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How to say "I love you"

Just kill me and get it over with, I thought as the pounding echoed again. I blinked a couple times, rousing myself awake enough to realize that the pounding was not in my head. I looked at the clock, Who the fuck pounds on a man's door at one-thirty in the morning?

I dragged my ass out of bed and shuffled down the hall toward the front door. Staggering, I hopped to my left as a sharp pain jolted up my leg. "Ow! Shit!" I hobbled to the couch, propping myself against the arm as I grabbed my big toe. Damn bar chairs! It was my own damn fault. I should have turned on the light.

The pounding became a bit erratic.

"Yeah, yeah! I'm coming," I yelled, cross the rest of the living room far more awake than I wanted to be at this hour. I yanked open the door. "What?!?"

Dave's bloodshot, blurred, swollen eyes looked back at me from under an unruly mat of auburn hair. His breath stank of a mixture of too many alcohols. "She threw me out..."

That was the only really intelligible sentence he managed until morning. The hour between when he arrived and when he passed out on the couch was a mishmash of blubbering, tears, slurred speech, and a couple return trips of the scotch, gin and vodka he'd had earlier. I sat, listening to my best friend snore, and wondered what the hell I was going to do. "She" must have been Rebecca, his wife. The question that kept me up, waiting for Dave to sleep off the binge was, "why?"

I didn't really get any solid answers when Dave woke up, even after the aspirin had kicked in. Dave was never very good with expressing his emotions. He was also basically clueless about anything that wasn't "in his face obvious". All I knew for sure was that Rebecca had informed him that it was over, was spending the weekend with her mother, and told him that his stuff had better be out of the apartment when she got back. Dave handled it like he'd handled any other emotional upheaval in his life since he turned eighteen; he got drunk.

While Dave tried to shower off the remainder of his hangover, I found Rebecca's mother's phone number in his cell and called. After a few moments, an unfamiliar female voice came on the line.


"Mrs. Johnson? This is James Andrews. Is Rebecca there?"

There was a pause, and then she seemed to remember me. I didn't expect her to remember who the best man was at her daughter's wedding, but it didn't matter. I wanted to talk to her daughter. "Oh, yes. Just a moment."

I listened to the sound of the shower water, hoping Rebecca would get on the line before Dave got done. After a moment, she picked up the phone. "Hi, Jim."

"Uhm... I've got a hung over man in my shower who seems to think his marriage is over. Could you clarify this for me?"


Ten minutes later, I knew more intimate details of their married life, or lack there of, than I'd ever wanted to know. I heard the shower turn off, and I interrupted Rebecca in mid-rant about Dave's lack of feelings and neglect. "Okay, I get the picture. What stuff do you call 'his'?"

"The clothes, his Xbox, and his school stuff. I'll worry about who get's what of the furniture when I get back."

"Yeah, okay," I grumbled. God she was a bitch. "Thanks." I hung up. Rebecca hadn't always been a bitch, though I'd never liked her. It wasn't her fault we never clicked. I think, unlike Dave, she knew that I was in the closet, and hopelessly in love with my best friend. There was an unspoken kind of adversarial truce between us from the day Dave proposed to her: he belonged to her, but I could be his friend as long as I kept out of their marriage. I did, and stayed in the closet too. At twenty-eight, I was a gay virgin with no prospects for changing that status.

Dave didn't say much on the way to the apartment. I was lucky to get some concrete indication as to what stuff was his and what wasn't as we boxed up or bagged up his clothes, his video system, some of his books, and such. I thought about Rebecca's rant earlier that day, and about Dave, and decided that it was still none of my business. That didn't stop me from looking at what I knew, and coming to my own conclusions. He loved her, or at least had when they got married; but Rebecca was a high-maintenance person, and Dave had always been a "hands off" guy. My guess was he expected a marriage to be sort of like rooming with someone where you shared the same bed and had sex. I didn't know; I was likely never to find out, and I really didn't care. I never thought they were right for each other anyway.

