Between the Push and Pull Ch. 03byhudsbart©
Whew! Chapter Two was a doozy, wasn't it? I hope you all enjoyed reading the really hot sex as much as I enjoyed writing it. Moving on now, let's see where Ryan and Erik go from here.
As always, please please please comment! Whether you liked the chapter or not, I'd love to hear your thoughts. I'm addicted to it, in fact.
Copyright (c) 2017 by Hudson Bartholomew. All rights reserved. This story or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
Ryan moved around behind the bar with a practiced ease, his brain only half aware of what he was doing and his body acting on muscle memory. Glasses arranged in neat rows, mixers and measuring thimbles placed at their stations, kegs hooked up to their taps. There was something soothing about going through familiar motions, and in the several weeks since that scene, Ryan wanted nothing more than to immerse himself in the familiar.
"Hey," Amanda gave him a wary greeting.
Ryan returned with a non-committal, "Hey." He could feel her eyeing him behind his back.
About a week after the shoot, when he'd already been distant and cold for days, Amanda had tried to say something. But this wasn't something Ryan was willing to discuss with her, or with anyone, really; it wasn't something Ryan really wanted to dwell on himself. So he shut her down and she hadn't tried to raise the issue again.
Ryan told himself that it was better this way; he didn't need any unnecessary snooping in his life. But truth be told, he felt guilty treating Amanda so coldly, she didn't deserve it.
"I'm sorry," he blurted out, but she was too far down the bar to hear it clearly.
"What?" she asked, turning at the sound of his voice.
"I'm sorry," Ryan repeated, heading to her end of the bar. "I know I've been treating you like shit, and I'm sorry."
Amanda took a deep breath and sighed. "Yeah, you have been treating me like shit. I don't know if I should forgive you."
Ryan cringed, but couldn't come up with anything clever to say.
Amanda glared at him, but she didn't look nearly as angry as she had in the past. "So tell me why you turned into a bitch?"
Now it was Ryan's turn to sigh. "I..." How exactly to do you explain to your straight hetero female coworker that he'd bottomed in a gay porn video and now he felt exposed and vulnerable and scared?
Amanda rolled her eyes, "Right, complicated." She turned back to her set up.
"Are you still mad at me?"
"Yes," she answered. "But not as much as before."
"I'm sorry," he repeated.
"Yeah, I know," she sighed.
The door swung open as their first customers trickled in for happy hour.
Amanda shot him a good-natured lop-sided grin. So maybe she was still mad, but she'd get over it. Ryan returned with his own grin and went to take the customer's order.
It was a Tuesday night, so they weren't that busy. Just a steady trickle of customers throughout the evening that kept both Ryan and Amanda moving, but not frantic.
Ryan was hauling a case of wine from the basement storeroom when someone spun him around, grabbed his head and planted a firm kiss right on his lips.
"Holy fuck, you're blowing up the internet!"
Ryan managed to keep hold of his case of wine and pulled back enough to see Erik's giant smile and winking dimple.
"What the fuck?!" Ryan retreated and bumped into a bar stool, toppling it to the floor.
"You're blowing up the internet!" Erik's hands were raised as if that would explain what he was talking about.
Ryan just glared at him and made a beeline for the safety of his bar.
"Ryan!" Erik called after him, but Ryan ignored him.
"Ryan, what the hell is wrong with you?" Erik leaned over the bar and peered down to where Ryan was crouched, shuffling bottles under the counter. "I've sent you a million text messages and tried calling a million times. So has Gary. Where the hell have you been?"
"Nowhere," Ryan replied, fully aware that he sounded like petulant child.
"What the fuck is wrong with you?" Erik shouted loud enough for heads to turn and stare.
Ryan glared at him again, grabbed him by the arm and led him back to the basement storeroom and away from the eyes of paying customers.
"You can't come in here shouting like that," he admonished.
"Are you fucking kidding me?" Erik turned to face off against Ryan. "I only came in here because you've been ignoring us, and I'm only shouting because you're acting like a child."
Ryan crossed his arms and set his jaw. "Why are you here?" he bit out.
Erik stared at him incredulously, before raising his hands in surrender. "I just came to tell you that our scene is blowing up the internet. More specifically, you are. The website crashed last night with the number of people trying to access the video. People can't stop talking about you."
