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the silver fox

Chapter Three


Rick drove up to Mike’s house eager with anticipation. They had been together for three months now, managing to meet most weekends. Mike had come up to D.C. for half term and they’d had a blissful week together, Rick showing him the sights during the day and spending long, passionate nights in his arms. He would be moving soon, the deal with his friend John now signed and sealed, and he planned to spend a few days with Mike while they looked for a place.

He thought back over the time they’d spent together. Mike was an exciting, innovative lover but, more than that, he was a delightful companion. They were easy in each other’s company – not that they hadn’t had their fights, they had, and how - but the make-up sex had been spectacular. His lover was a complex, fascinating young man, forthright in his opinions, terrifyingly honest even when it hurt himself, and generous and kind-hearted to the extreme. Their last argument had been caused by this latter quality, Rick calling him ‘a bleeding-heart liberal’ when he ‘d been upset about some perceived injustice. There had been fireworks then icy silence between them, but when Rick had finally gruffly apologised for his words, his reward had been an armful of hot, tearful, grateful and incredibly sexy lover. The memory still made him smile.

He had been looking forward to this latest trip all week. He had been extremely busy with the new business deal and trying to wind up his affairs in Washington. Now he got to spend a few days relaxing and having fun. Mike had visited a couple of realtors and had a list of possible properties for them to view, ranging from a downtown apartment to an old ranch house several miles out of town. Rick liked the sound of that, but he was keeping an open mind.

Mike sat in his living-room, the letter in his hand, his mind in turmoil: ‘. . . so, I’ll be in town for a few days and we can get together, just like old times . . .’ Until three months ago, he would have been turning cartwheels at the news. Alex was attending a convention in town and wanted to get together. Damn him! Why now? Rick was due any minute - they were planning to live together for God’s sake! – and his old lover chose this moment to reappear. What was he going to do?

There was a short rap at the door and he jumped. Rick was here already! He hurried to answer it and Rick dropped his bag, kicked the door shut and pulled him into a fierce embrace. They kissed passionately, finally breaking off to grab some oxygen.

“God, I’ve missed you,” Rick said, cradling his face between gentle hands, his eyes tender as he scanned his lover.

“I’ve missed you, too,” he said, seeking that beloved mouth, feeling those strong arms gathering him close. Rick always made him feel so safe. All thoughts of Alex disappeared as he became reacquainted with the body that filled his dreams at night and his thoughts during the day.

“Bed!” Rick ordered, taking off his jacket. Mike laughed.

“Don’t you at least want a cup of coffee first? You’ve had a long drive.”

“Coffee, shmoffee! I want you!” Grabbing Mike’s hand, he hauled him off to the bedroom, stripping him of his clothes in ruthless fashion before getting naked himself. The latent power of the man took Mike’s breath away and he lay watching him, admiring the lean, muscular body contrasting with the silver hair. Not for the first time, Mike wished he’d met him earlier. He must have been even more glorious ten years ago. But then, he would probably have been too much for him. Anyway, he had a thing about that silver hair – his silver fox!

Rick slid in beside him and pulled him roughly into his arms, the following kiss so tender and gentle in comparison that Mike felt himself melt inside. He was always like this, a mass of contradictions, but he trusted him completely. Of one thing he was entirely certain, Rick would never wittingly hurt him, physically or emotionally. He should feel completely happy, but the unwanted thought of Alex slid into his mind and he grimaced.

“What’s up?” Rick said immediately, his voice full of concern. Mike wished he wasn’t always so perceptive.

“Nothing,” he said, distracting him with a kiss, his hand sliding downwards, skimming his chest, his fingers tangling in the harsh texture of his pubic hair. His hand closed over Rick’s erection and the hitch of his breath made Mike smile against the soft skin of his throat.

