When the front door slammed shut, Jase Nicholas looked up from his morning newspaper and glanced at the doorway that led to the center hall. He was sitting at the long, narrow antique harvest table in his Upper West Side townhouse, waiting for his partner, Luis, to return from his morning run. This was the first time Luis had gone for a run in Riverside Park in almost two weeks.
It was a warm sunny day in late May, the first pleasant day in almost three weeks. There had been so much heavy rain and so much wind that spring that Luis had given up on going outside, and he'd been using the treadmill in their basement gym instead of running in the park.
Luis entered the kitchen and set his iPhone down on the white marble center island.He crossed to the harvest table and kissed Jase on the lips. "Have you been up long, sweetheart?" he asked. "It's the most gorgeous day we've had since last September. It finally feels like summer is coming, and there's no humidity at all. I feel wonderful just to be alive on a day like this. You really should get out and enjoy this day, Jase. I can't elucidate this enough."
Jase reached around and placed his palm on Luis's thigh. He laughed because he knew Luis was using one of his new words: elucidate. Luis had a habit of learning new words, then using them in sentences for months at a time--sometimes in the wrong context--until he drove everyone over the edge. Jase didn't care about the weather. But it did feel like summer, especially when Luis was wearing tight black Lycra running shorts and a skimpy white string T-shirt that exposed his chest muscles. Jase squeezed Luis's thigh and reached for his hand. He pulled Luis onto his lap with a sudden jerk and said, "You smell so good." Luis always wore the same cologne, spicy lavender with a hint of citrus. It was something he'd found on a quick trip to France when they'd first been married called Affinite, which Luis said translated loosely in English to Empathy.
Luis put his arm around Jase's shoulders and kissed him again. He snuggled into Jase's chest and ran his hand up and down Jase's abdomen. "I just ran six miles. I'm drenched with perspiration. How could I smell good?"
"You always smell good to me," Jase said, sliding his hand down the back of Luis's skintight shorts.
"You're horny this morning." Luis caressed Jase's face with both hands.
A second later, Luis's shorts were down around his thighs. "Yes, I am." Jase slid his hand down between Luis's legs and smiled. Luis never put up much resistance.
At first Luis leaned back, closed his eyes, and spread his legs wider. He silently invited Jase to do anything he wanted with his hands. But then Luis grabbed Jase's arm and he jumped off his lap. He pulled up his shorts and said, "Cover yourself up, Jase. Cory could walk in on us at any minute. That would be awkward."
Jase laughed. "He's already seen you naked. What's the big deal?"
"He hasn't seen you naked," Luis said. "And I'd like to keep it that way."
Jase was only wearing a short black robe. When he glanced down and saw the robe was wide open and his naked body was exposed, he quickly covered his erection and said, "Shit, I forgot all about Cory." Jase knew their son, Hunter, had spent the night with a good friend from pre-school so there was no danger of him walking in. But Jase had forgotten all about Cory, their handyman who worked full time at their weekend house in Bucks County, Pennsylvania: Cider Mill Farm. It was Saturday morning and Cory had driven into the city to fix a problem in their master bathroom the day before. Cory had waited all day for a part to be delivered from Brooklyn, then he'd worked well into the night to complete the job. Luis and Jase had spent the night in one of the guest rooms and Cory had slept in the master bedroom so they wouldn't be disturbed.
"I'm surprised he's not up yet," Luis said, adjusting his shorts, pointing his genitals down. "Poor guy must be exhausted after working all night. Where's Camp?"
Camp was their dog, a tiny, bald, Chinese crested with a mop of blond straw on his head and around his ankles. He was getting older now, only they didn't know how old he actually was. Luis had found Camp in an alley before he'd met Jase, and they'd never been sure of his exact age. "He's probably with Cory," Jase said. He tied his robe tighter and sat back against the chair. "I haven't seen him all morning."
Luis laughed. "Maybe he knows he's not going to see Cory for a while and he wants to get as much of him as he can." He crossed to the large eight-burner stainless steel stove and reached for a glass coffee pot. He filled a deep mug and walked back to the table to join Jase.
