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Writer's Block



***** Ben *****

At thirty-one, I was facing a minor crisis. I had writers block; that might not sound like much to you, but since my living was dependant on my freelance art and writing, it was damn important to me. Of course, the stress of a recent divorce and finally having to move because our house had sold wasn't helping. I was alone, soon to be homeless, and my self-confidence was shot to hell. Ok, maybe it wasn't so minor a crisis.

Thank God for my internet friends; specifically, my fellow writers. They'd supported me through the transition from main stream writing to erotic writing and encouraged me to let my non-traditional sexual fantasies become a part of my works. I'd been published as a mainstream romance author as well as having published in a few erotic compilations by the time I was thirty. I was a regular author for several porn magazines and did art for a few mainstream comic books; don't ask me which ones. I'd even managed to put together an online erotic-comic, which I updated weekly, that brought in a little bit of money. I suppose it was the erotic-shift in my writing that truly spelled the demise of my marriage.

Of course, I'd never had a very good track record with relationships. I'd had girlfriends in high school and enjoyed the sex and attention, but I was ambitious and wasn't going to be anchored by a school girl. A real relationship would have to wait. I met John in college. Before him I hadn't even been aware of my attraction to men. John was every gay and bisexual man's wet dream. He was tall, blond, built and confident. He had my number before I realized I had a phone. He seduced me during our first semester as roommates in my sophomore year, and kept me well sexed for the next two years. I'd mistaken easy sex and lust for love; John had no interest in a long term relationship or even a boyfriend. I was good looking, available and an easy lay. I was also na´ve enough to believe he loved me.

Grace had come into my life shortly after John had moved on. She picked up the pieces and nurtured me back to some semblance of a human being. Grace had seen potential in me and believed in my talents. She knew about my two year affair with John and she didn't care. I fell in love; she fell in love with the idea of being married to a talented artist and writer. I also fit the bill physically; I was tall, dark and handsome. The reality of my creative processes, temper and bouts of isolation while I "created", had not been what she was looking for. Grace was ambitious, talented and moved up quickly in the corporate world. By the time we'd been married about five years, she was one of the hottest female-executives in her field. Money wasn't an issue so I was left to my writing and art. All I had to do was be there when she got home, pay her some attention, and look good on her arm. I was, for the most part, a trophy husband.

Our sexual life, which had been incredible at the start, declined over the years 'til it was basically nonexistent. That was when I'd started writing romance and erotica. I needed the release, even if it was only through the keyboard. Grace hadn't been pleased. It was one thing to introduce your husband, the artist who did book covers and wrote mainstream fiction; it was quite another thing to introduce your husband who illustrated pornographic comics and wrote erotica, even a smattering of gay erotica. I became an incompatible facet of her life. I was a piece that no longer fit.

She kept me around 'til she'd found a better piece for the puzzle of her life. She simply came home one day and told me that she had filed for a divorce. I'd been totally blind sided. The one thing I will give her, however, was she wasn't malicious. She knew she was the bread winner of the family; she knew it was her choice, not mine, to separate. We chose to sell the house. It was more than I could afford to keep, and she had accepted a job in another city and would be moving. Her new puzzle piece would be going with her. So I was left with a monthly stipend to cover household expenses, no wife, and a growing sense of unease.

Put simply, my muse decided it was time to take a vacation. I'd always kept ahead of my projects, so the loss of my muse was not an immediate problem. I had enough plotted out in my comics and finished stories to last six months. After that, I was dead in the water. I hoped to hell I'd figure out something before then.

Four months after Grace left, the house sold. I had thirty days to move out. Honestly, I had no idea what I wanted to do or where I wanted to live. That was where my internet friends came to the rescue. They pointed out that I didn't need to be rooted to one spot, because with the internet and professional mail box services, I could work from just about anywhere. Several of them invited me to come out to visit. I knew that more than a couple of them were hoping we would hit it off. I suppose I should mention that I'd kept my college-boy body; actually, I'd improved upon it over the years. Being able to stay home, create and work out as a regular routine had been a blessing.

So I put most of my belongings into long term storage, transferred my files and software to the latest high-end laptop, and hit the road. I spent two-to-four weeks at a time with each of my friends. Yeah, I ended up sleeping with almost all of them, men and women alike. It really boosted my self confidence, and I had some really good sex. I even had my muse drop by often enough to let me pound out a few shorts that helped keep my bank accounts solvent. Not that they were dwindling. The sale of the house had flushed me out and I had more than enough, living with friends and helping with expenses, to go on like I was for a long time.

I finally made it to the west coast and met up with probably the sweetest guy I'd known from our writing groups. Tim was a shy guy who wrote the most beautiful gay romances. He was, as yet, unpublished, but that was due more to his lack of self confidence than lack of talent. I'd known he was a big guy before I arrived, but "big" wasn't a fair description. At six-foot-four and over 350 lbs, Tim was a mountain of a man. I'd like to say he was a tower of muscle, but I wasn't living in a porn fantasy. I'd, honestly, been the closest in physique and looks to the standard erotic gay character than any of the guys I'd enjoyed on the road. What I was immediately aware of was that Tim had lost a lot of weight.

When we'd first started talking Tim had been topping the scales at nearly 500 lbs. His weight had been a major health concern as he'd crossed the thirty year mark and if he didn't get control of his life he'd be in real trouble. Apparently, the intervening three years had really been a struggle, but at 33 he was over a hundred pounds lighter and doing a lot better. He said his friendships online had helped him; that was flattering but I knew he was the one who'd done the hard work.

Tim was exactly what I'd expected. He was a shy, friendly guy who was deeply caring and had a big heart. I knew he was gay, that he'd had one disastrous relationship before we'd met online, and had had a few sexual encounters in the last couple years. He had a two bedroom apartment, but one room was primarily a den-office-library and the other was the master bedroom. We'd already discussed the issue of sleeping arrangements. Unless we found we didn't click as well face-to-face as we had online, I'd just sleep in the king size with him. Though we'd teased about the possibilities of hot sex, we both knew that we would probably just cuddle for companionship. We shared a love of cuddling. I admit that there was no particular "spark" when he gave me a hug and helped me bring in my bags. We were buds, and that was a relief.

Tim smiled at me as I came back to the kitchen after I had my stuff situated. "I took a couple days off to show you around and get you familiar with the area. Oh..." he pulled out a key and set it on the counter, "here's an apartment key."

"Thanks." He had the sweetest face. It was almost like he was a giant size cherubim; he looked so much younger than I did, even with his size. I couldn't help smiling. "What's for dinner?" I knew he'd studied under a chef for a while, which was why so many of his stories had some great meal or food in them.

He grinned. "Something basic."

Something basic turned out to be appetizers, a main course, and a killer "chocolate thing of death" that had some French name I couldn't pronounce for desert. Suffice to say, I was stuffed. "How the hell did you lose so much weight eating like this?"

Tim blushed. "I don't normally make fancy stuff for myself."

I laughed and patted my overstuffed belly. "Well, don't start doing it on my account. You don't even have a weight set here; I've got to keep my figure. I don't plan to stay single forever." A few months ago I'd have choked if someone asked me about the single life. After several friends had made it clear I was more than attractive enough to inspire lustful desires I was more confident that I'd be able to get my man, or woman, when the time came. I was going to leave the options open.

Smiling, Tim started picking up the plates. "Actually, the apartment complex has a small gym in the club house."

I raised an eyebrow. "Club house?" Waving him away from the dishes, I stood up and felt like my belt was going to pop. "Get away from those; you cooked, I clean."

Tim watched me do the dishes. It was really sweet to see him smile; he had this boyish grin that made you want to hug him. Ok, so at 350 pounds he probably could have broken me in two, but something about him was just said "gentle". When I was done, he walked to the front door, opened it, and pointed across the parking lot. "See the pool?"

I grinned and dropped my voice to a grunting tone. "Yes, Ben sees pool."

Tim smirked. "Asshole."

Chuckling, I rubbed my butt. "Don't remind me; Kevin made certain I knew exactly what it was for before I left. I squirmed in my seat for the first day in the car on the way here."

I swear he blushed, but he looked back out and pointed. "Well, that building beside the pool is the club house."

I laughed. "You're kidding! I thought that was just a shower and utility building."

Tim rolled his eyes. "Sorry, 'Mr. Country Club', but the rest of us don't live in mansions." He caught my reaction even before I'd even really realized it'd hurt. "Oh, shit Ben; I'm sorry."

