The following is a complete work of fiction.


The following story may contain erotic situations between consenting adults. If it is illegal for you to read this please leave now.

Any resemblance between the characters and any real life person is completely coincidental. Please do not copy or distribute the story without the author's permission.

The characters of this story are the exclusive property of their original authors, publishers and production companies. No assumption of copyright has been made in this work.

Important -

If you enjoyed this chapter, you can find more of my art and writing at

If you would like to be updated of new stories and chapter releases, please join my yahoo group at

Please feel free to send any feedback or comments through the writing journal or you can send it directly to artisticbiguy[at] Please just remember to add something in the subject line so I know it's not Spam. Enjoy!

X Universe - Book 3

I Promise Forever - Chapter 2

I woke to the soft feeling of Jeff holding me. The smile that curled my lips didn't diminish as I realized he wasn't in the bed. I blinked awake as I drew in a slow, deep breath of the sea air. The balcony doors were open, and the white, gauze curtains were billowing softly. I couldn't help but quietly admire the view. There wasn't a more beautiful scene than the man I loved standing on the balcony, the early morning sun illuminating his naked body, and the breeze moving his hair while he looked out at the harbor. His aura was extended, invisibly, from him to the bed and he was still holding me, even if his body was elsewhere. He felt me move and turned to look into the room. The sunlight glistening off the ring on his left hand had me rubbing the matched one on my own finger.


I grinned, slid from the sheets, and crossed the room out onto the balcony. I suppose it was a bit exhibitionistic for us to be naked on the balcony. Though no one below could see anything important, that didn't mean we were completely hidden either. "Morning," I whispered, and met his lips as I leaned in.

Jeff's hand slid around my back and pulled me to him gently. As we finished our morning kiss, he dropped his head between my neck and shoulder, and sighed. "Can you believe it's been three days, and we haven't even left the hotel?" I could feel his smile against my skin. "Hell, I haven't even checked out the gym."

I laughed. "Like they'd have anything there that could cause you to break a sweat." I trembled as he nipped at my neck. "We have all we need for your workouts anyway."

He graced me with a smile as he came up from his snack. "Maybe we can spend time on the beach today? I think I'd love to workout on the beach."

"Tired of me already?" My lips curled into a teasing grin. He knew I wasn't serious.

"Nah, I still haven't counted all your freckles yet."

I shot him the look of death and frowned. "Remind me to get you a Dalmatian after we find a place to live."

He pulled me back in and began poking lightly at my skin. "It wouldn't be as much fun as counting your spots... two-thousand and twenty-eight... two-thousand and twenty-nine..."

I smacked away his hand and kissed him briefly before heading for the bathroom. "I married a freak."

"I like freckles!"

Rolling my eyes, I shook my head as I got to the toilet. Jeff leaned against the doorframe as I answered my grieving bladder. I still found it weird to have him watch me pee. Ok, he watched me whether I was peeing or not. "Enjoying the view?"

His voice was low, warm, and full of understated love as he sighed, "Always."

I didn't understand what he found so attractive, but I wasn't going to complain. I looked even more ridiculous at the end of summer than any other time of the year. My freckles made me look like I had some kind of skin condition. The more pronounced they got, the happier Jeff seemed to get. "Weirdo."

He grinned as I flushed, and pulled me to him in front of the mirror. He pointed to my ass. This was one of our oldest arguments. "See that?"

I groaned. "Yes, yes... dancer's ass." Leaning in, I melted against him and just enjoyed the feeling of strength and power his body exuded. "I get the whole legs and ass thing. I still don't get the rest."

Jeff just kissed the side of my head and let me look at us. We weren't a bad looking couple. I hated my hair; it was too damn red. I toyed with the idea of having it darkened a few times. I could live with auburn. I focused on the image, and my hair in the reflection shifted color.

Jeff blinked. "No."

"It looks better that color."

"I like the red."

I groaned, releasing the image and letting it return to normal. "Why, Jeff? I look like a freak." Stepping back, I looked at myself in the mirror. "Mottled complexion, built like a rail, and the hair doesn't even look natural." It was true, my hair was so close to flame red that the only reason it didn't look dyed was because it didn't have the blue undertone that dyed red hair did. Hell, even my pubes were that color. "I look like a fucking lit matchstick. I'm gay, but I don't need to be flaming."

