Chris yanked his hat down and looked around the crowded security checkpoint. A few people glanced at him and looked away, clearly waiting for their loved ones, waiting for their flights, bored. But mostly no one seemed to notice him at all, except one creepy looking dude frowning at him from the corner near the Starbucks stand. He had ratty hair and clothes and a ratty military backpack, a huge cup of something with a domeful of whipped cream, and he was wearing Farragamos, the tacky kind with the gold cross rims. Chris sighed and lifted his hand, and JC hoisted his pack up his shoulder and strolled over, still frowning.
Chris held open one arm. JC juggled cup and pack and embraced him briefly, and when he pulled back, the beginnings of a smile pulled at his lips. “Buy me lunch, loser,” he said.
“Ditch the wig and we’ll talk, bag man,” Chris said, turning away. JC fell in step beside him, grinning.
“I’m hurt, man, devastated. You don’t like the new me?”
Chris gave him a dark look. “The new you needs to be shaken out over the back porch railing,” he said, fishing for his keys. “I’m parked in the Ukraine. How many carts do we need to rent for your luggage?”
“This is it, man.”
JC laughed and stuck his tongue out a little, gesturing grandly with his cup as a woman in a business suit and sneakers ducked out of his way. Chris smiled at her as she trotted on by towing a huge black suitcase, but she frowned in return and disappeared into the crowd. “No, seriously,” he said.
“Seriously! Backpack. Besides, I’m sure I have stuff at the house. Something.”
JC held out the cup, and Chris took it. Caramel streaked the inside of the plastic dome and threaded through the whipped cream, so he took a cautious sip. “Maybe,” he said, shuddering. JC shrugged and handed over the backpack, too.
“Well, I can never remember. I’m only in town till tomorrow, anyway. Got a flight out tomorrow afternoon.”
He pulled off the tattered wig with a sigh, scratching through his own short spikes with obvious pleasure, and there was JC at last, pushing his hands into the air above his head, stretching his spine out as they walked. Chris could see a few heads turning, there in the corridor to the parking shuttles, a few people with expressions on their faces like they were trying to remember something, a few others just watching JC’s raggedy shirt ride up over his stomach, probably.
“I do like the glasses, though,” Chris said, and JC laughed again, reaching for the backpack and cup.
It turned out JC had beer in the fridge and a pair of shorts and a t-shirt in his walk-in closet, so he got changed while Chris dragged the cooler out of the garage and iced down the beer. JC took forever, of course, yakking on his cell phone and wandering through his house like he’d never seen the place, but finally they carried the cooler between them through the backyard and down the length of the wooden dock. Chris waved at JC’s neighbor, out working on a big battered sailboat in the clear dusk. The gentle shush, shush of his sandpaper block drifted across the water, and a mourning dove called from one of the oak trees along the shore line. It was always so peaceful over here at JC’s, when there wasn’t a party raging in the background. Come to think of it, the last couple of times he had snuck JC into town like this, no one had showed up. It was kind of nice. Different, but nice.
Chris dropped his end of the cooler to the dock with a thunk and flipped open the lid. “So, what brings you to town? What’s new? Tell me the juicy stuff.”
“Nothing much to tell, man. Same old, you know.” JC dug around in the ice, then settled onto his back with his legs hanging over the end of the dock, a beer propped on his chest and his eyes closed.
“No, really. Just whatever. Chillin’.”
“Uh huh,” Chris said again, and lay back, too. JC said, “Hmm,” and for a long time they drank and listened to JC’s neighbor’s sandpaper block, and the birds and the bugs and the lake.
Finally JC sat up and downed half his beer. “So, yeah, nothing,” he said, swinging his legs up and back one time fiercely. Chris turned his head on the wooden planking, but JC plopped over backwards again without a word, holding on to his beer.
The sun was mostly down before JC got around to it, the bugs taking up their evening chorus, lake water slopping gently against the dock supports. Chris was getting sleepy, his hat pulled down low over his face, just lying there and relaxing into his buzz, when JC sat up again and cleared his throat.
“Ask me about my love life,” he said.
Chris rolled his eyes underneath the hat. “I’ll bite,” he said, pushing the hat up on top of his head and heaving himself upright with an arm over the lid of the cooler. “Please tell me about your fabulous, perverted love life.”
“But I have no fabulous, perverted love life,” JC said, gesturing dramatically, hand to his heart, and then he giggled.
Chris snorted. “Right. Seriously, what’s going on with you?”
“Seriously,” JC said, swinging his legs back and forth. “No love life at all, dude. Nothing.”
“Nothing as in nothing nothing, or nothing as in ‘hi, I’m JC, care to join me in the restroom’? Nothing as in ‘don’t tell me your name, don’t ruin it’? Nothing as in ‘here’s fifty bucks’? Nothing as in—”
JC grimaced and waved his hands around in a way that clearly meant EW, gross. “Nothing!”
