Yes, And

by Yukiyama Hibana (雪山 火花)


There was a spark the first time they met. Just an instant explosion of chemistry, bad teens popping off roman candles in the night. It wasn’t exactly an unfamiliar sensation. When you were a performer you got it pretty often if you were lucky. When you did comedy you got lucky a little more often. And when Alan met David for the first time, well, he felt pretty fucking lucky.

Alan was an actor, of the ‘you’re that guy from that thing!’ type. Though with the kind of parts he usually got, he was more of the ‘you’re that guy from that toothpaste commercial!’ type. It paid the bills. It paid some of the bills. His wife paid most of the bills. He’d gotten hooked into an improv group back in college, though, and that was what got his blood pumping. He did it for free in front of crowds of drunk people, but bouncing off other quick wits, giving trust over to someone that they’d keep you going and you’d do the same, all to make those drunk people laugh their asses off, that was the best feeling in the world.

And David, David was a stand-up. Alan had tried that exactly once and never again. Too lonely up there, just you and the stuff you’d probably overthought coming out of your mouth against the crowd. But David had a friend who had a friend who was in the group Alan performed on in a regular basis, and that was how these things came together. Hey, I liked your act and I’ve been wanting to get in to leading to David’s going to perform with us tonight.

Alan was dubious, of course. But that was before he met him. David was the kind of guy who got on stage in a suit and tie, and Alan was also that kind of guy, so that was one point in his favor. And then David turned out to be the kind of guy who could yes, and a man so hard he lost all composure years of practice had brought him and ended up giggling into the stage curtains. That was worth about a million points and the audience losing it nearly as hard. He could stay. He could stay a while.

Liz knew he’d be home late after the show but he still felt sheepish calling her to confirm it. She gave him the gentle reminder to get himself home safe, and he said he loved her so much. He would, and he did. But he also needed to attend to the glass of whiskey David was waggling in lazy circles while he watched him on the phone. It really, really needed him to clink his own glass against it, and his own glass needed him to empty it and talk to David for another three hours.

The eyes, those were the first thing that made him start to think about different angles to that spark, that one that started at first handshake, turned to conflagration in front of the crowd, and kept on crackling off the stage. David was perpetually twinkling (and really? seriously? twinkling? a grown man), but when no one else was looking and maybe when he thought you weren’t looking those eyelashes got a little lower and there was a smirk there that didn’t even need to make it down to his lips. Though it didn’t hurt to look down at his lips just to check.

If you asked Alan on any given day, he’d happily tell you that he could easily appreciate the attractiveness and charms of another man. And if you asked Alan a number of drinks in, he’d happily tell you he could deeply appreciate the attractiveness and charms of another man, right up to the hilt. It had just been a while. A while during which he’d married a woman he cared about very much, so he had to keep his appreciations shallow. It was a good thing being shallow could be so damn enjoyable.

That very first night, when he’d found it impossible to say goodbye to David until they were both nearly falling asleep in their seats, he decided his favorite thing about him was the way he laughed. He was a human champagne bubble. He laughed at your jokes and giggled at his own jokes and kept smiling that crooked-toothed smile that had no right to be as charming as it was. The deadpan thing, that was kind of Alan’s thing, but David had him unable to keep a straight face. He broke him mercilessly and left him with aching cheeks by the time he was staggering home.

In the cab home, though, Alan closed his eyes, leaned back against the headrest, and decided that the second thing he liked most about David was his hands. He didn’t talk with them excessively, but the moment he made one illustrative gesture Alan’s eyes were caught. Long fingers. Elegant. He tried to remember back to when they’d been introduced and they’d had a handshake, but he couldn’t quite clearly enough. He’d just have to assume they were smooth, and soft, and warm. A nice thought to have sloshing around your mind when you were half in the bag and halfway home.

The house was dark when he got home, and he came in as quietly as he could. Shoes by the door, glass of water in the kitchen lit only by the light of the fridge, and a few treats to the cat who got demanding whenever anyone walked in the door. Liz was asleep when he came in to the bedroom, of course, and he slid beneath the covers next to her gently as not to wake her. She wasn’t a deep enough sleeper not to stir when he slipped an arm around her waist, though.

She rested her hand on top of his and brushed her thumb over his knuckles, loosely twined her fingers with his own, long and long together. “Have a good time?” she said, voice hazed and sleepy.

“Yeah,” Alan said, and hugged her a little closer. “I did.”

The problem — or maybe not a problem, depending on the angle — with David was that Alan had yet to get a handle of if he was being entirely sincere or if he was an endless supply of bullshit. Either way, pretty charming. At least it went both ways while they were getting to know each other.

“Wait, you were being serious?” David said to him one night after a show — because he’d become a regular, of course he had — glasses in hands and other festivities entirely forgotten in favor of bothering each other and swapping stories, bullshit or no, about their lives. That seemed to be how these things were going, every time.

“Of course I was being serious,” Alan said. “I mean, I understand that you recognize how clever I am that I would make something like that up, but it’s true.”

Schooners?” David said, and Alan spread out his hands in front of him in pride.

“Schooners, indeed,” he said.

“Honestly,” David said, and he was laughing again, in that kind of way that made Alan lean in closer, “I’m now not sure a schooner is what I thought it was.”

Alan smirked and took a sip of whiskey. “Do tell, what did you think it was?”

“Well, obviously it’s slang,” David said. “I think it’s one of those Chicago things.” He put on a terrible accent. “Hey, ah, Murphy, how’s about before the game we pick up some beers and a pack of schooners?” He wiggled his fingers in the air. “Some kind of little sausage, you know?”

“That is a very good guess,” Alan said, and he was grinning again. “But I am afraid that’s not quite right.”

David put his hand to his forehead. “Dah, of course!” he said. “Schooners! The extremely prestigious university of northern New Hampshire! Ol’ Schooner U, home of extremely competitive women’s lacrosse, men’s lacrosse, and co-ed lacrosse.”

Alan kept his laugh in his stomach. “Remind me what the mascot of Schooner University was again?”

“The bat,” David said, and then snorted a little on a laugh. “Just a regular little bat. Easy to get in the nets.”

Alan bit the inside of his lip. “I’m pretty sure you’re right about that, and it’s a common mistake, but still not the type of schooner I meant.”

David closed his eyes for a moment, head tilted down, and smiled. He looked like he had soft eyelashes. “Okay, I admit it,” he said, and leaned in to Alan, as though telling him a secret. “I know what a schooner is.”

Alan screwed up one eye, squinting at him. “I had a bit of a suspicion.” He laughed and shook his head, relaxing the game for a little bit. “But, no, seriously, that is a thing I really did for a while. I sailed. Schooners.”

“That’s…” David thrummed his fingers on the table, and Alan couldn’t look anywhere else for a little while. Never was a ring on his finger. A ring on Alan’s finger, sure, that he was very aware of, but not David’s. “I can’t decide if the picture I’m painting in my mind is more prep or pirate.”

Alan shrugged. “Little from column A, little from column B.” He swirled the dregs of his drink around in his glass. It was almost empty. He wanted another. No, he could stand to sober up a little. He just didn’t want to go home yet.

“Rum, sodomy, and the deck shoe?” David said, and there were eyebrows going on there. Very intent eyebrows.

Alan lifted up one shoulder in a high shrug. “Two out of three ain’t bad.” He took a slow, deep breath, then leaned in over the table himself. He arched one eyebrow high and let his voice drop low and conspiratorial. “I mean, seriously…. rum?”

David went low and lugubrious himself, with the eyebrow situation just completely out of control. “Exactly, my friend,” he said, and lifted up his glass for a clink. Alan provided one, and then emptied his glass, letting the burn of the alcohol distract him from the rush of blood that was not going to his head.

Alan came off stage from harassing the band that went on after their group finished up and saw David laughing with his wife. The immediate spike of jealousy he got in some deep, reptile part of his brain had an interesting flavor that he’d never felt before. He rolled with it and rolled up to the both of them, half-full glass in his hand as his guide.

