“There is a reason I never come back.” Ethan stood in the kitchen doorway. The sunlight framed his body.

“And which reason is that? There are so many. You left a list last time. I taped it to the refrigerator,” Joseph turned around to face Ethan, the rag he had been using the wipe the table dangling from his fingertips. He wore a rough cotton button-down shirt, tucked loosely into faded jeans. His dark brown hair was slightly too long and messy.

“You are such a prick sometimes,” Ethan said flatly.

“Only sometimes? Feeling generous today, are you?” Joseph tossed the rag into the sink. It made a wet slapping sound. Ethan and Joseph stared at each other for a few moments. Joseph broke the silence.

“Well, come in and shut the door already,” he said as he turned around to open a cabinet. He took two mugs out, and a box of tea bags.

“What makes you think I want to stay?” Ethan asked testily.

“You actually walked into my house.”

Ethan let out a humph of air, and stepped into the kitchen, swinging the door shut with one hand. He unbuttoned his grey overcoat, took it off and folded it over his arm. He remained standing next to the door. His charcoal suit, dark green shirt and green tie were immaculate. He ran his free hand over his perfectly trimmed, sandy hair, then scrubbed it over his clean-shaven face. He looked uncomfortable in the cluttered kitchen.

Joseph filled the black kettle with water from the tap, and put it on the stove. He turned the burner knob, then lit a match and set the gas under the burner on fire. He waved out the match. The smell of sulfur tinged the air.

Ethan closed his eyes. He remembered lighting the logs in the fireplaces in the school at night with Joseph when they were 12. And 13, and 14, up until they were 17. The long matches would release the same sulfur smell after they were struck. While waiting for the fires to build, the two boys would talk freely.

“We were so innocent then,” he whispered.

“‘Scuse?” Joseph asked. He walked to Ethan, touched the elbow under the folded overcoat. Ethan opened his eyes, stared into Joseph’s, one brown-eyed stare to another.


“I’ll hang this up,” Joseph tugged the coat from Ethan’s arm. He hung it up on a hook near the door behind Ethan.

“You plan on putting anything stronger than water in that tea?” Ethan asked.

“There’s brandy in the hutch.”

Ethan stepped to the hutch and opened the door. A half empty bottle of brandy sat in the front on the shelf. He took it out, put it on the table. Joseph had pulled one of the chairs away from the table.

“Have a seat?” he asked.

Ethan sat. Joseph returned to the stove.

“Gail know you’re here?” Joseph asked, his back to Ethan.

“Course not.”

“Business trip?”

Ethan made a non-committal grunt.

“You never come back here, yet here you are. That’s a bit of a conundrum, even for you, Ethan.”

Ethan was quiet. He fidgeted for a few moments.

“I m… haven’t seen you in a long time,” his tongue tripped over the word “missed.”

“You missed me then?” Joseph said with a hint of laughter in his voice.


“I missed you,” Ethan said simply.

The kettle whistled. Joseph took it off the burner, poured hot water into the mugs, swirled it around, then poured it back into the kettle. He poured hot water into the mugs again, dunked tea bags into them. He turned, placed a mug in front of Ethan.

“You still make tea the way Mrs. Callahan did,” Ethan remarked.

“Only proper way to do it, I dare say,” Joseph retorted with a smile. He sat down in the chair opposite Ethan, long tanned fingers curled around his mug. Ethan noticed Joseph had a couple-days’ worth of old stubble on his chin.

“She used to make us tea Saturday afternoons. We would sit in the front room, the one with all the wood we’d have to polish in detention.”

“I remember,” Joseph said quietly. “It was usually your fault we were in detention doing all that polishing, though.”

“I came up with the ideas. You followed through with them.”

Joseph laughed. “Very true.” He removed his tea bag from his mug and flipped it across the room with his spoon. The bag thumped into the side of garbage can, and gaziantep escort dropped onto the bottom. He opened the bottle of brandy, poured a generous amount into his tea. Ethan removed his tea bag from his mug with his spoon, stood and dropped it into the garbage. He returned to the table.

