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The Conquered - Chapter 33: Trials (part 7)

***** Taylor *****

"You sure you're okay," Becca asked as I shifted the phone to my other ear.

"Yeah. I'm sorry about Friday." I stretched my leg out on the couch and sighed. It was nice to get the damn thing up.

"Don't worry about it, Taylor. We'll just reschedule in a couple weeks."

"Did you and Larry at least have a good meal?"

"We thought about staying, but I was so pissed at Trish that I decided I didn't want to ruin an expensive meal with a bad attitude. As I said, we'll reschedule."

"I'll make it up to you, Becca. Next night out is on me." I smiled at Andrew as he came in with our hot chocolates and then went to stoke the fire.

"You don't have to do anything, Taylor. Trish is going to have to do some major sucking up to get back in my good graces. I tried to get in touch with her over the weekend and all I got was voice mail."

I shrugged. "What's good for the gander is good for the goose, Becca."

"I don't think what you did was right either, Taylor," Becca warned, "so let's not go there."

I caught Andrew's look from the hearth. "Look Becca, we'll go over that later, okay? I've got a tired man who needs my undivided attention."

"Horn dog. Don't you guys ever take a break?"

"Hmmpph," I grunted, "whatever. Night, Becca."


I hung up and put the phone on the end table. "Sorry, where were we?"

"You were telling me about what went wrong in your relationship with Trish."

"Oh, yeah." I really didn't want to revisit this topic, but Andrew wanted to know.

He came over, slid the mugs close, and came around the coffee table. "Scoot."

I grunted and shuffled down the couch. I was about to swing my leg over the side when Andrew slid his leg behind me and patted his chest. "Since this sounds like it's going to be a long story, we might as well get comfortable."

I sighed softly and shifted back, settling in against him. He was right, he had put on maybe five pounds of softness. On a guy his size, that was maybe all of two percent fat. I liked it. He was still solid as a rock, but it was nice not to feel like I was laying against concrete. I lay there for a minute, my eyes closed, and just let his warmth wash through me.

Andrew wrapped his arms around my shoulders and settled his chin on my head. "You okay?"

"Yeah," I whispered with a smile, "I'm just reminding myself why we're doing this." I stroked his arm. "I fell in love with you the night you slept in my arms on this couch."

Andrew ran his nose through my hair and squeezed me. "You took the pain away."

I looked over at the fire, resting my cheek on his chest. "I've given enough back."

"You're evading."

"I know," I sighed. "I just love you so much, Andrew. I don't like thinking about the fact that I loved before and lost." I squeezed his bicep. "I don't want to lose you too."

"You're not going to..." Andrew ran his chin along my ear. "You really loved her, didn't you?"

I nodded, closing my eyes. "Yeah, a lot more than I was willing to admit to her or myself... which was probably one of the reasons we didn't make it." I snorted. "That and the fact Trish is a control freak."

"Hmmm, I don't know anyone like that," Andrew chuckled.

"Two control freaks; one desperate to be needed, the other determined not to need anyone. That's a recipe for disaster." I shrugged. "Did I mention I'd actually bought a ring?"

Andrew stiffened for a moment, and then relaxed. "No."

I nodded. "Yep. I never got a chance to ask, though. Trish just up and decided to move with her career. No, 'we have a problem' or 'honey, I've been offered' or anything. Just, 'I'm moving to New York to further my career."


I nodded. "I knew what she wanted. She wanted me to go with her, or to ask her to stay. I think that pissed me off more than anything else. I knew she was playing me. She wanted me to make a commitment. Instead of asking, or talking about it, she gave me an unspoken ultimatum." I grunted. "Being the stubborn, pig headed, independent guy I am, you can imagine my response."

Andrew laughed softly. "Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out?"

I nodded. "Pretty close."

"What'd you do with the ring?"

I shrugged. "I kept it until she'd left, and then donated it to a charity auction for cancer research." I smiled. "They almost got retail value for it."

"Why didn't you just take it back?"

"I don't know... I guess I don't believe that life comes with guarantees, so there's no point in asking for a refund. I put the money towards a good cause."

"So, you got rid of the ring, and moved on. Why did you avoid her calls?"

I grinned sarcastically at myself. "Obviously, I must not be over it."

"What part?"

