Safety Net

by hColleen


“I’ve had it!” The shrill voice echoed though the room, rebounding off windows and walls, each adding their own contribution to the declaration. David’s mother glared at him from the doorway, her brown eyes lit with the rage directed at her son. Though only four foot ten, she somehow managed to tower over her five foot four son. “You want space, you want freedom, then get out!” She stepped aside, pointing out the door. “I’m sick and tired of you coming in at all hours of the night and sleeping all day! Why can’t you be like your brother and get a job?”

“But Ma,” David began only to be cut off.

“Don’t you ‘but ma’ me!” She screamed. “What you do, that….” the disgust in her voice warred with the anger in it. “Get out. You are no son of mine!” She turned, storming from the room, a hurricane leaving behind a wake of destruction.

David rubbed his face, his hands trembling as he did. He took a couple of deep breaths, trying to steady himself before looking around his room…what had been his room…and gathering what he could into a large gym bag and backpack. He pulled on a zipped hoodie over his long-sleeved tee shirt and slid his feet into well-worn sneakers before leaving the room.

He paused in the hallway, listening. From the kitchen, he heard the violent pounding of his mother taking out her anger on a hapless piece of meat. He sighed. Even his brother, his mother’s beloved, golden child, wouldn’t be able to repair this break. Not that either his brother or his mother was actually related to him by anything other than a rocky marriage. How much longer would it last, once his father came home and found out he’d been thrown out? He didn’t really want to think about that.

Head down, David left the house that had been his home for all but the first year of his life. His mind wandered back over his childhood. His father and mother — step-mother, he absently corrected himself, trying to soften the pain of being thrown out — had married when he was a little under a year old. His biological mother had died soon after he was born, though his father never really told him how or why and wouldn’t tell him anything about her. He couldn’t even remember seeing her picture or hearing her name.

His brother, Miguel, though, colored all his memories. Miguel, three years older than him, had been his idol, his hero, and when he was old enough to know what it meant, his first love. That was when the problems between he and his mother had begun. Before that, before David was old enough to show a preference, his mother’s love shone on both her sons.

But a chance comment about finding a guy attractive had turned love to suspicion and fear for David. He’d been taken out of public school and put into a Catholic school, forced into Mass and confession several times a week. Milagros, wood and tin shapes with pictures of saints etched or glued on, covered the walls outside his room and his door. Everything in his room was inspected at least monthly for signs of deviance.

For a while, David even had a ‘girlfriend,’ out of self-defense. His mother’s suspicion turned into hesitant acceptance and almost back into the love he had known as a child. It might have continued, except for one, horrible miscalculation.

The approaching bus shook David from his reverie. He boarded, paying the fare and taking a seat near the back. He’d be on this bus a while, so his mind began to wander again.

The girl he’d been dating had been ideal. She preferred girls, and her parents had given her grief about it as well. They’d found another “couple” to hang out with, always going on “double dates” to disguise the fact that they were in alternate relationships. The miscalculation occurred when they’d been at David’s house, the girls in his room, he and his boyfriend in the living room. His mother was supposed to be gone until dinner but had come home early, to find them on the couch, stripped to their boxers, intent on going further.

He had spent the night kneeling on rice in the kitchen, reciting Hail Marys and Our Fathers, while his mother wept over his failings, her failings, his father’s failings. When she’d started to send him to school in the morning, Miguel stepped in, saying he’d been punished enough, to let him sleep since he was sure David had learned his lesson. Their mother, cursing her weakness as she did, agreed to let David remain home.

That had been his sophomore year. He didn’t date anymore after that. It didn’t feel safe, not with Miguel out of the house, attending technical school across the state. He minimized his activities, going to school, hiding in his room at home, not getting involved in anything. He could feel his mother’s watchful gaze on him, no matter what he did, waiting for him to fail and fall into the arms of another guy.

The constant watching put a strain on his mother and father’s relationship. His mother refused to tell his father why she was watching him so intensely. She would only say he was vile, a sinner who needed to be guarded. Afraid of the reaction he’d get, David wouldn’t tell his father, either, only looking away and falling silent when asked. His father was busy, though, and didn’t press the questions. He’d berate his wife for watching David, while they were arguing about other things, money or her family or what they were going to have for dinner. Anything became an excuse for a fight, and David was just more fuel for that fight.

The one that he wanted, though, was safely out of his reach. It was after that incident that David knew he wanted Miguel. He loved his brother, more than he should. Even his mother’s vicious comparisons between them couldn’t dim that.

Recently, there was another that he’d started liking. Despite his mother’s words to the contrary, David had found a job after high school. He’d been working there for almost a year now. It was his job that kept him out until “all hours.” He was the night clerk for a small, no-tell motel in the middle of downtown. Most of the people he saw were regulars, renting a room for an hour or two to turn a trick. He actually liked a lot of the pros, those that were clean, at any rate. They had interesting stories to tell, when they had time to talk.

It had taken them a while to warm up to him, though. At first, they looked at him with the same dead eyes they looked at their johns with. After a few months of him treating them like humans and not making a pass at them or taking up their occasional and sarcastic offers for a trial, they began looking at him differently: like he was human.

His stop was approaching, and his mind focused without intent. He was going into work. He could stay there a couple of days until he got something else sorted out. Two more stops, he noted absently, his mind returning to the one who did matter to him.

Richard Davis was his boss, the manager of the motel, and if he understood right, the pimp for several of the pros who used the hotel. It was an unusual set up. The pros needed a pimp for protection; Richard needed the pros for business. Instead of taking a percentage, he required that all of them use his motel at the regular rate. No discounts, don’t ask. In exchange, when things got rough, they could come to him. He didn’t really understand how things worked between them, just that the pros called Richard their pimp and then would laugh.

David pulled the cord for his stop and managed to pick up both his bags without hitting anyone near him. He worked his way up to the exit, waiting for the bus to stop, concentrating on keeping his feet as the bus lurched to a halt. He stumbled out.

He stood at the stop a moment, regaining his balance and adjusting his bags. The neighborhood was dodgy enough, though he was known now, so it wasn’t as bad as it could be. He was early, though. That might be problematic.

As he walked, David was greeted by several of his regulars and by several of those he passed normally, some teasing him for being early. “Tryin’ to earn a little extra,” he’d tell them as he passed. They didn’t need to know the truth.

“Look like you movin’ in, vato,” one of the regulars, a girl who went by Mimi said, gesturing at his bags. It was a little odd, seeing her in daylight, dressed in jeans and a sweater, minus the garish makeup she usually had on. He almost didn’t recognize her except she was the only one to call him ‘vato.’

“Not so much, Mimi,” he tried to fudge his way out of answering.

“You get kicked out?” she pressed. When he looked away instead of answering, she held out her hand. “Give over. Heading to the ‘tel?”

David sighed and handed over his backpack, knowing that she would take something if he didn’t hand it over. She had a kid who was his age, she’d told him once. He didn’t believe her, though. She didn’t look nearly old enough, but she’d shown him pictures. She’d had her first daughter when she was thirteen. Her parents had taken the girl as their own. Mimi had been pregnant three other times before she finished high school. Her parents, devout Catholics, would not permit her to get birth control and had preached to her both against condoms and against sex. Only part of the lecture had gotten through, and a case of the clap before she’d graduated high school had changed her mind on condoms too. After graduation, something Mimi claimed happened because she was screwing a couple of her teachers, her parents had kicked her out. She was infertile now, something she told him was a blessing for a pro. Meant no more kids to worry about.

