Second Chances

by Aosora Hikaru (青空ヒカル)
illustrated by Nebulosity Çiélon


Tim hadn’t brought his sunglasses with him to the work picnic. His glasses only made the glare worse, so he squinted against the glaring afternoon sun and looked around for a place to take refuge from the noise and excitement for a few minutes.

It was a beautiful Saturday, and his company had organized a lovely picnic to keep up morale and boost cooperation between teams. Tim found it hard to want to tie his leg to a financial manager’s in the name of “cooperation,” but he was a good sport about it and even came in second in the sack race.

Now, though, he leaned against one of the supports for the park’s picnic shelter, and wiped sweat off his brow. Most of the coolers for the picnic were here in the shade of the shelter, so he took the time to grab a bottle of water. Nobody bothered him here, and he enjoyed the relative quiet for a few moments while he drank the water there in the shade.

“Hey.” A voice from behind startled him. “You’re blocking the cooler.”

“Sorry,” Tim said, moving over.

The man grinned up at him and bent to grab a bottle of water from the cooler. “Hideki Moriuchi. I’m a friend of Karen’s.”

“Ah, Karen from accounting?”

Hideki nodded. “Yep, one and the same. You are?”

“Oh!” Tim thrust his hand out, taking Hideki’s in a firm grip. He had a nice handshake, and he certainly was easy on the eyes. It was hard to not be creepy about it, but Tim took a moment to appreciate the view. Hideki wasn’t too short, with the top of his head reaching about Tim’s nose. His face was youthful with the sorts of features terrible romance novels would call ‘chiseled,’ and his body was delightfully slender under his casual clothing. “Timothy Raines.”

Raising an eyebrow, Hideki shook Tim’s hand. “Wait, you’re Tim, the network architect? Karen talks about you a lot.”

Tim hoped it was because Karen was hopeless when it came to anything involving computers (and thereby considered Tim to be some sort of hero), and not because Karen was harboring some weird crush that Tim could never see himself returning. Every square inch of Karen’s cubicle was plastered in pictures of cats, and she always had the latest viral cat video queued up for the next unsuspecting person to be subjected to. If Tim had to see one more video of a kitten demanding food, or one more picture of a cat clinging to a ledge with the text “Hang in there!” superimposed over it, he would probably lose his job over his reaction.

God, he needed to get laid.

“All good things, I hope!” Tim said, forcing a small laugh.

“Very good things, indeed,” Hideki said, eyes not-so-subtly roving the length of Tim’s body.

Tim shifted uncomfortably under Hideki’s gaze. This wasn’t doing much to convince him Karen didn’t have a crush.

Hideki laughed, then handed Tim the bottle of water in his hands before bending to grab another one. “Are you afraid she gossips at me about how cute you are?” He paused for effect with a broad grin. “You and I both know she’s far too wrapped up in her cat videos to notice.”

“Ah,” Tim said, opening the water bottle. It was probably too soon to tell, but was Hideki flirting with him? It seemed an awful lot like he was trying to flirt. “So, uh, what do you do?”

“Graphic design,” Hideki said, then downed half his water bottle in one breath.

His throat was beautiful. His Adam’s apple bobbed with each draw of the liquid, and Tim’s mind wandered to the possibility of other activities Hideki could pursue involving his throat.

Tim shook his head quickly, dismissing the thought as soon as it came. “Freelance?”

“Nah, I work for a firm,” Hideki grinned. “I tried that freelance thing once. Too many people owed me too much money, and I’m too much of a nice guy to demand it. So now the firm does that for me.”

“That sounds like a wise decision,” Tim murmured.

“So,” Hideki asked, “what brought you to this fine picnic?”

And so Tim launched into a life story — heavily edited, of course; nobody needed the whole “I’m divorced and have a teenage son I see every other week and call every day!” thing thrown at them right off the bat — telling of a lifelong interest in computers and a fascination with networking the computers. Hideki, to his credit, listened intently and nodded at all the right times, even asking questions showing he was engaged in the conversation. His eyes didn’t glaze over, even with Tim going on about his job, which bored most people. It was a welcome relief to speak to someone who actually appreciated Tim’s passion for his work, and Tim wondered if this could perhaps bode well for potential future conversations with Hideki.

Soon, though, Tim began to feel self-conscious, like he’d talked about himself for too long. “So, Hideki… What got you into graphic design?”

Hideki laughed again. His voice was clear and bright, and that laugh of his stirred something deep inside Tim’s chest. “I’m not sure what there is to say,” Hideki said with a grin, “I liked to draw as a kid and decided to just never stop.”

Tim found himself joining in with Hideki’s laughter at that point. The sun was sinking lower in the sky, and he looked at his phone — nearly time to pick his son Ethan up for his week. Now was his chance — if he wanted to pursue anything with Hideki, even just a casual friendship, now was the time to make the move. “Hey, I need to get going. But, uh, I’d like to talk with you some more. Could I get your number?”

“Are you flirting with me, Mr. Raines?” Hideki raised an eyebrow, and Tim felt his face grow even warmer than the summer sun could account for. Hideki had seen through him! He began to stammer out a response, but Hideki held up a hand. “I would love to talk more. Maybe flirt more. Maybe see you again. Dinner, perhaps.”

Tim was climbing into his car a few minutes later when his phone chimed. He pulled it from his pocket to see a text from Hideki. He certainly didn’t waste any time.

I wasn’t kidding about dinner, you know.

He certainly didn’t like to beat around the bush, either.

Tim couldn’t believe he was in this situation. He somehow knew Hideki was into him, and Hideki knew Tim felt the same way. No effort required beyond that. Why couldn’t finding a date ever be this easy?

It felt lovely to not have to hide it, to be able to just enjoy mutual attraction with a man. Tim smiled and tapped out a response. I would like that. Very much.

They texted back and forth for a few days. The conversation was innocent enough at first, but as the conversations went on each day, Hideki grew more flirtatious in his messages. When Ethan was awake the texts from Hideki lingered for longer before a reply, especially after Hideki started feeling Tim out with sexual comments, but after Ethan was in bed Tim waited anxiously for each response. By the time they texted their goodnights, Hideki would be making full double-entendres.

I want to try something different tonight.

Tim’s stomach gave a flip with consideration of all the possibilities, and he tapped out his response carefully. What were you thinking?


Tim’s stomach gave more of an anxious lurch at this particular message. Really, he wasn’t surprised. Hideki had been leading up to this for a while. Still, he was thirty-eight years old and way too old to be doing something teenagers did. please, no. I am way too old to be doing that sort of stuff.

It took a few minutes for Hideki to reply, and Tim nearly had himself convinced that Hideki had decided he was a lost cause. Then his phone rang. An actual phone call from Hideki, not just a text. Tim answered the call quietly so as not to disturb Ethan down the hall. “Hello?”

“Phone sex, then? I know you’re not too old for that. Nobody is.” Hideki’s voice was richer than Tim remembered it being, like it was thicker with lust or desire. Tim had to take a moment to bite his lip to contain the thoughts already swirling in his mind.

“I haven’t done that in years, either,” Tim said.

Hideki laughed on the other end of the line. “You haven’t been living, man. Next you’re gonna tell me you haven’t gotten off in years.”

Tim couldn’t help but laugh. “No, I’ve definitely gotten off more recently than that.”

Hideki made a thoughtful sort of noise, then chuckled. “And how did you do it last? Did you get yourself off? Did you fuck someone?”

“Oh, God,” Tim choked out, his hand clamped over his mouth to muffle the words. Hideki had certainly wasted no time here.

“Well?” Hideki lowered his voice again, the tones low and rich in Tim’s ear. “I just want to make sure I’ve got the right idea going in my head.”

“I… I was alone,” Tim said. He winced with the way the words came out, mumbled and quiet in an attempt to hide his shame but really only highlighting it.

Hideki hummed again, and Tim heard rustling on the other end of the line, like Hideki was making himself more comfortable. “Did you take your time about it, slowly teasing yourself with your own hand? Or was it a rush job in the shower?”

Tim could feel his cheeks burning, and he was glad nobody was there to see it. Hideki had barely started, but Tim was already growing hard in his sweats. “It… I was showering and wanted to… Fit it in.”

“Oh, that definitely has its time and place,” Hideki said, keeping his voice measured but seductive. “But I think tonight you need to really let loose.”

Tim drew a careful, shaking breath. How was it that Hideki could already have every nerve alight? “And what exactly do you mean by ‘let loose?'”

A soft chuckle came from Hideki’s end of the line, and it felt as though it were rippling its way down Tim’s spine with chills fast on its heels. “How do you feel about following suggestions?”

“You mean you want to tell me what to do.”

“Yes, that’s another fine way of phrasing it. I tell you what to do… To yourself. And you follow my directions. And ideally this ends in you coming all over yourself. Maybe waking up the neighbors.”

“That last one isn’t gonna happen,” Tim said. He’d wake up Ethan at that rate, and he sure as fuck didn’t want to explain to his son why he was jerking off while talking on the phone.

“Aww,” Hideki said, his voice dripping with the pout Tim was sure he had on his face, “You’re such a spoilsport.”

“I didn’t say I wouldn’t do this,” Tim pointed out. “Only that I won’t be loud enough to wake the neighbors.”

Hideki was silent for a moment. “All right, then. You let me know if you need to stop, I guess. Do you want a safe word?”

