Chapter One – I don’t know if I need you

Chris circled the table, eyes critically examining the collection of bronze statues crowding the space. Cold to the hand even in the sweltering heat of the studio, the metal cast a warm glow over his pale skin as he inspected each statue. Sun streaming through the high windows picked out the highlights on his platinum blond hair and threw sparks off the metal bars in the cartilage of his ear as he went around and around. A heavy metal lightning bolt pendant hung from a chain around his neck.

Leaving the table, he paced over to the group of life-size bronze nudes standing near the door. He ran a hand appreciatively over Hermes’ perfect chest and Apollo’s firm buttocks, threading his way carefully between them.

“When you’re done feeling up my sculptures, want to help me wrap them up?” Jay-Cee’s quiet voice rumbled from a dim corner.

Chris had known he was there; had felt the sculptor’s eyes on him ever since he pulled off his sweaty t-shirt. The temperature outside had been climbing steadily all day, creeping over a hundred degrees by late afternoon. Even Jay-Cee had given in, unclipping the strap of his overalls and letting the soft denim hang down from his waist.

Jay-Cee stepped into the rectangle of light on the gray cement floor. His sweat and clay-stained white t-shirt clung to his chest and Chris could make out the faint colored patterns of the tattoos underneath it. He’d often wondered if Jay-Cee’s clothes covered more tattoos to match the one that started on Jay-Cee’s neck and cascaded over his shoulder and arms to his scarred knuckles.

“Seems a pity to cover them up,” Chris said, fingers trailing down the curved muscles of the statue nearest him. The nervous energy sparking up and down his spine drove him, and he flitted from statue to statue and then back to the table.

“Chris,” Jay-Cee said, the one word heavy with meaning.

Chris’s next pass around the table took him within inches of where Jay-Cee stood and he slowed to a stop. Jay-Cee stood silently in front of him, and Chris felt a different kind of heat filling up the space between them now. He didn’t even try to hide his appraisal as he took in the man who was his boss, but could be so much more if he would just let Chris in. He knew Jay-Cee was attracted to him. He didn’t particularly hide it, but he’d never acted on it. Chris hadn’t pushed it so they stayed in this precarious stalemate.

Everything about Jay-Cee was perfect in Chris’s eyes, from his thick silver hair, to the short beard Chris would give anything to feel rubbing against his thighs, to the wiry muscles of his arms. The twenty year age gap only added to his perfection. Chris had experienced more in his twenty-two hard years than most people ever did and a lot of it was bad. In Jay-Cee’s eyes, Chris thought he saw a shared pain and he wanted Jay-Cee to tell him how he’d survived it; to tell him how Chris could survive it, too.

Jay-Cee took a step towards Chris, watching as a bead of sweat traced the slender curves of Chris’s chest. Chris’s heart beat against his ribs.

A truck rumbled into the parking lot. “Thanks a lot, man,” a voice called. There was the heavy slam of the truck door and Benny Quintaña, Jay-Cee’s newest assistant and Chris’s best friend, barreled into the studio hands full of water bottles. “It is hot as balls out there,” he said cheerfully.

Somehow it was Benny’s addition to the studio that threatened to disrupt the precarious balance between Chris and Jay-Cee. His exuberance and irrepressible enthusiasm for everything forced Chris and Jay-Cee to interact more as colleagues and friends. Every time Jay-Cee shared a look with Chris over something Benny had said or done, Chris stepped a little further out of the ‘off limits’ box that Jay-Cee was trying so hard to keep him in.  With a last look into Chris’s eyes, Jay-Cee stepped away from Chris.

Benny slapped Chris on his naked shoulder, the sound ringing in the air. “Ready to load up the truck? This Pride Weekend is going to suck if it doesn’t cool down. I really hope you’ve got some fans or something for that tent, Jay-Cee.”

He shoved an ice cold bottle, sides dripping with condensation, into Chris’s hands, then gave one to Jay-Cee. He looked at the statues on the table. “Oh man, these aren’t even wrapped up, yet. Chris, stop standing around and help me. Time’s a-wastin’. Are we bringing all those huge ones, too? Damn.”

“Be there in a second.” Holding Jay-Cee’s gaze, Chris rolled the wet bottle across his head and then tilted his chin to roll it down the curve of his neck.

Jay-Cee narrowed his eyes and shook his head, but Chris caught the edge of his grin as he turned away. Yes. Victory would be Chris’s. Eventually. Hopefully, he wouldn’t die of blue balls before then.

The sun streaming in through the open barn doors shot arrows of glare into their eyes. The parking lot smelled like hot tar and exhaust. Benny stood with his hands on his hips staring sadly at the mess of bronzes, big and small. “This is going to take for-freaking-ever to pack up.”

Chris clapped him on the shoulder with both hands. “That’s why we start early. Welcome to the glamorous world of art.”

Benny covered one of Chris’s hands with his. “I don’t know. I expected more berets and wine and less weight-lifting.”

