Mike sighed as he looked at the piles of papers on his desk. Final exams to grade mainly, and endless administrative forms. Another week to go, he thought, then he would be on vacation. He loaded the exam scripts into his briefcase to take home with him. He could start on them this evening, maybe get ahead of the game. Then he set to and tackled the administrative work, although his mind had a tendency to wander.
Rick worked from home most of the time, but in the last few weeks he’d done more work on the house than he had spent on his business. They had moved into the sprawling ranch house two months ago and Rick had set to fixing it up. He was an excellent carpenter and so far had repaired the deck, fixed leaking window frames and re-hung a couple of doors. Mike helped him at weekends. He’d painted their bedroom and scrubbed down the kitchen, helped Rick put up shelves in the den for all their books and generally made himself useful.
He was blissfully happy. Rick had tried to persuade him that they should take things slowly, but he was totally convinced that he and Rick would be together forever. When Rick had told him he was moving, it had been Mike’s idea that they live together. Rick had eventually agreed although he had persuaded Mike to rent out his house, not sell it. Ever practical, he had pointed out that if things didn’t work out between them, at least Mike would still have somewhere to go. Rick was making the move anyway so he had nothing to lose. Mike’s thoughts continued to wander, reflecting over the five months he and Rick had been together.
His ex-lover, Alex, had visited them when Rick was down to house hunt with him and that had caused them to examine their relationship. Rick had taken one look at Alex (who was gorgeous, Mike reflected) and decided that he and Mike should get back together. He had had a hard time convincing Rick that this was the last thing he wanted to do. It had also shown Mike that Rick was still not one hundred per cent certain of him. He kept referring to the age difference – he was twelve years older – and thought he was holding Mike back from some bright and glorious future with the man of his dreams. As if! Rick was the man of his dreams!
He still could not believe that they were now living together, that Rick was there every evening when he got home from work, in his bed every night. Which reminded him, Rick would not be there tonight. He had gone back to Washington to deal with some business matters that needed his personal attention and Mike would be alone for the first time since they had moved into the house. Hence the exam papers to occupy his time.
Mike’s cell phone rang as he was driving out to the house.
“Hello,” he answered, knowing it was Rick.
“Hey, how’s it going?” The familiar gruff voice tickled his ear.
“Fine, I’m just on my way home, sitting in traffic as usual. How about you?”
“The same – I’m on Dupont Circle and have been for the last fifteen minutes. I am s-o-o-o glad I don’t have to do this every day anymore.”
“How were your meetings?”
“Ah, same old, same old. I’m having dinner with my lawyer tonight and might be able to finish up early. If I do, I could be home tomorrow evening.”
“That would be great! I was just thinking I didn’t want to be all alone for too long! Besides, I’ve got plans for tomorrow night.” Rick smiled at that but merely said,
“Michael, it was only going to be two nights at most! I’m doing my best to be back early but don’t really count on it, okay?”
“No, no, that’s okay. I didn’t mean anything. I just miss you.”
“Miss you, too. Try not to get into trouble while I’m gone.” Mike laughed. What possible trouble could he find in the next twenty-four hours?
“Ah, we’re moving,” Rick’s voice changed. “Better go. Love you!”
“Love you, too.”
Mike closed the phone and continued his drive out into the country. The property Rick had bought was a good fifteen miles out of town, well off the beaten track. An old ranch house with several acres of land attached. Rough pasture and tracts of forestry surrounded it; there was even a stream-fed pond where Rick could fish. Their nearest neighbour was five miles away. Rick loved the quiet isolation and Mike was adjusting to it. It was pleasant to return from the busy city to peace and quiet, even if there were times when he found it too quiet.
Late that evening Mike was in the library grading papers, the inevitable cup of coffee at his elbow. He had put in a few hours of solid work and was ready for a break. The phone ringing was a welcome interruption and he rose and stretched before answering it. He assumed it was Rick telling him to get some sleep, doing his mother-hen act.
“Hey,” he answered, expecting the familiar voice.
