It had been almost a week, and Toby couldn't bring himself to get out of bed. //Depression. Yep. Recognize the symptoms. Loss of appetite is good for one thing. Won't run out of food for a while.// Toby giggled listlessly. //Chris, I'm sorry. I really am. Please, forgive me. Give me another chance....// How he longed to say those words to him. If only he had the chance.
A loud knock at the front door spurred Toby into action. //Chris!//
Toby was up and dressed in moments, running, yes running, to answer the door. His greeting left his lips before he even had the door all the way open.
"Nope, Sweetheart, sorry to disappointcha. He did send me, tho. Told me you needed a car, and I had one for sale, so.... You wanna look at it or what?"
Toby fought down his disappointment when he heard that Chris had apparently been thinking about him after all. And with a car he could go see him at work.
"Yeah, uh. I would need a ride to the bank to get your money."
"Yeah. Chris told me that much. Come on out an' have a look at ‘er."
Toby followed the huge man out to the parking lot and glanced around. There were three cars there, and he just *knew* it wasn't going to be the one he would have chosen.
"The silver Caddy."
"Oh, Christ. I can't afford that."
"You ain't got two grand?"
"What? Yeah, I do. Is it stolen or something?"
"Nah. Bought it for the missus, but she left me. Don't quite fit my image, so I'm gettin' rid of it. ‘Minds me too much a' her."
"Two thousand is awfully cheap for such a beautiful car."
"Yeah, well, Chris owes me a favor now."
Toby didn't care for the grin on his nasty face. He could only imagine what type of favor he would demand from Chris. Hate and jealousy tore through him at the mere thought of it.
"Yeah, I'll take it."
They rode in silence, first to the bank then to the license bureau to transfer the car into his name. That much accomplished, Toby returned home to wait until he knew Chris would be at work. The next few hours passed like days. Toby closed his eyes and leaned back into the love seat and allowed his thoughts to drift back to the days he had spent with Chris. Those had been, oddly enough, some of the happiest days of his life. And all that Chris had wanted from him was love. He didn't demand or push, like his parents, and he certainly didn't ignore him. That was blissful. He had Chris' undivided attention. In the middle of his reminiscence, Toby drifted off to sleep, the first peaceful sleep he'd had in days.
Chris, yeah, he would be surprised to see him. That thought pulled Toby to wakefulness. //What time is it? Six-thirty!// He shot up off the couch and ran down the sidewalk to his car. His car that Chris had arranged for him to get. He knew some practicing attorneys who didn't have cars this nice! //Sweet, beautiful Chris.//
Toby drove as fast as he could, only fracturing the speed limit slightly. He had no desire to be pulled over when he was so close to seeing him again.
He pulled to a screeching halt in the parking lot behind the bar. He didn't want Chris to see him and flee before he could get a chance to talk to him. Toby rounded the corner with more enthusiasm than he had felt in days only to have his hopes dashed like water to a flame. That wasn't Chris sitting there on the bar stool, but it was his friend, Johnny. //That cocksucker! Better play it cool or he won't help you. Quiet and respectful, like a good little boy.//
Toby wiped the sneer off his face and replaced it with a smile that spoke volumes: sweet, shy, repentant, and eager to please. Then Toby approached him. //That unmitigated bastard. The nerve. Not telling him I called!// Toby suddenly realized his vocabulary was growing, but not in a good way. //Bless his heart, Chris is rubbing off on me.// He carefully schooled his features, showing just enough uncertainty and shyness to move the big man to help him. //Already thinking like a lawyer. Way to go Beech!//
"Johnny, uh, hi. I came to see Chris. Is he on break?"
"Nah. Called in sick. Sounded pretty shaken up. Said he had to go to the doctor. Must really be sick. It ain't like Chris to waste money on a doctor unless he's half-dead."
Dread and fear flooded his body. //Holy fuck! That motherfucker must have kept the promise that he read in his eyes. His favor is fucking repaid.//
Johnny watched the emotions play across his face. //Obviously the fat bastard hadn't make it a secret as to what he expected in return for the deal on the car. Humh.// Johnny eyed him for a moment. He had gone three shades of pale since he had been standing there. //That's right you little cunt. Feel bad. Feel really fuckin' bad.//
"Do you, ah, know where he went?"