Chris gave his friend’s hand a squeeze then moved away. He and Benny had slept together a couple of times when Benny had first moved to Red Deer. Benny was cute.  He had the whole ‘dark eyes, dark hair, swarthy skin’ thing going on that Chris usually liked. The sex had been fun but nothing either one of them took too seriously. It was for the best.  AA frowned on addicts hooking up, saying it wasn’t healthy for either party. Of course, it happened all the time.

“Got any plans for the weekend?” Benny asked, pulling a stack of flat packed cardboard boxes off the shelf.

Chris dragged a box of recycled packing peanuts over to him. “Yeah, I’ve got some parties lined up. Going to hit a few of the smaller ones, I think. You sure you don’t want to come?”

Chris knew Benny didn’t have a year sober yet and he didn’t trust himself in the clubs, but Chris hated to think of him alone on Pride. Chris probably shouldn’t go to the clubs, either. He didn’t trust himself completely. He knew he didn’t always make the best choices. Look where all his choices had led him so far. But losing himself in the pounding beats and relentless rhythms and grinding up against a stranger on the dance floor took him out of his head as well as any drug or drink ever had. Well, almost.

Benny pulled the packing tape gun down the side of the box. “Nope. I’m sure. I’m good. I’ll just hang out at your place if you don’t mind.”

“You know I don’t mind but I have a goal.  I’m going to get you laid by the end of this weekend if it kills me,” Chris slowly stuck his hand deep into the box of peanuts.

Benny groaned. “I don’t want a hookup. They’re so awkward sober.”

Chris laughed. “Truer words, my friend. I don’t particularly want a hookup. But it beats being alone.” He couldn’t help looking at the door to Jay-Cee’s office willing the man to come out so Chris could stare at him more. It stayed firmly closed.

Benny stood up with a groan, rubbing his knees. “What do you want?”

Chris shrugged and pulled his hand out, smiling at the results. His hand was gloved in Styrofoam up to the elbow. “I don’t know. Someone to tell me I’m doing the right thing.”

Benny looked incredulous. “I can tell you that, dude. You’re like the best artist I’ve ever met. Stay the fuck here and learn from Jay-Cee. That’s what you’re supposed to do,” Shaking his head, he turned back to making boxes. “Shit. If I had half your talent.”

When Benny turned his back, Chris flicked packing peanuts off his arm at his head. He wanted to see how many he could get to stick in Benny’s hair before he noticed.

The answer was six. On the seventh, Benny flinched as the poorly-aimed peanut flicked him in the ear. “What the?” He ran his hand through his hair. “You idiot.”

When Jay-Cee came out of his office thirty seconds later, they were in the middle of a double-fisted peanut flinging battle.

“Chris,” Jay-Cee called from across the floor.

Eyes adjusted for the bright sunshine, Chris could barely make out Jay-Cee’s expression.

“Pack more. Play less,” Jay-Cee shoved his hands deep into his pockets.

“Yes, sir, Major, sir,” Benny saluted. Ever since he’d found out Jay-Cee out-ranked him, he’d taken to saluting.

Chris couldn’t tell if it amused Jay-Cee or irritated the crap out of him. Probably both. Benny had that effect on people.

“Relax, Marine,” Jay-Cee said, amusement clear in his voice. “I’d better stay out here and supervise, or we won’t be packed up until next Pride.” As he drew closer, he saw Chris’s peanut-covered arm. Raising an eyebrow, he circled his hands around Chris’s upper arm, dragging his clasped hands down slowly, pushing the peanuts to the floor as he did.

By the time he reached Chris’s hand, Chris was breathing heavily through his nose. As quickly as he could, he excused himself and headed for the bathroom, his goal for the weekend cemented in his mind. Whether it was a bad decision or not, he would end up naked in Jay-Cee’s bed one way or the other.



The temperature had topped out at 103 degrees during the parade. People had pressed into the narrow shadow of the buildings lining downtown Denver’s Colfax Avenue and crowded under the small grove of trees near the Capitol building. The gold dome of the stone building scattered the sun, sending bright rays into the exuberant rainbow-bedecked crowd.

Jay-Cee hadn’t missed a Pride parade since the year his sexual orientation became the reason Uncle Sam had cut him loose after fifteen years of exemplary service. He pushed his way through the crowd, sighing with relief when he stepped onto the shaded path of the park.

Benny stood at the front of the booth, staring into the crowd as Jay-Cee walked up.

“Where’s Chris?” he asked Benny. Damn it. Why was his first thought about Chris? That stupid kid had gotten under his skin.

Benny pointed down the path. “He ran that way after some roller-skating bear. Not the funny Russian kind. The daddy kind. I think the kid has daddy issues.”