Ryan blinked. He hadn't actually given the video itself much thought over the past several weeks. He'd been too focused on how he felt to think about the fact that everyone in the whole world would see what had happened. That little ball of unease that he'd been carrying around in the middle of his chest for the past few weeks suddenly grew a lot bigger.
"Ryan, you okay?" Erik's hand reached out for Ryan's shoulder, but he flinched at the contact. Erik dropped his hand to his side. "You haven't seen the video, have you?"
Ryan shook his head.
"Right, because you don't like watching videos of yourself," Erik sighed. "Well, you should watch this one, because you're fucking amazing. Better than all of your other stuff combined."
Ryan shifted on his feet, but didn't respond. He didn't really want to know what his fucking amazing looked like. He'd rather not go there at all.
"Listen, you can watch it or don't watch it. It doesn't really matter. But we need to schedule the next shoot. Gary's been trying to get in touch with you. So get back to him, okay? We're ready to go at the end of this week."
Ryan shifted again, but still didn't respond.
"I guess I'll see you, then," Erik sighed and showed himself out.
Ryan took a few more moments for himself, but couldn't figure out what he thought or felt about Erik's visit. All he knew was that doing another scene was the last thing he wanted.
The rest of the night went by uneventfully. Amanda had seen the little altercation between Ryan and Erik, and aside from a quick question to make sure Ryan was okay, hadn't brought it up again. Ryan was grateful for that.
Now he sat at home, laptop open with the cursor hovering over the play button. Gary had sent him a link to the video, he'd ignored it along with all the other attempts to contact him.
To watch or not to watch, that is the question. Ryan shook his head—don't be corny. And don't be a child; just watch it.
Ryan clicked on the play button.
It was weird watching the scene from this side of the camera lens, his memory of being on set clashing with what ended up in the final cut. The first couple of scenes were a little awkward and Ryan cringed at the sound of his own voice from the alley. But then they were on the couch.
Erik looked sinfully hot in those low riding sweatpants, tattoos swirling across his skin. The camera captured the way they danced as he moved, just like Ryan remembered it. And Ryan himself looked pretty good, too, he had to admit.
Gary had wanted a very particular look, so Ryan had gotten a haircut right before they started shooting: short on the sides, volume across the top with a neat side part, very subtle blonde highlights in his normally chestnut brown hair to contrast against Erik's dark black.
Those fake glasses were well chosen; they framed and shadowed at the same time, drawing attention to Ryan's unremarkable brown eyes while making it more difficult to see them clearly. The narrow fitting vest, smart bowtie, and tight jeans, it all worked for that... what did Erik call it? Nerdy hot look.
Now Erik was doing that thing with Ryan's earring. Ryan couldn't tear his eyes away from the image of himself, mouth parted gasping, arms wrapped tightly around Erik, eyes fluttering rapidly. Ryan swallowed thickly as he watched himself be tugged onto his back, his chest heaving as he struggled to orient himself.
While Ryan lay there blinking at the ceiling, Erik had stood up and dropped his sweats, his hand palming a thickening cock. Ryan had missed all of that on set.
The next several sequences weren't that bad, closer to the script that they had agreed on before hand. The camera captured that look on Erik's face as he feasted on the sight of Ryan's body. From this side of the screen, it looked toned and defined, not muscular like Erik, but no misplaced fat either; Ryan approved.
Ryan sucking on Erik's cock and then getting face fucked was okay, too. Ryan liked how Erik looked when he arched back, body fully on display while his cock was firmly caught between Ryan's lips.
After that, the video went downhill. Ryan watched as Erik's mouth and fingers played on his body, and the camera caught every second of Ryan's mind falling apart, no carefully constructed expressions, just his raw emotions written in plain writing across his face.
His body was trashing as Erik's fingers danced in his ass, hands in a death grip on his knees, head flailing about. Incoherent mumbling sounds came from Ryan's mouth—he didn't remember that part.
Then the video cut to Erik, braced on his elbows above Ryan's body, his face pressed against Ryan's cheek, hidden from the camera. Ryan's memory flashed to the words Erik had whispered into his ear, "Easy, relax."
Cut to Erik's sheathed cock, veiny and engorged, pressed against Ryan's rosy hole, guided by Erik's hand. Pressure and release, pressure and release, until it popped in. Cut to Ryan's face, pupils blown, eyes wide open but unseeing. His mouth hung open and the mic picked up Ryan's strangled cry.
