Evan got back from his trip safely and came to my place the next weekend, our third together. It was wet and drizzly, so we stayed around the house most of the time, reading, watching the tube, jerkin' off to porn on the `net. Evan seemed a bit quiet, but he was relaxed and affectionate, and we spent a lot of time in bed, lazily making love, learning each other's bodies more thoroughly.
In addition to being ticklish, there was a spot high on the inside of his thigh that made his dick quiver. It was just inside the hollow that big tendon makes when your legs are spread. I found it by accident, lightly dragging my fingers down his leg as I blew him, and he shivered as I passed over it. I came back to it again to make sure, and when his hard cock trembled in my mouth, I pulled off to look up at him. His eyes were closed, eyebrows drawn down in a frown, and his mouth was open slightly. When he finally looked down at me, he shrugged.
"I don't know, but it feels amazing."
I went back to his dick for a bit, but moved my mouth gradually down his cock, into the crease of his thigh, then to that sensitive bit of skin. I flicked my tongue over it until he responded with a shiver, exhaling with a low, satisfied 'ahhhhh.' He reached down to cup the back of my head, pressing me to him as I sucked on the soft skin just two inches south of his balls.
As good as the sex was - and it was incredibly good - my favorite parts of the weekend actually took place in the kitchen. We ate every meal in, feeding each other tastes of whatever we were chopping up or stirring, one of us drying the dishes the other washed. We touched each other often as we moved around the room, whoever had a free hand squeezing a shoulder or patting a butt in passing. It was a facet to being with someone that I had never experienced, this around-the-house-ness, and it was very satisfying, filling an emptiness in me that I hadn't even been aware of.
Late Saturday afternoon as we stood at the front window watching the rain, I happened to glance at him just as the street lights came on. Raindrops on the window were caught in silhouette on his face, sliding like gray tears down his cheeks, as if the color was draining from his eyes. When he turned slowly to face me, his eyes were dark with a pain I hadn't seen in him before, and the fine hairs on the back of my neck rose. We looked at each other for a long moment, and then he leaned into me, nuzzling down into my neck, pressing against me until I put my arms around him.
"You ok?" I asked him softly.
He nodded but didn't say anything, and as I held him, I just tuned out everything but Evan. The smell of him. His warm breath, slow and steady on my neck. The firm muscles of his back under my hands. The warmth of his thigh pressed to mine.
This was a first, Evan turning to me, instead of away, when he lapsed into one of those silences. I closed my eyes and held him close, wondering where his mind was. Not to mention his heart. Moments like this tapped into all my insecurities about us. Was I just a poor substitute for Luke? Was he realizing that this wasn't working for him after all, and feeling bad about having to tell me? I sure as fuck hoped not.
After a bit, he pulled free of me and moved a step away, turning back to the window. As soon as he began speaking, I realized I was about to learn another piece of the puzzle that was Evan.
"That summer was really rainy, the one after the accident. The whole time I was in the hospital, it rained every day, and it got to be sort of hypnotic. I'd stare out the window and my mind would just..." he waved a hand in the air, "let go. I always went back to the Saturday before the accident. Luke and I spent the night out in the woods, so that we could sleep together..." I was watching him as he spoke; his eyes were far away and his voice got even quieter. "It was a long time before I could watch the rain and not think of him."
My skin had gone cold listening to the stark emotion in his voice. "Ahhh, God, Evan."
When I spoke, Evan seemed to come to himself. He turned to me, his eyes clearing, and he smiled slightly. "Sorry... Being with you is bringing back all sorts of things I haven't thought about in years. Lots of feelings. Not the real bad ones, but the..." He paused to swallow before finishing the sentence. "... the cared for feelings." He sighed. "It's been so long."
My throat closed and I stepped to him, catching him in a hard, desperate embrace. I was a breath or two from tears, but he hugged me back tight enough to squeeze the air out of me and I was able to get a grip. The whole thing didn't last three minutes, but it was so intense that we couldn't talk about it right then. We held each other there in the shadows by the window, and after few moments, Evan gently drew back, pulled the drapes, and turned on a lamp.
