Art for Heart's Sake



"What the hell did you do, bro?" Tim demanded, as he was let into Ryan's flat by a clearly distraught James.

"We were ... you know," James said, feeling a blush heat his unmarked cheek.

"I kinda got *that* idea," Tim growled, pointedly staring at James' all-but-naked body and then rolling his eyes heavenward.

"He doesn't use condoms. I got ... I got angry," James said, his shoulders slumping. "I've tried to speak to him, but he told me to get out and started crying. He has the idea I think he's a slut. What do I do, Tim?" James asked forlornly.

If the situation was not so obviously distressing to the brother Tim adored and a young man he had quickly taken to, Tim would have found it absurdly amusing that James was so clearly unable to think of how to deal with things. His brother was * never* at a loss to know what to do. He thought rapidly. He could only think of one thing.

"Do you trust me to handle this?" he asked. At the nod Tim pointed to the futon. "Sit there and wait. No matter what you hear, do not come out of here."

Tim went to the bathroom door and tapped lightly on it.

"I told you to go away, James," a hoarse, disembodied voice came from behind it.

"This is Tim, not James and I gotta warn you, kid, I don't play as nice as my big brother. So either you open this door and talk to me or I kick it open and deal with the cost of repairing it after I kick your skinny arse. Your choice." A moment later, Tim let out a silent breath of relief at the small snick that told him the door was unlocked. He stepped inside, shutting the door behind him. He stared sadly at the small figure, perched uncomfortably on the toilet, a towel wrapped round his waist and looking as bad as James did. Not wanting to be intimidating, Tim dropped to his knees to be more at Ryan's height.

"I havta say, kid, you look as bad as Jimmy does. Now I'm not the brains of this outfit, but even I know you guys have something special. My brother can be one big, fat, stupid ass and I need to know what he did to piss you off. I'm kneeling here, kid. You get my drift?"

"He thinks I'm a slut," Ryan said, tears beginning anew. "We were making love and things got so ... so heated. He asked about condoms. I didn't think. I started to tell him ... to tell him that I don't have any in the living room and that I haven't ever gone all the way. I didn't expect things to go so far tonight, but I wanted ... I just needed ... and he thinks I sleep around."

Tim gave a wordless murmur as Ryan got more upset and then reached to pull the smaller man to kneel beside him and hugged him tight. Keeping their foreheads pressed together, Tim began to whisper.

"James and I, we've lost a coupla friends and know others that picked up nasty infections. It's made us both really keen on safe sex. We get regular tests, even though we've always used protection. James has his staff checked. He has free condoms at his clubs. He panicked, kid. To be honest, I'd expect my lover to let me know they were virgin long before things got ... heated. I'd want things to be 'just so', ya know? The same goes for James. He's not the tumble-them-into-bed type and it's been a *long* time since he's had a partner. So, you didn't tell him ... before?"

"No," Ryan whispered. "I just got carried away."

"Ok, kid. Time for you and James to apologise to each other and for me to get off home."

"If you want, there's a bed of sorts in my studio," Ryan offered shyly, as they slowly stood.

"Let's get you two sorted first," Tim smiled. He gave a silent word of thanks as Ryan preceded him to the living room. He gave his brother as reassuring smile as James surged to his feet.

"Ryan, I'm so sorry ..." he began and stopped as Tim held up a hand and Ryan dropped his head, a crimson blush staining his cheeks.

"Kid has something kinda important to tell you, bro," Tim said, moving back towards the door to offer the illusion of privacy.

"I don't have condoms to hand because I've not used them," Ryan said. "I've not used them because I don't sleep around and I've never had a partner I knew I wanted to have long-term or who I trusted enough to ... to get as intimate as we were."

It took a minute for Ryan's confession to sink in and for James to comprehend what his lover was saying. Then his eyes opened wide.

"You've never ...?" James took the stride that brought him to Ryan. He enveloped the lithe frame in a protective embrace. "Oh, love. Why didn't you tell me?' he asked, dropping kisses in the soft hair.

"I never thought we'd be going so far," Ryan said, hugging James back. "I just wanted you so bad, man."

"Time out, guys," Tim said, clearing his throat theatrically. "You mentioned a bed, kid?" he smiled at Ryan.

"Through the door at the end of the hall, up the stairs and to the left," Ryan directed. He'd intended to show the older man the way but, from the grip James had, the bigger man was not letting go any time soon. He let himself lean heavily against his lover.

