The Way You Say [MultiFormat]
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eBook by Dar Mavison
eBook Category: Erotica/Gay-Lesbian Erotica/Romance
eBook Description: Australian adventurer Adam Yager arrives in Athens for a conference and meets a colleague from the past: Dmitri Pryce, a brilliant archaeologist, a charming individual, and a beautiful man. Adam has never found a man beautiful before, not like this, and between remembrances of the dig in Tanzania four years ago and talk of more recent work, Adam does his best to keep his arousal hidden? until he blurts out his admiration for the way Dmitri says the word "ass." And once Adam's said it out loud, it's too late to take it back. Dmitri remembers lusting after Adam four years ago with painful clarity, but he made himself get over his crush and accept Adam's friendship at face value. Now, as a documentary of the dig they both worked on is about to be released to the public, Adam clearly wants more, but Dmitri believes their opportunity to have passed. Except Adam is unwilling to miss this once in a lifetime chance to really get to know Dmitri and explore the passion they both feel.
eBook Publisher: Dreamspinner Press/Dreamspinner Press, Published: 2011, 2011
Fictionwise Release Date: March 2011
Adam's eyes were dark brown in the mirror, almost black--the same color as the magnetite deposit he'd found in Peru the month before--dark and wide, with slight bluish smudges under them. That distinctive flaw was only temporary. It always happened when he flew across several time zones at once. The under-eye circles were proof that there'd been no body-switching nightmare. He was in the men's room of the first class lounge of an airport east of Athens, and he was Adam Yager--photographer, amateur archaeologist, and semi-famous Australian adventurer. Semi-famous in certain circles, which weren't huge circles, but he would have recognized the reflection anywhere. That was him in the mirror, that sort of handsome guy, the one who was sporting his biggest erection of the past decade. The erection, as far as he could tell, was the result of running into an old friend, not even a friend--a past colleague--and a young man at that. It was so inappropriate and so embarrassing, he'd ducked in here to make sure there had been no body snatching or possession going on, because really, getting hard from hugging Dmitri Pryce was that inappropriate.
Adam didn't look any different. His hair had grown longer, a little wild from months of working and living at remote sites and not caring what he looked like. Maybe it was starting to turn lighter at his temples, a bit of distinguished gray, but that didn't make him a different person. The top of his reflection's hair was cut off because the mirrors were meant for shorter people. That was reassuring. He had not shrunk, nor had the world grown. Those were his broad shoulders, and that was his plain blue shirt, he recognized it, stretching across a chest that looked too big for off the rack shirts, but he couldn't help that either; that was the way he was. "That's me. In the mirror, it's me," he said aloud. Not loud enough that anyone outside would hear, but he had to say it to further reassure himself. "Those are my eyes and my hair and my body. It's me, not some weird guy who gets off on hugging his guy friends."
He wasn't actively getting off. He was wishing he was getting off, because along with his hair and eyes and body in the mirror, there was that massive erection, hidden when he tugged the shirt down over his crotch but there, and not going anywhere.
All because a beautiful young man had hugged him.
But no, it wasn't only because a beautiful young man had hugged him. Dmitri was more than merely beautiful. He was beautiful by all known standards, including the ones by which people tend to judge art, sculpture from the classical period, and nature. More beautiful than Adam had ever found a man before, which wasn't saying much, since Adam normally did not think "beauty" and "men" in the same thought, but Adam wasn't thinking it as an excuse, and he wasn't thinking it just to be nice, either. Dmitri really was uncannily beautiful.
Except Adam did not find any men beautiful. Honestly.