“So civilized,” mocked Joseph.

“Some civilized behavior would do you some good,” Ethan said. Joseph shrugged, took a large gulp of his tea.

“I am how I am. Not about to start apologizing for it,” Joseph said.

Ethan poured his own generous amount of brandy into his tea. He watched Joseph swirl his tea around in his mug.

“I missed you, too, Ethan.”

They stared into their mugs. Joseph fidgeted with his spoon on the table. His hand turned it over and over, fingers rubbing the handle. Ethan’s pale, manicured hand reached out and stilled Joseph’s.

“The first time I worked up the nerve to really touch you was just after you turned 17,” Ethan said quietly. Joseph’s hand remained still. He didn’t look up at Ethan.

“I was in the library. You came in from the soccer field. It had rained, and you were soaked through,” Joseph turned his hand over. Their palms rested against each other. Ethan slid his hand across Joseph’s palm. His fingertips rested on Joseph’s wrist.

“You were at one of the tables in the back, hunched over some textbook. Your hair had fallen forward, your shirt collar backward. Your hair’s always been too long, hasn’t it? That little bit of your neck that was exposed was so tempting-”

“Your hands were wet and cold, and I screamed when you touched me.” Joseph stated matter-of-factly.

Ethan laughed. “I wondered if you screamed because my hands were cold, or if it was because it was me touching you.”

“A little of both, I think.”

Both men were silent. Ethan felt the heat from Joseph’s hand seep into his cold skin. Joseph slid his hand out from under Ethan’s. He stood from the table.

“There’s no point communing with the dead,” he said flatly. He turned away from Ethan.

Ethan jumped up. His chair crashed to the floor. He moved around the table, and caught Joseph’s arm. Joseph tried to yank his arm away. Ethan tightened his grip, and pulled Joseph up against him. Joseph froze. Ethan smashed his lips against Joseph’s.

They grappled, alternately trying to grope and push the other away, their lips together. Ethan broke contact first, sucked in lungfuls of air. Joseph balled his fists in the lapels of Ethan’s suit coat, breathing hard. He pushed the other man roughly backwards against the kitchen wall. Ethan let him. His hands rested on Joseph’s hips. Joseph stared into his eyes. Ethan stared back, waiting. Joseph leaned closer, lips hovering next to Ethan’s for a heartbeat, then captured them.

It was a gentle, sweet kiss, like their first in the library all those years ago. Ethan felt himself melting into it. Joseph nudged his knee between Ethan’s legs, pressing his thigh up against Ethan’s crotch. Ethan’s hands moved from Joseph’s hips to tug the rough cotton shirt upwards, and put his hands on the warm flesh at the small of his back. Joseph groaned, tightening his fists in the suit coat lapels.

“Is this why you came here?” gasped Joseph.

“Is this why you haven’t tossed me out?” retorted Ethan.

Joseph rocked his hips against Ethan, felt his growing erection. Ethan closed his eyes and groaned. Joseph felt his own cock harden.

“The bedroom is more comfortable, if I recall,” Ethan whispered. He brushed his cheek against Joseph’s, to his ear. He pressed his nose to Joseph’s hair- he smelled sweat and spicy soap.

Joseph nodded. He let go of the front of Ethan’s jacket, his hands making a long stroke down Ethan’s chest. Took Ethan’s hands, and pulled him along, through the kitchen and the living room into the bedroom.

The bedroom was small. A full sized bed was pushed into the corner, neatly made with a forest green patchwork quilt. A dark wood dresser stood next to one wall, a matching desk against another. Books and papers were scattered on the floor and desk.

Joseph stopped in the doorway. He leaned against the doorjamb, eyes focused on Ethan. He pulled gently on Ethan’s tie. Ethan obligingly came closer. He placed his hands on Joseph’s neck, under his messy hair.

Joseph kissed Ethan again. He slipped his tongue between his lips to touch Ethan’s, seeking entry. Ethan opened his mouth slightly and Joseph plunged his tongue inside. Ethan’s tongue met Joseph’s, rubbed against it. Joseph’s hands dove under the lapels of Ethan’s suit jacket, and pushed it open. Ethan dropped his arms to let Joseph take the coat off. Ethan’s fingers fumbled with the buttons on the front of Joseph’s shirt.

