October 5, 2001
The weeks leading up to Tico’s birthday were jammed full of recording at Jon’s place. The singer was a focused task master when he had his 'Boss' hat on. Even Richie had a hard time breaking through some nights after they’d finished for the day. Their quiet interludes for cuddling and long drawn out lovemaking were almost non-existent or it was a quick fuck just for a purely physical release. They still had goofy, fun times when they were all together but Jon was still totally focused on perfecting their sound.
“So T, have you figured out how you’re going to set the scene for your birthday?” David asked him one lunch break a couple of days out from his birthday.
“Yeah, it’s all done. Canvas is all prepped and ready to go and I moved a mattress into the studio; I just need these two knuckleheads,” he said, tilting his chin at his band mates.
Both blonde and brunette heads popped up at the same time, with an almost matching confused look on their faces. “What’s happening?” Jon asked.
“T’s birthday is in two days, or had you forgotten his birthday wish?” David reminded him with a leer.
“I hadn’t forgotten,” Jon said. “Just forgot what day we’re on.”
“Are you still good for it?” Tico asked. “Or do you want to find another time?”
“No! We’ll be there, T!” Richie answered. “Even if I have to tie this one up and carry him over my shoulder to get him to leave this place!”
“Yeah, we’ll be there,” Jon sighed. “We could all use the break, I guess.”
“You especially!” Richie said. He was getting a little grumpy due to the lack of alone time with Jon. It hadn’t been like the summer at all. He’d been resorting to helping himself after Jon had fallen face down and fast asleep in their bed way too many times lately.
“I’m sorry if I’ve been hard to live with,” Jon apologised. “Let’s go get a drink now, shall we? But just one! I want to get this one wrapped up by tomorrow night!”
They all made their way through Jon’s house to the living area where he played bartender and served everyone their drink of choice. They all headed back about an hour later to continue working.
David pulled Richie aside. “Are you and Jon alright?” he asked.
“Yeah yeah we just haven’t been together for a while,” Richie said sadly.
This surprised David. Jon and Richie had always been like bunnies. “Really?”
“Well, we've had sex. We just haven’t, you know, made love,” Richie explained. “You get what I mean?”
“Yeah yeah, quality time in bed together. I get ya,” David understood. “That sucks.” He sympathized with his friend.
“I would so rather make love to him than have sex,” Richie pouted.
“Of course,” David agreed.
October 6, 2001
The following day they put the final wrap on a particularly bothersome song around midnight when Jon called time finally.
“That’s it! We’re done!” Jon said, “Go home guys, thanks for your hard work. You did good and I’m proud of what we’ve done.”
“What time do you want us tomorrow, T?” he asked as Tico climbed in his car.
“How does around 3:00 sound?” he replied. “We can all sleep in for a bit. Oh, make sure you eat before you get there. I’m not sure how long you’ll be in the one position for.”
“Ahh sleep, what’s that?” Jon said ruefully. “I’ve been sleeping but I still wake up feeling tired. Can you not paint the bags under my eyes?!” He tapped the roof of Tico’s car as he took off down the driveway.
“Are you sure I can’t come along?” David asked Richie as they walked to David’s car.
“I think you’ve had your turn and then some, don’t you?” Richie said. “I’m starting to think you’ll ask for a threesome soon.”
“Well- now that you-” David started to say.
“No! Hell no!” Richie exclaimed. He felt totally confident in answering in the negative for Jon also.
“Think about it?” David asked. He was then pushed into his driver’s seat and had the door closed for him.
“Get outta here, Lemma!” Richie said through the window. “We’ll see you tomorrow night, you sick fuck!”
“Love you too, Rich!” he yelled and took off.
“What does he want now?” Jon asked as he came up behind Richie.
“Threesome,” Richie simply said.
“Phht,” Jon snorted. “Not happening!” He was definitely not ready for that. Nor did he think he would ever be ready for that.
