Shelter in the Storm Ch. 03byKarennaC©
Friday morning, Declan woke once again to the sounds of cleaning. But unlike the day before, these sounds came from inside the house. He opened his eyes and looked around the room. It took him a moment to place himself; this wasn't the cottage he'd rented for the week. Then he remembered he'd spent the night with Shane.
It was a mistake. Maybe. Declan couldn't decide. He and Shane had been lovers for ten years before separating six years earlier. Shane had moved away to take a new job; Declan, happily ensconced as a university art instructor, had refused to accompany him. They'd kept in touch, but by all appearances Shane had moved on, finding a new lover with whom he'd gone so far as to buy a house.
This summer, Declan had rented a cottage in a seaside town for a week of painting and relaxation. Every year, he tried to spend at least a day or two somewhere quiet, working on the landscapes that earned his living nowadays. He hadn't realized that the town where he was staying was where Shane lived; Shane's letters came with the return address of his workplace. But when the storm had come three days earlier, heavy winds and rain that caused the evacuation of most of the town, Declan and Shane had found each other at the local high school, which was used as an emergency shelter. And they had discovered there that their feelings for each other were as strong as ever, despite their years apart.
Which was why spending the night with Shane might have been a mistake. Shane had made it clear that he wanted to get back together with Declan. Declan wasn't averse to the idea, but he thought Shane was pushing things a bit too far by asking him to move in when the cottage rental ended on Saturday. It had been too long since he and Shane had separated; Declan was used to living alone, and he wasn't ready to move in with Shane again. But spending the night with Shane might have given Shane the wrong impression.
Declan got out of bed and pulled on the shorts and T-shirt he'd been wearing since two nights before. He desperately needed a shower; the electricity had gone out during the storm, and with no way to heat water he hadn't been able to take a shower since returning to the cottage two days before. And he hadn't been willing to take a shower at the shelter. A glance at the electric clock radio on the nightstand showed that the power was back on now, so Declan headed in the direction of the cleaning noises to ask Shane if he could use the shower.
Shane was in the kitchen in nothing but a pair of boxers, sweeping the floor. Declan didn't speak for a moment, admiring Shane's body. The physical attraction between them definitely hadn't dissipated. After a moment, Shane turned and saw him. "Good morning," he said. "Did you sleep all right?"
"Yes," Declan replied. "For some reason, I was tired last night."
Shane grinned. "Yeah, I can't imagine why. It was good to have you here, Declan. It felt right waking up beside you."
"Which doesn't mean it will happen every morning. Do you mind if I use your shower?"
"No problem. I already took one; the hot water's working fine."
"When did the power come back on, do you know?"
"It was on when I got up. Good thing; I need to do some vacuuming to make sure we got all the broken glass yesterday."
"I'll help after I shower."
Shane scrutinized Declan's clothes. "Showering isn't going to do you much good if you have to wear those things. I'll bring you some of my clothes."
"All right. Thank you. Where can I find a towel?"
"Linen cupboard right inside the bathroom. Be careful turning on the shower; it takes a few minutes for the hot water to come up, but when it does, it's scalding."
"Thanks for the warning."
Declan went into the bathroom, turned on the water, and stripped off his shorts and shirt. While he waited for the water to warm up, he located a towel, soap, and shampoo. When he finally stepped into the shower, the water was warmer than he generally liked, but not unpleasantly so. It felt good on his skin.
Usually, Declan took his showers as quickly as possible, not wanting to waste valuable painting time. But today, because he had gone so long without one, he lingered, making sure every last bit of sweat and grime was washed from his body.
He was rinsing his hair for the second time when he heard the bathroom door open. Expecting Shane to put the clothes down and leave the room, Declan was surprised when the shower door slid open and Shane, naked, got in beside him. "I thought you already took your shower," Declan said.
"You can never be too clean." Shane wrapped his arms around Declan. "Besides, showering's more fun with company."
He pressed his lips against Declan's in a sweet kiss that quickly grew passionate. Declan's cock stiffened, and he felt Shane's hard shaft against him. Shane's hands moved down Declan's back to his ass, which he caressed. "I want you," Shane said hoarsely.
"Didn't you get enough last night?" Declan teased.
"I can never get enough of you."
Declan took Shane's cock in his hand. "This certainly seems to need some attention."
"Then give it some."
Declan knelt and licked Shane's shaft before plunging his mouth down on it. "God, Declan!" Shane cried. "That's so fucking good!"
After only a minute or two before Shane said, "Stop. Don't make me come yet."
Standing, Declan said, "When do you want to come?"
"When I'm inside you." Shane took a small bottle from the shelf built along the back wall of the shower. "Waterproof lube," he said. "Bend over, baby."