We had scrambled eggs for dinner, and then played poker with Callie. She'd come to the door with a banana cream pie just as we were sitting down to deal. When we asked her in for coffee, she saw the cards on the table and her face lit up. "Poker?"
"Yeahhh..." I said warily. "Why?"
"I play online."
"Really? With who?" I asked skeptically, chuckling at the thought of little old ladies all over the planet, taking each other for a penny a point.
"I play in Senior's tournaments, but I've never played in person."
"Well, tonight's your big chance." I decided to humor her. "Have a seat."
We all got coffee and pie, and then sat down to play Texas Hold `Em. It was very Twilight Zone-ish sitting there with Callie, my elderly female next door neighbor, and Evan, the man I'd fucked this morning, eating banana cream pie and playing poker. An hour and a half later, Evan owed her $72, and I owed her $136 and him $43.
"Christ, you're a barracuda," I told her, pushing back from the table in disgust at my inability to out-smart an old lady and a lawyer in a game I'd been playing since I was twelve. In my defense, the cards had been stone cold. Honest.
"You don't have to pay me," Callie offered with a gracious smugness that made me want to throttle her. "Just invite me over to play again."
"Not on your life," I grumbled as Evan chuckled at me. "And you....." I rounded on him. "I'm not payin' you at all. You can just take it out in... trade."
Callie rolled her eyes. "You can say `sex.' I won't swoon."
Actually, I was gonna say `cock,' but I didn't correct her.
Evan laughed out loud then, ducking when I flung the dish towel at him. After Callie went home, we took Chewy for a walk. It had stopped raining by then, but the streets glistened wetly, and our footsteps were almost silent on the damp sidewalk. We'd walked a block or two before we started to talk, and then we both began at once.
"I don't—" Evan said.
"What did—" I said.
"Go ahead," I said, squeezing his hand.
"I just wanted to tell you that I don't think about Luke all that much, in case you were wondering. I mean, even when I think about him, I always end up thinking about you. Like this afternoon. I started out looking at the rain, remembering how it used to make me feel, but you were right there next to me, and I didn't drift away." He paused for a minute as we watched Chewy chase a cat into a hedge. "Being with you, feeling something for you, opened up a lot of old wounds, and at first it scared the shit out of me. I don't think I could go through that again." Another long pause, about half a block's worth. "But it feels like I'm... healing cleanly this time. Feels I'm back home after being away too long."
"You are home," I assured him, meaning it more than anything I'd ever said to him.
He nodded, smiling at me in the haloed glow of a streetlight. "Yeah, I think maybe I am."
We finished our walk mostly in silence, our hands clasped snugly, our shoulders bumping companionably. I'd always enjoyed walking - it's one of the reasons I own a dog - but these nighttime walks with Evan had become a sort of ambulatory therapy for us; it seemed easier to talk about difficult things in the dark.
When we got home, Evan took the lead in bed, something he doesn't often do since I'm more naturally aggressive. He seemed to need to take control, and I was happy to let him, rolling onto my back with a sigh as he sank down onto my hard cock. I held back until he started to shoot, and when I came, it was one of those weird orgasms that almost hurt. I don't know if it was all the emotions flying around that weekend or what, but as I groaned through it, Evan lay down on me and hung on tight until I could breathe again.
On Sunday morning I wowed him with my blueberry pancakes, grinning as he `mmmmm'd his way through the first few bites. It rained all day, but there was no repeat of the window incident; instead we spent a couple hours in the kitchen, making breakfast and eating it slowly as we waded through the Sunday paper, reading the interesting bits out loud to each other. By the time he drove away late Sunday afternoon, his hand pressed flat against the rain-streaked car window in a silent farewell, I knew that I was in love with him, and that I would do whatever it took to hang in there until he realized he loved me, too.
