Chris awoke with a start. //Where the *fuck* is that clock?// He found it laying next to the jeans that had been lying in the floor for more than a week. He eyed them skeptically. //Well, it would be better than goin' in there and wakin' *him* up. Fuck that.// He pulled them on and went in search of his keys. The overwhelming sense of dread kicked him in the stomach and crawled up his spine. //They're prob'ly laying on the fuckin' dresser. *In there with him.*//
He slowly opened the door and crept across the room with all the stealth of a panther stalking its prey. He fumbled around for a few seconds before his fingers brushed against his key chain. He gently gripped the keys together, so they wouldn't make noise when he lifted them... //Ah, yeah. That's it. And you're on your way.// He paused to glance at Toby, asleep in the middle of the bed. //Fuckin' prick. See the next time I let you hurt me like that.// Chris stormed out of the room simmering with barely contained fury, hurt, and some soul-shattering pain. //Gotta get the fuck outta here and fast.// He stopped on the way out and grabbed the helmet, and was gone.
What was that? A presence in the room? Chris? Toby pulled himself out of the cocoon of warmth that cradled him like his lover. Or more like his lover *should* have been. He sat up and watched as his shadow disappeared down the hall.
His voice was so soft there was no way he could have heard it as his throat was sore from hours of crying. Toby sat up as best he could, pushed his blankets away impatiently, and was up and moving on weak legs. He heard the engine of the bike start as he reached the living room. //No!// Toby opened the door in time to see Chris already on the street, already gone...
Toby sank to his knees, reeling with the intensity of the emotions that warred inside him. His throat burned and his eyes throbbed painfully, there were no tears left to cry. //What did you do? What if he don't come back?// Saddened to the point of not caring, Toby sat there, rocking silently, until his emotions were spent. Leaving him feeling empty as he slowly gathered himself and made some coffee. //Oh, yeah. Better eat ‘cause this day is gonna kick your ass my friend.// There was Chris' voice in his mind again. //*Fuck.*//
Toby fried some eggs and sausage and pulled the croissants out of the cupboard for some homemade breakfast sandwiches. //Take a couple for Steve, just in case.// Toby headed toward their bedroom to get ready and started running over his mental to do list and stopped cold in his tracks. His birthday was coming up. He swung the closet door open and chose the black jeans and white cotton shirt. Chris had liked him in that outfit. //Stop it all ready.// He gave himself a mental shake and forced himself to concentrate. He reached in and pulled out the black boots he had purchased last week, they would really set it off. Cowboy boots at that. His father would have a coronary if he ever saw him dressed like that. Toby smiled widely. //Why not? Stop by and visit to see if I'm getting anything for my nineteenth birthday...//
Pain pushed it's way into his subconscious by reminding him that Chris would be turning twenty-one just a couple of weeks later. //Wonder if he's even going to get me anything.// Toby already had his present picked out. Just waiting until the time was right to bring it home.
Chris awoke with a start eyes darting around trying to determine where he was and why.
"You okay, Sweet-boy?"
"What am I doin' here?"
"You fainted when Johnny told you he hired a full-time replacement for you. A combination of too many drinks and some potent pain pills I'd imagine. I called Tim and he came and got us."
"Christ, you didn't quit ‘cause a' me did you?"
"Nah, I just took the night off. Fuck him. He knew the accident wasn't your fault. You ain't even been drinkin'. He could have hired someone temporarily. That wasn't right."
"It's okay. I'm sure he's got a good reason. I was thinkin' bout goin' back to strippin' temporarily. Ya know, *just* strippin'?"
"How will Toby fill about that?"
"Dunno. I'm beginnin' to think we ain't gonna work out. He's too uptight an' I can't stand the way he acts around that little fuck he used to go to high school wit. It's like I can't say nothin' right. So I thought it would be best to just avoid the place whenever Steve is there. Better for all involved."
"Whatcha gonna do if he decides to spend the night and study?"
"Leave my bedroom window unlocked and climb in so they won't know I'm there."