“Hmm,” Chris said, considering.
“Yeah.” JC started to go on, but then he closed his mouth.
“What about Eva?” Chris said, trying to sound completely matter of fact. JC shot him a look, so he put up a hand and said, “Okay, okay, sorry.” JC looked down at his beer. He appeared to be doing a great job of worrying the label off in one piece, impressive.
JC shrugged. “Nobody’s all that… I mean. Been there, done that. Lots. You know. It gets old.”
“It does?” Chris said, incredulous, and JC elbowed him, almost sending him off the dock. “No, seriously. It gets old? You’re bored? With sex?”
JC shrugged again.
“Dude,” Chris said, and JC nodded, tightening his lips.
After a minute, Chris reached over and grabbed JC’s wrist, probing with his fingers. JC pulled away, glaring. “What the fuck, man!”
“Just checking, JC,” Chris said, and when JC elbowed him this time, Chris’s beer went flying out of his hand, to disappear into the water with a splash.
“Man overboard,” Chris said mournfully, peering after it.
“Rescue at sea!” JC exclaimed, and Chris said “Oh, no you—” and grabbed wildly for the wooden support next to him, but he was too late. JC gave him a mighty shove, and the last thing Chris heard as he hit the dark, still water was JC’s voice, hooting from the dock up above.
JC grabbed a handful of Chris’s shirt and yanked, but he was laughing too hard to help much, and Chris finally had to swat him away and heave himself out of the water unaided. He lay face down on the dock, panting, until JC’s snorting sputtered to a halt and the cooler lid squeaked open. He turned his head to find a beer bottle standing right in front of his nose, fresh out of the ice, uncapped.
“Apology accepted,” he said, and sat up.
“Oh, good.” JC grinned at him and leaned an elbow on the cooler. “I couldn’t resist.”
“I know you tried, though, and that’s what counts.”
“Right,” JC said, nodding happily.
Chris considered hauling himself up to the house to get dried off and changed, maybe find some sweats or something in JC’s closet. But JC settled back down onto the dock again, looking up into the early evening sky with a thoughtful expression on his face, and it was pretty warm out anyway, a nice night.
JC glanced over at him with a slight smile. “I know. I’m sorry. I just… you know.”
“Yeah,” Chris said with a sigh. “It’s cool. But, dude. Nothing?”
JC didn’t answer for a long time, staring out into the darkening air. Chris could feel water running down his neck, his sodden clothing sticking to his body, and a little puddle was growing around him on the planking of the dock. JC seemed to be mulling something over, every so often chewing his lip or bringing a hand up to gnaw the side of his thumb. When he turned his head at last, Chris could see his eyes shining in the growing darkness like they were holding light or something.
“Of course not,” JC said in a low voice. Then he smiled, and his teeth gleamed.
“Oh, yeah, you fucker,” Chris said with respect. “I bet you do that a lot now, huh? But seriously, you can’t find anyone interesting or kinky enough? Because, I find that hard to imagine. Don’t you know, like, everyone?”
“Yes, Chris, everyone.” JC rolled his eyes, which was so cool looking, luminous eyes revolving in the dark like that. “But, no. Nobody’s… I did try, though.”
Chris peeled the edge of his shirt away from his body and wrung it out over the edge of the dock. “I would hope so.”
“In the name of science,” JC added.
“Exactly!” Chris said, nodding. “You have to be systematic about these things. Did you have a list?”
“No, I should have! Good idea. No, it was more like… it was an organic thing, like well, redhead, okay or oh, tongue. I just kept going after anyone interesting at all, thinking someone would… but it was like I was the one who wasn’t interesting, you know, because I couldn’t get interested. You know?”
“An organic thing,” Chris said.
“It was,” JC said, sighing.
“Like, ‘leather corset, hello’?”
“That would have done the trick, yes. Or, ‘mmm, mohawk and scruffy beard.'” JC laughed, shaking his head.
Chris sat up straight and looked at him, and JC tilted his head a little on the dock and looked back, still smiling, still luminous, but with something watchful about his face.
“Really? Really? Dude.”
JC laughed again, under his breath. “Yeah.”
“Because, you’ve always been, well. Pretty straight. I mean, mostly. I mean, most people play around with blow jobs and such, and sometimes a person’s just really… wow, JC. You’ve fucked guys? Why did I never know this?”
JC sat up, too, turning away to look out over the lake. “Would you have wanted to know this?”
“No, you’re right,” Chris said, relaxing again. “Oversharing and all that. Right. Hey, you ready for some dinner?”
JC smiled, a brief quirk of his lips that Chris could barely see in profile. There was something odd about the smile, something definitely going on in JC’s twisty brain, but Chris couldn’t put a finger on it, and it was probably embarrassment anyway, knowing JC. “Okay, Chris. Where do you want to go?”
“Tacos,” Chris said firmly. “I need some clothes.”
JC made a rude sound, and started gathering up empties to put back into the cooler.
