The Campsite Rule

by shukyou (主教)
illustrated by 2013

(mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/279279.html)

The last time he’d seen Mr. Elson, Antoine had been hiding upstairs in his room with Chris, trying to stay the hell out of the way of Chris’ feuding parents. Chris’ older sister, Amber, had been old enough to have her learner’s permit by then, so she’d gotten good at hightailing it out of there as soon as voices started to rise. But Chris and Antoine had been twelve at the time, so the best they’d gotten in terms of escape was how Antoine’s house was all the way across the street. Antoine had gone down the hall to the bathroom, and as he’d passed the window that looked out over the front of the house, he’d seen Mr. Elson with a heavy duffel thrown over his shoulder, stomping down the front walk to the pickup truck out front. That walk had marked — for Antoine too — the end of a lot of things.

Chris and Amber had still gone to visit Mr. Elson at least once a month, but Nashville to Atlanta wasn’t a short trip, and Antoine had church every Sunday morning, so despite a standing invitation, he’d never tagged along. He’d had time to think about that moment at the window, though, and about all the moments that had preceded it, until he’d stopped wondering what it all meant and started understanding, whether he liked what it meant or not. But there’d been nine years in there, and nine years had a lot of room built into it for forgetting someone’s face.

Fortunately for him, his memory wasn’t the one that got there first. “Antoine!” he heard from behind him, and two seconds later, he was caught up in a rib-crushing hug, back-smacking and all. It was the manliest thing that had happened to him all month.

The hug segued into Antoine’s being held for consideration at arm’s length — the length of two ripped arms, in fact, that belonged to a man he recognized with startling clarity. There was a little grey in his sandy hair, and he’d traded his once-bushy moustache for full faint stubble, but Mr. Elson looked like he hadn’t gained a pound or put a wrinkle on his face. “Welcome to Atlanta!” said Mr. Elson, giving Antoine’s shoulders a squeeze.

Chris was next on the greeting list, and he and Mr. Elson embraced, laughing and slapping one another’s backs in tandem as they stood there in the driveway. For Antoine, whose own family was warm but decorous with their emotions, the kind of full-contact affection practiced by the Elsons had always been a bit startling, but not altogether unappealing. “You boys hungry?” Mr. Elson asked, ruffling Chris’ curly hair.

“Starved.” Chris gave his dad a playful punch in the arm, one that would have knocked Antoine over, and went to the trunk for their luggage — or for Antoine’s, anyway. Half the bags in the back were Chris’, but they’d stay there until Antoine drove him to the airport the following morning. It was a bit of a roundabout arrangement, but it let Antoine have Chris’ car for the summer and it saved Antoine the awkwardness of having to find a strange house by himself, ring the doorbell, and say, hi, I’m here to live in your son’s bedroom for three months.

Awkward, however, did not seem to be in either Elson’s vocabulary. “Well,” said Mr. Elson, pawing Antoine’s shoulder, “you boys get your shit settled and I’ll have meatloaf on the table in five.”

“Thank you,” said Antoine, trying to remember how his voice worked. It was difficult, especially when being manhandled by a man like Mr. Elson. “For, um, for letting me stay here, sir. I really appreciate it.”

“Of course!” Mr. Elson gave Antoine a big, bright grin. “It’ll be great. You can keep me company when Sevy’s working late. Like, oh, say, tonight.”

Chris rolled his eyes, but his smile was tender. “What a workaholic.”

“And now you can train to be just like that!” Mr. Elson ribbed Antoine with his elbow before taking one of Antoine’s bulky suitcases from Chris; Chris played running back and was no slouch, but Mr. Elson hefted it like it weighed nothing.

“Oh, um, I can get that,” said Antoine, who was fairly sure he couldn’t, but didn’t feel right not at least offering.

Both Elsons laughed, and only years of being Chris’ best friend and then roommate let Antoine know they meant nothing cruel by it. “Makes me feel useful!” said Mr. Elson, walking up the steps to the back door, and even in the dim glow of the porch light, Antoine got confirmation that the elder Elson’s ass was just as fantastic as the younger one’s. He’d seen Chris naked before on multiple occasions, to the point where he suspected the man of having some pathological inability to keep his clothes on for more than an hour or so at a time, and he’d been able to appreciate that, objectively, his friend had an amazing body. But seeing it had never quite made Antoine’s mouth go desert-dry the way it was now, nor had he ever before had any trouble looking away.

These next three months, Antoine figured, might be a little rough.

~*~

It felt strange returning to the house alone in the grey early Sunday morning — though ‘rude’ might have been the more accurate term for how he was feeling. He’d only pulled into the driveway for the first time twelve hours ago, and now he was back with Chris’ key but without Chris. “Just treat it like home,” Chris had said to him in the airport departures lane, giving him a big, back-bruising hug before hefting up his duffel bags and striding off to catch his crack-of-dawn Air Alaska flight.

It was an instruction easier given than followed — first emotionally, and then practically, as Antoine found himself fighting against a sticky lock. Great, he thought with dark amusement, he was a young black man struggling to open a nice white couple’s side door. He should be hearing sirens any minute now.

What he heard instead was the sound of a deadbolt’s being turned, and as he looked up, he saw through the window a smiling face he knew only from the photographs on Chris’ desk. Antoine let loose of the knob and it turned in his hand, then took his keys with it as the door swung inside. Mr. Severin Balan stood there, attractively sleep-rumpled in a black t-shirt and pinstriped pajama pants, smiling and looking chipper despite the dark hollows under his eyes. Based on what he’d seen in Chris’ family snapshots, those didn’t go away. A cloud of coffee odor hovered like a halo around him; he must’ve gotten home later than Antoine had gone to bed, and now here he was, up again. “Antoine! Nice to put a face with a voice,” he said, extending his hand for a quick shake before pointing to the door. “Don’t feel bad. I broke a few keys in it before I got the hang of that lock.”

“I wondered why Chris gave me two.” Antoine retrieved his keyring from the door and came inside. There was coffee, in fact, and he was bone-weary enough to overcome the sense of good manners that told him to wait until it had been offered. He pointed to the machine. “Would it be all right if I had some, sir?”

Mr. Balan stared at him for a moment, then laughed and gave Antoine’s shoulder an affectionate pat as he passed by. A cabinet by the sink opened to reveal an arsenal of coffee cups. “The house is yours,” said Mr. Balan, gesturing to the collection to indicate that Antoine should choose his own vessel. “If it’s here, you can eat it, drink it, wear it, or sleep with it.”

No, thought Antoine, that couldn’t have been what he heard. So he just smiled instead and took a white mug from the front, one bearing the logo of the Atlanta NPR affiliate. “I really do appreciate all this,” Antoine said, filling his mug nearly to the brim. “Not just letting me stay here, but setting up the internship too.”

“I’m just glad it all worked out so well.” And there it was again, Mr. Balan’s hand on Antoine’s shoulder, affectionate and friendly, and Antoine didn’t want to read anything in it — he told his brain that it was awful for thinking anything else — but it still made his heart catch in his throat the way it had when Mr. Elson had thrown his arms around Antoine. Mr. Balan was far smaller and leaner than Mr. Elson, and dark-haired everywhere Mr. Elson was blond, and not at all something Antoine might have earlier thought (in the rare moments when he let himself think such things) he might be attracted to. Surely Antoine would get over himself any minute now.

That minute became a far more distant prospect as Mr. Elson walked in and Antoine found himself rushing for a seat at the kitchen table so his sudden and catastrophic boner would not become obvious to the whole room. Mr. Elson hadn’t even bothered with more than a plain white undershirt on top, and the blue plaid boxers that had presumably served as his pajamas were so soft and threadbare that Antoine could have seen damn near everything through them, if he’d managed to bring himself to look. “Mornin’,” Mr. Elson said, giving a little wave. The waistband of his boxers was so ratty that they must have stayed up by the force of his ass alone. If Antoine could have dived into his coffee cup right then for shelter, he would have.

“Good morning, handsome,” said Mr. Balan, giving Antoine one last little pat before crossing the kitchen, his bare feet making little slapping sounds against the tile.

Antoine was ready for this. He’d known from the moment staying with Chris’ dad had become a possibility that it would entail living the whole summer in the house of a married gay couple, and because he’d never said anything about anything to anyone, even Chris, he’d resolved all on his own to be okay with that. Besides, he’d been around plenty of married couples before, and Mr. Elson and Mr. Balan had been married for seven years. That was like forever in a relationship. Nothing to sweat. It’d be fine.

It wasn’t fine. It was so unfine that Antoine wanted to stab himself in the leg just to make himself stop staring as Mr. Balan wrapped his arms around Mr. Elson and gave him a good-morning kiss, which was absolutely not a married-seven-years kiss. It was a kiss that involved a great deal of open mouths and tongues, and arms around one another’s bodies, and Mr. Elson’s hands right on Mr. Balan’s ass, squeezing through his pajama pants, and Antoine had to stop staring absolutely right this minute, what the hell, what the actual hell, stop.

Telling himself to stop and doing it were two different things, though. Mr. Balan’s teeth captured Mr. Elson’s lower lip, and Mr. Elson smiled, and Antoine saw it all through glances as he lowered his head, pretending his coffee was suddenly the most interesting thing in the world. Even there, though, his train of thought slammed right on into the next imagination station, the one where both men were doing exactly this while being naked. The cock that made its presence known through Mr. Elson’s boxers had no doubt been in Mr. Balan’s smirking mouth on several occasions. Antoine caught himself licking his lips and bit his tongue so it would cut that the fuck out right now.

He only managed to look in a direction that was actually away when they broke from the kiss, at which point Mr. Balan actually licked his lips before returning to the coffeepot. Mr. Elson turned that hundred-watt smile right on Antoine, as though he were not the cause in that very moment of Antoine’s impending heart failure. “Chris get off all right?”

Oh, God, to the airport. He meant to the airport. Antoine nodded. “Yes, sir.”

“You and Sevy ready for your first day of work?” he asked with a wink.

“Yes, sir,” Antoine lied.

~*~

Sheer straight-up God’s own mercy gave Mr. Balan a ton of workplace-related things to tell Antoine on their drive to the studio that morning, and Antoine was able to compose himself and at least pretend like he could comport himself in a professional manner and not think every minute about how Mr. Balan probably looked on his knees in front of Mr. Elson, dark eyes turned upward, sucking on that thick–

Dammit.

That mercy continued on with a slightly different variation that evening, when Antoine babbled about how the day had been and how nice everyone had been for a full two minutes before he leaned his head against the car door window, and the next thing he knew he was back at the house, with only a little drool trickling down his chin. “Did I snore?” he asked, slapping at his face with embarrassed panic.

“Everybody snores,” said Mr. Balan with a laugh as he pulled into the garage.

He was better conversation at dinner, talking about everything he’d done and seen at the studios while the three of them ate beef stew over rice. It really had been a good day, too; Antoine had to fake none of his enthusiasm about the way all the parts that went into putting together a news broadcast made the whole place seem like a living organism, and even if he’d mostly become the part of that organism rummaging through long-forgotten boxes of tapes and ferrying film from one section of production to another, he couldn’t have been happier about it. They retired to the living room after supper, where Antoine excused himself after falling asleep on the couch during the first inning of a Mariners-Braves game. Both Mr. Elson and Mr. Balan waved him good-night, though from opposite ends of the couch, and without a repeat of the scene they’d put on for Antoine that morning.

And thus his summer was on its way. After getting up so early to take Chris to the airport, Antoine found himself settling into a much later schedule, one that meant that by the time he showered and made it out for breakfast, Mr. Elson and Mr. Balan were both already awake and seated at the kitchen table, eating their cereal and reading the paper and definitely not sucking face. A few evenings, he took Chris’ car out and puttered around, getting his bearings. Eventually, he got the hang of the side door.

That Saturday, after a glorious morning of sleeping in, he announced his intention to go into the city and see what was there to see, and Mr. Elson and Mr. Balan wished him well and told him to call if he needed anything. As it turned out, he was more than fine on his own — so fine, in fact, that the first indication of how long he’d been out and about was the darkening sky. He shot Mr. Elson a quick text saying that he would be fine on his own for dinner and he was so so sorry that he’d been so rude as not to tell them before, and Mr. Elson sent back a reply telling Antoine to ‘hv a gd tim no worriz’. Considering that his own father wouldn’t use the text function on his phone at all, Antoine took the message in the spirit in which it was intended.