“What happened, vato?” she asked after hitching his backpack over her shoulder and starting down the street. “Your old man or your ma?” she pressed when he didn’t say anything.

“Ma,” he finally answered.

“What, she find you ridin’ the wrong side o’ the horse?” she asked.

David stopped dead in his tracks. “What?”

“Come now, vato. Everyone knows you prefer vatos.”

“Everyone?” David asked weakly. He’d been so careful, he thought.

Mimi hooked her arm through his. “Everyone. Even Richard.” Her voice took on a teasing note.

David felt color creeping up his neck. “Yeah, something like that,” he said, finally answering her question. “Got on me about being out all hours, told me to get a real job.” Mimi snorted. “That’s what she said,” David said sullenly. He sighed, changing the topic. “Mimi, you like what you do?”

“It’s not for you,” she said flatly, her body getting stiff next to him.

“That’s not what I meant,” he said. “I meant, do you like it? Would you want to do something else?”

She shook her head, her body relaxing a little. “What else could I do, vato?” she said sadly. “It’s a job,” she sighed. “What more do you want?” She pat his arm. “You have a job. Do that. Don’t let me hear of you turning tricks. I’ll beat your ass!”

David glanced over at Mimi. She was a couple inches shorter than he was and thin. He laughed.

“Don’t try me, boy,” she growled, pinching his arm.

“Okay, okay,” he conceded. “I won’t.”

As they approached the motel, Mimi let go of his arm and pushed open the door. “Hey, boss-man, you got yourself a boy,” she called out. “His mama done tossed him.”

“Mimi!” David yelped, embarrassed.

His phone ringing cut off anything else he was about to say. He dug it out of his pocket. It was his brother’s number. “Hey, Miguel,” he said after he opened it.

“David, Mama’s frantic.”

David sighed. “Let me guess; Dad came home, found out she’d kicked me out, and demanded to know where I was?”

Miguel sighed as well. “She told me you took off.” His tone implied that he hadn’t really believed that.

“She told me to get out and I was no son of hers,” David said. He knew that Richard and Mimi were both listening to his side of the conversation.

There was a pause. “You weren’t…?” Miguel’s voice was soft, unwilling to finish the question.

“No,” David said, his voice tired. “She doesn’t think my job is a proper job and was berating me for being out all hours and sleeping all day. Or at least, that’s what she was yelling at me about.”

In the pause, David could imagine Miguel rubbing his eyes. “Where are you?” he finally asked.

“Work. I’m not going back, Miguel. Not for you. Not for Dad.”

“It’ll break them,” Miguel said tightly.

David closed his eyes against the guilt that wanted to well up in him. “It’ll break me,” he said.

Miguel sighed again. “I understand,” he said after a long moment, his voice disappointed.

David’s heart twisted in his chest. The last thing he wanted to do was disappoint his brother. “Thanks,” he muttered, closing his phone. His arm fell to his side, and he hung his head. He’d lost everything, everything that mattered. He could feel the tears, hot and sharp, pressing against his eyes, threatening to spill.

He looked up, startled, when his duffel bag was lifted off his shoulder. “I can….” he started to say, reaching to take it back from Richard.

“Come on,” Richard said, slinging the bag over his shoulder and holding his arm out to David.

David looked at Richard a moment, confused. The older man wasn’t offering his hand but rather to hold David, to wrap his arm around him. At six foot six, Richard could have loomed over David, but in that moment, the height seemed comforting. David let himself be drawn in, moving to stand under Richard’s arm. He hoped, desperately, that the warmth, the tenderness of the fingers curling around his shoulder, wasn’t just in his imagination.

For that moment, though, it didn’t matter. He was being held. The warmth of another human seeped through his body, loosening something wound painfully tight in his chest. The door to Richard’s apartment closed, and the floodgates opened. David cried, clinging to Richard as sobs wracked his body. And remarkably, arms held him, cradled him, and kept him safe while his world fell apart. Soft words were murmured into his hair. Hands caressed his scalp and his back. He was wanted, even in this moment when his own family didn’t want him.

Exhaustion and relief replaced pain and sorrow, leaving him almost asleep against Richard’s chest. He took a couple of slow, deep breaths, enjoying the smell of the older man, while his eyes struggled to stay open. He was weak, trembling, unable to move away, unwilling to move away.

Untitled I, by tashigi

“Let’s put you to bed,” Richard said, his breath caressing David’s hair as it had while he’d been crying. “You can stay here, if you want,” he added, guiding David through the apartment into a small bedroom.

The room itself was hardly larger than the double bed in the middle of it. A small table with a clock and a lamp stood on one side, the closet doors on the other. David crawled into the bed over the foot after Richard gently pushed him. The sheets were clean, smelling of fabric softener and a hint of Richard’s scent. David nuzzled into one of the pillows, before he was fully aware of what he was doing.

“I’ll bring you something to eat,” Richard said, breaking into David’s muddled thinking.

“Thanks,” David mumbled, trying to keep his face from blushing. He peeked over his shoulder but couldn’t quite make out Richard’s expression with the way the light was coming from behind him.

Richard nodded and turned away from the doorway. “You like soup?” he asked from deeper in the apartment.

“Yeah, that’s good,” David said. “I don’t want to be any trouble,” he added as he sat up to pull off his shoes. Shame kept him from looking around too much. He did notice that the bed cover was a thick comforter covered in a solid fabric that was very soft to the touch. He was stroking it when Richard returned.

“You’re not,” Richard said, handing David a prepackaged container of tomato soup. “I don’t have any chicken soup,” he said apologetically as he sat on the foot of the bed.

“This is fine, thanks,” David said, wrapping his hands around the warm container. He forced his eyes up, looking at Richard. The light coming behind him made his glasses opaque so he couldn’t see his eyes and shadows covered most of his face, but David wanted to believe what he saw there was tenderness, concern, maybe more. He wanted more. He wanted to be loved so much he could almost taste it. He took a quick sip of the soup, hoping his longing hadn’t shown in his face.

“Mitch offered to cover your shift tonight,” Richard said. “He said you could catch him later for it.”

Relief slithered through David. “Thanks,” he said softly.

Richard shifted so he was leaning on a hand on the bed rather than sitting up. “This is the only place I have to sleep,” he began. “Will it bother you if I crawl in with you?”

Somehow, the soup managed not to slip from David’s suddenly loose grip. “No,” he said, his voice whispery, shocked. He shook his head and cleared his throat. “No, that’s fine,” he managed, his voice high and tight.

Richard reached out and touched David’s foot. “Relax. Finish your soup. Leave it on the bedside. I’ll be in later.” He stood and left the room, pulling the door closed behind him.

The lights of the city filtered in through the high, barred window as David finished his soup, leaving the room light enough to be able to move comfortably though dark enough to hide the details in the room. There were frames on the wall, two on the wall across from the closet, one on the side of the door. What they held, David couldn’t make out. He sighed, looking at his soup again. Why had he come here? Why had his first impulse been to run to work? No, he wasn’t running to work, he corrected himself. He had been running to Richard. He wanted to feel those arms around him.

Richard had held him so easily, too, holding out his arm, offering David the comfort he wanted so readily. His mind remembered Mimi’s comment that everyone knew he preferred ‘vatos,’ even Richard. Knowing that, he’d…. David’s mind stalled out. It was too much for him to think about right now. He finished the soup and put the container on the bedside table behind the clock. He fidgeted with the hem of his shirt a moment and decided to leave it on. It was better, easier on his heart and mind, if what was going on was just his over-stressed mind playing tricks on him. He slipped under the covers, curling into a ball. He didn’t expect to sleep, but he didn’t feel Richard climb in the bed with him.