“M-Mike?” a distraught voice stammered.
“Alex?” Mike could not keep the surprise out of his voice. “What’s up?”
“Can you talk?” Alex asked. “Is Rick there?”
“Actually, Rick’s not here, he’s in Washington, but I could talk to you if he was here, you know that! I thought we sorted this out?” Mike’s voice held a trace of impatience, then he realised how abrupt he sounded. “Sorry,” he said more gently. “What’s the matter?”
“I really need to talk to someone,” Alex replied.
“I’m listening. C’mon Alex, you can talk to me. What’s happened?”
“I’m in trouble,” he said. “I told you I met someone a few weeks back, didn’t I?”
“Yes, and I was happy for you. Tony, right?”
“Yes, Tony. He’s a nice guy – nothing like you, of course – but nice.” Mike let the comment about himself pass and merely said,
“Did you guys have a fight?”
“No, I wish that was all it was. Tony’s in hospital. He’s – he’s sick, Mike!” Mike felt himself go cold.
“Alex, you don’t mean -?” He couldn’t even say the word.
“Yes. He started feeling sick not long after we got together and went to the doctor. He told me he thought he was coming down with the flu. He became really ill a couple of days ago, he has pneumonia.” Alex swallowed convulsively. “He’s been diagnosed with HIV and it looks like it’s full blown AIDS!”
“Oh, God!” Mike could find nothing else to say to comfort his ex.
“Mike, what am I going to do?” Alex sounded truly desperate.
“You guys took precautions, right?” Mike finally asked. There was no answer. “Right?” he demanded again.
“N-not always,” Alex’s voice trailed into a sob. Mike hissed at his stupidity.
“Have you been tested?”
“Yesterday, but it takes six weeks, you know that! I think I’m gonna go crazy waiting!”
“Come here,” Mike responded without thinking. “Alex, pack a bag and come here. You shouldn’t be alone at a time like this. Come for the weekend.”
“I can’t,” Alex said. “Rick would never stand for it!”
“I’ll square it with Rick. I’ll expect you tomorrow, no arguments.” There was a telling silence, then,
“Thanks, Mike. You really are a true friend.”
“I should hope so. Try and get some sleep, Alex. Call me in the morning and tell me when your flight arrives; I’ll meet you at the airport.”
Mike put the phone down and went back to his desk. He sat with his elbows on the desk, his hands propping his forehead, stunned by Alex’s news. He had gone with his first instinct, wanting to comfort his friend, but now he wondered how he was going to square it with Rick. It was too late to call him now; he’d have to speak to him in the morning, knowing he was presenting him with a fait accompli. He just hoped Rick would be sympathetic.
The next morning, Mike tried to call Rick without success. His cell phone wasn’t responding and he’d forgotten which hotel he was staying at. He knew it was a Sheraton, but there were several to call and he realised Rick would have left for his meeting before he could be tracked down. He hoped he could contact him before Alex arrived so he would be prepared. Alex called to say he would be arriving at three in the afternoon, desperately seeking reassurance that it was okay for him to come. Mike calmed him down and arranged to meet him.
Mike tried to reach Rick several more times between classes, without success. By the time he was heading for the airport to collect Alex he knew there was no point in calling again. Rick’s cell phone would be off during his meetings and while he flew back. The timing was terrible. He’d arrive to find Alex already there and he would be furious. Alex was the only subject on which Rick became irrational. Mike knew it would revive all his old insecurities, but how could he abandon his friend at a time like this?
* * * * * * * *
Rick drove up the dirt road to the ranch house at nine-thirty that evening. He’d had a long day and was bone weary, but he didn’t regret pushing the timetable so he could get back home. It was Friday night and the weekend stretched ahead. For some reason, Mike had made Friday nights special early in their relationship. Mostly, they either went out for dinner to a decent restaurant, or Mike cooked something exotic and they shared a bottle (or two) of expensive wine. Mike liked to dress the table with the best linen, china and crystal, and usually lit candles. Other nights they had take out and beer – Mike always kept him guessing, but it was always fun.
