Benjamin Ashton & Daniel Sharpe

benashtonvilla@yahoo.com

smutwithsemicolons@gmail.com

Nights & Sharks

Part 8

 

 

 

// Nathan

 

"Whatever we do, it has to be slow – and quiet". And, indeed, it all became quiet. Jonah's snoring vanished, I couldn't hear my breathing nor his, breathings that had just become so loud, so imposing, so feral. The only noises making it through seemed to be those, slippery and soft, of our wet cocks sliding against each other, and those, wooly and moist, of Dan's lips on my neck and collarbone.

I bit the skin of his shoulder, lightly, tasting the flesh of Dan, the texture of his body, of the body I had watched and lusted after. I knew its color, I knew the way it felt to the touch, but I could taste it now. As my tongue and teeth drafted his body onto mine, I could feel the jolts going through him, the quiver of his own tongue on my nipple. He gripped my thigh with one hand, my shoulder with another, kneading them, finding both balance and strength, seizing and claiming my body. I couldn't remember then ever so completely giving myself away. I did feel my body, in fact I felt its warmth, its girth, its very breathing more deeply than ever, I felt some of my muscles tense and others loosen, I felt the hardness, the full-blooded filling of my erection. But I felt it all partly through him, through his touching, his gripping, his licking, his biting, his clutching. He was slow, very slow and so was I when my fingers grazed his back, when my hands lay on his ass.

Dan's ass. I had watched it, patted it, and grazed it. Dan always seemed to brazenly flaunt the perfection of his ass, the way some men flaunt their money, some women their breasts, some people their impeccable sense of fashion. I've always found some insolence in the beauty of Dan's ass: clothed in public or out in the air in the confines of his apartment, it was always brash, crude, assertive, daring, taunting. More confusingly, it displayed itself both as an easily given, plenty-of-times taken gift to the hard cocks of the world, almost as much as an opaque, unbreakable window through which you could only glimpse and beyond which you'll never be allowed to tread. But here it was. Soft to the touch, curvy, firm, wide. A hole gently, feebly, responding to the light tapping and caressing of my finger.

I was distracted by flashes of Dan, pleasingly distracted as they brought to this bed, in my arms, on my body, the Dans I had looked at, puzzled at, yelled at, the Dans I had kissed and held, the Dans I walked at nights with, I had watched dance, the Dans I had gripped tightly and had let go. But these flashes slowly dissipated one by one, as the feel of his tongue moved up along my body, across my chest to my neck. By the time it reached my lips and Dan shuffled to lie on the top of me, they had all gone and the tongue that plunged into my mouth was that of the one Dan I now knew, that Dan who had just said You've been so far inside my head that I need you inside my body, summing it all up, unlocking our bodies.

We kissed, like lunatics, as if the only air safe to breath was the one we'd extract from the entrails of each other. We kissed, naked and sweaty, as feverishly as we had kissed, dressed and frustrated. We held each other tight, close, safe, and we let go.

Dan unstuck himself, span around, grabbed my hard cock firmly and covered its head with his mouth. I wanted his cock too, I thought briefly, I wanted to hold it, to grab its shaft, grab his balls, to feel in their burning throbbing the intensity of his desire, just as he was licking and feeding off mine. But Dan offered me instead his hole, gaping just inches from my face, his moist, musky and dwarfing ass. And I didn't think about the hundreds of cocks which had been there, I didn't see the shield of his sluttiness, I saw Dan's ass, the perfection of it, the spot through which I could enter him, through which I could take what he was willing to share, through which I could give him what he wanted and what I wanted, even though they might not be exactly the same thing. And I licked, and kissed, and munched, and licked some more. My hands pressed on his lower back were pushing him ever closer to me. His body wriggled, his own mouth was devouring my cock in every which way, until our frantic slurping on our two body parts spiraled into breathlessness, until the self-imposed slowing down drove us to wretched frustration, until I had to fuck him, because any second with my cock not in his ass suddenly felt unbearable. But we had to be quiet, we had to be slow, and I didn't want to ruin the moment, our moment, by imploding and assaulting his body with an unrestrainable, insanely hard cock. But the feel of his mouth all around my dick, the feel of the back of his throat bumping its tip, made me jolt with a near-orgasm. I pushed him off me, and took a deep breath, gasping for air.

Dan lay next to me, on his chest, panting too, his glassy eyes fixed on mine.

"If you want me to fuck you, it's got to be now," I said. "We don't have to, but – ".

"Fuck me, Nathan. Do it now," he cut me off.

A wave of bliss gave me goose bumps. I leaned forward towards his mouth. I could taste and smell his ass on my breath, which was violently intoxicating. I kissed him, sharing his smell with him. I saw his crotch wriggle with lust, his ass lifting itself a bit, calling me. Demanding to get fucked.

I climbed on top of him. I did feel like a horse, or a bull, mounting his prey. My body felt heavy and wide, ready to wrap Dan completely. My cock looked bigger, fatter, as I gently placed it and rubbed it along his crack. Dan didn't seem weak or small or fragile, but I felt suddenly massive, brawny, potent, maybe crushingly and uncontrollably so.

"Are you sure?" I asked, my cockhead probing his wet hole, only restrained back by my gripping hand.

"Obliterate me," Dan whispered huskily.

And I got angry. So shatteringly, violently angry. For a second, not more, not two, not three. But a powerful second, when I screamed at him in my head, when I shouted that I did not want to obliterate him. I could, I fucking could. I was so hard I could pillage his ass into blood and bits, I could make him gag in agony, I could reduce him to a pathetic bundle of contorting limp muscles, make him disappear in his helpless suffering and debilitating submission, I could fuck him into nothingness. Yes, I could obliterate him. I placed an arm around his throat and felt my biceps swell dangerously. But our bodies clicked, connected, locked. I didn't want to obliterate him. I wanted to fuck him so hard that every inch of his flesh, every hair on his body would instead come to life, so hard that pain and pleasure would just be electric jolts prodding him awake. I wanted to pump into him all my lust, my care, my awe, my affection; it might be violent, it might be painful, but I was filled to the rim. I let my cock push its way in.

I felt his whole body shake. I steadied him, because I was barely in, because there was, it felt, so much more cock to be pushed through, to be stuffed inside him. I held him tight and my mouth was close to his ear, breathing on his neck. I felt his body relax, I felt him letting me take him, letting me seize him, letting me watch over him.

"Yes, Dan, yes, this is it, yes".

I was all the way in, perfectly sheathed by his body.

There was nothing else then than his ass and my cock. His face was buried in the pillow, he was moaning. My hand was pressed on his neck. I couldn't feel anything, except his hole clutching and kneading every inch of my cock as it'd slowly draw out and get snapped back inside. The bulging head, the rolled down foreskin, the lengthy shaft, the hairy root, every part was welcomed, inflamed, caressed, rubbed, wetted, gripped by his sphincter and the inside of his body.

I was sweating profusely, my soaked chest was moistening and sliding against his burning back. Every thrust in, every slow pull out was making my brains explode bit by bit. I didn't think I'd ever felt more inside someone, my cock felt like a fat brick who had lodged itself within the entrails of Dan.

You've been so far inside my head that I need you inside my body.

"It's time," I found myself whispering. And it was. I couldn't hold it much longer. My head was buzzing and my cock was aching - stiff, raw, and throbbing. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath. I opened them and watched Dan's neck, his hairline and the pearls of sweat underneath. I lost control, blissfully, confidently, eagerly.

I fucked him fast, hard. Jackhammering him into groans of disbeliefs. I dropped my body on his, still thrusting furiously in his hole. I found his mouth and drew his cries of pleasure out with my tongue, my fingers scraped his nipples, my balls bounced and swung so wide they bumped into his. His groan became different and I knew he was cumming, he felt him shaking violently, I held him tight to let him empty himself, to soak the sheets with all the cum that had been built by the fucking we had wanted and had finally achieved. I let him breathe and plunged my teeth on his shoulder. Just where they had been before and I tasted him again, the taste of Dan, the flesh of Dan, the texture of his body. And again my tongue and my teeth drafted his whole body, his whole quivering, sweaty, cum-soaked body onto mine.

My cock got even harder and I felt something exploding, bursting violently open in the depths of my scrotum, convulsing its way up, surging out and spraying the insides of Dan. I kept pumping, my cock refusing to stop its thrashing, but my body weighed like a ton, crashed on Dan's, panting underneath me and when every drop of cum had been possibly milked out of me, my dick finally, slowly retracted. I held Dan tight in my arms, he moved his limbs slowly, one by one, to make each nestle or line up perfectly with mine.

