Then and Now Ch. 03byPS_Lopez©
I look at my once-again empty glass and at the bottle of wine, trying to remember how much I've had already. I know I'm not supposed to really get drunk, but I just don't know how I'm going to do this without it. Barry looks at me. He's been keeping track, and I eye him warily as I reach for the bottle.
"That'll be seven," he says.
I snatch my hand back as though I've touched one of the hot burners on the stove. Barry nods once and I set my glass down and try to pretend it never existed. I can still taste the flavor of the wine on my tongue. I've chosen my favorite Merlot, and for some reason I can really taste the faint black cherry flavor tonight. Whatever.
I glance at the glass I've been using then decide to wander around the kitchen. Harper, my love--God, wine makes me too fucking sappy and aggressive--has yet to make an appearance. He knows I'm here. Arin was sure to announce my arrival to him thirty minutes ago.
I place my hand on the edge of the counter as I pace behind Barry. My balance seems a little off right now. Too much wine. Whatever hand I'm not using flexes; I turn it into a fist and spread my fingers out to the greatest extension possible, counting one-two-three for each position. It's the only way I can keep the fear at bay.
What am I thinking? My God. Seduce Harper? How do I do that? I've never had to work like this for his attention, his touch, his fucking penetration. He's always been more than willing--no, happy--to give me all those things. And more. Whatever I've asked.
Except to face me when we're making love. Except his honesty to himself. Except the verbal sharing of his love.
My hand fists out of turn and I stop pacing as I glare at the wall beside the fridge. I fucking deserve these things, don't I? I've given him everything of myself, freely, with fucking abandon. I've offered myself, from my body, to my heart, to my beliefs, wishes, and dreams, and what has he given me in return?
The fucking closet.
Barry pats my fisted hand. "Calm down, Ean," he says.
I look at him, forcing my hand to open. I extend my fingers as far as possible. It hurts, after the tightness of the fist. He leans close.
"You're supposed to seduce him, not beat him to a bloody pulp," he murmurs at me as he heads for the fridge.
That makes me laugh. He's right. I am supposed to seduce Harper. And I want to. I want to so damn much it's a fucking need in me.
I can feel my palms itching. I turn my hands so I can scratch them both at the same time while Barry makes a detour to the doorway to tell Arin to fetch Harper.
"You know he won't come out," Arin says.
Knowing him, his statement's a double entendre. I think he's guessed why I'm here, but I doubt he'll betray anything to Harper. I think he's feeling a little vindictive, and I make a plan to force Harper to make as much noise as possible. With that idea in mind, I remove my watch to set the alarm. I'll visit him in the morning. Yes. Before I return to my place. There's no way in hell I'll be driving tonight, anyway. I've had too much to drink on an empty stomach.
I grin, chuckling a little. Harper's room is right next to Arin's, and the head of his bed is against the wall it shares with Arin's room. I'd feel sorry for Arin, but I know he's going to enjoy teasing Harper too much to care after I've gone. I put my watch back on, satisfied with my plan. Hell, I'll even sip some wine to make Harper think I'm still a little drunk. Serve him right.
"Tell him if he doesn't join us for supper he can spend the weekend moving out," Barry replies to Arin's pronouncement. He turns to look at me. "What was that laugh for, Ean? It sounded positively evil."
I grin at him, alight with wine and my plan. "I'll be visiting Harper before I leave in the morning. Sometime around six."
Barry chuckles. "I'll be sure to warn Arin."
"Fucking voyeur," I mutter.
Barry laughs. "Eavesdropper, Ean. Eavesdropper. Hell, he'd probably listen to cats getting it on if he had the opportunity."
I laugh. Barry grins at me and returns to the stove to move the spaghetti and its sauce to bowls. He passes me one. He doesn't have to tell me what to do with it; I accept it and take it to the table and place it in the center. When I return to the stove, I find he's removed the garlic bread from the oven. By the time we have everything on the table, Arin has returned, and Harper is standing in the doorway, looking uncertain.
"Ean, sit before you fall down," Arin says.
I obey, because, to be honest, I feel a little unstable without the counter to lean against. I sit facing the room. When Harper tries to take a seat facing perpendicular to me, Arin stops him.
"My spot," he says.