Jeff laughed and pulled me back to him. "One of these days you're going to wake up and figure out that you're beautiful, inside and out."

This was an argument I never won. Actually, I was glad I never won it. "You got the short end of the deal."

His hand slid down and he cupped my ass while he lifted my chin with the other. "You're a flaming match stick, remember? If anything, I got the long end of the deal."

"Asshole." Ok, I was grinning. How could you not love a man who both loved your looks and could still make you laugh about them?

He shut me up as his fingers slid between my cheeks and brushed my oh so sensitive hole. I couldn't help it when my body trembled. I had actually stopped counting how many times and in how many ways he'd been in me over the last three days. It wasn't all fucking either. We'd spent the last three days naked, or nearly naked, either being aroused or recovering from the aftermath of our arousals. I'd been with him on the balcony, the shower, the bath, the bed more times than I'd kept track of, the floor more than a few times, and each time just got better.

Sometimes it was urgent, sometimes it was slow and loving, and sometimes it was nothing more than just being connected while we cuddled. I think one of the best orgasms I had was just lying on top of him, our second night on the island, with him hard in me but just sort of dozing in the sun-chair while looking at the stars. I'd just lain there, softly tensing and releasing my ass muscles as we cuddled. There was no urgency to our need and I wanted nothing more than what I had at that moment. After about a half hour, I realized I was right on the edge of cumming, and all we'd been doing was laying there with him in me. He'd tilted my head up, said something like "I could stay like this forever," and kissed me. I'd moaned into his mouth and had a half dozen mini releases. Afterward, all I could do was hold to him gently and drift into the most contented of sleeps.

Jeff brought me back as his lips brushed my ear. His fingers were still teasing my ass in the most erotic ways while his aurik powers were slipping past my ring to directly stimulate my joy-spot. "Let's take the edge off," his voice was low and vibrated through me, "and then actually go out and rejoin the world."

I may have only come back from dying a couple months ago, and I still had more recovery to do, but with Jeff by my side I was ready to start living again. My leg hooked over his hip, and with a slight bit of aurik support, I sank against him as he filled me again. I sighed into his neck as he began to rock me to towards another morning of love making, "You're my world."

I think I've mentioned before that Jeff was a god on the beach. At seventeen, he was only a demi-god. At eighteen, he was a full fledge deity. He even had his own worshiper; me. We made it to the beach some time before noon, and stayed out until the shadows from the late afternoon sun were stretching long across the sand. I was stretched out on a blanket, eyes closed, with an amused smile on my face as Jeff went through his third workout of the day. You'd have thought he'd been away from his addiction for years. I didn't mind; it was something we could do as a couple, even if it looked like he was working out with two short dumbbell bars and no weights.

"You're getting stronger, not that you need to," I commented absently at the end of his set of hammer curls.

"What am I up to?" He shifted the position of the bars and focused on his next exercise.

"On Curls?"

"Yeah," he grunted and started pressing the bars up over his head; standing shoulder presses, they always made his lats look huge. I opened my eyes to watch. Though I didn't need to "see" him to know everything that was going on, there was still just the simple beauty of witnessing him with my regular senses.

"Five hundred pounds give or take a few." I watched as he pumped his way through three sets, and then tossed the bars to the sand after I'd released them. He was reaching for his towel when I snatched it away and leaned up.


"Come here." I hooked him behind the knees and brought him to kneeling on the sand. I couldn't stand it. Damn my enhanced senses. The smell of his salty, sweaty, exercise pumped body was driving me insane. I leaned in and licked the sweat that was running in droplets down his chest.

Jeff moaned as I found his nipple and began to chew. "Shit, Dan..."

Holding his sensitive nub between my teeth, I lay back. He had no choice but to come down with me and cover my body with all that hot, sweaty muscle. I nuzzled the cleft between his pecs. "You're the one driving me insane, here," I breathed into his chest as my hands wandered down his back, tracing the slick muscles that were trembling at my touch. "Don't go to all the effort to look so hot, and I won't get so desperate."

