A Kind of Safe Short Story, parts 1-3 NSFW… All parts!

As promised, here are all 3 parts of A Kind of Safe. This is my short story featuring Paul & Seth from Better Than Safe and yes, Rand from A Kind of Truth. Parts 1 & 3 are NSFW. 🙂 Enjoy!

Lane xo

A Kind of Safe (part 1, Paul’s POV NSFW)

Unknown-1Falling for Seth was never in my plans. He was rash, unpredictable and difficult to follow at times, but it didn’t matter. I couldn’t help myself. And believe me, I tried. I was desperate to keep my heart safe, but I was drawn to Seth’s quirky artistic nature and his playfulness. There was eleven years between us that most days went unnoticed and other days… well, I had great hopes it would keep me young. He was mischievous and lighthearted one moment and rather mercurial the next. I’d learned to navigate his idiosyncrasies just as he’d learned to deal with my sometimes unreasonable craving for order and harmony.

Seth moved into my Georgetown townhouse weeks after his first gallery showing in October. I’d insisted. I’d been alone too long. His energy and wicked ways were exactly the kind of chaos I needed. After a couple of months of living together, I knew it was the best decision I’d ever made. What could I possibly complain about? I woke up next to a male model slash artist every morning who loved to cook and made me laugh as often as he made me think about life beyond my stress filled job in fashion advertisement. I was madly in love. There was nothing difficult about it. He was easy company and easily the best thing that every happened to me.

The tricky part wasn’t our relationship. It was his friends. Well, one in particular.

I sensed trouble before I pushed open the door leading from the garage into the mudroom and adjacent kitchen. Seth was talking to someone. The amused inflection in his voice combined with the smell of something amazing on the stove set me at ease though I had a niggling feeling he wasn’t on the phone. We had company. Bloody hell. I’d been so busy at work I’d forgotten his parting words that morning. Or I’d filed them under “do not think about until absolutely necessary”.

The moment I entered the kitchen, I knew why.

“Yo! It’s the Brit! How’s it going, man? Did Seth tell you I talked him into running away to New York City with me? He said he’ll start packing after dinner.”

“Hello Rand,” I said tightly as I made my way to Seth.

I wrapped an arm around his slim waist and kissed his full lips before whispering in his ear. “Please tell me he’s just leaving.”

Seth pulled back slightly and shook his head. “He’s staying for dinner and—”

“Two nights in your guest room,” Rand finished with a devilish grin.

I plucked at my tie, feeling suddenly strangled. I nodded pleasantly and even managed a smile, but Seth knew me well. He handed me a glass of Pinot and nuzzled my neck before pressing a light kiss on my cheek. “Be nice. I’ll explain later,” he said in a low tone.

Rand evidently overheard and was obviously amused. He chuckled as he leaned back on his barstool with one arm draped over the chair next to it. Rand loved needling me. His ability to get under my skin in less than five minutes was truly impressive. He was a cocky, overly confident arsehole. And he was Seth’s best friend.

Thank God for wine, I mused as I peered at my unwanted company over the rim of my wineglass. He was annoying as hell, but I had to admit, Rand O’Malley was extraordinarily good looking. He and Seth shared many of the same characteristics though they looked nothing alike. Both were my height at six foot two and lean with longish dark hair. Seth’s was a darker hue that went beautifully with his high cheekbones, lovely blue eyes and angular features. He was a veritable fashion chameleon, which I supposed made him a brilliant runway model. Today’s ensemble was a pair of well-fitted ripped jeans and a snug black V-neck sweater, and damn, he looked delicious. I conspicuously adjusted myself and refocused on Rand.

If Seth was a chameleon, Rand was his unapologetic opposite. He knew he was sinfully handsome, just as knew how to use charm to his advantage. He did as he pleased and didn’t care who he offended. His charismatic nature served him well. Like Seth, it was hard to avert your gaze when he walked into a room. He was wild and unpredictable, and always interesting.