“Don’t we all?” Jay-Cee murmured. It was funny to hear Benny call Chris a kid. Jay-Cee felt like pointing out that Chris was only four years younger than Benny, and the same age as some of the men he’d fought with across the globe. But he understood why Chris seemed younger. He had that kind of blond fragility Jay-Cee remembered from so many of the beautiful boys he had fallen head over heels for a long, long, time ago in a prep-school far, far away. The ones he had stared at, but never touched. Not back then, and not now.

Chris wasn’t a play partner, not a one night stand, or even, God forbid, a potential relationship. Chris was his, well, Chris was his student, his responsibility. Jay-Cee’s job was to help set him on the right path, to give him the tools he would need to succeed. He wasn’t supposed to throw Chris into bed and show him how very good he could make it for him, even if every cell in Jay-Cee’s body cried out for that.

Lately, though, Jay-Cee had found himself seeing Chris as more of a peer, almost.  Someone Jay-Cee could picture as a friend. He couldn’t remember the last new friend he’d had.

When Chris came back licking an ice cream cone, Jay-Cee did his best to ignore him.

The sun was low in the sky as the park emptied out on the last day of Pride, tinting the snowcapped Rockies pink and purple. Everybody was headed home or to one of the many parties spread out through downtown Denver. Business had been good and the heat had dissipated with every inch the sun sank below the edge of the mountains.

Benny was behind the booth, packing up the collection of food and souvenirs they had accumulated over the three day weekend. Inside the dark canvas booth, Jay-Cee did a visual check of the remaining inventory, comparing it against the sales list. Something was off. He turned to ask Chris and stopped, caught by the way the setting sun haloed his body and painted his hair with pink highlights. A slight breeze gusted through the park, sending paper cups and discarded fliers rustling down the path. Chris stood at the edge of the booth, facing into the sunset, his foot tapping restlessly against the blacktopped path, hand beating out a rhythm on his thigh that only he could hear. The skin of Chris’s bare arms goose-bumped up.

Moved by a whim, Jay-Cee reached out and hooked a finger into the belt loop of the ridiculously skimpy jean shorts Chris wore. Chris stumbled backwards with a loud “Oh!” and windmilling arms.

Jay-Cee laughed as Chris crashed against him. Chris’s skin was cool to the touch, a welcome contrast to the close hot air under the canvas. “Sorry,” Jay-Cee said into his ear, with a hand on either hip, pushing the boy off of him, his hands sliding up the bare skin just over the waistband of his jeans.

Chris turned and looked at him, eyes wide and blinking, either from the change from light to dark, or the feel of Jay-Cee’s hands. It was the most he had touched Chris since he’d started working for Jay-Cee.

Jay-Cee knew what he was doing. He just wasn’t quite sure why he was doing it now after months of denying himself. The parade of men stripped down to minimal clothing in the face of the relentless heat explained some of it. The sexual tension that always crackled between the two of them was another part. But he’d resisted his desires for men before. If he hadn’t, he wouldn’t have made it through military school and fifteen years in the Army. Even during the years he and Jason had been together, with both of them being in the Army during the height of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, he had to control himself during the short times they had actually been able to get stationed together.

Chris looked at Jay-Cee, not moving. It seemed as if the eyes of the statues watched them, rows of perfect naked bodies waiting to see what happened next.

“What do you want me to do?” Chris asked Jay-Cee, teeth pressing against his bottom lip.

Benny banged on the back of the canvas. “I’m done out here, Boss. What do you want me to do next?”

Jay-Cee smiled, reaching for Chris’s belt loop again as he tried to back up. “Nothing,” he called out to Benny. “You’re good. Go have fun.”

Benny’s head poked into the booth. “You sure? There’s still a lot to do.”

“The security guard I hired will be here soon. He’s going to stay with the booth all night. We’ll finish loading out tomorrow.”

“How’d you arrange that?” Benny asked. “I thought we had to be out by tonight.”

“I’ve got friends in high places,” Jay-Cee said. Chris tried to pull back, eyes darting to the side as if he could look at Benny without moving his head. Jay-Cee’s hold on his belt loop tightened.

Benny pouted. “Well. Huh. Now I don’t know what to do. I’d planned on working here until I was too tired to do anything but collapse. You guys want to go get some dinner?” He turned and looked back into the park. “This place is empty.”

“I’m sorry, Benny, but I’m going to go back to my hotel and have a quiet evening. We, old people, can’t take these long days.” He hooked his finger over the waistband of Chris’s shorts, rubbing the back of his hand over the soft skin of his abdomen. Chris inhaled sharply, belly going concave. “Don’t move,” Jay-Cee whispered almost silently. Chris swallowed heavily, tongue coming out to lick his lips. Oh, the things Jay-Cee wanted to do to him.

“What about you, Christopher?” Benny asked, moving into the booth.

Jay-Cee released Chris, sliding away from him.

“No. No thanks.” Chris cleared his throat. “I’m going to meet Dave and his friends at his place for some pre-party, and then head over to Boystown, and then probably over to Tracks, later. I know you hate those guys.”