As Tim left, James carefully manoeuvred Ryan back to the futon.

"Do you still want to make love with me?" he asked, removing the towel from Ryan's body and his own boxers.

"More than anything," Ryan whispered.

James went to his bag and pulled out an unopened packet. He was about to explain when Ryan shook his head.

"Tim says you're real big on careful," he smiled. "I'm glad. I want you to love me so bad."

James blanketed his lover's body, their resurgent erections rubbing erotically against each other. Their hands and mouths began a slow rediscovery of hidden sweetnesses. James' hand slid down his lover's body. He stroked satin encased steel, feeling the slick fluid that cascaded down the hot, hard length. He moved lower and palmed the furry sac, heavy with unspent need. He relished the moan and the hitch of slender hips as his fingers played with the sensitive scrotum and perineum. Finally he was back at the core of his desire. His finger ghosted over the entrance to Ryan's body before dipping inside the already slickened channel. Using more lube, he added a second and a third. As Ryan's erection flagged under the strain of stretching, James enveloped the softening flesh and began to suck earnestly. Nothing would mar their union this time. With the combination of a knowledgeable tongue on the sensitive underside of Ryan's shaft and the masterful stroking of his lover's sweet spot, James quickly had his lover reduced to unintelligible sounds of unbridled passion.

James slathered the lube on his latex-attired, aching erection. He positioned Ryan's legs over his powerful shoulders and pressed the flared head of his arousal at his mate's glistening portal. He locked eyes with Ryan and, pressing forward, said;

"I love you, Ryan." He groaned as the tight sheath rippled around every millimetre of his flesh, squeezing and searing, as effectively branding him Ryan's as Ryan was his.

"Love ... you ... too," Ryan panted. He tried desperately to relax his muscles and then canted his hips to encourage deeper possession. He wailed as his strategy worked and James rubbed his prostate. The sensation was even more intense than with his lover's fingers.

"Oh, yeah, oh, *there*, James, please, please," Ryan was beyond caring if he made sense, or whether he sounded like he was begging. He wanted this, he needed this. The feel of James' long, thick shaft plunging in and out of his body acted as catharsis to the earlier pain. All he could feel was his lover giving and receiving pleasure. He could no longer distinguish his moans and pleas from the bigger man's sounds of enjoyment. All that mattered was reaching the beckoning fulfilment that would come with their shared release.

James had never seen anything as beautiful or as arousing as the sight of Ryan, lost in sexual pleasure, writhing and moaning beneath him. The auburn hair fanned out over the pillow as Ryan's head thrashed. A diamond drop of sweat meandered down from the smaller man's temple until James' voracious mouth could capture it. Despite the chest hair, James could see the sheen on Ryan's skin as their bodies grew more heated. The sheath around his flesh undulated driving James to the brink of his control. He leant lower, mating their mouths and plundering with his tongue. Burying one hand in Ryan's hair, James concentrated on kissing and licking over lush lips. James sucked at Ryan's tongue until the rhythm of their kiss was echoed in their lovemaking. His lover's mouth was as hot and sweet as the tight channel James possessed and he luxuriated in both. It was sublime, it was perfection and he was coming. Uncaring if his shout rattled the rafters, James bellowed Ryan's name as he filled the latex barrier with pulse after pulse of his release.

Ryan was beyond rational thought, his body lost in a whirling maelstrom of sexual pleasure and tension. His shaft ached with the need for completion, it laid, hard and heavy, between their bodies. The pounding at his prostrate had ecstasy shimmering again and again through his overly-sensitised frame. He wanted to moan, to beg, but all he could do was feel. The heat that had settled low in his belly began to uncoil. Tendrils of pleasure radiated outwards to engulf every cell and nerve until his body vibrated with need. He heard a roar and felt the flesh within him swell and spurt. Untouched, his own shaft erupted in harmony with his mate's. Ryan heard a scream, but was beyond knowing from whom it originated. His body convulsed with the intensity of his orgasm, his semen jettisoning free to reach as far as his own chin and covering both of them. Greyness fluttered at the periphery of his vision as he was overloaded with pleasure. As his taut body began to relax into a languid afterglow, his eyes closed and he faded into post-coital sleep.

