Here come the last three chapters. I hope you enjoy them and that you have enjoyed the rest of the story.
For those of you who like hunting for the facts in their fiction, forget it. This is entirely a work of fiction and all the characters are figments of my imagination.
Otherwise, normal disclaimers apply. If sex between consenting male adults is not your thing, or you are a minor under the law of whatever state or country you live in, then I suggest you read no further.
By Redbear, August 2002 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Jonathan passed a restless night following his evening out with Phil. He had difficulty sleeping, troubled by his mixed feelings for his friend. Had he done the right thing in turning Phil away? He knew he found Phil attractive and very likeable, and felt that he could build a good and loving relationship on those foundations. But could Phil? That was the real question, and Jonathan was afraid that, by pushing him away to test other waters, he was effectively encouraging Phil to find someone else. Was he doing that for Phil's benefit? Or for his own?
Eventually his tortuous self-analysis dragged him into sleep and he awoke to bright, fresh sunlight streaming through his window. Evidently the storm of the previous night had cleared the air and passed on.
He stumbled out of bed and down to the kitchen. Pouring himself a bowl of cereal, he turned on his PC to check his e-mail. A note from some friends in New Zealand, congratulating him on his career change and recommending that he go and work in NZ, and a note from Mark, sent the previous evening, just confirming the rendezvous later that day.
Jonathan had spent a couple of weeks in New Zealand a few years ago, on South Island, and had fallen in love with the country. The temptation to live there was enormous and he had come close to buying a restaurant in Queenstown. In the end, reason had won through. The restaurant owner was also the chef; if he sold up and moved on, the new owner would have to find a cook (if he wasn't one himself, and Jonathan was not) and rebuild a reputation. But it was a beautiful place, nonetheless.
After his shit, shave, shower routine, Jonathan walked into Clifton to do his shopping, buying a bit extra in case he had an additional mouth to feed during the weekend. By the time he returned, it was nearly midday and he had to get himself organised quickly if he was going to meet up with Mark.
By folding down the back seats, the boot of his Audi A6 was just big enough to fit his bike in. He pulled on a pair of shorts, trainers and a sleeveless T-shirt, and packed his bicycle pump, a small towel and a couple of bottles of water into a knapsack. Ready.
He spotted Mark's car immediately, from Mark's description, as he pulled into the Queen Adelaide car park. A man, presumably Mark, was bending over a bike next to the car, pumping up the tyres. Jonathan parked, then walked over to the man.
"Hi, are you Mark?"
The man stood up and turned to face Jonathan. "Hi, you must be Jonathan. Pleased to meet you. Did you find it OK?"
Jonathan found himself in front of what he would consider a typical young farmer (not far from the truth, as he would learn). Ruddy cheeks on a fresh complexion (was this what was called peaches and cream? wondered Jonathan), were topped by straight black hair, cut short around the ears and in a fringe across the forehead. Fine black eyebrows curled over startlingly green eyes, screwed up slightly in a welcoming grin. The face was smooth, giving the impression of someone in his twenties, although Jonathan felt that Mark was probably in his mid to late thirties.
Mark's handshake was firm and dry. He was of about the same height as Jonathan, but appeared more compact due to his solid musculature. Not built, just toned, thought Jonathan. His arms, as they came out of his T-shirt, were finely covered in straight black hairs, whilst his legs, below his shorts, were similarly coated. Jonathan noticed that the hand he was grasping appeared to have no hairs at all. Not like Marc, came the automatic reflex.
Mark seemed to have paid little attention to Jonathan's appearance, but kept his eyes on Jonathan's.
"Yeah, no trouble, I've been here before," Jonathan replied to Mark's earlier question. "That's a pretty mean bike you've got there."
"My pride and joy. That's one of the reasons I have to drive such a clapped out car. I reckon that I get so much pleasure out of getting out into the countryside on my bike, that it's worth having top quality. The car, on the other hand, is just for getting from A to B; as long as it's reliable, who cares what it looks like.
"What about yourself? What have you got?"
They walked back over to the Audi and Jonathan opened the boot. "The car was my company car," he explained. "I took it over when I left. I couldn't afford to buy one otherwise. And my bike was just a basic model I found at Halfords. When I bought it, I didn't want to go spending loads of money on something I might end up not enjoying. I've used it mostly on roads so far. My brother's a pretty keen mountain biker, but I haven't been out with him."