"They will hear the bike before you even get there."
"Fuck it then. I'll walk in like I own the place, and Toby, and climb in our fuckin' bed."
"You know you won't."
"Yeah. Talkin' out my ass."
She must have heard the tears in his voice because before he knew it she was by his side and holding him close while he cried his eyes out like a sixteen year old school girl. But it felt good to cry, so good. May-bel was the closest thing to a mother he had in this world. //Untellin' what ever happened to yer real mother. Do you even care?// After a few moments of consideration, he knew the answer. //No.//
How long had he been crying? Tough to tell. He sat up and straightened out his clothes.
"Would you go wit me? Just drive me? I don't trust myself on the bike right now, helmet or no."
"Sure, Baby-doll. Lemme fill Tim in and I'll drive you any where you need to go."
"Mr. Beecher, your son is here."
"Send him in, Brenda."
He busied himself by putting away some documents as he didn't want to meet his eyes as soon as he walked into the room. He wanted to make him squirm. Just for a few minutes. //Needed money, no doubt. His motorcycle riding friend probably stole everything he had and left him broke. It would serve him right. He would deserved whatever he got. And he damn well better not ask to move back in either.// He listened to Tobias shift uncomfortably before he managed to clear every scrap of paper off the desk then turned to meet his eyes.
Harrison glanced up at his son, the visual shock of what awaited him loosened his tongue. "What the hell are you wearing?"
It was out before he could stop it. Harrison eyed his son carefully. //He surely wasn't going hungry. He even looked like he was gaining weight. And what was that emotion in his eyes? Is he in love? He's definitely wearing that sappy bittersweet look that teenage boys wear after they get their first piece. Well! It's about goddamned time!//
Toby averted his gaze after he saw his father trying to read what was going on in there. He was way too good at what he did. He didn't want him to know until *he* wanted him to know, about Chris, that is.
"You look healthy. Gaining weight."
Toby smiled sheepishly. "Yeah. Chris makes me eat." He had almost said cook. That would have gone over well.
"He hasn't robbed you blind yet?"
"Dad? Where did that come from?"
"You called me, dad. You've never done that before."
"Oh. Chris asks me every now and then if I've talked to ‘my dad'. Guess that's where it came from." He hunched his shoulders, not willing to elaborate. Just yet. "I was going to have a few friends over on my birthday, I thought I would ask and see if you and mother could come."
"You mean, you want to know if you're getting any presents this year?"
"From the sound of that I would say, no."
"Very bright boy."
"Why? Because I stood up to you or because I moved out?"
Toby nodded his head silently. Well, this was obviously the last time he would ever come seek him out so there was no reason not to tell him. Why not give back a little bit of the pain his father had been inflicting for years?
"Dad, there's something that I have to tell you. Seeing that this is the last time that you will *ever* see me by my seeking you out. Remember that guy? The one that you held such a low opinion of? The biker? Well, I seduced him. He's my lover now. And *I* initiated it."
Harrison reacted so fast Toby hadn't even seen it coming until he felt his lips smash painfully against his teeth. He could taste the coppery warmth of blood oozing from the destroyed lip into his mouth. He was able to block the second blow, but not good enough as it grazed his cheek bone and left a fire in its wake. Toby ducked and struck a defensive pose.
"Make you feel better, *dad*? Want a couple of more shots before I go? After all, I am turning nineteen and that was only two."
Harrison shook with barely suppressed rage. "Get out of my office! I never want to see you again."
"That's one thing you'll never have to worry about. I don't ever want to lay eyes on you again, either. Take your last look at your faggot son, ‘cause I'm outta here."
Toby turned on his heel and strode out the door, slamming it in his wake.
"Unmitigated bastard. I fucking hate you," Toby mumbled as he walked past Brenda, his father's secretary and part-time fuck for the past fifteen years. He loved watching the shocked look cross her face. Obviously dear old dad wasn't shared the going's on of the Beecher household with his favorite plaything. That was gratifying at least.