James was aware the moment Ryan blacked out. He smiled at the beatific glow to his mate's face. He carefully withdrew, knotting the condom and dropping it into a waste bin. He padded softly to the bathroom, glancing guiltily at the door to the studio. If the sound had reached Tim there was little he could do about it now. He dampened a washcloth and cleansed himself before returning and cleaning his slumbering mate. He smiled as Ryan moved passively to allow James the access he needed. Once completed, James turned off the light and returned to the bed. He was overjoyed that Ryan instinctively burrowed into his embrace. Spooning tightly around his lover, James lay for a long time, relishing the feel of a warm, sated body in his arms.


James awoke and gave a soft sound of contentment. He lay on his side whilst Ryan lay on his stomach, his face turned towards him. James' hand laid proprietarily at the small of his lover's back, the covers having slowly descended the smaller man, leaving him bare to James' greedy gaze. The beautiful, nude body was irresistible. James ignored his morning erection and began to stroke his lover's skin. Moving slowly he knelt, pressing Ryan's legs apart, to take his place between them. Beginning at Ryan's neck, James wrapped his lover's hair around his hand, exposing the nape and licked and kissed the newly discovered treasure. He moved slowly down his mate's body, aware of the moment Ryan awoke and began to appreciate the leisurely lovemaking. By the time James was exploring the creamy, fur-dusted mounds, Ryan was moaning and humping. Taking one taut cheek in each hand, James kneaded and parted them.

Ryan felt the soft kisses and gentle bites to his back as he slowly wakened. The thought of James, kneeling behind him, loving him, had the younger man's sex hard in seconds. He ground slowly into the futon as James descended lower. Lips and teeth teased at his buttocks and then strong hands were holding them, parting them. Ryan moaned his approval. The air was cold on his vulnerable flesh and then he wailed as a wet tongue slithered across his displayed anus. Again and again James' tongue or lips licked or kissed and then, with no warning, James thrust his tongue deep into Ryan's relaxed entrance and plundered the satin sheath. Ryan panted and moaned rising, with difficulty and determination, to pillow his head on his arms and offer himself to his mate. James' rumble of approval vibrated in ways Ryan had never experienced and he knew he was fast approaching a climax.

"Want to be in you, babe," James' voice husked.

"Yes, yes," Ryan pleaded. He groaned as two fingers, slick with lube, pushed easily inside him. A third quickly followed and Ryan mindlessly pushed back as they rubbed his prostate. He whined his distress as their withdrawal left him empty and cried out his approval as he was filled by something harder and longer. Vaguely he wished there was no latex between them and then the time for thinking was past.

James angled himself to pound at Ryan's prostate, his hands holding tight to slender hips. He relished the tightness, the heat, the joy of loving the beautiful young man who welcomed him into his body. One hand caressed Ryan's lower back and then reached underneath to stroke at his lover's neglected erection. He was hard and damp and James knew neither of them would last much longer. He pumped vigorously, needing Ryan to come with him.

"Wanna see you," Ryan's soft plea broke through James' haze of lust. He carefully withdrew and lay on his back, urging Ryan to straddle him. He gazed up into deep blue eyes so dark as to be almost black. He quickly stroked his lover back to full hardness as Ryan undulated on his hard flesh. This way Ryan was more in control and James' sex throbbed mercilessly at the sight of his lover, impaled on his shaft, lost in sexual bliss. One of Ryan's hands came to rest on James' left breast and the bigger man lifted his hand to copy the gesture.

"Love you, Ryan," James ground out and groaned as he triggered his mate's climax. Hot semen coated his hand and his lover's clenching channel pushed him over the edge. As Ryan collapsed James caught him, hips jerking upwards, as he filled the condom with his seed. Finally his movements became a languid slide and he kissed any piece of Ryan's skin he could reach to low murmurs of appreciation. Tenderly, he reached to smooth away sweat-damp hair from Ryan's face and bathed the flushed, angelic visage with tiny kisses.

"I think we need a long, hot shower," Ryan murmured, his voice heavy with satiation. "If you'd like to try and fit" he added shyly. "Oh that's nice," he gasped as James' still half-hard flesh nudged his sweet spot.

"I fit, babe," James grinned into his mate's bare shoulder. "Oh yeah," he added as Ryan's inner muscles clenched.

"Why, James, so you do," Ryan husked.