Why the fuck did it still hurt? He'd only made an off-handed remark, it hadn't even been hurtful, but it felt like I'd been kicked in the gut. I actually had to go sit down. Tim came over to the couch and sat down beside me. I realized that I hadn't even cried since Grace left. I'd originally been shocked and dismayed; then I had been angry. I hadn't actually grieved. I found myself in the biggest, gentlest hug as I cried. "I loved her so much..." Yeah, I had loved Grace, but if I'd been honest I would have said I'd grown to love my life with her and not specifically her as my partner. It didn't make the loss any less painful. I hadn't broken down with the other guys; it probably had something to do with the sexual tension I felt with each of them. Tim was safe, and I let go.

***** Tim *****

I couldn't believe Ben was actually coming to visit. I felt like a kid whose pen pal was coming to stay for the summer. We'd known each other over the internet and through our stories for years. Ben had been a flirt from the start, but he had made it clear it was all "in fun" so I never felt played or led on. Ben wasn't that kind of guy, and I wasn't the kind of guy someone like Ben would go after. Sure, we'd joked about my pinning him to the floor and making him worship his "mountain of love" and we'd done the usual banter of sexual nonsense; that was all it was, nonsense.

I'd hurt for him when I heard about his marriage; he'd been so shocked. Sure, he'd bitched about the fact that he was in a marriage with practically no sex; but it had sounded like he'd genuinely loved his wife and his life. He'd left his old life behind and was well into the "slut phase" of recovery. I'd had other friends go through it, men and women, who had divorced and then went wild with the need for sexual contact.

I'd been there myself; not the divorce part, I'd always been gay and knew it, but I'd lived through my slut period. Yeah, even a five-hundred pound giant can get down and dirty. I wasn't exactly the most sought after stud on the block, but I'd gotten my share. I'd gotten my share of dick at least; I'd never gotten any ass. Either the sheer size of my bulk, or the fact that I'm not particularly long and fairly thick, kept my partners from ever offering to bottom. Hell, Ben even joked in his emails after he'd hit the road that he was using me as a role model on how to get past a breakup. I wasn't sure I was the best role model there; it took me forever to get over a guy if I was stupid enough to fall for him.

When Ben's car pulled up, I prayed he'd finished his slut phase. We'd joked so much about the hot, sweaty, passionate sex we'd have if we ever hooked up that I was nervous that he'd actually try to follow through. He certainly had followed through with nearly everyone else on his way out, male and female. More than a couple of them had spoken quite candidly about his visit on the message boards. I could only imagine how many new stories he'd inspired on his way across the country.

I almost started boning when he got out of his car. It wasn't fair. He was a couple years younger than me and if it hadn't been for his goatee he'd have looked about twenty-two. Snug, faded jeans hugged his round ass as he reached into the back seat and pulled out a suitcase and computer bag. Just like any writer he kept his computer close by. Of course, not any writer had his arms; nor did any writer's chest stretch a white wife-beater like his did. I'd seen his photos and even seen him on web cam more than a few times. I knew what he looked like, but it was very different to see him in the flesh. I pushed aside my sudden interest in how his muscles moved as he carried his bags up the steps. He was a friend, not a fuck; I'd have to be sure he knew that. The last thing Ben needed as some big-fat-queen fawning all over him.

I don't know how I managed to keep from stumbling over myself trying to make him feel comfortable. I was also glad that there hadn't been that uncomfortable sexual charge that can screw up friendships. Sure, he was prime jack-off material, but Ben was just so real and open that I was able to concentrate on the man who was my friend and began to get past the idea he was also one of the hottest hunks who'd ever come through my door. If he'd been about six inches taller and a little less physically perfect, I'd have been all over him. I love hairy, muscular guys. Fortunately, Ben was less than six foot tall, which put him outside of my fantasy-lust size range.

I felt like shit when I spit out the "country club" comment. I could just watch him crumbling and there was nothing I could do. Ben was one of my friends, probably one of my best friends at that point. He'd seen me through some rough times, even though it'd always been long distance. I could never stand still when a friend was hurting. After he sat down, I pulled Ben to me and held him while he cried. I knew from his stories that he really was a big hearted guy, but to look at him made you think of him as the untouchable stud. He hurt just like the rest of us, even if he looked like someone who couldn't.

He told me how scared he was of the future, how alone he felt and how blocked he'd been feeling in his art and writing. I knew how all that felt; I had those problems constantly. It was just hard to watch a guy, who seemed to have everything, break down like that. The hardest part of it was when he finally slipped off to sleep against me. He made soft little whimper noises and held on; it was sort of like a lost puppy having a bad dream. I think that he melted my heart right there; I was a sucker for guys who could let down their guard and be vulnerable.

***** Ben *****

I woke up later, cuddled up against Tim on the couch. I felt guilty; he'd have a real back ache in the morning. At least he didn't have to go to work. I slid off the couch, relieved myself, and made a cup of coffee. Sitting back down, I sipped my coffee as I watched Tim sleep. He had the funniest little snuffle-snore; I had to stop myself from laughing a few times. I thought about my travels to visit friends; to be honest, part of it had been for sex without hitting on strangers, and it had been an attempt to validate myself. That was why I'd put Tim off 'til later; I knew I'd go through a slut period and I didn't want to hurt him. I knew Tim found me attractive, he'd said so numerous times, and the last thing I'd wanted to do was lead him on. He'd had guys do that before; I didn't want to be one of them.

I sat there, watching him while he slept, and an idea came to me. I spent the next half hour sketching furiously, thinking about plot points, and roughing out a larger plot thread for my comic than I'd had in months. After one particularly creative snort-snuffle-snore-burble, I couldn't stop myself from laughing. It was just so cute. Tim shuddered awake, looking adorably disoriented, while I tried not to laugh at him. I controlled my grin, "Good Morning."

Tim groaned a little as he realized his neck was probably broken, or at least felt that way. "What time is it?"

"Two-twenty. We fell asleep on the couch."

He blinked a little of the sleepiness from his eyes and he gave me a concerned smile. "You ok?"

Nodding, I smiled. "Yeah, thanks Tim. I'm sorry I broke down on you like that."

"It's ok." Tim looked about like a bear that'd just been roused from hibernation. Thank God he was a friendly bear; someone that big with bad attitude would have been scary.

"Get some sleep, Tim." I pointed him toward the bedroom.

The gravity of the bed called to him like an irresistible force, but he did pause and mumble, "Aren't you coming?"

I don't know why, but I pushed up on my tiptoes and gave him a quick kiss. It was chaste, but sincere. "Save me a corner; I'm going to finish my coffee and talk some more to my muse."

He mumbled something like "ok" and shuffled off to bed. I made a note: don't wake the Tim-bear from hibernation and expect him to function intelligently. I sat back down and thought about my life while I sipped my coffee. I could feel the itch to create coming back. No, it was almost like a switch had been thrown and my muse had walked in and called out, "I'm back!" I simply had to express it and get my life back on track. I finally crawled into bed about four in the morning.

I woke up to the heavenly smell of bacon. I loved bacon; no, I lusted, salivated and would kill for bacon. Good, thick cut, pork simmered in the skillet or broiled. Put it with a couple eggs and some Texas potatoes, and I was one very happy boo-bear. I stumbled out of the bedroom being dragged by my nose. It didn't occur to me that I don't wear anything to bed.

Tim looked up to greet me and he stopped. I really didn't pay much attention at first; I stretched and tried to get some awareness back. "Morning," I yawned, scratching at my belly as I approached the coffee pot.

Tim recovered and turned around to keep the bacon from burning. "Morning."

I came over and gave him a quick hug before looking lustfully down at the crisping strips of life. "Looks good."

He chuckled. "You're a brave man."

I still wasn't functioning on all cylinders yet. "Huh?"

Pointing with his fork, he grinned. "Not that I mind having a naked hunk in my kitchen, but bacon grease leaves nasty burns."

I grinned. "Oh." Snatching one of the strips that were draining on the plate, I shuffled out of the kitchen while I chewed "I'll put on some protection."

***** Tim *****

I'd totally forgotten the fact that Ben was used to wandering around in the nude. It had been hard enough, literally, to wake up with him naked and sporting. I'd just lain there, looking at him. He was sprawled out on his side of the bed with the sheets kicked off and tangled around his legs. Ben had long hair and it had only gotten longer over the time since his divorce. I supposed a lot of people would have called Ben a "baby bear". He was just the right combination of thick, soft fur and lean, strong muscle. I got out of bed before I dripped through my briefs. The last thing I wanted to do was to embarrass myself or make Ben uncomfortable by my being aroused.