"He didn't say. Don't think he'd really want me to tell you. Or for that fact, I don't think he would want you to *know.*"
Toby nodded, understanding dawning. It would humiliate Chris if he knew that he knew about it. He didn't want that barrier between them.
"Listen, I thought a lot about what you said. It's been an awful week without Chris there. I miss him so bad I make myself sick crying. I just want him back...."
//Tears, genuine fuckin' tears in his eyes. Awww, fuck.// Johnny could handle anything but that.
"I won't hear from him for a couple a' days, but when I do, I'll send ‘im your way."
Chris shifted slightly, causing new ripples of pain to shoot through his ravaged body. //Jesus fuckin' Christ! That guy prob'ly ain't been laid in decades so he takes it out on me. Hell, you'll be lucky to even be able to shit normally again. Motherfucker better not even come back around. That was above and beyond anything I could have owed him for the deal on the car. Debt canceled you cocksucker.// Chris felt his grip slipping as the pain medication pulled him back under.
//Toby... Toby... come here, Baby.// Toby's beautiful smile cast sunshine on his upturned face. //Need you. Need to hold you. Toby. I hurt. I hurt so bad. Please, hold me.// In one quick movement, he felt Toby pull him into his arms and kiss him gently. //It's okay, Chris. I'm here. I won't leave you.//
Toby's sweet words echoed in his mind as the nurse shook him awake.
"Sir? Sir? Your I.V. has finished, so we're releasing you. Do you have someone that can come pick you up?"
His voice raspy in his own ear. "Yeah. My room mate."
She eyed him skeptically. //Ah, well. Can't lie very good wit all of the drugs fuckin' wit my mind.//
"Yeah. He was stuck at work coverin' for me. Should be gettin' off anytime now. I'll get home all right."
Chris gave her a dazzling smile, and she shook her head with wonder. //She must be askin' herself how I can still smile after what I just been through. Ah, well. It wadn't like it was the first time or anything and it prob'ly wouldn't be the last either.//
"All right. Sign here and take these papers to the cashier."
Chris nodded silently, wondering how much of next months rent money it was gonna cost him. She led him back to the corridor and pointed him on his way. Chris let his thoughts wander. //Wonder what Toby's doin' now? Prob'ly sittin' on the love seat watchin' somethin' on TV. He would surely have cable by now. Phone too. Wonder how he would react if I stopped by? No no no no! I am not going to be the one to make the next move. It's his turn.//
It was already dark outside. //What the hell time is it anyway? It was ‘round three or so when I got here and now it's pitch black out.// Chris shook his sadly as he remembered the words the cashier had just spoken to him.
//We'll send you a bill for the rest.//
Looking at him like he was shit for not having any more than the $800 he had just given her. He couldn't help but think, //Jesus lady, what the fuck else you want?// She got every penny he owned, and in two weeks he would be homeless. If he didn't starve to death first. //Fuckfuckfuckfuck! Where's Toby when I need him the most? Can he really be that fuckin' self-absorbed?//
Chris sat gingerly on his bike. //Yeeeooowww!// That was gonna hurt for a while. Mental plans of killing the man who had caused him the pain started taking shape. //Ohhh yeah. Cut his fuckin' dick *off!*// He started the bike and revved it up, kicked back the stand and sped off as fast as the throbbing pain in his ass would let him.
//Man alive, I need a drink in the worst way. Maybe stop by and get somethin' from Johnny before headin' on home. Might be able to sleep tonight that way.//
Chris allowed his thoughts to drift while he drove, careful to stay away from the events that transpired to land him in the hospital in the first place. His mind invariably drifted back to Beech. His smile, his laugh, the spun gold of his silky fine hair. The teasing light he got in his eyes, his beautiful eyes, every time he would crack a joke at his own expense or in the midst of some horseplay.