“That’s what I said,” Richie took Jon’s hand. “C’mon, let’s get to bed. You’re exhausted and you gotta look pretty tomorrow.”
Jon wrapped his arm around Richie’s waist as they walked back into the house and upstairs. It had been a long day. They showered quickly and headed to bed. They rested their heads on one pillow as Richie big spooned Jon, stroking a little patch of belly under his fingers to soothe him into sleep.
The smaller man wiggled back into Richie's body as closely as he could. Jon sighed and then his breathing evened out.
“I’ve missed you Jonny,” Richie whispered into the hair near his mouth, not expecting an answer from a sleepy Jon.
“I’ve missed you too, baby,” he said quietly. “I’m sorry and I promise I’ll make it up to you when I’ve had some sleep.”
“I know you will,” Richie kissed his shoulder.
“Do you want to make love in the morning?” Jon asked softly.
“Hell yeah I do.” Richie smiled, stroking over Jon's hair.
“Okay,” Jon yawned.
“Sleep now. I love you,” Richie whispered, resting his hand on Jon's waist.
There was no reply other than a gentle snore.
Chapter 2: Pictures Of You
October 7, 2001
It was almost twelve hours later when Jon woke Richie with a hot, wet mouth exploring places that had been neglected of late. Their activity soon transitioned into slow morning lovemaking with soft kisses and little talk. Jon felt human again as he made love to Richie the right way with lots of touching and eye contact. Richie finally felt loved and adored again. It was totally necessary and refreshed and renewed them.
“Oh Jonny, I really needed that!” Richie exclaimed. “Let me make you the best breakfast you’ve ever had!” He stroked over Jon’s shoulders and arms affectionately. “After we cuddle.”
“Don’t you mean brunch? It’s almost midday!” Jon chuckled.
“We have time,” Richie determined. “Let me enjoy you here for a bit longer.” He tightened his arms around the blonde to hold him close. They stayed in bed for a little while and Richie loved every minute.
Jon’s stomach growled. “I guess that’s your answer then,” he said. “Do you want me to help you with breakfast?”
“You can make the coffee,” Richie said and left a smacking kiss on Jon’s lips.
They enjoyed their time in the kitchen in complete domesticity, cooking, laughing, and singing along to the music that was playing. Little touches, smiles and kisses were the balm to soothe their souls.
“I think today will be fun,” Richie offered up.
“I can’t wait to just lie there,” Jon said.
“You think you’ll be able to?” Richie asked, knowing that Jon was still buzzing with energy.
“I don’t know. We’ll see.” Jon finished his coffee.
They finished tidying up and headed off to the city. Jon asked Richie what he should wear and Richie reminded him that they would be naked most of the time.
“Oh yeah, nevermind,” Jon said sheepishly.
“Put on some cologne. That’s something you can wear when you’re naked,” Richie suggested.
Richie drove to give Jon another chance to rest up. Besides Richie loved driving Jon’s sports car with the top down and his hair blowing in the breeze even if it was a little chilly. It didn’t take long to reach the building where Tico had his studio. They pulled into the parking garage below and made their way up in the creaky elevator after Tico buzzed them in. Jon had held his breath the whole way and a death grip on Richie’s hand.
The elevator opened up into a huge loft apartment with his studio set off in the sunniest corner. The windows had been covered with a frosted film to allow the light in but to keep prying eyes out. The open plan space had a state of the art kitchen off to one side, with a huge dining table made for entertaining. Tico’s practice drum kit lived permanently in the centre of the apartment. The bedroom and ensuite were the only rooms, per se.
“Hey guys, welcome,” Tico greeted them as the elevator doors opened, “Make yourselves at home. Can I get you anything?”
“Hey T. Happy birthday, old man.” Richie enveloped him with a hug in response.
“Thanks, buddy. Jon, I have a case of your wine and a chilled bottle. Do you want it opened?” he offered as he hugged his friend.