 

I didn't move until I felt him fall asleep in my arms. I then slowly disengaged, careful not to wake him, and slipped out of bed. Jonah's snoring had abated a little, but it still guided me back easily towards the bedroom. His presence was suddenly unbearable. I did not hate him, I may have had a little spite, some scornful pity perhaps, but any resentment was gone, it had been gone for a few hours, it had been gone since Dan had accepted his grunting, chest-thumping assault, since the two of them had danced their pathetic little dance. It had become pointless, distant, innocuous since I had held Dan in my arms, the true Dan possibly, the Dan who had wanted it quiet and slow.

My rejection of Jonah, suddenly violent and suffocating was not emotional, it was physical. He had to go. He had to be removed. He had to leave us alone, to vacate the space that should now belong to Dan and me, to our last few hours together before my plane tore me away from him.

I climbed down the stairs to the kitchen, where I found my phone and my cigarettes, and stepped outside. It was a little chilly in the middle of the night, a night so dark, so starry, so eerily silent. There was the faint electric whirl of the pool's filter, there was the soft noise of my feet on the stones, there was the click of my lighter and the sharp intake of smoke.

I sat down on the edge of the pool and typed an email.

Chloe,

You asked me if I knew anything, if Jonah had confided anything. I told you the truth when I said I didn't and he hadn't. There's one thing I didn't tell you, because I knew it could have been misconstrued, it could have unduly fueled your suspicions. I didn't tell you something which had then no context for me, which could then not be thought as improper or deceitful.

I didn't tell you that, when Adrian and I got home the night you quizzed me about, we saw Jonah and a woman having a drink in your living room. I didn't tell you because she didn't seem like a "skank", but was rather an elegant, professional-looking black woman. I didn't tell you because I quickly fell asleep and heard no compromising noises coming from your bedroom then, nor when I woke up the next morning.

But I'm telling you now, in the middle of the night because it's keeping me awake, because I'm too tired to figure out exactly what is the right thing to do, because, when in doubt, truth is usually the best policy. I'm telling you now because, since our conversation, I talked to Adrian. I mentioned your suspicions and he said that he himself hadn't fallen asleep straight away that night, that he had heard sex happening on the other side of the wall, that he had run into that same woman (less professionally-looking) the next dawn when he left to catch his flight.

You and Jonah need to talk. He won't talk to me, so I can't really share anything about how he's feeling, though my guts tell me he loves you. But what do I know?

You guys should talk and I do wish you can work this out.

Nathan

I stubbed out my cigarette and went back inside. I looked for Jonah's phone and found it on the kitchen table. I grabbed it and went upstairs. I noiselessly placed his phone on his bedstand. He was still snoring, but I knew I could fall asleep nonetheless. I slid slowly under the sheet and watched his naked body inflating and deflating. We hadn't drawn the curtains and the moonlight was showcasing every curb, crease, hair, muscle and vein of his large body. I remembered, perhaps more honestly than I ever had, all the times when I had watched him sleeping and had wondered what it would feel like to own his body, to possess the mass of flesh, the large hands, the large feet, the bulging biceps, the hair around his bellybutton, the bush around his cock. Now I only wished him away and the thought that I might never see him again didn't keep me from falling into a crushing slumber.

The first ping from Jonah's phone came around 8am. It startled me but didn't wake him. The second, and an angrily close third, came twenty minutes later. Jonah stirred. "It's your phone", I said, a little loud. He grunted but didn't move.

I stepped out of bed, put on some shorts and a t-shirt, grabbed my sneakers. I went to Dan's room, pushed the ajar door, and took in the view. He was naked, complicatedly entangled with the bed sheets, some parts of limbs above, some below. He looked both strong, owning the sheets, owning the bed, owning the room, and vulnerable, curled up, his face pressed against the wall. I kneeled and leaned. He smelled clean, fresh, breezy, and I thought for a moment that our fucking last night had cleansed him, the way it might have cleansed me. But he had smelled just as clean, as fresh, as breezy when I was holding him tight just a few hours before.

"Dan, wake up," I said softly. "We need to go."

He opened his eyes startlingly, then turned towards me.

"What..." he mumbled, wooly.

"Get up and get some clothes on. We need to go."

He rubbed his eyes and just said "Where?"

I heard Jonah's phone ringing in the other bedroom.

"I don't know. Just out of the house. Now," I whispered.

Dan laughed and I loved that he laughed, because it was funny, it was fun, it wasn't sordid or evil.

"What have you done?" he said, slowly getting up, not quite expecting an answer. He got dressed and followed me outside his bedroom and to the stairs. We were both tiptoeing our way down, on the verge of giggling. Jonah's voice, loud, confused and a bit scared was pushing us away: "Calm down, Chloe, I..." and "Hold on, what are you..." and "I swear, it's not..." and "Chloe, please, just let me..." and "Please, stop screaming, I...".

"So, now what?" Dan asked, cocking an eyebrow.

"You got a bike, right? I think Jonah mentioned that there are some bikes in the house. In the shed or something. Let's go."

"No coffee?"

"We'll find coffee on our way."

"On our way where?"

"You're the local."

"I'm not fucking biking back to Brisbane, mate," he smiled.

"No. Even if I wanted to, I've got a big fat piece of luggage. Come on, let's find me a bike."

There were indeed some bikes in the shed by the garage. One looked in decent enough condition. I took it and followed Dan on his, up the driveway towards the road.

"Seriously, now, where are we going?" he asked, scanning the empty road left and right.

"How close are we to an actual town or city?" While he thought about his answer, I changed my mind, "How close are we to the ocean?"

"An hour, I'd say. Probably a little more."

"Let's go. Take me to the ocean."

I took us half an hour to reach the town of Nerang, where we stopped for coffee and fresh orange juice. My phone had been ringing three times already and I wasn't surprised, when I finally took it out of my pocket, to see that Jonah had been trying to reach me. A text had been sent just a few minutes before.

Where fuck r u? all hell broke loose. CALL ME

I texted back.

Bike ride with D. Gorgeous out. Bad reception. I'll try to call you when good signal.

Dan and I drank in silence, though he sported an amused smirk the whole time. He wasn't going to press me on exactly what we were doing. When we threw our paper cups in the bin, I finally told him. The what, not the how.

"Jonah should be gone when we get home. Hopefully. And hopefully, he will not come back."

Dan laughed again, heartily, sexily.

"You guys are so weird. What have you done?"

"It doesn't matter. I just need to call him, real quick, and see what he's up to."

Jonah was frantic on the phone, speaking from his car, driving back to Brisbane. Chloe was mental, he said, he needed to talk to her, calm her down, fix things. He stayed vague about the exact nature of Chloe's wrath and was a little apologetic about leaving me behind.

"I will do everything I can to come back, Nate. I will drive you to the airport tomorrow."

"Please, Jonah, don't worry. Stay there. I can manage, I'll find a cab or Uber or whatever."

"Is Dan still with you?" he said, suddenly realizing that I wasn't quite alone, and sounding a bit displeased about it.

"He is. I don't what his plans are," I said, staring at Dan, who just smiled.

"Shit, Nate, this is fucked up. This is so fucked up."

"You're breaking up, Jonah," I said, moving my phone slowly away from me, before hanging up.

"So," Dan said, "do we still need to see the ocean?"

"Yeah. We do," I said, straddling my bike.

We biked for another hour, first reaching Gold Coast and Surfer's Paradise. But the beautiful beaches and dunes were dwarfed by a long line of modern high-rise, glistening and dull. We biked ahead, north, along the ocean, until the buildings became sparse then smaller then retreated back, until the peninsula thinned and the beaches widened, until we reached a point where a car park signaled the end, the end of it all, except a little path, a jetty of rocks, that stretched just a bit further into the water.

"It's called The Spit, I think," Dan deadpanned.

"Man, you Aussies are quite the romantics."

"I guess after coming up with Gold Coast and Surfers' Paradise, we ran out of poetry and became a little more literal."

We locked our bikes together, and I cringed at the light goose bumps I felt when noticing him and mine, pressed against each other, sticking with each other, bolted together by a thick chain.

The water was turquoise and the beach deserted. It was Sunday, but it was still early. We walked to the very end of the rocks, until we were surround by water, and sat down.

Dan stared out at the ocean, peaceful. I couldn't keep my eyes off his legs, still bulging form the exercise, the hair lightly rolling around with the breeze. I looked at whatever parts of his body were left uncovered, whatever skin and hair and muscle my eyes were given access to. His arms, his neck, his mouth, his hands. I looked at his legs again, wishing I could grab his thighs, his calves, wishing I could lay him down, hold his ankles high. I looked at his legs, knowing that hours, for days, I had seen him naked next to me, in the shaded rooms of his house, knowing that I had never wanted to touch him so much, that he had rarely seemed as beautiful as he was now.

"What are you doing?" he smiled, not looking at me.

"I'm watching your legs."

He recoiled briefly, self-conscious for a fraction of second, then relaxed, extending his right leg, and bending the left one.

"I want to have sex again," he said, almost somberly. "With you, I mean," he added, now smiling, yet still looking away.