Suffice it to say, I offered him temporary residence on the sofa bed in the spare room. It made using my computer problematic, but I solved that by bringing home my laptop from work and setting up on the bar. Wireless routers made it easy to stay connected. He spent the week in a funk, but then he did the "Dave thing"; he got practical. I arrived home from work on Friday to see him boxing and labeling his stuff.

"Need help," I asked as I hung my coat on the hook near the door.

"Nah," he replied, taping closed a box of books. "Can I use your computer to hunt for a new apartment?"

"Sure," I answered as I patted my briefcase. "I've got the laptop for things I need. Just let me transfer a few files and the desktop is yours."

He smiled at me for a moment, and then turned back to his repacking. "Thanks."

That was it; discussion over. I could see how that would turn off Rebecca; hell, almost any woman was my guess. Most women wanted to discuss things, share in the decision making process, and pay attention to the details. It was a "together thing" and showed that they cared. Guys like Dave didn't work that way. Ask the question, get the answer, and move on; that was his modus operandi. Dave wasn't compatible with "let's discuss everything."

Dave started looking for a place to stay that night. His needs were simple: a comfortable place, one bedroom, in town, with resident parking, and not in a questionable neighborhood. He also needed it to be priced such that he didn't require a roommate.

I just left the computer to him; it wasn't like I had anything important to do on it anyway. I worked on computers all day, so I really found no enjoyment in them at home; all I ever used mine for was to surf porn and email. I didn't even enjoy instant messaging.

Dave went to see a few places during the weekend and the following week. I met him at the gym after he'd visited the latest place on Thursday.

"How's it going," I asked as I pulled on my sweatpants.

"There are a few I like," Dave commented as he pulled his workout clothes out of his bag, "But none of the places I can afford have anything available until March."

"That's okay. You can stay as long as you need, Dave." I pulled on my sweatshirt. "Really." I smiled at him before heading for the cardio area. "I'm enjoying the company."

"Cool, thanks." That was it. No "me too" or "you aren't such bad company yourself". If I didn't know him so well, I'd have been annoyed. But I'd caught a glimpse of the small curl of his lips as he pulled off his shirt while I left the locker room. Understanding Dave was all about subtle clues, even though he never seemed to pick up on anything that wasn't spelled out in neon himself.

I shook my head and thought about Dave as I got onto the stair climber. He had never been a very demonstrative kind of guy. He was solid, reserved, and deeply personal. Any call for public displays of emotion shook him to the core. I'd been amazed he'd been able to make it through the wedding when he married Rebecca. I was sure the fact that he was too hung over from his bachelor's party to even think about the wedding was the only thing that allowed him to say, "I do". It was one of the reasons Rebecca kicked him to the curb; he wasn't good at the whole "express your feelings" thing. It took extreme measures to get him to open up; usually requiring a lot of alcohol.

"The usual," Dave asked as he stepped onto the machine beside me.

"Yep," I replied, keeping my eye on the climbing rate indicator.

Neither of us were big conversationalists, and we were an unusual pair at the gym. Although we were workout partners, we seldom did any exercises together. We met in the locker room, warmed up on the stair climbers or tread mills, and that was where our joint workouts ended until the cool down. I went for cardio burn and a low weight, high repetition routine. Dave was always pumping the max he could. It didn't seem to matter what we did, as we never achieved what we wanted. I wanted to get the roundness out of my shape and be cut like Dave; he wanted my size.

I stayed on the climber for a couple extra minutes to let Dave synch his workout to mine, and then got off the machine as he finished his warm-up. "See you for cool down," I commented before losing myself in my routine, listening to my Ipod workout playlist.

Dave spent the weekend apartment hunting. It wasn't until Monday that I realized I was of two minds about the whole thing. He'd been in the apartment only a couple of weeks, and I realized I didn't want him to leave. Asking him to stay was ridiculous. Dave was as WASP as they came, and I had no idea what he thought of gay people. It had never been a topic of conversation, not once in fifteen years, and I was afraid to ask.