Of course, Ben probably had no idea what it was like for a lonely gay guy to have a hot, naked hunk wandering around his kitchen. It was obvious he was completely oblivious to the situation. At least he didn't walk about with a hard-on waving in the air; that'd have been too much. My gaze followed his hand as he scratched himself absently. I was almost drooling. I snapped my eyes off of him as he got his coffee. He'd turned his back and I'd gotten full view of his round, muscular ass. I was plumping up just thinking about what it'd feel like in my hands. Stop it Tim, you're just going to embarrass yourself and get hurt, I chastised myself silently as I kept my eyes riveted on the pan.

Ben hadn't lied about being a tactile guy. He just came up and hugged me; there was nothing sexual about it, if you ignored the fact that a dick I'd seen fully up beyond seven inches not an hour before was softly pressing against my leg.

I tried to laugh off the fact that I had a naked man pressed against me. "You're a brave man."

"Huh?" He looked confused; damn he was cute when he wasn't quite awake. The lack of complete awareness left his face a bit softer and friendlier. His normally alert expression was a bit too hawk-like to be comfortable at times.

Sexual innuendo was lost on him so I pointed with my fork and grinned. "Not that I mind having a naked hunk in my kitchen, but bacon grease leaves nasty burns."

He grinned back; I swear he blushed. "Oh." Snatching one of the strips I had draining, he shuffled out of the kitchen chewing on the pork. "I'll put on some protection."

If he kept that up, I'd be insane by the time his month was up. The situation did, however, inspire an interesting story idea that I pounded out in record time.

***** Ben *****

Thank God that Tim didn't keep feeding me like he did the first couple days. Not that the quality of the food went down when I started cooking, but Tim had a job and I was "at home". I was so practiced at being "house husband" that it came automatically when I stayed with someone. If Tim minded, he certainly didn't indicate it. I had his lunches for him before he left, and had food ready for when he got home. He worked for a telecommunications company, so his hours fluctuated depending on the "load". Being a technician "on call" was something else. My first week there I was awakened twice by late night or early morning calls for Tim. No wonder he'd had to fight so hard to lose weight; he couldn't maintain a regular schedule.

I'd brought my WYFI router with me, so I was able to work on my writing anywhere in the apartment. Actually, I had a hotspot account so I would go into town and sit at Starbucks while I wrote. I was even able to meet with Tim occasionally for lunch or dinner. I found myself writing or drawing almost constantly. Whenever I thought the muse had taken a break, Tim would say or do something that would unleash another avalanche of ideas. If I wasn't so happy, I'd have gone nuts.

The domestic aspect of life was even more pleasant than the frequent visits by my muse. We had dinner at home when his schedule allowed, and then listened to music or watched something while crashed on the couch. More often than not I would end up with my head on his lap or drowsing against his side while he'd pet my hair absently. It was just so damn comfortable.

"So, what are you plans after your stop here?" Tim was grinning at me over his lunch.

I laughed. "Mr. 'Social Butterfly' will be heading for San Francisco to work with Ken."

Tim's eyes twinkled. "Ken? Hunky, 'I look like my characters', Ken?"

"Yeah, Mr. 'I conquered Castro' himself."

"You lucky shit; you didn't tell me!" Tim glared at me in mock offense.

"I wasn't sure 'til a couple days ago. He had a project that looked like it might overrun. He confirmed the other night that we're a go." I was looking forward to finally meeting Ken face to face. I was pretty close to the physical attractiveness of my characters, but Ken was just plain hot. From the tales he'd told, it wasn't all looks either.

Tim smiled whimsically. "I wonder if he'd be interested in a 'mountain of love'."

Laughing, I sipped my cola. "Sorry to burst your bubble, Tim, but Ken likes twinks. I'd have to be in rare form to get him to sniff my way." Actually, I knew he liked muscular hunks too, but his normal man-meal was a twinkie.

***** Tim *****

I was happy for Ben, I really was. Kenneth Akio Thomas was one of the hottest illustrators of male erotica on the west coast. He did some big name comics, but his claim to fame was his sexy and sensual male art that was infused with just the right amount of humor. Like, Ben, he had his own pay-subscription online comic. Their art styles were totally different, but I could see Ken doing an incredible job illustrating one of Ben's stories. Ken was one of my friends online also. I'd even met him once when he came up to Seattle for a convention; he really was as hot as his drawings.

A part of me was also jealous as hell. I was spending my evenings with a guy who could inspire an unlimited number of erotic stories, and he was looking forward to leaving. Not that he acted like he was in any hurry to leave, but it still hurt to know that he would be happy when he continued on. I had tried so hard not to get attached, but it was like asking a thirsty horse not to drink from the water that was right there at his feet. I didn't even think about it as a sexual thing; ok, I did think about Ben sexually, but it was just having him there that was what I'd miss. The apartment felt like "home" when he was there. He didn't need to be at the apartment for me to jack off fantasizing about him. I'd done that before he'd arrived and I'd be doing it after he left.

It was the fact that he just stepped in and started taking care of the little things that made it so hard to accept he was leaving. I think it was the little things he did that hooked me worse than his looks. I'd had no illusions about hunks; they were never interested in big guys like me. What I wasn't prepared for was all the little touches he added to my days. I practically cried at the end of the first week when I found a little drawing in the stuff he'd given me for lunch. It had been a particularly rough few days, and I was stressing bad. The drawing was a corny caricature of Ben looking all buff, and falling off a pedestal with his arms waving. The caption had read, "Nobody's perfect, just be sure to look good when things aren't going quite right." I kept the stupid thing attached to my monitor.

Nothing he ever did indicated he thought about me as anything but a very good friend. He was just a sweet guy who did little things to make you feel special. The problem was that few people had ever gone to the effort to make me feel special; I wasn't used to it and the sweet little things just kept building up like kindling 'til I realized one evening, petting his hair as he nodded off against me, that I'd left too much combustible material near my heart. Just the spark from petting him was enough to set it burning. I'd fallen, and fallen hard, and there was no place for me to go but down. It was going to hurt like hell when I hit bottom.

We had a "date" on Friday to go to the movies. I knew I'd never survive it without making a complete fool of myself. It'd been a hard week and my nerves were shot. I sent out an emergency email to Max. I needed someone to straighten me out; Max could always do that. He got back to me after lunch; he had time in the evening, but he was going out of town Saturday so it was the best he could do.

I hated lying to Ben. I suppose it wasn't a lie; I really wasn't feeling up for the movie. Convincing him to go without me had been hard. He'd wanted to just hang. I couldn't talk about Ben with Max if Ben was there. He finally got the hint that I needed some time for myself; I felt like I'd kicked a puppy, but he didn't guilt me about it and left with a disappointed smile.

Max was as good as his word. He listened as I told him the thousand reasons why I was being an idiot, and the million reasons why I'd fallen for Ben. Max, being the horn-dog that he was, offered to take Ben off my hands when he saw a picture of him. That earned him a laugh and a death-threat. I'd wound down over the whole thing and was just laying on the couch, eyes closed, trying to sort out what I felt, and process Max's advice. Max had always been a pretty good cuddler; just the feel of him against me was reassuring. I felt him slide up my side and I wrapped an arm around him as he kissed me lightly.

"You need to get over this inferiority thing, Tim. You're already going to be lost when he goes, take a chance, it couldn't get any worse."

I was about to answer when I heard the lock turn in the front door. It was way too early for Ben to be back from the movies. Max was jerking back from me when Ben stepped in and froze at the door. The look on his face was like someone had just hit him with a bucket of cold water. I had no idea what to do.

***** Ben *****

I hadn't realized I'd wanted Tim to make a move on me 'til about three weeks into my stay. I was only staying the month, and then I was heading down to San Francisco to do some collaborative work with Ken. Ken really wanted to do one of my stories as a graphic novel. We'd done the preliminaries over the internet, but we thought it would be a good thing to spend time concentrating on the book. He'd scheduled himself to have nearly a month clear of projects so we could work together.

Tim had said he wasn't feeling up to a movie, but wanted me to go out anyway. I was kind of disappointed, but he'd had a rough week and he probably wanted some time to himself. I never actually got to the movies; I stopped for a bite along the way and just ended up sitting in a coffee shop after my meal and thinking. I was doing that a lot lately. I realized that was how I used to function; I used to just sit around, thinking, and then inspiration would strike.