“Wh– what? Why would I need a safe word?”

“Sometimes it’s more fun if we can leave the words ‘no’ and ‘stop’ in the play,” Hideki said, and Tim could just imagine that devilish grin on his face, the one he’d flashed a few times there at the picnic.

It was a tempting thought — putting up a fake fight, still wanting Hideki to push him even farther? It had been a long time since anyone had ever pushed him out of any box, and while part of him was excited at the thought, he couldn’t help but wonder what Hideki had in store for him.

“Jesus, Hideki.”

“It’s a fun thought, isn’t it? Your hand on your dick and my voice in your ear, telling you what you can and can’t do, and when to do it?” Hideki let a beat pass, then said in a quieter tone, “Telling you when you can come?”

That chill which had threatened earlier ran down Tim’s spine, and he let out a soft whimper before he could stop himself.

“Is that a good sound or a bad sound?”

“It’s… It’s a good sound,” Tim said, at length.

“Did you want a safe word, or do you want them to be ‘no’ and ‘stop?'”

It was definitely something to consider — Hideki could push him hard and Tim could enjoy it, or he could be pushed far beyond any boundaries he had. Of course, that’s what the safe word was for, but somehow it felt like giving Hideki way more power than Tim was comfortable giving anyone so soon. “No, I don’t… I don’t want to play like that tonight. No safe word.”

“That’s fair,” Hideki said. “I promise I won’t push you too hard. Now… Tell me what you’ve got on.”

It was nice to know phone sex conventions hadn’t changed since college. “I’m in my pajamas.”

Hideki laughed again. “No, I really meant for you to tell me exactly what you were wearing. Do you have a shirt on? Shorts? Long pants? No pants?”

“Tee shirt. I’ve got sweatpants on.”

“Any underwear?”

Tim felt his cheeks flush again. “No.”

“Oh, going commando, are we? How… naughty.”

Tim shifted in his bed. The erection he’d started to gain had flagged during the safe word discussion, but as soon as Hideki had brought out his bedroom voice again, it was as though all the blood in his body had rushed there to his dick. He didn’t even know he could get that hard that fast anymore. It really was like college all over again.

Before he could reply, Hideki spoke again. “I want you to take your shirt off.”

“All right,” Tim said, and set the phone aside long enough to tug his shirt over his head. He tossed it aside and picked up the phone again. “I’m done.”

“Next, I want you to play with your nipples. I want you to pinch them in your fingers, and I want you to imagine it’s me doing it. Roll them slowly, Tim. Pull on them.”

Tim bit his lip as he did as he was told. Nipple play had never been anything he’d enjoyed with his wife, but somehow, imagining it was Hideki there, Hideki’s hand on him, made it an entirely new experience. He wasn’t sure if it was the mental image, his imagination making it better, but he really liked it.

“Tell me how that feels,” Hideki said, his voice practically a purr.

Tim barely bit back a moan as he continued to pinch and tug at his nipples in turn. “It feels amazing,” he said. “God, so good. Never been this good.”

“I want you to imagine it’s my mouth there now, instead. Lick your fingertips, run them over your nipples,” said Hideki, his breath picking up enough to let Tim know that Hideki enjoyed this as well. “Let me hear you when that cold air touches your wet skin.”

The first brush of his own breath against his skin once he drew his fingers back was enough to send a shiver through him, and Tim was unable to hold back his sigh this time. In return, Hideki let out a soft moan of his own. The knowledge that Hideki loved to hear Tim enjoying this made it better, and Tim closed his eyes and sank deeper into his bed as he relaxed.

“I want you to stroke your cock through your pants,” Hideki breathed. “Keep a hand on your nipples, though. Don’t forget you’re supposed to be imagining me there.”

As if Tim could forget.

It felt good, but it was torment. He kept the other hand occupied as instructed, and part of his brain wondered why he hadn’t ever combined nipple play with his perfunctory masturbation to make it better. He was definitely not hiding the sounds he was making, and in return, neither was Hideki.

“That’s good, so fucking good… You can put your hand in your pants now. Don’t take them off yet. Don’t stop playing with your nipples, either.”

Oh, this was so much better than jerking off in the shower that morning had been. With his fingers still tugging at his nipples when he remembered to, that first stroke of his hand along his length was breathtaking. “Oh my God,” Tim said.

“Keep it slow,” Hideki said. “I don’t want you coming yet.”

“You aren’t going to drag this out, are you?” Tim was suddenly concerned Hideki might try to play the game of stops-and-starts, and to be perfectly honest, he just really wanted to come with Hideki’s voice in his ear sooner rather than later. It had been far too long since he’d done anything sexual with another person.

Hideki laughed softly. “Not any longer than I want to.”

Tim bit back another moan as he circled his hand around the head of his cock again. “That doesn’t tell me a whole hell of a lot.”

“No? How about you tell me something: how does this feel?”

“Fucking amazing,” Tim muttered, letting out another low moan as his hand stroked along his length again.

Hideki hummed, a laugh barely disguised within it. “I’m afraid that isn’t good enough. Tell me how it feels. Be specific.”

With a grimace, Tim had to stop his hand on his cock for a moment. “It feels good, better than just jerking off usually is. But it’s like I’m gonna explode if I don’t get more.”

“Oh, you want more, then?”

“God, please,” Tim said. His hand quivered on his dick with the efforts of keeping the pace slow. All he wanted to do was come in his pants, but he didn’t want to disappoint Hideki.

“Good. Go ahead and take off your pants now.”

Tim groaned, his dick throbbing with need now that he’d stopped stroking it. He muttered something about taking a second, set the phone aside, and then shimmied his pants off without standing up. He tossed them aside, then picked the phone back up again. “Okay, done.”

“Are you under your covers?” He could hear that predatory grin in Hideki’s voice again.


Hideki made a soft hum. “Good. Spread those legs wide for me. Tell me, Tim… Have you ever had anyone fuck you before?”

“I’m not sure exactly what–”

“Have you had anyone’s dick in your ass? Have you ever had someone fuck you.

Tim shifted uncomfortably, his dick somehow growing even harder even with his embarrassment at how blunt Hideki was. “No, I haven’t.”

“Have you ever fucked yourself? Not necessarily with a fake dick. Even with something like a cucumber. A carrot. Your fingers.”

Again, he felt even more aroused somehow with this line of probing questions. “Yeah, I’ve… I’ve put stuff up there. Fingers.”

Hideki moaned softly, then drew a shaking breath. “I want you to put the call on speaker. Can you do that?”

Ethan was all the way down the hall, and both bedroom doors were closed… If Tim turned the call volume down, he should be able to get away with it. “Yeah… Yeah, I can do that. Why?”

“I want to hear you fuck yourself with your fingers while you stroke your cock. I want you to imagine it’s me doing it, because I’m sure as hell going to imagine fucking that ass of yours.”

There was no hiding the whimper coming out of Tim’s mouth. His dick was hard, so hard, dripping slowly onto his stomach. Right then, in that moment, there was nothing he wanted more than that; to feel Hideki’s hands on him, fingers working him open, cock pushing inside.

“Put the phone on speaker,” Hideki said again, and there was no hesitation from Tim.

His hands shook while he selected the options, and once he was done he set the phone down next to him. “All right, you’re on speaker.”

Hideki’s voice sounded more distant, as though he’d put Tim on speaker at the same time. “Now, start with the fingers in your ass. Get them nice and wet first, make sure you’ll be able to get them in.”

Spit wasn’t the best for this but he didn’t have any lube, and as long as he was careful this should work. He’d done it before, in moments of desperation for something to make his jerking session better. He slipped two fingers into his mouth, licking and sucking to try to generate as much saliva as possible.

“Are you sucking on your fingers?” Hideki said, sounding even more breathless. Tim found himself wondering what Hideki was doing to himself, but he knew he had to focus on this task. He could always ask later. “God, Tim, that’s so goddamn sexy.”

Once it felt as though the situation couldn’t improve any more, Tim drew his fingers out of his mouth and reached down awkwardly to spread the wetness around his hole. “Did you want me to put them inside?”

“Oh, fuck yeah, I want you to fuck yourself with them.”

Two fingers didn’t work right away, but he started with just one. He moaned as the finger went in, slowly working himself open. “Oh, fuck!

“Yeah, let me hear you while you fuck yourself. Let me hear how good it feels.” Hideki’s voice was low, intimate. If Tim could ignore the tinny nature from the phone, it was almost as if Hideki were right there in the bed with him.

After a few minutes, Tim was able to slide that second finger in next to his first. The stretch was wonderful, just enough to push his limits but not enough to be uncomfortable. His moans grew louder as a result, and he began to lift his hips to give himself better access to his ass.

“God, I bet you love having those fingers in your ass,” Hideki said. “I bet you look so fucking gorgeous there. I wish I could be the one doing it.”

“Me too,” Tim said between panting breaths. This was good, for sure, but Hideki actually being there would absolutely make it better.

“I want you to stroke your cock,” said Hideki, his voice breathy. “Start slow. I don’t want you to come yet.”

That proved to be the hardest instruction to follow. It all felt so damn good, it was all Tim could do to hold himself back from that edge. His moans grew louder and more needy, and he began to plead with Hideki. “Please,” he said. “Hideki, please, I need to come, please…!”