"Mm, not bad. Good gears, light frame. No suspension, though; that will hurt a bit on some of the rougher tracks. I'll go easy on you. There's nothing too difficult around here, anyway."
Jonathan pulled his bike out and checked the tyres and chain whilst Mark went back to finishing his own checks.
"Ready?" asked Mark.
"As much as I ever will be," joked Jonathan.
Mark led the way out of the car park and they cycled down some narrow country lanes until they were running alongside Blagdon Lake.
"How's it going?" asked Mark. "Getting warmed up?"
"Fine, so far."
"Good. What I suggest is that we head back up to Burrington Combe. There's a trail which climbs up the west side, from which we can then branch into a big wooded area, very hilly and criss-crossed with bridle trails."
"I'll follow you," replied Jonathan. "I'll shout if I can't keep up."
The track up the side of the combe was tough on Jonathan. He kept his eyes ahead on the rhythmic pumping of Mark's legs while the sweat flowed from every pore in his body. They then turned right, into the woods, bringing some respite from the sun but the surface of the trail was more broken. The tracks they followed alternated between sharp dips and steep climbs. Jonathan found the careening descents wildly exhilarating and he could not prevent himself from laughing out loud from sheer joy. The climbs back up were a different matter and he was relieved when Mark eventually led them up out of the woods to a trig point, marking the top of a hill, and stopped.
They dropped their bikes to the ground and collapsed on the grass beside them.
"Jesus," went Jonathan. "If that was easy, I'm glad you didn't take me anywhere more difficult."
"The slopes are quite steep," replied Mark, "but they aren't horrendously long. The Mendips are not at all high. We're only about three hundred feet above sea level where we are now."
Jonathan gazed out at the view across the valley, with Blagdon Lake in the foreground below. There were a number of tumuli scattered around, a reminder of the length of time man had inhabited this area.
As if reading his mind, Mark commented, "I always find it amazing to think that those burial grounds predate even the Romans." The Mendips are crossed by several Roman roads, with numerous disused mines dating from the period.
"Do you know this area well?" asked Jonathan.
"My father has a farm a few miles east of here. I've walked and cycled around here since I was a kid."
"Do you work on the farm?"
"Yes and no. I think my Dad would have liked me to take over, but it's not really my thing. I've left it up to my brother, who loves it. I don't think I could handle the stress. I still live at home, though, so I often do the early morning milking before I start work, to give my Dad and Paul a break. I love the peace at that time of the day, just the lowing of the cows, the birds in the summer, and no-one else around."
"What do you do, then?" asked Jonathan.
"Not a lot," came back Mark. I work as a freelance journalist, doing mostly general interest articles and features. I'm quite lucky in that I've managed to get quite well known with the Bristol Evening Post and the Western Daily Press, so they tend to commission articles from me. It doesn't pay much, but it gives me a lot of freedom in my life, letting me take holidays when I want for walking, cycling and skiing."
"How can you afford to go skiing so much?"
"I rep with the Ski Club of Great Britain. They don't pay me, but they subsidise my travel and accommodation costs and pay for my ski passes. I do that a few weeks each year and, because I freelance, I don't have to worry about my employer not giving me enough time off. I also get to sell the odd travel and tourism articles into the national press and magazines, so that helps to pay for the trips."
Jonathan looked over at Mark. The other was lying on his back with his legs bent, knees in the air. His hands were folded, palms up, across his eyes, shielding them from the glare of the sun. From where he lay, Jonathan could see down the short sleeve of Marks T-shirt to the black on pale white of Mark's armpit hair. He looked away again and closed his eyes, basking in the pleasure of relaxing in the warm sun after the earlier strenuous exertions.
"We should be getting going, soon," said Mark. "It's pretty much all down hill from here, and we can get into the pub for a pint before it starts getting too busy."
"Right you are," said Jonathan, groaning slightly as he persuaded his stiffening muscles to lift him up from the ground. He stretched, then climbed onto his bike, preparing himself mentally for the bone-jarring descent to come. In the end, much of the ride was on grass tracks, so not as rough as he had feared.
Back at the pub, they stowed their bikes and towelled off, before going in to the bar.
"What'll it be?" asked Mark.
"No, let me get these," Jonathan responded. "To make up for slowing you down this afternoon."