I had to beg off from our normal workout on Tuesday because of work, and I picked up Chinese for us on the way home as an apology for breaking our routine. Dave loved Chinese. I found a card when I got home. It'd been left on the kitchen table with "Jim" scrawled on the envelope. I opened the envelope and pulled out an embossed card; the simple, straightforward style said it all. "To my best friend," was embossed on the cover. Inside was printed, "Thank you for being who you are," and was finished off with a nearly illegible, "Dave."

I just looked at the card, dumbfounded, for the longest time. I had no idea what inspired it. In the fifteen years we'd been friends, Dave had never bought me a card. Sure, his mom did for my birthdays and Christmas and had him sign them when we were younger, but we all knew that teen-aged guys didn't buy cards for their friends. I was certain Rebecca had taken over that duty after they got married; his signature on my birthday and Christmas cards had been a lot cleaner back then.

I must have given him a funny look when he got back from the gym. He had taken off his sweat soaked shirt, and was swabbing down his pits as I tried to figure out what seemed off. Seeing Dave's body was anything but new; I'd known the guy since we were thirteen. We'd been working out together for longer than he had been married. I finally realized that he'd changed his hair; he'd had the same hairstyle since we went off to college. He'd also gotten new glasses. Dave was so slow to "change" that glaciers moved faster, yet he'd made two fairly radical changes in just a twenty-four hour period of time.

He shot me a frown. "What?"

I grinned. "I'm getting used to the new look."

His frown deepened; he didn't buy it. "Uh huh, right."

I shrugged. "I don't know; you've been working out six days a week since you moved in. It just seems like you're trying really hard for something you just can't have." Of course, I was one to talk; I'd been in love with a straight, white guy since I was sixteen. I pushed aside that thought and gestured at his ripped abs and chorded arms. "You've got definition that most guys would kill for and you're always trying to put on weight and size." I smiled. "Go with what you've got, man." This was an old argument.

Dave frowned for a minute, and then shrugged. "Yeah well, I don't have anything anyone wants anyway."

"What the fuck does that mean?"

He sighed. "Rebecca had the divorce papers sent to the office yesterday. It's official; we're through." Rubbing his shirt across his chest, he headed for the shower. "I guess I'm just thinking that if I change the look, maybe I'll change with it."

I waited until he came out or the shower, and spent a couple moments watching his muscles move as he toweled his hair. Yeah, my biceps were nearly as big as his thighs, but every one of his skinny, tight muscles were visible when he had his arms up. He caught me looking as he finished his hair, and I swear he blushed.

Then he frowned. "What?"

"Thanks for the card."

That, at least, rewarded me with the first smile of the day.

"Oh." Typical Dave, he just smiled and looked for anything to change the subject away from personal stuff. "I smell Chinese."

I supposed having a big black guy looking at you with puppy-dog eyes and a stupid smile was enough to make any straight, white guy nervous. I let it go, and went to the oven. "Yeah, I thought I could get forgiveness for skipping out on you if I got you some General Tsoo's Chicken."

Dave stood there, chewing on his lower lip for a moment, not looking at me. "You're my best friend, Jim; I might get mad about something, but I'd always forgive you. You know?"

I raised an eyebrow at him. That was about as candid about anything as he'd ever been. "Hey, you alright?"

He sighed. "Yeah. Just adjusting to the idea of not being wanted." He turned and headed back to his bedroom. "Let me put on some clothes. No one wants to look at my emaciated ass while they eat."

I wouldn't have minded, but he was right; his hanging around in nothing but a towel wasn't the best of ideas. I was beginning to notice a bit too many details to be comfortable.

The card wasn't the only weird thing that Dave did as the week wound on. I couldn't figure it out. I knew he was having a hard time dealing with the end of his marriage, but he was beginning to really worry me.

On Thursday he gave me a serious look before heading to bed and asked, "We're best friends, right?"

I thought that was a stupid question. "Yeah, of course we are." What concerned me was how doubtful he looked. "What's bothering you, Dave?"

He shrugged. "Dunno. I guess I'm just feeling a little insecure." I wanted to give him a hug and tell him he had nothing to be insecure about, but he shrugged again after giving me another odd look and said, "Night."