Once Toby was safely inside the car, the fear subsided, a vast emptiness remained. He would not cry.
"I *will* *not* *cry*."
Toby forced his hands to still, glanced out his rearview mirror and pulled out into traffic. He would be home in about a half an hour. All he had to do was maintain. //God, but I need to see Chris. Even though he's perpetually pissed at me lately, I still need to see him. Hold him. Arrrrgggggg! I need to love him, need him to love *me.*// He wiped his insistent tears away and tired to focus on his driving, and on whom he was driving home to...
Later that night Toby sat in the dark wondering where Chris was. Johnny wouldn't say anything but he couldn't work because of his arm and that he needed to talk to *Chris.* He remembered his reply with bemused detachment.
//If I knew where in the fuck he was to talk to, don't you think *I would be?*//
//I must be the dumbest fuck on the planet. Either that, or I just do a real good job of acting like it.// He glanced at the clock. Almost two-thirty. //Chris would be walking through the door in about fifteen minutes, if he had gone to work. Which begs the mind to wonder just where he was into all hours of the morning... Our last fight wasn't even that bad. It was more like a disagreement that a fight. So what the *fuck*?//
Toby's head spun as the sinking feeling whirled out of control. Toby rocked himself back and forth, his knees gathered to his chest, allowing the pain to overtake him. He was so lost in worry that he almost hadn't heard Chris pull in.
//Wait. Is that? I be damned.// "Chris' bike." Toby heard his voice echo in the dark apartment. In an instant, his fear switched up into white hot fury. Willing his anger under control, Toby pushed it down deep. He would not explode on Chris until he heard what he had to say for himself. //Wonder what his excuse is going to be. This should be stunning.//
Chris cut the motor off before he reached the walkway. //If he's asleep, I sure as fuck don't want to wake him up.// He put his key in the lock and was surprised when the door eased itself open. He would *have* to talk to him about security. He walked in and dropped the helmet on the table where Toby always sat it, followed by the soft sound of his keys hitting the magazine that lay underneath.
He was almost grateful that he didn't have to face him yet. Didn't have to lie to him yet. Chris walked over and flopped down on the love seat and almost jumped out of his skin when he landed on something soft and warm. Toby! He shot up on his feet and leaned over to switch the light on.
"Jesus, Mary and Joseph! What you doin' sittin' in the dark, Beech? You scared the livin' shit outta me! Why didn't you *say* something?"
He wasn't even looking at him. His hands were cupped over his face, sitting there, motionless.
"Are you all right, Tobe?"
Toby lowered his hands then looked up to meet Chris' eyes. Chris was not ready for what he saw. He jumped back sputtering.
"Who the hell? What the fuck? What happened, Toby? Tell me!"
"Can't do anything about it so what's the use?"
"Oh, no? I can kick the shit outta whoever did that to you!"
Chris was shouting now. His pain at seeing Toby broken, black and blue was crowding him in, threatening to overwhelm. It was more than he could stand. He needed to hit something, hard.
"Shhhh. Neighbors will complain and get us kicked out."
//Oh, yeah! Shit. No one in his old neighborhood gave a flying fuck about what you did. Kinda miss that sometimes.//
"So, you gonna tell me or what?"
"You can't beat up my dad, Chris."
"Yer..... dad? You shittin' me?"
Quietly, "No." Toby stopped to sniffle a tear, then continued. "I stopped by to ask him if he and Mom would come to my birthday party in a couple of weeks and he said no. Said it was because I stood up to him over you and moved in with you. It really hurt so I wanted to hurt him back. I told him about us."
"YOU DID WHAT?"
Toby couldn't help but smile at the look of disbelief on his face.
"Yeah. I told him and it felt good. Felt *right.*"
Chris knelt down by his side and pulled him into a bone crushing hug.
"I love you, Baby."
"I know you do. I love you, too." Toby pulled back slightly. "So, how was your night?"