A pub with an open hip-hop/poetry mic night seemed the most promising place for eating on his own, so he took a small table in the back and ordered a burger and a beer. At least the noise generated by the performers might give him a little space.

It wasn’t that he hated crowds, or interacting with people. Compared to Chris he might have been a wallflower, but he still liked social gatherings and was no stranger to Vanderbilt’s party scene. But there was a certain kind of anxiety that came with being alone in a place like this, and that came from how people tended to assume that anyone who came alone to a place like this didn’t want to leave that way. The people who assumed that about him weren’t wrong, but that was a problem in and of itself.

Two days after Antoine’s fifteenth birthday, Chris had gotten him into his mom’s old Toyota, learner’s permit clipped to the sun visor, and driven him in the direction of the nearest Sonic. When they’d still been a ways out, though, Chris had pulled the car over onto the shoulder of the farm road and shut off the engine. “So,” Chris said, looking straight ahead and keeping his hands gripped talon-tight on the wheel, “just gonna say it: Dad’s getting married. To a guy.”

It had been the great culmination of all of Antoine’s fears, the moment in which he would learn how loathsome his best friend for life found people like him, and it had hit him with no less surprise or force than if they’d been rear-ended by a semi. He didn’t know what to say — in fact, though all the neurons in his brain were going off like the Fourth of July, the resulting explosions had made him forget all the words he’d ever learned. Language was optional. Breathing was starting to be optional. He pondered hopping out of the car right there and hitching to Canada. He’d heard it was nice there this time of year.

“So, uh.” Chris tapped his foot, making the brake squeak with the motion. “Are you cool?”

Half a sentence floated to the front of Antoine’s consciousness, so he thought he’d try it out: “Am I…?”

“Because Sevy’s awesome.” That was when Chris had turned to him, blue eyes bright with an emotion Antoine could only classify as hope. “I mean, he’s kinda weird, but — you’d really like him. He works for CNN, so he’s into all the nerdy newsroom stuff you like. And he’s got a lot of cool music, and Amber said he had even more fun at the Maribou Stork Nightmares concert than she did.”

“He, um.” Oh no, Antoine had to get it together or Chris would think he was the homophobe here. Irony threatened to crush his chest. “Sounds cool. And your dad. That’s cool.”

Chris’ face had broken into a cheek-splitting grin. “Okay!” he said, letting out the word in a relieved rush of air. “Thanks. For being cool.”

“Cool,” Antoine had echoed, nodding.

So really, he had no reason why he hadn’t told his best friend for life that he was gay, except for the part where he’d only really started admitting it to himself in so many words over the past year or so. Chris was outrageously heterosexual, but he loved his dad and called Mr. Balan ‘my stepfather’ even when it was clear he didn’t mean the guy married to his mom, and had once torn apart a kid verbally in senior English for hating on Jane Eyre with the words ‘so gay’. Antoine had no reason to expect that Chris would have anything but a positive reaction to his coming out.

But he’d just never been able to do it. He sighed and stirred the ketchup on his plate with a fry before deciding he didn’t really want either anyway. Somewhere deep inside, some part of him hoped that if he could just ignore it long enough, maybe he’d change his mind. Giving voice to it, though, would make it permanent. Telling Chris would be the point of no return.

A cute, punky girl with purple streaks in her long, straight black hair caught his eye from at the bar, so he smiled back, tossed down the dregs of his beer, put cash on the table, and slipped out while her back was turned. Some things were just better never having gotten started.

On the way down the street, he fired off a quick text to Mr. Elson, figuring it only polite to let someone know that he was on his way home and not dead in a ditch somewhere. He got no response, but didn’t expect one; it was nearing eleven anyway, and his experience with parents and late nights was that they didn’t overlap. He’d just make a point of being extra-quiet when he got in.

The house was all but dark when he arrived over an hour later, after taking forever to find his car and then getting lost twice trying to get on the freeway. He pulled the door to as gently as he could, then slipped off his shoes by the door. A note on the kitchen table told him there was cold fried chicken in the fridge if he wanted it and it’d keep until tomorrow if he didn’t, and he thought about it but decided to let it be. If he changed his mind later, it’d be there.

Thinking of nothing but being as quiet as possible as he moved through the house, he noticed the door to Mr. Elson and Mr. Balan’s bedroom was still ajar and a light was on inside. Probably Mr. Balan, Antoine figured, up and reading. As far as he could tell, Mr. Balan didn’t need much sleep, which seemed like a nice bonus for a person employed by a twenty-four-hour news channel. Even so, he didn’t want to be a bother, and he really didn’t want to intrude on his hosts’ privacy, so he held his breath and prepared to slip on by–

There might as well have been superglue spread out on the hallway floor for how quickly he stopped dead in his tracks when he looked in and saw what was beyond the half-open door. Mr. Balan wasn’t reading anything — or if he was, it must have been something amazing, because he was naked and on all fours, with his face toward the headboard and his ass up in the air. He groaned into the pillow, then lifted his head again and glanced back over his shoulder, so much in the direction of the door that Antoine feared he’d been caught. A thousand apologies rushed through his head and he prepared to bolt before he saw that Mr. Balan wasn’t looking at him at all.

No, what he was looking at was the part of the scene Antoine’s brain hadn’t processed yet, no doubt out of self-defense. Mr. Balan was hardly alone; his bare backside was pointed straight at Mr. Elson, who was himself just as naked, and who was kneeling behind him on the bed, ramming his cock in with what looked to be a bruising speed. Those big hands of his had their paw-like grip around Mr. Balan’s hips, pushing and pulling him away as he thrust in. Even in the dim light, cast only by one of the bedside lamps, Antoine could see the sheen of perspiration over Mr. Elson’s muscular back. His broad shoulders and sturdy arms were just the way Antoine remembered them — just the way, if he was being truly honest with himself now, his fantasies had recreated them for years now — but they took on a new force and a new context as they joined his beautiful ass for the complete picture, one which was at that very moment fucking his husband good and proper.

illustrated by 2013

And then there was the sound, and he had no idea how he’d missed that when he’d first walked in, but it was unmistakable — that heavy pound of sex against a mattress well-accustomed to it. Mr. Balan laughed a little and raked his hair back from where it had stuck to his own sweat-soaked forehead. He said something, but it was little more than a whisper, and against the white noise of the air-conditioning vent just above his head, Antoine couldn’t make it out. Whatever it was, it made Mr. Elson laugh and give Mr. Balan’s ass a firm smack. The grin on Mr. Balan’s face melted into a gasp of deep pleasure, and he arched his shoulders backward, begging for more. Antoine had always thought Mr. Balan looked a bit out of place in a suit; now he knew the look Mr. Balan was more suited to.

Mr. Elson, on the other hand, looked every bit the magnificent construction foreman he was in the day. Years of outdoor work had bronzed and bulked him up to a physique that was, by Antoine’s standards, downright godlike. Strong and sturdy, he fucked ass with the same intensity he’d hugged Antoine in greeting — and oh, that thought nearly made Antoine come in his jeans right there. He knew he should move, walk away, do something, anything but stand here and watch his best friend’s dad and stepdad go at it.

What he did instead was stick one hand down the front of his pants and clap the other across his nose and mouth so he didn’t make a sound. Mr. Elson slapped Mr. Balan’s ass again, and this time Mr. Balan gasped loud enough for the sound to reach Antoine’s ears. Antoine’s hand fisted around his own cock as best he could inside his tight jeans, squeezing as his mind raced to make itself up over who it was more jealous of. He wanted to be Mr. Elson, facing that body, fucking for all he was worth. But even more, he wanted to be Mr. Balan, impaled on Mr. Elson’s amazing cock — and oh, he could see it was amazing every time Mr. Elson slipped it out before slamming it back in, thick and pink and slick — to be pushed down into the sheets by that sweaty body which had informed his fantasies since he’d first been able to have them.

A mad thought raced through his mind: he could strip down right there, run into the bedroom, and throw himself on their shared mercy, begging them to fuck him. And he could beg, too — ordinarily the thought would have disgusted him, but now it brought a gush of precome to soak the front of his boxers. He could beg with them, plead with them to shove their cocks in his mouth and ass. He could be their boy, he could beg them, he could say, please, sir, please

His teeth sank into his knuckles as he came hard and fast into his hand, soaking his underwear and pants and not giving a fuck. The sensation left him a little woozy, but sharp fear and embarrassment ran in right after, and he tore down the hall far less gracefully than he had intended, only remembering at the last moment not to slam the door to his room after he ran inside. Lord willing, they’d be too involved in their fuck to hear a thing.

That thought sent him off again, so he tore off his clothes and fell on all fours onto his bed. It wasn’t hard to imagine Mr. Elson behind him as he jerked his fist around his come-slick cock. He buried his own face into a pillow so he could moan. “Yes, sir,” he gasped into it, shameless now in his arousal. “Fuck me, sir, fuck me, fuck me.” He’d never so much as tried a finger up his ass before, and he wasn’t sure he wanted to now, but even the idea was so good it overran concerns of reality. Nothing was better than the thought of having that thick, hard cock stuck inside him. “Please, sir, come in me, shoot your load inside–”

That was as far as he got. His second orgasm had nowhere near the intensity of the first, but it still made a mess. His knees gave way and he collapsed down into it, rubbing his cock against the slick sheets. Cold air blew on his bare back, but he was just as sweaty as Mr. Elson had been. And he’d wanted everything he’d said, even if he’d never even thought that way before. He wanted it so bad he ached.

Overwhelmed by what had just happened, he chose to go to sleep right then and there. Maybe it would be easier to deal with in the morning.

~*~

It wasn’t, but it was easier to ignore in the morning — or, really, the afternoon, since he woke up more PM than AM — and so that’s exactly what Antoine did. He was embarrassed to realize that he’d slept through all the church services in the area, though he supposed that really, it was for the best; he didn’t think God was liable to strike him with lightning for what had happened, but neither did he feel exactly comfortable saying the Lord’s Prayer while being unable to think of anything but what he imagined a cock would taste like.

If Mr. Elson or Mr. Balan had heard him, they said nothing about it, though Mr. Elson was only too happy to heat up some of that fried chicken for Antoine’s late lunch. Antoine couldn’t quite meet him in the eye as he took the warm plate from Mr. Elson’s hand, biting his lip so he didn’t just blurt out I’ve seen your dick. There was the rest of the summer, after all.

Against his better judgment, he stayed up just a touch later than his hosts that evening, but by the time he walked down the hallway to his room, the door to theirs was closed tight.

The next week passed in much the same way as the first had, with only one change — on Friday, instead of carpooling with Mr. Balan, Antoine drove himself to work and back; there were meetings downtown that required Mr. Balan’s attention, so he was gone before Antoine woke, with the understanding that he’d be back much later. Mr. Elson had taken the opportunity to declare that night Baseball and Beer and Pizza and More Beer Night, which Mr. Balan had responded to with the most long-suffering of sighs and eye-rolls. There was another kiss after that, so Antoine took that opportunity to help himself to more sweet corn and be grateful about how his dark complexion could in a pinch hide a blush.

This was how he found himself on opposite sides of the couch with Mr. Elson, watching the Braves play the Diamondbacks, and though Antoine was trying his hardest to pay attention, he’d never been one for the sport. There were so, so many reasons not just to retreat to his room and read Facebook, though, and most of those involved the way Mr. Elson’s shirt rode up every time he stood in anger to yell about something dumb the home team had done. “Can you believe those idiots?” he sighed after one of these outbursts, sitting back down again.

“No, sir,” said Antoine, which wasn’t a complete lie. His lack of belief was part and parcel of his not really understanding what was going on, which he figured counted on a technicality. He helped himself to another beer. And another.

It wasn’t until he tried to stand and go for the toilet in an attempt to release some of that beer that Antoine realized just how many ‘another’ beers he’d had. Probably three, if the number of empty bottles on his side of the coffee table was to be believed. Mr. Elson had taken some empties back to the kitchen an inning earlier, though, so maybe more than three. And he needed to go pee out a lot of those more than three beers right now.