Declan bent, facing away from the stream of water. He felt Shane's fingers probing his asshole, spreading the lube but also slipping inside. Declan relaxed, allowing Shane's fingers entry, preparing himself for Shane's cock.
When he felt Shane's dick pressing against his ass, Declan took a deep breath and relaxed further. Slowly, Shane eased inside. "You feel so good," Shane whispered.
"So do you," Declan said. "Fuck me."
Shane obliged, thrusting gently at first, but soon picking up the pace. "God, I can't believe I left this for a job!" he exclaimed. "Declan, you're so good, baby. I love fucking you. I love you!"
"I love you too," Declan said. Even in the heat of the moment, he had to wonder if he meant it.
Soon Declan felt his balls tighten, his cock twitch, and knew he was about to come. At the same moment, Shane gave a last hard thrust. "I'm coming, baby!" he cried.
"I'm almost there," Declan replied.
But Shane was already over the edge. He reached around and grasped Declan's cock, stroking it up and down until finally Declan's orgasm burst over him. Declan moaned as his come spilled over Shane's hand and against the shower wall.
Shane slipped out of Declan and angled the showerhead toward the wall. "Clean up time," he said.
"Good thing we're already in the shower."
Shane kissed his shoulder. "Yep. Showers can be a lot of fun. I remember you not wanting to try this before."
"I didn't know what I was missing, apparently."
Shane picked up the soap and washed off his cock, then handed the soap to Declan, who cleaned himself again. "Sorry to sneak up on you," Shane said. "I couldn't resist."
"I don't see where I was complaining," Declan replied.
Shane shut off the water and they got out of the shower. After they dressed, Shane brought Declan back to the kitchen and handed him a cup of coffee. "I hope it's still warm," he said. "I didn't intend to get distracted when I poured it."
Declan took a sip. "It's fine."
"So tomorrow's your last day in the cottage," Shane said.
"Yes, it is."
"Have you decided what you're going to do?"
Hoping Shane wouldn't push him, Declan said, "I'm working on it."
"You don't have much time," Shane pointed out.
"I know." It wasn't as difficult a decision as Declan was letting on. There was nothing at home for him at this time of year; during the summers, he didn't instruct, preferring to spend his time traveling and painting. The trip to this seaside town was the only travel he'd planned for this summer, and he could paint as easily here as at home, if he could manage not to be too distracted by Shane. The town was attractive and pleasant, and it would be a good place to pass the rest of the summer. Declan just wasn't sure he should stay with Shane.
"You know we're good together," Shane said.
"I also know I'll make my own decision in my own time. I have until tomorrow afternoon to decide where and if I'm staying. I have to be out of the cottage by five tomorrow, but there are other places around here to stay."
"Like here." Shane sat down. "Why are you making this so hard, Declan? We still love each other. I told you that's why Frank left, because he knew I hadn't let go of you yet. And I know you still love me. I don't believe in coincidences. It's no accident that you picked this town to visit or that we ran into each other at the shelter the other night."
"I agree. But it's been six years, Shane. You said you were willing to start over from the beginning, and I think that's what we need to do. At the beginning, couples don't usually move in together."
"I'm not talking about moving in as a couple yet. I'm talking about you staying here in the spare bedroom."
"You and I both know that isn't where I'd be, not for long. I don't dispute anything you've said, Shane. I do still love you, and I think we've established that I'm still attracted to you. That's why I think it's a bad idea if I moved here right now."
"That doesn't make any sense."
"Because it isn't what you want to hear. We still have strong feelings for each other, and the physical attraction is still pretty intense. We could say all we wanted that I was just staying here in the spare room because my rental on the cottage was up, but the feelings and attraction would take over, and we'd end up getting too close too soon."
"How can we be too close? We were together for ten years, Declan. You know me better than anyone. Frank never even tried to get as close to me as you did."
Declan sighed. He had known Shane wouldn't make this easy, but he hadn't realized how hard it would be. Shane wasn't listening to anything he said; he was arguing with every word. This was one thing Declan hadn't missed about Shane. All of their arguments had been this way, and had usually ended with Declan walking away for a while until Shane calmed down enough to hear him.
"Are you going to say anything?" Shane snapped.
"No." Declan stood. "Thank you for the coffee and the clothes. I'll wash them and get them back to you later today. If you want to work things out with me, a good place to start would be listening to my concerns about getting back together and not arguing and acting like I'm being unreasonable. Until we get to that point, I don't see any reason to continue the conversation."
"So what are you going to do, take off like you always do?"
"This is why I think we shouldn't live together yet. Maybe not at all. And yes, I'm taking off. You know where to find me if you want to have a logical discussion about this."