Harper sighs. I watch him regard the other seat facing perpendicular to me. It's Barry's usual seat, and nobody has to be told not to sit in it. I stare at Harper throughout and he glances at me. He looks uncertain, but he sits across from me and lowers his gaze.
I continue to stare at him. I can feel my gaze getting hot--with the angry kind of heat. That's not the kind of heat it's supposed to have, but I decide it'll do for now. His expression shifts from uncertainty to shame and sadness. Good. Let him feel ashamed and depressed.
Arin and Barry bring the plates, wine glasses, and wine to the table. Barry fills the glasses, doing mine last. After pouring a little wine in the bottom of my glass, he looks at me. I return the gaze, not really begging for more, mostly just resigned to my current state of inebriation.
Barry nods, apparently satisfied with my cooperation, and sets the bottle in the center of the table. I wait patiently, staring at Harper, while the spaghetti and sauce and bread are passed around, taking servings for myself when they reach me. Harper's gaze avoids mine, and he hunches where he sits, like some fucking coward. Well, he did it to himself.
I can tell I'm still looking at him with that angry heat and force myself to look at my meal. I then force myself to eat some of it. It's difficult to do so. The only thing I want to do is stare at Harper. He may not want to see me again after I get done with him in the morning. He may hate me then. He may go into deeper denial.
It's something I decide to accept. At least I'll have fucking tried. I sip my wine, press the edge of the glass to my lower lip, gazing more at Harper, and argue myself into putting the glass down again. I'm drunk enough already. Any more and I'll completely lose it. Tear into Harper to either rape him or beat him to a bloody pulp. I realize it's a very good thing that I've decided to wait until morning to corner him in bed. I'll be sober by then, in better control.
I'll need that control. Call me silly, but I've been fucking practicing what I'll say to him, how I'll say it, what tones of voice I'll use. I want to dig into Harper as much as I can. I need to cause him pain, a pain similar to what he's caused me with his stupid insistence on lying to himself. I can't do any of that the way I must if I'm this drunk. It'll come out slurred, and I know that once I get started I'll lose sight of my goal and go sweet and gentle.
Not that I intend to rough him up. No. I need to employ my venom, my acid. I won't do that if I'm inebriated, especially once I get down to fucking business. I won't be able to retain my common sense, my self-control. I'll make love to Harper, when what I really need to do is convince him that all I really want is a fuck for old times' sake.
Maybe it's good that I'm glaring at Harper as if I'm thoroughly pissed right now. Hell, it's how I'm fucking feeling at this point. He's never seen me like this, this angry--not at him. It's making him look more ashamed and depressed. Good. Fucking great. He needs to feel like an asshole right now.
He certainly won't be expecting my dawn visit to him, that's for certain. Not after this. However, my behavior will be somewhat expected. At least what I'll say will be completely fucking comprehensible to him. I'm pissed right now. He'll think I'm still pissed when I visit him in the morning. I need him to believe that.
God, I don't want to do this. I don't want to hurt Harper. If I had any hope that sweet, cajoling words would work, I'd say whatever he wanted to hear. But they haven't worked before. I've tried every other fucking method I could think of. I've tried those sweet, cajoling words. I've tried being bluntly honest. I've tried pointing out the truth. I've tried lies. Everything. Absolutely nothing has worked with him.
So maybe it's good that I'm glaring at him like I'm really fucking pissed at him right now. It is how I'm feeling, and it's making him feel how he deserves to feel. And he'll believe every word I say, he'll believe I'm hurt, and feel used, and am thoroughly fucking pissed at him tomorrow when I wake him up. He'll fucking believe it all.
And the irony will be that it'll be the first real lie I've ever told him.
"Hands . . . on the headboard," I pant, stopping my movement.
Ean whimpers. "Please, Harper, let me touch myself," he whines.
I smile a little. I've figured out this little trick to get him begging. He puts his hand back on the headboard, gripping over the top. I slide my hands up his sides and push into him again.
He's on his knees beneath me. Not my favorite position, but it's the best for this tease I'm doing. I thrust into Ean, returning to the pace I'd had before, and he whines and whimpers, pushing back to meet me. I kiss his spine, nip his right shoulder blade, and speed up a little. I know I'm hitting his prostate by the small gasps he's making as I thrust in, but that the contact is sporadic. That's the way I want it right now. I have plans, a surprise after this.
