DYLAN GLANCED at his phone for what had to be the fifth time in the last ten minutes. “They’re late.” He gazed at what was left of his beer, internally debating whether or not to get another. It wasn’t as if he needed to stay sober; for once he wasn’t Nate’s designated driver. They’d both arrived by taxi to the Five Horses Tavern to find their friends—Logan, Josh, and Christian—were nowhere in sight. And Logan had drawn the short straw as far as driving went.
“No, really?” Nate rolled his eyes.
Dylan smiled to himself. Nate had no idea how cute he was when he did that. “Are you sure Josh said they were coming?”
Nate sighed. “Fine. Don’t believe me. Do you wanna read his text?” He picked up his phone from the bar and held it out to Dylan. When Dylan didn’t take it, he huffed and set it back down. “Glad we’ve got that settled.” Nate leaned back in his chair and expelled a long breath. “Christ, you have no idea how much I’ve been looking forward to tonight.”
Dylan absently rubbed Nate’s shoulder. “School kicking your ass again?”
Nate snorted. “What do you mean, again? It’s a never-ending cycle of planning, meetings, assessments, appraisal, reports…. One class moves on, and you dare to think the next bunch of nine-year-olds will be better, but nooooo, they’re just as entitled as the last bunch.” He turned those big blue eyes and long black lashes on Dylan. “Tell me again? Tell me I’m doing the right thing?”
Dylan smiled. “Nate, you were born to be a teacher. I always knew that. And when you’re not worn down by all the crap that goes with the job, you know it too.” Dylan’s phone pinged, and he held up a finger. “Wanna bet that’s them, telling me they’re gonna be late?” He peered at the screen. “Aw, shit.”
“What? What’s wrong?”
Dylan held the phone so Nate could read the text. “There goes our ride. Logan can’t make it.”
Nate frowned as he read the message. “Okay, so I’m sorry he’s feeling like crap, but damn, it’s been weeks since we last met up for a Saturday night get-together.” He sagged into his chair. “Not that I begrudge Josh and Christian their happiness for one nanosecond.”
Dylan agreed. God knew it was about time the pair of them found love. But yeah, he did know how Nate felt. It was as if they were in a holding pattern, waiting for things to return to normal once the honeymoon glow had worn off Josh and Christian’s new relationship. Except, so far, it hadn’t shown any signs of doing that.
“I bet I know why Josh organized tonight. He’s probably missing our little soirees as much as you are.” Dylan sent a message back to Logan, expressing sympathy for the upset stomach and headache. “Okay, so we’ll be four instead of five. That still means we’ll have fun, right?”
Nate’s phone warbled, and he pulled it across to peer at the screen. “Wrong,” he said, his mouth going down at the corners. “Sorry, guys, we won’t be coming. Something came up.”
“That’s from Josh, right? ‘Something came up’?” Dylan snorted. “How original.”
Despite his obvious disappointment, Nate snickered. “Yeah, I know. Is it really wicked of me that I read that message and wonder if it was just one body part that ‘came up’? Knowing those two? Probably not. What do you wanna bet we got stood up so they could spend the night in bed. Or on the couch. Or in the shower.” He shook his head, smiling. “Let’s face it. These days, whenever you call Josh, they’re either about to fuck, in the middle of fucking, or they’ve just finished.” Nate widened his eyes. “What are we doing wrong here? We should be getting laid every night. You’re cute, I’m cute… the girls should be lining up.”
Before Dylan had the chance to digest that remark, Nate scrubbed his hand across his chin. “I mean, look! I got a beard! Beards are chick magnets nowadays—everyone knows that.”
Dylan snickered. “Beard? That’s just bum fluff.”
Nate glared and stroked his facial hair. “Don’t you mock my beard. It’s sensitive. You’ll hurt its feelings.”
Dylan burst out laughing. “You are nuts. Do you know that? And if we’ve gone from five to two, I see no point in staying here. Let’s do something else.”
Nate’s eyes gleamed. “My place. Pizza, popcorn, a movie or three, and seeing as you’re not driving, beer or whatever you want. You can even sleep on the couch and go home in the morning.”
“I get to choose the movies?”
“Not all of them!” Nate grinned. “Is that a yes?”
Dylan matched his grin. “No, it’s a hell yes.” He grabbed his jacket from the back of the chair, dumped a handful of bills on the bar, and stood. “Call an Uber? We can wait inside until it gets here.”
“Damn straight. Too fucking cold out there.” Nate’s thumbs moved over the keypad.
“Hey, didn’t you hear? Temperature got to fifty-five today. A record for late January.”
Nate huffed. “They can keep their record. It was still cold enough to make my nuts shrivel up.” He got off his chair and peered at his phone. “Uber’s on its way.” Then he grinned. “And the next time we see the guys? We play up what a great night we had. That’ll teach ’em to bail on us.”