“Like that?” he murmured, stroking lightly. A growl in response assured him Rick was enjoying his touch. He slid slowly down, his tongue seeking the hardening points of his nipples, his hands establishing a slow, rhythmic pull on Rick’s cock. Nipping and licking, he progressed downwards until he felt the blunt heat of his target against his cheek.

“Like this?” he asked naughtily, and swallowed him whole. Rick arched off the bed, his hands plunging into Mike’s hair, caressing the nape of his neck. Rick never held him still when they were like this, always letting Mike make the running. It was a hangover from a nasty incident when they first met, when Rick had saved him from a fate worse than death, and ever since, Rick had been careful with him.

He was controlling himself now, trying not to thrust into Mike’s mouth, his hands quivering with the effort not to hold him tight. Mike looked up at him, found himself falling into those bitter-chocolate eyes, always so full of tenderness, now dark with desire.

“It’s okay,” he reassured him. “Let yourself go. I want you to,” he insisted, returning to suck and lick the straining cock at his lips. Rick groaned and shivered, his fingers plunging deeply into Mike’s hair. All the eager anticipation together with Mike’s lavish attentions were too much. Rick felt his balls tighten with the familiar surge of his incipient orgasm.

“Oh, God, Mike,” he moaned, “I’m gonna come . . .” He jerked as his climax hit him and spilled himself into Mike’s throat. As soon as the aftershocks had died down, he hauled Mike up into his arms, kissing him feverishly.

“I love you, I love you,” he whispered, peppering kisses along his jaw and throat, before capturing his mouth in a tender kiss. They lay a moment while Rick caught his breath, then Mike grinned wickedly at him.

“Not done yet,” he said softly. “My turn now, turn over.” Rick rolled over onto his stomach as Mike reached for the lube. He slicked his fingers and his cock before slipping a finger knuckle deep inside. A throaty groan as a second then third finger followed, and Rick was ready for him. He pushed in gently, feeling the muscles relax around him, then he slid all the way, his balls resting on Rick’s ass.

“Okay?” he asked.

“Great,” was the muffled reply, followed by another moan as he slid slowly back and forward. Rick’s ass pushed back onto him and his rhythm increased. Oh God, that hot, sleek tightness, gripping him – so tight, so tight - he couldn’t wait any longer . . .

“Rick,” he screamed as his orgasm crashed over him, his breath sobbing in his throat as he felt his semen spurt into his lover. He collapsed against that strong, beautiful back, his cheek rubbing against his shoulder, gradually calming.

He eased out slowly and Rick turned to him, pulling him into the favoured position, cradling his head in the crook of his shoulder. He dropped a light kiss on the blond hair and Mike could hear the smile in his voice.

“Hey.” They lay together, just cuddling, then Rick moved slightly and Mike shifted his weight so that they lay side by side, touching down the length of their bodies. Rick’s fingers tangled with his.

“You gonna tell me about it, or do I have to tickle it out of you?”

“Nothing to tell,” Mike said but felt himself blush guiltily.

“You’re not fooling me,” Rick said. “Right! You asked for it!”

Swiftly he straddled his lover’s helpless body, fingertips seeking the soft skin below his ribs. Mike gasped and snorted and giggled, struggling to escape. Knowing there was a fine line between laughter and pain when it came to this type of torture, Rick eased up for a minute, looking down at the flushed face.

“Are you going to tell me?” he asked again, one finger stroking a hot cheek.

“Yes, alright,” Mike caved. “But you’re not going to like it. I – um – I have a bit of a problem.” Rick’s face changed immediately.

“You’re not sick, are you?” he asked anxiously.

“No, no, nothing like that.” Rick exhaled his relief and he gently slid back down to hold his lover.

“Tell me,” he coaxed. When Mike still hesitated, Rick went cold.

“You’ve changed your mind,” he stated flatly. “You’re leaving me.”

“Oh, God, no!” Mike almost shouted.

“Then what? C’mon Mike, put me out of my misery, for God’s sake!”

“I – I’ve had a letter from Alex,” he blurted.