“I see what’s going on here, and the fact that I can understand where you’re coming from is the only reason I’m not mad,” he said, eyebrow as high as he could get it. “I mean, you meet someone this charming and attractive, of course you’re going to flirt.”

David laughed but then reeled it in, keeping his grin down to a little impish smirk. “I’m sorry, but you’re right, I just couldn’t stop myself.”

Alan wrinkled up his nose at David. “What? No,” he said. “I’m not talking to you.” He pointed at Liz and clinked her glass. “As has been abundantly clear, honey, you have excellent taste, but I’m going to have to ask you to restrain yourself.”

Liz reached up to pat him on the cheek. “I will somehow find a way,” she said, and gave him a small kiss.

David lifted his glass to the both of them. “Well, it has been lovely talking to the both of you, but I must attend to some other affairs,” he said, then made sure to get a satisfying clink. “But I have to say… you have excellent taste.” He winked, then, and he did it right at Liz.

Alan looped an arm around Liz’s waist and watched David weave his way over to bother someone else. “I have no idea who that guy is,” he said out of the corner of his mouth. “He just keeps showing up. I think he’s the owner’s cousin or something.” David had shed his jacket sometime during the evening, and as he stopped to talk to another guy from their group, he put his hands in his pockets, stood with his legs somewhat apart, and Alan completely forgot everything he was thinking or talking about. Jesus, that was an ass.

“He found me after the show ended and spent a lot of time telling me what a charming, funny, and talented performer you were,” Liz said, mostly to his neck, since Alan was not really doing a good job at turning his head away. “And I said, you know I’m married to Alan Branson, right?”

Alan laughed and turned back to her then, kissing her lightly on the cheek. “You have fun tonight?”

“I had fun tonight,” she said, and reached up to mess with his tie a little, though to straighten it or set it askew, he didn’t know and didn’t care. “I don’t think I had as much fun as you did, but I had a lot of fun.”

“Good,” he said, and gave her a little squeeze. “You ready to take me home?”

“Sure,” she said. “Are you ready to be taken home, or should I leave you here to play with the other boys?”

Alan glanced back to where David and the others were talking, laughing and gesturing with mostly empty glasses. Jesus, what an ass. “No…” he said, and looked just a little bit longer. “I think I’m good to go.”

On the way out he tapped David on the shoulder. “Hey, I’m headed out,” he said. “Good show tonight.”

“Oh, yeah,” David said, and something funny happened with his eyes, some little flinch as he looked between him and Liz. “Great job tonight. See you soon, okay?”

“You got it,” Alan said, though wasn’t quite sure when that was supposed to be. He started to step away, but then came back. “Oh, David, one thing.”

David raised his eyebrows high. “Hm?”

Alan reached over and with one good strong tug — a kind he’d had a lot of practice with in one way or another — undid David’s bowtie. “Your tie’s a mess,” he said. He gave David a wink, put his hand on the small of Liz’s back, and went outside.

Alan came to one of David’s stand-up shows but sort of kind of entirely intentionally forgot to tell him he’d be there. More fun that way, he figured. Have a drink beforehand, settle in the back somewhere, and watch David fucking kill it up there. If he were the secret label bigwig hiding in the back row to watch the little act play the Battle of the Bands, he’d have had the contracts out and ready to sign after the first bit.

He knew the theatre so he knew where to lurk to hassle the talent after the show was over. He was able to come up behind David without being noticed, and got close to him before speaking in a soft, wavering, mildly lisping voice. “Mister, Mister Smathers, I just, I really admire your work, and I was wondering, wondering if you’d sign, sign, sign my…”

David turned around, and then looked up, clearly not expecting someone taller than him. It took him the span of two blinks to catch himself up to what was happening, and then he was grinning, and Alan was grinning right back. “Holy hell, Branson, you sneak!” He held out his hand and Alan grasped it, but then David pulled him into a hug. It was nice and masculine and heterosexual at first, friendly back-slapping and such, but then for the last few seconds it was not that at all. It was just David pressed against him, close enough that Alan could smell the stagelight sweat in the waves of his hair. David let go, let space fill up between them again, and Alan let out a heavier breath that he thought he’d been holding. “I had no idea you were out there. You were out there, right? You saw the show? Anyone else come along?”

“I was out there, I did see the show, and no one else came with me,” Alan said. David had a look on his face like he was simultaneously getting a puppy on Christmas and was the puppy on Christmas. That was the kind of thing that kept a man sincere. “It was a great show. You destroyed.”

“Thank you!” David said, and he reached his hand out for a moment like he wanted to touch Alan again in some way, but stopped himself. “Seriously, thank you. Man, it is so cool that you came. You just made my night.”

Alan put his hands in his pockets and brought a little of his cool back. “Well, you know,” he said. “I wasn’t doing anything else tonight and Liz’s out of town.” That hadn’t been necessary information to share, but, well, now it was there.

David looked away for a moment and the back up to Alan’s eyes, and yeah, there it was. Twinkling. Sparking. “Sorry, was there something you wanted me to sign?”

Alan laughed. “I’m glad you turned around then, because I couldn’t think of anything other than ‘bosom.'”

David shrugged. “Look, if I have the right pen I can certainly make that happen.”

Alan put a hand solemnly on his chest. “Right on my heart, please.” He kept his straight face only right until David started giggling.

David brought his hand up in what started as a playful swat on the bicep until he didn’t take his hand away immediately. He gave Alan a little squeeze. “Want to get a drink with me?”

“I would like that very much,” Alan said, and goddamn if that didn’t make David smile.

They ended up slotted back in some corner booth at the bar they went to. David seemed to know the bartender, or maybe David just got that kind of look out of everyone he smiled at. It seemed possible. David bought him a whiskey and it was a double, and Alan took a heftier swig than he probably should have.

“It’s really so cool that you came to the show tonight,” David said. “Have you been secretly lurking this whole time?”

“Yes,” Alan said, looking David dead in the eyes and speaking low and serious. “You only think we’ve just met this year. But actually I’ve been here all along. I’ve watched every performance. And I mean every one, going all the way back.”

David grinned at him from over the rim of his glass. “And, what do you think?”

Alan waggled his hand in the air and made a little ‘meh’ face. “Eh, seven, maybe seven and a half out of ten. Might take it up to an eight if you swore a little more.”

David gave him a broad grin. “You know, it’s better than a six, so I’ll take it!” He clinked his glass gleefully against Alan’s, and then he couldn’t help but laugh.

“No, it was my first time, and it was great,” Alan said. “You really did a fantastic job.”

David looked thoughtful, tapping a finger on his lips. “For some reason those phrases sound really familiar to me…” He waved a hand in the air to dismiss the thought. Alan was laughing again while his toes curled up in his shoes. “Nah, must be thinking of something else.”

Alan shook his head and sipped his drink. “Awful,” he said.

“I try not to be, but a little, sometimes,” David said. “But, hey, you know, it would be pretty cool if we could do something together sometime. I mean, other than that thing we regularly do together.”

It was Alan’s time to wave his hand in the air. “Ah, no,” he said. “I mean, it’d be fun and I’d be amazing, but I’m pretty far down the list of fabulous surprise guests.”

“Mm,” David said and let his lips rest just on the edge of his glass for a moment before taking a drink. Alan swallowed very hard when he did. “Maybe not so far down as you think.”

Alan looked down at the whiskey in his glass. And then he was looking beyond that, at David’s fingers curled around his glass. He had another drink. “You’re very sweet,” he said. “But you’d be surprised how far down I can get.” He practiced restraint and didn’t look up to see how that one landed. He’d lost the thread of who was bullshitting who and when months ago. Now he was just… doing what came to him.

“Well, we should at least do this more,” David said. Alan glanced up to see him wiggling his glass a little. “I mean, I met Liz, and she is a charming and lovely woman, so I assume you don’t have to wait until she leaves town to sneak out and have fun.”