Dylan was already feeling better. A night of movies, snacks, alcohol, and Nate for company. Just what the doctor ordered.
“I THOUGHT you promised popcorn.” Dylan pressed Stop on the remote. “We got the entire way through Dune and still no popcorn.” The beer had made his head pleasantly muzzy, and the rum was making him warm inside. Not to mention more than a little tipsy.
Nate got up off the couch and trudged toward his kitchen. “I swear, some people have no gratitude. You ate most of the pizza, you… piglet.”
“Piglet?” Dylan gave an indignant huff. “I’ll remember that next time you ask who’s paying for the pizza. Let’s see, who paid this time?” He stroked his chin thoughtfully. “Oh yeah, that would be me.” He got up off the couch and went over to the DVD player. “And just for that remark, I’m choosing the next movie.”
“Hey, no fair!” Nate squealed from the kitchen. “You picked Dune.” The microwave whirred into action.
“Like we weren’t gonna watch it.” Dylan shook his head. “Talk about a foregone conclusion.” He put the DVD back in its case and wandered over to the bookshelf.
“Just for that, I may decide you can’t have any more 151 rum.”
“Now you’re just being mean.” Dylan peered at the shelves. “I spy new movies. You’ve been shopping.”
“Duh. No shit, Sherlock. Take a look. See if one of ’em grabs you.”
Dylan pulled out some of the new titles. A thriller, a couple of comedies, a sci-fi…. Nate had an eclectic taste in movies. None of them piqued Dylan’s interest, however. He peered higher, to where he knew Nate kept his porn—and froze. There were new movies there too.
Dylan grinned to himself as he pulled out the cases to study the covers. Some good stuff, by the look of it. Wonder if he’d mind if I borrowed some of these? Then he pulled out the last new DVD—and froze yet again. The cover showed two guys and a girl, but the back….
“Hey, you’ve gone quiet. There can’t be that much to occupy your attention. My DVD collection is not that big, and you’ve seen most of ’em.” Nate came back into the living room, carrying a large bowl of buttered popcorn.
Dylan held up the DVD case. “Well, I’ve never seen this one,” he remarked dryly.
Nate stilled instantly, his eyes wide, but then he recovered, walking over to place the bowl on the coffee table. “More rum?” He held up the bottle.
“Are we not going to discuss this?” Dylan gaped at him.
Nate gave him a mild stare. “What’s to discuss? You’ve seen porn before.” His face was a little paler than usual, however.
Dylan blinked. “Yes, but….” He took another look at the back cover. “There are… guys fucking each other on this one.”
Nate opened his eyes wide. “Two of our best friends fuck each other. Are you gonna stand there and tell me you’ve never wondered what they… do?” Warmth washed over Dylan’s cheeks, and Nate gave him a smug grin. “I’m right, aren’t I?”
Dylan prepared to bluff it out. “I’ve no clue what you’re talking about.” It might have come out stronger if he hadn’t hiccupped afterward.
A loud snort burst from Nate. “Seriously? You’ve never looked at them and wondered which one of them is topping the other?”
“Topping….” Dylan blinked. “Just how much of this have you been watching? And as for thinking about Josh and Christian, isn’t that a bit—”
Nate flushed. “As much as I don’t want to think about it… I can’t stop thinking about it.” His gaze slid down Dylan’s form until he was staring at Dylan’s crotch. “Looks like you’re thinking about it too.” Nate grinned. “Someone’s got a hard-on,” he sang.
“No,” Dylan groaned. “It’s all this talk of fucking.” His dick was like granite. Fortunately he had the solution in his hand. Literally. He waved the DVD. “Let’s put this on so I can take care of this.” Right then it sounded like a perfectly reasonable suggestion.
Nate’s eyes were huge. “Are you—you’re kidding, right? You want to… jerk off… with me here?”
Dylan shrugged, as nonchalant a reaction as he could manage. His heart pounded, however. “Who says I’d have to do it on my own? You could do it too. Why not? It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve jacked off with someone else.”
Nate arched his eyebrows. “What the hell? And when was this?”
Another casual shrug. “In college, with my roommate.” Inside his head, a voice was shouting—way too loudly—that he needed to shut the fuck up, like now.
Nate stood beside the couch, his arms folded across his chest. “Was this a regular occurrence? And if so, why am I only hearing about this now?”
“Why would I tell you about that?”
“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe because we’ve been sharing secrets since we were eight years old?” Nate’s cheeks were flushed.