The second weekend in June, Evan arrived late on Friday, just before 10pm. I heard his car and met him at the door, but my welcoming smile died as he trudged slowly up the steps. His eyes were downcast, not meeting mine until I closed the door and stepped around in front of him.
"Evan? What's wrong?" I asked, looking into his face. His expression was odd, almost puzzled, and his eyes bore into mine, pale and a little spooky looking. "What happened?"
When he spoke, his voice was fragile, as if he'd cry if he wasn't careful. "Today was the... anniversary of the accident. We always go out to the cemetery for a while, then back to somebody's house. We just... it's something we've always done."
I nodded slowly, locked onto his eyes, wondering why he hadn't told me that before now. This wasn't gonna be good, I could just feel it.
"We were at my place, afterward, sittin' around talking. Kenny asked if I remembered when Luke used to do his John Wayne imitation." He stopped then, his face twisting a little before he continued. "I couldn't remember the sound of his voice. I couldn't hear him in my head anymore."
He shook his head like he simply couldn't believe it. "You know what I heard instead?" I had a pretty good idea, but I'd be damned if I'd be the one to say it, so I just looked at him. "You," he said, his eyes dark. "I heard your voice."
His tone wasn't accusatory, but I felt bad anyway and had to push down a surge of guilt-induced anger. I spread my hands slowly out from my sides, palms up, and kept my voice level as I replied. "I don't know what to say, man. Do you want me to feel bad about that? Cause I don't - I want it to be me you think of."
We stared at each other across four feet of living room carpet, and I thought, is this where it all comes undone? Am I gonna lose him to a voice from ten years ago? I'm not sure how long we stood there, but finally Evan's face came to life, softening into a sad, sweet smile. "I just didn't expect it, that's all. I guess... I dunno.... maybe I thought I'd have him forever."
I thought that was kind of a weird thing to say to your new boyfriend, but I understood what he meant. And he had come here, to me, trusting me enough to tell me what had happened and how he felt about it. I sighed, thoroughly confused, but deeply happy that I was becoming so much a part of him. I reached out my hand. "Come to bed, ok? We can talk more about it tomorrow, if you want."
He let me lead him to the bedroom, undressing and brushing his teeth in silence, waiting naked by the bed until I walked to him. He studied my face, looking deep into my eyes, and I made damn sure that what he saw was love and reassurance. After a moment he gave me a tentative smile.
"You're not angry?" When I shook my head, he continued. "At first it scared me, that I couldn't hear him, you know? He's been part of me for so long. But when I realized it was your voice..." He shrugged. "It was... ok."
I waited a beat, and then said, "But I don't do John Wayne."
Evan gave me a startled glance before chuckling softly, 'heh-heh-heh,' and leaning into me for a kiss. "No, I don't imagine you do."
We climbed into bed then, knowing that things were all right between us.
Early the next morning I awoke before him and lay still, savoring the warmth of his body alongside mine until I felt him stir. Sometimes inspiration comes out of the blue. As Evan stretched beside me, I said his name quietly.
"Listen for Luke."
He went dead still, frozen in place for several seconds, and I waited until he relaxed slightly before asking, "Could you hear him?"
He pushed up onto one elbow and stared at me. "Why did you do that?"
"Answer me first. Did you hear him?" He nodded, his eyes wide with surprise. I slipped an arm around him and pulled him closer to me, gently rubbing the back of my fingers over his heart. "He's not gone, dude. Luke and me..... we're just roommates."
He slowly relaxed against me, and as we drifted back to sleep, I realized that loving Evan was making a man of me in ways I hadn't known I'd lacked.
As we spent more time together, a couple things became apparent to me. One was that I cooked better than Evan did. He could manage French toast and scrambled eggs, but as I found out pretty quickly, that was the extent of his culinary repertoire. I took over most kitchen duties, with him playing prep cook and dishwasher. I was nuts about him, but we couldn't live on scrambled eggs and French toast.