That didn't weird me out nearly as much as when, over the weekend, he asked me, "Got a date for Valentine's day?" It was only a week away, but the question was totally bizarre.

"Yeah," I nodded at the door, "they've been beating down the door trying to get me. Can't you tell?"

Dave shrugged. "I guess I was just wondering. You've never talked about your dates." The way he looked at me made my stomach sink. "Ever."

"Of course I have." I was certain I'd lied about some girl at some point. I couldn't honestly remember who, or when, but I was sure I had. "I don't need to date; I have everything I want." I had Dave in my home, at least temporarily, and that was what I wanted.

"Oh." He seemed to chew on that for a while before he got up and went back to his room.

He had me spooked. Every day he seemed a little more down; that wasn't normal for Dave. He'd always been one to have short-lived funks and then he was right back to status quo. This time, it didn't seem like he was pulling out of it. With my concern about Dave, I completely forgot about the office Valentine's Day party. Valentine's Day was on Saturday, but the boss rented out his club's banquet room for Friday night; it was kind of an anti Friday the thirteenth party. It started at seven; for the second time in two weeks I had to cancel on Dave. I didn't like it, but it wasn't as if he needed me there for anything more than a few words of conversation before and after the workout.

God I hated office parties, but being in middle management made it a political imperative that I attend. Fortunately, dates were optional. For shits, I bought a black tie with burgundy hearts on it for the party on my way home. I showered, put on a dark burgundy silk shirt, black pants and had a black sports coat draped over a chair in the living room. If I was going to be stuck watching my coworkers get drunk and suck face, at least I could fake the spirit of the occasion.

Dave looked at me like I was an alien when he came in from the gym, and saw me grabbing my jacket. "Where are you going?"

I realized I hadn't told him about the party, only that I had to cancel. "Office Party; I'd forgotten about it." I shrugged. "Don't have anything better to do tonight."

The hurt look on Dave's face confused me, but I didn't have the time to try to figure out his mood; I was already going to be late. I laughed at the random thought that I might actually meet someone, and I grinned. "Don't wait up." I was sure I'd be home by ten.

The party was, as predicted, a complete slosh fest. It was a good thing I wasn't fond of alcohol. I ended up having to take four of my co-workers home. They lived all over town, so I didn't make it back to the apartment until after one in the morning. I walked in to find Dave sitting in his briefs, looking bleary-eyed at the TV, with a mostly empty bottle of Jack on the table. The way his head moved, I knew he was smashed.

I sighed as he looked up at me, and I took off my coat. "What're you doing, Dave?"

He sniffed at me. "Waiting up."

That was obvious, but what I really wanted to know was why. "Yeah, I can see that." It didn't look like he'd been crying, but I suspected once I'd settled down some place, I'd have a wet shoulder again. "Mind if I get out of these things?"

He shook his head, and wobbled a little, so I went back to my room to change. Wet silk sucked; I was going to change into an old T and some sweats. If he threw up, nothing would be ruined. It took me a moment to realize that Dave was standing in the doorway, watching me as I changed.

"Why didn't you tell me?"

"Tell you what? That I had an office party?" I shrugged. "I told you; I forgot."

"No." He wobbled a little, and looked more upset. "Why didn't you tell me you were gay?"

I froze. I didn't want an irrational drunk on my hands. Fuck, why hadn't I seen that coming? I hedged. "What are you talking about, Dave? What makes you think I'm gay?"

He turned, took a couple steps to the guestroom door, and pointed. "That does."

I pulled up my sweats and walked out to take a look. On the screen was the nifty archive; I'd spent a lot of nights using the stories there to sate the loneliness I felt. I cringed. "It's a porn site, Dave; gay, straight and fetishes. How do you know I'm not into sheep?"

He glared angrily at me; yeah, he'd liquored up enough to unhinge the emotional doors. "I'm not stupid. I know how to look at a history file. Not to mention, the photo sites are all gay." He walked, unsteadily, to the computer and clicked on the favorites list. "There's this one," click, "and this one," click, "and this one," click, "and this one..." He sounded angrier with each click of the mouse.

