by A.S. Mara
“Well?” Irene asked, eyes bright.
Shaz hesitated, and shot another glance across the room to where the subject of their discussion sat: Mr Tall, Dark and Handsome was chatting with their host, hands moving animatedly. When he looked back to Irene, she was wearing a wide, expectant smile. He sighed. “All right,” he finally admitted, “he’s cute.”
“Yes.” Irene made a discreet fist pump. “I knew he’d be your type. I knew it.”
“Yeah, yeah,” he mumbled into his drink, already regretting his confession.
“Well, what are you waiting for? Go over there and talk.”
“We’ve already talked, Irene. You introduced us earlier, remember?”
She frowned. “That was ‘saying hello.’ I’m telling you to go talk. Work your charm. Do your magic.”
“I told you, I’m really not feeling it.”
“Buddy, I saw the way he looked at you earlier. You’ve got a chance with him, don’t let it go to waste.”
Shaz sighed. “Look, I’m just not interested in hooking up right now, alright?”
Irene crossed her arms, her expression tightening abruptly. “Shaz, it’s been nearly a year. How much longer are you going to let that dickhead ex of yours ruin your life?”
“He did not ruin my life,” Shaz insisted, glaring at her. “My life is fine. I have a job, I gym daily, I’m seeing my sister next weekend, I have friends. I’ve got it covered.”
“You haven’t gone on a date in nearly a year. You haven’t gotten laid.”
“And I know it, because the last time we went drinking, you moped about it all night. I know you’re unhappy about it, Shaz, even if you want to pretend like you aren’t.”
Shaz glared at his drink, feeling the irritation boil underneath his skin. It was his life, goddamn it. Why couldn’t she leave him alone? Why couldn’t his sister? Fuck it all, what was wrong with taking a year off from dating? So what if he wanted some time and space to himself? What did it matter if he wanted a change of scenery?
…And why the hell did he go and open that can of worms over a few shots? To Irene of all people, the one person who was certain to take his word for it and harass him non-stop. He was such an idiot.
“Fine.” He downed his drink in one go, barely even feeling it, and set his glass down on the nearest flat surface. “Fine,” he said again, as he met her startled gaze, before marching off.
He shouldered through the crowd dancing in the centre of the room, not letting himself think twice about it. Along the way, he grabbed another drink, letting the taste burn his throat as it went down, hoping for liquid courage. Once he reached the couch, he stopped right in front of the two figures, and waited for a lull in their conversation.
“Hey, guys,” he said by way of greeting. “Sorry to interrupt, but I wanted a quick chat with Adam, if that’s okay?”
The two of them looked up at him in surprise. “Uh,” Rosa began, before their gaze flicked to some spot behind Shaz. “Oh,” they said instead, and continued in a light, entirely fake voice, “of course. I just remembered I had to…talk with someone else. Bye, Adam. Catch you later maybe.”
“Right,” Adam said, his expression having gone from excited to confused, as Rosa made their escape. He gave Shaz a weak, awkward little smile. “So…what’s up?”
Shaz opened his mouth just as his liquid courage deserted him. To buy time, he dropped into the now vacant seat next to Adam, and made himself comfortable. After a beat, he dropped an elbow onto the back of the chair and tipped his head against his hand, a position he knew emphasised one of his few assets nicely. Sure enough, Adam’s gaze flicked to his biceps, but his expression didn’t change. Shaz swallowed the flash of disappointment and said, in his best casual voice, “We didn’t actually get to chat much earlier. I was hoping we could fix that.”
Luckily, Adam went along easily enough. “Sure. Irene said you’re a personal trainer?”
“Yeah, at Fikri’s. I’m good at it too. Ask any of my clients.”
“I’ll take your word for it.”
“Well, we’re actually having a promotion on memberships at the moment. You interested? If you drop by, I could show you around.”
“Uh.” Adam glanced away, rubbing at his arm. “That’s all right. I’m not much of a gym person.”
Shit. “Well, drop by anyway.”
That earned him a soft, awkward laugh, Adam’s gaze flicking away again.
Shit. “You’re a radiographer, right?”
“Yeah, at Besi Hospital.”
“Nice,” he said. “X-ray department, right? Do you enjoy it?”
“It’s all right.” Adam shrugged. “The people are nice enough. The cases are interesting. It pays rent.”
“Yeah,” Shaz replied.
Shaz cast his gaze over the room, scrambling desperately for another topic. Over in one corner, he spotted Irene making vague, discreet gestures at him. He shot her a confused look, shaking his head slightly, but that only seemed to make her more determined to get her message across, her arms moving wildly, until she accidentally elbowed the woman next to her.
“So,” Adam said. Shaz tore his attention away from where Irene was hastily apologising, and back to Adam, who was fidgeting with his cup, not quite meeting his gaze. “Fun party, huh?”