Benny sighed. “I don’t know why you hang out with them.”

“I like to go dancing,” Chris said, flipping back into normal mode with Benny. He grabbed Benny’s hips, grinding against him to some unheard music. “The music pounding through your head until you can’t think, the heat of the bodies, the feel of someone else’s skin under your hands.”

He dragged his hand up Benny’s sides, and Benny swatted him away. “Stop tickling me.”

“It’s almost as good as sex,” Chris said. “Sometimes better.”

“Well fuck you very much for reminding me of two things I’m not going to do tonight.” Benny punched Chris on the arm. “I guess I’ll go back to your place, order a pizza, and watch porn on your computer.”

“So like every other time you’ve stayed at my condo?”

Benny ran his hands through his hair. “There’s just something in the air tonight, you know? This kind of weather makes me want to do stupid shit, stuff I know I shouldn’t.”

“I know what you mean,” Jay-Cee said, surprising them both.

Benny jumped as if he had forgotten Jay-Cee was there. “Shit, Jay-Cee. Why are you creeping around in the shadows?”

Chris answered before Jay-Cee could. “Hey, Benny, I just remembered, there’s Drag Queen Bingo at X-Bar. You could check that out. Should be safe enough.” Chris just needed him to leave. You’d think Benny would pick up on the sexual tension.

“I do miss my queens.” Benny had left that scene behind him in San Diego, along with some good friends.

“I know you do.” When he’d left New York a year ago, Chris had left everything he knew behind. Unlike Benny, though, he hadn’t had too many friends to say goodbye to.

“Maybe I’ll go,” Benny said. “I’m going to stop by your place first, is that okay?”

“No problem.”

Benny pointed at the booth. “Are you sure you don’t need my help closing up?”

Jay-Cee shook his head. “We’re fine. I need to reconcile some things first. Chris, do you mind helping out?”

“No problem.”

“Okay, then. See you later. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do,” Benny waved.

Chris rolled his eyes. “You don’t do anything, Quintaña. Doesn’t mean I have to live like a monk.”

Benny blew him a kiss and walked away whistling, hands in his pockets.

Chris shook his head. “He’s something.”

“That he is. I hope he finds what he is looking for.” Jay-Cee walked past Chris, not quite touching him even in the tight space. Chris turned to follow him with his eyes. Loosening the strings near the top of the frame, he dropped one of the flaps of the booth, plunging it into darkness, except for a thin strip of sunset light that illuminated Chris’s shoulders and arms.

“What is he looking for?” Chris asked.

“Something to live for,” Jay-Cee took a step closer to Chris.

“‘He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how,’” Chris quoted.

Jay-Cee raised his eyebrows. “Nietzsche?”

Chris shrugged one shoulder then tilted his head up, the confidence in his stance belied by the insecurity in his eyes. “What are you looking for?”

“Something I probably shouldn’t be. Something I’m much too old to want.” Something he had thought himself past wanting.

Jay-Cee could feel Chris’s breath on his collarbones. Chris seemed so fragile, so breakable. Jay-Cee wanted to show him how strong he could be. “What do you want?” he asked Chris.

“Clarity,” Chris’s eyes burned into his.

Jesus. Desire throbbed low in Jay-Cee’s gut. How was he supposed to resist that?

Chris’s arms trembled at his side as he fought to keep himself from touching Jay-Cee. Jay-Cee counted heartbeats as he watched Chris standing there, waiting to be told what happened next. This could go so disastrously wrong, but Jay-Cee was the weak one tonight. With a promise to be stronger next time, he let himself have what he wanted, if only for one night. He would make it so good for Chris.

He pulled Chris back to him. “Kiss me.”

Chris slid his arms around Jay-Cee’s neck as he lifted his face. His fingers dug into Jay-Cee’s hair. At the first touch of lips, Chris’s mouth opened for Jay-Cee, tongue darting out to taste Jay-Cee.

Jay-Cee wrapped his arms around Chris’s waist, his hands grabbing Chris’s ass and pulling his tight body hard up against him. His hands cupped Chris’s perfect round cheeks as if they had been designed to fit them. Jay-Cee had a visceral flash of his hand coming down on the firm skin and watching it redden and quiver under his hand, and he felt a surge of desire he’d thought had gone dormant.

It had been so long since he’d wanted so specifically. Ever since his ex-lover Jason had chosen to stay in the military closet rather than stand up for the man he said he loved, men had become interchangeable for Jay-Cee. One no better or worse than the other, judged only on their looks and disposability.

Chris was gorgeous and right here in his arms. But he was anything but disposable.

He squeezed Chris’s ass tight with both hands as Chris sucked on his tongue like it was candy coated. Gently, he pushed Chris away. “Let’s go to my hotel.”



The neon lights of the city bounced off their skin as they walked the few blocks to Jay-Cee’s hotel. Chris chattered as they went, pointing out restaurants he had eaten at, bookstores he had visited, and occasionally being greeted with squeals and air kisses as they passed through groups of gay men and women, celebrating themselves for a weekend.

