Shelter in the Storm Ch. 05byKarennaC©
Declan and Shane spent the weekend together, sometimes driving around the town so Declan could become more familiar with it, sometimes talking as Declan painted. Much of the time in Shane's bed.
Sunday night, Declan returned to his bed and breakfast room. He hadn't been there since Saturday morning, but the owner made no comment. With the amount of money Declan was paying for the room, the owner probably didn't care if he was there or not.
Declan hadn't told Shane about the decision he'd made. Since the night they'd found each other at the emergency shelter during a huge storm, Shane had been trying to talk Declan into staying in town. More than that, Shane wanted Declan to move in with him, to pick up the ten-year relationship they'd shared. But that relationship had ended six years earlier, and Declan wasn't very confident about it working out again.
Despite that, he'd decided he would remain in the seaside town where he'd originally planned to spend only a week. If things didn't work out with Shane, it would be easy enough to avoid him. The town was beautiful, a perfect setting for the paintings Declan did for a living. The position he'd held at the university near his home, teaching art, was something he'd held onto because he enjoyed it, but it was a job he didn't need. Quitting would give him more time to paint.
But he hadn't told Shane that. Shane had high expectations; he was certain that everything would work out and he and Declan would end up together again. If he knew that Declan was planning to stay, he would see that as a sign that Declan agreed with him. Declan wanted to take things slowly as they rebuilt their relationship. Shane didn't agree; he was determined to have Declan move into his house, and would probably push that idea harder when he found out Declan was moving to town.
So Monday morning, Declan packed up a few things, leaving the rest in his room, and hit the road. He would probably be gone overnight; the college town where he lived and worked was a bit too far to make the round trip comfortably in one day. Shane would be working; he might wonder where Declan was that night, but he had Declan's cell number. If Shane called, Declan would tell him what he'd decided. Until then, it was better to leave quietly and plan on talking to Shane when he returned.
The trip was almost four hours, including the time Declan spent at rest stops buying coffee. He didn't often take long drives; on the few occasions that he'd had to take trips for work or to visit galleries that were showing his artwork, he'd either flown or been driven. The drive made him more tired than he would have expected, though some of the tiredness was probably due to lack of sleep over the weekend. Sleeping hadn't been tops on his and Shane's list of priorities.
The first place Declan went was the university. Although it was summer, he knew the head of his department would be in her office. Many of the instructors stayed on for the summer term; they liked the money. Sure enough, when Declan walked into the art department's building, most of the office doors were open.
His head of department was at his desk, doing paperwork. She looked up before Declan had a chance to knock on the open door. "Declan. I'm surprised to see you; I thought you'd still be off on your vacation."
"Technically, I am, but I needed to talk to you."
She gestured toward an empty chair. "Have a seat. Nothing's wrong, I hope."
"Not wrong, exactly." Declan sat down. "I've given this quite a bit of thought. I'm afraid I won't be returning for the fall semester."
"I see. Is this temporary, or are you resigning?"
"I'm resigning. I've enjoyed teaching here, but my art sales are picking up, and I feel I need to devote more time to painting."
"That's understandable. To be honest, most of us are surprised you've stayed this long. Have you written your letter of resignation yet?"
"No. I haven't had access to a computer, and I wanted to talk to you first."
"I appreciate that. Your office is unlocked, I think; they've been doing some cleaning around here this week. Why don't you go write your letter and bring it to me when you're done? And then you can get anything that you need to out of the office. I'm sorry to see you go, Declan, but as I said, I understand."
Declan went into the small, stuffy room that he'd used as an office since the day the university had hired him. He could have moved to a larger space, especially after his artwork began selling and his name became well known, but he'd gotten used to his office and hadn't wanted to move, even though this room was smothering.
The resignation letter took him very little time to write. He didn't have much to say. Once the letter was printed, he took it back to his department head. "Thank you," she said. "Are you going to pack up today?"
"Yes, I'm going back to the town where I spent last week. I think I'll be moving there."
She raised an eyebrow. "That was sudden."
"Not very. As I said, I've been thinking about it. The town is very peaceful, and there's plenty around there to paint." And Shane was there, but Declan didn't feel that was any of her business. He hadn't gone out of his way to hide his sexuality at work, but neither had he been open about it, and now wasn't the time to bring it up.
"Sounds very nice." The woman put his letter in the paper stacker beside her and smiled. "I'll present it at the next meeting. Good luck to you, Declan. Thank you for the time you've put in here."
"You're welcome, and thank you for allowing me to instruct here. If the university needs anything from me to ease the transition for the next instructor, please contact me; my number's on the letter."
"I'll keep that in mind, but to be honest, they've been looking to cut a position. You never would have been eliminated, but since you're leaving, they might do away with your position and save other people's jobs."
"That's logical. Where might I find some boxes? There's more in my office to pack than I realized."