Jase frowned. "I've invited Cory to come to Alaska any time he wants, all expenses paid, and he constantly refuses. I'll even keep him on salary. I don't get him sometimes. Most guys would jump at the chance." They were planning to spend the entire summer in Alaska with Jase's family. They were leaving in a week, on Memorial Day weekend, and wouldn't return until after Labor Day. Jase had been planning all his life to build his dream house on the property next to his family home, and now he was finally making his dream come true. Though he would probably fly back for a few business meetings, Luis, Hunter, and Camp would be in Alaska all summer. Luis was a model and he'd managed to take the entire summer off, which he would have done even if they weren't spending the summer in Alaska. Luis wanted to be home with Hunter. He told Jase he believed kids only get one childhood and he wanted to make the most of Hunter's. Luis had just finished a shoot in New Jersey and his next job wouldn't be until mid-September.
Luis shrugged. "Cory's not much for traveling," he said. "And I know he hates to fly. He's terrified of it. Besides, I feel better knowing Cory's going to be living at Cider Mill Farm all summer, and coming here to check on things while we're gone. I like knowing both houses won't be empty for three whole months."
Before Jase had a chance to reply, Cory loped into the kitchen and set his overnight bag down on the floor beside the center island. He was wearing his usual outfit: baggy beige shorts, a black T-shirt, and black work boots. Camp followed Cory to the table and jumped up on Luis's lap. "If there's nothing else you guys need," Cory said, "I'll be heading back to Cider Mill Farm now. The pool guys are coming this afternoon to open the pool and I want to make sure they do it right."
"Sit down and join us for a moment, Cory," Jase said. "We're not going to see you for a long time. You still have a few minutes." Although Jase had thousands of people working for him, no one had ever been as dedicated or as conscientious as Cory. He was more than just a handyman. He was family and Jase always made sure he treated him that way. He was also Jase's best-looking employee. Cory had a well-trimmed beard and a solid body. He had messy dark brown hair; a lanky, muscular body; and strong angular features. He was one of those gay men who hadn't come out of the closet until his mid-twenties, and he didn't fit into any of the stereotypes. He'd never done drag, had never been to a pride festival, and had never cared much for movies like Sex and the City. He'd never shaved his body, never worn tight little disco shirts, never plucked his eyebrows, and never had his nails manicured. In many ways, Cory reminded Jase of a younger version of himself.
Luis smiled and sent Cory a sly glance. "Yes, Cory, sit down. My brother's coming over this morning and we're going to take Hunter shopping for a few new things. He's outgrown everything in the past six months."
Cory gulped. "Ah well, Gage is coming over?"
Gage Weston was Luis's identical twin brother, and Jase knew why Cory had gulped. Gage had tricked them all into believing he was actually Luis one weekend last year and had seduced Cory. After that, Gage apologized and explained everything. But Cory had kept his distance since then. It almost seemed as if Cory was afraid to get too close to Gage. "At least have a cup of coffee with us," Jase said.
"I really should be going," Cory said. He crossed back to the center island and picked up his vinyl overnight bag. "I'll call you later to let you know how everything went with the pool guys." Then he stared down at the floor and said, "It sure isn't going to be the same without you guys here this summer, especially Hunter." He stared down at his shoes and spoke in a low, depressed tone.
Camp looked up and barked at Cory, as if he sensed something different was about to happen.
Jase stood and walked to where Cory was standing. Luis followed him and they both gave him long, tight hugs. "I really wish you'd reconsider and come out to Alaska this summer for at least a week, Cory," Jase said. "I really need you this time. I'm not just saying it. We're breaking ground the Tuesday after Memorial Day and I could really use your expertise. I've never been involved in building a house. When you helped renovate Cider Mill Farm, I don't think we could have done it without you."
Cory was the best construction guy Jase had ever met. He knew design and mechanicals. He'd renovated their farmhouse in Bucks County to perfection, and now Jase wanted him in Alaska to make sure everything went smoothly.
Luis said, "I agree with Jase, Cory. I'm not sure about these guys Jase hired. They claim they're going to do so much in such a short amount of time. I wish you'd at least come out and inspect things at one point." Luis flung Jase a quick glance. "I've always believed that when something sounds too good to be true, it is."
Jase didn't comment on Luis's remark. He had hired the first contractor he'd interviewed, just to move things along faster.
Cory shrugged. "Well, we'll see."
Jase put his arm around Cory's shoulders. "You know I'll get you out there one way or another. I might even make Luis do the dirty work."
Cory looked up at him and smiled. "You don't have to go that far."
"Hey," Luis said. "I'm in the room, you know."