The Taco Palace was the same as always, a crappy pink adobe dive by the railroad tracks, surrounded by Beamers and Jags. It was Chris’s favorite place in the world, because no one ever seemed to care who they were, but it was always crowded and raucous and the service was nothing but a happy dream. Still, JC started knocking back margaritas as soon as they pushed their way to the bar and got the bartender’s attention, or rather JC got the bartender’s attention while Chris fidgeted and watched the crowd. JC was flirting. The bartender’s gorgeous face was pink, and pretty soon the margaritas would be mostly tequila, and there but for the grace of JC’s boredom or whatever, Chris would be eating tacos by himself while the bartender got the tip of his career. It was all so obvious now.
By the time they had settled into one of the ripped leatherette booths and ordered dinner, margarita number four was almost a memory. JC ran his fingers along the edge of the glass with a little smile that was mostly in his eyes, so Chris clutched his lonely Corona and frowned at him.
“Why am I the designated driver?” he asked, pulling the plastic bowl of tortilla chips to his side of the table out of spite.
“I’m the guest,” JC said, licking salt off his thumb.
Chris pulled the salsa closer, too. “Guest, my ass! Although, I don’t have to worry about that with you, do I? Poor celibate JC. Aw. Poor celibate occasionally gay but no one knew about it JC, except not now. Awwww.”
JC grimaced, glancing from side to side. “Shut up about it, Chris,” he hissed. “I was just slutting around. Nobody needs to know about that.” He gulped down the last of number four, then looked around again.
“Dude, have a taco first. I don’t want to have to drag your drunk ass to the car.”
Something flew past Chris’s ear and he ducked. “And quit talking about asses,” JC said, brandishing an ice cube. “It makes me nervous.”
“I’ll bet,” Chris said. He scrabbled around in the plastic bowl for the biggest tortilla chip he could find and pointed it at JC. “Although, since you brought it up, I just can’t get over it.”
“What?” JC gave him a sharp glance as their waitress fought her way through the crowd to plunk down paper plates full of tacos and shredded lettuce and cheese. Chris smirked back and shook his head, but he waited to continue until she cast a doubtful look at their armed standoff, rolled her eyes at JC’s drink order, and sped away.
“I can’t get over the nothing, JC. Nothing! It’s just that… what did you think I was going to say?”
JC dropped the ice cube to pick up a taco and shove it in his mouth, crunching down on the shell and showering bits of meat and lettuce and stuff all over the paper plate and table. He chewed contemplatively, bobbing his head a little to the loud music in the bar, but Chris wasn’t fooled. JC hated the Killers.
“You thought I was going to talk about you and those guys, didn’t you? You did, didn’t you? Fucking guys, all this time.” Chris paused, but JC ignored the bait again and made a long arm across the scarred linoleum table top to drag the salsa dish closer. “Or, wait, getting fucked, maybe. Getting fucked, right? Oh, JC. Such secrets.” Chris raised his eyebrows, waiting for it.
JC smiled around another bite of taco, chewing vigorously and squinching his eyes up tight until Chris had to laugh. “Okay, fine,” he said. “Fine, be that way. But, dude, seriously. The nothing thing does freak me out a little bit. No sex at all? You?”
“It’s hard,” JC said. A surprised look crossed his face, and he burst out laughing. Chris hooted and leaned across the table to slap his hand.
“Exactly! Exactly! JC, that was beautiful.”
JC bounced a little in his seat. “Dude, you have no idea. It’s… I could never be a priest. I’d scare all the nuns. I’d stand up in front of the congregation every Sunday, and it’d be like, oh, hello. It’d be like…”
“Better not go on with that whole priest thing, JC,” Chris said, wrinkling his nose. JC looked startled again, and then said, “EWW,” in a loud voice.
“It’s like the No Strings tour all over again,” JC continued, after he’d stopped hunching his shoulders in disgust and squirming under Chris’s amused gaze. “Those were trying times.”
Chris nodded. “As I recall, you spent that whole tour locked in the bathroom. You must have jerked off in every city in the US.”
JC widened his eyes in mock innocence. “Pretty much.”
“And spent just about every night with some chick or another. Excuse me. Or some guy.”
“Pretty much.” JC smiled down at his hands. “Sometimes a person gets…”
“Horny?” Chris suggested, just as JC finished up with, “Pretty fucking horny.” JC laughed as Chris slapped the table with delight.
“Yes! Yes. Which is exactly what I’m talking about. I know you, JC.”
The waitress appeared and set a fresh cocktail on a paper napkin in front of JC, and he nodded at her. When he faced Chris again, his smile changed. It was sweeter, somehow, a private little look that Chris wished he understood.
“I know you do, Chris.”
“And no way can you be bored with sex. No way. You need it to live. It’s, like, air for you.”
“Breathe in, breathe out,” JC said, but he pursed his lips and shrugged. “What can I say.”