David was comfortable, warm, content. The light filling the room was more than it should be. Had he left the curtains open again? He didn’t want to move, didn’t want to leave the one holding him.

That last thought gave him pause, brought back the night before. Contentment turned to confusion colored with embarrassment. He opened his eyes to see the closet doors in front of him. Behind him, Richard breathed slowly, his arm over David’s waist, under the covers. The air was chilly, speaking of the early spring night.

It was another couple of seconds before David realized that Richard’s hand was under his shirt, against his skin. David wanted more, to feel more of Richard’s skin against his. At the same time, he was terrified.

Richard’s arm tightened around him, and the older man nuzzled into his hair. David could feel him yawn. “Mornin’,” Richard mumbled.

“Mornin’,” David returned, his voice cautious. He felt Richard move behind him and turned to see the man propped up on his elbow, looking down at him. His eyes, unhidden by glasses for the first time David could remember, were hazel, a golden brown flecked with green. The glasses hid the green. “Thank you,” David said awkwardly, looking down, noticing that Richard didn’t have a shirt on. He looked up quickly again, his face growing warm.

Richard slid back. “I’m sorry,” he murmured.

David fought to keep his disappointment in check. “Why?” he asked.

Richard sat up, revealing that he was wearing pants, and faced the wall, his elbows resting on his knees. “You came here yesterday because you had nowhere else to go, and I con you into my bed so that I can sleep with you,” he said.

David sat up. Lying down made him feel too vulnerable, too exposed. He looked at Richard. The man’s hair was tousled, standing up on one side, flattened on the other. He tried to repeat the words he’d just heard in his head. They couldn’t have been what he thought they were. “You…you wanted me?” he asked softly.

Richard nodded, not turning.

“I’m scared,” David said softly, his eyes on the comforter over his lap. “Not of you,” he continued. “Of…of everything right now.”

“Just one question,” Richard said.

David looked up to see Richard looking at him. “What?” he asked.

“When things have settled, is there a chance?”

David closed his eyes and nodded. He opened his eyes again. “Yeah,” he said, feeling the color creeping up his face. “I didn’t think I had a chance,” he admitted softly.

Richard shrugged, turning as he did. “I play both sides.” He reached over and squeezed David’s hand. “I’m not much of a cook. Poptarts’ll have to do you for breakfast.” He stood and pulled on a shirt that had been on the foot of the bed. He walked sideways out of the room.

David watched Richard leave, baffled and amazed at the turn of events. His eyes moved to the picture hanging next to the door. He smiled at it, a kitten hanging from a branch with the words “Oh, shit!” under it. It wasn’t something he’d expected and somehow made the small room feel more comfortable. The other two posters were as unexpected and oddly appropriate. One was a print of «i»The Scream«/i», the other was a photograph of the ocean.

David crawled out over the foot of the bed. He stood in the doorway, looking over the apartment. The living area was small, a loveseat and chair around an end table filling the available space cozily with little room left. His bags were on the chair, waiting for him. Behind the loveseat, a small table with two stools made the dining area, and the kitchen area lined the back wall, a sink, two-burner stove and a small refrigerator leaving very little in the way of counter space. A microwave and a toaster oven filled what counter space there was. Richard was placing a cup in the microwave and starting it when David came out.

The room was a bit shabby looking, but clean. David paused. Shabby wasn’t really the right word. Homey was more what he felt. The apartment was comfortable. He stepped out and turned to see the door to the bathroom next to the one he’d just come out of. He pointed over his shoulder, asking Richard, “You mind?”

“Help yourself. The hot water knob in the shower is broken. I’ll be replacing it tomorrow, but there’s a pair of pliers to use for now.” The microwave beeped, and Richard pulled the cup out and added a couple of spoonfuls of instant coffee. “I’ve gotta get to work, so I’ll leave the Poptarts out here. Make yourself comfortable and get some rest. I expect you at work tonight.”

David felt his lips curl into a smile. “Thanks.” He then looked at the chair. “For how long?” he asked.

“We’ll work that out as we go along,” Richard said easily.

David wrapped his arms around himself. “But you’re my boss,” he said softly. “And….” He couldn’t bring himself to finish the sentence.

“We’ll work it out as we go along,” Richard repeated, his voice moving closer to David.

When David looked up, Richard was standing next to him, his hands empty. The need to lean into the other man was so strong he could see himself doing it. His arms tightened around himself. “I’m scared,” he whispered, his eyes dropping.

“I know,” Richard whispered, his hand coming up to caress David’s hair. “Give yourself time. A couple of days here. If you need, I’ll help you find an apartment or rent you a room here until you do.”

David nodded and looked up at Richard. His body ached for more contact. He wanted to be held, to be caressed, to be kissed so badly he could almost feel the touches. He wasn’t sure if his mind was playing tricks on him or if it was reality when he saw Richard bending down to him. The bitter scent of coffee convinced him as their lips met in something his mind refused to label a kiss. It was too tender, too gentle. Too desired. He felt himself press into it, his arms still around his own body.

Too soon, it was over, though. He blinked, confused when Richard pulled away. “Get a shower,” the older man commanded him, his voice husky. He turned back to the counter, picking up his coffee cup without turning back to David.

Confused, aroused, David picked up his backpack and went into the bathroom. Compared to the bedroom, it was spacious, though it was probably about the same size. Instead of a closet, it had a tub. He stood in the room, clutching his backpack to his chest until he heard the door to the apartment close and the lock slide home. He wondered if it was his nerves or if the lock was that loud before shaking his head and putting his bag down on the toilet seat so he could rummage through it for clean clothes.

He didn’t bother with the hot water. The cold water helped calm his mind and body, something he needed, and forced him to hurry. Dressing was done quickly, the room too cold to linger.

David’s mind replayed the kiss over and over while waiting for the toaster oven to heat up the Poptart. His fingers traced his lower lip. He was sure he hadn’t imagined the softness he’d seen in Richard’s eyes. He slid his hand over his stomach where Richard’s arm had been when he woke up.

The toaster oven going off made David jump and look around as guilt filled him. He ran his hands through his hair, shivering as the still damp locks brushed against his neck. Guilt continued to gnaw at him, while he ate, keeping his eyes on the yellow wood table. After he finished, he looked around for something to clean up after himself with. A comment, something he’d overheard once, floated through his mind. “If they had Olympics for guilt, a Catholic would win, hands down.” That drew a wry smile from him, though it did little to ease his conscience. He ended up cleaning everything in the kitchen and straightening the living room before he felt any reprieve.

He turned to the bedroom. He would have to sleep, so making the bed didn’t make a lot of sense, but he found himself doing so before he was aware of it. He climbed into the bed, curling up in the middle of it, on top of the blanket. He wanted to be held again and felt guilty for it. He wanted someone to care for him, wanted to be loved for who he was. He wanted more of the tenderness he’d seen in Richard’s eyes.

He wanted his mother to love him. He wanted his father to notice him.

Tears pricked his eyes, and his throat tightened. He screwed his eyes shut, determined not to cry again despite the tears that leaked out and the strangled sobs that made it past his control. Though he didn’t expect to sleep after sleeping through the night, darkness stole his mind from him.

The light was dim when a gentle touch pulled him from another nightmare. David opened his eyes to see Richard looking at him, concern very evident. “You were whimpering,” he said softly.

