I Read A Lot Ch. 03

bylill_street_writer©

All this floated through my mind as I brushed my teeth and found a clean shirt to wear. Tonight, I definitely didn't want Tom to find me shirtless and in my bedroom. I figured that too many times of that would look like an invitation for a lot more than I was ready to consider.

Over dinner at this fabulous Middle Eastern restaurant, Tom and I eventually got onto the topic of my roommate. He admitted that he enjoyed having his own place and even when he was in school and couldn't really afford it, he had always tried to live on his own.

"Why is that?" I asked curiously. Tom seemed so laid back and easy-going to me, hardly the type of problem roommate.

Tom had just taken and enormous bite of his food and motioned to me to give him a minute. He looked kind of cute, waving with his hand and trying to chew without choking. After a sip of his soda, he said, "my freshman-year roommate said I was too anti-social. I would study or read and then go hang out with friends. But I didn't really like to sit around just shoot the shit. I was 'too intense'." And Tom frowned a little.

"That sounds normal, too me. But then maybe I'm a freak, too." I tried to reassure him by telling him how I like to work, how I get caught up in what I'm doing and lose track of time. "I have to set alarm clocks, to make sure that I don't forget to go to work. I've done that before and used to get into trouble."

"I can totally relate," Tom agreed, nodding his head and smiling. "When I'm in the middle of a book, I can stay up all night to finish it, if I'm not careful."

Instead of feeling strange and awkward, the more I shared with Tom, and he with me, the better I felt about myself. Maybe I wasn't such a weird guy, after all.

After we finished the meal and sat in his car, I said innocently, "I wish I were your roommate, instead of Sandra's."

And Tom just stared at me, like one of those cartoon characters that had a stone drop on their head: kind of mouth-open.

"Okay," Tom said in a voice even softer and lower than usual.

"Tom," I laughed. "I was kidding."

"Oh," he said in a small disappointed tone.

'Okay, what in the hell was that about?' my brain screamed.

I didn't have too much time to wonder what Tom was thinking though, because he chose that moment to put his hand to the back of my neck and gently pull me in for a kiss. Before our lips met, he brushed his nose with mine a little and whispered, "Maybe moving in together isn't really the next logical step." Then he angled his head just enough and pressed his mouth to mine.

My head swam with emotion and sensation. Kissing the wrong person can disastrous and embarrassing: messy, slobbery and awkward. This was none of those things. By instinct, Tom seemed to know exactly how to move, when to deepen the kiss. After his mouth opened a bit, I felt the tip of his tongue move across my bottom lip and then he sucked it tenderly into his mouth. I think I made some sort of noise at that point and Tom's left hand moved to my thigh and he tried to move closer to me. As we continued to kiss and taste, our hands lightly drifted over one another. I could barely believe how amazing he felt, how he made me feel. There was only one small issue: the front seat of his car wasn't the ideal location for serious action. Finally Tom broke the kissing with a growl of frustration.

Both of us were breathing a little fast and we sat in the front of his car with our foreheads pressed together. "What took you so long?" I managed to get out at last. "I wasn't sure if you liked me."

With a chuckle, Tom pulled back and stared at me like I was a loon. Then he shifted in his seat to rearrange himself and try to accommodate his erection. "Gabe," he said hoarsely. "I'm sorry. I didn't want to come on too strong, scare you away. But I definitely like you."

Now it was my turn to chuckle. "Yeah, I get that now." And then just to be funny, I wiggled around to adjust myself.

With a big sigh, Tom rubbed a hand over his face and looked out the windshield. "I need to get you home. That or I might abduct you."

"You're not really a 'middle-path' kind of guy are you?" When he looked at me questioningly, I went on. "I think there is probably something we can do between abandoning me and abducting me. How about instead, you come back with me and keep me company. I'm sure I have a few books you haven't read. And if I get enough work done, you can help distract me."

A huge smile broke over his face, "I like the way you think!" He started the car and we were quickly back at my place.

