By the Sea


I sat in my room and tried to go slow, wanting to draw out and savor each word, knowing that when I was done, Toby would soon leave. But his book was too good. I finished in just over five hours, devouring each and every word. I was moved and touched by what he wrote. It was almost the end of the book before I realized that he had turned me into one of the characters. The female detective, one of the minor characters from his last book, had come to Oregon to heal from her injuries. She stayed at a little inn along the coast and was nursed and loved back to health by a kind, warm, gentle man. It filled my heart to know that Toby really saw me, the person I feel I really am. I put down the last page, thrilled by the whole experience and went to find him.

I found him lying in his bed, asleep, facing away from me. I slipped off my clothes and slipped into bed with him. I pulled his warm body flush with mine. His back rested fully against my chest and I wrapped my arm around him, squeezing him to me. I started kissing his neck and nibbling on his ear. I was hard and thrusting lightly into his crack, gently masturbating myself into his willing flesh. I ran my arm down his furry belly and felt him standing hard and leaking against his belly button. I grasped him and stroked him slowly but hard. I nudged a leg between his thighs, lifting and separating his ass just enough that I could find him with my cock. I pushed into him slightly and rocked slowly into him, all the while kissing and biting at his neck and shoulder. Toby’s arm came up and he cupped my face as I continued to rock gently into him. I shifted slightly and pushed hard into him and felt his entire body shudder, his moan loud and low and deep. I kept moving into him, deep and hard, pulsing with pleasure, throbbing deep inside him with every beat of my heart. As I had noticed before, our hearts beat at the same rate and I could feel them sync up, pulsing through us at the same time. Each tense of my body had him shiver and groan. Each thrust had me gasping in ecstasy. Then I felt him thicken and get harder in my hand. I moved my fist up and explored the flared ridge of his head and sensed the slit open, readying to expel his essence. He cried out and I felt the muscles deep inside pulse and then his cock twitched in time to the jetting of his semen. Six, seven, eight heavy pulses and then he relaxed, limp from the pleasure. I sped up, giving myself the added tempo in order to trip and join him in sated bliss. When I came, I knew it would probably be the last time I was going to be with him and it made the strong, intense spasms poignant as well as earth shattering. As I felt my body calm, relax and soften from my efforts, I slipped out of him and pulled him even tighter to my body, hoping for just a few more hours of having my love sleep in my arms, before they became empty forever.

The next day I knew our time was drawing to a close. He spent a long time on the phone with his editor, discussing his new book and the book signing for his latest, just published opus. I steeled myself for the coming few days, willing myself to put up as good a front as I could. Wanting Toby to only look back on our time together with pleasure and never regret or guilt, I vowed to smile when I sent him off, back to his world. He found me in the kitchen and told me he would leave the following morning for New York. I don’t know how I kept from crumpling to the ground in pain, but I stayed standing, with a slight smile on my face. I nodded and then thanked the stars for the sound of my oven timer going off. After I had pulled out my latest batch of cookies, I turned back to Toby.

“You could come with me, Jack.” His look was almost pleading.

I smiled though it hurt so much. “I can’t during the summer. Maybe for a few months in the winter, or a week or two in October, but I can’t get away now.”

I wanted to ask him to stay, offering him a safe harbor to work, a companion to travel with for research during the long, lonely winters. I didn’t make the offer though. Perhaps I had too much pride. Perhaps I was too afraid that the answer would be no. I do have some sense of self-preservation. Twenty-six years of shyness does provide a few defenses for my psyche.

We spent the night together in my room. Our frenzied coupling was almost desperate in our need to be together. I used every touch and caress, every kiss and moan as a beacon to remember him by, knowing that I would probably need the memories to survive the cold of winter. Eventually we slept, holding almost fiercely to each other, as if we were both loath to let the other go. I awoke before the dawn, watching the sky lighten and define the features of his face, using the last opportunity to see him, knowing that the moment he left would probably kill me.

His flight was scheduled to leave Portland at three. It takes an hour to get to the airport. He left just before lunch. I helped him pack; looking in the drawers and shelves of his armoire for any last items he might have missed. When the last of his suitcases were locked, I helped him carry them to his car. He kissed my cheek before heading to his door. But I couldn’t end it like this.

“If you ever happen to be back in the area. You are always welcome, Toby.”

“Even in your bed?” It stung a little, to swallow my pride. But I looked down for a second before looking him straight in the eyes then nodded. After a few seconds, he was gone.