I took his hand in mine, watched our fingers intertwine. I couldn't speak, as if telling him that I too wanted to fuck again, as many times as was biologically possible before I boarded my plane, was the most intimate, the most revealing, the most romantically forward admission I could make. Perhaps telling him I loved him would be easier, because more straightforward, more decipherable, even though trite and only schematically true. My desire for him was emotionally more complex, more significant, more meaningful; my desire for him dragged me to more obscure corners, past and beyond lies and appearances and expectations and automation.

"What kind of 17-year old were you?" he quietly asked after a few minutes of silence.

I didn't want to ask him how he came up with that question. I had taken his hand, he hadn't let go of it, we were together.

"I think the 16-year old me was more interesting."

"Interesting to who?"

"To you."

"Don't assume what is interesting or not to me. But, okay, what made you interesting as a 16 year-old?"

"I worked at this big theater summer festival, near where I lived. Doing the odd jobs that a teenager would be hired for, you know. But I stayed overnight most of the times, it lasted three weeks, so it was a great way to be out of the house, to see interesting people. I met this couple. Tyler and Whitney. They were both juniors at Yale and working on a play. Rich, fucking beautiful, smart, sophisticated. They were 21, which then seemed like very, very adult. I was mesmerized by them, individually and as a couple. They took a shine to me, I was kind of a brooding boy. I was bigger than Tyler and hair had started to appear all over my body. Being in their company made me feel like a man, you know? They were clearly appreciative, flirting often, and it was a bit intoxicating. One evening, they asked me if I wanted a glass of wine in their bedroom. A nightcap, they called it, which I thought was the apex of coolness. I had never had wine, not really. Beer and whiskey were all over my house, but never wine. So, anyway, we drank a lot, and it was getting hot and I was getting drunk. And Tyler started joking about how Whitney was finding me really sexy. Beguiling is the word he used. I had to look it up the next day. And Tyler asked me, point blank, if I would jerk off for them. I couldn't believe my ears, but I desperately wanted to play it cool, like this was the most normal thing to ask a kid. Or rather, that this was what happened amongst rich, educated young men and women, amongst beguiling people, whatever that was. So I undressed, completely, and stood in front of them sprawled on the bed. I started to jerk off and their eyes on me drove me completely mad. I came in no time, a massive load sprayed all over the floor. Nice, they both said. Whitney even clapped a little, giggling, and I thought for a moment she was making fun of me. But then Tyler got closer and licked the drop of cum that was dangling from my dick. He asked if I wanted to watch them fuck. I said yes, and they went quickly at it, not even taking off their clothes. Whitney lay on her stomach and Tyler lifted her skirt and pulled down her panties. He unzipped and his small cock jutted out. He plunged inside Whitney and started to fuck her rhythmically, all the time staring at my body. He seemed fascinated by the scar I have on my chest and kept asking me questions about it, while he was fucking her. I told him I got it in a fight and that made him increase the pace and strength of his thrusts. He came his eyes closed, grunting, and I panicked, because for that moment, for that single intense moment of his orgasm, of hers too maybe, I didn't exist, they had shut me out. But he slid out of her, stuffed his cock back in his pants, and smiled at me. She didn't say anything, she was really drunk, but she was smiling, looking content, a little haughty. I remember thinking This woman has cum running out of her pussy, she is disheveled and messy, and she still looks like fucking royalty."

I took a deep breath and, for the first time since I had started to speak, looked at Dan. I was talking too much, I suddenly thought. What the fuck was I doing? Why was I breaking the comfortable silence, the kind of silence forlorn romantics all over the world can only dream about? Why did I smear it with Tyler's cum coming out of Whitney's cunt? Why did I veer off the road of a simple, kinky story, onto a rugged path nearing the cliff I knew to be in sight?

"And then?" Dan simply said, puzzled at my interruption. I put my right leg over his left one, feeling our hair and skin rubbing. I felt him squeeze my hand.

"Then it went on for the remaining two weeks or so. I spent a lot of time with them during the day, watching them rehearse and –"

"What was the play?" Dan interrupted.

"Nothing famous. Something they wrote in a workshop at Yale. Something about angry young Swedish people rebelling against patriarchy. You know."

"Ah. I do."

"Anyway, they showered me with attention. Taking me to lunch, asking my opinion about the play. Although, mostly, it was Tyler's whispering to my ear, whenever no one was looking, how big my cock was and how hot I was, how he'd like to see it deep inside Whitney's cunt, and so on."

"Did that turn you on or was it just creepy?" Dan asked, probably unsure about my serious tone.

"It turned me on like crazy," I smiled. "I had a constant boner. And so, I would go to their room every other night. The first couple of times, I had to jerk off for them again, doing a lot different poses, then they would fuck. Then, one night, Tyler finally asked me if I wanted to fuck Whitney while he watched. He was giddy, as if he had just gotten the permission from Whitney, as if Christmas morning had finally arrived. So I fucked her. I actually asked if I could quickly jerk off first, because I was so excited by the idea of fucking her, of losing my virginity with this gorgeous, sophisticated woman, that I knew I'd cum too fast. It felt fucking fantastic to be inside her. I'm not bragging, but it felt I knew exactly what to do, how to do it, as if this was something I was always born to do. Tyler was a frantic horndog the whole time, moving around us, looking at every angle, kissing her, sticking his tongue along my cock as it went in and out of Whitney, jerking his small dick manically. Then a couple of nights later, we fucked her together, even getting inside her at the same time, which was then to me completely astounding. The feel of his cock rubbing against mine was just... spellbinding. So was their naked bodies. So was their hunger for me, the words they used to describe me, as if listing every part of my body was the biggest turn-on for them."

"Did Tyler ever touch you, like, you know, went down on you or something?" Dan asked slowly, as if careful of treading further.

"The first time he did was during the day. After lunch. We were walking and he suddenly pulled me in the woods and pushed me against a tree. I want to do this, he simply said, licking his lips. He kneeled in front of me and unzipped my shorts. He blew me avidly and swallowed my load. But it wasn't until the last few days of the festival that he asked me to fuck him."

"With Whitney in the room?"

"Yes. I was really confused. I was attracted to him, definitely. I mean, he looked like a fucking Ralph Lauren model, they both did. Blond, athletic, graceful. Just the sight of him made me hard, just the thought that we were friends made me hard. But, I don't know, I liked fucking Whitney so much that it felt odd to have to stick my cock in a guy's ass. You know, where he shits and farts."

"Please," Dan laughed.

"Well, that's how I saw it. Tyler got a little pissed. Don't be such a pussy, he said. You're a natural. Just fucking do it. And I did. And it was strange, but good, really good. So tight. And the look on Tyler's face. Fuck. He didn't close his eyes when he came, he was staring at me, gaping, so... with me. You know, like nothing and no one else existed."

I fumbled for my cigarettes and I instantly knew Dan felt my growing discomfort. There was a slight shift in his attitude, a warmth, a concern, all unsaid, all conveyed by a faint brush of my calf.

"Don't smoke," he said. "I will probably want to kiss you soon. Soon-ish."

I reluctantly stuffed my pack back inside my pocket. His tongue down my throat was better than a smoke. His kiss was better than having to finish the story.

"How soon?" I smiled.

He shrugged, affecting indifference, and I placed my two hands on his cheeks and drew him to me. I felt his fingers on the back of my skull as his lips pressed against mine.

"Go on", he said when pulling away.

"Well, there isn't much left."

"It's okay, Nathan. If the story had ended well, you'd have a big tent in your shorts. Clearly you don't." He then added, a little hesitant, "You can tell me."

"Whitney basically stopped talking to me. Not sure why. She wasn't mean or aggressive, she was smilingly distant, politely brushing me off. Tyler, on the other hand, became smothering, and would insist I fuck him whenever we were alone, in the woods, in a bathroom, in his car."

"Did you?"

"No. I didn't like the change in dynamics. Whitney being all weird. Him being so aggressive and actually obnoxious and, I don't know... entitled. But I longed to be with him, to be with them. So I did fuck him once more, the last night, because it felt the only way to spend some time with at least one of them."

This time, I did get a cigarette, I did light it. I exhaled deeply, summoning my next words.

"Then I didn't hear anything from them. I wrote, I tried to call, but nothing. I was distressed. Upset. I acted out, at home, at school, anywhere. I was so angry. So hurt. One day, I just took off. I ran away from home, got on buses and reached New Haven. I looked for them on campus. I found them. They were still together, looking beautiful and rich, surrounded by other beautiful and rich people. They were actually nice. Surprised, but sweet. They must have been freaked out to see this teenager, this runaway, barging in on them. They paid for my bus fare back, gave me some money for food too. Tyler said he'd drive me to the bus station. But when I got in his car, he yelled at me. Then he tried to kiss me. Then he took us to some hotel and booked a room, in which we stayed locked up for 24 hours. And..."