Jay-Cee felt the curious stares directed his way, but Chris didn’t introduce him, and Jay-Cee didn’t push it. He was content to watch Chris flitting about like a beautiful butterfly. His eyes grew brighter and his movements more frantic as they got closer to the hotel. Jay-Cee put a hand on his arm. “Why don’t you put your shirt on? It’s getting cold.”

Chris did, exhaling deeply. Tentatively he reached for Jay-Cee’s hand. Jay-Cee flinched away reflexively, then reached into the bag he carried, and pulled out a crumpled wet nap packet. “My hands are filthy,” he said, tearing it open. He wiped his hands, stuffed the dirty towelette back in his bag, and took Chris’s hand. It was strong, the skin rough from the sculpting and building he did for himself and Jay-Cee. One day, Chris’s art would shine, the impact he would have on the art world far eclipsing Jay-Cee’s small contribution to the erotic art collections of rich gay men.

The lobby of the small boutique hotel was decorated in red velvet and dark wood paneling. Some of Jay-Cee’s bronzes stood in small niches in the walls.

“Good evening, Mr. Wentworth,” the desk clerk said as they passed by on their way to the elevator.

“Wentworth?” Chris snickered.

Jay-Cee swung Chris around, so his back hit the wall by the elevator. He pressed the button, and the light started counting down the floors. He leaned in over Chris, an arm on either side of his body. “James Christian Wentworth,” he enunciated carefully. “The third, to be precise.”

Chris’s mouth hung open. Jay-Cee pushed his jaw up with one finger.

The door dinged open and Jay-Cee led Chris into the elevator.

Chris waited while Jay-Cee unlocked the door and tried to unobtrusively catch his breath. He wanted this. He did. But the reality felt much bigger than he had anticipated. What if he was bad in bed? He’d had a lot of sex. A lot. Much of it he could barely remember.  Some of it for money, some of it for drugs, or out of boredom, or hunger. Sometimes like with Benny for fun and occasionally, once or twice, for love.

None of those named what he felt here and now. He didn’t love Jay-Cee, and while Jay-Cee was one of the hottest looking men Chris had ever seen, between the tattoos and the hair and the quiet confidence, it wasn’t just lust that had him trembling from the touch of his hand.

Chris needed. Needed something that he had only barely begun to grasp the edges of.

The door opened, and they entered.

The small room was immaculately furnished, with burled wood and brass fittings, thick carpeting and crystal decanters. The opulence contrasted with the lightness and openness of Jay-Cee’s studio and office.

The Tiffany lamp on the nightstand provided the only illumination. Jay-Cee didn’t flip on the overhead lights. He dropped Chris’s hand. “Are you still alright with this?” he asked. “It isn’t too late to change your mind. It will never be too late with me.”

“No, no. Not at all.” He looked around the room that reminded him a little of his parents’ room back home. It made him feel young and inexperienced in a way he hadn’t since he was fourteen and ran away for the first time. “I just don’t know what to do.”

Jay-Cee smiled and sat down on the bed. “That’s easy. Just do what I say. You won’t have to think at all. My goal is to get that giant brain of yours to stop thinking so much. I can hear the hamster wheels squeaking all the time. It must be exhausting.”

Chris’s shoulders slumped. God, it was. Just the number of things demanding his attention every second.

“Do you trust me?” Jay-Cee asked.

Chris nodded. He did. More than he trusted himself, which wasn’t very much at all. He’d seen how gentle Jay-Cee was with his art, how graceful and deliberate his movements were and how he touched the clay like a lover, stripping away everything that was unnecessary without hesitation. He wanted that same care and attention on him more than he wanted to breathe.

“Say it.”

“Yes. I trust you. I want you.” Now he smiled, as the tension drained out of him. “Very badly.”

Jay-Cee smiled. “Okay, then. Strip!”

That Chris could do. Kicking off his shoes, he grabbed the hem of his shirt and pulled it over his head with both hands. Though he’d been outside shirtless all day, it felt different here in this private space with the soft shadows caressing his skin.

Jay-Cee stared as if he hadn’t seen Chris’s chest before. His eyes locked on the metal studs piercing Chris’s nipples. Chris’s pale skin shone in the dim room. He hoped the light was enough to hide the faint scars of the track marks on his arms and hands. Jay-Cee knew about his heroin use, of course, but still, Chris didn’t want him thinking about it right now.

Chris flicked open the button of his shorts, unzipped them, and with a shimmy of his hips, sent them sliding to the floor. He felt Jay-Cee’s attention on him like a physical thing and it was making him hard. Licking his dry lips, he rubbed himself through the cotton of his briefs, loving the way they stretched over his cock.