Shaz felt like a dick. “I’m sorry,” he said, sincerely. “I used to be a lot better at this.”
“Making small talk. Socialising. Being human.”
The corners of his mouth twitched. “I think you’re exaggerating a little.”
“Trust me. I used to be the life of parties.”
“Huh.” Now those lips curled in the faintest hints of a smile. “Now I know you’re exaggerating.”
“Wow, harsh.” When that earned him a chuckle, Shaz relaxed slightly. “Really though. Feel free to kick me off this couch any time.”
“And then what? Sit here by myself?” Adam shrugged. “No thanks.”
“I could find Rosa. You two looked like you were having a great time before I barged in.”
“Did we? We were just trading recipes.”
“Yeah,” he said, and paused. “Look, have you had any of the pandan cake?”
Shaz thought about it. “I haven’t, actually. Is it good?”
“Good?” Adam gave him a scandalised look. “It’s delicious. Right after the first bite, I thought to myself, ‘holy shit, I need to know how to make this.”
He laughed. “So you asked Rosa for the recipe?”
“I tried, but it’s a family secret apparently.” Adam sighed. “I was going through my own stuff to see if they’d be willing to trade for it.”
Shaz grinned. “You bake, then?”
He shrugged. “A little. I like cooking too. It’s good for stress relief.”
“Nope,” Adam said, popping the end of the word. “Gives me even more stress than my job.”
Shaz laughed. “Then why do it?”
“I guess…because I enjoy it? I like making food, and I like feeding people.”
What a coincidence, I like eating, his brain suggested. Shaz paused, because that sounded a tad too eager for his liking. “I like eating,” he said anyway, because apparently his brain-to-mouth filter had rusted sometime during the last twelve months, and he was dead set on ruining this conversation.
But Adam’s entire expression lit up, and he smiled, wide and sincere. “Want me to cook for you sometime?”
Shaz blinked. “Hell yes.”
“Give me your number,” he suggested, digging out his mobile and passing it over.
Shaz took it, dutifully tapped in his contact details, and passed it back. He watched as Adam keyed in a name, presumably, the smile still lingering on his lips, the corners of his eyes crinkling slightly, his curly black hair falling just above his eyebrows. Shaz felt it, the inkling of something in his chest as Adam met his gaze once more, and grinned.
“So then he said, ‘maybe you should have used more ketchup.'”
“Yes,” Adam growled, leaning heavily against him. “And then–then he said, ‘Or use less chiles.'”
“Right? Come into my house, raid my leftovers…”
“Ungrateful ass,” Shaz said, fumbling with his keys. He shifted more of his weight into Adam, and finally managed to jam the right key into the lock. They stumbled together into his apartment, tripping over each other’s feet. Shaz toed off his shoes and leaned against the wall, trying to reorient himself; Adam slipped into his arms, his hands finding Shaz’s waist, his mouth slotting against Shaz’s own.
It felt so good to be kissing again: the soft give of another’s lips against his own, the delightful pressure of another’s hands wrapped over his hips, the heady intimacy of being so close to another person. Shaz tipped his head back, coaxing Adam’s mouth open with his tongue. Adam followed easily, an eager noise in his throat, and his hands began to wander, brushing across his chest, his abdomen, before dropping lower, a hint of pressure over his crotch. Shaz sucked in a quick breath, the touch sparking his nerves.
Suddenly, Adam pulled back. “I’m going to make you an omelette.”
Shaz blinked. “What?”
“Where’s your kitchen?”
“You want to make it now?”
But Adam had already began stumbling down the hallway. “What do you have in your fridge?”
“Whoa.” Shaz caught up, tugged him gently by the arm until Adam faced him once more. “You can barely walk straight. You sure cooking now is a good idea?”
Adam cocked his head to one side, swaying slightly on his feet. Shaz watched him think, didn’t bother fighting back the smile he felt uncurling in his own expression.
“Okay,” Adam conceded. “Tomorrow.”
“Okay,” he said, and when Adam leaned in again, Shaz met him halfway. Adam’s hands were roaming eagerly now, sliding up and down his sides, across his stomach. Shaz reached up for Adam’s nape and urged him closer, until Adam’s weight was pressing him into the wall–but that still wasn’t close enough. A huff of irritation escaped his throat; Adam responded by shifting one leg between Shaz’s thighs, making him gasp with relief. Shaz dropped his head back, grinding down eagerly. It had been so long.
Adam pulled back, their lips brushing on every word as he asked, “Let’s go to bed?”
Shaz couldn’t agree fast enough.