The evening would progress from dinner to a shared bath and leisurely lovemaking, sometimes a shower and a fast, hard fuck, depending on the mood; sometimes they played games. Rick had thought about what Mike would have dreamed up for him as he travelled, hoping that it was going to be the romantic dinner and leisurely lovemaking; he really was very tired. But Mike had specifically mentioned ‘plans’ for this evening, which usually meant something a little more strenuous. Well, he’d just go with the flow and tap some extra energy reserves if necessary.
He was surprised to find the living room in darkness, the dining room bare of any preparations, the kitchen quiet; no lingering scents of something exotic and spicy. Rick had parked next to Mike’s car in the carport, so he knew he was home. He had expected an exuberant welcome and was disconcerted by the silence in the dark house. He dropped his bag and called Mike’s name, but decided against switching on the main lights. He turned on a lamp by the couch and yelled again.
When there was no response he became seriously worried. He checked the kitchen, the bathroom and the bedroom without finding his missing lover. A cursory glance into the guestroom brought him up short. The bed was made up and there was a bag on it, the contents not yet unpacked. So, they had an unexpected visitor? The bag looked vaguely familiar, and a check of the label confirmed that it was Alex’s. A cold, hard fury gripped Rick.
He made his way out to the back deck and, sure enough, Mike and Alex were sitting with their heads together, each with a drink in hand. Rick became irrationally angry at that; Mike should be fetching him a drink and generally fussing over him, not cosying up to his ex!
“What’s going on?” he demanded, his angry voice louder than he’d intended, making Alex and Mike jump. Alex paled and made to rise, but Mike put his hand on his shoulder and prevented him from doing so. He got to his feet and went over to Rick.
“You made it!” he exclaimed with obvious pleasure, moving in for their normal welcome home kiss.
“Apparently,” Rick snarled, ignoring the arms held out to him. “And you obviously weren’t expecting me! Would you care to explain what the fuck is going on?”
“You didn’t tell him?” Alex said, leaping to his feet. “Oh, Michael, you idiot, why didn’t you . . .?” His voice trailed away under the ferocious glare from Rick and he looked helplessly at Mike.
“Tell me what?” The words were bitten off and Rick glared at Mike.
“Um – could we just – er – Rick . . .” Mike stuttered and stumbled, his eyes pleading, but for once Rick found them resistible.
“I need a drink,” he said and waited for Mike to go for it. Instead, he moved closer to Alex in a protective gesture, more anxious that Rick shouldn’t tear him apart than to do Rick’s bidding. Rick watched him with cold eyes, the pain in his gut feeding his anger. He turned on his heel and stormed back into the house.
“Stay here,” Mike said to Alex, then hurried after him. He found Rick in the dining room busy with the Scotch and water.
“Rick, please?’ he pleaded. “I can explain, honestly.”
“Oh, I’m sure you can,” Rick said sarcastically, “and I’m sure it will be honestly, but I’m not sure I want to hear it! Go away, Mike, go back to your – to Alex.” Mike lingered in the doorway, watching as Rick threw his first drink down and poured himself another.
“Are you still here?” he hissed.
“I want to talk to you,” Mike said, approaching him slowly, a tentative hand stretched out to touch him.
“Don’t you touch me, d’ya hear? Don’t try and sweet-talk your way out of this! I came home a day early – at great inconvenience to myself, I might add - because you said you were lonely. You didn’t stay lonely for long, did you?”
“Rick, it’s really not how it looks,” Mike tried again. “Alex called me last night – “
“Oh, so this was a last minute rendezvous?” Rick interrupted. “You whine to me one minute, then rush back to your boyfriend the next! Why? You can’t do without it two nights in a row, is that it? Damn you, Mike, what the FUCK are you playing at?” The angry words flung at him made Michael wince.
“You’re being unreasonable,” he said softly, trying to calm the angry man down. “If you’d just let me explain, you’ll see there’s NOTHING going on!”
