Please tell me you're not an arsehole.
Adrian's text was the first thing I saw that morning, as I groggily opened one eye to check the time on my phone.
I'm not an asshole. I texted back, ready to doze back off.
Two seconds later, the phone rang.
"So, you're awake," Adrian's voice chirped.
"And you're not an arsehole."
"You're not a lame Nefarious Lothario."
"Nor playing the Tall Dark Handsome Stranger."
"Not the Last of the International Playboys?"
"I like your Smiths reference, but no."
"I didn't like how things ended last night," he said sternly.
"I'm getting that." Then, a little reluctantly, I added "I'm sorry."
"Can we see each other? Today? I don't want to drive up with a sour taste."
"Yes. I mean, I just woke up so I'd need "
"Not right now. I'm headed to the UQ library. I'll call you when I'm done. We could grab lunch."
"That sounds lovely."
I tried to go back to sleep, but the moment had passed. It was, again, a beautiful morning, but I dreaded emerging out of my studio, and confronting Jonah, confronting last night's Jonah. It'll be fine, I thought. Chloe is coming back this morning and things will have to shift back to something close to normal, whatever the elephants and possible boners in the room. Chloe is coming back. How did that become something to which I was looking forward?
But things will be fine. Chloe is coming back. Jonah will be cool. Adrian will be warm and radiant. Quiet day, quiet dinner. Normal.
None of this would end up turning out as expected.
"Chloe is staying another night," Jonah said matter-of-factly, pouring orange juice in a very large glass. I had knocked softly on the door of their house, a little unsure of what I'd find. Jonah had welcomed me with a large smile, but with no mentions of what had happened between us the evening before. We hadn't even alluded to it throughout the short Mexican dinner we'd had afterwards, so I wasn't particularly surprised, nor eager to bring anything up myself.
"Is everything alright between you two?"
"Haven't you asked that already?"
"Things are... not great." There may have a little pain in his voice, but if there was, it was masked by discomfort. I wanted to ask him how he felt about it, if it hurt, if she was distancing herself, if he couldn't get it up, if he still wanted her, wanted a life with her, if he was okay. But we weren't drunk, it wasn't late and dark outside, we weren't talking about our jizz inside some high school jock's gym bag, I didn't have my cock stuffed down his throat. So I couldn't really ask these questions.
"Dan replied to your text," he said, uncharacteristically coy.
"What did he say?" I asked, trying to mask my excitement.
"He asks what's on the agenda."
"Ah. The agenda."
"What did you text back?" I asked, because I could ask that question, apparently, I could ask about Dan's ass and cock and body, even if we weren't drunk, even if it wasn't late and dark outside.
"Nothing yet. I have to think about it." And he left it at that, patting me on the shoulder and semi-hugging me good day.
I was productively working when Adrian called me, a little before noon.
"Where are you? You still free?"
"Of course. I want to see you." And I gave him Jonah's address. He briefly honked thirty minutes later and I darted out, feeling like a teenager skipping school.
I kissed him when I sat on the passenger's seat. He kissed me back, longer, deeper. He was often, it seemed, trying to prove that he was better at this romance thing than I was.
"I had the weirdest morning," he said looking ahead, a little dazed, his left hand firmly on my right thigh. He wasn't starting the ignition, so I made myself comfortable.
"So, yeah, I felt a little down this morning when I woke up. But talking to you made it better," he smiled, turning towards me. "Although," he added quickly, "you're not completely out of the dog house for being a shit last night."
"Listen, Adrian "
"No, it's fine, I don't want to talk about it. Not now."
"Well, I do. I'm sorry if you took this the wrong way, I'm sorry I didn't spend the night, but this is just not something I'm comfortable doing ... so early. Especially after you expressed reservations about whatever is going on between us."
"Reservations? Jesus, I didn't-"
"You know what I mean."
"Sure, but I don't get that sleeping over is a little too intimate, but fucking me on my balcony wasn't."
I sighed. "I'm sorry you see it that way. That's not how I see it, is all I can tell you," I said, caressing his hand.
He sighed too. "I know. I don't want to be the dude that overreacts."
"You're not. I understand where you're coming from. We're good. Tell me about your weird morning."
"Yes. My weird morning. So... I had needed to go the UQ library for a while now. I'm renovating and expanding a house built by this architect called Bradford, you probably haven't heard of him."
"Well, he was this rather awesome local architect, back in the fifties. I knew the Fryer had some monographs on him, some manuscripts too, and I wanted to look at them. But I'd been postponing going there for weeks."
"You didn't want to run into Sean?"
"Right. I didn't," he cocked a smile. "But, I don't know, it felt good talking about it all last night with you. I felt good. Or better. Even if you were a semi asshole when you left abruptly."
"We've been over that," I smiled and kissed his fingers.
"Yeah, but you deserved a final nag. Anyway, so I went. But I was feeling nervous, rattled, to be honest. I hated being there and I couldn't quite find my way either. And then, it was sooo random, I mean, really random, this young guy came up to me. He'd recognized me for the lecture I gave, the one I told you about," he said, half-turning, gaging my recollection or my reaction.
"Was he... was he one of the students that flirted with you back then? One of the students which set Sean off?" I asked tentatively, not sure where this was going.
"Well, yes. And he recognized me. I mean, this whole thing is... I tell you about that evening last night and today, bang, I run into the guy. Weird."
"And the thing is," Adrian continued, a little agitated, and seemingly impatient at my lack of reaction, "he's working on Garatta for his thesis. Which is great. I like that Garatta is not completely forgotten, you know."
"The guy was really nice, actually. He helped me find the library and all. He must have thought me a bit odd, because I was just really nervous. And he asked if he could stop by the house sometimes, and see it. Dan did. That's his name, Dan."