Well… most people thought so. I, for one, couldn’t wait for him to move out of state. If it hadn’t been for the fact he was Seth’s oldest friend and his biggest supporter during his turbulent teenage years, I would have found a way to avoid him. But I loved Seth more than I disliked Rand. For his sake alone, I pasted a smile on my face as I leaned against the counter and raised my glass in a toast.

“Cheers.”

Rand copied the gesture with a Cheshire cat grin. I wanted to ask what was so funny, but I had a feeling it was me.

“How was your day, dear? I like that suit,” he commented idly. “You’re lookin’ good, Paulie.”

I turned to Seth as though for a lifeline or permission to evict our guest. He gave Rand a sharp look before turning to stir the contents in the massive pot on the stove. “Cool it, Rand. Don’t worry, babe, he’s not staying long.”

“Two days,” Rand repeated.

I stared at Seth, willing him to reprimand his friend again for pulling my leg. He turned to me with a sheepish lopsided smile and opened his mouth but Rand beat him to it.

“I’ll be an exemplary houseguest,” he exclaimed in a faux British accent meant to mimic mine. And yes, to bother me. He dropped the affectation when he continued. “I’ll pick up my dirty underwear, rinse my dishes and I promise to keep my feet off your precious coffee table. What do ya say?”

I stared at him blankly for a moment before responding. “I thought you were leaving from Baltimore? I’m surprised you’re still in DC.”

“I couldn’t go without saying good-bye,” he said in a serious tone. “You’d be crushed.”

“I would have survived,” I retorted. I couldn’t help myself. My maturity and manners slipped terribly in his presence.

Rand threw his head back and laughed, but Seth wasn’t amused. He spun around to face us wielding a large wooden spoon with a menacing expression.

“Enough, you two!” He smacked Rand’s hand and scowled at him fiercely. “If you can’t behave, you can’t stay.”

“Give me the keys to your studio. I can stay there inst—”

“No. My work is all over the place. I’m trying to get ready for my January show and I don’t want you messing anything up.” Seth glanced at me, his gaze softening slightly though he used a stern tone of voice. “Be nice. He just wants to be sure you’re really as amazing as I say you are. I’ll try to keep him on a leash. Can I keep him for two days, Daddy?”

I rolled my eyes on cue, but I couldn’t help chuckling. I set my glass on the island and slipped the spoon from Seth’s hand before pulling him into my arms. I licked his ear then nibbled it before whispering, “I love you. And if you needed any proof, you now have it. He can stay.”

Seth cuddled closer still then angled his head before covering my mouth with his. When his tongue touched mine I felt a twinge of electricity. It didn’t matter how often I kissed him or held him, the desire seemed to get stronger every day. The best thing about this incredible fall was knowing I wasn’t alone. I could feel him hardening as I yanked him against me. I tilted my head to deepen the connection, delighting in the sound of Seth’s moan and—

A loud cough brought us back to reality, with the same effect as a cold bucket of water. I slipped my arm around Seth and glared at Rand. He gave me an innocent wide eyed look then ruined it a moment later with a smirk.

“You guys look hot. The businessman and the artist. Don’t mind me. I know how to use my right hand. Carry on, boys.”

Seth flipped him off as he turned back to deal with dinner. I heaved a sigh and picked up my wineglass. Two days. Anyone could get through two measly days.

 

Seth clutched at my shoulders and lifted his legs higher, grunting his approval as I moved my hips inside him in a steady rhythm. Sweat dripped from my brow onto his forehead. I brushed it away then pulled gently at his hair. When he threw his head back exposing his neck, I traced his throat with the tip of my tongue then bent to lick his lips. That little gesture was all it took. He went wild. He dug his heels into my ass, chanting a litany of “fuck me, fuck me, fuck me” until I wrestled his arms over his head. I held him captive as I drove inside him over and over. Seth was never a quiet lover, but tonight he was more vocal than usual. It spurred me on until I had nowhere left to go. My orgasm crashed over me in waves of pleasure and Seth was right behind me. We held each other tightly, soaked in sweat and cum. I couldn’t think about moving. I wanted to be connected to him for as long as possible.