Jeff flexed against me as I found his other nipple and chewed on it lovingly. "You're never this demonstrative."

I chuckled, thinking about my surprising openness both then and the year before when we'd returned to school. Releasing him, I looked back into those chocolate brown eyes as he slid down me. "I guess you've just been doing what Logan told you to."

Perplexed, Jeff scrutinized my grin. "What'd he tell me to do?"

I started to laugh as I remember the scowl and subsequent laughter that had come from Logan over my previous August's comments. "He told you to keep giving me 'hot attitude injections'." I smiled lovingly at him and kissed him before he could respond. "Took you long enough to get around to it, but I'd say it's been working."

Pressing me hard against the sand, Jeff captured my lips with his and kissed me 'til I moaned into his mouth from it. Damn his kisses could melt space shuttle tiles. He lifted his face and touched his nose to mine. "I think we've had enough beach for today," he whispered huskily, "I'm going to need my towel just to keep from displaying my appreciation to everyone."

It took me a moment to register that not only was he hard, and dripping, but he had pushed out of his suit and was pressed against my skin. "Hmmm... am I going to get more appreciation when we get back to the room?"

He let his now throbbing member rub against my belly as he slid up and grabbed his towel; snarling, "Get back to the room, Mr. Watkins. I think it's time for another injection."

The trip back to the room was so brief that I don't think I noticed anything we passed on the way. All I knew was that I was on my back, spreading sand and staining the sheets with sweat and salt, while the man I loved rode me for the second time of the day. I hoped it would be like that for the rest of our lives. I wanted to be old, grey, and still having my attitude adjusted by him. I let the sensations and emotions carry me away. If it got any better, I'd be living for the sex. Who was I kidding? I was already an addict.

Another shower, another session of love making, and we were drying off. Well, I was drying Jeff off actually. I took more time, and applied more pressured than necessary to complete the task. What could I say? There wasn't a part of Jeff I didn't crave. Well, at least, that's what I'd thought.

Jeff looked at me with an odd expression as I put the towel up. It was something between hurt, confused, and pissed. I could tell he'd enjoyed the toweling; the evidence was in the thickness of his semi-hard muscle dangling near me. After a moment, it was clear he was unhappy or frustrated about something. I reached for him, but he stepped around me and grabbed the towel.

I watched as he jerked the towel over his ass, and then roughly dried between his cheeks and under his balls before tossing it back at the hook. He missed.


"If you're going to dry me, Dan, the least you could do is a complete job."

I blinked. "I did."

"No, you didn't. You never do."

"I do too."

He looked away for a moment. "It never feels like it."

We stood there, him not looking at me and me wondering what was wrong. Finally he looked back at me. I swear there were tears in his eyes, and his eyes had darkened. "Dan?"

Why was his pulse climbing? He was getting nervous, or scared and I couldn't quite make the distinction yet. "Yeah?"

"We're going to try, right?"

Where the hell had that come from? My confident, strong, sexually amazing man was slipping away. Stepping close, I kissed him lightly on the lips, but didn't press for more. "When you're ready, babe; I'm not in any rush."

"I've wanted to ask, but when we're at it, I don't want to ruin the mood." His breathing was still ok, and his heart rate hadn't climbed too much.

"Let's just let it happen, ok?" I squeezed him back. "There aren't any rules about who tops whom."

Stepping away, he nodded and turned back to the bedroom. "Yeah, I know. I guess I'm hoping you'll push the issue."

"What do you mean?" Yeah, I was confused.

He shrugged. "Well, you pushed when I was scared I'd hurt you... and it's been incredible." He smiled at me, color rising to his cheeks, "I love fucking you, Dan."

I grinned. "I'm not exactly unhappy with that either."

He shrugged again, and sat down on the bed looking at his hands. "I guess it's stupid, but I wish you wanted me that way too."

Ok, it was my turn to look at him slack jawed. I don't want him that way? Where the hell did he come up with that? I'd dreamed about bringing him to orgasm dozens of times. I sank down, cross-legged, on the floor in front of him. "Why do you think I don't?"

