The Nuzzle

By Drew Filchak

            Desert scrub, sage and bits of wild yarrow, moved quickly passed the jeep’s window. The scorched landscape, tanned by the sun and dried deeply by the lack of water, reflected waves of heat shimmers across the blistered pavement. My grey, sleeveless tee-shirt flapped as the heated air moved across my sun-blocked shoulders and chest, mercifully providing cooling to the point where the only discomfort I felt resulted in a single line of sweat running from my armpit down the stretch of skin to my waist. The temperature gauge read 96 degrees, a normal  late June, southern California desert temp for ten in the morning.

Strong feelings of having been here before, if only in my imagination, filled my senses expectantly. The unplanned drive this morning into the desert played out an intimate vision from decades past. Surprisingly, it now felt fresh and vibrant, and very much alive. The memory lacked detail at this point. That didn’t matter. It was enough to simply remember it, and it also was enough to recognize the impetus behind the feeling once more. This scene, one where me and another guy in an open automobile headed towards Joshua Tree, mirrored the stories and videos which formed an intimate part of my tenure as a twenty-year-old gay boy new to Denver decades ago. As my glance shifted again to the passing landscape, I could only shake my head in surprise, and a little bit of wonder. It felt so real, the feeling that is. It was faintly charged and hedonistic, like the opening scene to a porn flick from the 70s and 80s only without the sex. Comically, it’s tug on me now, after having faded so long ago due to the different life I’d built, stunned and exhilarated me. Its resurgence pulsed intensely, sensually. And that was enough in itself.

            Satisfaction raced through me. More precisely, it felt like satisfaction, in all its incarnate form, had poised itself in front of me like a living entity emulating the cacti and scrub pinon trees -- its sinew-like presence retaining promise of more as my attraction to the moment continued. My skin jumped, shivered, and I could feel the smirk cross my face. I looked to my right and followed the beams of sun as they lit the face of my passenger. Wind rushing over the windshield lifted his somewhat longish blond hair revealing the straight line of brown sunglass temple piece and the sensual flash of temple hidden behind it. More satisfaction oozed.

Cam turned towards me. After a moment, he grinned.

“Wow. That’s quite a smirk. What brought that on?” His smile expressed enjoyment.

Hmm. I glanced to the road in front of us giving myself a moment to think of an answer. If I shared that I’d had a vision of this moment twenty-some years earlier and it was now flashing through my thoughts, he’d probably think I was nuts, or in the least, some kind of stalker. That probably wouldn’t be good. Or, if I told him about just how much I’d thought of him over the past month and how I imagined during that time some future scene with him that felt exactly like this one did, I’d probably get the same result as the last option. I mean, I never actually saw the two of us heading to Joshua Tree in a jeep when I asked him to lunch. Still, the feeling was the same. I felt exhilarated. Completely.
            That’ll work.

           “I’m happy, Cam. Right now.”

    His grin rounded into the smirk I’d seen a number of times last night. Each time it had caused a tightening in my chest, especially when he directed it towards me, playfully combining it with that lingering hold of his eyes with mine. I reached to lightly squeeze the shoulder lying exposed through sleeveless cotton shirt. The skin and hard muscle was warm from the sun, but yet still through the heat, the touch felt electric. I flinched noticeably at the contact. So did he. I chuckled, finishing. “A lot happy.”

            I watched as my comment registered. The lips that I’d longed to lose myself in over the past month I’d been home in Denver, separated, hanging open briefly, then closed. Another moment passed until they gave birth to a smile. Cam’s voice, normally so strong and confident, filtered across to me with a sultry, engaging timbre. “So am I. Very happy. And very glad you suggested this last night.”

            “I’m just happy you called,” I returned, thinking of the floating feeling I’d known after our first contact following my return from vacation. A furrow appeared across Cam’s forehead and his grin wilted. I could see his confusion. “Meaning three weekends ago,” I supplied.

            Cam’s expression widened again as his chin tipped upward. He let out a small laugh followed by a couple quick shakes of his head. With that action, wordlessly and unknowingly, he shared the feelings of surprise and uncertainty he’d experienced when he made that call.