“Sorry, but that won’t wash! I saw you outside, but more than that, you haven’t given me a thought all day, have you? Far too busy with your ex-boyfriend to spare a second for your lover! You were right, there is NOTHING going on!”
“Wh-what are you talking about?” Mike was confused. Rick had only just arrived, had refused to greet him, had just gone off the deep end when he saw Alex. Although it was not unexpected that Rick would be upset and a little annoyed by Alex’s presence, he had hoped he would at least listen to the perfectly reasonable explanation. Instead, he was being accused of neglecting him, of paying more attention to Alex. How was he supposed to pay attention to Rick when he wouldn’t let him near him, wouldn’t let him touch him?
The puzzled look on his face was the last evidence Rick needed. He slammed the drink down on the table and walked back towards the front door. He grabbed his bag off the floor and turned to leave.
“At least I don’t have to pack!” he said bitterly. Mike was stupefied.
“Y-you’re leaving? What’s going on, Rick? I don’t understand any of this? What did I do? Alex just needed to talk, that’s all. Rick . . .?” Rick ignored the outburst and pulled open the front door. Mike was running towards him and he held out a hand to stop him.
“B-but why?” Mike wailed, his confusion evident. Despite everything, Rick spelled it out for him, his bitter words grating through a throat clogged with anger and suppressed tears of disappointment.
“It’s Friday night, Mike. I came home specially.” Then he walked out and slammed the door. Mike stood frozen, a look of total horror on his face.
* * * * * * * *
Rick stumbled to his truck and drove off, his anger cooling as he left the ranch house and Mike behind. After a few miles, he pulled over, unable to concentrate on driving, unable to see through his tear-blurred eyes. He loved Mike and the pain of his apparent betrayal was devastating. This was the second time he’d caught Mike and Alex together. The first time Mike had persuaded him that there was nothing between them, that it was all over, but he had been persuaded by Mike’s tears and emotion, not by logic. He still had lingering doubts, and now they were apparently reinforced.
Of course Mike would have a sensible explanation. He didn’t doubt that; he didn’t doubt that Michael was faithful to him, at least physically. But Alex had called and Mike had dropped everything for him, including his plans for their Friday night. It hurt; he was really hurt, and he was very, very angry. He determined that he would not see Mike until he had figured out what Rick meant. Maybe Alex would be able to advise him. Whatever Alex’s problem was, and it was probably genuine, Mike had to get his priorities straight. Rick would not accept being second best, an afterthought, someone Mike settled for!
He liked Alex, that wasn’t the problem. He loved Mike, couldn’t imagine a future without him, but Mike had to make up his mind. He couldn’t imagine a future with Mike that included Alex whenever he picked up the phone or wrote a letter. That was Rick’s prerogative. Mike had to understand this or there could be no future for them.
Finally, calmer, Rick continued back into town and checked into the Regency Motel. He smiled ironically as he was allocated room fifteen; this was where he had first spent a night with Mike. His sub-conscious was playing tricks on him, he thought, bringing him back to where it had all started. A little voice whispered inside him that Mike would figure it out and come looking for him there. He would have to wait and see. He certainly couldn’t go back to the house, not as things stood.
Mike heard the truck leave in a daze. Rick’s parting words had cut him to the quick and he was overwhelmed with guilt. He had been so absorbed with Alex’s problems that he had, indeed, forgotten about Rick. Rick was always fair; he could be hard, Mike knew from experience, but he was also the kindest, gentlest, most considerate person Mike had ever met. How could he have been so thoughtless? He berated himself far worse than Rick had, but it was probably too late. Rick had taken his bag and left. What was he going to do? He had to explain things to Rick, apologise for his thoughtlessness, put things right. He was NOT going to let Rick go. He loved him, damnit!
“Michael?” Alex’s voice was tentative and he hovered in the doorway of the dining room. “Is everything okay?” Mike turned to him and his expression of abject misery tore at Alex’s heartstrings. In a couple of strides he was beside Mike, pulling him into his arms in a consoling embrace.