We’d stopped using condoms shortly after Seth had moved in and once again, everything changed. We hadn’t taken it lightly. We’d agreed it was a symbol of commitment. We were in this for the long haul. Our relationship mattered. And no pesky friends or rotten exes or those who claimed both honors could come between us.

I kissed him before disengaging and rolling sideways. I watched him in the shadows. The way the light framed him in profile to perfection and the gently heave of his chest as he gasped for breath. God, he was beautiful. Sometimes I couldn’t believe he was mine. He curled his lips in a naughty grin then shifted to his side to face me.

“What’s so funny?”

“I was a little noisy. Sorry.”

I huffed a laugh as I reached for him. I rested a hand on his hips then reached over to smack his ass. He chuckled, scooting closer still so our legs were entwined like a pretzel. We always seemed to end up like this. It could be hot, sticky and sweaty but by an unspoken agreement, we had to be touching.

“I don’t think you’re sorry in the slightest.”

“Think the neighbors will complain?”

“No, but your friend will surely comment in the morning.” I rolled on my back and stared at the ceiling for a moment. I was tired. It had been an exhausting day dealing with the usual round of fussy designers and irritable editors. I didn’t want to ruin a perfect ending discussing our visitor.

Seth crawled over my chest, stopping to bite my nipple before gazing into my eyes. “Rand is a good guy, Paul. I know he’s…”

“A handful?”

Seth snorted. “That was a very nice adjective, but yes, it works. He’s a handful, but he’s my best friend for a good reason. Until I met you, he was the one person I could count on to drop everything and give me a hand… or just listen to me. He baits you bec—”

“I’m easy prey?”

“No. Because he wants to be sure you love me the way he knows he never could. Does that make sense?”

“I’m getting jealous, but I don’t think I’m supposed to. Am I missing a clue?”

“There’s no clue, genius. And there’s definitely no reason to be jealous. I’m telling it like it is. You and me… we’re forever. But he’s an important part of my life. He’s the only family I have, Paul.”

“You have me,” I whispered, pushing a strand of hair behind his ear.

“Yes. But he’s like my brother. You’re my everything.”

How could I argue with that?

A Kind of Safe, (part 2, Rand’s POV)

randomallyThe soft click of a nearby bedroom door yanked me from sleep. I opened my eyes and tried to remember where I was before I went searching for coffee in my underwear. I stretched my arms over my head and let out a yawn then slowly sat up. Nice place, I mused as the light blue duvet slipped from my waist. Fine linens, fancy furniture and a mountain of decorative pillows. Definitely not my apartment. Light filtered through the patterned roman blinds, splashing sunshine across the pale carpeting and the high backed striped chair I’d piled my clothes on the night before.

A funny memory surfaced of Paul giving Seth a “please tell me you didn’t invite him to stay for the week” look the night before. I chuckled as I reached for my jeans. Poor guy didn’t know what to think of me. And yeah… I fucking loved it. I considered walking downstairs in my tightie-whities but that might be overkill. It was best to play it cool and see if he was anything like Seth’s last so-called “amazing” boyfriend.

I made my way downstairs, through the tidy living area and into the kitchen. I noted that the video game console had been neatly put away and there was no sign of the wineglasses we’d left on the coffee table the night before. To his credit, Paul hadn’t seemed particularly bothered after he got over the shock of having me for a guest. He’d been very pleasant all evening. A perfect host. If I hadn’t promised not to put my feet on the coffee table, I would have done it just to get a rise out of him. He was so cool and calm about everything. The immature teenager still living in my twenty-five year old body wanted to ruffle his feathers.

“Mornin’ sunshine,” I said, flopping unceremoniously onto the nearest barstool.

Seth turned with a grin. “Morning. Coffee?”

“Please.”

Seth puttered around the cheery open space, humming softly as he opened a cabinet and pulled out a gigantic mug. Little details caught my attention. The way he smiled as worked, as though lost in happy thoughts and the way he moved. There was a bounce in his step indicative of a guy who woke up on the proverbial right side of the bed. I leaned on my elbows and let out a half laugh.