For me it was like a surreal nightmare. I hadn't even thought about my favorites list or history file. I was so screwed. I was looking at him in horror when he turned around.

Tears were running down his face. "You keep telling me we're best friends, and I don't even know who you are."

God that hurt. When Dave unhinged, his heart was on his sleeve. The pain in his voice wasn't from my being gay; it was from my hiding it from him. I couldn't meet the hurt in his eyes, so I looked at the floor. "I'm sorry."

He practically yelled at me. "I don't care if you're sorry! I want to know why!" Dave seldom got loud, even when he was drunk, and his outburst caught me off guard.

"Why what? Why I'm gay?" I was getting pissed. "I don't know, Dave. I was born this way I guess. I never told you I was black either. I never thought I needed to!"

He looked down. "You could have told me."

He was such a hypocritical prick. I waved at him as my frustration built. I had no idea I'd even been frustrated until it hit me; at that point, I couldn't stop myself. "You never tell anyone anything, Dave! Unless you're drunk! When you do finally start talking, I can't tell what you're saying half the time because when you're liquored up enough to say anything you're slurring!"

He looked like he was going to spit something back at me, but I stepped in and snarled, "What would have been the point? You'd have just forgotten anything I told you when you woke up anyway!"

He suddenly looked like he was going to be sick. I grabbed his arm and dragged him into the bathroom. He didn't throw up, but he didn't look all that steady. I'd had enough. He knew, so what? I couldn't talk with him while he was shit-faced. Yanking back the shower curtain, I cranked on the cold water and hefted him in. "You want to talk? Get your white ass sober, and I'll think about it!"

He called me everything he could think of, and a lot of things that weren't words, as I chilled the drunk out of him. The bathroom floor and I were soaked when he finally stopped fighting me.

He was shivering and mumbling "enough" when I shut off the shower. God he looked miserable, and I felt guilty. The shower had chilled out my anger as well. I pulled him out and he kind of melted against me while he shivered. I wrapped him up in a towel, roughly dried him off, and guided him back to the couch. "I'll make some coffee."

Dave watched silently from the couch, in his soaked briefs and the towel, as I made a big pot and brought out the first mugs. He looked a lot more alert, and a lot sadder. We drank down our first mugs in silence. I didn't need the coffee, I was wound up enough, but it was easier to have him mimic me than try and force him to drink alone.

"How are you feeling," I asked. Any conversation was better than nothing.

"Like my head's full of cotton; not drunk, but not hung yet." He winced a little and then frowned at me. "You're a bastard, you know that?"

I grinned. "Yeah, you said that in the shower."

He looked back at his mug. "I'm sorry I yelled."

"I'm sorry I never told you."

He shrugged. "I didn't go snooping; well, not at first." He looked at my skeptical expression and frowned. "I didn't. I was trying to find where I'd dropped a favorites link for one of the apartment searches, and I clicked the wrong thing."

That made sense. "Oh."

Sighing, he lifted his mug. "Bartender, give me a double?"

I grinned. "Sure."

He sipped the mug after I handed it back, and cradled it in his hands. He wasn't shivering any more. "I guess I've been trying to get you to tell me since I found out."

His behavior over the last couple weeks started making sense. "When was that?"

"The night before I bought you the friendship card." He grinned. "I stood in that fucking store forever trying to find one that said what I wanted."

I was touched. I'd never expected him to spend time trying to express his feelings. "I really loved the card." Hell, I'd put it away in my only photo album.

Nodding, he took another sip of his coffee. His eyes never left me. "So, are you going to tell me why?"

"I told you why."

He set down his cup and stared at me. "I've spent the last two weeks worrying that if you were hiding this, that maybe you were hiding other stuff too. I'm scared, Jim. You've always been the person I could turn to and now I'm not sure I can."

I looked at my hands. "Do you remember who you used to jack off fantasizing about when we were teens?"

He grinned. "Yeah, Marla Thompson."

I swallowed and tried to meet his eyes. "I used to jack off about you."