Jay-Cee motioned for Chris to come closer to the bed. He did, ending up between Jay-Cee’s spread legs. Chris shivered as Jay-Cee reached up and lightly rubbed at the bars piercing his tight nipples. He could feel Jay-Cee’s callouses as his fingertips slid over the sensitive skin.

Spreading his hands wide, Jay-Cee dragged them down Chris’s torso, fingers bumping slowly over his ribs. Chris was mesmerized at the contrast of Jay-Cee’s tattooed, work roughened hands and his soft, smooth skin.

When Jay-Cee’s fingers slipped under the waistband of his dark blue briefs, Chris inhaled sharply. Gently, so gently, Jay-Cee lifted the thick elastic over the head of Chris’s rock-hard cock and slid them down his legs.

Chris’s knees shook so hard he wanted to rest his hands on Jay-Cee’s shoulders for balance, but he didn’t know if that was allowed.

Allowed. Such a strange word to use during sex. He’d never done anything that felt like this before. Never had he been so eager to have someone tell him what to do.

Jay-Cee stared into his eyes, then smiled and wrapped his hand around Chris’s cock and stroked from bottom to top.

Chris yelled, knees collapsing under him, and he had no choice but to grab onto Jay-Cee’s shoulders.

Jay-Cee kept one hand on Chris and with the other pulled him in for a long kiss. Jay-Cee’s mouth was soft and warm, and he held Chris tightly against him with a hand on the back of his head. Chris gasped and Jay-Cee forced his tongue into Chris’s mouth.

Chris whimpered as Jay-Cee owned him, the hand on his cock relentlessly pulling him closer and closer to orgasm. Jay-Cee’s palm was rough and calloused, almost painful, but Chris couldn’t help thrusting into his grip. His hands tightened on Jay-Cee’s shoulders, and he tried to pull away, to let Jay-Cee know he was going to come if he didn’t stop. He gasped and moaned.

Keeping a hand on the back of his head, Jay-Cee pulled his mouth the barest distance away. “Yes?” he asked, breath hot on Chris’s lips.

Chris’s whole body shook as he struggled to breathe and not come as Jay-Cee’s hand on his cock slowed but didn’t stop. “Oh god. I’m going to come,” he forced out.

“Yes, you are,” Jay-Cee said.

Holy fuck, Chris thought as Jay-Cee slammed their mouths together, tongue-fucking the air out of Chris’s lungs. He ran his thumb over the head of Chris’s cock, slicking down the entire length.

Chris moaned long and loud into Jay-Cee’s mouth. Jay-Cee pulled off and bit down hard on the curve of Chris’s shoulder.

Chris came with a shout, knees giving out.

Jay-Cee yanked him onto his lap, hands gripping Chris’s ass, rubbing Chris against the harsh cotton of his t-shirt. His cock pressed huge and hard against Chris. All Chris could do was hold on tight, every muscle in his body rigid as he pulsed long and hard all over Jay-Cee’s shirt.

Jay-Cee’s mouth was gentle as it traveled over Chris’s neck and jaw as he held Chris through his orgasm.

Chris collapsed in Jay-Cee’s arms, heart pounding in his chest, and struggled to get his breath back. “Was that, was it okay?”

“It was perfect.” Grabbing Chris under his thighs, Jay-Cee stood up. Turning them around, he lowered Chris to the bed.

“Holy shit,” Chris breathed.

Jay-Cee smiled, then pulled off his shirt. He stripped the rest of his clothes off with an economy of motion. Jay-Cee’s body was literally a work of art. Tattoos of every different style covered him from his neck to the tops of his thighs. One day Chris was going to examine them close up with his fingers and tongue, especially the one on his ribs that looked like a list of names.

Jay-Cee’s cock was long and thick, and Chris couldn’t wait to get his mouth on it. Right now, he wasn’t sure his legs would even hold him up. “That was amazing.”

“We’re just getting started.” Jay-Cee held out his hand and pulled Chris up.

Ten minutes later Chris was pressed between Jay-Cee and the glass shower door. Hot, wet, and desperate under Jay-Cee’s hands.

“Beautiful,” Jay-Cee whispered.

Chris whined and flattened his body against the door, rutting against Jay-Cee’s hand, chasing the friction. Jay-Cee hooked a hand over the top of the door to hold it closed, then pushed Chris harder into his hand. He swiped his thumb over the top of Chris’s cock while cupping his balls with his fingers. Chris shuddered, and Jay-Cee did it again.

Still holding Chris up, Jay-Cee reached behind him and shut the water off. Pushing open the door, they stumbled out of the shower into the sultry, steam-filled room.

Jay-Cee leaned against the sink, dragging Chris with him, positioning them in view of the full-length mirror on the back of the door. Chris’s slim body pressed against Jay-Cee’s broad chest with every breath. Jay-Cee hooked Chris’s arms around his neck. “Hold on,” he rasped out.

Chris was so hard. “I wish,” he panted out. “I wish.”