I felt dizzy for a second. What the fuck? Then looked out and breathed. There are more than one Dan in Brisbane. What did Jonah's Dan say he did for a living? I wished I had been more attentive, I wished I had listened better, instead of playing in my mind looping images of Dan getting fucked like crazy. I breathed again. This was not all about me, I mocked myself. There wasn't a Dan conspiracy to unleash cock-craze within my best friend, to steal Adrian from me. Dan didn't know about Adrian, he knew nothing about me.
"He wants to stop by your house?" I repeated, half amused.
I couldn't help but laugh.
"What?" Adrian asked, peeved. But I realized his reaction was not entirely genuine, or at least was not only about this other Dan's intentions. He was testing me. Dan number 2 had flirted with him months ago and Sean, in a car, had gone into a jealous rage. Dan number 2 was now inviting himself into his house and Adrian was telling me, in a car, and watched my reaction.
I'd never been the jealous type, not really. Not when in a relationship; rightly or wrongly, I felt, I sensed, whether I could trust my partner. And if I didn't, I wouldn't stay anyway. But, yes, the early moments of a pairing, the early days, were more sensitive. You need time to know how you feel and you want time to be suspended, just a bit. When curious about someone, when interested, I never really dated other people, because it was a distraction to figuring out what kind of future you might see in the guy's smiles, embraces, sexual proclivities. So, a flirter who tried, inadvertently or not, to snatch the object of my curiosity was a danger. Whether that was jealousy or not, I wasn't really sure, but I didn't like the idea of Dan number 2 going all the way up to Samford for "research".
"What?" Adrian asked again.
"Nothing," I said, kissing his hand again.
He seemed reassured, somewhat, although if his criteria was whether I'd beat the shit out of him or not, I had just passed a very easy test. But he obviously wanted to prod me further. "What? You don't think his intentions are disinterested?"
I couldn't help but laugh again. Was he serious? "No, I don't think they are. I can't blame him though. You are smart and gorgeous. But, no, his intentions are not disinterested."
"Jesus, Nathan. What kind of world do you live in where everything guys do is just to get their rocks off?" he asked, clearly making me one of these guys.
Which rattled me. Which upset me. Which made me look away, sulking. Because, yes, in my world, I guessed guys were motivated by their cock urges, guys had little scruples, guys had little faith and decency; because, if Adrian was genuine or half-genuine, I wished I lived in his world, I wished I held his hand and he hugged me and I made love to him and we smiled in that world; because I may have one day think that his world existed and I have forgotten when and where that day was; because my world was full of madonna whores and whorish madonnas, because I was a whore, then, or a Whore, bound to and competing with and pulled towards the other Whores, the brotherhood of the Whores; because I hadn't given Brisbane, a strange city where neighborhoods are called suburbs, a new city, a new nothing, the chance to be different; because I was looking through and across Brisbane for my fellow Whores; because in Brisbane, every Whore is called Dan and they all demand to get fucked, they all toy with not-so-straight apprentice Whores, they all invite themselves to houses where they can fuck and seize the cocks and asses that they need to feed; because Adrian was beautiful, and he was right, I hoped he was right, I wanted him to be right, but I had already thought three times since I got in his car about what was on Jonah's and Dan number 1's agenda; because there was this scene in Nights & Sharks where the narrator drinks under the table an actual whore in a deserted bar and it's one of the most moving scene I'd read in a long time; because maybe Adrian could sneak me into his world, before I made him a Whore, or broke him, before any one of all the Dans broke him.
"You're right," I demurred sternly, "I'm sorry. You're right," I said, meaning it and not meaning it.
But he was relentless. How had I hurt him, exactly? What did I do or say wrong? He affected breeziness and took out his phone.
"I forgot to answer him, actually," he said, mimicking concentration and whispering for my benefit the words he was typing.
"Hi, Dan Garatta. Nice one. Thanks for your kindness today."
Come on, I thought, don't do this. Not like that. Don't be a child.
"...I'm actually going to be at the house this weekend and I'd be happy to show you around..."
This wasn't attractive. Insecurities were not attractive. It's okay, Adrian, I thought, I get you. I'm sorry.
"...Come up when you like you know where it is or I can give you a lift from Paddington on Saturday morning..."
He was being foolish and weak and pathetic. I wanted to leave.
"...Let me know if that works." He pressed the send button and he looked up triumphantly at me, only to see on my face what was probably poorly hidden scorn and pity. He looked away, trembling a bit.
"What are you trying to prove?" I asked softly, suddenly moved.
"Nothing," he sulked. "Just that... This is a good day. This was a good night. I like you. I had a good time. I went to this fucking library, on this fucking campus, and this guy was nice, he was not a douche "
"He wasn't, I never said he was. He saw you, he likes you, he talked to you."
"I like you too, Adrian," I said, squeezing his hand. "You need to... we need to relax. You're right, I am not here forever. Let's make the most of it. And, yes, show your house to this Dan. But beware, you look fantastically charming when you show your house around," I smiled, and he turned around, and he saw my smile, and he smiled back, and he regained the poise, the confidence, the beauty of the men of his world.
We spend the whole day together, holding hands almost constantly, or hips, or shoulders, or thighs, or back of the heads, or calves. We went for lunch and for a walk, we lounged in the park. We talked. We laughed. We laughed a lot. We looked at each other in silence a few times too, and it was lovely. He was somber briefly, when he tried to talk again about Sean, but failed to do so coherently; I was somber briefly, when he asked where the scar above my right eyebrow came from and I failed to answer truthfully.
"I really need to get going," he finally said, wiping his hands on a paper napkin when we had just finished the burrito we decided to have for early dinner. "I got a lot of work to do. I wanted to get it done this afternoon, but... well."
"You can work at night?"
"Yes. The drive will clear my head a bit. It'll be fine."
