonight.”

I shook my head. “I can call the car service if you can’t drive, and bring the car back tomorrow. You need drugs. Trust me.” I stood up and held out my hand, and he took it and let me pull him to his feet.

The pizza came, and we ate it in front of the television, watching Star Wars on DVD.  I was sitting on the sofa, and Michael was on the floor, his back against it. I picked up the remote control and turned the TV off when the movie was over, and Michael picked his forgotten beer up off the floor and finished it off. I’d switched to scotch an hour before.

Michael kept his eyes on the now-blank television screen. “I just don’t want to think about what it would be like if he died.”

I finished what was in my glass. “Then don’t think about it.”

He tipped his head back and looked at me. “It’s not that simple.”

I didn’t say anything right away. “I guess not.”

Michael turned around, and I could see he was hesitating. I silently willed him not to say whatever he was thinking about saying, but as usual with Michael, it didn’t work.

“What would you do if Justin died?”

I pushed myself off the sofa and got up and went to the bar. “Jesus, Mikey.”

He sat up. “I’m serious.”

I shrugged. “First of all, I’m twelve years older than he is, and I’ve already had cancer. As long as Justin avoids baseball bats and bombs, I don’t think it’s going to come up. Okay?”

“What’s the second thing?”

“The second thing is, you don’t want to know.” I had poured more scotch into the glass, and I drank it down in one gulp. “Can we not talk about this?”

“We’ve both had people we love almost die.”

“Lots of people die every day, and people love them. That’s life. Fucked though it is. Why the fuck do you want to talk about this? Ben’s fine right now, you said so yourself.” I carried the bottle over to the sofa and left the glass on the bar. Mikey was so not coming over here again if he didn’t change the subject.

My powers of mind control seemed to be working now, because he shrugged, got up from the floor, and went to the DVD cabinet. “Do you have The Empire Strikes Back?”

I burst out laughing, and got up and went and stood next to him and examined the DVD titles. “Do you have to call Ben and tell him you’ll be late? Because I think we’re gonna be here for a while.”

Justin’s POV

I was asleep in my air-conditioned hotel room when the phone rang. I grabbed it in time to look at the caller ID, but I’d known it was Brian before I looked.

“Hey.”

“Did I wake you up?”

“Mmmmm.”

“Kind of early for bedtime in New York, isn’t it?” He sounded amused.

I stretched and rubbed my hand through my hair, but didn’t open my eyes. “Long day.”

He was silent for a second. “Mine, too. Michael came over, he just left.”

I laughed. “You’re a bad influence on him.”

“On everyone. I work hard at it.”

“You’re drunk, too.”

“I am. Just a little. Is Kalli there?”

“No, she went back to swelter at her place.” I rolled onto my side, holding the phone to my ear and burrowing into the pillows. “I miss you.”

“Do you know what I miss? Your skin. I wish I was touching it right now.”

“I wish you were right here, touching me.” I ran my hand down my chest and lightly stroked my cock, feeling it get hard in my fist. “Brian… are you in bed?”

“Mmm hmmmm.”

“Are you naked?”

“Yeah.”

I smiled. “Me, too.”

He chuckled. “Are you hard?”

“I am now. Are you?”

“What do you think?”

“I think if you were here you’d have your cock up my ass, and I’d be really, really happy.”

“Do you want my cock up your ass?”

I was stroking my cock a little harder. “I always want your cock inside me, Brian. I feel all empty right now.”

“Don’t you have a dildo, Justin?” He still had that amused tone in his voice, but it was a little huskier.

I laughed. “No, I don’t usually travel with sex toys. Do you?”

“Travel with sex toys, or have a dildo?”

My breath caught. “Brian, do you have a dildo? I mean, in bed with you right now?”

“Yes.”

I felt dizzy for a second, and turned over onto my stomach, my right hand slipping under me and my left holding the phone. “Brian…. Are you holding it?”

“Yeah.” I could hear him breathing.

“Is it in you?”

“No.”

“Make it wet, Brian. And your fingers, make them really wet.”

I heard rustling sounds on the other end. “Okay. It’s wet, and my fingers are wet.” And then he waited.