“What happened?” he asked softly, his hands rubbing Mike’s back in comfort. Mike tried to speak and found he couldn’t. He started to sob and buried his face in Alex’s shoulder, letting the other man hold him close.
“He’s gone, Alex,” he said woefully once he could speak. “He w-wouldn’t listen to me. He just picked up his bag and walked out! Oh God, what am I gonna do?” This last question was almost screamed and Alex held him tighter.
“Calm down,” he said gently. “Getting hysterical isn’t going to help. C’mon Mike, let’s sit down and talk this over sensibly. You need to tell me exactly what happened.”
Allowing Alex to lead him to the couch, Mike collapsed in a tearful heap, unable to speak coherently. From his garbled sentences Alex gathered that Mike was a piece of shit, Rick was wonderful, and he’d totally fucked up! While not exactly enlightening, at least Alex realised that Michael was feeling guilty about his behaviour. As he had contributed to the problem, Alex did his best to try and sort things out.
First priority was to get Mike calm and coherent so he could find out exactly what happened. This took a considerable length of time, as Alex did not have the same soothing effect on Mike that Rick had. He did his best and finally managed to piece together what had and hadn’t been said. Rick still did not know why Alex was there, but Alex was shrewd enough to realise that his presence was not the actual problem. He was even more aware than Mike was that Rick felt insecure in his presence, despite his best efforts at friendship. This actually had very little to do with Alex but a great deal to do with Mike and Rick’s relationship.
Mike relied heavily on Rick but had not appreciated how much re-assurance Rick required. Mike had realised part of it when Alex had visited them the first time but without his catalytic presence Mike had slipped back into his old dependent ways. Similarly, Rick’s insecurities had immediately manifested themselves with Alex’s presence both the first time and now.
Alex gently mentioned these obvious facts to Mike, who agreed without reservation and, in Alex’s opinion, not much true recognition of the problem. Mike was too obsessed with how he was going to get Rick back to listen properly. Finally, Alex spoke to him sharply.
“For God’s sake, Mike, pay attention! It’s no good sitting there wailing and gnashing your teeth. I’m perfectly certain Rick will come back, but only if you get yourself sorted out. Rick has every right to be upset with you! You’ve taken him for granted and think you can get away with anything as long as you bat your eyelashes at the right time! That’s eminently unfair to Rick – you have to give him more credit than that! And what about you? You’re highly intelligent and perfectly capable, why are you so dependent on Rick? You can stand on your own two feet, how about giving something back to him? Why must he always be the strong one?”
That set Mike thinking and he had to agree with Alex’s assessment. Once Alex had persuaded him not to go chasing immediately after Rick, they talked long into the night, switching between Mike’s situation and Alex’s problem, a cathartic experience for them both, until finally they gave up and went to sleep. Mike felt better as he fell into bed. He had been way out of line and would sort things out with Rick, tell him he was sorry and would do better in future. Then he had a moment’s freezing doubt. What if Rick wouldn’t speak to him? He panicked for a moment but then realized that Rick would never be that unfair. He’d been angry tonight, but he was fair and true and honest and straight, he would let Mike talk to him . . . Mike drifted off comforted by these thoughts.
Rick lay in bed but failed to sleep. His anger had cooled and he was beginning to realise how unjust he had been to Michael. He hadn’t let him talk, and that was grossly unfair. He remembered Mike pleading with him, saying there was an explanation but he hadn’t given him the chance to explain. He still thought Mike needed to get his priorities straight but he knew in his heart he couldn’t give up on him. He loved him, desperately. He tossed and turned as he examined his own feelings. After hours of agonizing, he came to a decision. If Michael wanted Alex in his life, then he would accept that – as long as he could be in his life too. He didn’t like it, wasn’t even sure he could handle it, but any compromise was better than losing Mike.