“What can you say! What can you… you can tell me what’s really going on, JC.” Chris’s fierce glare had no effect. JC settled back, stretched one arm out along the top of the booth, and gave Chris a long, slow look.
“I told you,” he said, stroking the stem of his margarita glass. “Nothing.”
Chris threw his hands up in frustration. “See, that’s… I know you’re the jerk off king, JC. I know that you’re probably just counting the minutes till you’re alone with yourself again. I know that you…”
“Mmmm,” JC said, closing his eyes. “Why wait?” He slid a hand up his chest to stroke his neck, lifting his chin and arching his back with a luxurious sigh.
Chris inhaled sharply. “Cut that out! I’m just saying, you know that won’t be enough for you. Not for you. So I can’t help but wonder what the fuck is really going on.”
JC sat up straight. “Chris,” he said, frowning. “It’s not that…”
“Oh, whatever. Whatever, JC, it’s fine. I just thought you came to town to talk to me, but never mind. It’s fine, I don’t…”
“Chris.” JC shook his head. “Okay, shut up. You don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Exactly, JC. And anyway, I think you should…”
“And anyway,” JC said, slashing the air with one hand, his eyes blazing. “Do you really want to talk about this here?”
“No,” Chris said, surprised. He looked around the dark room, at the dusty chile ristras entwined with Christmas lights in the corner by the cash register, the well-dressed people slamming shots at the bar and yelling at each other over the incessant music, and then back at JC, who was reclining in the booth again, his fingers twisted together around his glass. “No, you’re right.”
JC nodded, unsmiling. “That’s all I’m saying.”
“Uh huh,” Chris pushed the bottle of warm Corona away from him on the table. “Eat your tacos.”
Chris realized he had his arms clamped across his chest when JC crossed his, too, sitting on the wicker couch across from him with his legs splayed out. It was late. JC had insisted on lighting nine million candles the way he always did, moving around his porch at a leisurely pace, blowing on his lighter and humming despite Chris’s loud sighs. It was actually really nice out there, the porch all filled with shadows and light and the sleepy tinkling of wind chimes hanging from the rafters. But JC was tense now and his face was still and closed up, and Chris knew he had better take control of this whole thing right off the bat.
“Okay, first of all,” he said, and JC leaned forward.
“Why are you being such a jerk about this?”
“What? Me? How? How am I—”
“You’re being a jerk! Chris, you know you are.” JC leaned back again with a thump, as though that summed everything up. Chris frowned at him.
“I know I’m being a jerk? I don’t think so. I mean, okay. Sometimes I know it, and sometimes I am, but JC, dude, this time—” He broke off as JC pushed forward again and said “JERK” in a loud voice. He was pissed, clearly, but Chris couldn’t help a little smile. “Dude,” he tried again, and JC thumped backwards again and glared.
“I’m trying to talk to you, trying to tell you what’s going on, which by the way thank you for pumping me for information, and all’s you can do is make fun of me. It sucks, Chris, because you’re a jerk.”
“I’m,” Chris started, but then he had to stop and shake his head and try again. “Okay, JC, you know what? I’m sorry. I’m sorry for the fact that I made fun of you.”
JC nodded and opened his mouth, but Chris barreled on.
“And I’m sorry for the fact that I’m going to keep making fun of you, because pumping you for information? No, okay—” He held up a hand. “Sorry. I’m sorry, you’re right. But really, how am I being a jerk? Because I can’t believe you could go two minutes without sex? Dude. That’s not being a jerk. That’s just being observant.”
JC gestured impatiently. “You don’t know,” he said, but then he stopped and something happened to his face.
“JC! You told me! I do know, because you told me!” Chris said. “Plus, hi, I’ve known you for twenty years. Jeez, JC.”
JC was thinking hard, it looked like, his eyes far away as he sat in silence for a few minutes. Finally he said, “Okay, Chris,” and looked down.
“That’s right,” Chris said, but JC didn’t answer him. They sat in silence for a few seconds, and JC looked everywhere but at him.
“Okay, JC, really. I still don’t get what the problem is. A world full of pretty boys and girls! Hell, ugly ones too, for that matter. JC, you should—” But JC was shaking his head, frowning. “No, listen, JC. You could find yourself some hot guy—”
“NO,” JC said. “Stop it.” He drew in a hissing breath, and that was JC all right, never down for the count for long. “Okay, what. Do you want me to have sex, Chris? Is that it? That is so considerate of you.”
Chris held up a hand. “JC, whoa—”
“But you’re forgetting the main problem. I don’t want to. There’s, there’s nobody, there isn’t anybody, I can’t.” JC stopped again and bit his lip, shifting around on the creaky couch in some kind of distress. Chris figured it was time to get right at the heart of the problem.
“Okay, tell me the truth, JC.”
JC froze. “What do you mean?”
“You’re just having some kind of gay crisis thing, aren’t you?”