“That’d be great. Thanks,” Jon answered. “I don’t know how you do that elevator every day!”
“Not everyone has a phobia about them, Jonny,” he chuckled as he made his way to the kitchen and puttered around opening and pouring the wine.
He’d arranged with Bernard to have some shipped over when Jon had agreed on today. He wanted to make sure his friends were as comfortable as possible, so he had David share the Paris playlist with him and had it playing softly over the integrated sound system.
“So how do you want to do this?” Tico asked, “Do you want to relax a bit first or just jump straight into it? I’m happy to follow your lead.”
“Let me finish this and have a cigarette, then I should be good,” Richie said.
Jon still hadn’t answered. “Yeah, okay,” he said after a while. “The door is locked, right?”
“Yeah yeah, Jon, it’s locked,” Tico said, “Are you nervous?”
“I’m okay, T,” Jon said. “Just keep my glass full, okay?” He drank the rest of the glass a little quickly and held it out for a refill.
“That I can do!” Tico replied, opening the fridge and reaching for the bottle.
A short while later, Jon nodded and said, “Let’s do this!” He hopped up from his bar stool.
“Right!” Tico said. “You and Richie can change in the bedroom. There’s robes on the bed. Take a bathroom break too, and do some stretches because even though you’ll be lying down, it’s tough on the muscles.” He walked over to his studio to get ready while his friends disappeared into the bedroom.
They undressed and stretched, but didn’t put on the robes. “We’ll just take them off in a minute right?” Jon reasoned.
“Kiss me,” Richie said. “We won’t be able to for a while.”
“Ahh,” Jon leaned into him and Richie planted a nice wet one on his pretty mouth.
“Alright, I’m ready,” Richie opened the bedroom door.
“If you don’t mind,” Tico said, indicating to the bed set up in the corner. “Just lie down on the mattress then. Let’s start with one of you on your back and the other on your side.”
Richie put their robes down on the chair and climbed onto the makeshift bed. They stretched out and relaxed. It didn’t feel that strange to do this actually since they laid in bed naked together all the time. And if Tico had been studying the nude human form, he’d probably seen a ton of naked dudes besides them. Jon automatically felt at ease.
“Richie, can you put your leg over Jon’s thigh and your hand in the middle of his chest?” Tico asked.
“Can I?” Richie said excitedly. “I would love too!”
“You’re silly,” Jon chuckled.
Richie repositioned himself and then exhaled. Jon pressed his head back into his pillow and chilled out.
“Jon, just roll your head a little to look at Richie,” he instructed them further. He stood back and made a couple of adjustments to their positioning and the surrounding sheets and mountains of pillows. When he was happy with the scene, he walked back to his easel. “You two look great, by the way,” Tico commented. “You’re glowing.”
Jon looked at Richie and smiled lovingly. Richie resisted the urge to lean forward and kiss him.
“So what did you guys do this morning? You slept in, I hope?” Tico talked as he sketched.
After a pause Jon said, “We’re allowed to talk?”
Tico chuckled. “Phht, of course. Just don’t make any big flailing movements.”
“Oh right,” Jon said.
“Relax,” Tico reminded him. “Tell me about your morning.”
“We did sleep in,” Richie volunteered.
“Then we made out and made love,” Jon revealed. “The right way.”
“Long and slow,” Richie added. “It was exquisite!”
Jon blushed. Their morning was fantastic. Richie was beautiful when he opened himself up for him.
“I thought so,” Tico interjected. “You seem like your old selves again. Like how you were this summer at the vineyard.”
Jon and Richie looked each other in the eyes and felt the connection.
“That’s it!” Tico exclaimed. “Right there! The look of love! I’m hoping to capture that somehow.”
The two lovers couldn’t help smiling.
“Keep talking,” Tico directed.
“Richie made an awesome brunch,” Jon gushed.
“It was nothing.”