"No you didn't. Anyway, you can buy them later. What do you want?"
"A pint of bitter, thanks."
They took their beers down to a small table.
"Thanks," said Jonathan, "I really enjoyed this afternoon. I think my legs and backside will feel it tomorrow, though. I haven't cycled so hard in a while."
"No problem," replied Mark," I love taking my bike out. I often come out in the evenings in the summer. Clears the cobwebs and keeps my legs in good shape for skiing. Talking of which, where have you done most of your skiing?"
"France, mostly. I lived there for nearly ten years."
"What, near the mountains?"
"No, unfortunately. I lived in the north of France. But I could still make it down to Chamonix for long weekends, and further into the Alps for longer holidays. My favourite area in France is Val d'Isère/Tignes. What about yourself?"
"All around the Alps, and a bit in Canada and the US. I can't say where my favourite is. I certainly like Val d'Isère. Chamonix is awesome for some of the off-piste skiing. Jackson Hole, in the States, is a fantastic mountain."
The more they talked, the more Jonathan felt comfortable with the younger man opposite him. Mark was clearly much more experienced than Jonathan when it came to hiking, mountain biking and skiing, but he was not at all cocky about his skills. He had a relaxed warmth and charm which Jonathan found captivating. When he smiled, which was often, his left eye half closed, giving his face an almost comical look.
They had reached the end of their drinks and, as both were driving, they resisted any further rounds. Jonathan did not feel that Mark had shown any clear interest in him, so he agonised before taking the plunge and asking the other if he were free that evening.
"Sorry, I'd love to come out, but my parents have some friends around for dinner and they want me there. Also, I promised that I'd milk the cows tomorrow morning."
"Oh, OK. Well, perhaps another time, then." Jonathan felt despondent. There was no particular reason why Mark should like him, but he could not help hoping.
"I'm free tomorrow evening, though," Mark said. "That is, if the invitation stands for then?"
Jonathan grinned broadly. "Of course it does. How about dinner at my place, say around 7:30?"
"I'll look forward to it."
He gave his address and phone number to Mark and they parted.
The following day, Sunday, turned out to be another scorcher. Rather than plan a hot meal for the evening, which would also have meant that he would have spent less time with his guest, Jonathan opted to bake a chicken, ham and veal pie, which could be eaten cold that evening with salads, and a tarte au citron for dessert. He also prepared a gazpacho to start the meal; it might not marry ideally with the main course, but it was perfect for the weather. A couple of bottles of chilled Fleurie completed the preparations.
Once everything was ready, he took himself to the gym, where he worked out the increasing nervousness he felt about the coming evening before relaxing in and beside the outdoors swimming pool.
That evening, Mark arrived almost exactly on time.
"Have you been hiding round the corner, watching the clock?" joked Jonathan, as he took the bottle of wine proffered by the other.
"No, it was just luck. But I'm a bit manic about punctuality. My friends joke that I'm always the first to any party."
"Before I offer you a drink, I forgot to ask yesterday if you wanted to stay over. I've got four bedrooms, and it will save you having to worry about how much you drink."
"I was hoping you would say that. If it's not too much bother, I'd love to. I always carry a toothbrush in the car, just in case I get caught short from drinking too much. And Paul's doing the milking tomorrow morning."
"Paul's your brother, I assume."
"Yeah. He's six years younger than me, but he's always loved the farm. He's worked on it full time, ever since he quit school at sixteen. My parents wanted him to stay on at school, he's brighter than I am, but he was having none of it."
By this time, they had climbed the stairs to the living room. "Make yourself comfortable while I get something to drink. What would you like? Beer? Wine? Whisky? Gin and tonic?"
"Just a beer please, if it's cold."
Mark's voice was surprisingly soft and his Somerset accent had mellowed, presumably as a consequence of spending so much time away. Jonathan found himself relaxing to it as they chattered inconsequentially about Mark's farm work, his journalism, Jonathan's last job and his teaching plans. Mark was particularly impressed by the latter.
"What on earth led you to make that decision?"
Jonathan explained the comment by Marc that had triggered the thought process leading to his final decision. "But I have always felt strongly that children are our future. I've mostly tended to support children's charities and I fervently believe that, if today's children don't get a good start in life, then it's our future, as well as theirs, which will suffer. Don't forget, they're the leaders and workers of tomorrow, who will determine the shape of this country and pay our pensions, when we are too old to do anything about it. If we don't lay strong foundations now, we'll only have ourselves to blame if things go wrong later."
