Here’s my flash with the Free Fiction Friday Group!
IF YOU LOVE SOMETHING
( IYLS )
David and Jesse are childhood friends who get separated in their teens but meet up again at university in Newcastle, Australia.
They soon find out that though some things remain the same, other change… oh boy, do they change.
“Jeez, Garth, I was beginning to think I was going to have to come into your tent and shove my nice big 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 saw me surrendering to my need to laugh. “Too easy, man. That was just too fucking easy,” I chortled, 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 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.
CHAPTER 23: WIDE BLUE YONDER
“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 whizzed 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 gaze moved from his profile to his hands as they gripped the wheel. 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, Jared. Well, that’s a lie, if I am being truthful I’d have to say I’m as anxious as hell!” He laughed. “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 it and let them deal with whatever was going on between them on their own. Between Garth’s words, and Jeremy’s attitude, 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 to rest 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. I repeated the process with my left foot, before lightly tossing my discarded flip-flops 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, seemingly unaffected, his smile never faltering.
“We’ve been best friends since pre-school.”
“Really? Odd that David’s never mentioned you before, then,” he responded, before turning to me. “Why have you been keeping your best mate a secret, David?” His tone was amused, his eyes teasing, which contrasted starkly with Jere’s downcast eyes and frown. 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 my Mom’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 up in the wide blue yonder,” he suggested somewhat flirtatiously, his eyes raking down my body. “Alone.”
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 Laurence’s 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 fucking 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 fuck 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. 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 that Laurence was following me. By the time I reached the small door located under its wing, I’d remembered my manners, holding it open and 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 continued to explain 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 coating 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, as I had many times in the past, basic aviation theory on lift and thrust , reinforcing his understanding about what was going on, in the hope that with increased 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. 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 chuckled a little shakily. “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 fourteen 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.
“Surely you could have found each other via the internet or something.”
“Lots of things made it impossible: my mum went back to her maiden name and was a bit of a mess for a while, where they were in Africa had no internet, or even power, plus we were teenagers, and apart from not really knowing how to go about finding someone, I suppose I was a bit lazy and just assumed he’d moved onto new friendships. Maybe if it happened today it would have gone differently.”
“So how did you find each other again?” he asked curiously.
I laughed as I replied, “He came into where I work with a bunch of his mates and ordered a burger. I should have known Jeremy’s stomach would hold the key! The guy eats like a horse.”
“You fancy him.” His words were a statement, not a question, and I felt myself flush self-consciously. Was I that obvious?
“No!” I protested, but we both knew I was lying. “Okay, maybe, but there’s no point. He’s straight.”
“Hmm, that’s always the hardest thing for a gay man. To fall in love with someone who is straight. Therein lies the road to heartache. Unrequited love is a cruel companion. Be careful, David.”
I didn’t know what to say, so I said nothing and thankfully he let it rest, filling in the remainder of our flight with idle chit chat.
The landing was smooth, with hardly a bounce, and I smiled to hear Laurence’s loud exhalation.
“I think I was a bit better this time, don’t you?” he asked, turning to look at me as I taxied the little Cessna toward the hangar, his eyes feeling like lasers on my skin.
“Yes, you were,” I agreed. “Much better, in fact.”
“Maybe I should ask you out every time you take me up in this tin bucket.” He laughed, his gaze alight with relief and humor.
Bringing the plane to a halt, I smiled at him but said nothing, instead leaning over to help him unbuckle, suddenly aware that my hands were awfully near his crotch. I swallowed, my eyes on his groin. I hoped to God he was sporting a semi because if a flaccid cock was making the bulge in his jeans, he was fucking huge.
Clearing my throat, I sat back and attended to my own harness before raising my eyes to his. One look told me he knew I’d checked out his package. Heat flared in my cheeks, embarrassment striking me dumb.
Thankfully, he didn’t comment as I ushered him from the plane, both of us silent as we walked shoulder to shoulder toward Jeremy’s car, parked near the office area. As we neared the Lancer, I could hear Jere had his iPod docked, the sounds of Green Day greeting us.
I made a beeline for the passenger side with Laurence following me. Turning to say goodbye, I was surprised at his close proximity. I found myself taking a step back, my ass pressing against the car window. He smelled of expensive cologne. I knew it was expensive because it wasn’t making my nose tickle. He smelled good. He leaned in, and I swallowed nervously, my heart racing, my hands flat against the door of the car. There was nowhere to go. What the fuck is he doing? An involuntary gasp escaped me when I felt his groin press against mine. A semi? Definitely a semi.
His warm breath wafted over my ear as he whispered, “Till Tuesday, David. I’m looking forward to it.” And then he kissed my cheek. Well, strictly speaking, he brushed his lips over it. Either way, I was too shocked to move. I didn’t know whether I was feeling turned on, or way out of my depth by his show of sexual aggressiveness. He chuckled softly, and seeing my reaction, reached out to gently squeeze my hand. “Tuesday.” All I could do was nod and dumbly watch as he strode to his own car.