“I enjoyed it baby,” Jon complimented him.
“I know you did,” Richie nodded. “We sang and danced while I was cooking. It was relaxing.”
“I can see that,” Tico commented. “Jon, your eyes are sparkling again and your mouth is not as pinched. I was starting to wonder how to get around that problem, earlier this week.”
“So you noticed it too?” Richie asked, winking at Jon who rolled his eyes.
“Alright you two,” Jon grumbled. “I’m sorry, okay? I’ll try harder to be normal when we go back to work, alright?” He poked his tongue out at Richie, then smiled.
“Don’t threaten me with that tongue, unless you plan to follow through with it,” Richie said, leering at Jon, his fingers pulling slightly in Jon’s chest hair.
“You know I will!” Jon said, blushing slightly knowing that his bandmate was listening in on their pillow talk.
Richie moved his knee up a little closer to Jon’s hip and raised his eyebrows at Jon.
“Oh no you don’t!” Jon said softly to his lover. Richie moved his hand slightly nearer to the closest nipple, hopefully without Tico noticing.
“Uh huh! You know I will,” Richie whispered back, as he swirled his finger against the darker flesh.
Jon closed his eyes for a moment, hoping not to see the fire in the chocolate brown ones when he opened his up again. If he did, he knew his self control would go out the window. He could already feel the tingle of desire in his blood.
He couldn’t help thinking about their morning lovemaking again, which didn’t help matters at all. He opened his eyes and there it was, the fire and desire in Richie’s eyes. He clenched his fists. “Can we take a break?” he yelped.
“Sure,” Tico sat back. “Get up. Stretch. Move around. Whatever.”
Jon rolled off the mattress and got up, hurrying to the front of it and straight into Richie’s arms. They immediately fell into a greedy passionate kiss. “Damn you, Richie! Damn you,” he groaned between more kisses.
Richie just held on tight while Tico watched in fascination. This wasn’t what he had in mind for a break, but he wasn’t the one lying in bed with his lover. He thought maybe he was beginning to understand David’s interest in this whole thing. It was kind of hot, he had to admit, to watch his two enamored friends go at it, especially with the passion burning between them.
“You’re so fucking sexy when you lose control, baby,” Richie whispered into Jon’s ear and then bit it.
“God!” Jon threw his head back.
Richie kissed his neck and Jon put his hand on Richie’s chest to push him back.
“That was fun,” Jon smiled and licked his lips, still tasting Richie on them.
“Such a tease, baby,” Richie said, his body reacting to Jon’s kiss. His eyes flicked down to notice that Jon was equally affected.
“Ahem!” Tico coughed. “So are we good to go for a while now? I’ve only got a bit more sketching, then I can start in with the paint.”
“I’m grabbing another wine, T.” Jon asked, “Do you two want anything?”
He sauntered over to the kitchen naked, trying to will his body into submission before he got back into bed. He poured himself a large glass and took a decent gulp, grabbed a couple of waters for the others and headed back across the floor. He was starting to feel the wine mellow out his anxiety and liquify his resolve.
He narrowed his eyes at Richie and ran his tongue over his bottom lip, watching the flush creep over Richie’s cheeks. He knew his next move was going have Richie in the palm of his hand.
He did the thing with his lip; that dirty little curl that, in the past, had Richie dropping to his knees in front of him and setting him free. He climbed back onto the bed and whispered to Richie, “Two can play at this game, baby. Are you ready to play?”
Before Richie could answer, Tico said, “Right! Do you remember where everything was, or do you need me to put you back in the right spots?”
“N- no, we’re good, thanks T,” Richie croaked out. They got into position again, but were slightly closer to each other than before.
The silence was deafening apart from the music playing in the background. Tico was immersed in his work and hadn't noticed that his subjects had fallen silent.
