"I sometimes wonder if everybody lies."
It wasn't the first time Adrian would pensively make such a sweeping and seemingly coy pronouncement out of thin air. I now knew him to play up his coyness, to inflate his candor. His musings were rhetorical, his intentions ambiguous. Since the first time I met him, there had been a disturbing sense of perfection about him and while I had glimpsed no reasons to question his genuineness, I was getting strong indications of his awareness of his own charm, purity, and honesty.
"I don't know Adrian," I said, yawning and stretching to deflate the weight of his statement.
This would likely be our last evening together. He had to go to Sydney the following morning and I was leaving for my weekend away with Jonah two days after that. The plan was for Jonah to drive me to the airport straight from our as-of-yet undisclosed location on Monday. Adrian made a point of calling it our "last evening together of your trip", leaving open the possibility of us meeting up somewhere, somehow, sometime. Soon.
I had realized earlier on the train to Samford that I had been spending time with Adrian roughly every three days, with the pace and logistics of a couple in the early of stages of dating. We didn't quite have the your place or mine ritual, but Paddington or Samford instead. We cooked dinner as often as we ate out, we watched tv, read the papers or browsed our facebooks lounging. We hiked and ran. We drank wine and smoked weed. We held hands and didn't always rush to have sex when we saw each other yet, when we did, the sex was surprisingly very nice.
It was an alternate reality for me. An alternate reality of couplehood with Adrian, within an alternate reality of spending a month in Brisbane, away from everything that was familiar. But I had been finding it increasingly impossible to completely bask and wallow in Adrian's proposition of organic domesticity. Dan was always in my thoughts. He had been since my very first day in Brisbane, since Jonah first mentioned him. His name is Dan. The shape, intensity and implication of Dan's presence in my head, in my life, had changed and morphed many times since then, of course. And yet.
It was clear too that I was increasingly withdrawing from Adrian. Not out of shame or guilt, I didn't think, not out of pragmatism either. But the more open and relaxed Adrian became with me, the more unresponsive I turned. Whereas Dan and I had shed more and more clothes throughout the hours we spent together, ending emotionally and literally naked in front of each other, the more layers Adrian shed of himself, the more I felt like keeping mine on, if not adding some extras. Again, not just figuratively. Adrian now seemed to be cavorting in his boxers whenever we were home, I started to wear jeans, hoodie or socks. I felt I now knew everything about his past and all his questions about the future, while he would whisper to my ear "You're quite a mystery" before kissing its lobe.
"I have a present for you. For our last evening of your trip," he had said, after the shower we always took post hike in the woods. He disappeared to the basement and came back up in the living room, carrying a large, old carton box.
"It's not a present you can take home with you," he said, delighted with the aura of mystery. "The gift is me showing you something I have never showed anyone."
I sat cross-legged on the sofa, holding on to my socked feet. He sat next to me and placed the box on the coffee table before opening it. He took out a stack of handwritten, yellowed pages.
"I found those when I bought the house. It's crazy. They were hidden under the floorboard in the bedroom. I'm not kidding you."
"What are they?"
"Manuscripts. From Jack Garatta. Stories he scribbled. Some of them long, some just a few paragraphs."
"Nice," I said, picking up a few pages delicately. "Why are you not showing them to anyone?"
"Because they're erotic stories. Smut, really," he said with a beaming smile, just as, indeed, my eyes glazed over roughly scrawled words such as fuck, cock, hole. "I assumed that if he hid them so carefully, he didn't want people to see them."
"What are they... about?"
"Sex. Gay sex, that is. They're really just about guys getting it on. In various situations and combinations. Positions. It's very graphic. Hardly ever an actual storyline to be honest."
"You've read them all."
"Of course. They do the job," he smiled again, like a teenager showing his porn stash to his buddy. "It's good jerk off material, I guess."
"But are they any good?"
"Define good. It's erotica."
"His books are quite erotic, more suggestive than graphic. But erotic nonetheless. And hot in their own way."
"Okay, then they're not erotica. They're just smut."
I wasn't sure why I was getting annoyed by his discarding of the very possibility of literary value to the secretive erotic output of such a great writer. Nevertheless, as my eyes slid down the lines and paragraphs in front of me, the material seemed indeed to be nothing more than very crude description of gay sex. Big dick appeared three times in the same paragraph.
Adrian picked up a sheet of paper from my hands and started to read out loud.
"His very hard cock was so close to my arse hole, it felt and smelt not like a hard cock but like an animal in heat, a big hard snake hissing its way into my very wet hole. I mean, seriously," Adrian laughed.
"Is everything in the same vein?"
"Mostly, yes. A few stories seem to have more structure, I guess. Some kind of plot. But I use the word plot generously: it's cousins fucking each other, workers on a construction site fucking each other, a postman and a lonely guy fucking each other. And a whole lot of strangers fucking each other in public toilets."
I stood up from the sofa and went to grab my cigarettes. I stepped out on the balcony and looked at the view until Adrian appeared, handing me out a beer.
"It's funny, isn't it?" he said with exaggerated eagerness, obviously unsure about my silence.
"It's fucking sad, Adrian."
"Come on, Nathan."
"No, I mean it. Here is this guy, this great writer, subversive and weird and original, who needs the solace of writing about sex because... he didn't get any? What was his sex life, do you know?"
"It's nothing my parents shared with me. And probably not something he shared with them either. But he's known to have had a gay sex life. That seemed to have been established by the scholars who study him."
I cringed at that mention. Of course, I had been thinking about Dan since Adrian had identified the manuscripts as being from Garatta. Of course, I had been thinking about Dan.
"Well, he obviously needed to write this. But why couldn't he be more frank or graphic in his novels, in some of his novels at least? Why did he separate so drastically the sex he wanted to write about from his work?"
"Nathan," Adrian said with patience, a little puzzled, "these were different times. I guess he would never have been published."
"Fine. Sure. But still. Wilde or Cocteau both wrote under pseudonyms very graphic little novels, where they let themselves go in terms of the content and the description of gay sex. They were pornographic but these books were good, you know. This seems... this looks like rubbish."
Adrian placed a hand on my shoulder, as if to console me, which really annoyed me. He said sweetly, "I guess they were not important to him, they were just...fun? He made his own jerk off material? And why not? That was just not something he wanted to write and publish and express, just something that'd get him hard."
