WHEN the phone rang and Jacob Peters saw the name that flashed up on the caller ID, he almost didn’t answer. He hadn’t spoken with his former lover, Beau Braedon, in nearly a year, not since he’d called to tell Beau he was going to do the honorable thing and marry Melissa Winters because she was carrying his child. He wouldn’t have answered if Melissa had been home or if Finn, their three-month-old son, had been awake, but Beau had picked the perfect time to call, the one moment when all the reasons not to talk to him were absent.
“I need to see you,” Beau said without preamble, the sound of his voice, the demand in his words bringing back all the reasons Jacob had broken things off between them a year ago. “It’s been too long.”
Jacob closed his eyes against the longing that challenged his determination to resist Beau’s pleas. Yes, he had been the one to end things between them a year ago, but he hadn’t actually expected it to work. He’d expected…. It didn’t matter what he’d expected. He hadn’t heard from Beau since his wedding, and now, out of the blue, the man he still loved despite everything wanted to see him again.
“I’ll be in Prestonsburg next weekend for a teaching conference,” Jacob said, the words out before he could stop them. He knew better than to agree to this. He knew what would happen if they met up again. The same thing that had happened every time they met up when they were still together. “What explanation are you going to make up this time if anyone asks what we’re doing together?”
“You’re married with a new baby. If anyone sees us, we’re old friends catching up on the news,” Beau said, the explanation too pat and too swift for Jacob to be comfortable with it. When they’d first met two years earlier, working on a Big Brothers Big Sisters summer program, Beau had insisted they be discreet, always having an excuse for their “dates” so no one would guess they were a couple. It had created a world of tension between them as time went on. “We’ll still be discreet, of course, so hopefully no one will even know we saw each other, but if they do, we’ll have an explanation ready.”
Discreet. Such an innocuous word to have caused so much havoc in Jacob’s life for over two years. “You haven’t changed your mind, then.”
“We’ve talked about this.”
“Yes, we have,” Jacob said with a sigh, “and discretion was the path we decided to take. That’s fine, but don’t snap at me for the choices you made. You were the one who said we couldn’t have a life together, so don’t yell at me because all you got was the crumbs.”
“I’m sorry, Jake. You’re right,” Beau said. “It’s just been a long time, and I’m restless. Call me when you get to town. I’ll feel better after I see you.”
“I’ll call you when I get to town Thursday night,” Jacob promised, already regretting agreeing. “You can tell me where to meet you then.”
JACOB navigated the country roads between Elliot and Prestonsburg with the ease of someone who had driven the route too many times to count. The familiarity allowed his thoughts to wander to the night ahead and back over the two years that had led them to this point. Sometimes he wondered how he’d ended up here in Elliot, closeted, married to a woman he didn’t love, with a new baby he adored and a lover who only wanted him sometimes.
That wasn’t fair to Beau. Jacob had no doubt Beau wanted him all the time, but the realities of life in a small southern town, the realities of their careers in such towns, made that difficult.
He’d sworn when he left home to go off to college that he was done with the South. He’d thought if he heard his mother’s favorite expression, “That just isn’t done,” one more time, he’d scream. And yet he’d ended up in a different southern town, but just as conservative as the one he’d left. When he signed up for Teach For America, he’d expected to end up in an urban center, dealing with underserved kids there. He hadn’t expected to end up in Elliot. He hadn’t expected to fall in love with Elliot. Sure, it was the same southern conservatism as his childhood home, but the kids were so hungry for knowledge and so in awe of his experiences. When his two-year commitment was up, he’d stayed. He hadn’t been able to remain in the same school because of funding cuts, but he’d gotten a job at the Elliot Christian Academy instead.
The kids there might be from slightly more well-off families since they had to be able to pay the tuition, but that didn’t mean they were less in need of good teachers, and Jacob was good. He had been in Elliot for six years, and every kid he’d taught, in either school, had left his fourth-grade classroom either on grade level or at least two grade levels ahead of where they had been when they came to him. And many of them were well above grade level.
It was one of the reasons he’d gone along with Beau’s crazy plan. If he came out, he’d lose his job at the Christian school for sure, and finding a job at a public school would be challenging given the financial problems that had led to so many schools cutting positions left and right in a desperate attempt to make ends meet. If he didn’t even have a recommendation because of the reasons for his dismissal, it would probably be impossible. It was unusual enough to have a man in an elementary classroom. He doubted Elliot, or even Prestonsburg, was ready for a gay man in an elementary classroom.