Richie’s semi hard cock brushed against Jon’s thigh but was hidden from Tico’s view by his own leg. Jon curled his lip again and felt the sweet brush of hot silky flesh again. Richie squinted slightly at Jon and pinched the nipple between his fingers in retaliation.
Jon snarled. His crystal blue eyes searched the depths of the chocolate brown ones before him. No words were needed to convey the heat and desire they were both feeling.
He looked down at Richie's bottom lip and imagined nibbling on the plump, moist flesh. Jon loved to see his lips swollen from his kisses, parted and gasping for breath, bitten by his teeth in wanting and spread wide with happiness. As if he could read his mind, Richie's tongue darted out to run suggestively over his lip. His heart started to feel sluggish from the thickening of his blood.
Jon's eyes dropped to the hollow at the base of Richie's neck and noted that the beat skittering around under the skin. When he flicked his eyes back back up to the hooded brown ones, he saw them filled with promises and he had to swallow hard.
Jon felt a wave of heat permeate his entire body and even his fingers and toes tingled. It felt like Richie was making love to him with his eyes. He closed his to temporarily escape Richie's stare because he seriously thought he would come without even being touched. “Richie,” he whispered urgently.
“What’s the matter, Jonny?” Richie asked in a hot whisper.
“Stop looking at me. Please?” he responded.
“Why?” he feigned innocence. He knew he was getting under Jon’s skin. He could feel his heart thudding hard beneath his arm and his breathing becoming shallower and more rapid. The heat emanating from his skin was scorching.
“Richie,” Jon whispered again.
“You don't like it?” His voice was so low and so sexy, Jon was about to lose it.
“I love it,” Jon whispered. “But if you keep it up, and if I look at you, I'm gonna- I'm gonna want- I'm gonna need- you!”
That was all Richie needed to hear. He quickly moved over Jon’s body and claimed his mouth finally, encountering no resistance and only encouragement. His fingers fisted into Jon's hair in an almost painful grip.
“Ahh- guys?! You moved!” Tico tried to get their attention, but to no avail. “Guys?!”
Jon thought that he could vaguely hear someone talking, but Richie's tongue was down his throat so it couldn't have been him and beyond that, he didn't care. His focus narrowed to only Richie. “Hmm,” he moaned as his body quickly responded to the long-awaited physical contact. He gladly opened his thighs to receive his partner closer.
Sensing where this was going, Tico averted his eyes as he tried to make it to his bedroom without tripping over anything. Obviously Jon and Richie needed to be alone in the worst way. He entered the room and shut the door behind him quickly. “Yikes!” he said out loud. His two friends were like bunnies.
“Rich! God! I- ahh!” Jon was incoherent under Richie’s frenzied attack on his body. Richie had settled between his thighs and pushed Jon’s arms up over his head. It opened Jon’s torso up for a concentrated assault by his hungry mouth; the mouth Jon had fantasized about earlier.
Tico realized with horror that the music wasn’t loud enough to drown out the noise from the lovers and he couldn’t turn it up from in here. He tried to think of ways not to overhear but nothing came to mind. He was trapped. “Damn it, you two,” he thought.
“Tell me what you want, Jonny?” Richie said, his mouth leaving hot, wet kisses from Jon’s neck down to his shoulder, “I saw you thinking of something just before.”
“Mmm- your mouth,” Jon mumbled. “Love your mouth, babe.”
“What do you want my mouth to do to you?” Richie asked, never stopping the movement over the muscles below.
“Take me,” he said. “Mark me as yours!”
Richie pulled back slightly, taken aback somewhat. Jon had never allowed him to mark him before. “You sure, baby?” he asked.
Jon arched his neck further in encouragement and nodded briefly.
Richie found his favourite spot behind Jon’s ear and laved it with his eager tongue before setting his teeth and gently sucking the flesh through. The groan it produced from Jon made him hungry to do it again. He watched the skin discolour slightly.
“Again!” Jon demanded, “But I want you inside me first!”