Alan shook his head. “No, no, of course not,” he said. “I don’t have to sneak and I often don’t have to go out.” He smirked, David did some fun eyebrow tricks, and Alan started to lift his glass before putting it down again. He needed to cool it; he was drinking too quickly. He had to get home and make sensible decisions. Or make sensible decisions and get home. One or the other, surely. “And I guess you’re not, ah… beholden to anyone else, in terms of your nightlife.”

David laughed. “Well, no, probably not beholden,” he said, and took a drink. “Sometimes beheld. More frequently just held, while being. But not in any way that creates any obligations.” He looked at Alan, really met his eyes, and those sparks were going to burn the whole fucking place down if they didn’t watch themselves. “I just like being friendly, what can I say?”

Yeah, fuck drinking slowly. Alan let the whiskey burn down his throat all the way through him, warm out to the tips of his fingers. “Well,” he said, “you’re a very friendly man.” David was tracing one of his own fingertips around the rim of his glass, that son of a bitch. “If you ever need someone to be friendly with, you…” Jesus, what was he even saying? He took a breath. “You should come over sometime. I mean, for dinner. With Liz.”

David kept smiling, but his eyes dropped away from Alan’s for just a moment. Just long enough to cut down the immediate chances of arson. “I’d love to,” he said. “Sounds nice and domestic.”

“Oh, so domestic,” Alan said. “I’ve got a little apron and everything.”

“‘Kiss the Cook’?” David said, back to looking right into Alan with that soft grin on his stupid face.

“Please,” Alan said, and rolled his eyes. “First thing, that’s cliched and hackneyed. Second thing, it’s already so obviously implied that I don’t feel the need to be ostentatious about it.” Whatever, it was all bullshitting. It didn’t matter what he was saying. “It’s a very dignified blue number with white pinstripes. It brings out my eyes.”

David put a hand to his chest. “Please!” he said, and laughed. “Please, I’m already sold. Next you’ll start talking about tongs or spatulas and I’ll become very over-excited.”

Alan put his forearm on the table and leaned in to David, cocking his eyebrow high. “Non-stick,” he said, voice as rich a purr as he could get two syllables to be.

David gasped and grasped hold of Alan’s hand. He covered his mouth with his fingertips while he fluttered his eyelashes theatrically. “Alan,” he said, in one of those whispers that wasn’t a whisper at all. “We’re in public.” He was laughing again, then, forever the biggest fan of his own jokes. When he took his hand off of Alan’s, though, he took just a second longer than it needed. Just long enough to brush his thumb across Alan’s knuckles.

Alan knocked back the rest of his whiskey in one go. “Well,” he said, though it was mostly lungless. “Guess we are. Guess you’ve got to come visit, then.”

David looked at him and smiled and the whole damn block was going to end up ashes. “Guess I do.”

When David had said goodnight, Alan sat in the driver’s seat of his car — Liz‘s car, to be specific — and rested his hands on the steering wheel. He stayed like that for long while, breathing slowly. Had to sober up a little before getting on the road, of course.

David had hugged him goodbye just like he’d hugged him hello. There’d been that moment again, that extra close moment, that scent of his hair moment, but then there’d been another one after that, the one where you looked in someone’s eyes and then you looked at their mouth and you suddenly felt very sure about how the next couple of seconds were going to go. They hadn’t gone that way, but for that moment…

Alan rubbed his hands over his face and turned the air conditioner on full blast. “Nope,” he said aloud, and took the long way on his drive home.

Liz had the common decency as the woman he’d decided to spend the rest of his life with to make terrible fun of him all day before David was due to pay a visit. The words “playdate” and “prom date” were used in alternation, to different levels of success in making Alan flustered.

“I just really hope you like him,” he said, and had another drink of wine. A half-cup of that bottle was designated for cooking purposes, and the rest of it was designated for the cook’s purpose. “I hope you like each other.”

“I already do like him,” Liz said. She had kept a little smile on her face the whole night, amused and patient. Alan had seen a lot of that expression during their relationship.

“Yeah, well…” he said. He had a little more wine. “That’s good. Keep that up. Yeah.” He took a breath with his nose hanging over the glass. It definitely had a real bouquet, topnotes of wine with a winey finish. “I mean, obviously he’ll like you.”

“Obviously,” Liz said, and gave him a little kiss. She put a hand on his face and had him look in her eyes. “It’s very cute that you’re nervous, but I promise everything will be fine.”

Alan shook his head. “I’m not nervous,” he said, and she rubbed his cheek a little more. “That’s just ridiculous.” And it was. There was no reason to be nervous. Just a night with grownups and dinner and wine, like people their age were supposed to do all the time.

“Fine,” she said. “Just cute, then.”

“I mean, listen,” he said, and sighed heavily. “I’m a man. And that means I sometimes need to be reminded how adorable I am.” She put her hand over his face, smothering him for a moment while he could hear her laugh. “I’m just communicating my needs. I’m just trying to make this marriage work!”

Liz pinched his nose. “I feel very communicated with,” she said. “Go communicate with the stove before you drink all my wine.”

She was a smart woman, because dealing with the particulars of preparing food did keep him occupied, mind floating in some space between minced garlic and what he’d be thinking about when he went to sleep tonight, until he heard a knock on the door. Liz beat him to it and there was David, handsome and handsomely dressed as always, bottle in hand, kissing his wife on the cheek.

David gave Alan the full head to toe, like he was a bad-news noir dame and not a mildly drunk middle-aged man in his sock feet and an apron. “You did not lie,” he said while his smile just turned up one corner of his mouth. “That is a very handsome apron.”

Liz was smiling at him, too. “I always say it really brings out his eyes.” Alan gestured to his wife with a ‘you see?’ motion of his hand while nodding. “Especially when he gets the onion tears.”

David jutted his lower lip out a little. “Oh, so sad.”

Alan let out a heavy sigh of woe. “My path in life is a tragic one,” he said. “But I persevere for the betterment of my fellow man.”

“Your perseverance smells fantastic,” David said, then came in to give Alan a hug, this one brief and hampered by the bottle David held in one hand. He drew away to grin at him and hold the bottle up. “I brought alcohol!”

“Oh, you did,” Alan said. “And you’ve trapped the poor thing in a bottle. Very cruel.” He took the bottle from David and addressed the label, which had a number of French words that meant very little to Alan. “I promise we’ll get you out of there soon, okay? Stay strong.”

Liz plucked it out of his hands. “We’ve got one open already, if it hasn’t fallen prey to kitchen evaporation.”

Alan shook his head. “It’s a really mysterious phenomenon,” he said, nothing but innocence. “I don’t know why it only happens when I’m the one cooking.”

David got wide-eyed. “Oh my goodness,” he said. “Does that happen to you too? Here I thought it was just me!”

Alan leaned his head back and let his jaw hang open to let out a small groan of relief. “I’m not alone!” He put his hand on David’s shoulder, and maybe it drifted a little to the back of his neck.

Liz inclined her head in the direction of the kitchen. “Well, let’s see how much worse it gets if there are two of you. My hopes aren’t high.” She held up a hand before David came deeper into the house. “You were warned about the cat situation, right?”

David spread out his arms and grinned. “It’s why I didn’t wear a light-colored suit!”

Liz looked between the two of them and smiled. “Good work,” she said, and it didn’t matter who she meant it for. She was smiling, and David was smiling, and then there was wine in glasses and food on plates and three happy, completely normal grown adults having a nice evening where there was nothing to be nervous about.

David acted deeply put-upon when a cat climbed into his lap after dinner, but just pet him into a state of deep kitty bliss while simultaneously telling some story that Alan had heard before, but quickly had Liz nearly in tears laughing. Alan just sat there with a dumb smile on his face and watched David, watched him grin and laugh and wink. He glanced over at Alan once and he caught him staring, caught him smiling, and god damn it if he didn’t just smile back. He did it slow and soft and easy, and then went right back into charming the fuck out of Alan’s wife.