Inspiration struck, and I went back to the apartment to get it down. I hadn't been prepared for what I'd walk in to. I recognized the guy who was trying to get away from Tim as if he was a hot plate. I'd seen his image a couple years before; he'd been one of Tim's fuck buddies during his coming-out, slut period. If Tim had wanted some time for sex, he could have asked. It took me a moment to realize my shock was more than that; if he'd wanted sex, why hadn't he asked me? Hell, I'd been leaving myself available from almost the moment I arrived. I didn't push it, but I was never shy about clothes or cuddling. I also knew Tim appreciated the view; I'd caught him admiring me more than a couple times.

"You must be Ben." Max looked really uncomfortable that I was there.

"You must be Max." I don't think my voice could have gotten colder if I'd swallowed Freon.

Tim was off the couch, looking a bit sweaty and embarrassed. "I thought you were going to the movies?"

"Yeah, I never got there. I had a story idea; so I came back to get it down." Something about Tim's eyes looked guilty or ashamed. It was like a kid with his hand in the cookie jar, but he never got his cookie.

Max grunted, "Yeah, I bet." He didn't like my tone I guess; tough, I didn't like the fact that he had been the preferred date for the evening. Our lack of admiration was mutual. He got his coat, told Tim he'd call, and left.

I shrugged as the door closed. "Sorry. If you'd wanted the time, Tim, you could have told me."

Tim didn't really answer me. "I need a shower." He stopped when I asked if he'd had dinner. "No, not really."

"I'll make some."

"You don't have to Ben." He looked even more uncomfortable and that pissed me off. I could understand him being embarrassed to be caught, but we'd never been uncomfortable about sex before.

"Just take your shower, Tim." It came out a lot harsher than I intended. What I'd really wanted to ask wasn't why he didn't "tell" me, but why it hadn't "been" me. I didn't; that would have been petty and pathetic. "It'll be ready by the time you're done." Conversation was minimal that night and we ended up sleeping further apart on the bed than we had the night before.

I still woke up to find myself cuddled up in Tim's embrace. I realized it felt more than comfortable; it felt right. I was a hairy guy, not total bear, but my chest, belly, arms, legs and ass were fairly well furred. In the gay community, I could have been classified as a "wolf". Tim was a bear without the fur. He wasn't totally hairless, but I had more hair on my belly than I think he had on his whole torso. I liked the feel of all that soft, smooth skin against me. That was the first time I'd gotten hard being held by Tim.

Instead of enjoying it, I got even angrier. I may not have been as big as "Max", but I was a damn sight better looking and I was there. Tim wasn't in a relationship with the guy; they were ex-fuck buddies. I rolled out of bed and went for a run to work off the steam I didn't want to admit it, but it was more than my ego that was hurt. I really did want Tim to want me that way. When I got back, Tim was making breakfast. We mumbled our "good mornings" as I headed for the shower.

I thought about what Tim and Max would have been doing if I'd actually gone to the moves. I wondered if Tim was loud or quiet and if he'd role play. I didn't realize I was jacking off 'til I blew my wad while thinking about what I'd have done if I'd been in room. That was when I realized I'd fucked up. I'd always known Tim was someone I had a deeper connection with than other people; even through the internet we'd just clicked. I was leaving in a week, and I was falling in love with him. I sank against the tiles and let the water run over me as I wondered how I'd gotten so screwed up.

***** Tim *****

How do you tell a guy you've fallen in love with that what he saw wasn't what it looked like? The rest of the evening was like sitting on pin-cushions. I was waiting for the hammer to fall, but it never did. We went to bed at the far sides of the mattress. We normally talked a bit before really concentrating on sleep, but not that time. Ben's sleep was restless and kept waking me. He seemed agitated or having bad dreams. He'd had them a few times during his visit. Each time he'd calmed when I'd snuggle up.

Snuggling up wasn't the best idea, but I wasn't going to get any sleep otherwise. I rolled to my side and wrapped my arm over Ben. He almost immediately stopped moving about and after a short time it felt like he'd melted into me. I realized I had tears in my eyes. When he was asleep, he accepted the affection I couldn't show him at other times. I'd always tried never to do anything when we were in bed, but I was aching. I let my hand roam over his chest. It felt so nice to touch him. I didn't realize how far I'd gotten 'til my palm got sticky. He was hard and dripping under my touch. I pulled my hand back. If he'd been awake I wouldn't have stopped, but he wasn't. I was trembling; he'd gotten hard while I'd been touching him. I finally just pulled him tighter to me and kissed his neck lightly. I wouldn't do it, but I wanted to wake him up, take him in my mouth and show him how badly I wanted him. Instead, I went to sleep with slimy briefs and conflicted dreams.

I woke up to find my arms empty. He wasn't even in the apartment. If it hadn't been for the fact all his clothes were still about, I'd have panicked that he'd left. His running shoes were gone; I guessed he had gone out for an early run. I was treated to a hot, sweaty, shirtless Ben as he came back in. I wanted him even worse and it felt like my tongue was two sizes too big for my mouth. He didn't even look at me, but he mumbled a "good morning" as he went for his shower.

I had no way of interpreting how Ben was behaving. He acted as if I'd cheated on him, which was ridiculous; we hadn't even kissed, and we certainly weren't in a relationship. That didn't make the situation any easier. The weekend was tense and I had a headache almost the whole time. I refused to let his last week with me be a bad one; I swallowed my feelings and treated him as sweetly and cheerfully as I could. It was killing me. Even so, we were on eggshells with each other for the rest of the week. We'd crossed a boundary neither of us knew was there and now we weren't comfortable anymore. He was going to be leaving that Saturday, and then it would be over. I knew I'd be devastated, but at least nothing had happened. It'd have been worse if I'd been one of the guys he'd slept with for fun on the way out.

We went out to dinner Friday night and he thanked me for my hospitality. I smiled and asked for an autographed copy of the graphic novel when it came out. I wished I had the guts to ask him to stay. There was something there, I knew it, but he didn't seem willing to acknowledge it.

***** Ben *****

We didn't get back in 'til late. I think we were both more tired emotionally than anything else. Whenever I looked at him, he had a soft smile on his face, but every once in a while I swore I saw something else in his eyes. Maybe I was fooling myself, but I had to know. It wasn't the fact that I hadn't gotten laid in a month; I wanted to know what it'd be like to be with him just once.

He was pulling off his sweater when I decided to go for broke. I wrapped my arms around him from behind and pressed my cheek against his back. "You know you're an incredible guy, right?"

He made a noncommittal sound and moved away to sit down so he could undo his shoes. "Thanks, Ben."

He wasn't getting it. I kicked off my shoes, pulled off my shirt and waiting 'til he had his shoes off. He looked stunned when I crouched down, hooked my hands behind his head and kissed him. Either he really didn't want it, or I'd just scared him into inaction. I pulled back. "Do you want me to stop?"

His voice squeaked before he was able to answer. "No."

"Then start responding," I added softly before leaning in and trying the kiss again. This time he did respond. His hands massaged my back and he moaned as I pressed him back against the bed. I'd never been with a "big" guy before; the logistics were new.

I was kind of sprawled on top of him, stretched out over his torso, while we kissed. Tim was actually a very good kisser. He held me to him by gripping my ass. I loved having my ass held; I loved being rimmed, fingered and fucked. I realized there was something I could do with Tim that no one else had; I could bottom for him. He'd lamented the fact that all his partners had been "tops" and he wished he could find a guy who gave and received.

I got off him, stripped out of my pants and briefs, and then went for his belt. He wasn't very long, but he was really thick. He had a bulbous head that looked like it would split me in two. I didn't care; I wanted him in me. He'd jokingly told me where the protection was early in my stay. I wasn't joking when I got it out.

Tim wasn't passive once I got back into the bed. His restraints were slipping and he began to get into it. He'd always loved my chest, and he got right down to chewing and licking at my nipples. Pressing me back on the bed, he proceeded to feast on my body. When a 350 pound man decides you're dinner, you're dinner. I just let him have at it. Tim had a talented, hungry mouth. He got to my cock and just went to town. I'm not the largest meat in the market, but I hold my own. He made sure I didn't hold anything; in addition to his talented mouth work, he got a couple fingers up me before I even realized it. I suppose the jacking off in the shower to thoughts of him all week, and the dreams I had had, put me further on edge than I'd thought; I blew in no time. He kept licking me as I shuddered.

Turning me over, Tim feasted on my ass while I moaned. He knew what I liked; we'd been discussing our fantasies for years. It a way, it was kind of unfair that he knew my deep down desires; it gave him full access to drive me wild. The one thing that made me a little weird is I actually like being penetrated. I don't like long dicked men; all they ever want to do is prove how far up you they can get. I like thicker men who enjoy coming completely out and back in.