"Please, Harper," Ean begs.
I straighten up and really start to move. I pull his ass against my groin, shove deeply into him between retreats where I pull almost all the way out. Ean moans, and I moan as well. His knuckles have gone white against the dark wood of his headboard. I can hear him panting, more of those little gasps when I push into him, whimpering moans when I pull out.
My orgasm arrives, and I tip my head back, but not as far as usual. I'm unable to restrain the groans and grunts I make as I fill his ass with my semen. One of Ean's hands rises from the headboard. I lean forward, against his back, and catch his elbow.
"No," I grunt as I thrust into him one last time.
"Please," Ean whimpers.
God, I feel ready to collapse. Instead, I pull out of Ean and push him on his left side.
"On your back," I command.
"Harper," he whines, thinking he's being denied.
"Just do it," I say.
He sighs and does as I commanded. His cock is purple, pressed against his lower abdomen. I lick my lips, looking at it. Precum appears and drools down the length, veering off into his pubic hair as he settles onto his back. I spread his legs wide, shifting the left one to my right so I'm between them.
"What?" Ean asks. He sounds needy, desperate, just the way I wanted him to sound.
I smile at him and lower my head, raising his dick with the fingers of my left hand. I lick the precum off and Ean moans, hips rising. I push two fingers up his ass and brush his prostate when I take the head of his cock into my mouth and suck.
"Oh, God," Ean groans.
I suck further down. I can tell he's ready to explode already and set my mind to making him come as soon as possible. It doesn't take long. I keep steady rubbing pressure on his prostate as I fellate him and he writhes, his movements disjointed. That tells me it's going to be a good one for him and I have to stifle a smile so I won't accidentally bear down on him with my teeth. My sucking pressure fluctuates for a moment before I succeed, and when I get it back, Ean half-screams, hips rising off the bed. He jerks convulsively as he comes, and I swallow.
When his climax ends, he drops to the bed. I sit up, licking my lips where some of his semen has escaped. Too little to chase after it and try and lick from his pubic hair. What I see before me is Ean, utterly sated, and I experimentally move his left leg, testing his resistance. He doesn't appear to notice, just lays there panting, making little whimpering noises every few breaths.
Assured of his complete satiation, I shift his left leg to join the right and stretch out beside him. I prop my head on my hand and look at him, tracing the tip of my forefinger around his chest between his nipples. His body is slick with sweat, and I shift to lick some from his shoulder. When I return to my former position, I find Ean looking at me.
"You are evil," he says, still a little breathless but no longer panting.
I grin. Ean returns the grin and shifts his left hand to cup my cheek. After a moment, his expression changes, and I try to decipher it but can't.
"What are you thinking?" I ask.
Ean opens his mouth, then closes it. To my surprise, he rolls to his right side and sits up. I watch him, reach over to trace my finger down the nubs of his spine, and he shivers.
"I'm afraid, Harper," he says.
I wiggle across the bed and wrap my arm around his waist. I kiss the right side of his lower back, above his right buttock.
"Of what?" I ask.
"I'm afraid you'll hurt me," he says, voice soft.
"What? Ean, no, I'd never hurt you," I say, tightening my embrace.
His left hand grips my arm. I press my face to his back. He says nothing for a few minutes, and I wonder what must be going through his mind right now.
"You believe me, don't you?" I ask. It's very important that he do so.
"Yeah," he says. He sounds different than usual, though. It's hard to put a name on.
"Promise," I say.
"I promise I believe you," he says in that same tone.
"Ean, what's wrong?" I ask. I recognize his tone of voice now. It's the sound of withdrawal. He's pulling away from me. Not physically, but in a deeper, more important way. "Ean, please tell me."
He pushes my arm away and rises. "It's not important," he says.
I sit up as he leaves the room. He doesn't look back, and, somehow, that makes everything worse. As if he can't stand to look at me right now. I hear the bathroom door shut, the muffled sound of water hitting the tub, the sound of the toilet flushing as that sound changes, becomes lighter a minute later when he turns on the shower.
Then I realize what he means. I flinch. I told him that first night what I really wanted. I've been honest the whole time. I already have hurt Ean.