I shrugged.

"Do you still want to be with her?"

"No." I squeezed his arm. "No, I think I don't want to have any regrets. I'm not sure if I regret the fact I didn't chase her, or the fact that she didn't want to stay, more. I guess I also didn't want to put any thought to it. If she hadn't left, I wouldn't have met you."

"You would also be talking to your father, and might have a kid by now."

"Andrew..." I shifted so I could look at him. "I don't regret loving you. Not once. Not ever."

"Then why didn't you tell me?"

I sighed. "Honestly, I'm not sure any more. I'd convinced myself it was because I didn't want to burden you with it. I didn't want to cause you any more anxiety or stress. I didn't, but I think that's only part of it."

"You didn't think I could handle it?"

I shook my head. "No. I think if I'd told you, you'd have probably said: next time she calls, give her to me, I'll take care of it."

Andrew grinned. "I would, if that's what you wanted."

"I think I just didn't want to deal with it, Andrew. I didn't want to admit that there were unresolved issues with Trish."

"That there 'are' unresolved issues between you and Trish."

I nodded again. "Yeah, there are." I looked back at him. "I don't want them to be issues between us."

"How do you plan to deal with it?"

I shrugged against him. "I'm not sure." I didn't want to put any thought to it. It was more important to be where I was, and work things out with Andrew. "Can I just say I'll deal with it, and we drop that for now? I only think I can work on one relationship's issues at a time."

Andrew studied my face for a moment, and then nodded with a small frown. "Okay. I don't like it, but as long as we're working on us, I can live with it."

"So, where to now... counselor?" I grinned at him before turning snuggling back against his chest.

Andrew didn't answer me at first; he just held me close and ran his nose through my hair, inhaling like he always did when he needed some sort of security. Finally, he rested his cheek on my head. "Tell me about your father."

I stiffened. "Why?"

"You never talk about him. I've heard dozens of tales about your aunts and your mother and your cousins, but hardly a word about him."

I shrugged, setting my chin to my chest and crossing my arms as I lay against Andrew. "Nothing to tell. I wasn't what he wanted in a son. End of story."

We sat there, Andrew holding me and me dead set against opening that ugly little Pandora's Box. I had enough open wounds at the moment. There was no reason to pick at that emotional scab. Andrew squeezed me. "I don't have much good to say about 'the sperm donor', Taylor, but Buck got me thinking about him despite myself. Before he left, my father hadn't been a bad father. I think what hurt the most was that we never knew why. One day we had a dad who played with us in the yard, and the next he was gone. No word, no cards, no nothing." He took a breath. "It was as if all the happiness and love had been a lie."

I closed my eyes, trying to push away the memories that refused to be ignored. I remembered riding on my father's shoulders at the zoo, and the summer he took a whole week off and took me fishing, and the clumsy but honest way he'd try to tuck me in when I was young and Mom was spending most of her time at Grandma's house after Grandpa died. I felt a tear slip down my cheek, and I sniffed. "I'm not sure when it all went wrong. I think it started going wrong when I didn't grow like a weed when I hit puberty. All my friends started shooting for their adult heights, but I just kept growing at a slow, small, steady rate. Though he never said it, I knew Dad was disappointed." I shrugged. "I think that just led to more disappointments. Dad was never cruel, or abusive, and I believe he loved me in spite of it all, but he'd put a lot of hope and dreams into his son, and I didn't fulfill them."

"He put them into you, Taylor."

I shook my head. "No. He stopped putting them into me a long time ago. At some point, I think he stopped seeing 'Taylor' and only saw 'his son'. His son is someone who should have become what Dad wanted, or needed, to fulfill his hopes and dreams. Dad always reacted badly whenever the reality of 'Taylor' disrupted the image he had of his son." I shrugged. "It's been that way since I was thirteen."

"He's still your Dad."

I shrugged. It was a pointless argument. "He stopped seeing who I was long before us, Andrew. I can't be what he wants and be true to myself. I couldn't at thirteen, and I couldn't at thirty-three. There are times when you have to accept that you can't make everything right, and move on." I closed my eyes. "Please don't try to fix it, Andrew. That relationship was broken so long ago..." I sighed. "Can we leave it for now?" I could feel myself shutting down; too many raw, damaged relationships to look at all at once. All I wanted was to fix the relationship I had. The ones I didn't have could wait.

