Oh goodness...I do believe I've fallen in love with these gentlemen :) Listen to:


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~ Gentlemen ~

London, 1878

Will the hunger ever stop?

He's standing before the bookshelves, broad back flexing as he crosses and uncrosses his arms. And I've been trying not to stare like a fool.

Forcing my eyes back to my studies, I attempt to brand an equation into my brain, but he makes this terribly distracting sound; a quiet, contemplative hum.

My breath catches for a moment, and I squeeze my eyes shut, ignoring the pricks of desire that run along every inch of my skin. If only he didn't have the voice of an angel-the deepest, softest tone...

Oh, there are so very many "if only's..."

If only he didn't have the body of Michaelangelo's David. If only he didn't have liquid amber eyes, the color of the sweetest brandy. If only his midnight locks didn't cascade over his forehead the way they do.

If only I weren't so in love with him.

He reaches forward suddenly, catching me by surprise as the covered sinew of his arms flexes against the fabric of his shirt. Doe-eyed, I jerk my head away, swallowing thickly. The quiver in my gut has turned to a constant pulse.

No...no it will never stop.

When I gather the strength to look back again, he has a book in his hands. A rather thick volume, coated in dust. I tilt my head to see the title, but it's hidden in the shadow of his long body.

So what can I do but divert my gaze to his face?

He's smiling about something-smirking, rather-and nibbling on his lower lip. The sight teases me beyond reason.

"What is it?" I snap, because I can't bear to look any longer.

His head jolts up in surprise, blinking, and then the smirk widens. "Nothing, old boy. Only another charming line from my favorite poet."

I raise a brow, so he clears his throat and reads,

"But to live

In the rank sweat of an enseamed bed,

Stew'd in corruption, honeying and making love

Over the nasty sty..."

I feel the blood rush to my cheeks with an alarming speed, glancing down at the table again. "Y-You...you shouldn't say such things aloud."

He only chuckles, shutting the book again, but when his gaze turns to me, his smile seems to fade slightly. "I do believe you're blushing, my friend..."

And of course, the words have the effect of making the flush increase.

"It's nothing. Please. I'm trying to study."

He laughs again, "If you say so."

The library darkens as night falls over London, bathing us in shadow.

He strikes the match so gently, and yet so firmly...like a passionate lover's caress, I can't help but think. And when the flame flickers up before him, it briefly lights his eyes, making them glow as embers in the dark.

My throat constricts.

"It grows dark so swiftly this time of year..." he muses, leaning over to light the candles on the desk I'm seated at. I'm granted an overpowering view of his long, muscular torso as he does so, and it threatens to steal my breath away yet again.

I choose the wrong moment to look up.

Just as I meet his eyes, he blows deftly upon the match, soft lips remaining pursed even as the tendrils of smoke stretch out between us. And I become painfully aware of how very much I desire to press a kiss to those lips.

But of that, I suppose, I am always aware.

"Yes," I agree, voice hoarse.

Using my quill as a distraction, I dip it into the inkwell, clearing my throat and beginning to take vigorous notes. Twenty minutes pass somehow, the hour hand on the grandfather clock chiming. I do not listen closely enough to count the chimes-cannot-though I am sure it's late.

Every once in a while, we'll glance up at the same time, catching each other's eyes, and he'll grin at me in such a way that it feels as if the library floor has dropped out from beneath me.

When these feelings first began, I cannot accurately say. I only know of the struggles of an adolescent boy, under constant siege of feelings foreign to him, and that it was somewhere around the time that I'd begun to grow taller.

Now it's been years. Years that I've harbored this strong-much too strong-affection for him. And we are older. Now we are men, only just shy of leaving to explore the world on our own.

A part of me longs to tell him...to tell him everything...and yet another part swears I will take the secret to my grave.

How could I ever tell him anyway?

We've been inseparable since our childhood. Any action on my part would surely rupture our relationship.

Such things are unheard of in society.

I am in love with another man. And I am ashamed.

When next I look up, it is at the precise moment in which he runs his deep purple tongue across his lip, moistening the plump flesh. My palms start to sweat, and it beads upon my brow and the back of my neck, leaving me flustered and overheated.

I stand abruptly, pushing away from the table, and he's startled, I can tell.

"I need more texts," I explain quickly, barely masking the quiver in my voice as I approach one of the many bookshelves.

"What sort?" he asks, and by god, why can't he just leave me be?

"I'll find them, I'm sure." My voice is harsher than I intend, and the titles are blurry to my eyes as I yank out useless book after useless book.

I hear him sigh...and were I not so panicked, I would've taken a moment to relish in the sound. As it is, he's standing, and my heart's thundering and there's a constant chant of no, no, no, no, no in my head as he closes in behind me.

"What's this?" He snatches a book from my hands. "Semiotics? You aren't even studying it."

My fear transforms rather violently into defensiveness. "How do you know?" I snap. "You don't pay enough attention as it is! You wouldn't know if I was studying Yiddish, for Christ's sake!"

He steps back, affronted and shocked, his honey eyes rather wide-and no, what am I doing? That was the last thing I should've said to him...because now he knows how much attention I've been paying.