Tim didn't disappoint. When you got the bear hungry he got a little wild. I loved it. He pressed his full, beefy body against my back and I felt his dripping cock sliding between my cheeks. He rubbed back and forth, occasionally catching at my hole and causing me to whimper. "You want it?"

"Yeah," I moaned as he rubbed against my hole again.

He kept rubbing back and forth and teasing my hole. He'd press just enough to have me start opening. He didn't have a rubber on but I didn't care. I wanted it so bad. Then he'd pull back and I'd squirm back against him trying to get him in. "How bad?"

The fucker was playing me like a fiddle. He knew I wasn't into dirty talk, but that I liked a little bit of aggressive stuff. He planned on making me beg. "Just fuck me, Tim. God damn it!" I was gasping out my frustration.

He chuckled and I heard the foil packet rip. He added some lube to my ass, biting at my neck as he twisted three fingers in. I was panting as he pulled them out and pushed himself against my hole. God he was thick. I saw stars as he pushed past my ring, but there wasn't really any pain. He rocked in and back a few times to get me warmed up, then he started in on me with determined fucking. He'd do about three or four strokes from my ring and back in, and then he'd pull out and slam back in. It was heaven. The other guys had only wanted to prove how deep they could go and that they could long dick me, or they'd been bottoms and would be begging for my seven inches.

I was the one begging now. I had a mountain of love crashing down on me and I couldn't think of a better way to die. There was one other thing Tim was that I hadn't realized; he was a slow build. He only would cum once before he was wiped out, but damn it took a long time to get him there. I thought I was going to pass out by the time I'd cum twice and he still hadn't finished. No one had ever fucked me that long before. I didn't actually make it to a third orgasm while under him. In a way I was kind of glad; I think my balls would have imploded. Tim bit into my shoulder, crying out through his panting as he filled the condom.

Tim had a lot of mass to move and he'd been pistoning me like a pro. His back was going to be stiff as hell by morning. He lay on me, exhausted and panting, as he tried to catch his breath. I began to squirm a little. I liked having him against me but it was getting a little hard to breathe. "Tim, roll over."

He did, and I cuddled up to him and listened to his panting slow. To be honest, he was wheezing. It is a lot more work pounding someone's ass than receiving the pounding. I was a little concerned I may have overworked him, but his breathing became more regular as I lay against him tracing circles across his chest. I could tell he was getting sleepy. He deserved a nap; Tim-bear had killed his prey and it was time to go back to the den and hibernate.

Before he went completely out, I went and got a couple pain killers and had him take them. He thought I was weird, but I reminded him he didn't have the best of track records with back pain. He took them and zonked shortly after I kissed him good night. I didn't sleep much; I spent my night wondering what the morning would bring.

Tim made me breakfast while I showered. I kept waiting for him to say anything about last night, but he didn't. He treated me like he had the day I arrived; he was kind, cheerful and in many ways shy. I was standing at the door, hoping for anything, but he gave me a big hug and told me to call so he'd know I'd made it safe. I don't know how I didn't just breakdown right there. I made it a couple hours down the road before I had to pull into a gas station and cry.

***** Tim *****

I did as I promised. I sent him away with a smile and no regrets. He'd been everything he said he would be when we'd teased about sex. I always hated that my partners were so fucking uptight that they'd freak whenever I tried to take some control. He'd told me numerous times that if I ever got his ass, he'd be the hottest bottom-boy I ever had. Hot wasn't the word for it.

I couldn't believe he'd cum while I rode him; I think he came more than once but by that time I was on automatic. He'd moaned and shuddered and begged for me to do him. He'd let me have complete control; no one had ever given me that. Sure, I'd finally gotten to fuck someone, but that wasn't the biggest part. I'd been given the reins and he'd gotten off from what I'd done.

I'd known I would feel alone when I sent him out the door. I hadn't expected the pain that gripped my gut and had me sitting on the floor, gasping. It felt like someone had carved something out of me between my stomach and my pelvis. I managed to get my ass off the floor and do stuff around the apartment. I needed to occupy myself with something or I'd end up curled in a ball, crying my heart out. Why had he had to seduce me on the last night? Why'd he have to be everything he'd teased me about for so many years? I didn't have any answers, but I knew I was completely gone when I nearly killed myself to get to the phone when Ben called from Ken's apartment that night.

***** Ben *****

I made it to San Francisco safely, and met Ken. If I hadn't been in such a funk over Tim, we'd have hit it off right away. Ken was great. In addition to being a successful, creative artist and an all around great guy, Ken was sexy as hell. He was tall and lean, with dark straight hair, and a body that screamed that he worked out daily. I called Tim and let him know I'd arrived safely. I wanted to say I missed him, but I didn't want to sound desperate.

The fact was: I did miss him. Ken had a larger apartment and an actual guest room. I spent my nights alone, Ken was willing to make other sleeping arrangements, but I wasn't feeling like starting up intimacy with yet another friend. I was burned out. By the time I'd gotten to Tim's, I'd really sewn my oats and was ready to settle down. I'd seduced Tim hoping he'd let me stay; I didn't consider the fact that he wouldn't be comfortable with that. I tried to put it behind me.

For the first week Tim's conversations online were mostly normal. We joked and flirted; actually, I flirted while he responded very little to it and usually changed the subject. Our night together never came up. If I'd brought it up it'd have sounded like I was fishing for compliments. I wasn't, I was fishing for a clue. Maybe it was some macho need to have someone need me, but I couldn't bring myself to tell him how badly I missed him. I missed the soft warmth of him against me when I'd wake up cuddled with him, and I missed his smile. He had the sweetest smile.

Day by day my connection to Tim began to dissolve. A wall was going up, brick by brick, and there seemed nothing I could do to stop it. Ok, I was a coward; there were lots of things I could have done if I'd had the guts to make myself vulnerable again. I should have just told him how I'd felt. It would have been easier to have had a clean break than watching a true friendship dwindle. I just let it dwindle, and felt justified because Tim had never once mentioned it either. I'd some how made myself believe that he'd rejected me. God, I was pathetic.

By the third week, Tim was practically absent from online life. He never answered his phone and I would only get short but polite email responses to my attempts to keep in touch. I tried keep up with him through online friends, but they all were in the dark. None of them had heard anything from Tim concerning "us".

I threw myself into working with Ken. The fact that I was enthralled with our project helped me cover up how empty I was feeling inside. Ken was dynamic and driven; two qualities I admired. He was also just nice to look at. Neither of us was shy about our bodies, and I had to admit that I started having fantasies. The fantasies tore me up because my dreams would alternate between the lust I was beginning to feel for Ken and the soft, comfort I had known with Tim. I really wondered if I'd totally fucked up our friendship. All the while, I had a hot, available Asian man taking up my time.

***** Tim *****

I think it started almost the minute Ben left. I started curling in on myself. It was subtle at first, almost imperceptible, but as the days passed it grew. I'd been in depression before, I knew the signs. I should have done something about it, but by the time I realized what was happening I didn't care. That's one of the worst aspects of depression; many times you know its happening but you simply have no drive to stop it.

I could tell Ben was trying to salvage our friendship. He would strike up conversations when I'd log into Yahoo and he even called and left messages a few times. The problem with being depressed is you go from sadness to anger to apathy and back. Apathy was easiest. Ben's calls and showing up online either sent me spiraling into sadness or had me ready to scream at him. Those brief times of rage scared the shit out of me; I'd felt almost raped. Not from the sex; sure, that was my excuse, but I felt like he'd lived up to every fantasy I'd ever had and then ripped them away. He hadn't, I knew that, but it didn't stop the anger and self loathing that would follow it.

He had been everything he'd promised. I'd never once told him how I felt. I was the fat, worthless gay queen who was stupid enough to fall for a guy he knew would be leaving. I knew it, but it didn't help me get over it. I don't even remember how many days passed between seeing anyone I knew. Sure, I went to work and then went home, but I was more the walking dead than a living person.

Three weeks or so after Ben left I was roused out of my apathy by insistent pounding on my door. At first I was going to ignore it, but then I heard Max's voice threatening to break it down if I didn't open the door.

He took on look at me and just pushed his way into the apartment. Maybe he wanted a fuck and I'd missed the email. That would have been nice. I'd have liked being fucked physically after how my heart felt. He wasn't there for sex; Max was my friend and he was worried.

"What the fuck did he do?"

I snapped down my walls and looked at him. "What'd who do?"

"That fucking slut you call a friend, Tim. He fucked you didn't he."

Yeah, Ben fucked me. He'd fucked my heart so full that I'd thought it would burst. "No, Max, he didn't."