"Why would he keep them, then? Why not just throw them away?"
"I don't know, Nathan," he said, giving away the first signs of exasperation. "I'm sure you have brilliant Nobel prizes today who jerk off at night watching videos of fake frat boys banging some twink ass. It doesn't diminish the value of their work."
"It's not about the value of his work," I grunted, looking away.
"Okay, then you lost me," he said, taking away from my fingers the cigarette which was getting close to burning its filter.
"It's just...," I searched for words, for my sake more than his own. "Garatta is supposed to be... brave. Uncompromising. Bold. Pure, almost, in his rawness, in his weirdness, in his... manhood. This feels like cowardice. Like a mommy's boy still stuck with sex hang-ups. This feels like... a lie."
Adrian took my hand and led me back inside. He pushed me on the sofa and straddled me. He tried to kiss me but I was too rattled, too edgy, to fully reciprocate the tenderness and the ardor he sequentially tried on me.
"I sometimes wonder if everybody lies," he said, removing himself and sitting on the floor.
"I don't know Adrian," I said, yawning and stretching to deflate the weight of his statement. What the fuck is a hard snake anyway?
* * *
I had been trying for days to forget about Dan, to forget Dan. To wipe off the ache of his anger, the ache of his spite, the ache of his absence. To swallow and digest the mess we made, the waste and forfeit of our peculiar, poignant bond. I was angry. I was incredibly angry. Bitter. Upset and rattled. A little heartbroken too, and that feeling was the hardest to suppress, as it felt the least familiar.
I didn't know what had happened. Or maybe I did. I didn't know if, indeed, what I thought happened was what Dan thought as well.
I had snapped. That's what I told myself initially, that's what I would have told him if he had been willing to listen. Why hadn't he? But I couldn't escape the feeling that my cracking up was not entirely uninhibited. There had been a part of me that had been unleashed because I thought that's where Dan and I were headed, because I thought Dan had wanted to see it unleashed. We had explored and rummaged through the sunnier, brighter, lighter parts of ourselves; our constant, yet cordial erections had pumped out all the good blood within us. To push ourselves further, we had to descend in the dark, musky, filthy nooks and crannies of our minds. I would piss and spit and punch and soil for him, because, somehow, I was ready to do anything for him, because, somehow, nothing could stop us. We could piss on and spit at and punch and soil the world around us because we were headed together somewhere beyond nice or filthy, beyond decent or lewd. Because we were fearless together. Except, of course, that we weren't. Not quite.
Because we'll go back there and we'll take a shower and you'll push me against the glass and I'll want you so I'll say yes and you'll fuck me hard and fast for a furious five minutes and you'll come inside me and it'll be over. Fuck him. I didn't know how to have sex with Dan, but I knew how not to have sex with him. Fuck him for not seeing that, fuck him for his little imagination.
Don't forget to take your wounded pride with you. Fuck him. There was no pride to be wounded. There was disappointment. A little resentment too. Because we hadn't been able to smile at how idiotic we had been, how foolish it'd been for us to think that fucking a proxy would offer the sexual and emotional release we couldn't seem to reach together. Fuck him for not seeing that.
I had been trying for days to forget about Dan, to forget Dan.
* * *
"I think I want to go home."
I realized the ambivalence of the statement as soon as I said it. Adrian looked puzzled, then alarmed.
"I mean, my place," I clarified. Or lied.
"Oh," he said.
"I don't want to say goodbye here. Not in the early morning. Not having to spend an hour on the train back home."
"I was actually going to suggest something similar. My plane is very early and it would be easier if we sleep at yours. I'll get to the airport faster."
I had wanted to say goodbye there and then, and head back to Jonah's in the quiet darkness of a train ride at night. But I couldn't quite do this to Adrian. "Good. We should get going then."
"Jonah and Chloe won't mind?"
"Chloe is out of town for the night. And I'm sure Jonah doesn't care."
* * *
I had been trying for days to forget about Dan, to forget Dan.
I'm usually good at such exercise. When I left Dan behind, smoldering on the grass, I thought I'd forget him easily. There are ways.
I slept. I walked. I got a drink at a bar. I flirted back with a stranger. I went home.
I easily found Liam's card I've always had the habit of keeping every phone number I received, whether I was actually interested in the guy or not. It made up for a weird, beguiling collection of scrap papers, napkins, bar receipts, bus stubs, or business cards, of various handwriting, rushed or neat, in blue, black or red, of various stains of food, dirt, wine, even semen on the prized item of the collection.
I texted him, Want to meet up, and signed the American, with the name of the club where I'd met him in parentheses.
I quickly got an answer: Hey!!! Yup, v much. Drink later? Im in Teneriffe.
I texted back, No drink. Fuck. Smiley.
Nothing came back and I dropped my phone on the bed. I looked for the scotch that Jonah stashed in my studio and poured some in a tumbler.
I was opening my laptop to look for some porn when the phone rang. Liam.
"Hey", he said, in a carefully husky voice.
"Where are you?"
"I'm at this bar. With some friends. Took me a little while to be able to step outside and call."
I wasn't sure what to say and didn't want to steer us towards idle chit chat.
"Sooooo?" he said.
"You want to fuck."
"Nice. I can't right now, though. It's my friend's birthday and I can't really leave. Not now. Not for a while."
"That's okay. Some other time, maybe."
"Wait. I mean, I have a couple of minutes, you know. We can chat a bit."
When I didn't say anything, he asked "By the way, when I met you at that club, you were with this guy Dan?"
"You know him?"
"Well, obviously, yes."
"How do you know him?"
"Friend of a friend. Why?"
"No reason, just curious."
"You know him?
"I know of him. You know, I know who he is. I knew his boyfriend Patrick."
"His ex-boyfriend," he added, a bit conspiratorially.
"Nasty piece of work."
"No, Patrick. Nasty," he repeated, although not with an entirely disapproving tone.
"You fucked him?"
"Well, he fucked me. It wasn't great to be honest. He smelled."
"I see. Why did you fuck then?"
"He'd fucked most of my friends," he said, as if that was an obvious reason.
"Have you fucked with Dan?"
"No. I told you, I don't really know him. I've heard plenty about him, though. You want to hear?"