The anger drained right out of JC’s face, then, and he looked tired, more tired than Chris could remember him being in a long time. “No,” he said, and he meant it, clearly.
“Then JC, please. What’s going on?”
“It’s so hard, Chris,” JC said in a low voice, and then his lips twisted and he turned his face deeper into the shadows. Chris snorted.
“You should go now,” JC said. He stood up and left the porch. Chris sat for a minute, and then shrugged. JC was nowhere to be seen as he made his way through the house and let himself out the front door.
Chris made it about five miles, driving aimlessly down brick roads through quiet neighborhoods, before it occurred to him that JC was right. Not that he was really sure what JC was right about. But he knew he owed it to JC to let him know anyway, and he probably should have blown out all the candles before he took off.
The house was dark and shut up when he got back, and JC wouldn’t answer his door. Chris keyed in quietly and disarmed the security system. The back porch was dark, too, and still, and he looked around for a minute, gnawing his lower lip, before turning toward the stairs. It was possible he owed JC an apology, even. JC might not be in bed yet, and was probably still awake. He tended to fret when he fought with anyone.
The upstairs was unlit, as far as Chris could tell. If JC was awake, he was lying in the dark. He paused for a second, hand on the railing, unsure. Then he started up the stairs, barely breathing, trying not to make any noise.
JC wasn’t asleep, or lying in the dark. JC was standing in the corner of his bedroom, near the bank of windows overlooking the lake, bathed in moonlight. JC was naked and his cock was hard, standing out from his body, and he was touching it, just running his fingers up and down its length as he stared out the window. The expression on his face… Chris made a noise before he could stop himself, inhaled before he could hold his breath, and JC jumped and whipped around.
“JC, oh fuck, man. I’m sorry.” He put his hands behind his back for some reason, while JC grabbed a throw off a chair and wound it around his body with shaking hands, moving out of the light as he did.
“Chris, no, I’m sorry,” he said quietly, and looked away.
JC’s whole body was shaking, not just his hands, and his face was closed up. “Okay,” Chris said. “I’m gonna go. I just wanted… whoa, awkward. Sorry, JC.” He waited a minute, but JC didn’t answer. “Well. Okay.”
But he couldn’t move. JC was biting his lip, his hands clenched around the throw, and Chris felt like the worst kind of friend in the world.
“JC,” he said, as gently as he could. “Hey.”
JC twitched and his head came up. At least he was listening. “JC, man. It’s all right. You know that, right?”
No answer at first, and then JC gave a brief, rusty laugh. “Yeah, okay.”
“JC.” Chris took a step forward, and JC jerked backwards. “Hey, oh hey, don’t… JC, I understand.”
JC’s whole body went still. “You do.”
“Yeah. JC, I know you’re lonely, and I. I’m not helping any, am I? I mean, here I am giving you all kinds of shit, instead of… fuck.” He shook his head, and JC made the rusty noise again.
“Chris,” he said in a low voice. “Go home.” He turned further into the shadows, bands of moonlight sliding across his body, and Chris followed.
“Chris, what.” JC wheeled back around and drew himself up, and Chris knew he’d pushed too hard as usual. But then JC licked his lips and his gaze flickered over Chris and away, and a wave of something washed over Chris’s body and he found himself stepping even closer.
“Oh,” JC said. His skin was pale in the light coming through the bedroom windows, not at all tanned like Chris knew it to be, but pale and gleaming. Chris reached out a hand, drawn to touch it, and JC tensed up even more. “Chris, I don’t– Oh, shit.”
“No, it’s. Don’t worry, JC. I’ll,” Chris whispered, distracted, and watched as his fingers brushed down JC’s arm. Warm. His skin was so warm and smooth. He ran the flat of his hand over JC’s chest, watching the hair tickle his fingers, until JC gasped and pulled away.
“Fuck, sorry,” Chris said, horrified, and yanked his hand back. “Sorry, JC. I just. You’re. Fuck, I’ll go now. Fuck.”
Every bit of furniture in JC’s room put itself in Chris’s way as he backed up, and he stumbled on his way to the door. JC watched him, eyes huge in the dim light, freaked out looking and solemn, but when Chris got about halfway to the door he whispered something, or made a noise.
JC edged a little closer. “I said, why did you come back?”
“Oh, man,” Chris said. “I don’t, I’m not.” He gestured helplessly, and JC tilted his head and drifted across the tile floor.
“You came back.”
“Hmm,” JC said, flowing right up next to him, and it wasn’t a question, Chris didn’t think, because JC was looking him over and licking his lips again. The muscles of his arms flexed as JC gathered the folds of the throw around him, and then loosened his grip. “Um,” Chris said, watching it slip down his body. “So, um—” And there was JC’s cock, moving under his gaze. Gorgeous. He wrapped a hand around it immediately.