The other, and much more interesting, thing I figured out was that Evan was a natural bottom. Despite the fact he'd fucked me twice that first weekend, he'd never made any attempt to do so since, and whenever it got right down to it, all his moves were aimed at gettin' my dick up his butt. As we spent more time naked together, it became obvious, to me, at least, that Evan was born to bottom.
I decided to test my theory one early June evening at my place. We were messing around on the couch, our shorts around our knees when I gave Evan's dick a last slurp and sat up.
"Wanna fuck me?" I asked him.
He blinked at the bluntness of the question. "Uhm... yeah, sure, if you like."
"No. I asked if you want to."
He looked at me then, trying to understand where I was going with this. "What do you mean, if I want to? Why wouldn't I want to?"
"Cause I think you'd rather I fucked you. Right?"
He turned away from me and slumped down on the couch, staring off across the room. "Well, yeah, I guess so," he said tentatively. "I can do you, but..."
"But you'd rather I fucked you." I made it a statement. As I spoke, I slid my hand up Evan's thigh, then into his groin, tickling my way down from his nuts. His legs spread involuntarily, his mouth dropped open, and he sighed. I leaned close, whispering against his neck. "Right?"
"Oh, God, yes," he moaned.
So I did. I turned him around to kneel on the couch, and plugged him from behind. Watching my red, swollen cock glide out of sight between the round, pale halves of his ass was a visual I couldn't get enough of, and I slowed way down so that I could just enjoy the sights and sensations for a while. As I was mindlessly pumping away, lost in the feel of Evan's hips snug in my hands and my dick snug in his ass, he twisted his head around a little so that he could see me.
"I will, if you want me to, but this is what I think about when I think about gettin' with you. Is that a problem?"
I couldn't believe we were having this conversation while fucking, but whatever. "No. I'm versatile with the right guy, but I prefer to top. That first weekend, I'd have done anything just to get next to you, but this," I pumped a couple long slow ones over his prostate, "this is what I like."
"Nnnnnh, God" he groaned, dropping his head back down on to his arms. "Me, too."
That decided, we wrapped things up with a bang, took a shower, and fell into bed. I was tired, but not real sleepy, and I lay there just drowsing along as Evan played with my chest hair. I was on my back with him draped over me, his face pressed to my shoulder, my hand holding his wrist loosely.
Over the past couple months, my emotions had settled into a constant knot of tension in my chest, tightening occasionally when I was tired or lonely or feeling especially close to Evan, like now. When he ran a trail of kisses up my neck, I just gave in and spoke what I felt.
"I love you, Evan" I whispered into the dark room.
He went still for a second, and then I felt his heart start banging against my arm. I didn't expect a reply, and I didn't get one. Evan breathed quickly for a few moments, his breath warm puffs on my neck, and when he rolled away, I thought he was getting out of bed.
"Aw, man, don't leave."
He reached back to grab my wrist, pulling me close up behind him. As he gripped my hand in his and flattened it hard to his chest, he said in a ragged voice, "Say it again."
I kissed his back, and then spoke clearly and quietly. "I love you."
No mention was made the next morning about my little announcement, but I caught Evan watching me, a thoughtful expression on his face. After that night, I told him often that I loved him. Not every night, just now and then, on the phone as we said goodnight, or in the morning when ours eyes met for the first time as we woke up. He never replied in kind, but he always smiled, and I took that as a good sign.
At least he hadn't run for the door.
When the weather turned really hot, I got Chewy's kiddie pool down from the rafters in the garage and filled it up on the deck. The first Friday in July was sweltering, and when Evan arrived around 6pm, he found us in the pool. I was stretched out with a ball cap over my face, one hand holding the neck of a beer in the shade under a lawn chair. Chew was belly down with his chin on my knee. Both of us were in our birthday suits.
"Well, Jesus, aren't you a pair?" Evan laughed as he came out the kitchen door. He squatted behind me, holding my shoulders as he leaned around to kiss me, his knees pressed against my arms. "Got room for one more?"