He made his way to the restroom and back again without much clipping his shoulder against any door frames, and was feeling better by the time he returned, if no less shitfaced. He plopped ungracefully at one end of the couch and picked up a pizza crust from Mr. Elson’s side of the box. Mr. Elson, like his son, regarded the pizza proper as the part with toppings on it, and everything else as optional.

Mr. Elson laughed when he saw Antoine’s cleanup attempt. “Oh, you’re good to me. That’s usually Sevy’s job.”

Antoine chuckled with the crust in his teeth. “Used to your son’s bad habits, sir.”

Mr. Elson swatted at Antoine’s knee with a throw pillow. “Jim,” he said, only the thousandth reminder or so.

“Jim,” Antoine echoed, the same way he had every time before. Maybe it’d take soon. He had his doubts.

“You were always the politest kid I ever knew,” Mr. Elson — Jim, right, he might as well stop fighting it — said with a wink. “It really is good to see you again. Good to see you and Chris managed to stick together. I had brothers, but he never did. Had you, though. He’d always come to visit, and half the time he’d be rattling on about, Antoine said this, Antoine and I did this, Antoine, Antoine, Antoine. For a while there, I though he was sweet on you.”

Antoine felt his eyes go so wide he was sure they could have caught light from distant galaxies. Mr. Elson laughed at that, giving Antoine’s knee another playful slap, this time with his bare hand. “Don’t worry. My boy and I have plenty of things in common, but we are worlds apart on that front.”

That he’d reacted so strongly made Antoine self-conscious, so he went for another beer, grasping for some casual in this mad world. “He’s pretty straight,” Antoine said into the bottle’s glass mouth.

“He is why Kinsey put the zero on the scale, as Sevy says.” Mr. Elson — Jim, Jim — laughed at his joke and sank back into the couch, letting his knees fall wide and bringing one of his arms to rest along the back. “Part of why I was scared to death to come out to him. Here he is, fourteen, and here I am, remembering what I was like at fourteen, hoping I can do this without scarring him for life. But he’s a good kid. Good kid.” Jim nodded, a proud smile on his lips.

This was the time to agree and shut up and go back to the baseball game. It absolutely was. Antoine had never been more certain of anything in his life. So when he heard a voice ask, “So, uh, how did you … know?” he was so certain those words couldn’t have come from him that he damn near looked around to see if Sevy had come home. But he hadn’t, and they were alone, and Antoine was drunker than good sense should have let him be, and now he was going to have to go play in traffic out of shame.

But Jim’s smile stayed bright — if anything, it turned up at the corner, just a twitch. “That I was gay? Too early and too late.” His fingers drummed on the side of his bottle. “Too early really to know what to do with it, or to be in a world where I could do anything with it. I mean, I’ve known since forever that while kissing girls was something I was supposed to do, it wasn’t ever something I felt drawn to. But I tried, and trying involved knocking up Doreen, and knocking her up involved marrying her, and that’s where the too late comes in — I didn’t really know until too late how normal was never going to work for me, and I was making everyone else miserable trying.”

As Jim talked, Antoine’s palms grew so sweaty he was having trouble holding the beer bottle, but he didn’t want to put it down to get warm again, so he drank it all in a few mighty swallows. Yes, that would solve all his problems. “Oh,” he said at last, out of better ways to respond.

“Don’t get me wrong,” Jim continued, “I love Amber and Chris more than anything. They’re my world. But if you gave me a time machine and sent me back to when I was your age? I’d tell me to stop pretending and be himself. Go north. Meet Sevy.” That thought tickled Jim into a belly laugh. “Okay, when I was your age, Sevy was still in elementary school. But the thought still counts.”

“How did you two meet?” asked Antoine, realizing Chris had never said.

Jim laughed around his beer bottle. “You want the story we tell people or the truth?”

“Um.” This was honestly a question Antoine had never been expecting to field. “Yes, sir?”

“Okay, general story first.” Something exciting appeared to be happening to the baseball game, but if Jim wasn’t going to care, Antoine wasn’t either. “I’m recently divorced, new to the area, find myself in a nice bar looking to meet some people. Sevy’s there, love at first sight. We talk, hit it off, I give him my number, he calls, the rest is history.”

“That’s not the truth?”

“That’s mostly the truth,” said Jim with a grin. “Except it wasn’t a nice-looking bar, it was the seediest gay club I could find. And instead of talking, what we did first was that I grabbed him by the tie, hauled him into a corner, and sucked his dick until he saw stars.”

This was highly inappropriate to tell your son’s friend and generally inappropriate to tell anyone else anyway and Antoine was so hard and rapt he couldn’t have moved if he’d been on fire. He licked his lips because they were too dry to function, and then just kept licking them. “You … did?”

Jim nodded, looking almost as proud as he had when talking about his son. “Which got me invited back over to his house to see if my dick was as good as my mouth. By the time he woke up from the coma I’d fucked him into, I’d made breakfast. So staying the night became staying the weekend. And part of the next week. And the whole weekend after. And by that point, it seemed silly to keep sending me home, so….”

Antoine was afraid to move for fear that even the slightest friction against his cock would make him a mess all through his pants. He swallowed air. “And, um, that’s–” No, the sentence wouldn’t finish, he was too caught up on the idea of the Mr. Elson he’d known as an adolescent dropping to his knees in some filthy bar and gobbling cock. Of all the filthy, embarrassing fantasies he’d ever had about Jim, that hadn’t even made the list. Now he was unsure if he’d ever be able to have any other thought in his head.

“Not that that stopped me going back there.”

“To–” Antoine squeezed his fists, willing himself to make words. “To the club?”

Jim nodded again, and this time he scooted a little closer on the couch, until there was less than a cushion’s distance between them. “Sevy and I have an understanding.”

That was it, all the blood had left his brain, he was going to die now of lack of brain-blood. “Understanding?” Antoine echoed.

“I’m not kidding when I say he’s the love of my life.” Jim recrossed his legs so that his foot came to rest against Antoine’s ankle. “And I plan on being faithful to him until the day I die. But our definition of ‘faithful’ is … flexible.”

Despite all his efforts to the contrary, Antoine dropped his gaze then and saw the obvious outline of a very impressive bulge in the crotch of Jim’s jeans. It was even bigger there than it had looked in his boxers, even bigger than it had looked filling up Sevy’s ass. It was hard, and it was ready to go, and he was the only reason in the vicinity it might be that way. He let out a breath he didn’t know he’d been holding and forced himself to take in another to replace it.

With a sly grin, Jim reached for the top button of his jeans and slipped it undone, then grabbed the tab of his zipper and purred it all the way down. Antoine expected to see Jim’s underwear then, and thus nearly yelped in surprise when what popped out was Jim’s massive cock. It wasn’t that long, but it was thick and uncut, and a little trail of precome strung like a spider’s web from the hem of his shirt to its tip. It wasn’t even all hard, Antoine could see now.

“So if there’s anything you want to–” Jim began to say, but he never finished his sentence. He couldn’t blame alcohol for this, but he could surely thank it for giving him the courage not to run away but to push forward, to open his mouth and take Jim’s cock inside it, as much as he could in one swoop. It tasted like salt and skin and sweat and he was uncertain then if anyone would ever be able to pull him off it again. He rolled it around in his mouth, charting its dimensions with his tongue, letting it slip out between his lips only as long as he needed to make a new mental map, then plunging back in again. Its fat head hit his throat and he gagged a little but kept it together. Forcing himself to breathe through his nose helped. Yes, he could definitely stay here forever.

Jim ran his fingertips across Antoine’s close-cropped hair, then brushed down the back of his neck, sending shivers up Antoine’s spine. “Oh, you’re good at that,” Jim said, his voice heavy. “Born for sucking cock. Easy on the lips there, let your tongue do the work. That’s a good boy.”

While his fantasies had usually involved older men, Antoine had never considered the full erotic possibilities of the word ‘boy’ until he heard it drawled from Jim’s mouth, all five or so syllables of it. It made him gasp and shout, and without even touching his own cock, Antoine came. He shivered and gasped, but never once let Jim’s cock out of his mouth; some little part of his brain told him that if he stopped, he might never be allowed to start again.

With a quiet chuckle, Jim reached down between them to pet what he could reach of Antoine’s thigh. “Now that’s what I like to see: a man who enjoys his work.”

Antoine pressed his mouth up so close to Jim that he was sure he was going to wind up with denim prints on his nose and chin. Despite the mess cooling in his underpants, he felt himself growing hard again. Chris had once told him that if he kept that all bottled up for too long, he’d be a danger when it finally got all out. Chris, it seemed, had been right. But at least letting off a bit of the pressure gave him back a bit of his concentration. He stroked his hands up the inside of Jim’s thighs, feeling pleased with himself as Jim groaned.

“You’ve got a sweet mouth,” said Jim. His words were dreamlike in Antoine’s ears, drifting their way through a fog of mutual pleasure. “Pretty lips. I bet they taste good.” When Antoine whimpered, Jim laughed. “We could take you to the club and make you the main attraction. Maybe a little padded kneeler, like they have in churches. Get you a hundred dicks to suck in a night. That sound good to you?”

It sounded ridiculous and obscene and more than a little disgusting, and so Antoine didn’t know why he was nodding like a bobblehead doll. He closed his eyes and let his imagination take him there, to being the center of attention like that, surrounded by cocks and jizz. Instead of pushing aside the thought, he let himself think it, really think about it for the first time in his life. He was sucking dick and loving it. He’d just come in his pants and he wanted more. He couldn’t get enough of Jim’s taste, Jim’s scent, the way Jim felt in his mouth. It was every fantasy he’d had since he was twelve come crashing into full-color reality.

illustrated by 2013

Jim started to say something else, but at that moment, the front door opened, and Antoine would have levitated into the next county had it not been for the anchor of Jim’s cock in his mouth. He’d understood every word Jim had said earlier, but the combination of being caught in the middle of an act he was only beginning to admit to himself he wanted to do and being caught by the husband of the man he was blowing produced a spike of terrified adrenaline the likes of which Antoine had never before in his life felt.

But Mr. Balan just laughed and dropped his briefcase, then shut the door behind him. “About fucking time.”

Startled again, Antoine looked back at Jim, and Jim cupped his cheek in his hand. “Now, now. Not all of us could come out of the closet at eleven. Some of us just need a little…” He paused, looking at Antoine’s face, caressing Antoine’s lower lip with the pad of his thumb. “Incentive.”

“Incentive?” asked Mr. Balan, and right then and there, he began to strip. Antoine was so surprised, he let Jim’s cock fall almost all the way from his lips as he stared. Mr. Balan’s dark eyes felt like arrows as they turned on Antoine, breaking his gaze only as he pulled his undershirt over his head. His nice suit became a pile on the floor, until he was as naked as Antoine had seen him the other night, only now facing forward. His cock was darker than the rest of his skin, and it had started to take an obvious interest in the proceedings around it. “I need someone to blow and I need someone to fuck. After the day I have had, I deserve both. If that’s enough incentive, I’ll be in the bedroom.” And without further comment, he turned on his heel and marched off — though ‘march’ was perhaps not the word to describe the deliberate pace that made his ass jiggle with every step.

Antoine wasn’t aware he’d turned such a hopeful face to Jim until Jim looked at him and grinned. “Your call,” he said, nodding back in the direction Mr. Balan had gone. “He’ll wait until we’re done here if you want.”

As tempting an offer as it was to just stay here on the couch forever with Jim’s dick in his mouth, Antoine shook his head. He’d been incentivized. “That sounds … good.” He pressed his lips together and gave what he hoped was a confident nod.

With a wink, Jim stood; he didn’t bother to fix up his jeans, so his spit-slicked dick stuck out from his body at sharp right angle. “Important question, though, so be honest: You a virgin?”

He didn’t think there was any point in denying it now. “Yes, sir,” Antoine said with a nod.

Jim gave a nod of complete unsurprise. “How much a virgin?”

Antoine looked down at his lap, where a damp stain had already begun to seep toward the front of his pants. “Pretty much totally,” he said, feeling color rise to his cheeks.