"Want to call a time out for tonight?"


"Okay..." Andrew shifted a little, sliding a bit further down into a resting position. We just lay there, quietly, and watched the fire burn. Neither of us even touched our hot chocolates. We fell asleep together, and that was all that mattered to me.

***** Sebastian *****

Weekends were supposed to revive you for the coming week. This past weekend didn't. Not with hurricane Angelina bearing down on our apartment. I loved Mama more than anything, but by the time I made it into the office, I was beat. Thanks to Don running interference, I'd been able to go through all of my client files for Monday and Tuesday, except for the files on my new clients who I was meeting at ten.

At a few minutes before ten, I walked the Walkers to the door. "Have a good day."

"Are you sure you don't want a Newfoundland for the new house?"

I chuckled, probably blanching at the very idea. A huge dog? In a small apartment? I don't think so. "I appreciate the offer. But not until we have a yard."

She grinned and shook my hand. Jim shook his head and smiled. "She hates it when we get more puppies than we expect. She wants to keep them all."

"I can understand. I'd hate to give any of them up." I shook his hand and then closed the door behind them and shut my eyes. I began to laugh. The idea of a seven foot dog in our apartment had me rolling as I grabbed some more coffee. I wiped the tears from my eyes as I poured some sugar in my cup. Jeff always needed the coffee to be the consistency of muddy water. Yuck. I turned towards my office when the front door opened and two women entered. Since I didn't recognize them, I figured they were my ten o'clock. I stepped forward. "Hi. I'm Sebastian Rodriguez. Are you from Philips and Smith?"

The taller of the two stepped forward with a smile. "Hi. I'm Jennifer Philips." She shook my hand. "This is my partner, Lisa Smith."

After I shook her hand I led the way into my office. "Well... here we are. What can I help you with?" I gestured for them to sit, which they did.

Jennifer leaned forward and opened up a simple brief case. "We'd like to set up some investments for our company. Perhaps a bond or retirement account as well."

I nodded. "Okay. Personal? Or professional?"

"Can we do both?"

"Of course."

I asked some questions, got an idea of where they were financially, both personally and professionally, and made some suggestions. "A standard IRA will cover you both personally. They are pretty standard; safe. They don't grow in big leaps, but over time, they will accrue enough interest and potential to cover you once you retire."

Lisa creased her forehead. "How about for the business? We want to make sure that if something happens to one of us, the other will be covered."

Jennifer swallowed hard and blinked a few times rapidly. "Lisa... don't bring this up."

Lisa put her hand on Jennifer's arm and squeezed. "It could happen. We need to be prepared."

"It won't."

"It might."

I wanted to help out. Two people who started a business together usually had some fondness for each other. "It is a really smart move. It can help your credit rating, especially if the banks know that the business is sound in such a way."

Lisa looked over and smiled. "She doesn't like talking about it, but a few months ago, there was a scare." She looked at Jennifer. "A bad test." She shook her head. "Never mind. It isn't important. We'd like to be as prepared as possible."

I grinned and looked at the both of them. "There are insurance policies that will pay off the debt of the deceased, and provide funds for the surviving partner to basically buy out the business, that way, if something should happen to either of you, the other will be able to keep the business going."

They had some serious cash on hand, a rarity for a startup business. Overall, they had a good sense of business and savings, but now they needed something with a higher yield than a simple savings account. "Since there is a considerable amount of cash, I'd recommend, unless the cash is earmarked for something specific, some CDs or a money market account."

Jennifer took some literature on two of my favorite, low risk, high yield funds and leafed through it. Lisa sat forward and smiled. "We have three employees. Not that we could do much... but we'd like to help them out somehow."

I nodded and spoke as plainly as I could. "Large companies can afford to match funds put into a 401k. That may not be possible. But if you'd like to sponsor your employee's retirement accounts, I can easily set that up. It really depends on what they would like."

"How about if we start the accounts for them, and they can continue to contribute. Sort of a profit sharing idea?"

"That would be extremely generous, and completely possible. Now you just need to decide on what funds or types of accounts you'd like."