“Alex?” Rick stilled, feeling his heart starting to thump loudly in his ears. “Your old boyfriend, the one who wouldn’t move with you? That Alex?”

“Yes.” Mike’s voice was a mere whisper.

“What does he want?”

“He’s coming here – a convention – and he wants to see me.” Rick swallowed, dealing with his panic.

“And you want to see him?”

“No - yes – I don’t know! Rick, please, don’t look at me like that! I love you, YOU, not him! I mean it, I promise, it’s over between Alex and I! I haven’t seen him for three years, hell, we’ve hardly spoken to each other.”

“But you’d still like to see him?” Rick was apparently calming down but Michael was becoming more agitated. He took a deep breath.

“Yes,” he finally admitted. “I think I owe it to him –“

“You owe him nothing,” Rick snarled. “He left you, for crying out loud!”

“Well, technically, I left him,” Mike said, ever truthful.

“Aw, crap! You know what I mean, Mike! He didn’t care enough to come with you, to support your decision!”

“True, but . . .”

“But WHAT?” Mike breathed deeply again, anxious not to anger Rick any further.

“Well, I thought I should tell him about us,” he said in a rush. There was a long silence. Mike peeped through his eyelashes and was horrified to see Rick’s still face, his eyes swimming with unshed tears. He propped himself up on one elbow and gently stroked the laughter lines at the side of Rick’s right eye, catching one errant drop, which escaped despite Rick’s sterling efforts.

“Are you okay?” he asked softly, unnerved by the silence. Rick blinked and swallowed before he could speak.

“There are times when I love you so goddamned much it hurts,” he said finally, pulling Mike close. They kissed; a soft, gentle, fragile kiss, which spoke volumes between them.

“You scared me,” Rick said finally. “I don’t want to lose you Mike, I love you so much.”

“You’re not going to lose me,” he reassured him. “We’re together for as long as you want me.”

“That would be forever, then,” Rick said gruffly. Mike smiled, his whole face lighting up with pleasure.

“Don’t DO that,” Rick said, embarrassed by his own emotion.


“You know what!”

“No, I don’t.”

“You light up like a damn Christmas tree whenever I say something sa . . .” Rick bit off the word, but he was too late.

”Sappy,” Mike finished for him and pursed his lips.

“Stop pouting.”

“I am not pouting!”

“Yes, you are!”

“Am not!”

“Yes, you are.”

“I AM NOT POUTING!” Rick started to laugh and hugged him tight.

“You sound about twelve years old,” he remarked, coaxing a smile from his irate lover.

“Well, you think it’s sappy to say anything romantic!” he riposted.

“Romantic? ME?”

“Yes, you!” Anything further he wanted to say was stifled by a fierce kiss, then Rick slapped him none too gently on the ass and said,

“C’mon, we have things to do.”

* * * * * * * *

Having grabbed something to eat, Rick and Mike started looking at property. By late evening they were on overload and decided to leave the rest for the next day, discussing the various houses and apartments they’d seen as they drove home.

“I liked the loft,” Mike said, “it had a great view.”

“Yes, it was nice,” Rick agreed, “but I think it would be too small for both of us.”

“Yeah, probably,” Mike said, then his voice caught in his throat. A hire car was parked in the driveway behind Rick’s truck, the driver still sitting inside. He experienced a moment of panic and glanced nervously at Rick. Rick’s expression was calm but his voice was cold as he said,

“I take it that’s lover boy.”
“Rick, please,” Mike pleaded. “Please be nice. He’s only here for a couple of days and who knows, you might actually like him!”

“Doubt it,” Rick grumped but added, “I’ll be nice, I promise.”

Mike pulled his Mercedes up beside the truck and they both got out. Alex climbed out of the car and walked over to them.

“Hi, Mike,” he said, glancing at Rick. “It’s good to see you.”

“Good to see you, too, Alex,” Mike said. He turned to Rick and introduced them.