JC shuddered all over his body and made a surprised noise in his throat, and his hands clenched at his sides. Chris started to tell him everything would be okay, thought he might have to step away after all, but then JC sighed, dropped his forehead to Chris’s shoulder, and pushed his face into Chris’s neck and his cock up into Chris’s fist.
“Fuck,” Chris breathed, squeezing gently. “You like this, don’t you.”
JC panted out something against his neck, his breath hot on Chris’s skin, and thrust against his hand again. Then he moaned and thrust again, and again, crowding closer and closer until Chris staggered back half a step. He had to hold his ground, had to push back against JC’s heaving body to keep them upright. He pushed.
JC gave a choked cry and starting moving faster, so Chris sped up, too, moving with him until he convulsed suddenly and Chris’s hand got slippery and wet. JC sagged into him then, trembling and hot, clutching the fabric of his t-shirt, holding on as Chris steadied him.
“Good, good,” JC crooned in his ear. “Oh, Chris, good.”
It was, it was. But JC was still hard in his hand, still pushing into his grip in tiny liquid surges. JC was still hot, still rubbing against him like he wanted more, making rough, yearning noises in Chris’s ear that slid all the way down his body.
“No way do you get to go twice in a row,” Chris said, trying to cling to some sanity, but whose voice was that? All hoarse and shaking and filled with… he had never sounded like that in his life.
“Sorry,” JC said, with a dark little noise like a laugh. All the hair on the back of Chris’s neck stood up. Without any thought he tightened his hand on JC’s cock, pushed down hard and pulled up. JC made the noise again, then turned his head and found Chris’s mouth.
In a split second, Chris knew he had nothing to worry about. JC took over, unknotting a hand from Chris’s t-shirt to slide into his hair, tilting Chris’s head to deepen the kiss, teasing his mouth with silken touches of his quick, agile tongue. JC would be fine. JC would be fine. JC was fine, oh fuck…but then JC broke away, threw back his head, and said, “Uhn.”
Chris realized his hips were pumping against JC’s moving body, and he was clutching JC’s ass with one hand and squeezing his slick cock with the other. He rubbed his own aching dick through his jeans with the heel of his hand, trying to work them both in that tight space between their bodies, watching the look on JC’s face, beautiful, strung out agony.
“Fuck, aren’t you ever going to take off your pants?”
JC was glaring at him, eyes narrowed and intent and blue, blue, blue. Chris opened his mouth and tried to think of the words for fuck, yes, now, but his brain was busy with the way JC was pulling his hair and writhing all over him, the strained rasp of his voice and his smell, sweaty and warm and raw. “Oh, sure, now you–” he managed, but before another word could form, JC made an outraged sound and Chris went flying.
He hit the bed hard on his back and bounced. “Whoa!” he said, scrabbling to get his balance, pushing against the slick comforter with his shoes and the palms of his hands. JC grabbed an ankle and pulled, and Chris went flat again, panting and spread out, done.
“Okay! Jeez, you win.”
“I do,” JC said, looking him over like prime steak, licking his lips and stroking his stomach restlessly in the moonlight through his bedroom windows, until Chris couldn’t help but squirm under his gaze, tensing his legs and arching his spine and pushing his cock against his zipper painfully. “I really do. I win.”
“Well, get over here then,” Chris said breathlessly. “What are you waiting for? I ain’t getting any younger. You might as well…”
“You should shut up now,” JC growled, stalking closer. “Except I want to hear you, the way you sound. But you really should shut up.”
“Doubt it’ll ever happen,” Chris gasped.
“I know.” JC put a knee on the bed next to him, eyes blazing and cock standing out stiff, and yanked at the button of Chris’s fly, unzipping Chris’s pants and sliding a hand in immediately. “Fuck, Chris,” he said, exhaling, squeezing him through his boxers. “I knew you’d, mmm.”
“What, you knew what,” Chris said, pushing up on an elbow, but JC ignored him and crawled onto the bed completely, lowered his head and pushed his face into Chris’s fly.
“Oh,” Chris said, and his hand rose automatically to cup JC’s head. Suddenly it made all the sense in the world, this impossible thing with JC. Just right, in fact, amazing, the way he was rubbing his face over Chris’s aching dick, and the feel of his warm breath and his soft, spiky hair. Nothing had ever made so much sense before, perfect. But then JC picked him up, encircled him with those perfect, long fingers and pulled his cock away from his tensing abdomen, and the band of his boxers popped down past the head, and those perfect, silky lips and that warm, wet tongue, nothing had ever, ever… JC snorted, and the rush of air on his swollen cockhead made Chris jerk and whimper. Except he realized he was already whimpering, loud and shameless, over and over, in perfect ecstasy.
“You okay there, Chris?” JC paused, mouth opened to take him in, and darted his tongue out in a delicate, sizzling lick. Chris had to close his eyes tight and fall back against the pillows.
“All right, then.” JC smiled. Chris could hear it in his voice, felt it in the puff against his cock, and he wanted to whimper some more, but then JC took him into his mouth, and everything else went away.