And my voice broke. I choked on my silence, not on any tears. I couldn't get the words out.

"Jesus," Dan said, confused, then concerned. "I...", he started but didn't quite know what to say.

"It's okay. Fuck, I'm being such a dumbass. I'm sorry, I..."

"Shut up, Nathan, don't be sorry. But tell me what happens. Tell me, okay, just fucking spit it out," he commanded, caring but strangely insistent, as if he had himself any stakes in what happened behind that hotel bedroom door.

"I... I don't know, Dan. Honestly. I know I felt abused. Humiliated. But I also know I never left. I had money in my pocket and the key had stayed on the door. I only left the room the next morning when he made clear he was done with me."

"Did he rape you?" Dan said, with mounting anger.

"No, no, nothing  quite like that. My ass was spared," I attempted a joke, which fell incredibly, uncomfortably flat. "Nothing like that."

Dan was looking at me, frowning. I felt horrible. I felt weak and vulnerable, excruciatingly embarrassed and small.

"Let's go," I said abruptly, standing up.

"Oh come on, Nathan," Dan said, getting on his feet too and grabbing my wrist. "Come on, Nathan, it's me," he said, in a softer voice.

"What kind of 17-year old were you?" I asked, with a spite that I instantly regretted.

He stared at me, still and silent, his eyes cold for a second. He seemed to shiver, to hesitate, then steeled himself. "Okay," he said coldly. "I was full of shame when I was 17. Shame, Nathan. Shame that I wasn't going to be the man that my family wanted me to be, shame that I wasn't as smart as I wanted to be, shame that my cock still got hard when I saw other boys. Fucking shame, Nathan. That's the 17-year old I was."

His honesty was another punch in the face. Here I had been, parading my youthful sexual exploits. Because, without its ending, its real ending, without these 24 hours locked in a hotel room, that's what my story was. A naοve kid deluded by a sexual romp. I had never felt shame, not really. If anything, Tyler and Whitney had given me confidence, a purpose even, a direction. I knew who I wanted to become. I knew the world I wanted to join. And in that world, stuffing your cock into a guy's ass was nothing to be ashamed of. You're a natural. Just fucking do it. I had no shame, but I had anger. So much anger. And it had fucked me up. But shame had to be worse, hadn't it?

 "I'd been with a boy", Dan continued slowly. "Just one. And this boy pushed me away and out of his life as soon as the quick bedroom blowjob was done." He took my hand in his, which surprised me, then overpowered me. I had to look away. "More shamefully," he continued, "I'd just been told off by my favourite teacher for being too close to a younger boy, and then I thought the whole world knew my shame." He sighed deeply, as if shrugging it all away. "Now I need a fucking cigarette."

"Don't," my voice cracked, "I might have to kiss you soon-ish."

We stopped for food somewhere in Gold Coast, a burger joint where we could sit on the patio and watched the growing passing crowd. I wasn't looking forward the additional hour of biking home, but I longed to be in the quiet again, alone and secluded and let ourselves glide through the remaining hours.

"I don't know anything about your life," I said casually, picking up the leaves of lettuce that were dropping from my burger.

"I've already told you more than I've told most," he chuckled, taking a large bite.

"I mean your life right now. Your life in Brisbane."

"Right," he said, chewing.

"Do you have a Jonah? I mean, do you have, like, a best friend?" I clarified, realizing the ambivalence of the concept.

"Sure."

"Well... tell me about him." It seemed I'd be pulling teeth, even though it had seemed me a fairly innocuous subject to fill lunch time.

"Very straight, very married, kid on the way."

"Your polar opposite."

"My polar opposite."

He finished his burger with one last swallow and wiped his mouth with a paper napkin. He looked around him distractedly, as if the conversation was over. My expectant silence told him otherwise and he took a deep breath, either resigning himself or summoning the energy to tell me more.

"He's my intellectual equal and that's why we've always been there for each other."

"What's his name?" I said, wary of asking him to explain the unclear causal connection.

"Why does it matter to you?" he asked, defensive or genuinely puzzled, I couldn't tell.

"I don't know, Dan, I'm just asking," I said, unable to hide a little impatience.

"His name is Sam. There."

"Okay. His name is Sam. And you're always there for each other. And you tell each other everything."

"Is that a question?" he laughed, a bit forced.

"Sure."

"I don't tell him I love having my ass destroyed by a random stranger with stinky armpits, if that's what you're asking."

"Who do you tell that to, then?"

"Random strangers with stinky armpits."

I hated that Dan. I had tried to empathize, to refrain from judgements, to laugh at his self-deprecation, to appreciate his candor and unapologetic frankness. I knew he wasn't lying, not exactly, but I couldn't help but think, or hope, that this part of him was a faηade, an act of defiance, masking some vulnerability to which he was denying me access. My reaction was very much self-centered, I knew that. With every day that passed, I was less and less of a stranger, and I liked to think my armpits were rarely left sweaty if I could help it. And destruction was increasingly the last thing I wanted to do to his ass. His sexual fantasies were a stab at everything I longed for with him, a rebuttal to everything I thought I saw in him, a mocking reminder of the absurdity, of the impossibility of a genuine connection between us.

He must have seen me shut down, because he lightly punched me in the shoulder and flashed his biggest, practiced smile: "Oh come on, Nathan. Smile a little!"

I made a duck face, as a peace offering, and that really made him laugh, then he grew quiet, and placed his hand on my thigh, and looked away while telling me "It's got nothing to do with you, Nathan. I just... I just like to quarantine Sam from the rest of my life, I guess. That's just how I am. What Sam and I have is isolated from the everyday, it's outside the life that I live."

I had quarantined both Jonah and Dylan from the rest of my life too, so I couldn't argue. But my compartmentalization had been about keeping these two men from infecting the balance and sanity I had slowly built, because these men were toxic. Addictive, thrilling, invigorating, but toxic. They both had their own kind of madness, one more obvious, more clinical, than the other. I hadn't feared contagion as such, but rather their catalyst, enabling influence. But, even without any sort of evidence, I felt that Sam might have been the opposite: strength, warmth, intelligence, sanity. Sam was good for Dan. Whereas I was attempting to protect the good in my life from evil, from deception, manipulation, psychosis and violence, Dan seemed to tame the forces of good, keeping them from exposing, belittling, and cleansing the darkness of his life, the self-destruction, the self-shaming, the self-abasement, the crushing power plays he professed to relish in. But maybe, possibly, probably, I got Dan all wrong. I didn't know anything about his life. And maybe it didn't matter. Who the fuck was I?

"We're doing this all wrong," Dan said suddenly, as if to himself.

I couldn't help but smile.

"Nice. I like when you're smile," Dan said.

"Yeah. Less talk, more boners."

"Not exactly. If I'm man enough to take your cock up my ass, I should be man enough to be able to tell you things, I guess. But yeah, definitely more boners."

"How many more loads do you have in you until tomorrow morning?"

"I'm young, mate. In my sexual prime, right?"

"I think that's when we were eighteen."

"Shit. Oh well, still though. I might not cum gallons, but you'll make me cum nonetheless. And I'm sure I can google tomorrow remedies for sore, overworked dick and ass."

The thought of Dan's cock suddenly cleared any clouds in my mind. Maybe it was that simple, maybe we were doing this all wrong.

"I'd like to fuck you in very cramped place," I said and he didn't seem surprised by the abrupt transition.

"Like?"

"Like a very small bathroom stall, or the back of a car. A closet, even."

"I'm listening."

"I'd like to fuck you in place so cramped we'd have very little room to move around. I'd have you bunched and crumpled, covering you, wrapping you whole with my body, my cock inside you, but feeling all your limbs and hair and muscles in a compact bundle, which I'd hold tight, very tight. My face buried in your neck or our mouths compressed against each other. I wouldn't be much able to move in and out of your ass, but I'd push forward, I'd bang forward, shaking your whole body with every thrust. You'd cum without touching yourself and your cum would spray and drip and smother you stomach, crotch, upper thigh. A big sloppy mess of cum."

I looked down and saw exactly what I had wished to see, my fix of adrenaline or vitamin or caffeine or energy-boost: the thick outline of Dan's cock, throbbing under his shorts, pressed along his thigh by the tight cotton material. "We need to get the fuck out of here," I said. "We need to get home."

We biked home fast. It still took us an hour, but it felt faster, urgent. Whenever I was ahead, I knew Dan was staring at my body, I knew because I turned around a couple of times, I knew because I watched his body when he was ahead. It was probably the worst time to be biking under the sun: midday and right after a greasy lunch. But the promises ahead fueled us enough to push on the pedals with a joyful, relentless energy.

The house was empty when we got there. I had expected as much, of course, but the eeriness of the place was more disturbing than I had anticipated. Jonah was gone and had said nothing against us two staying longer in the house he had paid for, but it felt subversive, seditious almost to be taking ownership of the place, like squatters claiming as their own a home rich people didn't seem to care enough about.