“Good,” said Jim, and when Antoine looked up again, he saw that Jim was extending a hand to him. “Then you get to have your first time be something done right.” Antoine put his hand in Jim’s and let Jim pull him to his feet — and then straight into one hell of a first kiss, one which Antoine almost panicked his way out of, because ugh, he must taste like beer and come and spit and all sorts of other horrors. It was an objection that died on the vine, though, as Jim stuck his tongue into Antoine’s mouth, then got his lips around Antoine’s tongue and began to suck it in a way Antoine was sure must still be illegal in some parts of Georgia. Jim reached around and grabbed at Antoine’s ass in the same way he’d grabbed at Mr. Balan’s that morning in the kitchen, and Antoine felt a full-on swoon coming on.

It was interrupted, however, by a bellow from the bedroom: “If someone’s not in here and sucking my cock in two minutes, I am calling the police and reporting you both for negligence!”

Jim broke into a laugh against Antoine’s mouth, and it should have been awkward, but it was wonderful. “I take back what I said about him waiting,” said Jim, giving Antoine’s butt one last squeeze.

“He’s–” Antoine searched for the right term. “A little high-strung?”

“Mount Everest High,” Jim agreed, then took off for the back bedroom, shedding clothes in his wake. Antoine had no choice but to follow.

When they got in there, Mr. Balan was flopped back against the headboard, propped up by what looked like five dozen pillows or so, drizzling lube from a purple tube onto his cock. “Okay, who’s first?” he asked, running a fist over it to spread the slickness.

Jim got behind Antoine and nudged him forward. “Okay, but you have to be sweet. Turns out? It’s baby’s first fuck.”

“Is that so.” A wicked grin spread across Mr. Balan’s face, and he sat up a little straighter. “All right. You win, there’s a twenty in my pants pocket.”

“I’ll get it later,” said Jim, and he nudged Antoine again before Antoine had a chance to process the embarrassment of having his sexual inexperience bet on. Antoine’s shins bumped against the side of the bed and he pitched forward onto it, catching himself with his hands. Of course, this left Jim behind him, and his knees went weak as Jim walked up behind him the way he’d been behind Mr. Balan the other day. Through the seat of his pants, he could feel Jim’s cock pushing against him, and he whimpered. “I’d say he’s coming up on pretty ready, though.”

Mr. Balan leaned forward, grabbing Antoine by the collar and pulling him close, so that Antoine was on all fours. “Have you been thinking about having a cock in you? Wondering what it would feel like to get fucked?” His voice was a thin, sinister sort of purr, with its flat northeastern cadences shining through every sound, and not a twang among them.

Suddenly no longer able to meet Mr. Balan’s eyes, Antoine dropped his gaze and nodded. His head jerked up again, though, as he felt Jim reach from behind and unfasten his pants, pulling them and underwear off Antoine’s hips in one quick swoop. Antoine’s knees gave out, but that was enough for Jim to tug until Antoine was naked from the waist down. “He’s a bright boy,” said Jim, drawing a hand across Antoine’s ass in a way that made all the short hairs on Antoine’s body stand on end. “I’m sure he’s got a good imagination.”

“Have you?” asked Mr. Balan again, stroking the line of Antoine’s jaw with the side of his index finger. He was a totally different kind of sexy from Jim, and looking at him, all all Antoine could think of was the story of how they’d met, how Mr. Balan in some dark eyeliner and a tight t-shirt would have looked like everything he knew about gay clubs. Antoine didn’t quite know how to respond, so instead he turned his head and captured Mr. Balan’s finger in his mouth, sucking hard and flicking his tongue across its tip, hoping that would serve as an answer in the affirmative.

From behind him, he felt a cold jab against his ass, but as he turned to look, Mr. Balan hooked his finger inside Antoine’s mouth and kept his face forward. “He’s just warming you up for me,” Mr. Balan said, nodding back in Jim’s direction. “Trust me that he is a man who … takes a little working up to.”

Given that he’d now measured the dimensions of Jim’s cock up close and personally, Antoine knew that was probably true. Even so, he was shaking now at the thought of being penetrated by anything, even the tips of Jim’s fingers, which were circling his ass now, getting him nice and slick. One pushed inside of him, and he whimpered hard at the strange feeling, clenching his eyes shut. “Easy, easy,” said Jim. “Just relax.”

Mr. Balan — or Sevy, Antoine supposed, since he wasn’t looking to get chastised for formality under these circumstances — let his finger fall from Antoine’s mouth and gave him a smile. “Get him on his back.” Sevy brushed his hand up and down Antoine’s bicep. “I’ve got some ideas about relaxation.”

Jim didn’t withdraw his hand, but he held it very still as Antoine turned around it, flipping with Sevy’s gentle urging onto his back. Somehow he felt even more exposed like this, with his whole front turned to the air, where both men could see the nervous anticipation he was sure was written all over his face. With a little swat, Jim encouraged Antoine to lift his hips, and as he settled them back down again, he felt a hard pillow beneath. He was just getting used to the feeling of having a finger inside him, beginning to be able to concentrate on that as a point of arousal instead of confusion, when Sevy opened his mouth and took in Antoine’s cock to the root.

Antoine gasped and moaned and made all sorts of embarrassing sounds that he didn’t want to think about, but he couldn’t help it. The unfamiliar sensation of Jim’s fingers — and there was a second one, he could feel how he was being stretched — had made him start to go soft again, but there was nothing soft about the way Sevy was blowing him. His tongue was wet and quick, and he seemed to know just all the places that would make Antoine whimper and writhe. Time stretched out, becoming a fog of pleasure without beginning or end. “Yes,” Antoine heard rising out of that fog, and then he realized he was saying it. “Yes, please, yes.”

“Yes, please?” Jim chuckled as he drew his fingers almost all the way out of Antoine’s ass, then started to push them in again with the same careful slowness. “Yes, please, what?”

Propriety and shame told him that he couldn’t possibly vocalize what he wanted, that this would go on beyond making the reality of his gayness concrete. “Yes, please, more,” Antoine said anyway, clenching his fist in the sheets. He felt the slightest scrape of Sevy’s teeth against the underside of his cock and had to wait a moment before he could speak again. “Fuck me more, sir. I want your cock in me. Please, sir.”

Sevy lifted his head and let Antoine’s cock fall from his lips with a pop. “You southerners are so polite,” he said, before redoubling his efforts. Jim’s fingers reached and stretched inside him, deeper now, and wider, until they hit up against some spot Antoine hadn’t even known was there. He gasped and arched his back off the bed in reflex, and Jim did it again and again as Sevy sucked him hard.

“Oh my God,” Antoine whimpered. “I’m going to come, please, please don’t stop fucking me, sir, please–”

Nobody stopped anything as Antoine held his breath, then let it out in a deep shout, coming in Sevy’s mouth as hard as he’d ever come in his life. He expected Sevy to make some sort of face or protest, but Sevy locked his lips around the root of Antoine’s shaft and sucked deep, swallowing everything Antoine had to give. Antoine was naked and splayed out and penetrated and euphoric. He felt his lips move, but couldn’t find anything to say. Maybe there wasn’t anything.

At last, Sevy drew back and smiled, then wrapped his arms around Jim’s shoulders and gave him a deep, hot, sticky kiss. All Antoine could think was oh my God Mr. Elson is tasting my come, and his exhausted cock spat out another gush of it onto his hip. But Jim was more than tasting it; he was sucking on Sevy’s lips, thrusting his tongue into Sevy’s mouth, trying to get as much of it as he could. And his hand was still up Antoine’s ass, still moving in and out with that maddening pace, and if this was what Heaven was like, Antoine wasn’t even going to bother complaining he was dead.

As Jim broke from the kiss, he pulled his fingers out of Antoine all the way, leaving Antoine shivering and missing the sensation. “That seemed pretty relaxing, yeah.” He wiped his fingers on a handtowel at the foot of the bed, then stepped aside. “All yours,” he said to Sevy, indicating Antoine’s ass with a grand gesture.

“Wait, um–” Antoine managed, catching both their attention. “Can I … is it….” Having difficulty making his brain control both his mouth and his limbs, he chose to focus on the latter and rolled ungracefully over onto his belly, then pushed himself up on his knees. “Please, sir?”

Sevy’s smaller, colder hands grabbed Antoine’s hips, and Antoine shivered and let his forehead fall down to meet the mattress. A week ago, this had been a fantasy, and now it was happening, it was really happening. He had no idea what losing his virginity entailed under these circumstances, but he was pretty sure that after tonight, he was going to be able to say it was well and truly gone. “So polite,” Sevy said again. The tip of his cock pressed hard against Antoine’s ass, and as he eased himself forward, Antoine breathed out and let his hips fall back. He was ready for this, and if he wasn’t, then he was going to go full fake-it-til-you-make-it until he was.

What he didn’t expect to find coming into view just below his nose was Jim’s cock, still hard and ready. “I think you left a job half-done.”

As incentive went, it didn’t get any better than that. Antoine gulped at Jim’s cock as eagerly as he had on the couch, though this time he could be conscious of being between the two men. Every time Sevy thrust into his ass, Antoine let his whole body move forward, until his lips met the root of Jim’s shaft; every time Sevy withdrew, Antoine pulled back in kind.

It had been relaxing enough to be blown and fingered, but in a curious way, this was even more relaxing. He was being used, and that meant it was out of his control. He couldn’t screw anything up, not while Sevy and Jim had him between them for their pleasure. And they were getting pleasure out of it, that much was clear from the way Jim’s cock throbbed in his mouth, from the grinning grunts Sevy let out every time he grabbed Antoine’s ass and shoved his cock in all the way to the root. He was turning them on as much as they turned him on. That alone made him feel like a god.

This way, too, he didn’t have to concentrate on doing so much as on being done. Sevy was blowing Jim by fucking him. He didn’t even have to concentrate on his own arousal, though somewhere in the process he became aware of how his cock was hard again, and how Sevy had reached around and taken it in a circle of his chilly fingers. He could have stayed like that his entire life, foggy and fucked.

Of course, nothing lasted forever, not even Jim’s magnificent erection. “Where do you want it?” he asked Antoine, stroking his cheek with tenderness.

Antoine let go of Jim’s cock long enough to gasp, “In my mouth, sir. In my ass, sir. Shoot your loads in me, sir.”

He couldn’t see what transpired between them, but there was a pause and then a deep chuckle that rose from Jim’s chest. “Then open wide,” said Jim, and Antoine opened the widest he ever had, ready to take what they could give.

The amount of come a man could produce, Antoine found, looked a lot different shot into a tissue than it did poured into his mouth. Gagged as he was by Jim’s meat, he tried to swallow, but some wound up running out both corners of his mouth. Despite the volume, though, he didn’t want it to stop. Jim’s come had the same sweaty, salty taste as everything else about Jim did, and Antoine loved it. He would have been right to beg for it.

Not long after, he felt Sevy pull his softening cock out of Antoine’s ass, and Antoine collapsed face-forward against the mattress, aware that he was shaking but unable to stop. Seconds later, he felt a large body climb into the bed next to him and wrap strong arms around him, and Antoine pressed his face into Jim’s furry chest and just concentrated on his breathing. Everything was raw and bright and too real now, and the air-conditioning on his sweaty skin felt like ice.

He felt a damp, warm washcloth clean up the jizz and lube from his ass, and then the bed creaked as Sevy got in on the other side of him, drawing the covers over them all and pulling Antoine into a sandwich hug. His arm draped across both Antoine and Jim’s waists, and Antoine felt their positions shift as Jim leaned over to give Sevy a soft, brief kiss. “Want to stay here tonight?” Sevy asked, his smile audible through the invitation.

Antoine nodded and even tried to express his gratitude for the offer. The bed was warm now, though, and Jim smelled good and Sevy felt good, and there might have been things to talk about, but there was more to sleep about, so that’s what he did.

~*~

When Antoine woke again, he was alone in someone else’s bed, sprawled out over sheets that weren’t his, and faced with the task of negotiating what it was to feel freshly fucked.

He was also starving, starving and working on a caffeine headache to boot, which meant that he couldn’t just go hide in his room all day and then for the rest of the summer, no matter how tempting that sounded right now. He wasn’t even the last bit hung over; he’d been drunk last night, but only enough to take out his inhibitions, not enough to push him past the boundaries of what he’d wanted. And oh, he’d wanted.

What’s more, Jim and Sevy obviously had wanted too — had even been talking about it beforehand, though he still didn’t know quite how to feel about that on so many levels — and everything had been okay. More than okay, in fact, it had been great, and he’d been at the center of it, wanting nothing but more. So if he was feeling stupid or awkward or embarrassed about it now, well, he just needed to get over it, didn’t he?