“What?” Seth narrowed his eyes as he slid the coffee mug toward me.

“You were really fucking loud last night,” I commented in a matter-of-fact tone, wrapping my hands around the warm mug.

Seth cocked his head to the right and crossed his arms. “Fuck you, Rand,” he said without heat.

“Don’t get pissy. I’m just calling it like it is. Listening to sex is nowhere near as fun as having it. You could have invited me to join you guys. It would have been the polite thing to do.”

Seth snorted. His lips quirked into lopsided smile that quickly became a megawatt grin. He’d always been a really good-looking teenager, but Seth had become a startling gorgeous man. His dark hair was a beautiful contrast to his blue eyes and sharp cheekbones. It was funny to think we’d known each other for more than half of our lives. Two smart ass kids who’d grown up in suburban Maryland in very different homes with very different families. Mine parents were kick-back, granola types while his were conservative, religious assholes. We’d weathered many storms  over the years, and though a trip from DC to New York City wasn’t a big deal, I couldn’t help worrying about the chasm that distance might put between us.

“I thought you were going straight, O’Malley.”

“I’m not in Manhattan yet,” I said with a theatric sigh. “Anything goes, baby. So if you guys are looking for a threesome tonight to add a little spark, I’d be more than happy to oblige.”

“Dream on.”

“Hmph. I don’t suppose your husband would approve.”

“We aren’t married. Yet. But don’t think—”

“Whoa! What do you mean, “yet”? Are you planning on tying the knot?”

“Eventually. Yes.”

Seth turned a pretty shade of pink that made me want to tease him, but that chasm had just widened and I was too afraid to look down for fear I’d fall.

“Really? But—how do you know he isn’t like that other British fuckhead? How do you know you can trust him?” I stood abruptly and paced to the other end of the small island and back again. “How do I know I can trust him? Fuck. I can’t leave you like this.”

“Rand…”

“I’m serious. I’m having palpitations here. It was one thing to live forty-five minutes away from each other, but—”

“But what? Nothing’s changed, dummy! Why are you getting so freaky? I love him. I told you that a million times already. We aren’t getting married tomorrow, but we know we will someday. He’s it for me, Rand.”

I gaped at him in disbelief. “How the fuck do you know? How can anyone know shit like that? This is what I’m talking about! I can’t go now. You’re nuts.”

“How is that nuts? Hey! Take a seat.” He pointed at the barstool I’d abandoned and gave me a fierce look. I stared at him for a long moment, wondering why I suddenly felt sick to my stomach. “Please,” he added in a soft voice.

I trudged back to my chair like a defiant kindergartner who’d been told he better his Cheerios or else. Some part of me knew I was acting like an idiot but I couldn’t help it. Seth mattered to me. Maybe this New York thing was irresponsible of me.

“Come with me,” I pleaded for the umpteenth time.

“No! Geez Rand.” Seth skirted the island and sat on the stool next to me. “I told you months ago… you’ve got to let me go. We have to live our own lives. You aren’t responsible for me, man. You’ve got big dreams and I won’t let you waste time here because you feel like it’s your job to babysit me. I lived in Europe for years on my own. What is it about me being here that makes you worry about me?”

My chest went suddenly tight and to my extreme mortification, my eyes watered. Holy shit. As the wave of emotion intensified, I was propelled backward ten years to that fateful day when Seth’s father caught us kissing in their basement. I’d never forget the horrid look on that bastard’s face. It twisted his normally handsome features into something macabre and frightening. When he’d launched at Seth, every instinct in me went on high alert. I threw myself between them and took the first blow and—

“Stop! That’s over.”

I blinked and refocused on Seth. Ten years later, he was nothing like that scared kid who’d been beaten to a bloody pulp in spite of my effort. He was strong, brave and so fucking beautiful. I wished I could be the man for him. I wished we wanted the same things. Maybe we knew each other too well. Even when we tried to be boyfriends in high school, we both knew our friendship would outlast the sex. So why couldn’t I let go?