He had grown increasingly impassioned as he spoke, and blushed when he saw Mark grinning broadly.
"Now that's what I call a vocation," said Mark.
"Oh, give over. I just feel strongly about it. Come on, let's go downstairs to eat."
He led Mark back downstairs to the dining room, adjoining the kitchen. The food was already laid out on the table. It was just left to them to help themselves and enjoy the meal. Jonathan poured the wine and invited Mark to get started.
"Did you do all this?" asked Mark.
"Yes. I enjoy cooking every now and then. I tend to be lazy when it is just me, so I make an effort when I have guests."
"I'm well impressed! Living at home, it's my Mum who does all the cooking. I can just about manage fried eggs."
"Well guess who'll be cooking breakfast, then! How about some music; what do you like?"
"Do you have any Dire Straits?"
"Dire Straits? And I thought I was the old fogie here. How old are you, anyway?" asked Jonathan, as he moved to put "Brothers in Arms" on the CD player.
"37. Go on, tell me I look younger."
"You do and you don't. When I first saw you, yesterday, I guessed you were in your mid-thirties, but, yes, you do look younger. You've got one of those complexions that don't seem to age much. And you've got gorgeous eyes – there must be some Irish blood in you. Now, eat!"
They ate in relative silence, occasionally glancing at each other, smiling when they caught each other's eye. The kind of comfortable silence you get when you've known someone for a long time, thought Jonathan. "Are you always so talkative," he asked Mark.
"I'm just happily enjoying the food. It's a family thing. We tend not to talk much at table – it's the one time when my Dad takes a break from discussing the farm and there's not much else he knows to talk about. And this is delicious."
"Please. Just black."
"OK. I'll get the coffee; you choose some music and then relax in the living room."
While Jonathan cleared the table and prepared the coffee, Mark browsed the CDs.
"Who's Lianne Foly?"
"She's a French singer, beautiful voice. Put `Rêve Orange' on. You might like it."
The rich sound of Lianne Foly's voice filled the room, singing `Au Fur et à Mesure'. Jonathan heard Mark's footsteps climbing back up to the living room.
Once the kettle had boiled, Jonathan waited a few moments for the water to come off the boil, then filled the cafetière and carried it up the stairs with the cups. Mark was sitting in the middle of the sofa. Unsure whether or not to join him, Jonathan opted for one of the armchairs.
"So how do you like the music?"
"I love it. She has an incredibly sexy voice. I just wish I could understand what she was saying."
"I could translate for you but, frankly, it loses its poetry in my interpretation. You're better imagining the meaning from the sound. Here's your coffee."
They sat back again for a few moments of silence, sipping at their coffees and listening to the soft music.
"What made you respond to my posting?"
Mark thought a moment. "I had never looked at that newsgroup before. I'm not into the gay scene and so, despite my age, have had very few experiences with other men. I logged on that day and happened to see your note. It was the only one from Bristol, which caught my eye in any case, but it appealed to something in me, the idea of a man looking for a partner for his birthday. So I replied."
"Do you regret it?"
"Not so far. The only thing I regret is being pipped at the post by the other bloke. Why him, rather than me?"
"Easy. He sent me a photo as well as a description. You were too discreet. Faced with a choice, I took the simple way out. And I don't regret that. I'm really glad I met Dave. And I have still been able to meet you." Jonathan smiled at Mark.
"Thanks. Do you mind if I go to bed, now? I know it is probably early for you, but I had a late night last night, then was up with the lark this morning for my turn with the cows."
"Sure, no problem. I tend to go to bed fairly early in any case. A habit I got into from getting up at 5:30 every morning to get to work. I've a choice of rooms and beds. Futon? Water bed? Ordinary bed?"
"Would you mind if I slept with you? But no sex, please!"
"If that's what you want. But are you sure you wouldn't rather just sleep alone? You can even have my bed if you want."
"No. I really like you, Jonathan. I'd like the opportunity to spend more time with you, be close to you. But I don't want to commit to sex until I'm sure I'm ready. Is that OK with you?"
"OK..." But it wasn't, not really, thought Jonathan. How was he going to be able to sleep with this guy in bed with him? But would he sleep any better, knowing that Mark was in another bed in the same house?