“Rick, this is Alex – Alex, Rick.” Alex extended his hand and Rick shook it.

“Nice to meet you, Rick.” A friendly smile accompanied the words then Alex turned to Mike.

“Come here, you,” he said, and pulled him into a bear hug, slapping him on the back. “You look great,” he said enthusiastically.

There was nothing of the lover about his demeanour, they could have been old college buddies, and Rick relaxed a little. He studied the man before him and found himself liking what he saw. Slightly shorter than Mike, a couple of years older, extremely good looking; brown hair, wonderful green eyes and a clever, kissable mouth. Trust Mike to pick a winner, he found himself thinking. Then he looked at Mike. He was smiling broadly as he greeted his friend, his blue eyes sparkling with happiness. Suddenly, Rick felt old and grey. These two beauties were made for each other.

There was some kind of argument developing between them and Mike turned to him for help.

“Alex is insisting on going to an hotel,” he said. Rick raised an eyebrow.

“There’s room for you here,” Mike turned back to his friend. “Rick, tell him!” He appealed to Rick, his eyes pleading irresistibly.

“Wouldn’t hear of it,” Rick said laconically. “C’mon, grab your bag and let’s get in off the street.”

“Well, if you’re sure – “ Alex still hesitated and Mike ended the discussion by lifting the bag from the back seat.

“We’re sure,” he said firmly and led the way into the house. Rick stuck his hands in his pockets and followed, leaving Alex with his flight bag. Round one to Mike, round two to Rick; Alex smiled and followed the tall, grey-haired man. He was quite a fox. Trust Mike to pick himself a winner, he thought.

Mike led Alex to the spare room and busied himself making up the bed. Alex quickly unpacked his bag, then touched Mike’s arm to get his attention. He was a little surprised when Mike jumped and coloured.

“So how long have you and Rick been together?” he asked, ignoring his reaction.

“Um – three months. I was going to tell you – “ Alex smiled.

“I know Mike, you were waiting for the right moment. Are you happy with him?”

“Oh, yes,” Mike sighed and Alex’s heart twisted when he saw the dreamy expression on his ex-lover’s face. He was disappointed that Mike was with someone new; he’d hoped they might have had time alone, maybe revive the spark between them, but he realized that was going to be impossible. Still, he was pleased his friend was happy and determined he wasn’t going to rock the boat. They finished what they were doing and headed back to the living room.

Rick had been busy in the kitchen, fighting to suppress the almost homicidal jealousy gnawing at him. He was also feeling very insecure. Mike had assured him he would not leave him, but, having seen Alex, he was no longer certain. There was an easy familiarity between them, even though they had been separated for so long, and they did look good together. What was Mike doing with him when he could have that gorgeous young man in his bed?

He was old, grizzled, shop worn . . .

He wondered what they were doing in the bedroom and found his fists clenched as he fought to stay calm. He had promised to be nice to Alex and he would be, for Mike’s sake. Maybe, if he was careful, Mike wouldn’t leave him after all. He grabbed a beer from the fridge and swallowed most of it. He heard the men heading down the hall and walked back into the living room.

“Like a beer?” he asked Alex, waving the bottle he was holding.

“Yes, please, that would be great.” Mike made a move towards the kitchen but Rick said,

“I’ll get it. I put some coffee on for you, Mike; should be done by now.” He wandered off and came back with two beers and a mug of coffee, which he handed to Mike. Alex was sitting in the armchair opposite the couch and Rick gave him his beer, then sat down beside Mike, facing him.

“S-o-o-o,” he drawled, “you in town for long, Alex?”

“Three days. The convention starts tomorrow and lasts for two full days and a final morning session. I’m flying out that evening.”

“And what are your plans?” Rick tried to sound casual, but both Mike and Alex recognised the challenge. Alex actually laughed.