Alan was significantly on wine by the time David was ready to make his departure, and he went for the farewell hug that David offered with a historically unprecedented gusto. His hair smelled fucking fantastic. David gave Liz another kiss and a hug and everyone banded together to keep the cats from escaping when David took for the exit. He smiled at Liz when she looked at him. He was fairly drunk and downright goofy from happiness. Tonight had gone well. Really, very well.

He wrapped his arms around Liz to hug her, too, and felt her laugh once, short and brief, into his shoulder. “I am a good husband and I will clean things up.”

“Good husband,” she said. She smelled pretty damn nice, too. “I’ll supervise.”

They moved around the house in that domestic silence you got used to, picking up glasses and dishes, attending to needy cats and filling the dishwasher. When all that was done, the washer was humming, the cats were placated, all but the most necessary of lights were turned off, and Alan had managed to claim the very last of the un-kitchen evaporated wine, he sat down on the sofa where Liz had been sitting just a little while before, right next to David while he made her laugh. He gave her a sly-eyed (although, really, he knew it was probably more pie-eyed) smile and stretched out his arm along the back of the couch to indicate that there was a place she might enjoy filling.

Liz took the seat next to him and he let his arm rest around her shoulder. He closed his eyes and let his head rest against the back of the couch while she leaned in a little against him. It was nice, this. Everything right now was really, amazingly fucking nice.

“Let’s have a little talk,” she said, and, well, nothing nice could stay that way forever.

Alan kept his eyes closed and his face calm, but he was a grown man who’d been in relationships before, and more than that a grown man who had been married for several years. Even when they were good talks, the little talks sent his blood pressure spiking through the ceiling. He tried to sound loose and detached, but if anyone knew how to see through that bullshit, it was Liz. But, shit, if you didn’t go through the motions you basically weren’t even trying. “Mm?” he said, eyebrows raised. “Yeah?”

There were the comfortable domestic silences and then there were the uncomfortable domestic silences, and the one between them then ticked hard into the latter. Liz took in a very slow and very quiet breath. She rested her hand on Alan’s knee. And then she said, each word quiet and calmly selected, “You know I know that nothing has happened between you two, because if it had, no one would ever find your body.” She let those words settle for a moment as she took another measured breath. “But I’d also very much appreciate if you said so.”

Alan swallowed hard and kept his eyes very closed. A whole host of defensive denials came up into his mind, frightened into a corner but still whimpering like the guilty dog that he was. Pure panic flooded him as he tried to think up excuses, explanations, anything to sweep away the fact that he had been entirely made. He took a deep breath of his own, though, and counted to five. All he had to do was tell her the truth. “Nothing has happened,” he said, and then lifted up his head and looked her in the eye. “I promise. Nothing has happened.”

Liz smiled a little when she let out the breath she’d been holding. “I know,” she said. “I knew. I mean, for a lot of reasons I knew.” She reached up to pet his cheek again. He was getting a little rough there by now, but she always had liked that. “I know you wouldn’t.”

He took her hand in his and brought it to his mouth to kiss her knuckles. “I would never,” he said, just as he had been telling himself in his head over and over again every time he parted ways with David since the day he met him. Sometimes, depending on the night, he said it aloud the whole drive home.

“I love you that you say that,” Liz said, and took her hand back to touch his cheek again, petting him a little like she might gentle an animal. “But I’m not sure how long that might stay true.” Alan opened his mouth to defend and deny, but she just shook her head and looked him right in the eye. They had a spark, too, flint on steel that was not always as quick but always made a burn. “So I want to tell you that it’s okay if you do.”

Alan looked at her for a very, very long while. Then he blinked once, very hard, and said, “Wait, what?”

Liz shook her head and laughed a little. “You know I’m not dumb, because I’ve realized what was going on here for a very long time.” She brushed her thumb a little in the divot under his lip. “I think I might have even figured it out before you did, which is kind of sweet. So I’m not dumb, and I’m also not new here. None of us are that grown up. If you’ve got this thing you want and you know you can’t have, you’re just going to keep thinking about that thing you can’t have until it fucks everything up.” Her eyes were soft as she brushed her knuckles back through Alan’s hair to curl behind his ear. “And if I tell you you can’t have it? Then it’s my fault and that will end just so well.”

Alan only realized he was gawping when Liz put her fingers under his chin to close his mouth up. “But, I don’t want to tell you that,” she said. “Because I love you, and I know you love me, and we are in this. So you get to have this thing you want, and you get it with my permission. Because it’ll make you happy and I know you’ll come home to me at the end of the day.”

Nothing in Alan’s life had ever prepared him to deal with any situation like this. “Are you…” he said, and squinted at Liz, as though that would make that make what she said make more sense. “Really?”

She just laughed and sighed. “Really,” she said. “You just have to be a very good communicator and tell me whatever it is I want to know — and I mean whatever it is I want to know — and, should the situation arise, extend the same courtesy to me.”

Alan looked at her for another long silence. “…Really?” he asked, and she rolled her eyes to heaven and then kissed him.

“If it had been anyone else, don’t think you’d be so lucky,” she said. She lifted up an eyebrow as her smile turned wry. “Couldn’t open up my marriage to a better man.”

Alan spent a long while looking into her eyes. He pushed away the clouds of drink and looked at the face of the person he knew the best, he knew the deepest, who could clearly read him like a large-print book from across a room. He wasn’t seeing bitterness there, or pain, or anything other than exactly what she’d said to him. He’d fallen in love with her because she was so honest, even if it hurt.

He closed his eyes and laughed, reaching up to touch her face and kiss her gently. “You’re so cool,” he said, because, really, what else could he even say?

Liz laughed against his mouth and gave his cheek a little tap with his fingers. “You’re fucking right I am.”

They talked about it much more after that, in both a very serious, adult way, discussing guidelines and ground rules and boundaries, and also a very serious adult way, the kind that ended with them both sweaty and gasping. Even if somehow nothing more ever came of it all, god, did it feel good for Alan to bring those thoughts out into the open. Liz had liked it when he’d told her stories about boys at school, or on the ships, and she had not changed her opinion on the subject when it came to him confessing his fantasies about David into her ear.

It was one thing to have the keys from your wife to have an affair, but it was another to make it actually happen. Alan sweated swagger, but he didn’t quite have it in him to just cold-call David and ask if he could come over to fuck. That was a fun idea, sure, but it didn’t seem right. Just wasn’t either of their styles. Didn’t want to do it after one of their shows, either. Just because Liz had signed off on it didn’t mean it needed to be on public display.

Alan knew a guy, though, someone he’d met doing some show or another once upon a time, who played in a little jazz quintet from time to time, and tended to let Alan know when he was doing a gig. He had no idea if David really cared for jazz, and really, Alan’s passions on it didn’t run too deep, but, fuck, what better venue was there to proposition a guy who had a specific drawer for his pocket squares? David said yes right away when he asked. So, that was a good sign.

He’d had a very stiff drink before David showed up, one that let him settle in to the banquette and look like he was the coolest motherfucker in the place, even if his brain was pinging back and forth between imagining all the ways this could end in disaster and imagining all the things he was going to do to David if it didn’t. It was the kind of storm that made a man try to sweat Sinatra out of every pore just to keep his shit together.

David was grinning the moment he spotted him, beelining his way to Alan’s table. He looked so damn good Alan had to pretend not to notice him, instead just sipping his drink and looking at where the band was setting up. He slid right in next to Alan, right good and close, no mind at all for how Alan had stretched his arm out along the back of the banquette.

Alan looked over at him slowly, a master class in nonchalant. “Oh, hey,” he said. “You’re here.”

“I am here,” David said, and his eyes were bright. “And lucky for me, so are you!”

“Oh, yeah,” Alan said, and closed his eyes a little to nod seriously. “Seriously, so lucky.” The waitress passed near their table and Alan caught her eye, holding up his mostly empty glass with two of his fingers held above the rim. She nodded at him in return and David just started laughing.

“Oh, look at you,” he said. “I didn’t realize I was on a date with a whiskey ad from 1948.”

Alan only managed to keep up his calm facade by turning the way he had entirely forgotten how to breathe like a normal person in that second into a disdainful snort. “Please,” he said. “1949.”