When our meeting was over, with a promise to get back to me on the employee retirement issues, I walked Jennifer and Lisa out. Lisa stopped and shook my hand. "We'd heard good things about Sierra. I'm glad we came to you."

Jennifer paused in the door and smiled. "Yes. Thank you. You made this a painless experience."

I smiled and shook my head. "I'm just doing my job. This was easy. You already had a great start. I just pushed you in the right direction."

They smiled and then left. I went back to my office to prepare for the next client. I sifted through some emails and checked in on a couple of investments. I leaned back in my chair and stared at the picture of Don and I that I hid behind my computer, where no one could see. I had fifteen minutes until my next client so I dialed up Don.

When he picked up, I grinned just hearing his voice.

"A lunch call? Wow. This is my lucky day."

I laughed into the phone and smoothed my fingers over Don's face. "Te extrañe chulo, queria oir tu voz."

I heard a groan and what I thought was a whimper. "Not Spanish. Anything but Spanish."

I laughed. "Okay, fine. English it is." Then on an after thought, I deepened my voice and purred. "Wimp."

"When you speak Spanish to me, your voice drops into that sexy, fresh-fucked sound that drives me wild."

I laughed. "Does not."

"Does too."

I sat back and blinked. "You're kidding?"

"Not in the slightest."

"Um..." I was highly shocked and slightly embarrassed. "Well... you do it to me. What can I say?"

"How about `I love you?'"

"Te amo."

Another groan filled my ear. "I love you too, Sebastian."

Just to be evil, I lowered my voice again. "I hope you're in the atrium and sitting."

He groaned into the phone. "I'm sitting at least."

"Where are you?"

"The office. I had a security check to do on a new employee."

I smiled and stared outside to the sunlight. "I'll see you at home later. My next client is here."

"Te amo."

I chuckled. "You're getting better. Soon you'll understand everything that Mama says."

"And I'll be able to tell Antonio off."

"Later Babe."

"And you."

***** Kevin *****

God I ached. I was trembling, breathing hard, and I couldn't even think. Why couldn't I get the image of Andrew out of my head? That ripped, hairy torso he flashed as he wiped some sweat away with the hem of his shirt was burned into my brain. That, and the musky smell of him as he straddled the bench to spot me.

I could still feel his hands on my hips, the inside of my legs, and my ass. It was like he was still holding me from getting away. I took a breath to calm my nerves, but the steam smelled like Andrew... smelled like the heat of his jock when I'd been doing my squats. I was so fucking hard. It was crazy. I shouldn't have been hard and flustered over a man, even one as intimidating as Andrew.

I had my forehead pressed against the tiles while I chewed on my lower lip, when a hand covered mine as I tugged on my aching shaft. I tried to stand up, but I was held in place by a strong, hairy chest pressing against my back. I let go of my dick, putting my hands against the wall to push myself up, but his hand squeezed me, causing my legs to go weak, and all I could do was groan.

What the fuck was going on? Soap was trailing through my crack, and my ass was being spread by a huge, hard cock. I whimpered, trying to push him away, but it caused him to rub my hole harder. "I'm not gay..."

"You are now," Andrew growled into my ear as he slammed in, splitting me in two.

Bolting upright, I nearly fell off of the couch. I groaned, my back screaming at me, and I swung my feet off the couch and to the floor. It took me a moment to realize I was hard in precum-soaked briefs. I shook off the images that clung from the dream and slammed my fist against the cushions. Just what I need, some stupid ass, sex-deprived dream. It wasn't like I was gay. I just hadn't gotten any in so long that guys were starting to look good.

I pushed off the couch and walked into the kitchen. I was tired of the couch. I pulled out a beer and looked at it. I looked at it long and hard, and then put it back in the fridge. I gripped the remnants around my waist of too many beers that hadn't solved anything, but had left me with a weight that I hated. A weight that was a lot heavier than the damn padding around my middle. I wasn't going to be like Dad. I could deal with my problems without the booze. Of course, if I weren't as stubborn and pig headed as he was, I wouldn't have had half as many problems.

Sighing, I wandered upstairs and into the bedroom. Jessica was sprawled out on the bed, face down, one arm over the pillow beside her, and her other arm under the pillow beneath her head. The tangle of the sheets made me wonder if her sleep was as troubled as mine. Kneeling down, I brushed a stray lock of hair from her face. She was still beautiful. Two kids and seven years of marriage hadn't damaged her looks at all.