I jumped on Dan as soon as we got in the living room and dropped our wallets and phones. Or maybe he jumped on me. He was devouring my mouth, I was ploughing his back, my hands under his t-shirt.

He pulled away and laughed. "Fuck, I want you so bad."

He ran outside but was quickly back with the lube bottle, holding it high as a trophy or a giddy promise. He stood his back against me and pressed his ass against my crotch. I pulled down his shorts and the jocks he seemed to always wear. I poured lube in my hand, too much, way too much, much of it sliding through my fingers and dropping on the floor. I slapped his crack lightly and smeared his hole. He moaned as I inserted one finger, then with surprising ease, two, then three. He turned around and unzipped my short, pulled them down, along with my briefs, releasing my achingly hard cock. He took the lube and poured a copious amount on my dick, then rubbed it all along its shaft with swift circular motions of his hand.

He pushed me down on the floor, pulled my shorts and briefs completely off, took off his own and sat on my cock, eagerly, expertly, joyfully.

"Wow!" he let out, rolling his eyes with brief discomfort, as two thirds of my cock slid inside him. He took a deep breath and pushed himself down briskly, his ass now swallowing me whole.

He placed his hands flat on my stomach and chest and started to lift his ass up and down. His whole body was bobbing up and down, the sweat on his chest gluing his t-shirt in patches. He was smiling widely, his mouth gaping, his tongue licking his lips. He was staring at me intently, with shiny, sparkling, hunger. The slamming of his ass against my crotch became increasingly loud and forceful.

"Fuck, Nate, you're so fucking hard!" he laughed, then giggled, with a manly giggle, because yes, there was such a thing, his ass was wolfing on my cock while Dan giggled like a man. Dan, who loved to be fucked, and who, right then, right there, loved to be fucked by me.

I tried to move, to thrust, but he wouldn't let me, he stayed in control, he pressed me down harder and fucked my cock faster. I overpowered him eventually, pushed him off, lifted him up and threw him on the sofa. But he was laughing and I was laughing and his hole was gaping and my cock was so, so very hard. I seized his ankles, spread and lifted high his legs. His neck was a little crunched, but he kept looking at me and he was so fucking beautiful. I slammed my way back in and fucked him fast, my hands gripping his ankles so hard I thought I saw wince at the pain at some point. I released them and grabbed the back of his knees, lifting his ass higher, fucking and fucking and fucking him.

I leaned down and kissed him. He moaned, and giggled, and said my name a few times. He said my name like I hadn't heard him say it before, until I realized he said it actually just the way he'd said it a few times last night, when we were fucking quiet and slow. He said it probably the way he would say it whenever we would fuck in the fictional future, whenever my need to hold him, to protect him, to make him realize how beautiful he was, would have me tear down his shorts, whenever his wish to see that I was present, I was there, I would always be there for him, his wish to grab a man who owned him but loved him, absolutely, unambiguously loved him, would have him open his hole as a pledge, an offering, a reward, an oath.

He broke the kiss and gently, but resolutely pushed me away, nudging me towards our previous position. So I lay on the floor again, and he sat back on my cock again. He told me to take off my shirt because, he said, with a smile, mischievous and pleading, defiant and shaking, "I'm going to cum and I want to mark you."

And he came, my cock still throbbing and thrusting inside him. He didn't come gallons, indeed, but he shot far and seemingly exactly where he had aimed: my lips, my cheeks, my nose. He moved away, my cock startlingly cold and alone, and he kneeled right next to me, holding my left hand. He jerked me off, his eyes all over my body, and I shot my load right where his had landed. He leaned down and licked our cum all off my face. "Fuck," he whispered, then laughed again, licking his lips.

We fell asleep on the sofa, his warm body nestled next to mine. He woke up before me. My eyes resolutely closed, I heard his body leave mine, his steps taking him outside, then a splash in the pool. I joined him later and we swam in silence, above and under the water, occasionally exchanging smiles, glances and squeezes of our butts and cocks. He crawled to the edge of the pool and rested his two arms on the stones. I placed myself behind him and kissed his neck. We were in the shallow end and I could grab his waist, I could nestle my dancing shriveled cock in the smooth crease of his ass.

"Why do I want you inside me again?" he mused, a little somber, if not serious, as if in his wish for me to fuck him lay some answer to a not-quite-yet decipherable riddle about the essence of him, if not the very meaning of life. I let him ponder on his own, as my own wish was not, right then, to be inside him but rather close to him, closer than I've managed to be, which might or might not have been the same as fucking him. But he closed his eyes and stayed silent, a pose actually inviting rather than excluding. So I tried to press him on, a gentle nudge forward.

"When you're meeting a guy, hooking up with him," I asked, "what makes you want to either fuck him or be fucked by him?"

 "A sex position is not a psychology," he said, strangely uncomfortable with the rather innocuous question. "I don't believe you can tell what someone wants in the bedroom until you get them there."

"I didn't ask about what the other person wants, I asked about what you want."

"Right."

"And?"

"I want to get fucked when I need to feel powerful – and I top when I need to wreak havoc."

"I would think these are very much the same thing."

He turned around and wrapped his legs around my waist. I held him, cupping his buttocks. He looked straight at me, amused, tender, a fraction more fragile than I had ever seen him. "Is it really all about power for you?" I said softly. "You give away your body not as a gift but as a claim? Take me, use me, but the moment you lay hands on me, you've given me the upper hand?"

"I don't think it's that simple, Nathan. But having the upper hand is not a bad thing," he grinned, a little disingenuously.

"I thought you liked losing control occasionally."

"Maybe," he said, looking away.

"But you like the demeaning part," I attempted.

"Nathan," he now looked at me straight in the eyes, with a little aggression, "if you have a guy piss on you, you made him into an animal, not the other way around."

"What are you looking for, Dan? Vindication?"

"I'm not sure what you mean."

"I guess I'm not sure either," I smiled and kissed his neck.

He lifted my head with the tips of his fingers and placed his lips on mine. "I'm sorry I'm not completely making sense. It's just..."

I interrupted him by kissing him fully and deeply. He came up for air and laughed, radiant and solar. "You are..." he started.

"What?" I smiled.

"I don't know. You are... Well, I'm fucking going to miss you."

I hated the reminder of the imminence of the end of us. I nibbled on his earlobe and pinched his nipple. He giggled.

"So, do you ever get fucked?" he asked, after taking a deep breath and readjusting his swelling cock.

"Why do you ask?"

"Because."

"I very rarely do."

"So, not never."

"No, not never. But very rarely," I smiled.

"Do you need all your toes and fingers to count the times?"

"I'd have enough with one hand. Maybe two."

"In all these years?"

"Yeah," I said reluctantly, feeling suddenly both old and inadequate in my lack of versatility.

"When do you get fucked, then? I mean, if it's so rare, what kicks in when it does actually happen? You asked me, it's only fair I ask you."

"The right guy, I guess."

"My question exactly. Don't be fucking coy, Nate. Tell me."

"I'm not being coy. I just don't think you'll find it particularly exciting. It'll be a bit weird to you."

"Try me," he said eagerly, shuffling away and lifting himself up out of the pool. He sat on the edge, his legs spread in the water, welcoming me between them.

"It's not hot weird, or creepy weird, or filthy weird, or anything," I said, placing my hands on his thighs. "Don't get your hopes up."

"Whatever floats your boat."

"Okay. So, I find that the only guys I enjoyed getting fucked by, that is, who I'd actually like them to fuck me, are guys who are... not quite good at it." He laughed and I couldn't help but smile too. "I'm serious. Again, I rarely ever get fucked, maybe once every few years and-"

"It's got to hurt if you never practice," he frowned, with a touching hint of empathy. "Unless, of course..." he beamed again.

"Yes," I chuckled. "Unless, of course. I'm sure you know there are other ways to get nice prostate stimulation besides stuffing an actual cock in there."

"Sure. Nice. Nathan does like it up the ass after all."

"Shut up. Anyway, so, when I think about it, you know, when I try to see a pattern –"

"How very academic."

"When I try to see a pattern," I cut him, a little impatient, "well, I think there is one. I have no interest in getting fucked by someone who knows what he's doing. It just doesn't do it for me. I don't know why. If the sex is just a little intense, if the guy is good and sexy and confident, I immediately, overwhelmingly, want to fuck him. The few guys who have fucked me were, as I said, not very good at it."

"Tell me about them. Describe them."

"Well...There was this shy varsity jock, afflicted by a masturbation addiction and by social ineptitude. There was this clumsy hunk who spent hours at the gym building muscles rather than self-confidence. There was this awkward horny young dude who thought his arms and legs were too long, too cumbersome. There was this rattled closeted guy who hadn't cum in two weeks. There was this hipster nerd with glasses and a stubble, unaware of his own sexiness, who thought his barely visible love handles disqualified him from the sex romps his clubbing slut friends seemed to enjoy on a regular basis."