“You never managed to get my buttons undone,” Joseph teased. He helped Ethan unbutton his shirt.

“No point since you would always get fed up and help anyway.” Ethan slid his hands under the material, along the muscles of Joseph’s chest.

“I never understood how you managed your own,” Joseph said.

“Mine I have no problem with. It’s yours- the idea of your skin behind them makes me clumsy.”

Ethan pushed Joseph’s shirt off. Joseph unknotted Ethan’s tie, unbuttoned his shirt, yanked it out of his pants and shoved it off. He wrapped his arms around Ethan, bare flesh against bare flesh. Joseph kissed Ethan’s shoulder. He swept his tongue along the collarbone, outwards. Ethan’s hands wandered down Joseph’s back, down the back of his pants. He squeezed one of Joseph’s ass cheeks roughly. Joseph grunted.

Joseph’s hands found the belt on Ethan’s pants. He undid the buckle, button and zipper. His hand slithered down, along Ethan’s cock. He rubbed it under the soft material of his underwear while biting his neck. Ethan let his head fall back with a sigh.

Joseph stepped away. He popped the button on his jeans. Ethan moved Joseph’s hands and unzipped him, pushed the material down Joseph’s legs. He knelt in front of Joseph, looking up. His hands rubbed up Joseph’s muscular tanned legs in circles. They kneaded into his thighs paying special attention to the pale jagged scar on his left.

“Why do I get the impression that you rarely work outside with clothes on?” asked Ethan with a grin. He pulled down Joseph’s underwear. His erection stood in front of Ethan’s face. He buried his nose in the nest of curls, took in the musky scent that was purely Joseph. He trailed a long, slow lick up Joseph’s cock, before taking the head into his mouth. He bobbed up and down on the head a few times, then slid his mouth farther down the shaft. He took most of Joseph into his mouth, and began gliding his mouth up and down, twisting his tongue around the head. He placed his hands on Joseph’s flat stomach, stroking the hair.

Joseph’s fingers twisted into Ethan’s short hair. He threw his head back, and moaned.

Ethan’s tongue quickened on Joseph. Joseph gasped. His hips started to move unbidden, thrusting himself into Ethan’s mouth. One of Ethan’s arms wrapped around Joseph’s hips to keep them still. Ethan’s other hand gently massaged Joseph’s balls.

“Ethan…” he whispered. He stole a glance downwards, and found Ethan looking up, head still bobbing. Joseph’s hips thrust once before he regained control of them. Ethan slid his mouth down Joseph’s dick, then back up with excruciating slowness. Joseph’s breath became shallow, rasping between clenched teeth. His cock exploded in Ethan’s mouth, Joseph bit off a scream turning it into a shuddering moan. Ethan swallowed Joseph’s cum, then let his cock slide out. He licked a long, slow line up Joseph’s stomach and chest. He kissed Joseph’s trembling lips lightly.

Joseph rested his forehead against Ethan’s, leaned his body against the other man.

“You always were a quiet one,” Ethan whispered teasingly.

Joseph worked up enough energy to glare at Ethan. Ethan snickered quietly.

“You won’t be laughing for long,” Joseph growled as he pushed Ethan down onto the bed roughly.