That seemed to blind-side him. He stared at me, and I could see the "Dave security wall" come up. "Oh."

I stood up. "That's why I never told you. It wasn't that I didn't value our friendship, Dave. You're my best friend. I love you. I didn't want to ruin it." He continued to stare in silence. I wasn't going to get anything more out of him at that point. "I'm going to bed. If you want to talk more later, cool."

I left him sitting on the couch being distant-Dave. The moment the discussion had turned to something really intimate, like the fact that I'd been in love with him when we were kids, he'd shut down. There was no way I was going to share the fact that I was still in love with him. It took me forever to get to sleep; I kept worrying about what was going to happen. I woke mid-morning to find Dave looking at me from the chair near the dresser.

He didn't look like he'd slept at all. "Is it later?"

It took me a moment for my brain to figure out what he was asking. I rolled onto my back and looked up at the ceiling. "Sure."

When he didn't say anything, I looked back over at him. He waited until our eyes met, and then he asked, "Do you still feel that way?"

The problem with having someone continue a conversation from the night before, as I woke up, was that I couldn't think up answers fast enough. I stared at him blankly for a moment before I looked away. "I'm not a kid any more."

He was still watching me when I looked back. "Do you?"

Now I was the one getting angry. He didn't have the right to ask me that question. Mr. "can't open up" had no business trying to force me to do so. I sat up, pushed off the bed, and walked out. He followed. I stalked into the kitchen and found that he'd made a new pot of coffee. I poured myself a cup and tried to control the trembling in my hands as I took a swig. He stood there and waited. Finally, I practically slammed the mug down as I snapped at him, "What the fuck do you want me to tell you, Dave?"

"The truth." His eyes held mine, but they were inscrutable. Maybe it was the fact that he was so good at hiding his feelings, or maybe it was because he hadn't slept. What ever it was, I couldn't see a thing in them but me, squirming like a worm on a hook.

"Yes." I hissed it at him. "Yes, okay?" I threw my hands up and waved them frantically. "I'm just a big fucking queen who's hopelessly in love with his straight best friend." I grabbed my coffee and swallowed down another gulp. "Feel better?"

He stared at me. He looked so tired. If I wasn't so panicked and vulnerable, I'd have hugged him and reassured him that everything would be all right.

Finally, he said, "No."

My heart sank. He turned and went back to his room. I was kind of numb when he came back out with his coat and left. I had no idea what I did for the rest of the day. I knew I got showered and dressed, and I knew I ate something, but I spent most of the day feeling lost.

I found myself on the couch, running my fingers over the embossed lettering of the only token of affection I'd ever received from the man I'd loved for half my life. It was Valentine's Day, but it wasn't a Valentine's Day card. It was only a "thank you" card, but it still brought tears in my eyes. I imagined Dave standing in the Hallmark Store, awash in a sea of choices, agonizing over the perfect card; it was a strange image. It didn't matter if he'd grabbed the first or the last he'd seen; it was perfect to me, just like Dave. He wasn't here, and I didn't know when he'd be back or even if he would be back. Thinking about our years of friendship was like tracing the texture of the card; there were layers upon layers. In the end, it was far more than what was on the surface.

I was still sitting on the couch, tracing my fingers over the damn card when Dave came back in.

He looked like hell. I set the card down and stood up. "Have you eaten?"

He shook his head mutely and I went into the kitchen. "I'll make something." What I really wanted to do was to hug him to me and tell him I couldn't lose him. The look on his face made me wonder if it was already too late.

I started some water for pasta, and he said, "I'm going to take a quick shower."

I nodded and watched him head down the hall. While the water heated, I went back to the photo album on the coffee table. There was a card envelope lying over the card I'd been tracing before. I sat down and pulled out the new card.

It was simple, linen white with an antique gold stamped, "Please," on the cover. I was trembling when I flipped the card open. All that was inside was, "I need you." I stared at those three words until I couldn't see through the tears. It was just like a big, black queen to crumble over a stupid card.