He shucked his shorts, which was all he had on, and climbed in. The pool is pretty good-sized, and Evan had room to sit across from me with his feet in my crotch. He stuck a big toe under my balls and jiggled, chuckling as my goodies flopped around in the water. After a few seconds he stopped and slid down until just his face and knees were out of the water.
"That beer still cold?" he asked, rolling his eyes to me.
I passed it over and closed my eyes, keeping my hand out for its return. When it didn't come back after a few seconds, I cracked open one eye in time to see the last gulp chugging down Evan's throat.
"Well, you prick. Now you gotta go get me another one," I ordered him gruffly.
He sat up and looked at me with his eyebrows in the air, a challenging smile on his face. "Or what?"
"Or no cock for you this weekend," I teased with a grin. It was the first thing that came to mind, and I regretted it the minute the words were out of my mouth cause it was gonna deprive me, too. Way to go, Jeff.
He cracked up and turned so that he was kneeling with his butt aimed my way, smacking one smooth, wet cheek with the flat of his hand. "Like you can resist this ass." Then he sat back down and grinned at me. "Puh-leez."
I chuckled at him, shaking my head. "O-k. Remember you said that."
I stood up, waggled my dick at him, and stepped out onto the deck. Chewy must have thought it was dinner time cause he jumped up, hopped out of the pool, and shook himself thoroughly. When I came back with two beers, Evan was flat on his back, eyes closed, spread-eagled in the water. I stepped in across him and sat down on him so that my balls settled over his soft cock, which floated just above his belly. He grunted, but didn't move until I rested the icy beer bottles on his chest, one over each nipple
"Agghhh," he shrieked, laughing and trying to sit up, but I let my full weight down onto him and he didn't have a chance. Water sloshed all over the deck as he thrashed, and Chewy barked and jumped around. When I finally lifted the bottles, Evan collapsed into the water, rubbing both hands over his chest, trying to warm up his frozen nips. When he eyed me warily, I grinned down at him and offered him a beer, sliding off to sit next to him. We sipped the beers and watched dusk creep out of the tree line across the field behind my house. It was quiet and peaceful back there. I sat with the cold beer in one hand and the other on Evan's thigh, my little finger nudged up against his soft dick. When the deck was in full shade, we went inside to shower off the doggy pool water.
Most Fridays we fell on each other as soon as it was geographically possible, but tonight we'd been distracted by the pool/beer incident and hadn't done anything yet. Evan soaped me enthusiastically, stroking my cock until I was pointing at the ceiling. He pumped a big shot of waterproof lube into his palm, rubbed his hands together, and stepped close to me, his feet outside mine, lining up our cocks. His grip was firm, and since he was using both hands, covered us from root to tip. Since we'd done this a few times now, it didn't take us long to get into a rhythm.
Evan's low-hangers bumped into my thighs as they swung with the movement of his hips, and the contact coincided with the bottom of his down-stroke, creating a double-whammy of sensations. I held his shoulders, running my hands over the tense muscles, my head back as I pumped into his fists, waiting for the slight increase in the speed of his hands that signaled his imminent orgasm. When I felt it, I thrust quick and hard a few times, and blew like a volcano up between our chests just as Evan squatted slightly, then came to his toes, shooting jets of cum a foot in the air.
With one under our belts, we were ready for dinner. We ate on the deck while the sky turned all shades of orange and pink from the setting sun. By the time we were eating Callie's latest batch of cookies, it was dark, and so we headed for the couch. There wasn't much on the tube, and we were more interested in each other anyway. We'd put boxers on after our shower, but by the time Evan pulled me down onto him, they were in a pile on the floor. He scooted down a little and wrapped his legs around my hips.
"Grab the lube," he said in a throaty murmur.
"Uh-uh." God, that was hard to say with his ass tipped up at the perfect angle. What the hell had I been thinking?
"Whatta ya mean, 'uh-uh?' I wanna get fucked."
"Forget it. I told you no dick, remember?"