It wasn’t Mike’s fault that he couldn’t handle Alex’s presence, Mike wasn’t responsible for his own insecurities. In fact, he had tried to reassure Rick at every opportunity. He had seemed so happy to see him, smiling and reaching out to him when he arrived. And what had he done? He had stupidly lost his temper, been cruel and hurtful. He had no right to expect Mike to cut off his friend. And as for getting upset because their plans had been disrupted – that was so childish he cringed when he thought about it! He would call him in the morning; that’s if Mike would talk to him. Mike was good and honest and very, very forgiving. Of course he would talk to him, that was a certainty. Comforted, Rick finally drifted off to sleep.
* * * * * * * *
Rick slept long and deeply, waking very late the next morning. Peering at his watch, he realised it was after ten. He leapt out of bed and grabbed the phone. He was about to dial the house when he suddenly panicked. What if Mike wouldn’t talk to him? What if he’d turned to Alex and found he preferred to return to his old lover? Did Rick have the right to interfere after what he had done?
He replaced the phone in its cradle, showered and shaved in record time and made a cup of coffee while he tried to calm his nerves. He remembered Mike’s disgust at the instant coffee that first morning. His insistence on the most expensive beans, which he ground himself, had been cause for some good-natured teasing when they had first moved in together. Rick looked into the inky depths of the less than fragrant liquid he had just made and poured it down the sink, just as Mike had done that very first time. The memory was sharp and poignant, and Rick felt tears prickling the back of his eyes. Taking a shuddering breath, he reached for the phone again.
“Hello?” The unfamiliar voice shocked Rick momentarily. “Hello?” the voice said again and Rick cleared his throat.
“Rick, is that you? Thank God! Where are you?” His voice was tense.
“I’m at the Regency – is Mike there?”
“No, he’s out looking for you, he’s been gone for hours. Rick, listen, I’m so sorry to be the cause of this problem.”
“Alex – “ Rick said but Alex rushed on.
“Mike was supposed to let you know I was coming to visit. He told me last night that he couldn’t get through to you; that he’d tried all morning to reach you. Please try and understand. It’s not what you think, honestly. Can’t we just talk about this?”
“Alex,” Rick tried again. “Listen, I’m sorry about what happened, too. Where is Michael, do you know?” He heard Alex drag a shuddering breath into his lungs. When he spoke again, his voice was full of relief.
“I’m not sure exactly,” he responded. “He said he was going to look for your truck. If he checks in I’ll tell him where you are, but he forgot his cell phone.”
Rick replaced the phone and sat deep in thought. Several hours passed unnoticed, Rick pacing the floor or lying on the bed, his mind in turmoil. He didn’t want to go back to the house and be alone with Alex. He didn’t dare leave until Mike showed up, if he showed up. Then he heard a car pull up. The door slammed and he heard the electronic beep of the lock. He shivered as he remembered the first time Mike had come looking for him to this exact same room. As before, he went to the door before Mike knocked. He flung it open and was devastated to find no one waiting there. A few doors away, a guest was dragging bags out of the trunk of a car. His disappointment was shattering.
He closed the door and went to lie on the bed. He had been so certain it was Mike. He felt the tears gather and they pooled before leaking slowly out of the corners of his eyes. He lay motionless, breathing shakily as the tears flowed. Mike should have found him by now. He couldn’t even call Alex again. If Mike had given up and returned to the house, or checked in, Alex would have told him where he was. Maybe he didn’t want to find him after all. No, Alex had said he was out looking for him. He went suddenly cold. Perhaps he’d had an accident! Should he call the authorities?
He staggered off the bed and groped for the phone. He was just trying to calm himself enough to deal with the unending bureaucracy he would have to face when there was a light tap on the door. He dropped the phone and ran, praying incoherently. He flung the door open and there was Mike, standing forlornly, his eyes fixed on his shoes, just like the first time. The force of his relief was too much for Rick. He was emotionally spent and the sudden joy following on his acute despair was too much. He wanted to pull Mike into his arms and kiss him but, to his utmost surprise, he felt his knees give way and he sank to the floor.