There was a tacit agreement that I wouldn't accompany him. The absence of sex tonight was a pact, a commitment of sort.
"Let's go," he said, standing up after planting a kiss on my lips. "I'll drop you off."
"No, I'm fine. I could use a walk. It's a lovely evening."
"It is. It was," he smiled. "I'll call you". He kissed my neck, walked away, turned around to see if I was looking at him leave, he waved, and disappeared.
I hadn't heard from Jonah, except from a brief text early in the afternoon. Watcha doin, he wrote. Hanging out with Adrian, I replied. And that was it.
I walked for an hour in the streets of New Farm. I was hesitant to go home. Once again, I found myself wishing that Chloe was back.
I saw Jonah's car parked on the street, but the house was dark, so I walked around it, through to the pool in the back and climbed up my stairs. Where was Jonah? We hadn't made plans, neither of us had suggested we used the last night before his wife's return to hang out together. Had he gotten weirded out by our last evening together? The thing was, I didn't really care, one way or the other. I turned on the light and dropped on the bed. I kicked off my sneakers and looked at the ceiling. I reached for my bag, to grab Garatta's book and reread a scene I had been thinking about when walking to the house. I heard some noises, both close and muffled, coming from Jonah's bedroom. On the other side of the wall. The wall between us. A brusque, direction-like grunt. Jonah. Then another voice, calmer. Male, young.
I opened the book and tried to locate the section I had mind. I heard the sort of high-pitched hum some porn actors ostensibly make when they're being blown. Then the slamming of a hand against the wall. The wall between us.
Another groan, from Jonah, louder than before. A faint yes, a not so faint yes, a resounding YES. Then the other voice. Commanding again, calm and in charge. Dan. Dan, on the other side of the wall, blowing Jonah, with a wall between us. Silence. Ruffling and shuffling on the bed.
I set the book aside, after having read three times the same paragraph, to no avail. I stood up and paced the room.
I heard the opening of a drawer. Condom? Would a married man have condoms in a bedroom drawer? Jonah is about to fuck Dan. Dan had made Jonah want to fuck him, had demanded to get fucked.
Dan didn't know about the thin wall. Jonah did. He knew that the wall between us was thin, was stupidly thin, was a stupid metaphor for the all the walls that I, that he, have always built between us. He didn't know (did he?) that I wanted to watch him fuck Dan, that I wanted to watch Dan get fucked. I didn't know it myself. I didn't think I did.
I heard Jonah whine, but I wanted Dan to whine. To grunt, to encourage, to order, to demand. Because there is nothing hotter than a Whore getting what he wants. Instead, I heard Dan shushing him, soothing him, making the whining stop. And it dawned on me that maybe Dan wasn't a Whore after all, maybe Dan did care for Jonah, in his own way, maybe Dan didn't demand to get fucked but, rather, tonight, wanted Jonah to make love to him, was shushing Jonah inside his ass, was shushing him into a connection, was shushing him into the intimacy that he knew Jonah craved. Because Dan knew things.
My steps led me out of my room, and down the stairs, and around the house, and through the hallway. By the door of Jonah's bedroom, slightly opened to dim light and noises. My steps led me there, because the wall between me and Jonah was thin, because it felt like Jonah was whining that wall into destruction. Because I was somehow supposed to be there, on the other side. Because I wanted to watch and he, they, were beckoning.
I had arrived. I stood on the doorway, but nothing really made sense.
Jonah was on the bed, on his stomach, his ass raised by two pillows stuffed between his crotch and the bed. His left wrist tied to the bedhead with... was that my underwear? The right wrist tied by pink plumed handcuffs. His eyes blinded by a t-shirt knotted around his head. Noises blasting out of him. And Dan wasn't getting fucked, nor was he being made love to. He was kneeling, between the large, strong, hairy, splayed legs of Jonah, supervising with glee and lust his fingers stuffed into Jonah's asshole.
I saw him see me. In the mirror. Our eyes locked, but we weren't looking at each other, not really, we were looking at each other's reflections, weren't we? And Jonah, I felt, disappeared from the room, he was only a body, a groaning, contorting pile of flesh and muscles, impaling himself on the fingers of Dan. There was only Dan and me, and the pile of flesh and muscles. For a second. A second which felt oddly organic, shattering too. Then something in Dan's eyes seemed to wonder whether I'd stay, something in the continuing hole-kneading movements of his fingers seemed to indicate that he wouldn't mind, that there was nothing surprising and disruptive about my presence, seconds or minutes before the seemingly inevitable shoving of his cock into my best friend's ass.
And maybe it wasn't surprising. And maybe it wouldn't disrupt anything. My cock was hardening, inviting itself into the moment, into the scene Dan had created and directed. But it was my Whore's cock, the one which did like surprise and disruption. I wanted Dan right then. I wanted to know his story. I wanted to tell him mine. I wanted him to fuck Jonah and I wanted Jonah to get fucked by Dan, I wanted Jonah to know what it was like to get fucked by Dan. And Jonah will tell me, I'd make him tell me how Dan fucks, I'll know if he fucked like me, if we were brothers-Whores. Jonah will tell me, because he'll want to, because he'll rather tell me about Dan's cock than about Chloe's moods, he'll tell me because we'll be drunk then, and it'll be easy for him to talk, easy for him to make me hard, easy for him to suck my cock again. Or get fucked by me. Because he will have liked getting fucked by Dan, and he will want more.
So I stepped back, my erection making my retreat a little ungraceful. I left Jonah to Dan's cock. Jonah had not heard nor see me. That moment, that locking of eyes, was ours, Dan's and mine. I walked back to my room, Jonah's moans had turned into sounds of muffled pain. I grabbed my bag, book and phone, readjusted my cock, and went for a walk.
An hour later, my phone rang. Jonah.