            “That was a first for me, let me tell you. Especially after how that evening just seemed to fade out.” As he paused, I automatically checked the road again until I felt a touch on my forearm. I shivered at the contact. It was as if the desert sun momentarily paled in its quest to be the sole heat source for the planet. Intense warmth jetted through my skin as his fingertips danced hesitantly up my forearm to the bicep. The sun resumed its former strength as Cam returned his hand to rest on his bent knee lying relaxed as it crossed his right leg. “I mean … it was somehow not right that you were leaving the next morning. I know we spent only an hour or two between meeting at Wang’s and then later at Hunterz, but …” he paused. His gaze shifted to the pavement racing beneath the jeep’s front. “… but I kept getting waves of thought about you after that night.”

            A low chuckle rolled from my lips. I’d spent the better part of the week following my return from Palm Springs thinking about and remembering the feelings I’d had during those few, short hours. And the week after that, I’d done the same. My friend Billy, the one I’d been visiting, told me during our final walk the next morning prior to leaving for the airport, that he’d sensed our connection immediately. I swear he’s psychic at times. I flushed at the thought.

            “Cam … that was probably my fault. I spent quite a bit of time thinking about … uh … you.” My lips pursed. For some reason, I wasn’t comfortable with my admission. It made me feel vulnerable.

            “Remembering what, specifically?”

Cam’s eyebrows, golden like his hair, rose above the rigid line of his sunglasses, teasing me unknowingly. He turned to lean against the door, shifting his leg to rest on the seat. The action captivated me with its innocently seductive nature as I made quick looks to check that we were still on the road. His ease of moment was one of the things I remembered most about him – his body moving effortlessly, complete with all the strength accorded his six-three stature and innate natural confidence. He moved with a surety I knew he’d have whether he was wearing an eighteen hundred dollar Armani suit or form-fitting Lycra. Both images were equally compelling.

            My smirk resurfaced as I recalled Cam standing at Wang’s, backed up against the pillar by the bar as we initially talked, wearing khakis slacks and a pale blue silk-blend shirt. The sleeves were rolled under and up beyond the start of his significant biceps. While we talked, my gaze had nonchalantly traveled from the substantial bulge of Cam’s arms to the considerably impressive and perfectly formed pecs extending his shirt outward. Naturally, my gaze had traveled downward to the trim beltline and then to the lower bulge expressing outward in perfect proportion to the rest of Cam’s body. The memory caused my blush to return along with my attention to the present moment.

            I dashed a quick look to my right. Cam’s grin deepened into a smirk of his own as his eyes continued their fixed stare. Then he laughed, his face broadcasting enjoyment of some thought or, for all I knew, the moment itself; all caged in a beguiling and captivating way. Watching him grin like that, watching his apparent pleasure of the moment, or me, or both, caused a titillating pleasure to skyrocket within me exponentially. My cock flexed uncontrollably in my shorts, and to my inner horror, I reddened further.

            “God, Jake,” he laughed. “I can see your blush under that tan all the way over here. And that’s saying something considering how much darker you’ve gotten since I saw you last month. Just what were you remembering about me?” His laughter continued, though softer in its expression.

            Added embarrassment flooded me, but damned if for some stupid reason, I wasn’t really upset about it.

            “Well,” I started, shifting slightly in my seat while stretching my arm back to rest behind the passenger seat headrest, snickering quietly at my own embarrassment. “I was thinking about talking with you at Wang’s and …” I paused feeling a playful smirk rise on my face as I focused briefly on his, “and the feeling of all-out lust I had as my eyes scoped out your body from head to toe.   Repeatedly.” I snorted and drew in a deep breath. “I mean, damn, Cam, our conversation was intense and felt so natural and self-sustaining and so instantly connected, but you looked so freakin’ hot standing in those slacks and that blue shirt with your bulges bulging everywhere.”