David rubbed his face into the bed. “Bad dream,” he muttered. He pushed himself upright, noticing that this brought him closer to Richard. It was more than he could do to keep from letting his cheek rest against the man’s arm. He sighed in relief when Richard wrapped his other arm around his shoulders.

“You can stay here,” Richard whispered, “as long as you want.”

“Why?” David asked softly, one hand coming up to cling to Richard’s shirt.

“Because I fully intend to keep you that long,” Richard replied at the same volume, his arm tightening around David.

David’s body trembled, a combination of desire and terror coursing through him. “Just keep me?” he asked, his voice tight. “That’s it?”

“More than,” Richard admitted. He moved them so that David was looking up at him. “I love you,” he said firmly.

David’s eyes widened, and his jaw hung loose. “You…do?” he breathed. He was sure his heart was beating, but how he didn’t know. His chest was so tight he could barely manage to get the words out.

“Yes,” Richard murmured, a smile touching one corner of his mouth. He leaned down and brushed his lips against David’s. “I shouldn’t. I’m your boss and everything, but I do.”

“Why now?” David asked, fear overtaking the pleasure he felt at Richard’s confession.

“Because you needed to hear it,” Richard said softly, his hand coming up to caress David’s hair. “You need to know. I know…” he sighed. “I know you…that you love someone else.”


Richard sighed, pulling David closer so they couldn’t look at each other. “I’ve seen the expression on your face, when you talk to Miguel, when you talk about him.”

“He’s my brother,” David protested automatically.

“Only because your parents are married,” Richard countered.

David curled more into Richard’s body. “He doesn’t love me, though. He’s got a…a girlfriend,” he sobbed. Everything in his life seemed to be falling apart. The only thing left, the only thing holding him together were Richard’s arms.

After a while, David managed to regain control. He gulped down another sob and sniffed but didn’t push away from Richard. “I’m sorry,” he whispered, his voice raw.

“I’m not,” Richard replied, his breath warm in David’s hair.

David managed to push himself away a little. “I’m not normally like this,” he muttered sullenly.

“I know,” Richard said, his arms loosening around David. “Dinner and then you can work. The routine will help.”

David nodded. “Yeah.” He wanted to ask for another kiss, for more, but something in his head told him that would be imposing. That part of him couldn’t keep his hands from lingering on Richard’s body as long as possible, while the other man stood, though. The smile that curved his lips when Richard reached for one of his hands and squeezed it before he left the room was a blend of equal parts relief and pleasure.

He sat on the bed a moment until the scent of fried chicken made itself known to his stomach, resulting in a growl he was sure could be heard in the next room. He slid off the bed and stood in the doorway, watching as Richard served up two plates of chicken with corn, macaroni and cheese, and biscuits from the restaurant down the street. When Richard sat at the table, he moved, taking the other stool. The table was small enough that when the two of them sat on one side, he could feel the heat of Richard’s body next to him. He liked the feeling, he decided as he peeled the crunchy skin from the chicken, eating it before he ate any of the meat. He glanced over to see that Richard did the same to his chicken, and it made him smile.

They ate in a companionable silence. There were times that David was almost sure that Richard had moved to deliberately brush against him, but the table was small. Each touch, whether accidental or intentional, drew a smile from David and eased some of the pain in his chest.

The silence, though, began to make David uncomfortable. Meals at home had been filled with arguments, accusations, demands. He wasn’t sure how to deal with the silence. “I noticed you don’t have a TV,” he said.

“There’s very little on that I like to watch,” Richard said with a shrug that David more felt than saw. “When I do want to watch something, there’s the TV in the office.”

David nodded. “I don’t watch much, but my mom had novellas on most of the time.”

“Do your parents get along?” Richard asked.

David looked over at him. “No,” he said after a moment. He turned back to his almost empty plate. “They used to. Before I started high school.” Before he realized he liked guys.

“What happened?”

David looked across the room. “Dad started being busier at work, I guess.” It was what he’d told himself, at least. “He wasn’t at home as much. Mom got stricter.” He looked at his plate again. “It was between junior high and high school that I mentioned finding guys attractive, and she made me go to Saint Francis.” He shrugged. “It was beginning of sophomore year she found me making out with a guy.” He turned to face Richard. “What about you?” he asked, not wanting to think of home.

“My parents divorced when I was seven. Remarried, both of them, when I was nine. Dad divorced again when I was twelve and has been through four other marriages. Mom’s still married to her second husband. They don’t talk to each other.”

“Do…do they know you’re…bi?” David asked, not wanting to, but needing to know how they reacted, needing to know if his experience was normal or if he’d done something wrong.

“My mom does. She wasn’t thrilled.” Richard made a face. “She threatened to send me to military school until someone told her I’d come out totally gay if she did.” He shrugged. “We don’t talk about it. We don’t really talk much anymore.” He looked at David. “I probably would have been sent to Catholic school if she hadn’t been so devoutly anti-Catholic because of her parents.”

David was confused by the mixture of relief and sympathy and anger that rose in him. “What about your dad?” he asked.

“After his third wife, we mostly stopped talking,” Richard said with a shrug. “I stayed with my mom most of the time.”

“Your family isn’t close?” The question was almost a statement.

“No, not really. I think it runs in our family. My mom hasn’t been home since she left for more than a day or two at a time. I only met my father’s parents once, at his third wedding.” Another shrug. “That was the last of his weddings I went to. Somehow, my mother keeps track and tells me. It is the only reason I know about the others.”

“My mom bitches about it every year, but Thanksgiving and Christmas and Easter are huge family holidays. People fly in, we go to my grandparents’, her parents’ house. Everyone pretends to get along for the first hour or so and then there’re fights and everything. At the end of the day, everyone’s mad at everyone else, and they’re making plans for the next holiday.” David sighed. “I think your way sounds better.”

Richard wrapped his arm around David’s shoulder, keeping his hand away since it was greasy from the chicken. “You’re welcome to stay as long as you’d like,” he said. “You’re also welcome to leave when you want. I won’t force you.”

David leaned into Richard’s body, his head moving to lean on the man’s shoulder. “Thank you,” he whispered.

Richard tightened his arm before moving away from David, cleaning his place. “Mitch is getting off early, since he covered for you last night. Get a shower or whatever you need to and come out when you’re ready.”

“Right,” David said, disappointed that they couldn’t just be together any longer. He stood and cleaned up after himself, following Richard’s example. Richard took the trash out with him when he left the apartment. Disappointment made David frown when he didn’t get another kiss. He wanted more, more kissing, more holding, more of Richard.

He shook his head and took a quick, cold shower since the knob was still broken. That helped focus his mind on work. His body he could deal with later.

That thought made him stop, his shirt halfway on. Just how was he going to deal with that later? This was Richard’s home. He could return any time and find him doing…. His mind stalled out, going too many directions for him to follow any of them. Desire, fear, embarrassment all fought for dominance in his mind.

A noise outside the door pulled him from his reverie, and he quickly finished dressing without thought. He’d have to deal with that when it came up.

The sun was just down, which meant the pros were starting to work. Mitch was checking in one of the regulars, a cross-dresser who went by the name Cher with one of his regular Johns, a man David figured was gay but didn’t want anyone to know. David hung back until Mitch was done, watching him.

Mitch was five nine, blond, and covered in tattoos from the neck down, as far as David had seen. His left arm had a snake curling up it, looking like it was going under the skin at some points, its head on his shoulder. On his right arm, a sword held by a demon ran from his shoulder down past his elbow into a fire on his forearm. In the summer, Mitch wore shorts and revealed that both legs had chains tattooed onto his calves. David was curious about the rest of his body, what other artwork was there, but had yet to actually ask. He had asked if Mitch was going to get tattoos on his neck or face. Mitch had laughed and said his family would disown him if he did.