I shrugged and offered a weak smile when words wouldn’t come. The water was too deep here. I didn’t know how to explain the way I felt. I’d have to write it down later and maybe turn it into a song.

“Rand, I love you. I want you to rule the music world. I want you to chase every dream you’ve ever had and fucking own it. And I want you to know I’ll always be rooting for you. But I’m happy here. I like this life. I’m doing what I want to do. My art career may take off after all. My show in October went really well but—even if it didn’t… even if I flopped and had to find a different path, I found the person I want to be with forever. He makes me feel… safe somehow. I don’t mean boring safe, I mean grounded. I’m not afraid of those shadows anymore. I’m not afraid of my past and I’m not afraid of the future. I’m finally free to just live in the moment. I want the same thing for you.”

A silence filled the space and the chasm became flat land again. I nodded and reached out to brush a strand of hair away from his eyes.

“So that’s a yes to the threesome?” I joked lamely.

Seth rolled his eyes and tousled my hair playfully. “You’re hopeless.”

A coughing noise made us both turn. Paul stood a few feet away. He was dressed in a chic navy suit I bet cost more than all my current worldly belongings combined. Paul looked pretty damn hot in a corporate executive way I was surprised appealed to Seth. He’d always been a bohemian at heart. Like me. I glanced at my friend hoping for a clue to what he saw beyond Paul’s clean-cut, tall, blond, hot bod. I opened my mouth to say something I was sure would piss one or both of them off, but stopped when I saw Seth’s face.

He smiled at Paul and stood to greet him with open arms. And I disappeared. I was a ghost now. A visitor who knew secrets and lies, but who was no longer of this world. I wasn’t unwanted. I just didn’t belong here. And for the first time since I’d met Paul in the back alley of a dive bar in Baltimore, I knew Seth was going to be fine without me.

I cleared my throat loudly when their lip lock went on a few seconds too long. Just because I vaguely approved didn’t mean I wanted to fucking watch.

“What’s for breakfast, boys? I hear you make a mean pancake, Paulie. Show me your stuff.”

Paul rested his forehead against Seth’s for a moment and probably whispered something like, “how many more days?” before turning to face me with a friendly-ish grin.

“I’ll have to show off my breakfast making skills another time. I’ve got to get to the office. Will you be here this evening?” His British accent was thicker than normal, which probably meant he hoped the answer was no.

I grinned. “Yep! See ya tonight, hon. Have a nice day at work making up fancy slogans that make people want to part with their dough.”

He gave me a tight-lipped smile while Seth glared at me. “Right. I’ll see you tonight then.”

I looked at Seth and shrugged. “He doesn’t sound so enthusiastic. Maybe the hot sex I heard through the wall last night wasn’t enough. Maybe you oughta blow him before he leaves.”

“Rand,” Seth snarled while Paul gave me an insipid smile that clearly said, “bugger off, arsehole.”

I held my hands in the air and widened my eyes in a show of innocence. “My bad. Sorry.”

They spoke in hushed tones as they moved through the kitchen to the mudroom leading to the garage. I heard Seth say he forgot something. When he raced back into the room and headed for the stairs, I stealthily made my way to the garage. Paul tossed his briefcase into the passenger side of his Audi and looked up with a smile that quickly turned into a frown.

“What is it?”

“Hey, um… I just wanted to say thanks.”

“You’re welcome.” His brow was furrowed, like he was waiting for the punch line.

“Not for letting me spend the night, but— Look, this sounds weird, but it’s coming from a good place. I think.” I took a deep breath and tried again. “Thank you for being what he needs. He’s happy and I can tell he makes you happy too.”

This time his smile was sincere and even a touch cocky. “Are you giving me your approval?”

“Yeah. I suppose I am.”

“Thank you.”

I inclined my head and turned toward the kitchen when I heard Seth’s footsteps. “Don’t fuck it up, Paulie,” I said with a wink.

“Rand!” Seth punched me square in the gut as he passed and shooed me toward the house.

“I’m going, I’m going.” I kissed his cheek, scooting out of arms reach when he swatted at my ass.