He sighed deeply, impatient and weary. "Because you're obviously horny, because I think you want to talk a little filth on the phone since you won't be able to fuck me like you intended. I'm just trying to help here, mate." His bluntness was surprising and actually attractive.
"Go on then."
"Ok," he said, then whispering on the phone, "but tell me if you're jerking off. Tell me if I get you hard."
"So, yes, Dan. I only know a couple of guys who slept with him. He fucked them both, which is weird, cos I got the feeling from Patrick that he was a bottom."
"Some people are versatile."
"I know," he said. "But I really thought he was a total bottom." He added "Like me," trying for the husky voice again. I tried to imagine him, his tall, athletic body, his blond surfer hair, I tried to imagine him on the patio of a bar, cupping his hand over his phone to "talk filth" to an almost stranger.
"Anyway," he said. "He's a good fuck, apparently. Nice cock, they said. Knows how to use it."
"Why didn't you fuck with him?"
"Dunno," he said, with a tone that made me think he'd probably tried but had been rebuffed by Dan. "Are you hard?"
"Yes," I lied. I heard a lot of noise around him, like some people watching a game on a bar's large screen TV. "I do want to fuck you," I said, deciding that phone sex might not be a preposterous idea after all, that it was that or some internet porn, and since I couldn't quite make up my mind between the two, I might as well give filthy talk a try.
"Nice," he said. "I was hoping you'd call, actually. You're hot. And American."
"I could come over and fuck you hard and fast in the bathroom."
"Ah! I'm with straight friends," he said, as if I could actually have come and use his ass for a quickie if only he'd been hanging with gay people. "But I'm sure we'll fuck, no worries. Just not tonight. How long are you in town for again?"
"A few more days," I said, non-committedly.
"How big is your cock?"
"Excellent. You're cut, I guess?"
"Really? Fucking brilliant. All the Americans I've had sex with were cut."
"How many would that be?"
"Ah. A bunch. I love America."
"So, you said."
"I'm nine, by the way."
"Cool," I forced myself to believe his lie or, in any case, to voice some of the admiration he was obviously looking for. "I knew that, actually," I teased.
"How did you know?"
"Dan?" he asked eagerly.
"No, not Dan."
"Just, you know, people. Are you hard?"
"Fuck, mate, I have a huge boner. I can't really get back inside like this."
"Anywhere you can jerk off for me?"
"Nah. Damn, I do want to, though. But I want your cock in my ass more."
"Just come over."
"I want to ride it."
"I want you to lie down, to lick my feet, get really hard, and let me sit on your dick. I want to ride you, jump up and down on your big fat eight inches of cock."
"Then I want you to throw me on the floor, pound me doggy style. I want to be your bitch." He added something more, something he said whispering, spitting on his phone almost, but the noise around him kept me from hearing what it was.
I wanted to get into it, I wanted to jack off and get it over with, but I was barely half hard. I was frustrated and irritated that I couldn't actually get Dan out of my mind.
"I want to feel your big fat cock all the way up my-"
I hung up and reached for the scotch again.
The phone rang, but I sent it straight to voicemail. Then a text pinged. It only had a long row of seemingly angry question marks. Reluctantly, I picked up the phone and typed: Sorry. Friend came in. cant talk, then added another Sorry, because you never know, because I may find myself again thinking that fucking Liam would be easy and releasing, that fucking Liam could help me blank my mind. I knew how to fuck a Liam, I knew how to fuck all the Liams.
I would be trying for days to forget about Dan, to forget Dan.
* * *
The street was busy and Adrian had to park his Beetle some distance away from the house. We were walking in silence, hand in hand, in the warm night, when I saw Jonah's Ford Escalade drive by us. It slowly pulled inside the driveway. I slowed my pace. I wasn't sure I wanted to run into him, I wasn't sure I wanted to have the night cap he would inevitably offer us. Adrian and I had had dinner once with Jonah and Chloe, a perfectly pleasant and grown-up dinner. Since then, Jonah had taken every chance he got to ask me questions about sex with Adrian, to make salacious jibes about his body. I did not want to spend an hour with both of them in the living room, the absence of Chloe allowing Jonah to probe and flirt unrestrained.
I saw Jonah exiting the car then circling it to gallantly open the passenger door. Out came a tall, elegant, black woman. She was wearing beige pantsuits and her hair in tight bun. She looked striking from a distance. Both of them did: professional, handsome and sophisticated. He placed his hand on the small of her back and nudged her toward the house, beeping his car locked. They both looked so comfortable that it was obvious she'd been inside before.
"Who is that?" Adrian asked.
"I have no idea."
"Definitely not Chloe."
"Did you... did you know?"
"No. Let's go round the block and enter from the back."
Adrian sighed. "I guess everybody does lie."
We did hear Jonah and his guest have sex in the room next door. She made little noise, and she sounded very different from the brash and garish moans of Chloe. Jonah's whispers were muffled, but tender and eager. They both came together, it seemed. Adrian and I were silent throughout, as if we were the intruders, or sexual delinquents. When the noises died down, he slowly turned towards me and his eyes prodded me to climb on top of him, to smile at him, to spit on my fingers and lube him, to enter him slowly, silently, sweetly. He came somewhat fast and I had to jerk off quite vigorously to finish myself off. He kissed me one last time and whispered "I can't believe this is our last night together."
I missed Dan's smile so much, it ached.
* * *
I had been trying for days to forget about Dan, to forget Dan.
A couple of evenings earlier, Jonah had invited me for happy hours drinks with a couple of his coworkers. He and I hadn't spent a lot of time together, even after Dan and I broke all contacts. My funk made me avoid him and his sunny disposition, and he was clearly content to have secured my full time company for our forthcoming getaway weekend. I suspected he had started to devise all the sexual activities he presumed would pack my last days with him. In the meantime, we mostly hung out casually and briefly.
There was little that was interesting about his coworkers, but they turned out entertaining enough. And I got very drunk.
I stepped out for a smoke and took out my phone. I texted Dan, hurriedly, before I changed my mind, before I started to gauge whether I was being pathetic or brave, mawkish or mature, before I started to think that he should be the one texting, before I started being lame and common. I typed Are we going to kiss or not, but deleted it, and sent instead We should talk.
I was stubbing my cigarette out when the reply came back.