I stare at him, holding my breath as I wait for it to dawn on him. For the disgust to cloud his features. For him to throw me out of his house.

No such action follows.

Instead he sighs again, moving to my side and taking the entire stack of books from my arms. "You aren't studying Yiddish, either," he says, returning the texts to their proper places on the shelves. Then he turns and raises an expectant brow. "Tell me what you need."

Heat rushes to my face for the millionth time, flushing along my neck and shoulders so that I'm entirely pink where it matters, and he doesn't fail to notice. His eyes flicker to my collarbone, then back to my own terrified stare, confusion evident in his expression.

But how could I avoid a reaction like that?

Tell me what you need.

Oh, Christ. I had so many answers to that question.

I need you to come that little bit closer.

I need you to put your hands on me.

I need you to whisper sweet nothings in my ear.

I need you to touch me where I've never been touched before.

I need you to steal my innocence.

I need you to give me your tongue.

I need you to keep your eyes locked on mine.

I need you to have your way with me...right here...in your father's precious library.

These thoughts have my head swimming within seconds, and in my delirious state, I'm fortunate I can splutter, "Latin verbs," before my mind totally collapses.

He nods curtly, eyes still narrowed in question as he looks to the shelves once more, and still, I struggle to draw breath.

Murmuring quietly to himself, he runs his fingers along the spines, brushing away dust as he searches.

I want to lick those fingers.

Then he remembers where his father's put it, and it all happens too quickly.

He reaches around me, arm stretching over my shoulder, and chuckles when I plaster my back against the books, stunned.

"It's right behind you," he says, giving me a few good-natured shoves that have no effect. No effect other than tattooing the sensation of his touch into my skin...

My breath finally escapes-a rattling exhale like a locomotive's engine-and he's so close that it flutters the hair on his forehead. He seems to notice his proximity then. Suddenly realizes why I'm acting the way I am.

And he freezes.

Just freezes.

I don't know how long we stay there, eyes wide as globes, unable to move even a fraction of an inch. My heart is pounding a mile a minute, threatening to beat its way out of my chest, and I can feel the warmth radiating off of him in waves...soaking me...

Oh, god...oh, Christ...

I don't know what's happening...

My mouth is open before I'm aware of it, and I whisper his name like a prayer.

His eyes jolt to my lips.

I can't stand it.

"It's...it's..." he fumbles, blinking rapidly, "I-the book..." And for once, I'm rewarded with the sight of a real blush upon his cheeks. The sight of a reaction in him. I've waited for so long...

When next I say his name, it is with strength. With intention.

"Yes?" he breathes. I draw a great breath. I know what I should say...I know what I am supposed to say...but there is a stark contrast between this and what I want to say.

What I will say.


A loud knock on the library door nearly scares me to death. My pulse, which was already hammering, skyrockets to unhealthy heights, and he jumps back, twitchy and flustered.

"Yes?" he calls after taking a moment to collect himself.

"Gentlemen?" It's his father's voice. "Join us for supper, won't you?"

Inwardly, I want to feel relief.

But all I feel is disappointment. I am unsatisfied.

I need you.

I need to have you.

I need to touch you.

I need you...

"Of course, father. We'll just be a moment," he says, eyes flitting up to meet mine for a fraction of a second before he glances away in what I think is shame.

Could he...


Could he really?

Could he be thinking as I am thinking?

Is that why he is ashamed?

Does he need as I do?


"Let's go, shall we?" he asks a minute later, tugging down on his waistcoat as if that will help him compose himself.

Really, I've no idea why we're so out of sorts.

Quite literally, nothing happened.

Therefore, it stands to reason that I'm correct. That the both of us have just had thoughts most indiscreet. Most wicked.

We take dinner in the east dining room, accompanied by both of his parents and his younger sister Lillian.

Lillian is kind and as fresh as a flower petal. I'm certain my parents have discussed an arranged marriage between the two of us.

And I try not to think on how much of a disaster that would be.

Because if I made love to Lillian, I would be seeing her brother's face. Whispering her brother's name. Wishing...

If that wasn't enough, the poor girl seems to fancy me as well, considering the blush upon her cheeks that appears whenever our eyes meet.

The servants lay out an elaborate spread of cheeses and breads with the soup, and for the entire first course, we make common small talk. Apparently, the neighboring Mayfield's haven't been to town in a week and Mr. Parsons has just sold his house.

I'm pleasantly able to nod my way through the conversation, my mind free to wander. It's only when the main course is served-a heaping platter of roast pork and potatoes-that, whilst bouncing my knee in boredom, I mistakenly brush my thigh against his.

I shouldn't have sat next to him.

Not after what happened...or rather, didn't happen.

Though, that would've appeared strange to his family.

He stiffens instantly, nearly dropping his knife, and I yank my leg away just as quickly. But the tension has returned with a vengeance...

I'm blushing worse than Lillian, hoping to God no one's noticed our behavior...and my thigh is still tingling.

On a normal day, such an action wouldn't have done a thing to him. I fancy he wouldn't even have blinked.

But today is no normal day.

And it's set his teeth on edge.

I wonder if he's angry...