Glaring at me, Max just shook his head. "You're lying. I've known you too long to fall for that."

That made me mad. Max was my friend, not my Dad. "Ben didn't do anything I didn't want him to, and he was exactly what he said he would be, Max." I didn't waiver; if I'd felt better about it I'd have been proud that my voice hadn't cracked.

Max's anger seemed to seep away as he looked at me. When he spoke again, his voice was quiet. "What was he, Tim?" He knew what Ben had been. I think he could see it in my eyes.

Ok, so maybe I wasn't so strong. "Everything..." I choked it out as the walls crumbled. I hadn't even cried since Ben had left. I hadn't wanted to let go and grieving would have been letting go. Max held me as I cried.

***** Ben *****

There were more benefits to being with Ken than the creativity and the view. Ken had connections; they were connections he shared freely. As my time at his place drew to a close, I'd made several good contacts for my own art and writing careers. It was during our fourth week that I'd given up hope with Tim. I'd even called a couple times but always got the answering machine. I desperately wanted to share it all with Tim. I'd send him emails detailing what was happening and how well the comic was coming, but I'd only get short replies when I got any at all. They were always polite, seemingly sincere, and filled with encouragement and praise for our ultimate success. They were completely devoid of the personal connection we used to have; I didn't know what to do.

I was feeling lonely and Ken was so sexy; it didn't take him any effort to move a workout on his Bowflex to a fuck fest on the floor. Oh my god could that man fuck. He had hands that could play you like an instrument, a mouth that could drive you insane and a dick that didn't stop. By the time we were done and curled up on the bed, I was completely drained. I think over three hours I'd cum five times.

I fell asleep in Ken's arms and dreamed of Tim. Ken was so perfect for me, we were really compatible, but I just couldn't let Tim go. I woke up early, slipped from the bed and found myself out on the balcony crying. It was more than crying; I was mourning. I realized, as great as it had been, I'd wanted to be calling out Tim's name when I came, and I'd wanted to hear Tim's voice when I brought Ken to orgasm. I had myself pretty well back in order by the time Ken woke, but he saw right through me.

We were having breakfast, talking about how good the novel had gone, when he just looked at me and said, "Someone got there before me, didn't he?"

I almost choked on my toast. After a fit of coughing and a good swig of juice, I looked at my plate and nodded. "I'm sorry Ken; I really like you. I just can't get him out of my head."

Ken smiled. "Why would you want to?"

"Because I don't think he feels the same way, ok?" I pushed away from the table and walked into the living room.

Ken followed. "Ok, so who is this guy who took your heart? One of the group?"

I nodded again. 'Tim." Ken laughed, and I got mad. No, it wasn't anger, it was fury. I never could take people laughing at me. I stood up, spitting at him in a rage, "What, just because Tim's got a weight problem, I can't be head over heals for him?" Ken looked shocked, but I didn't stop. I think I was yelling at myself more than him. I had certainly thought about the whole fucked up image thing more than once. Hell, it was probably the reason I didn't make a move on Tim 'til I was desperate for him. "Not everyone can look like we do Ken; we're the exceptions, not the rule. Yeah, I admit, you're hot as hell and so am I, but Tim's got it where it counts." I was on the verge of crying again, and I kind of sputtered out.

Ken frowned, crossed his arms and looked at me like a drill instructor looks at a fuck-up. "That isn't what I was laughing at, Ben. I'm not a fucking asshole."

His tone shut me down like a coolant rod in a reactor. "Ok." I couldn't look at him.

"I know Tim too, you know?" He uncrossed his arms and his voice softened. "I was laughing at the idea that you think he wouldn't love you in return. I mean, haven't you read his stories? He's more a bleeding heart romantic than all of Harlequin put together."

"Sorry, Ken. I guess I just hate the idea of someone putting Tim down." No, I hated the fact that I'd been doing that internally in an attempt to protect myself.

He pulled me into a gruff hug and the slapped my shoulder. "I think what you need to do is talk to the guy, bud."

Sighing, I sat down. "I've tried. He won't return my calls and I hardly ever see him online anymore."

Ken shrugged. "So, pack up a few things and get your ass back up there. If it works out, you can get the rest of your shit over the weekend. If it doesn't, you can come back here and know you're not throwing away something." Just like that, all matter of fact and simple. That was Ken to the core; he'd been the drama queen in his youth, and he was over it. He had no time for drama; he had a life to live.

I grinned. "How'd you get so fucking together, Ken?"

"Been there, done that, have the scars. We're great together, Ben, and you're an incredible lover, but I think we both know 'the spark' when we feel it. It isn't there; it's close, but love isn't a game of horseshoes. Close doesn't cut it." God I wished we'd had "the spark".

"So I should just pack my shit and go back?" The idea did play with my sense of tragic romance, but it also scared the piss out of me. What if Tim really wasn't interested?

"Yeah, I think you should grab your laptop, an overnight bag and some protection and get your ass up there."

I laughed at his smiling face. "Who's the romantic here, Ken?"

Ken grinned. "I am. If this works out, I demand the right to be called 'faerie godfather', Cinderfella."

I gave him an evil look at the pun, but I did what he said anyway. I had no idea what I'd be going back to, but I'd rather have known than spend the rest of my life wondering. I don't even remember the drive; the drive down had seemed like an eternity, but the drive back was a blur. It was really late when I made it back to the apartment. I turned off the engine and stared up at the windows; the lights were on so I knew Tim was awake.

I dialed his number and waited; as usual, the answering machine came on. "Tim, it's Ben; please pick up the phone." I waited. He didn't pick up. What I thought would devastate me only made me mad. I'd seen movement in the light so I knew that he wasn't busy. "Fine, have it your way." I clicked off the cell, dropped it in the seat and got out of the car.

I think I brought my fist against the door so hard it echoed. I was glad I was angry, because when he opened the door I almost cried. He looked bad; I could tell he hadn't been eating right. Not that his losing more weight was a bad thing, but I didn't think it was from proper diet and exercise. He looked pale, had bags under his eyes and his hair was a mess. Tim looked stunned.

"I'm sorry that your phone doesn't work; can I come in?"

Though the haunted look didn't quite leave his eyes, the rest of him pulled back behind a wall. That hurt. "Sure," his voice didn't betray anything but how tired he was as he stepped back to let me in.

It wasn't the place I'd left five weeks before. Tim had been fastidious; not totally anal, but he wouldn't have had dishes waiting over night or clothes out of the hamper. By Tim standards the apartment was a wreck. I knew in my gut it was my fault; what I didn't know was if I'd killed our relationship or not.

"Want something to drink?" His tone was a bit clipped as he walked into the kitchen. His shoulders had been slumped when he'd opened the door; they were back and he looked in control as he got down a glass.

"Water, thanks." I watched. I was an artist as well as a writer; I read people; Tim was trying too hard to be polite. That left a few options: he really disliked me, and our chances were gone; he was hurt, but we could salvage the friendship; he was covering up the fact that he felt the same as I did and I just had to get past the walls. I thought about what the easiest way to get past my barriers was; it was to get me angry. I didn't want to start a fight; what I wanted was to push him on the couch, curl up on him and have him tell me he loved me while I went to sleep feeling connected for the first time in over a month. I was desperate, but I just couldn't do that.

"Why haven't you returned my calls?" I'd managed to keep my tone harsh, but damn if I didn't have to fight to keep my voice from cracking. It might have helped if I'd just been willing to be more vulnerable, but I wasn't ready for that. Grace had found me and left me vulnerable; I wasn't going to be there again. I wanted to be sure I had something to give myself up for.

"Sorry, I've been busy." Tim moved out of the kitchen and sat down. "You have a place to stay?" I deserved better than an evasion; even if I'd only been a good fuck, I knew I'd been a damn good fuck.

"I'll manage." I took a gulp of my water and didn't release his eyes. "Busy like tonight?"

"There wasn't any time to call back." Ok, that much was true; I'd come up to the door not more than two minutes later.

"Thanks for the friendly, conversational emails too. What'd you do, sprain a finger?" That was more sarcastic than I'd wanted.

"No. There wasn't much to tell. I wasn't living life up in San Francisco with Ken." At least I'd gotten some response. He wasn't cracking though.

"Yeah, and I'm just the life of the party." I couldn't hold up the fašade. I started spitting I was so mad. "Give me a fucking break, Tim. What have I done to push you away? It couldn't possibly have been our last night, because you haven't mentioned it once. I'd at least have hoped that having you fuck me through two orgasms might have rated at least a 'that was great'." Yeah, it had hurt. Even a 'thank you for the fuck' would have been better than no acknowledgement of something that had me wanting to stay.