"I'll just go and get my toothbrush, then," said Mark. "Where's the bathroom?"
"It's the door on the right as you go out of here. The room directly above this one, at the top of the next flight of stairs, is my bedroom. I'll get the dishwasher started, then be up shortly to join you."
By the time Jonathan climbed the stairs again, Mark had already left the bathroom. He stopped off to clean his teeth and take a quick shower before heading up to his bedroom.
Mark was sat on the edge of the bed in his boxer shorts. His front was covered in fine, straight black hairs, thickening into a heavy line down the centre of his chest and abdomen, disappearing into the top of his shorts. A curious gap between the edge of Mark's nipples and the start of the surrounding circles of hair gave the impression of eyes on his chest, the nipples forming dark, wide-open irises.
Jonathan lifted his own eyes up to Mark's smiling face. "I thought you'd be in bed by now."
"I didn't know which side you normally slept on," replied Mark, simply.
"Oh. The far side, the right side, but it doesn't really matter."
"I don't want to discommode you," said Mark, who then pulled off his boxers, displaying a beautiful, creamy coloured backside, lightly furred around the crack, and climbed into his side of the bed.
"I thought you said no sex," said Jonathan.
"That's right. Why?"
"Well, you're nude."
"That's how I always sleep," grinned Mark, the half-closed left eye looking almost like a wink.
"Me too, but not when there's someone else in the bed with me, with whom I'm not going to have sex." Jonathan felt a sense of panic. How was he going to be able to cope?
"I'll go into one of the other beds if it's too much trouble."
"No, don't worry. I'll manage." Breathlessly.
Jonathan undressed quickly, very conscious of Mark watching his every move, and scared he was going to pop a woody. Walking to his side of the bed, he turned away from Mark, dropped his shorts, then leapt into bed. He looked across at Mark, who was smiling at him again.
"I like the way your left eye half closes when you're smiling," Jonathan said. "It gives you a slightly impish look."
"You can thank the cows for that. I took a kick in the side of the head when I was a kid. It must have damaged a nerve, or something, which has never fully recovered. For ages I couldn't even open my eye, the lid drooped constantly. With special exercises I managed to start opening it more or less normally but it still droops when I am tired – and when I smile."
"Thank-you, cows. Now, do you want the light on, or shall I turn it off."
"Off, please. It's time to sleep."
Jonathan reached over to turn out the light, then settled back onto his side of the bed, with his back to Mark.
"Hey, don't I get a goodnight hug and kiss?"
"You said no sex!"
"And since when were hugging and kissing classed as sex? Do you mean I've been committing incest with my whole family since the day I was born?"
"No, you berk, but how often do you sleep in the nude with the other members of your family? And if I start kissing you now, I'm going to have blue balls the rest of the night."
Mark laughed. "Come here. Just because I don't want us to have sex tonight doesn't mean we can't cuddle." He put his arms around Jonathan and pulled him close.
"So, are you going to give me a kiss?"
Jonathan lifted his head towards Mark and gave him a tentative kiss on the lips. Mark came back in and pushed at Jonathan's lips with his tongue. After lazily twisting tongues around each other, they lay back, Mark keeping one arm under Jonathan's shoulders. Jonathan turned so that his own shoulder tucked into Mark's armpit, and nuzzled against Mark's neck. He rested his right hand on the others chest, gently massaging the soft hairs with the tips of his fingers.
"Have you got a puppy with a wet nose, down there," asked Mark, laughingly.
Embarrassed, Jonathan pulled away slightly but Mark immediately drew him back.
"I'm sorry," whispered Jonathan, "I find it difficult to control myself in the circumstances, and I have always leaked pre-cum heavily."
"I'm just glad you're so pleased to be with me," said Mark into the top of Jonathan's head. "I'm growing to like you. Now sleep!"
Surprisingly, Jonathan slept, lulled by Mark's soft breathing, the feel of Mark's chest under his hand and Mark's caressing hand on his back.
Jonathan pushed through the door with the breakfast tray, having successfully negotiated the stairs yet again without spilling anything. Almost a year had passed since that night with Mark, and his life had changed dramatically. He had now successfully completed his teacher training and had obtained a post in a nearby school, starting in two months. The rest of the summer lay ahead of him and he and his lover were planning to go to Chile, to ski in the Andes, in just three weeks' time.