They undressed each other as they went. Shaz pushed Adam’s jacket off of his shoulders. Adam tossed his shirt to one side. They fought to unbuckle each other’s belts first, and fell into bed still half-dressed, a mess of limbs caught by the old, squeaky mattress. Adam bent down to kiss him once more, long, heavy kisses, his hands still wandering all over Shaz’s body.
They made out like that for a while, with the hint of Adam’s weight over him, and Shaz’s body responded like it was starving. Every wandering touch fed heat to his blood; every tiny noise Adam made sent a fresh wave of desire through him, filling him up, until he was clutching desperately at Adam’s shoulders.
When Shaz turned away for breath, Adam ducked down to mouth at his throat instead, making him gasp. Shaz dropped one hand to Adam’s hip, nudged at his leg until Adam shifted in, slotting one knee between Shaz’s thighs. Shaz ground down against him, sighing, and started slightly when Adam laughed into his ear.
He froze. “What?” Shaz asked.
“Nothing,” Adam replied hurriedly, nuzzling his ear. The gesture surprised him, and he leaned into the touch, irritation fading as quickly as it came. “I’m just. Glad, I guess.”
“That I’m not the only one eager for this,” Adam said, and reached down to cup Shaz through his jeans.
His whole body arched into the touch, and Shaz cursed.
Adam palmed him steadily, a solid pressure that stoked the growing heat in his stomach. Shaz let himself enjoy it for a while, before grasping Adam’s hips with both hands and urging him down against his own knee. Adam moaned, a low, gratifying sound, and Shaz couldn’t help but grin, watching the way Adam’s eyes fluttered shut, his mouth going slack as he ground down.
As if sensing the attention, Adam’s eyes snapped back to him, his gaze heated. He reached up to tug at the loops of Shaz’s jeans. “Take this off?”
“Only if you do yours.”
Adam grinned. It took a bit of manoeuvering to get their pants off without elbowing each other, and eventually Adam had to roll off to one side, kicking his pants the rest of the way off. Shaz decided to take that as an invitation, and casually swung his legs to straddle Adam’s hips, their positions reversed. He took a moment to enjoy the view; Shaz had liked Adam hovering over him, broad shoulders framing Shaz’s view, but this–Adam sprawled under him, his mess of black hair spilling over Shaz’s pillow, his hands brushing along Shaz’s legs, heated gaze on Shaz–this was intoxicating too.
“God,” Adam murmured, fingers sliding over Shaz’s stomach, “you’re gorgeous.”
The words caught him off guard, brought with it a rush of feeling so strong, so unexpected that Shaz had to glance away. He let Adam pull him down for another kiss, and then another, before Shaz drew back, nipping lightly at his lip. “Says the pretty boy in my bed.”
Adam made a thin, strangled sound, and tried to tug him back down.
But Shaz sat back, settling his full weight over Adam’s hips, where he could feel Adam’s hard-on nudging against his thigh. “Can I suck you off?”
Now it was Shaz’s turn to laugh, and he reached over to dig through his bedside drawers, thankful for the old condoms he still kept there. He could feel the weight of Adam’s stare as he rolled it on, Adam’s cock twitching in his hands. When he looked up, he caught Adam’s gaze, held it, and in one slow, deliberate motion, took Adam into his mouth.
At the first touch, Adam gasped and dropped his head back.
Shaz pulled off and waited.
After a moment, Adam lifted his head again.
This time, as Shaz mouthed at the crown of Adam’s cock, Adam didn’t break eye contact. Pleased that Adam had caught on so fast, Shaz grasped the base of his cock, and slowly took more of him into his mouth. He heard Adam’s breath catch, felt the scrape of blunt fingernails dragging over his scalp; Shaz kept going, filling his mouth until he was near choking from it, the sharp scent of arousal mixing with latex. Adam’s thighs were shaking under his hands, and his breath caught on quiet groans for more. He kept his gaze on Adam the entire time, watched the way Adam fought to keep his eyes open, the flash of white as Adam bit his lip.
Shaz pulled back, tonguing over the slit, and reached down to palm his own cock.
“Fuck,” Adam gasped, and threw his head back.
This time, Shaz didn’t linger. He pulled off just long enough to swipe at the saliva dripping down his chin, before going down on Adam once more. He went straight to work, bobbing his head eagerly, enjoying the way Adam writhed under him, hips bucking in aborted thrusts. Shaz’s own need was building rapidly, and he had to switch between squeezing the base of Adam’s cock and cupping his own, urgently, until Adam pushed at his shoulders.
Shaz sat back, wiping at his mouth, and drank in the sight of Adam aroused and wrecked: one arm slung over his eyes, his chest heaving, his breath coming in sharp, harsh gasps. Shaz ran his hands along the length of Adam’s thighs, liking the way he shivered.
Adam groaned softly. “I really want to fuck you.”
Shaz paused, licking his lips as he thought about it. “Maybe,” he began. “Maybe next time?”