Reclining on his own bed, Tico clearly heard this and thought about how much enjoyment David would have gotten out of it. Maybe he would tell him about this someday. That would be someday in the very distant future when his cheeks stopped burning.
“Thought you’d never ask,” Richie said hotly, then lined himself up to Jon’s waiting and eager ass. They were both still open from this morning’s activities and so the copious amount of precum from Richie was enough to enable him to push comfortably inside his lover.
“Ahh fuck! Rich!” Jon exclaimed. “Fuck me! Mark me again.”
Tico couldn’t lay still anymore. He didn’t feel right about full-on masturbating so he rolled over onto his front and softly rubbed himself down against his bed, not enough to cum, but just enough to enjoy the tingling. He was only human after all.
“Soon, baby,” Richie soothed, kissing him again as he picked up the pace of his thrusts. He had a feeling that the next time he gave Jon a love bite it would tip him over the edge so he wanted to be right there with him.
Richie undulated his hips in a particular way to cause maximum effect on Jon, the smooth head of his cock brushing over the bundled nerves inside. The pleasure wasn’t being lost on him either; the brush of his cock over that bumpy flesh, the sensation of Jon gripping him with each thrust, the symphony of moans and sighs coming from Jon’s mouth. He was so close.
“Ahh baby, you ready?” Richie asked breathlessly. He was barely hanging on.
“Mmm hmm,” Jon mewled.
No sooner had Jon let that escape from his mouth, Richie then latched onto the spot he had thought about for a long time. He had been fantasizing about marking Jon for years; the flesh slightly left of the centre of his chest, right above his heart. As he sucked on the harder flesh of his pectoral muscle, he felt Jon’s fingernails dig into his back.
Jon’s body clamped down hard on Richie’s cock as he came with a long, loud groan. It was the most intense sex they had experienced since they left France and totally different than the soft slow lovemaking of that morning. Jon felt like he was being devoured alive. It was awesome.
Richie thought the whole of his internal organs had been liquified and were being expelled into Jon’s body as he came just as hard. The whole mentality of the day had turned him on as much as the physicality of the love they’d just made. Jon’s eyes had clearly revealed to him the depths of his love that may never be able to be as eloquently spoken. The symbolism of Richie’s mark laying over his heart made his own sing with joy and brought tears to his eyes.
Richie slipped from Jon’s body and curled up, nestled in beneath Jon’s arm, both of them breathing hard. “I love you Jonny.”
“I know you do,” Jon exhaled. “Love you too.”
They laid together happily in the afterglow and Tico also calmed down in his bedroom in the silence.
It took a bit before the satisfied lovers realized the absence of the painter.
“What happened to Tico?” Jon wondered out loud.
Chapter 3: Room At The End Of The World
“Did he leave?” Jon asked.
“He’s probably hiding under his bed.” Richie looked around. “He didn’t leave. His phone and keys are over there.”
“Shit!” Jon swore softly, scrubbing his face with his free hand.
“What's wrong?” Richie asked.
“Dontcha think it's kinda embarrassing?”
“Eh, we’re all adults. Put your robe on. I’ll check the bedroom.”
Still a little drained, Jon took a generous gulp of water and covered himself. He slid his weak body back down onto the bed to rest.
Putting on the other robe, Richie knocked softly on the bedroom door. “Tico? You can come out now. It's safe. Jon and I are done- and covered.”
The door opened and Tico looked like he was blushing and slightly frazzled. “You moved! What part of no big movements did you not understand?”
“Sorry. We-” Richie coughed. “I couldn't help it.”
“You moved and you-” Tico blinked. “You fucked.”
“Are you mad?”
Tico had guessed that the couple would want to have sex afterward. He thought they would wait until he was done and then he would have left them alone to make love after he left the apartment. Everything just accelerated faster than he predicted.
“No, it's fine. I just-” Tico paused when he saw Jon on the mattress lying on his front in the robe. “Is he alright?”