As he set the tray down, he thought back once more to the morning he woke up after his night with Mark.
The bright sunlight seeping through his pale-coloured curtains brought Jonathan slowly awake. Not wanting to open his eyes, the first sensation he experienced was a dull ache in his groin. He groaned. As expected, his night of unrequited lust had left him with painfully blue balls, testicles swollen with their expectation of passion. He rolled over towards Mark, only to find the bed empty. This brought him sharply awake, and he quickly sat up and looked around. The first thing his eyes fell on was the clock – ten past six! He next felt relief wash over him as he saw Mark's trousers on the back of a chair. At least he hadn't done a runner.
Hearing a clatter of dishes from downstairs, he groaned and jumped out of bed, pulled on his shorts from where they lay abandoned on the floor, and headed down to the kitchen. He was met by the smell of frying eggs, toast and coffee. And by the sight of a bare-arsed Mark, modesty protected by Jonathan's apron.
Mark smiled at Jonathan's bewildered gaze. "Morning, sleepy head," he said. "I hope you don't mind me borrowing your apron. I have a thing about hot fat splashing on my penis."
"I'm not bothered about that," said Jonathan, "but what are you doing down here?"
"Well, you said I should fry the eggs for breakfast," replied Mark, "and you looked so peaceful, lying asleep up there, that I thought I would bring you your breakfast in bed. Anyway, I'm done now. Have you got anything to carry it back upstairs on?"
Jonathan rummaged in a cupboard and came out with the tray he had used a week earlier, when Phil had stayed. He helped Mark set out the breakfast things. Mark pulled off the apron and lifted the tray. Jonathan felt a twitch from his cock and further throbbing in his balls. This was too much. The trail of hair he had seen the previous night led down to a thick bush of long, black pubic hairs, surrounding a thickset cock over heavy, pendulous balls. The pubic hairs seemed to cluster densely around the base of the penis, like an army of ants over a piece of meat, before thinning and spreading out and down over Mark's inner thighs.
"Stop drooling," laughed Mark, "the eggs aren't that special!"
Jonathan blushed again and headed up the stairs, following Mark's tantalising bum. Where Mark's pubic bush came between his legs, there was a dark fur leading up the crack of his arse, thinning to a light sprinkle of fine hairs by the middle of his buttocks. The dark hairs were offset by the pale creaminess of Mark's skin. Coming down from his arse, the hairs spread out into a forest of black hairs coating Mark's thighs.
Back in the bedroom, Mark told Jonathan to get into bed so that he could put the tray down. Jonathan did as asked and watched Mark climb in beside him.
"Right, eat," ordered Mark. "Not quite up to last night's standard, but a mean set of eggs, if I say so myself."
Jonathan laughed and set to, ever conscious of the feel of Mark's calf lying against his own. When they had finished eating, Mark set the tray down and they both lay back against the headboard, sipping at their coffees.
"How did you sleep?" asked Jonathan.
"Like a log. I was absolutely shattered. What about you?"
"Really well, until this morning. Jesus, Mark, do you realise the pain you have put me through with your `no sex' rule? My balls are in agony, and you continue to flaunt yourself. It's almost as if you were doing it deliberately!"
"Aw, is Jonnie feeling a bit sex-starved then?" Mark put down his coffee, pulled back the covers and, pushing the top of Jonathan's boxers down, placed his mouth completely over Jonathan's half-tumescent manhood.
"Shit!" yelled Jonathan as, surprised by the wet warmth surrounding his cock, intensified by the hot coffee Mark had been drinking, he spilt his own coffee on his chest. Mark lifted his head, smiled, then moved up to lick the spillage from the curly red hairs on Jonathan's chest.
"I thought you said no sex!" said Jonathan, beginning to feel that he sounded like a scratched record.
"That was last night," mumbled Mark into Jonathan's right nipple. "I'm ready for it now and, if I am not mistaken, so are you," he emphasised his point with a twitch of his hand to Jonathan's rearing cock.
"You bastard," breathed Jonathan, as he put his coffee down on the bedside table. He pulled Mark's head up to his own, and kissed him deeply. Lifting Mark's head away from his own again, he took a sip of coffee then pulled Mark back down. He pushed his tongue into Mark's mouth and shared the mouthful of hot black coffee he was holding. They swirled their tongues around then swallowed simultaneously, gasping for breath.