That’s what he told himself anyway, though convincing himself of the truth of that statement was a harder sell. Still wearing the shirt he’d had on the night before, he grabbed up his pants and underwear, then padded back to his room for a fresh pair of both. Bending down to get them made him wince, though. He didn’t ache in a bad way, necessarily, but he sure did ache. Even his jaw was a little sore, though he had no trouble believing that, considering what had spread it wide the night before. He could still taste Jim’s come in his mouth, too, though that had started to turn unpleasant, and a tooth-brushing was probably in order before it got any more so.

Now in fresher attire and a bit more hygienic, he made his way into the main part of the house, where Jim was fussing at the kitchen counter with a screwdriver and a garage door opener, and Sevy was reading the newspaper. They all wished one another quiet good-mornings, but the two men seemed engrossed in their various pastimes as Antoine walked over, poured himself a cup of coffee, and went to sit down.

The idea of sitting down, though, and the reality of sitting down were not that morning two compatible things. Determined not to let his discomfort show, Antoine took a deep breath, held it in, and lowered himself into the hard wooden chair. He bit his lips together as his seat met its seat, though as he did, despite his best efforts, a little whimper escaped through his lips.

That was when Jim and Sevy cracked right up, howling and putting down what they were holding to give him a round of applause, complete with a high-pitched appreciative whistle from Sevy. Antoine blushed and hid his face in his coffee, which only made them laugh harder. It wasn’t mocking laughter, though, nor was there anything unkind about it at all — it was good and friendly and warm, the kind that would be laughing with, not at, him the second he joined in.

So that’s what he did. He opened his mouth and let the absurdity of the situation carry him into a full-throated chuckle along with them, and just like that, his embarrassment melted away into the morning.

~*~

And they didn’t talk about it, at least not in the way Antoine thought someone might decide it necessary to talk about it. They definitely mentioned it and made jokes about it when they weren’t fucking, but it never became the topic of some deep and important conversation. Instead, sex with Jim and Sevy became not unlike their watching baseball together — not every night, and not always all three of them together, but definitely with having a good time as the order of the day.

It wasn’t long before Antoine got all slicked up, and instead of feeling Sevy’s hands on his hips, he became very aware of a pair of great paws holding him in place. Despite his initial abstract disappointment, he was so glad they’d started with Sevy. Jim’s cock was a monster, and more than that, he knew how to use it so Antoine could feel it in the back of his throat. It damn near knocked the wind out of him when it was all the way in the first time, but Jim had been good and had stayed there, bent over Antoine’s body, stone-still, for several minutes; at last, Antoine had gotten his breath back and given a nod, and what had proceeded was a fuck so intense he’d considered calling out sick the next day, just so he could sit at home and jerk off (sorely) about what it had been like.

One evening, after he’d gotten another fuck just like that one and watched as Jim had blown Sevy within an inch of his life, they’d all piled together in a sweaty, naked heap, with Sevy’s head on Jim’s chest and Antoine curled up on Sevy’s belly, with his long legs tangled with Jim’s. “Have you ever thought about topping?” asked Sevy when Antoine was almost asleep.

“Have–” Antoine gave the question his full bleary consideration. “Huh?”

“Penetration. And being on the penetrating end of it.” Sevy scritched at Antoine’s hair, which was growing long; it felt silly to say that he’d been too busy being fucked lately for a haircut, but it was true.

Thought about it,” Antoine said, rolling on his side so he could see both Jim and Sevy. “That’s it, though.”

Sevy glanced up at Jim, who grinned. “Well, if we’re going to do that,” Jim said, “we should do it proper.”

“Mr. Macho here,” Sevy said with a wink, poking Jim’s side, “is far more fond of dishing it out than he is of taking it.”

Jim shrugged, unbothered. “Hey, you like what you like.”

“And I,” Sevy continued, “enjoy myself, but I’m a switch, not a bottom. To find out if you like pounding ass, you need a real butt-slut to appreciate what you’re doing.”

Which was how they wound up at the club, another an experience Antoine had never before had. The lights were pounding and the bass was throbbing and the whole thing smelled like someone had broken a bottle of cheap rum in a gym bag. Jim was wearing a ratty t-shirt and skintight jeans, and Sevy had actually gone the extra step of applying eyeliner, though he’d laughed in the mirror the whole time about how this was harder with crow’s feet. Antoine, who hadn’t packed anything he considered strictly club clothes, had given the wardrobe job to Sevy, who’d decided that the route to take with Antoine was not unlike what he wore to his job every day, only with his collar unbuttoned and his sleeves cuffed to just below his elbows. He’d been afraid he’d looked silly, but Jim had let out an appreciative whistle, and Antoine had supposed he couldn’t argue with that.

Being at the club, though, he felt out of place again. He was mortified when not once but twice he started making eyes at a cute guy, only to find that said guy had been waving to someone else just behind him. With a sigh, he wandered back over to the spots Jim and Sevy were occupying at the bar and put his head on Sevy’s shoulder; Sevy gave his hair an affectionate stroke. “I’m terrible at this,” he whined as Jim handed him a beer.

“It’s like anything else,” Jim said back, only with the music at this volume, there was no said, only shouted. “Practice, timing, luck.”

“Fuck?” asked Sevy.

Luck,” Jim repeated, lingering on the first consonant. “What’s the matter, grandpa? If it’s too loud, you’re too old!”

“I’m definitely too old for this,” said Sevy, smiling anyway. “But needs must, when the devil drives.” He gave Antoine’s backside a quick squeeze for punctuation.

Antoine pointed to the speaker hanging just over the bar. “Chris likes this song.”

Jim smacked his forehead with the heel of his hand. “Goddammit. Out-gayed by my heterosexual son.”

“This is more his place than mine,” Antoine said, thinking of some of the places Chris had dragged him over the course of their friendship.

“But he wouldn’t be so interested in what comes after,” said Sevy, taking Antoine’s hand and hopping off the stool, “and that is why we’re here. Come on, handsome. Dance with me.”

Upon realizing that he was being dragged toward the dance floor, Antoine sputtered and looked back at Jim, who was grinning like he’d be no help in this at all. “I don’t really–” he began to protest, but it was far too late. Sevy’s hand had a death grip on his, and as bodies began to close around them, Sevy stopped and pressed his chest to Antoine’s. The volume out here was far too high for verbal instructions, so Sevy just grabbed Antoine’s hands and put them on his own hips, then locked his arms around Antoine’s neck and began to writhe in time with the music.

Did Sevy say he was too old? Fuck, Antoine hadn’t seen many kids his own age who moved like that. Sweat stuck Sevy’s long hair to his face as he ground his crotch against Antoine’s, pulsing and sweating to the beat, and making Antoine look good (or at least Antoine hoped that was true) by virtue of proximity. Sevy took Antoine’s hands and put them on his chest, and as Antoine did, he looked up and saw that if they’d wanted attention, they definitely now had it in spades.

An hour after they’d arrived, all three of them were piling back into Sevy’s Toyota, only now they were joined by a fourth: a cute, skinny guy around Antoine’s age, who had huge-gauge piercings and tattoos that crawled up his neck and down his arms. After dancing with him for a bit, Sevy had leaned in, wrapped his arms around the guy’s neck, and conducted a conversation Antoine couldn’t hear over the volume. The next thing he’d known, they were headed home.

He wasn’t complaining, though, especially now that he and the guy were making out in the back seat of the much quieter car. Once more, Antoine was having all his preconceptions about having a type challenged: This guy was leaner even than Sevy was, though not as skinny as he’d appeared at first; his body was all muscle, like the body of a runner or a swimmer. And he was pierced everywhere, or at least Antoine was learning as he ran his hands over the guy’s head and torso.

Of course, the fact that he only knew him as ‘this guy’ didn’t sit well. Antoine sat back a little. “So, uh,” he said, taking a hand from the guy’s ass and extending it toward him in a handshake, “I’m Antoine.”

That cracked the guy up, but he took it and gave it a friendly shake in return. “Minh,” he said, giving the exchange a proper businesslike nod. He had an amazing smile, wide and enthusiastic. “So, your daddy says you need some education in fucking, hm?”

Antoine blanched a little, looking from Sevy back to Minh. Had it really happened? Had he just met the proverbial man who really couldn’t see race? “Um,” Antoine said, “he’s not really….”

That sent the whole car into whoops of laughter. “Oh, sweetheart,” said Minh, pulling himself so close he was practically in Antoine’s lap, “we’re all family.”

Back at the house, Jim led the parade straight to the master bedroom, where Sevy proceeded to grab Minh and drag him onto the bed for an ostentatious show of kissing and groping. Antoine wasn’t complaining one bit. He was, however, a bit distracted as Jim stepped up behind him and wrapped his arms around Antoine’s waist. “What’s important is to pay attention,” Jim drawled in his ear, deep and slow. “If you forget him and make it all about you, you’ll wind up hurting him, and no matter how much he likes it now, he won’t thank you for it tomorrow.”

It didn’t take a lot of imagination for Antoine to come to the same conclusion. “Yes, sir,” he said with a nod.

Jim’s hands splayed on Antoine’s belly, warm and steady. “There’s always going to be a part where you’re worried you’re hurting him anyway. But if you actually hurt him, he’ll let you know.”

“Yes, sir,” Antoine said, his voice breathy as he stared at the scene before him. Sevy had gotten off Minh’s shirt, and oh, those beautiful tattoos covered every inch of his olive skin, swirling colors and flowers and words in languages Antoine couldn’t identify, much less read. Minh really was a work of art.

“And lots of lube.” Jim patted Antoine’s stomach. “And then just go slow. Hold him tight and fuck him slow at first. Give him a chance to get used to how your dick feels in him. You know he’s going to love it, but he’s got to warm up to it.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Because–” One of Jim’s hands snaked down below the waist of Antoine’s pants, wrapping around Antoine’s cock, which by now was almost in despair that it would ever get off. It perked right up at Jim’s touch, and Antoine might have fallen forward if Jim hadn’t been holding him. “He’s going to fucking love it.” Jim tugged the head of Antoine’s cock up past the waistbands of his boxers and pants, and with only a few dedicated strokes, Antoine was coming hard, spilling all over the floor in front of them.

He had just enough air to begin to register a protest when Jim turned Antoine in his arms and kissed him good and proper, something with which Antoine had never been able to argue. “There you go,” Jim whispered against Antoine’s lips. “Now you won’t shoot your load five seconds after you get in him. You’re welcome.”

Getting hard again turned out to be no problem, not when Minh, stripped fully now by Sevy — and oh, those tattoos went all the way down and came right back up again — got on all fours on the bed and sucked Antoine’s cock right back to life. He was as enthusiastic about giving head as he had been about dancing, and though Antoine had seen how well Sevy and Jim blew him and one another, Minh was a cocksucker extraordinaire. He was so good, in fact, that Antoine damn near forgot the reason they’d brought him over, and was reminded only when Minh drew his head back and looked up at Antoine. “How do you want me? On my knees, on my back…?”

Paralyzed by choice, Antoine looked over to Jim and Sevy, who were standing with their arms around one another’s shoulders, leaning against a dresser, watching the proceedings with what could only be described as paternal pride. What was weird to Antoine now was how that wasn’t weird at all. Jim gave a little shrug. “Up to you.”

Antoine swallowed and licked his lips, considering logistics. “I guess … like you are right now?” he said, wanting to sound declarative, but winding up on the insecure side of the line.

If Minh was put out by Antoine’s lack of confidence, though, he didn’t show it. He did a slinky turn on all fours, until he was positioned with his tattooed ass up in the air. Okay, thought Antoine, it was time to get to work.

The lube was in the drawer by the side of the bed, so Antoine pulled it out and drizzled it on his fingers. He’d had it put on and in him before, but he’d never actually handled it, and getting it between his own fingers was a novel, if somewhat repulsive, experience. He’d have time for his scientific curiosity later, though; now he had more pressing matters — one of which literally involved pressing. He eased one finger into Minh’s ass, feeling the resistance of muscle for a moment before relaxation followed, and Minh’s ass almost swallowed Antoine’s finger in. Inside, Minh was warm — more than warm, all the way to hot. “Is that okay?” Antoine asked, knowing that just because this seemed like an easy procedure didn’t mean it necessarily was.