Maybe it was a result of the physical contact. Adam hadn't had much physical contact for the past eight months or so. Not in the past two years, strictly speaking, if by "physical contact" one meant "sexual contact," which was what Adam meant. It had been eight months since the finalization of the divorce, but Adam was an old-fashioned kind of guy, so he'd thrown himself into his work back when the official separation began, not feeling comfortable with the idea of falling in love while still technically married to someone else. He had succeeded admirably, not only by not falling in love; he hadn't even been attracted to anyone. That might be explained by the nature of his companions since the separations. For the most part, they were men like him, rugged and macho, or nerdy scientists, or downright scary eccentrics. None of them had been his cup of tea, especially given that his cup of tea, up until five minutes ago, had been women like his ex-wife--cute, usually blond, smart but not nerdy, maybe a little tomboyish or even athletic. But he liked them with curves, busty and very womanly. He liked women who liked lace and stockings as well as camping and biking. Brooke had played volleyball in college, and she'd paid for her tuition by modeling. That was the sort of woman he liked, not the sort he would likely run into on an archaeological dig in a remote and inhospitable location. Not the sort he would meet while working. So he'd thrown himself into his work after the split.
To be honest, Adam had always thrown himself into his work, no matter how things were going, something that probably hadn't helped the marriage in the first place. It was tough enough to make a relationship succeed without all that traveling and time apart. To be even more honest, the sexual contact had been sparse since long before the legal separation.
"I'm wasting myself," Adam said to his reflection. He was startled by his voice, as he was not ordinarily the sort of person to talk to himself, but not surprised by the words. They were truthful. He was in the prime of his life, thirty-six years old, in peak condition. He should be out there, circulating, meeting people, and getting laid. Instead, he'd spent the past three weeks in the Arctic doing a photo shoot on the reproduction of a seventeenth-century whaling craft, and the month before that on a mountain in Peru, and the six weeks before that underwater in a cave in Romania. He had no idea what had got into him, traveling so much when what he should have been doing was going out and meeting people--meeting women.
The other truth would have been harder, or maybe just stranger, to admit. He didn't particularly miss meeting women. His conscious mind would have insisted that he missed the feminine influence in his life very much, and had no desire at all for the masculine. Yet there was the insistent erection, telling him otherwise. But he wasn't quite at the point of admitting that yet. Not out loud, not even in his head.
Instead, he rationalized. Maybe it was the airplane, something to do with the pressure changes. That was it. It was the pressurized cabin and then coming out into the unpressurized atmosphere. It was basic hydraulics theory; the penis is nothing but a pump. Except he'd flown hundreds of times in the past, and never suffered from that particular side effect. Besides that, he'd been on a commercial aircraft in (one of the perks of being associated with a Hollywood film company) the first class cabin. It had been an excellent flight without even a hint of turbulence, and there was no way a respected international airline would risk messing up the pressurization. Besides, if it had been the cabin pressure, every bloke on the flight would have disembarked with a chubby. Adam hadn't noticed anyone else walking funny.
But then, he hadn't had time to notice much. He'd been barely two steps into the lounge when he'd been nearly bowled over by 150-odd pounds of freakishily beautiful British archaeologist.
"Face facts, mate," he told his reflection. "You're hiding in the airport bathroom with an erection the size of...." Actually, size didn't matter. The very existence of it was the problem.
There had to be some other explanation. It could not possibly be the fault of Dmitri, because Adam simply did not like other men. Maybe it was because so many of Dmitri's attractive qualities were, or could be construed as, feminine--the long hair, the smooth face, the slender body, the softness of his lips.
Adam didn't actually know if Dmitri's lips were soft or not. He was extrapolating from all the other features, features that had changed since the last time he saw Dmitri. At least the hair had changed. Back on the archaeological dig in Tanzania, everyone had been shorn to the scalp. There'd been a breakout of some kind of killer head lice in the camp, so as soon as he'd stepped out of the truck Adam had been ushered into a tent where his hair had been lopped off and he'd been issued a foul-smelling powder to treat his gear. Everyone on the team, even the women, had looked like fresh army recruits. Dmitri had been practically bald just like everyone else back then, so Adam had not known that Dmitri's hair was so stunning.
Not that Adam found other men's hair stunning. Not at all. No, he'd just been surprised, that's all. Dmitri hurtling at him out of the blue like that, and him getting a face full of long hair that smelled like honey.