Mark's head moved immediately southwards, diving towards Jonathan's sex.
"Stop," said Jonathan. "Too fast."
"What do you mean?"
"I want to take time, explore you, enjoy you. Just lie down next to me."
He rolled Mark off him so that they lay on their sides, facing each other.
Jonathan gazed into the other's green eyes. Mark was more homely than handsome, but Jonathan found the combination of his facial features to be compelling. The green eyes framed by thick black eyebrows, the straight nose leading into sensual lips, not too thick nor too thin, the creamy complexion, now covered with heavy dark stubble but still with the peachy bloom on the cheeks, the straight-cut fringe of black hair falling partway down the broad forehead. He ran his fingertips down Mark's cheeks then rubbed back up the stubble with the backs of the same fingers. Reaching Mark's ears, he lifted his hand and ran it gently through the other's hair, gently massaging his scalp. Bringing his hand back down over Mark's forehead, he let the tips of his fingers slide over Mark's eyelids and nose, then followed the line of his mouth sideways off his face, onto his neck. He continued to trace the line from Mark's neck, over his almost hairless shoulders and along his smooth upper arm.
As he reached the hair on Mark's forearm, Mark lifted the arm to start the same caressing motions on Jonathan. Jonathan closed his eyes, savouring the soft tickle of Mark's fingers across his head and face. He transferred his own hand to Mark's chest, tracing the fine hairs towards the thicker mat between Marks pecs, then back out to the curlicue surrounding Mark's nipple. He let his thumbnail scrape around the sensitive skin of the nipple and was rewarded by Mark's sharp intake of breath.
Mark leant his head forward and kissed Jonathan on the eyelids then nose. Jonathan opened his eyes again and smiled. With the back of his fingers, he rubbed softly at the hairs stretching across Mark's abdomen until he felt his hand pushing under the upthrust of Mark's oozing penis. He pulled gently at Mark's foreskin before sliding his hand around Mark's balls. He rolled them softly between his fingers, then stroked his hand over the curve of Mark's hip to knead the softness of his buttock. Spreading his fingers, he felt the way the smooth skin gave way to soft hairs, thickening as he neared the crack of Mark's arse. Mark slid his left knee up Jonathan's body, allowing Jonathan's fingers egress to gently rub around the pucker of Marks arsehole. Jonathan then slid his hand along Mark's thigh feeling the broad muscle flow beneath his fingers.
He slid down the bed, following his hand down Marks calf, until he reached Mark's left foot. He kissed at the tips of Marks toes, before sucking each one, individually, into his mouth and running his tongue around and between them. He nibbled gently at the ends of the toes, then licked, gently at first then harder, at Mark's instep. He then lapped at the inside of Mark's ankle, up the calf to the inside of the knee.
Mark moaned and tried to move his body around to reach at Jonathan. Jonathan moved away at each attempt to reach him, never stopping his own ministrations on Mark's anatomy. His lapping tongue continued its work up the inside of Mark's thigh until he was able to suck, one at a time, Mark's swollen testicles into his mouth. He rolled them around, licking and caressing them with his tongue. Taking the opportunity to wet his middle finger, he started to press at the centre of Mark's pucker until his finger broke through the outer ring of defences. At this point, he moved his tongue northward from Mark's balls, licking at the soft, silky skin covering Mark's hardness like velvet on a rod of steel.
His finger reached further inside Mark, touching at the knot of his prostate at the same moment as his mouth enveloped the soft head of Mark's rigid prick. Mark bucked and managed to work his body around sufficiently that he could pull Jonathan's legs up towards him. Leaning his head forward, he licked at the clear liquid oozing copiously from the tip of Jonathan's cock, then traced the ridge down to where Jonathan's balls were gripped tightly by his scrotum.
He gently pushed Jonathan's head away from his own crotch and started tenderly licking and nibbling his way up the side of Jonathan's abdomen. Jonathan yelled and jumped. "You're tickling!"
Reaching the other's armpits, Mark breathed in hard on the male scent before licking roughly at the stretched skin and the soft, downy hair. He then worked his tongue and lips across Jonathan's chest, to his nipple, where he stopped to suckle, twisting his tongue down against the light indentation then nibbling on the hard little core. He felt Jonathan's hands caressing his head, then shoulders, as he moved upwards to suck and lap at the hollow where Jonathan's neck met his breastbone. Finally, their heads came back together in a slow bout of languorous kissing.