Mitch finished with Cher and turned to David. “Hey, doin’ better?” he asked.

David shrugged. “More or less. Work’ll help,” he said.

“Shapin’ up to be busy,” Mitch said as Mimi, dressed to the nines in a short, short skirt, a top that barely covered enough to be legal, boots that almost met the hem of her skirt and a fake fur bolero jacket. Mitch stepped aside, letting David take over the desk. “Catch you tomorrow,” he said, waving.

“Bye,” David replied quickly before turning to Mimi and setting her up with a room for the night. She gave him a sympathetic smile before winking saucily at him and leading her John in.

The night remained busy until after midnight. Things slowed down around two, with the pros swinging by every so often, either with a John or for a cup of coffee and a little down time. Around four, people began checking out and clearing out.

At six, Celeste, the pink-haired and pierced day clerk, came in. She made a beeline for the coffee pot and filled a cup half with sugar and cream before adding any coffee to it. David had learned early in his time there not to talk to her until she had finished her first cup of coffee and started on the second. She tended to snap at people who interrupted her morning ritual. She drained the cup and added more coffee, stirring it to mix in the left over sugar and cream. “You make better coffee than Mitch,” she said.

“Thanks,” David said. “Busy night. Paperwork’s up to date, though.” He ran through which rooms were still occupied, which would need the attention of the cleaning crew when they arrived, and other miscellaneous, end-of-day, routine information with her.

By the time they finished, Celeste was starting her third cup of coffee. When David headed toward Richard’s door, Celeste asked, “Ain’t you headin’ home?”

David stopped but didn’t turn around. He’d managed to put the whole situation from his mind while working. “Got kicked out for being out all night and sleeping all day,” he said shortly.

“Well, that’s shit,” Celeste said, letting the subject drop. “Have a good one.”

“Thanks,” he said, struggling to keep from running into what was rapidly becoming the safety of Richard’s apartment.

He half expected to find the door locked and unable to get in since Richard hadn’t given him a key. His relief was so intense he could almost taste it when the door opened easily for him.

Richard was standing in the doorway to the bedroom, shirtless, his glasses in his hand over his head as he stretched and scratched a long pale scare on his stomach. When David came in, he smiled. “Mornin’,” he mumbled.

David swallowed and shoved his hands in his pockets. “Mornin’,” he returned after he found his voice again. “Sleep well?” he asked, his throat dry.

Richard leaned against the doorframe. “It was a little lonely,” he said, his smile taking on a darker quality.

“Lonely?” David echoed, his feet taking a step across the room without thought.

“Yeah, a little. I kind of liked my bed partner yesterday.”

David took another step. “You did?” he asked, air becoming a premium he was struggling to take in.

“Very much,” Richard said, his voice deepening. “How was your night?” he asked.

David had to swallow before he could answer. “Payday, so it was busy,” he said, his tone breathy.

It wasn’t until Richard reached up to caress his cheek that David realized he’d crossed the room. “How are you?” Richard asked, his eyes warm with concern.

“Managed not to think about it until Celeste asked if I was going home,” he said, leaning in to the touch. “And seeing you like this,” he added, a hand coming up to rest on Richard’s chest.

Richard grinned. “Yeah, I saw that reaction,” he said, his voice amused and lustful.

Warmth and color flooded David’s face. He started to look down and back away, when Richard’s arm went around his waist.

“I liked that reaction. It’s been a long time, since someone let me know that they found me attractive so directly.”

David’s heart pounded against his chest, his mouth went completely dry, and his whole body ached to be closer to Richard. “I find you attractive,” he said, some small part of his brain telling him that was a stupid and completely uncool thing to say.

“I find you attractive,” Richard said. He leaned down to brush his lips against David’s. “And I’m really hating the fact that I have to be out there in half an hour,” he added, pulling away. He smiled, though, his eyes filling with lust again. “If you’re a good boy and go right to bed, I promise I’ll give you a treat when you wake up.”

Desire coiled low in David’s body. “I’d like that,” he said, his voice catching in his throat.

“Good,” Richard said, moving to kiss David again.

David rose up onto his toes, meeting Richard as close to halfway as their height difference would allow. Richard’s hand slid into his hair, and he moaned softly. His hair was shoulder length and tickled his neck pleasantly as Richard played with it. His mother hadn’t wanted him to let it grow out, saying it made him look like a girl. David whimpered slightly, trying to follow, when Richard pulled back.

“I need to go,” Richard’s voice was husky and full of regret.

“I’ll be good,” David said, the part of his mind that would have found that stupid too small to hear. He was too acutely aware of Richard’s skin under his palm, Richard’s hand in his hair, his thumb resting against his three earrings, another sign of rebellion against his mother, to be aware of what he was saying.

“Good.” He leaned down and whispered into David’s ear, “I’ll give you something nice to think about while you relax enough to sleep.” He brushed his lips against David’s jaw and then kissed him again. This time, the kiss was deeper, full of the passion that his teasing had hinted at. His tongue pressed against David’s lips, seeking and gaining entrance.

David moaned into the kiss, his arm slipping around Richard’s waist, clinging to the waistband of the man’s pants as his knees turned to water under him. He stumbled as Richard turned them, gasping as their kiss was broken.

Richard pushed David onto the bed and backed away. “Later,” he promised, pulling the door closed behind him.

David heard the bathroom door close and the shower start. At first, he thought he imagined a groan from the other room, but when it came again, he knew, with embarrassing certainty, just what Richard was doing in the shower. He closed his eyes and let his mind fill in the details, while his body moved to ensure his own release. He pulled up his shirt and worked his pants open and down his hips, wriggling on the bed a bit to get comfortable. With one hand, he fondled his balls, tugging them lightly, rolling them in his palm, while the other hand stroked his shaft.

His mind replayed the kisses Richard had given him, the feel of the man’s skin under his palm. He was too into his fantasy to keep his voice down. The clatter of something falling in the bathroom as he was groaning in his own release brought him back to reality quickly. All the blood in his body flooded his face, leaving him dizzy even as he lay on the bed. He curled into a ball, rolling on his side as he did. All he wanted was for the bed to swallow him whole.

“Nice,” Richard’s voice came through the door. “Be good and sleep and I’ll make you make those sounds again.”

David buried his face in the bed, not moving again until he heard the door close behind Richard as the man left for the day. After several moments of waiting to be sure that Richard was gone, David slowly uncurled. He pulled his shirt off and wiped his stomach with it. He hitched his pants up and did the button so they wouldn’t fall off his hips and went in to take a shower. Normally, he would have waited until he woke up, but the promise of being woken up and the need to wash away his embarrassment were incentive enough for him to want to be clean.

When he finished his shower, he faced another dilemma. Just what should he wear to sleep in? Should he just sleep in nothing, make things easier for Richard? Should there be something of a challenge? Just how did one greet….

His mind stalled out. Just what were he and Richard? Richard had said that he loved him and wanted him to stay as long as he wanted to, but what did that make them? Were they together? Were they just a convenience?

David shook his head at the last one. Richard was good-looking. He could get anyone he wanted. He didn’t have to give him a place to stay. He didn’t have to say things like he loved him just to get him into bed. He didn’t have to hold him, while he cried.

David finally settled on just boxers. It would be an invitation and also give him time to remember that he needed that question settled in his mind.