I pulled out my cell and returned a text to Tim, my friend and Spiral’s drummer, assuring him I’d be in Baltimore the following morning. I pushed send then impulsively sent him another one with three upside down happy faces. He fired back quickly with an eye roll emoji that made me chuckle. I set my phone on the island and looked around the beautifully appointed townhouse. This was a nice place and a nice life. For Seth. But it wasn’t for me.

Life was a funny game of give and take. The best way to navigate was to be in constant motion, trying to give where you could and avoid being taken. At least that’s what I’d always thought. I was moving to Manhattan for myself. I wanted a new start and shot at something bigger than me. But I couldn’t help admiring that some people found that kind of contentment at home… with a person, rather than a big lofty dream. It made my wonder if I’d ever long for this simpler life.

I reached for my now lukewarm coffee with a wicked grin. “No fucking way.”

A Kind of Safe, (part 3, Seth’s POV) NSFWimages-35Paul and I watched Rand retreat into the house from the garage. I waited until I was sure he was out of ear shot before I turned to study Paul.

“What did he say to you?”

Paul leaned on the open door of his Audi and drew me against him. He smelled amazing… clean, sexy and manly. I wanted him all over again. I glanced around the meticulous garage and figured “why the hell not?” before fumbling with his belt buckle.

“Nothing terrible. He actually gave me his blessing.” He stilled my hands and gave me a lopsided grin. “What are you doing? I have to go to work.”

“I’m going to send you off properly,” I replied, mimicking his British accent as I unzipped his trousers and slipped my hand inside to grope his half hard shaft through his briefs. I licked his neck then nuzzled his jaw before asking, “What’d you say to him? Thanks buddy or sod off, you bloody wanker?”

His chuckle turned into a gasp when I flattened my palm and cupped his balls, fondling them until he groaned. He closed his eyes for a moment. I could practically see the wheels in his head turning. He was thinking he should stop me. This wasn’t what respectable citizens did in their garages, especially when they had an unwanted guest in their house on the other side of the door. The thought alone spurred me on. I didn’t give a shit about appropriate behavior. As far as I was concerned, it was my job to shake things up for him.

“He didn’t give me a chance to— Seth…we shouldn’t—”

“We should. You don’t have to do a thing. Let me take care of you.” I pushed his briefs out of the way and gripped his heavy cock firmly. “If you want me to kick his ass, just say the word.”

“Mmm. I think in his odd wa—oh fuck…”

Paul’s breath hitched when I stroked him, a slow up and down slide with a subtle twist of my wrist. Just the way he liked it. I bit his jaw then licked his chin and lips in a silent request for entry. I could tell Paul still wasn’t completely bought in yet. He was straitlaced enough to be mortified at the idea of Rand wondering why the fuck it was taking me so long to say good-bye to my lover. Paul knew my best friend well enough to know Rand wouldn’t hesitate to make him uncomfortable. I was convinced it was better to let people know you didn’t care what they thought. And I loved seeing Paul finally let go and give in to what he wanted… instead of what he thought was safe.

“I wanna suck you, baby. I want you to think of me all day at your office. Not annoying editors, not prima donna designers and definitely not Rand. I want you to remember being inside me last night, how I begged you to fuck me harder, give me more,” I purred in his ear, smearing precum over the wide mushroom head before I stroked him again. “I want you to think of me on my knees, watching me suck you off. I want to be in your head all day. No one else. Only me.”

I sank to my knees and gave him one last naughty grin. His nostrils flared as he reached for me, gently running his fingers through my hair. I gripped him at his base and squeezed hard, then stuck my tongue out and rested it on his slit as though awaiting his permission. When he pulled my longish hair and forced me against him, I knew he finally surrendered. I smiled up at my beautiful man and swallowed him whole.

Paul held me still as he jutted his hips forward experimentally. His rough grip was a sure sign I’d tripped a wire. He didn’t want a sweet, run-of-the-mill bj before a day at the office. He wanted something raunchier. And fuck me… that little detail was one of the things I loved about him. Most people would never guess rough sex in unexpected places was a wild turn on to the executive with a reputation for order and discipline. Yet here he was dressed in a gorgeous Armani suit and tie with his pants pooled at his feet while his artist boyfriend sucked, stroked and licked him in a frenzy.