Forcing myself to eat a slice of potato, I dunk it into the gravy with more fervor than is probably necessary. Neither of us make eye contact. We continue to stare either down at our plates or straight ahead.

But the air between us is charged.

It starts to invade my skin, seeping into me slowly and tantalizingly. I tremble. I wonder if it's visible.

And as the servants clear the main course, I feel the needs returning to the front of my mind...

I need to glance your way.

I need to feel the heat of your gaze.

I need to smolder in this tension.

I need to put my hands on you.

By the time they serve the peach crêpes, I'm shaken to my very core, my hands clasped together bloodlessly beneath the table.

I cannot breathe and I cannot see straight.

All I know is that I have to do something.

And before I've sorted out what that something is, my hand is moving of its own accord.

Fingers outstretched, I brush them along the arm of his chair as he quietly feeds himself, oblivious. Watching him out the corner of my eye, I walk them down the strip of wood like five thin, boney predators until they're resting on the soft fabric of the cushion.

Then they go in for the kill.

I hold my breath because this is it.

This is the moment I've been waiting for for seventeen years...the moment that could ruin our companionship. A companionship I've been so careful to protect.

This is the moment I've dreamt about for so long. Too long.

This is it.

I know it's the look in his eyes that I saw-that single glimpse from the library-that gives me the strength.

And with a final deep breath, I swallow thickly and brush the backs of my knuckles along his warm, firm thigh.

His reaction is nothing short of shocking.

He gasps, drops his fork onto his plate with a loud clatter, knocks over his wine and knees the underside of the table-hard-all within the span of a few seconds.

And yet, even as his parents question him and he splutters out breathless apologies and excuses, I do not pull away.

I can feel him trembling as I am...feel every jerky intake of breath...all the while with the heat from within his trousers soaking into my skin.

It's glorious.

And I can't help but feel that it's also worth it.

Worth it if he explodes...

Worth it if he outs me in front of his entire family...

Worth it if he never speaks to me again...

It's worth it all.

I figure I should make the most of it.

Thanking God that I'm left-handed, I take a few bites of my dessert, and as I swallow, I sweep my knuckles up along the span of his thigh...

And I'm intrigued by his reaction more than anything.

He shivers.


No shouting. No jumping up and demanding that I leave.

He only shivers and closes his eyes for a fraction of a second.

I'm more than intrigued...I'm encouraged.

And while the servants clear yet another round of dishes away, I take advantage of his inaction and flip my hand over, boldly resting my palm on him.

But naturally, his parents choose that moment to stand, abruptly bringing to our attention that dinner is, in fact, over.

We must stand too.

And the moment the warmth of his thigh leaves my touch, I feel empty.

"A pleasure to have you, as always," his mother says, smiling at me. I have to remind myself to smile in return, distracted as I am. "Will you be studying here tomorrow as well?"

I open my mouth, but he is far quicker than I.

"He'll be staying a little longer tonight, mother. We aren't finished."

My jaw nearly drops in shock.

"Are you sure?" she looks confused. "It's very late."

"We won't be long..." and before I know it, he's towing me from the room, the skin on my arm beneath his hand near burning from his touch.

My pulse is racing-my blood throbbing in my veins...

We've nothing urgent to study this evening. That much is certain.

So he's dragging me along for other reasons.

"What are you doing?" I finally manage as we cross through several hallways, most of them devoid of servants at this hour. His house is quite the labyrinth.

He doesn't answer...and he doesn't let go.

No, he doesn't release me until we've entered a random spare bedroom-although, you wouldn't know it's a spare by the looks of it. It's as grand as every other room. All red silk and velvet...gold trim...marble...

And it's lit only by a single, flickering candle in a sconce on the wall.

Too dark, I think immediately. Too tempting...

"What are we-" I start to ask again, but as soon as the door's closed, he whirls around and slams me into it, hand fisting at my shirt collar.

I gasp.

I should've known this was coming.

His jaw works furiously, clenching and unclenching as he tries to get the words out...but eventually he settles for a fiery glare.

It's just as effective.

"I..." My voice is a croak...desperate as I grapple for a way to explain myself. My back aches from where it hit the door moments ago-yet another testament to his impressive strength-and I'm breathless...once again.

"Go on," he says finally, and it's a growl if anything.

"I...I only..." The second attempt is as bad as the first. "I..."

For a moment, his grip tightens and I wonder if my shirt will tear. I've never seen this side to him.

And I can't tell whether I'm frightened or aroused...

But he releases me quite suddenly, taking a large step back and running trembling fingers through his dark, tousled hair.

I whisper his name. I can't tell what he's thinking.

Not that he'd tell me, I suppose.

He turns his back, moving slowly to the window and bracing his strong, sinewy arms upon the sill. Does he know? Does he know how wonderful he looks?

"How long have we been friends?" he asks me, voice soft and peculiarly gentle.

I swallow back the knot in my throat. "S-Since...since we were two years old."

"That's seventeen years," he says.

I know, my mind cries. I've counted the days.

"One would think," he continues, "that we would know all there is to know about one another by now..."

I bite my lip.

He turns, fixing tight, burning eyes on me."But we don't."

"No..." I agree. "We don't."