Chris felt his heart twist. //Love sucks. No wonder I never gave in to it before. Hurts too damn much. A tender lesson in pain that I won't forget anytime soon.//
Johnny saw him approaching before Chris pulled up to park. He swallowed hard. //What do you say to your best friend when somethin' like this happens?// Keep it light, came the answering voice inside his head.
"Jeez, Chris. You look like shit, man."
"Yeah, well, yer ugly, an' yer momma dresses you funny."
Chris walked up and stopped just in front of him, took out a cigarette and lit it, inhaling deeply.
"I just stopped by to see if I could get somethin' to drink on my tab. Cocksuckers took every penny I had then told me they'd bill me for the rest."
"All of it? Jeezus, Chris. How you gonna pay yer rent?"
"Oh, hey. I almost forgot. Beech came by!"
Chris' head snapped up. "What?"
"Yeah. A few hours ago. Told him you were off sick ‘n all, wasn't specific or nothin'. He looked like he was really worried. Told him you were takin' it rough. Really pushed the guilt buttons until he broke down an' cried. Said he was here to ask you to come *home.*"
"You fuckin' wit me, Johnny?" His voice broke.
"Nah, hell nah! I'd never yank you ‘round ‘bout somethin' that important!"
"Sorry." Chris turned his eyes away from his friend. "I just can't go back. He has to come get me."
"He came to get you, tonight," Johnny gently reminded him.
"Yeah, but I don't wanna make it too easy on him. I been to hell an' back this week. He can suffer a little bit longer." He paused, then added, "So, can I get some beers or what?"
"Yeah, fill up yer saddle bags." Chris turned to walk away when Johnny stopped him in his tracks by adding, "And try not to fall in the water."
He couldn't believe his ears. "What'd you say?"
"I followed you the other night. Thought you were bad off enough that you might try ‘n' off yerself. So I hung back for a while an' watched you thinkin' ‘bout it an' didn't leave until you did."
Chris shrugged and played it off. He wasn't about to tell him that he was right.
"Yeah, well, I like to go there to drink ever' once ‘n a while. It's quiet."
"Uh huh. And close too."
Chris wouldn't meet his eyes. //Yeah, Johnny's gettin' to know you a bit too well for yer own good.//
A few minutes later, Johnny watched as Chris pulled away. //He's headed for the pier. I'd bet my left nut on it.// Johnny smiled as the thoughts played across his mind. //Well, it couldn't hurt to push fate along a little bit, now could it? Give him an hour to get through some of the beer an' give Beech a call....//
Toby slammed the phone in the cradle. //Heartless fucks!// Wouldn't confirm or deny whether there was a Christopher Keller registered or in emergency. He couldn't drive all over the city to get the same answers in person, so he was trapped, helpless until something gave. //*Fuck!*//
Toby picked up the phone and punched in the number he knew by heart.
It was a woman. Temporary confusion before he remembered Johnny was covering for Chris tonight.
"Yeah, could I speak to Johnny please?"
Startled, Toby answered, "Yeah."
"He said you might call back. Hold on."
A few moments passed until he heard Johnny's reassuring voice on the end of the line.
"Good news, Sport. Chris just left about half an hour ago. I think he's headed to the pier. Give ‘im an hour then head down there. Let him get a few beers in ‘im first. He's had a rough day."
"Thank- fucking- God! I was going crazy in here."
"I was gonna call you after I figured he had enough time to get numb. Didn't know if you'd be able to hold out an' give him some time alone. Hope you make the right decision."
Toby choked back a sob, "I will. Thank you for being honest, for helping me."
"Don't kid yerself. I'm helpin' *him.*"
"Well, you might not think so once you get a taste of what it's like to be a couple. Best wishes, Kid."