"Hey man? Where are you?" his voice was coarse, but elated.
"New Farm. Walking around."
"You want to go have a drink with us? I'm hanging with Dan."
I heard the sound of a shower running in the background. I wasn't sure what to say.
"Nate? You there?"
"Yup, sorry. I guess, yes. Where are you now?" I pretended ignorance.
"At home. You alone? With Adrian?"
"No, I'm alone."
"Then get your ass over here. Dan knows this club, we thought we might head there. I'll drive."
Whatever game Dan was playing at, I was on board. My Whore cock was on board. But there was nothing playful in the Ford Escalade waiting for me in front of Jonah's house when I entered the back seat. I sat behind Jonah, who seemed giddy, perhaps, but nervous, and across Dan, nonchalant and content. I hadn't interrupted a conversation, however effusive or awkward it might have been. They seemed to have been waiting for me in silence.
They both smelled of a fresh shower and Dan was wearing a shirt I recognized belonged to Jonah. He had a crumpled t-shirt across his lap, the t-shirt I had earlier seen blindfolding a subservient and hungry Jonah. The t-shirt now looked stained, or maybe that's just what I wanted it to be, a cum rag casually laid out a couple of feet away from me, the discarded evidence of Jonah's ass invasion. I couldn't help but look at Dan's crotch, trying to make out the shape of the cock which had swollen, then penetrated, then rammed, then burst, then soften inside Jonah. Dan may have seen me look; he smiled at me, in a way with which he hadn't smiled before. Complicit, knowing, engaging, stealth.
Jonah tried to make conversation. When he started asking about "my new boyfriend", I brushed him off casually and steered the conversation towards Brisbane's night life, conspicuously avoiding any questions of their previous whereabouts, something which may have been odd but which neither of them seemed to notice or care about.
I could witness Jonah's tentative movements towards Dan (a joke, a pat on the shoulder, a grazing of the thigh), movements which Dan didn't exactly rebuff, but which didn't elicit any particular reaction, let alone reciprocity. Dan sighed a couple of times, when Jonah seemed clueless about the directions Dan was giving him ("Man, how long have you been living here now?"), but he mostly looked out of the window, quipped occasionally some tidbits of wit, spread his legs a few times, checked me out with glances sideways, his eyes searching for mine or glimpsing at my legs and crotch.
Jonah had just been fucked, I couldn't help but thinking. It made me smile. Somehow.
The club was packed and the heat seemed to moisten everything around: the glistening bodies on the dance floor, the foreheads and armpits of the cruisers, the cold bottles of beer swapped, cheered and gulped.
I left Jonah and Dan alone, impatient to leave behind the unnerving tension I felt between them. Nothing much made sense any longer, not the assumptions I'd made, not Jonah's puppy-eyed surveillance of who I'd thought of his boy toy, not Dan's shifting moods. I got myself a drink and let the loud music and the dozens of interchangeable blond bodies wilt me into oblivion. I leaned against a column by the dance floor, signaling my availability to anybody willing to chat, to graze my shoulder as they passed by, to initiate a distracting stare.
I noticed from afar that Jonah was alone, seating in a booth with two beers in front of him, engaged in some phone activity I couldn't quite make up. When I looked around, I saw Dan dancing among the crowd. He had unbuttoned his shirt and seemed oblivious to his surroundings. Whether he easily lost himself in the music or was affecting a sexy no-fuck-given attitude, I couldn't tell, but he didn't seem to know any of the guys moving their own bodies beside him. He saw me look, but quickly turned away.
A guy stopped and talked to me. My status as an out-of-towner seemed both obvious and attractive to him. Liam, his name was. He was a model, he said, answering a question I hadn't asked. He loved America. Always wanted to go there, but hasn't had the money yet to do so. So, not a successful model, I concluded. I glanced at Dan and saw his curiosity piqued. Did he know Liam? Had they fucked?
I was struggling to maintain a conversation with Hot Liam, but his smile was so generic and his remarks so vapid, that it wasn't going well. I glanced at Dan again, who was now definitely staring. Not for the first time, his half-smile was hard to read. Scorn, defiance, mere amusement? I looked at Jonah, still alone, still busy with his phone, ignoring rather rudely something that a Liam doppelganger was trying to tell him.
"How do you like Brisbane?" Liam shouted in my ear, enthusiast and beaming. "Can I get you another beer?" he then asked, without waiting for an answer to his first question.
"Yeah," I said, non-committedly.
"Don't go anywhere!" he said as he left, with a smile which seemed so practiced, a smile which would predictably work on his preys, a smile which could very well work on me if I drank a couple more beers.
I watched Dan's chest, unveiled by his opened shirt. He watched me watch. After darting a daring look, he turned around to make me watch his ass. I realized my pelvis was thrusting slightly forward and my cock was hardening a bit. Dan danced some more, holding his own in what had become a stare-down. It was a mutual but aggressive, mean flirtation. There was no smile on either part, no cute wink or suppressed giggle. It was a feral mating dance, silent and menacing. His eyes twitched when Liam came back and the last look he gave me, before turning away, was one of sniggering disappointment, as if the very concept of engaging with the Liams of this world was a little lame, shallow and ordinary.
Liam and I cheered, but my attention was still directed at Dan, who seemed intent on grabbing and holding it. Some guy came to rub his body against his, but Dan's eyes were fixed on me. Liam was going through the merits of Brisbane's local attractions and I listened politely, even if sporadically.
The next five minutes felt like an hour. Dan's forceful and provocative stares, my cock becoming uncomfortably hard in my jeans, my attempts to mumble a couple of sentences whenever Liam's insipid banter slowed down. I somehow downed the whole beer in these five minutes, I somehow emptied my brains of any thoughts of Jonah, of Adrian, of Chatty Liam. So much so that when Dan started to leave the dance floor and turned to throw me an inviting look, I took my leave curtly and followed him, not without nodding at Liam's shoving into my hand what he called his "business card".
