Shelter in the Storm Ch. 07byKarennaC©
For the rest of the week, Declan's days were the same. Most mornings, he woke at Shane's and showered there before going back to the bed and breakfast. After an hour or two there, he tired of the noise or decided he wanted to paint, and returned to Shane's.
Declan had to admit he was being illogical. It made no sense to hold onto the bed and breakfast room when he was hardly ever there. The expense wasn't worth it. But it allowed him the illusion of waiting to move in with Shane. He might have been spending nearly all his time at Shane's house, but he wasn't living there as long as he had the room.
Friday afternoon, the bed and breakfast owner stopped Declan on his way out to go back to Shane's. "How long is this going to go on?"
"I'm not sure what you mean," Declan said.
"You're almost never here. You show up for a little while, then disappear again. I'm not sure you've slept here since you've been here. I don't understand why you insist on keeping a room you don't use."
"With all due respect, as long as I pay the rate you've required I don't see where it's your concern whether I use the room or not."
"I could give that room to someone else," the owner said. "I've gotten plenty of calls from people looking for rooms around here, and I have to keep turning them away."
"Are any of these people willing to pay twice your standard rate?" Declan asked.
"As a matter of fact, some of them are. And they'd be here, not gone all hours. It's poor advertising for my place that a guest as well-known as you refuses to actually be here."
"I doubt I'm that well-known to most of your clientele. I'm an artist, not an actor or other celebrity."
"That isn't the point. It's clear that you don't like it here. You've complained about the noise, and you spend all your time with that friend of yours you say lives here in town. I kind of have to wonder just what kind of friend he is."
It hit Declan then what the man's problem really was. His complaints about whether Declan was using the room were just a cover for his real issue. If it wasn't for his assumptions about Declan, it probably wouldn't have mattered if Declan was there every night or not at all, as long as he paid for the room. "Your problem with me is that you believe I'm gay?" he said.
"That's exactly what I believe," the owner replied. "You've mentioned that your friend is male. I have guy friends, but I don't spend near as much time with them as you do with this guy. I can't do anything about what you do behind closed doors, but I don't want it in my home. My wife and I live here, you know. I have to protect her and our other guests."
"I don't do anything in your home. As you've noted, I'm rarely here." It had been a long time since Declan had encountered such blatant prejudice and ignorance, and he wasn't certain how to respond to it. "And what is it you feel you need to protect them from?"
"You're here enough that who knows what you might be bringing in, even if you aren't doing anything here."
Declan felt his temper rise. "Ah, I see. Everyone knows homosexuality is contagious, is that it? Or perhaps in your mind all homosexual are disease-ridden fags. You needn't worry. You're far more likely to catch a disease from one of the guests I'm sure you're screwing behind your wife's back than from me." Declan had no basis for saying this, but the guilty look on the man's face let him know he'd struck a nerve. "I'll be leaving, regardless. I'd prefer not to remain in a place run by an ignorant bigot."
Some other guests had come downstairs and were watching the conversation with great interest. The owner frantically signaled Declan to be quiet, but Declan was on a roll. Although he normally let people's negative comments roll right over him, he'd never tolerated prejudice. "Don't worry," he told the owner. "I'll be out within an hour. That should give you plenty of time to fumigate the gayness from my room before you allow another guest to use it. You can expect a complaint to be filed against you for discrimination."
"I didn't discriminate!" the owner protested. "I've let you stay here, haven't I?"
"Yes, but you've just told me that you would like me to leave, and you made it quite clear that you're making that request because of my sexual orientation. That's discrimination. My lawyer will contact you."
Declan pushed his way past the other guests and went back up to his room, where he quickly gathered the belongings he'd brought there. He started bringing things down to his car. On his first trip outside, one of the other guests stopped him and said, "I was hoping to get a chance to talk to you. Did he really tell you to leave because you're gay?"
"Not in so many words, but that was the implication," Declan replied. "I took several of his statements to be discriminatory."
"What I heard sounded discriminatory," the man agreed. "My friends and I've decided to stay elsewhere. You aren't the only gay man staying here; you're just the only one he's ranted at."
"Thanks for the support." Declan wasn't sure what else to say.
"Not a problem."
Declan finished moving his things to the car and went inside one last time to leave his key at the front desk. "Who the hell do you think you are?" the owner demanded.
"Declan Morrissey, last time I checked," Declan said.
"I've lost four guests because of you!"