Dave was just standing there, looking at me, when I finally blinked away the tears. I had no idea what I was supposed to do.

Finally, he looked down at his feet. "I can't promise anything, Jim. I just can't lose you." He kind of choked out the last few words.

Standing, I moved over to him and pulled him into a hug. He melted into it and clung to me. I was ready to bawl again. I whispered through my tears, "Friends is enough."

He pulled back a little and looked at me. I wasn't prepared when he leaned in and brought his lips to mine. I stood there, unresponsive, as my brain melted down.

He paused long enough to whisper, "Kiss me back."

That was all it took. When he came in again, I lifted my hands to grip behind his head. It was my first kiss; okay, my first kiss with a man. I thought I was going to bust my zipper. I'd read about kisses that left you hard and aching, but I always thought it was one of those "gay fairy tales". By the time we pulled back, I was definitely hard and aching. Dave was trembling; I was breathless. He hadn't let go of me.

I took a deep breath, and let it out slowly. "What now?"

He leaned back in and caught my lips again. This time our bodies got into it. He ground himself against me while trying to suck my tongue down his throat. I slid my hand down and squeezed his tight, white ass. At some point, his towel had slid off completely, and his hard shaft was rubbing against my jeans. I was in heaven.

"Bed..." Dave croaked as I moved from his lips to chew on his neck.

I didn't even hesitate. I just lifted him by his ass, keeping his squirming body against me as I carried him into the bedroom. There were some advantages to the fact that he was about fifty pounds lighter than I was. I pressed him back against the bed, and kissed him again. I realized quickly that kissing was something I really enjoyed.

Humping up against my weight, Dave grumbled. "Why am I the only one naked?"

That stopped me. Up to that point, I was living a fantasy. Then I realized it was real. I sat back and looked at him. "Dave..." I think he heard the fear in my voice. It snapped him out of whatever haze he was in. "I've never done anything; ever."

"So?" He looked genuinely confused. I suppose for a guy who'd been having sex for about a decade, he couldn't remember what it was like to be a virgin.

"So, I'm nervous ok?" I looked away. "And I don't think, if we do this, I could go back to being friends."

He was deflating, which to me confirmed that we had probably been fooling ourselves. After looking at me for a few moments, he sat up. "Jim?"

I looked into his eyes, and he studied mine. After what felt like forever, he brought his hand up to cup my face. I hadn't realized I was crying. He kissed me again. Damn him, I didn't know if he knew it, but he could have asked me anything.


I shuddered. I couldn't refuse him. I pulled back, and pulled off my shirt. His hands came up and tentatively caressed my chest. Closing my eyes, I let him explore. When his lips met my shoulder, I moaned. He was going so slowly. I was trembling when he finally pushed me back and his hands came to my jeans. I'd been leaking from the beginning, and I knew my jeans were soaked. I lifted my hips as he tugged at my jeans. They slid off, and I lay there under his scrutiny. Cautiously, his hand came up and wrapped around my aching shaft.

His voice was only a whisper. "God, Jim... you're fucking huge."

It was true. The one myth that I knew was true, at least for me, was the size of a black man's cock. I stood a good nine inches, thick, veined and uncut. Yeah, I had a fucking bull's cock. If Dave had anything close to it, I'd have run for the hills. His was thinner, cut, and only about six inches.

He stroked me slowly, and then slid up over my body and let our cocks rub together. I moaned. He was looking in my eyes, like he was trying to read them, and he asked, "Jim, what do you want?"

He sounded nervous. I realized that he thought I'd want his ass. Okay, I did; but I wasn't going to ask for it. On the other hand, he wasn't as intimidating as I was. I pressed up and kissed him again. God I loved kissing him. "I want you on your back."

I saw the fear flick across his eyes, but I kissed him again before he could protest. Rolling us over, I felt him squirm. I chewed my way to his ear and whispered. "I don't want that, Dave. I'm not going to hurt you."