“What do you wish?” Jay-Cee breathed into his ear, tongue tracing a wet path around the shell of it. He wrapped one arm around Chris’s chest, fingers scratching across his nipples and down the ladder of his ribs.

“I wish you would tie my hands so I couldn’t grab you,” Chris forced out. It sounded like a confession.

Jay-Cee grasped Chris’s cock firmly, and Chris’s hands scrambled at the slippery skin of Jay-Cee’s neck. “Oh, fuck,” Chris’s back arched, and he came up on his toes as Jay-Cee jerked his cock hard and fast. “Fuck. I’m gonna come.”

“No, you’re not. Not until I say.” Their eyes met in the mirror. Chris looked desperate. “You can do it,” Jay-Cee encouraged him.

Chris’s mouth hung open as he struggled to pull back from the edge, his body trembling against Jay-Cee. Jay-Cee’s eyes were black with desire, his hand spread wide over Chris’s torso, almost spanning his chest. His cock throbbed hard against Chris’s back, and he released Chris one finger at a time. He held Chris’s gaze as Chris breathed deeply, waiting until Chris closed his eyes and nodded.

Jay-Cee pushed him gently away and pulled the large white towels off the rack. “Dry off and get on the bed. I’ll be right out.”

Jay-Cee dried himself off quickly and pulled the lube and a condom out of his bag. He didn’t want Chris to have time to start thinking again. He shut off the bathroom light, and turned down the AC in the room, then walked to the bed. Chris’s eyes tracked him the entire time. The glass lamp shade threw multi-colored shadows on his pale skin, and his blue eyes glittered in the light.

“Hands on the headboard,” Jay-Cee ordered, crawling up the foot of the bed. “If you want me to stop, or if you need me to stop, just let go.”

Chris looked a little troubled, so Jay-Cee sat up, balanced across Chris’s thighs. “What are you thinking right now?”

Chris bit his lip. “Am I, do we, need like, a safeword or something?” His fingers were white-knuckled on the headboard.

Jay-Cee leaned forward and kissed Chris gently on the mouth. He tasted like strawberries from the festival. He didn’t force his way in, just laid soft kisses on Chris’s lush lips until he opened on a sigh. Jay-Cee brushed their tongues together, then pulled away. “We can if you want one, and it’s always a good idea, but I promise I won’t hurt you. I just want you to trust me to get you where you want to be, to take care of you, just for tonight. Do you trust me?”

Chris nodded.

“Let’s pick a safeword anyway, alright? It will make me feel better knowing that you don’t even have to think about anything.”

“Rutabaga,” Chris said without hesitation.

“Rutabaga?” Jay-Cee laughed.

“I hate rutabagas. Trust me. It’s nothing I would ever say accidentally.”

“Rutabaga it is. Now lie back and relax.”

“And think of England?”

“Think of nothing except how good it feels. And don’t come until I say you can.” He lowered his mouth to Chris’s lips, and Chris groaned.

He kneeled over Chris, kissing him deeply, licking those perfect lips, pulling Chris to him with a hand behind his neck. Chris shuddered as Jay-Cee slipped down his body. The hard nubs of Chris’s nipples drew his mouth, and he licked and sucked one while pinching the other, the metal of Chris’s studs cold against his tongue.

Chris’s hips rolled like waves on the ocean, soft sounds of pleasure mixing with deep groans as Jay-Cee took his time, using all his skill to bring Chris right to the edge and back, over and over, until they both were covered in sweat and trembling.

He bit into the incredibly soft skin of Chris’s inner thighs, feeling the flesh give under his teeth. Chris yelled, sharp and loud in the dark room, cock jerking, so Jay-Cee did it again. He left sucking bruises on the white skin, while his fingers left their mark on Chris’s hips.

Feeling the tremors under his hands, Jay-Cee pushed himself up on his hands to look at Chris. Chris’s skin was flushed from his head to his chest, and sweat dampened the hair at his temples and on his forehead. His mouth hung open, and his eyes were dark with lust, heavy-lidded with pleasure. But his hands were relaxed on the headboard as he rode the waves of pleasure Jay-Cee had created for him.

Jay-Cee reached down and clamped his hand around himself to stop from coming at the sight. Something about Chris made him lose his self-control. It was ridiculous. He never wanted to stop touching the other man. If he could, he would keep Chris naked and in his bed all the time. But all they had was this night. He was going to make it a night Chris would never forget.

Chris opened his eyes. “Is it okay? Am I doing it right?” he asked.

“You’re fucking perfect. Gorgeous, and so good for me.”

Chris shuddered, back arching off the bed, and he moaned.

“Oh. You like being good for me?” When Chris didn’t say anything, Jay-Cee slapped his flank sharply. Chris jolted, hands tightening against the headboard. A blood-red flush spread down from his cheeks and dipped below his collarbones.

“I asked you a question.” Jay-Cee smacked him again, and Chris writhed on the bed, hips thrusting into the air. Jesus. Jay-Cee seriously contemplated flipping Chris over and bringing his hand down on that perfect ass over and over until his body couldn’t tell pain from pleasure, and whether to come or cry.

