Big thanks to Melanie and Krista for their help, both creative and editorial, with this story. And thanks as ever to goddess9991 for her fine editing.
"Hey, you alright?" said a voice from behind me. I recognized it as belonging to Nic, the younger and more obviously gay of the partners who owned the little seaside B&B on whose back patio I was presently sulking.
"Yeah, I'm okay," I said. "Or I will be."
"Don't kid a kidder, boyo," he said in a gently amused tone, coming around to sit by me on the padded, loveseat-sized bench. I glanced at him, taking in the blue eyes and attractive face and feeling once again a slight bit of amazement at the fact that "attractive" even crossed my mind. It was still only a few weeks since the first time any man had registered in that way for me, at least in any conscious sense.
"No, really," I insisted. "I'll be okay. I've got wine and a book and this awesome view. I'll be fine."
"Tell you a secret," he said, smiling and leaning toward me slightly. "When someone says 'I will be fine' or 'I will be okay', it means they're not. You can chase straight guys off with that, but that's because they don't really want to hear the answer anyway."
"Ah," I said, returning his smile. "Whereas gay guys..."
"Are genuinely interested." The smile faded into a more serious interest. "I saw your boyfriend leave. Generally when half of a couple takes off three hours after check-in, that's a bad sign."
"Guess it would be."
"Is he coming back?"
"No. No chance. Takes Michael at least a few days to get over being mad. Even if he's inclined to get past this, it'll be too late for us."
"Too late for this weekend, you mean?"
"No, I wish." I paused a second before elaborating. "We're in the Navy. He's on his way to Great Lakes, has to be there Monday. That's why we looked so hard for a gay-friendly place to stay. We didn't want to look over our shoulders, you know? This weekend was our last together no matter what, it just ended way too soon."
"I know what that's like." At my questioning glance, he smiled and added, "Jon was a colonel in the Army. I'm an Army wife, or I was."
"Ah. God, that must have been just incredibly tough."
"It was. Fortunately I didn't meet him until he was almost ready to retire. No way we could have made it for years and years without outing him. That's why he stayed single so long, he knew short affairs were a lot easier to hide than long relationships."
"I guess they would be, yeah. Hadn't even thought of that."
"Hard to be gay in the service." He grinned. "No pun intended. How long until you see him again?"
"Don't know that I will." I knew I'd never get away with leaving it there, so I went on, slowly, trying to formulate my thoughts as I gave them voice. "We were... finite. This was never a romance aiming for forever. We knew we had up until he left and that was it."
"You both knew that? Or just you?"
"Both. Hell, he's the one that couldn't stop saying it. 'We're just friends, Ken. It's just sex, Ken. Shh, don't say you love me, Ken. Not even in bed.' And he was right. We knew from day one exactly how long we had. It would be stupid for us to get all Romeo and Juliet about this."
"But you did?" he asked sympathetically.
"Well..." Suddenly the energy that had left with Michael was back. I stood up, started to pace, realized I was doing it, and anchored myself by leaning my butt on the patio rail. "That's just it. No. We didn't. Or anyway I didn't. And I didn't have a clue that he had, either. It was all light and happy and fun, then all the sudden he's talking about love and need and saying we should come out so we'd get discharged. We went from friends with benefits to lovers with bad chicken dinners in a heartbeat."
"Bad chicken dinners?"
"Sorry. Bad Conduct Discharges, BCDs. It's what they give you for coming out. Bad chicken dinner is the slang. Everything's got slang in the Navy."
He grinned at that, and there was a moment's silence.
"How long were you together?" he finally asked, I think just to keep the conversation from stalling.
"Six or eight weeks, I guess," I said with a shrug. "Depends on when you start counting. We recognized the attraction in boot camp, but we couldn't really do anything about it until after."
"Wow," he said gravely. "Six or eight weeks. No wonder you're sitting out here like a heartbroken Montague."
"Shut up," I laughed. "I thought you came out here to cheer me up."
"Why on earth would you think that?" he said with exaggerated scorn. "I'm just making sure you don't slash your wrists on the new furniture."
"Oh, nice," I said.
"Yeah, I'm sweet like that." Smiling, he stood and stepped toward the path down to the beach. "Come on. As nicely as you decorate this patio, it's bad karma to let the pretty young guests be all lonely and blue. Walk with me. I'll tell you lots of juicy gossip about the other guests."