That was it! The smell must have provoked a sense memory. It was the smell of Dmitri's hair that had put him in this state. Humans are funny animals. They react in purely instinctive ways to scents, colors, sounds, the most primal stimuli. That's the brain stem at work.
That was a relief. Now that the problem was solved, the best way to deal with the state, involuntary and brain-oriented as it was, was to change it. "Just a fluke. Nothing to take seriously," he said to his reflection.
His reflection did not look convinced.
Adam thought of all things unsexy and miserable and not conducive to erections. Freezing cold water. Insect bites. Having the flu.
When that didn't work, he chided himself. Come on, you're still a young, fit man. It's not like you don't get random erections anymore. Get over it, he tried to reason, to no greater success. It was the stubborn sort of erection.
That was how Adam ended up in the end stall, with his hand on his hard dick and his eyes shut tight as he tried to think of something, anything, that would help him bring himself off, anything that did not involve Dmitri and his slender body that, now that Adam had his cock out and defenses down, had felt so damn good when it slammed into Adam. He thought of anything but Dmitri and his smooth face and his long, honey-scented hair. When he found himself incapable of conjuring anything useful, he tried to convince himself this was a purely mechanical exercise, the purpose of which was to stimulate himself to the point of a purely mechanical orgasm. Physics, nothing more. Apply pressure and succeed.
Of course, that was when Dmitri walked in.
"Ah, is everything okay, Adam?" he called.
Adam muttered an affirmative through gritted teeth.
"You don't sound okay."
"Fine. Give me a minute."
"Okay. I'll wait in the lounge. I figured we could share a taxi to the hotel."
That did it. Adam summoned the fortitude to wait the few seconds it took for Dmitri to leave, but as soon as he heard the door close he bit back a groan and squeezed hard.
It would be a long ride. He'd driven it once himself. There were almost twenty miles of roads that wound up and down through the mountains, and Dmitri would be thrown against him half a dozen times as the cab doubled back on its route and the road twisted perilously. It was nearly noon, and the rising heat would make the small space--and Adam knew it would be small because when you were his size, anything short of a stretch limo was automatically small--even smaller. There were no excuses, no justifications now; it was the thought of sharing a cab with Dmitri and his slender body and honey-scented hair that gave Adam the release he'd been seeking.
The tail end of Adam's orgasm was interrupted by the buzz of his cell phone signifying a message from his oldest friend, Kirk Sweeger: "The hotel's great. Where the hell are you? I'm in 604. Call me as soon as you get in. I'm still cramped from my flight. Let's go for a run."
A run might clear his head.
* * * *
"You look pasty, dude. The Arctic does not agree with your complexion."
"You've lost a bit of your surfer tan yourself, Sweeger," Adam said, adjusting his stride to compensate for the upward slope. "Little too much time in the editing suite?"
Kirk groaned. "You have no idea what goes into finishing a full-length film. Hell, I had no idea until two weeks ago. This is the most daylight I've seen in months."
The exercise was starting to clear Adam's head. He'd practically raced from the cab to his room, dumped his bags, and met Kirk in the lobby a scant ten minutes later. Now he ran, feet pounding on the road, air rushing into his lungs, the sun on his face. It was exactly what he needed. When they got back to the hotel, he planned on doing push-ups until he hurt like hell, and taking a long, hot, hot shower, and maybe--no, definitely --wanking. If he still wasn't set right, he'd beat himself with a willow branch or whatever the fuck those monks used to do to tamp down their lust.
"You okay, Adam? You look really tense."
"Jet lag." He was back to blaming his condition on the journey from northern Canada to southern Greece. It sounded plausible to him.
It never ceased to amaze him, what the act of flying could do to you. Other than the dark circles under his eyes, nothing else was predictable. One time he might be tired, the next energized. Every flight was different. He'd thrown up the first time he flew through a thunderstorm. The next time, he'd laughed. He remembered his first helicopter flight vividly--the swirling sand, the tilt of the deck, the shadow of the blades on the desert floor, and his inability to focus on anything. That was over a decade ago. Absolute waste of film, it had been, but that's why the pilot had insisted on the test run the day before the actual assignment. The next morning, when those motorcycles came up over the ridge, Adam had been ready for them, and his shots of the Dakar Rally had won him the cover of Adventure Vistas magazine.