He sighed. Beau. Beau’s court schedule hadn’t allowed him to be as involved in the Big Brothers Big Sisters project as Jacob was—Beau still had to hear cases at the county courthouse at least part of the day during the week—but he’d been around in the evenings and on the weekends, his crazy sense of humor endearing him to the kids and adults alike. Judge Braedon presided on the bench with all the dignity one would expect of a man in his position, but once the robes came off, Beau was a little kid, more than happy to play basketball with the boys and just as willing to have a tea party with the girls (even the ones who’d already kicked his ass at basketball).
Jacob had fallen a little in love the first time he’d seen Beau make the effort to draw out Jim, the artistic autistic boy who always sat in the corner and rarely replied to anyone. Beau had sat down next to Jim and started to draw in the sand with a stick. Jacob had stopped to watch, sensing, in the way only those who work with kids can, something miraculous about to happen. It had taken Jim a few minutes to look up from his own drawing, but when he did, he spoke for the first time Jacob had ever heard. “The head is crooked.”
Beau handed the boy the stick. “Fix it for me.”
Jim had taken the stick, erased Beau’s drawing, and fixed it. The two had been fast friends for the rest of the summer. Beau had even managed to get Jim to put down his sketch pad and participate in some of the other group activities. Not all of them. Jim still refused to play basketball. But it was more than anyone else had been able to do.
It was the memories of moments like those that made it so hard for Jacob to end things with Beau. As screwed up as their relationship was, especially now, Jacob loved the man, and nothing seemed to be able to change that. Not the hiding, not the limited number of times they saw each other in the year they were together, not the anger and hurt at yet another canceled meeting that had led him to break things off with Beau, get drunk, and sleep with Melissa a year ago. Nothing.
Because no matter how angry or hurt or frustrated or sad he was at any given moment, he couldn’t deny the existence of the man he fell in love with.
They’d had a week together, after the summer ended. Beau had a cruise planned for Thanksgiving, a vacation for himself, and there had been space available. Jacob had purchased a ticket as well, not mentioning his reasons for the trip to anyone else, simply citing his lack of vacations since moving to Elliot. He and Beau had spent hours on the phone planning all the things they could do at each of the stops: snorkeling, scuba diving, hiking, swimming.
They’d hardly left the cabin except to eat, too caught up in the total freedom to love each other to care about anything else.
It was the happiest Jacob could ever remember being. He was young and in love with a magnificent, marvelous man. Everything else had seemed unimportant.
Beau hadn’t agreed, insisting they couldn’t damn the torpedoes and simply come out when they got back. They had to be discreet. Neither Elliot nor Prestonsburg was ready for a gay couple living openly in its midst. It had been a huge risk on Beau’s part to even approach Jacob the first time. If he had misread the situation and Jacob had made a stink, Beau would have lost all credibility on the bench and wouldn’t have been reelected.
Beau hadn’t misread the situation and Jacob had been eagerly receptive to his advances, but Jacob was bound by the morality clause in his contract, and while homosexuality wasn’t specifically forbidden in so many words, he knew what the reaction of the board of directors would be. A colleague had been reprimanded for cussing at a city function not even associated with the school. It was a reprimand, not a dismissal, but Jacob knew better than to test his luck. If he came out, he’d have to change schools. He’d been willing to do that, to move to Prestonsburg or even to leave the area entirely, to be with Beau.
Beau nipped that idea in the bud. Prestonsburg was his home. He had a life and a career there, and he wasn’t willing to give that up. Furthermore, his mother was in the late stages of Alzheimer’s disease, and her doctors advised against moving her. Jacob should have walked away right then, but he hadn’t. He’d agreed to Beau’s plan to see each other every few weeks, when they could find a reason for Jacob to be in Prestonsburg and a plausible excuse for them to meet if anyone saw them.
Every few weeks had turned into every couple of months. And then Beau had canceled three meetings in a row.