Settling his mind, however, took longer than he expected. David tossed and turned, sure the clock was broken as it refused to move or seemed to be running backwards. Eventually, darkness overtook him as his body’s exhaustion overcame his mind’s anxiety.

A soft trail of kisses along his upper arm and shoulder pulled David from sleep enough to know that Richard was on all fours over him. He moaned softly and opened his eyes. “Hey,” he murmured. “What are we?”

Richard smiled. “Anything you’d like, but I’m hoping for lovers.” He kissed David’s shoulder again. “However, sadly,” he sighed, moving down the bed, “your parents are here. They’re out in the lobby. I’m sorry.”

It was then that David realized that Richard was still dressed as he usually was when he’d seen him in his “office,” in a tee shirt under a sports jacket and belted Dockers. David sighed and shifted, so he was sitting up. “How are they?” he asked.

Richard stood and shrugged. “I think they’d rather be anywhere else.”

David pulled a face. “They could have stayed away.” He sighed and rubbed his face. “I’ll go see them. Let me get dressed.” Another sigh and he added, “At least I’m off tonight.” He looked up at Richard with a smile. “Unless something’s changed?”

Richard smiled in return. “No, Anthony’s still on tonight.”

David felt things low in his body tighten at Richard’s smile. “That’s why you wanted to wake me up, isn’t it?” he asked, trying to tease.

Richard lifted his chin a little. “That was part of it.”

“Part?” David repeated, drawing out their play, trying to avoid his parents for a little longer.

“You’ll find out the rest after,” Richard said, a note of teasing still in his voice but his face was serious. “Your bags are in the closet,” he continued, pointing at one of the doors.

“Thanks,” David said wryly, his chin dropping as he looked at his hands on the bedspread. He looked up, through his hair. “Can I get a kiss first?”

“Only if you get out of bed,” Richard said firmly, leaning back against the doorframe, his arms crossed over his chest.

David moved, so he was on his hands and knees and crawled to the foot of the bed, watching Richard watch him as he did. He felt a little awkward, but he liked the attention. He brought his knees to the edge of the bed and reached for Richard’s shoulders.

“I said ‘out of bed,’ you tease,” Richard said, his arms still crossed, but hunger filling his eyes.

The effect he was having emboldened David. He slid his feet to the ground and leaned against Richard, his arms still on his shoulders. “I’m out of bed now,” he said, rubbing his cheek against Richard’s chest before looking up at him.

Richard uncrossed his arms and slid them around David’s body, keeping them at his waist. “Yes, you are,” he agreed. He bent down and gave David a chaste kiss. “You get more after,” he whispered, his lips brushing against David’s as he spoke.

“When…did you know I liked you?” David asked.

“For sure? When you came here, needing someone and someplace. I’ve suspected for a couple of months now. Mimi was sure you liked me.”

“So, that’s why you’ve been showing up on my shift more?” David laughed a little. “I mean, I liked that you were there, but I was kinda getting paranoid that I was doing something wrong.”

“No, you weren’t doing anything wrong.” Richard pressed another chaste kiss to David’s lips. “Now, get dressed,” he whispered and left, pushing the door closed behind him.

David dressed quickly, pulling on a pair of jeans and a long sleeved tee shirt. He pushed the sleeves up before heading out into the bathroom to comb his hair. He kept his eyes down and focused on what he had to do, not letting himself get distracted. All his body wanted was to continue what he’d been doing with Richard, the kissing, the holding, more.

He looked at himself in the mirror a moment. Muddy brown eyes looked back at him from under hair that was only a shade or two darker. He toyed a little with the ends of his hair. It was long enough to brush his shoulders. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to keep it that long or let it keep growing. He definitely didn’t want it shorter.

Richard’s hair was short, he thought absently. Short and dark blond. It looked good on him.

David derailed that train of thought. He needed to confront his parents first and then he could think about how good Richard looked. He decided he needed to wash his face.

He went into the living room and smiled at Richard, who was sitting on the loveseat, reading a book. “Do you like long hair?” he asked.

“On you, yes, it works. Not on me, though,” he said, putting the book down and rising. “Let’s go.” He held out his hand to David.

David swallowed and took Richard’s hand. Richard led him into the back office and gave him a quick kiss on the top of his head before going out to the lobby to bring his parents in. The back office was small, barely large enough for the desk topped with Richard’s computer and two chairs, one on each side of the desk. David leaned against the wall, waiting, trying not to fidget with anything.

His mother came in first. “Why did you leave? Don’t you want to be at home anymore?” she asked, whining.

“You told me to leave,” David replied flatly, tired of being made to feel guilty. “You told me I needed to get a proper job and stop staying out all hours and sleeping all day.” He glanced at his father, just behind her, before looking back at his mother. “You told me I wasn’t your son and to get out.”

Clutching her hands to her chest, his mother began, “How can it be that children are so ungrateful?”

David tuned her out, having heard this diatribe before. The words might vary, but the meaning was always the same. Because he did not bend and sway to her whims, he was an ingrate who abused her good graces with his bad behavior. For the first time, though, he didn’t feel guilty about it.

He saw his father standing behind his mother. He saw that things were done between them, that they had been done for a while, and he had been biding his time. This didn’t manage to inspire guilt in him either. Maybe later, it would, but just then, he felt empty, as if there was a wall between his family and himself that nothing could penetrate.

Richard slipped past David’s mother, unnoticed by her as she continued to berate David. What he did, though, stopped his mother in her tracks.

Richard pulled David to his chest, wrapping an arm around David’s shoulders. “He’s mine now,” he said, his chin resting on David’s head. “And I don’t appreciate you trying to guilt him for things that you forced on him.”

David brought his hand up to steady himself on Richard’s chest. Richard covered his wrist possessively. This gave David the courage to look over his shoulder at his mother. “I’m staying here.” He swallowed. “I’m gay; that’s not going to change. Since that’s your problem with me, it’ll be easier for both of us, if I don’t inflict my unwholesome presence on you.” David could feel himself shaking, but Richard’s arms tightened around him.

“So, is that what this is about?” David’s father asked, his voice bordering on frozen as he looked at his wife.

“Yes,” David said at the same time his mother denied it.

His father looked at him, anger and sadness warring in his eyes. “Your mother,” he said, his tone pained, “was killed in a civil rights march. She would be proud of you.”

David almost asked why his father hadn’t told him, but he could see it, the pain that filled the man. “I’m glad.”

His father nodded and turned to leave. “Let’s go,” he ordered, not looking behind him to see if his wife followed or not.

David pressed his face to Richard’s chest and stood there, shaking. Richard held him silently, close, caressing his hair every so often. David was relieved that he didn’t cry again, but he was exhausted when he looked up at Richard. “Show me,” he began and swallowed. “Show me what it means that I’m yours.”

“Not here,” Richard whispered. He squeezed David and then pushed him away gently. “Back in the bedroom.”

David smiled and turned to walk back to the apartment. He looked up when he heard Mimi say, “Lookin’ good, vato. Go, have a good time.”

He managed a laugh while color flooded his face. “You, too, Mimi.” She was with one of her regulars, a John that actually seemed to like her, as much as any of these guys would let themselves like a pro. The guy smiled at David, and David nodded back politely. He didn’t mind the guy.

Mimi waved and turned to lead her John to the room she’d rented for the night.

“Have a good one,” Mitch said from his seat behind the counter. When David looked at him, Mitch winked. “Though, if Mimi’s right, you’re going to.”

Richard placed his hand on David’s back. “Oh, she’s right, and we will.”