The click ended the conversation, but it sent Toby's mind racing. //Are you really ready for this? Ready to be with Chris, true enough. But, are you ready to let people know you're with him? Would he understand if I wanted to keep it quiet? Oh Lord, please help him understand.//
The fears and guilt he carried manifested themselves in a variety of episodes that flashed through his mind. They ranged from the snickering and finger-pointing of his classmates to the explosion of anger or hurt that Chris was bound to have at his request to keep it between them. A no-win situation. He suddenly understood Johnny's last words all too well. //Which ever path I choose to take, it's going to be a hell of an uncomfortable ride.//
Toby glanced over at the clock. It had been a little over an hour since he'd spoken to him. //Shit!// He jumped up and ran down to the pier. //Please don't let him be gone,// ran through his mind the whole way. He didn't slow his approach until he could see the outline of Chris' bike sitting at the edge of the pier. Toby deliberately controlled his steps and forced his breathing to slow. He didn't want Chris to misread anything, or worse yet, understand completely.
Toby approached slowly, not wanting to alert him of his presence. Not yet. He watched Chris drain the beer he had been working on then put the empty in one side of his saddle bags while extracting a full one with his other hand from the other side. //He has talent.// With effort, Toby took a deep breath, and forced a calmness into his words that he did not feel, and began.
"Fancy meeting you here."
"Can we talk first?"
"You said ‘fuck,' and I said ‘can we talk first.'"
Chris narrowed his eyes at him. "Cute, Beech. Very fuckin' cute."
"You think so? I always thought I kind of looked like a geek."
"You know what the fuck I meant."
"Yeah. I know." He walked a little closer. "Mind if I join you?"
"Would it do any good if I told you to fuck off?"
"Then go ahead."
Toby sat down cautiously by his side. He didn't want to spook him. //If he falls in the water, there's no way in hell I'd be able to get his big ass out.//
"You know, you really shouldn't be drinking. It will increase the potency of the medication they gave you."
"Huh? Oh, yeah, medication. Right. I'll be fine."
"Yeah, I know you will. Your ass is moving back in with me, so I can take care of you." Chris' eyes narrowed into slits, ready to refuse, but Toby cut him off. "Don't give me any shit. I'm sober, and even though you're bigger, I could whip your ass right now."
Chris gave a derisive snort. //He's prob'ly right. Hell, I don't think that I could even stand without help at this point.//
"Give me your keys."
"To the bike."
"You don't know how to ride a bike."
"I'll teach myself as I go. Now give them here." Chris obediently handed him the keys. "Besides, right now I'll do a damn site better than you could." He stood and looked down at Chris. "Make that your last one. I'm gonna need you sober to go get your things."
"No. Not tonight. I'll go in the mornin'."
"No, you won't. I'm not letting you out of my sight again. At least, not for a while."
Chris watched as Toby walked away. //Where in the hell had that mouthiness come from? He wasn't that snippy or short before I left. Bossy little brat. There's no way in hell he's gettin' within fifty miles a' the old place. Fuck that. Johnny will bring my shit over if I ask him.//
//Okay, you can do this. How many times have you seen Chris do it? Easy enough to emulate. Insert key, turn. Gently rev up the engine. Okay. Kick back the stand. All right. Balance the bike then lift your feet as you gently give it gas.// Toby whispered a silent prayer as he felt the bike jerk to life under him. //Whoa! Easy does it.//
Shockingly enough, he was doing rather well. Toby increased the pressure on the gas to take him up the hill toward their apartment. Instead of parking the bike in the lot, he drove it on up and parked it on the patio. //Oh yeah, keys. You're going to need the car to get him home long enough to sober him up.//
Toby unlocked the door and let himself inside long enough to grab the keys off the table. Unable to repress a smile, he whistled some sappy song that he had heard on the radio this morning as he walked to the car.
//The car. *Fuck.*// Realization hit him like a punch to the solar plexus. //Goddamn, Chris. Coming home would have been less painful.// Toby jerked the door open and climbed in. He covered the short distance in no time. He hopped out of the car trying to force a neutral look on his face and almost fainted when he saw that Chris was gone.
"Chris!" Pain and fear churned through his already raw system. //No no no no no!// Toby cast a nervous glance toward the water. //Surely he didn't...fall in?// He couldn't make his legs work.
"Whatcha want, Tobe?"
Toby swung around to focus, his eyes already tearing.
"Where the *fuck* where you?"
"Takin' a leek in the bushes. Relax, man. I ain't goin' nowhere."