Mike made a startled noise and came quickly to his side, closing the door behind him. Rick was on his knees, his arms hugging himself, dizzy with relief. Mike had never anticipated this. He had spent hours driving around, searching wildly for Rick’s truck, planning to grovel apologetically and hoping Rick would forgive him. Alex had been very stern with him the previous night and he accepted full responsibility for what had happened. When he had finally remembered to call Alex, his relief that Rick had called had been overwhelming. As he headed for the motel, he had swung between despair that Rick would never speak to him again and hope that he would be forgiven. At no time did he imagine that Rick, his Rick would be anything other than strong and forceful. Seeing him like this made him realise the truth of Alex’s words.
Rick felt Mike’s arms around him, gathering him close He opened his mouth to say something, but instead found he could only give a harsh, gasping sob. He struggled to control himself; Mike didn’t need this, he had to be strong, but despite himself he gave in to his overpowering emotions. Racked with suppressed sobs, he hung onto Mike like a drowning man.
Mike gathered his distraught lover into his arms, sitting on the floor and pulling him to his chest. It felt strange for him to be the one offering comfort, soothing the one who had always taken care of him. But it was his responsibility and it felt so right. Rick didn’t always have to be the caregiver, he deserved to be loved and cherished just as much as Mike. He felt terrible that he had brought Rick to this condition through his thoughtlessness.
He cradled him in his arms, rubbing his back and murmuring inanities until Rick calmed. Then he raised the tear-stained face and kissed him with such tenderness that Rick’s eyes once more filled with tears. He tried to speak but Mike placed a gentle finger on his lips.
“I love you,” he said softly. His own eyes were wet and he said softly, “I am so, so sorry I hurt you! I’m a selfish, mean-spirited shit and I don’t deserve you!”
“No, it’s me,” Rick managed to gasp through his tear-roughened throat. “I was jealous and childish and I’m the one who’s sorry!”
They kissed again, then Mike said,
“Um – shouldn’t we get up off the floor?” That brought a short laugh from Rick and he moved away from his embrace. Mike got to his feet and Rick extended a hand to him.
“Give the old man a hand!” he said, and Mike slapped his arm.
“Don’t EVER say that again!” he said, then pulled him to his feet and into his arms. They moved over to the bed and lay down holding each other.
“Alex told me where you were,” Mike said, “when I checked the house to see if y-you’d c-called. He t-told me to get my s-sad a-ass over here, d-double quick!” Mike’s stammer was showing in his speech, as it always did when he was upset or stressed. But he was also close to tears, as emotionally exhausted as Rick.
“I th-thought I would never f-find you,” he said brokenly. “I thought you’d l-left me for g-good. I c-couldn’t b-believe you actually c-called! I’m s-so sorry, Rick.”
Rick realised Mike needed to relieve the stress, just as he himself had done, so he did not say anything, just held him close and let him cry. There were no hysterics this time, just tears, and they finally stopped. To break the mood and reassure Mike of his feelings, he said softly in his ear,
“Oh, we are s-o-o-o going to have make-up sex!” Mike chuckled, then gasped as Rick’s hands slid down his body. With deft fingers he undid his shirt buttons and trailed a row of kisses down his chest. Mike moaned softly, feeling his cock immediately start to harden. He stiffened even more as he felt Rick’s hand rub over his erection through the material of his pants.
"I love you, Rick," he murmured, and kissed him with passionate need.
"I love you, too, Mike."
Mike let out a sigh of relief and slid his hand between them, Rick inhaling sharply with a groan as Mike cupped his erection through his jeans...then moved his palm up and down, massaging him. Rick let out a growl, which made Mike smile.
"I want you," Rick whispered. Mike nodded wordlessly and they hastily shed their clothes.
"I want you," Rick said again, his voice husky with need, sending shivers down Mike’s spine. He moved down Rick's body, tasting, suckling, nipping gently, then he ran his tongue over his dick and tasted the hot, silky skin. Rick gasped and grabbed his head, his fingers carding through his hair. Mike moved down, his tongue laving his balls, taking them into his mouth, suckling gently before moving up to swallow the head of his cock.