"No, you've lost four guests because of your own prejudice. Have a nice day."
Declan turned to leave. "I'll sue you!" the owner threatened.
"Then I'll see you in court." Declan walked out.
When he arrived at Shane's, he sat in the car for a moment debating whether to bring his things inside. With nowhere else to go, he would obviously move in with Shane. But even though Shane had said over and over that he wanted Declan to live with him, Declan didn't want to take it for granted.
He left most of his belongings in the car and took out just his art supplies. He didn't feel any need to disturb Shane at work to inform him of what had happened; Shane had called every day during his lunch break, and the news could wait till then. Declan carried his easel and paints down past the house to the rocky beach, where he set up and began to paint.
By the time his cell phone rang, Declan had completed half of his painting and was sweating profusely. The day was turning out warmer than he'd expected; he wouldn't be able to stay outside much longer. He took his cell out of his pocket and answered it. "Hello, Shane."
"Hi," Shane replied. "Are you painting?"
"Yes, but I was about to stop and move inside. It's getting hot out here."
"Did I show you how to work the air conditioning?"
"No, but I'm sure I can figure it out. How was your morning?"
"Long and boring, as usual. But it's Friday, which is always a good thing. How was yours?"
"I was informed that since I'm gay, I must be spreading disease at the bed and breakfast, and I was asked to leave."
"Unfortunately, I'm quite serious. Once I get inside, I'll put in a call to my lawyer."
"Meanwhile, you have nowhere to stay."
"Then you'll be moving in?"
"Woohoo!" Shane laughed. "Sorry, had to do that. That's fine. Glad you finally made the decision. Maybe this weekend, we can go back to your apartment and get some of your stuff. Meanwhile, just make yourself at home."
"We'll see about going to the apartment," Declan said.
"We can talk about it when I get home. Anyway, make yourself comfortable, okay? If you want to move things around, go for it. Maybe you could find a corner of the living room to set up as a studio for yourself. Or you could use the guest room for that."
"We'll see," Declan said again. "Right now, I still have to get my paints inside before they melt in this heat."
"Okay, okay. I'm getting too far ahead again. I'll talk to you later, okay?"
Shane hung up. Declan put away his phone and carried his easel and supplies into the house. After turning on the air conditioning, he walked around the house, poking into closets and corners and trying to decide where to put his art supplies and other belongings. If it was his choice, how would he arrange the place? Although Shane had given him permission to rearrange things as he wanted, Declan wasn't comfortable changing much in someone else's house. Granted, it was his house now as well, at least as far as Shane seemed concerned, but it would take him a while to get used to thinking of it that way. He'd lived in the same apartment since he and Shane had first moved in together, fifteen years earlier, and it would take time to adjust to living somewhere else.
He started bringing things in from his car, but wasn't sure where to put any of it. There wasn't even a place for his clothes; the bureau and closet in the guest room were nearly as full as Shane's.
By the time Shane got home from work, though, Declan had managed to find a semblance of order. His suitcases, still unpacked, were on the guest room bed. He had cleared the best-lit corner of the living room for his easel and art supplies. Some of his other things were still in his car; others were in the middle of the guest room. "You haven't done much," Shane said.
"I've done what I could," Declan replied.
"I expected you to rearrange at least some of the furniture."
"It's your house."
"Yours, too, and I said you could move things around. Are you going to use the guest room or mine?"
"I've slept in your room every night this week," Declan pointed out. "I'll most likely continue to do so. But I'd like to keep the guest room available. At times, I just need to be alone."
"I remember that," Shane said. "That's fine. I can move the clothes from the guest room down to the basement. It's all stuff that either I don't wear anymore or that Frank left behind."
"Why did he leave it behind?" And why had Shane held onto it?
"Who knows? He left fairly suddenly. I'd seen it coming, but I hadn't expected it as quickly as it happened. I left for work one morning and when I came home, he was gone. I kept the clothes in case he ever wanted them back, but I'd think after all this time, he's done with them."
"I would think. It's unfortunate that he left that way."
Shane shrugged. "Stuff happens. It was for the best; we'd been fighting for quite a while. He knew how I still felt about you, which was part of the problem, but there were other issues too. You know what; let's not talk about this anymore. Frank's in the past; you're here now."
"Yes, I am, and that's why you need to help me move things out of the guest room."
They spent the evening getting Declan settled. By the end of the night, everything he'd brought with him was put away, and he'd made a few changes to the living room and guest room, so he felt more comfortable with the place. "It needed to be done," Shane said. "I haven't changed things in quite a while."