JC’s room was filled with sunlight when Chris woke up, the sheets wound around him and JC heavy against him, breathing softly into his neck. Chris stretched a little and JC moved with him, murmuring something in a sleep-roughened voice. He would be going back to LA soon, if he hadn’t already missed his plane, heading back to his life. Everything would be okay, then, back to normal, a huge relief. Chris found himself smoothing a hand over JC’s warm shoulder to pull him close. He stopped himself and slid his hand away slowly, unable to resist a last quick stroke down JC’s muscular arm. JC said, “Mmm,” and opened his eyes.
“Morning,” Chris said, then shut his mouth firmly.
They lay for a minute staring at each other. Chris tried to break away, but JC was so sleepy, had such a look of comfort on his face, his eyes barely open but crinkling up happily already, that he was caught. Finally he said, “JC,” a little desperately, and JC made that dark, amused noise Chris was learning to listen for and moved in closer.
“Morning,” he said, and rubbed his prickly morning face against Chris’s.
Fuck, he was lost. It would be a lot easier if JC didn’t obviously love it so much, but he did, he did, and Chris did, too. So when JC slid over him, Chris held on to his undulating hips to keep him in place as he rubbed up against him from underneath. JC jerked when Chris slid a hand down to brush fingers along the warm crevice between his legs, and his cock swelled against Chris’s abdomen. He turned his head and opened his mouth against Chris’s ear. “Hey, I have a good idea,” he whispered. “You fuck me this time, okay?” Chris opened his eyes and really woke up.
He heaved JC off his body, trying to be gentle, but JC looked at him, panting a little, and a little line formed between his eyes. “No, JC, you should. Show me how you. I want to.” He sounded completely deranged. JC smiled, licking his lips.
“My pleasure,” he purred, and turned over, pushing the sheets out of his way and taking himself in hand.
It was pure torture. JC watched him the whole time, until he had to close his eyes and open his mouth and hunch over his rapidly moving fist. His cock looked so red and used, and Chris knew what it felt like, all taut and eager in his hand and in his ass. He felt a deep sense of unfairness over the fact that he hadn’t tasted JC yet, hadn’t felt that beautiful cock fuck his throat. JC finally made a choked sound and froze over his hand, and as he came hard all over his stomach and chest Chris felt his own tongue moving in his mouth.
“Mmmm, Chris.” JC collapsed onto the bed in a boneless heap, smiling blindly and stretching in obvious comfort and satisfaction, squeezing and caressing his still-swollen cock. Chris couldn’t suppress a tiny sound of agony. JC opened his eyes.
“Oh,” he said in a low, joyful voice. He flowed over on top of Chris again and took hold of his painfully hard dick, and Chris was struck dumb by the feel of JC’s hand, slippery and wet with his own come. Except he was whimpering again, and he couldn’t seem to stop it, and he couldn’t stop JC from murmuring to him in that voice and stroking him with those strong, clever fingers until the world whited out and he lost it.
When he woke up again JC was watching him, face pushed into the pillow and one sleepy blue eye peering out. Chris felt fantastic, just amazingly fucking great. It was too much. He closed his eyes again.
JC’s voice was muffled by the pillow, low and scratchy and completely fucking sexy and irresistable. Chris squeezed his eyes tighter and tried to think about nothing.
“Chris, I know you’re awake.”
“I am not.”
JC was silent for a few minutes, and Chris came close to a cold state of nothingness, but then JC spoke again, right in his ear. “Chris, I’m hungry. Do you want breakfast?”
Chris sighed and opened his eyes. “Yes,” he said hopelessly, and JC grinned like the sun and crawled on top of him, wrapping him up in his arms and legs, pushing one hand into his hair and burying his face in his neck. “You smell good,” he whispered, and it was a shame, such a fucking shame that it couldn’t be like that. Chris knew he had better do something, pronto, while it was easier. Before JC did or said something they’d both really regret.
“So,” he said. “Mohawk and scruffy beard, huh.”
JC laughed, a quick little happy exhalation, and wound his fingers tighter in Chris’s hair. “Yeah.”
“Got that out of your system now?”
JC stilled against him. “What?”
“You know,” Chris said, reaching up to pat his back briskly. “Glad to help out with the rehab or whatever, reintroducing JC to the joys of sex again. That’s all I’m saying.”
“I don’t…” The happiness was draining out of JC’s voice. Chris wanted to bite down on his own tongue, but he had to keep going.
“Now you won’t be stuck jerking off all the time. Or, you know, not only. It was a pretty good plan, JC. I gotta give you credit.”
JC took in a quick breath. “That’s… wow, Chris, that’s really insulting.”
“I don’t know why. You’ll get back up on the horse again, ha! And be just fine, and go back to your happy slutting ways, and all will be right in JC-land again.”
JC pulled away a little bit, but not nearly enough, and gave him an impatient look. “And also, really stupid. Do you think this is a romance novel, Chris?”