Jonah was grinning for no apparent reason when he was driving us back.
"What?" I asked.
"Nothing. Just... We should have a threesome. Don't you think?"
"That's what you're thinking now?"
"Yeah. It'd be hot. You're gone soon. This weekend, we'll... there'll just be the two of us. If we want a threesome, we should do it before we leave. Chloe is away for the night in a couple of days."
"I have to see Adrian."
"Of course. But still. We should, though."
"Would you have a threesome with Dan?"
"Would he?" I said casually.
"I don't know. He's usually up for anything, I'd have thought."
"Have you talked to him?"
"Nah. He has now stopped even returning my texts," he chuckled, apparently both unperturbed and undeterred. "But he might, if that's on the table," he added, pointing at my crotch.
"I don't want to be used as bait just so you can hammer his ass again."
"Fine," he smiled. Then, after a long pause, he added with a grin, "Can I suck your cock though, or do I have to wait until next weekend?"
The mischievous lust in his eyes made it impossible to refrain a smile. Jonah does mischievous lust almost as well as Dan.
He veered left at the following intersection and turned a few more times, with a destination clearly in mind. He stopped the car in a poorly lit back alley and turned off the engine.
He took out his seat belt and his hands went straight to my flyer, which he unzipped quickly. He carefully unfolded my semi-hard cock out of my briefs. Licking his lips, he smiled one last time at me before plunging down on my lap.
"What a fucking piece of meat," he groaned huskily before kissing my dickhead, licking the foreskin, spitting on the shaft. "Big, beefy, fucking piece of meat," he whispered again, mostly to himself.
I leaned my head against the headrest and gasped and breathed out and closed my eyes and opened them again to watch him, to watch his tongue circling frantically around my slit, his lips kissing and sucking the engorged top of my cock, his eyes sprinkling with lust and glee, his left hand reaching for his own crotch and grabbing tightly his erection through his pants.
He swallowed me whole and sucked powerfully. He went up and down, up and down. He freed his cock, which looked strangely enormous in the semi-darkness yellowed by a faint street light, and he started to slowly jerk himself off.
I leaned forward and sideways to get a better look at his cock. It was fat and slimy with precum, aggressively sticking out of business pants, bursting its way out of white briefs and the wrinkled tails of a crisp white shirt. I tried not to think that this fat cock had been inside Dan, all the way up inside him, battering his prostate, invading and assaulting his body. I tried not to. Not because I was jealous, not because it hurt (though it did, a bit), but because I'd be thinking less of Dan, I'd be thinking that he'd liked to be banged by a Jonah, by a stupidly horny faux straight guy, by a generic horny dude who'd marvel at how well Dan can take a fat dick up his ass, I'd be thinking that he'd like that more than sitting on the floor naked, nesting against me on the chair. Because I think with my dick. Because despite my big brain, I'm led by my big cock. Fuck him.
I tried not to think about Dan because I also knew I was no better. Not really. I didn't know how to fuck Dan, but I knew how to get rock hard in a car, in a back alley, getting blown by a generic horny dude who'd marvel at how much cum I'd spray against his throat. I knew how to fuck the Liams and I knew how to fuck the Adrians, and I knew you don't fuck them the same way. I knew how to fuck the Seans, too, because I've learned how to hate them. If I had to or could, I'd know how to fuck Jonah as well. I'd know exactly how.
I warned Jonah of my impending orgasm and he sucked me even harder. I grabbed the seat firmly and tightened my erection and my scrotum, to squirt as much cum as possible, as far as possible. I groaned loudly and filled Jonah's mouth. "Fuck, that's so much cum," he chuckled when he came up for air. He focused his attention straight to his own cock and jacked it furiously. When he came, he tried to cup it all in his left palm. Some jizz slid through his fingers, but he licked hungrily most of it, beaming with pride and contentment.
I mechanically took out of my phone as he was tugging his cock and his shirt back in before turning on the ignition.
I stared at my screen.
Why? it still said.
* * *
Adrian's alarm woke him at 5:00, as scheduled. He tiptoed to the shower, then around the room to get dressed. I pretended to be fast asleep and felt like an asshole. He kissed me gently on the forehead, the cheek and the lips.
"Don't wake up," he whispered, "I'll call you later" and blew one last kiss from the door.
I stared at the ceiling for an hour, unable to doze back off, then heard the noise of Jonah and his woman waking up. I heard a shower and their voices, loud enough to realize they didn't know I was on the other side of the thin wall, but faint enough that I couldn't quite make up what they were saying to each other. It sounded sweet, though. Caring.
I heard them leave. Ten minutes later, I heard Jonah coming back. He made phone calls, with his business voice. Then he picked up a call with the voice he had when he talked to Chloe. Then I heard him leave again.
I went in the pool and swam naked for what felt like a thousand laps. I didn't care whether people could see me (I doubted few could), I needed to feel clean and pure and free. A minute after I finally stopped, Chloe appeared with two cups of coffee, cigarettes and an ashtray. She put one cup on the edge of the pool, just where I was panting and trying to catch my breath and she sat down on a nearby chaise.
"Could you..." I nodded towards my discarded swim trunks.
Without a word, but with a sigh, she stood up and went to fetch them. She threw them in the middle of the pool and watched my white ass as I swam towards them.
"Everything alright?" I asked, as I placed my elbows on the edge of the pool and reached for the coffee.
"Everything's shit, if you must know."
"I see. Sydney?"
"Sydney was fine. My husband's a shit." She lit a cigarette and inhaled deeply. "Want one?"
"A husband?" I smiled.
"I know. No, thanks. Thanks for the coffee, though."
"Don't mention it," she said dryly. "How's your boyfriend?"
"He's gone. Sydney too. Why is everybody always going to Sydney?"
"Because Brisbane's shit."
"I like your boyfriend."
"And I hate my fucking husband."
"Right now or generally?" I asked, now wishing for a cigarette. She was on to something unpleasant.
"He's having an affair," she said, ignoring my question. Up to the night before, I would have thought she'd found out something about Dan. Now I wasn't so sure.
"How do you know?"
"They're not being very discreet. People talk. Her name's Tamara. Woman from work. For fuck's sake," she grunted.
Her name's Tamara.
"What do you know?" she asked bluntly.