            “My bulges bulging everywhere?!” His mouth dropped open as incredulity and surprise at my statement rang in his voice. Then, he laughed. His head tilted backwards and he barked a throaty, full-voiced laugh filled with simple enjoyment and lack of pretense. And I knew in that one, innocent and child-like, self-effacing gesture that I wasn’t wrong about Cam. I wasn’t wrong that the man was guileless. I wasn’t wrong in the attraction I felt for him. And I hadn’t been wrong about the attraction I sensed emanating back from Cam to me that night being both ingenuous and based on the simple enjoyment of meeting someone that he connected with. It was just as I had felt. There had been no game playing, no snobbery, none of the sometimes nauseating, sometimes fun but most times stilting gay rhetoric. The two of us had connected with a simple hello after the introduction from Billy that was followed by Cam’s initial query and praise about Denver and how much he loved the city. And as our conversation lengthened through talk about Aspen or changes Denver’s made in the last few years or through the fairly recent endings of both of our long-term relationships two years prior, I kept feeling, kept knowing that the man was special. His laughter now proved that. This wasn’t love I felt, it was lust – lust for the moment, lust for the connection, lust built up over the past month thinking about simply having some alone time with the man. And as with that night, my eyes kept up their continual scan of his body. On top of everything I enjoyed about his presence that I’d just confirmed, he was sexy as all hell.

            “Oh, c’mon, stud,” I playfully laughed in return. “You don’t consider massive biceps peaking out of rolled up shirt sleeves to be enticing bulges? The fabric was stretched so tightly I wondered if the blood flow had been cut off. You should give your trainer a bonus.”

            Again, Cam’s laughter barked forth. “Oh, man. That’s choice. And here I thought you were so altruistically proper that night.”

            “Altruistic, hell, Cam,” I leered back playfully at him.   “I told you it had been a long time since I’d had sex. And your biceps combined with your pecs to almost send me into an uncontrolled groping fit like that Tom guy did at Hunterz later.” Cam shook his head and snorted as if to say that guy was out of control. I remembered the look of discomfort on Cam’s face then, but the momentum of the conversation now, the honesty that once again flowed between us naturally like that first night we’d met and the subsequent phone conversations, fueled my explanation. “I’m really teasing about that. That’s not my style, but you get my drift.” My arched eyebrows continued the dance.             “And then,” I said as my tongue wetted my lips, allowing me time to decide if or how I should continue. Stalling, I glanced out the open window to my left and watched the scrub on the desert floor fly by and I somehow knew I had nothing to lose by continuing. An internal shrug helped me to decide and I turned again to face the man sitting next to me. In a slightly huskier voice, I continued. “And then, just below that awesome, tight waist of yours highlighted by whatever belt you were wearing, was the hottest bulge yet!” A quick tilt of my head towards him and a quick upraise of my brows accented my declaration. I rubbed my mouth once nervously with the hand from the steering wheel and chuckled, embarrassed that I’d actually said it. But the momentum of the moment refused to diminish. I raced onward. “Do you know how hot it is when a guy is fit enough and has enough down there to show a bulge in a pair of khakis? Trust me,” I snorted, “that’s hot.”

            Cam’s mouth again opened, and again immediately closed before spreading wide to expose his teeth to the mid-morning sun, blinding me with his innate charisma once more. The sight caused in me a desire to grunt. Thankfully, I refrained. It was almost too much, though. The man was simply raw attraction defined. My cock lurched a second time.

I guess the realization that stunned me the most, beyond Cam’s physical presence, was how he seemed to be unaware of how his looks effected people. Maybe inside he knew, but that’s what charisma is all about. Ultimately, Cam’s true attraction lay within the simple, sincere interest he expressed to whomever he was talking. I’d witnessed this repeatedly that first night and then again last night as we sat with Billy and their mutual friend, Kent. That was Cam’s true attraction to me. That was what I needed to let him know. I drew in a deep, clearing breath.