But Minh laughed and gave Antoine’s finger a squeeze. “Feels fucking great,” he said. “If I could just walk around all day with someone’s fingers up my ass, I totally would.”

Antoine snorted a little laugh at that. “Might get inconvenient.”

“For him, maybe. Not for me.” Minh grinned over his shoulder. “Though if you’re volunteering, I’m sure we could work something out to your liking.”

“We’ll see,” said Antoine, adding a second finger to the first. “Might be hard to do my internship like that, though.”

Minh sighed, first with pleasure, then with clear comic exasperation. “That’s the first thing I’ll do when I win the lottery: pay a guy to quit his job and assfuck me twenty-four-seven. Maybe we’d even get a special chair made, so we could go out like that.”

“Chair like that qualify you to park in handicapped spaces?”

“I fucking hope so!” Minh laughed. “Finally, reverse discrimination for gays! Tip the scales in our favor for once. We’ll forget all the years of legalized discrimination and social outcast status if we can get fucked in public and have our own special parking spots.”

It was perhaps the strangest conversation Antoine had ever been a part of, talking about parking spaces with the guy whose ass now held tight onto three fingers of his right hand, but it was making him feel less self-conscious by the minute. That had been a thing he’d always feared about being gay — the difference, the strangeness, the fear that he wouldn’t fit in any better there than he did in the straight world. As it turned out, he was fitting in (pun unintended) just fine.

At last, all stretched out, Minh sighed and stretched his back. “You’ve got nice hands, sweetheart, but you’ve got an even nicer dick. Come on and find out how it works.”

Well, it was time for the main event. Antoine took a deep breath and drew his hand free; he didn’t want to think too hard about what all was on it, but he found that for the little he couldn’t stop thinking about it, it didn’t disgust him as much as he’d feared. He just took a towel from the floor and wiped his fingers clean, and even though they now smelled like some fake fruit Antoine couldn’t identify, that wasn’t too bad either. It was weird what he was okay with in the moment.

He grabbed for the lube again and was about to drizzle some straight onto his cock when he heard a throat-clearing sound and damn near jumped out of his skin. Oh right, he had an audience. Jim shook his head and Sevy pointed back to the bedside drawer. He didn’t understand; he had the lube, what else did he–

The box of condoms there might as well have jumped up and smacked him in the forehead. Oh, right. Years of public-school sex education had sort of married (pun again unintended, damn his eyes) the idea of condoms in his head to the concept of putting his penis inside the vagina of his wife before he started having kids with her, no part of which had ever made his to-do list. And while the half-used economy-sized box of condoms indicated they played safe with others, neither Jim nor Sevy had ever rubbered up with Antoine, the complete virgin. But if fucking a near-stranger in the ass wasn’t the time when he’d want to use protection, Antoine didn’t know what.

Of course, never having used a condom before meant never having opened a condom before, and it was a lot more difficult than the little package suggested, especially with one hand still a little lube-slick. The first package slipped from his sweaty hands and fell to the floor, bouncing off a discarded sock and flopping under the bed. The second tore open, but the tear veered immediately to the side, leaving a hole about a millimeter wide. The third stuck together with the fourth, and when he tried to get them apart, they both fell from his hands; one hit the pillow and the other landed square in Minh’s back, just below a vibrant pink flamingo. He didn’t dare look, but he heard the distinctive noise as Jim and Sevy heroically tried and failed to muffle their laughter.

Minh, however, just smiled and picked the one off his back. “First time?” he asked Antoine.

Antoine sighed and let his chin drop to his chest. “Yeah.”

“Let me show you a trick,” said Minh with a wink. He turned around so he was sitting up and — to Antoine’s shock — popped the whole condom into his mouth, wrapper and all. He moved it around for a second, then reached in and grabbed a corner of the wrapper; he pulled it out from between his lips, and instead of forming a tight square packet, the foil was now a long torn line. The condom, however, was nowhere to be seen — right until Minh grinned and showed the latex between his teeth. “It’s an acquired taste,” he said around it.

Jim and Sevy gave polite golf-claps of appreciation. Minh winked at them before going at Antoine’s cock, and Antoine didn’t even know what was happening until he felt the slick latex roll snugly down with Minh’s lips. When Minh pulled back, he gave the tip of the latex a little tug and a little kiss, and just like that, Antoine was ready to go. “Wow,” said Antoine, because nothing else was coming to mind.

Minh beamed and flopped back onto all fours. “I do cherry stems too,” he said, punctuating the sentence with a little wiggle of his backside. “Come on, handsome. I want you to fuck me with that big dick of yours.”

Antoine supposed that if he’d been Jim, he could have come back at that with some sort of clever remark or bossy demand, or even just a smack on Minh’s thighs. But he was afraid that if he lost his concentration, he’d lose the rest too, so he drizzled lube on his palm and rubbed it on the condom. It was weird, to be able to feel pressure and temperature but not the wetness of the lube — not weird bad, just weird different. That was okay, though. Lately, he’d been getting good at weird.

He nudged the tip of his cock into Minh, remembering to go slow, but Minh took the initiative and shifted his hips, impaling himself all the way on Antoine’s dick. Minh shuddered and gasped for a moment. “Oh, he’s got a nice one,” said Minh, and it took Antoine a second to figure out Minh wasn’t talking to him — he was looking over at Jim and Sevy, who themselves looked pleased as punch. “I can’t believe I’m getting lucky enough to break it in.”

“He does, doesn’t he?” The deep thrum of Jim’s voice made Antoine shudder, and as he shuddered, he thrust into Minh. His cock wanted heat and pressure, and Minh had both of those to spare. “We’ve been breaking the rest in ourselves lately.”

“Have you!” Minh laughed, pleased; his words were as much air as sound. “He’s a lucky boy. I wish I’d had daddies like you to take care of me and treat me right. Show me what to do with a big man’s big dick.”

“He’s a quick study,” Sevy said.

Ever the quiet type, Antoine had spent a great deal of his life having people talk about him as though he weren’t in the room, and he’d come to hate it. Now, though, there was something sexy about it, about being discussed like that while he was fucking Minh. He tried to remember what Jim had said about making this about Minh, but his own need was creeping in, demanding to be heeded. He reached down just to check, and was glad to feel that Minh was rock-hard, his dick swinging back and forth along the top of the sheets as Antoine drove in and out of him.

The touch made Minh shiver, too, which was a nice bonus. “Does your boy like sucking dick too, daddies?” asked Minh. “Is he a good cocksucker?”

“He’s a natural,” Sevy agreed. “Got a mouth made for giving head.”

“That’s what I say about you,” said Jim, giving Sevy a quick kiss.

Sevy returned it, then stuck out his tongue. “What a hard life you lead, two handsome men all but attached to your cock.”

“I’m a very lucky man,” Jim said before turning his attention back to the bed. “So how’s he doing? Does he have the job?”

That made Minh laugh and wriggle in a way where Antoine had to bite his lip to keep from coming too soon. “Oh, he’s got it. Sit me down on this any day. Let me fuck him until he comes in my ass, then suck him hard again. Make him my full-time cock. Even if I can tell his heart belongs to his daddies.”

Jim chuckled at that. “Oh, we don’t mind loaning him out. We’ve got a nice view from right here. He’s a pretty piece of ass.”

“He’s fucking gorgeous,” said Minh, and even though most of Antoine’s blood was elsewhere occupied, enough made it up for a blush. “Does he do this for you, daddies? Bend over and let you pound him like a boy?”

“He’s very good at it.” Sevy was now stroking Jim’s chest through his shirt in slow, lazy circles. “It’s this big daddy here he likes the best, though.”

Antoine bit his lip again, though this time with a more self-conscious than orgasmic force. He was hoping it hadn’t shown, and he really did find Sevy incredibly attractive, but … given the option, he would have chosen to be fucked by Jim every day for the rest of his life and twice Sundays. As much as tastes could change and horizons could broaden, some things he’d just wanted for too long to deny.

Minh nodded and groaned, letting his shoulders rise and his back curve. “A very lucky boy.”

He’d wanted to make this last, he really had, but even with how Jim had made him come earlier, Antoine had never really had much of a chance of holding out. He groaned and his hips move faster, and Jim said, “Ask him where he wants it.”

It took a second for Antoine to register that Jim was talking to him. “Um, where do … do you want it?” he dutifully asked Minh.

“Oh, I like it anywhere,” said Minh, “but I think it looks pretty when boys sign their work on my belly.”

That was all the instruction Antoine needed, and also all that he could take. He pulled out of Minh and stripped the condom off as Minh rolled over onto his back. At the last moment, he grabbed not only his cock but Minh’s, one in each hand, and was surprised when Minh was the one who shot first. The sight of the ropes of white come spilling out of Minh’s cock, decorating a tableau of blue jays and barbed wire just below his belly button, transfixed Antoine so much that for a moment, he forgot about jerking himself off. Need reminded him, though, and a few more strokes added his own seed to the mix, until Minh was a sweaty, happy mess.

Things got a little fuzzy for Antoine thereafter. Jim and Sevy descended, bringing helpful towels, and Minh and Sevy went off in the direction of the shower while Jim tucked Antoine into bed. Antoine hadn’t quite realized how overwhelming it had all gotten until it was over. It had been great, but it had also been not unlike running a marathon. What he needed now was rest.

Minutes or possibly hours later, Minh emerged, his dark hair dripping wet, and gave Antoine a huge, deep kiss. “Sweet dreams, lucky boy,” he said. A short discussion later, he left with Sevy for a ride back to where he’d left his car, while Jim stripped down and climbed into bed with Antoine.

Sleep sounded great, but being next to Jim and exhausted beyond good sense conversely revved Antoine’s motor again. He slid closer to Jim, twining their legs together, and got Jim’s cock in his hand. “I’ve wanted to fuck you since I was twelve,” Antoine said, paying only the faintest amount of attention to how awful that sounded. “I just … wanted you to grab me and pin me down and fuck me so I couldn’t say no, I’m straight, I don’t like this.”

Bless Jim, he didn’t pull away, but leaned instead into the touch. “That right?” he purred.

“Not– I didn’t want you to rape me or anything,” Antoine hastily corrected. “Just to … to take me and to … I guess just make sense of what I was feeling. I wanted it but I didn’t want to admit I wanted it. So I wanted you to not give me a chance to not admit I wanted it. Or something.”

Jim kissed at Antoine’s forehead. “Sorry you had to wait for it.”

Antoine shook his head. “It’s okay. I mean, I wouldn’t really have wanted you to want it back then either. And I would not have known what to do with at the time. Not that I really know what to do with it now, but….”

“I’d say you’re getting the hang of it.” Jim exhaled into Antoine’s hair. “Did you like that, being on top?”

“Yeah.” Antoine nodded and his hand gave Jim’s cock a squeeze. “It was good. But … I think I like it better the other way.”

He could feel Jim’s smile widen. “You sure you’re not too tired…?”

Antoine shook his head and let go, pulling away so that he could see Jim’s face and Jim could see his. “I want you to fuck me, sir,” Antoine said, feeling his heart race in his chest. “Pin me down. Don’t let me tell you I don’t want it. I do.”

It didn’t take long before Jim was buried balls-deep in Antoine, who had his wrists pinned to the bed by Jim’s strong hands and his legs locked down beneath Jim’s. The pressure of Jim’s body against his was almost too much to bear, but Antoine loved it, and he didn’t even try to deny how greedy he was for it. Every time Jim rocked against him, their sweaty bodies ground chest-to-chest, and Antoine’s cock, trapped between their bellies, throbbed with pleasure. The condom had been good with Minh, but now Jim was raw in him, and he could feel all the slick sweat of skin on skin.

“Please,” he heard himself say, as though from a distance. “Please, sir, fuck me, come in me.” Jim had done both before, of course, and on several occasions, but there was something for Antoine about asking for it, begging for it. There was no denying anything. “Please, sir, please.”

He lost track of how long they were together like that, how many times he muttered variations on that same theme. He wasn’t even hard anymore; the sensation was far more generalized than that. He bucked and writhed and gasped and made noise and didn’t care who heard him. Sevy may have returned somewhere in there, but if he did, he didn’t intrude. Not that his return would have been an intrusion, but this was between them — or really, in its own way, between Jim and the boy Antoine had been when he’d first connected desire to reality. It was nine years late, but it was still in plenty of time to do some good.