So that's what it was about. She had brought coffee and cigarettes as shiny trinkets to buy off my confidences.
"I don't know anything."
"I really don't."
"I'm pretty sure the skank was here last night, Nathan. At some point. I found a fucking pubic hair in my bed. In my own fucking bed. Do you know how that makes me feel? And you're telling me you haven't heard a thing. The walls are fucking thin. I'm pretty sure you know that."
"Adrian and I went to bed early. I was barely awake when he left this morning. No, Chloe, I didn't hear anything. If there was anything to be heard."
"What infuriates me most is not even the affair. It's the secrecy. We used to tell each other everything, you know. Everything."
"You don't. I know about you and him, for instance."
I shivered and blanked for a second.
"I know you and he fooled around when you were kids. He told me. I know he was bisexual for a while. He told me. And he never told his bitch first wife. He told me. We used to tell each other everything," she said, angrily stubbing out her cigarette.
"What do you mean, bisexual?"
"Ugh," she sighed impatiently, "I'm telling you, it's no secret. Relax. He told me very soon after we first met."
"He told you what?" I tried to hide my impatience better than she was.
"About how he liked to hook up with random guys. I think keeping it to himself was what damaged his marriage to Hannah and he didn't want to make the same mistake twice. So, yeah, we were pretty open. He told me about Chris and about Geoff too, in case you're wondering."
Who the fuck were Chris and Geoff?
"Anyway," she sighed wearily. "It was no big deal for me as long as, you know, it was just a, I don't know, ... a phase. Or some way to play around and have fun. We had a couple of threesomes, if you want to know."
I didn't want to know and I was started to feel a little dizzy.
"And he got tired of guys quickly enough. He'd had his fix, I suppose. So that's been over since before we got engaged. But anyway, the point is, we shared. I can get a little kinky too. I don't mind kinky, as long as we're honest. But now, he's screwing this bitch and he's being fucking secretive. He's such a shit. He's such a fucking shit. A fucking liar. Why are men such fucking dirtbag liars?"
I had to get out of the pool. I stumbled unsteadily towards the towel on the table and wrapped myself in it, hoping to shield me from her, from her torrent of confusing invectives.
The silence which followed seemed to make her realize what she should have figured out a little while before.
"You... you didn't know?"
I didn't look at her and toweled myself dry.
I knew even less than she did and my uselessness to her made her sigh, get up and leave, groaning "Such fucking liars."
* * *
My text to Dan : we should talk because we're not complete fuck-ups. we're complete dicks, but it's not exactly the same thing.
* * *
"You look like shit," Dan said, opening his door wide but blocking my way in.
"So do you," I said, though he didn't, not really. He did look like shit, to a point. His eyes were puffy, his naked torso seemed very pale, slashed by red creases from the bedsheet. He smelled unwashed. But he exuded both a common raw manliness and the specific magnetism of the Dan I knew.
"I haven't slept much last night," he said.
"Neither have I."
"It's still morning. Technically."
"I know," I said, though I had no idea what he meant. "I remember you didn't have to be on campus on Thursday mornings."
"Listen, Nathan, I don't think I want to talk. I didn't want to be a prick, but I shouldn't have let you come all the way here for nothing."
I looked away and slid my hands in the pockets of my shorts. He wasn't not going to get rid of me that easily.
"I'm not going to apologize, Nathan."
"That's not why I'm here."
I could see him tremble a little. I wasn't sure it was entirely because he might be cold. He was wearing only briefs, but the temperature was already high enough and the air coming from inside his apartment felt stuffy.
"We messed this up," I said, looking at down at my sneakers.
He didn't say anything, possibly denying the very existence of something to have been messed up with. I felt him hesitating, weighing the outcome of a soft goodbye with that of lightly stepping back and letting me in again through the portal of what had once been, briefly, our weird little secluded universe. But he didn't move and didn't say anything, and neither did I, until finally, he let out a whisper: "I'm so tired."
This could have been the final rebuke, a faint even if resolute attempt to end this, to let me go, to make me go. A few simple words. But they felt anything but simple. They felt like a complicated truth, a lightly aching admission of truth, one that hit me hard, one that finally shouted amidst all the pretense, deception, posing, impersonation and lies that had slowly been drowning me.
"I am too, Dan," I said, my right hand taking a life on its own and extending towards him.
He seized it slowly and the sight of them together, of our fingers intertwining, of the hair on my hand and the hair on his knuckles, was electrifying. I flashed to a conversation with a female friend where I was laboriously trying to explain that being gay, for me, had never been about expressing "my feminine side", it was about sharing and feeding my masculine side, it was about chasing the elusive potency of being men together.
He let go of my hand and turned around, leaving the door open behind him. I followed him inside, to his bedroom, where he just dropped on the bed. I lay next to him, only taking off my sneakers. We were on our back, staring at the ceiling in silence. He closed his eyes but I forced myself to keep mine open. A sudden exhaustion was dragging me asleep, was pummeling me asleep, but I fought back.
I grabbed his hand. A minute later, I felt it squeeze mine. With strength, with affection too, I thought. A minute later I squeezed back. Two minutes later, he squeezed again. Then I did, then we both did, repeatedly, then the warmth of his palm, the intoxicating touch of the skin of his fingers and palm, made me feel safe to let go, to drown or fly with him, I wasn't sure which, to let myself fall into a long, long sleep.
"I have to go."
His voice woke me with a startle. I look at the alarm clock. 2:32pm. How could I have slept this long? With this much sunshine bursting through the blinders? His voice was a little commanding, but matter-of-factly. Definite but informative.
"Ok," I mumbled as I stood and rubbed my eyes. "I should go too, then."
"Yes," he said, detached but not cold.
I only had my sneakers to put on to be ready, which was done efficiently enough. Within minutes, we were outside, walking to the Auchenflower station in silence.
"Are you still doing this weekend thing with Jonah?" he asked casually, looking away.
"Yeah. We're leaving tomorrow."
"And you're gone on Monday?"
"Yes," I said, through my teeth, hating that reality.
His steps seemed to quicken a bit and he still wasn't looking at me.
"This is ridiculous," he finally said.
"Please," he said a little angrily.
"It's not, Dan. It's juts... what it is."
"And what is that?"
"I don't know," I conceded.