“Terribly sorry, how could I make such a mistake,” David said. “So, I take it you come here often?”

Alan drank the last out of his glass and put it down on the table. Yeah, cool was not going to be sustainable, not with the way his heart was about to bust a hole through his breastbone. He looked at David with an embarrassed little wince. “I’ve never been here before ever,” he said, and David’s eyes scrunched up as he giggled. “But they must get so many guys who think they’re Rat Pack second coming that they know just how to deal with that kind of asshole.”

David’s smile was soft and his eyes wandered down Alan and back up again. “Well,” he said. “You look the part, and not like an asshole.” He reached out then to tug a little on Alan’s tie, straightening it just a bit, and Alan decided right then that if this was all bullshit, if David just flirted like this with everyone for funsies, he was going to drown him in the reservoir and no jury in the world would convict him.

The waitress arrived with blessed, sweet alcohol then, saving Alan from having to find a way to respond to that. “Cheers,” he said, and after he clinked glasses with David he just watched him for a moment, the way his lips parted and the way his throat moved when he swallowed. And more than that, he let David see that he was watching. There was no reason not to be blatant now.

The band started up then, and David got comfortable, settling back so his shoulders were just barely brushing where Alan’s arm was stretched out. He nodded his head a little to the music and sipped his whiskey. Every once in a while he’d glance over, just long enough to catch Alan looking at him, and catch how he didn’t try to hide it.

The pianist hit into a long, noodling solo, and Alan leaned over to say into David’s ear. “I can do that, you know.”

David leaned away just enough to see Alan’s face and raise an eyebrow. “Is that so?”

“Totally,” Alan said.

The corner of David’s mouth curved up, and he looked at him from the corner of his eye, so pleased. “I believe it.”

Alan closed his eyes for a moment. It probably looked like he was getting into the music, but he could barely hear it past blood rushing in his ears. Now or fucking never. He turned his head back to speak softly into David’s ear again. “You know,” he said, and took the slowest of breaths. “My wife says she’s fine with us fucking.”

David took in a sharp breath and went very still. If it weren’t for the drums keeping time up on stage, Alan would have to think that moment there lasted absolutely forever and he had died during it. But then David let his breath out slowly and said, voice soft and low, “Is that so?”

He then gently placed his hand on Alan’s thigh, and through a nearly superhuman force of will, Alan did not push him down on the banquette right there. He just smiled, let his arm come forward to actually settle around David’s shoulders, and purred into his ear, “Totally.”

David leaned away enough to look at his face. He had a slightly dubious expression on his. “…Really?”

“Really,” Alan said, and then laughed and reached for his wallet. “She really, honestly, actually wrote me a permission slip.” He did the best he could one-handed to pull out the little folded notecard, tossing it on the table for David to read.

“‘To David,'” David read, holding the slip of paper in one hand while he idly stroked Alan’s leg with the other. “‘You are allowed to sleep with my husband. Love, Liz.'” He held the note to his chest and looked at Alan with a sweet expression. “Oh, ‘love.’ That’s so sweet.”

“Isn’t it?” Alan said. It had even been her idea. She was the best.

David folded the note up again and slid it into his breast pocket. “You know, when you invited me here tonight,” he said, “I’d decided I no longer gave a shit if you were married and you were coming home with me no matter what.” He gave the pocket a little pat. “But this is much nicer.”

Alan countered the way David’s fingers were tracing the inner seam of his trousers by moving his hand in on his shoulder and just brushing his thumb along the side of his throat. David’s eyelashes fluttered, and Alan needed to see that roughly a thousand more times. To start. “Much nicer.”

David’s throat worked as he swallowed and his lips parted as he breathed. “I’d like for us to leave now,” he said.

“So would I,” Alan said, and he drew his arm back. David slipped out from the table and headed for the door, and Alan followed. He’d close his tab later or tomorrow or never. He absolutely could not give a fuck about anything but watching David leave and following behind him.

In the parking lot behind the club David finally stopped and turned around. He smiled at Alan then, and, fuck, he thought he’d seen the best, but he hadn’t seen the way David smiled when he knew. Alan closed up the space between them but didn’t touch him, not quite yet. He looked at David’s eyes, and looked at David’s mouth, and let that moment happen again.

“Hi,” David said.

“Hi,” Alan said, and then put a hand in David’s hair and kissed him. And then he had both hands in David’s hair and couldn’t think of anything in the world but kissing him, but getting everything he could from that laughing, gorgeous mouth and getting it now. Only when David let out a little yelp and was suddenly laughing into his mouth did Alan realize he’d ended up shoving David back into the wall of the club. He had him penned in with hands and hips, and David looked fucking thrilled.

Alan wanted to say something slick, or funny, or devastatingly clever, but all he could do was pant against David’s mouth and kiss him more, hungry and desperate like he wanted to crawl inside of him. David met him with no less enthusiasm, only his was noisy, gasping and groaning into Alan’s mouth while he slipped hands under his jacket to put those fucking hands of his all over Alan’s sides, up his back.

Alan needed to taste David’s neck, but he wasn’t done with his mouth yet. He was so, so far from being done with that. He brushed his thumb along the side of it and felt David shiver. Doing that eyelashes thing, no doubt. Alan was going to learn everything he could do to every part of David that would make him do things like that.

He was rutting against David like an animal or a teenage boy (same thing), and was starting to think it would be a fantastic idea to drop down on his knees and suck him off right in the damn parking lot. Like Hollywood hadn’t seen worse. He took a deep breath and made himself — forced himself — to push himself away from David. It was several more deep breaths before he could speak.

“I am going to get in my car,” he said. “You are going to get in yours. You are going to drive to your place, and I am going to follow you. And then we are going to go inside your place and we aren’t going to come out for a very long time.” If they went in the same vehicle there was going to be an accident.

David’s smile had never looked better. “Yes,” he said, and then it was some time before the plan could move into action because they were kissing again. But the drive went quick enough. Alan just focused entirely on following David’s car, and the time between when he started moving and when he stopped didn’t matter at all. He’d waited this long; what was a little drive?

David glanced over his shoulder once to smile at him before he unlocked his front door and stepped inside. The minute Alan had the door closed behind him David was on him, grabbing his face with both hands and kissing him. He was absolutely incredible at it, too. He caught Alan’s lower lip between his teeth and made this little sound while he pulled. It was downright musical.

He stopped kissing him to look in his eyes, to look at him in that way that would burn down the whole city. “From the first time we met,” he said, and he was smiling. It was gorgeous and unbelievable that he just kept smiling.

“Yeah,” Alan said. “Me too.” He slid his hands beneath David’s jacket to take hold of his hips, and then he was steering him back up against a wall again. It just seemed like such a good place to keep him. “Sorry it took so long.”

“Worth the wait,” David said, and then it was time for Alan to see how his neck tasted. He kissed his way from David’s jaw down to his collar, and yeah, that was very promising, so he went back up to suck on David’s earlobe. All of it very good, but he’d have to check the rest of him, at length.

Alan’s thumbs brushed along the top of David’s belt and he realized he’d been neglecting a prime and important opportunity. He slid his hand back and grabbed David’s ass with both hands. David laughed at him when Alan growled against his throat, but that laugh was half a moan itself. “You,” Alan said, his voice rough and low through absolutely no extra effort on his part, “have a gorgeous ass.” He brushed his hands down to the top of David’s thighs and then back again for another squeeze. “You catch me staring?”

“Yeah,” David said against his cheek. He could hear him smiling. “I caught you staring at a few things.”

Alan drew his head back to look at David’s face, to just smirk right back at him.”Oh, yeah?” he said, and then David lifted his hand up to brush his first two fingers over Alan’s lips. “Oh,” he breathed as he couldn’t keep his eyes from fluttering shut. “Oh. Yeah.”