Declan walked out onto the steps and stared at the ocean for a moment. When Shane didn't come after him, he started up the dirt driveway to the main road.
From Shane's house to the cottage was several miles, but Declan didn't mind. He enjoyed long walks; they both calmed and invigorated him. Along the way, he saw several things which gave him ideas for paintings. That made it worthwhile and gave Declan something to think about other than Shane.
When he finally reached the cottage, Declan was tired enough that he decided to lie down and nap. After he changed out of Shane's clothes. Those he folded carefully and set on the stand by the front door so he would remember to take them with to Shane at some point, though he wasn't sure he wanted to walk all that way again. Then he went into the bedroom and lay down. Within moments, he was asleep.
When he woke up, the sun had noticeably shifted, and the clock revealed that he'd been sleeping for over two hours. Despite that, there was still plenty of time left in the day for the painting that Shane had interrupted the day before. Declan hadn't planned to spend the night with Shane; he hadn't even planned to stay into the afternoon. But Shane, as usual, had manipulated him into doing what he wanted instead of what Declan himself had intended.
Manipulated wasn't the right word, though. To Declan, that implied some maliciousness, and there was nothing malicious about Shane. Shane was open and definite about what he wanted, and merely expected everyone else to go along with it. He was so nice about it that most people did just that. Shane was charming, no question, and he drew people to him in a way that had always amazed Declan.
And had always kept Shane in his mind. Damn it, this wasn't the time to think nice thoughts about the man. Declan was supposed to be mad at him. After all, if Shane hadn't been so pushy about Declan moving into his house, they wouldn't have gotten into that argument, and Declan wouldn't have had to walk miles to get back to the cottage. It was just like Shane to try to get his way by talking and pushing, instead of giving Declan time to think things over. Shane always acted on the spur of the moment; Declan thought things through and moved carefully. One of many differences between them. But despite all the differences, they'd worked well together.
That line of thought was getting him nowhere. To shut off his brain, Declan gathered his paints and supplies and headed out to the yard to paint a picture of the bare tree he'd meant to paint the day before. Today, unlike the day before, there were faint white clouds in the sky, but they didn't diminish the stark contrast of bare branches against the bright blue June sky.
Declan set up his easel and prepared his paints. He set a canvas in place and for the next while lost himself in creating a perfect image of the tree and sky.
When the painting was finally finished, the sun had moved further west and a cool breeze was coming in from the sea. Declan shivered slightly in his T-shirt as he packed up his supplies. He took the canvas inside first and set it safely against the kitchen wall. When he went back outside to get the rest of his supplies, Shane was leaning against the tree.
At first, Declan ignored him and gathered his things together. Then he asked, "What are you doing here?"
"Wanted to make sure you made it back all right," Shane replied. "Do you know it's six miles from my house to here?"
"I knew it was a long walk."
"I came to apologize." Shane tried to take Declan's easel from him, and Declan let him. Together they walked across the yard. "I know you like to take things slowly. But god, Declan, can't you understand how amazing it is to have found you again? I'm not a patient person, you know that. Now that you're here, I don't want to wait anymore to be with you again."
"I'm all too aware that you aren't patient." Declan opened the cottage door and held it for Shane, then followed him inside. "We can be together, Shane. Hell, we've been together three or four times in the past few days."
"For once, I'm not talking about sex."
"I know. Shane, I just can't get my mind around the idea of living with you again. Not yet. Give me time, okay? I know you aren't patient, but aren't I worth waiting for?"
"Yes, you definitely are." Shane set down the easel and touched Declan's cheek. "Okay. I'll wait. But where are you going to stay after tomorrow?"
"There are a couple bed and breakfasts in town."
"There are three, but one's missing part of its roof right now. And the other two are probably booked full."
"Money talks, and thanks to my art sales, I have plenty of that. I won't have any trouble finding a room."
"If you do have trouble, will you consider coming to my house? At least until you find something else?"
"If I move into your house, it will be to stay. But that's something we can talk about another time. Right now, I'm counting on finding a bed and breakfast room, which means I'd better make some calls."
"Better do something else first. Put down those paints."
Declan set down his supplies, and Shane put his arms around him. "I love you, Declan," Shane said.
"I love you too."
"I'll wait. On two conditions."
Against his better judgment, Declan asked, "What conditions?"
"First, we spend time together. Dinner, talking in my living room, whatever. I don't care. I don't even care if we don't make love, though I'd kind of like to keep doing that."
"Done," Declan said. "And I agree with you about making love."
Shane grinned. "Good. And the other condition? Don't make me wait too long."
"How long is too long?" Declan asked.
"I don't know. We'll play it by ear." Shane bit Declan's earlobe. "Go make your calls."