Dylan regarded him carefully. “It wasn’t that big a deal. He went out on a date, didn’t get lucky, came back horny, and… things happened. Are you saying you’ve never jacked off with someone?” Because even in Dylan’s slightly muddled state, there was something about Nate’s indignation that didn’t ring true. That remark about secrets struck a chord. “You’re telling me you’ve got no secrets that you’ve kept from me?” Then he had it. He gave Nate a triumphant stare. “How about the time you egged Mrs. Jenkins’s house after she told your parents you were running around in the backyard in your underwear?” He flashed Nate an evil grin.
Nate’s eyes bugged out. “I never told anyone that!” He sat on the couch, perched on the edge of the cushion.
“Carly Jenkins saw you in your drawers, and she’s the one who told her mom. Two days later the house was egged. Didn’t take a genius to put two and two together,” Dylan said smugly.
Nate’s chin dropped to his chest. “Fine. I guess we both have secrets.”
“And you still haven’t answered my question.”
Nate raised his head and sighed. “Okay. Once. But it was a long time ago when I was, like, fifteen.”
Dylan chuckled. “Dude, you’re only twenty-six now.”
For some reason his remark eased Nate’s tension, and he nodded, smiling. “It only feels like it was a lifetime ago, I guess. Besides, it was awkward as hell, and we never talked about it again.”
“All righty, then. But you’re not fifteen anymore.” Dylan grinned. “And I’ve seen you naked heaps of times, so it’s not like it would be a new experience, right?” He shook the DVD case. “And it comes with extras,” he added in a singsong voice.
Nate gave him an incredulous glance. “You still wanna do this?”
Dylan gestured to his crotch, where his erection was pushing against his zipper. “Aw, come on. You wanna leave me in this state? I need to take care of this.”
Nate’s eyes darkened. “I dunno. It… doesn’t seem right, that’s all.”
“Okay, then, how about this? We start watching it, you at one end of the couch, me at the other, and if it feels awkward for either of us, we stop.”
Nate appeared to consider his suggestion for a moment before nodding. “Okay. Lemme go get the lube.” He walked into his bedroom and returned a few seconds later with the bottle in his hand.
Dylan snickered. “That was fast.”
Nate lifted his eyebrows. “You’re telling me you don’t know exactly where your lube is?” He snorted. “Load that DVD and let’s do this.” He grabbed hold of his own crotch and squeezed.
Apparently Dylan wasn’t the only one who was hard.
Minutes later, the DVD was playing, and they were seated as far apart as it was possible to be on Nate’s couch. Dylan undid his jeans and reached in to take out his aching dick, his gaze focused on the TV, where the girl was sucking one guy’s cock while the other ate out her ass. He kept his eyes off Nate, not wanting to spook him, and a little while later, he caught the whisper of Nate’s zipper opening. Dylan stared at the screen, moving his hand languidly up and down his shaft.
“Here.” The bottle of lube landed on the seat cushion, hitting his leg.
“Thanks.” Dylan gazed down to where his cock poked from between the open zipper. Fuck it. He took hold of his jeans and shoved them down to his knees before slicking up his hand and wrapping it around his shaft. Nate’s strangled gasp followed the action, but judging from the way the couch moved, he was soon doing the same.
Dylan was not looking anywhere but at the TV.
Dylan flung the bottle to the other end of the couch without so much as a glance.
“Sorry.” This was without a doubt the most surreal conversation Dylan had ever had. He concentrated on the screen, where the girl had apparently had an orgasm, accompanied by a lot of noise. She sat back against the headboard, murmuring encouragement while one of the guys sucked off the other. Dylan’s balls tingled as he watched him deepthroat the thick shaft until it was dripping with saliva. Dylan sped up his hand movements. “More lube?”
“Excuse me?” Nate chuckled, the most relaxed he’d sounded in a while.
“Gimme a bit more lube.”
“You want me to stop what I’m doing to hand you the lube?” The couch dipped as Nate shifted closer, and then Dylan caught his breath as Nate knocked his hand aside and then swiped a slick hand over Dylan’s dick, sliding it from root to head. “There, you got lube.”
Holy fuck. Dylan stilled. “Oh my God. Can you do that again?”
“What? Touch your cock?”
“Hell yes. Fuck, it feels so different when it’s another guy’s hand.”
“Yeah, I know.”
Before Dylan could question Nate’s words, Nate moved closer still, and a slick hand insinuated itself around his dick as Nate began a tentative up-and-down motion that had Dylan moaning.
“Hey… what about me?” Nate sounded a little breathless. “Turnabout is fair play, remember?” He grabbed Dylan’s hand, and suddenly Dylan was holding hot, hard, slick flesh.
It was getting more and more difficult to keep his eyes on the screen.
Speaking of which…. The guys knelt up on the bed and began kissing with passion, their hands all over each other.