It took me a couple more minutes to be able to say, "I shouldn't go, I don't want to go. I should just get home now, pack my stuff and get out of there. I'd come to your place and we lock ourselves in until my plane Monday."
"Locking ourselves in hasn't really worked for us, has it?"
I had no answer to that.
"Why don't you want to go?" he asked breezily, though he sounded a little disingenuous to me.
"Because I'd rather be with you," I said without hesitation.
"Is that so?"
I saw him smile, even if he tried to hide it. I took his hand in mine again. He didn't pull away.
"I should tell you what I found out about Jonah," I said, unsure where this would lead us, but resolute about sharing all truths. So, I told Dan about how Jonah had lied to me for almost twenty years, how he had lied to Dan too, how his act of the disoriented yet eager straight guy mind-blown by the newfound joys of gay sex was a sham, how fucked up his multiple lies and multiple personalities were.
"Wow. And he's fucking this female colleague too?" he grinned.
"Yeah. I think they're actually having an affair."
"Well, you got to admire the guy's stamina. He should be in porn."
"You think it's funny?" I asked, more puzzled than offended.
"Yeah, I actually do."
"It's either very funny or completely pathetic. Or both."
"I would pity the guy for being such a mess if he wasn't getting so much action."
I laughed, and I felt good to laugh with Dan again.
Then we reached the station, where we'd be taking train in opposite directions, and that allegory sent brief jolts of pain in my stomach.
"What are you doing tonight?"
"I have plans, Nathan. Plans I can't get out of."
"I'm not lying," he said and I was pretty sure he wasn't.
"Fuck," I grunted.
"Or not, as it were." He laughed, but seemed to force it a bit. "I really have to go, Nathan. I can't be late."
"Why don't we not say goodbye?" he asked tentatively.
"Okay. I'll call you. Now run."
"No, I mean it a bit more literally. Why don't we not say goodbye?" He seemed a little irritated that I wasn't getting what he meant and I felt him briefly pondering a retreat. But he continued, "I'm still drowsy and so are you. When our heads get a little clearer, why don't we figure out a way to see each other before you leave?"
I wanted to kiss him so badly. I wanted to kiss him the way he had kissed me a week ago, when my head almost exploded with lust and affection, when he had kissed me before everything went to hell. I really wanted to kiss him. "Let's," I said instead.
I checked the address against what Nathan had sent me, and coasted with relief down the driveway. The moment the house came into view, I knew I'd committed to this in any of the previous 70 kilometres I might have turned back, any minute of those five hours could've been my last on this path, but now I was here. By any objective measure, this was pure insanity. Who rides a bicycle this kind of distance to hang out with your married fuckbuddy and his gay best friend, both of whom you've been studiously ignoring for the best part of a week? And who the hell wanted me here to begin with?
I had been wondering the whole ride down here, at what moment Nathan had sent his location to me. 10.37pm on a Friday night. Had he blown his first load in Jonah's ass and still wanted more? Had they got all the way to Mount Nathan before realising two tops without a bottom leads to some pretty epic frustration? My favourite mental image had Nathan's cock in Jonah's mouth, the married man slobbering determinedly over his best friend's erection, willing the sweet release of the gay man's huge load, while Nathan deliberately held back long enough to send me a text with the hand not occupied pushing his cock to the back of Jonah's throat.
I parked my bike next to the front door, and got off it for the first time since the motorway diversion at Logan. Boy, was I going to have some angry muscles tonight. Turns out a few years of the ride from home to campus had not in fact adequately prepared me for the hare-brained chase to the Gold Coast hinterland, especially not on a warm autumn afternoon. I mean, sure, the sunset was showing every sign of being fantastic, and the fact that I'd made it here had me feeling pretty invincible, but I still didn't know what was going on, my clothes were sticking to my body in a most unattractive fashion and I could feel a latent sunburn about to blossom.
I rounded the corner of the house. First thought: nice one. Jonah's money had spared no expense, and an infinity pool tumbled down into the valley. Second thought: what a welcome party. Nathan and Jonah were both asleep on separate loungers, both sprawled naked in the late afternoon sun. I stopped to take off my shoes, lest I wake them and interrupt this lewd vision. Looking at them, drinking them in, I couldn't gather much more information. This might be the sated sleep of sexual satisfaction; but equally, it could be two dudes who've known each other longer than they can remember sleeping off a night of hard drinking.
I enjoyed each of their bodies in turn. Jonah, gym fit and body perfect in a Ken doll kind of way, with his abs still showing even in his reclined state. His chest hair was neatly trimmed, and his pubes were tamed to match. His skin was taut and tan, and in common with a lot of men of his social stature, his muscles were out of balance: he'd paid loving attention to his chest, arms, and abs, and neglected the rest. His thin legs, covered in the hair that he'd so expertly removed elsewhere, jutted off the edge of the lounger. His cock, impressively wide when hard, was curled in a crescent shape, and had happily retreated back inside his foreskin.
Nathan was thicker, harder, meaner. I felt like I knew every inch of his body from our late nights at my place, but I'd never looked at him quite this baldly. Thick ropes of muscle cascaded across his body, and there was plentiful hair drawing attention to his assets. I noticed his nipples were hard in the afternoon air, and compared their impressive size to Jonah's smaller brown dots. Nathan's balls, always an eye-catching feature, were lounging comfortably too, and his half-hard cock had nestled across his stomach with its head just poking out into the sun. His muscular thighs and calves faintly glowed in the sun, and I had to stop myself reaching out to embrace such plenitude.
Instead, I padded silently to the far edge of the pool, away from the sleeping hunks. Slowly, silently, I peeled off my shirt, and stepped out of my shorts. I rolled off my socks, and stood there for a moment looking out into the valley, dressed only in my most comfortable cycling jock, my cock still pleasantly hard at the sight behind me. As I stared into the greenery below, I wondered what had brought these two very different men into my life, and what might cause them to leave it again. For better or worse, it was time to find out. I flicked off my jock, dropped it on top of the neat pile of my shoes and clothes, turned, and jumped into the pool, hitting the surface with as much noise as I could muster. Underwater, I paddled toward the feet of the two loungers, broke the surface and rested my forearms on the edge of the pool.