"Stop fishing for compliments, Ben. That's like saying I should thank you for looking like a hunk around the house too."

That stung. He was able to say that without anything more than a slight quiver in his voice. That could have meant anything; either he was tearing up inside, or he was trying not to show his anger, but I couldn't tell which. "Fine; so all it was for you was another night with Max. I feel so good knowing all I was for you was a cum dump."

That seemed to do something. I wanted to fight now. I wanted to get into it. I needed him pushing back against me; if it wasn't his body trying to fuck me through the counter, then I wanted his anger lashing back at me. He didn't give me either. He just sort of sank on the couch and his voice lost his conviction. "What are you doing here, Ben?" He sounded so resigned and pitiful. All it did was fuel my frustration. Tim wasn't a fucking doormat; he was one of the best guys I'd known and he wasn't even willing to snap back at me.

"I tried to get past this. I tried to get over the fact that I missed waking up being held, and I missed seeing that grateful smile when you'd come home to find something warm on the stove. I can't even have sex without wishing it was you! I've spent weeks trying to get any hint that you care. When I finally convince myself you don't, all I can do when I'm having my brains fucked out hoping to forget you is wish it was you. Give me a clue here, Tim; am I wasting my time, or is there really something here for me to come back to?"

Tim just looked at me, stunned. He didn't say anything. I waited, holding my breath, but his eyes only registered disbelief and discomfort. I tried to look unaffected, but the silence was crushing me. Finally, I couldn't take it any more.

"I'm sorry, Tim. I really thought we had something... I'll go." I was crying. My voice hadn't cracked but I had tears streaking down my face.

I didn't get more than a step toward the door before he was off the couch. Grabbing me, he pulled me off my feet and practically crushed me as he bruised my lips in desperation. I knew how he felt. I wrapped my arms around his neck and kissed back, caressing his tongue with mine as he took my breath from me.

The kissing wasn't enough; I was desperate too. I'd spent too many weeks in an emotional vacuum and I needed it filled. I knew I sounded pathetic when I pulled back and croaked through my tears. "I need to hear it, Tim. I need all the fucking shit we put in our stories." I choked. I could do it; I could be vulnerable and take the chance. "I love you, and I need to know you feel the same way."

***** Tim *****

Had he said what I thought he had? I looked, dumbfounded, into his tear filled eyes and I saw the desperation there. I'd been there; I'd been the one telling the guy I loved him and then waiting for the hammer to crash down. It'd nearly crushed me when it happened. Now I was on the other side, and it was the hunk every guy would want who was looking at me that way. If I hadn't been holding him, I wouldn't have believed it was real. He was trembling, and each breath that went by without my answer had him looking more and more scared. It wasn't that I didn't want to say it; I literally couldn't find my voice.

Ben snapped me out of my stunned silence when he sank against me, buried his face in my neck, and whispered, "Please." His goatee was rubbing against my neck and his lips were so warm.

I moaned, closed my eyes and melted as he kept kissing his way further back. "I love you too." I managed to get it out while choking on my emotions and gasping as he bit into my neck.

That was all he needed. Ben knew all my buttons. Hell, I'd told him what they were so many times when we'd cyber for fun. This wasn't cybering, and it wasn't for fun; Ben was dead set on taking me right there and he had no problems doing it. He'd conquered my heart by giving himself to me before, but now he was leaving no prisoners. Between his wrapping his hot, muscular body around me and chewing at the back of my neck, my knees gave out.

He crawled around me, kissing, licking and biting as his hands pulled at our clothes. How he got naked while it felt like his body never lost contact with mine I'll never know, but I found myself on all fours, panting, with a desperate man pressed against me, chewing on my neck and melting me with his words.

"I'm not leaving again, Tim." His teeth grazed the hair at the back of my neck and I trembled. "I want to make love to you 'til you're brain shuts down and all you can do is live for it... just like you did to me." God, I'd know it'd been the most amazing sex for me, but hearing him say it was so arousing. His perfect cock was leaving trails down me as he chewed his way from my neck to my ass.

"Ben..." I was going to say something about not having showered tonight, but I never got to it. He just pried my cheeks apart and ran that beard of his against my hole. Gasping, I tried to find my voice, but he pressed that warm wet tongue against me and pressed in. He wasn't giving me any time to process what was going on. He planned on fucking me senseless and laying his claim before I could do anything about it. I didn't want to do anything about it, and I didn't.

Ben's hands were never idle as he opened me with his tongue. They would wander my legs, back and belly; he would pull on my balls and stroke me. What I really love is to be blown; being fucked is good but doesn't get my rocks off. Mainly because I'd found my prostate was just a little more stubborn than my partners had been willing to work with. Of course, I'd never had a guy over six inches fuck me. Hell, I don't think I'd even had six inches.

Ben licked down, flipped onto his back and began sucking my balls as he inched his way under me from behind. All the while he was opening me further with his fingers. He was licking around my head and chewing on my shaft as I humped down at him. God I wanted him to suck me off. Finally, he just took a long, deep breath and swallowed me. I'm not all that long, but I am thick. I hit the back of his throat and was prepared for him to gag. He did, but it didn't stop him. He simply pulled back and tried again, and again, and again.

I was fucking down into his eager mouth as he brought a hand up and started twisting my nipples. Hell, I was usually the one lavishing a hand-wandering blow on the guys. I don't think anyone had done it so enthusiastically to me. Between his fingers in me, his throat around me and his twisting at my chest, I didn't last. I normally lasted a long, long time, but my legs quaked and I sank into him hard. I know his head probably bounced against the floor with the force of it, and I came. Oh god did I cum. I'm not usually loud, but this time I think I treated my neighbors with a late night wakeup call for a change. They'd done it often enough to me; Deb was a screamer.

What amazed me was that my cock didn't go down. It became sensitive to the point of hurting as Ben lapped at it, but it hadn't deflated. Gasping out his name was all I could do with the painful pleasure of his tongue against me. He got the message. Ben slid out from under my trembling thighs and pulled out his fingers. I missed them; I didn't miss them for very long. I was still panting, trying to catch my breath, when Ben pushed his monster about a third of the way in.

My arms gave out. It wasn't that it hurt, it hadn't, but the shock of it had me gasping again. He held there, his hands massaging my back, 'til I pressed back. I didn't want him to stop. Now that he was in there, I wanted it all. Somewhere in the back of my brain I knew that he hadn't worn any protection, but I was too gone to care.

I was different than Ben. Penetration was not a big turn-on for me. Usually, I'd go limp and would have to work to get my erection back. I did deflate a little, but as he began taking longer, deeper strokes, I could almost feel it in my cock. Then he did it. He got where I'd only been able to get to using my "magic wand". I thought my dick was going to lurch off my body. I groaned into the carpet and he did it again. Oh fuck, why hadn't I met a guy with the right size dick before? I wouldn't have spent so many nights with guys struggling to get off and wondering why I didn't get as much out of it as my partners.

After several brain melting strokes against my prostate, Ben hunkered down to some serious pounding. My legs gave out and he just braced himself on my back and rode hard. It was a little uncomfortable; ok, it was a lot uncomfortable. I just couldn't seem to draw in the breath or bring in the thoughts necessary to tell him to shift positions. The man I loved was fucking me to oblivion and I was ready and willing to go.

He was chewing at the back of my neck again. Damn him for knowing my hot spots. I felt myself building as he moaned against my neck. "Forever, Tim." He thrust into me a few more times, biting at my neck as he did; my eyes rolled. "I want forever."

Unlike Ben, my balls are too big and hang too low to rise up as a sign of impending release. Sure, I think they try, but they weren't like his. When he's getting what he wants, his balls snap back up and nearly latch against him. It made reading the signs so easy. All I knew was it felt kind of like I was being stroked off from inside my dick. I couldn't feel his balls slapping against me any more; Ben must have been holding on by a thread. I knew what he wanted; the words were only the last straw.

"Ben!" I came, a second time. That was surprising enough, but it had also been hands free and even more shattering than the first.

He let loose and I felt his cock throb inside me. Biting into my neck he moaned and held still. I felt at least five pulses from him before his body slacked against my back. He slowly slid out and off of me, letting me roll onto my back and take my first deep breath since we'd started. My carpet was a mess, I had rug burns, and I could hardly breath, but I'd never felt better in my life.

Ben cuddled up against me, hot, sweaty, and panting, and settled his head onto my shoulder. I stroked his unruly hair lovingly. Finally, I coaxed him a little further up and we kissed. It was slow, warm, wet, and everything I could have wanted. The fact that Ben seemed to turn to goop because of it was even better. "I don't think forever will be long enough."