“Well, I think they’ve just changed,” he said. He met the antagonistic brown eyes with a smile and Rick found himself reluctantly smiling back. Alex had more than his fair share of charm. He relaxed back against the couch and said,

“Well, obviously you and Mike have some catching up to do, so you’ll want to spend some time together. I’ll make myself scarce; I can spend time with John and his family.”

“We’ll all spend time together,” Mike said quickly. “I want you guys to get to know each other, you’ll like each other, I’m sure. Please?” Rick laughed and quirked an eyebrow at Alex. Alex smiled and shook his head.

“I know,” he said to Rick, “he hasn’t changed a bit.”

“What?” Mike asked, glancing at each of them. Alex laughed.

“Mike, you are such a sweetie,” he said fondly. “You go through life wanting everything to be all hearts and flowers. It’s a good way to get your heart broken.” Mike was upset by this and looked to Rick for reassurance.

“Alex is right,” Rick said, then pulled Mike to him, offering physical comfort. “ You can be a little naďve at times. Life can’t always work out the way you would like, but in this instance . . . “ He turned his head to look at Alex. “We’ll get to know each other and maybe we’ll end up as friends. After all, we have you in common.” Mike was so relieved that he pulled Rick’s mouth to his and kissed him ferociously. As the kiss deepened, Alex cleared his throat and said,

“Feeling like a gooseberry here – maybe I should find an hotel. We can always have dinner together.”

Mike released Rick and blushed slightly, but it was Rick who answered.

“Listen Alex, you’re welcome to stay here for the length of your visit. Mike has told me a little about you and I’m sorry you’ve only just found out about me, but I’m here, you’re here, and Mike’s happy. That’s what counts for my part. As long as you remember Mike’s with me now, there shouldn’t be a problem.”

“Fair enough. What should we do about dinner tonight?”

“Chinese take-out?” Rick suggested. “We’ll go somewhere fancy tomorrow,” he said quickly as Mike started to protest, “but I think we’d be better off at home until Alex and I are more comfortable with each other.”

Alex agreed and Mike went off to call in the order, knowing Rick’s preferences and remembering Alex’s from their time together.

“You love him,” Alex said softly, as soon as Mike had left the room.

“Yes, I do.”

“Don’t hurt him, he’s very – vulnerable.”

“You mean like you did?” Rick snapped, then was horrified when Alex’s eyes clouded and he looked away.

“I know I hurt him,” Alex whispered, making Rick strain to hear him. “But I hurt myself worse. I was too scared to take the risk at the time. Mike just follows his heart, does what he thinks is right, and then wonders why things don’t always fall into place for him. But I’m glad he’s got you now. He needs someone strong; someone to take care of him. But if you hurt him, I’ll come after you.”

“You’re still in love with him,” Rick said flatly.

“Oh, yes, how could anyone not love him? But I understand he’s with you and that he’s happy. Let’s be friends, hm?” Alex extended his hand and Rick gripped it. He decided he liked Alex, but there was still a nagging doubt about whether Mike knew his own heart. Alex was stiff competition.

* * * * * * * *

The three men lounged around the coffee table surrounded by the detritus of their take-out meal. Mike was sprawled on the couch, his head in Rick’s lap, and Alex was stretched out in the armchair. It was late and they had talked themselves out. Rick had sat back and listened while the two younger men reminisced, feeling a little left out, but content to watch Mike as he laughed with his friend. They had tried to include him in the conversation and he’d dropped in his own brand of caustic humour occasionally, but mostly he had just listened.

Alex was funny, witty, charming, intelligent and obviously well read. He had much more in common with Mike than Rick had and he tried not to give in to his feelings of insecurity.

“I am absolutely stuffed,” he said and yawned. “If you guys want to burn the midnight oil that’s up to you but I’m going to bed.” He eased Mike’s head from his lap and got to his feet, stretching. Alex took the hint and got to his feet also.

“I’ve got an early start in the morning,” he said. “I should get some sleep.” Mike staggered up and looked at the mess.

“I’ll just clean up here,” he said.