Warmth filled David’s body from that touch. He let himself be guided into the apartment again. Once the door was closed, he turned and faced Richard. Before he could say anything, his lips were claimed in a kiss that picked up, where the one Richard had given him that morning had left off. His arms hesitated, afraid that Richard would pull back again, as they slid up Richard’s chest and around his neck. Once he had a firm hold on Richard, David moaned softly, rising up on his toes to press into the kiss more.

Richard half carried, half guided David across the living room into the bedroom. Their legs became tangled several times, and they had to pause, but neither was willing to break their kiss long enough to cross the room. They bumped into the doorframe and paused there, both moaning into the kiss. Richard’s hand slid down onto David’s ass, and David strained to get closer to the man. Richard slid his hand up, pushing David’s shirt up, and then down into his pants.

David gasped, breaking their kiss to moan, “Oh, God.”

“Have you ever?” Richard asked, his lips moving along David’s jaw to his throat.

“No,” David groaned. “Not all the way.”

“How far?” Richard licked David’s neck before pressing his teeth against the skin and sucking.

David cried out, his knees threatening to give out on him as his arms tightened, wanting to keep Richard where he was. “Ah…about this far…in boxers,” he panted, when the waves of pleasure coursing through him let him speak.

“You’re sure?” Richard asked, breathing into David’s ear.

“Yes,” David whined in want. “Please, I’m sure.”

Richard’s hand tightened around David’s ass. “If you need to stop or slow down, say so,” he said before dragging David into the room and pushing him down on the bed. Between David not letting go of his neck and Richard’s unwillingness to take his hand out of David’s pants, they both ended up on the bed.

David loosened his hold on Richard, while the man worked his shirt up, letting go completely and sitting up slightly to allow it to be pulled off over his head. He started to reach up to push Richard’s jacket off, when his hands were pinned to the bed, and Richard began exploring his chest with lips and tongue. David writhed and struggled against the containment, wanting to feel more of Richard, whimpering in need as he did.

Only when David relaxed into the bed and moaned freely in pleasure, did Richard let go of his hands. He sat on David’s hips and pulled off his jacket and tossed it on the floor. Then he took off his glasses, stretching over the bed to set them on the bedside table before pulling his shirt off and tossing it after his jacket.

David’s fingers came up to trace Richard’s stomach. A long scar marred his skin on the left side of his body. David traced it. “What is this from?” he asked.

Richard moved them both, so they were more fully on the bed and cradled David to his chest before answering. “I was a pro for a while. A John thought it was funny.” He pulled David close to his chest. “It’s why I make sure the pros around here have a safe place.” He laughed a little. “Hell, if the damn laws allowed it, I’d just set up a brothel. That would be a whole hell of a lot safer for the pros.”

David wrapped his arms around Richard, unsure what to say. “I want them to be safe. I like Mimi and the rest,” he finally said. He looked up at Richard. “She told me she’d beat my ass if she heard I was turning tricks, though.”

Richard pushed David back into the bed. “So will I.” He nipped at David’s shoulder. “I don’t share.”

David whimpered. “I don’t want to be shared.”

“What do you want?” Richard asked, sliding down and kissing David’s chest again.

“You,” David moaned.

“And what do you want me to do?” Richard asked, his voice rippling with laughter. He kissed David’s stomach, taking his time and exploring.

David’s mouth worked, trying to find the right words, before he said, “Make love to me.”

Richard came back up to kiss David. “I was hoping you’d say that.”

David’ reached up and ran his fingers through Richard’s hair. “Make love to me,” he whispered again, drawing Richard down for another kiss.

“I’d love to,” Richard murmured, kissing David gently at first and gradually increasing pressure until they both were writhing against each other, their bodies trying to get as close as their mouths were.

Richard’s hand moved down David’s body, pausing to caress his skin, to the fastenings on his jeans. He fumbled one-handed with the button and zipper, opening them enough to allow him easy access. He slid his hand in and began massaging David’s shaft.

David broke their kiss to gasp, moaning. Part of his mind wanted to return the favor, but he couldn’t convince his arms to let go of Richard enough to follow through. It was all he could do to lift his hips, when Richard’s other hand began pulling his pants down. Even when Richard began kissing down his body, pulling his pants off as he moved down, David couldn’t make himself do more than writhe and moan in appreciation.

He looked down, when he felt Richard’s lips against his shaft. “Feels good,” he managed to say around the groan that filled his throat.

“Good,” Richard whispered, his lips brushing David’s skin as he moved lower. “You’ve never done this?” he asked, his breath warm against David’s balls.

“No,” David whimpered. “Never got past kissing in boxers,” he whined. Richard’s mouth felt too good. The warmth of his breath was almost enough, yet made him want more.

Richard slid his hands under David’s knees and lifted them until his feet rested on the bed. He pushed himself up onto his own knees, earning a whimper from David. From his pockets, he pulled out a bottle, a glove, and a couple of packages David recognized as condoms. He set these on the bed in easy reach. “I’m big on safe sex,” he began. “I’m also big on enjoying it as much as possible.” He unhooked his belt and unbuttoned his pants. “I’m also big on watching you watch me,” he added with a dark smile, running his hands up his chest.

“You’re nice to watch,” David said thickly, his eyes on Richard’s hands. He licked his lips when Richard began unzipping his pants and moaned, rocking his hips, when the man’s shaft came into view. The head was thick, red, its tip glistening. The shaft was as thick. David was sure it was bigger than his own, and his hands ached to feel it, to feel the silky warmth. He followed the line of it down and was surprised to see that Richard didn’t have any hair at the base of his shaft. “You shave?” he asked, his voice husky.

Richard rubbed his hand down his shaft and fondled his balls. “Wax, actually. I like how it feels.”

David’s eyes managed to travel up Richard’s body. “You get off on pain?” he asked softly.

Richard shrugged. “A little, yeah. But it also feels really good to be bare down here, too.”

David pushed himself up and reached over for Richard’s shaft. The man’s hand moved to his hair. David’s fingers began their exploration just under the head, wrapping around the shaft. It was thicker than his was, he noticed. He pulled the skin down and then back up a couple of times before dragging his hand down to the base of Richard’s shaft. He liked the way the skin stayed smooth without the roughness of pubic hair intruding as he fondled Richard’s balls. He looked up to see Richard’s eyes on him, full of pleasure and approval. David smiled and moved his hand to explore the skin at the base of Richard’s shaft. “It feels good,” he said.

“Yes, it does,” Richard said, his voice ragged with pleasure.

David wrapped his hand around Richard’s erection again. Richard’s groan of pleasure made him want to do more, but he didn’t know what. He had heard of things like oral sex. Working in the motel had exposed him to a lot of talk, but that didn’t change the fact that he’d never done any of it before. “What do I do now?” he asked, whimpering with want and confusion.

Richard’s hand moved to David’s cheek. “Anything you want. You can keep doing that. You can use your mouth to explore, though I will insist on a condom. You can lie back down and let me explore. Whatever you want, I’m fine with.”

David leaned into the touch and then moved to lie back down, keeping his hand on Richard’s shaft, encouraging him to stay close. He reached up and looped his free arm around Richard’s neck, when he could. “This,” he whispered, a little uncertain, still, that it was okay even though Richard had told him it was.

Richard let his body mostly settle on David, keeping himself pressed away a little so that there was room for David to move his hand. “I was hoping you’d say this,” he murmured, kissing David hungrily.

Moaning, David relaxed under Richard, returning his kisses with equal fervor. He struggled to keep his hand on Richard’s erection, but the kisses and Richard retracing his earlier path down his body made it more than he could manage. He clung to Richard, letting the man do what he wanted.