I ended up in the men's bathroom. Dan was at the sink, waiting and a little defiant. One guy was leaving a stall and I grabbed Dan's forearm. I pulled him inside and locked the door. I pushed him on the wall, his face and chest pressed against it and thrusted myself behind him. I seized both his wrists and nailed them against the partition. I licked his ear and felt him squirm, positioning his whole body in perfect line with mine. Our eyes were inches apart, I could see he looked like an animal in heat, yet ready to bite. I briefly released him to unbutton my jeans, pulled them down slightly and let my cock out. I tugged his shorts and underwear down too, I seized back his wrists and pressed my erection against the crease of his fleshy, pale, firm ass.
There is this scene in Nights & Sharks, where the narrator, stranded with his broken down pick-up truck on an empty desert road at night, erupts in a drug-fueled shouting rant about the tale of the shark who ventured into the Brisbane mangrove. The memory of having tasted human blood once, the memory of the thrilling domination and vindication led it to ignore the shallow and the dangerous level drop of the tides. The shark died but the narrator praised the completion of the shark's very purpose in life, as he segued into hallucinatory depictions of what is clearly implied to be an all-male orgiastic apocalypse.
"Don't say a word," Dan ordered in a whisper. I wasn't going to. I watched him close his eyes and I pushed my whole body forward, squashing him against the wall. I buried my face in his neck and felt the tremors of my throbbing cock, the quivers of his ass cheeks.
I thought about being inside him, I imagined his hole to be loose and warm and hungry, hoovering me inside, devouring me whole. I thought about force feeding him my cock, making him gag and beg for more, I thought about throwing him onto the toilet seat into a bundle of horny flesh and wolfing down on his ass and milking him vigorously. I thought about my cum dripping out of his ass, or drenching his sexy face, or hitting the back of his throat. But I didn't move, except from pushing myself deeper against him, and neither did he, except from wriggling to incite me to push even further and harder.
I let go of one of his wrists to feel his cock. His erection was throbbing, hard as brick. I thought I recognized that hardness, the aching hardness of an erection forcing its way up despite the trauma of hardcore sex a couple of hours before.
I could lose it right there, I knew, I could fucking lose it completely, and ram my cock inside his ass and pound him into exhaustion. But I didn't and neither did he take charge to make it happen, to make anything happen. We were both hard as fuck, but I had no idea what was going through his mind. For me, we were perhaps exactly where and how we should be. A toxic and overpowering attraction acknowledged. Pretense, propriety and scruples discarded. Possibilities unlocked.
I forced myself away, strenuously, and leaned against the opposite wall. He turned around and leaned against his. We were just feet away from each other, panting heavily, our eyes dazed, glassy, and locked into each other. Our erections still dueling proudly, throbbing forcefully as if trying to pull the other cock closer.
We didn't say anything. We stared. We panted.
I pulled my jeans up and waited for Dan to do the same before opening the door and getting out. I didn't look back but marched ahead, toward the main room, wondering how I could possibly go back to Liam, check whether the text I had heard receiving while in the bathroom was from Adrian, figure out what Jonah had been up to. On that last point, I was quickly told. I felt Jonah grab my arm as I was headed to the bar.
"What the fuck?" he asked, puzzled or angry.
"What... Oh, nothing. I just... Where have you been? Where is Dan?"
"I don't know."
"Do you mind if we just go? I can't stand this place."
"Sure, no problem. You alright?"
"Yes, of course," he answered, a little annoyed. "It's just too fucking hot in here. And loud. Can you find Dan? I'll wait for you guys outside."
"Okay. We'll meet you in a minute."
I looked for Dan, retracing my steps, a little stunned by the abrupt return to normalcy. I saw him talking to a young, ginger-haired guy.
"Sorry to interrupt," I said, feeling a little awkward. "Jonah wants to go. He's waiting for us outside. I don't know what you..."
"Just give me a second," Dan said and returned to the guy I heard him call Tom.
I took a few steps back, the only words I heard were Dan asking Tom something like "are you stalking me?" Dan's face didn't look angry, though. He talked to the young guy with a certain warmth, a certain softness in his face which I hadn't seen before. Big brotherly, almost.
A couple of minutes later, they hugged and Dan left him. He walked past and ahead of me and I could see he was upset, maybe even a little emotional. Again, not an expression I had seen before. I followed him, trying to catch up with his brisk pace. As he marched down the stairs, he stumbled and I instinctively reached for him, grabbing him by the shoulders and pulling him towards me, preventing his fall. "I got you", I whispered. I held him close and neither of us moved. "I got you," I repeated, not knowing why.
We stood immobile, but we were in the way. I released him and he walked slowly down the rest of the stairs. He stopped at the bottom and turned towards me.
"Listen," he said levelly, "I don't think I want to hang out with Jonah tonight. Just tell him goodbye from me. Or tell him you couldn't find me, I don't care. I'll text him later or something."
"Okay," I said, but didn't move.
He stared at me, a little inquisitive, then smiled. "Are you tired?" he asked.
I shrugged and looked away. "Do you want to walk around?" I asked. "Do you want to show me the beauty and secrets of Brisbane at night? The real Brisbane?"
"Sure," Dan chuckled, as I left to talk to Jonah, to tell him that I'd be taking a cab to Adrian's.
I'm not an asshole, I uncomfortably remembered texting earlier that day.
As I stood on Ann Street waiting for Nathan, I asked myself what I was doing. Introspection was rare for me, but for this guy I was making an exception: Jonah was enough of a head-trip, without dealing with this guy too. Added to which, there was clearly some unfinished business between them and getting caught up in that was not high on my list of priorities. And then there was Tom, who was slowly working his way up that same list...