Occasionally between the sounds of his own hand against his flesh, Tim could hear the telltale noise of skin on skin coming from the phone. Hideki was jerking off just like Tim was, and faintly he wondered if Hideki had his fingers in his ass, too.

“Just a little longer, let me hear you beg me a little longer… you sound so sexy when you’re desperate,” Hideki gasped between moans.

Tim let out a half-sobbing gasp. This was too much, too strong, too powerful, and it had been far too long since he’d had an experience like this. “Please, Hideki, please!

“Tell me how badly you want me to be fucking you. Tell me how much you need my dick in your ass.”

Just Hideki’s words had him biting his lip so hard he tasted blood, his hand stilled on his own cock for fear even a stroke more would push him over the edge. “God, I need it so badly. I need you to fuck me, Hideki, please…”

Hideki groaned low in his throat with that, then said, “So good… Good boy. I want to hear you come now. I want to hear my name when you come, Tim, let me know what I’ve done to you.”

It was easy to give in once Hideki gave the command, and Tim thrust his fingers up into himself hard and fast, stroking his cock at a pace to match. Within seconds he was spurting through his hand across his chest and stomach, a distance he hadn’t achieved on his own in years. Hideki’s name started as a chanted prayer, culminating in a hoarse shout he struggled to keep quiet as his ass clamped down around his fingers, his back arching up off the bed.

They laid there, silent on the phone save for their slowing breathing. Tim drew his fingers out of himself, sinking into the bed. It took him a few long minutes to be able to gather up the energy to even speak. “Oh, my God.”

“Thank you,” Hideki said. “That was wonderful. You did very well. Did I push you too far?”

“No,” Tim said. It was the truth. It had definitely pushed him farther than he would have pushed himself, but it hadn’t been uncomfortable. It had been just right, in fact.

“Listen… I don’t want you to think I’m just after you for sex,” said Hideki, his voice soft.

Tim blinked at his phone. “I’m not sure what made you think I was concerned about that.”

“Good point. I guess I was just worried. Listen, I’m sure you want to get cleaned up — I know I do. Want to talk more after a quick shower?”

“Yeah, actually, I do.” Tim smiled. The thought of continuing a conversation with Hideki gave him a great sense of comfort, one he hadn’t entirely known he needed until Hideki brought up the idea. “I’ll call you back in 20 minutes?”

“Sounds perfect,” Hideki said, a smile obvious in his voice.

Things with Hideki had been going well over the last few weeks. They’d gone out to bars and dinner at least once a week when Tim could, and Hideki had even invited Tim back to his house a few times. All the dates so far — and sleepovers — had happened on weeks Tim didn’t have Ethan, and he was sure Hideki was growing tired of his reasons why they could only get together every other week, why they could only have phone calls on those off-weeks after nine o’clock, why Tim couldn’t have Hideki over to his house.

He’d have to tell Hideki about Ethan, but how? This wasn’t exactly going to be the easiest conversation.

Dinner would probably be the best way. Take Hideki out, sit him down in a nice, neutral location, and burn everything to the ground by telling him about the ex-wife and the teenager.


Tim decided to call Hideki at lunch, and all sorts of terrible scenarios ran through Tim’s head before Hideki picked up. “Hey, Tim. What’s up?”

“Hey, I was wondering if you wanted to go out tonight?”

“Sure!” Hideki sounded surprised. They never went out on a Tuesday, and Tim was almost never the one initiating the invitation. He hoped Hideki wasn’t suspicious.

“I was thinking the usual place at seven? I’ll call and make a reservation so we don’t have to wait forever for a table.”

“That sounds fantastic. What’s up, though? You sound… Is something wrong?”

Tim shook his head fervently, though he knew Hideki couldn’t see it. “No, nothing’s wrong. I’ll see you at seven, okay?”

Great. Now Hideki thought he was going to dump him. This was going to be a stellar dinner together.

The restaurant scheduled their seven o’clock reservation without much hassle, and the rest of the work day crawled by. Tim called Ethan after work, and had their normal check-in chat — how was school going? How was that project coming along? Had Ethan heard back from the coach about his sports tryout yet?

They hung up at six-thirty, and Tim threw his coat back on to head to the restaurant. Hideki met him there at the host stand, and they settled into their chairs. Tim had barely picked up his menu before Hideki cleared his throat.

“Are you going to tell me what’s up? You aren’t good at hiding things, Tim.”

Tim drew a careful breath. “I’m not breaking up with you, if that’s what you’re getting at. In fact, I think things are going so well, that it’s time to discuss… more serious matters.”

Hideki stared him down, only breaking the gaze to smile at the server and thank him for the water. When the server left, he turned his eyes back on Tim again. “Are you dying?”

It was such an abrupt question, Tim choked on his water. After a few minutes of coughing and drawing the stares of half the restaurant, he managed to regain normal breathing function again. “God, no! At least I wasn’t before you asked me that!”

“Then what is it?”

Hideki was so determined, and Tim was actually afraid of Hideki walking out on him here in the restaurant in front of everyone. “I… I want you to come back to my place after. I’ll tell you everything there. I promise. I just don’t want to talk about it here in front of everyone, okay?”

Hideki finally nodded. “All right. We’ll talk about it later, then.”

Dinner was awkward. The weight of things Tim had left unsaid hung in the air, and the longer dinner went on, the more anxious he became. Hideki may not have walked out on him in the restaurant, but there was no guarantee Hideki wouldn’t dump him right in his own living room.

“Do you want to ride with me?” Tim said outside the restaurant, half-hoping Hideki would say yes and remove the possibility of him leaving easily.

Hideki adjusted his coat, then nodded. “Yeah. It’ll make it easier at least, since I don’t know where you live yet.”

Tim blew out a quick sigh of relief, then led Hideki to his car. It’d probably be obvious to Hideki immediately upon walking in that Tim didn’t live alone — at least not all the time — because marks of Ethan were all around the house. He missed Ethan terribly on weeks he was with his mother, so Tim never put away all of his things. It was nice to be reminded of Ethan here and there.

At least, nice when he wasn’t trying to figure out a way to be subtle about telling Hideki.

The car ride was mostly silent, save for a few stilted attempts to start conversation. It was obvious to Tim that Hideki wouldn’t really open up while this hung in the air. He needed to come clean — in fact, he probably should have come clean a few weeks ago.

“Well, here it is,” he said, pulling into the driveway in front of his modest two-bedroom home. “Chez Raines.”

Hideki gave Tim a sideways glance, an eyebrow raised. “Chez Raines, really?”

Tim laughed and shut off the car. “Have to make it sound at least a little fancy.”

“You’re something else,” Hideki said, but a smile pulled at the corners of his lips. “Well, if this place is so damn fancy, who’s going to let me out of the car?”

“Oh, just a moment, sir,” Tim said, a sense of relief leading to a cheeky grin. The joking had lifted the mood, just as he’d hoped it would. He climbed out of the car and walked around, opened Hideki’s door, and bowed, an arm extended. “Please, sir. Right this way, sir.”

Hideki climbed out of the car with a sense of grace Tim had never seen in a man before, and though he would never have admitted it, the fluidity and regal air Hideki had managed to conjure in a matter of seconds made him start to grow hard. He dragged in a ragged breath as Hideki leaned down and whispered in his ear, Hideki’s breath ruffling the hairs around it.

“You’re such a good, obedient boy.”

Tim closed his eyes, a moan mixed with another sigh slipping out. Hideki loved to play this game, asserting his dominance over Tim through words alone, and somehow it hit every button Tim had. This entire experience had been a sort of second sexual awakening for Tim, and through Hideki he’d learned of so many kinks and desires he didn’t even know he’d had. The desire to be controlled, for one. The burning need to earn approval. It all felt so natural now, Tim couldn’t imagine a life without them anymore.

At first he had been uncomfortable with someone younger than him being in control, but they’d talked about it a lot since that first bit of phone sex, and Tim came to accept it as something he enjoyed. He didn’t need to justify it.

Hideki lifted Tim’s chin gently with his fingertips, bringing Tim’s gaze up to meet his. “Come now, stand up. You don’t want us to be standing out here in the driveway all night, do you?” He took another step forward, a grin pulling at the corners of his lips. “Unless, of course, you’d prefer to get on your knees instead. I’m sure the neighbors wouldn’t mind if you blew me right here.” He cast a glance around, then looked back down at Tim. “It doesn’t look like anyone would see anyway.”

Exhibitionism itself wasn’t something Tim was into, but all Hideki had to do was suggest it, and it was enough. Hideki knew it wasn’t a line Tim was willing to cross, but Tim enjoyed the thrill and healthy dose of fear the suggestions gave. “Please don’t,” Tim breathed.

“Ah, but where did the ‘sir’ go? I liked that.” Hideki kept his fingertips under Tim’s chin, still pushing Tim’s head back, the front of his throat stretched so tight swallowing was uncomfortable.

“Please don’t, sir,” Tim said, softer.

Hideki smiled, dropping his hand from under Tim’s jaw. “Better. Up now, please. Let’s go inside before your neighbors do get suspicious of you bowing before some guy next to your car.”

Tim straightened up then closed the car door, shaking his head to try to pull himself back from the zone his mind had started to drift into. While it had been nice to lift the mood with that bit of play just now, Tim needed to remember that he had a serious discussion to be having with Hideki, one that would need to start almost immediately after walking in the door.