He looked down, when Richard moved his legs. One of Richard’s hands was covered in a glove, and it felt odd under his knee. He watched, curious and wanting, as Richard poured some lube over the gloved fingers.

“Just relax,” Richard whispered, kissing David’s knee and down his leg.

David nodded and relaxed back into the bed. He shivered when something that must have been Richard’s finger touched his opening. Warm lips on the base of his shaft distracted him, though, as the finger pressed into his body. His whimper, of what might have been protest at the intrusion, turned to a gasp of pleasure, when the warmth of Richard’s lips on his shaft became the moist heat of the man’s mouth around it. When Richard moaned around his erection, David yelped, coming hard and fast. The feeling of Richard swallowing around him redoubled his pleasure, banishing from his mind fledgling thoughts of apologizing.

When the tremors of orgasm passed, Richard released David’s flesh and began kissing his stomach, his finger still working in David’s ass. “So, I take it you liked that,” he teased, his lips brushing David’s skin.

“Yes,” David sighed. He lifted his hips a little, encouraging Richard’s finger to slide in deeper. “I like that, too,” he added. He brought his hands up to caress Richard’s hair and shoulders.

Richard looked up, smiling, his eyes alight with desire. “Would you like something bigger?” he asked.

“Yes,” David sighed, rocking his hips again. “I want something bigger.” Warmth crept up his face. “I want your dick in my ass,” he mumbled, the words tripping over each other as he tried to get them out.

Richard continued up. “If you ask me nicely,” he said, his lips brushing David’s chest, “I might just let you have it. But you have to ask clearly and very nicely for what you want.” He pressed his finger in deeper, curling it up as he did.

David groaned. “Please,” he forced out. “Please, I want,” he gasped as Richard moved his hand again. “I want you….” he was forced to groan again, this time in want as Richard pulled his finger out. “I want you to make love to me,” he cried out almost in a panic. He looked down to see Richard between his legs, his erection covered in a condom, just over his. He almost reached for it, to put it where he most wanted it.

“Relax,” Richard said. “Your first time, though, this will be easier if you turn over.” He reached down, moved David’s hips so that he had to roll over, and then guided his leg until David was on his hands and knees. “Just relax,” he whispered again, rubbing David’s back with one hand a moment before holding his hips. With his other hand, he guided his shaft against David’s hole. “Take a breath in and blow it out,” he instructed. When David complied, he pressed in slowly, moving his hand so that he was firmly holding David’s hips. “Breathe slowly,” he instructed, his voice a moan of pleasure.

David groaned and whimpered. The feeling of Richard penetrating his body was incredible. There was a burning pain, the feeling of being too full, and through it all, the desire for more coupled with the knowledge that somehow this would soon feel better. He shuddered, his forehead coming to rest on the bed as he struggled to breathe at all, much less slowly as Richard had told him to.

The pause that came, when Richard’s hips pressed against his ass, was welcome. It gave David a chance to adjust, to breathe. As he did, the pain ebbed, though it didn’t fade completely. The feeling of fullness remained, changing into something more.

“You okay?” Richard asked, his voice trembling.

“Yeah,” David panted, pushing his head back up. The change in his position sent odd messages to his brain, pain and pleasure spiraling into something he’d never known before. His body and mind decided this was a good thing, and he moaned softly. “I like this,” he groaned. “A lot.”

Richard flexed his hips. “A lot, huh?” he teased when David’s moans allowed him to. “You act like you’ve wanted this for a long time,” he teased, bending over to kiss David’s back. “I intend to make it so you can’t walk or sit tomorrow,” he growled into David’s ear.

David dropped his chin to his chest and then raised his head, trying to rest it against Richard’s shoulder. “Please,” he begged. “I want that. I want this. More,” he moaned. His body was hot with need, and his skin ached to be touched. This was so much better, than he’d imagined it would be. There was still some pain, but it was twisted into the pleasure, enhancing it.

Still kissing David’s back, Richard pulled back slowly and then pressed in again. “More I can do,” he whispered, moving in a slow rhythm.

David whined, his body trembling on the verge of satisfaction with what was being done and the need for more. Experimentally, he pressed back as Richard was moving forward. This brought a moan of pleasure to his lips, and the groan from Richard encouraged him to continue. His head went down, and he could see Richard’s legs pressed against his and his own erection, dripping with precome. Every so often, as they moved, he could see Richard’s balls. He reached between his legs to feel for them. Another groan from Richard told him he’d done the right thing again.

Richard kept their pace slow and deep, his hands wandering David’s sides and chest while his lips kissed his back and shoulders. In response to David’s panted pleas for more, he slid his hand to David’s erection.

David bucked into the touch, his body struggling to move into Richard’s hand as he moved back onto his shaft. He whined and whimpered in want and need. “More,” he begged. “Love this, love you.”

Richard wrapped his free arm around David’s body and pulled him up from the bed. When his hands left the bed, David didn’t need any prompting to wrap them around Richard’s neck as well as he could behind his back. He turned and found Richard’s lips seeking his. They kissed, while their bodies continued to move together.

Gradually, the slow rhythm gave way to the need for more. David moved back to all fours again, letting Richard move deeper and faster in his body. He whimpered when Richard’s hand left his shaft, but the disappointment was soon replaced with pleasure as Richard pulled him back hard. David groaned, relaxing. He tried to move but Richard held him still, thrusting into him hard and fast, their skin slapping together. “More,” he whined.

Richard laughed deep in his throat. He slid one hand up David’s back and grabbed a handful of hair. He used it to pull David back. “Like this?” he asked.

“Yes,” David moaned, the word coming from deep within him, drawn out with satisfaction. With only one hand holding his hips, he could move back when Richard moved forward. This he found extremely wonderful, pushing back as hard as he could, wanting more.

When Richard’s hand slapped his hip, David yelped, his pleasure spiraling higher. “More,” he managed to pant.

Richard obliged, slapping David’s ass hard enough to leave a mark. “You’re such a hot little slut,” he panted.

David whined. He was so close to the edge again. His mind was in chaos, pain and pleasure becoming something more, something he could feel himself needing more of. “Yes,” he breathed. “For you,” he added, a thought he had to vocalize, though he didn’t understand what the words meant in that moment.

“All mine,” Richard growled, spanking David again.

“Yes!” David groaned, his orgasm claiming him as he did.

Richard thrust hard into David’s body, smacking his ass a couple more times before his own orgasm had him thrust into David and still, his head back, a groan on his lips. When his body let him move again, he wrapped his arms around David and moved them both, so they lay on the bed on their sides, still joined. Richard curled around David.

David held Richard’s arms. When he could breathe enough to talk again, he whispered, “That was amazing.”

“Yes, you were,” Richard murmured, pressing his lips to David’s head.

David twisted a bit so he could look at Richard. “You were. You made me feel…loved,” he finished, not completely happy with the word. It wasn’t big enough for what he felt.

“Good. That’s what I wanted to do.” Richard shifted, so he could kiss David. He flexed his hips, drawing a whimper from David. “I think we’ll rest a bit and then see what you’re up for. I didn’t plan on going that hard your first time.”

“I liked it,” David reassured him quickly, another whimper escaping when Richard moved so that his shaft was no longer in his body.

“I know you did,” Richard laughed. “I just don’t want to hurt you. A little pain is a good thing, but actual hurt would be bad.” He pulled the condom off and tossed it behind him on the floor. “And I want to hold you for now. There’s lots of time to see just how much pain is a good thing,” he added with a laugh, pulling David close again.

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