He stared at me in total surprise. "You can't be serious. Come on." He grabbed my hard dick and aimed it in the general direction of his butt, but I pulled my hips back as I leaned down to kiss him.
"I told you no and I meant it. I'll do anything else you want, but you're not getting any cock from me this weekend." I had my face buried in his neck as I said this, mouthing the soft skin in the hollow of his collar bone.
For a minute I thought he was gonna get pissed, but then he began to stroke me just the way he knew I liked. "Bet I can get you to fuck me." Now he was teasing me.
I sat up so I could see him. "Bet you can't," I grinned.
That's how it started - Evan determined to get me to fuck him, and me equally determined not to, although by now I totally couldn't remember why the fuck a cold beer had been so important. We sucked each other off on the couch, and went to bed. Sometime toward morning, I awoke to Evan trying to stuff my cock up his ass. I let him get just the head in, then yawned real big and rolled over, popping my dick out.
"Goddamn it." He sat up and frowned at me. "Don't you wanna fuck me?"
I smiled at him and flexed my cock so that it bounced on my belly. "Of course, I do."
"Well, then," he said in frustration.
"It's really gettin' to you, isn't it? And it's only Saturday morning."
"Is that what you want? For me to beg? All right, I will." He knelt on the bed, hands clasped in the classic pose. "Pleeeeease fuck me, Jeff. Please, I'm begging you." I was almost ready to give in cause my dick was aching for him, for the feel of him tight and hot around me, but then he laughed like he knew he had me, and my will power returned. "I can't believe I'm begging to get fucked. Forget it."
He flopped back on the bed, knees bent and spread. Locking eyes with me, he wrapped one hand around his dick and dropped the other out of sight below his nuts. After a moment, he brought the hand out, loaded his middle finger with spit and put it back. When his wrist began to move back and forth, I couldn't take any more and slid over next to him. He moved his hand away, pulling his finger slowly from his ass, giving it a little wiggle on the way out.
I let him have his dick, grabbing my own with one hand and his nuts with the other. I played with him for a few moments, then scooped a wad of saliva from my mouth and slid it across his hole. His knees lifted, allowing me to see what I was doing. I stroked my finger several times, going a little deeper with each pass until finally, I sank into him. My hands are larger than his, my fingers fatter, and he moaned softly as I worked my way in.
I had to fight to slow down, kneeling there next to him, my finger gently tracing the smooth walls of his insides. We hadn't done a lot of this, and I'd almost forgotten how much I loved it. I pressed the heel of my hand into him, shoving his balls up and down as I rubbed that heavy ridge between his nuts and his hole. I touched myself in the same place, pressing hard.
When Evan's ass muscles tightened on my finger, I came back to reality and began to stroke it fully into him and out again as we got closer. Evan beat me to it, twisting up off the sheet as he pumped jizz all over his belly. As he convulsed on my finger, I came up on my knees and added my stuff to his, arching my back as I climaxed. When I opened my eyes, he was smiling up at me. I eased out of him and lay down with a groan.
"What?" I asked.
"If you'll keep doing that, I won't miss your dick at all. That was great."
We stayed up pretty late Saturday night, and Sunday morning I was out of it. We were on our sides, Evan tucked into the curve of my body, my dick wedged into his butt crack. By the time I knew what was happening, Evan had managed to spear himself on my morning hard-on and was happily humping away. I almost shoved him off, but it felt too good, so I rolled us to put him on the bottom and fucked him slowly, my fingers sunk into the meat of his ass. He reached back to grip my wrists lightly, a gesture that tugged at something deep inside me.
Well, I'd almost made good on my threat. If it had been anyone but Evan that I'd pulled that stunt on, they'd have probably bitch-slapped me and been out the door. Evan had stayed, maybe - I hoped - because he loved me.
He always came up to my place, although we spent one other weekend at his condo, but again, we didn't go out much. By then - mid-July - I was so in love with him that he could have decreed that we never leave the house and it would have been ok with me. Love makes you crazy, I swear it does.
