LATE one evening, through the window of his bedroom, Perry saw Seth crying in his car.
Seth Moore was the father of Sidney, one of Perry’s classmates, who wasn’t a close friend even if they were on friendly terms. Seth had fathered Sidney young, at age eighteen, but he was a good father, if a little preoccupied with work at times. An accountant or a lawyer or something otherwise dreary Perry knew nothing about. Seth had always appeared in control, striking, and dashing in his flawless business suit, all black with a black silk tie. It was Hugo Boss or some such, a pricy and fancy label—and deliciously hot for any man who had Seth’s toned figure that was only accentuated by the knowledge of him being thirty-seven years old. An age that began to bring pudginess and weary wrinkles out in most men, but not in Seth.
Perry Green, on the other hand, was nineteen, lanky, like a board, all jutting bones, awkward knees, and bumbling elbows. Where Seth’s dark hair, with slivers of silver, was always perfect, with every strand in its place, Perry’s brown curls ran too long, too wild, and too bushy to be tamed by any shampoo or conditioner, comb, or brush. Seth had the most dazzling blue eyes Perry had ever seen, like midnight-blue velvet—quite a contradiction to his own dark-brown eyes that typically looked too black to have that warm glow people associated with brown eyes.
At the moment, though, Seth’s blue eyes were closed, tears running down his cheeks as he covered his contorted face with his hands, wiping away the moisture Perry knew was running hot, but making no real attempt to stop the flow. Perry swallowed hard and grimaced in sympathy. He’d never seen Seth in such a state—but he recognized despair and grief when he saw them.
Without thinking, Perry ran out of his bedroom, down the stairs of an empty house, and made his way to the side door that opened up to the narrow strip of garden between his home and Seth’s.
The darkening night of Williamstown, Vermont, was deep blue, and the autumn air was crisp and sharp with the smells of the earth, yellowed leaves rustling beneath his feet—and that was when Perry realized in horror he was wearing his dark-blue pajama bottoms, white T-shirt, and the blue slippers his mother had gotten him last Christmas. After a day at college and then soccer practice, Perry had been wiped out—although he’d perked up now.
Stopping midstep, he pondered returning home and changing before confronting Seth, but the man could be gone by then, and Perry was not only a guy with a huge crush but a man on a mission. Hugging himself to ward off the cold, he slowly walked toward the car, half in and half out of the garage. The silver BMW was a couple of years old, but Perry wasn’t so into cars that he would’ve cared one way or the other as long as the brakes and the airbags worked in an emergency.
Besides, the man inside was a far more pressing matter. Seth had loosened his lavender-colored tie, and his fashionable attire was rumpled. His shoulders shimmied with the force of his sorrow, and Perry couldn’t make out much of the man’s ruggedly handsome, tanned face with its always, just-slightly stubbled jaw.
Gently, Perry rapped on the window, leaning closer, his hot breath coming out in moist puffs in the cool air. Seth jumped, and Perry straightened up, stepping back a bit in fear of having aroused the man’s anger at the invasion of his privacy.
And Perry had long hoped to arouse something else entirely in this tall, strong man who was old enough to be his father, but whom he adored with every breath he took.
Blinking hard, Seth rolled down the window with a flick of a button, gazing at Perry, concerned. “Perry? Is everything all right?”
Unable to hold in the disbelieving snort, Perry said quietly, reverently, “Isn’t that my question? Are you all right, Mr. Moore?”
Seth sighed and nodded. “I’m fine, Perry. You go on back inside. It’s late.” His voice throaty and raspy from crying, Seth offered a weak smile that wouldn’t have reassured a blind man.
“Is something wrong with Sid?”
Seth frowned, his handsome face hardening as he said through gritted teeth, “No. Sid is fine. He’s with his mother in Boston this weekend, probably in bed—which is where you should be, as well.” Only then did he seem to notice Perry’s underdressed state, and he did a double take, shuddering as if he’d been the one standing outside in his pajamas. “Jesus, Perry. What are you wearing? You must be freezing.”
“Oh, I’m cool,” Perry lied through his rattling teeth, smiling faintly.
Seth scoffed and shook his head. Steadfastly, he put his father role in gear and got out of the car, put his muscular arm around Perry’s shivering shoulders, and guided him toward his own house, not forgetting to lock the car with the remote, the beep echoing in the ghost-town emptiness of a Friday night in suburbia.
“Where are your parents?” Seth asked as he herded Perry through the front door into a dark, quiet house.