He led Hideki up the walk to the front door, then opened it and stepped inside, extending a hand for Hideki. “Here we are.”

Hideki stepped inside, casting a glance around the foyer. Tim did his best to keep his face neutral, but every sign of Ethan’s existence stuck out to him — the extra pairs of shoes at the front door, the old childhood drawings he hadn’t been able to take down, video games and comic books and every other conceivable thing a teenage boy would leave around.

Hideki turned his gaze to Tim again. “You don’t live alone.”

“Not all the time, no.”

Hideki took a slow, careful breath, then wet his lips with his tongue. “I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt here, and not ask the worst-case scenario.”

“He’s my son. His name is Ethan, he’s thirteen. His mother and I divorced when he was six. I am not seeing anyone aside from you, if that was the worst-case scenario you were thinking of.”

Tim braced himself, sure this would be the straw that broke the camel’s back, the thing that drove Hideki away — who would want to be thrust into an already-established family? It had been the death knell for many an attempted relationship before.

Hideki, though, stayed quiet, nodding slowly. “So that’s why you always had excuses for why we couldn’t see each other. Does he live with you every other week, then?”

“Yeah, he does. My ex-wife lives about a half-mile away, so he could stay in the same school even with swapping houses.”

“And why didn’t you tell me this earlier?”

Tim shifted uncomfortably, rubbing a hand on the back of his neck. “Well… historically, sharing that information too early has proven to be a terrible idea.”

After a long moment, Hideki let out a huge sigh. “You made me think it was so much worse than it actually is. So you have a kid, so what?”

“Really?” Tim smiled, dropping his hand from the back of his neck. “You’re… You’re okay with it?”

“Well, yeah, I mean… It’s not like you have a boyfriend on the side or anything. I can handle this. I mean, if you’re okay with knowing that we do some pretty fucked-up shit in the same house your kid lives in.”

Tim furrowed his brow. “Fucked-up shit?”

“Like what we were just doing in your driveway?”

“That doesn’t bother me,” Tim said. It was an odd thing for Hideki to focus on. Plenty of parents — almost all of them, he supposed — had sex in the same houses as their kids. Why would that be an issue?

“Then that’s fine. You have a kid. I can deal with that.”

“Oh, thank God,” Tim said.

Hideki grinned at Tim’s obvious relief. “Were you afraid I’d dump you over that?”

Tim nodded, then started to walk toward the kitchen. “Yeah, I was. It’s happened to me too many times before. Tell someone about Ethan, and all of a sudden they’re too busy for me anymore. Do you want anything to drink?”

Hideki followed behind, still looking around and taking in Tim’s home. “Nah, I’m fine.” He stopped just inside the kitchen, next to the dining table. “Wouldn’t mind continuing what we had going before we came in here, though.”

Tim stopped dead in his tracks, hand on the refrigerator handle, then turned slowly to face Hideki. That grin he was so familiar with was back on Hideki’s face, and Hideki leaned back against the kitchen table, arms crossed over his chest, with an expectant sort of look in his eyes.

“I’m not entirely sure what you’re getting at,” Tim said, keeping his voice carefully measured.

“Bullshit. Don’t lie. You know damn well what I’m getting at,” Hideki said.

Tim swallowed, then took slow steps forward to close the gap between Hideki and himself. There was certainly a thrill in just how quickly Hideki could throw him back in that mental zone, but while it was also liberating it could be frightening.

“I liked you bowing… I think I’d like you on your knees better.” The very edges of Hideki’s lips turned up in a smile that was both a threat and a promise.

“Yes,” Tim said, sinking to his knees in front of Hideki. “Whatever you want.”

“I told you I wanted to continue what we had earlier,” said Hideki. “You’re forgetting something.”

Tim cringed just the smallest bit with the reprimand. “Yes, sir.”

“Good boy.”

Tim let his eyes fall closed for a moment, a quiet moan slipping from between his lips. When his head started to swim in that ocean Hideki could always put it in, the praise was the only thing that mattered. He would do nearly anything to earn more of those quiet utterances.

“I was talking about you blowing me, wasn’t I?” Hideki rested his hand on top of Tim’s hair, then slid it around to cup under Tim’s chin again to tilt his head back again.

illustrated by Nebulosity Çiélon

Tim nodded, just the smallest amount of movement with Hideki’s hand under his jaw.

“I can’t hear you,” Hideki said.

Tim swallowed, his gaze firm on Hideki’s. “Yes, sir.”

Hideki gave Tim a small smile, then used his hand under Tim’s jaw to guide him forward. Tim dropped his eyes from Hideki’s face and brought his hands up to reach for the zipper of Hideki’s pants, then stopped when Hideki grasped them with his own free hand. He looked back up, and that smile on Hideki’s face had taken on a predatory sort of tone.

“No, we’re not going to do that yet. You know I like to drag things out, Tim. I’m patient enough for this. The question is, are you?”

Tim let out a whimper before he could stop it, but he gave another nod. “Yes, sir.”

Hideki’s grin turned into a laugh, a full-throated show of how easily he’d seen through Tim’s bluff. “Bullshit,” he said again.

Tim’s cheeks blazed again with a combination of frustrated embarrassment and arousal. He was already so damn hard, and the only hand Hideki had lain on him was the hand he’d cupped under Tim’s jaw twice now. It just wasn’t fair.

“Now, I want you to open your fly,” Hideki said as he released Tim’s hands. “Pull out your dick, but don’t touch it. Its purpose right now will be for me to enjoy. I want to see how hard you get just from sucking my cock.”

Tim knew Hideki expected him to be hard already, but that didn’t diminish the sense of shame he felt. Of course the shame made him even harder, and with some difficulty he worked the zipper down over his erection, his gaze never breaking from Hideki’s. Tim sucked in a small gasp with the air against the tip, where he’d already started to leak a little.

Hideki glanced down between Tim’s thighs, then raised an eyebrow. “Already so hard. Are you sure you’re patient enough for this?”

“Yes, sir, I promise,” Tim said, his voice soft as though speaking any louder would make his words that much more untrue.

“You’re a God-damned liar,” Hideki said.

“Please, sir,” Tim whispered. He didn’t need to clarify what exactly he asked for.

Hideki gave a nod. “Show me how much you want to suck my cock. Prove you deserve it.”

Tim froze for a moment, then let out the smallest of whimpers as his cock twitched through the fly of his jeans. Hideki didn’t elaborate upon what he expected, and truth be told, Tim wasn’t sure what Hideki wanted. When he leaned forward again, Hideki moved his hand from under Tim’s jaw to rest on top of Tim’s head. It was a seemingly innocent motion, but one Tim knew carried a threat beneath it.

When Tim reached for the zipper of Hideki’s pants again, that hand tightened in his hair, and Tim realized that was how Hideki intended to explain what Tim was to do. Here he’d thought he was going to be left to fumble about and blindly make mistakes, but Hideki planned to tell him all along; just not in an obvious way. He moved the hand away from the zipper, instead resting his palm across the fly itself.

“Good boy,” Hideki said, the grip on Tim’s hair relaxing.

“Thank you, sir,” Tim whispered. Under his hand he could feel Hideki’s cock, pressing back against him through the denim. He stroked his hand along the bulge from the outside, looking up at Hideki to try to see the expression on his face as he did so.

Hideki kept his face mostly neutral, though in the silence of the otherwise-empty house Tim could hear that Hideki’s breathing had picked up. In an effort to bring out more of a reaction, he brought his other hand up and began to rub over the strained fabric with both of them.

The increase in sensation forced Hideki to close his eyes for a moment and just as Tim started to smile in victory, Hideki directed his gaze back down at him again. “Keep going, boy. You haven’t proven anything yet.”

Tim bit his lip to keep himself from whimpering. All he could think was how he needed to make Hideki happy, how he needed to do as he was told. If he could accomplish that, he would be complete. It was so much simpler when Hideki put him in these sorts of trances, Tim had come to realize, because Hideki was all that mattered when he was there.

He leaned forward, still keeping his hands moving along that ridge in the denim, and placed a soft, worshipful kiss over Hideki’s cock. As his lips touched the cloth, he could feel Hideki’s fingertips press against his scalp.

“Much better. Such a good, obedient boy,” Hideki murmured. Tim was obviously headed in the right direction.

He continued to pepper kisses over Hideki’s fly while his hands moved to stroke it wherever he could reach. He even slipped a hand between Hideki’s thighs to try to stroke that sensitive area behind his balls, but Tim soon found that unsustainable and stopped.

All the while, Hideki had been playing with Tim’s hair and saying soft words of praise which had only served to encourage him. Tim could have kept this up forever as long as Hideki didn’t stop. His own neglected erection didn’t even bother him anymore, he was so solely focused on Hideki’s desires, Hideki’s pleasures.

He started when Hideki pulled him back by a firm, but not painful grip on his hair. Tim looked up into Hideki’s eyes, but Hideki only smiled as he reached down to unbutton and unzip his jeans one-handed. Any other time, Tim would have been incredibly impressed by the display.

Hideki pulled the jeans open and his erection bounced free, but he made no motion to pull it from his boxers. “Suck it,” he said, his voice low.

Tim reached for the waistband of the boxers but Hideki tugged on his hair. “No.”