He shrugged. "I said it was stupid. I guess I thought if you wanted it, you'd ask."

"Jeff?" He looked at me. "There's more involved with going the other way; you know that."

His eyes darkened further. "I'm not broken either, Dan."

I flinched at the anger in his tone. It took me a moment, and a deep breath, before I could respond without sounding hurt. "The shoe is on the other foot, huh?" I shrugged. "I'm the one who doesn't want to hurt you. I know I wouldn't physically..." I let the rest stay unsaid. We both knew why.

His eyes glistened as they held mine. "I want new memories. I want to have someone in me and actually enjoy it. I want to get past what those fuckers did... even if I can't really remember it." He reached down, and I took his hand. "It's something I can't do alone."

Had I mentioned recently that I loved this man more than life? I pulled myself up and kissed him. "Ok. I'll stop being scared." I stroked his hair as he buried his face in my neck. "Let's just take it as it comes, Jeff. When the time is right, we'll know it."

He nodded against me, and I could sense the tension leaving him. "I love you."

I just held him. Thinking back on what had happened still tore at my soul. Dying had actually been easier than knowing I couldn't protect the ones I loved. In the end, as long as I had him, I knew everything would turn out ok. I silently renewed my oath, for the thousandth time, that no one would ever hurt him like that again. "I know."

Though we'd planned on hitting the town for dinner, our mood was a bit more subdued than it had been on the beach. Heart to hearts over certain parts of our past usually did that. It wasn't an uncomfortable or unhappy mood, but it was a quiet need to be together in a place that felt safe. We decided to simply eat in the hotel restaurant, which was excellent anyway, and spend the next day seeing the sights.

It was a warm evening, but the breeze from the harbor kept the air from feeling heavy. After we'd been seated, I noticed another couple, guys glancing our way and commenting to themselves. The shorter guy was nice looking with longish brown hair and a face that reminded me of Tyler's. The taller guy had nearly black hair, was just shy of Jeff's height, and was honestly better looking that anyone else in the area. Jeff had a more muscular, perfected body, and was still the most beautiful man I'd ever known, but the other guy did have him beat in the "classic model looks" department. You'd expect to see Jeff on the cover of "Men's Fitness" or "Exercise" magazines, but this guy would have been on GQ or in some fashion advertisement.

I leaned over to Jeff after the second glance our way. "Is it just me, or are they debating saying hello?"

Jeff looked at the guys and smiled. That apparently all it took to break the ice. Of course, to me, Jeff's smile could melt icebergs; it wasn't surprising when the taller guy stood up, squeezed the other guy's hand, and came over to our table. I was taking a quick sip of water before standing to greet him as he extended his hand while Jeff rose. "Hi, I'm Bryan."

Jeff took Bryan's hand in a firm, welcoming grip and smiled. "I'm, Jeff; this is my husband, Dan."

I think I nearly choked. I did end up spitting what little water I'd managed to get into my mouth before the comment came out. Jeff looked at me with a concerned expression as I reached for my napkin. Bryan's expression, on the other hand, went from surprise to restrained amusement.

"I take it that's a new thing?" The understated mirth in Bryan's voice calmed my nerves more than I'd have wanted to admit.

I nodded, finishing with my napkin, and forced a smile. "Yeah. I guess I'm not used to hearing it." I smiled up at Jeff's worried face, and reached for his hand. "I think that's the first time he's said it to someone else. I'll have to get used to the introduction."

Jeff took my hand and squeezed it. He mouthed "sorry", but I shook my head. I wasn't going to hide my love for him, or what we were, out of fear. I looked back at Bryan.

"You two guests here too?"

He nodded and grinned. "Yeah. Justin won an award for an essay he did on Greek literature. The main prize was a month in Greece."

"Have you guys eaten yet?"

Bryan's grin grew to a smile. "No. We only got here a few minutes before you did. I was hoping you'd accept our invitation to eat with us." His lips curled into an ironic grin. "There doesn't seem to be many couples within a decade of our ages."

Jeff looked at me with a raised eyebrow, and I just grinned. "We'd love to."