That night after I showed Tom around and got him settled on the couch with a few books, I finally got down to some serious work. Earlier in the day before my job, I had laid out the bones of a painting I had in my head. Now I was able to turn on my work lights and really get down to business. From where Tom was, he would be able to see exactly what I was doing, and O considered moving my easel, in order to prevent his view. In the past, I never really liked people seeing my work until it was done and I felt ready to show it. Somehow with Tom there, I really didn't feel the need to hide, so I left the easel where it was. I could tell that occasionally he would look up and check out what I was doing, but I didn't mind.

That night set up a pattern for the rest of the time I was working on the show. Sometimes Tom would take me out to dinner, or pick up some take out, or he would cook something simple at my place. Then he would settle in for a long evening's read-a-thon. In between, there would be kissing. I think he enjoyed the kissing parts the most.

Having Tom around while I worked was a lot more enjoyable than I thought it could be. In the beginning, I was all ready for his presence to be annoying, or stifling, or it would make me feel self-conscious. Inside my head, I had all these imaginary discussions where I would try to tell him nicely to buzz off and let me get my crap done. They went sort of like, 'I like having you around, but . . .' Somehow, I never needed to have that conversation. Tom actually made me feel more comfortable and at ease, even in my own so-called home.

A huge bonus to Tom hanging around was that my roommate, Sandra, seemed afraid of him. That's probably an overstatement, but she was at least a little intimidated by him. When he was in the apartment, she generally stayed in her room or the kitchen. More likely than not though, he just spent time with her boyfriend at his place. It wasn't that Tom was ever rude to her, he wasn't. But neither was he particularly friendly. Mostly I think Tom was oblivious.

When he first started coming over, Sandra tried to make polite conversation, but since Tom doesn't really see the need for small talk, it didn't get very far. Then once she tried joking with him about what an impossible roommate I was with my supplies all over the place. That just seemed to rile him up and he started to defend me to her. His obvious admiration for my abilities and his protectiveness made me feel all warm inside. He got some extra good kissing that night.

And kissing was as far as we had gone. At first, I was a little stumped by the lack of 'progression' in our contact. Every night before he went home, we spent at least a little time tangling tongues, but he never tried to take it much further. I know that there aren't rules about these things and I could have initiated a little more action. It wasn't like Tom would have said 'no'. Instead, I just let things progress at their own pace, curious to see what would happen.

One night near the end of the two weeks, I had just finished a piece and I was feeling really excited and a little bit antsy. Completing projects gives me the sensation of climbing a mountain or winning a race. There are probably endorphins involved and scientific explanations aplenty. I just knew that I felt great and I wanted to share that feeling with someone. As luck would have it, a very sexy someone happened to be on my couch at that very minute. I sneaked up on him and basically pounced.

"Ungh!" Tom grunted when I surprised him by landing on his chest. He set his book face down on the floor and looked at me. I was grinning. He said. "Does that mean you're ready to play?"

"Yep," I replied and I nodded vigorously. "I definitely want to play." With that, I shimmied the rest of my way up his body, feeling every inch of his legs, torso and chest. Then I leaned in and started kissing him as I moved on top of him. Without realizing it, I ground my hips into his and rubbed myself against his groin. This wasn't something I had planned, but I don't think my body and my brain were connected at that moment.

Tom rolled onto his side and pulled me next to him so my back was against the couch. I liked the new position because I could look into his eyes more easily. If I put my hand against his neck, I felt his rapid pulse. His body gave the sense of barely contained power, tense but ready to spring into action at any moment. And I was a little surprised at how erotic I found this. After kissing for a bit, I could feel the intensity of our contact escalate and I was pretty sure we were at the edge of a new level. A while ago, I had decided that I would like to have sex with Tom. Now it seemed like he was having the same idea. He nudged his top leg between my knees and rubbed his thigh up under my balls. I groaned and pushed into him further. Tom took that as acquiescence and pulled my leg up over his and held it to him at his hip pressed into me and he kissed me breathless.

Tom moved his head to my ear and whispered, "What do you want, Gabe? I need to know what you want." His hand moved inside the waistband of my pants and squeezed one globe of my ass.

It seemed pretty obvious to me what I wanted, so I rubbed against his thigh a little to make sure he understood my intent.