His smile melted me. "We'll have to make sure it's written that way."

***** Ben *****

The evil alarm woke me from the warm comfort of Tim-inspired sleep. My back and ass might have been sore, but the rest of me felt perfect. Smacking the damn thing into silence, I pulled myself from Tim's arms and moved groggily into the bathroom. Four in the morning; no human being was meant to rise at four in the morning. If I wasn't getting some great free publicity, I'd have told them to go fuck themselves. I had just finished spitting out my mouthwash when I felt a hard, well used muscle press against me and warm arms pull me back up into a hug.

"Morning." One of his hands teased my nipple as he chewed on my ear and rocked between my cheeks.

I moaned. "Tim, I've got to get ready."

He smiled at me over my head in the mirror. I knew that look, and I knew I would be caught in an avalanche of love in no time. I couldn't resist six-feet, six-inches of hot man. Did I say six-six? Yeah, I did. In the five years since we came together, Tim had managed to drop over hundred pounds of fat and put on a significant amount of muscle. He wasn't a rippling tower of muscle. He had a soft layer of padding that did nothing to detract from his impressiveness. What had been most startling was realizing that as he got stronger and had less dead weight, his body actually straightened up to his real height. He was eight inches taller than me with shoulders a quarter again as wide as mine. He still had a full belly, but I liked it and told him I didn't want a washboard. I didn't, I loved petting my Tim-bear's belly and it wouldn't have been the same without it.

My bear got his morning meal; I knew better than to deny him. I was still gasping for breath with my hands gripping the sink for support as he pulled out of me slowly and planted soft kisses on my shoulder. What was it about my ass and my being bent over a sink that turned him on so much? It didn't matter if it was the kitchen or the bathroom, if I was naked and leaning over a sink, he wanted in. He'd done that to me so many times. I wasn't complaining.

The poor sink was complaining; it creaked and wobbled a little as I stood up. "We've got to stop doing that," I sighed as he pulled me back and began to work in earnest at my neck. I closed my eyes and trembled as he worked harder. My voice was strained, "the sink is going to give out soon." I'd had had to replace the bathroom sink in our first apartment because it couldn't take the strain. I began to feel a familiar ache where he was chewing on me and I jerked away, "Hey!"

Tim chuckled. I knew he'd not only left a mark, but it would probably look like the hickey from hell. "You knew you weren't getting out of here without a reminder and a mark of ownership."

I both loved and hated that. I loved the sense of possessiveness that he felt for me. I wanted to be owned and cherished. With Tim I could be vulnerable, not that I was the "sub" in our relationship by any means, but I knew he would take all of me and I didn't have to be perfect. Surprising, that only made me want to be more. Knowing that I didn't have to meet any expectation but my own freed me up to take chances I'd never have done alone. Five years ago I'd have been pissed to publicly display the fact that someone had that much control of my life. Now I would be wandering around with a very obvious mark on my neck at an interview and only feeling a little embarrassed. Thank God it was a radio interview. He'd also renewed the happy burning in my ass, and I would spend the entire interview squirming on my chair. The bastard.

I looked at the red, darkening mark on my neck and groaned. "What the hell am I supposed to tell them if they ask about this thing?" This interview was with an early morning "shock jock" whom I was certain would try to put me on the hot seat.

Shrugging, Tim turned on the shower and pushed me in. It was a good thing he had no intention of joining me, or I'd never have gotten out on time. "Just tell them you need to wrap things up because your ass is sore from the thick dick that made you a man this morning."

"Ha ha; not likely." I always tried to play these things conservatively. It made me sound more reserved and uptight than I actually was, but it was better than telling the pushy, horny bastards to go fuck themselves. It really pissed me off that even though I clearly stated on my website, in my books and in interviews that I was in a loving, committed relationship, some SOB would always think he could woo me away from my man. No chance in hell.

Ken had told me to spice it up more often, but I'd found out first hand not to encourage my fans. We still had restraining orders out on a few. This was my fourth interview this year, and the year was young. Not only had my collaboration with Ken been successful, but it had exploded onto the comic scene like a nuke. In the years that followed, we'd put out seven more graphic novels, all of which had been monster successes. I still call Ken "faerie godfather," and he loves it. The first movie based on our books was coming out in a few months. To say life was going crazy was an understatement.

About the time Ken and I got the movie deal, Tim's and my first collaborative novel hit the shelves. Yeah, we were becoming names. We'd had to shut off the apartment phone and live off our unlisted cells; we were getting too many unwanted calls. It was definitely a mixed blessing. It had only gotten worse when we were featured as the "cover couple" on Advocate after I'd gotten the movie deal. "Reality or fiction, it's all about love," it had been a good article and had made our names a gay buzzword overnight.

Our stories and collaborations with other writers and artists had allowed Tim to quit his job with the hours from hell and write full time. Yes, we spent a lot of time working out the specifics of scenes together, especially if it meant trying something erotically new. Once the Tim-bear's appetite had been wet, he feasted all night. God, I loved my man.

I sat, shifting uncomfortably in the radio studio, answering questions from listeners and trying not to squirm. I hated these things; no matter how successful I got I never felt like the "authority" people thought I was. Also, even after Tim had shaped himself into a man of solid, if smooth, muscle I still got solicited at the most annoying times, whether Tim was there or not. So many gay men just couldn't understand the idea of monogamy. I suddenly realized that "monogamy" would be the theme for a new collection of short stories. That was something that hadn't changed. Since the day I stepped into Tim's apartment, my Muse had made certain I was never short of ideas.

I wasn't paying much attention to what was being asked as I jotted down notes for the "Monogamy Collection". I'd learned long ago, when the muse spoke, I was to listen and take notes. The inevitable question finally came up, and a caller made an offer to live out some of my stories with me. Yeah, there were a lot of flattering photos of me on the web and accompanying magazine interviews; they only made the offers more frequent. Sighing, I shifted again in my seat.

"Well David, it seems you've put Ben in the hot seat." The talk show host was amused. Yeah, I was uncomfortable and he could see it, but I wasn't uncomfortable for the reasons he thought.

I smiled, letting the evil little bitch I kept tied up in a dark corner of my mind come out to play, and leaned into the microphone. "What Josh is trying to say, David," I purred guy's name out as a deep rumble. Yeah, I could play the game. Maybe it was the hot attitude injection I'd gotten earlier that morning, but I wasn't going to be anyone's plaything. "Is that I'm sitting here, squirming in my seat." I gave my host a smile and his eyes challenged me. The guy thought I was some numb nuts looker. His mistake. "But you would too if your ass was sore from the thick dick that makes me a man each night," the shocked look on Josh's face was worth it, "so thank you for the offer, David, but my man is all I need." I clicked off the caller's line before he could respond.

Josh didn't underestimate me again. It was a contest of wills for the rest of the interview. My inner bitch was laughing like a fiend. Jose tried to play "alpha male", being the "straight man" doing the interview, but it was pretty clear by the end of the show who was the "real man" of the two. I had received two calls on my cell for interviews by other talk shows by the time I'd made it home. Tim greeted me with the brightest smile as I came in. "I can't believe you said that."

He'd been the one who had given me the line; I just used it. Tim was my muse, and I planned to get more out of him really soon. I pulled him down for a hot, tongue stroking kiss. Gripping him behind his neck, I dug my fingers in. It wasn't as effective as biting, but it did the job. His dick lurched against me. "Let's work on some more inspiration."

Between carrying me to the bedroom and not letting me out of bed 'til we'd nearly collapsed the thing, my feet didn't touch the floor again 'til late that night. Snuggled against Tim, I still felt that comfortable warmth that had won me over so many years ago. Suddenly, Tim snapped his fingers and sat up, leaving me disheveled and confused.

"I've figured out the 'return scene'." Kissing me hard, he padded out of the room to write.

Smiling, amused, I just shook my head and started for the kitchen. When the muse talked, we listened; it was that simple. It was over an hour later, and I was half way through preparing dinner, when two strong hands pulled my hips up against a thick piece of inspiration. Tim whispered huskily into my ear, "I can't quite figure out the kitchen scene between the chef and the food critic... how well does cream sauce go with man-meat?"

Turning off the stove, I pushed the sauce off the burner and I twisted around in his arms. I began sucking at the hollow of his throat, "Only one way to find out." God I loved his idea research. I knew, as he looked into my eyes, that we'd be inspiring each other when we were old and grey. I kissed my own personal muse, and we got back to our research.