Contacts are everything in aviation, and Adam had Kirk's dad to thank for the helicopter ride. It never hurts to have a best friend who grew up an Air Force brat. Two phone calls and a bottle of obscenely expensive single malt had been enough to secure the services of the helicopter pilot, along with a promise to "give old Captain Sweeger a kick in the pants next time you see him, kid." While Adam had not brought himself to follow the instructions to the letter, he had passed on the sentiment.
Back when Kirk's dad was stationed in Arizona, the Sweegers lived right across the street from a cousin on the American side of Adam's family. On holiday, Adam had met Kirk and the two seven-year-olds had hit it off instantly, taking off for long hikes exploring the cliffs beyond the tract housing. Adam didn't visit those particular relatives again, but he stayed with Kirk's family many times over the years, in three different states, and once in South Korea. Kirk had traveled to Australia solo when he was thirteen and stayed with Adam's family for two months. Kirk had grown one and a half inches that summer, and Adam had shot up a full two--the marks were still there on the kitchen door jamb.
Kirk owned his own house now, close to Berkeley, full of all the things Adam did not have--great wife, great kids, even a dog--and Kirk had actually been staying in town to enjoy it for the longest stretch since undergraduate school, although the overtime was killing him. "I haven't missed a class yet, but the head of my department is furious," Kirk complained. "He says I make it to more staff meetings when I'm gallivanting around the world than when I'm in post-production. The old fart actually said 'gallivanting'. Can you believe it?"
"Oh, for the good old days of digging up medieval corpses, right?"
"That was easier than making a movie. Thing is, the university is going to get more publicity out of this than they did from that gaggle of monks I found. They just don't know it yet. They've never had an assistant professor make a film with a budget this big before."
"You'd be a full prof by now if you quit the documentary business and concentrated on the university," Adam teased.
"And you might have a lousy undergrad degree if you could stay in one place long enough to attend classes."
"Bit late for that, isn't it?" Adam was definitely too old for college. He was sure of it.
"At least you'd stand a chance of getting some. Man, I have never seen you so uptight, not even when you were still married to Lara. You've been freezing your balls off at the North Pole for too long, dude. You need to get laid."
"Funny." Adam picked up the pace a bit. Maybe it would shut Kirk up.
It wasn't funny at all. The cab ride to the hotel had been exactly as frustrating as Adam had predicted, hot and sweaty and cramped. Adam had pressed himself against the door as best he could so he'd only made contact with Dmitri a few times. Seven times. Adam had counted. Most of it was thigh contact--not something Adam had thought was arousing with guys but, as he'd discovered earlier, Dmitri was not other guys. The awkwardness of that had been compounded by the shit state of the taxi's muffler, which had made even small talk impossible. They'd barely been able to get caught up, so Dmitri had insisted on a late dinner tonight, after the cocktail party.
What Adam really needed was another jerk-off session, but time was short. He wouldn't have time before the cocktail party meet-and-greet that evening. He had to go to that because he was one of the presenters. It was a big deal to take part in a World Society of Archaeology conference. The four days were crammed full of seminars and lectures and demonstrations, during which Adam was scheduled to deliver his first-ever paper, a report on techniques used to access difficult sites, but he had not counted on running into Dmitri Pryce like that. He'd known he would see Dmitri--he'd even been looking forward to seeing him--but there had been no way to anticipate the response from his body.
Now he had to finish this run, clean up at the hotel, muddle his way through the cocktail party and get through dinner with Dmitri, so he did not, in fact, have time to do jerk off, let alone do everything he needed to do. He would have to choose between the push-ups and the self-flagellation, so the run was going to have to do the lion's share of curing whatever was ailing him.