“How–” Tim started to ask, but Hideki pulled him forward by the grip on his hair, pressing Tim’s lips against the damp spot on the boxers.

“Suck it,” Hideki said again, and there was an even more stern tone in his voice. Tim wasn’t entirely sure if there was an unspoken or else in there, but he knew with certainty he didn’t wish to find out.

The cloth was rough as it grew damp inside Tim’s mouth. It was difficult to get enough inside to truly call it sucking Hideki’s cock, and as a result mostly ended up using his tongue more than anything, but Tim did his best. Under the layers of laundry soap and fabric, Tim was starting to be able to taste Hideki, and that was enough.

Between his own thighs the movements of his upper body had started to chafe the sides of his own cock against the zipper. Tim let out a groan muffled by the underwear-clad flesh in his mouth, and shifted uncomfortably.

“Do you want to stop?” Hideki asked.

Tim pulled back, taking a moment to marvel at the sight in front of him before looking up into Hideki’s eyes. “No, sir. I just want to unbutton my pants so the fly doesn’t hurt me anymore. Please.”

“Oh, yes. Please do. I didn’t realize that was rubbing. I want you to take good care of that. After all, right now it’s for me to look at… and I don’t want to see it hurt.”

Tim could feel his cheeks flush again, but he wasted no time in undoing the button of his jeans and spreading the fly apart. He leaned forward again to return to the task previously assigned to him, but Hideki pulled him back again.

“No, no more of that. You’ve been such a good boy. You’ve definitely earned the privilege to have my dick in your mouth.” Hideki paused to grin, then pulled Tim’s head back the slightest bit more and slid his thumb between Tim’s parted lips.

Tim froze, unsure what Hideki wanted him to do. The skin was salty against his tongue, a poor imitation of what he really wanted, what Hideki had just suggested he’d earned. But then Hideki began to slide his thumb in and out, and Tim understood. He sucked on it, his eyes closing again.

A poor imitation, yes, but if it was what Hideki wanted, he’d do it.

Hideki moved his thumb faster, the webbing between it and his first finger bumping against Tim’s lower lip. “Yes, just like that. You really are a good boy, sucking on my thumb like it’s already my dick. Don’t worry, I’ll give you what you want.” He drew his thumb back out again and relaxed his grip on Tim’s hair. “What you’ve earned.”

Reaching up to pull Hideki’s now-dampened boxers down, Tim said, “Thank you, sir.”

It didn’t take Tim long to get Hideki’s cock into his mouth once it was freed from his underwear. The feel of the smooth skin against his tongue was a welcome change after the fabric before, and Tim made no effort to hide the sounds of his pleasure.

The more enthusiastic he grew with his motions, the farther he took Hideki’s cock, the more he could feel his own cock starting to leak. The tip was chilled, and he started to move his hips involuntarily to mimic what he did to Hideki.

Tim obviously was doing a fine job. The longer it went on the tighter Hideki’s grip on Tim’s hair grew. He moaned softly, guiding Tim’s head while thrusting his hips forward just the slightest bit. As always, it was a secret thrill to not entirely be in control of the situation and Tim took advantage by allowing Hideki to do as he pleased. He rode the pleasure in his mind, eyes closed, moaning when he could spare the breath.

It felt like forever and not long enough before Hideki gripped his hair almost painfully hard, his hips slamming forward one last time as he reached his peak. Tim took it gratefully, murmuring thanks again when Hideki drew himself out of Tim’s mouth.

After Hideki took a moment to catch his breath, he smiled at Tim then bent to kiss him. Every kiss they’d shared so far had been electric for certain, but it was always these ones, when Tim’s consciousness floated in a sea of Hideki’s commands, that made Tim feel as though he could soar.

“You were such a good boy. I think you’ve earned a reward,” Hideki murmured into Tim’s ear.

Tim drew a shaking breath — Hideki’s suggestion had only served to remind him of how painfully hard he was. “Please, sir,” Tim said.

Hideki smiled again, offering a hand up to Tim. Once Tim accepted it, he reversed them with Tim leaning against the table. Slowly Hideki sank to his knees and took Tim’s cock in his hand. “You’ve been so patient,” he said. “You deserve this.”

It felt so wonderful to have Hideki’s hands on him, to have his dick in Hideki’s mouth. For all the buildup Tim didn’t last long, but he was too exhausted to be embarrassed by his rapid orgasm. He simply rode the crashing waves of his climax, then gratefully collapsed into Hideki’s arms.

Later, they could discuss the finer points of the arrangement with Tim having Ethan. Later, Tim could worry more about ruining everything with potential missteps. Right now, he could simply lay here on his kitchen floor wrapped in the arms of a man he was glad to have, but still wasn’t sure he deserved.

After that talk with Hideki, finally letting him see all aspects of his life, Tim felt like a weight had been lifted off his shoulders.

Ethan, however, was still in the dark about Hideki, and that would soon have to change. That was a weight on his chest, crushing him.

He picked Ethan up from school on Monday, just like he always did. Ethan was excited to tell Tim about the project he’d finished for school and how he’d made it onto the football team for that year just like he’d hoped. Tim, for his part, was grateful for the fact that he could just listen to Ethan. He didn’t need to do more than chime in with encouragement or congratulations or make promises to help with the science project.

The science project ended up being an overly complicated memory experiment, and Tim was grateful for that, too, because it still gave him an excuse to not bring up Hideki yet. They slaved over it for four nights, with nightly phone calls to Ethan’s mother not only for the ritual conversation, but also to ask for help. Tim couldn’t figure out half of what Ethan had worked out with his mother ahead of time anyway.

Friday night they went out for dinner to a place Tim had taken Hideki to a few times, and unfortunately for Tim, the server recognized him.

“Why did the waiter ask about you being alone?” Ethan asked later that night.

Tim cursed the man, and yet was glad for the opening. It saved him the awkwardness of finding a way to start the talk himself.

“Well,” Tim said, “I haven’t been alone — or rather without another adult — the last few times I’ve been there.”

Ethan raised his eyebrows. “You’re dating someone? How long has she been going out with you?”

Tim grimaced a little and cleared his throat. “That’s, uh… It isn’t a she.”

Silence stretched out between them, and that part of Tim’s brain which loved so to make everything into a disaster started to imagine the inevitable trip to the courthouse to have his custody of Ethan revoked.

“So you’re going out with… a guy?”

Tim nodded. Would Ethan let him help pack up all his stuff when he decided never to stay here again, or would he insist on doing it alone?

Ethan furrowed his brow as he thought it over. “So you’re gay, then? Is that why you and Mom got a divorce?”

“No, to both. I’m not gay. I still like women. I just like guys too.” Tim cleared his throat and traced his finger along the grain of the kitchen table. His anxiety had definitely abated a bit, but it still churned in the pit of his stomach. “We didn’t divorce because of it, either. We just realized we made better friends than spouses. We’re better parents this way, too.” He reached across the table to ruffle Ethan’s hair. “We take better care of you now that we’re both happy.”

Ethan groaned as only a teenager who has suffered the indignity of a touching moment with their parent could. “I know, Dad. You tell me that all the time.”

“Well, it’s true.”

“What’s he like?”

That was a harder question to answer, because so much of what Hideki was to Tim was not something he could share with Ethan.

“He’s very funny. You would get along with him, I think.”

Ethan hummed in thought as he opened up his biology textbook again. “When will I get to meet him?”

He hadn’t considered that yet. Hell, he’d only just managed to get up the nerve to tell them about each other. He hadn’t had the time to panic about them meeting yet.

“I don’t know. I’ll have to talk with Hideki and see what days work best for him.”

Ethan frowned into his book, then looked up at Tim. “He isn’t going to leave because of me, is he?”

“Why would you think that?” Tim asked, knowing full well why Ethan asked. He’d seen woman after woman disappear from their lives as soon as Tim tried to make things more serious. He’d watched it happen to his mother as well, though she did manage to eventually remarry.

“No reason,” Ethan shrugged.

Tim wondered whether it would be a good idea to take that next step with Hideki yet after all. “He’s a good guy.”

Ethan raised his eyebrows. He didn’t say anything out loud, but his expression spoke volumes about history’s tendency to repeat itself.

“I know it’s not fair to you to see adults coming in and out of your life. I’ve been seeing him for a few months now, Ethan. I really think he’ll stick around.” Tim gave an encouraging smile.

Inside, though, he made an effort to push down the feelings of doubt. He trusted Hideki – he had to, for the games they played. He just had to trust Hideki with this, too. It would never work otherwise.

It took Tim a few weeks to work up the nerve to invite Hideki over for dinner. Ethan would casually ask when he’d get to meet Hideki, and Tim would either change the subject or come up with a reason why it couldn’t happen. He knew it couldn’t go on like that forever.

He invited Hideki over on a Saturday night, on a week when he had Ethan. If things went well, he wouldn’t have to worry too much about keeping Ethan up too late. If things went poorly, he wouldn’t have to worry too much about coping until Ethan went back to his mother’s.

Tim shoved Ethan into the shower before Hideki could come over, because they’d spent most the afternoon outside throwing a football around and Tim didn’t want Hideki’s first image of Ethan to be the ripe scent of unwashed teenager. He spent the next half hour starting dinner preparations before realizing the water was still running, then went to tell Ethan to get out of the shower before Hideki got there.