"Imp," James growled into a small ear, before following his words with his tongue. He slapped lightly at a perfect buttock and carefully helped move Ryan, not missing the small, almost-smothered hiss of discomfort from his mate. He made a mental note to take special care of his newly deflowered lover.

The shower was taken with quiet laughter to accompany the soaping and cleaning. Two did fit -- just. Although the proximity of a wet, naked and soapy Ryan had James' libido taking extra notice, the smallness of the cubicle and Ryan's breathless giggles helped keep him in check. He turned Ryan to face away from him and tenderly kneaded his lover's creamy globes.

"You may ache for a while, love," he murmured, his voice laced with concern.

"It'll be a good ache," Ryan promised. "It'll remind me that you love me."

"I do, babe, so very much," James vowed.

"I love you, too," Ryan smiled, leaning back into his mate's strong body. Both men jumped at the knock to the door and then laughed as Tim's voice reached them.

"Any chance of someone else using the bathroom, guys?"

"Five minutes," Ryan snickered, switching off the spray.


"So this is where you work?" Tim asked, as Ryan conducted both men on a small tour of his studio.

"Yeah, man," Ryan nodded enthusiastically. "Paint, some clay, some bronze. I'm not much into wood, although I can carve if a client really wanted it."

Unlike James, Tim felt no compunction to avoid pieces under canvasses. He investigated some sculptures as Ryan showed his brother an oil painting. He looked at a piece, clearly two lovers, and then at the handwritten card that had the numbers 100-150 on it.

"This one is cool," he said, but I don't understand what the numbers mean.

"The higher number represents the maximum value I have for the piece and the lower what I would let it sell for rather than lose a sale altogether," Ryan said, still engrossed with James. Then both men turned to join him. "Which is it...?"

Ryan's voice trailed off and Tim realised neither man looked at him; both pairs of eyes were riveted to the sculpture in his hand. He looked at it more closely. It was clearly two men, the taller on their back, straddled by their lover, a smaller, long-haired but still male figure. Each of the lovers reached to touch the chest of the other.

For James the depiction was uncanny. It was the same pose they had adopted when lovemaking. He knew Ryan must have made it before they became lovers, but he had to have it.

Tim saw the look in his brother's eye and before the older man could make a move, Tim had stuffed eight twenty pound notes into Ryan's hand.

"There ya go, kid," he grinned.

James kept the groan deep in his chest, but the pain was evident in his eyes and Ryan saw it. He pushed the money back at Tim.

"Please, Tim, not that piece," he begged. "If you want to buy something you can have whatever else you want for the same price," he offered.

Tim saw the looks that passed between Ryan and his brother and he smiled.

"James," he said. "How many times have I spent weeks hunting for something special only to return with a shirt, or cufflinks?" he asked. "For once, I have something I *know* you're going to appreciate. It may be a coupla months early, but happy birthday, bro," he grinned, handing over the artwork. If it had not been for the longing and worry in the other men's eyes, he would have held on to it till closer the time, but he could not deny his brother.

Reverently James took the piece and then pulled Tim into a one-armed hug.

"Thank you," he said huskily. He turned to Ryan, who was now bouncing from foot to foot, his face in a wide, joyful smile. "I don't know how, babe, but this is us." He released Tim to enfold his lover tight for a moment.

"Not that I wanna be a mood-breaker here," Tim spoke up, as the two men seemed oblivious to all around them. "But I'd kinda like to have breakfast."

"It's on me," Ryan said gleefully, waving the money Tim had given him.


The next few months sped by in a flurry of activity. Ryan, who apart from needing the studio to work, had all but moved into the house James and Tim owned. It was comfortably split into a downstairs bedroom, bathroom and entertaining room for Tim as well as kitchen and communal lounge. Upstairs were James and Ryan's bedroom, which was en-suite, as well as guest bedrooms and bathrooms. James rented new studio space for Ryan so his old flat could be released whilst they had a studio purpose-built at the side of the house and Ryan became a permanent addition to the household.

Tim watched as Ryan took a phone call and his brother nuzzled his lover. He dodged out of sight, knowing from what he could hear of the conversation, there was going to be fireworks between the two men. Ryan was smaller than James but no less feisty when he believed he was right, or getting what he wanted.

"Tony needs me to help out for a couple of nights," Ryan said, as he turned to face his lover. The frown James wore was no less than Ryan expected.

"No," he said decisively.

Ryan wrapped his arms around his lover and ground his pelvis into the older man's.

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