“I thought that was a safe guess,” David said, and then Alan lost all sense of time for a while. He sucked on David’s fingertips and tracked the bumps of his knuckles with his tongue. He sacrificed having both hands on David’s ass so he could grab David’s wrist with one and keep him still while he kissed across his palm. David just kept gasping and moaning, and, after Alan sucked one of his fingers deep and he spent a few seconds helplessly rutting against Alan’s thigh, he just laughed.

Alan nuzzled David’s hand and looked into his eyes when he said, “I like that you laugh.”

David laughed at that. It was perfect. “I like that you like it,” David said. “I really, really do.”

Alan took in a breath and let go of David’s hand. He hooked his finger behind the thick knot of David’s tie and started tugging it loose. “Okay,” he said, keeping his eyes right on David’s, just riding on that spark. “I want to do everything it is possible for us to do together with you.” He quirked his eyebrow up for just a moment. “To you.” He successfully undid David’s tie. “On you.” David bit his lip while he smiled at that and Alan had no choice but to kiss him. “Have any preferences where to start?”

“Here?” David said, and, god, those were his stupid, gorgeous fingers just barely brushing Alan’s cock through his pants. “This seems like a very good place to start.” His eyebrows raised and he gave a nod of approval as he stroked down and back up again. “Oh, a very good place. Very nice.”

“Thank you,” Alan croaked out even as he surged forward into David’s touch. He put one hand behind David’s neck and grabbed the ends of his hair, just one little tug. It made David bite his lip, so Alan did it again until he made a sound. “It’s been a lot of hard work and excellent genetic luck but I can assure you I have a magnificent cock.”

David leaned his head back and grinned while he moaned. “Could you say that last bit again?” he said, and turned his head to the side. “Just right in here, if you could.”

Alan smiled right against the shell of David’s ear. “I have a magnificent cock,” he said, low and dark and perfect. “And I want you to suck it.” He nipped at David’s ear and found that got him to make an entirely new noise. Fuck, this was fun. “But…” He reached down to unfasten David’s belt. One handed, because he still had it. “I’m a greedy son of a bitch, so I’m going first.”

“Oh!” David said, and had the lightest, prettiest gasp while Alan wrapped his fingers around his cock. He was pretty damn magnificent himself. “Oh, you have a really cool definition of greedy.”

“I know, right?” Alan said, and gave him a grin and one more kiss before going down on his knees. Alan made quick work of the buttons on David’s shirt and got hands on his goddamn skin, brushing fingers through the hair on his belly and grabbing at his waist. But he’d had enough delaying, he’d had enough waiting. He gave David’s cock one nice, appreciative stroke and then took it between his lips.

Christ, it had been a while, but some things were like riding a bike. Or more like falling off a bike, and then fucking on the sidewalk where you fell. He put one hand on David’s hip and kept him pinned to the wall while he held David around the base of his cock with the other. Just the taste of David’s cock on the tip of his tongue made him hard enough that he ached, and that just made him go for more.

“Oh, Jesus,” David said, and his fingers scrabbled a little against the wall behind him. “Jesus, you’re good.”

Alan pulled back enough to murmur, “Don’t sound so surprised.” David was laughing again and making some broken-worded apologies, but Alan just wasn’t paying attention. He liked doing this, and it’d been long enough that he forgot just how much he did. He liked the sharp taste on his tongue, and the way it felt to curl it around hard flesh, and the way it made his lips feel stretched and hot. He wanted this to be the first of very many times. He had to get back in practice, after all.

He sucked David hard and it made him gasp and his hips jump, so he did it some more until David got real good and loud. Alan slid his hand up David’s chest to tweak at one of his nipples, and oh, he was sensitive, since that had his back arching and his hands grabbing at the back of Alan’s head. He couldn’t find enough purchase with his fingers in Alan’s short hair, so he just tightened his grip on the back of his neck and fucked into his mouth, wild and gorgeous.

The only downside Alan could find was that he’d picked the wrong vantage point. Oh, he could hear all the fucking incredible sounds coming out of David’s mouth, but he was entirely missing out on just how his face looked when he was making them. He’d just have to get him off a couple more million times to really appreciate it. What he could see from just his brief glances up looked good. Look really goddamn good.

David’s breath got heavier and his taste got thicker on Alan’s tongue. “Etiquette,” he gasped. “Orgasm. Etiquette. Do… do what you prefer, but soon.”

Alan had had mixed preferences on the subject before, but right now there was no way he was doing anything but sucking David perfectly until he came very hard and for a very long time. He answered David’s question by taking him as deep as he could, and he was rewarded with how goddamn beautifully loud David was when he came. Practically singing it out to the hills. Enough to make a man feel pretty fucking good about himself.

When David had fallen quiet except for gasps of breath Alan pulled away. Didn’t spill a drop, of course, because, come on. He had pride in his work. He leaned back a little and looked up at David with what had to be a dizzy and delirious grin on his face. “So,” he said, and right, nothing made his voice rough in quite the same way as having a dick down his throat for a while. “That was fun.”

David had his head leaned back against the wall, eyes closed and lips parted as he breathed deeply. Now Alan could get a good eyeful of him. Naked was going to be a very good thing to get to, but the way David was now, tie loose around his neck, shirt unbuttoned and tails hanging free, well, that was a sight that was going to keep Alan warm on some cold nights. David lifted his head up and gave Alan a sleepy-eyed, blissed out smile. Oh, he’d be very warm. “So,” he said, and squinted a little at Alan. “I’m going to guess that this is not your first time with a man.”

Alan beamed up at him. He was hard enough that he was probably going to launch a buckle or button across the room at any moment, but he just felt giddy. “Wouldn’t it be cool if it was?” He reached out and stroked David’s thigh. He was right there and Alan could touch him all he wanted, so he would. “And it turns out I’m just this… amazing prodigy.”

David laughed and rubbed the edge of Alan’s cheek with his knuckles. “It’s a solid idea, and we can work on the script later.” He brushed his thumb over Alan’s still-flushed lips. “But I’d really like to see about that magnificent cock you were talking about.” He made a gesture to the rest of his house. “As you are a guest in my home it would be terribly rude for me to not offer to blow you somewhere other than on the floor in my foyer.”

“Would be fun,” Alan said, but started standing up. “This may come as a shock, but after a few years of marriage, the amount of foyer sex you have really decreases.”

“The secret Big Wedding doesn’t want you to know!” David said, and Alan put his arms around him to kiss him while he was smiling. David sucked on his lower lip for a while before drawing back to say, “Let me put you in a comfortable seat and do fellatio to you.”

Alan grinned wolfishly at David and reached back to give his ass a very healthy squeeze. “Damn, anything you say, sweet talker.” He had never been so turned on by someone saying something so goofy.

David gently pushed Alan down onto his sofa and Alan settled in easily, legs spread wide as David settled between them. “One second,” he said, through great force of will as David went for his belt. David stopped and looked up at him. Fucking twinkling. Alan let out a slow breath through his lips. “Okay. You look real good down there. Wanted to make sure I had it burned into my brain.”

David smirked at him while he stroked his hands up along the inside of his thighs. “You’re going to see this again.”

Alan stopped digging his fingers into the arm of the couch and worked them back through David’s hair instead. “Yeah,” he said. “But c’mon… first time’s always special.”

David undid his zip and pulled his cock free of his clothes. “Very special,” he said, and then dropped his eyes to look at Alan’s dick with delight. Oh, Alan liked him. “Oh, and very magnificent!” His tongue flicked out over his lips before sucking Alan deep, hot and wet and all at once.

Fuck!” Alan groaned as he tightened his hand in David’s hair and had to fight popping off right then and there like he was fifteen. He felt like he’d been hard for the past year of his life, and now David’s mouth was wrapped so tight around him. He put his other hand in David’s loose curls and held him still. It never hurt to exhibit a little control. He took in a very deep breath and let it out slow. “Fucking incredible,” he growled, and loosened his grip. He rubbed his fingers a little in David’s scalp when he did, just in case he’d been too hard.