The chicken sautéed on the stove and the house smelled absolutely delicious when Hideki knocked at the door. He grinned at Tim when he answered the door, then gave Tim a quick kiss on the cheek. “What are you making? That smells wonderful.”

Tim gave Hideki a kiss on his cheek in return. “It’s just chicken in a wine sauce. It’ll be over pasta. How are you?”

“Anxious to finally get to meet Ethan. I was worried he decided he didn’t like me already with how long this took.”

“Well.” Tim cringed. “I was at fault there. It took a while to tell him and then I got scared that you would get cold feet and leave. Sorry.”

Hideki sighed. “Tim, I told you I wanted to meet him and I meant it. You really should trust me.”

A memory flitted through Tim’s consciousness, of Hideki voicing a concern for their more adventurous sexual activities happening in the home he shared with Ethan. He shoved it away. This was a bad time for that. “I know. Come inside, then. He’s waiting for us.”

Thankfully, Ethan was ready and the introductions were only mildly awkward. It turned out that Hideki had played football himself in high school, so he and Ethan immediately launched into an intense discussion. All the better; Tim hadn’t played sports in school and couldn’t match Ethan’s level of interest in the pastime.

With the two of them occupied, Tim went back to cooking in the kitchen. He could hear snippets of conversation and bits of laughter, and he was glad they were getting along.

“Hey, you two, dinner’s ready,” Tim said once the dishes were laid out on the table. “Any special requests for drinks?”

He didn’t even need to wait for Hideki’s request. After the weeks they’d been together he had already grown accommodated to anticipating Hideki’s desires in even the most mundane ways. A glass sat at Hideki’s place with a bottle of his favorite cider next to it, along with another glass of ice water.

Hideki surveyed the table setting and gave Tim a quiet smile which made Tim’s stomach flip. It was the sort of look Hideki gave him during their games. “Very well done,” he said, and though Tim knew the ‘boy’ hovered there unspoken, it still gave him the same surge of pride as it did when said aloud.

Ethan’s request was the same glass of milk as he usually asked for, and Tim had that already prepared for him as well.

“Thanks, Dad.” Ethan grinned as he took his seat. “This looks really good. Have you made it before?”

“Not in a really long time,” Tim said. It would probably not be the best idea to mention that he’d used to cook this meal for Diane, his ex — Ethan’s mother.

Hideki hummed with pleasure with the first bite. “Well, you’re certainly still quite adept at it.”

Tim ducked his head to hide his smile. “Thank you.”

Dinner conversation was pleasant with Hideki and Ethan continuing to get to know each other. They had quite a bit in common even beyond the shared football experience, and it was such a welcome thing for Tim to listen to them talk. Too many of his previous dates hadn’t cared about Ethan’s interests. Across the table, Tim could see how excited Ethan was to finally have someone who appreciated him. Hideki, for his part, looked uncomfortable, but Tim could tell he was doing his best to engage with Ethan.

The fleeting memory from earlier crept back in, and Tim tried hard to push down the nagging feeling that the floor was about to fall out from under them.

After dinner Ethan asked Hideki to join him with some video games, and Tim took the time to wash the dishes and tidy up a bit. He joined them for a while, playing a few matches against Hideki and Ethan separately (and somehow losing to both of them). The tension that had started to build in the kitchen became smothering as time went on, but Tim didn’t want to say anything to jeopardize the evening.

It turned out he didn’t need to. Around eight o’clock, Hideki said, “Well, it’s been great, but it’s getting late.”

It was difficult for Tim to shove down the lurch in his gut. Ethan and Hideki said their goodbyes, and Tim walked Hideki out to his car.

They stood there in silence, and the longer it went on the more sure Tim was that this was the last time he would be seeing Hideki.

“I can’t,” Hideki said.

It would not do well to throw up right there in front of Hideki, in his own driveway, so Tim swallowed hard to keep the nausea at bay. “What?”

“I can’t do it. I can’t… I can’t be a dad to him.”

Tim blinked, then furrowed his brow. “You wouldn’t have to be! That’s my job, I’m his father!”

Hideki sighed, then put his hands up in front of him. “Listen. I just can’t deal with that sort of responsibility. I’m sorry.”

“I don’t understand,” Tim said. “You said you could deal with this–”

“That was before I actually realized that I’m fucking terrified, Tim. I can’t deal with the possibility of fucking Ethan up. He’s a good kid. I don’t want to ruin him.”

“How could you possibly–”

Hideki rolled his eyes. “God, Tim, I don’t know, possibly because his father and I play fucked-up games when we have sex?”

So that was it. Tim crossed his arms over his chest and frowned. “I don’t see how that’s a problem considering we’re not going to do any of that in front of him. Besides, none of that was an issue for you before you found out I was a father.”

“Look. It’s different knowing you’re someone’s dad. I just can’t, okay? I’m sorry. Thanks for dinner.” Hideki sighed and stared at the ground for a moment before mumbling an apology again and climbing into his car.

It was though everything inside Tim shut down. He went back inside and sat next to Ethan on the couch.

Ethan didn’t say anything, just handed him the controller and started up a new match. It was simple enough to shove his feelings down while gaming with Ethan, but once Tim was alone later, he found himself drowning in them.

He laid in bed unable to sleep, his brain screaming. The hours ticked by, lights played over the ceiling from cars driving down the street, and Tim tried to ignore the fact that history had repeated itself again.

Sleep didn’t come that night. Tim drove Ethan to school, called in to work sick, and went home to stare at his ceiling again. When sleep didn’t come on its own that night either, he sought comfort in the bottle of rum hiding in the back of his freezer.

While at first the fact that he had bought that alcohol for Hideki made him feel worse, a few drinks numbed that pain too. A few hours later he’d lost track of how many cocktails he’d made for himself, and rest came easier that night.

He regretted his decision the next day.

Three weeks went by after that, three long weeks of Tim doing his best to patch his life back together after falling too hard too fast for someone who didn’t stick around. Again. This included another terrible week of Ethan asking about Hideki and blaming himself. That was always the hardest part, Tim reassuring Ethan even through his own pain that it wasn’t Ethan’s fault the person left.

Three weeks of trying not to get his hopes up if he got a text message, and cursing when it was inevitably from his ex-wife. Three weeks of ignoring the bottles of cider in the fridge every time he opened it. Three weeks of staring at his ceiling until exhaustion overtook him every night.

He was preparing dinner when his phone chimed again. His heart skipped but he shoved the feeling down, sure it was another text from Diane about Ethan’s school or football practice. She could wait until after he was finished eating. She never sent texts for anything urgent, anyway.

His phone chimed a few more times while he ate and his suspicions grew; after all, nobody else sent multiple texts like that. By the time he picked up the phone, his heart pounded in his chest and his hands shook while typing in the lock code.

Hey. I’ve been thinking about what I did.

Tim drew in a shaking breath and swallowed hard to try to make sure his stomach contents stayed where they were supposed to.

What I did is really fucked up. Not only to you. That wasn’t really fair to Ethan either.

That was definitely not the sort of apology Tim was expecting. It was a pleasant surprise, but a shock nonetheless.

Please talk to me, Tim. I fucked up and it was the stupidest thing I’ve ever done.

There was one last text message, and Tim feared what may be inside. He held his breath and scrolled down to it.

I’m sorry. I won’t bother you again. I just thought you should know.

It was hard to type out a response with how hard his hands were shaking, but Tim managed it with a gratuitous amount of backspacing. No, I’m here. It’s good to hear from you again.

Those two minutes it took Hideki to reply felt like an eternity. I am so sorry. That was the most colossal fuckup I’ve ever made in my life. I want to make it up to you. Can we meet up somewhere and talk about this?

Tim set the phone down and frowned. He wanted to give Hideki another chance, he wanted it with every fiber of his being. It was as though Hideki were a magnet, drawing him in with a powerful, irresistible pull.

At the same time, he was terrified of getting hurt again while these wounds were still so fresh.

I’m sorry, Hideki. I can’t, not right now. Give me some time?

He watched the animated ellipses pop up four or five times before he finally received a reply. Absolutely. Take your time. I understand if you can’t.

He sighed and scrubbed a hand down his face. He’d have to gather up the nerve to see Hideki again eventually, because he needed closure. Even if it meant never seeing each other again after that, he needed some sort of final discussion about it.

He had Ethan the next week, so he held off on contacting Hideki again for most of it. He noticed, as the weekend drew closer, that he picked at his fingernails more and cleaned the lenses of his glasses more frequently. He obsessed over his unruly shock of silver hair, combing it far too long each morning. In the mirror, he tried to ignore the dark circles which gave everything away without saying a word.

He called Hideki on Sunday night, after Ethan was in bed.

The phone rang twice before Hideki answered, significantly fewer than Tim was used to from him. “Hello?”

“Hey. I’m sorry for making you wait so long.”

Hideki cleared his throat on the other end of the line. “Please don’t apologize. After what I did I didn’t really expect you to contact me at all.”

“I wouldn’t have done that to you,” Tim said. “I wouldn’t have left you wondering. You would have known, one way or the other.”

“I appreciate that,” Hideki said at length.

A few moments of awkward silence passed. Neither of them wanted to take the next step, to be the one to ask the other to meet. Tim took a deep breath, then said, “Listen. Let’s meet up. Not tonight. I have Ethan. But maybe tomorrow.”

“I’d like that,” Hideki said, his voice light with relief.