"Sorted", Nathan announced to me as he came back, "shall we?"
We moved out of the anonymous mass of men crowding the entrance, and strode off in the opposite direction to the flow; away from the lights and delights of the Valley and back towards the deadened CBD. Nathan noticed this unusual choice, but clearly thought better of commenting on it. He was going to wait for me to speak, I knew it caught at my own game.
"So you got Liam's card?" I asked him. He laughed, just once, meanly.
"I wondered about that".
"About the card?"
"About whether you knew him".
"All of gay Brisbane knows him the good looking half, at least".
"Right so you don't know him, then?"
"Oh please this from the man who not ten minutes ago was rubbing his cock along my crack?"
That shut him up. We waited in silence at the traffic lights, and then crossed the road and turned left up towards the river. Nathan was looking around skeptically; having promised him the romantic Brisbane at night, I appeared to be leading him along a succession of main roads. The steel frame of the Story Bridge came into view, lit dramatically from below, and I heard him exhale beside me.
"Give it a minute", I told him, "it gets better".
We crossed the last slip road, and he could finally see the bridge it is night time glory: lit with what seemed like a network of over-sized fairy lights, thrusting out into the darkness over the river.
"Okay, I see it", Nathan relented.
As we turned the slight bend on the run-up to the bridge, the wind picked up as it always does. After the heat and humidity of the club, this was a welcome relief, and I ran ahead of him, spinning in the breeze. The air picked up the back of my open shirt, and lifted it around me. I could feel my skin react to the cold air, all of the tiny hairs across my chest and stomach lifting up, and my nipples hardening. I broke out into a smile despite myself, and slowed down to allow Nathan to catch me up.
"Slow down, Peter Pan", he said when he reached me. I poked my tongue out at him, and turned to walk forward, but before I could stride off, he reached out and grabbed my left nipple between his fingers and twisted it, hard. It felt electric, it felt expansive, it felt like I'd never been touched before, it felt like I'd never be this hard again. And then his hand fell, the feeling passed, and we were just two semi-strangers, walking across a bridge in the dark. The city lay to our right, garish and anonymous, reflected in the slow-moving waters of the river. We stopped, and leant with our hands on the guardrail, next to each other.
"It's prettier at night", Nathan said.
"That's what he said about you".
As I spoke, Nathan moved swiftly behind me, placed his hands on top of each of mine, and pressed down on my body with his mimicking our pose from the bathroom stall. He lent in to my body.
"Don't be a bitch", he whispered in my ear, and then bit down lightly on my earlobe. I felt his cock harden, and the second I moved backwards to take advantage of it, he had released me and began to walk away. There was only one of us playing games here. I caught up with him; his hands were in his pockets, he was slouched, looking forward.
"What was he like?", he demanded, still not looking at me.
"Who? Liam? I wouldn't know except by hearsay "
"Jonah, you fuck".
I didn't break my stride. We'd reached the south side of the bridge, and were both stomping the long slipway down off the highway.
"You've been dying to ask me that all night, haven't you? Ever since you got in the car, you've been thinking about how to ask, when to ask, what I'll say. Is that why we're here?"
"We're here because I asked you to show me Brisbane at night, and you've led me onto a highway that doesn't seem to fucking end."
"Woah there. You've got to take the good with the bad. Like with Jonah".
He span around to face me, and in a single motion placed his palm flat against the centre of my chest, pushing me back against the railing. For a split second I thought he might hit me. I was about to tell him that I'd been hit before, that being hit didn't scare me, when I realised that was the last thing in the world he wanted to do me. The tips of his fingers were playing lightly with the spare hair that nestled between my pecs, and his eyes were looking away from me, distracted. I pushed his hand off me, and we kept walking.
"I wouldn't know I didn't fuck him", I said to him, low but clear, as we finally got off the highway and cut down to the wharf at Thornton Street and the traffic noise finally receded.
"Fuck off. I saw you, you saw me".
"From memory you saw me with my fingers in him, not my dick".
"It was pretty clear to me where it was headed".
"Well it didn't go there. Honestly. I have absolutely no reason to lie about this".
He shook his head and looked away from me again. We'd reached the river, and I gestured to the left, along the Cliffs boardwalk. The stillness of the Queensland night was finally upon us, away from the wind, with the calm sound of the river lapping at its banks.
"Well that's not what I heard".
"What you heard was your friend struggling to take a third finger, begging for more, and then coming in spite of himself. As soon as he'd blown, the spell was broken. I'd licked up his load, and I wanted to share it with him but he pushed me away".
"That was a quick move".
"I thought... He was ecstatic. If I was ever going to push it, I thought it would be then. Anyway. I needed to win him back, so I put on a show for him. I stroked myself, abused my nips, fingered my hole I had four fingers up there by the time he was hard enough to go".
"He always did like a show".
"Who doesn't? So he fucked me. In that gross chair they've got in their room. He pinned me down, pulled me onto him. It was slow, so slow. I could tell it was blowing his mind, that his body was fighting him every inch, every back and forth".
"Average. It was average. I mean I came, so it can't have been all bad, but it wasn't spectacular, not like before".
We were standing on the cliffs, with Brisbane spread out before us like a postcard. It twinkled with promise. Trust me, it said, I won't let you down. Nathan waited for me to continue.
"He came buckets, he mustn't have realised. But he knew something was up; I had to have a shower right away, and I had never done that before. I think the mechanics of it all freaked him out, the fact that I had to push his cum out into the toilet, wipe myself up. You know gay stuff".
"You couldn't have waited?"
"Nope. I needed it to be done, right then. And why should I have waited, why shouldn't he see what really "
"I didn't suggest that".