"I suppose it's only fair, though." He moves to the center of the room, halfway between the window and the door. Between safety and me. "How can you truly know someone when you haven't seen them as they really are?"

I make to reply...but what he does next renders me speechless.

He reaches for his collar, fingers shaking to betray his nervousness, and works them through his snow white ascot. "I have a proposition for you, old friend..." he murmurs.

But my tongue turns to lead as I watch him slip the cloth out from around his neck and drop it carelessly to the floor.

What is happening?

What is he doing?

He answers my unspoken thoughts.

"I have no secrets from you. I have told you everything. Therefore we are unevenly matched."

"W-What?" I manage to splutter.

He sighs, looking on me with suddenly sympathetic eyes. "I want to know your secrets. You shouldn't have anything to hide from me. But I understand how that will make you feel...exposed."

"I-I don't understand..."

I thought he was angry with me...

I thought this was an accusation...

With a determined huff, he crosses his arms over his chest. "We shall make this fair. For every secret that you tell me...I will remove an article of clothing."

The floor has just dropped out from under me.

I'm certain.

Either that, or one of my vital organs has dislodged itself and dropped into my gut.

My eyes bulge, my face explodes with heat, and I feel weak in the knees. Will I faint? Dear God, please-don't let me faint.

"W-What? W-Why...?"

His gaze is still unbearably steady. "So that I am as exposed as you are."

Oh, God...

Oh, Christ...

I can't.

I can't.

I can't.

"I...I..." My hand fumbles for the doorknob. "I must go. N-Now. I-" The door opens, but as I place one foot over the threshold, he calls out to me.

"If you walk out that door...you must swear to never return."

My head swings around and I gape at him. "W-What? Why?" Those words have become my favorite words. "Why...are you doing this?"

And for God's sake, he still looks composed. "Because we cannot go on without settling this. Dinner...was the final straw."

I shut my eyes.

I have to block it all out...if only for a moment.

"Why?" I repeat, and it is but a whisper.

"Say you'll do it." I sense him moving toward me, and I'm forced to look. He stops only a few feet away. "Say you'll let me know you..."

I need to go.

I need to escape.

I need to leave this all behind.

I need to-


He whispers my name...and it's the straw that breaks my own back.

I let the door fall shut.

The ghost of a smile crosses his face.

And he's undone me. Yet again.

"Thank you," he murmurs softly, beckoning me away from the door. "Stand there." He points to the red velvet carpet before the fireplace, moving past me to nurse it to life.

And when the fire's roaring at my back, he returns to the middle of the room...and waits.

I swallow convulsively. It's as if something's lodged in my throat.

"Go on," he coaxes, but when I say nothing, he tilts his head to the side curiously. "Are you afraid of me?"

I stare pointedly at my feet. "Yes."

A noise of disbelief leaves him. "No...no, my friend. Please. I beg you, don't be."

Inhaling deeply, I chew the inside of my lip and nod.

"Now tell me one of your secrets. I promise you no harm." He raises his hands in surrender to me.

"I still don't understand..." I whisper.


"I stole bread!" I blurt out...and when I glance at him, he has an eyebrow cocked. "I stole bread from a market vendor once. I-I was hungry...and impatient...and I...I..."

He sighs loudly, reaching down to unlace one of his knee-length leather boots and tossing it away with a thump. "Tell me a secret that matters," he says, narrowing his eyes at me.

"It does matter!" I snap indignantly. "I am from a wealthy family! I needn't steal bread, for God's sake!"

His eyes tighten. "Tell me a secret that matters to me."

My gut wrenches and I draw a deep breathe. I'm pinned to this...and it's so very dangerous.

It's your fault, my conscience reminds me.

But I am more than aware of that.

Too aware.


His eyes are burning into me. Scalding hot...searing...

"Do you..." I clear my throat, yet another heavy blush spreading out over my face, "do you remember that black leather glove? The one you lost a year ago?"

He nods.

I watch my thumbs tangle together. "I took it. I keep it."

His brow furrows. "Why?"

"That's one secret," I say. "Why is another. Are you willing to waste it?"

He looks as if he wants to, but purses his lips and reaches for his other boot, shaking his head. It joins its twin somewhere over in the corner. His breeches are wrinkled at the bottoms.

I feel the fire licking at my back.

"Your sister," I say. "I do not fancy her."

To my surprise, a slow grin curves his lips. "That's no secret," he tells me, but pulls off his left sock anyway.

I blink hard. "I used to stare at you during Mass...when they spoke of man being created in God's image."

This one confuses him, I can tell, but I refuse to explain it. Refuse to explain that he is the closest thing to a god I have ever seen.

His fingers find the lapels of his jacket, and he deftly peels it off, laying it on the foot of the bed.

"I still do," I say.

He makes no movement.

"That was another one."

"That's not fair," he claims.

"Yes, it is..." and vaguely, I'm reminded of the times we used to bicker as young boys. But this is no child's game...

Grumbling, he yanks off his other sock and throws it.

I glance down at his bare feet. They're long and slender, yet masculine all the same. But I've seen his feet before...

There are other things I'm interested in.