“Oh, I think I may have killed him-” Richie smiled, “with pleasure.”
“I'll be fine,” Jon added weakly, ignoring Richie's attempt at comedy.
“He hasn't recovered yet.” Richie couldn't stop grinning.
“Sheesh,” Tico commented.
“So did you finish?” Richie politely asked.
Tico thought about what he did in his bedroom just now. How could they have possibly heard him? “What?!”
“The painting. Did you finish the painting?” Richie wanted to know. “We can sit for you tomorrow too if you need it.”
“And if Richie can control himself!” Jon joined in, still laying limply on the bed.
“You liked it!” Richie responded.
“No, I think I'm good. I have enough mental pictures to last me a lifetime, thank you very much!” Tico said. “I'll be able to finish the rest just by those alone.”
He walked to the kitchen and took out three glasses, added ice and poured from the first bottle he could lay his hands on. He needed a stiff drink after that. He handed Richie the other two glasses without saying anything.
“Are we all good, T?” Richie asked as he handed Jon his glass.
“God yeah,” he replied. “Your passion for each other is impressive, to be quite honest. The suddenness of it is what took me by surprise.”
Jon blushed and gazed at his lover.
Tico's phone beeped with a message. He read it quickly as the others righted themselves, Richie holding his hand out to Jon to haul him upright.
“That was David,” he said to his friends. “He's going to meet us at the restaurant. I'd made reservations for 9:00 for the four of us.”
“Great!” Jon nodded. “Do you mind if we use your shower? Separately.”
“Go ahead! Towels are under the basin,” Tico told him.
“You go first, Rich,” Jon told him. “Where are we eating?” Jon asked Tico.
“Cuban food. It’s my birthday!”
“Nice! I’ll get Richie to drive. I feel a little iffy.”
“Good thinking,” Tico agreed, “If you need to leave the car here and pick it up tomorrow, that’s fine too.”
“David is going to have a lot of questions,” Jon realized.
“Yeah probably.” he agreed, “How much are you going to tell him? He’s such a nosy fucker.”
“Do you mind not telling him that you saw us kiss or-” Jon paused and looked toward the mattress, “you know.”
“It can stay between the three of us.” He crossed his fingers over his heart.
“Excellent. Thank you.”
Richie came back out to the main room. “Finished. Your turn, babe,” he said to Jon.
“That was fast. You never shower that fast,” Jon observed.
“Uh, because you’re usually showering with me,” Richie leered.
“Ha ha yes,” Jon blushed as he made his way into the other room.
“You two are incorrigible,” Tico shook his head.
“Do you blame me, T?” Richie asked his friend. “I mean, you saw him? What’s not to get turned on about?”
“My feet are planted firmly on the other side of the fence, my friend,” Tico said wryly. “It doesn’t, however, stop me from appreciating the human body though. I can understand where you’re coming from.”
Richie offered his friend a huge grin.
“That’s what I thought too before I liked Jon,” Richie said. “I remember thinking, ‘What are you doing? He’s a dude!’ but then I thought, ‘Well at least he’s good-looking.’”
Tico shook his head. “You’ve never thought about any other guy?”
“Huh,” Tico said thoughtfully. “So Jon’s pointed the finger at you to drive tonight,” Tico changed the subject.
“Yeah, I’ve reached my limit for the day,” Richie said. “I can drive.”
“Will what we’re wearing be okay?” Jon came from the other room, dressed but still towelling off his hair.
“Hell yeah,” Tico said. “It’s a casual place, but hugely popular. I know the owner, so I made sure he kept a spot for us.”
“Yeah you look great, darlin’,” Richie complimented the love of his life. “By the way, Tico thinks you have a good body,” Richie smiled.
“Oh good grief!” Tico exclaimed.
“Uh- thanks?” Jon didn’t get the joke.
“It’s okay, he’s an artist,” Richie comforted him.