Jessie stirred, blinking for a few moments before her eyes focused on me. "Is Terry awake," she asked in a sleepy mumble.

"No." I stroked her cheek. "He's sound asleep."

"What's wrong, Kevin..."

Maybe seven years of marriage had left their mark. Her eyes didn't glow the way they used to. I couldn't figure out why. "I'm sorry."

Her lips dipped to a little frown. "You're always sorry, Kevin. I've heard it so many times that the words just don't have any meaning any longer."

What was I supposed to say? I pulled my fingers from her face. "I was just passing through... I didn't mean to wake you."

I stood up, but Jessie reached up and gripped my hand. "Don't do that, Kevin, please."

I looked at her, barely able to see the dampness in her eyes though the dark. "Don't do what?"

She let go. "We used to be able to talk. You never talk to me anymore."

"Yes I do."

She rolled over, away from me, and fluffed her pillow before dropping her head into it. "No you don't. You talk at me, and maybe you hear me, but you don't talk to me or listen to me."

Sitting on the edge of the bed, I looked at my hands through the gloom. "I don't know what to talk about. I feel like there's something missing, Jessie... something I can't figure out."

"Did I do something?"

I shook my head. "No." I wanted to blame her, but I knew in my gut it wasn't her fault. Sure, she bitched and griped too much for me at times, but she was almost always right. I shrugged. "Maybe I'm just hitting midlife early. They say it can hit a man between thirty and forty-five." I coughed softly. "Hell, I started losing my hair at twenty-eight. I guess I'm just an early bloomer."

Jessie snorted, and I could feel her smile. "According to your mother, you were. You started dating at eleven."

I smiled, looking at her. "I wasn't screwing around at eleven." I could barely make out Jessie's raised eyebrow. I chuckled. "Okay, twelve."

She reached out and squeezed my hand. "We used to laugh, Kevin. Why don't we laugh anymore?"

Something in her voice made my heart contract and my gut twist. Why couldn't we make it right? "I don't know..." Leaning in, I rested my head on her breast, sliding my arm around her as I felt the tears burning my eyes. "I love you so damn much..."

She clung to me, holding me to her chest as she kissed the top of my head. "I know baby... I love you too."

*** Andrew ***

Tuesday night I looked at the clock again. Eight-forty. Kevin's appointment was at eight-thirty. After Saturday, I wasn't too anxious to face him. The niggling feeling in my gut began to grow. Shit.

I went into the office and looked up his information on the laptop. I dialed his number and waited through three rings before someone picked up. "Hello?"

"Hi there. This is Andrew with Goals & Dreams. Kevin had an appointment at eight-thirty and he didn't make it."

The soft, feminine voice on the other end was friendly. "Kevin isn't feeling well, flu or something. I'm sorry he didn't call."

I nodded, though she couldn't see it. "No problem. I was just wondering if something had happened. If he can't make it on Thursday, could someone could call?"

"One of us will. I'm terribly sorry about that."

"No worries. Have a good night."

I hung up the phone, less than comforted. It was February. The flu hit all over the place. I rubbed my belly and stood. Lee had his last client just about wrapped up. I walked over to him and waited until he was done spotting for the client. "My last client is sick. Would you mind closing up?"

Lee looked up at me and smiled. "No. I guess it is fair that you get to go home early once in a while."

I patted him on the back and grabbed my jacket and palm pilot. As I grabbed the keys to my truck, I felt the silver bracelet in my pocket. I snagged it and secured it in place. I stared at the links for a moment before I keyed the door locks open. I got inside, fired the beast up, and headed on home.

Taylor and I had spent most of the last two evenings talking. Monday morning, I'd woken up with him pressed against my chest on the couch. This morning I'd woken up curled around him in the bed. I'd slept better the last two nights than I had in a long, long time. After I'd hung up my coat, I walked through the kitchen, spotting the stack of papers from Tom still sitting on the kitchen table. I wanted so badly to sign them, but, every time I picked up a pen, Saturday kept floating through my head. I couldn't go through with it. I almost did it Monday morning, but the pen started shaking in my hand. I needed to talk about that with Taylor, but I just couldn't bring it up. I was a damn coward; I knew it.