“They went up to the lake cabin for the weekend, fishing, you know.” Perry shuddered as chills ran down his spine. Seth hurried to the living room, grabbed a thick blanket off the couch, and placed in gently over Perry’s shoulders, tucking him under it.
Though the wool tickled him, the warmth it created seeped through his skin and made its leisurely way into his bones, and he sighed contentedly. “Thanks, Mr. Moore.”
“Perry, you can call me Seth. How many times must I tell you that?” The scolding was soft and playful, and Perry could see the sadness Seth had been feeling had shifted toward something nicer. That made him smile gratefully. “How about something hot to drink? Hot chocolate?”
Perry chuckled while Seth got rid of his overcoat and jacket, shoes, and tie. “Don’t you have any coffee? What kind of an adult are you?”
Seth grinned, an amused lopsided gesture Perry loved seeing—and Perry distinctly felt his cock swelling in his pajama bottoms. “Still a child at heart, kiddo. And besides, you shouldn’t be drinking that stuff, anyway. You’re too young.”
Perry jeered with a smile, “I’m nineteen, not nine.”
Seth merely shook his head, bemused, smiling, and walked toward the kitchen, with Perry in tow. As he did so, he glanced over his shoulder at Perry. “You came all this way just to see me? Or were you looking for Sid?”
Perry laughed at that. “Why on earth would I be looking for Sid in my pajamas? And, by the way, it’s not like I dragged my sorry ass here across the country in a blizzard. I live just next door, remember?” Plopping down on one of the stools by the island counter, Perry gave Seth a reproachful glare but didn’t squelch his smile.
“You always did have a prickly tongue,” Seth said, matching Perry’s stare with his own in equal measure before fiddling with the coffee machine. “Is a Jamaican blend all right with you?” Apparently he had reconsidered the whole coffee affair, Perry pondered, grinning.
“Sounds great, thanks.” Perry thought taking a look around the modern kitchen with its black granite countertops and stainless steel sinks and so forth, would’ve discouraged his flaming cock from getting any ideas. But his gaze landed on Seth’s strong back, with its broad shoulders and narrow waist every time, and he suppressed a rueful sigh, knowing the object of his affection was forever unattainable. Even if the man had been gay, he was too honorable and ethical to ever consider entering a relationship with someone as young as Perry.
“How come you aren’t hanging out with your friends?” Seth said without turning, but Perry heard him clearly—and could’ve sworn the man sounded edgy saying it, as if feeling compelled to ask but not really wanting to hear the answer. Perry didn’t even dare think of what possible motives could’ve led to that tone.
“It’s been a long day. What’s your excuse?”
Seth’s shoulders trembled, and Perry gasped, afraid he’d stepped over the line and made the man cry again. But quickly, Seth turned around, and he was grinning ear to ear, shaking his head, amused. “That sharp tongue of yours. Aren’t you worried you might hurt yourself?” As he spoke, he placed a mug of steaming hot coffee in front of Perry and then poured a deep gulp of the Jamaican blend down his own throat from his own cup.
Perry chuckled, taking a sip of the rich and smooth coffee that lacked the bitterness he usually tasted in coffee. “Now, I may not be an adult, as you proclaim to be, but I can still tell a deflection when I hear one. As the future shrink in me would say, do you want to talk about it?” Perry even used his best mimicry of the notable Austrian accent of Sigmund Freud.
Seth’s head tipped back as he laughed out loud. “You really crack me up, Perry!”
“Yes, I’ll crack you open like a walnut,” Perry said, rubbing his hands together in an evil-genius manner, “and you will spill all your secrets.”
Seth just chortled louder, his whole body shaking, sounding like he had the hiccups.
Perry was about to comment on the man’s hilarious reaction when the melodious knell of a clock sounded through the house, chiming for 11:30 p.m.
He looked around, curious, as it was a sound he’d not heard before. “I didn’t know you had a grandfather clock. I’ve never seen one in here.”
Seth’s brow furrowed in confusion as he, too, glanced around. “I don’t. I mean I do, but it’s in the attic—and it doesn’t work.”
Perry chuckled a bit, perplexed. “Seems to work fine now.”
Seth pushed away from the counter and headed past Perry toward the stairs. Unsure if he should follow, Perry waited for a few seconds, but then jumped up, discarding the wool blanket, and hurried after the man. Seth stood in the middle of the second-floor landing, pulling on the cord of the wooden stairs that led to the attic, and the stairs unfolded neatly, with a small cracking sound. Without a word, Seth climbed the stairs—and treated Perry with a perfect view of his pants-clad ass, firm and round. Coughing quietly and swallowing past the nervous lump lodged in his throat, Perry followed suit.