"When we were little..." I begin, and the memory still angers me, "and I used to fall behind when we ran...you would to call me Pansy and Flower Petal. Do you remember that?"

"Yes," he says, brow furrowing again.

"I hated it more than anything."

His fingers find the buttons on his deep blue waistcoat, fumbling with the golden fastens as he asks me, "Why?"

It's a pity to see the waistcoat go as he drops it to the floor. It suits him...

But nothing suits him like the thin material of his white undershirt. I can see right through it. See the lines of muscle and the planes of his chest.

I want to touch him so very badly.

"That'll cost you another secret," I say.

He huffs. "Never mind, then."

My eyes trace over his body. He's only got a few things left.

"I've always liked the way you smell," I admit, because it really is wonderful. Tobacco and cinnamon and firewood. It entices me with every breath.

He unties the silk sash around the waist of his breeches, whipping it out from around himself. He toys with it between his fingers for a moment, almost teasingly, and then drops it to the floor.

My god, how did it come to this?

Not two hours ago, we were studying in the library...and nothing had gone amiss.

My next secret is one of the deepest secrets I hold...and though I know it's something I should keep from him, a stranger part of me wants to tell him more than anything.

And I do...because it is worth it to see his naked skin.

"Do you remember that rainy day...about a year ago? When the streets were flooded and the businesses closed?"

He thinks about it for a moment, and then nods.

"I came to see you. On foot. The carriages weren't traveling."

"How is that a secret?"

"I'm not finished," I snap, frustrated.

He bites his tongue.

"No one answered the door when I rang...and I grew desperate. So I used the vines that crawl up the side of the wall. The ones beneath your balcony. I climbed...and...and..."

"What?" he whispers.

"And I saw you," I say, actually tempted to touch my cheek so that I may feel the burn of it.

"I...don't understand." He cocks his head again.

Clenching my fist and willing myself to have strength, I manage, "You...you had just washed, I think. You were...you were..."

"Naked," he finishes, realizing, his voice soft as a feather.

I turn away, ashamed, and face the fire. "I left immediately. I swear. It was a mistake."

There's a long pause-and then he says my name. Says it several times before I actually glance around at him.

His shirt is gone, leaving bare to my eyes the miles and miles of smooth, alabaster skin, strong and broad. So tempting...

So very tempting...

I'm forced to squeeze my eyes shut.

"Go on," he murmurs. "Tell me another."

I sigh, brutally trying to collect myself, and speak with hoarse words. "One day you had me over for tea, and you left the room for a moment to see to your mother. You'd only taken one sip."

He waits for me.

"I switched our cups," I force out, pinching the bridge of my nose. I am mortified. "I switched them...because I wanted to know what you tasted like."

His reaction is audible. A swift intake of breath.

And when I work up the courage to open my eyes, his mouth is slightly agape, and he stares at me with eyes full of wonder.

"I am sorry for that," I whisper.

He does not respond.

Only stands there, gaping, for at least a minute or two. And just when I'm about to shout, "Say something!" his hand finds the fasten of his breeches.

I swallow back a gasp.

"One more..." he whispers as the dark material pools at his feet.

But I stare helplessly at his form, lit by firelight, standing before me in only his underclothes.

And when I meet his eyes, I finally see a flicker of fear. Nervousness. Timidness.



I can't stay.

This is far too much to bear.

"I'll go first, then..." he says, and reaches for the drawstring at his waist, but I whip around before he can do it.

"No!" I cry. "Don't! Stop--please, stop. I can't...I can't..."

"Why can't you?" His voice is quiet.

"Because..." I say.

"Because why?"

"Because I can't!" I shout.


I lunge for him with a sound like a battle cry, and before I know it, my hands are clasped around his bare, broad shoulders, I've yanked him against me and our faces are inches apart.

There's a deafening beat of silence...our eyes meet...

And I kiss him.

It's as if my world shatters around me, leaving only the two of us intact, and his mouth is so very moist and soft, coated in the tangy sweet warmth of the wine we had at dinner...and I part his lips with my own and blow a soft breath down his throat...

And then it's over.

I drag myself away, feeling the horrible, hot tears threaten.

"That's why," I croak...and I turn on my heel to bolt for the door.

He's there.

He was always faster than me, even as a child, and before I can so much as touch the doorknob, he's slammed his palm against the door's wood, holding it closed.

I panic.

I push him away, hard enough to knock him against the table a few feet back, and wrench the door open.

He's there again.

Now he's got my arm in a vise grip, yanking me backwards and slamming it shut again. Anger is the first emotion I feel, bathed in frustration. I shove him into the bed post and it makes a loud splintering noise, cracking near the bottom.

He comes right back, slamming into me, and my back collides with the wall.

We grunt and growl as we wrestle one another, his hands fisting in my shirt and my own clawing at his back.

And then...suddenly...we go still.

Maybe it's the way his eyes scan my face that gives me pause. Or maybe it's simply that we're exhausted. That we need respite.

But the first words out of his mouth are the last ones I could expect.

Barely a whisper...and yet so very, very loud.

"Kiss me again."

Fury wells up inside of me, boiling over, and I ram my palm into his chest, pushing him several steps back.