"Kinda shitty. I passed out, fainted I guess. May-bel took me home and took care a' me for a little while. Then we went out runnin' around. Lookin' for some trouble to get into." He shrugged, then picked up where he left off. "Didn't find nothin' so we went back to her place and watched movies wit her husband and kids. I fell asleep on the floor and she was gonna leave me there but I jumped up soon as I saw what time it was. ‘Sides, I knew if I spent the whole night out my name would be mud when you caught up tah me."
"You got that right."
Toby playfully punched him in the ribs.
"Come on. I been missin' you all day, Mr. Keller."
"There goes the mobster talk again, little man."
"Ummm hmmm. I got your little...."
Toby took Chris' hand and rubbed it over his already throbbing cock, then lead him into their bedroom. He never would have believed the night would turn out like this in a million years. He wasn't going to have to fight with him. He hadn't asked him any more questions, so he hadn't had to lie to him. Not yet, anyway.
He allowed Toby to gently push him back onto the bed. He smiled at him wickedly then climbed on top and perched himself over Chris' already enlarged member. Toby watched the emotions play across his face as he slowly started to move against him, fully clothed. Chris' hips bucked up to meet him, fast and strong, he kept the pace until he knew Chris was ready to let go then slowed down to stop. He watched Chris' face fall when he broke the contact and saw the confusion that registered there.
"All in good time, Baby. All in good time."
Toby pulled him to his feet and started undressing him. Chris' hot breath on his cheek was almost his undoing as he leaned in to pull his shirt free. Toby paused to lick his lips open for a quick, hot, breathtaking kiss. He moved down and began to remove Chris' pants. Deliberately slow. Lazy and hot, his caresses trailed fire down Chris' legs as he slid the pants down to his ankles. Toby could feel his reaction jerk against his cheek as he leaned in to remove the pants from each leg. Hot crazy passion seized Toby leaving his fingers clumsy and inept, Chris kicked the pants off and pulled the smaller man up to him. It seemed that he was even farther gone than Toby could have known as his gentle touch had turned rough with passion.
Chris reached over to help free Toby from his clothing as quickly as possible desperate to touch him, to feel him. Toby allowed him to keep the control until he stood before him naked and needing his touch. He stopped Chris' next movement and held his hand, gently shaking his head no. He maneuvered Chris toward the bed then pushed him back and returned to his original position. He could feel Chris' throbbing heat under his backside as he slowly rocked his hips from side to side pulling a cry from the dark man. He knew what he wanted to do, but felt his resolve wavering.
Chris' one word destroyed his hesitation and made him *want* to please him. Toby turned and touched the heavy length of Chris. No matter how many times he touched him, he couldn't get enough. He was leaking heavily, nothing more would be needed. Toby reached his hand down between them to stroke the length of him spreading the cum, coating him. Chris' movements were becoming violent, jerking beneath him. Toby had to repress a chuckle at the bereft gasp that escaped him when he released him. He aligned himself with Chris' body, then slowly eased himself down on Chris' enlarged member.
The initial pain vanished as quickly as it registered, as Toby began to slowly move against him. Chris guided him using his hips, increasing and decreasing the tempo. Toby gave himself up to the new sensations that were assaulting him.
Toby gazed into his lovers eyes, not wanting to miss a single expression. The love he found shining there brought tears to his eyes and twisted his heart. Toby kissed him, hot and hard as they rode out the waves of passion and desire to the paradise that had been waiting, just beyond their reach. The smaller man collapsed on top of his lover, his heart, his life. He could feel the tears slide down the tip of his nose to land on Chris' chest. //Hopefully he won't notice or think it was just sweat.//
Toby felt like his soul was laying there, exposed, waiting for Chris to look inside and see all of his secrets.
Chris quietly whispered, awe and reverence in his voice. "Tobe?"
Toby, shaken to the core, responded, "Yeah?"
Chris' voice breaking, "That was...incredible."
Slightly amused, Toby asked, "Yeah?"
"Yeah." Affirmation and love emanated from Chris like a beacon.