Jase laughed and said, "We're only joking around, Luis." It was a long running joke that had been going on between them for some time. When Luis and Jase first bought Cider Mill Farm, Luis used to get Cory motivated to do things by flirting with him in obvious ways. Though Jase knew they had never had sex, Luis had walked around naked more than once in front of Cory, teasing him and goading him, tricking him into getting projects done on time. It had become a joke between the three of them--until Gage seduced Cory that one weekend. After that, Cory had been filled with guilt because he thought he'd fooled around with Luis, not Gage. They all decided it would be best if the teasing and flirting stopped. Cory said he feared that if he could cross the line with Gage, thinking it was really Luis at the time, it might happen again with Luis, and Cory didn't want to get in the middle of Jase's and Luis's relationship. Cory told Jase he had too much respect for him to do anything that wasn't honorable.
"I'm really going to miss you guys," Cory said. "And please say goodbye to Hunter for me. I'm going to miss the little guy. I promised him I'd take him to a few football games this fall, so tell him I didn't forget and I will."
Luis said, "We will, we promise. And if you need us for anything, just let us know. I'll check in with you at least twice a week to see how things are going."
They walked him to the front door and hugged him again. Before Cory left, Jase grabbed his shoulder and said, "I'm not finished yet. I'm not going to stop pushing you to come out to Alaska this summer. I think it would be good for you, too. You need a little time away from Bucks County." Cory had an on-again, off-again relationship with a guy he'd gone to high school with. Although they were both great guys, it seemed as if every time they got together, they started fighting about the same things that had split them up in the first place. It was a never-ending cycle, and Jase didn't see anything good coming from a relationship like that.
"I'm not finished either," Luis said. "Your professional opinion is very important to us. And I'd like to know if this contractor Jase hired is any good."
Jase let that remark go, too. He didn't want to admit he had the same reservations Luis had, but it was too late to turn back. He'd given the contractor a huge deposit and they were ready to break ground soon.
"We'll talk about it more," Cory said. "Have a good trip."
When Cory was gone, Luis went upstairs to shower and change and Jase went back into the kitchen to take Camp out for a quick walk in their small back garden. After that, he jogged upstairs while Luis was still in the shower and he dropped his robe on the bedroom floor. He locked the bedroom door and crossed to the bathroom in his bare feet. Hunter wasn't due home until eleven o'clock and he wasn't meeting with the architect until three that afternoon, so he still had time to play a little. They'd been so busy packing and getting things ready for the trip to Alaska, they hadn't had sex in almost four days, and when Jase went without sex for more than two days he became so restless he couldn't keep his legs still. There was only one thing that could relax Jase when he felt this way, and that one thing was a tight little hole between Luis's legs.
He stepped into the shower without asking whether or not Luis wanted him in there. He placed both hands on Luis's wet, naked waist and shoved Luis into the white marble subway tiles. He was fully erect by then; he leaned back and rubbed up and down. He grabbed his dick with his right hand and pointed it toward Luis. Then he guided the head to Luis's body and shoved it inside with a quick, deep thrust.
Luis's arms went up and his mouth fell open. He didn't protest or cry out in pain. Jase knew his partner well and he knew what his partner needed. With Luis, it was more about being conquered and controlled than it was about asking for permission or forgiveness. Though Luis craved emotion and romance all the time, when he was having sex with Jase he craved brute force and overpowering strength. Luis needed a real man, not someone pretending to be a man. This knowledge made Jase stronger and more powerful. Jase knew the harder he squeezed Luis's hips and the deeper he entered Luis's body, the more Luis wanted it rough and forceful. Luis appeared to be soft and quiet on the outside. He appeared to be ambivalent and disinterested when it came to sex. He even wore white clothes most of the time. But Jase knew him better than Luis knew himself, and Jase knew how to please Luis in ways Luis wouldn't even admit to himself.
Jase slammed him into the tiles and said, "How's this?" He lifted his arm and slapped his ass and asked, "Is that too rough for you?"
Luis's entire body was plastered to the shower wall and the water ran down his face. His arms and legs were spread, and his palms were flat against the wall. His head was turned to the left, his right cheek pressed against the wall. He nodded with his bottom lip between his teeth, then said, "Yes, Jase. God, yes."
Luis didn't scream obscenities and he didn't beg for anything out loud this time. But Jase knew what he wanted and how he wanted it. So Jase started bucking his hips slowly. Each time he entered Luis and went deeper Luis went up on his tiptoes and moaned. Jase said, "You feel good. I love when you're all wet and slippery like this," forcing his voice to go deeper. He knew Luis liked praise and flattery. Sometimes they even played a game where they had either literary dirty talk or pornster dirty talk. With literary dirty talk, they joked around about being "brought off" or "inserting their members." And with pornster dirty talk, they used crude cliches like, "rod, meat, and jizz." As a couple, they'd always shared the same unusual sense of humor, one of the reasons they enjoyed being together so much.