            “All comments about bulges aside, Cam,” I said with a wink as my grin tipped upwards once more, “your initial statement was right. About me, I mean. That night at Wang’s I simply wanted to get to know you more. I felt a good connection beginning even with ‘hello’.”             He smiled softly and nodded then relaxed against the door, his knee held casually in the hammock of his hands. Quietly, he watched me as I continued to shift my sight between his face and the road. His smile dropped gradually, but his stare intensified. The silence between us extended until it felt as if our shared awareness stemmed only from the repeated eye contact, the sound of the jeep’s tires on the heated pavement and the wind rushing passed the open vehicle. I threw another quick wink towards him trying to backpedal from and lighten the intensity of my revelations, then turned back fully to the wheel in an attempt to ease the feeling I had of exposing myself to him. In all actuality, exposed probably wasn’t the most accurate description of what I kept feeling, but I definitely felt like I’d revealed a lot of myself. And continued to do so as Cam’s gaze remained fixed on me.

            In reality, we hadn’t talked this directly before. Our two phone conversations over the last couple weeks were based in the generalities of two people getting to know each other and had contained limited acknowledgements of the connection we both felt simply by the act of the conversations occurring. This trip into the rural desert grew from my lunch invitation last night. I’d suggested some lunch together while Billy and Kent were grabbing a second bottle of Pinot Gris. Cam’s immediate nod and grin prompted me to unexpectedly suggest stealing Bill’s jeep and having lunch in Joshua Tree. “Perfect” had been Cam’s reply and now, suddenly, after everything I’d shared, I found myself without any words. I almost missed Cam’s question as it filtered across to me.

            “So, uh, what else were you remembering about that night at Wang’s?”

            I quickly looked over in time to see him move his sunglasses to rest on his hair. The light reflecting from within the hazel-blue eyes caused a hitch in my breath and I mostly mumbled my reply.

            “What was that?” Cam asked, sitting up straighter and leaning towards me. “All I heard over the wind was something about ‘great body’,” he grinned. “I didn’t catch the rest.”

            I nodded, then sighed. “I said you’ve got what appears to be a great body, which is fine and all, but … it was your nuzzle that hooked me.” A quick look sufficed to know he heard me this time.

            He froze in the act of leaning further towards me and I immediately thought he didn’t remember what I was referring to. And if he really didn’t remember … well … damn, that would just suck big time. I grasped the steering wheel with both hands. “You know, when you and Kent were leaving for dinner and we went to say….”

            “I know what you’re talking about,” Cam interrupted. His hand reached across and stroked my triceps with the back of his fingers. I froze in mid-groan as he continued. “Do you know how many times I had to stop myself from touching you as we talked? Between the instant conversation we basically launched into and the connection and attraction I felt flowing between us, beginning from the point we met, it was all I could do to stop myself from pulling you into a kiss – which was very out of character for me. I haven’t felt that way for a long time, not that intensely anyway. I wasn’t even sure initially just what I was feeling.

“And then, when Kent and I were leaving, you and me had that gay,” his head bobbed, “goodbye kiss on the lips, which more than startled me and I think it startled you, too.” A gleam surged from his clear eyes. “I never do that. And,” he continued as his fingers now moved to grasp my bicep in emphasis, “well, I wanted a little more. Jake, I don’t make a practice of hugging a person I’ve just met the way I hugged you. When I felt you press your cheek against mine, I almost lost it. I didn’t want to pull away even though it was again out of character for me to do that in public. God, you smelled good. And your face felt just right against my cheek with that little bit of stubble you wore.”

            I’d fought to keep my glance somewhat trained on the road in front of us while he spoke, but Cam’s words and the energy I felt charging back and forth between us became too much. My foot moved off the accelerator pedal and slowly pressed the brake. Cam swayed with the deceleration while his gaze remained fixed on me as I maneuvered the slowing jeep onto the shoulder. Before we fully stopped, my hand slipped the jeep into neutral.

            I pulled my sunglasses from my face as I turned and the short distance between us disappeared as Cam pressed his lips against mine, crushing them together with the ignited desire we’d held excruciatingly beyond arm’s reach for the past four weeks. I met Cam’s passion with my own exploding desire as honest-to-god feral groans filled the sudden silence of the jeep’s stopped movement. Our tongues battled as we blinding tried to fuse them together. My hands, shaking with pent up and now-released desire, raked through his hair, then dropped to his neck in an attempt to pull him closer still. He growled through our kiss as my other hand cupped his cheek. The kiss deepened with continuing intensity, causing me to lose track of any sense of time. His Herculean arms wrapped around me fully, twisting me to him as tightly as our seat-belted positions allowed.