With that Tico excused himself to his room to clean up, shaking his head at his crazy friends. His hands and arms were splattered with paint.
“I nominated you to drive, Rich,” Jon dropped the towel on the back of a chair, then moved in between Richie’s legs as he sat on the bar stool. “Is that okay?”
“Sure, babe,” Richie hooked his fingers into the belt loops at Jon’s waist and drew him in closer. “I’d kinda figured on that anyway.”
Jon slipped his arms over Richie’s shoulders and played with the damp hair at the back of his neck. “That was freakin’ incredible, by the way,” he smiled, before touching his lips to Richie’s.
“Glad to be of service, baby,” Richie said, his lips never leaving Jon’s for long before deepening the kiss.
Jon sighed with pleasure as they stood in their friend’s kitchen, kissing again and again.
“Aww come on you two!” Tico exclaimed as he came out of the bedroom. “Really?”
“Sorry dad!” Richie said chuckling, and swatted Jon’s backside for him to move.
“Sorry,” Jon added.
“C’mon, let’s get outta here and get you both into the public so you’ll keep your hands off each other.” Tico grabbed his jacket from the stand beside the elevator, waiting for the others to join him.
“Yeah yeah yeah,” Richie said.
Ready to go, they all filed into the elevator.
“So tell me all about today! How did it go? I want details. How did the painting turn out? Is it finished? When can I see it? Don’t leave anything out!” David sat down with his friends at the table. “Does everyone want to share a pitcher of sangria?”
Tico had whiplash from the sheer amount of rapid-fire questions just now. He blinked.
“It was fine,” Jon said evenly.
“Just fine?” David questioned. “That’s all?”
“Yep, and stop being such a nosy fuck, Lemma,” Richie said, “If anything else happened, then it’s none of your business.”
“I knew it!” David exclaimed, “Something other than painting happened, didn’t it!?”
He noticed from the corner of his eye, Jon dropped his head forward a little, his longer hair covering his face slightly. He turned to Richie and continued, “So give it up, Rich!”
“Nah man, my lips are sealed,” he mimed turning a key and throwing it away. “It’s not your birthday,” Richie reminded him.
David was still watching Jon, who had remained silent. At the sound of crashing dishware somewhere behind them, Jon whipped his head around to see, and that’s when David caught sight of the bruising on his neck. His eyes widened with glee.
“You’ve got a hickey!” David almost yelled and pointed to Jon. He was almost bouncing in his seat with excitement of his discovery.
Tico cuffed the back of his head. “Turn your volume down, man!”
“Dammit,” Jon muttered under his breath, adjusting his collar higher around his neck.
“Seriously Dave!” Richie was exasperated. “Haven’t you seen and heard enough?”
“Apparently not,” he deadpanned. “So the Birthday Fairy delivered, and then some by the looks of it. So how was it, T?”
“A very interesting day, let’s put it that way,” Tico answered.
Jon sighed. “Davy’s feeling left out.” he pouted at his friend. “We went over to Tico’s, we laid down, he painted, we took a break, Tico painted some more, then he stepped out, Richie and I made out a little,” Jon lied. “Then we came here.”
Tico snorted in amusement.
“Uh huh- sure,” David squinted and nodded sagely, taking his friends’ ribbing with a heavy dose of good nature, “Okay, I’ll drop it for now, only because I’m hungry. Let’s eat!”
The four friends enjoyed a convivial meal together reminiscing over past stories, remembering lost friends, and outlining plans for the future. It was heading toward midnight and the restaurant was almost empty when Jon held his glass up indicating he wanted to say something. The others fell silent in expectation.
“To Tico! Happy birthday buddy!” He felt happy and lucky to have such good friends and such a great partner. “And to years of friendship. And love.” He squeezed Richie’s hand on the table as Richie blew him a kiss. “And to birthday wishes!” He chuckled at the last bit thinking of everything that had happened in the past year.