Giving in didn’t mean giving up control. I struggled to keep up and not gag as his hips flew, fucking my mouth with abandon. I pulled back only to have him push me forward. His show of dominance drove me over the edge. My dick was so hard it hurt. I was grateful I was wearing pajama bottoms but I couldn’t get my hand on my own cock without losing my balance. He was coming at me fast and furiously, overwhelming me in a maneuver I was sure was his way of making sure I’d be think about him all day too.

Paul pushed my forehead back with a feral moan. “Seth, I’m—”

“Do it.”

I knelt up eagerly and shoved my right hand in my pajamas. I gripped my aching member mercilessly and jacked myself as I licked his rigid shaft like a popsicle. When he exploded a moment later, I opened my mouth a little wider and sucked him dry. He trembled, holding on to my shoulder for support as the last waves of orgasm pulsed through him. And was right behind him. I could hear his deep voice somewhere above me but I couldn’t stop shaking. And I sure as hell couldn’t move.

“Seth. Come here.”

I blinked and let out a ragged breath before obeying. “Geez, I made a mess.”

Paul glanced between us and chuckled. “You did. And now… I really must go. I love you.”

“Hey, wait a second!” I grumbled as he bent to gather his pants and redress. “I’ve got jizz all over my Pjs. The laundry room is down the hall. This is going to be awkward as fuck.”

Paul rolled his eyes. “You don’t care at all. You’re a shameless exhibitionist and—”

“Jesus Christ! What is with you two? I was kidding when I said you should blow him before work, dude! Is there no respect for the single guy in the next room?”

“Rand!” I pointed to the house, doing my best to turn my body to hide my half naked state. The huge wet spot on my crotch was going to be a little harder to hide, I mused.

Rand threw his hands in the air and laughed. “I’m going, I’m going. But get a fuckin’ move on. We’ve got things to do today. Later, Paulie.”

I stepped back to pull my pajama bottoms off before glancing at Paul. “I’ll see you tonight.”

“Yes.”

I cocked my head inquisitively. The tone of his “yes” didn’t fit my casual good-bye. “Huh?”

“I’ll think of you all day. But darling—” He pulled me closer and kissed me tenderly. “—I always do.” He smacked my ass hard and pointed to the house. “Go inside before the neighbors get a shock, bad boy. I’ll see you later.”

 

Rand clapped his hands together and made a “get your ass in gear” motion, but otherwise didn’t open his big mouth. For once. He actually didn’t say much at all until we reached my studio twenty minutes later. I wrestled my keys from my coat pocket and led the way up the stairs.

“So when’s the next show?” he asked as I pushed the door open.

“End of January.” I shivered, gesturing for him to close it quickly.

“Fuck, it’s cold in here. I think it’s warmer outside. How do you get any work done?” Rand shoved his gloved hands in his jacket then strolled around the room, eyeing the artwork I had propped against the white walls. He crouched in front of a painting I’d completed last week and whistled appreciatively. “Damn Seth. You’re really getting good.”

My work might loosely be categorized as abstract expressionism with a nod toward impressionism. I loved a heavy brush stroke and a ton of color. I also loved playing with techniques that gave my work an ethereal quality critics had dubbed as “haunting realism”. The flowery descriptions didn’t always jibe with my own take on my art, but it didn’t matter as long as I was happy with my effort. The painting Rand was looking at was a smaller piece featuring the Mall in autumn. Of course, you wouldn’t know what it was unless you read the title. It was more of an iridescent blue sheen alongside an untidy profusion of bright shades of orange and yellow.

“Thanks. I’d turn on the heater but we aren’t staying long. I just wanted to give you your going away present then we can—” I paused as I rifled through a stack of medium-sized canvases on the floor, “— cool, here it is. I forgot to bring this home yesterday and…”

Rand gave me a sweet smile. One that reminded me of the better parts of growing up together. “Are you going to give it to me or are you holding it hostage?”