Toby let out the breath he had unconsciously been holding. Chris seemed to be sobering quickly. //Well, that's a relief, anyway.//
"Don't fucking scare me like that again, asshole!"
"Jeez, Tobe. What happened?"
"Your language. Potty mouth."
Toby felt his cheeks burn. "Oh. Guess you're rubbing off on me."
"That can be a good thing." Chris smiled wickedly at him. //Yes, indeed, a very good thing.//
Toby reached over and grabbed Chris by his shirt and half dragged him to the car. He opened the door and stood back, so Chris could toss his saddle bags into the back seat. He waited for him to get in, then closed it. He practically ran back around to the driver's side, anxious finally get him home.
Chris stared at him out of the corner of his eye, trying to gauge how sincere he was about wanting him. //Is he serious about wanting to give it a try? Was that even what he was sayin'? Or am I misunderstandin' him again? Hard to tell just yet. Damn! Guess yer gonna find out soon enough.//
Suddenly the pain in Chris' backside reminded him that tonight might not be a good night to have sex after all. Toby might want to return the favor, and what could he say? //No, you might rip out the stitches?// That would go over real well.
Toby was out of the car and opening the door for him before he had even realized they had stopped.
"Thanks, Baby." Chris climbed out of the car and stepped into him. He slid his hand down Toby's side then traveled down to his bottom and rested there. His eyes silently daring him to step away. When he didn't, Chris grew bolder. He leaned in and brushed his lips lightly across Toby's mouth.
The kiss was soft, almost nonexistent, but it hit Toby like an all out tongue-swapping mouthfuck. He reached up and cupped Chris' face in his hands and deepened the kiss. Plundering, tasting, testing, teasing, he kissed him until he thought his heart might explode out of his chest from the sheer ecstasy of it.
Toby ground his throbbing erection into Chris' hip, sweet friction driving him almost insane with need. Running his hands under Chris' shirt, he tweaked his nipples to feel him jerk in response. Toby backed him against the car and started to push his jacket off his shoulders when Chris pushed him away, holding Toby at arms length, gulping and gasping for air.
"Sweet Jesus, Baby. I want you too, but a few more minutes and it would have happened right here."
Chris pulled Toby hard against his length to punctuate his meaning with the throbbing erection of his own.
"Let's go in and pick up where we left off."
Chris couldn't believe his ears. Toby, his Toby, was pulling him toward their home to make love to him. What had he done to deserve such happiness? Chris closed his eyes and tried hard to focus on what was about to happen. He reopened them in time to see Toby open the door to drag him through it.
Chris started to peel off his jacket, but Toby pushed his hands aside and took it off for him. His shirt followed shortly there after. Toby took control. He pushed him back onto the love seat so gently it bought the tears back to his eyes. Toby unlaced his boots and dropped them, with a thud, onto the carpet. He inched his way between Chris' legs and unbuckled his belt, unbuttoned his jeans, then unzipped them *with his teeth.* The larger man almost lost control. His hips jerked in response to the moist heat of Toby's mouth so close, the pressure from his chin pressing into him. He almost came on the spot.
A groan rolled from somewhere deep inside as he whispered, "Baby, you're killlllin' me."
Toby stroked his lover through the fabric of his jeans, allowing the friction to build as Chris' hips thrust to meet his touch. The dark man was panting and moaning scarcely discernible words, begging him urgently for release. The small blond man continued to work on the other man through the material of his jeans until Chris was pleading and whimpering his name, thrusting madly, and straining beneath him.
Chris was desperate, bucking wildly before Toby lifted at his hips, a nonverbal request to lift up and let Toby pull his pants off. Chris answered wordlessly as he arched his hips just enough to bring his cock maddeningly close to Toby's mouth. Having peeled away the last barrier, Toby stared at the silky hardness bobbing in front of him. Curious and scared, he leaned over to taste.