“Okay,” Adam agreed. “Can I suck you off then?”
Shaz grinned. “I wasn’t done with you yet though.”
“Who said we can’t suck each other off at the same time?”
That sent a full body shudder through him, and the words went straight to his cock. “Hell.”
They dug out another condom. Adam slipped it on with shaking arms as Shaz fought to keep his hips still. He felt dizzy with need, and when Adam was done, Shaz dragged him in for another kiss, hungry for his mouth.
“Come on,” Adam murmured. “I want you now.”
Shaz groaned, and pushed away to prop himself up on his arms and knees. Adam’s cock brushed against his chin; Shaz took a deep breath, and then took Adam back into his mouth. He heard Adam’s long moan, felt it ripple through Adam, through every inch of contact between their bodies. Shaz closed his eyes and bobbed his head slowly, only to almost choke when he felt wet heat envelop his own throbbing cock. He groaned, clutching at the bedsheets, and felt Adam’s hips buck underneath him. Shaz scrambled to keep his thoughts together, to keep moving, but it felt so good, Adam’s fingers digging into his waist, his tongue sliding along his length, his moans rippling through Shaz’s entire body.
Shaz pulled off, trying to catch his breath, trying to rally his thoughts. “Adam–” he started,
But Adam didn’t stop, swirled his tongue over the tip of his cock, little clever flicks that had Shaz twitching with need, his toes curling.
“Son of a–” he gasped, and went back to Adam’s cock. He took the twitching length back into his mouth, held it there where it sat heavy on his tongue, until Adam was squirming underneath him, whining softly. Shaz hollowed his cheeks and sucked, once, twice, then pulled off again. Adam groaned, nails digging into his side; Shaz gasped for breath, and then took in the entire length of Adam’s cock in one, smooth motion.
Adam yelped, the sound muffled around his cock, and Shaz sucked him off fast, letting Adam fuck his mouth just as he fucked Adam’s mouth. Pleasure rolled over him in waves, and he rode each one faster than the last, sucking and fucking eagerly until he felt Adam shake apart underneath him, Adam’s cock deep in his throat, his body arching into his own–and giving Shaz that last push he needed, as he came hard in Adam’s throat.
Shaz pulled off with a gasp, saliva dripping from his mouth, as he rolled himself off of Adam. They lay like that for a long while, head to toe, trying to catch their breaths, until Adam laughed, a ragged, honest sound.
“Well,” he rasped, his voice ruined.
Shaz dragged himself up the bed, found Adam’s face with trembling hands, and kissed him.
The bed was empty when he woke, and Shaz felt a sharp stab of disappointment before he realised the shirt he was holding was the wrong size for him, and that distant clinking sound he heard was probably coming from the kitchen. Warmth trickled into his chest, and he made a quick stop by the bathroom to wash up, before following the alluring scent of freshly cooked food.
He found Adam by the kitchen counter, plating what looked like two generous portions of scrambled eggs.
Adam looked up as he approached, and smiled sheepishly. “I raided your fridge. Hope that’s okay?”
“You made breakfast,” Shaz pointed out, digging through the drawers for forks. “More than okay. Thanks.”
“Well, I did say I would.”
“Didn’t think you’d actually do it.”
Adam chuckled, and Shaz decided, yes, that laugh sounded just as good as he remembered it from last night. They ate at the table, tapping away on their phones in an easy, companionable silence, and Shaz decided he liked that too.
When they finished and Shaz began doing the dishes, Adam leaned against the counter next to him, and said, “So.”
Shaz glanced sideways. “So.”
Adam rubbed at the back of his neck. “Last night was fun.”
“Yeah,” Adam echoed, lips curling in a shy smile.
That, Shaz decided, was probably his favourite. “Best night I’ve had in ages.”
Adam’s smile grew, tentative. “Yeah?”
“Yeah,” Shaz said. “Wanna do it again sometime?”
Adam grinned. “Definitely.”
They managed to squeeze in another quick makeout session before Adam had to leave; Shaz pinned him against the front door, enjoying himself thoroughly until Adam pulled back with a breathless laugh.
“I’m leaving now,” he said, still chuckling, “or I’ll be late for work.” But he pressed one last kiss to Shaz’s mouth, and murmured, “Call me,” before he left, so Shaz counted that as a win.
He shut the door, and went to sit in the kitchen, where he stared unseeingly at his tweetlist until he realised he was grinning. With a sigh, he scrolled through his contracts and dialled Irene. It rang four times before Irene picked up with a wary “Hello?”
“Hey,” he said, and felt his grin stretch wider, until his cheeks were hurting from it. “First of all, you were right, I was wrong, as usual, thank you. Secondly, he’s actually adorable? I mean, he made me breakfast–”