I found Taylor sitting on the sofa, a cup of something steaming on the side table.

"Hey babe."

I grinned as I leaned over him and pressed a kiss to the top of his head. "How was your day?"

Taylor leaned back against the cushions and groaned. "Nothing new: a couple of messed up kids, a skipped period, and some more paperwork for the Nazi Walrus."

I started to laugh. "So my nickname stuck, huh?"

Taylor set down his paperwork and picked up his mug, smiling devilishly. "I even got Carole into saying it." He shook his head. "It really isn't good to encourage dissention in the ranks, but I like the name." Taylor looked up at the clock on the wall and frowned. "You're home early."

"Yeah. My last client is sick and didn't make it in."

"Did you get anything to eat?"

I rubbed my belly and shook my head. "No. I'm not really hungry anyway."

"That's too bad. Grace dropped off one of her meatloaves."

I sat down in my chair and shook my head. "She's getting married Monday. Why is she still cooking for us?"

"My question exactly." He smiled. "Want to know her response?"

I nodded.

"If I'm making some for Buck and I, I just double the recipe."

"And the twenty-five mile drive out here was nothing." I started laughing. "Mom is going to make us get used to her cooking."

"Too late," Taylor replied as he patted his belly.

I chuckled, rubbing mine. "Yeah. Me too. I've never had this much trouble shedding cheat pounds."

We sat and watched each other for a few moments, not saying anything. The quiet moments had become few and far between lately. I missed them. I smiled and Taylor returned it.

After a short while, Taylor took another sip from his mug. "So where did I leave off last night?"

I thought about it for a few moments. "Marsha; your first girlfriend out of college."

"Right. We were together for eight months." He sat back and ran his hand across the back of the sofa. "I bought this after we broke up. Towards the end, we were fighting a lot, and the old couch was really uncomfortable to sleep on."

"That endears her to me already. I love this couch."

He smiled. "Me too. For awhile, I think I slept more on the couch than I did in my old bed."

"I can relate. This couch is far more comfortable than that bed. It wasn't long enough."

He chuckled and threw a pillow at me. "Of course, not for you, you dope. Except for that big monstrosity upstairs, no bed is big enough; your feet dangle."

I shrugged. "All true." I stared at him and smiled. "So why did you break up with Marsha?"

"We drifted apart. We didn't talk. We had nothing in common. After a few months, the sex got boring and we had nothing left."

Sex boring? Was that possible?

Taylor seemed to read my thoughts. "Yes, horn dog, sex can get boring." When I shot him a skeptical look, he shrugged. "Why didn't you do anyone twice, Andrew?"

"I've had sex with the same guy more than once lots of times."

"Other than Don or Leon?" He smirked. "I don't count Lee because you didn't do him unless you were hunting as a team."

I frowned. How long had it been since I'd done someone more than once? Not since I was twenty-four or twenty-five, and then only for money. I pushed those thoughts aside. "So, what's your point?"

"Why didn't you?"

I shifted a little and chewed on that for a minute before I shrugged. "No challenge."

"In other words, it didn't fulfill your needs, it was 'boring'." He raised an eyebrow at me.

I nodded. "I guess."

"Well, that's what happens with sex when a relationship stops fulfilling your needs. All the lack of interest or baggage from the other aspects of the relationship saps the fun and excitement from the sex until it's more a chore than a joy."

"That sucks."

Taylor smiled, toeing my thigh. "That's why it's so important to work on the relationship. Sex is easy; relationships are hard."

"Did sex with Trish ever get boring?"

Taylor blinked. I didn't like the pained, almost fearful look that filled his eyes for a moment. It didn't last, but I saw it.

"No, I had some of the best sex of my life with Trish. It was never boring." His toes rubbed my thigh. "Sex with you has never been boring either, Andrew. I doubt it ever will be."

I smiled, but my smile faded as I saw the doubt in his eyes. "What?"

He shrugged. "Nothing."

I squeezed his foot. "Hey." I waited until he looked at me. "Honesty, right?"

"I was just thinking that it wouldn't get boring for me."

I squeezed his foot again. "I won't get bored, Taylor."