"Pretty," I said as I joined him. "Uh huh. Now it's getting deep."
"Oh, you know you're gorgeous, stop fishing for compliments."
I smirked wryly and didn't answer. After a second he laughed.
"You don't, do you?" he said. "You've got to be kidding me. Every fag you've ever met must have tried to get in those jeans."
"Now see, this is how you cheer someone up."
He laughed and briefly put an arm around my waist.
"Pretty boy, when you come down for breakfast tomorrow I'm going to parade you past every man in the inn. You watch them watch you, and then tell me I'm just trying to cheer you up."
My face felt hot, and after a second I gently pushed him away.
"Stop it," I said, but I couldn't help smiling. "Michael's the good-looking one."
"He's cute, yeah, but he doesn't have your body. Seriously, I'm not flattering you. You're hot. All fresh-faced and cute and built like a dream. Hang out with the other guests and every bottom will keep both hands on his top at all times."
Now I laughed, and when he slid the arm around my waist again I didn't protest. He didn't leave it there long and it seemed more of a friendly gesture than a move, but it did a good job of reinforcing his compliments. We walked in silence for a moment, watching the waves roll up to the nearly-deserted beach.
"Okay," I finally said. "Explain the top and bottom thing. I mean, is it usual in gay relationships for one person to always be dominant? Seems weird."
"Wow, you really are new at this."
"Michael was my first boyfriend, or whatever term I should use. I didn't even know I could be attracted to men until him."
"So you made it to... what are you, eighteen?... without knowing you like boys? I can't even imagine."
"Well, I like girls too," I said with a shrug. "Maybe that's why."
"Because you could date without confronting any tough fundamental questions about who you are? Makes sense. Might even make enough sense that you could convince yourself you liked girls specifically to avoid those questions."
I about half-understood him, but I didn't ask him to explain. My mood wasn't exactly primed for deep questions.
"To answer your question," he said, "it depends on the relationship. Some couples are very much like a stereotypical nineteen-fifties husband and wife. Some are equal partners in and out of bed. Most fall somewhere in between. Jon is very much the dominant half of our relationship, especially at night, but I do assert myself when I want to."
"So it's not just a sexual term," I said.
"Well, most of the time it's used that way, even if it's teasing. There's definitely a sexual connotation, I wouldn't just use it in any old circumstance."
"Okay." There was another moment of silence. "So why'd you say the bottoms would grab their tops? Do I seem like a bottom?"
"Alright," he said with a laugh, slipping his arm around my waist again. "Being queer, lesson one: Relax. I wasn't calling your manhood into question. You're very young, you have a hot body, and you seem to be as innocent as you look. Any fag on earth would want to fuck you."
The obscenity, dropped so casually after our more circumspect talk, made me laugh. Which of course was his intent, he smiled broadly.
"Do I gather you did all the topping with your friend?" he asked.
"We didn't get that far. I mean, assuming you mean fucking. We were maybe going to try that this weekend."
"After all those weeks together?" he teased.
"Well," I said with an embarrassed laugh, "we were only able to get off base about four times. Our entire sex life was like a dozen oral exchanges and some making out."
"Wow, no wonder you still have that new fag smell. Straight off the showroom floor."
"Great," I laughed. "Here come the test-drive jokes."
The arm around my waist tightened and Nic pointed at me with his free hand.
"Hey," he said threateningly. "No stepping on my smooth lines. Cock-blocker."
I laughed harder at the implication of the wisecrack than at the crack itself, which his mischievous little grin said he knew.
The rest of our walk was more of the same. He kept me laughing pretty steadily, and while nothing completely pushes a breakup out of your mind two hours after it happens, at least I wasn't just dwelling on Michael. By the time we got back maybe twenty minutes later my mood was pretty good, and when Nic finally excused himself to tend his other guests I sat down with my book in a much better frame of mind.