Toby's tongue darted out, barely making contact with the tip, but Chris felt the explosion of heat rip through his body as he shuddered convulsively. His felt his balls tighten. //Man, I'm gonna blow, and Toby barely touched me.//
Toby sat back and stared at his lovers naked body, much like Chris had the day he made love to him. Chris was beautiful. Breathtakingly so. His chest sculptured perfection, his stomach, flawless. His lean muscular legs.... Toby took a ragged breath and lowered his head to meet Chris' lips in a tender kiss, trapping his erection between their bodies. The small blond man reached between them, careful not to break the kiss, and allowed his hand to travel the muscled length of the dark man's chest down to his stomach to find the abdomen already wet and sticky from the leaking cock. He gently swirled caresses across the rock-hard midriff.
Chris' moans were playing havoc on his body and senses. Toby's mind was growing thick with desire, rendering him unable to think. He would have to let Chris guide him. Chris pulled him closer and ground his erection into his stomach, moaning into his mouth as if he had just heard his last thought.
"Baby, I'm close."
His voice breathless, Toby pulled away and slid his body up and down the length of him. Chris' sharp intake of breath acted like kindling for an already raging fire, pulling a broken moan from Toby. //This isn't about *you.* Focus! Tonight's going to be about Chris. Only Chris. You owe him that much.//
Toby leaned in and cradled Chris' erection between their stomachs. He nuzzled his lover's ear and kissed his neck, pausing to lick and suck on his Adam's apple. He could feel Chris' moan rumble in his mouth. Toby gently rocked back and forth, creating a delicious friction. Warm, oh so warm. Turning to fire. He pulled away and dropped his kisses lower and lower still. He allowed his hands to roam Chris' body, committing every inch of him to memory. Toby hovered above the swollen cock, letting his hot breath deliberately drive him into a frenzy.
"My God, Toby, pleeeeeease...."
The raw need in Chris' voice tore through him. Toby took hold of him gently, marveling at the feel of him. Soft and wet, sleek and hard. Toby's gentle explorations almost sent Chris over the edge as he ran his thumb up the vein that pulsed there and gently flicked the head with his thumbnail. The larger man, putty in his hands, bucked up off the couch trying desperately to ease the pain. Toby knelt closer and took him into his mouth using his hand as he worked the length of him, mimicking the motions that had been used on him. Chris rose to meet him. With each thrust he came closer. The small blond man felt hands on either side of his head, and for a moment, he was afraid that he would be forced to go deeper until he felt the fingers gently caressing him, weaving themselves through his hair.
Toby could feel him building up, so he increased the friction and pressure until he knew Chris was ready to let go. Then, to his utter amazement, he was pushed away before Chris came. He watched as he lover used his own hand to finish what he had started as he coated his stomach.
"Toby? What's wrong, Sweetheart?"
Toby sat in the floor, a look of distress on his face. "Nothing." Toby paused. "Why did you push me away?"
"I didn't think you would be ready for it. I didn't want you to choke."
"How am I ever going to be ready if you don't let me at least *try.* It's something I've got to learn. I'm not going to be perfect, or even close, if you don't let me try."
Chris closed his eyes. "I'm sorry. I was just rememberin', an' I didn't want it to be a bad experience, you know, first time an' all."
Toby colored. He knew Chris wasn't a virgin, but he just wasn't prepared to find out experienced he really was. Toby got to his feet, slowly, not wanting to alarm Chris, but it was already too late. The larger man had seen the color fade from his face and the flash of red that followed.
//*Fuck.* Man, you didn't even consider that he might think this was yer first time, too. Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb!// The pain that crossed Toby's face broke his heart. //FUCK!// He was the first, ever, that he had fallen in love with. Man and woman alike. He'd never given away his heart before, but he couldn't hardly tell him that right now.
Chris winced as he bent over to retrieve his discarded underwear. //At least he didn't see the damage that had been inflicted there. He woulda really lost it then.// Chris stood slowly and pulled his underwear on, then went in search of Toby.
Chris stuck his head through Toby's bedroom door. "Where you want me to sleep tonight?" His voice was soft, deceptively so, considering the amount of turmoil he was fighting hard to control.
"In here, naturally."
Was it naturally? Did he really him there or was he just saying what he knew he wanted to hear?