"You are cruel," I hiss. "You think this is just a game? That you can simply...toy with me?"

And for what feels to be the millionth time, I turn to leave.

"I was being serious..." he whispers.

I can't stop it.

The tears fall as if a dam has broken.

Glaring over my shoulder, I see he has the decency to grimace as the salty drops streak down my face. "Damn you," I spit, my voice breaking.

But when I make to leave for the thousandth time, he practically runs.

Runs to me.

A sight I have dreamt of countless times.

And I don't have the strength to fight him any longer when his hands clasp around my neck and he forces me to look at him.

He gives me a jolt, mouth opening and closing as if trying to word a proper argument. But how can I possibly ignore the way his eyes continuously flit downward to my lips? With every exhale, he's slightly closer than before, breath tickling my skin, heat soaking into my pores...

His eyelashes brush my brow as he blinks, and slowly our aggravated gasps relax into a soft silence.

From an outer perspective, this would seem far more like our first kiss. The hesitance...the way he can barely manage to brush his lips against mine. It's a nip, at best.

But from within, the intensity has shot to new heights, setting our senses asunder and warming the blood beneath our skin.

After his initial attempt, he grows more confident. He likes it. And with a hot, determined breath that tingles across my cheeks, he has me suddenly in his hold. Desperate and violent hands seek purchase at my shoulders, then my arms and then my waist, dragging me closer than I ever thought I could possibly be.

And he releases this marvelous, keening whimper-so lovely, and yet so masculine all at once-before taking my lower lip between his and sucking.

My stomach drops, mind imploding as prickling, wondrous sensations skate across my body, and I become acutely aware of the swelling within my trousers. I squeeze my thighs together, trying to ignore it.

One kiss.

That is all he wants.

But I begin to doubt myself when his tongue parts my lips, slipping inside. I know that if he-oh, Christ-if he licks just so-oh-oh!

I've lost myself.

My hands move of their own accord, sliding up his bare, scorching body to tangle within his thick locks.

We moan in breathtaking unison-and my God, he's moving so fast. His own hands have found their way inside my vest, tearing at buttons and yanking at knots.

But I cannot think clearly. The prospect of skin against skin has invaded my mind...and I can focus on nothing else.

One kiss. One kiss! I struggle to remind myself, although at least three-quarters of me aren't listening...and the remaining quarter is so very weak in comparison.

When he finally seems able to detach himself from my mouth, my lips are swollen and sore. The loss is physically painful.

He steps back...and as it strikes me that that was his one kiss...that he's now had his fill...I grow frightened. Panic drives my tongue to dart out and taste my lips. I refuse to forget his flavor.

I refuse.

His Adam's apple bobs as he swallows thickly, chest once again heaving from exertion. I've known him long enough to recognize the look in his eyes.

He wants something.

Something he doesn't think he's allowed to have.

It's almost comical, really, but it's the same look I saw him wear upon catching sight of Mrs. Fairfield's marzipan tea cakes. He was eleven at the time...and confided in me that he'd been working up the courage to try to steal them.

I wonder what he wishes to steal now.

"I..." he starts softly, and my breath catches. So many phrases could follow such a tedious word. "I...I read something...last winter."

I think it's safe to deem I can never predict what he'll say.

He clears his throat-almost nervously-before he continues. "A text I found in the back shelves of that book shop on the corner. We went there together once, I believe."

I cannot bring myself to look confused. I imagine a stunned expression has taken my face at this point.

"It was called...Sins. Sins of the...something. I can't remember exactly. The Recollections of Mary-Anne. Written by an American."

What has this to do with anything?

His amber eyes lock on mine almost as if he's heard my thoughts, and I watch, enraptured, as he sinks his teeth into his bottom lip before finishing. "It was the autobiography of a male prostitute."

Instantly, his blunt words drive a fiercer flush to my cheeks.

I play the fool only because I can think of no intelligent words to speak at present. "I don't understand your point."

"You see, old friend..."

It sounds oddly like an endearment.

"There were several...explicit passages. Things I do not believe I'd ever dreamed of. Incredible things..."

The painful restriction at my groin intensifies.

"I dream of them now, though. Often," he says quietly.

My throat constricts, but I manage to squeeze out, "I dont-" before he cuts me off.

"My point...is that I now know what I want to do with you." The words are barely a whisper, but I hear them as a battle cry. "What I want to do to you."

And the fact that he blushes only strikes the blow deeper within me. Had he just...did he just imply that he...


Yes, that's exactly what he did.

I want to cry out. Whether with desire or in disbelief, I am unsure-but still he continues.

"However...the true point lies with this: Will you allow it?"

My mouth runs dry, an incredible shudder rocking down from my skull to my heels.

"Will you?" he whispers, taking a silent step closer-closing the distance once more. "Will you let me?"

At this point, I play the fool because I want to hear him say it. Questions seem to be the only responses I can form in my current state of mind. Complete and utter astonishment.

"Let you what?" I breathe.

A glint of dark, mischievousness flickers in his eyes-another nuance I recognize from childhood. But I don't wish to think on childhood. Not right now.

This is adulthood in its purest sense.