David was not hindered in the slightest. He seemed more encouraged even, because, fuck, he was noisy giving, too. He made a soft, pleased sound every time he sucked Alan down to the root. Alan’s mouth hung open while he watched him, all soft eyelashes and expression of pure bliss. In that moment, Alan wanted to barricade the front door and spend the rest of his life fucking him.

“You’re gorgeous,” Alan panted, and he could feel David, even with his mouth so well-occupied as it was, smile. “Better than I ever imagined.” That made David groan, right when Alan’s cock felt like it was halfway down his throat. Alan felt like he was going to rip off the arm of the couch from grasping at it so hard, just trying to keep himself from desperately fucking David’s mouth. He would, eventually, absolutely, but this time, for the love of god, control. Besides, didn’t seem polite.

David’s hands kept moving up and down the inside of Alan’s thighs, higher each time. When he brushed one thumb against Alan’s balls, Alan couldn’t keep his hips from jerking off the couch. He did it again, clearly pleased with himself, and Alan made a choked noise that came out through gritted teeth.

“I’m going to come,” he managed to get out, and then found just enough air for a laugh. “Etiquette,” he said, and David was the most polite man in the world when he just sucked him harder, deeper, right over the edge. Alan felt like he might never stop coming, and when he finally and actually did, his first thoughts were to how soon he could do it again, and how often, and how fucking incredible it would be to do it with David.

Alan became aware of David’s weight beside him on the couch. He let his arm come around David’s shoulders, just as it never quite had at the jazz club, and pulled him in close. He tucked right in, resting his face in Alan’s neck, laughing softly against his skin. “Oh, you’re a snuggler.”

Alan laughed. He was far too high on a cloud of profound satisfaction to play it nonchalant. “Yeah,” he said. “A bit.” He pet David’s bicep — god, they both still had on jackets, that was ridiculous, but he’d deal with it later — and turned his head to nuzzle into his hair. Different kind of sweat there now, and it smelled even better.

David’s hand rest on Alan’s stomach for a while before heading upwards; he pinched the end of Alan’s tie between his fingers and undid it with a few tugs. Alan leaned his head back and let him do it, and undid the top two buttons of his shirt, to boot. “So, out of curiosity,” David said as he started undoing buttons from the bottom. “How exactly did you broach the question with Liz?”

“I didn’t,” Alan said, and he cracked his eyes open just in time to see David’s quick look of surprise. “Apparently we haven’t been exactly… subtle.”

David shrugged a little and put his head back on Alan’s shoulder. “Okay, yeah, I won’t deny that,” he said. “I may have been getting some very pointed scowls from our friends.” He conquered all of Alan’s buttons and rest his hand on his stomach, tugging up his undershirt just enough to get to skin. “I don’t make a habit of hitting on people in relationships, I just want you to know.”

Alan smiled and made a warm sound as he nuzzled down against David’s ear. “Oh, so, you made an exception for me, that it?”

“Well…” David said, and his fingers were spreading out on Alan’s skin. Oh, he was going to be ready to go again in record time. “You did ask me out.”

Alan snorted a little. “Whatever,” he said. “Could have been completely innocent. Friends having a drink. Normal stuff.”

David lifted his head up to look at him. “You called me and said, and I quote,” and, god damn him, he had an impression of him ready to go, exaggerated gravel and swagger, “‘So, yeah, Liz’s out of town. She’s always going out of town, on, like… work stuff. You maybe want to… spend a little time together, have some fun? Have a drink, listen to some music…. you know…. whatever.'”

Alan rolled his eyes. “I didn’t say exactly that,” he said. “…did I?”

“You really did,” David said. “You were clearly saying to me, ‘hi, I’m ready to go on this adultery thing if you are,’ and… turns out I was.” His hand curled around to brush up Alan’s ribcage, making him shiver a little. “I am really glad she is actually cool with it, though.” He looked at Alan again. “And she really, seriously, actually is, right?”

“She really, seriously, actually is,” Alan said, and then grinned slowly. “And I’m going to tell her about everything.” He stretched the last word out, really feeling it from lips to teeth.

“Wow,” David said. “You keep her.”

Alan lifted one shoulder. “I’m trying.”

David wrinkled up his nose a little. “I’m still kind of a bad person for totally being ready to go for it anyway, aren’t I?”

Alan lifted his hand to brush David’s cheek, feeling the light scruff under his fingers. “Maybe a little,” he said, and then pulled David in for a soft, sweet kiss. “You got lucky.”

David looked so nice right after he’d been kissed, with that bow of a smile on his lips and his eyelids heavy. “I really did.”

Alan brought his fingers around to stroke under David’s chin, giving him a move he’d definitely perfected on the cats. It worked just as well on people, he’d found. “Speaking of,” he said, and David already started to smirk. “You feel like getting lucky? ….again?”

“I do!” David said, and kissed him with quick enthusiasm. “And I’d also really like to introduce you to my bedroom and me without any clothes on.”

“Wow,” Alan said. “Those guys sound great. Always good to make new friends.”

“Oh, they’re super,” David said, and stood up off the sofa, holding Alan’s hand to pull him with him. “Really friendly.” Alan had to grin at how goofy and debauched they looked, ties undone and dicks hanging out. He kissed David one more time before letting him lead him to the bedroom.

David turned to face him once they were there and grinned. “Bedroom, this is Alan, hi,” he said, and started slipping out of his jacket. “Me without any clothes on, this is… well, don’t be shy.” He had shirt and jacket off and tossed them onto a chair that clearly served that purpose far more than it ever was used for sitting. “I’m sorry, me without any clothes on sometimes likes to make a dramatic entrance.” He toed out of his shoes, and then with one good tug and a very entertaining hip-wiggle he had pants and undershorts down around his ankles. “Greetings!” he said, and held his arms out triumphantly. “It’s me without any clothes on!”

Alan arched his eyebrow and gave David a long look from head to toe, and then back up to head, and down again for good measure. Any critical look on his face was entirely cancelled out by how his cock was quickly rising back to attention. He nodded towards David’s feet. “Still have socks on.”

David rolled his eyes, took them off, and threw the ball of them to bounce off Alan’s chest. “No one likes a stickler for technicalities.”

Alan closed up the space between them and put his arms around David, hands gravitating right to his ass. God, just perfect. “Yeah,” he said, nuzzling against David’s mouth without quite kissing him. “I can tell how much you don’t like me.”

David put his arms around Alan’s shoulders. “I’m super naked and you’re basically still fully dressed,” he said, and punctuated with a little kiss. “I don’t like that.”

“Mm. Gimme a minute, here,” Alan said. He was entirely occupied by David’s ass for the time being. Pert? Would you call it pert? Maybe not pert. Voluptuous was far too feminine. Shapely? He’d have to do a lot of intense study to really get the right adjective. He brushed his fingers inward, just a little sneak between the cheeks. He liked the way that made David gasp. Intense study. “Okay,” he said, and started getting the hell out of his clothes.

David was very helpful in the process, peeling him out of his undershirt as soon as Alan had dealt with the layers atop it. He had his hands all over Alan after that, those fucking fingers running down his chest. David had this smile as he watched himself do it, like he knew some secret he was dying to tell. It all made a man get the hell undressed as fast as he could.

“Hi,” Alan said when he was done, and took David’s face in his hands to kiss him. He moved just enough closer, right where their cocks touched together, and that was nice. That was how dumb and addled his brain had become from sex, that he was rubbing against another man’s cock, and the first thing he thought was ‘this is nice.’

“Hi,” David said when he drew back and looked at Alan, just looked right into his eyes, full New Year’s fireworks. People didn’t go on enough about brown eyes. Alan made a mental note to do so at length when he had his adjectives back.

“I want to fuck you,” he said, and he said it smiling. “I want to fuck you a lot.”

“By ‘a lot,’ do you mean in terms of enthusiasm or quantity?” David said.

“Yes,” Alan said, and David let out a gorgeous laugh when Alan knocked him back onto the bed.