"Yeah, you're going to need more than one hand to count them."

"I like when they are breathlessly excited," I continued, the list being actually not far from complete. "I like when their dick is so hard and manically throbbing, when they don't quite know what to do with my legs, my muscles, my whole body in front of them, when they can't quite believe they have the body of a man for them, just for them, for real, when their faces get flushed and they push their cocks inside me, when you see how astoundingly good it is for them, when they worry whether they are doing it right, when they're frightened they are not doing it right. I do like the look of constant alarm they have, shit scared from the moment they get the tip of their cock past the first ring that they might cum at any moment, like a randy, clumsy teenager, that they will be ridiculous and inadequate for coming so fast, so soon, so much. So when I do get fucked, it's always on my back, so I can watch them the whole time. And, indeed, they usually don't last very long."

"I see," Dan said neutrally. "How do you spot them?"

"You know it's easy. You're in a bar or at a party and you see a guy, who is shy or awkward. I usually pay little attention to them but, sometimes, they cruise you so ardently, like they're going to implode if you so much at smile at them. Most of the times, I don't bother, because the sex promises to be tedious and gauche. Sometimes, I just want to fuck their brains out, and I often do and it's often nice enough. But sometimes, something kicks in, as you said. And you can imagine them, panting heavily, nervous, blinking, agitatedly waiting for some kind of permission to fuck me, fumbling with their hard cocks to try and put it in just right, just where they'd put it the last time they did fuck someone, a long time ago, striving to remember how their favorite porn star does it, not believing their luck that they're doing it, they're really doing it."

"So you like them to be un-masculine at the time of their most virile action. Interesting," he smiled, knowingly.

"It's not that, I don't think. They're not being not masculine. Quite the opposite. They are being a man, they are being the man. They're not going limp with stage fright or mumbling sweet I-love-yous. They are hard as rock, they need to stuff and ram their dicks inside a hole like their life suddenly depends on it, they yearn for spreading their seed. But they have no filters to help them ignore how being a man is both astonishingly elating and vaguely terrifying. There's something so genuine, so pure, so raw about their performance of masculinity. It's incredibly moving and, well, for me, very arousing. There's this brief, but intense glimpse of the unspoken, unacknowledged side of male brotherhood."

Dan seemed a little shaken for a moment. I knew I was. He leaned forward to kiss me, then let himself drop in the water. When he reemerged, he sported a huge grin. ""Yeah. Or it's just the ultimate ego trip for you."

"Fuck you," I laughed, jumping on him and wrestling him under the surface.

It took me a while to find my phone. The sun was setting and I was wary for some reason to turn on the light in the living room, as if the creeping darkness, and its ineluctable countdown to the return of dawn and my departure, was monsters I had to face head on. I must have had buried my phone somewhere, an unconscious act of setting the real world at bay, an additional attempt at freezing time and secluding us from the finiteness of our connection. But I did need to arrange for a cab to take me to the airport the next morning, and I needed to find a car large enough to accommodate for my luggage and Dan's bike. "I can drop you off anywhere on the way, or at the airport itself, whatever is easier for you," I had told him and he had not given an answer.

When I finally found my phone, there were three missed calls and one voicemail from Adrian, and two missed calls and a text from Jonah. Chloe finally calming down. Sort of. Can't get away. I swear I want to, but can't risk it. You ok to get yourself to airport? Lock house and drop keys in mailbox upfront. Call to say goodbye! Anytime!

I googled and called a local cab company. 5:30am, they said. To be on the safe side. Yes, it was a mini-van. Bikes ok, they said, though puzzled at the American who flew with his bike.

"Why did you get dressed?" Dan asked, coming from outside, startling me a bit. Dressed might have been a bit of an overstatement, I only had mechanically put on my briefs and shorts on, as if talking on the phone naked had felt a bit indecent. I watched slip his t-shirt and look for his underwear.

"Stop there," I said.

"What?"

"Don't put anything else on. I like you like that. Just a t-shirt on. Your ass displayed. Your cock dangling. It's hot."

He just chuckled.

"Is it weird?" I asked, not entirely caring.

"We're past that, I hope," he shrugged his shoulders and walked towards me. I seized his dick and fondled it a bit, just enough to feel its heft grow slightly. He took my face with his two hands and kissed me. It was my turn to harden.

"What are we going to do for food?" he asked as he abruptly and casually pulled away.

"We can look for scraps and bits of leftovers. How hungry are you?"

"I don't know. Not very right now. But we got a long night ahead," he smiled.

"The cab is settled, by the way. 5:30."

"Fuck."

"I know."

He opened the fridge and took two beers.

"How many of these do we have left?" I asked.

"A whole bunch. Our Jonah stocked up well."

He opened both bottles and handed one to me. We drank staring at each other. He slowly extended his hand and I took it. We drank some more, never looking away from each other's eyes.

"This kind of sucks," he whispered tentatively.

"I know." I also knew he was probably not going to say much more, he wasn't likely to gush, to fantasize about an alternate reality, an alternate future. I wasn't either, but I squeezed his hand because I needed him to feel that I had no words to tell him whatever was going on through my head.

"We could fuck all night," he joked. "Drink beer and fuck all night."

"Yeah. We could. I'd like to have sex with every part of your body."

"Haven't you already?" he laughed.

"No, I mean, I'd like to have sex and focus exclusively on one part of your body at a time. Just your legs, for instance. Watch them, touch them, grab them, bite them, grip them while we fuck. Watch them as you cum on your thigh and I cum on your calf. Or your arms. Or your chest. Or your face. Your feet. Your hands."

"That's a lot of cumming, Nate. And very few hours left."

"I know."

He smiled pensively and ran his hand on the hair of my chest.

"I'd like to fuck you somewhere public," I continued, watching the line between his t-shirt and his crotch.

"How public?"

"Don't know. Somewhere we're not interrupted, but somewhere public enough that we might, and I wouldn't care, you wouldn't care, because there'd be nothing to be ashamed of. Somewhere public enough that it says, it screams, how fucking hot I find you, how awesome you are, how fucking special, exceptional you are. I'd like to fuck you into seeing that."

I saw him hesitate to make a joke, probably something with cockiness and bravado, sprinkled with light self-deprecation, but he stopped himself and looked down.

I released his hand and walked outside, grabbing my cigarettes on the way. I went to sit at the small dining table on the patio. He followed me, after grabbing two additional beers, and sat across me. I leaned to grab his ankle and lifted his leg up, resting his foot on my crotch.

"Why did you decide to write on Jack Garatta?" I asked, playing with his toes and with the hair on his foot and ankle.

"I don't really know," he said, thinking. I liked that non-sequiturs or abrupt changes of conversation never seemed to faze him. "I don't think it's a decision I clearly and consciously made one morning. It's a process, you know."

"Of course. Then, what attracted you in him?"

"I got pictures of him with his cock out. How many dissertation subjects can you jerk off to?" he laughed.

"Seriously, Dan."

"Fine," he said, a little chastised. "Ok. Well, there is a little bit of opportunism of course. I have the feeling he's the kind of writer that could get rediscovered, and it's always good career-wise to be the guy who has unearthed him."

"Indeed," I smiled.

He looked at me, frowning, then smiling. "Wait... are you going to write about him? Are you going to steal my fucking thunder?"

"I might," I grinned. "I had intended to write about him. I mean, I wrote a piece on his house. It started with a purely architectural focus, but –"

"Are you writing about how you fucked the new owner?"

"It's purely about the architecture," I smiled. "Or was. Because it made me want to write about Garatta himself."

"After reading, like, two books by him," he said, just a little disdainful.

"It wouldn't be an academic piece."

"Evidently."

"But I probably won't. Because I'm not sure what I think of him."

"Then wait until you read my thesis."

"My point exactly. Why do you find him so interesting?"

"Jokes aside, the pictures drew me to him. Have you seen them?"

"No."

"I don't know how they surfaced. Adrian Kaufman didn't leak them, but they're easily found on the internet. I'm guessing a dude who shagged him snatched them on his way out and shared them kindly with the world."

"Adrian never mentioned them."

"Which is interesting. His dad took these pictures, you know."

"How do you know?"

"The back of one has been scanned too. It says Me, by Gerald-Ger-Gerry-G. Gerald Kaufman built the house. Adrian's dad."

"And you think these two fooled around."

"I don't know. That's not even the point. The point is, these two guys, a successful architect and a rugged macho writer, took pictures of each other with their cocks out. Or at least with Garatta's cock out."

"And?"