One significant thing did happen that weekend, though, during that weekend at his place.
Sunday morning I was awake before him, and got up to piss away the tail end of last night's beer. As I was coming back to bed, I stopped to look at the framed pictures on his tall dresser. The other time I'd been here, his dresser had been bare. Had he put them away the first time?
There were two photos of the same couple, one a wedding picture and the other of them more recently; probably his folks. He looked a lot like the woman - wide jaw, solemn gray eyes, black hair.
The other frame held a collage of several photos that had been cut to fit in and around each other. I picked it up and angled it to the window, seeing a teenaged Evan smiling out at me alongside a blond, crew-cut kid who had to be Luke.
I turned my head to look at Evan, sleeping peacefully a few feet away, and then went back to the pictures. In one, they were pretty young, fifteen or so, arms slung over each other's shoulders as they stood behind an old red Schwinn. Evan's t-shirt was dirty, and Luke had a chipped front tooth that only added to his boyish good looks. Luke's head was tipped toward Evan's, and I stared at the expression on Evan's face.
Did he look that happy when he was with me?
You can make yourself nuts with questions like that.
In another, it was Christmas and they sat thigh to thigh on the sofa that was out in Evan's living room, only it was in what had to be Grandma's house. They were a couple years older in this one, and the connection between them was more obvious. Luke's hand was resting on his own leg, but the tip of his little finger reached over to touch Evan's thigh, a little thing that you wouldn't notice unless you were looking for it, which I was. Evan's smile was magical, one I'd never seen on him; soft and tender and vulnerable.
The one in the bottom right corner held my eye the longest. It was high school graduation day. Four boys wore caps and gowns, holding their diplomas up as they grinned at the camera; four handsome young men, two of them wildly in love, poised to go out into the world. Just a few hours later, Luke was dead, and everyone else's lives were changed forever.
In the long run of things, I guess that included me.
I didn't hear him get out of bed, but I felt Evan step up behind me to look over my shoulder. He wrapped one arm around me with his palm against my bare chest, and reached out the other to point at the Schwinn picture.
"We were fifteen. He'd moved to town about a month before that. His little sister took the picture with her new camera." He touched his fingertip to the Christmas picture. "We made love for the first time the night before that was taken. It was our Christmas present to each other."
That explained Evan's fragile smile. I looked at the picture for a moment and tried to imagine what it had been like for them.
He was silent for a bit, then gently took the frame from me and pulled open the top drawer of the dresser. I stopped him with a hand on his arm. "Don't do that because of me. Please. He's a part of you that we have to deal with; putting it in a drawer isn't going to make it go away."
He hesitated, then pushed the drawer shut, and put the picture back next to the others, his hand lingering on it for a moment. I knew we were on shaky ground here, and chose my words carefully. "I don't want to replace him, Evan, and I don't expect you to forget him. One of the things that attracts me so strongly to you is the fact that you loved someone that much."
He stood there staring through the picture with unfocused eyes, his expression somber; I hoped he understood what I was trying to say. When he turned to me, his eyes searched mine as he spoke. "I don't want you to think... to think that I can't care for you because of him."
"I didn't think that, but it's good to hear."
He went on as though I hadn't spoken. "Because I can. I can love you like that." He shook his head in frustration. "Not exactly like I loved Luke, but... Fuck, I – "
"I know what you mean," I cut in. "It's ok, I know what you mean, Evan." I paused, and then added, "I love you."
That shut him up for a moment. He swallowed hard, and just stared at me. I put my hand around the back of his neck and pulled him in until our foreheads were touching.
"Look, man, I can't promise you that nothing bad will ever happen to us. I wish I could... but I do promise you that I'll never lie to you, and I won't leave.... ever.... unless you want me to. I stick."
He wrapped his arms around me in a long, silent embrace, and I felt like we were one tiny step closer.
Thanks to David of Hope for the editing and suggestions that make this a better story.
Email the author at email@example.com.