After the third cancellation, Jacob had been determined to end things once and for all. He’d gone out, gotten drunk, and gone home with the first sweet thing to approach him. When she showed up on his doorstep a month later claiming to be pregnant with his baby, he’d looked at the empty wasteland of his life and jumped at the chance not to be alone anymore. He didn’t love Melissa, and he had no illusions that she loved him, but he loved the baby. Even when it was no more than a bump in Melissa’s belly, he’d loved the baby. Now, he could sit and hold Finn for hours.
Jacob had a lot of regrets as he drove toward Prestonsburg and, hopefully, Beau, but he would never regret having Finn: the one good and pure thing in his life.
JACOB slumped on the hotel bed, already missing Finn. He was exhausted from the sleepless nights, but he loved his son to distraction, more than enough to make up for a few interrupted dreams. He was tempted to take a nap before calling Beau, but he was afraid if he did, he wouldn’t wake up, and he didn’t want to complicate things any more than they already were. He could sleep late in the morning. The workshops for the annual school meeting didn’t start until noon.
Steeling himself for whatever mood Beau might be in, he dialed the number.
“Hi, Beau, I’m at the hotel.”
“It’ll look odd if I come there,” Beau said. “I don’t have any reason to visit a hotel in my hometown. Can you meet me at a friend’s house? He’s out of town and left me his key so I can water his plants. It would be a neutral spot, nothing to draw the attention of anyone who might see you.”
“I thought you said no one would care about two old friends catching up to share news of one’s new baby,” Jacob reminded him. “They’re far more likely to question us meeting at your friend’s house than at yours.”
“Only if they see us together,” Beau said. “I can walk down the alley to his backyard. No one will see me going inside.”
“Give me the address,” Jacob said tiredly. He had reached the point of mostly not caring, other than the fact that Beau obviously cared whether people saw them together, but he wouldn’t argue. They’d have precious little time together as it was. “I’ll be there as soon as I get directions.”
Jacob noted the address on the pad by the phone. He thought about taking a quick shower, but if he was honest with himself, he needed to see Beau too. He’d mostly stopped calling to arrange meetings before their breakup because Beau had an excuse to say no more often than he said yes, but that didn’t mean the need for his lover’s presence had lessened.
A quick search on MapQuest gave Jacob the directions he needed to get to Beau’s friend’s house. Jacob only hoped no one would see them, because the pretense of friends meeting up there would be far harder to defend than if they met at Beau’s house or if Beau came to see Jacob at the hotel. This was Beau’s game, though, and Jacob would play it his way. It had been too long since he’d last been fucked. Not since the last time he’d seen Beau, fifteen months ago.
The drive across Prestonsburg took all of twenty minutes at the height of rush hour traffic, and Jacob found the house, a 1920s brick Tudor, with ease. He parked his car down the street, not sure Beau would want him to park in the driveway where anyone passing by would see his car at that specific address. Beau’s car wasn’t in the driveway either, but he had said he would come up the back alley, so that was no surprise. Heart pounding in his chest as he walked toward the house in question, Jacob tried to act like he belonged there and had no reason to blush or worry about what the neighbors might say.
The door to the house stood ajar in silent welcome, but Jacob grimaced at the sight anyway, knowing Beau had opened it so he wouldn’t have to answer the door—and be visible from the street—when Jacob came in. Jacob wondered why he put up with the charade, but when he closed the door behind him, hard arms closed around him, pulling him back against a body that should never be hidden beneath a judge’s robes, and Jacob knew the answer.
Nobody made him feel like Beau made him feel.
He relaxed into Beau’s embrace, not trying to turn or take control. If Beau could stay long enough for their hurried encounter to stretch into a second round, Jacob would press his own demands then, but for now, he ceded control to Beau as he had from the very beginning.
“I’ve missed you,” Beau murmured in his ear, his breath teasing the hairs on Jacob’s neck the same way his hands teased Jacob’s skin through his clothes.
“I’ve missed you too,” Jacob said, angling his head in hope of a kiss. It came almost immediately, Beau’s lips closing over his, his tongue surging deep as he urged Jacob to turn in his arms.
Jacob moved willingly, wanting nothing more, now that he was here, than to find oblivion in Beau’s arms for a few stolen hours. Reality would intrude again, but for now, he could pretend he was coming home to his partner’s loving embrace from a few days away.