“I don’t want to meet at the regular place.” Tim cringed at the memory of the server recognizing him with Ethan and asking about Hideki. The thought of running into that server again while he and Hideki tried to hash out something as complicated as this made his stomach turn.

“How about that bar we went to that one time?”

Tim frowned in thought. It hadn’t been a very crowded bar, but it was dark and the booths were secluded enough that they could have a conversation in relative peace. It’d be a lot less conspicuous than a Starbucks, anyway.

“Yeah, that’d probably be best. Does eight sound good?”

“I’ll meet you there at eight tomorrow night. Thank you again for calling.”

“You’re welcome. I’ll see you then.” Tim ended the call and let his head fall back against the headboard with a firm thump. He’d get there early and take a shot before Hideki got there. He’d need it to soothe his nerves.

He felt he actually did a good job of hiding his anxiety while driving Ethan to school — or at least made himself appear not to be any more anxious than he had been the last three weeks — and he made it through the day reasonably well. He’d only picked at his fingernails a few times that day, though that wasn’t something he was sure he should celebrate.

After work, though, time seemed to slow down considerably, and Tim found himself wishing he’d suggested an earlier meeting time just to get it over with. Of course, he couldn’t call and suggest it now, or else he’d look desperate.

This thing with Hideki was far too complicated.

He showed up at the bar early, like he promised himself he would, only to find Hideki had beat him there. Obviously he’d had the same idea, because an empty shot glass sat on the bar before him.

Tim closed his eyes and took a slow breath, blowing it out over a few counts before stepping up to the bar next to Hideki. “Hey.”

Hideki started, looking up from the bar top. Obviously he hadn’t seen Tim, and judging by the bags under his own eyes, he had been handling this about as well as Tim himself had. “Oh, hey. I didn’t expect you this early.”

“Soothing your nerves?” Tim asked, tapping the shot with his fingernail.

With a short, bitter laugh, Hideki nodded. “Figured the social lubricant couldn’t hurt.”

The bartender noticed Tim and gave him the chance to order his own shot of tequila. After the bartender poured it and Tim paid, he raised the glass to Hideki. “To great minds.”

He couldn’t help the bit of smug satisfaction at the expression on Hideki’s face as he downed the tequila with only the slightest shudder. He set the shot down next to Hideki’s, then nodded to a booth. “Let’s get this over with, then.”

To Hideki’s credit, he didn’t attempt to sit down next to Tim in the booth, rather across. Once they were settled in, Hideki took a deep breath. “Listen. I was incredibly stupid.”

“I’ll agree with you there,” Tim said. “Though I think your stupidest move was not sticking around long enough to talk it out or set boundaries or anything.”

“Yeah, walking away instead of giving you a chance to explain yourself was the killer blow. I know.”

Tim toyed with the drink menu on the table, flipping through without any real intent to order. “I think the thing that was the killer blow was the timing more than anything else. You did that on a night when I finally opened up my life to you. Knowing Ethan existed was one thing. Actually meeting him — and more importantly, having him meet you — is entirely another.”

Hideki’s brow creased as he frowned. Tim let that statement hang in the air, knowing full well it presented another side Hideki hadn’t taken into consideration. It was easy to think of yourself, marginally harder to consider your lover, but if you hadn’t had a third entity in the equation before, it was almost impossible to factor that in. Tim had seen it again and again, and if this thing with Hideki burned out into oblivion, he’d likely see it play out over and over for the rest of his life.

“So I fucked him up anyway, didn’t I?” The pain in Hideki’s eyes stirred something inside Tim’s chest. Hideki truly did care about what happened to Ethan, which was so welcome and so appreciated. He was just going about it all wrong.

“That didn’t fuck him up. It wasn’t the first time someone had walked out on us.” Tim flagged down a server and ordered a soda, then turned back to Hideki after she left. “Though I have to say, I hoped the time before this would have been the last time.”

Hideki gnawed on his lower lip for a few moments. “It must have been hard on you.”

“I didn’t sleep for a few days, not easily,” Tim admitted. “Thankfully Ethan got out the house by going back to his mom’s for his week, so I didn’t have to handle both our emotional states simultaneously.” He chuckled as he accepted the drink from the server. “Diane’s a saint, really. She’s remarried, so I don’t have to patch Ethan up after failed dates on her part anymore, but she handles all my disasters with grace.”

“I wouldn’t blame him if he hated me,” Hideki said.

Tim stirred the ice around in his glass with the straw. “I don’t think he hates you. He probably won’t trust you at first, and you’ll have to be aware of that.”

It was the first anything had come up in the conversation of there being a possibility of a second attempt and Hideki’s eyes grew wide as he looked back up at Tim. “Wait, are you– will you– is this–”

Tim nodded. “I’ve missed you. You say you fucked up, and that’s a good first step. It’ll take a…. I have to trust you again, too.”

Hideki wet his lips with his tongue, nodding. He understood what Tim meant. The boundaries had moved, and Hideki would have to work hard to earn back the place of dominance and control he had before. “I don’t blame you. I suppose I deserve your suspicion.”

“I’m not suspicious. I have to protect my family.” Tim kept his voice quiet, his eyes cast down at his glass. “It’s in my best interest to protect Ethan and myself. If you abandon us again…” He grimaced, then looked up. “I’m not saying you’re stuck with us forever. I understand people grow apart — hell, I’m divorced. I understand very well relationships don’t always work out. I am not trying to tie you down. I’m just saying–”

“That we need to have communication,” Hideki finished. “You need me to actually talk if I’m scared or worried or feel like something isn’t right.” He nodded slowly, fingers tracing over the wood grain on the table. “It’ll be easier to work it out as a unit if you’re on the same page as me. And it’ll help keep Ethan from getting fucked up from me pulling stupid shit.”

“I just can’t have you in and out of our lives like a revolving door. That’s all.”

“I understand that. I’ll do better this time, I promise.”

“That’s all I can ask.” Tim drew a careful breath. “I meant it when I said I missed you.”

“Do you want… Maybe to come back to my place?” Hideki gave a small smile, full of hope but still guarded in case he’d read Tim’s signal wrong.

“I would like that very much,” Tim said. He paid for the drink then followed Hideki out to the parking lot, toying with his keys in his hands. “I really don’t want to leave my car here. I’ll follow you to your place.”

Hideki nodded, catching his lower lip between his teeth again for a moment. “Yeah, that’s probably a good idea. I wouldn’t want to leave my car parked at a bar, either.”

It wasn’t a very far drive to Hideki’s apartment from the bar, and Tim parked on the street in front of the building. He felt the same familiar stirrings of nervousness which tended to accompany him on visits to partners’ homes; this was unusual since it wasn’t the first time he’d been to Hideki’s home, just the first time after trying to patch things up. If this went poorly…

“Do you want anything to drink?” Hideki offered a smile just inside the door, a bottle of beer in one hand and a bottle of water in the other. As much as Tim would have loved to wind down with more alcohol, he really felt like he needed his wits about him now more than ever.

He accepted the water, and thankfully Hideki took the subtle clue and got one of his own. They stood there in the foyer, Hideki’s large clock ticking away the seconds. The bottle of water grew slicker in Tim’s hand, though he wasn’t sure if it was because of the condensation or because his palms were starting to sweat.

The buildup was killing him, and he wasn’t sure who made the first move but before he knew it, Hideki had him up against the wall despite his height disadvantage. Tim couldn’t even care that he dropped the water bottle, he needed his hands on Hideki and he needed them there now.

This had been building for nearly a month, the passion and the desire and this overwhelming sense of need. Hideki’s hands were just as desperate, grabbing at Tim’s glasses, his shirt. It was difficult to maneuver while they refused to let go of one another but they somehow made it into the bedroom, Hideki forcing Tim along backwards the entire way. The backs of his knees hit the edge of the bed and he fell back onto it with a grunt.

Hideki paused only long enough to peel his coat and shirt off, then climbed on top of Tim, straddling his hips. When Hideki moved to pull Tim’s glasses off the motion shifted his weight against the painfully hard erection which had materialized seemingly out of nowhere, and Hideki gave the most mischievous grin in response.

“Don’t you fucking dare tease me when I’ve waited a God-damned month for you,” Tim murmured with a scowl.

“Oh? Or else…?” Hideki circled his hips with slow, torturous movements.

“Or else I’ll bend you over and fuck you myself.”

Hideki’s eyebrows shot up. This wasn’t an attitude Tim generally showed, especially not in a sexual context, but he was just so damn horny. There was no way he would let Hideki torture him. Not this time.

Hideki bit his lip again, then grinned. “I wouldn’t necessarily be opposed to this plan of action.”

With a soft growl, Tim rolled the two of them, then sat up and pulled off his own coat and shirt. He unbuttoned Hideki’s jeans and yanked them down his slender hips with his underwear, tossing them somewhere behind him. Hideki lay there naked on the bed, legs splayed just enough to let his balls rest between the thighs. His cock rose above his hips, the tip already starting to glisten.

Hideki stared up at him from that vulnerable position, silent. Tim, distracted momentarily by the beauty of Hideki’s nude form, had let the momentum die.

Tim took a deep breath, then shoved aside all the nervousness churning in his stomach, threatening to drown his brain. He climbed back over the bed, taking Hideki’s cock in his hand and stroking along it with slow and firm movements. A grin spread across his face at Hideki’s initial response, and he leaned down to murmur into Hideki’s ear, “We’ve never had the tables turned like this.”