"And I'm interested in queer theory. Not the bullshit kind, although everyone interested in queer theory says that, granted. I'm interested in the representation of masculinity or rather the expression of masculinity when the writer is not bothered by convention or self-restraint, beyond his creative ambitions and paradigms. Garatta's writings has been little discussed but when it has, he was deemed a cross between the Naturalists and the Beats. Between Thoreau and Burroughs, if you like. Which, to me, is getting close to Kerouac. Back to the rugged macho figure. But once you factor in the sexual ambivalence, the sexual fluidity, the sexual no-fuck-given factor, his books explode with new meaning, new significance. Not just meaning, even, but the craft becomes astounding because the raw, feral sexual energy starts dripping from every page, from every sentence."

He caught his breath and drank, before continuing. "He's more interesting than Kerouac, from a queer literature point of view. You can read On the Road and see how Kerouac gets a semi-boner from hanging out with Neil Cassidy. But that's about it. It's the whole bromance thing, at best, or the repressed homo thing, possibly. You read Nights & Sharks and, I don't know, you put on some gay-tinted glass, and you hear Garatta knowingly talking your secret language, you feel him filling your glass of scotch and getting you drunk and horny. It's both coded, for the square outside world, and completely unabashed and brazen for anyone who has ever wanted, really wanted, to get a cock up his ass, or to fuck his big burly hiking companion. The language, the syntax, the free-flowing construction is so masterful, because there is no shyness or repression or fear in its camouflage, there's an intense, clandestine bonding link between drunk and high as a kite members of the cocksucking brotherhood."

"Right."

"There is no shame, you know?" he concluded, vibrant and insistent.

The unease I had increasingly felt became difficultly bearable. I stood up, lit a cigarette and walked a few steps away, turning my back to Dan.

"What?" he said, clearly puzzled.

"Nothing. Except... it's just all lies," I said, unable to contain some anger.

"Lies?" Dan said, offended.

"Not you," I said quickly, briefly squeezing his shoulder. "Definitely not you. Him. Garatta. The rugged macho, as you said, unabashed and brazen. It's all lies. There was repression and fear. There was shame. And I fell for it, you fell for it, and every dude out there who's going to read your book and lust after the rugged macho who's unafraid to take it up the ass is going to fall for it too."

"What the fuck are you talking about, Nathan?" Dan said, with the tone of a weary parent.

"You have to go back to Adrian. He has stories, stories written by Garatta. Clumsy porn stuff. Unpublished, never seen. Hidden under the floor by Garatta, like a dumb acneed teenager hiding his smut. Read them. See the fear. See the longing, the repression. See the fucking loneliness. See the shame."

"Okay..." Dan said softly, obviously still unsure as to why I was getting so worked up.

"It's just..." I couldn't quite find my words, blocked as they were by my choking on my anger, on my affection. I stubbed my cigarette out, a little forcefully, took a deep breath and let go. "It's just that you're better than this, Dan. So much better than this. So –"

"- better than what?"

"All this," I waved a little ridiculously around me. "Better than Garatta, better than Jonah, better than whatever self-demeaning messed up fantasies you have, better than –"

"Shut up, Nathan. You really got no clue. Shut the fuck up."

"I mean it, Dan," I said, ignoring his mounting fury. I grabbed him and forcefully lifted him up from his chair. I squeezed him and hugged him and gripped him. "You are the man, Dan, you are the fucking man, you-"

He managed to punch me on the chest, with a violence than stunned me. But I grabbed him back and kissed him. Forced my lips and teeth against his, forced my tongue inside, squeezed the back of his neck to pry him open and, suddenly, shatteringly, felt him break, loosen, shrink. He kissed me back, with almost the same violence he had punched me, and our mouths were devouring each other as if trying to be the first to swallow entirely the other. I held him so tight I thought I'd break him, he held me so tight I thought we'd melt into each other. The mass of our joined bodies lumbered left, right, forward, and backward, until he slipped and we collapsed into the dark pool, never letting go of each other.

There was this one line in Nights & Sharks, where the narrator writes a letter to a friend (whom the reader never sees and cannot but doubt his every existence).

Will you sing when I shout, and will you catch me should I fall?

 

 

 

// Dan

 

 

"I want to ask you something, and you don't have to answer. But I'd like you to."

"Try me."

"You talk a lot about shame and destruction when we talk sex. What's that about? Not for young Dan, he can stay hidden. But for you Dan, here Dan."

I breathed out, slowly, draining my body of air. I felt the tiles from the edge of the pool, their cold digging into my back. Nathan's hand had been threading through my hair since we'd ended up in this formation, and now the fingertips of his other hand were tapping a rhythm across my chest. Those fingertips closed around my nipple, and I opened my eyes in surprise to see Nathan leaning down to kiss me.

"You don't have to, it's fine", he said as he broke away from the brief kiss.

"No – I want to. I just need to get it right, because I feel like I might not get another chance. But you'll have to let me tell it my way."

"Try me."

"So, you know, I got broken up with. Just like everyone. By a total dick. Just like everyone. Literally nothing about it was new or different. It wasn't until he left that I realised how much he'd got into my head. I thought the way to keep hold of him was to keep debasing myself for him. I didn't want to do it, but I thought I had to do it. And I liked it. I hated that I liked it – but I liked it".

The weaker man would have taken his hand off, but Nathan kept up his pressure on my chest, his fingers still dancing across my skin.

"And so when he dropped me, because I wasn't adventurous enough for him, because I wasn't up for it, I retreated inside myself. Until I was reading this book – it's called I Love Dick, and it's suddenly everywhere."

"Appropriate."

"Pretty sure that's the point. Anyway: I was reading it, and this sentence jumped up off the page and slapped me across the face. I've never forgotten a single word of it; it said Shame is what you feel after letting someone take you some place past control – then feeling torn up three days later between desire, paranoia, etiquette wondering if they'll call".

I paused, hoping that Nathan would interrupt me, redirect me. He knew me too well at this point to say anything; I peered up at his face again and we had a fleeting moment of eye contact before I looked away.

"So I read that and I thought, well, that's it. If I take away the paranoia and the etiquette, I'll be left with the desire and can stop the shame. And the cleanest way to do that was to have a rule, a once-only rule. That way, I wouldn't have to wonder why he hadn't called – I would know it was because I'd told him not to".        

"Right. Control".

"Control," I agreed. "The best reward for letting yourself be taken past control is to claim it back".

"And did it work?"

"Mostly, yeah; it did. Of course, you can never control your mind as much as you'd want to, and so my thoughts occasionally wander, there were times when I wanted more than I had allowed myself to have, but on the whole, I had a pretty good run".

This silence lengthened too. Nathan had slowed his ministrations to my nipple, and was running his thumb gently back and forth across my tit, causing jolts to pass constantly through my chest. His other hand was at the back of my head, running softly through my hair, tickling my scalp, and occasionally kneading the skin there. Stretched out along the side of the pool, with one foot still dragging in the water, my whole body felt open and alive, crackling with possibility. Nathan pulled me back by interrupting the silence.

"So what made Jonah different?"

"I think you know the answer to that."

"I'm not sure I do."

"At first I thought it was rules. When I first met him, amongst the first things he told me was a list of rules. I thought I'd found a fellow traveler, someone else who was used to protecting himself and knew what he did and didn't want."

"Ah yes – well Jonah's always known that."

"And look, the whole thing was pretty textbook – the hot not-so-straight guy with hot, massive calves, open to ram his cock where he could. But it was one of those fucks that just worked, the dynamics were right, the mood was right, all our bits were in the right places and what we both wanted lined up perfectly".

"What did he want?"

"I think he wanted to be someone else. He wanted to feel new, young and powerful. He wanted the upper hand, he wanted to be lusted after, really lusted after. That's what he wanted, but he got more. He got to be amazed by me, by sex, especially by himself. He got to fuck like a champion. He got to blow his own mind. Because, I'm telling you, the sex was really good, it was really fucking good."

"So he said," Nathan mumbled, dryly.

"We fucked twice that night, he shot his load twice inside me," I continued. I knew Nathan didn't want to get the details, but I felt he needed to hear them, he needed to listen to another voice than his own. "It was... well, close to magical, really. And it readjusted my brain in a way."

The sound Jonah had made when he came the first time that night had filled my ears, and I could feel my cock had hardened. I was glad for the darkness, although I had no doubt Nathan knew exactly what was happening. He'd taken both his hands off me, as if not wanting to connect himself to this memory.

"Why? How? What did you want that night?"

"I'm not sure I knew what I wanted. Not exactly. But I know what happened. The sex was terrific. I was terrific. For the first time in a while, I actually stopped thinking about what I wanted or didn't want, what I was willing and ready to do or not, what I was worth receiving. I was just fucking good. I could see it in his eyes: I was just so fucking good at it. And I looked in his eyes, believe me. I looked in Jonah's eyes while we fucked more than I had looked in anybody's eyes – before you, I guess. I could, I was able to look at him, to see myself in those eyes, to like what I saw. I was being fucked to bits, but I was there, I was with him, he was with me."