Beau’s hands delved beneath Jacob’s clothing, pushing down the casual jeans he’d donned, wanting to be comfortable before driving into Prestonsburg. Jacob moaned into the kiss as Beau squeezed his ass, massaging the muscles as he teased the crease. Another time, Jacob might have protested the lack of foreplay, but it had been over a year since they had been together, and Jacob was as eager as Beau was, sliding a hand between them to undo Beau’s trousers as well, working his fingers around the thick girth of the shaft that would soon split him wide open.
He couldn’t wait.
“Now,” he begged, breaking the kiss. “Fuck me now.”
Beau spun Jacob around and urged him into the parlor, dim with the curtains drawn, to kneel on the straight-back chair on one side of a gilt mirror. Jacob braced his arms on the back of the chair, pushing his ass out in blatant invitation. Seconds later, slick fingers breached him, working the slippery gel inside him. The stretch stung a little, his muscles not used to giving beneath a lover’s penetration after the long drought, but Jacob panted through the pain until his guardian ring relaxed. He rocked back against the invading fingers, signaling his readiness for more. Beau didn’t need any more than that, replacing his fingers with his sheathed cock faster than Jacob could blink. He moaned again as his body gave beneath the amorous onslaught, welcoming his lover back inside him. Back home.
Then the tip prodded his prostate, and all thought fled as he gave in to the erotic stimulation. He stroked himself in rhythm with Beau’s thrusts, his climax already boiling deep in his gut. It wouldn’t take much more and he’d lose it completely.
“I love you.”
Beau’s words shredded what remained of Jacob’s control. He barely had the forethought to cup his hand over his erection to catch the outpouring so it wouldn’t stain the chair and give them away. Seconds later, he felt Beau’s hips stutter against him, a long, low groan proof of his own pleasure.
“I love you too,” Jacob said when Beau pulled out and Jacob could turn again to face his lover. “It doesn’t fix anything, but I love you too.”
“Please, Jacob,” Beau said, his voice tired. “I didn’t arrange a meeting so we could fight.”
“No, only so we could fuck,” Jacob replied bitterly. “So pat me on the head and send me on my way like a good little trick.”
Beau grabbed Jacob’s upper arms, shaking him lightly. “Don’t say that. Don’t even think it. Whatever else you think of me, whatever abuse you want to pile on my head, that’s fine, but don’t ever demean yourself that way. You are not a trick to me.”
“You couldn’t prove it by the way you’ve acted this past year,” Jacob insisted.
“I’m not the only one who screwed up,” Beau retorted, “or have you forgotten which of us slept around behind the other’s back?”
“That’s a low blow,” Jacob snarled. “If all you wanted to do was yell at me, you could have done it over the phone and saved me the trip. And I didn’t sleep around ‘behind your back’. I told you before I did it what I was going to do. I don’t know when you got the message, but I called and told you before I went out that night. All it would have taken was you calling me back and asking me not to do it, and I would never have gone through with it.”
He wouldn’t have Finn if he hadn’t gone through with it, and he couldn’t bring himself to regret that except for the distance it put between Beau and himself now, but he would never have touched Melissa if he’d thought for an instant he could have a life with Beau.
“You want things I can’t give you,” Beau said tiredly. “I told you that when we got back from Mexico.”
“I want things you won’t give me,” Jacob corrected, “and that’s a choice, not something that’s set in stone. I’d hoped…. Never mind what I hoped, it’s obviously not going to happen. So you tell me, what happens now?”
“I don’t know,” Beau said slowly. “I only know I’m not happy without you. Unfortunately change comes slowly to Prestonsburg.”
“Change requires a catalyst,” Jacob replied. “It’s a basic tenet of elementary science. If you don’t introduce something new into a static equation, it stays balanced. Introduce something new and a reaction will occur until a new balance is attained.”
“You can’t tell me you use that kind of terminology with your fourth graders.”
“You’re avoiding the point,” Jacob said, pulling away and starting to pace. “You say change comes slowly to Prestonsburg, but you aren’t willing to do anything to speed that change along.”
“I’m hardly in a position to come out,” Beau protested.
“You’re in a perfect position to come out,” Jacob shouted. “A respected member of the community, a judge with an impeccable record… they wouldn’t be able to simply dismiss you as ‘one of those people’ because they already know you.”