“Good!” David said as he wriggled into a better position to properly sprawl out on the bed. “I want you to fuck me a lot.” He was always so thoroughly dressed, suits and ties and vests buttoned all the way, but he way he stretched out now, the way he lounged atop the covers made him look like he’d been born naked. Wait, fuck, he’d definitely been born naked. Alan wasn’t going going to manage a coherent and non-idiot thought until he got his dick inside him.

His brain may have been nearly offline, but Alan still had a couple of deductive turns left in him. He knew how these things worked. Not the top drawer of the bedstand, but the second one down, and he was satisfied to be exactly right when he opened it. That was an interesting drawer, with contents that might need to be explored more thoroughly later, but right then he had simple needs.

Alan got his fingers slick and just watched David’s face as he slipped one inside of him, nice and easy. His eyelashes fluttered and he bit at his lower lip, and then the reaction just kept rippling down him. He clawed his fingers into the bedsheets and lifted his hips to meet Alan’s hand. And then he laughed, low and happy and already fucked.

“Jesus,” Alan breathed. He needed to get his hands all over David, so he did, stroking up his thighs, brushing fingers through the hair on his chest, grabbing at the thickest part of his waist. David moved with him, following his touch wherever it went like a cat again. He looked just about as satisfied with himself, too. Alan flicked at David’s nipple when he started fucking him with two fingers, and that got him yowling.

“Okay,” David said, entirely breathless. “Now? Now is good. Now, please.”

“Yeah,” Alan said. “Now.” He drew on nothing but muscle memory to slide the condom on, since all higher functions in his brain had been replaced by a pulse of fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck. His teeth dug into his bottom lip as slid the tip of his dick inside of David, but that couldn’t keep him from moaning, couldn’t keep the word ‘yes’ from coming out of him in a growl.

He braced one hand on the bed and grabbed David’s hip with the other as he slowly filled him up. He fought against the urge to close his eyes and shut out everything but how fucking good it felt, but Alan had to see. He had to see how David looked when he was getting fucked, and more importantly, how David looked when he was getting fucked by him.

His eyes were closed and his lips were slack as he turned his head to press his cheek against the pillow. Gorgeous was the word Alan hadn’t been able to stop thinking that night, but there wasn’t any other word for it. David’s eyes opened just a little, enough to look at Alan while he started to smile. Fucking gorgeous.

“You don’t have to go slow,” David said.

“I want to,” Alan said, and when he laughed it made David gasp and squirm underneath him. He stopped clutching at the bedclothes to paw at Alan, bringing him down for a hot, distracted kiss. His teeth tugged at Alan’s lower lip and he laughed.

David curled his hand around the back of Alan’s neck and looked in his eyes. Like having someone’s dick in you wasn’t an intimate enough connection. Alan briefly wondered if he was going to survive, and when David let out another warm, throaty laugh, he decided he’d made his peace with the world. “It’s the best feeling, isn’t it?” David said.

Alan pressed his face down in David’s throat and laughed himself, because yes, yes, it was. “It is,” he said, muffled, and started fucking David a little faster, a little harder. He’d had sex with a lot of people who kept the whole thing movie-dramatic and serious and never let out so much let out a chuckle. The people who knew how much better it was when you couldn’t stop smiling were the good ones, the special ones. He’d married one of them. He’d have to keep a hold on this one, too.

He straightened himself up and grabbed David around the thighs, pulling him a few inches down on the bed and hoisting his ass up in the air to get a better angle as he fucked him. It made David laugh, and that was good, and then it made him moan, and that was better. Alan had an ache building in his muscles. He was going to be sore in the morning, and it was going to be fucking great.

When Alan wrapped his hand around David’s cock it made him make a fantastic sound as he arched his back and stretched his arms up behind him to place his palms flat against the headboard. He just looked so damn happy. Alan stroked him, and fucked him, and David just smiled and said, “You’re good at this.”

“I know, right?” Alan said, and just had to fuck David harder after he leaned his head back and laughed. David grabbed at his shoulders to yank him down for a kiss, rough and clumsy, too much teeth in the best way. Alan never thought of himself as noisy, but there was this sound that kept coming out of him, a rumble in his chest that worked out of him with every thrust of his hips.

David was making Alan’s hand slick while he stroked it. He was breathing harder, faster, high, gasping sounds coming out of him with each exhale. Alan could feel his whole body start to tense and he pushed himself upwards because he needed to see. He had to see David’s face when he made him come. “Come on,” he growled, and watched as David’s mouth opened and he got so damn loud, as his face went dumb and perfect all at once. When he was spent and his stomach was streaked, David just barely opened his eyes and smiled. Just looked at Alan and smiled. Yeah, that was it.

Alan kept one hand around David’s thigh, holding tight to his hip while he buried his face in the hollow of David’s throat. He grabbed a rough handful of David’s hair and groaned into his chest as he just fucked desperately, no thoughts in him about control or being good, just the greedy, needy desire to get off. David wrapped his arms around him and he could just feel the brush of his smiling lips against the curve of his ear. Yeah, that was it. Alan could get loud, too, and be just as dumb and perfect.

He tried not to just collapse like a ton of bricks on top of David, but really, not very hard. David brushed his fingers lightly along Alan’s back while he gasped for breath. “Fuck,” he rasped against David’s shoulder, and just felt him laugh underneath him in response.

“That is accurate,” he said, dreamy and breathless himself. “That is an accurate description of what just happened.”

“You know,” Alan said, and lifted himself up enough to look at David’s stupid happy face. “I think you’re right.” With a weary groan and a concerted effort, he rolled himself to flop over on the bed beside David. He could be a snuggler, sure, but also sometimes he just needed a minute to cool down.

He opened his eyes when he felt the back of David’s fingers brushing his cheek. He turned his head against it, let him cup his face in his palm. “Hey,” he said, since that seemed the right thing to say when neither of you could quit grinning like idiots.

“Hey,” David said. “I like you.”

“I like you, too,” Alan said.

David stroked his cheek a little with his thumb. “I am totally getting that permission slip laminated.”

Alan just giggled. No better time like just like this to get giggly. “Keep it in your wallet in case the authorities want to question you for looking at me… like… how you do?” No, clearly words were not going to come back to him any time soon.

“Yes,” David said, and Alan liked the way his eyes crinkled up when he smiled. “Exactly for that circumstance. Or I’ll be in the airport and will hand it to the TSA agent instead of my ID.” He held up an invisible card in front of him and made a show of scowling at it. “‘Sir, we’re going to have to do some extra screening on you. Because we want details!‘”

Alan pulled him over for a kiss, and mostly managed to aim it toward his mouth. “You’ll end up missing your flight.”

“Worth it,” David said.

“So worth it,” Alan said, and pulled David close again, to smell his hair and feel him smile.

He didn’t make it out of David’s house until nearly dark the next day. He left sore in muscles he’d forgotten he had and smelling like the wrong soap. He caught a look at himself in his rear view mirror and just had to shake his head. Yeah, no shit Liz would’ve known if they’d done anything without her sign-off. He had the goofiest damn smile on his face that he didn’t think he’d be wiping off any time soon.

The cats were extremely annoyed at him when he got home, so he spent a while spoiling them rotten. “Don’t tell your mother,” he said when opening up a can of the people tuna for them to lose their little kitty minds over. “She doesn’t need to know everything daddy gets up to while she’s away.” He took their vigorous kitty pig-out as a sign of agreement to secrecy.

Liz wouldn’t be getting home until late, he knew, and he’d been given explicit instructions not to wait up, so come bedtime he curled in on his side of the bed alone. It was always strange and a little lonely to have the other half of the bed empty. A whole new strangeness, too, to think of two different shapes that he’d like filling that space.

Alan woke up when he heard Liz come in to the bedroom in the wee hours, but he didn’t give it away until she slipped into bed behind him and wrapped her arm around him. Everyone liked being the little spoon now and then

He rested his hand on top of hers and brushed his thumb over her knuckles, loosely twined his fingers with her own, long and long together. He felt her smile against the back of his neck. “Have a good time while I was gone?” she said, voice soft and caring.

“Yeah,” Alan said, and squeezed her hand a little tighter. “I did.”

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