"Ask around the hall. That's the best I can do for you, I'm afraid. Or see if you can find a custodian."
After asking all of his colleagues who were currently in their offices, and unable to find a custodian, Declan finally resorted to carrying his belongings from his office to his car by hand. It took several trips, and by the end of it, Declan was sweating from the June heat. But at least he had everything that was his. With the last load crammed into the back seat of his car, he went back inside and took a final look around.
His colleagues were gathered in the hall outside the department head's office. "Sorry to see you go, Declan," several of them said. Although Declan had kept to himself for the most part, he'd been well-liked and respected.
"I'm sorry to be going," he said. "But it's time to move on, I'm afraid."
"Good luck with everything," someone else said.
He shook hands with each of them, turned down offers of drinks or dinner, and went back to his car. It was easier than he'd expected to leave this place. Six years earlier, the teaching position had been what had held him back from going with Shane when Shane left to take a new job. But now, Declan didn't even have any second thoughts. He was doing the right thing. There was no way to tell how it would end up, but he knew he was doing the right thing.
He drove to his apartment on the other side of town. The place was small; with the amount he earned from his artwork, he could have rented or bought something much larger. But this apartment had memories for him; it was where he and Shane had lived. Even though the memories had driven him crazy sometimes, Declan had never considered living anywhere else. Sometimes the memories had been comforting.
Declan let himself into the apartment. Since he hadn't been there in over a week, it was stifling; he opened every window before sitting down to listen to the messages that had been left on his answering machine. Mostly telemarketers, though there were two calls from his gallery that he would have to return. He debated calling the landlord, but decided to wait. He'd already paid the entire summer's rent; he could use the place to store everything that hadn't fit into the bed and breakfast room, as well as what he'd salvaged from his office, until he was settled in his new town. Four hours was a long trip to get things from storage, but at least he wouldn't have to cart everything around in his car for the rest of the summer.
Leaving the windows open, he went out to the car and started bringing things in. He would have to spend part of the night sorting through everything he owned, determining what he would need for the rest of the summer and what could be left behind for now, but the first order of business was to empty his car. He was in the middle of his third trip when his cell phone rang.
Declan managed to make it into the apartment and drop his armload onto the floor before the phone stopped ringing. He flipped it open and said, "Hello?"
"Where are you?" It was Shane's voice.
"Home," Declan replied. "I had some things to take care of."
"Home? I thought you were staying here the rest of the summer?"
"I am. As I said, I had some things here to take care of. I do still have an apartment here, you know."
"You didn't tell me you were going."
"I wasn't aware that I had to. You're working today, aren't you?"
"Yes. I thought maybe we could go out to dinner after I get done for the day, but apparently not if you're that far away."
"If I'd known you had plans, I would have let you know mine."
Shane took the dig. "Okay, I should have said something to you last night about going to dinner. But I didn't really think of it till today. It was going to be kind of a spur of the moment thing. I should have remembered you don't do spur of the moment."
"Sometimes I do," Declan said. "But sometimes I need to know things in advance. I would have liked to have gone out to dinner with you tonight, but since, as you say, I'm too far away, maybe we could put it off till tomorrow."
"Tomorrow night I have a meeting." Shane sighed. "It's okay. We'll find some time. It's hard during the week; I work a lot. But we'll think of something. So you are coming back tomorrow?"
"As far as I know."
"Why did you go back there?"
"I had my reasons."
"You aren't going to tell me, are you."
"Not right now." Declan heard a sound in the hall and looked out to see two of his neighbors staring in at the mess on his floor. The stuff he'd brought in so far. The problem was, he hadn't brought everything in yet, and he'd left his car wide open. In this area, that might mean not all his things were still in the car. "Look, Shane, I have to get going. I'm in the middle of something. You can call me later if you want."
"What are you in the middle of?"
"I have to go."
Declan flipped the phone shut and put it back in his pocket, then forced a smile at his neighbors. "Sorry about the mess. I'm in a bit of transition at the moment."
"So are the kids outside," one of the neighbors said. "You need to be more careful about what you leave lying around."
"We shooed them off, but no guarantees that they didn't come back," the other said. "It's that kind of neighborhood."
"Yes, I know," Declan said. "Thank you for talking to them. I guess I'd better get back to work."
The neighbors continued to their apartment, and Declan went back to work. His car didn't appear to have been disturbed, fortunately; at least, he couldn't detect anything missing, though he'd had so much in there that it was hard to tell. He didn't take any more breaks from carrying things inside, despite the heat, his hunger and thirst, and the ringing of his cell phone.
When he was finally done, Declan collapsed onto his bed and took the cell out of his pocket. Shane had called twice before apparently giving up; he hadn't left a voice mail. Declan sighed and tossed the phone onto his nightstand. Shane was probably ticked off; he would have to call him later. But right now, he was too tired to do anything but close his eyes.