I walked back inside, feeling hollow and brittle. I had a feeling I would break at any moment. But I didn’t. I spent the rest of the day cleaning rooms, doing laundry, cooking up the usual storm for the shelter, talking with and helping the guests: anything to put the gaping hole in my heart out of my mind or at least to the back of it. I didn’t sleep that night, didn’t even try. The next day I worked in the garden. I planted every plant I had. Every pot and planter I had for the entire house was filled to overflowing with flowers and herbs. The house was covered in a profusion of color and scents. I put flowers in each room and draped the dining room in colorful blooms. And that night I didn’t sleep. The next day I knew I had put it off long enough. I needed to clean his room. I needed to change the bedding and do what was necessary to let someone else use the room. It took a good hour before I could garner the courage to go upstairs. But I did. I opened the door and saw the rumpled sheets on the bed and the used towel lying on the bathroom floor. I sank down on the bed and pulled his pillow into my lap, hugging it to me, sniffing it lightly, and breathing in his scent. I don’t know how long I sat there, feeling my chest tighten with the loss and pain I was feeling. I hadn’t cried since he left and I vowed not to now. I lost focus in my eyes and held on tighter to the pillow, letting its slight fragrance brush through me.

“You fake!” I looked up to catch Toby standing in the door. All my resolve to not cry fled as my vision blurred with the welling tears.

“Sending me away, letting me think everything was fine. You big fake!” His voice washed over me, making the pain even greater. “You made me think that you didn’t care, Jack. Letting me believe that your heart wasn’t breaking. That you weren’t dying inside slowly. That your chest hurt so bad it hurt to even breath.” His voice broke. “Just like mine did, from the moment I drove away.”

I blinked hard and Toby came into focus. He had tears streaming down his face. He dropped to his knees in front of me and grabbed me hard before kissing me. It was a wet, sloppy kiss, filled with taste and texture, love and hurt, tears and moans. We continued to kiss as he pulled me down to the floor with him. He rolled me to my back and wedged his leg between mine, thrusting his hips hard into me, letting me feel how hard he was. He kept rubbing into me, and I could do nothing but meet him. We were too desperate to remove our clothes. We kept kissing and writhing against each other, moaning deep in our chests as first he, then I found release. We kept kissing and crying for a few minutes. Then he pulled up and looked in my face.

“Don’t ever send me away again. It damn near killed me.”

“Never. I never wanted you to go.”

“I love you Jack.”

“I love you too, Toby.”

I look back on that afternoon in the upstairs bedroom and smile. And as I lie here, holding Toby, looking out the curtains at the lightening dawn I can look back and wonder. It’s not that he takes me places to research his books. It’s not that he spends the summer writing and helping me care for my guests. It’s not that he is starting to get a little bald spot at the crown of his head (which he fiercely denies). It’s not that he wears his glasses all the time now. It’s not that he is starting to silver at the temples or that his chest is more salt and pepper now. It’s not that he dedicates every new book to me. It’s not that he has put on ten pounds and blames my cooking on it. It’s not that he makes love to me every night and each morning, sometimes even in the middle of the day. It’s not his smile even though it causes my heart to race when it is sent my way. It’s not his eyes or his hands or his caring, wonderful nature. It’s not any one thing. I just love him. And it’s true. I do. For twenty-two summers and twenty-two winters. For every heartache and each triumph I love him.

So as the dawn purples, then grays, I pull him closer against my chest. I pull his leg over my own and part him, sliding in easily, feeling the remnants of last night’s lovemaking, knowing that if our position were reversed, he would find the same in me. So I slid home, pushing into him, feeling him waken and grip me. As I moved, he kept gripping and squeezing me, murmuring words of love and encouragement. And I kept moving, feeling his chest and belly, the smattering of hair, the smooth, warm skin, and the hard, muscular planes. I kept moving as the sky lightened as if waiting for us to find our pleasure before the sun broke out over the horizon. As the time progressed and Toby got closer and closer to his release, his words of encouragement became filthy, raw suggestions that pushed me higher, causing me to teeter over the edge, taking him with me just as the sun pierced the horizon, bathing us in its warm, heavenly glow. As our bodies calmed, I just wondered at nature’s beauty spread out before us. I knew that we had many more years ahead of us, knowing we had countless mornings that we would wake each other with passion. But each time felt like the first, the most important, and the best.

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