It was working. The smell of honey was almost gone. Adam was breathing hard, and his thighs were starting to burn. It was cleansing. Good old-fashioned physical exercise would get rid of all that pent-up sexual energy eventually.
Kirk was panting. "It's too hot for this kind of exertion. What the hell are you thinking?"
Adam was trying to think of anything but Dmitri.
"Slow down... you know as well as I... you should always be able... to hold a conversation...."
Adam slowed his pace to only mildly torturous. "So talk."
"This movie is going to be a hit." Kirk wiped the sweat from his eyes. "I might make enough money to pay off my house."
Adam hoped the movie would be a success. Kirk had put four years of his life into it. He nodded his agreement, or encouragement.
"The studio sent all kinds of staff and support. It's going to be awesome. I saw Dmitri in the lobby. He looks great, doesn't he?"
Yeah, Dmitri looked great. That had already been established, and was on the forbidden topics list. "Why would anyone care about that?" Adam tried to sound uninterested.
"He's my star," Kirk said. "You can't have a hit without a star."
"It's a documentary. It's about archaeology."
"Yeah, but Dmitri's going to get attention. Make it sell. Same as you are."
"Get out. I'm hardly in your damn movie." Adam blinked the sweat out of his eyes.
"You ended up in more than I planned." Kirk's breathing was growing harsher. "Didn't you get my e-mails about that?"
"I haven't had reliable internet for months." Adam tried to pull ahead, but Kirk was persistent, and not as out of shape as he liked to pretend.
"I can't believe it... you didn't read the e-mails."
"I read the personal ones. Elly got a promotion, Greg lost his first tooth, Shane turned three. Right?"
"Really?" Adam ignored the cramps in his calves. "Guess I've been away a long time."
"And you...." Kirk gasped for air but still managed to keep up. He must have been biking to work lately. "You better get yourself cleaned up.... There's going to be a movie premiere.... last night of the conference, and you... my friend," Kirk said, pink in the face. He grimaced. "You're going to walk the red carpet."
"This is ridiculous--we're going to kill ourselves!" Kirk grabbed Adam's arm and yanked him to a halt.
Adam took a deep breath and allowed himself to feel the stitch in his side. Sweat soaked his shirt to his skin, which prickled uncomfortably. He savored the discomfort. He savored anything that did not lead to thoughts of sex. "You're the one who said he needed the run," Adam gasped.
"I meant a leisurely jog by the marina, not a full-on run up a fucking mountain. What the hell is wrong with you?"
Adam shrugged. He wasn't going to admit to anything.
"Look, about this red carpet thing. I know you've been away for a while, but get it together, man. You can be as rugged and Grizzly Adams as you want when you deliver your paper--I don't really care--but come Friday and that movie premiere, I need you in a tux and all Indiana Jones-like. Good Indiana Jones, not like you just crawled out of a hole in the ground. You and Dmitri both."
"And who exactly are you dressing us up to impress?" Adam put his hands on his knees and concentrated on slowing his heartbeat.
Kirk sat on a concrete curb and massaged his calf. "The young adult demographic, dude. They're the key to movie success, even documentaries. And mothers, of course."
"Sure. Dmitri brings in the younger crowd, and you bring in the mothers who want to take their kids to something educational."
"And just how do I bring in the mothers?"
"I told you--by being all Indiana Jones-like."
"You're talking like a movie producer, not an archaeologist. And not like my mate Kirk. Come on, where'd you hide the body, you pod person?" Adam poked Kirk in the ribs. That movie had scared the crap out of him and Kirk when they were eleven, and Adam really was beginning to wonder what had happened to his laid-back friend.
"Adam, I'm telling you, it's all about the money. I sell the movie, and I don't have to kiss ass to get grants anymore. You sell the movie and your fees double. Triple! I know it's not your thing, but just pretend to be a highly attractive movie star, okay? Then we can all go back to being us."
Maybe Adam could shave or something, but he wasn't so sure about the tux.
"Someone from the studio will take care of the tux rental," Kirk added.
Well, okay, then. All Adam had to do was sit back and look pretty.