Jonathan pushed Mark onto his back then sat up, looking down at the body stretched before him.
"You are gorgeous. Did you know that?"
"So are you."
"That's a lie," said Jonathan, "but it's a nice one, so I'll forgive you."
"No. it's true. I'm not saying you're a Greek god, but everything about you speaks love, caring, kindness, all overlain by pleasure in life. And you light up like a beacon when you smile or laugh. I m so glad I spotted your posting and replied"
Jonathan softly stroked Mark's chest, twirling his fingers around the nipples then, following the natural fall of the hairs, down the stomach to where Mark's cock lay like a sword, unsheathed from its foreskin but yet to be blooded.
"Thanks," he said, leaning down to kiss Mark again before turning his body back round so that they could slowly pleasure each other. Lying on top of Mark, he drew the other's shaft into his mouth, taking pleasure from the gossamer, supple feel of Mark's foreskin as he used his tongue and lips to roll it back and forth across the glans. With his hands, he pulled both of Mark's legs up so that he could fell the hairs of the inner thighs rubbing against his ears and cheeks. He ran his hands back and forth, up, down and around on the backs of Mark's thighs, loving the feeling of the thick, powerful muscles lying under the soft outer covering of creamy skin and dark fur. He lifted his head and kissed both thighs, then returned to loving Mark's cock. Sliding his hands down the thighs, he used one to gently massage and roll Marks balls within their tightening sac, whilst the other began its slow penetration once more of Mark's inner sanctum.
Simultaneously, he could feel Mark's tongue pushing forcefully against and around his own pucker, then down to his balls and back again, whilst one of Mark's hands ever so tenderly, fingers curled round so as to merely brush against the shaft, jacked at his cock.
Their lovemaking continued in this gentle fashion, almost in a sexual form of a musical canon, one leading, the other picking up the theme and following, before switching the lead and the tempo and entering a fresh round. Eventually, but separately, they each reached their climax in a clamour of loud percussion and atonal chords.
Jonathan crept back up the bed and lay with his arm and leg across Mark, his face nuzzling against Mark's cheek.
"Say, `Happy birthday, Mark'", Mark told Jonathan.
"It's my birthday. I'm 38 today. And you have just given me my best ever birthday present."
Jonathan turned Mark's face towards his own. "You wonderful man. A very happy birthday and many happy returns. And may we continue to share those happy returns!" He then kissed Mark softly, keeping his eyes open to stare into Mark's.
Cuddling close together, they dozed off.
Jonathan smiled down at Mark as he placed the tray on the bed, beside him.
"What took you so long?" asked Mark.
"I was just remembering how we met, and our first night together. Almost a year ago – you would hardly credit it. I never expected to find myself in a relationship with another man, let alone for it to last and grow stronger."
He lent down and kissed Mark, then went round the bed to join him at breakfast.
In truth, the year had not always been a bed of roses. They had had their own disagreements. There had been a period of difficult adjustment for both of their families, when they had announced their relationship to them. But they were, as Jonathan said, growing stronger together.
Mark still lived with his parents, helping out on the farm whilst continuing to pursue his journalism and other interests. He would spend the night with Jonathan whenever his early morning milking schedule allowed. Once Mark's father had come to fully accept the relationship, Jonathan began spending odd nights with Mark, and learnt to enjoy the quiet (and early mornings) of Mark's family's rural existence.
Mark would take off on his own every now and then, to `blow out the cobwebs', as he put it, but increasingly they took holidays and breaks together, cycling, walking and skiing. That winter, Mark had helped Jonathan improve his skiing by massive leaps and they hoped the summer session in Chile would help prepare Jonathan to go ski touring with Mark in the Alps the following winter.
They both enjoyed the occasional company of Phil and Dave, the latter still continuing his `job', the former still working out his own demons. Phil had had a paid session with Dave, which had helped him to further accept his bisexuality. But perhaps he'll tell his own story, another time... ?
In the immortal words, "That's all, folks".
Thank-you to everyone who stuck with it, and especially to those who wrote to me. No thanks to those who sent me viruses, though!!
I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. A number of people have asked if I have written anything else. The answer is no, but, with enough encouragement, I might pick up the pen again, maybe write Phil's story, or something else altogether. Let me know what you think.