“Need some help?” Alex asked, and started to clear the table. Rick called goodnight and headed off to the bedroom, leaving them alone together. The men made quick work of disposing of the debris and decided to have a nightcap. Alex took Rick’s place on the couch and sipped at his Jack Daniels, Mike opting for his usual cognac.

“He’s really nice,” Alex said, looking at Mike.

“I’m glad you like him,” Mike replied softly.

“Sexy, too,” Alex commented. “If you ever get tired of him, send him my way.” Mike laughed and shook his head.

“Not a chance, I’m keeping him. What about you, Alex? Do you have anyone?”

“No, never found anyone who measured up to you.” His voice was so ineffably sad that Mike’s eyes filled with tears. Without thinking, he leaned over and kissed Alex’s cheek as a gesture of comfort. Alex groaned and turned his head, his mouth capturing Mike’s. His mouth opened in surprise, and Alex’s tongue slipped inside, plundering the moist heat. His arms went around his shoulders and he pulled Mike close. For a second, Mike responded, then he pulled back.

“No, Alex,” he said fiercely. “Please don’t do this.”

Rick padded away quietly. He had wandered down the hallway to get a glass of water and had frozen when he saw the two men in each other’s arms. His anger was cold, his heart thumping in his chest, the pain almost unbearable. He did not hear Mike’s words, nor did he see the two men split apart and Mike get quickly to his feet.

Alex left without another word and Mike carried their glasses into the kitchen before heading for the bathroom. He crept quietly into the bedroom, which was in darkness, and carefully slipped in beside Rick, who had every appearance of being sound asleep. He spooned up against him and was alarmed to feel a rigid back, the muscles quivering slightly.

“Rick?” he asked softly. “You awake?” Silence.

“Rick, I know you’re awake – what’s up?” Still silence. Mike felt a cold chill run up his spine.

“Please, Rick, talk to me. What’s the matter?”

Rick spun round and grabbed Mike’s shoulders, his fingers digging cruelly into his flesh.

“What’s the matter?” he hissed in cold fury. “What’s the MATTER? You’re the matter, he’s the matter, you kissing him is the matter!” Rick thrust him away and turned his back, sitting on the side of the bed. Mike was horrified.

“Wh-what do you mean?” he asked. Rick ran his hands through his hair.

“Give me strength!” he groaned. “I SAW you, Mike – you and Alex, on the couch. It didn’t take you long, did it?” Mike recoiled at the ugly tone, but knew he had to fix this, and quickly.

“Yes, I k-kissed Alex,” he said, distressingly honest, “but it d-didn’t mean anything. He was upset and I – I . . .”

“You what? Kissed it better? Damn you, Mike, you were halfway down his throat!”

“It w-wasn’t like that, Rick, honestly.” Mike’s hands touched Rick’s bare back and he flinched away.

“Don’t touch me,” Rick said fiercely. He was fighting himself, realising how upset Mike was, but if he let him touch him he’d be lost. He had to do this, make the break quick and clean, give Mike a chance to get back with Alex. Desperately wanting to take Mike in his arms, he hardened his heart instead. He dragged in a shaky breath and fought for control.

“You were right, Mike,” he said. “I do like Alex. I can see why you would be attracted to him, love him. He’s young, smart, sexy – and he’s still crazy about you. You look good together; you should BE together. I’m way too old for you. It was just a dream, you and I – Alex and you, that’s reality.”

“No, no, NO!” Mike’s voice rose to a shout. “Rick, please, please. I LOVE you, not Alex. I want to be with YOU, we have plans . . .”

“Had plans, Mike. I’m not sure we should go ahead with them, at least not until you know your own mind. You kissed him, Mike, really kissed him. There’s something not settled between you and I won’t be second best. You know he still loves you, don’t you? He told me, but any fool can see it. You have to know what you want, Mike. I know you thought you wanted me, but are you really sure?”