At last, Jim did come in him, though Antoine was too hot and raw to feel the load inside him. He felt Jim’s body shudder and buck, though, and Antoine took everything he could. When Jim let go of his wrists, he threw his arms around Jim’s chest and held him tight, and that was how he fell asleep, sweaty and full of come and safe and completely himself. He’d never felt better.

~*~

Antoine wished he were drunk. He wished he’d had Valium or some other kind of horse tranquilizer to take. He wished he could do anything to pay attention to the Skype call with Chris, since Chris had just come in off three weeks of backwoods rangering, and was about to head in for three more, and Antoine really was interested in what Chris had to say, he seriously was. But he also couldn’t stop his hands from shaking.

At last, after telling a gripping story of tagging wolves, Chris stopped and asked, “So hey, how’s it going for you?”

“Fine, fine,” said Antoine. “Fine. Internship’s … really good, actually. I’ve learned a lot of stuff. I’m not just the coffee robot anymore.”

“Great!” Chris shot him a thumbs-up. His grin was framed by a full beard now, and Antoine wasn’t quite sure how to feel about that as a grooming choice, but he had to admit it made Chris’ whole mountain-man aesthetic that much more effective. “And Dad and Sevy doing good?”

Oh, Antoine thought, they were doing him good, a couple times a week, until sometimes he couldn’t stand — and until he at last had to face a couple facts about himself. “They’re great,” Antoine said. “They’ve been really great to … I mean, they’re great, I–” Antoine took a deep breath and let it out in a rush. “Hey, dude, can I tell you something?”

“Anything!” said Chris, with a smile that said he meant it.

Here it was, right on the tip of his tongue, and all he needed to do was push it out and nothing would ever be the same again. “I’m gay,” he said, waiting for something catastrophic to happen — some sort of explosion, a collapsed building, something to mark the way his world was now completely different from what it had been two seconds ago, to say nothing of at the beginning of the summer.

But the only explosion came as Chris threw both his hands into the air and made a woo-hoo! sound so loud it made the laptop’s crappy speakers clip. “I knew staying with Dad and Sevy would be good for you! I knew it!”

Any response from Antoine was delayed by his having to pick his jaw up off the floor. “You knew it?”

“Dude. Come on.” Chris folded his hands and leaned toward the camera on his end. “You are my best friend. I love you like family. And I know you well enough to know if I’d said anything, it would’ve pushed every Freakout Button on your console.”

Antoine was sad they weren’t in the same room so he could change the subject by punching Chris several times. “Shut up,” he said, even though he couldn’t argue any of that.

“Seriously, though, I think that’s great. I mean, that you’re there about saying it. Hey, it’s great you’re gay too!”

“What, don’t have enough homos in your life already?” said Antoine, feeling a smile curl at his mouth.

“Dude, I can always use more homos. I’m thinking of starting a collection.” Chris mimed putting little figurines on a shelf. “Here’s you and Dad and Sevy….”

That pitched Antoine forward into a laugh, and one he’d started, he found it hard to stop. He felt deflated, like he’d held every muscle in his body taut for years, bracing for impact — and now that the impact wasn’t going to come, his body had to learn at new way to function, and that was almost as terrifying. Even so, this alone was a huge relief. “Hey, am I the first person you told?” asked Chris.

Antoine nodded, wiping at the corners of his eyes where laughter had left tears. “Well, your dad and Sevy kind of figured it out on their own,” he said, glossing over huge parts of that story. That might be something Chris never knew, and that was okay, because Chris had never wanted to talk about his dad’s sex life or pried into his best friend’s, so there really wasn’t a reason to discuss them now that they’d converged, was there? Maybe one day they could talk about it, but that would have to be after Antoine himself had done a lot of thinking about it on his own. What it all meant remained to be seen.

Chris nodded. “That means a lot to me. That you trust me like that.”

“Yeah, well.” Antoine folded his hands in his lap. “Means a lot to me that you’d want me on your little homo collectables display.”

“Top row! Family shelf!” Chris held his hands wide, and Antoine laughed. “I love you, dude, and I want you to be happy. And it’s kinda sucked all this time, seeing you unhappy kinda like Dad was before he and Mom split up, and not being able to do anything about it. So that’s why when I had the chance to toss you to Dad and Sevy, I did. I thought, hey, if you could see some gay guys being happy up close and personal, might not seem like such a bad thing to be.”

Up close and personal was one way to describe how the summer had gone, yes. “Thanks,” said Antoine. “And … thanks for not telling me beforehand.”

“My pleasure.” Chris blew a cheeky kiss at the screen before glancing over his shoulder. “Aw, shit, I need to go. They’re doing an orienteering thing on how to survive a bear attack.”

“A bear attack?!”

“But you don’t need to worry! ‘Cause I’ll be able to survive it!” As Antoine shook his head, Chris only laughed harder. “Okay, Ant-Man, give Dad and Sevy my love, and if I don’t get a chance to call back before then, see you in about six weeks!”

“Don’t get eaten by bears,” said Antoine, which was as good as ‘I love you too’ where the two of them were concerned.

“But you go right ahead!” said Chris before disconnecting the call. It took Antoine a couple minutes before he figured out what Chris’d meant by that.

~*~

In retrospect, he’d known the evening was going to end up like this since the moment he’d heard Sevy say they’d be having a couple of friends over for dinner that Friday night. More accurately, he’d known since they’d all been snuggled in bed the weekend before, half-drunk and sex-exhausted and shooting the shit, and somehow Jim had gotten it out of Antoine that, okay, maybe he’d had a couple fantasies of his own about multiple guys, as in more-than-two. But that was silly, Antoine had been quick to disclaim, because that kind of thing didn’t just happen. Not to anyone he knew, and not to him.

Which is why he couldn’t really say he was surprised when he found himself kneeling on the floor in front of Sergio — and as much as it felt unaccountably rude to call him that, Jim had never said their last names — naked and breathing hard as he lay his cheek against Sergio’s bare thigh. Antoine wondered if Sergio himself could have been mentioned in Chris’ survival briefing; he was a husky man with a belly, and his brown arms were covered in hair down to his knuckles. Those knuckles were now brushing the back of Antoine’s cheek with a leering sort of affection.

Jim knelt behind Antoine, stroking his belly. The rest of the guests were in various stages of undress, but Antoine and Jim had gotten to the full nothing stage first. “Does this feel good?”

“Yes, sir,” answered Antoine, and that brought a chuckle to the room’s lips. Sergio’s husband, Harrison, was next to him in the center of the couch, and Sevy sat on the far end, though the two of them were at the moment more engrossed in kissing one another than they were with anything else going on. That was okay, though; Antoine had never been that interested in being the center of all attention, even if the ones paying it were handsome older men.

And they were handsome, too, even if in ways Antoine hadn’t quite considered before. Harrison couldn’t have been much older than Jim, but his hair was pure snowy white and combed back in a lush mane, making him look like one of those white British men condemned to play a bad guy for the rest of his career. He had a sort of military bearing to him, one only accentuated by a nose that looked like it had been broken a couple dozen times, but there was nothing strictly military about the way he had his hands down the front of Sevy’s pants.

But Sergio … was another matter entirely. He hit all the same buttons Jim did, the sweaty, stinky, hairy buttons that Antoine dismissed intellectually as being ridiculous but made him go all weak in the knees. The first thought, in fact, he’d had upon meeting Sergio and shaking his massive hand had been one of falling to his knees in the foyer and sucking Sergio’s cock right then and there.

He’d had to wait through dinner (and a lovely one at that, courtesy of Jim’s ability to fry chicken so good it made angels weep), but here was his chance. Sergio’s cock was a short, fat mouthful that poked out of the front of his boxers, shadowed slightly by the overhang of his belly. He smelled sweaty but clean, in much the same way Jim did most of the time, though there was no way Antoine could ever have mixed up the two of them even with all his other senses hobbled. All that was left, then, was to take a taste. He opened his mouth and leaned forward, dragging his tongue across the tip of Sergio’s cock.

Sergio shuddered and grinned. “I think we need one of these for our house,” he said, stroking Antoine’s hair. “Where’d you get yours? SkyMall? Craigslist?”

Jim chuckled as he pet Antoine’s sides. “Hell, we just found him on our doorstep in a bassinet, with a little note asking us to please take good care of him.”

“Is that so?” Sergio asked with a laugh. He had a light Puerto Rican accent that made everything he said musical. “Are they taking good care of you?”

“Yes, sir,” answered Antoine, who went back in for another taste, then opened his mouth wide and took Sergio’s cock in all the way. It wasn’t like sucking Jim’s big dick; Antoine had room to maneouver here, and could flick his tongue around and build pressure without letting an inch of it pass his lips again.

“Lucky bastards.” Sergio grinned and reached for Harrison’s hand, tugging him from the kiss to what was going on in his lap. “Here, you ought to watch him work.”

“Is that so?” asked Harrison, who resettled himself for a better view, but kept an arm around Sevy’s shoulders. Sevy tucked against Harrison’s chest and gave Antoine’s nose an affectionate bop, and that was when Antoine realized that he now had quite the audience. He had a stab of self-conscious fear, but that faded as he felt Jim’s hands rubbing circles against the small of his back. Anxiety began to give way to arousal again, giving Antoine something to focus on other than the fear that he would somehow mess this up. He had a fat, tasty cock to attend to.

As he did, Antoine found it easier and easier to focus on sensation. He could close his eyes and breathe through his nose and thereby reduce the world to three factors: Sergio’s cock, his own mouth, and the way Jim’s hands felt as they brushed across his skin. His whole universe, suspended by three cords, and he couldn’t find a single cause for complaint. Even his own arousal was only a distant concern, somewhere back in the place where it was more objective fact than direct influence.

What brought that fact to the stark forefront, though, was how a tough, military hand wrapped around its length. Antoine’s eyes snapped open, and he saw the couch was empty now except for Sergio, who looked close to coming but seemed in no great hurry to do so. Another hand stroked beneath his chin, then eased him back, until Sergio’s cock fell from his lips and bobbed against his thigh. “Is this what you want?” Harrison asked, and though his voice was gruff when he spoke in such a low tone, the question was kind.

“Yes, sir,” Antoine answered, and as he did, Harrison slipped two strong, callused fingers into his mouth.

“I want to eat your ass, boy,” Harrison said, casual as anything. “You want that too?”

He’d thought about rimming before, and had come to the conclusion (once he’d pushed past his initial horror of the whole concept) that while it might be fine for others, it wasn’t anything he’d ever be interested in. That, of course, had been before he’d wound up on all fours on the living room carpet, with his cock dripping a thin stream of precome onto the fibers beneath him, ready for just about anything. “Yes, sir.” Antoine nodded.

Harrison gave Antoine’s ass a smack, sending shivers through Antoine’s body that caused his elbows to buckle and give way; if Harrison hadn’t been holding him up by his jaw, he might have planted his face straight into the floor. “And while I do it, I want you to keep sucking my husband’s cock. Understood?”

In that moment, Antoine understood so much. “Yes, sir,” he said, closing his lips around Harrison’s fingers after the second word and giving his fingertips a quick suck, as though to promise the quality of care Sergio would be receiving.

Harrison grinned as he pulled his fingers free, then gave Antoine a tender kiss on his lips before moving his way down Antoine’s body, planting a row of kisses all the way. Antoine took this as a cue that he should go back to doing what he’d promised Harrison — though before he could get there, he felt rough hands on his face from his other side. He turned, and there was Jim, ready with a kiss of his own, one that was long and steady and barely let Antoine up for breath. He felt hands begin to spread his ass cheeks wide, but any startlement he felt at the sensation was caught in Jim’s mouth and muffled in their contact. Every time he thought it was too weird, that this was going to be the thing that pushed him over the line back into the arms of anxiety, Jim was there.