He relaxed, and I moved against him. I sat back, straddled his hips, and ran my fingers through his fur. He moaned and I felt his cock twitch under me. I did it again, this time pulling on his chest hair. He moaned louder and his cock pulsed. Oh yeah, I'd found a turn on. I started alternatively stroking and pulling his chest and belly hair as he began to squirm. Occasionally, I'd brush his nipples and he'd gasp. More importantly, he was leaking all over the place and his eyes were glazing.

I wasn't really prepared, but I wanted it so bad. I started moving my ass up and down his drooling shaft, and he moaned louder. Each time he brushed my hole, I trembled. His eyes went wide as I tipped up his cock and pressed down on it. He was the perfect virgin's cock. His cock head was small, with a small flange, and his shaft slowly increased in thickness as it descended to his pelvis. Yeah, he was one long bullet, and I was getting ready to have it shoot right up my ass. I pressed down, trying to remember everything I'd read.

It burned like hell, and I was worried I was going to bend him in two, but just as he squeaked out my name, "Jim..." I opened. Oh shit, it burned. Lube, I should have used lube. Dave must have known, because his body convulsed under me and I felt his cock pulse. Suddenly there was moist warmth flooding my ass, and that gave me all the lube I needed. I rose up and sank down a couple times, until he grabbed my hips and held me in place.

"Don't," he whimpered, "sensitive."

I was a little disappointed, but after a minute, I felt him throb in me, and then he started humping up into me a little, releasing his grip on my hips. I started again; up, down, up, down; over and over. He didn't even deflate; if anything, after the sensitivity was gone, he was harder than ever. I clutched his fur and his back arched as I kept slamming down on him while practically ripping out his chest hair.

He was gripping the sheets, his head thrown back and he was groaning. "Oh fuck... oh shit... Jim... God..." The order of the words shifted and his volume and tone alternated as I went up and down, but it was obvious that Dave was as caught up with the whole thing as I was. He was gasping as my strokes became shorter and faster. I was so damn close. I didn't know what I needed to do to trip.

Dave solved it for me. His eyes met mine, and he brought his hand up and wrapped it around my shaft. He didn't even have to stroke me. Just that little bit of contact was enough to trip me. I slammed down on him one last time and exploded all over his fingers, abs, and chest; hell, I hit his chin. My ass must have clenched like a vise, because Dave let loose with one, long "fuuuuuuck..." and I felt his heat flood me again.

All I could do was roll forward, hot, sweaty, exhausted, and nuzzle his neck. Dave stroked my back and sighed. I knew I wanted to be there for the rest of my life.

"I love you," I mumbled into his neck, and Dave trembled. He lifted my face and kissed me again. It was slow, wet, and full of promise. As my head slid back to the hollow between his neck and shoulder, he smiled. "Happy Valentine's Day."

Dave never found another place to live. The only real change in our living arrangements was that he stopped sleeping on the couch bed. I didn't mind sharing. His divorce went through without any serious complications; Dave didn't seem to be as upset about it anymore.

Our life together hasn't been perfect. It has, however, been pretty good. Dave never really mastered the art of expressing his emotions without being pushed. There were two sure fire ways to push him. One was to get him trashed; I didn't like that method. The other was to fuck him delirious.

Yeah, Dave eventually let me fuck him; it was kind of an anniversary present on our second Valentine's Day together. It took a lot of prep and more than a little lube, but once I got in, he didn't want me to leave. How that skinny white-boy could take my monster I had no idea. What was clear was that he loved it. After the first time I fucked him, he finally said the words I'd been longing to hear for the whole year we'd been together, "I love you."

Not that I hadn't felt loved. Dave wasn't incredibly demonstrative, but I'd never been very high maintenance. He did, however, give me cards. He also mastered the art of letter writing. They were little things like "thanks", and "you're everything", and "tonight, 7pm, naked, bed". Okay, so his letters weren't sonnets, but they said what he couldn't tell me to my face. He loved me.

I've kept every note, every card, and to be honest, they are a testament to a relationship that has lasted over half our lives. Though I have told him almost every morning and every night; Dave has seldom let those three words slip from his lips. I've come to accept that he doesn't need to; there are so many other ways to say, "I love you," than with words.