I felt my cock jerk, thinking about him waiting for me to tell him what to do with his lubed fingers. “Reach down and put one finger at your asshole, but don’t put it in, just move it around the opening.”

I heard his breathing change. It sounded ragged.

“Are you touching your hole?”

“Yeah.”

“Press just the tip of your finger in.” I was lightly pumping into my own fist, my hips raised just a little off the bed. I heard him groan.

“Brian…. Push it in some more. All the way in.” I listened to him breathing hard, and heard just the tiniest groan. “Did you touch your prostate?”

“Uh huh.”

“Do it again. Rub it.”

This time his groan was louder.

“Put another finger in.”  I shuddered a little at the sound of his moan, and felt my balls get full and my cock get even harder. I slowed down my thrusts a little.

“Brian, do you have two fingers inside? Are you rubbing yourself the way I rub you?”

“I miss your tongue…”

This time I groaned. “Brian…”

We just breathed for a minute. “Okay, Brian, that’s enough, is there lots of lube on the dildo?”

I heard him give a little sigh. I imagined his fingers pulling out of his ass, and wished I was there, and they were my fingers. I pulled mine off my cock and put them in my mouth and sucked on them, imagining I’d be pushing them into Brian. Imagining I was going to be fucking Brian.

“It’s really wet.”

I smiled. “Okay, put it at your hole, and push in just the tip, then stop.”

I waited a second. “Is it in?”

“Yeah.” He could hardly talk. His voice was hoarse.

I rolled over onto my back and put my wet fingers at my hole, and slid one in, then the other. “Push it in a little more, Brian.”

I heard him grunt, and knew just what he was doing, how his skin was flushed and his feet were pressing hard on the mattress, his knees falling apart. I started fucking myself with my fingers, and I let the phone drop down next to me on the pillow and grabbed my cock with my other hand.

“God, Brian.” I couldn’t stand it anymore and pulled my fingers out, and rolled over again, fucking my fist under me. I felt like I was going to explode, thinking about his thighs lying open, and his cock against his stomach, all hard and dripping, and how I wanted to fuck him, or suck on him while he fucked himself with the dildo, and hating this hotel and this strange bed, and even the phone. “Brian, Brian…”

He gave a gasp. “Justin…fuck…” and then I heard him start to come, the sharp groans he made when his ass was clenching and his cock pulsing, and I slammed into my fist one last time and came, the blood pounding in my ears.

I was lying flat out, my face buried in the pillow. I pulled the phone close to my ear again, and sighed.

“Hey.”

“Hey.”

“I hate this part.”

He was quiet for a second. “Me, too.”

“I wish you were here.” I wanted him to hold me.

“Me, too.”

I sighed again, and scooted to the edge of the bed and picked up my t-shirt, and wiped my hand with it. I shifted the phone to my other hand, and wrapped my arm around myself, tucking my hand under my cheek. I could feel my hair brush against the back of my fingers.

“When I was here before, when I was living here, I couldn’t sleep a lot of nights. It was really hot, and I missed you, and I’d lie there sometimes and pretend you were holding me.”

I stopped talking for a minute, because I suddenly felt my throat close up and my eyes and nose start to burn. Brian didn’t say anything, but I could hear him breathing softly.

“Sometimes I’d touch my hair and pretend it was you touching it.” I probably shouldn’t have told him that.

There was a long silence on the other end, and I pulled back the phone to make sure the call hadn’t disconnected.

He sounded pretty normal. “Did it help?”

I shrugged. “Yeah.”

Another long silence. God, I hated the fucking phone.

“I used to pretend, too.”

I felt that burning in my nose again, but I smiled, too. “Yeah? You missed me?”

“Whenever you were gone, Justin, I missed you.”

I rolled back onto my stomach, and rested my forehead on my arm. “Fuck.”

“Hey… don’t cry.”

“I’m not.”

Neither one of us talked for a while. Then Brian sighed. “We should go to sleep.”

“Yeah.”

There was another silence, and then I heard him give a sort of huff.

“Have I mentioned how much I hate the phone?”

I laughed. “Once or twice.”

“Later.”

“Later.”

It was a long time before I fell back to sleep.

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