* * *
He was hands down the hottest guy in this bar. Normally, I would've stared at him throughout the night, moving from discreet to brazen as the drinks hit their mark, and then watch plaintively as he walked off into the darkness. Two things were different tonight, though. Firstly, I was more pleasantly buzzed than usual, having just completed my annual review and had my candidature confirmed. And second, I'd watch him flirt all night with the most striking woman in the place, his hand moving from her wrist, to her forearm, to her shoulder, only to have her insist on leaving alone.
When I saw him leave to walk her out, I knew it was now or never. I went quickly to the bathroom, but didn't urinate instead I opened yet another button on my over-sized paisley shirt. From the right angle, you could see the entirety of my lithe body; the shirt made my skin feel alert and alive. The look said: imagine how easily this shirt could come off. Say the right words and my shoulders will give way and it'll be on the floor faster than you can even dream it. I ran my hand through my hair, and went back out into the foyer.
"Please tell me you're not leaving"
"You're not going, are you?"
"What's it to you?"
"You're far and away the best looking guy here and if you leave I'll have nothing to look at"
"Far be it from me to deny such a forthright young man his eye candy"
"Good move. Okay let me buy you a drink, yeah?"
"Now you're talking"
I gestured back towards the main space, and he followed me over to the bar with a slight nod.
"What's your poison?"
"I'm drinking gin"
"No, nothing just my next line was going to be, `ooh, butch', but that doesn't really work with gin, does it"
"There's more than one way to be butch"
With that, he looked me straight in the eye, and began to slowly loosen his tie. He pulled its knot apart firmly and surely with his right hand, and once he had pulled it away, he undid the second button of his shirt. I stared at his jugular notch, noting the few tendrils of hair that crept into its golden hue, and my cock began to harden. I had to have this man wedding ring be damned. My reverie was only broken by the bartender.
"What'll it be, gents?"
"Gin. Two. West Winds on tonic. And he's paying"
I opened my mouth to correct the order, and then closed it again. I'll have what he's having indeed. I leant against the bar, and craned over it under the guise of watching the drinks be made, while I reassessed my next move. I'd expected to have to drive this one but suddenly it seemed like I'd be in the passenger seat. I felt his eyes running over me, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw him lean backwards to get a better view of my ass and legs. I was suddenly thankful for having worn the skinny jeans that a few hours earlier had felt unprofessional. I straightened up as the drinks were served.
"There you go, Dan"
I handed over a note and waved off the change. We needed to move away from the bar, and I counted myself lucky to get away with just a wink from the bartender. I led the way back onto the river terrace, and tucked us away in a corner, under some fairy lights that had been strung overhead. He arranged himself on a stool, picked up his glass, and clinked it on mine.
"And to you, dude"
"Well cheers to escaping from whales"
"I usually hate jokes about my dumb name"
"For calves like yours, I'll make an exception"
He took a long swig from his drink, tipping his head back so his Adam's apple caught the light. The soft bulbs above us made him glow slightly, and the warmness that he emanated matched my own state of light intoxication.
"What are you staring at, Dan?"
"Don't lie. Tell me"
I reached my fingers out towards that mesmerising divot where his neck met his collarbone, but before it made contact, he reached up and grabbed it. I was momentarily thrown by the force with which he grabbed me, but he let go so soon I overlooked it.
"No touching. At least, not here"
"Does that mean touching is allowed somewhere else?"
"You should be so lucky"
"I should! I volunteer as tribute!"
"Well then. You should know" he started numbering points on his fingers "I fuck, I don't get fucked"
"I kinda gathered that from the wedding ring"
The second finger: "You're not the first, and you won't be the last"
"But what about all my hopes and dreams?"
The third finger: "And you don't stay the night".
He stopped talking, dropped his fingers, and drank down the remainder of his gin. "If that sounds like something you could be on board with, you stand up, you walk across this bar so I can see that ass one last time, I meet you out front, I put you in my car, and I take you home. I believe I've covered the rest".
Jonah had the most intense commitment to eye contact of anyone I'd met. Under his piercing gaze, eye to eye with this man who knew exactly what he wanted and how to get it, I drained my glass. I ran my eyes over his fitted pale blue business shirt, with his nipples just visible under the rich fabric. I looked at his thighs filling out his navy blue suit trousers just so. I saw his crimson socks disappearing into his patent leather loafers. This man.
I stood up. I strutted across the bar. I got in the anonymous grey SUV. And he took me home.
* * *
"What the fuck?!"
Jonah, whose lower half had been sprayed by the splash I'd made on entering the pool, had jumped up off the lounger, and was looking around wildly. His eyes were darting from side to side, checking the doors, the side gate, passing over my small pile of clothes, checking Nathan was still curled up and mostly asleep, before alighting on me. His simultaneous responses crowded his face: there was incomprehension, soon anger joined, and then finally (if I permit myself) lust arrived. His mouth fell open slightly, and there was a quick flash of the cheeky grin that had so endeared him to me, before he quickly reset his look into a fixed scowl.
"Dan? How in hell did you get here?"
"I think you're supposed to ask me if the fall hurt?"
"Seriously, man what are you doing?"
"Taking a dip; cooling off"
"No, no, shut up: did you talk to my wife?"
In that instant, I wondered if I had been wrong to come here. It clearly hadn't been his decision to invite me; he either didn't know or hadn't approved of my arrival. The way his paranoia chose to express that was irrationally amusing to me, and I had to stifle a giggle.
"Yes! That's exactly it. `Oh hi, Mrs. Jonah? Yes it's your husband's fuckbuddy here. Well thanks; and you? Well you see, I'm just so desperate to be pounded by a guy indifferent to my anatomy that I need to' "
I was so busy play-acting this imagined phone call that I didn't notice Jonah had strode towards me until he bent down toward my head. I leant back in shock, but hadn't moved far enough away he lent down and, using that impressively built upper body, hooked his hands under each of my armpits and hauled me flailing out of the pool. Against the resistance of the water, he took care to swing me outwards first, keeping my legs and feet clear of the concrete wall of the pool. This tenderness was short-lived: his next move was to throw me face-first onto the lounger.
I landed awkwardly, and before I could move to rearrange myself, Jonah had lifted his foot and placed it in the small of my back, pinning me to the lounger with my ass up in the air. I didn't want to give him the satisfaction of seeing me squirm, so I tried to remain perfectly still. My head was twisted to the right, looking out into the gardens that surrounded the house, but I could hear Nathan stirring to my left. Standing over me, Jonah gloated.