The truth is, I wasn't heartbroken. Maybe I was trying to talk myself into some heartbreak because I was eighteen and everything is supposed to be dramatic at that age, but in the end I was more disappointed in and for Michael than I was personally distraught. There was sadness for my friend's angst, but it was tempered by my irritation that he'd spent so much time saying one thing and apparently feeling another. And further mitigated by the knowledge that, being Michael, he'd have someone else five minutes after he got off the plane at Great Lakes. As the afternoon wore into evening I spent more time grinning about my conversation with Nic than I did pining for lost love, and Nic had no trouble making me laugh every time he had a second to say hi.
There was a break for dinner and another for splashing in the surf, but otherwise I just hung out on the patio or in my room with the french doors open to the patio until well after dark. That's where Nic found me when his day's work was done; sitting in the chair by the bed, finishing my book. I looked up when he tapped on the open door.
"Hey," he said, holding up a bottle of wine. "Jon says being in the service means you're old enough for more complimentary swill. Come out and share this with me."
There was no breakup-angst to the conversation this time. It started out light and laughing and quickly moved into flirtatious, Nic sitting close to me on the same bench as earlier and finding a lot of excuses to touch me and a lot of opportunities to compliment me.
At first I thought the flirtation was harmless, just a way to have some laughs and make me feel better. After all, his partner, Jon, was right inside the inn. I didn't catch on that there was maybe something more to it until Jon came out to join us.
While Nic's slim build, dark hair, and blue eyes were attractive to me in the same non-threatening way that Michael was, Jon was a different matter altogether. For one thing, he was big. I'm around five-ten and at the time of this story somewhere in the 140-150lb range, a fighter working my way up from the lower weight classes to the middle ones. Jon was well over six feet and much heavier, all of it muscle. He was dark-haired, bearded, tanned, very confident and very handsome, but it wasn't the size and the rugged attractiveness that really set him apart. It was the obvious "top" vibe he gave off. I wouldn't have admitted it, but he scared the hell out of me. There wouldn't be any slow, mutual exploration with this man. Spend time alone with him and all one's same-sex questions would be answered rather quickly.
"Don't let me interrupt," said Jon as he reached us. "I just wanted to offer you a handshake and some encouragement, Ken. Takes a lot of courage to accept your homosexuality at your age. And bonus points for being willing to face it while you're in the service."
He shook my hand, paused to kiss Nic, set another bottle of wine by our nearly empty one, and turned to lean his butt on the patio railing in front of us.
"Thanks," I said. "And it's bisexuality, actually."
"Half points, then," he said with a brilliant smile. "You get the rest when you realize there's no such thing."
Even at eighteen I realized the stupidity of that position. I also realized the futility of arguing it, it's one of those things that always turns into something heated and nobody's mind ever gets changed.
"Be that as it may," I said, answering his smile, "I appreciate the hospitality. And the wine. Especially the wine."
They both laughed at that, but after a moment Nic put a hand on my chest.
"Seriously," he said. "Even if it wasn't true love, we feel bad that your relationship ended that way. We'd be more than happy to make sure you're entertained this weekend, free of charge. I'm an excellent tour guide."
"Thanks," I said. "You've already been great. Let's see how I feel in the morning. I may bury that bottle of wine and be too hung over to do any touristing."
More laughter, and the hand came out to touch my chest again.
"Well, we can't have that, can we?" said Nic. "I guess I'll just have to share that bottle with you in the name of being a good host."
"And not at all in the name of continuing to touch your hot little body," said Jon with another of his brilliant smiles. "Remember, Nic, it's two bottles of wine before you start feeling up the pretty guests."
"Oh, right," laughed Nic. "I always forget that rule."
I laughed along as he pulled his hand back. After a second Jon winked at me.
"Alright," he said. "One of us has to be functional in the morning. You girls enjoy the wine, I'm going to read a little before bed."
He kissed Nic again as he went by, and I caught the conspiratorial look they exchanged.
Now, I may have been young and naïve, but even at eighteen I wasn't so dense I didn't realize Nic had just gotten Jon's blessing to put the moves on me. Without the wine and without the breakup, maybe I'd have made my excuses and headed for bed. As it was... well... I didn't.
We passed some time in idle chitchat about their inn and the town and my experience so far in the service. Nic was very eager to tell me about his lover's success in the macho, "straight" world of the military, and he regaled me at some length.
"So," I finally said, interrupting the flow of half-understood service stories, "how long have you two been together?"