            And I lost conscious touch of myself, there in his embrace.

A horn blared as a car flew passed, raucously intruding, yet serving as the needed terminus for us to draw a breath. We pressed our foreheads together, panting. My eyes fluttered open and I sensed, more than saw, his grin form. I quickly brought my lips to his again, kissing him three times rapidly, hungrily. I heard his chuckle as I slid my head along side his. He pressed his cheek to mine inciting another moan. I’d thought of so little else, but this, for the past month – this feeling of his cheek pressed against mine, this feeling, now, as he nuzzled further towards my ear.   

            “God, Jake,” he growled lowly. “It’s real, isn’t it?”

            “Oh, man. Yeah,” I sighed. “I couldn’t help wondering if I’d imagined it all or what.”

            “I know.”

            He pulled back to the point of our mouths resting side-by-side. Our panting slowed until our lips met again and our tongues sought the sweet, fiery sanctuary found only in their crossing touch. He dropped his left arm from my back and fumbled with his belt release, then mine in turn. My body trembled as I felt his hand sweep under my butt, lifting us to our knees and finally enabling full contact between our bodies. My arm snaked around his waist as my other hand grasped a fistful of hair pulling our mouths forcefully apart. Cam’s gaze, wild-eyed and unfocused, blinded me with lust and I launched back to his face grabbing his lower lip in my teeth. His hand on my ass grasped me firmly in response and forcefully threw my pelvis against his in a mock, lust-filled thrust. It was all too much – too much sensation, too much raw feeling to contain and I brayed exhilarated laughter as my head fell back lifting my shout to the desert sky. My laughter … my cry … let loose all the feelings of happiness I’d allowed to build over the past month. My vision had never been this good, this total. His laughter joined mine from somewhere around my neck where he’d buried his face as I rocked in surrender to him.

            “You know, Jake,” he growled in a choked laugh, “I’d just as soon lay these seats back and ravage you now instead of waiting till later, but there’s nothing worse than a sunburned butt.”

            His comment broke the spell of our passion and we collapsed against our seats and fell back against our separate doors snickering like pre-pubescent boys after lighting the cat’s tail on fire or reading their first dirty little limerick.

            “I can see it now,” I breathed raggedly, “two middle-aged gay men’s sunburned butts on tonight’s news with the reminder to always wear sun block while in the desert.”

            My words, with their implied absurdity, sent us into a renewed laughing fit that continued until my ab muscles clenched in revolt. Our laughter slowly diminished and then quieted all together as we stared into each other’s eyes across the space between us. Cam’s hand moved from his thigh to the tented crotch of his shorts. A mischievous grin lit his face. “There was a point there where I almost anointed Bill’s jeep.”

            I nodded, my gaze only quickly darting up to meet his before dropping back to his hand. “Me too.”

             “Well,” he smirked, “we can keep going to Joshua Tree, or …” he paused and waited until my eyes met his.


            “Or, we can turn around and head back to my place for sun block.”

            I couldn’t contain my snort. The sun block was in the back of the jeep in the bag next to our cooler that held lunch. I suddenly had no need to fulfill my vision any further, nor a need to reenact some twenty-year old porn fantasy. The reality of Cam was more than enough. I tipped my head towards him with a smirk and shrugged.

“You’re the desert expert around here. Whatever you think is best.” My eyes glinted playfully and I began to straighten myself in my seat effectively closing the discussion. He grinned and maneuvered into a sitting position. We reattached the seatbelts then finished by replacing our sunglasses to their rightful, useful place. Just as the jeep started, he leaned over, pressing his lips softly against mine.

Oh, yeah. He was more than enough.

The End.

Comments are always appreciated.

And G., if you read this, I hope you appreciate artistic license.  Grin.