And then there was the pressure of Harrison’s tongue against and then inside his ass, wet and quick, and Antoine gasped so hard he broke from the kiss. Jim just grinned and raised a curious eyebrow, and when Antoine nodded that, yes, this was good, this was very good, Jim looked toward Sergio’s cock, bobbing so patiently just inches from Antoine’s face. Antoine opened his mouth and dragged his tongue up the length of Sergio’s shaft, and was pleased as punch to see Jim lean in and do the same. This way, they resumed their kiss from earlier, only this time with a cock between their joined mouths, so that this was some wonderful combination of making out and sucking dick that Antoine had never even considered before. He could write up a paper about it for one of his professors, maybe even for a journal. They’d probably give him the Nobel Prize. They’d create an entire category just for it. It was a ridiculous thought and Jim was sucking on his tongue and Harrison could eat ass in a way that didn’t leave Antoine any room to imagine how anyone might do it any better, and it was wonderful.

When Harrison’s mouth was replaced by a slicked-up cock, Antoine didn’t care whose it was — he just wanted more of it, and wanted it in him. He let Sergio’s cock fall from his mouth to slide back, making sure that whoever was fucking him didn’t hesitate. When that person didn’t start moving back right away, Antoine began to rock his hips with a single-minded devotion to his own pleasure. A stray thought bubbled up about how he must look kind of funny like this, and he pushed it away in the name of how good it felt. Besides, nobody else here seemed ready to complain.

Sergio’s fingers grabbed in his hair, a sign Antoine knew well by now, so Antoine nudged Jim away and took Sergio’s cock in his mouth straight to the root. Seconds later, his mouth was filled with spurts of warm come, which he swallowed greedily. Like everything else he’d deemed disgusting on an intellectual level, context was all.

A hard cock replaced Sergio’s softening one not long after, and Antoine took it without opening his eyes, without stopping to consider identity. It was just a cock, like the cock in his ass was just a cock, like he was just a place to put them both. No one was going to hurt him or mock him or push him any further than he wanted to go. All he had to worry about was pleasure: how to give it and how he got it.

After some time, he felt the cock in his ass slip wetly out, and before it was replaced by another one, he was rolled on his back. A mouth closed around one of his nipples and another closed over his own dick, and even after he came right then and there, shooting hard into the nameless mouth, the blowjob didn’t stop. And then someone had his hips in strong hands (Jim? it could have been Jim) and was hauling him up and into being fucked again. Every thrust pushed him deeper into the mouth around his own dick, and then straight up into whatever cock had followed Sergio’s.

A hand brushed his side in a way that was probably supposed to be seductive, but instead it tickled him, and he twitched and giggled around the cock in his mouth — and then everyone else was laughing along with him, a chorus of happy voices that warmed the room with the sound. Antoine melted into that warmth, letting it take him wherever it wanted him to go.

By the time Harrison and Sergio left — each with a big kiss, a bigger hug, and a gentle hair ruffle for Antoine on the way out — Antoine had been come in, on, and near so many times he’d lost count. Sprawled there on the living room rug, he was a total fucking mess that couldn’t stop smiling.

“Up you go,” said Jim, patting Antoine on the side, and Antoine locked his arms around Jim’s neck and let Jim help him to his feet. What he didn’t expect was to have Jim’s other arm sweep up under his knees, and just like that, he was a princess. He felt like a princess. And if that wasn’t entirely correct, well, he could imagine that plenty of princesses secretly wished they could feel like he did right then.

Their next stop was the tub, which Sevy had all full of warm water and lavender-smelling bubbles. Antoine slid down into it until the bubbles covered his nose, then sputtered and sat up a bit more. Sevy kissed him on the cheek. “Well, you were a champ,” he said.

Antoine’s bashfulness went to war with his pride, so he ended up puffing his chest out while his cheeks reddened. “It was fun.”

“Isn’t it?” Sevy sat on the edge of the tub in a way that would have been paternal if he’d been wearing a stitch of clothing.

“You ever do that?”

Sevy laughed and turned the tap to let a little more hot water into the mix; Antoine still felt good, but he could already tell where moving would be difficult tomorrow morning. “Used to. It’s a little like running a marathon: good about once a year, and a lot harder past thirty.”

Jim walked into the bathroom and sidled up behind Sevy; he put his hands on Sevy’s shoulders and squeezed, and Sevy nuzzled his cheek against Jim’s knuckles. “And a big deal in Boston,” Jim said, which made Sevy snort a laugh. “And you’ve got to wear a number so the officials can–”

“All right, all right, it’s not entirely like running a marathon, you asshole.” Sevy swatted at Jim’s hand, but not enough to stop the backrub he was getting.

Antoine shook his head at both of them, then blew away a pillar of bubbles that had floated closer to his face. “It felt really good.”

“Then I declare this night a success,” said Jim with a wink. He leaned down to give Sevy a sweet kiss, then turned and walked out of the bathroom, giving a clear view of his lovely naked backside the whole way. “I’ll get the bed warm for everyone!”

Antoine let his gaze follow Jim until Jim was swallowed by the relative darkness of the bedroom, then turned back to Sevy. “God, his ass. I mean … just … God.”

“Tell me about it,” said Sevy with a smile. He took a cup beside the tub and scooped up the warm, soapy water, then dumped it over Antoine’s head, making a visor with his free hand to keep it out of Antoine’s face. Antoine shut his eyes and smiled as it trickled down his scalp and over his ears, letting the cleanup be as wonderful as making the mess had been.

~*~

And it was true that for a time — a time Antoine would later look back on with good-natured sheepishness — Antoine thought about just giving everything else up and staying. Atlanta was big; he could find a job there, doing something, anything. Maybe he could transfer over to a local college and finish up his degree here. Chris could explain for him. He’d make up something good. And Antoine himself could just disappear off his former radar into this life here, with Jim and Sevy. He loved them and they loved him. That, at least would make him happy.

He hadn’t realized how serious those thoughts had become until one lazy Sunday morning, when Antoine came out to the kitchen to find Jim and Sevy already awake, sitting at the table and looking at siding estimates on Sevy’s iPad. They said their good-mornings and Jim asked if Antoine wanted eggs, and Antoine took a rain check, saying he’d take his coffee and a shower first. He poured himself a cup and walked out of the kitchen, back to his bedroom.

Except he didn’t get any farther than just past the kitchen door, where he could duck out of sight, holding his coffee under his nose and eavesdropping in a way he was sure his mother wouldn’t have been proud of. Then again, that was probably least of his crimes in her book this summer, so he shut up and listened.

They weren’t even talking about anything important — house siding, for God’s sake, the eggshell or the taupe (as Sevy swore up and down that they were exactly the same, and Jim could insist otherwise all he wanted without making it true), the vinyl or the fiber cement (Jim didn’t feel the vinyl was environmentally friendly enough), adding synthetic stone accents (they both liked the idea but weren’t sure about the cost), when to buy it (Sevy thought sooner was better than later, but Jim thought if they could hold out until October, he might be able to get a discount through his job), whether or not to get it professionally installed (Jim’s claim that he could save money doing it himself met Sevy’s counterpoint that that’d be fine if they wanted the project to take eighty years). It was damn near the most mundane, un-sexy conversation Antoine had ever heard in his life.

But it was their conversation. Jim would start a sentence and trail off before an important part, and Sevy would respond as though to a complete thought. They both knew what ‘that fiasco with the Cooper house’ was and agreed they wanted to avoid something similar. And every time Sevy insisted that for the last fucking time, there was no fucking difference between the eggshell and the taupe, Jim cackled. The rest of the universe could have been wiped off the map in that moment, and they would still have been there, negotiating the mundanities of the life they’d made together.

That was when it hit Antoine that he didn’t belong here. Jim and Sevy did love him, but they were in love with one another, and had been now for years. They might ask his opinion on the siding question, but it wasn’t ever going to be his choice. He didn’t get to make the big decisions, and he didn’t get to stick around. He was an intern.

He expected to feel some kind of crushing rejection, something that would send him crying to his pillow, but honestly … it was a relief. He did have his whole life back in Tennessee, and his whole family too, and the idea that he’d never go back to either of them had run a knot through his stomach he hadn’t been able to identify until it unraveled. It would be rough, going home now, and he didn’t expect the conversation with his parents to go over easy, but running away wasn’t going to solve any of that. He could take it slow. He had Chris, too, and that was like having a whole spare jetpack of self-confidence. And he had wondered more than once about the cute sophomore who’d been in most of his communications classes last semester, who’d always been friendly and maybe just a little forward. Maybe now it was time to stop wondering and find out.

As the conversation continued on, punctuated by the occasional bout of gleeful insults, Antoine leaned back against the wall and smiled as he sipped his coffee. What they had was something he wanted, he knew, but he wanted it for himself. Maybe it wasn’t such a revelation, in the grand cosmic scale of things — no bigger than the difference between eggshell and taupe, if Sevy was to be believed — but it was a big deal for him even just to have it as a possibility. It might be hard, but it also could someday be okay, and someday was enough.

~*~

illustrated by 2013

“That everything?” Chris asked, hauling the bags into the back.

“Think so.” Antoine had made a sweep through the house and hadn’t seen anything he’d miss too much if it got left behind.

Chris grinned up at him. “Feel weird to go?”

So weird.” Three months wasn’t such a long stretch even for a young man, but these particular three had been just about the most important of Antoine’s life. He wouldn’t be going back to the same places he’d left — or no, that wasn’t right; it was more like the same him wouldn’t be going back to the places he’d left. This was the only world the New Antoine knew, but it wasn’t home. That was somewhere else yet to be discovered.

Jim and Sevy walked outside after them, and Sevy handed Chris a little cooler. “Your dad made some sandwiches in case you get hungry, and there’s last night’s leftovers in there.”

“Sweet!” Chris tucked the cooler in the back, then gave Sevy a vise-like hug. “You guys are the best.”

“We try,” said Sevy, ruffling Chris’ hair as they embraced. “Next time, though, your travel plans need to let you spend more than a couple days here in either direction.”

“Next time, cross my heart,” said Chris, giving Sevy one last squeeze before moving on to say good-bye to his dad.

Now it was Antoine’s turn, and it was strange how daunting a simple hug seemed when facing a man around whom he’d been very naked very recently. But Sevy just smiled and wrapped his arms around Antoine, and Antoine fell into the touch. He was going to miss this, maybe a lot more than he’d really let himself admit.

“You call us if you need anything,” said Sevy into Antoine’s ear, and his voice wasn’t sultry so much as determined. They hadn’t really talked about Antoine’s family, but Antoine suspected he hadn’t had to say much to give a pretty accurate picture of what coming out to them was going to be like. “Anything. Day or night. Stupid or catastrophic.”

Antoine nodded. “I promise,” he said, fighting the urge to grab whole handfuls of Sevy’s shirt and kiss him. No, they’d said their good-byes like that two nights ago, before Antoine had gotten up, gotten dressed, and gone to retrieve Chris from the airport. Not good-bye forever, but for now. Until next time.

Sevy did, however, plant a friendly smooch right on Antoine’s cheek before releasing him. “We love you, baby. Come back anytime. It’s your house now too. You’ve got the key.”

Antoine held up his key ring to show that he certainly did — two, in fact, thanks to that side door lock. All that was left now was Jim.

Done his back-slapping, arm-punching, head-locking ritual of affection with his son, Jim gave Antoine a much less percussive — though no less bone-crushing — hug. He smelled like sweat and sunlight and everything there was good about the world, and maybe the twelve-year-old Antoine tucked deep inside still couldn’t believe his good fortune, but grown-up Antoine knew to be as grateful as he could for the reality of it. “Thank you, sir,” he said, wrapping his arms around Jim’s chest.

Jim chuckled, not loud enough for anyone to hear, but deep enough for Antoine to feel it rumble through his chest. “You’re gonna be just fine,” he said, and just like that, Antoine believed it.

As they drove off, Antoine waved out his window until he couldn’t see the little suburban house anymore, and then kept his hand up for a few seconds longer, fingertips resting against the glass. Chris turned on the A/C full blast as he wound his way out of the neighborhood, then plugged his phone into the car’s audio jack and waved it in Antoine’s direction. “Any requests?”

“Play me some of that club shit you like,” said Antoine with a smile, thinking back to Minh, to dancing with Sevy, to Jim’s directions, to everything. Maybe he did belong in that kind of world, or maybe he didn’t, or maybe he would for a while and then he wouldn’t anymore. But he was New Antoine now, and there was a lot about New Antoine he still had to learn — and he’d never know any of it if he didn’t try.

Chris laughed and tapped the playlist with his thumb. “You got it,” he said, and the thumping bass rattled the car as the two friends rolled onto the interstate and rode right on north out of town.

 


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