I go back over the past eleven months. Every night spent here. Every afternoon and evening with Ean. Every moment we've been in the company of our friends. Holding hands in the dark of the theater. Sending him flowers two, sometimes three, times a week. The lies I've told my friends about how I keep ending up sleeping "on Ean's sofa." Making love with Ean, kissing and holding and touching him every chance I got.
I remain on the bed, these thoughts and memories spinning through my mind. It doesn't take him long to shower, and I look up when he returns. He's wrapped a towel around his hips.
"You'd better shower pretty quick or you'll be late for work," he says as he goes about the room picking up yesterday's clothes. He sets them on the side of the bed and looks at me. "Harper?"
"Ean," I say. "I'm sorry."
He looks confused. "What for?" he asks.
I shift around, moving the clothes out of the way, and face him, lower legs hanging off the bed. I frame Ean's face in my hands.
"I didn't mean to hurt you," I say.
His eyes widen. "Oh," he says and chuckles. He pulls my hands away and kisses my palms. "You haven't hurt me." He tugs on my wrists. "Hurry, Harper. It's almost eight already and you still need breakfast."
I drop to the floor and he releases my wrists, gives me a peck on the lips, and grabs the clothes. I watch him fold them. I want to say something else, but don't know what to say. He seems okay now. Happy. Even content. Certainly not upset or in pain. And he sounded perfectly normal just now, like himself.
He looks at me. "Harper, go shower."
I sigh and nod. He brushes his hand down my left arm as I leave, and I hook his fingers with mine for a moment. His fingers curl around mine a little, then release them. I let go reluctantly, forced to because his fingers no longer hold mine. At the door, I look back at him, but he still looks perfectly fine.
I'm not sure I feel reassured, but I go to the bathroom anyway. If there's one thing he's right about, it's that I'm going to be late if I don't get my ass on the ball pretty quick.
I'm stretched out, laying on top of Harper. We're supposed to be watching the movie he's selected on Pay Per View, but we're not. Well, my eyes are closed, though my face is pointing at the TV. I've folded my arms around the top of Ean's head; his arms are around me, his left hand smoothing up and down my back while his right one pats my ass gently. His legs are wrapped around mine, and my feet are propped on the armrest at the other end of the sofa.
We've been like this since the movie started. It's one of the nights when he's off the next morning. It's actually sometime after midnight, but I don't feel tired. Harper likes holding me, and I like being held, and I'm busy enjoying the feeling. His left hand slides up my back to dig into my hair.
"How was work?" he asks.
We don't always talk first thing. Today, we didn't even have sex. We'd already planned to watch this movie, so setting up was a matter of him selecting the movie and me preparing the popcorn and drinks. The food and our sodas are forgotten now, somewhere near our knees on the coffee table; the scent of the popcorn has faded from the air, leaving me with the scent of Harper's shirt, which still retains a bit of its fabric softener's scent and some of his cologne.
"Boring," I say. "It was a very slow day today."
His hand shifts, and he raises his other hand to my head. I raise it to look at Harper. He smiles and makes an effort to tame my curls, which makes me chuckle. He grins. It's one of his favorite games, and he places both hands on top of my head and smoothes them down to my ears, pushing the curls flat for the duration. I can feel them spring back up.
"Stop," I say, pulling on one of his wrists.
In the darkness, with only the light from the TV to delineate his features, he looks a little mysterious. His grin flashes in the TV's light as he frames my face in his hands. I wiggle up and he lowers his hands to help, pulling me up by my ass.
I kiss him. We take our time. I allow him to lead it, extending my tongue when his touches my lips. His arms slide up my back and I wiggle further, until I'm propped on my elbows on the armrest. This enables me to adjust my head to a more comfortable position. One of Harper's hands comes up to cup the back of my head. I end the kiss, drawing back only a little.
I open my eyes and meet Harper's gaze. He's looking up at me as if he couldn't look away no matter what. I smile and peck his lips.
"I love you," I say.
Harper's eyes widen. I feel him go still beneath me, so still he doesn't even breathe for what feels like forever as he stares at me in shock. I wait, hoping.
He shows me he cares, in everything he does. He sends me flowers. He asks about me as I ask about him. He actually listens. He works at what we have, really puts in an effort, like I do. He cares. I know it.
"God, Ean," he says, softly, voice strained.