We grabbed our water glasses and followed Bryan back to the table. Justin stood up as we approached. I guessed they were college students and only a few years older than we were. Justin waited until we'd set down our glasses to extend his hand. "I'm, Justin."

Jeff shook his hand, and then I did before we took our seats. "I'm, Dan, and the guy wearing my ring is, Jeff."

Justin's eyes immediately dipped to Jeff's hand, then darted to mine, and I almost heard a gasp. He smiled self-consciously as he sat back down. "That's so cool. Did you guys go up to Massachusetts or Vermont?"

Jeff shook his head. "No, our family is in Florida. It isn't 'legal' but that wasn't what mattered."

I grinned. "Yeah, his parents didn't want a son-in-law."

Justin's eyes seemed to dull a little. "They don't approve?"

Jeff started laughing. I shot him an evil glance, but he just leaned over and mussed my hair. Great, the irresistible hair shit came back when I did.

"Nah. They just couldn't resist, Dan. The Monday after the wedding, they marched his freckled ass down to the courthouse and adopted him." He leaned in and kissed the side of my head as my cheeks began to imitate my hair again. "I suppose that makes this all incest, but at least we're legally related no matter where we go."

"Asshole," I mumbled under my breath. There was no venom in it, and my embarrassed smile did very little to stop my eyes from watering. I still got choked up when I was reminded how loved I was.

I looked up to see Bryan take Justin's hand and squeeze it. Justin looked like he was going to cry. "You okay, babe?"

Justin nodded, and swallowed before talking. "Yeah. I just wish it'd been that way for us."

Bryan squeezed Justin's hand and looked back at us. "My parents didn't take the news well." Though he was putting up a good, neutral front, my senses told me he was a lot more upset by it than he put forth. If I wasn't a living lie detector, I'd never have suspected a thing; Bryan was obviously a very skilled actor. "There was nothing wrong with being gay until their only son turned out to be gay."

Justin frowned. "You're 'Bi,' and I'm just the wrong gender."

Jeff and I looked at each other for a moment. It sounded like one of our arguments except that ours was usually over my looks.

"I like your gender just the way it is." Bryan captured Justin's lips before the guy could get another word out. My smile widened as Bryan pulled back and I saw the glazed look on Justin's face.

I turned to Jeff. "Is that what I look like when you shut me up by kissing me?"

Jeff scrutinized Justin as the guy recovered and looked more than a little embarrassed. He grinned. "Yeah, it's about the same."

I extended my hand across the table. "Welcome to the club. My asshole husband can melt my brain to goop whenever he wants."

Justin laughed, shook my hand, and smiled lovingly at his grinning mate. "Yeah, my boyfriend is a pretty damn good kisser."

Bryan sat back and smiled. "You had better not forget it, or I'm calling Tina and having her fly out to kick some sense into you."

Justin shot Bryan an evil look. "She sides with me more often than with you, Bryan."

"Yeah, but you know what she thinks of that whole 'I'm not right for Bryan because I'm a guy' thing."

I watched Justin give way, and he looked at me apologetically. "Sorry; it's an old argument." After a moment, he smiled back at Bryan. "And one I'm glad I lose."

Jeff squeezed my hand. I knew exactly how Justin felt. After a few moments of silence and loving looks, I decided it was best not to ignite the table cloth with all the emotion that was building up between us. I shifted to more neutral topics.

"You guys in college?"

They both nodded, and Bryan answered. "Yeah, I'm a theater major. Justin's double majoring in writing and literature."

"What about you two," Justin asked as he let go of Bryan's hand and reached for his water.

"We just graduated High School. We're starting at Oxford in a few weeks."


The conversation lagged as the waiter returned, took our orders, and we all shifted for a new topic. I think Bryan and Justin were the first gay couple we'd ever spent time talking to. Scott and Logan didn't count; we were practically the trail blazers for them, even though they'd been together longer. I wondered how long it would be before Scott pushed Logan for a permanent commitment. I was snapped out of my thoughts with Bryan's next question.

"Where'd you guys go to school?"

I couldn't stop him before Jeff answered blithely, "Xavier's."

Bryan seemed completely oblivious, but Justin spit his drink. Was that how I looked when Jeff had introduced me as his husband? I couldn't quite read all of Justin's reactions, but it was obvious that he knew what Xavier's was. He blinked at Jeff and then at me.