"So, why did you stick to your stupid rule?" Nathan asked, sulking a little.

"I'm not sure I did. I came all the way here, didn't I?"

"I thought you came here for me..." his voice trailed off.

"Of course I came here for you. But I came here for him, too. You're inseparable, you see. And even though you're so much hotter, even though you're so much better – you're part of him, and he's part of you. I wish it weren't so. And I wish you weren't that surprised. You never asked me any questions about how I felt toward Jonah, so you can't be all surprised now."

"I just assumed –"

"You just assumed that I felt toward Jonah the same way you feel toward him."

"Which is what, you think?" he said, defiant.

"Fucked if I know. Disappointment? Spite? Pity? I don't have the same story, the same expectations with him. I have my own Jonah shit to deal with."

"But you'd moved on. You basically started to ignore him. Jonah didn't say much, but I could see was rattled that you barely returned his texts or calls, that you paid little attention to him, that you seemed so cool about the whole thing."

"I'm sure. And that was the easy part for me. When it's just the standard puppy stuff – "I have to see you", "I need you again". I can easily deal with that. That's not  the Jonah who might have to key to either lock me in hell and shame, or free me for good. His attitude when texting, calling, or hanging was always all about him and none about me. They were easy to ignore."

"Then what?"

"Then I was invited here and he could offer me something I wanted."

"Which is what?"

"A chance to feel again the power and the high I'd left that first time. So, yeah, I fucking biked all the way here, I rolled over without a fight. And I thought, fucking hell, maybe nothing has changed, I haven't changed."

"Jesus, Dan. He's a fucking liar, there's nothing genuine about him, nothing..." Nathan stopped, containing his anger or sadness.

"I don't care, Nathan" I said patiently. I had to finish, I had to spill it out for him, even if he didn't want to hear, I had to get through with all this if I ever hoped to eventually find the words to talk about him, to talk about us. "Why are you so insistent that I care about all this? Listen, I get the Garatta who writes his books and I don't care about the Garatta who pines in his bed alone for a screw. I get the Jonah who fucked me that first night and I don't care about the Jonah who never told his jerk-off buddy that he likes to fuck dudes on the side. I don't give a shit what goes on in Jonah's head because I care about what he did to my own head. Listen, ultimately, Jonah will never be happy, he will always lie, because the only person Jonah really wants to fuck is himself."

Nathan chuckled.

"I told you," I said. "On the very first night we met, at The Scratch. I told you he was such a narcissist. I warned you, because I could see the weird vibe between you guys. I warned you because I couldn't warn myself". 

"All right, so that first night you had with him was magical," he sighed, listening at last, but still sniggering at the last word.

"Until I broke it. I knew he was the kind of man for whom sex is power play, a territorial domination. I had an ass full of his cum to prove it. But... It had been too good, it had been too electric, it had taken me to a place where I wanted to stay – basically I wanted more. And I didn't want to be given it, I wanted to take more whether Jonah wanted it or not".

"Don't tell me you tried to fuck him."

"Oh, man, I know I'm sex-stupid, but even I'm not that bad. No, as you know, that mistake was later. That night was me climbing on top of him and going to town. In my mind, I was taking the lead, I was taking my pleasure just like he'd taken his. There was this wild moment, where we pressed forehead to forehead and I was breathing all of him in."

"You rocked his world too."

"Maybe, but in his mind, I became a wild slut ripe for violation. And – well you saw right by this pool where that ended up".

"And so you ended up back at shame"

"Bingo. For all the brave-facing yesterday, he'd reduced me. I was rubble. And so when you came to me in my bed later that night, I needed that obliteration to be completed. In that moment, that need outweighed what we had built – and I'll always be sorry that I wasn't better in that moment, that I wasn't able to make it about us instead of me".

 "Since we first met, I was just... a distraction."

"In a good way, sure. You did turn my head, you did make me look away from Jonah. You made me curious. I was attracted to you. I am attracted to you. I was also a little taken by what was happening between us – and what was not happening ... I usually fuck, then maybe I talk, then maybe I hang out. We did a whole lot of talking, a whole lot of hanging out, without any fucking. It was strange, but erotic, you know. But I needed the Jonah story to have an ending before I could truly start on anything new. And, you know, it was Jonah who fucked me out of my funk, so there's an attachment there that might be harder than usual to shake."

"An attachment."

"Yeah. But, fuck man, you're not easy to get rid of," I smiled, trying to lighten up the mood. "And I am attracted to you, challenged by you, intellectually and emotionally. You take me seriously, in a way that I never saw Jonah might do. So I didn't know what to do with you. I think I auditioned you in different roles – sparring partner, pack leader, fuckbuddy, aesthetic soulmate. But the thing is..."

"What?" he said, calmly, patient at last.

"You... transcend all that."

"Okay now you're just wallowing in it".

Nathan's riposte still had a bit of a hard edge to it, but he'd returned his hands to my body; one was cupping the back of my head, the other slowly drawing itself up and down my chest. My skin purred in appreciation, I felt the hair across my stomach rising in appreciation and my cock throbbed too.

I'd had enough of the confessional, and leveraged myself up and out of Nathan's lap. I twisted my torso back towards him, and placed my palm squarely in the centre of his chest. His soft skin with its scratchy hair was on fire, and I took a moment to allow its heat to pass into my hand and up my arm. He was backlit by the light from the house, which lent his head an angelic glow. Nathan, my saviour.

"Thank you for letting me try again, though," I said.

"You're welcome."

I lent further in towards him.

"So are we going to kiss or not?" he smiled.

I completed my lean in towards him, and our lips rested softly on each other. Ever so slowly, he began to turn his head just slightly, causing me to move my lips slightly to keep us connected. Suddenly we were kissing: his tongue running smoothly across my lower lip; my arm slung loosely across his shoulder and dangling down his back to keep him close. This kiss was beyond sexual – it was restorative. It was a forgiveness and a benediction. In that moment, it was enough.

*        *        *

There was, that night, that last night, a very long, very slow, very deep fuck. Eye to eye and chest to chest and balls to the wall.

*        *        *

"I'd better not come in," I said to Nathan as the mini-van drove off, "it'll just get messy. It's a tiny airport though, so it won't take you long at all to get through".

"Then I'll have to do this here," he declared, dropping his bag off his shoulder onto the kerb.

Suddenly his hand was at the back of my head, drawing me into him. My usual inhibitions about public affection fell away as my arms snaked around his waist and pressed as many inches of our bodies together as was decent in this setting. His lips were locked to mine, in a moment that stretched out across time and across continents to reassure me that even if we never kissed again, even if I never saw him again, I would always know that this man had mattered.

I wanted so much to say something more, to thank Nathan for what he had offered me. Sensing my ability to kill the moment, Nathan moved his hand onto my upper arm. He squeezed the muscles there lightly, pushing back with his arse to escape from my grip. He looked at me, and smiled almost imperceptibly.

"Don't say it. There's no need".

And before I could collect myself, before I could marshal the thoughts that were banging around my head screaming out to me not to let the moment pass, he turned on his heel, swept his bag across his shoulders and went forward into the double doors into the terminal.

 

I don't know how long I stayed standing there rooted to the spot. Knowing how airports bring out the impatience in everyone, it couldn't have been more than a few seconds. Especially given my bike was still lying across the pavement where I had left it on exiting the van. Of all the moments that passed between Nathan and I, that's the one I still think back to. I can still feel the pressure on my arm from where he touched me. There are still times, lying alone in bed late at night or having a mediocre fuck with some anonymous twink, where I wonder what if. What if I had followed him through the doors. What if he'd looked back. But I didn't, he didn't.

 

I climbed onto my bike, and headed out of the terminal grounds. Unusually for an airport that has done such a good job of exorbitantly pricing public transport options, there is a cycleway that runs most of the way from the centre of the city out to the terminals. There's still a hairy section near the shopping centre, and I have no idea how I navigated it given my brain was almost certainly elsewhere. My arse, perched uncomfortably on the bike's seat, was constantly reminding me of the previous night's ministrations. No matter what I thought of, the pressure on my hole ensured my cock was uncomfortably hard as I rounded the corner onto the new bridge connecting the main part of the cycleway to the airport extension.

From there, the path slopes down in towards the city. I crested the hill just as an A380 reached the end of the runway and began to fly out west. The big birds stay close to the ground in the first part of their climb, and though the logical part of me knew it wasn't Nathan's plane, couldn't possibly be, I imagined him passing low over my head, looking down to see me start to coast down the hill. As I picked up speed, my hands left the handlebars and I stretched them out above my head toward the plane passing above me. The shirt Nathan had given me, which I had left carelessly unbuttoned from throwing it on before, started to flap rapidly in the breeze, releasing Nathan's scent and surrounding me in it. I began to roar. I had been released.

And so I coasted down towards Brisbane, the city that didn't want me but was going to get me anyway.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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