A low chuckle rumbled in my ear. "Yeah, but what then?"

"How about we just take it one step at a time and see what happens?" I answered. Crap. Tom had asked the million-dollar question, the one I had never been able to answer. I pushed my lips to his as a way of changing the subject.

"Um, excuse me," Sandra's voice floated into my consciousness.

"Shit," Tom whispered and his vehement tone matched my feelings exactly. He moved only his head and directed his next words to Sandra. "Hey Sandra, what do you need?"

Despite the obvious edge to Tom's question, Sandra persisted. "Actually, I want to talk with Gabe for a few minutes, if you don't mind."

Before Tom could shoot back some comment that wouldn't make my living arrangement any easier, I put a calming hand on Tom's arm and said, "Down tiger, it's okay. I'll talk with her."

I looked over Tom to meet Sandra's eyes and saw uneasiness and anger there. I tried to use a neutral voice and said, "Give me a minute, okay Sandra? I'll meet you in the kitchen."

Sandra left the room and Tom and I disentangled our limbs enough to sit up on the couch. I wanted nothing more than to pull Tom back down and continue where we had left off, but I knew the magic of the moment had been broken, at least for tonight.

Tom found his jacket and pulled his keys out of his pocket as he headed for the door. As he walked out, he turned, took my and pulled me in for a last kiss. Before our lips met I heard his words, "see you again?"

I pulled back just far enough to be heard. "Are you still willing to help me paint and hang the show after Frisbee? I'll treat you to pizza." I tried to tempt him with the promise of dinner.

Tom pecked me on the lips and said, "Yes to the first question and no-you-won't to the second. Now I'm going to scurry out of here like the coward I am and let you get yelled at for getting caught making out on the couch."

With that, Tom winked, turned and went down the stairs.

**

Tom

I really didn't want to admit that Sandra had done me any favors by interrupting Gabe and I on the couch, but really she had. If she hadn't charged in, I don't think we would have stopped until we were both naked and stated. And while I would have cheered for that kind of release, I don't think I was ready for the fallout that comes with impulsive actions.

Someone in college had once joked that I would have to plan ahead before I spontaneously combusted.

Until now, I had never even considered a serious relationship. My past experiences had definitely been casual in nature. It wasn't that I thought there was anything wrong with long-term partners, or that I didn't want one, I just hadn't met anyone that triggered those kinds of feelings in me. Now that I had, I knew that casual was not going to be enough.

From our conversations, I knew Gabe experiences were at least a little different from mine. He called them 'flings' which sounds so carefree, but baffled me. He had been friends with his previous lovers first and then they seemed to just evolve into more than friends. After they split, he seemed to go back to being friends with them. When we talked, he never seemed to regret is relationships and he never seemed to have wanted anything else than what he'd had. What I didn't know was what he wanted now, with me.

The more time I spent with Gabe, the more time I wanted to spend with him. And this was the most unusual and totally unique part of our friendship, as far as I was concerned. Usually I needed to escape from people after a while and find a quiet corner and a good book. Now I didn't feel right unless I knew Gabe was nearby. I liked to hear him mumble to himself while he worked and move from room to room Hell, I hardly mined when he interrupted me and just started talking about whatever was rolling through his mind.

If he didn't want to sleep with me, fine. If he did, but he didn't want to stay with me and at least try to make a long-term relationship work, well I could live with that too. Either way, I would have to stop seeing him, since I was sure that I couldn't be 'just friends' with him anymore. It would be awful and I could hardly imagine cutting off contact with him, even after knowing him only a little over three weeks. But if I slept with him first, and then found out that an LTR wasn't going to happen, it would just hurt a lot worse. That fear was what had kept me from trying to go further with him already.

In the end, Sandra probably did me a favor, though of course I'll never tell her that! Hopefully I could get this resolved with Gabe on Thursday. Otherwise, I would have to be locked into the loony bin. The next few days might just drive me completely around the bend. I thought about him all the time, fantasized about being with him, imagined what his body looked like, felt like and tasted like. No wonder I avoided this sort of attachment; I was seriously losing my mind.

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