“How so?” Hideki said, his voice soft and breathy.

“You’ve never been the one at my mercy. Sure, I’ve topped, but… you still called the shots.” Tim laughed softly, then hummed when Hideki shivered with Tim’s breath over his ear. “Not tonight, though. I think I’ll be dictating this.”

Hideki moaned, his hips lifting to chase the strokes of Tim’s hand. “I thought you didn’t want any games.”

Tim canted his head to the side, his hand leaving Hideki’s cock to tease his fingertips over the delicate skin of his balls. “I didn’t say I was going to play games. Not the ones like you play. I meant more… that I’d decide when things happen. You’ll get to know what it feels like to beg someone to fuck you. To beg me to fuck you.”

Hideki had taken his lower lip between his teeth, looking at Tim in the dimly-lit room with wide eyes. “Please, Tim…”

“No, I won’t give in so soon. You’ve made me wait hours, Hideki. I won’t cave after five minutes.”

His face crumpled, predictably, and Tim grinned. He sat up and dug through the bedside table until he found the lube, then tossed it to Hideki. “I think you probably know what I want you to do.”

“You want me to fuck myself,” Hideki said, sitting up enough to distribute the lube over his fingers.

“Yep,” Tim settled himself into the chair near the foot of the bed, positioned so perfectly for watching such activities — and Hideki had used it for that very purpose more than once. “And I want you to enjoy it. Take your time.”

Hideki splayed himself over the bed, reaching down to rub his fingers over his hole, then started the slow, arduous process of working himself open. Tim slouched down in the chair, and after a few minutes reached over to turn on the lamp next to him. The light coming in from the hallway wasn’t enough anymore, and if he was going to strongly encourage Hideki to put on a show, he was going to enjoy it, damn it.

As it went on, Tim grew to realize he hadn’t noticed how much of an exhibitionist Hideki was. He writhed on the bed, moaning as he fucked himself enthusiastically with two, then three fingers. Tim stopped him when he reached for his cock, and Hideki gave a little whine but continued. Though he was on his back, he contorted himself in such a way as to give Tim the best view possible.

And when Tim suggested he get on his hands and knees, the view got even better. Hideki liked to put on a show, and Tim found he couldn’t complain in the slightest. His pants grew uncomfortably tight and he reached down to stroke over the bulge idly for a few minutes before unbuttoning the waistband and unzipping the fly. Hideki gave another moan in response to the sound of the zipper, and judging by the way he increased the pace of his fingers, he enjoyed the thought of Tim touching himself even more than he enjoyed the show alone.

He didn’t stroke his cock very long, or very much, but the feel was enough to relieve some of the throbbing. He knew he wouldn’t be able to last through a blow job long enough to fuck Hideki too, but he could at least imagine the sight of Hideki on his knees there, still with fingers in his ass even with Tim’s dick in his mouth.

Hideki’s pants and moans grew more desperate quite suddenly, and Tim dragged his brain back to reality as he heard Hideki speaking. “Please, Tim, God, please fuck me… I can’t do this… I need you…”

Tim toyed with the thought of going back on what he’d said and playing enough of a game to demand Hideki explain in explicit detail what he wanted — one of Hideki’s favorites — but there would always be another time for that. Besides, if he was going to be honest, he really wanted nothing more than to bury his cock deep inside Hideki’s ass. He wouldn’t last long at this rate.

“You sound so hot when you say that,” Tim said as he grabbed a condom from the drawer, tearing it open with his teeth before putting it on and kneeling behind Hideki.

Hideki slid his fingers out — and the sight they left behind made Tim’s dick jump in anticipation of filling their spot — and reached back to find Tim’s cock. Somehow Hideki taking initiative on this, and only this, was so much hotter than Tim just doing it himself. He could chide Hideki for overstepping some imaginary boundary, but this was better. Tim let it slide.

Their moans mingled into one as Tim slid easily into Hideki. It felt so good, that warm heat gripping him, and Tim bit his lip hard to keep his restraint. Below him, Hideki moaned again. His voice was fraught with need, and he circled his hips while pushing back.

“Please,” he breathed, groping behind him, finally finding Tim’s hip and pulling them closer together. “Please… Just fuck me.”

Tim groaned as Hideki pulled him even deeper, then gave a ragged laugh. “Thought you wouldn’t like it if I shot off my load like some overeager teenager.” He drew a steadying breath, gripped Hideki’s hip, then started to move.

It had been so long since sex had felt this good, at least while topping. Tim didn’t want to devote too much brainpower to it, but he actually couldn’t remember a time when it ever had felt this good. The way Hideki moved back to meet him, the expression on his face with his cheek pressed against the bedspread under him, the sounds he made every time Tim thrust into him, all of it combined to make the sex phenomenal.

He couldn’t keep his hands from wandering Hideki’s skin, fingernails dragging over his back, thumbs digging into his ass cheeks, pinching those sensitive nipples Hideki loved to play with so much. He bent forward, kissing and nipping at Hideki’s neck and shoulders, moaning into Hideki’s ear as the change in angle increased the pleasure. Hideki reached back, his hand tangling in Tim’s hair as he groaned again, his other hand gripping the bedspread.

“Oh God, yes, please–” Hideki panted, tugging on Tim’s hair again before letting him go. Tim straightened up and started driving harder, faster, knowing his own peak was coming and then he exploded, shouting as he pulled Hideki back with each thrust, their hips slamming together. A moment passed and he realized he was still buried inside Hideki, who let out a moan colored with disappointment.

Tim drew himself out of Hideki then pushed him gently at the hip. “Get on your back.”

Hideki rolled over, looking at Tim questioningly. Before he could speak, Tim pushed his thighs up and slid two fingers back into Hideki again, feeling for the spot–

When Hideki’s hips jumped, clenching down around Tim’s fingers, he knew he’d found it. It didn’t take long, between Tim massaging him from the inside and stroking his cock at the same time. When Hideki came he came hard, with the heels of both hands pressed into his eyes and a shout so loud it echoed through the small room.

Tim slowly eased his fingers back out and climbed off the bed to clean up and dispose of the condom, then brought back a cloth for Hideki. He laughed at the sight of Hideki laying boneless on the bed, and when Hideki made a half-hearted attempt to reach for the cloth, Tim simply cleaned him up without a word.

A few moments of silence passed again, and then Hideki spoke. “Well, that was fucking amazing. Now I really know walking out on you was a huge fucking mistake.”

“Hope you can appreciate us trying this again for more than just my dick,” Tim said.

Hideki made no effort to move more than simply letting his head loll to the side to look at Tim. “‘Course I do. Your dick is just the fuck icing on the relationship cake.”

It didn’t take long for things to assume a new normal — or at least, it didn’t feel like very long. Winter passed while they limped through a few growing pains, but by the time spring rolled around anew it was as though Hideki had always been there.

Though he didn’t officially live with Tim, Hideki spent an awful lot of time at Tim’s house. He had helped Ethan improve his football spiral, even helped with his school projects. Hideki’s background in graphic design was an endless font of assistance for presentations.

For all Hideki had claimed once about not being able to handle being responsible for Ethan, he had stepped into the role with a sense of ease Tim had never seen from anyone before.

Their days with Ethan were filled with lazy video game tournaments and research for school assignments. The days without Ethan were mind-blowingly sexy, and Tim found himself looking forward to both.

“Hey, Dad, are you making steaks for dinner? I saw them in the fridge and you haven’t make steak in forever!” Ethan grinned, practically bouncing with excitement there in the kitchen.

Tim stifled a laugh, but nodded. “I thought it’d be a good night for them. The weather’s finally warm enough to grill outside, and with that great report card you had a few weeks ago, it seemed cause enough for celebration.”

Hideki wasn’t nearly as adept at hiding his laughter when Ethan whooped and ran out of the kitchen, and he continued to laugh as he came up to embrace Tim. “Seriously, you’ve got a great kid.”

“He gets it from his mother,” Tim said, flashing one of those flirtatious grins he’d learned from Hideki before kissing him. “Mind helping me get these steaks ready for the grill?”

“I’d love to–” Hideki said, but was interrupted by Ethan bounding back in and asking, “Hey, Hideki, I had an idea for this art project for school–”

Tim grinned again and shook his head. “Go help Ethan. Lord knows I’m useless with those projects. I’ve grilled steaks alone before.”

Hideki planted another kiss on Tim’s cheek and smiled. “Okay. Let’s go, Ethan. I want to hear these ideas.”

It was wonderful to see his little family coming together, Tim realized as he prepared the food. So unexpected, but definitely wonderful to have the stability again. Ethan hadn’t said anything specifically about Hideki’s presence in their lives, but the little things he did were obvious. The way he asked Hideki for help with school or sports, the way he’d never asked Tim for the same things. Tim wasn’t the only one benefitting from this arrangement: Hideki filled a need in Ethan’s life.

Outside, the steaks cooked on the grill and the spring air filled his lungs. The spring breeze carried over the sounds of Ethan and Hideki discussing the details of the project while tossing a football back and forth between them. It was the sort of ideal moment Tim had dreamed about for years, and he found himself wondering how he’d gotten so lucky.

Luck was never his strong suit. Maybe this was something else.


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