“You think any of that would matter?” Beau shouted back. “The respect, the record, all of it would be tarnished with the same black brush and they’d forget all the rest. The fact that I was a faggot would be all that mattered.”
“Don’t use that kind of language,” Jacob snapped. “It demeans both of us. I don’t let my students say it. I’m not about to let you get away with it.”
“Fine,” Beau huffed. “The fact that I’m gay would be all that mattered. Does that make you happier?”
“None of this makes me happy,” Jacob said with a deep sigh, “and no choice of words will change that.”
“Short of coming out, what would make you happy?” Beau asked, his voice returning to a more even tenor.
“I don’t know,” Jacob admitted. “I miss you like crazy, but it seems like all we do when we’re together is fuck and then fight. As good as the sex makes me feel, I’m not sure it’s worth the stripes we tear off each other when we’re done.”
“Oh, baby,” Beau said, pulling Jacob back into his arms and kissing him softly, “I’m sorry. I really didn’t bring you here to fight. I wanted us to have an evening together like a real couple, even if we have to hide that fact. I wanted to show you how sorry I am for not calling all this time and try to make it up to you. I wanted…. It doesn’t matter what I wanted.”
Jacob rested his head on Beau’s shoulder, allowing himself the comfort of being held. “It does matter what you wanted,” he said after a moment. “It matters that you want to do something special for us. I just don’t know if I can live with this solution. I don’t want to give you up, but I’m not sure I like what else I’m giving up to keep you.”
“What do you want me to do?”
“Say you’ll move to Atlanta with me,” Jacob replied immediately. “You can work in a law firm there. I’ll find a job teaching. Melissa won’t fight a divorce. She’d probably be thrilled to give me custody of Finn.”
“We’ve been through this. Prestonsburg is my home, and I can’t leave my mother,” Beau said.
Jacob sighed. He’d known Beau would say that. As much as he hated the situation, he even respected Beau for refusing to leave his mother in the nursing home without being close enough to visit her regularly. “Forget it. There isn’t any more solution now than there was a year ago or two years ago. I should go.”
“No, please,” Beau said. “At least let me fix you dinner. I want to hear about Finn and see his pictures and be with you. Not fighting for once. And I want to make love to you again and then figure out when we can see each other. And not in another six months or a year. We can’t come out, but I don’t want to lose you.”
Jacob wasn’t sure that would work, but it was so much more than he’d expected to hear that his heart gave in and he nodded. “So what’s for dinner?”
DINNER was surprisingly good and surprisingly relaxed, given their argument, much to Jacob’s relief. He wanted to be with Beau outside of bed (or a chair), but he hated the fighting, and it seemed like that was what they did most. They ignored the elephant in the living room by conscious choice, but other than that, they could have been any couple having dinner together. Beau cooked as he’d promised, but he let Jacob help, stopping every so often to kiss him or nuzzle his neck.
Each time he did, the ice around Jacob’s heart melted a little more, making him hope somehow this time could be different. He didn’t really know how, since Beau still refused to come out, but they were both intelligent men. If they put their heads together, maybe they could concoct a cover people wouldn’t see right through. Even in a town as small as Elliot, people carried on affairs without it getting out. Sure, it got out sometimes, but he knew affairs happened more than that. If he and Beau created a plausible cover for each meeting, no one would know what actually happened once the doors closed. They had worked together before. Perhaps they could find another organization to volunteer with, one that would give them the excuse of needing to meet to discuss it.
Or maybe Jacob could arrange a program at school that Beau could participate in, something to teach the students about the judicial system. They would have to meet before each of Beau’s visits to his school so they could go over lesson plans. If those meetings took a little longer or became a little more intimate than necessary, no one else had to know.
If Beau really meant what he said about wanting them to see each other more often, they could find a way to make it work.
Jacob gave a passing thought to the fact that seeing Beau, sleeping with Beau, was cheating on Melissa, but since being with Melissa in the first place had been cheating on Beau, Jacob figured he was damned if he did and damned if he didn’t. At least if he saw Beau more regularly, he’d be happier, and that had to be better for Finn, even if not for his marriage.
Best of all, Beau had seemed genuinely interested in seeing Finn’s pictures and in hearing all about him.
“I miss my son,” Beau admitted as Jacob put the pictures away.