He blinks drowsily...sensually...and before I can truly register what it is he's doing, his underclothes have pooled at his feet.

My gasp is the only sound in the room.

I cannot...

I cannot even begin to fathom what I am looking at.

No, staring at.



His smooth, chiseled abdomen extends downward with two shadowy, curved indents, like erotic arrows, guiding the way to ecstasy. And there, between his strong thighs, accented by the thick, auburn curls that surround, his penis stands erect. Proud. Magnificent.

His marks the first cock I have seen, other than my own. The glimpse I caught on that day in the rain was strongly obscured, at best, lasting only for the briefest of instances. This is different.

In the darkest, most shameful recesses of my imagination, I cannot deny that I have fantasized. But nothing can compare in the slightest to the physical truth. The physical truth that I want to touch. Stroke. Taste.

It's a good inch longer than mine, its girth impressive, if not rather daunting, and I cannot tear my eyes away for even a second, propriety be damned. The head is swollen with blood, a lovely dark purple, glistening with pre-ejaculate.

I find myself licking my lips again.

Another minute passes before I finally discover the strength to drag my eyes up. I find him smiling shyly-a strange look to witness on his face-shifting back and forth with some discomfort.

Of course.

This is new for the both of us.

He finally breaks the long silence. A good thing, too, for I would never've found the courage. "Say you'll let me...please...say it."

Another, equally tense pause follows because I know. I know that this moment may come to define me. Or destroy me.

Oh God, I know not what I do.

I only know that in the end, regardless of the consequences, I'll be thankful I ever got the chance.

And so I give him a trembling yet distinct nod.

He reaches out, gently resting his hands on my shoulders. Our previous exploits have rendered my disheveled clothes a chaotic mess. One that proves easy to remove.

In less than ten seconds, I am topless. Nimble, strong fingers work the fasten of my trousers...

And in ten seconds more...I am bare to him.

I shut my eyes. I know he's staring at me, and I cannot handle even the mere prospect of seeing disappointment in his gaze.

What if he is unimpressed?

My heart seems to beat even faster, saliva pooling on my tongue and making it difficult to swallow. But then I feel his breath against my collarbone, and the tantalizing awareness of his presence overcomes all outward thought.

His lips buzz against the shell of my ear as he whispers, "Striking."

And whilst my soul soars with relief, he presses a soft, timid kiss to my earlobe, lingering for a moment. This only serves to intensify the contrast when, an instant later, he whips me round by the hips, walking me swiftly forward and pressing my chest against the tall, mahogany bedpost.

A gasp is torn from my lips.

I should be terrified...or even disturbed at some level. After all, there is the possibility that he will use me to vent his frustration.

But I believe I know him better than that...and I find myself curiously at ease. My hands curl around the post, overlapping and squeezing tight in preparation as I rest my forehead against the warm wood. My breaths come in short, desperate pants.

And then his hands sweep over my back, fingers pressing into the crease of my spine before gliding down to caress my buttocks...and I melt like hot wax.

The most pathetic, wanton noise tumbles out of me-like that of a wounded, keening animal. This is my complete consent, voluntary or not...and he takes it as such.

His hot mouth comes down on my shoulder with a vengeance as he presses himself shamelessly against my backside, curves and angles seeming to conform perfectly to mine. Or perhaps that is only an illusion.

There's still a part of me that cannot believe this is happening.

His kisses create these gorgeous, little sucking sounds, made titillating by the expert use of his tongue. I idly wonder where he's learned such skill.

I pray it was not from a woman.

For Heaven's sake...I pray it was not another man.

A part of my soul has already claimed him as its own-has considered him such for a long while. And I feel a curious, powerful possessiveness bleeding through my veins.

I don't have much time to think on it, however, because I am distracted by the sight of his hand in my peripheral vision. I glance back over my shoulder just in time to see him suck a finger into his mouth, cheeks hollowing as he swirls his tongue around it.

My cock pulses.

"This is one of the things I read," he murmurs, his tone gone soft and sultry as he catches me staring. He leans forward to whisper in my ear again, as if he knows what he's about to say will bring me to my knees. "Spread your legs."

He's correct. I'm lucky I can keep myself upright.

With a pleading moan, I inch my heels apart, leaving about a foot of space between them.

His lips find my ear once more, "Wider." And, to punctuate this, his tongue probes and then quite suddenly delves into my ear canal.

Now I can't restrain a loud shriek as my feet shoot further apart. I sound almost like a woman...

His tongue is sending tingles down through somewhere near my naval, which then continue on to my groin, pumping my already stone-like cock with more blood than it can handle.

And then his finger...the one dripping with his salivate...finds its target.

I wonder when his sister...when his mother and father will come running due to the screams, because I'm fairly certain that, when I first feel his finger inside me, I cry out like a man burning at the stake.

What is this?

What is he doing?

"What are you doing?" I gasp out.

There's a strange discomfort at the spot he teases, and my face is creased with confusion. Am I supposed to enjoy this?

Something-his nose-nuzzles at the nape of my neck. "Please...trust me."

But-his finger is-




He's moving it. Pumping it slowly in and out. I can feel the wetness of his saliva against my skin.