But they weren't talking dirty that morning. "Kiss me, Jase," Luis said in a stage whisper. "Kiss me now. I love you."
Jase started bucking faster--just his hips, concentrating on precision and rhythm. He leaned forward and shoved his tongue into Luis's mouth. With them, the kiss was an essential ingredient to making love. Without the kiss, it didn't feel the same. Jase would have laughed at this before he'd met Luis. He would have thought it was trite and contrived and dramatic. But when their lips locked and their tongues connected, the world seemed to go silent and proverbial flashes of light passed before Jase's eyes. Instead of growing weaker with time, this sensation only grew more intense. Luis had the softest lips Jase had ever touched, and the sweetest tongue Jase had ever tasted. And, without a doubt, Luis had the softest, smoothest body he'd ever entered.
This time they wound up on the large shower floor, with hot water pouring down Jase's back and shoulders, overflowing on to Luis's face. Jase had grabbed Luis by the neck--the way he knew Luis liked to be grabbed--and he'd shoved him down on his back. When Luis was down there, Luis immediately lifted his legs and spread them wide. Luis braced his feet to the shower wall and Jase crawled between his legs. Then Jase re-entered and began to slam him even harder. Luis held the back of Jase's neck with his left hand and reached down to hold his own dick with the other. They started kissing again and wound up reaching climax sooner than either one of them had expected. Jase could have held back, and he knew Luis could have held back. But when he stopped kissing for a second and said, "I'm close," Luis nodded and said, "Then give me all you've got."
For Jase, there was nothing more satisfying than allowing his release to flow into Luis's body. As a monogamous couple, they hadn't used condoms since the first few months they'd been together, and this was the part about having sex with Luis Jase always looked forward to the most. It felt as if he was filling Luis up with all the love he had to offer. Though he would have given Luis his actual heart if Luis had asked for it, this was the best Jase could do to compensate. It was as sexy as it was tender, as emotional as it was animalistic. How could something so personal not be emotional when two people were deeply in love? Jase had never been one of those guys who preferred masturbating to fucking. If anything, Jase considered masturbation a poor substitute for actual fucking and coming inside Luis's body. Each time he climaxed this way, no matter how often they had sex, it always felt a little different. Sometimes Jase experienced an orgasmic sensation between his legs; other times he experienced most of his climax in his penis. But each climax always had one thing in common: he went off with such force that he knew if he had been masturbating, he would have shot halfway across the room.
Jase came while they were still kissing. He'd been fucking hard up until then. When he knew he was about to explode, he stopped bucking his hips and went in as deep as he could go and he remained dead still. He felt his erection expand; he closed his eyes and kissed Luis harder. When he came, he sighed while he was still in Luis's mouth.
Luis had been rubbing himself for a while. He came a second or two after Jase and his body went limp on the shower floor. He wrapped his arms around Jase's shoulders and crossed his feet at the small of Jase's back, and they kissed for another minute. Then he opened his eyes and said, "You have to get off me now so I can clean myself up. I want to be ready by the time Gage and Hunter get here."
Jase pushed harder; he hated to pull out until he was flaccid. "That was nice. It might be the last time we have this kind of privacy for a while." In Alaska, they would be living at his family home, next door to where he was building his dream house. Though the family home was humongous and they would be in a completely different wing, it was hard to find time to be alone with Jase's mother, father, and grandmother there all the time.
Luis kissed his chin. "Yes, it was. I'm glad you came upstairs. I needed you this morning. All through my run I kept thinking about you naked."
Luis bit Jase's lip and said, "Why are you so surprised at that? I love you. I think about you all the time. You have a wonderful body."
Jase started bucking his hips slowly again. "I do love you so much sometimes I can't stand it. And I'm really looking forward to spending the summer at home in Alaska."
"Me, too," Luis said. "I just hope we didn't start something that's too much for us right now. I don't see how they are going to build this place in just three months. I'm still not sure about this contractor you hired. It just all seems to be happening so fast."
Jase knew Luis had been worried the dream house would become too stressful. They both had full-time careers, they were raising a child, and the last thing they needed was another project. "Just trust me," he said. "I know what I'm doing."
Luis tightened his legs around Jase's waist and sighed. "I sure hope so."