"About five years. Depends on how you count together, we fooled around for a while before we really became partners. Took us a while to see that the age gap wasn't reason to be apart."
"How much older is he?"
"Almost fifteen years. I'm thirty-two, he's forty-six."
"Doesn't that... I mean, that's a lot of years." Tact wasn't something I understood at eighteen. You're shocked, I know.
"Oh, sweetie, it's hard enough to find someone you really love without worrying about who gets old first. People get way too hung up on age. If I have twenty-five great years with Jon and then spend ten years seducing the guests while he watches, I'll call that a wonderful life."
I nodded thoughtfully, then broke into another grin.
"Seducing the guests while he watches?" I asked.
"Uh huh," he said with a playful smile. "Jon loves to watch."
"Oh, hey," I said, looking around as if surprised. "Would you look at that? I seem to be in the deep end, here."
That got a big laugh, after which he'd somehow managed to edge closer to me. One of his arms was behind me now, and his other hand had moved from my chest to my thigh. I don't know if it makes me a slut, but I never even thought of stopping him. He was great-looking and funny and pretty smooth, and spending at least some of my night with him sounded a lot better than spending it alone.
"Oh, no, pretty boy," he whispered. "This is the shallow end. The deep end is watching us from right over there."
Jon could see us from his chair just inside the French doors to their room, a fact of which I was already keenly aware. Definitely a new scene for me, but just as definitely a turn on.
"And you know what he really likes to watch?" Nic went on. "Boys kissing."
We were both grinning as we came together. Kissing boys was still very new to me, but he was damned good at it. His tongue was practiced and facile, moving in and out of my mouth with quick, teasing movements that encouraged me to return the kiss with energy to match his. I'm not sure how long it went on, but by the time we pulled apart we were both breathing hard and I had that awesome, intense, almost high feeling that comes with a great make out session. My face was hot, my head buzzing, and every nerve ending in my body was on high alert.
I laughed when he finally pulled back far enough to tug my shirt up over my head. Our hands had been getting increasingly free for a while, but I hadn't noticed until just then that he'd managed to undo the fly of my shorts.
"What are you laughing at, sexy?" he whispered, his voice thick. I only saw his pretty smile for a second because he took immediate advantage of the increase in available skin, kissing my collar and the top of my chest and running his hands over my torso.
"The realization that I'm a total slut," I said with a laugh. "Couple minutes of chat, couple minutes of kissing, and there go my clothes."
"Mm, you should have been around in the seventies. This would have counted as a lengthy courtship."
"Sorry I missed that."
"More than you'll ever know." His grin was wicked, the more so because he hadn't slowed the pace of his explorations in the slightest. One of his hands presently slid into my shorts, and he let out a wicked little chuckle as it found my cock.
"Ooooh," he sighed. "Okay, we're keeping you. I've always wanted a houseboy."
I started to answer, but as my rock-hard cock came free his hand slid up over the head and I gasped involuntarily. Nic laughed again and kissed me deeply, and all glib remarks were forgotten a moment later as he started kissing his way down my body. By the time he tugged my shorts off and slid to his knees in front of me I was going nuts, my hands in his hair and my hips thrusting upward in search of his mouth.
"Slowly, sexy boy," he whispered. "Just relax, I'll get you there. Let me enjoy this body you've worked so hard on."
Laughing again, I tried to relax. It wasn't easy. Nic kissed his way around my lower body, telling me how much he dug my well-developed abs and my lean hips and my strong thighs. My erection never wavered, and it made him laugh several times by jumping when he found a sensitive spot. He finally caught it when it jumped up and bumped the side of his face as he licked the hollow in front of my left hip.
"I think your cock is going to knock me out if I don't tend to it soon," he said. "It's like a hot-spot detector, I could map everywhere you like to be kissed just by watching it jump."
My laugh turned into a groan as he finally took me in his mouth. Not that he had any intention of just sucking me off. He worked me over like an expert, sucking me deeply for a while, then kissing and licking his way up and down my shaft and gently sucking my balls when he sensed me getting close. Where Michael had sucked me with a fierce, desperate need, Nic's joy and lust were combined with experience. He had me bucking my hips and moaning steadily by the time he finally decided to finish me, and when he at last settled in with rhythm and clear intent I almost screamed with relief.