Christ, how did it come to this?

What is this?

And then I feel it.

Quite suddenly, his finger scrapes against a spot within me, and whiteness streaks before my eyes, blinding me as a scalding streak of pleasure crawls up my spine. My hips rock backward, pressing harder against him to keep hold of the feeling, and a garbled moan leaks out.

He hums a terribly sexual hum against the side of my throat, muffled by deft kisses, "Found it."

I want to scream...and scream and scream and scream, because this is too much. I can hardly believe it's happening, let alone handle the intensity of all these sensations.

He wants me.

He wants me.

Why? Why? Why?

"Ah!" I cry out again as he twists his finger inside me. The discomfort has been all but obliterated.

"Christ..." he whispers, leaning into me. "It sounds so natural..."

I can barely gasp out, "W-What does?"

"Hearing you..." He adds a second finger, and I choke. "Your voice..." and a third. A loud keen echoes around the room. It's mine. "...like this..."

Sweat beads upon my brow, and I can feel it sliding in warm rivulets down my back.

"I suppose I always imagined it this way," he breathes, nipping at my throat and nibbling on my earlobe.



"I...I..." My mouth is useless.

"Shh..." His free hand sweeps around to my front, sliding up my chest to rest gently over my neck. With light pressure, he tips my head back so that it lays upon his shoulder. "You are very beautiful..."

I squeeze my eyes shut.

What's happening?

"Please let me..." he says again, panting heavily in what I guess is restraint.

"Let you what?" I gasp.

There is a pregnant pause...and his finger stills, much to my distress.

I need you! My mind screams for the millionth time.

I need you to want me!

I need you to have me!

I need you to love me!

I need you!

And his words are like an angel's song.

"Let me make you mine."

He doesn't wait for an answer. My desperate moan is enough.

With a growl like some kind of wild animal, he squeezes my rear with both hands, so hard it's almost painful, and spreads me wide.

The next moment, all I'm aware of is the sting.

A blinding, eye-watering sting-as if I'm being slowly split in two.

He's inside me.

He's inside me and it's all I've ever wanted...

And it hurts.

It hurts so badly I scream-an anguished, ear-splitting cry to the Heavens. Louder than any of the others I've made tonight.

It's not just from the pain.

It's from the years and years of anguish. From loving him at my own expense and never, ever-not once-being able to be rid of it.

It's from having to hide myself away and for every degrading, heart-breaking name he ever called me.

Vaguely, I can hear him in the background.

He speaks with horror, apologizing and apologizing...more than he's ever apologized in his life. "Oh God...oh God, forgive me. Forgive me, forgive me-I know it hurts!"

My screams cut off with a sob. A pathetic sound that makes me wish I could vanish into thin air. And it's now that I realize he hasn't moved.

He remains as still as stone, sheathed within me, the sting continuing to pulse through my abdomen.

"W-Why?" I whisper brokenly through my tears. "Why do you do this to me?"

I see his mouth open and close out the corner of my eye. He has no answer.

Until, about a minute later, he says, "I do not wish to hurt you."

It's my breaking point.

Rage splits open across my face, staining my cheeks scarlet, and I roar at him. "You've hurt my all my life! Neglecting me! Insulting me! Walking all over me! Every day you hurt me! Why should this be any different?" Before he can react, I thrust myself back against him, burying him within me to the hilt and then howling with the anguish that it brings.

"NO!" he cries, hands slamming down on my hips as I piston them back and forth in a crazed and insane display of masochism. He grinds my hips to a halt, panting a constant stream of, "Stop, stop, stop..."

And now I'm simply sobbing. A bloody, whimpering mess, leaning weakly against the bedpost.

For a while, there's nothing but a deafening silence. He's in shock. He should be.

But then his harsh grip on my hips relaxes, and he runs a calming palm across my stomach. "Never, ever do that again..." he whispers in my ear. "Shh...lovely, shh..."


He called me lovely.

Is it strange that that is the only thing that registers?

Christ, I don't even register that he's moving. Slowly...and with a gentleness I didn't know any man was capable of, he guides his shaft in and out-a snail's pace compared to what I was doing-his hipbones brushing against the small of my back.

"Forgive me," he says again. "Forgive me for what I've done to you."

It takes a long while, and no small manner of gentle, child-like coaxing to calm me down. But somehow, he guides me into the bed, pulling out with caution to turn me over.

And then he does something I'd never thought possible.

He makes love to me.

He tells me so beforehand, draping himself gracefully over me to kiss my lips, speaking against them. "I want to make love to you."

Still, I cry...but I feel my heart pulse in my chest, my anger dissipating. Sniffling-and feeling peculiarly like my boy self-I whisper, "You have to love me...to make love to me."

Quite honestly, I don't know where I found the courage to say it.

But his reply...his beautiful, heavenly reply...it is all the atonement...all the kindness and the bliss that I'll ever need.

"Oh, I do. Dear God, I love you...I do."

~ Fin ~

Wow! What a milestone that was! Took me a year to write that.

Please leave a review and let me know what you think! :) Tell me what your favorite "I need" was.

What do you think their names are? I left them for you to decide :)

Hope you enjoyed!