"What's wrong?" Paul was on his third glass of champagne. That and the wine and the beer were sloshing around some, but he didn't have to drive back to Jersey with a kid.
Lucky him. He could stay here, a little buzzed and sleepy and worried, sitting thigh to thigh with Emerson. Emerson, who looked a lot more worried than he did.
Was it worse when Emerson pretended nothing was wrong or when he was upset enough to let a little emotion crack his facade?
"Yeah, yeah, I know. Nothing is ever wrong with Emerson Greene. But if something was wrong right now, what would it be?" Paul leaned over to kiss him on the cheek.
Emerson took a little warming up after they'd been away. A light kiss could start the thaw nicely.
"Nothing." Emerson swallowed. "Well...Liz."
"You'll miss her more than she will you, you know. She's tough. Sweet and mushy and tough. It's quite a combination."
"I know." Emerson put the champagne flute--Jesus, an antique cut crystal champagne flute--on the coffee table. "I mean, I know I'll miss her more than she will me."
Just saying things like "miss" made the ache in Emerson's gut increase. He'd learned long ago and very painfully that you didn't admit to missing or wanting or, Jesus God, loving anything or anyone. Because it didn't do any good except to give someone else a weapon to beat you with.
He didn't need any more beatings.
"I'm amazed you'd admit that, Iron Man." Paul's voice, half-sarcastic, half-concerned, almost soothed the ache.
"Yeah. Well." He wished he hadn't put the glass down. Not having anything to do with his hands made him feel stupid. Not knowing what to say to the guy who knew him better than anyone else made him feel more stupid.
At least Paul was only being half-sarcastic. When Paul wanted to go all out, the wounds could last for days. Years. He was still bleeding a little from the last big argument they'd had. The one that had split them apart even further. They'd managed to rebuild their friendship but...
If they never saw each other again, Emerson wasn't sure what he'd do.
Paul licked the last drop of champagne from his glass. Slowly, watching Emerson the whole time. Jesus, that was sexy. "Liz is special. She always has been. But what about me?"
"You?" Emerson's almost soothed gut ache suddenly kicked in again.
"You said you missed me, Emerson. How much?"
Emerson searched for more sarcasm but heard only...almost...tension. Uncertainty. How could Paul not know how much?
Because it didn't matter as much to Paul? Or because Emerson was very, very good at hiding what he felt?
Emerson knew he couldn't say what he meant. Even if he could, it would overwhelm the man sitting next to him. The man he got for a holiday weekend, once a year. Paul was here for a good time right now and because they'd had a lot of shared good times in the past.
But Emerson was here because Paul's visit kept him going for the next 363 days until he saw him again.
This was the man he'd been in love with for years.
A wave of familiar longing and loss and horniness sucked him in. He couldn't say anything like that to Paul. Couldn't admit to being that needy.
But he could take action.
"This much." Emerson took a deep breath and leaned forward.
Emerson never moved fast. Quiet, soft-spoken, stay in the background was his style. So what the hell?
One minute Paul was cautiously putting the moves on his old college dorm mate, just the way Emerson had always liked it. The next minute Paul was stretched out on the old leather couch, Emerson on top of him, with Emerson's tongue in his throat, Emerson's fingers flipping open his fly's snap, and Emerson's cock digging hard into his own suddenly painfully eager erection.
Jesus! Paul unlatched Emerson's belt. Sometimes change was very good.
"Leave it. Mine." Emerson growled--definitely growled--and Paul moved on to undo the buttons on Emerson's flannel shirt. He hoped the no touching rule only meant the belt and below, and only because Emerson was fighting for some control. For now Paul would be willing to go elsewhere to feel some skin-to-skin, any skin-to-skin. But he definitely planned on more later.
The shirt gaped open and Paul licked Emerson's almost hairless chest. He could hear the thud of the man's heart kick up a notch.
The couch creaked as Emerson began to tug on Paul's jeans. Whoever this alien-in-Emerson's-body was, he should have arrived years ago. Paul arched up and pushed against Emerson's body.
"Fuck." A slightly cold breeze hit Paul's body as Emerson got him naked--or at least with his pants down to his ankles. Naked enough.
Emerson muttered and cursed again under his breath as he shoved his own pants off and then climbed back on top of Paul. Emerson hesitated, just a minute, staring down at him. "Condoms are in the bedroom."
The bedroom was about twenty steps too far away.
"I'm clean, guy." Paul looked up at him. "I swear."
And Emerson, being Emerson, took him at his word. "Got lube in my shirt pocket."
"I take it you're on top tonight."
"Any problem with that?"
Paul knew he was giving his newly appointed top a sappy, wide grin. "Not our usual style but hell, I was just thinking I like change. Besides, I'm tired as hell after the flight and food. It'd be nice for you to do the work this time."
"I'll wake you up if you drift off." One of Emerson's fingers toyed with Paul's ass, slid up between the cheeks, and circled his hole.
"Fuck drifting off." He was wide, wide awake.
"Good enough for now. I plan to make it better." And Emerson, without further ado, knelt down and deep throated him.
Paul's head hit the arm of the couch, it snapped back so fast. Emerson wanted to be the perfect host tonight? He could--yes, oh God, yeah--roll with that.
He looked down to see a mass of dark, slightly shaggy hair fall over Emerson's face as he bent over. It tickled Paul's skin, especially his balls, as Emerson covered them. But Paul grabbed for Emerson's shoulders instead of his head, which was what he really wanted. Holding onto shoulders was the polite guest thing to do.
Shit! Fuck polite. Emerson moved to his ass and stuck his busy tongue inside. Paul loved that, almost more than the actual sex. And Emerson knew that by now. Emerson's wet, probing tongue was too much. Paul grabbed a handful of that dark hair and held on.
"Love the way you smell. Taste. Everything," Emerson muttered, just barely audible.
"I heard that." He forced his fingers to release Emerson's hair when Emerson pushed at him. Paul tried not to pant, but he knew he was spoiling the stoic image by pushing his ass up against Emerson's face. "You think I'm tasty?"
"God, yes." Emerson was working cold, wet lube up his ass now with his fingers. Paul was already squirming from the sensations pushing at him. "And you're tight and...fucking hungry. You ready now, baby?"