“What’s the attraction?” Nate said huskily. “They’ve got a hot girl there. I mean, I know Josh and Christian kiss—a lot, come to think of it. It can’t be that different, kissing a guy, right?” He moved his hand faster on Dylan’s cock, and Dylan groaned. “What—you don’t wanna come? I thought that was the whole point?”
Two could play at that game.
Dylan worked his hand faster, tugging and squeezing Nate’s shaft, forcing equally loud groans from his lips. “I will if you will.”
He couldn’t help himself. He had to see.
Dylan turned his head to find Nate staring at him, those beautiful blue eyes wide open, lips parted, Dylan’s hand wrapped around a long, slim dick, its head dark and shiny, Nate’s hips lifting up off the couch as Dylan slid his hand down the shaft.
“Fuck,” Dylan whispered, lost in awe at the sight: Nate as he’d never seen him before, balanced on the knife edge of a climax. Dylan leaned in closer, his heart hammering, and Nate moved to meet him, until their mouths were almost touching. Dylan closed the distance between them and kissed Nate, his lips warm, the scruff on his jaw softly scraping against Dylan’s skin.
Nate shuddered, and warmth covered Dylan’s hand.
“Oh God,” he whispered, his balls tightening, and seconds later he shot his load, creaming Nate’s fist. They locked gazes, both of them breathing rapidly, the sound loud and harsh in the room, the DVD forgotten.
How long they sat like that, Dylan had no idea.
Finally Nate cleared his throat. “Okay, I’m just gonna get some tissues.”
Dylan let go of his dick, and Nate got up unsteadily from the couch. He walked stiffly from the room, holding up his jeans with one hand.
Dylan sagged against the back of the couch. That did not just happen. Not the mutual masturbation—he wasn’t thinking of that at all—but the kiss. Why did I kiss him?
The answer almost jumped into his head. Because it felt right. Like it was what we were meant to do in that moment.
“Here.” Nate thrust a handful of tissues into his hand. Dylan noted that he’d dropped some folded sheets, a couple of pillows, and some blankets onto the armchair. Nate stood beside the couch, his eyes not meeting Dylan’s. “Listen, it’s late, and I’m really tired, so I’m gonna go to bed. You know where everything is, right? Help yourself to whatever you want.” He flashed a smile that didn’t meet his eyes. “Good night.” Nate turned and fled the room, leaving Dylan to stare after him.
Holy fucking Christ, he did not just do that. Okay, Dylan got that Nate had to be embarrassed as hell, but still, to treat him like some cheap trick, especially after Dylan had gotten him off—spectacularly, he had to admit, considering the evidence was still all over his hand….
There was no way Dylan was going to spend the night on Nate’s couch. For one thing, he doubted he’d get a wink of sleep. For another, he wasn’t sure what on earth they would have to say to each other the following morning. Dylan had no transport, but he could always call for an Uber or….
The thought was right there.
I need to talk to someone about this. I can’t just leave it.
Dylan wiped Nate’s come into a wad of tissue, cleaned off his dick, and then pulled his jeans back on. He grabbed his jacket, and after looking around to make sure he hadn’t left anything, he let himself very quietly out of Nate’s apartment. Outside, the frigid air hit him instantly, and he shivered. Rather the cold night air than hang around inside, where it felt even colder.
He got out his phone and sent a text. You around?
Seconds later, Josh replied. What’s up?
Dylan didn’t hesitate. He pressed Dial. “Hey, are you in any state to drive?”
“Sure, but why? What’s wrong?” Josh’s voice was laced with concern.
“Can’t talk now. Can you pick me up from outside Nate’s place?”
A pause. “Okay, now you’re worrying me.”
“Please, Josh? No questions?”
Josh sighed. “I’ll be there in twenty minutes.” He disconnected.
Dylan heaved his own sigh of relief. Inside, his head was a mess.
I’ve ruined my friendship with Nate.
I’ve probably ruined my friendship with Josh and Christian too, because they’re gonna take sides over this, and who the fuck will they choose?
Dylan was not looking forward to the conversation to come.
NATE SAT on the edge of his bed. That did not just happen. He knew he was being a coward, but he couldn’t wait around to see the expression on Dylan’s face. What must he think of—
The sound of his front door opening and closing.
What? What the ever-loving fuck?
Nate lurched up off the bed and ran into the living room. No Dylan. He dashed over to the window to peer through the blinds. Dylan was leaning against the fence, talking on the phone.
Don’t just stand here, idiot. Go down there. Go after him!
Nate’s brain screamed at him, telling him he had to make this right. But how? He had no idea. The mutual jacking off was one thing, giving each other hand jobs was possibly a step too far, but the kiss? That should never have happened. Nate had been swept up in the moment and….
Fuck. Why did this all have to get so complicated?