"Swimming naked, are we slut?"
My present position made it difficult for me to point out the irony in this declaration, but before I could work out how to respond, Jonah had replaced his foot on my back with his knee, the better to bend down and speak directly in my ear.
"You don't get to talk shit about my wife"
And then the cracking sound of skin against skin, which I registered even before I knew it was my arse cheek that had been slapped. The pain spread across the whole cheek as soon as I had registered it, and I felt my skin redden, before Jonah's other hand joined in and struck my other cheek.
Any hope that my overheating skin would be allowed to recover in peace was short-lived. Jonah shifted his weight so that he was sitting across my back, one leg now either side of me, his torso facing away from my head and his balls resting in the small of my back where his foot had been. As he lent forward to grab my ass in both his hands, I felt how obscenely hard his cock was. His hands wrenched my cheeks apart, pummeled them, slapped each one in turn, gripped them as tightly as he could manage. His hands were still for a moment, and then they suddenly pulled my cheeks apart wide, fully exposing my hole.
"And as for indifference "
I felt the spit land at the top of my crack in almost the same instant as I heard it leave Jonah's mouth. We were both perfectly still for a second I had just enough time to imagine him transfixed by the sight of it beginning to slide down toward my hole and then the inevitable and the unexpected all in a single moment. Jonah bent down, held his face just above my skin for just long enough for me to know it was there, for me to twitch slightly in anticipation, for his hot breath to cause the soft hairs on my ass to quiver, before he dived in and began to slobber his way up and down my crack, sucking, blowing, twirling his tongue in and out and around and around.
If I had harboured any doubt about what Nathan had told me at our last meeting, it was blown out of the water by this determined, fixated oral attention. This was not the work of a first-timer Jonah knew his way around an ass and in a different situation his enthusiasm would surely have trumped his lack of technique. Even then, though, I realised this wasn't about me: he was lubricating the passage in advance of his assault, not trying to bring me into the encounter. Having reached the bottom of my crack, he drew his rough, stubbled chin back across my tender skin and then pulled his face away. He took one hand off my ass, and slid it across my face, his fingers searching out my mouth before pushing their way in.
"Slut, your ass is rank", he declared, before spitting on it again.
This time, it was his fingers that pushed the spit into its target. Too many; too much; too quick despite my determination not to give Jonah the satisfaction, I let out a grunt, which only seemed to encourage him further. His fingers pumped back and forth, forcing my hole to accommodate them, creating an ugly, rhythmic squelching sound as they repeatedly found their target. He roughly pulled his fingers out, and stood up, making sure to keep a hand pressing me down as if I couldn't have stood up. Something in me felt resigned to this, knew this was the only way. I closed my eyes just as I heard him say:
"Dude! Get over here. He's going to need you".
I heard Nathan exhale sharply, and a moment later heard him stand up. Still with my eyes closed, I half-opened my mouth, expecting the next move. Jonah used his foot to push my legs further apart, first the left and then the right, and I heard the unmistakable sound of lube being uncapped. Perhaps this weekend had been dirtier than I thought. I could feel Nathan had made his way around to my right side, but as Jonah's head pressed against my hole instead of the cock I expected at my lips, I felt Nathan grab my right hand, and hold it tightly between his. In one fell swoop, Jonah pushed his entire length into me. My eyes and mouth opened wide as I fought to stay silent, and I suddenly locked eyes with Nathan. Jonah grunted as he bottomed out inside me. Nathan squeezed.
Jonah started rotating his hips, twisting his girth around inside me. I felt his weight press down upon me as he bent over toward my ear. "This is what you came for, huh?". His hands left my shoulders, and slid across my scapula and roughly grabbed my pecs in his palms. "Get ready for it", he muttered, as his finger searched out my nipples and closed around them. Slowly, deliberately, inch by inch, he pulled himself out, making sure to stay pressing down on my back, gripping my nipples. I slowly realised that one of Nathan's fingers was gently tracing patterns across my palm and despite knowing what would come next I tried to isolate and concentrate on this pleasant tickling.
It all happened at once. Jonah twisted my nipples as far as they would give, causing a ripping sensation to spread across my chest. The full length of his cock slammed back into my ass, pushing me uncomfortably forward on the lounger. Jonah roared. His balls slapped against mine, a kind of aftershock from his brutal entry. His hands left my chest, and slid across my still-wet back until they found my hips, allowing him to straighten up and ensure he was absolutely balls-to-the-wall deep. His involuntary shake as he pushed in the last few millimetres caused a ripple of pain through me. This was an invasion by someone with something to prove, and my defences were down.
From there, everything sped up and out of control. Jonah's hands pulled my hips upwards, forcing my body into a straight line, pointing downwards into the lounger the better for him to plow me. His hands moved to my thighs, pressing them against his body to hold me in position. And he fucked and fucked and fucked. Throughout the pounding, Nathan never let go. Jonah's cock pushed into me again, trouncing my insides, blasting the memories of other men and other cocks out of the way. When his left hand left my hip, bound for my shoulder to steady me in position, I knew he was going to shoot. Nathan gripped my hand still tighter in both of his.
Burst after burst of cum blasted in to me, as if Jonah was having a competition with himself to see how far he could get. I usually found this moment to be intensely erotic, but it was clear this was about nothing but marking. Each of his ejaculations was accompanied by a low, groaning noise I supposed I should be grateful it wasn't a "yes" or a "take it" and I listened to Jonah regain control of his breathing before he dropped my legs, causing me to crumple back onto the lounger. Jonah turned and padded away, and I heard him jump into the pool. Quickly, presumably in the moments that his friend was underwater, Nathan dropped my hand, leaned forward and swept the hair back off my forehead, softly placing his lips on the middle of it and holding them there for an instant.
"Dude, you should cum on his face", Jonah shouted from the pool.
"I'll pass", Nathan shouted back. Before Jonah could complain, Nathan set off at a jog, and jumped over Jonah's head to come crashing back down into the pool. I wanted nothing more than to get up and clean myself, but I'd be damned if I'd show them that. A thin splash of water spattered over my legs and upturned ass, mingling with Jonah's cum as it trickled out of me.
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