"You don't gotta, ya know? I won't be mad if you don't want me to sleep in here tonight."
"No, I *do* want you to." He patted the pillow next to him for emphasis.
Chris crossed the room and gathered him into his arms before Toby changed his mind. He kissed him soundly on the lips and pressed him back against his pillow. The darker man felt his desire start to flare and burn as he began to disrobe the smaller man as quickly as he could without hurting him. He broke their kiss only long enough to get Toby's shirt off. His kisses were wild and hot as Chris allowed his hands to travel the slight length of him. Hot and passionate, his touches grew more and more demanding. Reluctantly, the larger man broke their kiss to remove his own underwear and toss them in the floor.
"Let me love you."
Toby whimpered against his lips.
"Is that a yes?"
Chris pulled back and stared into his eyes. There was a lot riding on that question. His heart twisted as he watched the tear slide down Toby's cheek when he nodded yes.
Chris kissed him deep, hot and hard. He lowered himself on top of Toby, lined up their cocks and locked their hands together. He began to move slowly, gradually increasing the friction as their bodies demanded. Chest to chest, mouth to mouth, cock to cock, their bodies glided together, effortlessly. Friction building the tension that threatened to overwhelm them. Bodies tight, aching, straining against one another. Each exploding within moments of one another, coating their stomachs with the sticky warmth of their love.
Chris allowed himself to go limp on top of Toby, completely spent, unable to move. Toby's labored breathing prodded him into motion as he was probably crushing him. Chris rolled over and pulled Toby down on top of his chest. Locked in the warmth of his angel's embrace, he closed his eyes and just listened to him breathe.
Chris lay there holding Toby, unable to trust himself to speak at first. He drew a trembling breath then broke the silence.
"Are you okay?" He could feel Toby softly weeping as his head was laying on his chest, his heart.
"Yeah." The catch in Toby's voice betrayed him.
Chris pulled back and looked into his eyes.
"No you're not. Tell me, Baby. Please."
"It's just that... I mean... I thought you were going to...."
"Flip you over an' fuck you like a dog?" Chris supplied, his voice unreadable.
"Uh... well, I did think that you would want me to turn over...."
"There's more ways than that to make love. If you don't want to do that, I ain't gonna push you."
Toby snuggled closer, if that was possible, and wrapped his arms around Chris, squeezing until he yelped.
Chris had almost forgotten about *that* until Toby almost cracked his already bruised ribs. //Fat motherfucker's gonna die for what he did to me.//
"‘S okay. Me ‘n Johnny were fuckin' around after close last night, an' I think he bruised some a' my ribs. Big oaf."
Chris looked into Toby smiling eyes knowing he believed the easy lie. //Man, yer a piece of shit. You just smiled at the man you love and told him a bald faced fuckin' lie. Well, can't exactly tell him the truth. So, maybe that could be forgiven.//
"So. Where do we go from here?"
"Wait an' see. Just gotta wait an' see. It ain't gonna be easy. You know that, right?"
"Why can't we just keep our personal lives... personal?"
"You mean, why don't we just hide?"
Weakly, without conviction, "Yeah."
"If you're ashamed of us, then I guess we can."
"It's not that. You know it. It's THEM."
Chris nodded, wordlessly. Kept his voice level, then replied. "Tobe, I'd run the Boston Marathon nekkid if you asked me to, so if you want me to keep quiet, then I will."
Chris felt Toby heave a sigh, his relief more than evident. //That hurt. He don't want anyone to know that he belongs to you. Shit, I wanna climb on the roof and shout it at the top a' my lungs. But if that's what he wants, then I'll keep up my end of the bargain. It's gonna be interesting to see if he could keep up *his* end though.//
Chris smiled. He would stop with the endearments. He would treat him like one of the guys until he complained. And Toby would complain.
Chris had been silent too long, Toby poked him in the ribs.
"Huh uh." Chris leaned in and kissed him. A slow, gentle kiss meant to reassure rather than incite passion.
"Go to sleep, Tobe." He dropped his voice a few notches, "We can talk in the mornin'."
Continued in Part 9