"Mike...Mike...Oh my God, Mike..." Rick’s voice was aching with need and he groaned as Mike’s fingers caressed him with delicate, feathery touches. As he
slid his fingers slowly past the perineum, he deepened his touch, massaging as he went, and when he reached Rick's entrance, his whole body rose to meet his hand, seeking more. Mike moaned with him, thrilled as always that he could do this to Rick.
"We need lube, Mike," Rick whispered, catching his breath, and he broke off briefly to find something suitable. Rick had none with him, so Mike grabbed the small bottle of complimentary conditioner from the bathroom. When Rick saw what he had, he smiled. Mike spread conditioner on his fingers and set the open bottle on the nightstand.
Watching Rick's expression, he slid his hand down then rubbed his puckered entrance before sliding a finger inside. Rick groaned and Mike answered with a moan of deep desire as he worked his finger deeper into that hot tightness. Moving slowly, he teased the muscles loose then slid another finger inside.
"Mike..." Rick murmured, pulling him into a deep kiss as Mike's fingers
opened him more. “I want you inside me – now!” Mike’s fingers continued to stroke him until he found his sweet spot. Rick moaned throatily and shifted impatiently.
"Mike now, please," Rick begged, moving restlessly, his voice aching with need.
Mike smiled and slowly removed his fingers, then reached for the bottle and coated himself. He placed the head of his cock into position and pushed past the ring, hearing Rick gasp, his body going rigid for a moment before relaxing into him. Oh, God, that hot, tight ass. Mike closed his eyes as he slowly pushed himself inside, rocking slightly. Mike heard Rick moaning his name over and over as he sheathed himself inside him, the intensity making him groan in response. He buried himself deeper and deeper, angling his hips, grinding. He
gasped suddenly as Rick tightened and squeezed.
"Rick! Don't...do...that. You’ll make me come . . ."
Rick pushed back, opening himself to his lover. Mike ground against him and Rick felt him circling his hips, opening him more, then suddenly thrust harder and Rick howled as he hit his sweet spot.
"Oh yes, baby, take it!" Mike whispered, beginning to rock now, having found the right angle and depth. "You feel so fucking good, Rick."
"Mike," Rick groaned, "fuck me, fuck me now." Mike’s control slipped as he heard him and he thrust harder and faster, watching with frenzied need as Rick’s head arched back. He closed his hand over Rick’s cock, setting up a matching rhythm with firm, quick strokes.
"Ah yes, Mike! Yes. Do it, do it! That's it." Rick closed his eyes, panting
heavily, urging Mike with breathless words to fuck him harder, faster, harder . . .
Mike pumped feverishly, sweat dripping from him, his body pounding against his lover’s. Rick tightened once more and he was over the edge.
"Oh God!" he cried out and slapped his hips against Rick's ass, harder, faster. Rick's body spasmed and went rigid.
"Oh my God, Mike!!" Rick howled and he was pouring over his hand, his body jerking with each spurt. Mike gasped, the sight of Rick coming bringing him his orgasm. He thrust even harder.
"Yes Rick...ohGod, ohGod!!" and his semen poured into his lover.
He slumped against Rick's chest, gasping for breath.
"Oh fuck, Rick," he whispered, his body still shuddering.
“Yes, you could say that,” Rick grinned in reply.
They lay together in a tangled, sweaty heap until the aftershocks calmed and their breathing regulated. Mike eased out carefully and flopped to the side. Rick smiled his ‘cat who got the cream’ grin, pulled him into the crook of his shoulder, turned his head and whispered in Mike’s ear.
“I love you,” he said softly. “And I adore make-up sex, but let’s not fight anymore, hm?”
“Love you, too,” Mike muttered, turning to kiss him. “I hate fighting . . .” His voice trailed away and Rick knew he was on the verge of sleep. He nudged him sharply and said,
“You’d better call Alex and let him know you found me.”
“Later . . .” Mike’s voice was swallowed by a soft snore. Rick grinned and reached for the phone.
To be continued . . .
© j.d.davis 2003