He was awakened by knocking on the door. He grabbed his cell phone and checked the time. It had been three hours since he'd fallen asleep; he hadn't meant to sleep that long. Declan dragged himself off the bed and went to the door. "Who is it?" he called.
Stunned, Declan opened the door. "Shane? What are you doing here?"
"I came to find out what's going on." Shane stepped inside and closed the door behind him. "I left about an hour after we talked. I had everything done for the day, plus my boss adores me, so there was no problem."
"You drove all the way here to find out why I'm here?"
"Yep." Shane looked around. "You haven't changed much about this place since I left. Why not?"
"I never had the time. I was always working or painting or going to openings." And he hadn't wanted to change anything. "So why are you here? What's this really about?"
"It's about worrying that you won't come back," Shane said. "It's about wondering why you had to come back here so suddenly that you didn't tell me."
"I'm coming back. I told you I am. You know, this is getting more than a little stalkerish of you."
"Stalkerish?" Shane repeated.
"You call me up, ask where I am and when I'm coming back, and then follow me here? Kind of creepy, Shane."
"When you put it like that, yeah, it is. I'm sorry. I don't want to lose you again, but you're right, I'm overreacting. I'll back off."
He started for the door. "Where are you going?" Declan asked.
"I wouldn't want to scare you off by being a stalker."
"Shane, pouting isn't attractive. You just said I'm right."
"You are. That's why I'm leaving."
"You don't have to leave. As long as you're here, we might as well go out for that dinner you mentioned on the phone."
"Will you tell me why you came back here first?"
"To resign from my job and clean out my office."
Shane stared at him. "You did what?"
"I resigned. I'm no longer an art instructor, just an artist. And at the end of August, I'll be coming back here again to close up this place. I'm holding onto it through the summer because it's already paid for."
"Then you've decided to move?"
"I'll be staying in your town. Whether or not I'll be staying with you hasn't been determined yet. But I know I still love you, and I know that that means I belong near you, at least, if not with you."
Shane put his arms around Declan and kissed him, tongues meeting. Declan felt his cock harden. "I love you," Shane said. "I'm so glad you're staying."
"Show me how glad," Declan said.
They moved to the bed, the same one where they'd spent ten years' worth of nights together. Declan had had to replace the mattress when springs had come out of place, but the frame was the same, and so was the headboard that he and Shane had spent a day struggling to build from a sketch Declan had made. "Nice bed," Shane said.
"It's served well," Declan replied.
"We could bring it to my place. I'd rather have this than the one I have now."
"We'll see how the summer goes."
They kissed again, and Shane's hands roamed Declan's body, stopping at his cock. Together they pulled down Declan's shorts, and Shane wrapped his hand around Declan's shaft. "I want you," he whispered.
"Likewise," Declan said.
Still stroking Declan's cock, Shane stood and unfastened his pants. "Help me get these off," he said.
Declan reached for Shane and tugged on his pants and boxers until they puddled on the floor at Shane's feet. With Shane's cock revealed, Declan took it in his mouth. "That's it, baby," Shane said. "Get it all wet. Get it ready to fuck your sweet ass."
Declan did so, sucking and licking until Shane said, "Stop, Declan. I'm going to come, and I don't want it in your mouth."
Declan pulled away. "Neither do I."
"Then turn over."
Turning onto his stomach, Declan positioned himself so Shane could easily reach his asshole. Shane carefully slid a wet finger into Declan, then added another. "Does it feel good, baby?" he asked.
"Yes," Declan sighed. "But something else would feel better."
"Just getting you ready." Shane bent and rimmed Declan's asshole for a moment, adding to the wetness, then placed his cock at Declan's entrance. "Okay?"
"Fuck me," Declan replied.
Shane eased his cock slowly into Declan's ass. When it was fully in, Declan moved against it. "Feels good, huh?" Shane asked.
Shane thrust slowly in and out, then faster. "God, Declan, I love this. I love you!"
"I love you too." Declan reached beneath himself and stroked his cock. "Make me come, Shane."
After several minutes, Declan felt his orgasm build, and knew by Shane's breath and moans that he was close as well. "Come in me! Come in me when I come!"
"Oh, yeah, baby!" Shane said. He fucked Declan harder, then cried out, "God, Declan, I'm coming!"
"So am I!"
Shane came first, grunting as he unloaded into Declan's ass. A moment later, Declan came, covering the blanket. "Guess I'll need to do some laundry," he said.
"Bring it back home with you tomorrow." Shane stretched out on the bed beside him. "You can use my washer and dryer while I'm at work."
"Yeah, that will work. Get up."
Declan pulled the blanket out from under Shane, though Shane didn't get off the bed. Then Declan lay down again and said, "So where do you want to go for dinner?"
"Order delivery," Shane replied. "I'm too tired to go out. And that way, we'll have more time to celebrate your decision to stay with me."