MITCH Matheson lay on his belly on the carpet in front of the TV, although it wasn’t turned on. His blond hair was a little tangled, scraped back into a loose ponytail with the end of it licking down between his broad, athletic shoulders. Occasionally – absent-mindedly – he nudged it aside and scratched the skin underneath. He wore nothing except his sleep shorts because he’d been on his way to the shower, although he seemed to have been distracted from that for the moment, concentrating on something on the floor in front of him. It was a book, pressed open underneath his wide, deft hands. He turned a page – he laughed – he nodded to himself. After a few more minutes, he rolled his head around to peer at Will over his hunched left shoulder, and smiled at him. “Hey.”
Will Anders, sitting fully-clothed on the couch behind him, looked down into sparkling blue eyes and smiled back. These evenings were becoming far more regular nowadays, with Mitch just dropping around, and often staying over for the weekend. It made sense for it to be Will’s apartment they stayed in, since Mitch had been one of the last tenants to move into the building and drew the short straw of the apartment right over the boiler room. Mitch was probably the only guy who would have put up with it this long – the erratic heat and then the ignition hiccupping on in the small hours of the morning. After all, with his reputation as Mr. Wild Party Animal, he didn’t actually see many hours in his apartment, and those he did see were usually from underneath the bed sheets, his head buried blissfully beneath the balls of his current date. Or at least, that’s how things had been.
It was much more comfortable at Will’s. A lot of things were.
They laughed about the arrangement at first – how sad was that, coming to stay when they lived next door to each other in the first place? – but Will thought it worked surprisingly well. Mitch always asked before inviting himself over, he always brought beer and he shared the food bills. Sometimes they didn’t want to go to a club or a bar, or see the mutual friends they’d cultivated, and then Mitch would bring a movie to watch instead, or just his company. That was lively enough for them both after a hard week at work.
Will had started to expect him to call on Friday nights.
And after Mitch had been visible for a month or so, Will was amused to find that the other casual dates in his address book stopped calling. Maybe it was the way Mitch left his underclothes out in the bathroom, or posted sticky notes on the fridge door suggesting sexually explicit – but always witty – uses for the contents. Maybe the casual dates thought that Will was – finally, some would say, with sour-grape bitterness – spoken for.
Will was even more amused to find that he didn’t give a fuck what anyone thought. He could relax with Mitch; Mitch had a similar sense of humor; the same confidence and boldness. There were a lot of great things about being with Mitch. The guy filled up a room when he was around, full of noise and laughter and long, athletic limbs stretched out on Will’s couch. Mitch teased and he argued and he never let up when he had something on his mind. Will enjoyed that a lot.
His eyes strayed down to the mound of Mitch’s ass, shifting occasionally under the thin fabric of his shorts, and he smiled again. There were the physical benefits, too, of course. Mitch was one of the most adventurous guys he’d ever been intimate with.
Meanwhile, Mitch was stabbing at one of the pages of the book. His voice was low, and bubbling with amusement. “You know something? This book says sex should be a constantly rewarding experience. Successful, long-term intimacy just needs tolerance and a deep level of sensual understanding between the partners.”
Will felt the slow crawl of skin under his pants that hinted suspiciously of that sensual understanding. His newspaper wavered in his hands and he straightened it briskly, trying to concentrate on the article he’d been studying, on new project management software. He’d gotten late back from work tonight – there’d been problems with the proposed launch of a new department at his latest client, an investment bank. There was rumor of a critical delay in the delivery of the accounting software; the reference check of one of the new managers found he’d never really worked for the organizations he said he had; the entire set of new office furniture had been delivered in the wrong color, in the wrong finish, and with cupboards set so high they’d only work for those employees over seven feet tall. Of which there were – of course – none. Will liked challenges, but days like these took their toll. He liked to live a life outside of his job as a project manager, and he liked to live it well. But by the time he’d got back to the apartment that night, there hadn’t been much point in going out anywhere. However, Mitch had seemed happy enough just to come around and read and generally relax together for the evening.
And now… this.