"Sometimes change is good," Declan said.
"And sometimes it isn't. Like the job change I made six years ago that split us up."
"That's over with now. As you said, I'm here now."
"Yes, you are."
Shane embraced Declan, and the men kissed. "Should we go to the bedroom?" Shane asked.
"It's your bedroom," Declan replied.
"Stop that. Come on."
They went into the bedroom and shed their clothes between kisses. When they were naked, Declan knelt and took Shane's cock into his mouth. "On the bed," Shane said. "I want to suck you while you suck me."
They lay together on the bed in a sixty-nine, each sucking the other's cock. Declan loved the feeling of Shane's cock in his mouth; it was almost as arousing as Shane's mouth on Declan's own cock. Shane slowly slid a finger into Declan's ass, and Declan felt his balls tighten. At the same time, he felt Shane's cock twitch and knew Shane was close to coming.
Within seconds, Shane's cum filled Declan's mouth. Declan swallowed and pulled his cock out of Shane's mouth. "What are you doing?" Shane asked.
"I want to fuck you."
"That doesn't happen often."
"No, but it's going to happen tonight."
Shane grinned. "Do you hear me complaining?"
He got the bottle of lube from his nightstand and handed it to Declan. Declan lubed his cock and Shane's asshole, and slowly eased in. "Does that feel okay?" he asked.
"It feels amazing!" Shane said. "It's been a long time."
"Glad you like it."
Declan thrust harder into Shane. He knew it wouldn't take long for him to come, and it was only a short time before the tightness of Shane's ass brought him over the brink. "Fuck!" Shane said. "Declan, are you coming?"
"Yes," Declan moaned.
"Good, because so am I!"
Declan emptied his balls into Shane's ass as Shane's cum spurted over the bedsheet. Declan pulled out and rolled away from Shane. "This time, you get the wet spot."
"Very funny." Shane got off the bed. "Get up so I can change the sheet."
They cleaned up the bed and themselves, then lay down together. "I'm glad you're here, Declan," Shane said.
"So am I," Declan replied.
* * *
The next morning, Declan woke to the sound of running footsteps. He went out to the living room and found Shane jogging in place. "Did I wake you?" Shane asked.
"Yes," Declan replied. "What are you doing?"
"Exercising," Shane said. "I do it every day, but during the week I exercise at work. They give us a break for it."
"You didn't exercise last Sunday when I was here."
"No, I waited till you went back to the bed and breakfast. But I figured that we're going to get stuff from your apartment today, so I wanted to get this done sooner."
"I wasn't aware we'd decided to go to my apartment today."
"Well, we'd talked about it," Shane said. "I guess we hadn't really decided, but aren't there some things you'll want here? I figured we could bring stuff here this weekend and then in a week or two, we can go back for the things you'll need to put in storage."
"Slow down," Declan said. "I'm not planning to clear out the apartment until the end of summer. My rent is paid through August, so there's no need to move everything out yet."
"You're still afraid we won't work out, aren't you."
"You were afraid of that when we moved in together fifteen years ago."
"And we didn't work out. It took nine years for us not to work out, but we didn't."
"Nine years, Declan. And we would have stayed together if I hadn't been so stubborn about that job, and if you hadn't been so stubborn about yours."
"You don't know that we would have stayed together. And the fact is, we didn't. It's been six years since I've lived with anyone, and to be honest, I'm not sure I can anymore. That's why I'm keeping my apartment for the summer."
"So you'll have a place to run to."
"Declan, I'll do everything I can to make this easier for you. I want you to be happy here; I want us to be happy together. But that's going to be hard if you're determined that it isn't going to work. We have to meet halfway, just like we always did."
"I've gotten out of that habit." And Declan didn't hold out much hope of that changing; he'd become set in his ways since Shane had left.
"Well, it would help if you could get back into the habit. But take your time. We'll both need time to adjust. Do you want this to work, though?"
"Then it will. Are we going back to get some of your stuff today?"
"I think I'd rather stay here this weekend and try to get used to the place. And right now, I'm going to try to get some more sleep."
"Okay. I'll be done in a few minutes."
"Take your time."
Declan went back to Shane's room and lay down. Although he tried to sleep, the steady thudding of Shane's feet prevented it. Which just gave Declan an opportunity to think about how uncertain he was that things would work out.