“Yes,” Chris cried out as if he was reading Jay-Cee’s mind. “Yes. I like it. I like being good.” His legs spread without conscious thought. “Please, please,” he begged nearly incoherent.

Jay-Cee breathed through his nose, struggling for control. Oh God, it was going to hurt to give this up. How did this kid have such power over him already? His very existence threatened to destroy the life Jay-Cee had spent years carefully creating.

If this was going to be a one-time thing, and it absolutely was, Jay-Cee needed to take everything Chris would give him. He needed to be inside of him right now.

He wrapped a hand tightly around Chris’s cock, feeling it jump and pulse against his palm. Not letting go, he crawled back up the bed, biting as he went. He needed to see his marks on Chris. Locking his teeth around the metal studs piercing Chris’s pink nipples, he tugged sharply.

Chris yelled loudly, head thrashing against the pillows and hips thrusting up into Jay-Cee’s hands. “No, no, no,” he babbled. “Please, I can’t, I’m going to, fuck, please no.”

Jay-Cee released him suddenly, and Chris’s body collapsed down onto the bed, tears leaking from the corners of his closed eyes.

Jay-Cee peeled Chris’s hands from the headboard, gently flexing the fingers, kissing each one as he did. He rubbed the wood marks out of the soft skin, shushing Chris as he did. “Shh. It’s okay. You’re good. Gorgeous. Perfect.”

He lowered Chris’s arms to the bed and tucked himself up next to him, running his fingers through Chris’s hair and keeping up the string of nonsensical, soothing words until Chris’s breathing returned closer to normal. Putting a hand flat on Chris’s chest, he felt the strong thud of his heartbeat.

Chris’s body was limp on the bed, his cock still hard and straining. He wore the marks of Jay-Cee’s mouth and fingers on his pale skin. Jay-Cee had never seen anything so beautiful.

Leaning over he kissed Chris gently, almost chastely. “Are you okay?” he asked. “Can you take more?”

Chris let out a shuddering exhale and nodded rapidly. “Yes. Yes, please.”

Jay-Cee ran his hand down Chris’s chest, through the silky blonde hair in his groin, his hand not touching Chris’s cock. “Good. Because I really want to fuck you now.”

Chris’s eyes opened wide, and his legs fanned open. “God, yes. Please.”

Jay-Cee grabbed the lube, made quick work of the condom, and positioned himself between Chris’s spread legs. He was so hard that he hoped he could hold off coming long enough to make Chris feel as good as he deserved.

Chris opened so perfectly for him. Jay-Cee’s fingers slid in as he kissed his way up Chris’s inner-thigh. “So beautiful,” he whispered into his soft skin, not caring if Chris heard him or not. Jay-Cee was an artist, and his first love was the strong muscles and curves of a man’s body. He wouldn’t apologize for that ever again. He kneeled between Chris’s spread legs. “Are you ready?”

Chris nodded, his head lolling weakly against his neck, too far gone even to speak.

“No rutabagas?”

He smiled softly, shaking his head. “No.”

Jay-Cee ran his hand down Chris’s hard length, and Chris’s eyes rolled back in his head, his eyelids fluttering closed.

“Please,” he whispered. “Please.”

He was just where Jay-Cee wanted him, drunk on pleasure, insensible to anything else but the way Jay-Cee was making him feel.

Rolling Chris’s hips off the bed, Jay-Cee shifted until he found the perfect angle. When he pushed into that yielding heat, it was better than he had ever imagined and the soft sounds dropping from Chris’s mouth only fueled the fire burning in his veins. He stopped for a moment, getting himself under control, feeling Chris’s heartbeat in the very center of him. With a groan, he pushed all the way, bracing himself over Chris on trembling arms.

Jay-Cee rested his forehead against Chris’s head. “Touch me,” he said, voice right on the edge of begging. “God, Christopher, touch me.”

Chris’s hands flew off the headboard, scrambling across the sweat on Jay-Cee’s back, sliding down to grip onto the backs of his thighs and pulling Jay-Cee even deeper into him. His mouth opened against Jay-Cee’s, lips meeting in a rough approximation of a kiss as Jay-Cee thrust over and over, driving high pitched moans out of Chris’s mouth.

Jay-Cee wanted to listen to them forever.

But Chris moaned almost painfully. “God, can I come? Please? Please, let me come.”

Jay-Cee throbbed so hard it hurt and his muscles locked up as he fought to stop his own orgasm. “Fuck. Yes. God, Chris. Come on, baby. Come for me.” He bore down, rubbing his body against Chris’s cock.

Chris drew in a huge breath; then his muscles tightened, mouth open on a silent scream, as he came hard. Jay-Cee held on as long as he could, desperate to watch Chris’s face until the pleasure became too much, and he came with an ecstasy that bordered on agony.