“I didn’t know you had a son,” Jacob said, surprised to learn something new about his lover after all this time. “Where is he?”
“He lives with his mother,” Beau said. “She left me on the grounds of emotional neglect when Harrison was two. I was trying to get my career off the ground. I thought she understood that, but apparently not. The ink was barely dry on the divorce settlement when she took Harrison and moved to upstate New York. She apparently met a man on the Internet and moved up there. I get to go see Harrison a couple of times a year, but I can’t take him out of New York, so he hasn’t been down here since he was two.”
“That’s awful,” Jacob said, holding Finn’s picture tight to his chest as if a tighter grip could keep that from ever happening to him. “Didn’t you fight it?”
“I tried,” Beau said, running his fingers through his blond hair, “but the court wasn’t sympathetic. My ex-wife got full custody plus child support. When Harrison turns fifteen, the restrictions will lift a little and he’ll hopefully be able to visit me here, but that’s still three years away.”
“You’re welcome to come play with Finn any time,” Jacob offered impulsively. “If that will help, I mean. If it reminds you too much of your own son, I understand.”
Beau smiled. “That’s a kind and generous offer. I might take you up on it someday. For tonight, though, I’m more interested in Finn’s daddy than I am in Finn.”
Jacob grinned. “I won’t say no to that, although I wouldn’t complain about a bed this time instead of a chair in the parlor.”
“I don’t know where my friend keeps the clean sheets,” Beau admitted, “but how does the shower sound?”
It wasn’t ideal, but Jacob bowed to the constraints of their reality. “A shower sounds wonderful.”
If nothing else, he wouldn’t have to worry about smelling like sex when he went back to his hotel tonight. Not that he really thought anyone would notice, but better safe than sorry.
Beau led him into a small bathroom off the kitchen. The shower stall had clearly been redone from the original, a large glass enclosure easily big enough for two, with dual showerheads. “It looks like we aren’t the only ones who like to share a shower,” Jacob said with a grin as Beau turned on the water.
Beau grinned back. “It’s a pleasure I wouldn’t say no to sharing more often.”
Jacob bit back the offer to never shower alone again. He refused to spoil the evening by starting another argument. Instead he reached for the buttons on Beau’s shirt, parting the fabric to reveal the mat of blond chest hair he could never get enough of running his fingers through. It had made Beau self-conscious at first, but Jacob loved a hairy chest and hadn’t been shy about letting Beau know it.
Now Beau shrugged the shirt off quickly, letting Jacob take his time with the thick pelt, stroking and tangling his fingers in the light curly hairs. “Sometimes I think you like playing with my chest hair better than you like fucking,” Beau teased.
Jacob tugged gently. “You’re going to make me choose?”
“No,” Beau said, the word turning to a moan as Jacob flicked his fingers over Beau’s nipples. That was the other thing Jacob loved about Beau’s chest. His lover’s nipples were nearly as sensitive as his cock, and enough attention paid to them always ensured Jacob a long, hard ride. The round of sex in the parlor notwithstanding, far too much time had passed since they’d had sex for Jacob to want anything less than a thorough round now. Especially since he didn’t know when they would meet again.
Replacing one of his hands with his mouth, Jacob used his now free hand to tug off his own shirt. The moment it hit the floor, he draped his arms around Beau’s neck, rubbing his smooth skin back and forth against his lover’s body. He groaned at the rasp of all that hair, every brush sensitizing his skin until even the flow of air from the shower added to his arousal.
Beau’s hands settled on his hips, guiding him so that their cocks nestled together through their clothes as they swayed back and forth, increasing the erotic friction of their upper bodies. “Sometimes I think I could come just from looking at you,” Beau whispered, nipping at Jacob’s ear. “All hard muscles and smooth skin.”
One hand slid between their bodies to tweak Jacob’s dark nipple. It pebbled beneath the teasing touch, already half-hard from the brush of Beau’s skin. The added stimulation went straight to Jacob’s groin, his cock hardening even more in eager sympathy.
“Maybe we should finish getting undressed and get in the shower before we waste all the hot water,” Jacob said hoarsely.
“Maybe we should turn off the water and make love on the floor instead,” Beau said.