Mike’s blood ran cold. All he really heard was Rick saying ‘Had plans’. He was changing his mind, backing out of living together, leaving him . . . Despite appearances Mike had been under stress all evening. He had been pleased to see Alex, of course he had, and he was happy that he and Rick seemed to get along. Yes, they had laughed and reminisced but he had been acutely aware of Rick all the time. He had been so good about letting Alex stay, had seemed to warm to him, but Mike had felt the underlying tension. And now Rick was saying things about him and Alex . . . He wasn’t going to lose Rick, he couldn’t, he was his very life! Something inside him snapped.

He launched himself at Rick’s back, grabbing at his arms, shaking him, screaming at him. He was sobbing, repeating over and over how much he loved him, how he didn’t want Alex. Rick was unresponsive at first, trying not to let down his defenses, hoping Mike would see the sense of what he had been saying. Instead, Mike was growing more and more hysterical, clawing at him, begging him, his voice choking on tears when he wasn’t screaming. He was going to make himself ill, Rick thought, and knew he had to calm him down. They would have to try and sort this out later when Mike would be sensible.

He turned to the distraught young man and gathered him close, holding him against his chest. With a sob of relief, Mike collapsed against him, kissing any part of him he could reach, his chest, his arms, his hands, searching desperately for his mouth.

“Hey, hey, calm down,” Rick said soothingly, rocking him gently. “It’s okay, I get the message. Come on, stop now, it’s alright.” Mike continued to sob, babbling incoherently.

“D-don’t l-leave me, p-please, R-Rick, I l-love you so m-much.”

“I know you do, babe, it’s okay, ssh now, there’s no need for all this.” Rick rubbed his back soothingly, rocking and crooning until he started to calm down. He made him lie back against the pillows and went off to the bathroom. He came back with a washcloth and the tooth mug full of water. Gently he wiped the tear-stained face, brushing the damp tendrils of hair from his forehead, and dropped a tender kiss on the trembling lips.

“Here,” he said, holding the plastic cup to his mouth. “Sip this. I said sip, slowly.” Mike followed his instructions, his breath still hitching with stifled sobs. When he was finally calm Rick lay on the bed beside him, his back propped against the headboard. He put an arm round Mike’s waist and pulled him close, cradling his head against his shoulder. Apart from the occasional shudder, Mike lay quietly. Rick said nothing, just held him close, occasionally bending his head to drop a kiss on the tousled blond hair.

Mike finally raised his head and looked up through his long eyelashes, his blue eyes still blurred with tears.

“I’m sorry,” he said softly.

“No,” Rick said gently. “I’m the one who’s sorry. I guess I was jealous. Alex is a very nice guy and you two look very good together. “ He swallowed and said painfully, “I’ll understand if you want him back. I’m too old for you, you should have someone younger, good looking, not grey and tired.”

Mike suddenly realised how insecure Rick felt. He pulled him down into a tender, loving kiss.

“I love you, Rick. I love everything about you. I’ll always be fond of Alex but I love you. He’s not a threat, believe me. The kiss didn’t mean anything, truly it didn’t. I was just trying to comfort him, he was so sad, and he got a little carried away. He knows I love you th-that’s why he’s sad. Please forgive me, please say you’ll stay. Don’t leave me, Rick, p-please.” His voice was breaking again, his eyes filling with more tears. Rick felt like he was drowning in their blue depths and knew himself lost.

“I don’t want to leave you,” he said. “I love you more than life itself. But I want you to be happy, to have a future. You and Alex . . .”

“There is no me and Alex,” Mike said fiercely. “Not any more. Just us, you and me, forever.”

Rick bent his head and dropped a light kiss on each swollen eyelid, on the hot, flushed cheeks, and finally captured the full lower lip. Mike opened his mouth and Rick’s tongue slid inside, tasting the salt of his tears. Rick sighed softly.

“You and me, then, forever.”

To be continued . . .

© j.d.davis 2003