Back and forth the camera cut between Erik's cock slowing making it's way into Ryan's body, and Ryan's face as his body was being invaded. In between was peppered wide angle shots of them, limbed entangled on the couch, Ryan's body trembling with uncontrolled sensory overload, Erik's with barely contained restraint.
The fucking started slow; Ryan remembered the way Erik undulated on top of him. The camera was able to zoom in between their bodies to see Ryan's cock rubbing against Erik's stomach. And their position allowed another camera to focus on Erik's cock buried in Ryan's ass.
But every few seconds, the camera would come back to Ryan's face as it twisted and distorted in torturous pleasure. And the sounds, Jesus-fucking-Christ, the sounds that Ryan was making on screen. He had absolutely no recollection of making them, of muttering the "oh my gods," the whimpering, the "please, Ev, pleases." When did he even decide to shorten Erik's screen name to Ev?
And the final shot. Ryan remembered that he had been loosing his grip on Erik; watching the video, he realized that was because Erik pulled away from him and sat up while still pounding into his ass. Erik then wrapped his hand around Ryan's cock—that was shown in close detail on the screen, his palm twisting around the head, just like Ryan liked it.
Then the camera zoomed out to show the cumshot, thick white creamy cum shooting out of Ryan's cock and onto his body as he arched his back, knuckles white in their grip of the couch cushions, face contorted in an orgasm the likes of which Ryan had never felt before.
As Ryan was still shooting ropes of cum, milked by Erik's hand, Erik managed to pull out of Ryan's ass, ripped the condom off and rub his cock against Ryan's. A couple of strokes and Erik was shooting, too, his cum was clear but glistened as it landed alongside Ryan's. That set off Ryan's second orgasm, and his body convulsed on the screen as more cum shot out of his raw dick.
The camera panned to Ryan's face, blissed out and high from the cocktail of hormones released into his system; his body shook, aftershocks from the devastating orgasm. The camera angle shifted to bring Erik into view: he was collapsed against the back of the couch, body also shaking, but eyes much more aware than Ryan's. He was gazing at Ryan, but the Ryan watching from this side of the screen couldn't decipher what the look meant.
Before he could figure it out, the video ended. Credits rolled.
It was exactly as he feared. The camera had picked up every single feeling zinging across Ryan's nerves, every thought that raced across his mind, every emotion that even he wasn't aware he was feeling. It was all there. None of that was acting; none of that was Roman Cox. That was entirely Ryan Cote, on display for the world to see.
Ryan ran to his bathroom just in time to dry heave into his toilet.
When the nausea passed, Ryan tracked down his phone. His hand shook as he pulled Erik's number.
It rang twice before Erik answered, "Hey, how's it going?"
"I can't do this anymore," Ryan hated how shaky his voice sounded.
"What do you mean?"
"I can't do this. I can't do anymore scenes with you."
"What? Why not?" Erik asked. "Did you watch the video?"
"Yeah," Ryan dropped his head into his free hand. "That's why I can't do anymore scenes."
"I don't understand," Erik sounded exasperated. "You're amazing in the scene, why can't you do more?"
"I just can't, okay?" Ryan's voice was louder than he intended.
"Okay, okay," Erik responded quickly. "Let's just talk this through, I want to hear what you're thinking. But it's not ideal to do this on the phone. Are you at home? What's your address? I'll come to you."
Ryan sighed. This was not what he wanted to accomplish with the phone call. "I don't know..."
"Come on, please?" Shuffling sounds came from Erik's side of the line and a jingling of keys, "You owe me at least a chance to talk this through."
Ryan hesitated. Not only did he not want to talk about this. He also didn't want Erik coming to his apartment. It felt far too intimate after the video he just watched.
"Ryan?" Erik sounded like he was running down stairs.
"Okay, fine. I live in Brooklyn."
"Jesus, fucking Brooklyn," Erik muttered. "Alright, text me your address and I'll grab an Uber. Should take about 45 minutes, I guess. I'll see you soon."
"Fucking middle of the night, fucking Brooklyn, fucking top floor of a fucking five floor walkup," Erik muttered to himself as he reached the landing at the top of the stairs. He took a second to catch his breath before knocking, and noticed jangling and thudding sounds coming from the other side of the door.
Erik banged loudly and the sounds stopped. A moment later, the locks clicked and the door open to reveal a half naked, sweaty, out of breath Ryan with his hair all in a mess.
Erik smirked, "Did I interrupt something?"
Ryan stepped back and gestured to the black punching bag swinging in the corner.