Jacob shook his head. “I am not lying down on that cold floor. If you want my ass, it’ll be against the shower wall since a bed isn’t an option.”
“I was hoping you’d want my ass instead.” Beau bit the juncture of Jacob’s neck and shoulder, the spot guaranteed to make him weak in the knees, as if the thought of turning the tables on his usually dominant lover wasn’t already enough to knock him off balance.
“Really?” Jacob groaned.
“Really,” Beau said, lifting his head and kissing Jacob tenderly. “It’s been too long. I know that’s my fault, but I want to make it up to you.”
“I don’t mind bottoming,” Jacob said. “I love feeling you inside me.”
“I know that,” Beau replied, “but I want tonight to be special. I’m turning over a new leaf, and this is part of it. I can’t give you everything you want, but I can give you this.”
“As long as you still fuck me sometimes,” Jacob said, “because I really do love feeling you inside me.”
“Don’t worry. It’s not a pleasure I plan on giving up any time soon,” Beau said, “but we can be a little more balanced about it.”
“Deal,” Jacob said, pulling away and dropping his pants as he toed off his shoes. He reached for Beau’s trousers the moment he was undressed. “So let’s see this ass I’m getting to fuck tonight.”
Beau chuckled. “What a mouth for an elementary teacher!”
“I’m not in class right now,” Jacob retorted, pushing Beau’s pants and underwear down to his ankles. Beau stepped out of them and turned to open the shower door, giving Jacob a prime view of his backside. If it wasn’t a classic bubble butt, it was still firm and as smooth as a baby’s bottom, in lovely contrast to Beau’s chest. Jacob crowded into the shower behind Beau, his cock slotting into the crease as he rubbed against the hard muscle.
Beau turned his head so they could kiss as the hot water ran over them and between them, slicking their skin. Fortunately they were close enough to the same height not to make the kiss too awkward. Jacob combed his fingers through Beau’s chest hair again before sliding them down over his lover’s taut belly to circle his hardening shaft. Beau groaned through their kiss, the sound reverberating in Jacob’s mouth.
Jacob stroked Beau a few times before cupping his balls, rolling them in his palm. Beau’s head fell back on Jacob’s shoulder. “That’s it,” Jacob purred. “Relax and let me make you feel good.”
“You do,” Beau said, his voice husky with desire. “Everything you do to me makes me feel good.”
Jacob grinned. “Then you’ll really like this. Hands on the wall and don’t move.”
Beau shifted his weight, taking up the position Jacob had indicated. Jacob angled the showerheads so he wouldn’t get a face full of water and then kissed his way down Beau’s back, lingering over each vertebra until he reached the top of his crevice.
As if anticipating Jacob’s course of action, Beau spread his legs wider. Jacob nipped at the curve of muscle. Beau jumped slightly, bringing a grin to Jacob’s face as he parted the cheeks with his thumbs, scenting musk and sweat despite the fall of water over their bodies. Nuzzling closer, he lingered on the preliminaries, wanting to wallow in the freedom to love the other man this way. Beau so rarely gave over control, much less this completely, that Jacob intended to take full advantage of it. He didn’t know when he might next have the opportunity.
“Don’t tease,” Beau pleaded above him, turning to look over his shoulder.
Jacob looked up into the darkened blue eyes and knew he wouldn’t ever be able to resist a plea in that soft, urgent voice. With a slow nod, he turned his attention back to what he was doing, his tongue darting out to lick over the tight iris. Beau moaned above him, sending another shot of arousal through Jacob at the thought that he could reduce his articulate lover to moans and sighs.
Before long, Beau started pushing back against Jacob’s mouth, urging him to work his tongue inside the guardian ring. The muscle didn’t give easily, but Jacob kept licking and sucking and pushing at it with his tongue until finally it opened for him, letting him reach inside.
Not far enough. Never far enough. Jacob thought he could climb all the way inside Beau and still not be deep enough, close enough. He would have to settle for what he could get, extending his tongue as far as it would go and then sliding a finger in next to it when he couldn’t go any deeper.
“Oh, fuck,” Beau gasped when Jacob found his prostate. Jacob grinned, but he didn’t pause to chide Beau for his language. He had more important things to concentrate on, like driving his lover so wild with need that he’d fuck himself on Jacob’s cock just to get relief when the time came. Not that Jacob doubted the sincerity of Beau’s offer, but he didn’t want his lover to balk at the final hurdle. Not now when he finally had a chance to be inside the other man again after so long.