I could see his question in his eyes, but he didn't ask it. Then why haven't we had sex since Thursday? I was thankful he didn't ask, because I honestly wasn't sure how I would have answered him.

Taylor broke our gaze, and sipped from his mug again. He frowned, looked down into the mug, and sighed. "I'm empty."

I held out my hand. "I'll refill yours and get myself one. What were you having?"

"Coffee and Bailey's."

I frowned. "Okay, I'll have half of what you're having." I stood, taking his mug. "How much do I put in?"

"About a quarter inch of Bailey's, the rest coffee."

"Okay." I retreated to the kitchen, made his coffee and poured me some without the additives. I looked out of the window at the darkness beyond. Why hadn't we had sex yet? The fucking fight was over. What were we waiting for? I closed my eyes and tried to separate the tangle of emotions that brought up. I wanted to just fuck, and cum until all the problems were washed away by the lust and heat. I'd used sex to block out problems for nearly as long as I'd been having sex. Maybe it was time to deal more with the problems than to Band Aid them.

Taylor's arms wrapped around my waist, and I felt his cheek press between my shoulder blades. "You get lost?"

"Sorry," I slid his mug to the right. "Your coffee's ready."

"Why don't we dump the coffee, put in a boom flick, and just relax tonight? We've had an intense few evenings."

I relaxed, turning in his arms until my ass was firmly planted against the counter. I ran my fingers through his hair. He could probably tie it back if he tried. I loved it. I loved the feel, the smell, the look, everything. "Feeling a little raw too, huh?"

Taylor nodded. "It's hard to look at that internal mirror for extended periods of time. I don't know anyone who enjoys it."

"What movie?"

"True Lies." He grinned at me. "Jamie Lee is hot as hell in that hotel scene."

I frowned, raising an eyebrow at him skeptically.

"Okay, okay... Arnold isn't bad either."

I lifted his chin. "Looking at other men already, huh?"

"You're hotter than Arnold ever was, you stupid ape," Taylor whispered. "You've got a better face, better voice, and I like the fur."

I couldn't resist his lips after that. We kissed until I realized my chest was burning. I pulled my head back to find Taylor had pulled himself up me by gripping my sweatshirt and all the hair underneath. The pain only made me want him more, but I didn't dive back in. After a moment, Taylor loosened his grip, and slid back to the floor. With him safely out of my arms, I bent down and kissed his lips softly again, mumbling, "You put the DVD in. I'll pop some popcorn."

"Okay." Taylor took his mug and left me to the task of popping the munchies. Fortunately for both of us, the microwave had a popcorn setting.

Two hours of popcorn filled cuddling later, I mussed Taylor's hair. "Come on, Babe. Time for bed."

He snuffed into my chest. "Yes, Papa."

I chuckled, pulled him off the couch with me, and left the dishes for the morning. After I helped Taylor upstairs and into bed, I lay holding him and thought about how close we came to losing this. True, it had only been two nights, but the thought scared the hell out of me. I pulled Taylor closer and ran my nose through his hair as he snuggled his ass against my crotch. I stirred a bit, but sex would have to wait. With one arm around his chest and my other under his pillow, I shut my eyes and was out almost immediately.

My cock was surrounded by tight, scalding flesh as I pounded hard and furiously. Base to tip, over and over I plunged into the volcanic heat. He was so tight; it felt like I was squeezing my cock in a vice. I groaned loudly and heard an answering moan. God, this felt amazing; so fucking good. I had to work harder not to cum than I was at fucking, and I was fucking that ass as hard as I had ever fucked before.

I kept my eyes clenched shut as I pounded harder, using every trick, every swivel of my hips, each side to side dive and then I'd groan when I'd hear a grunt in response. It didn't matter to me if the owner of that hot ass were enjoying the fuck; that was just a side benefit. This was all about me, all about what I wanted and needed. This ass was mine. A powerless man beneath me was almost too much. I gritted my teeth to keep from losing it.

The grunting got louder and the excitement tightened in my belly. He was losing it. Hot damn! I couldn't keep my eyes shut anymore. I loved that power; I loved being able to make a man cum like he'd never cum before. I opened my eyes and what I saw stopped my thrusting. My heart started pounding in my chest. The moans and groans weren't in pleasure, but muffled cries, around a thick, ugly cock being shoved down an unwilling, gagging throat; Kevin's throat.