"Ah, boxing," Erik accepted Ryan's unspoken invitation into his home. "How'd you get your landlord to approve that?"
Ryan grinned and shrugged, "What he doesn't know..."
"Right," Erik chuckled. Ryan seemed a lot less freaked out than he did on the phone.
"Sorry, let me just grab a shirt," Ryan said as his tugged fingerless gloves off his hands.
Erik surveyed Ryan's naked torso, all sinewy muscle, trim and lean, glistening under a layer of sweat. Without the gloves, all he was wearing was a flow-y pair of black pants that rode low on his hips and clinched at his ankles. Erik narrowed his eyes at Ryan's lower back—those pants rode really low, and there was no sign of any waistband underneath... Erik would bet money that Ryan was commando.
"Oh, don't on my account," Erik couldn't help but tease.
The expression on Ryan's face as he turned back was priceless: a little shocked, a little nervous, a little defensive. But it only lasted a split second before that infuriating grin was back, and then he shrug.
The shirt he put on didn't cover up much; it was an oversized white tank top, cut low around the collar and sleeves. Erik could still see practically everything through the thin material.
"You didn't have to bring anything over."
"Huh?" Erik glanced down at the six-pack of beers in his hand. "Oh, right. Well, I figured if we're going to do a late night gab-a-thon, we might as well have alcohol."
"You want something cold? I've got beer in my fridge."
"Yeah, sure, thanks."
Ryan disappeared through a doorway with the beer to chill and Erik took the chance to survey the apartment. It wasn't what he was expecting.
Other than the black punching bag in the corner, there was a platform bed pushed lengthwise against the wall, piled high with colorful pillows. In front of it sat a low coffee table made of driftwood polished to a shine. The other wall held shelves full of books, rows and rows of books. No TV in sight. And that was it. All very minimalist, if Erik had to put a name to it.
Erik jumped as an orange and white-stripped cat wound its way between Erik's feet, and rubbed its body against Erik's leg.
"You have a cat." It came out more accusatory that Erik had intended.
"Yeah. Sorry, are you allergic?" Ryan came back holding two chilled bottles and handed one to Erik.
"No, no, I'm not. I just... you don't seem like a cat person."
Ryan bent over and scooped up the offending kitty and held him up against his chest. The cat meowed again and licked at Ryan's bare skin. "Caesar, don't do that," Ryan gently admonished.
Erik couldn't quite digest what he saw. Ryan's expression completely changed as he spoke with his pet. Gone was the quiet reservation and the practiced grin and shrug; instead, his smile was genuinely happy, no façade, no mask. Ryan looked lighter.
And that cat was still licking at Ryan. Despite his unconvincing scold, Ryan didn't seem to care that he'd become an ice cream cone for Caesar. It reminded Erik of what Ryan's skin tasted like, the saltiness of a fresh layer of sweat. Erik coughed and took a large gulp of his beer.
The sound brought Ryan back to the present and his mask slipped quickly back into place. "Sorry," he murmured as he dropped Caesar to the floor. Erik wasn't sure whom the apology was meant for.
"I don't have much furniture, but you can have a seat on the... couch, bed, thing," Ryan gestured to the neatly tucked white sheets and artfully arranged pillows. Wooden coasters suddenly appeared on the coffee table. "So you wanted to talk."
Erik sighed and took the seat Ryan indicated. "Yeah, um... I just- I just want to understand why you don't want to do another scene. You were phenomenal. You should read the comments we're getting—people can't get enough of it. We're at 100,000 views and it's only been online for less than a week!"
Erik stopped because the more he said, the more uncomfortable Ryan looked. He was sitting on the edge of the couch/bed, shoulders hunched, and legs bouncing up and down. His focus appeared to be on the bottle in his hand, and shredding the wet label into as many pieces as he could manage.
"Hey," Erik shifted closer and reached for Ryan's shoulder. "Are you okay?"
Ryan tensed under Erik's touch, but he didn't pull away.
"I don't like it," came the admission, whispered under his breath so quietly that Erik almost didn't hear.
"Don't like what?" Erik tried to turn Ryan toward him, to get Ryan to make eye contact. "Doing the scene? You seemed pretty into it—I mean, that's why everyone loves it so much. Either that or you're one hell of an amazing actor."
Ryan jumped from his seat and dislodged Erik's hand. He paced to the other end of his studio and raked a hand through his tussled hair.