The coldness finally spread throughout Chris’s body, but it didn’t feel like nothing. It felt a lot like anger, like red-hot freezing cold anger, and that was fucking perfect. “I know it’s not, JC.”
JC untangled his fingers from Chris’s hair and his body from around Chris’s on the bed, and when he was gone and Chris could relax again, he realized JC had been tense, really tense and shaking against him. He looked tense, too, and stiff, standing half-turned away in the doorway to the bedroom.
“You should know something,” JC said, stumbling over the words. “Being with you makes it. Doesn’t make it easier.”
“What does that mean?”
JC waved his hands around in the air, grimacing, and then stopped and looked at Chris for a few seconds, his face bleak. “I’m going to take a shower,” he said abruptly. “My flight leaves in two hours.” He disappeared into the bathroom, and the black cloud of stress seemed to go with him, leaving the bedroom empty and still. After a few minutes Chris got up and got dressed, then settled onto the couch in JC’s bedroom to watch some tv.
JC came out of the bathroom after a long time, not looking at Chris, and Chris didn’t look back either, didn’t watch as JC slipped into the jeans he’d worn to town yesterday. Yesterday. It felt like a million years ago, a different time. Finally JC moved to block the the tv. “Okay. I’m gonna go, then,” he said, stuffing his hands in his pockets.
JC bit his lip, and his hands clenched under the fabric of his jeans. “Yeah. So.. yeah. I’m going.”
Chris aimed the tv clicker at his body and tried to change the channel around him. “Fine.”
JC drew in a sudden breath. “Fine! Whatever! See you around!” He muttered something else and spun away, and he had to be pissed, moving around like that. JC was never jerky, and he was jamming his clothes into the military backpack at a furious pace. JC nurtured his raggedy clothing like it was alive. But who cared anyway, JC had to go. Chris let out a huge, irritated sigh and clicked through a few more channels.
JC grabbed the rest of his stuff and headed for the door, but at the last minute he stopped. “I have a break next Wednesday,” he said quietly, just standing there with his back turned, a hand creeping up to cup his bare neck. “Wednesday and Thursday. You gonna pick me up, or what.”
JC’s voice was trembling. He wasn’t pissed, or not only. He was, he seemed. Hurt. He sounded hurt, and really tired and afraid, like going wasn’t what he wanted to do at all. Standing hunched over himself and holding on, but there he was, like he’d always been. No matter what stupid thing Chris did.
“Duh,” Chris said, trying for infinite scorn.
JC turned his head and peered over his arm, his eyes alive and cautious.
“Can’t promise I won’t still be an asshole, though,” Chris said, stiffly. “Not enough lead time. But I will have the beer chilled.”
For a minute JC looked at him over his arm, clutching the backpack. Then his eyes closed and his head turned, and Chris felt his throat close up. But then JC’s body relaxed all at once and he straightened up and swung back around. “Give me a ride to the airport, loser,” he said, and his eyes were glowing, no, luminous. No, they were beautiful, and filled with… something. Something good.
Chris jumped up and grabbed his wallet off the coffee table.
JC pulled him into a long hug when they got close to the roped off lanes in front of the x-ray machines, just grabbed his shoulder and stopped walking, let people stream around them as he dropped his backpack and threw his arms around Chris and held on.
After a while Chris cleared his throat a little. “Okay,” he said, and JC slapped him on the back once, hard.
“Shut up,” he whispered. “Just let me hug you for a minute.”
“Hmmph,” Chris said in a low voice, pleased, turning his face into JC’s neck briefly. “You fucker. You’re going to call me, aren’t you? I mean, not that I, um. You better call, because…” JC started humming into his ear, his breath a wispy tickle down Chris’s neck, and Chris couldn’t think of another word. He tightened his grip, listening and feeling, until JC let him go.
“Fuck.” Chris shook his head, dazed. JC grinned and stepped back, stretching out a hand to pick up his pack again, but Chris yanked it out of his reach. “Seriously. You better call me.”
“Seriously, you’re being a dumbass,” JC said, letting his hand drop and looking at Chris over the tops of the Farragamos. Chris looked back at him for a few seconds, looked into his eyes and felt something in his chest lift up.
“Oh. Yeah,” he said, holding out the backpack. JC ignored it to wrap his fingers around Chris’s wrist, shaking it slightly so the buckles on the pack jingled, and Chris found himself smiling, looking at JC’s hand on his arm. “Yeah, maybe. It’s possible. I can’t deny it’s possible, because you know how I get sometimes. You know that I, um, I’m.” He stopped when JC gave his arm a single hard shake.
“I know,” JC said in a low voice. He smiled, then released Chris’s arm, took the backpack, and turned and walked toward the security checkpoint.
“Good,” Chris said, still smiling, too. He watched until JC passed through the barricade, then headed back down the corridor toward the parking garage. Everything else he had to say could wait until next time.