Still reeling from the encounter, I opened the door, and slid into my seat, grabbing for my seatbelt on automatic pilot.
Jeremy’s opening words hit me like a bucket of ice cold water, rousing me from my trance. “What the fuck was that?”
“What the fuck was what?” I snapped back, not liking his tone.
“That,” he growled, gesturing towards the window beside me. “I thought you said you just took him flying to get him over his phobia.”
“Well, until today, that’s all I did do.” I tried to calm my voice down—I didn’t want to fight with him.
“What do you mean, ‘until today’?”
“Today he asked me out,” I replied bluntly, hating that a blush was once again flooding my cheeks.
“And what did you say?” he demanded, turning in his seat to more fully face me.
“I said, yes,” I answered, feeling my temper rise again. His attitude was getting up my nose. “Is that all right with you, your Lordship? Should I have asked permission first?”
“For fuck’s sake, David, the guy has to be at least ten years older than you!” he cried, two spots of angry color staining his cheeks.
“So what?” I exclaimed, my hands bunching to fists in my lap, my heart pounding so loudly I felt sure he could hear it over his music.
“You have to ask yourself, Davie, what he sees in a twenty-one year old guy,” he insisted emphatically, his own breath coming in heavy pants.
“Well, thanks a lot, Jeremy! Did it ever occur to you that maybe I can hold up my end in a conversation? That I might actually have something worthwhile to offer to it too?” I whisper-yelled, furious at what I perceived as his insult. Why couldn’t an older man find me interesting?
“He only wants you for sex, Davie. Fuck, he was practically dry humping you against my car!” he stated knowingly, his voice piercing in the confined space.
“You don’t know that. And even if he does, so effing what? For all you know, maybe that’s all I want him for too!” I might have managed to refrain from yelling at him, but the anger in my tone was unmistakable.
“That’s not you, David,” Jeremy replied, his voice dropping to almost a whisper, shaking his head in denial of my words.
“No, that’s you!” I cried, regretting the words the moment they left my mouth, before I’d even seen him flinch as if I’d hit him. “Oh, God, I’m sorry, Jere! I didn’t mean that. Fuck, I don’t know where that came from… I’m so fucking sorry.” And I truly didn’t know where such viciousness had come from. I never spoke to anyone like that and now I’d done it twice in a matter of days. “Please say you’re okay, that we’re okay. I didn’t mean it. Truly I didn’t,” I whispered, searching his profile for a sign that he’d forgiven me.
At his small nod, I heaved a sigh of relief—I couldn’t bear to lose him again, not after only having just found him.
“I’m sorry too, Davie,” he whispered. “I have no right telling you who you can and can’t date, and I certainly didn’t mean to imply that you aren’t smart enough, or interesting enough, to attract someone like the doctor dude.”
“Let’s just forget the whole conversation,” I suggested, wanting to do just that. “Let’s just go to Mum’s and scoff ourselves silly on her Sunday roast.” I longed to wrap my arms around him, hating the fact that I couldn’t.
Needing the reassurance of his skin on mine, I threw caution to the wind and reached out to touch him, grabbing his hand and rubbing circles on the back with my thumb. “I really am sorry, Jere. I didn’t mean what I said.”
“Me either,” he whispered, sandwiching my hand between both of his and squeezing gently.
Dinner was tasty and uneventful, with both of us perhaps trying a little too hard to pretend that harsh words hadn’t been spoken. Mum had outdone herself and we both had a basket of chocolates as well as containers of leftovers to take home with us.
The drive back to my flat was a little quieter than usual and I mentally kicked myself again for my thoughtless outburst.
As he pulled into my driveway, he turned to me and quietly asked, “What time do you start work tomorrow?”
“Um, nine,” I replied, unbuckling my belt, before turning in my seat to face him.
“I’ll come get you.”
“You don’t have to do that,” I told him. “I can ride. Besides I don’t want to have to walk home after working twelve hours solid. Thanks anyway, though.”
“I want to. And I’ll pick you up when you finish too,” he insisted quietly, his gaze downcast, and I was secretly thrilled that he wanted to and that I would get to see him, if only briefly.
“Okay. Thanks, Jere. I’ll see you in the morning then.”
He raised his eyes to mine, and for a fleeting moment, I could have sworn I saw a yearning within their depths, but the moment passed and I decided it must have been a trick of the light, or wishful thinking on my behalf.
Letting myself out, I reached into the back of the car, retrieving my duffle, and after giving Jeremy a final wave, I loped down the drive to my front door, thankful for once to dodge Mrs. Gilmore.
Throwing my bag on the dining table, deciding to unpack it after I’d showered, I eyed my bed sadly.
There’d be no waking up to find Jere curled around me, his firm chest pressed into my back, his breath in my hair.
No waking to his hair tickling my nose, or his gorgeous ass pressed into my groin.
No. Tomorrow I’d be waking up alone again.
I snorted. Welcome home, Sadler.
Hmm, what do you make of Jeremy’s outburst over Laurence asking Davie out?
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