“S-stop,” Beau said. “I’m going to come.”
“Why is that supposed to discourage me?” Jacob asked, lifting his head but not pausing in his teasing of Beau’s gland.
“Because I want to come with you inside me.”
They’d already come once before dinner, and Beau wasn’t twenty anymore. He was barely in his thirties. Another night, Jacob might have teased him about his recovery time, but not tonight. Tonight he needed the sense of togetherness that came from a shared climax. Relenting, he rose to his feet. “Condoms?” he asked, realizing they didn’t have any in the shower.
“In my trouser pocket,” Beau said. “There’s lube as well.”
“I didn’t get you wet enough?” Jacob teased as he opened the door to retrieve the necessary items.
“Probably, but it’s been a while,” Beau said.
It had been. Nearly two years. Jacob had topped a few times on their cruise, but not during any of their furtive meetings since then. There had never been time, and Jacob had learned early on that Beau had to relax into the idea of bottoming. It made the offer tonight all the more precious.
He rolled the condom on quickly and coated his fingers with the slippery gel, working it inside Beau’s passage carefully. His patience was nearing an end with the prospect of fucking his lover again after so long finally at hand, but he didn’t want to hurt Beau accidentally. It might make him change his mind about letting Jacob top again in the near future.
When Beau was rocking eagerly back into his hand, Jacob pulled his fingers free. “Ready?”
Beau grunted an affirmative, the sound so needy it nearly brought Jacob undone right then, but that wouldn’t give Beau what he wanted. He shifted until his cock brushed Beau’s entrance, holding himself steady so Beau could push back and impale himself at his own pace. Jacob knew his control wouldn’t last for long, but hopefully he could hold out long enough for that first penetration.
To Jacob’s surprise, Beau bucked back against him hard, impaling himself in one long thrust. Jacob bit his lip to hold back a moan as he fought for some semblance of control.
“Do it now,” Beau ordered, ending that attempt on Jacob’s part. He let go, driving hard into his lover’s body, his fingers digging mercilessly into Beau’s hipbones.
“Yes,” Beau hissed, arching his back to change the angle of Jacob’s penetration. “Just like that.”
Jacob pounded into his lover, all finesse gone in the flurry of mindless need. He was sure he’d regret this later, but for now it felt too damn good to stop. He reached around to enclose Beau’s cock in his fist, the loose skin moving with his grip as he strove for Beau’s release. Only then could he let himself go.
It only took a few strokes, much to his relief, because he doubted he’d have lasted much longer. The moment he felt the heat of Beau’s release mingling with the hot water still raining down on them, he stopped trying to hold back his own climax, his hips stuttering hard as he came in great rolling waves.
He collapsed against Beau’s back, needing the support of his lover’s body. Fortunately Beau seemed steadier on his feet than Jacob was. He pulled out and tossed the condom in the corner where it wouldn’t get drawn into the drain. He’d deal with it later, but for now he needed Beau’s arms around him.
Beau obliged, pulling him into a tight embrace and kissing him passionately. “You know I don’t let anybody but you love me that way.”
“I hope you don’t let anybody but me love you any way,” Jacob said, too sated to inject much heat into his words. He wanted to demand exclusivity, but he could hardly justify it when he was married to someone else.
“No, but even if I went to Atlanta or Birmingham to find relief, it wouldn’t be that way,” Beau said.
“If you need ‘relief’, you call me,” Jacob said, possessiveness surging inside him. “I don’t want anyone touching you but me.” So much for justifications.
“And does that apply to you as well?” Beau asked, his voice far calmer than Jacob had expected it to be.
“All you have to do is say the word and I’ll file for divorce tomorrow,” Jacob replied immediately, “but I don’t see any reason to do that to Melissa or Finn if I’m not going to see you again for six months or more.”
The sudden chill in the water interrupted their conversation. “Let’s dry off and get dressed,” Beau said, “and then we’ll talk. Really talk instead of yelling at each other. Maybe we can find a compromise we can both live with.”
Jacob had no idea what that would be, but for once, Beau was willing to talk instead of simply dictating the way things would be. He wouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth.