tagGay MaleIf You Love Something Ch. 07

If You Love Something Ch. 07

byModusOperandi©

SUMMARY

David and Jeremy, childhood friends who get separated in their teens, meet up again at university in Newcastle, Australia. They soon find out that while some things remain the same, others change... oh boy, do they change.

CHAPTER SEVEN: PERFECT

AUTHOR'S NOTE

Hi again,

I don't want to say too much about this chapter and spoil things but...

The response to the last couple of chapters proves the point I make in my bio—had I had the boys jump straight into a relationship I'd have a percentage of the readers saying their story lacked sexual tension, or constituted instalove, or there was a lack of plausibility in regard to Jere's realization of his sexual orientation. But if I let their story play out with believable hiccups and misunderstandings and allow the tension to grow between them then another segment of readers are frustrated at the slow burn.

In short, regardless of what I do, someone isn't going to be happy. So, all I can do is write the story as David and Jeremy tell it to me and ask for your patience and trust. The boys and I promise we will do our best to make it worth your while to tune in.

Hopefully, the developments in this chapter will please!

Happy Reading.

And, as always a reminder that I do my own editing, so any and all mistakes are my own.

GLOSSARY

THONGS = Flip Flops (most definitely not a form of skimpy underwear which, by the way, we call G-Strings!)

HUNTSMAN SPIDER = big, hairy, and bloody ugly spider that is harmless and not poisonous

PREVIOUSLY

So close and yet so far.

I inhaled, drawing the mixed scent of the sea and the faint echo left of Jeremy's shampoo deep into my lungs. Pursing my lips as if to kiss, my mouth hovering a mere fraction of an inch from the warm flesh at the nape of Jeremy's neck, I imagined what he would feel and taste like. It would be heaven. I just knew it. The fleeting contact my lips had made with his cheek the previous night told me that.

###

CHAPTER 7: PERFECT

DO IT, DAVID. Just fucking do it. Drawing in another deep lungful of air, I searched myself, seeking a little courage and... finding it as elusive to pin down as water I sighed, closing my eyes and air-kissed the back of his head, before rolling away and reaching for my clothes. After my indiscretion of the previous morning I was determined to conduct myself in a way that upheld his trust in me.

As quietly as possible I crawled to the door of the tent and let myself out. The morning air felt cool on my bare skin after the warmth of being snuggled up to Jere and a small shiver ran through my body.

I paused a moment to stretch and take in the picture postcard sunrise unfolding before my sleepy eyes. It really was beautiful. Sweeping pale lemon tones deepened to gold and orange, broken by feathery lilac clouds. The ocean appeared so dark a blue as to be almost black, the waves perfect, curving over in deep blue arcs before crashing impressively into mauve and blue tinged froth that raced toward the sand only to slowly lose momentum upon reaching its goal.

Without a conscious thought, I donned my wetsuit, grabbed my board and headed for the north point. A solo morning surf was exactly what I needed to clear my Jeremy-filled head.

It was peaceful yet energizing, serene yet revitalizing, to be the only person out on the water, catching waves as the sun slowly rose in the sky, staking its claim to the day and putting the night to rest.

My little piece of solitary paradise lasted long enough for me to catch three almost perfect waves before I was joined by Jeremy. Paradise now had an edge to it. A sexual edge.

"Hey, why didn't you wake me, Davie?" he asked as he parked his board next to mine beyond the line of the breakers. He shook his wet curls back from his face, the water spraying out and forming a momentary halo about his head, the sunlight catching the droplets and casting rainbows within their depths.

Needing to look away from his gorgeous face before my gaze gave me away, I turned to stare at the shore and shrugged. "You were snoring."

It was a lie, of course. Not once since we'd met up again and shared a sleeping space had I heard him snore, but what was I going to say? I needed to get away from you because I feel like you've hijacked my mind? Or maybe, I had to leave the tent before I dry humped myself to sweet oblivion against your gorgeous arse? Yeah, those truths would go down real well, especially as he didn't think I looked at him that way. I wished I didn't see him that way. Life would be so much simpler if I could just leave my attraction to him behind.

"I was not," he protested, a grin lighting up his face. He knew I was talking shit.

"How would you know? You were asleep," I continued to stir him, biting my lip to suppress my smile.

"I do not snore. Someone would have told me by now if I did," he argued, splashing me with water.

"You mean some of the all-you-can-eat-buffet chicks actually got to spend the night?" Laughing, I glanced over my shoulder, catching him shaking his head in protest at me, his mouth open, ready as ever to argue. "How about you give those tonsils of yours a rest for a change and catch a wave, you lazy arse," I teased, indicating a beautiful wave that was fast approaching us.

"Oh yeah, you're on," he crowed, paddling fast.

We surfed for a few hours, teasing and chatting between rides, staying out longer than we should have, and it seemed to me that Jeremy was as reluctant as I was to have our weekend end. Finally, hunger and the need to get back and pack up camp saw us catching a wave in and trudging up the beach with our boards under our arms.

Just as we drew level with Tony and Garth's camp they emerged from their tent, Tony leading the way, looking tousled and a little rough around the edges. Garth looked even worse. Must have been a big night at the pub. I was feeling a bit ambivalent about Garth; guys like him, with their stereotyped idea of what being gay meant, were the reason I didn't come out until after I'd left high school. Jeremy might think him a good mate, but I thought ignorant was the more apt adjective to describe him. He was one of those rigid thinkers, with not a tolerant or creative thought in his head. Still, he was a mate of Jere's, and so I decided to cut him some slack and keep my thoughts about him to myself.

That didn't mean I wouldn't enjoy baiting him a bit, though. "Jeez, Garth, I was beginning to think I was going to have to come into your tent and shove my nice, big, fat cock up your arse to wake you. You know, my red racing car one. Maybe that's what I should have done to you before a race. You might have swum faster!"

I sucked in my cheeks, biting the insides of my mouth to keep a rein on my laughter as I took in everyone's reactions to my words, enjoying them all. From Jeremy choking on his own breath, his eyebrows just about disappearing into his hairline, to Tony's knowing grin, and best of all, Garth's horrified, borderline panicked expression. If he'd looked a little hung over before, he now looked positively green.

Seeing him take a step back to almost hide himself behind Tony had me surrendering to my need to laugh. "Too easy, man. That was just too fucking easy," I snickered, noticing that, though Jere and Tony joined in my laughter, Garth did not. I winked at him. "Don't worry, sweetcheeks, you're not my type. Remember?"

Deciding I'd stirred the pot enough for the time being, I turned and continued on the short distance to Jeremy's and my campsite, happy to find that he'd obviously stoked the fire before joining me in the surf. In no time at all I had the billy set and the last of the Hot Cross Buns warming. Hopefully they wouldn't take long—I could hardly wait—I was starving.

###

"YOU HEARD GARTH the other day, didn't you?" Jeremy asked, though it sounded more like a statement.

We were in the car on our way back to town, the host of gum trees that lined the road whizzing by my window as I sat with my knees drawn up, my arms hugging them. "Yes," I replied, wondering where he was going to go with the conversation.

"He's not so bad, Davie. A bit clueless, but I'm sure he didn't mean any harm." He spoke quietly. Seriously. With not an ounce of his trademark humor or sarcasm in evidence. My eyes moved from his profile to his hands as they gripped the wheel, and I was surprised to see how tightly he was clutching it. He's afraid that I don't like his friends. That I won't fit in. It felt like he was defending Garth, making excuses for his behavior, and that hurt. It hurt a lot. Well, so much for him standing up for me yesterday.

I sighed, turning to look blindly out of the window to hide my pain and disappointment. Part of me just wanted to please him, but if I did that I would be denying me. Denying who I was.

And I couldn't do that.

"Jere, it's guys like him that make life hard for guys like me. How difficult do you think it is for a gay man to be honest about his sexuality when you come across attitudes and prejudices like Garth's every bloody day of the week?"

Jeremy's silence spoke volumes. He had no idea. And why would he? He'd led a charmed and protected life.

"I'm not looking for trouble with him, Jere. I don't want a confrontation, and I can take a joke, but if he's going to dish it up then he can damn well expect to have it served right back at him."

His only reply was to nod, and taking my cue from him, I turned my gaze to the window, losing myself in my thoughts.

###

"JEREMY, THIS IS Laurence Coulter. Laurence; Jeremy Hammond," I said, keeping the introductions brief.

With a quick wink and a grin in my direction Laurence thrust his hand toward Jeremy, his grin morphing into a polite smile. "Hello, Jeremy, it's nice to finally meet one of David's friends."

I watched as Jeremy took the hand offered to him, "Nice to meet you, Laurence. How are you?"

"I'm fine, John. Well, that's a lie. If I am being truthful I'd have to say I'm as anxious as hell." He laughed shakily. "And you?"

"Aah, it's Jeremy, Laurence, and I'm fine, thank you," Jere corrected politely. "And you shouldn't be nervous. David's a good pilot, I'm sure."

"Sorry, Jeremy, I'm shocking with names, and my, um, nerves aren't helping with that."

I sensed an undercurrent, but decided to ignore them and let them deal with whatever was going on; I'd had enough of everyone else's shit in the last twenty-four hours. Turning slightly away from them both, I raised my right foot up, resting it on the bonnet of Jeremy's Lancer, wondering if he'd tell me off for it. He loved the car. It was his pride and joy. Hearing no word of protest from him, I slipped on my sneaker and quickly tied the lace, repeating the process with my left foot. Lightly tossing my discarded thongs through the open window onto the floor of the passenger side, I swiveled to face the two men, catching Laurence eyeing my ass and Jeremy eyeing Laurence.

"So, how do you know David?" Laurence asked mildly.

Knowing Laurence as well as I did, I knew he was trying to distract himself from our fast approaching flight.

"We've been best friends since pre-school."

"Really? Odd that David's never mentioned you before," he responded before turning to me. "Why have you been keeping your best mate a secret, David?"

If I wasn't aware of how deep his fear of flying went, I'd have been fooled by his amused tone and the teasing glint in his eyes. As it was I detected the slight shakiness to his speech. Jere, in contrast, stood with his eyes downcast, a frown marring his features. Once again, I had a weird sense there was more going on than was at first apparent.

"Ah, it's a long story and we're on a time frame here. I've only got the plane booked for an hour and a half," I hedged, just wanting to get the flight out of the way so we could go to Mum's for dinner. I was so over the awkward silences, and having to deal with people presenting a false face to the world. Besides, I was bloody starving again.

"Perhaps you could distract me with it as we spend the next hour alone up in the wide blue yonder," he suggested somewhat flirtatiously, his eyes raking down my body. I stared at him, confused—he'd never been so obvious in his attraction to me before. Sure, I'd caught a look or two in the past, but he'd never blatantly flirted or eye-fucked me.

Stealing a quick sidelong glance at Jeremy, I tried to gauge his reaction, but he kept his head lowered and tilted away from me. This weekend just gets more and more bizarre. I didn't know what to make of his or Jere's behavior and I didn't want to assume; Bobbi's oft repeated words echoed in my head, 'You know what they say about assuming, David. It makes an Ass out of U and Me.'

As soon as I thought the word 'ass', my newly awakened horny mind went off on a tangent. Yeah, well, maybe I didn't want to make an ass out of myself but my ass sure wouldn't have minded a bit of attention. One night of getting my dick wet combined with three nights sleeping in close proximity to Jeremy was giving my poor lonely butt ideas. Too many ideas. Jesus Christ, focus, Sadler. You're about to take a guy who's afraid of flying up thousands of feet into the atmosphere with only a thin layer of metal between him and the outside air.

"Okay, Laurence, you ready to rock'n'roll?" I asked, wanting to put an end to the awkwardness that hung in the air about us like a bad smell. Two sets of intense eyes; both gray, settled on me, making me feel as if I was alone on a stage with the spotlight trained on me. Yep, definitely time to break up this party. "Right then, let's pluck this duck, Laurence." I pivoted to face Jeremy. "I'll be back in a little over an hour. There's a coffee machine in the office-come-waiting area. Okay?"

He gave me a curt nod, which I returned with a scowl of my own. What the fuck was up with him now? Was he still pissed at me for my sarcastic teasing of Garth? Or because of Laurence hitting on me in front of him? How the hell was I meant to control something like that? And, really, why should I? Would I like to stand by and watch some hot chick hit on him? Hell, no. But I also damn-well knew I had no control over what other people did, and, on top of that, as much as I might like him to be, he wasn't mine to get all territorial over.

Turning on my heel, I marched towards the little Cessna we were taking up, not even bothering to check Laurence was following me. By the time I reached the small door located under its wing I'd remembered my manners, holding it open waiting for him to climb in ahead of me.

A few moments later I was checking he was strapped in before seeing to my own.

"Okay, Laurence, now I'm going to do an instrument check. All pilots do this as a safety requirement," I told him, making sure to keep my voice low and soothing.

I explained everything as I checked it, something I did every time I took him flying as I found the repetition calmed him, and he often silently mouthed my words in time with me. He jumped a little when I flicked the ignition switch and the propeller began to noisily rotate. A thin film of perspiration coated his forehead, but at least he wasn't shaking like a leaf as he had the first few times I'd taken him up. Take-offs and landings were the worst for him, so I always focused on making sure they were as smooth as possible, gently explaining basic aviation theory on lift and thrust so he would understand what was going on, hoping that with understanding, his fear would lessen.

I checked in with the tower and once I had my go ahead, we taxied out to the short runway. After one last radio confirmation, I accelerated, the little plane responding like a stallion to a spur, and once I'd gained enough speed, I eased the joystick back, all the time murmuring to Laurence as the wheels slowly left the ground.

Despite my focus on him, the knot of excitement I always got in my belly to be in a plane coiled tight. Man, I loved flying. I loved the feeling of being pushed back in my seat as the wheels left the tarmac and we made our steep climb into the air, along with the vibrations that came up through the seats and knowing I was in control. I loved the huge expanse of sky and the freedom I felt in a small plane. I just loved everything about it.

I smiled to see his grip relax once we leveled off and I took him on yet another sightseeing tour of the lake and coast.

"Phew," he said, chuckling a little shakily.

I didn't know what to say so I just smiled at him.

"You must think I'm such an idiot for being afraid of this." He gestured to the plane and the sky beyond the cockpit. "And then to go accept a position with the Royal Flying Doctors."

"No, not at all," I reassured him. "We all have our fears and phobias. I'm the biggest pansy going when it comes to spiders." It was a bit of an exaggeration, but I certainly had a healthy respect for the eight-legged critters.

"Okay, well then, I'm your man. I once had to do a study of them for their venom," he replied, smiling, and obviously more at ease.

"The next time I'm freaking out over a huntsman that's taken up residence on the ceiling of my bedroom, I'll give you a call," I joked, glancing at him with a smile.

"You can give me a call anytime, David."

For a moment I didn't know what to do, he was being so much more blatant in both his looks and his words today, and I still felt so out of practice with the whole flirting-dating thing. The silence felt awkward, and then a wave of what-the-heck washed over me and I heard myself replying, "I might just do that."

"I hope you do. In fact, do you fancy meeting for a drink and a meal on Tuesday evening?"

"Um, sure," I answered, feeling anything but sure. "Where?"

"How about I pick you up? Italian, okay with you?" he asked, making no attempt to hide his satisfaction at my having agreed to a date.

"Italian sounds great," I replied shyly, feeling a telltale blush creep into my cheeks. Silently, I berated myself. Why the hell are you blushing? It's not like he's asked you to give him a blow job or something. It's just dinner and a drink.

We arranged a time and I gave him my address, thinking that following the exchange of information, the conversation would move to safer, easier topics for the remainder of our flight. I was really hoping he'd tell me more about his time in Africa; his stories enthralled me, and in the past, had given me an idea of what Jeremy had experienced in his teens. Of course, the heavens couldn't be that kind to me.

"So, tell me about Jared," he asked smoothly, his eyes on my profile. "Why have you never mentioned him before if he's your best friend?"

"It's Jeremy, Laurence, his name is Jeremy," I replied a little impatiently. "And it really is a long story, but the abbreviated version is that until I was sixteen I lived in Byron Bay, a few streets away from Jere. We were best friends. Had been since we were toddlers. We did absolutely everything together and then his family moved to Africa for a few years," I explained, my eyes doing their automatic checking of the various gauges as I spoke.

"So you lost contact?"

"No, not immediately. We wrote to each other for a bit, but then my parents split up and my mum decided to move us rather suddenly, and she threw out the address book, and that's when we lost contact." Even as I said the words an echo of the old hurt and guilt washed though me, making me more aware than ever how important it was to me not to lose Jeremy again.

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