Ethan lay back with a smirk on his face. Joseph pulled off his dress pants and underwear. Joseph braced himself on his arms over Ethan. He kissed Ethan deeply on the lips, then moved his lips along his jaw, working his way down his neck and chest. Joseph stopped at one of Ethan’s nipples. He sucked on it, scraping his teeth against the tender skin. Ethan arched off the bed, hands gripping Joseph’s hips. Joseph moved his mouth over to Ethan’s other nipple, gave it the same treatment. Ethan moaned. Joseph licked and kissed a meandering path down Ethan’s stomach, to his cock. He twisted his tongue around it lazily several times before moving back up Ethan’s body. Ethan groaned in protest. Joseph reached over to the drawer in the nightstand, and opened it. He moved his hand in the drawer, pushing things around. He pulled out a bottle of lube, and shut the drawer. He opened the bottle and squeezed some lube onto his fingertips. He wrapped his hand around Ethan’s cock, coating it with lube. Joseph wrapped a leg around one of Ethan’s legs, turned him onto his side. Joseph turned his back to Ethan, and Ethan slid his slippery cock into Joseph slowly, gasping when he was completely inside. He stayed still for a moment, savoring the heat. Ethan wrapped his arms around Joseph, and began to thrust in and out. Joseph gripped Ethan’s hands on his chest. He matched Ethan’s slow thrusting, moaning low.

Ethan felt Joseph clench on his cock a little. Ethan buried his face in Joseph’s long hair. He thrust harder, pushing himself deeper. He groaned loudly. He felt the pressure building in his cock and balls. His pace sped up, became shallower. His cock moved in and out just at the opening of Joseph’s ass. Joseph writhed underneath him, bringing Ethan closer to the edge. He thrust in once more, hard and deep. He came with tremendous force, slamming his pelvis into Joseph. He shouted Joseph’s name as he did, and collapsed.

The two men lay on the bed, panting and sweating for a few minutes. Ethan rolled off Joseph, pulling himself out. He gathered Joseph close.

“The reason I don’t come here is because I love you,” Ethan mumbled before dropping into sleep.

“I know,” Joseph whispered. He shifted to bring Ethan’s body closer against his own, then drifted off into unconsciousness.

Joseph woke up with a start. He found himself under the quilt and alone. He shut his eyes and let out a disgusted sigh. He flopped back down on the bed and squeezed his eyes shut.

“You’re awake. Finally,” said Ethan from the bedroom doorway. Joseph sat up quickly. His mouth dropped open.

“You’re…” Joseph cleared his throat. “You’re still here.”

“Perceptive, aren’t we?” Ethan walked into the room carrying a glass of water. He set the water on the nightstand, and made a motion for Joseph to move over.

“Hog the whole damn bed, why don’t you?” Ethan grumbled good-naturedly.

He climbed into bed under the covers with Joseph. Joseph laid back down facing Ethan. Ethan pulled Joseph closer, looked into his eyes. He stroked Joseph’s long hair. Their legs intertwined.

“Won’t Gail notice you’re missing?” Joseph asked, still aghast that Ethan was still here.

Ethan shrugged. “Probably not. We don’t talk anymore. She’s filling for divorce.”

Joseph’s eyebrows went up. “She is?”

Ethan nodded.

“Why didn’t you tell me this earlier?”

Ethan shrugged again. “Would it have mattered?”


They were quiet again. Joseph laid one hand on Ethan’s chest, over his heart. He felt it beating steadily.

“I’ve always known that this was mine,” Joseph said.

“I think it’s been yours since we were 12.” Ethan smiled. “Or at least since we were 17.”

“I gave you mine when we were 12. I would have done anything for you. I realized when I was 15 that I loved you. I lived in agony for 2 years, waiting for you to realize it.” Joseph said. “Why did you- that day in the library?”

“I had wanted to for so long. You seemed so oblivious to me. I was tired of trying to catch your attention through subtlety, I figured it couldn’t hurt to be blatant. You were concentrating so hard on that textbook, I snuck up behind you and touched your neck. You jumped and screamed. I kissed you to shut you up. I had such a nice seduction plan all laid out, too… But I forgot that my fingers were wet and cold.”

Joseph laughed. “Didn’t matter, though. End result was the same.”


They became silent. Joseph kept his hand on Ethan’s chest. Ethan stroked Joseph’s cheekbone with the pad of his thumb.

Joseph cleared his throat. “Are you planning on staying this time?”

“I’m staying this time. At least until you piss me off. Then I’ll go do whatever it is that you outdoorsy types do-“

“Chop wood,” Joseph interrupted.

“Then I’ll go chop wood until I’m calm again. And then I’ll come back. Over and over again.”

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