The coach looked at me with a grin that made my blood run cold. I felt the skin on the back of my neck crawl with revulsion, and my cock deflating.

"Don't stop now, boy. He's nice and open for you."

I looked down at Kevin's broad, hair-dusted back, and swallowed down the bile rising in my throat.

"Come on boy. Show me what I taught you. Make him a man." I stared in his eyes, those commanding, evil eyes, and watched the smirk cross his face. "Like I made you a man."

I tried to pull away, Kevin's ass gripping my cock and holding me in place.

"Don't stop," Coach growled as he gripped Kevin's ears and slammed all of himself down Kevin's helpless throat.

Kevin gagged, choking as Coach tried to shove his dick down to Kevin's stomach. His ass nearly milked me as he tried to retreat from Coach's cock, only to slam further onto my own. I trembled, feeling my cock thickening in him again.

"You know you want this, live for this." Coach ground his crotch in Kevin's face, and Kevin flailed, unable to retreat because his ass was impaled on my ever growing cock. Coach just chuckled through Kevin's helpless thrashing. "You've always wanted this."

The spasms in Kevin's ass were drugging, causing me to slowly thrust, just a little, even though I didn't want to.

"Yeah, that's right; do him," Coach grunted, pushing me onward with his words, "Just like I taught you."

I snapped out of my fuck induced haze and yanked from Kevin's torn, blistered ass. I didn't need to look down to know what my cock would look like; covered in blood, shit and possibly cum. My cum. Kevin's muffled scream from my sudden retreat made me turn away, struggling not to empty my guts against the lockers. I staggered away from the grunting and whimpering behind me.

"You can't run away!" Coach's voice followed me through the endless maze of halls as I ran. "You'll never be anything but what I made you!"

I bolted up into a sitting position, screaming in the dark. If there was any light in the room as I tried to find my breath, I couldn't see it. The only thing that held me there was the smell Taylor's shampoo. I inhaled, trying to fight the bile that was churning in my gut, and hoped the smell that always made me feel safe would do so again.

I shuddered as I felt hands tentatively touch my back. "Andrew?"

I tried to find the source of his voice. I knew he was in bed, next to me, but he felt a lifetime away. "Taylor?"

His voice came to me through the darkness, guiding me back. "Yes, Andrew. It's me." His hands rubbed my back softly, one up near the base of my neck. "Everything is alright, Andrew. You're at home, with me."

"No," I whispered, fighting the feeling of falling. I felt the first tears begin to pool in my eyes.

Taylor usually held me from behind when I had nightmares, but he couldn't kneel. He sat awkwardly beside me, his cheek pressed against my shoulder, as he ran his fingers through my hair at the base of my skull. "It's okay. I'm here."

I turned and wrapped my arms around him, clinging to him as if he were a life preserver. I cried into his neck, lifting him from the mattress as I sobbed. The nightmares hadn't been that bad in months. I'd hoped they would finally go away.

When I calmed down, Taylor whispered, "Do you want me to turn on the light?"

"No. Please no." I hated the scared helplessness that came out in my voice, but that was the best I could manage. I took several deep breaths until my throat no longer ached and I could stop shuddering. I sat upright and wiped my face. As I let Taylor go and turned, I felt the contents in my underwear shift. Damp, cool, stickiness rubbed against my thigh. Shit. In the dark, I quickly checked; I hadn't cum. My soaked boxers were just the results of a lot of precum. I steeled myself. "I'm okay."

"I'm not going to be scared away by nightmares, Andrew." He stroked my arm. "You can tell me when you're ready."

I nodded, letting out a breath. "I'm okay. Really." I wasn't convinced of that, and I was sure Taylor didn't believe a word of it. "Maybe later."

"Okay, Baby."

I lay back against the pillows and turned to my side, pulling Taylor to me, wrapping my arms around him, and practically smothering him against my chest. I kissed the top of Taylor's head, sniffing deeply of his hair. "I love you, Taylor."

"I love you too," he mumbled into my chest, hugging me tighter as if to protect me from the nightmares.

I ran my nose over and over through his hair, taking in the scent of his shampoo. Squeezing my eyes shut, I tried to block out the memories of the dream. I'm not like that anymore. I'm not.