"Xavier's, in upstate New York?"

I nodded, looking at Justin cautiously. "Yeah, heard of it?" I kept my senses open; in fact, I expanded them. Justin was nervous and uncomfortable, but he wasn't actually scared. That was a good sign, I hoped.

"Yeah, one of my friends went there..." He paused, looked at Bryan nervously, then at us, and added, "after he was outed."

Jeff suddenly realized what he'd done and looked at me. I saw no point in being angry at him. He just couldn't understand that being a mutant wasn't something you should wear on your sleeve. Being raised a witch made hiding in the shadows a lot more natural for me.

Bryan was clueless and obviously trying to catch up. "Outed? It's a high school for Gay Teens?"

Justin looked like he was torn between explaining and keeping his mouth shut. I decided that the damage was done, if any had been done, and hoped for the best.

"No," I said in a neutral tone, "it's a High School for mutants." I made certain that no one could hear what we were saying more than a couple feet from the table. The ability to dampen sound came in useful at times. This conversation would remain private, unless someone like Ty was watching. It would have been too obvious to distort the visuals, so I had to hope no one could read lips.

That took Bryan a moment to register. He looked at us with an odd expression on his face. What surprised me was that he wasn't scared at all. If anything, he was even more curious than before. "You guys don't look like mutants."

I started laughing, and Jeff grinned. "You guys don't look gay; who'd a thunk?"

That made Bryan smile and I could feel Justin's tension easing.

"That's so cool," Bryan was getting more enthused by the moment, "I've never met a mutant before."

I grinned. "That's like saying you'd never met a gay guy before you met Justin. Mutants are more 'closeted' than gay people; with good reason."

Justin noticed that he was the only one who'd tried to keep his voice down. "Uhm... is it really safe to talk about this?"

I smiled. "Yeah, I think so. No one's going to hear what we're saying anyway."

Justin looked confused and Jeff laughed. "My husband has some cool talents." He looked at me and asked, "How far?"

I shrugged and reached for my glass. "About two feet out from the table, Mr. 'Student of Xavier'."

"Sorry," he mumbled as he reached for his own glass.

I smiled at him lovingly, reached out and squeezed his bicep reassuringly. "You guys have to understand that we come from opposite views on the whole thing. Jeff was raised by two of the most incredible parents on the planet. They took it all in stride. Mutant, gay, engaged at seventeen; none of it fazed them. He hasn't really encountered the hate and fears that being these things are to regular people."

"Yeah," Justin said under his breath, "it really sucks."

Bryan looked at his man. "You never told me."

Justin shrugged. "You don't out people, Bryan." He looked at us. "One of my friends, David Martin, went to Xavier's. You probably wouldn't know him; he graduated a couple years ago."

I smiled. "Tall, dirty blond hair, big ears?"

Justin's eyes lit up. "Yeah."

Jeff looked from me to Justin. "Hippocrates?"

I nodded. "Yeah, Mr. 'take away the pain' himself." I started to laugh. "Yeah, we know David pretty well."

Justin grinned, "Hippocrates?"

Jeff nodded, and looked from Justin to Bryan. "We all take on 'nicknames', or code names, at some point while at school. It isn't anything 'official', but we kind of like having ways of talking about each other that is specific to our -mutant- selves. David can heal people, and is studying to become a doctor. We call him 'Hippocrates' because he is all about the Hippocratic Oath."

"David helped heal me up last June." I smiled, not wanting to go into the details. "Suffice to say, I probably wouldn't be walking today if it weren't for him."

Justin smiled. "I'm glad he's doing what he always wanted to. He'd been able to do shit like that since we were kids. He'd just sort of comfort any of us when we'd have bumps or scrapes, and you'd feel better, but none of us understood it until one of the kids on our street was hit by a guy speeding through the neighborhood while talking on his cell phone. A group of us were skate boarding and saw the whole thing." Justin swallowed, "God, she looked so broken. David hadn't even thought about it. He just ran over and tried to help. I know he kept her alive... but he didn't know the limits of his powers." Justin took a sip of his water and looked at Bryan. "David can heal, but his powers don't reset bones or anything. If the bones are in place, then he can make them heal quickly, but he can't put things back where they should be. He healed her, but her arm, a few of her ribs, and her hip all healed wrong."