“I’m not sure if I should explain it. It’s— I think you’ll get it. It’s not meant to be mushy or lame so don’t give me a hard time or I’ll keep it. I want—”

“Hey. It’s me, Seth. You don’t have to explain anything.”

His voice was softer than normal, and his eyes were unbearably kind. But he was right, I thought as I handed over the small painting. And if he didn’t get it… fuck him.

He held it like one might hold a newborn baby. With care and a healthy dose of uncertainty. He didn’t speak for a long minute. I studied him, biting my tongue to keep from spouting a bunch of nonsense about memories or anything else vomit inducing. When the suspense began to choke me, I punched him. Hard.

“Aren’t you gonna say anything, asshole?”

“Like…that hurt?” he asked, glaring at me.

“Screw you. Leave it on the floor and let’s get out of here. Where do you want to go first? Air and Space Museum, rock climbing—”

“I love it. Thank you.”

“Do you remem—”

“Of course I remember. Like it was yesterday.” He held the canvas away from his body and squinted. “I was wearing that plaid shirt. The one you ripped the buttons off of and… how did you do this? How did you recreate exactly… this?”

“Your mom took a picture. She sent it with my Christmas gift,” I shrugged and moved to stand next to him. I set my chin on his shoulder and peered down at my painting of two boys playing guitar on a porch in summertime. I’d abandoned my usual impressionistic brush strokes for something more lifelike I knew would appeal to Rand. He liked concrete visuals, not hazy memories. This one was pretty fucking good if I did say so myself. It was a moment frozen in time. A day in the life of two teenage kids in on a lazy afternoon in July.

“I don’t remember the picture, but I remember that day. It was… special. A day of firsts.”

“First blow jobs,” I agreed with a nod. “I think there was another first in there too.”

“It wasn’t anal. That came later.” Rand chuckled heartily. “And now look at you. Paul better appreci—”

“Hey. He’s off limits,” I said in a sharp tone.

“I like him.” He smiled at my wary expression and wrapped his arm around me. “I do. As your first, I’m glad he’s the one you want to be your last.”

“Wow. That was almost poetic.”

“I know. I oughtta write that down.” He sidestepped my half-hearted slug and looked back at the painting. “You know my folks are going to be devastated you’re marrying another guy.”

“No. They knew we weren’t forever. They know you, Rand. They know you need someone who gets your unique brand of bullshit and still makes you want to be a better man. You’ll find her… or him one day. Maybe in the Big Apple.”

“Whatever. It’s the last thing on my mind right now,” he snorted derisively at the suggestion then looked at the painting again. “This is amazing. Thank you.”

“You’re welcome. It’s a piece of our past as you embark on your future.” I kissed his cheek and stepped aside.

Rand grabbed my elbow and pulled me against him in a fierce hug. I held on to him, breathing in his familiar scent until he gently pulled back and rested his forehead on mine. “That was pure cheese, Seth.”

I chuckled and kissed him again before motioning toward the door. “Let’s get out of here. It’s freezing and we’ve got to get to the museum before it gets too crowded.”

Rand sighed on cue. “No way. I’m not going to any fucking museums.”

I growled and pushed him toward the door. “God, you’re a pain in the ass. What do you want to do then?”

He stopped suddenly then turned around with an excited expression on his handsome face. “Let’s find someplace quiet to play guitar for a while. For old time sake. What do ya say?”

The sentimental suggestion was so un-Rand that I wanted to tease him, but I sensed a sweet vulnerability that made me want to hold him and assure him he was going to be fine without me. I smiled, hoping I didn’t dislodge any tears when I nodded in acquiescence.

“Let’s do it.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “A Kind of Safe Short Story, parts 1-3 NSFW… All parts!

  1. Pingback: Monthly Guest Post: Lane Hayes Short Story! A Kind of Safe, parts 1-3:NSFW | Love Bytes

  2. Pingback: A Kind of Truth Blog Tour Final Week! | Lane Hayes

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