Nathan put his hand on my upper arm, and I realised how worked up I must have sounded. I took a series of deep breaths, as we rounded the bend in the river down towards South Bank and crossed under the next bridge.
"I played it up, in the shower, we had fun he really gets off on my body, and you know he's a good looking guy and we made out a bit, too. He kisses like his life depends on it, have you ever noticed that?"
"I can't say I have".
"It's like... It's like he wants to consume you. I used to find it sexy. Tonight I just found it, kind of sad".
"And you told him".
"Not in so many words, but yeah. That's when you got in the car. He hadn't even told me that he'd called you. I was planning to drop him at the club."
"There's no way that would've worked".
"I know, I know. But... I needed out, and it seemed like a good option".
"Drop a straight guy in a gay club, and let the flies do the rest".
"Straight-ish. And pretty much".
"You're stone cold, Dan".
The way he said it made me stop and turn to him. Part wistful, part regretful, part admiring it was a heady cocktail. We both looked out across the river, where we could now see the other side of the CBD, with Coronation Drive strapped to it like a belt. It was his turn to speak.
"So you called the redhead?"
"The dude you were talking to. The one you accused of stalking you?"
"Oh, him! No, actually, that was a surprise. He's a student of mine".
"A student you're fucking?"
"A student I fucked once. While Jonah watched".
"And sick. Stone cold, and sick".
I smiled. That one was definitely a compliment. We had reached the bottom of South Bank, and were passing the series of open air pools on our left.
"I've always wanted to fuck in there", I declared, gesturing off.
"Why haven't you?"
"Because it's full of families, and I may be sick, but I'm not that sick".
"Right. What about at night?"
"What about now, you mean?"
"That's not what I said".
"Nah it's way too public. That's my problem exhibitionist tendencies running up against fear of arrest. Not even exhibitionist really; I just like being outside".
"I fucked a guy on his balcony the other day".
"You didn't! You move quick!" I looked over at him; he was staring up the hill behind the city, as if seeking out the exact location of his conquest.
"I did, yeah".
"You move quick".
"I know what I want, that's different".
"Oh this is the guy Jonah was giving you shit about...".
"The very same".
"Will you fuck him again?"
"Will you fuck Jonah again?"
We were approaching the Kurilpa Bridge, my favourite of the many bridges that would lead us back through the City to Jonah's house, where I would deposit Nathan and get on with my life. The bridge loomed before us like an imperfect child's toy, all metal and exposed wires. I motioned Nathan to take the ramp up onto the bridge.
"Actually, it was the best sex I've had in ages", Nathan declared, once we were on the bridge, "with Adrian".
"Balcony man? Why?"
"I don't know. I think because he just gave himself to me. I was his everything, in that moment, and that's not something you get from random hook-ups".
"It can be "
"At least, not in my experience".
"It feels like there's a but coming here".
"But he wants a boyfriend, not a fuckbuddy, and I'm not sure that's what I am".
"Oh come on, Nathan I've known you for all of an hour and I'm pretty sure you'd make a good go of it as a boyfriend".
"You're kind, but you don't know me".
"I think "
Without warning, he pushed me against the side of the bridge, and pulled my shirt down over my shoulders so that my arms were trapped behind me. With his foot, he kicked one leg out from under me so that I fell onto my knees, hard. Before I could lean forward with the unexpected pain, he'd shoved his clothed groin into my face, almost choking me. His voice lowered to a growl.
"You don't know. You have no idea how much it is taking to not tear open your pretty little face with my cock, to come in your eyes, in your hair, right now, and then leave you lying here on the concrete".
He released my head, and I sucked in air through my nose and mouth. He picked me up off the ground, righted me, pulled up my shirt, buttoned it back together again, and then lent down to lightly kiss my knee.
"But I won't. Because that's not who I am".
He turned and walked away across the bridge, continuing into the city. Watching his broad back disappear, blood pumping in my ears, my vision still slightly obscured, all I could see was Patrick, walking away from me for the last time. I shook my head, and walked slowly after him. I made no effort to walk quicker, knowing that he had no sense of where in the city he was once the bridge deposited him back into the grid of streets.
Sure enough, we met back at the lights waiting to cross George Street. We walked back through the heart of the city along Ann Street, and soon enough we were passing the club again, still with its crowd of anonymous men marking the entrance, but by now looking a little more desperate, a little less composed.
Nathan looked up at me, and nodded in acknowledgement. "Right", he said. "I think I know the way now, if you want to go".
"I'll walk you home it's okay. I'm nothing if not a gentleman".
Nathan snorted. "I won't argue that one". We turned together down James Street.
* * *
"Jonah's got a pool, right?" I asked him as we reached his street.
"Yeah it's 'round the back where my room is "
"Let's make good on that plan"
I saw hesitate and I snorted loudly, and turned to look him in the face.
"His room doesn't look that way. And as far as he's concerned, you've brought a boy home, surely he'll have nothing against that"
"But the noise."
"Oh relax, Nathan! I'm not asking you to fuck me until I scream. And even if I were.."
Before he could complain again, I reached through and opened the gate down the side of Jonah's house, dragging him through by the arm. He opened his mouth to say something and I put a finger across his lips, with a "Shhhhh!". I flicked off my thongs, and bounded down the passage beside Jonah's house. As I rounded the corner to the pool area at the back of the house, a sensor light came on and I squinted into its too-bright light.
I moved to shuck my shirt, but Nathan told me to stop, as he fiddled around in a box attached to the back of the house. The sensor light clicked off, and lights in the pool came on, throwing up a golden glow from the water. I looked over to Nathan, now standing mostly in the darkness, and he gestured to me to go ahead. Right then he wanted a show.