I cringed. "Ouch."

Justin nodded. "Yeah, he saved her life and crippled her all at the same time. His parents sent him to Xavier's to keep him safe." Justin looked haunted by the memory. "They were sued by Nancy's parents for crippling their daughter. Because David was under aged, the courts held his parents responsible. They lost everything."

"That's bullshit." Bryan's temperature was rising and it was obvious he really was upset by the idea. "The guy saves the girl's life, and he gets punished for it."

Jeff shrugged. "It has to do with fear. If his power had miraculously rebuilt her to perfect, no ill effects, people might still have reacted to it badly.

Our meals arrived, and we swapped topics to more mundane things. It surprised me how much Justin reminded me of Tyler; actually, he reminded me of what a mix between Tyler and me would turn out as. What was the best part of the dinner was watching two, comfortable gay guys, our age, be "in love" like we were.

I smiled at Bryan as the dirty plates were taken away. "How long have you two been together?"

"Two years," Bryan said proudly

"A year," Justin's voice echoed. It was as proud, but there seemed some tension in it.

Bryan eyed Justin for a moment and shrugged. "We have a difference of opinion as to when we 'got together'. I count it from the day I fell for Justin; he counts it from the day I admitted it."

Jeff started laughing, and I had to grin as my cheeks began to burn. He reached over and pulled my head to the side to kiss my temple before turning to look at the guys. "We have the same difference of opinion. Dan wouldn't tell me how he felt for nearly nine months, and we were roommates the whole time. I finally had to push the point to get him to fess-up and let me kiss him."

My cheeks felt like they were on fire, and I stuck out my tongue at Jeff before defending myself. "I had no idea he was gay, okay? He'd been dating girls pretty steady the whole second semester and I was having some other issues at the time." I grinned. "Adapting to being a mutant and shit."

Jeff nodded. "Yeah, we were both dancing around the issue and not realizing the other guy was interested. It got so bad that Dan was going to switch roommates. That's when it all came out."

Bryan choked, but Justin just squeezed his hand. "Yeah, ours was about the same. I was certain Bryan was straight, but it didn't stop me from falling or losing it when I walked in on him... with someone else."

I could see in Bryan's face that he still hadn't gotten over it. He leaned in and pressed his head against Justin's as their fingers interlaced. "Babe..."

Justin just gave him a quick kiss and smiled. "It's over, Bryan. I know, you're sorry, but at least I got two good things out of that night."

Bryan blinked at him for a moment and grinned. "And what were those?"

"You, and Tina as my best friend." He grinned at us mischievously. "There is something powerful about having a best friend who knows exactly what it's like to be taken to orgasm after orgasm by the guy you're mad at." His smile widened as he saw Bryan's blush. "She's helped hold us together more than just about anyone else. All she has to do is remind me how good it is to be in this stud's arms, and I find myself going back."

Bryan grinned, but I could see the tears in his eyes. I don't think Justin knew just how deeply Bryan needed him. I could understand it. Though I knew how desperately I needed Jeff, I still would find myself not believing he needed me as much. Those moments, when I knew with total clarity that I completed Jeff as much as he completed me, were the times I held onto for when the rest of life put my faith into doubt.

"What are you guys doing tomorrow?" Bryan was holding his voice as calm as anything, but I could see that he needed some private time. I think Justin was in for some serious loving when they got behind closed doors. Mr. 'tall dark and handsome' was in need of some reassurance. I thought it was absolutely beautiful.

"We were thinking of hitting the town. We haven't seen any of it but the bus ride from the airport to the hotel."

Justin smiled. "We've only walked the beach. Would you guys like to meet for breakfast and then hit the town?"

Jeff grinned at me. "You're going to make me get up before nine, aren't you?"

I laughed. "Might as well get used to it, babe. You married a morning person."

"That a yes?" Bryan asked, smiling at our exchange.

Jeff nodded. "We'd love to."