It certainly wasn't a show I was going to give him. I moved to stand over the back side of the pool, so its eerie light would show off my shape. I looked across the pool, and locked eyes with Nathan. One by one, I undid the buttons of my shirt; not rushing, still staring. When it hung open, I shrugged it off and it dropped at my feet. I ran my hands down across my body, starting on my chest, across my stomach, and then hooking my fingers over the waistband of my shorts, which came down in the same motion.
I didn't look away from Nathan's eyes as I stood there in just my briefs, having flicked my shorts to one side with my foot. I was wearing my favourite pair, one size too small and having seen better days, but nothing hugged my package quite as well especially when I was half-hard, as now. My interested but sceptical cock filled out the front pouch of the faded tie-dye print once a bold red and purple, now faded to a pink and blue mess. They had to come off. To his credit, Nathan looked only momentarily shocked when I pulled them down, and stood there naked, lit only by the light of the pool.
I jumped in, breaking the connection with him, and the release of tension was enough to make him laugh quietly. He moved over into the pool area. I loved swimming naked there was nothing better than the cool feeling of the water flowing over all of me to remind me that I did like my body. It wasn't the gym-perfect specimen that pre-dominated, it wasn't a hairless porn clichι, but it was a man's body and it did the fucking job. The water felt great streaming between my clipped chest hair, and trimmed pubes, and a warm feeling over pleasure washed over me. I pulled myself over to the side of the pool, and rested my forearms on the side.
"You going to come in?"
"I don't have a suit."
"I think I just showed you that won't be a problem..."
"But I'm not fuck it".
Nathan undressed in front of me. It would be wrong to say he undressed for me, because he wasn't offering me pleasure in the way I had tried to do for him; he was pulling off his clothes quickly and haphazardly, and as soon as he was done, he jumped in. I caught a glimpse of his body in flight, of the heft and thickness that I'd been admiring all night. The dusting of hair in which he was coated was a shade darker, and a degree thicker than mine, indicating a healthy dose of masculinity without overwhelming testosterone.
He paddled over toward me, and lent back to relax next to me in the shallow end. I avoided looking down at his cock, satisfying that urge by remembering its aching hardness earlier in the club. Nathan sighed, and relaxed his neck backwards until the back of his head was resting on the edge of the pool, and he was looking up into the clear Brisbane sky. I let him have his moment, and then splashed him with a short, sharp burst of water. He looked lazily over to me.
I wanted to ask him what he was thinking, but I knew him well enough by now to know that wasn't the way to find out. I mirrored his pose, and looked up at the night sky. With one hand, I idly swished around the water, creating a kind of current that flowed over both of our bodies.
"It's been a long time since I swam naked", he said, breaking the silence.
"When was the last time?"
"Before college, I guess. Just before college, actually".
"And Jonah was there, right?"
"What does that mean?"
"Nothing keep going"
"We'd snuck into a neighbour's place, near his parents', looking for somewhere cool to jerk off. We found this pool, and we swam in it".
"Before or after you jerked off?!"
"Before, you pervert. We did finish in the pool, though".
"Well let's hope he hasn't kept up the tradition..."
I looked around us with mock-awkwardness. There was something Jonah wasn't telling me about this story, but I didn't press him I'd noticed his cock hadn't shown any signs of life during his brief recounting of this memory. I could barely think about jerking off without popping a bone, but here he was as if he'd just read a children's story. I didn't press it, but I looked over at him.
Nathan looked gorgeous in the light of the pool. His skin was glowing; I could see one hard, pink nipple above the water line, and the square line of his jaw, sprinkled with stubble. The play of light and shadow made him look like a Bill Henson photograph: immensely desirable and immensely dangerous. He continued without needing prompting.
"I think I think it was when I realised I wanted to fuck him. I knew I loved him, but that day...that day I wanted to fuck him".
"You'd fooled around before?"
"Of course for years. But this...this was different. I watched him dive into the pool, watched how his back gave way into his ass, and I was done".
"How did he feel?"
"I don't know. I've never asked".
"Because you didn't want to know?"
"Because I was protecting myself, I think".
"Or both. I dunno. It was a long time ago".
It was my turn to sigh and lean backwards.
"So. Is that what I'm about?"
He shook his head, but waited a moment before he spoke.
"I don't think it's that simple. I was worried, but it's more than that".
"I guess I'm glad?"
"I'm definitely glad".
We both sat there, staring upwards. This time it was me who broke the silence that had settled between us.
"Look at us, talking about Jonah again".
"He'd be so proud".
I set off for a lap around the pool, slowly dragging my body across the water trying not to disturb the water too much, offering Nathan a glimpse of my body as I moved about. I did a turn through the water, and came back towards him. I treaded water in front of him, and then lent forward and put my one hand on each of his thighs. I kept the rest of my body suspended above him, though I felt my cock harden at the contact with his muscular legs. I shifted slightly towards him, with only my shoulders and heads above the water.
"So are we going to kiss or not?" I asked.
"I don't think we are no."
Nathan reached up, and hooked his hands under my armpits; dragging my body towards his. I was unsure of what he was doing, but he twisted me around in the water and pulled my body towards his. He settled me between his legs, my back pressed into his chest, his arms wrapped around me.
"Just sit with me, Dan".
One of his hands had cupped my pec, and the other was resting on my stomach, starting to make a soft, subtle rubbing motion on my skin. I felt myself melt into his body, my head resting back on his collarbone. Nathan adjusted his grip so he was enveloping me completely, and settled his head so he was breathing onto my neck. I felt my breathing slow down to a pleasant regularity.
It should've been erotic, and it was but almost too much so; it was as if we'd transcended such petty concerns. I could feel his erection against my back, and I was dimly aware that I was myself hard, but neither of us made any move to engage sexually. Quite the opposite: he brought his head down so that his nose was buried in my hair, and gripped me tighter.
As the night slowly turned to morning we sat there, gripping each other tightly, silently staring up into the sky.
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